Egypt Independent: Science-Main news en Natural Immune Boosters: Five Ingredients That Will Help You Fight Colds This Fall <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>The end of the summer and early fall are marked by what traditional Chinese medicine terms &lsquo;descending energy.&rsquo; It is a time to take good care of ourselves by eating a balanced diet of seasonal produce flavored with warming antiviral herbs and spices like cinnamon, ginger, and thyme.</div><div>Ginger to boost immune defences</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Fall is a good time to add a little spice to our cooking. To tone up your metabolism, be creative with such spices as ginger, cinnamon, black pepper and nutmeg, which rid the body of excessive humidity. Fall is also a time to fill up your shopping basket with sweet orange-coloured vegetables (squash, sweet potato, pumpkin) that nourish the spleen, an organ that should be particularly pampered to conserve its internal energy when seasons change.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Fight viruses with culinary herbs</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Thyme, oregano and wild thyme have natural antiviral properties that stimulate the body&rsquo;s defenses against colds, flu, bronchitis and sinusitis. When used to treat stomach flu or diarrhea, they also facilitate good digestion and act as astringents.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Citrus fruit and kiwis for vitamin C</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Clementines, lemons, oranges, grapefruit, kiwis... Fruit that is rich in vitamin C also helps to prevent viral infections. As a general rule, fresh whole fruits are better than juices which have fewer nutrients and may contain added sugar. When seasons change, it is also recommended to supplement dietary vitamin C with an additional 500 mg/day.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Propolis and royal jelly to combat infection and depression</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Since time immemorial, products made by bees have been prized for their powerful anti-infectious properties, which are effective in the ear, nose and throat (for colds, flu and coughs) and in the gastrointestinal tract. As well as boosting the body&rsquo;s defences, propolis (a mixture of wax, resin and bees&rsquo; salivary enzymes), honey and royal jelly act as a tonic for the brain that helps prevent seasonal depression. A course of drops, ampoules or capsules lasting a month can be begun as early the end of September.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Ravintsara essential oil to prevent contagion</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>When preparing for a morning commute on public transport, a few drops of ravintsara essential oil, which is made from camphor trees in Madagascar, on the wrists and in a handkerchief can help ward off airborne germs and bacteria spread by shaking hands. A single drop of the oil taken with a spoonful of thyme or lavender honey can also complement this effect.</div><p>&nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:47:00 +0000 AFP 2473653 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/11/21/43/screen_shot_2015-11-21_at_2.11.00_pm.png Anti-inflammatory pills tied to heart failure risk <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>(Reuters Health) - Widely used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are associated with an increased risk of heart failure - even in people without a history of cardiac issues, a recent study suggests.&nbsp;</p><p>Overall, the odds of a hospital admission for heart failure was 19 percent higher for people who used NSAIDs in the previous two weeks than for individuals who didn&rsquo;t take these drugs, the study found.&nbsp;</p><p>Not all NSAIDs carry the same risk, however. The increased odds of a heart failure hospitalization were, for example, just 16 percent for naproxen but 83 percent for ketorolac. Many NSAIDs, including celecoxib (Celebrex), were tied to little or no increased risk.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;There is difference between the NSAIDs in risk of heart failure and higher dosages are associated with increased risk,&rdquo; said Dr. Gunnar H. Gislason, chief scientific officer of the Danish Heart Foundation and author of an editorial accompanying the study.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;NSAIDs increase risk of heart failure independent of sex or previous heart failure status,&rdquo; Gislason added by email.</p><p>&ldquo;However, if you have established heart disease, heart failure or carry many cardiovascular risk factors, your risk associated with NSAID use is more pronounced &ndash; thus especially the elderly and patients with any heart condition should avoid NSAIDs,&rdquo; Gislason said.</p><p>While plenty of previous research has linked NSAIDs to an increased risk of heart failure, the current study sheds new light on the risk of individual drugs in this family of medicines, researchers note in The BMJ.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 1em;">To assess the cardiovascular safety of these medicines, researchers analyzed data on 27 different NSAIDs taken by adults in the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and the U.K. between 1999 and 2010.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em;">The analysis included more than 92,000 people admitted to the hospital for heart failure and a control group of more than 8.2 million similar individuals without a record of hospitalization for this condition.&nbsp;</span></p><p>A total of 16,081 people, or 17.4 percent, with a heart failure hospitalization were current users of NSAIDs, as were 14.4 percent of the individuals without a this history, the study found.&nbsp;</p><p>Nine NSAIDs had a significantly higher risk of heart failure for current users: ketorolac, etoricoxib, indomethacin, rofecoxib, piroxicam, diclofenac, ibuprofen, nimesulide and naproxen.