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More evidence smoking shortens life and rage raises heart attack risk

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 March, 2015, 6:13am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 March, 2015, 6:13am

Smokers 'will die earlier'

A large Australian study shows that up to two in every three smokers will die from their habit if they don't give it up. The research, published last week in the journal BMC Medicine, is the result of a four-year analysis of health outcomes from more than 200,000 men and women in Australia. "We found smokers have around three-fold the risk of premature death of those who have never smoked. We also found [they] will die [about] 10 years earlier than non-smokers," says lead author Professor Emily Banks, a researcher at the Australian National University.

Quick test for Ebola

A new device from MIT researchers could speed up the time it takes to diagnose Ebola from a day or two to just 10 minutes. The device is a simple paper strip similar to a pregnancy test that can also diagnose other viral haemorrhagic fevers such as yellow fever and dengue fever.

Currently, the only way to diagnose Ebola is to send blood samples to a lab that can perform advanced techniques such as polymerase chain reaction, which can detect genetic material from the Ebola virus (below). The researchers hope to obtain US Food and Drug Administration approval to begin using the device in outbreak areas.

Anger can trigger heart attack University of Sydney research reveals the risk of a heart attack is 8.5 times higher in the two hours following a burst of intense anger. In the study, "anger" was qualified as five and above on a one to seven scale, referring to "very angry, body tense, clenching fists or teeth", up to "enraged, out of control, throwing objects". Anger below this level was not associated with increased risk. The data also revealed that high levels of anxiety were associated with a 9.5-fold increased risk of triggering a heart attack in the two hours after the anxiety episode. "Increased risk following intense anger or anxiety is most likely due to increased heart rate, blood pressure, tightening of blood vessels and increased clotting, all associated with triggering heart attacks," says lead author Dr Thomas Buckley.