World of Medicine
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.