Public Health

Mechanical 'artificial hearts' can be used to return severely failing hearts to their normal function, potentially removing the need for heart transplantation, according to new research.

The mechanical devices, known as Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVADs), are currently used in patients with very severe heart failure whilst they await transplantation. The new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that using an LVAD combined with certain drug therapies can shrink the enlarged heart and enable it to function normally once the LVAD is removed.

For the study, researchers from Imperial College London and the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust gave the full combination therapy to 15 severely ill patients. Of these 15, 11 recovered.

When it comes to the inequality in people's health across the globe, says Professor Danny Dorling (University of Sheffield, United Kingdom) "you can say it, you can prove it, you can tabulate it, but it is only when you show it that it hits home."


Public Health Spending: Worldmapper Poster 213. Source of data used to create map: United Nations Development Program, Human Development Report 2004. (Credit: Worldmapper)

A single protein in brain cells may act as a linchpin in the body's weight-regulating system, playing a key role in the flurry of signals that govern fat storage, sugar use, energy balance and weight, University of Michigan Medical School researchers report.


The fat mouse on the right lacks the gene to make SH2B1, while the mouse on the left is normal. Restoring SH2B1 just in the brain overcame this mouse strain's weight-gaining tendencies, even when mice were fed a high-fat diet.

When it comes to body composition and fat distribution, a calorie is a calorie, regardless of whether it's controlled by diet alone or a combination of diet and exercise.

New research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reveals that dieting alone is equally effective at reducing weigh and fat as a combination of diet and exercise--as long as the calories consumed and burned equal out. The research also indicates that the addition of exercise to a weight-loss regimen does not change body composition and abdominal fat distribution, debunking the idea that specific exercises can reduce fat in targeted areas (e.g., exercise to reduce fat around a person's midsection).

"It's all about the calories," said Dr.

Scientists at Cardiff University (Wales, UK) have confirmed what thousands of people with arthritis have believed for years. Cod Liver Oil really is effective in treating joint pain and can slow, even reverse, the destruction of joint cartilage.

Cartilage is the ‘gristle’ that cushions bones and prevents them from grinding against each other. Loss of cartilage leads to osteoarthritis, the painful and disabling condition experienced by 1.5 million people in the UK and the major reason for joint replacement surgery.

Cats living in homes where people smoke cigarettes are more than twice as likely as other cats to acquire a deadly form of cancer known as feline lymphoma, according to a first-of-its kind study in cats conducted by scientists at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Massachusetts.

The study, entitled "Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Risk of Malignant Lymphoma in Pet Cats," was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The authors conclude that these findings offer a compelling reason for further study of the relationship between passive smoke and non-Hodgkins lymphoma in humans, which is similar to lymphoma in cats.

Fats hidden in thousands of foods can harm a woman’s chance of having a baby, scientists said yesterday.
 
They can increase the risk of fertility problems by 70 per cent or more. Eating as little as one doughnut or a portion of chips a day can have a damaging effect. The scientists behind the study advised women who want to have a baby to avoid the fats, known as trans fats.
 
They are used in thousands of processed foods, from chocolate to pies, as well as take-away meals. They have no nutritional value but are included simply to extend the shelf life of food.
 
They can increase the risk of fertility problems by 70 per cent or more. Eating as little as one doughnut or a portion of chips a day can have a damaging effect.