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Your quick rundown of the health news that’s fascinating the world today.
Antibiotic resistance breakthrough
Antibiotic resistance is a global health threat that could have some very serious consequences. Experts warn that within two decades, risk of infection could make even the most routine surgeries, like hip replacements, life-threatening. Before antibiotics, childbirth, pneumonia and basic skin infections were often deadly, while ear infections and sore throats could be followed by deafness and heart failure. So we can only imagine what bacteria’s increasing resistance to antibiotics could mean for the world’s health (you can read more here).
However, English scientists claim they have made a breakthrough that could stop one of the three major groups of bacteria from developing that resistance. The researchers have discovered how the bug that causes E.coli and salmonella builds a membrane that defends against attacks from the human immune system and medication. They believe that within a few years, a drug can be developed to specifically target the molecules within this barrier, thus exposing the bacteria cell inside. (Read more at The Independent.)
Scientists discover birth protein
A group of Australian researchers appear to have discovered the process that causes a pregnant body to go into labour.
According to a study published today in the journal Nature Communications, the body produces a protein in the lead-up to childbirth that “switches on” the uterus’ ability to contract. This discovery could lead to the development of medication to induce labour in overweight or obese women, as their bodies don’t produce enough of the protein molecule to spark this natural chain reaction. For this reason, these expectant mothers don’t respond as well to current methods of induction, and often require caesarian sections.
The findings, which resulted from a 20-year research project, could also help to prevent premature births. (via The Daily Mail)
Women with depression have higher heart attack risk
Heart disease is the single biggest killer of Australian women – now, new research suggests a possible reason for its prevalence among young and middle-aged women.
A US study has found women younger than 55 who have depression are twice as likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease. Furthermore, women in this age group are more likely than men or older women to develop depression in the first place.
“We have known for some time that heart disease is actually the number one killer in women, and that heart disease does start at an early age,” Dr Amit Shah told WebMD. “And it could be that younger women have neurobiological differences or hormonal differences that make them respond to acute mental stress differently than men or older women.”
The associated between depression and an elevated risk of death from heart disease was not observed among men or women over 55.