Health bites

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 July, 2013, 9:07am

Women, listen to your heart

Coronary artery disease kills about as many women as men each year, yet the condition is overlooked in women due to higher rates at younger ages in men, according to a paper in Global Heart, the journal of the World Heart Federation. "Women have unique risk factors for [the disease], including those related to pregnancy and auto-immune disease. Trial data indicates that it should be managed differently in women," say the authors, from Ohio State University. Worldwide, 8.6 million women die from cardiovascular diseases each year, accounting for one-third of all deaths in women, but they are less likely to receive preventive recommendations - such as lipid-lowering therapy, aspirin and lifestyle advice - than men do at a similar risk level.

DNA breakthrough

A research team led by the University of Washington has developed a new method that can pinpoint a single DNA mutation, a finding that could help treat diseases such as cancer and tuberculosis. Just the slightest variation can be the root of a disease or the reason some diseases resist antibiotics. Compared to current methods, the researchers say their newly designed probes are markedly more sensitive and also robust to changes in temperature and other environmental variables, making it well suited for diagnostic applications in parts of the world with few medical resources. They have filed a patent on the technology and have published their findings in Nature Chemistry.

Mind your money

People with mental health problems are hit harder by recession, according to new research from King's College London. The scientists collected data in all European Union countries from more than 20,000 people in 2006 and again in 2010. That year, unemployment was 18.2 per cent for people with mental health problems and 9.8 per cent for those without. Compared to 2006, this was a 5.5 per cent increase for people with mental health problems compared to 2.7 per cent for those without. Published in PLOS ONE, the study also found that this gap in employment rates was even greater for men and for those with low levels of education. These subgroups are less likely to seek help and have more negative attitudes to mental health. They thus may require specific forms of assistance.