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Eye infection linked to stroke risk

People who have had shingles infection that affects the eyes may have a heightened risk of stroke, according to a new study.

Ocular shingles is an infection of the eye and the skin around the eye caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.

To reach the conclusion, researchers identified 658 people diagnosed with ocular shingles and 1974 without the infection. None of these people had a history of stroke at the beginning of the study.

During the one-year study, stroke developed in 8.1 percent of the people with shingles and 1.7 percent of the people without shingles.

The study found people with shingles were four-and-a-half times more likely to have a stroke compared to people without shingles.

The results were the same regardless of age, gender, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and medications.

“Shingles may represent a marker for increased risk of stroke,” said Jau-Der Ho with Taipei Medical University in Taiwan.

The study also found the people with shingles were more likely to have ischemic stroke, such as a blood clot, and less likely to have hemorrhagic stroke, such as bleeding in the brain, compared to people without shingles.

Harmone replacement increases lung cancer

Women aged 50 to 76 who use hormone replacement therapy combining estrogen and progestin may have a higher risk of lung cancer than non-users, a new study has found.
Researchers said that although the risk is “duration-dependent,” with women taking HRT for 10-plus years at greatest risk of developing lung cancer, an acceptable length of HRT has yet to be determined.

While the risk of developing lung cancer for women using estrogen plus progestin HRT 10 years or longer was approximately 50 percent more than women not using HRT, this risk is actually quite small compared to the risk from smoking.

“Although HRT use has declined and is not recommended except for short-term treatment of menopausal symptoms, our results indicate millions of women may remain at risk of developing lung cancer,” said Chris Slatore, assistant professor of medicine in the Oregon Health & Science University School.

Eat fatter chips to stay slim

Eat bigger and thicker chips if you want to stay slim, suggest officials from the Food Standards Agency.

They have said that chunkier versions of those potato or fish fryers absorb less fat and have lower calorie content.

But furious food industry representatives said they risk ruining Britain’s best-loved takeaway meal.

“They should be concentrating on fast food outlets who make the thin French fries, not the traditional independent chip shop. At the moment it seems like a case of picking on the little guys because they can't touch the big guys,” the “Daily Express” quoted Douglas Roxburgh of the National Federation of Fish Fryers as saying.

He also resented investing in new blades “just because councils say so”. An FSA spokesman said small changes in local chip shops could tackle Britain's growing obesity crisis.

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