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Eating food cooked on wood, coal may impair your lungs

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New York, Sep 21: Love to eat food cooked on the barbecue? Beware, it is associated with increased risk of respiratory illness or death, researchers warned.

Compared to those who used electricity or gas, chronic and acute respiratory disease hospitalisations or deaths were 36 per cent higher among those who used wood or coal for cooking, researchers, from the University of Oxford, have found.

People who switched from solid fuels to clean-burning fuels reduced their risk to only 14 per cent higher than those who never cooked with wood or coal.

It is because solid fuels emit very high levels of pollutants especially very small particles, which penetrate deep into lungs, the researchers explained.

“The increased risk of major respiratory diseases posed by burning wood or coal can be significantly lowered by switching to a clean-burning fuel”, said Zhengming Chen, professor at the varsity’s Nuffield Department of Population Health.

“Our findings make a compelling case to speed up the global implementation of universal access to affordable clean energy, one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” Chen said.

Nearly three billion people around the world live in households that regularly burn wood, coal or other solid fuels to cook their food.

Typically, these households are found in the rural areas of low- and middle-income countries.

For the study, published in the journal American Thoracic Society, the team analysed the health records of 280,000 adults, aged 30 to 79 from 10 areas of China.

They were followed for nine years and 19,823 were either hospitalised or died following major respiratory diseases.

Of these events, 10,553 were due to asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and 7,324 were due to acute lower respiratory infections, most often pneumonia.

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Father’s exercise can boost kids’ health in adulthood

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New York, Oct 23: For men planning to start a family, hitting the gym can help their children with a healthy metabolism.

While the diet and exercise habits of a pregnant woman can have an impact on the health of her baby, a new study on mice suggests that lifestyle practices of fathers prior to conception too can affect children’s health in adulthood.

The findings explored that paternal exercise had a significant impact on the metabolic health of offspring well into their adulthood.

Offsprings from mice who exercised showed improved glucose metabolism, decreased body weight and a decreased fat mass in adulthood.

On the other hand, the sedentary male mice that fed on a high-fat diet passed along the traits of poor metabolic health and higher glucose intolerance.

However, exercise was found to mitigate the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, the researchers said.

“This work is an important step in learning about metabolic disease and prevention at the cellular level,” said K. Craig Kent, from Ohio State University in the US.

“Offspring from the dads fed a high-fat diet fared worse, so they were more glucose intolerant. But exercise negated that effect. When the dad exercised, even on a high-fat diet, we saw improved metabolic health in their adult offspring,” added Kristin Stanford, a researcher from the varsity.

Importantly, exercise was found to change the genetic expression of the father’s sperm that suppresses poor dietary effects and transfer to the offspring, the researchers noted in the paper published in the journal Diabetes.

Development of Type-2 diabetes and impaired metabolic health have been linked to parents’ poor diet, and there is increasing evidence that fathers play an important role in obesity and metabolic programming of their offspring.

“We’re now determining if both parents exercising has even greater effects to improve metabolism and overall health of offspring. If translated to humans, this would be hugely important for the health of the next generation,” said Laurie Goodyear, postdoctoral student from the Joslin Diabetes Centre in the US.

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Eating spinach, beetroot could help prevent vision loss

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Sydney, Oct 22: Eating vegetable nitrates, found mainly in green leafy vegetables and beetroot, could prevent macular degeneration, a common cause of vision loss in people over age 50, new research has found.

People who ate between 100 to 142 mgs (milligrams) of vegetable nitrates each day had a 35 per cent lower risk of developing early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) than people who ate less than 69 mgs of vegetable nitrates each day, showed the findings published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Spinach has approximately 20mg of nitrate per 100g, while beetroot has nearly 15mg of nitrate per 100g.

“This is the first time the effects of dietary nitrates on macular degeneration risk has been measured,” said lead researcher Bamini Gopinath from Westmead Institute for Medical Research in Australia.

For the study, the researchers interviewed more than 2,000 Australian adults aged over 49 and followed them over a 15-year period.

“If our findings are confirmed, incorporating a range of foods rich in dietary nitrates — like green leafy vegetables and beetroot — could be a simple strategy to reduce the risk of early macular degeneration,” Gopinath said.

The research did not show any additional benefits for people who exceeded 142mgs of dietary nitrate each day.

Age is the strongest known risk factor for AMD and the disease is more likely to occur after the age of 50.

There is currently no cure for the disease.

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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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