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First swine flu case confirmed in Philippines

In Vietnam, more than 2.6 million pigs have been culled in an attempt to control the spread of the disease.

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Manila, Sep 9 (IANS) The Philippines government on Monday confirmed the first case of swine flu recorded in the country, the latest to be affected by a virus that poses a grave threat to the Southeast Asian region’s food security.

Hundreds of pigs from various backyard farms died in at least two provinces due to the disease, which does not affect humans but will, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), potentially endanger the livelihoods of millions of people.

Agriculture Minister William Dar told the media on Monday that 14 of the 20 blood samples from the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan, located near the capital, Manila, had tested positive, Efe news reported.

Dar said that President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the creation of a special team to fight the potential outbreak of the virus, which has until now affected some 7,400 pigs.

Since the detection of one of the first cases in August 2018 in China, the epidemic has spread across the Asian giant and has also affected Mongolia, Cambodia and Laos.

In Vietnam, more than 2.6 million pigs have been culled in an attempt to control the spread of the disease.

The virus causes a highly contagious disease that affects pigs living in farms and no vaccine exists to counter it, which is why mass slaughter remains the only option to contain its spread.

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Health

Time-restricted eating benefits those at risk for diabetes

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New York: Researchers have found that people who are at high risk of developing diabetes improved their health when they consumed all of their meals over a span of just 10 hours, or less over a period of 12 weeks.

The study published in the journal cell Metabolism, reported a form of intermittent fasting, called time-restricted eating, improved the health of study participants who had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, that increase the risk for adverse health issues, from heart disease and diabetes to stroke.

The researchers from University of California in US, found that when participants restricted their eating to 10 hours or less over a period of 12 weeks, they lost weight, reduced abdominal fat, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol and enjoyed more stable blood sugar and insulin levels.

“Time-restricted eating is a simple dietary intervention to incorporate, and we found that participants were able to keep the eating schedule,” said study co-author Satchin Panda from the University of California in US.

“Eating and drinking everything (except water) during a 10-hour window allows your body to rest and restore for 14 hours at night. Your body can also anticipate when you will eat, so it can prepare the body to optimize metabolism,” Panda added.

Time-restricted eating (eating all calories within a consistent 10-hour window) allows individuals to eat in a manner that supports their circadian rhythms and their health.

Circadian rhythms are the 24-hour cycles of biological processes that affect nearly every cell in the body.

Erratic eating patterns can disrupt this system and induce symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including increased abdominal fat and abnormal cholesterol or triglycerides.

The study involved 19 participants diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, with 16 taking at least one medication, like a statin.

Participants used an app created by Panda called myCircadianClock to log when and what they ate during an initial two-week baseline period followed by three months of 10-hour time-restricted eating per day.

They were told they could decide what time to eat and how much to eat as long as all food consumption occurred within a 10-hour window.

At the end of the 12 weeks, participants averaged a three per cent reduction in weight and body mass index (BMI) and a four per cent reduction in abdominal/visceral fat.

Many also experienced reductions in cholesterol and blood pressure and improvements in fasting glucose. Seventy percent of participants reported an increase in sleep satisfaction or in the amount they slept.

“Patients also reported that they generally had more energy, and some were able to have their medications lowered or stopped after completing the study,” said study researcher Pam Taub from University of California.


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Social media use linked to eating disorder in children

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Sydney, Dec 4 : Parents, take a note. Researchers have found that excessive use of social media, particularly platforms with a strong focus on image posting and viewing such as Snapchat and Instagram, is associated with eating disorder in young adolescents.

For the study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, researchers examined data on 996 grade 7 and 8 adolescents.

“While a range of studies have focused on the impact of social media on body image, this is the first to examine the relationship between specific social media platforms and disordered eating behaviours and thoughts,” said study lead author Simon Wilksch from Flinders University in Australia.

Also, most other studies had focused on older adolescents or young-adult women, he said.

The study on associations between disordered eating and social media use among young adolescent girls and boys suggested that much more needed to be done to increase resilience in young people to become less adversely impacted by social media pressures, Wilksch added.

During the study, the research team found behaviours related to disordered eating were reported by 51.7 per cent of girls and 45 per cent of boys, with strict exercise and meal skipping being the most common.

Of these, 75.4 per cent girls and 69.9 per cent boys had at least one social media account, and Instagram was the most common.

According to the study, greater number of social media accounts and greater time spent on them were associated with a higher likelihood of disordered eating, thoughts and behaviours.

The researchers are launching an Australia-wide trial of the Media Smart Online programme designed to combat such pressures

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Protein promotes cancer,suppresses anti-tumour immunity

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New York, Researchers have found that a protein involved in immune response to microbes also can fuel cancer development and suppress the response to the disease.

Working in mouse models of lung cancer, the research team found TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) and its adaptor proteiTBK-binding protein 1 (TBKBP1) contribute to tumorigenesis when they are activated by growth factors rather than by innate immune mechanisms.

“Our work also provides the first evidence that TBK1 functions in cancer cells to mediate immunosuppression, suggesting that targeting TBK1 will both inhibit tumour growth and promote antitumor immunity,” said study senior author Shao-Cong Sun from University of Texas in the US.

Recent research indicated that TBK1, which normally mediates induction of type 1 interferon in response to viruses or bacteria, also promotes the survival and reproduction of KRAS-dependent cancer cells.

For the findings published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, the research team set out to identify TBK1’s impact on cancer cells and its role in cancer development in vivo.

In a series of experiments, the researchers showed that TBK1 and TBKBP1 form a growth factor signaling axis that activates mTORC1 to promote tumour development.

The pathway consists of TBKBP1 recruiting TBK1 to protein kinase C-theta (PKC), through a scaffold protein called CARD10, enabling PKC to activate TBK1.

To test the protein’s therapeutic potential, the research team treated mice with KRAS-driven lung cancer with amlexanox, a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a paste to treat certain oral ulcers.

The drug was recently identified as a TBK1 inhibitor. Mice injected with amlexanox had a steep reduction in the number and size of lung tumors.

KRAS-driven cancer is resistant to immune response, but the researchers found amlexanox sensitised tumours to blockade of the CTLA-4 checkpoint on immune T cells.

Knocking down TBK1 in the KRAS-driven mouse model increased the frequency of effector CD4 helper T cells and CD8 cell-killing T cells in the lungs of the mice.

A similar experiment in another mouse model also reduced the frequency of immune-suppressing myeloid-derived suppressor cells.

Additional experiments implicated TBK1 in promotion of glycolysis – a sugar-burning metabolic process that also suppresses the immune system – and the increased presence of PD-L1, a protein on tumour cells that turns off attacking T cells by connecting with the PD-1 protein on their cell surface.

Treatment with amlexanox and anti-CTLA-4 immunotherapy stimulated immune response and reduced tumour size and frequency in the mouse models.

“We’re continuing to examine the signaling function of TBK1 in different types of immune cells using animal models and to assess the therapeutic potential of TBK1 using preclinical cancer models,” Sun said.

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