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Having oral sex with more than five partners is risky for men

(Mirror Daily, United States) – The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a lot more dangerous than many people think, so we should always take all the measures of precaution against it. Oral sex is one of the main activities which put us at risk of getting HPV, and it seems the risk is higher for men. If they have more partners with whom they practice oral sex, their chances of developing neck and head cancer significantly increase.

HPV can easily be transmitted through oral sex, but a recent research suggests men are much more at risk than women. Therefore, having more than five partners can significantly increase the risk of oropharyngeal cancer. The risk gets higher if these men are also smokers. As a comparison, the chances of developing cancer associated with HPV are smaller for non-smokers, women, or for those who had performed oral sex on less than five partners.

There are many types of HPV existent, but only three of them put people at risk of cancer, namely cervical or oropharyngeal cancer. At the moment, cervical cancer is a lot more widespread, but doctors think the disease of the head and neck will take over by 2020.

Oral sex is one of the main risk factors for neck cancer

Therefore, they are trying to make people aware of the factors which increase their risk. This way, they can be aware of who needs screening, and increase the chances of discovering any cancer cases while still in the early stages. By doing this, the chances of survival get higher.

For this study, published in the journal Annals of Oncology, researchers analyzed a number of 13,089 people with ages between 20 and 69. They looked at their chances of developing oropharyngeal cancer, and analyzed their behaviors which might have influenced this risk.

This is how they found out the risk among women remained more or less the same, no matter how many oral sex partners they had. In men, the risk was also low if they had less than five partners. Then, the risk gradually increased as the number of partners increased, as well as if they smoked.
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Not all blood transfusions might be safe

(Mirror Daily, United States) – A recent research revealed some distressing information regarding blood transfusions. It turns out men are at a higher risk of death after a transfusion if the donor was a woman who had been pregnant. Researchers cannot tell which is the cause of this association, but 10 years worth of data showed a higher mortality among these men.

Pregnant women might not be the best blood donors for men

The results of the study showed how male receivers younger than 50 were 1.5 more likely to die after blood transfusions coming from women who had been pregnant at least once in their lifetime. This is about six times the regular mortality in these cases.

The study used a sample of 31,118 patients, with almost 4,000 of them dying after the transfusions. As the most common cause of death, there was severe lung injury, which can rarely occur after a patient receives blood. Also, the statistics showed a higher chance of death among men who received transfusions from a woman who had been pregnant.

The study needs more research before the imposing of a restriction on transfusions

Although the cause of this phenomenon isn’t clear, researchers think it has to do with the changes suffered by the immune system during pregnancy. However, the risk could also be related to different in iron concentrations in the organism between a man and a pregnant woman, or to a vital difference between the two patients’ red blood cells.

However, the study was observational. The next step would be to identify the cause of this risk, the mechanism behind it, and to determine if the results are significant from a clinical point of view. In other words, before banning blood transfusions from mothers to men, it’s necessary to see if they pose a real risk. Until then, all people are encouraged to donate blood, regardless of sex or pregnancy status.
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There is a strong link between sugar and the development of cancerous tumors

(Mirror Daily, United States) – A breakthrough nine-year study has found a dangerous connection between sugar and the development of cancer cells. Researchers discovered how these cells were more active when it came to the synthesis of sugar, and were able to link excessive consumption of the substance to a more rapid and aggressive growth of tumors.

Is sugar related to cancer development?

Some time ago, researchers noticed a correlation between sugar and cancer cell growth. They called it the Warburg effect, and it consisted of cancerous cells quickly synthesizing sugars. However, they couldn’t tell if this happened as an effect of the disease, or if sugar influenced the malignant cells. After nine years of intense study, they managed to find out glucose stimulated the growth of tumors.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, compared the activity of both cancer cells and healthy cells when it came to turning the substance into lactate. This is how they found out the direct link between excessive sugar consumption and a hyperactivity of the cancer cells.

