Friday, October 11, 2013

How living near an airport could shorten your life: High levels of aircraft noise 'increase chances of dying from a stroke or heart disease'

Utter rubbish.  Poor people are more likely to have to live in noisy areas and they are less healthy anyway

Living near an airport may increase your chances of dying from stroke, heart and circulatory disease, according to a study.

Those exposed to high levels of aircraft noise are up to a fifth more likely to need hospital treatment for, or die from, such diseases, it found.

Researchers say the noise may trigger a stress hormones response, which raises blood pressure, or disturb people’s sleep. They have called for further research, particularly into night flights.

The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, come amid controversy over expansion of Heathrow and other airports to increase UK flight capacity.

Scientists at Imperial College London and King’s College London carried out a study looking at a population of 3.6million living near Heathrow in west London.

They compared data on day and night-time aircraft noise, with hospital admissions and mortality rates.

This showed the risks of life-threatening conditions were around 10 to 20 per cent higher in areas with highest levels of aircraft noise – covering around 70,000 people – compared with areas with least noise.

The researchers looked at noise levels from 2001, provided by the Civil Aviation Authority, and hospital admissions and deaths from 2001-05.

They took into account other factors linked to heart disease, such as social deprivation, ethnic composition, road traffic noise, air pollution and lung cancer rates.

For example, South Asian ethnicity, which is known to carry higher risks of heart disease, accounted for a large part of the association between heart disease admissions and noise levels due to a high population in the area of looked at.

The study covered 12 London boroughs and nine districts outside London where aircraft noise exceeds 50 decibels – about the volume of a normal conversation in a quiet room.

Study leader Dr Anna Hansell, from Imperial, said: ‘The exact role that noise exposure may play in ill health is not well established.  'However, it is plausible that it might be contributing, for example by raising blood pressure or by disturbing people’s sleep.’

Senior author Professor Paul Elliott pointed out that poor diet, smoking, lack of exercise and medical conditions such as raised blood pressure and diabetes all have a bigger impact on heart disease – doubling and tripling the risk.

But he added: ‘Our study raises important questions about the potential role of noise on cardiovascular health.’

However, Kevin McConway, professor of applied statistics at The Open University, said: ‘Within an area, these studies can’t tell us whether it’s the people most affected by aircraft noise who are most likely to get heart disease or have a stroke.

‘So the studies can’t directly tell us whether it is the aircraft noise that is affecting individual people’s chances of these diseases.’


Liquorice slows skins cancer cells: Compound found in root could hold key to beating most lethal form of the disease

Laboratory glassware findings only

Liquorice could hold the key to beating the most lethal form of skin cancer, scientists have discovered.  Research carried out in the US has identified a compound found in liquorice root which slowed the growth of cancer cells during laboratory tests.

Now they hope the tumour-busting compound can be developed into a new drug to combat malignant melanoma.

Previous studies have found liquorice contains an anti-cancer chemical called glycyrrhizin.

But attempts to turn it into a medicine have been hampered by the fact that long-term consumption of glycyrrhizin can cause high blood pressure and even swelling on the brain.

But experts at the University of Minnesota in the US have now found another ingredient - called Isoangustone A - which has the same benefits but without the dangerous side-effects.

Malignant melanoma kills around 1,700 people a year in the UK and is the third most common cancer in people aged 15 to 39.

Over-exposure to the sun’s rays is the biggest cause and since the mid-1990s there has been a 24 per cent increase in cases.

The disease has historically had a very high death rate as the cancer has often spread by the time patients seek help.

Recently new drugs have emerged that appear to halt the spread of tumours by ‘resetting’ the immune system so that it is able to attack malignant cells.

In the latest research, scientists extracted Isoangustone A from liquorice root and applied it to skin cancer cells in the laboratory.

The compound slowed down the rate at which melanoma cells reproduce, partly by blocking the release of certain proteins needed for them to flourish.

When the scientists gave the extract to mice with skin cancer, it had the same effect - suppressing growth of the tumour.

Liquorice is already a popular remedy for cold sores. A balm made from the root can reduce the severity of outbreaks.

But too much liquorice can be harmful. A Scottish study found children born to women who ate over 100 grammes a week during pregnancy performed worse in intelligence tests at school and the harmful compound glycyrrhizin was blamed.

In a report on their findings, published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, scientists said: ‘Liquorice root is known to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects.

We found Isoangustone A suppressed the proliferation of human melanoma cells and provides the basis for the potential development of a new agent.’


No comments: