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Coffee can reduce diabetes risk

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Bengaluru, Oct 20: The medicine that can delay your diabetes is right on your coffee table.

‘Cafestol’, a bioactive substance found in coffee, could help delay the onset of Type-2 diabetes, improve cell function and insulin sensitivity in laboratory mice, according to a study carried out by a team of scientists in Denmark.

This is yet another research finding that has driven coffee from its universal role as a breakfast beverage into the list of items that can be recommended for a healthy diet and lifestyle.

For instance, recently researchers at the University of Southern California in the US — in a study of more than 180,000 participants — found that drinking coffee could lead to a longer life.

Researchers have also earlier identified substances in coffee that could help reduce the risk of developing diabetes but ‘cafestol’ is one substance that has so far been untested.

In their study, the researchers wanted to see if ‘cafestol’ would help prevent or delay the onset of Type-2 diabetes in mice. The findings have been reported in the American Chemical Society Journal of Natural Products.

According to the authors, “the finding could spur the development of new drugs to treat or even prevent the disease”.

For their study, the scientists chose a model of mice — called KKAy mice — that are prone to develop diabetes. Forty-seven male mice were randomly divided into two groups — treatment and control groups.

While all the mice consumed normal diet, the mice in the treatment group were fed daily with ‘cafestol’ for 10 weeks. The animals in the control group were not given ‘cafestol’.

At the end, blood samples for fasting glucose, glucagon and insulin as well as liver, muscle and fat tissues for gene expression analysis were collected.

The researchers isolated islets of Langerhans — which produce insulin — and measured their insulin secretory capacity.

“After 10 weeks of intervention, fasting plasma glucose was 28-30% lower in ‘cafestol’ group compared with the control group,” the researchers report.

“Fasting glucagon was 20% lower and insulin sensitivity improved by 42% in the high-cafestol group. Cafestol increased insulin secretion from isolated islets by 75-87% compared to the control group.”

The researchers conclude their results show that cafestol possesses anti-diabetic properties in mice.

“Consequently, cafestol may contribute to the reduced risk of developing Type-2 diabetes in coffee consumers and is a good candidate for drug development to treat or prevent the disease in humans.”

IANS

Health

Ebola death toll rises to 200 in Congo

The DRC authorities declared the outbreak in North Kivu province on August 1. It was also reported in the northern province of Ituri.

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Ebola Infection

Kinshasa, Oct 21 : The death toll in the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has risen to 200, the Health Ministry has said.

According to statistics released by the Ministry on Saturday, of the 200 cases confirmed in Beni and surrounding areas, 117 have died of the virus while 61 others recovered after treatment, Xinhua news agency reported.

The DRC authorities declared the outbreak in North Kivu province on August 1. It was also reported in the northern province of Ituri.

The World Health Organization said the 10th Ebola outbreak in DRC does not currently constitute a public health emergency of international concern.

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Cycling, walking in nature may improve your mental health

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London, Oct 20: People who commute — walking or cycling — through natural environments are more likely to develop better mental health than those who commute less, according to a new study.

Natural environments included all public and private outdoor spaces that contain ‘green’ and/or ‘blue’ natural elements such as street trees, forests, city parks and natural parks/reserves and all types of water bodies.

“Mental health and physical inactivity are two of the main public health problems associated with the life in urban environments. Urban design could be a powerful tool to confront these challenges and create healthier cities. One way of doing so would be investing in natural commuting routes for cycling and walking,” said Mark Nieuwenhuijsen from the University of Barcelona.

For the study, published in the journal, Environment International, the research team examined nearly 3,600 participants who answered a questionnaire about their commuting habits and their mental health.

The findings showed that respondents commuting through natural environments on a daily basis had on average a 2.74 point higher mental health score compared to those who commuted through natural environments less frequently.

This association was even stronger among people who reported active commuting, the team said.

“From previous experimental studies we knew that physical activity in natural environments can reduce stress, improve mood and mental restoration when compared to the equivalent activity in urban environments,” said first author Wilma Zijlema from the varsity.

“Although this study is the first of its kind to our knowledge and, therefore, more research will be needed, our data show that commuting through these natural spaces alone may also have a positive effect on mental health.”

IANS

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Number of Zika virus cases reaches 100 in Jaipur

A total of 1,11,825 houses have been screened. Special precautions are being taken in the Zika-affected areas.

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Zika virus

Jaipur, Oct 18 : The number of people infected with the Zika virus has gone up to 100 in Jaipur, officials said on Thursday.

State Chief Secretary D.B. Gupta held a review meeting and directed the officials to carry out anti-larvae activities in educational institutions and administrative buildings in Jaipur.

Veenu Gupta, Chief Secretary (Medicine and Health) said, “Medical teams in Jaipur are carrying out screening and fogging activities. A total of 1,11,825 houses have been screened. Special precautions are being taken in the Zika-affected areas.”

She said that there was no shortage of medicines at health centres. She also directed district officials to monitor the regular availability of medicines and testing equipment in hospitals.

Gupta directed officials to take measures to prevent breeding of mosquitoes in the Rajasthan Police Academy, Police Line and the RAC Battalion.

She asked the Army officials to check the spread of mosquitoes and larvae in their area.

Gupta instructed officials to pay special attention to tourist places such as Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar and Albert Hall.

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