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IN BRIEF --- Health Tips
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09:37, October 10, 2007

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New cancer drugs

A new class of drugs used to treat cancer might be effective at suppressing overactive immune systems in patients with autoimmune diseases like Crohn's disease, US researchers said on Sunday. "What we would be proposing would be a therapy that would enhance the body's own immune system's ability to regulate itself," said Wayne Hancock of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, whose study appears in the journal Nature Medicine.

Watch weight in menopause

Women going through menopause should pay special attention to their weight to avoid respiratory problems.

"After menopause, allergic and asthmatic complaints are almost double the level reported by women who are still menstruating," says professor Dieter Koehler of Germany's association for pneumology and respiratory medicine.

The onset of respiratory problems is linked to falling estrogen after monthly bleeding suspends, the association said, citing research conducted by Norwegian scientists.

Women who are especially thin or underweight are particularly affected by the problem, the association said. In those women the estrogen level after menopause sinks to an especially low level because their bodies store so little fat. However, the study showed that overweight, menopausal women also show poor lung function.

TB drug shortfalls

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and an international initiative launched a program on Monday to provide anti-tuberculosis drugs to people in poor countries who are unable to cover their full medical needs. The $26.8 million program will deliver drugs to around 750,000 people in 19 countries, covering their anti-tuberculosis drug needs for the rest of this year and 2008, the Stop TB Partnership, hosted by the WHO, and the UNITAID initiative said in a joint statement.

Belly fat ups cancer risk

Postmenopausal women who are overweight or obese appear to have a greater risk of developing renal cell carcinoma, a common form of kidney cancer, and study findings suggest that a larger waist girth and a history of weight loss and regain further increase this risk.

"Our study suggests that the risk of renal cell carcinoma can be lowered if overweight individuals lose excess central body fat and then maintain stable weight at a more desirable level," said Dr Juhua Luo, of Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Rodeo injuries preventable

The rough-and-tumble world of rodeo puts competitors at a high risk of injury, but better prevention efforts and a little less machismo might help, according to a new report. Among rodeo events, bull riding takes the greatest injury toll, but bareback riding, steer wrestling and calf roping carry significant risks as well, according to Dr Daniel J. Downey of Pioneer Medical Specialists in Dillon, Montana.

Eat fish while pregnant

Pregnant and breast-feeding women should eat at least 12 ounces (340 grams) of fish and other seafood a week because the benefits for infant brain development outweigh any worries about mercury contamination, a group of US experts said. The recommendations contradict US government warnings that these women should consume no more than 12 ounces of fish and other seafood weekly due to concerns that mercury - which can harm the nervous system of fetuses - might exist in trace amounts in this food.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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