WHAT'S THE BUZZ

DDT causes urogenital birth defects

Rural women exposed to DDT — sprayed to reduce malaria — are likely to give birth to boys with urogenital birth defects (UGBD), say researchers.
The research led by the University of Pretoria in South Africa showed that women who stayed at home in sprayed villages, rather than being a student or working, had 41 per cent more baby boys with UGBDs, such as missing testicles or problems with their urethra or penis.
The authors suggest this is because they spent more time in homes where domestic DDT-based sprays are still commonly used to kill the mosquitoes that cause malaria, even in areas where organised mass spraying no longer takes place.
“If women are exposed to DDT, either through their diet or through the environment they live in, this can cause the chemical to build up in their body,” said lead author Riana Bornman.
“DDT can cross the placenta and be present in breast milk and studies have shown that the residual concentration in the baby’s umbilical cord are very similar to those in maternal blood,” she said.

Effects of healthy diet on bad genes

Simple lifestyle choices, such as following a healthy diet and regular exercise, can override bad genes, according to one of Canada’s leading genetic researchers.
Robert Hegele, Robarts Research Institute in London, Ontario, linked simple decisions and socioeconomic determinants to genetics.
The classic choices included staying away from cigarettes, alcohol, eating a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
Much complicated matters like a person’s income, education, housing status and physical environment were also said to play a significant role.

Obesity delays control of BP

Obesity could be a factor in delaying optimal control of blood pressure and cholesterol, a new research has found.
The study found that obese patients taking medications to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol levels were less likely to attain recommended targets for these cardiovascular disease risk factors than their normal weight counterparts.
Dr Vineet Bhan, University of Toronto, examined if there were differences in achieving guideline-recommended targets for blood pressure and cholesterol levels according to body mass index (BMI) in a large number of people deemed to be at high risk for heart disease and stroke.
Dr Bhan said: “This is the first study looking at patients with established cardiovascular disease who are on treatment to see how obesity relates to the control of these risk factors.”
Senior author Dr Andrew Yan said: “Although a direct cause-and-effect relationship cannot be proven, our data would suggest that pharmacologic treatment alone without achieving optimal weight may not be adequate.”

Vitamin D helps rid pain in winter

Higher intake of Vitamin D in winters can help people get rid of extra soreness and aches in their backs, say researchers.
The study showed that patients with chronic back pain usually had inadequate levels of vitamin D and when sufficient vitamin D supplementation was provided, the pain either vanished or was at least helped to a significant extent.
According to Dr Stewart B Leavitt, author of the report, vitamin D or sunshine vitamin is essential for calcium absorption and bone health.
And inadequate intake can result in a softening of bone surfaces, called osteomalacia, which causes pain.

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