Dementia: Single vaccine to treat Alzheimer’s as well as skin disease

British researchers have combined the tetanus vaccine with a viral particle that usually affects cucumbers, forming a compound that stimulates the immune system. 

Tests have both helped treat diseases like psoriasis and some allergies, while also raising antibody levels believed to help prevent forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s. 

Scientists are set to begin human trials of the vaccine, having received regulatory approval. 

They believe the study could help spare hundreds of thousands of people from the ravages of chronic disease.

The team, led by Dundee University’s Dr John Foerster and Oxford’s Prof Martin Bachmann, first took the protein coat of cucumber mosaic virus. 

They then incorporated a protein derived from the tetanus vaccine that is known to stimulate the body’s immune system. 

It is believed the new vaccine will be effective against many chronic diseases including psoriasis and Alzheimer’s. 

Mr Bachmann, Professor of Vaccinology at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, added: “Alzheimer’s disease usually develops in elderly people. 

“The fact that the vaccine described here is optimised for old individuals seems therefore particularly helpful.” 

As well as being preventative the vaccine can be therapeutic, meaning it can cure a disease such as psoriasis after it has already been established.

Antibodies for psoriasis currently need to be injected at least once a month and cost about £10,000 a year. 

A vaccine could offer a much more affordable treatment. 

Dr Foerster said: “The idea is pretty simple – by creating a vaccine that stimulates us to make antibodies... we can replace the need for frequent and expensive injections and make this type of treatment much more affordable and accessible to patients.” 

The paper has been published in the journal Nature Vaccines.



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Superfoods: These six CHEAP foods will help you lose weight, and improve your eyesight

The idea that junk food is cheaper than healthy and nutritious foods is a myth, according to online healthy food retailer Musclefood.com.

Shoppers may be surprised at the nutritional benefits of some fruit, vegetables and grains, it added.

“If you’re starting to feel the strain on your wallet, don’t immediately turn to cheap fatty foods,” said Musclefood.com’s Darren Beale.

“There are plenty of affordable options available that are as nutritional as they are cheap. You’ll soon realise that eating healthily on the cheap is easier than you might have first thought.”

Lentils

A bag of lentils costs 69p for 500g. They’re rich in potassium, calcium, zinc and vitamin K.

They’ve been proven to boost your immune system, and lower cholesterol.

Blood sugar levels could also be controlled by eating lentils.

Eggs

Eggs will leave you fuller for longer, for just £1.65 per dozen, the retailer said. 

The high protein helps to build muscle, while also easing muscle pain after a big workout.

You could even lose weight by eating eggs, as they’re a good source of vitamin D.

Avocado

Packed with carotenes and vitamin E, avocado could improve your eyesight.

It’s also been proven to lower bad cholesterol by about 22 per cent.

A pack of four would set you back about £1.80, and could be eaten with any meal.

Broccoli

A single broccoli costs about 43p for 350g, Musclefood.com said. 

It’s full of powerful antioxidants and fibres, and will help to improve your cardiovascular health.

Broccoli is also high in fibre, which has been linked to reducing cholesterol.

Oranges

Oranges could give your immune system a boost, as we head into cold and flu season.

Full of vitamin C, the fruit is also bursting with fibre and natural sugars to give you extra energy.

A bag of six oranges costs less than £1.

Almonds

A handful of almonds is “the ultimate superfood snack”, according to Musclefood.com.

They can help to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol for just £1.70 for 200g.

Almonds are high in protein, flavonoids, calcium, fibre and vitamin E.



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Arthritis symptoms: THIS £1 fruit could stop painful joint swelling

Pineapple contains enzymes that reduce joint inflammation and may help to ease some of the pain linked to both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The enzyme, bromelain, is found naturally in pineapple. It’s an anti-inflammatory, a pain killer and also prevents blood clots.

Patients’ joint pain was eased after taking just 160mg of bromelain daily, studies have revealed.

Eating fresh pineapple, or drinking pineapple juice, is best for relieving arthritic symptoms. Cooked pineapple has between 50 to 66 per cent less bromelain. Canning pineapple also destroys some of the anti-inflammatory enzymes.

Scientists investigated the link between bromelain and arthritis in a study of 90 osteoarthritis patients.

Half were given a 90mg supplement containing bromelain, while the other half were given the more common treatment, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

After six weeks, the enzyme supplement proved more effective at easing pain, stiffness and physical function, it was revealed.

