Weekly health roundup – 12th September

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International health news

Eating three servings of whole grains a day could lower the risk of developing colon cancer by 17%, according to a report by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund International. Regular exercise was also found to lower the risk.

Using disinfectant products just once a week can increase the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by almost a third. Chemicals in bleach and other cleaning products were linked to the development of lung conditions such as emphysema, chronic asthma and chronic bronchitis.

Trials from pharmaceutical company Lilly have shown that the drug abemaciclib slows tumour growth in patients with advanced breast cancer, when combined with standard therapy. Competition may lower the prices of existing Pfizer and Novartis cancer drugs.

Aspirin could be used to help to reverse tooth decay, according to scientists at Queen’s University. Stem cells in teeth may be encouraged to produce Dentine, the hard substance often damaged by tooth decay.

Country updates

A 74 year old man from Ohio, US has died of encephalitis, caused by West Nile virus. Encephalitis is a serious neurological condition that affects less than 1% of people diagnosed with the virus.

Doctors in the UK are being provided with guidance on endometriosis for the first time. The disease affects 176 million women worldwide but is not diagnosed for an average of 7 to 8 years in the Western world.

A 4 year old girl in Italy has died of Malaria. Authorities are investigating how the child became affected as she had not recently travelled to any high risk countries. Italy is not known to have the type of mosquitoes that carry Malaria.

Health advice

The FDA has provided new guidance on reducing the risk of developing a peanut allergy by the age of 5. They recommend introducing foods containing ground peanuts to infants aged 4 to 10 months who are allergic to egg and/ or suffer from severe eczema.

A study of inner-city children with persistent asthma in Baltimore has found that living near a park can reduce the severity of symptoms. Children who lived further from a green space showed more frequent symptoms over a two week period.

The upselling of food products is contributing to the obesity crisis. Restaurants and shops are encouraging consumers to order larger portions and sides for reduced prices, causing the average ‘victim’ to consume an extra 17,000 calories a year.