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Higher vit-D may result in stronger kids

Researchers have suggested that babies are likely to have stronger muscles if their mothers had a higher level of vitamin D in their body while they are pregnant.

In the research, vitamin D levels were measured in 678 mothers in the later stages of pregnancy.

When the children were four years old, grip strength and muscle mass were measured. 

Results showed that higher the levels of vitamin D in the mother, the higher the grip strength of the child, with an additional, but less pronounced association between mother’s vitamin D and child’s muscle mass.

Lead researcher Dr Nicholas Harvey, Senior Lecturer at the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (MRC LEU) at the University of Southampton said that these associations between maternal vitamin D and offspring muscle strength may well have consequences for later health; muscle strength peaks in young adulthood before declining in older age and low grip strength in adulthood has been associated with poor health outcomes including diabetes, falls and fractures.

The 678 women who took part in the study are part of the Southampton Women’s Survey, one of the largest and best characterised such studies globally.

The study has been published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Drug that can kill pancreatic cancer in just one week

A team of researchers has discovered a treatment for pancreatic cancer, claiming that it can wipe out the disease in less than six days.

The Cambridge university team will be testing the new drug, which targets pancreatic cancer but could be effective at treating other kinds of tumors as well, later this year, Metro.co.uk reported.

According to lead author Dr Douglas Fearon, by enabling the body to use its own defenses to attack cancer, this approach has the potential to greatly improve treatment of solid tumors.The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute researchers believe their new drug, known as AMD3100 or Plerixafor, could work even with late diagnoses.

It breaks down a thick wall of chemokine protein which forms a protective barrier around pancreatic cancer cells and prevents the body’s T cells from breaking through to attack the tumor.

While human trials are expected to start later this year, the researchers tested the drug on mice and found that virtually all tumors were wiped out within six days. 
Dysfunction in single gene could lead to diabetes

Researchers including an Indian-origin researcher have found that dysfunction in a single gene in mice causes fasting hyperglycemia, which is one of the major symptoms of type 2 diabetes.Lead author Bellur S. Prabhakar, professor and head of microbiology and immunology at UIC, said that if a gene called MADD is not functioning properly, insulin is not released into the bloodstream to regulate blood sugar levels.

Small genetic variations found among thousands of human subjects revealed that a mutation in MADD was strongly associated with type 2 diabetes in Europeans and Han Chinese.

To study the role of MADD in diabetes, Prabhakar and his team developed a mouse model in which the MADD gene was deleted from the insulin-producing beta cells. All such mice had elevated blood glucose levels, which the researchers found was due to insufficient release of insulin.

The finding shows that type 2 diabetes can be directly caused by the loss of a properly functioning MADD gene alone, Prabhakar said. “Without the gene, insulin can’t leave the beta cells, and blood glucose levels are chronically high.”

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