(CNN)Xavier Davis has a pretty simple haircut: two shaved lines on the side.
(CNN)Xavier Davis has a pretty simple haircut: two shaved lines on the side.
(CNN)Two Michigan doctors and a medical office manager were indicted Wednesday by a Detroit grand jury in the first federal female genital mutilation case in the United States.
Review by research organisation Cochrane suggests impact of UKs ban on branded packs could echo results seen in Australia
Plain cigarette cartons featuring large, graphic health warnings could persuade 300,000 people in the UK to quit smoking if the measure has the effect it had in Australia, scientists say.
Standardised cigarette packaging will be compulsory in the UK from 20 May. A new review from the independent health research organisation Cochrane on the impact of plain packaging around the world has found that it does affect the behaviour of smokers.
In the UK, the tobacco industry has become increasingly innovative in the design of cigarette packets as other controls on sales and advertising have taken hold, according to Ann McNeill, professor of tobacco addiction at Kings College London. The tobacco industry has been focusing its efforts on the tobacco packs, she said.
Among those that will be banned are vibrant pink packets, targeted at young women, and gimmicky cartons that slide rather than flip open. The rules that come into force next month require all packs to look alike, with graphic health warnings across 65% of their surface.
The Cochrane reviewers found 51 studies that looked at standardised packaging and its impact on smokers, but only one country had implemented the rule fully at the time. Australia brought in plain packs in 2012.
Analysing the evidence from Australia, the team found a reduction in smoking of 0.5% up to one year after the policy was introduced. According to the Australian government, that translates to 100,000 people no longer smoking. The decline was attributable specifically to plain packaging, after taking into account the continuing drop in the numbers of smokers caused by other tobacco control measures.
Dr Jamie Hartmann-Boyce of the Cochrane tobacco addiction group at Oxford Universitys Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences said: We are not able to say for sure what the impact would be in the UK, but if the same magnitude of decrease was seen in the UK as was observed in Australia, this would translate to roughly 300,000 fewer smokers following the implementation of standardised packaging.
The review found signs that more people were trying to quit smoking as a result of plain cartons, rising from 20.2% before to 26.6% after introduction. There was also evidence that standardised packs were less attractive to those who did not smoke, making it less likely that they would start.
However, the researchers say variations in the way countries are introducing standardised packs may affect the outcomes. Some allow different colours, slightly different carton shapes and the use of descriptive words such as gold or smooth.
Cancer Research UK backs plain packaging. Smoking kills 100,000 people in the UK every year, so we support any effective measure which can help reduce this devastating impact. The evidence shows that standardised packaging works and helps to reduce smoking rates, said George Butterworth, the charitys tobacco policy manager.
Its too soon to see the impact in the UK, as the new legislation will only be fully implemented in May, but we hope to see similar positive results as the UK strives towards a day when no child smokes tobacco. Cancer Research UK is continuing to evaluate the impact of standardised packaging in the UK and will share the lessons with other countries who are considering introducing them.
Simon Clark, director of the smokers group Forest, said the idea that plain packaging would have an impact on the number of smokers in the UK was based on hope and anecdotal evidence.
Since plain packaging was introduced in Australia, smoking rates have fallen, but only in line with historical trends, he said. Its grasping at straws to credit plain packaging with the continued reduction in smoking rates, because the most significant anti-smoking measure in recent years in Australia has been a massive increase in tobacco taxation. Like graphic health warnings, the novelty of plain packaging quickly wears off.
Tranexamic acid could save the lives of a third of women who die in childbirth from excessive bleeding, which kills 100,000 a year
A cheap and widely available drug could save the lives of thousands of women who die in childbirth from excessive bleeding, one of the main killers of women worldwide.
The drug, tranexamic acid, is available over the counter in the UK to women suffering from heavy periods. In Japan and the far east, it is used as a skin whitener. But now a very large study of 20,000 women in 21 countries has shown it can stop a third of cases of bleeding to death after giving birth.
Haemorrhage after childbirth kills 100,000 women a year, mostly in low and middle-income countries. It is not only the women dying it is the impact on the child that has to grow up without a mother, children who might already be in the family and the husband, said associate professor Haleema Shakur from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who led the trial.
