10 health AMARAVATI | MONDAY 23 JULY 2018 Pregnancy history may be tied to Alzheimer's disease W omen, take note. Your history of pregnancy may affect the risk of Alzheimer's disease decades later, a new study has found. The study, published in journal Neurology, found that women who give birth to ﬁve or more children may be more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than women who have fewer births. "Estrogen levels double by the eighth week of pregnancy before climbing to up to 40 times the normal peak level," said co-author Ki Woong Kim frrom the Seoul National University. "If these results are conﬁrmed in other populations, it is possible that these ﬁndings could lead to the development of hormone-based preventive strategies for Alzheimer's disease based on the hormonal changes in the ﬁrst trimester of pregnancy," Kim added. For the study, the researchers combined the data from two independent populationbased studies with a total of 3,549 women. Women -- who were an average age of about 71 at the start of the study -- provided information on their reproductive history. They took the diagnostic examination after an average of 46 years from their ﬁrst childbirth. During that time, the participants took tests of their memory and thinking skills to see whether they had developed Alzheimer's disease or its precursor, mild cognitive impairment. The study found that a total of 118 women developed Alzheimer's disease and 896 women developed mild cognitive impairment. The researchers also found that women who had given birth to ﬁve or more children were 70 per cent more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than women who gave birth to fewer children. Women who had experienced an incomplete pregnancy were about half as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease as women who had never had an incomplete pregnancy. Of the 2,375 women who had an incomplete pregnancy, 47 developed Alzheimer's disease, compared to 71 of the 1,174 women who never had an incomplete pregnancy, they added. Greening vacant lots can reduce depression in urban areas G reening sidewalks, parks and vacant or dilapidated spaces could be an important and inexpensive tool to help address the rising cases of depression, anxiety and stress in urban communities, suggests a study. "Dilapidated and vacant spaces are factors that put residents at an increased risk of depression and stress and may explain why socioeconomic disparities in mental illness persist," said lead author Eugenia South, Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the US. "Greening vacant land is a highly inexpensive and scalable way to improve cities and enhance people's health... while mental health therapies will always be a vital aspect of treatment. Revitalizing the places where people live, work and play may have broad, population-level impact on mental health outcomes," added Charles Branas, Professor at the varsity. In an experiment, published in JAMA Network Open, the research team measured the mental health of 342 Philadelphia residents before and after 541 vacant lots had been converted into green spaces as well as residents living near untreated abandoned lots, and those that just received trash clean-up. They found that people living within a quarter of a mile radius of greened lots had a 41.5 per cent decrease in feelings of depression compared to those who lived near the lots that had not been cleaned. Those living near green lots also experienced a nearly 63 per cent decrease in self-reported poor mental health compared to those living near lots that received no intervention. "What these new data show us is that making structural changes, like greening lots, has a positive impact on the health of those living in these neighbourhoods. And that it can be achieved in a cost-effective and scalable way," Branas said. In neighbourhoods below the poverty line, the feelings of depression among residents who lived near green lots decreased signiﬁcantly by more than 68 per cent. "The ﬁndings support that exposure to more natural environments can be part of restoring mental health, particularly for people living in stressful and chaotic urban environments," the researchers said. Antibiotics most frequently prescribed medicine worldwide T he increased over-thecounter supply of antibiotics in many countries including India, is worsening antibiotic resistance globally, finds a study highlighting an urgent need for better enforcement of laws. The study found that between 2000 and 2010, the consumption of antibiotics increased globally from 50 billion to 70 billion standard units. A majority of overall increase occurred in India, China, Brazil, Russia and South Africa. "This overuse of antibiotics could facilitate the development and spread of antibiotic resistance. In India, for example, about 57,000 neonatal sepsis deaths occurring annually are due to an- tibiotic-resistant infections," said Emmanuel Adewuyi, from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. It accounts for more than two million infections and 23,000 deaths annually in the US, and around 25,000 deaths in Europe each year. "Reliable estimates of the burden of antibiotic-resistant infections in developing countries are lacking but it is believed to cause many more deaths in these countries," Adewuyi added. For the study, published in The Journal of Infection, the team analysed studies from 24 countries. The study found that antibiotics supplied without prescrip- tion were largely for the treatment of acute and self-limited conditions such as upper respira- tory tract infections and gastroenteritis. "Many were also broad-spectrum antibiotics like amoxicillin, azithromycin and others which increase the risk of development of difficult-to-treat infections like the deadly methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus," Adewuyi said. "Such practice not only predisposes patients to inappropriate drug and dose choices, it portends great risks for the development and spread of resistant organisms, masking of diagnosis as well as delayed hospital admissions," said Asa Auta from the University of Central Lancashire in Britain. "Considering most countries have laws prohibiting over-thecounter sales of antibiotics, there is a need to ensure such laws are more strictly enforced where appropriate," Adewuyi noted.
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