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HEALTH

Lassa fever kills 3 in Ekiti

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Three persons have been confirmed dead in a fresh case of Lassa fever in Ekiti.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Rotimi Ojo, made the disclosure in a statement to NAN, in Ado Ekiti.

He said that five out of the eight new suspected cases in the state tested negative, while one was uncertain, with the last pending as at press time.

Ojo added that the patient that tested positive and two others had passed on.

The commissioner insisted that there was still no cause for alarm in the state as government was taking proactive steps in its surveillance activities.

He gave an assurance that the State Disease Control team had been activated while the process of sensitising the people with jingles and other communication media were ongoing.

Ojo said that similar actions taken during the 2016 outbreak were successful, adding that the epidemic was controlled and the identified patient, who was properly managed, survived.

He said that the three isolation centres located at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, Oba Adejuyigbe General Hospital, Ado Ekiti and Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, were still operational.

The commissioner urged all stakeholders, including health practitioners, teachers, traditional rulers, religious leaders as well as community and opinion leaders, to collaborate with the state government to prevent the spread of the disease.

Ojo also advised residents of the state to avoid self medication and keeping sick people at home, adding that any unusual increase in temperature or fever must be promptly reported to the nearest health facility.

He further urged residents to embrace environmental sanitation practices and general cleanliness

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HEALTH

Vitamin E, selenium supplements DO NOT prevent dementia, study warns

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Some antioxidant supplements do not prevent dementia among older men, a new study has said.

The research, led by the University of Kentucky in Lexington, found that vitamin E and selenium, taken alone or jointly, did not prevent dementia symptoms in several men aged 60 and older.

Although previous dementia research suggested that antioxidants could help in preventing the condition, the new findings say otherwise.

The study involved 7,540 older men who were divided into 4 groups.

Men in one group were given 400 IU of vitamin E each day, another group got 200 μg of selenium while the third group received both supplements at these dosages. The fourth was the placebo group (the “control” group).

After taking the supplements for an average of five years, 325 of 7,338 men evaluated developed dementia.

3,786 of the candidates agreed to continue the trial for a further six years.

According to the researchers, there was no difference in dementia rates between all four groups.

“The supplemental use of vitamin E and selenium did not forestall dementia and [they] are not recommended as preventive agents,” the researchers said.

Clare Walton, research manager at the Alzheimer’s Society said, “Although studies in the lab suggest that antioxidants could protect brain cells from damage in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, there is a lack of evidence from studies in people to support this theory.

“This large study found no evidence that vitamin E or Selenium supplements can play a significant role in reducing the risk of dementia. Given the fact that the trial only looked at men and was terminated early, we cannot completely rule them out. But it is looking increasingly unlikely that these antioxidants will play a big role in our armoury against dementia.”

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HEALTH

Did you know sniffing farts can prevent cancer, heart attack and dementia?

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The smell of flatulence has secret health benefits – and could help stave off cancer, strokes, heart attacks and dementia, scientists have revealed.

According to a study published in the journal Medicinal Chemistry Communications, passing gas may help you live longer and in a suprise twist, smelling the gas might prevent dementia.

It is toxic in large doses but in tiny amounts it helps protect cells and fight illness, according to researchers at Exeter University.

Hydrogen sulfide is among the potent smelly gases produced by bacteria as it breaks down food in the gut.

Researchers found that when you pass wind, you are indirectly lowering your risk of cancer, heart attacks and strokes while the inhalation of the fart actually causes your brain to grow stronger and protects it from dementia.

When cells become stressed by disease, they try to draw in enzymes to generate their own minute quantities of hydrogen sulfide.

The chemical helps to preserve mitochondria, which drives energy production in blood vessel cells and regulate inflammation, and without it, the cell can switch off and die.

Researchers have come up with a new compound named AP39 to assist the body in producing just the right amount of hydrogen sulfide it requires.

They believe it will help prevent or reverse mitochondrial damage, a key strategy in treating conditions such as stroke, heart failure, diabetes, arthritis, dementia and ageing.

Professor Matt Whiteman from University of Exeter’s medical school said: “When cells become stressed by disease, they draw in enzymes to generate minute quantities of hydrogen sulfide.

“This keeps the mitochondria ticking over and allows cells to live. If this doesn’t happen, the cells die and lose the ability to regulate survival and control inflammation.

“We have exploited this natural process by making a compound, called AP39, which slowly delivers very small amounts of this gas specifically to the mitochondria.

“Our results indicate that if stressed cells are treated with AP39, mitochondria are protected and cells stay alive.”

Before it can be tested on humans, researchers have run disease models to see how effective AP39 is.

Early results show that it can help up to 80 percent more mitochondria survive highly destructive conditions such as cardiovascular disease.

Fellow researcher, Mark Wood added that “although hydrogen sulfide is well known as a pungent, foul-smelling gas in rotten eggs and flatulence, it is naturally produced in the body and could in fact be a healthcare hero with significant implications for future therapies for a variety of diseases.

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ALERT: Breast cancer symptoms manifest ‘not only through presence of a lump’

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Symptoms of breast cancer can come in other forms apart from the presence of a lump, experts say.

Experts say one in six women have symptoms not related to a swelling.

The symptoms of 2,300 women who were recently diagnosed with breast cancer were examined by researchers from the University College, London.

Women with non-lump symptoms were reported to have been less likely to visit their doctor.

“This research shows that, all too often, women are delaying going to their doctor with symptoms of breast cancer,” said Karen Kennedy, a director of the National Cancer Research Institute.

“This could be because people are simply unaware that breast cancer can present in many different ways, not just through the presence of a lump.

“With a disease like breast cancer, it’s essential to be diagnosed as early as possible so that a treatment plan can be developed and started,” she added.

The researchers will present their work at the ongoing National Cancer Research Institute conference in Liverpool.

The other signs women need to take cognizance of include; swellings in the armpit, an infection of the breast tissue, nipple changes (rashes, bleeding or discharge) and sores on the skin of the breasts.

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