Gene, air pollution together spike autism risk

Jun 27, 2017 0

Individuals with high levels of genetic variation and elevated exposure to a type of air pollution may be at an increased risk of developing autism, a new analysis shows. The findings showed that environmental factors like exposure to air pollution (ozone, nitrogen oxide and particluate matter) contribute to the risk of autism. Genetic factors like copy-number variation — deletions and duplications of repeated DNA — also lead to the development of autism.  According to the study, environmental factors like ozone, a harmful air pollutant at the ground level, can interact with genetic factors (copy number variation) to produce an even higher risk for autism than expected by adding the two risk factors, one that might not be found by studying the factors independently. This large effect could be the result of the fact that ozone is an oxidising agent and is known to produce reactive oxygen species, like peroxides, that cause cellular stress and can alter cell function in many ways.  “Our research allows us for the first time to... ...

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Cholera outbreak in Yemen: Toll rises to 1,146, says WHO

Jun 20, 2017 0

Cholera has claimed over 1,146 lives since April 27 in the war-torn Yemen, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday. “Since the beginning of the outbreak, 166,976 suspected cases and 1,146 deaths have been reported from 20 of the country’s 23 governorates,” the WHO said. Last month, the WHO said the number of suspected cases could reach 300,000 in the next six months. The organisation warned that the healthcare system in Yemen is on the verge of collapse as many hospitals have shut down because of the ongoing conflict. It said only 45 per cent of them are still operational and they are facing a shortage of supplies and staff. Two-thirds of the total population, around 19 million, needs humanitarian and protection aid.  About 10.3 million people are close to famine and 14.5 million lack access to safe drinking water. ...

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Paris pollution victim sues France for bad air

Jun 8, 2017 0

A Parisian woman is taking the French state to court for failing to protect her health from the effects of air pollution. Clotilde Nonnez, a 56-year-old yoga teacher, says she has lived in the capital for 30 years and seen her health deteriorate. However, it became worse than ever when pollution in Paris hit record levels last December. Her lawyer says air pollution is causing 48,000 French deaths per year. “We are taking the state to task because we think the medical problems that pollution victims suffer are as a result of the authorities’ lack of action in tackling air pollution,” François Lafforgue told Le Monde newspaper. More cases would be brought in the coming weeks, in Lyon, Lille and elsewhere, he added. ...

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Building collapse: Lagos Assembly goes after regulatory agencies

Jun 6, 2017 0

The Lagos State House of Assembly (LAHA) Committee on Physical Planning and Urban Development on Monday disclosed that all eye will guard against incessant cases of building collapse.  The Committee’s Chairman, Mr Setonji David, said this against the backdrop of the collapse of two different three-storey buildings on May 18, 2017 and May 29, 2017, respectively. It was reported that five people lost their lives in the incidents. Similarly, on March 9, 2016, at least 34 people died when a five-storey building still under construction collapsed in Lekki Area of Lagos State. David said that the level of sensitization and monitoring of buildings under construction had increased under Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration to curb the menace. He said: “Since the assumption of office by Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, the level of compliance by developers has changed; though there is still room for improvement. “Government is a continuum; and the government is reorganising its agencies responsible for monitoring building constructions to be more effective in service delivery. “So, things are getting better. ...

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Sudan: Cholera Epidemic – ‘14,659 Infected, 292 Dead’

Jun 6, 2017 0

Sudan: Health Minister Bahar Idris Abugarda briefed the parliament about the spread of the “acute water diarrhoea” epidemic in the country. New cholera cases were reported in the country’s capital, White Nile state, and North Kordofan. The Minister told the parliament in a session organised by the Committee on Health, Environment, and Population, that between August 2016 and May 2017 the Ministry recorded 14,659 people infected with watery diarrhoea. 292 patients died. The Sudanese health authorities still refer to “watery diarrhoea” cases, though Sudanese medics have confirmed that the disease is cholera. Mentioning the infectious disease by its real name is not allowed in Sudan. The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has repeatedly warned the press in the country not to cross this “red line”. ...

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Nigeria: Refuse, Contaminated Water Cause Cholera in Calabar

Jun 2, 2017 0

Many residents of Calabar are being admitted in private hospitals because of outbreak of cholera following the consumption of contaminated water sold by hawkers. Over several months, there has been acute shortage of public water supply to the city by the state water board, forcing residents to buy sachet and bottled water at astronomical costs. Those who cannot afford the packaged water, patronize hawkers who supply water at cheaper prices. Apart from water scarcity, refuse has become a menace. At the Marian, Mbukpa and Watts markets, the three major markets in the city, there are mountains of refuse, as the effuse have not been cleared in the last two weeks. Five persons were reportedly admitted in private hospitals yesterday in the Bayside and Mbukpa axis of the Calabar South LGA and Ikot Ishie in the Calabar Municipality as a result of cholera caused by contaminated water and food poisoned by flies, insects and rodents from the refuse dumps. ...

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Air pollution can hamper heart functioning, raise ‘death risk’

May 28, 2017 0

A new research says that air pollution can cause significant damage to the heart functioning and structure, also increasing the risk of cardiac diseases and death. “There is strong evidence that particulate matter (PM) emitted mainly from diesel road vehicles is associated with increased risk of heart attack, heart failure and death,” said Nay Aung, from the Queen Mary University of London in the UK. The study examined whether PM2.5 may damage the heart directly. ...

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Loss of forest cover due to human activities leads to increase in malaria cases: Study

May 24, 2017 0

Researchers may have found one of the reasons for the increasing cases of malaria in endemic countries – deforestation. Forests are a substantial part of the country and have their own role to play. They are essential for the sustenance of human life, but unfortunately, it is humans who are to blame for their deterioration. Human activities are gradually driving forests towards their downfall, thereby causing problems that will ultimately affect us too. The rapid increase in the spread of malaria is one such problem, according to researchers, who studied 67 less-developed, malaria-endemic countries. Nearly 130 million hectares of forest – an area almost equivalent in size to South Africa – have been lost since 1990, according to a recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (UN). Deforestation is not a natural phenomenon, but rather results predominantly from human activities, or anthropogenically, researchers said. ...

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