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High Vitamin D levels in childhood may reduce diabetes risk

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New York, Oct 24: Children who receive higher levels of Vitamin D during infancy and childhood may be significantly at a lower risk of developing islet autoimmunity as well as Type 1 diabetes, according to a study.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease that is increasing by 3-5 per cent annually worldwide and occurs when the body’s immune system destroys its own insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

Islet autoimmunity, detected by antibodies that appear when the immune system attacks the islet cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, is a precursor to Type 1 diabetes.

Vitamin D represents a candidate protective factor for Type 1 diabetes as it regulates the immune system and autoimmunity, the researchers said.

“For several years there has been controversy among scientists about whether Vitamin D lowers the risk of developing of islet autoimmunity and Type 1 diabetes,” said lead author Jill Norris from the Colorado University – Anschutz.

In the study, published in the journal Diabetes, the team searched for triggers and protective factors in 8,676 children with elevated Type 1 diabetes risk.

They identified islet autoimmunity in 376 children and compared them with 1,041 children who did not.

Among children who were at an increased genetic risk for Type 1 diabetes, those with lower Vitamin D levels in infancy and childhood went on to develop islet autoimmunity compared with those who did not develop autoimmunity.

The study showed that higher childhood vitamin D levels are significantly associated with a decreased risk of islet autoimmunity.

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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walk-walking

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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