Health briefs

  • Updated: May 23, 2014 - 9:04 PM
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** FILE ** This undated handout file photo provided by the Agriculture Department shows an aedes aegypti mosquito on human skin. Old mosquitoes usually spread disease, so Australian researchers figured out a way to make the pests die younger - naturally, not poisoned. Scientists have been racing to genetically engineer mosquitoes to become resistant to diseases like malaria and dengue fever that plague millions around the world, as an alternative to mass spraying of insecticides. (AP Photo/USDA, File) ORG XMIT: MIN2013061120564103 ORG XMIT: MIN1306112058505915

Diabetes: Fewer meals trump many

For people with Type 2 diabetes, eating two large meals a day may be better than consuming the same number of calories in six small meals. Czech researchers randomly assigned 54 diabetics ages 30 to 70 to a 12-week diet of either two or six meals a day. The differences were not dramatic, but compared with those eating six meals a day, those who ate just breakfast and lunch reduced their weight and waist circumference. Those eating fewer meals also had improved fasting glucose levels, lower liver fat content and better insulin sensitivity. Lead author, Dr. Hana Kahleova of the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague said: “We confirmed the ancient proverb, eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” The study appears online in Diabetologia.

Dengue Fever fears for World Cup

Public health authorities are worried about a confluence of events set to happen soon: Brazil is suffering the world’s worst epidemic of dengue fever, with 1.4 million cases last year. And the country is about to play host to the World Cup, which attracts tourists by the millions. Officials fear some will carry the virus back to their home countries, where it can be spread if they are bitten by mosquitoes from the genus Aedes. The tournament lasts from June 12 to July 13 in a dozen cities. Dengue, also called “break-bone fever,” is caused by several related viruses. It causes fever, rash, pain in the head, bones, joints and muscles.

ssri shows promise for alzheimer’s

Research shows a common antidepressant may cut production of one of the chief suspects behind Alzheimer’s, a new avenue in the hunt for drugs to prevent the devastating brain disease. It’s far too early for anyone worried about dementia to try the drug citalopram, which sells as the brand Celexa — and comes with side effects. “This is not the great new hope. This is a small step,” cautioned Dr. Yvette Sheline of the University of Pennsylvania, who is leading the research with Dr. John Cirrito of Washington University in St. Louis. Alzheimer’s is characterized by sticky plaques that form in patients’ brains 10 to 15 years before the first memory symptoms are noticed. Scientists have tried treatments to clear away those plaques, but with no success yet. The new study is beginning to explore whether it’s possible to slow the plaque from building up by altering the body’s production of amyloid.

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