A further, smaller, investigation analysed the supplement’s impact on rheumatoid arthritis.

Bromelain was given to 29 patients, 25 of which were rheumatoid arthritis patients.

The swelling was either significantly or completely reduced in 21 of the patients.

Pineapple is also rich in both vitamin C and vitamin D.

Vitamin C helps to repair proteins in the connective tissues that keep joints functioning properly.

Also, vitamin D helps the body to repair joint damage.

Eating more pineapple could also help to improve immunity. Its vitamins stimulate the body to create more white blood cells, that defend against the causes of flu.

Antioxidants in pineapple could also help to prevent cancers of the mouth, breast and throat, it was claimed.

About 10 million people in the UK have arthritis, including both the elderly and young children, according to the NHS.

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common types of arthritis.

Symptoms of the condition include joint pain and swelling, and restricted movement.

There is currently no cure for arthritis, but there are therapies that could slow down its development.

Therapies include NSAIDs, joint replacements, painkillers and physiotherapy.



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Sleepwalking: Sufferers have enhanced 'autopilot' that lets them move without thinking

Researchers made the discovery after testing the ability of sleepwalkers - somnambulists - to ignore distractions while performing a walking task.

A virtual reality technique was used to study sleepwalkers and non-sleepwalkers while they were awake.

Sleepwalkers' walking speed and accuracy was less affected by having to count backwards during the test, the scientists found.

Somnambulism affects 2-4 per cent of adults and has effects that range from small gestures to complex actions such as dressing, driving a car or playing a musical instrument while asleep.

Study leader Dr Oliver Kannape, a lecturer in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Central Lancashire, said: "Traditionally, little has been known about daytime markers of sleepwalking, mostly because of the difficulty in investigating this condition experimentally.

"Our research offers novel insight into this common sleep disorder and provides a clear scientific link between action monitoring, consciousness, and sleepwalking."

Participants wearing virtual reality headsets were asked to walk with an "avatar" towards a visual target, and then repeat the task while counting backwards in steps of seven.

At the same time, their walking speed and accuracy of movement were recorded.

Non-sleepwalkers slowed down significantly when having to count backwards, but sleepwalkers were not affected by the distraction, the study reported in the journal Current Biology showed.

Co-author Professor Olaf Blanke, head of the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, said: "We found that sleepwalkers continued to walk at the same speed, with the same precision as before and were more aware of their movements than non-sleepwalkers.

"The research is also a first in the field of action-monitoring, providing important biomarkers for sleepwalkers while they are awake."



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THIS mysterious condition affects millions more than MS - but you probably don't know it

Dementia signs: THIS garden weed could help reduce Alzheimer’s disease symptoms

Drinking common stinging nettles, as a tea, could help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, according to researchers.

The plant is rich in the mineral boron, which could increase the levels of oestrogen in the body.

A reduction of oestrogen has previously been linked to short-term memory loss.

Nettles could also boost the mood of some Alzheimer’s disease patients, researchers have claimed.

About two to three milligrams of boron is recommended daily.

A single serving of nettle tea would surpass the daily recommendation, according to ethnobotanist Dr James Duke.

Nettles also contain compounds that help to reduce inflammation, so it could be used as a treatment for arthritis, Duke added.

Stinging nettle tea could also help to relieve the symptoms of acne, eczema, diarrhoea, dysentery and cardiovascular diseases, it’s been claimed.

Other natural dementia treatments include coconut oil and cinnamon.

Coconut oil contains ketones, which help to rebuild the lining of brain nerves, improving cognitive communication, it’s been claimed.

The oil could also be used to treat ALS, epilepsy and autism, according to nutritionist Dr Bruce Fife.

Cinnamon extract can prevent dementia by stopping a protein in the brain from disintegrating, according to a study.

Dementia is a collection of symptoms that result from damage to the brain.

Symptoms vary depending on which part of the brain has been affected.

Common early signs of a neurological condition include memory loss, difficulty concentrating and struggling to follow a conversation.

As the condition develops, symptoms may include mobility problems, incontinence, difficulty communicating and depression.



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Breast cancer warning: Genetic varients that could increase your risk uncovered

Plague symptoms: Signs you could have DEADLY Black Death after Madagascar outbreak

There is currently an outbreak of both pneumonic and bubonic plague in Madagascar, according to The Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The plague is an infectious disease that’s spread by a bacteria found in small animals and their fleas.

