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Fake cigarettes up rate for quitting smoking

Nicotine-free plastic inhalers may increase a smoker’s chance of quitting. The research, which was carried out by scientists at the Universita di Catania in Italy, analysed 120 people who were enrolled in a programme to help them quit smoking.
The participants were split into two groups, with one group receiving the plastic inhalers as a treatment, and the other group following the usual programme.

Whilst there wasn’t a significant difference in the quit rates of both groups overall, people who continue to smoke due to the addictive habit and ritual process of ‘lighting up’ had a much higher success rate when using the inhaler.
People who were identified as being heavily dependent on the behavioural pattern of smoking had a quit rate of 66.7 per cent in the group using the inhalers, compared with 19.2 per cent in the other group.

The results show that for smokers who rely on the handling of a cigarette as a behavioural pattern, nicotine-free inhalers could increase their chance of success when trying to quit smoking.

Surge in obesity linked to spike in automobile usage

Sheldon H Jacobson, a professor of computer science and the director of the simulation and optimization laboratory at Illinois, said that the surge in passenger vehicle usage in the US between the 1950s and today may be associated with surging levels of obesity.

“You can think of obesity as an energy imbalance,” said Jacobson. “People consume food, which is a form of energy, and then they expend it in their activities. But if you look over the last 60-plus years, the automobile has become our primary mode of transportation — so much so, in fact, we have literally designed our way of life around it. It is that energy imbalance that ultimately may lead to obesity,” he added.

To analyse the relationship between obesity and vehicle use, the researchers looked at annual vehicle miles travelled per licensed driver as a surrogate measure for a person’s total sedentary time.

Early HIV therapy can cut virus spread to partners

HIV-infected people with relatively healthier immune systems can dramatically reduce the transmission of the virus to their sexual partners if they are treated immediately with oral antiretroviral drugs, says a large-scale clinical study.

The US National Institutes for Health (NIH) trial, known as HPTN 052, found antiretroviral treatment to be 96 per cent effective in reducing sexual transmission of HIV.

The results are the first from a major randomised clinical trial to indicate that treating an HIV-infected individual can reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV to an uninfected partner.

Preliminary results of the trial were so convincing that the study, scheduled to end in 2015, was halted early.

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