An yeast model offered valuable insight in the evolution of cancer

To reach these conclusions, researchers made great use of yeast cells. These cells contain a type of protein called Ras, which is also found very often in tumors. In fact, this protein is responsible with triggering mutations which later on turn into cancer. Therefore, researchers performed the tests on yeast cells, and analyzed the effect sugar had on the development of Ras proteins.

Researchers were surprised to observe how this mechanism remained mostly intact throughout the entire evolution process from yeast to a more complex life form. The findings are important, as they can offer new perspectives on cancer and its rapid evolution. Moreover, they might also help doctors find better diets for patients, and explore new ways to combat the quick development of the illness.
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The psilocybin in magic mushrooms might relieve symptoms of depression

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Although magic mushrooms are now illegal, people have been using the hallucinogen component in it for many years. This component, called psilocybin, might have some benefits for a certain group of people. Researchers from Imperial College, London, developed a controlled study, and discovered this psychoactive component could ease the symptoms of depression.

Magic mushrooms might ‘kick’ people out of depression

Humans have been using magic mushrooms for thousands of years, and some of their positive effects are quite popular. Therefore, researchers have decided to see if these hallucinogens are really that good, so they started analyzing the effect of psilocybin on the brain.

After performing several brain scans on the participants, they observed how this component instantly had the effect of an antidepressant. However, the study, published in the journal Science Advances, has its limitations. The number of participants was quite small, and it lacked a control group, which should have received a placebo.

Researchers gathered 19 people with depression and gave them two doses of magic mushrooms in a highly controlled environment. Then, they performed fMRI brain scans on them both before and after taking their doses. The symptoms of depression were carefully assessed through questionnaires.

Researchers need more results before reaching a conclusion

Researchers were aware that people who took magic mushrooms experienced feelings of relief right after the dose. Now, they were able to prove these feelings did actually occur, as the depressive symptoms got reduced. The fMRI scans showed how psilocybin affected the area of the brain which controls emotional responses.

All patients reported feeling relieved and ‘rebooted’ after taking magic mushrooms. Therefore, psilocybin could give them that short boost which was enough to help them overcome the symptoms of crippling depression. However, researchers insisted on warning people about the results.

The study is only at the beginning, and more results are needed before establishing the effect of magic mushrooms on a wider sample of people. Therefore, depression patients should not attempt taking the drugs in a non-controlled environment, as the hallucinogens might have unwanted effects.
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Epidural anesthesia doesn’t influence the labor or delivery

(Mirror Daily, United States) – It happens quite often that gynecologists refuse to administer epidural anesthesia to women as their delivery gets close to its end. Usually, they avoid doing this as they think labor will last longer. However, a recent study delved deeper into this problem, and revealed this type of anesthesia doesn’t actually have this effect.

The Chinese researchers started a randomized trial to test the effects of epidural anesthesia during labor. Therefore, they took 400 women in the middle of their delivery, and administered them either the classical anesthetic or a control solution of saline. The patients weren’t aware if they received the anesthetic or not, and neither did the gynecologists who supervised the delivery.

Then, researchers measured the timespan between the moment when the cervix fully dilated and the moment of birth. It took 51 minutes to give birth for the women who had received the control solution, while the other group recorded 52 minutes. Therefore, the difference between the two groups is insignificant.

Epidural anesthesia didn’t affect the delivery in any way

Also, any other differences were again insignificant. The researchers had administered either the control substance or the anesthetic to the same number of women who underwent a C-section, an episiotomy, or a forceps delivery. Also, the number of doctors who decided to stop administering the substance was similar, namely 17 in the control group and 21 in the anesthetic group. They all took this decision to speed up labor.

However, there was one difference between the group, which seems quite understandable. Those who underwent epidural anesthesia dealt better with their pain. Since there was no actual anesthetic in the control substance, the other group had it a little tougher.