&nbsp;</p><p>These nine drugs were associated with an increased risk of heart failure in both men and women and regardless of whether or not there was a previous heart failure diagnosis.&nbsp;</p><p>Current users of very high doses of diclofenac, etoricoxib, indomethacin, piroxicam and rofecoxib had more than twice the risk of heart failure than past users, the study also found.&nbsp;</p><p>One limitation of the study is that researchers lacked data on over-the-counter NSAID users, which means some patients classified as non-users in the analysis might actually take nonprescription versions of the drugs, particularly ibuprofen, the authors note. This might understate the impact of NSAIDs on heart failure risk.</p><p>Another drawback is the potential for some heart failure admissions to be linked to other cardiovascular problems, with hospital discharge records noting a different reason for the admission, the researchers point out.&nbsp;</p><p>Even so, the findings add to a growing body of evidence pointing to the risk of heart failure associated with NSAIDS, the authors conclude.&nbsp;</p><p>Patients in pain also have other options - such as acetaminophen, known as paracetamol outside the U.S., or a weak opiate - that don&rsquo;t carry the same risk of cardiovascular disease as NSAIDs, Gislason said. Physical therapy, exercise, or weight loss can also help with some situations, he said.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;If you need NSAIDs for pain or arthritis, you should consult your physician who could advise about alternative pain management,&rdquo; Gislason added.</p> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:33:00 +0000 Reuters 2473652 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/04/13/16030/afp.jpg Yahoo calls for 'transparency' from US spy agencies <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div data-ga-scroll="T3">Yahoo asked US spy agencies Wednesday to offer public &quot;transparency&quot; about data they make internet companies provide on users and to declassify any secret order served on the company.<br /><br />The announcement responded to media reports this month which said the US government had obtained a secret court order for Yahoo to scan hundreds of millions of user accounts last year for information tied to a state-sponsored terrorist organization.<br /><br />Yahoo on Wednesday sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, saying the company had found itself &quot;unable to respond in detail&quot; to the reports, which it said were in part misleading, and called on Clapper&#39;s office to confirm the existence of any such order by commenting on it publicly.<br /><br />&quot;Recent news stories have provoked broad speculation about Yahoo&#39;s approach and about the activities and representations of the US government, including those made by the government in connection with negotiating Privacy Shield with the European Union,&quot; Yahoo General Counsel Ron Bell wrote in the letter to Clapper.<br /><br />The European Commission in July launched the EU-US &quot;Privacy Shield&quot; framework, aimed at protecting the personal data of Europeans that is stored in the United States.<br /><br />&quot;That speculation results in part from lack of transparency and because US laws significantly constrain -- and severely punish -- companies&#39; ability to speak for themselves about national security-related orders even in ways that do not compromise US government investigations,&quot; Bell wrote.<br /><br />The call for declassification echoed that made earlier this month by Senator Ron Wyden, a critic of US dragnet surveillance activities.<br /><br />In a separate message also posted to Tumblr on Wednesday, Yahoo said an unspecified news media article on the surveillance had been misleading: &quot;the mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems.&quot;<div>&nbsp;</div>The New York Times and Reuters both reported this month that Yahoo had customized email scanning systems to conduct the searches.<br /><br />The surveillance reporting about Yahoo came as the company also worked to surmount revelations last month about the massive theft of user data in late 2014 by state-sponsored hackers, possibly affecting 500 million user accounts.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:52:00 +0000 AFP 2473643 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/03/19/501184/yahoo.jpg Possible miscarriage gene found: study <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Scientists said on Wednesday they had linked mutations in a specific gene with an increased risk of recurrent miscarriages, offering hopes of better diagnosis and treatment for affected women.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The gene, dubbed FOXD1, was first pinpointed in lab mice, a team of international researchers wrote in the Royal Society Journal Open Biology.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>They then investigated whether 556 women affected by &quot;recurrent spontaneous abortion&quot; or RSA, had mutations in the same gene. They did.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>RSA is defined as a woman suffering three or more miscarriages within the first five weeks of pregnancy. It affects about one in every 100 pregnancies.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A control group of 271 non-RSA sufferers were also included in the study.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We found that women with FOXD1 mutations have a statistically high risk of suffering RSA,&quot; said the team.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>They also found one variant present only in the control group of women with no history of miscarriage, and speculated it may be protective.<br />&nbsp;</div><div>It is not the first gene implicated in repeated miscarriage, though &quot;functional evidence&quot; of their involvement has been rare, the team wrote.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 11:54:00 +0000 AFP 2473614 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/11/16/43/lmkmk.jpg