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Engineer develops his own heart repair kit

An engineer suffering from a high risk heart condition developed a kit that can help to repair the heart, and is now being used by doctors on other patients.

Tal Golesworthy had a defect in his aorta — the largest artery in the body that carries oxygenated blood — that could have split any moment, leading to his immediate death.
However, Golesworthy, 54, decided to take the matter into his own hands and came up with a knitted polyester sleeve, which could be wrapped around the aorta, giving it additional support.

And the device worked. Impressed by the repair kit’s success Golesworthy has now set up a company named Exstent and markets the device with the help of his doctors.
Doctors at the Royal Brompton hospital, London, have since used the technique on 19 people; another three patients are looking forward for surgery this month.

Golesworthy said he was uncomfortable about the traditional surgery, after which he would have had to take anticoagulant drugs for the rest of his life to stop clot formation.

“I just thought the operation sounded awful... The doctors were being asked to do an engineering job when they weren’t engineers. I decided there had to be a better way,” he said.

Staying young: Exercise has anti-ageing effect

A new study has shown that exercise can fight ageing at the cellular level.

Researchers from Saarland University discovered that telomeres shortened less quickly in key immune cells of athletes with a long history of endurance training.

Telomeres are protective caps on the chromosomes that keep a cell’s DNA stable but shorten with age.

During the study, researchers measured the length of telomeres in blood samples from two groups of professional athletes and two groups of people who were healthy non-smokers, but who did not take regular exercise.

The findings revealed that physical exercise of the professional athletes led to activation of an enzyme called telomerase, which helped to stabilise telomeres. This reduced the telomere shortening in leukocytes, a type of white blood cell that plays a key role in fighting infection and disease.

“This is direct evidence of an anti-ageing effect of physical exercise,” said Dr Ulrich Laufs. “Our data improves the molecular understanding of the protective effects of exercise and underlines the potency of physical training in reducing the impact of age-related disease,” Laufs added.

New Year bash not so rocking for allergic people

Celebrating the New Year could be far more troublesome for people with allergies and asthma-as they are more at risk of getting a variety of unpleasant reactions, warns an organization of allergists.

And such reactions are not limited to alcohol consumption only.

“It is usually not the alcohol itself that produces the reaction. It is most likely ingredients, such as sulfur dioxide (metabisulfite), yeast and additives. Common allergic reactions include hives, skin rashes, flushing and warmth of the skin, bronchospasm or shortness of breath, especially in those with asthma,” said Dr Clifford W Bassett, chairman of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology’s Public Education Committee.

Sulfur dioxide is naturally produced during the production of wine and can cause allergic reactions when people drink wine, say the experts.

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