Therefore, epidural anesthesia doesn’t affect a delivery in any way. It doesn’t slow down the labor, and no woman should worry such an anesthesia would prevent her from delivering her baby vaginally. The only effect the anesthetic has is to ease the pain and make it more manageable.

This study has been published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal.
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Medical marijuana use reduces the intake of prescription medicine

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Medical marijuana use is legal in Illinois, and health experts soon noticed a significant improvement in their patients. A recent report documenting medical cannabis consumption and its effects revealed a decrease in the use of other medicine and drugs, such as opioids. This is great news, and might indicate a possible solution to the opioid crisis.

Medical marijuana use as a solution to the opioid epidemic

The report was developed by scientists from Rush University and DePaul University, and looked at the prescription drug use among the 34 patients who received medical cannabis in the special Illinois program. These people admitted that they resorted to medical marijuana use as a substitution for other drugs, especially opioids, together with painkillers or anti-inflammatory medicine.

All the 34 participants had an average age of 45. They declared they preferred medical marijuana use to classic prescription drugs since it acted much faster, and was more effective against the symptoms. Also, medical cannabis led to less negative side effects.

The rates of prescription drug use declines in states where medical cannabis is legal

This is not the first study which analyzes the beneficial effects of medical cannabis. These previous reports showed how it was better in dealing with the symptoms, had few to no side effects, and helped patients avoid the addiction problem. Also, medical marijuana might work as a complementary treatment to improve the effect of prescription medication.

However, researchers need more thorough studies until they can reach a final conclusion on medical marijuana use. This report had a small sample of participants, and was merely observational. Also, it was based on volunteering, so other users might experience different symptoms.

Even so, the study might suggest medical marijuana use is a real solution to the opioid crisis. A previous report revealed those states where medical cannabis was legal had a rate of opioid-related deaths lower by 25 percent. This present study has been published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
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Researchers found two genes which control picky eating

(Mirror Daily, United States) – A recent study has revealed why you shouldn’t blame your kids for refusing to eat vegetables. It seems it’s not their fault that they don’t like healthy foods, but their genes dictate them what to eat and not to eat. Researchers managed to identify two gene mutations which influence the picky eater behavior.

It’s not parents who are to blame for a child’s picky eating behavior

Many parents blame themselves for their children’s diet, and keep trying to talk them into eating more fruits and vegetables. However, they shouldn’t feel like they failed in their mission as parents if they cannot convince the little ones to eat healthier.

A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics identified two genes related to picky eating. The first one, TAS2R38, leads to a predilection for a lack of diversity in a diet, while the second one, CA6, influences a chaotic behavior during meals. Therefore, it’s in the children’s genetics to be extremely picky with the food, and to select it according to its aspect, smell, or taste.

Genes keep a child from trying new foods

Several gene variants lead to a higher sensitivity to bitter tastes in young children. This leads to the children refusing to eat certain vegetables which their parents see as healthy. Therefore, it’s genetics, not bad upbringing, which keeps kids from eating broccoli. However, if children refuse to try some new foods, and keep eating the same unhealthy meals, they might develop serious health complications later in life.

Researchers collected samples of saliva from 153 preschool children, and then interviewed their parents regarding their breastfeeding habits, and the fussiness of their kids when it came to food. They are planning to analyze how the aspect influences these picky eating habits, but they found out quite a big information gap on the switch from milk to full meals, that the entire family can eat.
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An ancient hominin passed the genital herpes virus to our ancestors

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Genital herpes is a serious infection which affects millions of people, and some of them are not even aware they have it. Researchers have just discovered a hominin species might be to blame for it. This species, called Paranthropus boisei, lived 2.4 million years ago, up until 1.4 million years ago. According to the researchers, this species passed out the disease to our ancestors.

The origin of genital herpes dates back millions of years ago

Genital herpes is a global epidemic, as about 417 million people all over the world have it. However, this disease is most of the time silent. As soon as someone gets infected, they might not even experience any symptoms. When they occur, people can identify it by blisters surrounding the genital and anal area, fever, severe pains, and sore lymph glands.

