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A pat on head can remind of daily med

Knocking on wood or patting yourself on the head, while taking a daily dose of medicine could prove to be an effective way of helping older adults remember whether they’ve already taken their daily medications, suggests a new study.

“The habitual nature of the task may make it difficult for older adults to remember whether they took the medication on a particular day,” explains Mark McDaniel, PhD, lead author of the study and a professor of psychology in Arts and Sciences at Washington University. “To remedy this potential problem, older adults could be instructed to take their medication while placing one hand on their head or in some other unusual or silly way, like crossing their arms,” he suggests.

More leisure means more health and happiness

A new study has confirmed that the more time spent doing different types of enjoyable activities, the better a person’s health tends to be.

The study says taking time for leisure activities apart from the demands of work and other responsibilities helps people function better physically and mentally.

“People who are engaged in multiple enjoyable activities are better off physically and psychologically,” said study co-author Karen Matthews, professor of psychiatry, epidemiology and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The study appears online in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine.

The study said adults who spent time in different leisure activities had lower blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index and cortisol measurements, all markers of good health.

Daily limits on alcohol intake unhelpful

British health experts have warned that daily limits on alcohol consumption are meaningless and pose health risks. The UK government says males should drink no more than three to four units per day and women no more than two to three.

Liver specialist Dr Nick Sheron, of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, however, believes that the limits were devised by civil servants with “no good evidence” for doing so, reports The BBC. Although binges are dangerous, it is the average amounts consumed over the weeks, months and years that count.A person who regularly drinks 50g of alcohol a day—around 6 units or three pints of normal strength beer—has nearly double the risk of stroke, high blood pressure and pancreatitis as someone who abstains.

Advanced therapies slow lung cancer growth

A series of studies presented on Saturday at the 13th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in San Fransisco, suggest that advanced targeted therapies have the potential to slow lung cancer growth and improve patient outcomes.

Unlike traditional chemotherapy-based treatments that destroy cancerous and non-cancerous cells alike, targeted therapies are designed to inhibit only cancer cell replication and tumour growth and are generally well tolerated by patients.

“The studies presented at the WCLC confirm that targeted therapies are on the forefront of treatment innovation and show improved efficacy and prolonged progression-free survival time compared to chemotherapy and combination treatments,” said Dr David Gandara, WCLC program chair.

“Since the medicines are orally administered, patients can receive treatment in-home versus in a hospital setting, easing the burden on patients and caregivers,” he added.

Diabetic therapy reduces pancreatic cancer risk

A commonly prescribed anti-diabetic drug can reduce an individual’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer by 62 per cent, according to a new study.

“This is the first epidemiological study of metformin in the cancer population, and it offers an exciting direction for future chemoprevention research for a disease greatly in need of both treatment and prevention strategies,” said Donghui Li, professor at M D Anderson’s Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology.

“Metformin works by increasing the cellular sensitivity to insulin and decreasing its level circulating in diabetics. Insulin also seems to have a growth-promoting effect in cancer,” said Li, the study’s senior author.

“Metformin activates the AMP kinase, which is a cellular engery sensor. Recent publications have described that AMP kinase also plays an important role in the development of cancer by controlling cell division and growth,” the expert added.

Secret life of sperm unlocked

Scientists in Britian have discoverd a lock-and-key mechanism between sperm and egg cells that helps explain why some sperm malfunction, a finding that will spare infertile couples years of fruitless treatment.

The research by the team at the universities of Bradford and Leeds fundamentally changes the understanding of the importance sperm has in the developing embryo.

The discovery that human egg can read the father’s genetic key and screen out failures will spare millions of infertile couples from undergoing expensive and fruitless IVF treatments, The Independent newspaper reported today.

According to the research, the molecule at the heart of the lock-and-key mechanism is a protein called CTCF. “CTCF sets the stage during sperm development,” said Dr David Iles, of the University of Leeds.

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