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DNA likely to help predict how long a person will live: Study

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According to a study, analyzing the DNA may help predict whether a person will live longer or die sooner than average.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the UK analyzed the combined effect of genetic variations that influence lifespan to produce a scoring system.

People who score in the top 10 per cent of the population might expect to live up to five years longer than those who score in the lowest 10 per cent, they said.

The findings, published in the journal eLife, also revealed fresh insights into diseases and the biological mechanisms involved in aging.

“If we take 100 people at birth, or later, and use our lifespan score to divide them into ten groups, the top group will live five years longer than the bottom on average,” said Peter Joshi from the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute.

The researchers looked at genetic data from more than half a million people alongside records of their parents’ lifespan.

Some 12 areas of the human genome were pinpointed as having a significant impact on lifespan, including five sites that have not been reported before, according to the study.

The DNA sites with the greatest impact on overall lifespan were those that have previously been linked to fatal illnesses, including heart disease and smoking-related conditions, researchers said.

“We found that the genes that affect the brain and the heart are responsible for most of the variation in lifespan,” said Paul Timmers, a Ph.D. student at the Usher Institute.

However, genes that have been linked to other cancers, not directly associated with smoking, did not show up in this study, the researchers said.

This suggests that susceptibility to death caused by these cancers is either a result of rarer genetic differences in affected people or social and environmental factors, they said.

The researchers had hoped to discover genes that directly influence how quickly people age. They say that if such genes exist, their effects were too small to be detected in this study.

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Nisha Shiwani hails from the pink city of Jaipur and is a prolific writer. She loves to write on Real Estate/Property, Automobiles, Education, Finance and about the latest developments in the Technology space.



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SCORCHING SUMMER AND SWEET & SUCCULENT FRUITS

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Summer comes in many ways. But the most appalling summary of the season is the scorching weather as if God has made up his mind to give no respite to the dwellers on the earth. Amidst such tough times, something which provides a soothing and satiating smile is the varied and succulent fruits. Fruit fanatic always feels gung ho in summer to see such scrumptious and scrummy fruits.

To begin our discussion of an obsession for fruits we must first visit the king of fruit i.e.; mango. India is the largest producer and exporter of mango across the globe.The juicy stone fruit comes in numerous varieties such as  Alphonos, Badami, Chaunsa, Dasheri, Kesar, Langra, Lengara, Hemsagar, Amrapali, Baganpali, Totapuri etc. Mango of India is famous in the world for its sweetness, richness, and uniqueness. It had a very interesting story of origin in India. The saple of the tree was brought from Afghanistan by the Mughal emperor the great Akbar and planted in a place called Lakhi Bagh in Uttar Pradesh. From then it has heightened its stature to recent time across the length and breadth of the world. It has achieved the status of the national fruit of India and at the same time the national tree of Bangladesh. It is also proclaimed unofficial as the national fruit of the Philippines. Summer without mango is colourless, odourless and sweet less.

To be candid no fruit can come closer to its taste, flavor, and fragrance, but in terms of presence, color and rough pericardium texture luscious lychee always capture the Fruit-hunter imagination and expectation.

The fruit has a very short life in comparison to the fleshy mango. There are few varieties come to mind in case of lychee but the most popular of them in India is Bengal lychee. The small rounded fruit with sweet white scented flesh and a large central stone and a thin reddish-pinkish morph augur well for the fruit lovers. The tropical fruit is very famous among children for its unique taste and flavor.

Moving on with our elaboration, another most attractive summer fruit is juicy watermelon. Without the succulent watermelon, the perching season is drained and enervated. Because of its price and popularity, it is a welcomed seasonal fruit in every section of society. The oval and round textured fruit has excellent refreshing quality and sweetness to surmount summer heat and provide a guilt-free, low maintenance dessert. The tropical fruit delicacy and refreshing attributes keep everyone hydrated throughout the perching and dreadful climate.