This is of absolutely huge importance. While a single mother is dying, we need to keep fighting for them.
The drug has already been proven to cut the death toll from bleeding after accidents in a trial of similar size. The latest trial, published in the Lancet medical journal, recruited more than 20,000 women who either gave birth in one of 193 hospitals involved or managed to get there after starting to bleed. They were randomly assigned either tranexamic acid or a placebo.
The researchers found that tranexamic acid was most effective when it was given soon after the bleeding began. The trial was originally intended also to find out whether the drug saved women from having to undergo a hysterectomy the removal of the womb. But the scientists discovered that in many countries, where anaemia is common and blood supplies are limited, surgeons operated immediately as the surest way to save the womans life.
If all women who haemorrhage after childbirth were given the drug, the trial suggests that 30,000 lives could be saved a year. In practice, that will be more difficult. Tranexamic acid was given in an intravenous injection in the hospitals, as the quickest way to have an effect. Many women give birth at home and may not get to a hospital in time.
It is available in the form of a tablet for heavy periods, but absorption may take too long, said Shakur. They are now working on new ways to get it rapidly into womens systems perhaps as an injection in the arm muscle or as a capsule under the tongue. It is also possible that women deemed to be at high risk of haemorrhage could be given a tablet before they give birth. The trials have shown no side-effects, making the drug very safe.
Of the two-thirds of women who died in spite of being given the drug, Shakur said some arrived at hospital too late, while others had underlying illness including severe malaria and anaemia which may have been the cause of death.
It has taken a long time to show that the drug does work in the context it was designed for. Professor Ian Roberts from the London School, who co-led the study, said: The researchers who invented tranexamic acid more than 50 years ago hoped it would reduce deaths from postpartum haemorrhage, but they couldnt persuade obstetricians at the time to conduct a trial. Now we finally have these results that we hope can help save womens lives around the world.
There are many next steps, said Shakur. We have to make sure tranexamic acid is available wherever a woman gives birth and is at risk, she said. We must make sure doctors and midwives are aware of the results of the study. And we need health ministers to make sure that the drug is available in their country and is on their shopping list of essential medicines.
(CNN)The US Food and Drug Administration calls it “cruel deception”: companies promising desperate consumers that their products can cure cancer.
The singer announced he was pulling out of several shows after contracting a bacterial infection in South America that led to two nights in intensive care
Sir Elton John has pulled out of a series of concerts in Las Vegas due to an unusual bacterial infection he contracted in South America, which left him in intensive care.
The singer announced he was pulling out of the shows on Monday in a statement that explained that he spent two nights in intensive care and was released on 22 April after becoming ill on a flight to the UK from Chile.
During a recent, successful tour of South America, Elton contracted a harmful and unusual bacterial infection, the statement read.
During his return flight home from Santiago, Chile he became violently ill. Upon returning to the UK, Eltons doctors admitted him to hospital, where he underwent immediate treatment to remove the infection. After spending two nights in intensive care followed by an extended stay in hospital, Elton was released from hospital.
It added that the infection was rare and potentially deadly but that the stars medical team identified it quickly and that he is expected to make a full and complete recovery.
Elton John also added: I am so fortunate to have the most incredible and loyal fans and apologise for disappointing them. I am extremely grateful to the medical team for their excellence in looking after me so well.
The affected shows were part of the Million Dollar Piano show and were due to take place at Caesars Palace in April and May, while another gig in Bakersfield, California, on 6 May was also cancelled.
The singer is expected to return for his scheduled gigs at Twickenham, in London on 3 June.
(CNN)You have an early-morning golf match. You make coffee and contemplate the optimal breakfast to help you hit the ball straighter and calm those first-tee jitters.
Drinking a can of diet soft drink a day associated with almost three times higher risk, say researchers but critics warn against causal connection
Consuming a can a day of low- or no-sugar soft drink is associated with a much higher risk of having a stroke or developing dementia, researchers claim.
Their findings have prompted renewed questions about whether drinks flavoured with artificial sweeteners can increase the risk of serious illness, as heavily sugared drinks have already been shown to do.
