Monthly Archives: April 2009

Resurgence of human bird flu cases has some countries on alert

A seasonal resurgence of deadly avian flu in southern Asia has the World Health Organization worried it may spread again to Europe. The number of human infections from the deadly disease has increased in recent months, with outbreaks in Vietnam, Indonesia and as far as Nigeria.

However, while the deadly strain of avian flu has mutated, it has not mutated to the level that humans can catch it from other humans, said Peter Cordingley, the WHO spokesman for the western Pacific region. “It is not showing any sign of moving to a strain that would be more dangerous to humans or have a greater likelihood of human-to-human transmission.”

The increase in outbreaks comes at a time when some countries have gone as many as six months or more without any human bird flu deaths.

“Following the original publicity surrounding the bird flu risk, many people assumed the danger had passed simply because the epidemic did not emerge in the first year it was talked about. But influenza does not operate on news cycles, it mutates and spreads whenever it wants,” said Mike Adams, author of “How to Beat the Bird Flu.”

“It would be foolish to let our guard down now, especially when we have the asset of public awareness by which many people may be taught how to protect themselves and their families from an influenza outbreak. The next infectious disease pandemic, whether it be H5N1 or something yet unidentified, is only a matter of time,” Adams said.

The spread of bird flu has hit countries all along southern Asia.

Indonesia was hit recently with human deaths from the avian flu – four fatalities between January 9 and 14, according to the Financial Times – and the country is now on alert. Since 2005, the country has faced 61 human deaths from the disease.

In Thailand, where the last human death was in August, ducks are being culled to prevent the disease from spreading. More than 1,900 ducks in the country’s northern area of Phitsanulok have been culled after some tested positive for H5N1, the strain of bird flu that causes fatalities.

Among some provinces in Vietnam, it appears the disease is spreading fast: Ducks found dead from H5N1 in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang raised concerns as other fowl killed by bird flu were found in the neighboring province of Tra Vinh to the north. Vietnam’s Agriculture Ministry has “ordered an additional poultry vaccination campaign in the Mekong Delta area,” Reuters reported on Monday.

Elsewhere, an outbreak at a southwest Japan poultry farm killed 3,800 chickens but the disease has not spread in the country. China also faced its first human case of bird flu in six months, the Financial Times reported, but the man has since recovered.

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Aspirin Could Help Prevent Colon Cancer

We have heard that an aspirin daily can help heart conditions, and now thanks to a study in Berlin, we are now discovering two aspirins a day can help people who are genetically susceptible to colon cancer.

John Burn of the Institute of Human Genetics at Newcastle University in Britain believes that his study may have found a simple way of controlling stems cells that make tumors grow. “We believe that aspirin may have an effect on the survival of aberrant (faulty) stem cells in the colon,” Burn said.

The European researchers tracked more than 1,000 people with Lynch syndrome, a genetic mutation that makes them vulnerable to cancers in the colon, rectum, stomach, brain, liver, womb and elsewhere. The syndrome accounts for about 5 percent of all colon cancers. Half of the people in the study were given 600 milligrams or two aspirin daily, while the other half got placebo pills for about four years.

In the group that received aspirin, six people developed colon cancer, versus 16 in the group that got placebos. “We are delighted,” said John Burn of Newcastle University in Britain, who led the study. “All the more so because we stopped giving the aspirin after four years, yet the effect is continuing,” he said in a statement. This discovery may mean aspirin could help prevent colon cancer.

This doesn’t mean that everyone should start taking aspirin if they’re worried about bowel cancer,” said Henry Snowcroft of Cancer Research United Kingdom. “Aspirin can cause significant side effects if not used as directed by a doctor,” Snowcroft said.

Based on this research, where patients did not benefit until several years after taking aspirin, Burn thinks the drug may also affect cancer stem cells. He hypothesized aspirin might speed up the process by which cells destroy themselves if they pick up “genetic spelling mistakes” that could be cancerous. That could result in a protective effect against cancer ever developing.

Other scientists were not convinced that stem cells were involved. “There’s something weird going on here that’s outside of what we normally see,” Neugut said. “Reducing cancer is a wonderful thing, but there is something else going on here that we don’t understand.”

According to the National Cancer Institute Colorectal cancer It is the fourth-most-common cancer in the U.S. Burn’s research team plans to study whether a lower dose of aspirin will also ward off colon cancer. What is important is studies are beginning to show that aspirin could help prevent colon cancer.

References
Associated Press

Written by Tyler Woods Ph.D.
Tucson, Arizona
Exclusive to eMaxHealth

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