After discussing all the refreshing and relishing fruits we must move to another stunning summer specialty, the jack fruit. The studded fruit has an excellent economic value from its raw state to the ripen one. As the festivals in Odisha like the Savitri and Raja Sankranti are around the corner, it makes the center stage throughout the rural and urban market. Mostly circular its shape can be irregularly found between the Sahyadri and Borneo. Otherwise known as breadfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and the state fruit in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The plant is well versed with tropical lowlands and its fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, reaching as much 55kg in weight,90 cm in length and 50cm in diameter. A mature tree can produce up to 100 to 200 fruits in a year.

Summer fruits number do not finish with the jackfruit as the endless number continue such as the Wax Apple, Juicy Plums, Papaya, Pear, Sapeta, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, etc. Irrespective of unbearable and exhausting heat and humidity the diversified fruit and its flavor and fragrance give immense reason to smile for fruitarianism.

 

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Looking at anything which reminds of coffee can stimulate brain: Study

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The study, published in the journal ‘Consciousness and Cognition’ looked at an effect calling priming through which exposure to even subtle cues can influence people’s thoughts and behaviour.

“Coffee is one of the most popular beverages and a lot is known about its physical effects. Much less is known about its psychological meaning — in other words, how even seeing reminders of it can influence how we think,” said study author Sam Maglio.

“People often encounter coffee-related cues, or think about coffee, without actually ingesting it. We wanted to see if there was an association between coffee and arousal such that if we simply exposed people to coffee-related cues, their physiological arousal would increase, as it would if they had actually drank coffee,” added Maglio.

Arousal in psychology refers to how specific areas of the brain get activated into a state of being alert, awake and attentive. It can be triggered by a number of things, including our emotions, neurotransmitters in the brain, or the caffeinated beverages we consume.

In this case, the researchers wanted to explore how simply being exposed to things that remind us of coffee may have an effect on arousal.

Across four separate studies and using a mix of participants from Western and Eastern cultures, they compared coffee- and tea-related cues. They found that participants exposed to coffee-related cues perceived time as shorter and thought in more concrete, precise terms.

“People who experience physiological arousal – again, in this case as the result of priming and not drinking coffee itself – see the world in more specific, detailed terms,” said Maglio.

“This has a number of implications for how people process information and make judgements and decisions,” Maglio added.

However, the effect was not as strong among participants who grew up in Eastern cultures. Maglio speculates that the association between coffee and arousal is not as strong in less coffee-dominated cultures.

Past research has looked at the effect of other primed associations, noted Maglio. One study specifically found that merely looking at the McDonald’s logo may lessen our ability to slow down and savour pleasurable experiences in life.

He says the research may be of interest in better understanding a range of consumer-related behaviours, and for marketers in considering retail store locations.

Next steps for the research will look at associations people have for different foods and beverages, researchers said. Just thinking about energy drinks or red wine, for example, could have very different effects on arousal

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Smoking in pregnancy raises infant’s obesity risk

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Children whose mothers smokedduring their pregnancy are at increased risk of being obese later in life, say researchers.

The findings, published in the journal Experimental Physiology, showed that chemerin, a protein that is produced by fat cells and appears to play a role in energy storage, was more prevalent in the skin and isolated cells of infants whose mothers smoked during pregnancy.

Previous research had shown that chemerin is present in higher levels in the blood of obese people.

The new results suggest that smoking in pregnancy could lead to changes in the regulation of the genes that play an important role in fat cell development and, by extension, obesity.

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Consumption of walnuts may help suppress growth and survival of breast cancer, study.

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Consumption of walnuts may help suppress growth and survival of breast cancer, a study claims.

The study, published in the journal Nutrition Research, found that consumption of two ounces of walnuts a day for about two weeks significantly changed gene expression in confirmed breast cancers.

“Consumption of walnuts has slowed breast cancer growth and reduced the risk of mammary cancer in mice,” said W Elaine Hardman, from Marshall University in the US.

“Building on this research, our team hypothesised that walnut consumption would alter gene expression in pathologically-confirmed breast cancers of women in a direction that would decrease breast cancer growth and survival,” Hardman said in a statement.

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Artificial Intelligence can Help Predict Premature Deaths: Study

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Researchers have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based system to predict the risk of early deaths due to chronic disease in middle-aged adults.

The study, published by PLOS ONE journal, found that the new AI Machine Learning models known as “random forest” and “deep learning” were very accurate in its predictions and performed better than the current standard approach to prediction developed by human experts.

