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Mutation increases heart disease risk

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world. Around 60 million people worldwide carry a heart disease mutation that, according to a study, is most common among people in India. In fact, by 2010, researchers have estimated that India alone will have 60 percent of the world’s heart disease cases.

The mutation is a deletion of 25 bases of the genetic code from MYBPC3, the heart protein gene that was found in two Indian families five years ago. The mutation results in an enlargement or thickening of the heart muscle that weakens it by reducing its ability to pump blood. The symptoms usually become more prominent in the middle age and can cause sudden cardiac death.

Genetic screening can help identify the mutation gene at a younger age so that it can be possible to develop drugs to correct the mutation.

Source: HealthDay News

Mono still prevalent among students

Although Mononucleosis, or the “kissing disease,” has been common for a long time, a definite cure or vaccine for the disease still does not exist. Mono is spread by close contact and has symptoms such as fever and severe fatigue.

Since mono is such a common disease, experts feel that it has not received the importance it deserves.

There is still no vaccine or drug that can combat the Epstein-Barr virus, the herpes virus that causes mono. Doctors have prescribed steroids to patients with mono. The body can never actually get rid of the Epstein-Barr virus, which makes it difficult to find a drug that goes into the cells to treat the virus. Hank Balfour, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, is optimistic about a new antiviral drug called “valomaciclovir” that may help patients recover faster.

Source: The New York Times

Family abuses dementia patients

There are about 24 million people worldwide who have symptoms like memory loss and problems with orientation that lead to several forms of dementia. Researchers have concluded that people caring for family members with dementia often abuse them by shouting and swearing.

The study, reported in the British Medical Journal, found that a third of the people abusing their family member said that their abuse was significant, in some cases even physical. This abuse is causing some patients with dementia to forget their loved ones.

Source: Reuters

Clean air increases life expectancy

Cleaner air has caused a five-month boost in the average life expectancy in the United States. The study, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, was conducted by researchers from Brigham Young University and the Harvard School of Public Health.
The researchers say that this is the first study that has shown this increase of a few months in average life expectancy. Since 1978, the average life span has increased almost three years and at least five months can be attributed to cleaner air.

Source: Associated Press