• Wed
  • Jul 23, 2014
  • Updated: 10:52am

Health bites

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 December, 2012, 11:03am

Down in the mouth

Poor oral hygiene could put more than just your teeth and gums at risk. Men who have inflamed gums caused by severe periodontal disease are three times more likely to suffer from erection problems, according to a study published in
Journal of Sexual Medicine. Researchers from Inonu University in Turkey compared 80 men aged 30 to 40 with erectile dysfunction with a control group of 82 men without erection problems. Slightly more than half the men with erectile dysfunction had inflamed gums, compared with 23 per cent in the control group. "Erectile dysfunction is a major public health problem that affects the quality of life of some 150 million men, and their partners, worldwide," says lead author Dr Faith Oguz. "Many studies have reported that chronic periodontitis may induce systemic vascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease, which have been linked with erection problems."

A hearty appetite

The combination of a heart-healthy diet and medication could help protect patients from recurrent heart attacks and strokes better than drugs alone. Researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada surveyed 31,546 adults (of an average age of 66.5) in 40 countries with cardiovascular disease or end organ damage. The subjects were asked about their dietary habits and lifestyle choices in the past 12 months. Nearly five years later, participants had experienced 5,190 cardiovascular events. Those who ate a heart-healthy diet had a: 35 per cent reduction in risk for cardiovascular death; 14 per cent reduction in risk for new heart attacks; 28 per cent reduction in risk for congestive heart failure; and 19 per cent reduction in risk for stroke.

Focus groups If you and your partner often have differing views, a new study from University of Bristol published in
PLoS One offers a scientific reason for this: men and women literally see things differently. Researchers examined where men and women looked while viewing still images from films and works of art. They found that while women made fewer eye movements than men, those they did make were longer and to more varied locations. These differences were largest when viewing images of people. With photos of heterosexual couples, both men and women preferred looking at the female figure. However, this preference was even stronger for women. While men were only interested in the faces of the two figures, women's eyes were also drawn to the rest of the bodies - in particular that of the female figure.

Scientists stem the flow

University of Cambridge scientists have found a way to make stem cells from a routine blood sample, offering an efficient alternative to making stem cells from skin and other tissues. The scientists hope these stem cells could one day treat cardiovascular disease. "Tissue biopsies are undesirable - particularly for children and the elderly - whereas taking blood samples is routine for all patients," says Dr Amer Rana. "Researchers can freeze and store the blood cells, and then turn them into induced pluripotent stem cells at a later stage, rather than having to transform them as soon as they are sourced, as is the case for other cell types used previously. This will have tremendous practical value - prolonging the "use by date" of patient samples."


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