Drinking at least one artificially sweetened beverage daily was associated with almost three times the risk of developing stroke or dementia compared to those who drank artificially sweetened beverages less than once a week, according to the American researchers who carried out a study published in Stroke, the journal of the American Heart Association.
After adjustments for age, sex, education (for analysis of dementia), calorific intake, diet quality, physical activity and smoking, higher recent and higher cumulative intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks were associated with an increased risk of ischaemic stroke, all-cause dementia and Alzheimers disease dementia, the co-authors write.
Those consuming at least a can of so-called diet drinks every day were 2.96 times more likely to suffer an ischaemic stroke and 2.89 times more likely to develop Alzheimers disease than those who drank them less than once a week, they found.
Ischaemic strokes occur when blood cannot get to the brain because of a blockage, often one caused by a blood clot forming in either an artery leading to the brain or inside a vein in the brain itself. They comprise the large majority of the 152,0000 strokes a year which occur.
Surprisingly, though, the research also contradicted previous studies by finding that sugared drinks did not raise the risk of either serious outcome. It is based on data for more than 4,300 participants in the Framingham Heart Study, a long-term medical research project in the United States.
To our knowledge, our study is the first to report an association between daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drink and increased risk of both all-cause dementia and dementia because of Alzheimers disease, the co-authors added.
However, they admitted that they could not prove a causal link between intake of diet drinks and development of either medical condition because their study was merely observational and based on details people provided in questionnaires logging their food and drink habits.
Matthew Pase, a senior fellow in the department of neurology at Boston Universitys school of medicine who was one of the co-authors, said that despite no evidence of a causal link, the apparent connection between sweetened drinks and the two conditions does identify an intriguing trend that will need to be explored in other studies.
This is not the first time that sweetened drinks have been implicated in the development of serious ill-health. The paper quotes the Northern Manhattan study as having found that daily consumption of artificially sweetened soft drink was associated with a higher risk of combined vascular events but not stroke. It also cites the conclusion of the Nurses Health study and Health Professionals follow-up study that greater consumption of sugar and artificially sweetened soft drinks was each independently associated with a higher risk of incident stroke over 28 years of follow-up for women and 22 years of follow-up for men.
Sales of diet versions of soft drinks have boomed in recent years as sales of fully sugared ones have declined sharply.
Defras Family Food Survey, published last month, found that sales of regular soft drinks fell by 34.6% between 2010 and 2014, while low-calorie drinks purchases increased by 35.8%. Now just 38% of all soft drinks consumed are fully sugared, it said.
However, experts and health charities warned against reading too much into the findings reported in Stroke.
This research does not show that artificially sweetened drinks cause dementia. But it does highlight a worrying association that requires further investigation, said Dr James Pickett, head of research at Alzheimers Society.
Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at Glasgow University, said: This is an interesting paper, but I would strongly caution against the conclusion that artificially sweetened drinks may increase the risk of stroke and Alzheimers. There is little other strong evidence to support a link between artificially sweetened drinks and adverse health outcomes.
The results could have been skewed by people who had already become ill before switching to low- or no-sugar drinks, Sattar added.
Dr Mary Hannon-Fletcher, head of health sciences at Ulster University, said: These data are sound as far as they go. However, it is important to note the associations between recent and higher cumulative intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks and dementia were no longer significant after additional adjustment for vascular risk factors and diabetes mellitus as the editor also pointed out. So are the conclusions sound? Perhaps not.
Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: Despite their claims, the authors of this observational study admit they found no cause and effect and provide no science-based evidence whatsoever to support their theories.
In fact, based on the evidence, Public Health England is actively encouraging food and drink companies to use low-calorie sweeteners as an alternative to sugar and help people manage their weight.
However, Tam Fry, a spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, warned consumers not to see low- or no-sugar drinks as healthy. Dont be fooled by the use of the word diet. Diet drinks were dreamed up as a description by an industry wanting to lull you into believing that it was a healthy thirst-quencher. Whether youre thin or fat and thirsty, and not near a good old-fashioned tap, buy yourself bottled water, Fry said.
(CNN)Apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular natural health products around, with claims for everything from sanitizing toothbrushes to whittling waistlines.
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