Little Evidence Tamiflu Works & Other News of Note
Posted on Friday, December 11th, 2009
Researchers at the Cochrane Review, an international nonprofit that reviews health information, looked at previously published papers on Tamiflu as used for seasonal flu. They found insufficient data to prove whether the antiviral reduces complications like pneumonia in otherwise healthy people but concluded the drug shortens flu symptoms by about a day. The papers were published online Tuesday in the British journal, BMJ.
The researchers said the benefits of Tamiflu were small and that authorities should consider its side effects before using the drug in healthy people. While the reviewed studies only looked at Tamiflu use for seasonal flu, the experts said their conclusions raised questions about the widespread use of the drug in people with any flu-like illness, including swine flu… More…
Brushing Your Teeth Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia (The Daily Mail)
Keeping your teeth clean could help your mind to stay sharp into old age, research suggests.
Those with poor oral hygiene and swollen, bleeding gums are more likely to suffer memory problems linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, a study found.
And the worse the condition of their gums, the higher their risks of memory blanks…More…
Study Shows Nearly 1/3 of Human Genome Is Involved in Gingivitis (ScienceBlog)
Research conducted jointly by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Procter & Gamble (P&G) Oral Care has found that more than 9,000 genes — nearly 30 percent of the genes found in the human body — are expressed differently during the onset and healing process associated with gingivitis. Biological pathways associated with activation of the immune system were found to be the major pathways being activated and critical to controlling the body’s reaction to plaque build-up on the teeth. Additionally, other gene expression pathways activated during plaque overgrowth include those involved in wound healing, neural processes and skin turnover.
Results of the study are published today in the December 2009 edition of the Journal of Periodontology. This study is the first to successfully identify gene expression and biological pathways involved with the onset and healing process of gingivitis….More…
Young adults with higher blood lead levels appear more likely to have major depression and panic disorders, even if they have exposure to lead levels generally considered safe, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
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Low-level lead exposure may disrupt brain processes, such as those involving the neurotransmitters catecholamine and serotonin, that are associated with depression and panic disorders, the authors note. Exposure to lead in individuals predisposed to these conditions could trigger their development, make them more severe or reduce response to treatment.
“These findings suggest that lead neurotoxicity may contribute to adverse mental health outcomes, even at levels generally considered to pose low or no risk,” they conclude. “These findings, combined with recent reports of adverse behavioral outcomes in children with similarly low blood lead levels, should underscore the need for considering ways to further reduce environmental lead exposures”…More…
Dirty Babies Get Healthier Hearts (New Scientist)
Affluent, modern babies live in a sanitised world. This has already been blamed for a high incidence of asthma and allergies, but might also up the risk of developing a host of other conditions common in rich countries, such as stroke and heart disease.
According to the “hygiene hypothesis”, our immune system evolved to handle a germ-laden world. If we don’t encounter many pathogens during infancy, it doesn’t learn to keep itself in check, and turns on inflammation – normally a response to infection – in inappropriate situations. This reaction, the hypothesis goes, is responsible for the recent increase in asthma and allergies, both associated with inflammation.
Recently, it has emerged that chronic inflammation may also increase the risk of diabetes, stroke and heart diseases. So might the hygiene hypothesis be implicated here too?…More…