World of Medicine

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Health -

BREAK­THROUGH IN BOWEL CAN­CER PRE­VEN­TION

A promis­ing dis­cov­ery has given hope to the fu­ture treat­ment of bowel can­cer. Sci­en­tists at the Christchurch of Otago Univer­sity in New Zealand have de­tected a bug, Bac­teroides frag­ilis, a toxic form of bac­te­ria. Dur­ing re­search, this was found to be in the gut of roughly 80 per cent of those with a pre-can­cer­ous le­sion, con­sid­ered to be a pre­cur­sor to bowel can­cer. Although this is a com­mon bug found in our guts, in some peo­ple it pro­duces a toxin that dis­turbs the cells lin­ing the gut which can be­gin the process of can­cer devel­op­ing. The goal is to iden­tify those most at risk be­fore bowel can­cer takes hold and cre­ate an early de­tec­tion test or life­sav­ing vac­cine.

OR­ANGES WARD OFF MAC­U­LAR DE­GEN­ER­A­TION

Reg­u­larly eating or­anges may help pre­vent mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion, a ma­jor cause of age-re­lated vi­sion loss. An ob­ser­va­tional study of more than 2000 se­niors, con­ducted by the West­mead In­sti­tute for Med­i­cal Re­search in Aus­tralia, cal­cu­lated a 60 per cent re­duced risk in sub­jects who ate at least one orange per day. In ad­di­tion to the vi­ta­min C present, flavonoids might also ex­plain the ef­fect, since these com­pounds pre­vent ox­ida­tive stress and re­duce in­flam­ma­tion in the body.

MI­GRAINE PRE­VEN­TION TREAT­MENT

The first med­i­ca­tion de­vel­oped specif­i­cally to pre­vent migraines has been ap­proved in Europe. Erenumab is the first in a class of drugs that will tackle the prob­lem by block­ing a par­tic­u­lar re­cep­tor that trans­mits mi­graine pain. Taken as a monthly home in­jec­tion, it has been shown to re­duce the fre­quency of migraines by more than 50 per cent for over half of pa­tients stud­ied, and even elim­i­nate them for some. Lit­tle is yet known about longterm ef­fects.

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