Monday, 14 January 2013

News in brief

Birth defects linked to pollutants and smoking

Congenital birth defects  are linked to risk factors such as drinking alcohol, smoking, and exposure to heavy pollutionand pesticides, a Shaanxi study has found.  However, a new program that encourages women to take folic acid around conception and pregnancy was associated with a 50% lower rate of birth defects.
SourcePLOS One

Chinese media promotes dodgy stem cell treatment

Chinese newspaper reporting of unproven Stem Cell treatments is inaccurate, overly positive, heavily influenced by “interested” treatment providers and focused on the therapeutic uses of stem cells to address the health needs of the local population. There is a need to counterbalance providers’ influence on media reporting through strategies that encourage media uptake of accurate information about stem cell research and treatments.
Source: Stem Cell Reviews and Reports

Stroke rates increases dramatically in China

The annual rate of stroke and stroke-related death in China has increased at dramatic rate. Stroke is also much more common in rural China than in urban China and Western countries. Hypertension and lipid disorder were important modifiable risk factors. The primary sub-type of stroke observed in rural China was ischemic stroke. These findings underscored the need for more aggressive efforts to control the risk factors of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases in rural areas.
Source: International Journal of Stroke

Obesity linked to allergic diseases

Obesity is link to the the presence of allergic diseases in Chinese adults. Specifically, obesity is significantly associated with atopic dermatitis and rhinitis. The study researchers say their findings warrant further investigation on the causal nature between obesity and atopic diseases and the effect of weight reduction on preventing atopic diseases.
Source: BMC Public Health

Rapid syphilis testing welcomed by sex workers

Free rapid syphilis testing  at sex venues is well accepted by female sex workers as part of outreach services, say researchers from the National Center for STD Control, Nanjing. Programs like this provide excellent opportunities for expanding syphilis screening efforts among specific subgroups of female sex workers who are difficult to reach through clinic-based programs, they say.
Source: PLOS One

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