2011 – a good year for health

2012-01-03 10:56

Highlights of health-related research findings in 2011:

Home-grown seaweed could be the answer to breast cancer
Research by an East London pharmacist, Michael Knott, discovered new types of compounds in a South African seaweed that displayed good anti-cancer activity on breast cancer cells.

Knott presented his research and findings to the 7th European Conference on Marine Natural Products in Sweden in August. Now the world looks to the local scientists for a possible cure for breast cancer.

IUDs may reduce risk of cervical cancer
A European study found that intrauterine devices (IUDs) used to prevent unwanted pregnancies might also help protect against cervical cancer.

The study found that women who use IUDs were at a lower risk of developing cervical cancer than women who had never used one.

Steroids can reduce cluster headaches

A study conducted by the Emergency Headache Centre in Paris found that cortivazol injections (steroids) could relieve cluster headaches rapidly in patients having frequent daily attacks.

Safety and tolerability was still to be confirmed in larger studies.

Vitamin D can fight TB

A study conducted by US researchers found that vitamin D can activate the immune systems response to tuberculosis.

Findings showed that vitamin D, which comes from the sun, played a key role in producing a molecule called cathelicidin, which helps the immune system kill the tuberculosis bacteria.

Can hormonal birth control increase risk of HIV infection in women?
Many questions remain unanswered about the link between hormonal birth control and HIV. But a study presented at the International Aids Society Conference in Rome, found that women who took hormonal contraceptives were at a greater risk of acquiring HIV and transmitting it to their male partners than women who did not take hormonal contraceptives.

More studies were under way to establish the association between hormonal contraceptive use and HIV infection.

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