Health Watch - July 2018
INSOMNIA PASSED ON
Children of insomniac mothers often fall asleep later at night, have shorter sleepÂ and enjoy fewer hoursâ€™ deep sleep, report specialists at Warwick and Basel Universities. They found this pattern compromisedÂ mental health, learning, memory and school achievement. The effects appeared unrelated to fathersâ€™ sleep habits because mothers generally spend more time with offspring, creating a stronger mutual influence. Precise reasons given are that children learn parental sleep habits. Family malfunctioning, including conflict, can prevent parents and children from sleeping well. Some insomniac parents spoil their childrenâ€™s sleep quality by increased monitoring, and some children share parentsâ€™ genes predisposing them to poor sleep.
Breath samples are being collectedÂ for analysis in a three-year sarcoidosis investigation at Manchester University. The disease, in which inflammatory cells gather into lumps, is thought to follow the immune systemâ€™s over-reaction to a substanceÂ in inhaled air. Dr Steven Fowler expectsÂ the results to shed light on many issues, including the cause of sarcoidosis, the role of lung infection and inflammation, andÂ the effectiveness of treatment. Dr Fowler, backed with Â£120,000 from the charity Sarcoidosis UK, said: â€œWhilst the analysisÂ of these samples is complex, the collection procedure itself is very simple, and would offer significant advantages compared with current methods of sampling the lungs.â€
GENES BEHIND FITS
Genetic factors were found to be theÂ cause epilepsy in 40% of seizure patients evaluated at a Chicago childrenâ€™s hospital, and testing gave specific diagnoses in 25 per cent of children with epilepsy from otherwise unknown sources. Dr Anne Berg, whose team used data on 775 children suffering seizures before they were three, said: â€œThis could be a game-changer... Identifying the precise cause of a childâ€™sÂ epilepsy as soon as possible would helpÂ us choose the most effective treatment to control seizures early on, which is important for healthier brain development.â€Â
Cardiologists are studying diet, blood samples and toenail clippings from tens of thousands of volunteers in an investigation into arsenic, which carries a known heart disease risk. The Cambridge University team are concentrating on the arsenic that comes from water deep underground and enters drinking water and foods including rice. The study covers the potential effects of arsenic combined with air pollution and other toxic metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium.
STATINS FOR EYES
The role of statins in treating age-related macular degeneration is being investigated at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. Specialists think statins could prevent, delay or reverse the condition as they reduce the fats in the yellow spots under the retina that increase AMD risk. Ophthalmologist Praveen Patel is conducting a patient survey and will use the findings to guide the statin research.
SEAWEED HELPS TO HEAL
An injectable â€œbandageâ€ has been created to stop bleeding and promote healing. Researchers at Texas A&M University found clotting in wounds could be acceleratedÂ by tiny silica particles acting with kappa- carrageenan, a polysaccharide in red edible seaweed normally used as a food gel. A modified version promoted tissue regeneration and healing. The team believes the gel could help accident victims and wounded soldiers.