Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - This Week -

STEM SUB­JECTS: A study has found that giv­ing an in­fu­sion of stem cells taken from the um­bil­i­cal cords of ba­bies in­tra­venously led to sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in the heart’s abil­ity to pump blood. Stem cells can de­velop into any kind of cell; they can be found in de­vel­op­ing em­bryos, the um­bil­i­cal cord of a new­born baby and in bone mar­row. Pa­tients who re­ceived stem cells also reported a bet­ter qual­ity of life and suf­fered no side-ef­fects. The study was pub­lished in Cir­cu­la­tion Re­search, a jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion. FLU BLUES: Be­ing in a good mood when you get your flu jab could boost its ef­fec­tive­ness, ac­cord­ing to a study. A team from Not­ting­ham Univer­sity who stud­ied a group of older peo­ple found a link be­tween hav­ing a pos­i­tive mood, how well the jab seemed to work and higher lev­els of an­ti­body. Es­ti­mates sug­gest that flu vac­cines may only be ef­fec­tive in 17-53% of older adults com­pared to 70-90% of younger peo­ple. Pro­fes­sor Kavita Ved­hara, of the univer­sity’s pri­mary care divi­sion, said: “Peo­ple with less ef­fec­tive im­mune sys­tems, such as the el­derly, may find vac­cines don’t work as well for them as they do in the young. “We know that psy­cho­log­i­cal and be­havioural fac­tors such as stress, phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and diet in­flu­ence how well the im­mune sys­tem works and these fac­tors also in­flu­ence how well vac­cines pro­tect against dis­ease.” OFF­SPRING OBE­SITY: Chil­dren whose mothers smoked dur­ing preg­nancy are more likely to be over­weight. A study by Aberdeen Univer­sity com­pared the Body Mass Index (BMI) of sib­lings at five-years-old whose mothers smoked in-be­tween preg­nan­cies. It found those ex­posed to smoke in the womb had a higher BMI than the older sib­ling who had not. Dr Steve Turner, who led the re­search, said: “The re­la­tion­ship be­tween ma­ter­nal smok­ing and off­spring obe­sity is com­plex and is partly ex­plained by other fac­tors but this study pro­vides good ev­i­dence that strength­ens the as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween the two.”

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