Researchers identified the first case of one of our human ancestors getting infected with genital herpes, about 1.4 million years ago. Until then, only apes exhibited this infection, and they believe it got transmitted through a hominin species.

A hominin species brought the virus to our first human ancestors

They managed to find evidence that the first to contract genital herpes was Homo habilis. Then, it passed the virus of the disease to the hominin species Paranthropus boisei, which then was transmitted to Homo erectus.

In a study published in the journal Virus Evolution, researchers built a model of the transmission process from chimpanzees this hominin species. Judging from environmental factors, geography, and the location of the fossils, they identified the hominin as Paranthropus boisei.

By crossing data of the climate at the time with the fossil location, they determined it was not uncommon for the hominin species in question to spend time near chimpanzee populations. Then, they found out this species roamed the water sources where Homo erectus lived. These were the factors which facilitated the transmission of the genital herpes factors to the early human species.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Skipping breakfast might increase the cardiovascular risk

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Many people usually skip breakfast, as they are often in a hurry and have to rush to work. However, science shows us this is a really bad idea, as they put themselves at many risks when they do that. A recent research found evidence that skipping breakfast might lead to the development of cardiovascular problems, emphasizing the idea that this is the most important meal of the day.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

For this study, researchers took 4,052 people with no history of cardiovascular diseases who worked in a bank. When they were first interviewed, they had to give a detailed account of everything they had eaten for the past 15 days, and the hours at which they had those meals. Then, they measured their cholesterol levels, body mass index, and asked them if they were smokers or not, and how active they were on a daily basis.

Afterwards, they used advanced scans to measure the levels of fat deposits on their arteries, and noticed something interesting. Those who declared skipping breakfast were at a higher risk of developing heart problems than those who consumed 20 percent of the daily intake of calories in the morning.

The lifestyle associated with skipping breakfast might be to blame for the high disease risk

This connection remained viable even after the researchers accounted for other risk factors, such as smoking. About 75 percent of those who skipped breakfast had a condition which usually preceded atherosclerosis, namely some small deposits of fat on the arteries.

However, researchers noticed some other things as well. Those who skipped breakfast led more unhealthy lifestyles. They were more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, and eat unhealthy foods throughout the day. Therefore, it might not be the meal itself which increases the heart disease risk, but this lifestyle which is associated with it.
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Zinc selectively attacks calcium deposits in cancerous cells, while normal cells are not affected

(Mirror Daily, United States) – A recent research detected a possible solution to prevent esophageal cancer. The findings suggest zinc might have the potential to reduce the rate at which cancerous growths develop on the esophagus, so opting for a diet rich in zinc might can really reduce the cancer risk.

Zinc inhibits the growth of esophageal cancer cells

Researchers reached interesting findings regarding zinc. They noticed how the substance had an effect on cancer cells by influencing calcium concentrations present in them. These calcium signatures cannot be found in normal cells and, while administering the zinc treatment, researchers noticed how normal esophageal cells didn’t respond to it.

This is how they established normal cells were not sensitive to zinc. On the other hand, the growth of cancerous cells was significantly inhibited by the same treatment, so the conclusion was that zinc acted selectively, and could direct its effect only towards the malignant growth in the esophagus.

The chemical is good to maintain one’s overall health

Also, since zinc acted upon the extra calcium deposits in the cancerous cells, they determined the strong relation between the two chemicals. In fact, these two can be linked and made to work together against cancer.

The relation between zinc and cancer is proven in other ways as well. Many patients suffering from the disease have been found to have serious zinc deficiency. Therefore, the absence of the substance is related to the presence of the disease. Apart from warding off cancer, the chemical can maintain the overall wellness of the body.

Therefore, aggressive treatment are not the only solutions against an invasive disease like cancer. Following a healthy diet, and adding vital substances, such as zinc, is the key to a healthy life. The study on the connection between zinc and esophageal cancer has been published in The FASEB Journal.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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