Humans can become infected from flea bites, unprotected contact with other infected humans, or by simply breathing near the infected.

Untreated plague can be deadly, so early treatment with antibiotics is vital, said the World Health Organization (WHO).

Plague symptoms include sudden fevers, head and body aches, vomiting and nausea.

Bubonic plague - the most common form of plague - can causes inflamed lymph nodes, making them tense and painful.

As the condition worsens, the lymph nodes can turn into pussy, open sores.

The bubonic plague is transmitted to humans by infected fleas.

Pneumonic plague is usually caused by bubonic plague spreading into the lungs.

It’s the most contagious form of the plague, and can be spread by coming into contact with respiratory droplets from infected humans.

Symptoms of pneumonic plague includes bloody or pussy saliva, chest pain and coughing. It can also lead to organ failure and shock.

Without treatment, patients could die within 18 hours.

Diagnosing the plague requires lab testing of either blood, sputum, or pus from an inflamed lymph node.

If the plague is found early, the condition can be treated with antibiotics and supportive therapy.

The WHO recommends protecting against flea bites to avoid becoming infected with the plague. It also suggests avoiding animal carcasses, and not touching anyone suspected of infection.

Meanwhile, Brits planning on travelling to Madagascar should ensure they have the correct travel insurance to stay protected, and have emergency funds accessible to cover any surprise medical costs.



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Bacteria’s ‘Achilles heel’ could see the end of patients’ resistance to antibiotics

The vulnerable spot is an enzyme many bugs rely on to destroy common antibiotics known as beta-lactams.

New research has shown that the enzyme plays a more important role in antibiotic resistance than other mechanisms that act as a barrier to the drugs.

Scientists found that a combination of two enzyme-inhibitors and the antibiotic aztreonam was able to kill some of the most resistant bacteria known.

Aiming for the beta-lactamase enzyme could make it possible to reverse a "significant proportion" of antibiotic resistance, said the researchers.

Dr Matthew Avison, from the University of Bristol's School of Cellular & Molecular Medicine, said: "Our bacteriology research has further demonstrated that beta-lactamases are the real 'Achilles heel' of antibiotic resistance in bacteria that kill thousands of people in the UK every year.

"Structural/mechanistic work on beta-lactamase enzymes ... is helping to drive the discovery of wave after wave of beta-lactamase inhibitors, including the potentially game-changing bicyclic boronate class, shown to be effective in our research, and recently successful in Phase I clinical trials.

"This is an exciting time for researchers studying beta-lactamase inhibitors. At the risk of sounding like King Canute, it is the first time for a decade that there is some genuine positivity about our ability to turn back the rising tide of beta-lactam antibiotic resistance."

The research appears in two journals, the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy and Molecular Microbiology.



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Norovirus symptoms WARNING: Eating THIS could lead to winter vomiting bug

Oysters, mussels, scallops and clams could harbour the bug, according to Dr Roger Henderson.

The winter vomiting bug is the most common stomach bug in the UK. Between 600,000 and one million people will catch norovirus in the UK this year, it was estimated.

Shellfish eaters have been urged to avoid eating bivalve molluscs to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.

If eating out, the public has also been advised to make sure the restaurant has the highest food hygiene rating.

Dr Henderson said: “Norovirus is incredibly contagious and can be passed on through contact with an infected person, or contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.

“You can also get the virus from contaminated food and water, especially bivalve molluscs - oysters, mussels, clams, cockles and scallops.

“Avoid shellfish if there is an outbreak and if you’re eating out, make sure the restaurant has the highest level of food hygiene inspection score.”

The virus could also be passed from person to person on toilet seats and handles, Dr Henderson added.

Make sure you wash your hands regularly to lower your risk of getting norovirus, he said.

Wearing gloves when travelling on public transport will also help to ward off the bug.

If you become infected with norovirus, you shouldn’t prepare food for others until at least three days after the symptoms clear.

Most people recover from norovirus within a couple of days, and there is no specific treatment for the bug other than simply letting it run its course.

“Both vomiting and diarrhoea cause loss of water from the body,” said Dr Henderson. This means you need to drink plenty of liquids to replace lost fluids.

“Anti-diarrhoeal medicines, such as loperamide, can ease symptoms, while paracetamol can help aches and pains.”

