Today in Medicine: Vegetarians get more good news

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Vegetarian diets linked to reduced death rates
Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: More than 70,000 men and women
Results: In a study from Loma Linda University published online by JAMA Internal Medicine, vegetarian diets were associated with study subjects who lived longer.
Significance: Vegetarian diets have in the past been associated with a reduction in chronic illnesses like hypertension and metabolic syndrome.

Body may have natural STD defense
Location of study: New Zealand
Study subjects: Lab study
Results: According to a study in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, women have a natural bacterium that fights against one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world, trichomonas vaginalis. This parasite can cause trichomoniasis, a painful infection with itching and a discharge. The study, by researchers from the University of Auckland, looked into the role of lactobacilli in preventing the infection from binding to vaginal cells and causing full infection.
Significance: Reportedly, trichomonas vaginalis infects about 174 million people around the world annually.

Asthma’s effects on pregnancy
Location of study: Australia
Study subjects: Data
Results: New data published in the journal Respirology states that women with asthma are likely to experience more asthma severe symptoms if they become pregnant. Researchers looked at reduced immune and enhanced inflammatory responses to viral infections in asthmatic pregnant women, which continued six months after they gave birth. They found that cells were less able to initiate an immune response to combat the virus.
Significance: A healthy immune response is especially crucial during pregnancy. The indication of this study is that both mother and child are at greater risk of health problems when the mother has asthma.

Post-heart attack health risk
Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: Data
Results: Columbia University Medical Center researchers found that patients with post-traumatic stress disorder following a heart attack are at higher risk of further cardiac arrest or death if they suffer from sleep problems. PTSD is a common condition following a heart attack — 1 in 8 survivors have it.
Significance: Heart attack survivors who suffer from PTSD may have double the risk of another cardiac episode, or of dying within one to three years, compared with those without PTSD. Sleep deprivation heightens the risk.

 


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