Such new risk prediction models take into account demographic, biometric, clinical and lifestyle factors for each individual, and assess even their dietary consumption of fruit, vegetables and meat per day, said Stephen Weng, Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham in Britain.

The traditionally-used “Cox regression” prediction model, based on age and gender, was found to be the least accurate at predicting mortality and also a multivariate Cox model which worked better but tended to over-predict risk.

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24 March: World Tuberculosis Day

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The World Tuberculosis (TB) Day was observed across the globe on March 24, 2019 with a goal to raise public awareness about the upsetting health and economic consequences of tuberculosis and to step up efforts to remove the global TB epidemic.

On the Day, President Ram Nath Kovind urged all stakeholders to come together to achieve a TB free India. He appealed to the people dedicate themselves towards achieving the goal.

India renewed its commitments and intentions to end TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global targets.

According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), India achieved 84 percent decrease in tuberculosis deaths among people living with HIV by 2017.

It is the highest reported decline among over 20 nations and the achievement is also three years ahead of the 2020 target of reducing TB deaths among people living with HIV by 75 percent, as outlined in the 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS.

According to the World Health Organisation estimates, globally, TB deaths among people living with HIV fell by 42 percent since 2010.

Tuberculosis: A Global Epidemic

Despite important steps taken to end the epidemic, Tuberculosis remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer as around 4500 people die every day due to TB and around 30000 people fall ill with this curable disease.

Majorly, the disease thrives among people living in poverty, communities and groups that are marginalized such as migrants, refugees, ethnic minorities, the elderly, marginalised women and children.

In 2017, WHO recorded that 10.4 million people fell ill with TB and there were 1.8 million TB deaths in 2016.

The Global concentrated efforts undertaken to fight TB have been successful in saving around 54 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 42 percent.

In September 2018, the global leaders came together and made commitments to end TB at the first-ever UN High Level Meeting.

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India achieves 84 % reduction in TB deaths among HIV patients says UN

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India has achieved an 84 per cent reduction in tuberculosis deaths among people living with HIV by 2017.

According to the Joint United Nations Programme on the UNAIDS, it is the highest recorded decline among over 20 nations and it is also three years ahead of the 2020 deadline.

UNAIDS has urged countries to step up action to meet the 2020 target of reducing TB deaths among people living with HIV by 75 per cent, as outlined in the 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS.

World Health Organisation estimates show that globally, TB deaths among people living with HIV have fallen by 42 per cent since 2010.

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Research studies confirm Ayurvedic treatments help kidney ailments

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Two separate studies published in Internation journals by Indian researchers have confirmed benefits of using ‘Punarnava’, an Indian herb, for kidney ailments. The extract from the plant can help with both preventing and managing kidney disease, said researchers, and added that one can definitely help slow the disease’s progression and treats its symptoms and complications by using formulations containing ‘Punarnava’ and a careful diet.

According to a case study conducted in Banaras Hindu University (BHU) which has been published in the World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals Sciences, a woman kidney patient was given Punarnava based syrup for a month. It was found that the creatinine level and urea level in her blood had gone down significantly to a healthy level. Not only this, but her hemoglobin level had also improved. Hence, it was concluded that Punanrva based drugs not only make the kidney’s health but also improves the hemoglobin level.

Similarly, another study published in the Indo American Journal of Pharmaceutical Research too talked about the efficacy of Punarnava based herbal formulations including lotus leaves, patharchur, and other major herbs when given to the subjects. It was found that the drug had helped in maintaining a histological parameter of kidneys, apart from reducing high levels of uric acid and electrolytes, The study said that “the syrup (Neeri KFT) is a potent neuroprotective formulation, protecting kidneys from nephrotoxins including oxidative damage induced by lead acetate.”

“Herbal formulations in Neeri KFT can be an alternative to dialysis to some extent. In fact, because of limited options in allopathy for kidney treatment, which is witnessing increasing trend due to changing lifestyles, now the emphasis is on Ayurveda drugs,” said Professor KN Dwivedi, Head of Department, Department of Dravyaguna, BHU.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a global epidemic. Nearly 850 million people are known to suffer from kidney diseases from varied causes, worldwide. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) causes about 2.4 million deaths per year and is among the top five causes of deaths worldwide. India contributes to around 10% of the CKD burden of the world. The estimated prevalence of CKD is 1 in 10 (10%)  in India. The most common cause of Chronic Kidney disease in India is Diabetes mellitus, which contributes to around 55-60% of CKD.

