Having hot tea every day may reduce your risk for blindness. Researchers have found that a daily cup reduces the risk for glaucoma, a disease in which a buildup of fluid in the eye can damage the optic nerve and lead to gradual vision loss. The study, in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, included 1,678 participants in a larger national health survey. Using photos of the optic disc and other diagnostic techniques, researchers recorded instances of glaucoma and correlated them with reports of beverage consumption over the previous year. They found that people who drank at least a cup of hot tea a day were 74 percent less likely to have glaucoma. This observational study does not prove causality, but the researchers write that tea contains phytochemicals and flavonoids with anti-inflammatory properties that may protect the optic nerve.
Xylitol and probiotics won’t help to soothe your sore throat
Xylitol, a popular sweetener in sugarless gum, and probiotics are sometimes recommended as remedies for sore throat, but a randomized trial has found that neither works better than a placebo. Researchers assigned 1,009 people with sore throats to one of three groups: no chewing gum, xylitol gum, or sorbitol gum without xylitol. Half of each group was also given capsules containing either probiotics (lactobacilli and bifidobacteria) or a placebo. Patients recorded the number of pieces of gum and capsules they consumed daily and the degree of pain, swallowing difficulty and other symptoms they had each day. No matter how the researchers made comparisons — probiotic vs. no probiotic; no gum vs. sorbitol; no gum vs. xylitol; xylitol vs. sorbitol — they could find no difference in pain or swallowing problems between the groups.
In public health triumph, annual measles deaths drop below 100,000
For the first time ever, annual worldwide deaths from measles have fallen below 100,000, the World Health Organization announced. As recently as the 1980s, measles killed 2.6 million people a year. The decline — a public health triumph, as measles has long been a leading killer of malnourished children — was accomplished by widespread donor-supported vaccination that began in the early 2000s. The estimated number of deaths fell to 89,780 in 2016, but the figure was released by the WHO this year. Since 2000, 5.5 billion doses of the measles vaccine have been given out, according to Gavi, the organization through which most donors support the vaccination effort. Many developing countries that first rolled out vaccines in mass campaigns with donor help are now buying their own for routine immunization.
New York Times