Weekly Health Roundup – 14th August

International health news

The prevalence of colorectal cancer in white people aged under 55 is rising. The cause remains unknown as there has been a decline in the diagnoses and death rates of black people with the disease, but sedentary lifestyles and obesity are thought to be contributing factors.

Researchers have confirmed the safety of a new immunotherapy treatment for type 1 diabetes. The condition is caused by the body destroying pancreatic cells that regulate glucose levels. The pioneering treatment requires further testing but could slow the disease and end diabetics’ need for daily insulin injections.

Scientists have successfully removed 37 viruses from the DNA of Genetically Modified pig. This brings researchers one step closer to the xenotransplantation of organs from GM pigs to humans, as a means to end the shortage of human organs available for transplantation. Upwards of 6,500 people in the UK and 100,000 people in the US are waiting for an organ transplant.

Country updates

The number of men in the UK that were prescribed Viagra and other drugs to treat erectile dysfunction tripled over the past 10 years. The increase could be due to the stigma associated with Viagra use reducing, with many younger men ordering it online to improve sexual performance. Doctors have warned against buying any unregulated drugs online that may interfere with other underlying medical conditions.   

Denmark is the 10th country to find insecticide ‘Fipronil’ tainted eggs amongst its imported produce. Twenty tonnes of eggs imported from the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium are being withdrawn from customers. Consuming large amounts of Fipronil can damage the liver, kidneys and thyroid.  

Perceived stigma surrounding cancer diagnosis is preventing South Asian women in the UK from seeking treatment and support. In 2014, Asian women with breast cancer aged 15 to 64 had just a three year survival rate. Notions of purity and cleanliness, religious and cultural beliefs plus a lack of awareness of the disease often lead South Asian women to put off seeking medical attention until it’s too late.

Health advice

A study of 1200 people has found that marijuana smokers are three times as likely to die from hypertension than non-smokers. The findings could negatively affect campaigns to legalise marijuana.

Taking vitamin B3 supplements when pregnant could reduce the risk of miscarriage and birth defects. Niacin corrected the effects of genetic deficiencies in adenine dinucleotide that promotes normal development of organs and energy generation by cells.

Exercising for just one minute a day could reduce your risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. 60 seconds of high intensity, weight bearing activity such as running or jogging has been shown to improve bone health in women.