Symptoms of norovirus include stomach cramps, fever, and aching limbs, as well as vomiting and diarrhoea.

Meanwhile, last week health officials warned the public to be vigilant against the winter vomiting bug.



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Mental health warning: THIS factor is linked to risk of early death in men and women

Mental health is the psychological and emotional wellbeing of a person and includes anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and post-natal depression. 

It is estimated one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

New research has found that depression, one of the most common types of mental health, is strongly linked to a higher risk of early death.

According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, there was a higher long-term risk of early death for both men and women with the condition.

“There is less stigma associated with depression, better treatments are available, but depression's link to mortality still persists," said Dr Stephen Gilman of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

“At first, the association was limited to men, but in later years it was seen for women as well."

The study began in 1952 and as known internationally as one of the first community-based studies on mental illness.

Researchers looked at 60 years of mental health data on 3410 adults during three periods - 1952 to 1967, 1968 to 1990 and 1991 to 2011.

They discovered that there was a link between depression and increased risk of death in men throughout all the decades.

However, the association only emerged in women from the 1990s.

Scientists suggest that because risk of death appeared strongest in the years following a depressive episode, the risk could be lowered by effectively treating depression.

"The lifespan for young adults with depression at age 25 was markedly shorter over the 60-year period, ranging from 10 to 12 fewer years of life in the first group, 4 to 7 years in the second group and 7 to 18 fewer years of life in the 1992 group," said Dr Ian Colman, from the University of Ottawa in Ontario.

“Most disturbing is the 50 per cent increase in the risk of death for women with depression between 1992 and 2011."

Depression has been linked to poorer diet, lack of exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption.

But the researchers said this did not explain increased risk of death in this case, suggesting that changes in modern society might be to blame.

“During the last 20 years of the study in which women's risk of death increased significantly, roles have changed dramatically both at home and in the workplace, and many women shoulder multiple responsibilities and expectations," said Dr Colman.

If you would like to speak to someone the Samaritans offer a safe place to talk.



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Postnatal depression: Mums 'less likely to suffer if have winter or spring baby'

But those who give birth in the summer or autumn, have a premature baby or a painful birth are more likely to suffer from the common depression US scientists suggested during the cold and wet winter and springs new mums get more help and support as they and their partners are cooped up indoors because the bad weather.

And having a baby born more towards full term means mothers are less worried as they have seen their unborn baby developing normally.

But not having an epidural may leave them traumatised by the pain or if they refuse anaesthesia may have underlying traits that make them more vulnerable to getting postnatal depression.

White women were also less likely to get it, but overweight or obese women were more prone to it.

Postnatal depression affects more than one in every 10 British women within a year of giving birth.

Many women suffer from the baby blues which leaves them feeling a bit down, tearful or anxious in the first week after giving birth but it usually disappears within a fortnight.

But postnatal depression symptoms can last longer or start later.

Dr Jie Zhou, of Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston said: "The symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD) include sadness, restlessness and/or agitation and decreased concentration.

"The prevalence of PPD is estimated at around 10 per cent, which results in negative personal and child developmental outcomes.

"Lots of physical, psychological and social factors may have influences on PPD.

"We wanted to find out whether there are certain factors influencing the risk of developing postpartum depression that may be avoided to improve women's health both physically and mentally," The study reviewed medical records of 20,169 women who delivered babies from June 2015 through August 2017. 

Of these 817 or 4.1 per cent women experienced PPD. While the study did not examine why certain factors might influence the development of PPD, Dr Zhou said: "In our study we found the following risk factors: gestational age, ethnicity, BMI of parturients and season had association with the incidence of PPD.

"About the influence of season on the incidence of PPD, it may be due to better care and more psychological support from other people in harsh weather situations."

He added the higher the gestational age, or the further along a woman is in her pregnancy, the more mature typically the baby will be at delivery.

He explained: "One possible reason for the observed association between gestational age and PPD is that as the gestational age increases, pregnant women intend to have better idea of how their foetuses are doing, 'it is expected that the mother will do better and be less mentally stressed when delivering a mature, healthy baby.'

"The significant difference in the risk of developing PPD between Caucasian and other populations may be due to differences in socioeconomic status among these ethnicities.

"While women with increased BMI needed more hospital-based maternal outpatient follow-ups and had more pregnancy-related complications, which could affect maternal outlook."

The study was presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists's Anesthesiology  2017 annual meeting in Boston.



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