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Sleep repairs damaged DNA: Indian neuroscientists support Israeli study

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Sharing views on the findings of the Israeli study that confirms that sleep helps in repairing the damaged DNA thus improving brain performance. The study published in the ‘Nature Communications’ journal by the researchers from the Bar-Ilan University in Israel reveals that DNA breaks/damages in the brain cells during the day time and this damage is reduced during the sleep. Agreeing with the study findings, Indian neuroscientist says that this explains the several brain disorders caused by sleep deprivation.

“We have already known that sleep loss can lead to irreversible brain damage. Any sleep disturbance for longer durations will affect brain performance and will even lead to aging. Sleep leads to detox of brain i.e., removal of the brain’s waste so that it gets ready for more information the next day as it helps with ‘memory consolidation’. The findings of this study align with the concept of brain’s waste disposal system and thus it is highly likely that the DNA gets repaired in sleep,” said Dr Vikas Pareek, Senior research scholar, National Brain Research Centre.

DNA damage can be caused by many processes including radiation, oxidative stress, and even neuronal activity. DNA repair systems within each cell correct this damage. The study findings show that during wakefulness, DNA damage consistently accumulates and can reach unsafe levels. The role of sleep is to normalize the levels of DNA damage in every single neuron (brain cell).

Using 3D time-lapse imaging techniques in live zebrafish, the researchers were able to define sleep and show that single neurons require sleep in order to perform nuclear maintenance.

“Human brain can store only limited information before it requires rest. Without this sleep, there is a huge risk of losing memories as the brain does not get enough repair or rest time to take in more information. This study clears the foggy reasons on why the brain does not work properly in lack of sleep,” said Dr Ashutosh Kumar, Clinical Researcher, All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

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Diabetic people likely to have heart disease at early age: Doctor

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Mahipal (name changed), a 40-year-old was having a mild irritation and burning in his stomach. At the hospital, doctors told him that he had suffered a major heart attack. Angiography revealed that three of his arteries had major blockage for which he had to undergo bypass surgery. His family members could not understand why Mahipal had suffered a heart attack at a young age. Although they were aware that he had diabetes but were clueless about the correlation between heart disease and diabetes.

As per doctors, diabetes is not just about high blood sugar levels. “People with diabetes tend to develop heart disease at a younger age than people without diabetes. In adults, with diabetes, the most common causes of death are heart disease and stroke. Adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as people without diabetes,” Dr Amit Gupta, a senior interventional cardiologist at Shalby Hospital said. “

Around 25 percent people with diabetes have Diabetic Heart Disease (DHD). It may include diabetic cardiomyopathy, coronary heart disease (CHD) or heart failure. Diabetic cardiomyopathy is a disease that damages the structure and function of the heart. This disease can lead to heart failure and arrhythmias, even in people who have diabetes but don’t have CHD,” added Dr Gupta.

India is the diabetic capital of the world and diabetes is the fastest growing disease as 7.2 crore cases recorded in 2017 and the figure is expected to nearly double by 2025. As per doctors, people who have type-1 or type-2 diabetes can develop DHD. The risk increases with the higher blood sugar level. “Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s blood glucose (sugar) level is too high. Over time, high blood glucose from diabetes can damage blood vessels and the nerves that control heart and blood vessels,” said Dr Gupta.

Lifestyle changes and medicines can prevent the risk. Physical activity helps to control blood sugar level and reduce stress. Diabetics need to follow a healthy diet, rich in vegetables, whole grains, fruits and fat-free milk products. Consumption of simple carbohydrates and trans-fat foods should be avoided.

Physical Activity

Physical activity helps to control blood sugar level and reduce stress. Diabetics need to follow a healthy diet, rich in vegetables, whole grains, fruits and fat-free milk products. Consumption of simple carbohydrates and trans-fat foods should be avoided.

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