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Kicking the butt good for asthmatics

A new study by researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands has suggested that asthmatic smokers can reverse some of the damage to their lungs that exacerbates asthmatic symptoms just by putting down their cigarettes.
“We found that exposure to cigarette smoke appears to increase the thickness of the epithelium, or lining, of the airways in the lung. This may be the underlying cause of the fact that smoking asthma patients experience more asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath and phlegm production, compared to non-smoking asthma patients,” said Martine Broekema.

In addition to the changes in the epithelial thickness, Martine found distinct differences between the current smokers and the ex- and non-smokers.
“In addition to the epithelial thickening, we found that cigarette smoke negatively affects levels of exhaled nitric oxide, making it an unreliable indicator of asthma severity in smokers,” she said.

Cannabis beneficial for multiple sclerosis

Cannabis can provide therapeutic benefits for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, says a new study. A systematic review found that five out six randomised controlled trials reported a reduction in spasticity and an improvement in mobility.

Shaheen Lakhan and Marie Rowland, Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation, Los Angeles, searched for trials evaluating the cannabis extracts delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
Lakhan said, “We found evidence that combined THC and CBD extracts may provide therapeutic benefit for MS spasticity symptoms”.

Spasticity, involuntary muscle tension or contraction, is a common symptom of MS.

The French introduced farming in Britain

The French introduced farming in Britain almost 6,000 years ago, according to a new archaeological finding. Also, it has been suggested that Brits would have stayed on as hunter-gatherers if it were not for innovations introduced by the Gallic newcomers.

Mark Collard and his team from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, studied carbon-14 dates for ancient bones, wood and cereal grains from locations across Great Britain to reach the conclusion.

They noted the change in population density with time, indicating that around 6,000 years ago the population quadrupled in just 400 years. It was in the same time period farming emerged in Britain.

Collard claims such huge population explosion completely annuls the possibility of farming being independently started by indigenous hunter-gatherers.

Exercise helps those with peripheral artery disease

Exercise has long been considered to be the single best therapy for peripheral artery disease but how did it work was a mystery — until now.

Israeli researchers have found a protein that accelerates the creation of new blood vessels in response to exercise.

PAD is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. “Exercise is a staple of healthy living,” said senior author Dr Zoltan Arany, Harvard Medical School.

The expert added: “One of the many benefits of exercise, endurance exercise in particular, is the generation of new blood vessels in leg muscles.”

Known as angiogenesis, this naturally occurring process comes to the rescue when an injury or artery blockage leaves normal tissue starved for blood.

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