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Thyroid condition raises stroke risk

Young adults with overactive thyroid are at a significantly higher risk of stroke, concludes a new study. “Strokes of undetermined cause account for between one-third and one-fourth of all ischemic strokes in young people,” said Herng-Ching Lin, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan. “To the best of our knowledge, hyperthyroidism has never been considered as a potential risk factor for stroke in the 18 to 44 age group.”

Hyperthyroidism, also known as overactive thyroid, is a common endocrine disorder that affects an estimated 0.5 per cent (1 in 200 people) to 2 per cent (1 in 50 people) of the world’s population, including a significant group of young adults, Lin said. The condition causes overproduction of thyroid hormone, which speeds up the metabolism and causes symptoms such as sweating, weight loss, diarrhea and nervousness.

To reach the conclusion, researchers used data on 3,176 young adults diagnosed with hyperthyroidism between Jan 1, 1998 and Dec 31, 2001, and 25,408 comparison patients free of thyroid disease who were treated under Taiwan’s national, single-payer healthcare system.

Air pollution deteriorates exercisers’ health

Air pollution can make exercisers to run slower, breath harder and get middling workout, according to a study.

The study, led by George Thurston, NYU School of Medicine, also said that pollution even negates the positive effect exercise has on your lungs.

“Usually when you exercise your lung function improves. But as ozone levels rose, we saw that benefit shrink to the point where there was no improvement in lung capacity. In short, the benefits of exercising are absolutely diminished by ozone on high-pollution days,” said Thurston.

Research shows that when you exercise outdoors, your lungs are taking in car exhaust, soot, construction dust and factory fumes.

Breathing in ozone — basically smog — can irritate the throat and respiratory tract as well as inflame the lining of the lungs, and inhaling particulate matter and carbon monoxide is associated with the hardening of the lungs.

But even if you don’t run or ride a bike, there are other environmental hazards, like untreated sewage in oceans, rivers and lakes as well as pesticides and fertiliser on golf courses.

Worms-based drugs may cure asthma, arthritis

Medicines made from worms could treat or even prevent conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, say Scottish scientists.

According to the team at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, secretions from parasitic worms could be used on humans within five years in trials to keep the conditions at bay. Billy Harnett, professor of molecular immunology, said the worm study had been prompted by observations in developing countries.

“What’s been noticed over the past ten or 20 years is that people who live in Third World countries tend to have surprisingly low levels of things like asthma and rheumatoid arthritis,” he said.

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