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In Brief

By Vision Reporter

Added 17th August 2008 03:00 AM

ADULTS with a Vitamin D deficiency are more likely to die than those with high levels, another indication of the nutrient’s vital role in guarding against ailments from heart disease to cancer, US researchers have said.

Low vitamin d raises death risk

ADULTS with a Vitamin D deficiency are more likely to die than those with high levels, another indication of the nutrient’s vital role in guarding against ailments from heart disease to cancer, US researchers have said.

The report follows several recent studies that have shown Vitamin D may protect against ailments including heart disease, cancers of the colon and breast, diabetes and tuberculosis.

Those with the lowest levels of the “sunshine vitamin” had a 26% increased risk of death over eight years compared to those with the highest levels, the researchers reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

British scientists to test first arthritis vaccine
British scientists plan to start tests on a novel vaccine against rheumatoid arthritis, which could suppress the effects of the joint condition using patients' own blood cells. A team from Newcastle University will test the effectiveness of the vaccine in eight volunteers in a pilot study. If successful, there will then be larger clinical trials. John Isaacs, a professor of clinical rheumatology, said the work was at a very early stage but was “hugely exciting”. The idea is to help the body cure itself. A similar technique has been used in cancer research, but this is the first time it has been adapted to rheumatoid arthritis.

Abused Indian Women at greater Risk of HIV
Married women in India who are physically and sexually abused by their husbands are four times more likely to become infected with the AIDS virus than married women who were not abused, a Harvard study has revealed.

India has the world's third-largest number of people infected with HIV at 2.47 million cases, according to the latest figures, but health workers say the number is rising rapidly and spreading to new population groups.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health said they confirmed earlier studies suggesting that men who engage in extramarital sex, including unprotected sex with prostitutes, are the main source of HIV for Indian women.

More than 95% of HIV-positive married Indian women report being monogamous, the Harvard researchers said, adding that the extramarital sex by their husbands explains why so many victims of abuse are becoming infected.

Gene raises risk of lifetime smoking habit
For most people, the first experimental drags on a cigarette bring nausea, coughing and other signals from the brain that say, But for some, they bring a wave of pleasure.

Those in the second group likely bear a gene type that not only increases their addiction risk, but has been implicated in the development of lung cancer, researchers have said. "If you have this variant, you are going to like your earliest experiences with smoking," says the journal Addiction.

Pomerleau said the finding suggests that for some, smoking even one cigarette is a bad idea.

Reuters

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