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Asthma-causing microbes contaminate e-cigarettes: Study

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Popular electronic cigarette products were contaminated with bacterial and fungal toxins linked with myriad health problems, including asthma, a Harvard study said.

The study, which examined 75 popular e-cigarette products – cartridges (single use) and e-liquids (refillable material) – found that 27 per cent contained traces of endotoxin, a microbial agent found on Gram-negative bacteria, and that 81 per cent contained traces of glucan, which is found in the cell walls of most fungi.

Exposure to these microbial toxins has been associated with myriad health problems in humans, including asthma, reduced lung function, and inflammation, according to the study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

 

“Airborne Gram-negative bacterial endotoxin and fungal-derived glucans have been shown to cause acute and chronic respiratory effects in occupational and environmental settings,” said David Christiani, a professor at Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health.

“Finding these toxins in e-cigarette products adds to the growing concerns about the potential for adverse respiratory effects in users,” Christiani said in a statement.

The use of e-cigarettes has been steadily climbing in recent years, especially among high school and middle school students. It is estimated that more than three million high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018, up from 220,000 in 2011.

The research shows that chemicals linked with severe respiratory disease are found in common e-cigarette flavours.

Moreover, research has shown chronic lung impairment in populations exposed to airborne biological contaminants. Yet, according to the authors, no research exists on the potential contamination of e-cigarettes with microbes or microbial toxins.

For this study, the researchers selected 37 e-cigarette cartridges, sometimes referred to as “cigalikes,” and 38 e-liquid products, which can be used to refill certain cartridges, from the 10 top-selling US brands.

The products were classified into four different flavor categories: tobacco, menthol, fruit, and other. All of the products were then screened for the presence of endotoxin and glucan.

The findings showed that 17 of 75 products (23 per cent) contained detectable concentrations of endotoxin and that 61 of 75 products (81 per cent) contained detectable concentrations of glucan.

Further analysis showed that cartridge samples had 3.2 times higher concentrations of glucan than the e-liquid samples.

What caused Air India’s flight delays

Glucan concentrations were also significantly higher in tobacco- and menthol-flavored products than in fruit-flavoured products.

The study also found that endotoxin concentrations were higher in fruit-flavored products, indicating that raw materials used in the production of flavors might be a source of microbial contamination.

The researchers noted that the contamination of the products could have occurred at any point during the production of the ingredients or of the finished e-cigarette product.

They hypothesised that cotton wicks used in e-cigarette cartridges may be one potential source of contamination, as both endotoxin and glucan are known contaminants of cotton fibres.


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Health

Never ignore the common signs of A Heart Attack in Women

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Every person knows the common signs of Heart attack is chest pain. It’s not like how it is shown in movies where a man is shown gasping for breath, clutches his chest and falls on the ground. When it comes to real life, the symptoms of heart attack are more than just pain in the chest. Yes, chest pain is a symptom of heart attack, but there are other subtle signs of cardiovascular problems, which are important to know. As per studies, women do mostly feel chest pain when they suffer from a cardinal problem, there are few other signs you should be cautious about. If these signs are overlooked then it can even turn fatal.

The common signs of a heart attack one should not ignore in women

  1. Do you feel uncomfortable pressure in your chest?

One of the most common signs of a Heart attack in women. If you are feeling pressure and tightness around your chest, then ask for help. Pain can happen anywhere in the chest, it is not necessary to be the middle of the heart. Do not brush off the situation just because the pain is on the left side.

 
  1. Breathing Difficulty

Uneasiness and difficulty in breathing is another sign of heart attack in Women. If you are not able to catch your breath and move around even a little bit, then it is an indicator that something is not right with your heart.

  1. Sweating

Sweating on a sunny day or due to intense workout is normal, but if it is random then you should immediately call someone for help. Profuse and sudden sweating can be a sign of a cardiovascular problem. This sign is easily confused with night sweats or hot flashes, which is common with age Overlooking this can be dangerous for you.

  1. pain experienced in both the arms

It is not necessary that pain be experienced only in the chest or in the middle of the heart. At times it can even be on the left or right arm, or even in the upper abdomen. It is important to note that any type of pain above the waist could be due to a heart problem. The pain could be irregular or intense

  1. The most common sign Dizziness

Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms in women. These signs of a heart attack are mostly confused with food poisioned or gastrointestinal issues. But if you are experiencing nausea and vomiting along with pain in the upper part of the body, then it is time immediately rush to the hospital.

  1. Exhaustion

One feels very exhausted, but just like other signs of heart attack, if you feel excessively tired than usual then you get yourself checked. You would actually feel overwhelmed and would not be able to perform any other activity. This sign is often mistaken for anxiety. If you suddenly feel fatigued and uneasy then speak to your practitioner.

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Health

Cutting screen time may reverse sleep problems in teens

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Limiting exposure to blue-light emitting devices such as phones and laptops in the evening for just a week can help teenagers improve their sleep quality and reduce symptoms of fatigue, lack of concentration and bad mood, a study has found.

Recent studies have indicated that exposure to too much evening light, particularly the blue light emitted from screens on smartphones, tablets and computers can affect the brain’s clock and the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, resulting in disrupted sleep time and quality.

The lack of sleep does not just cause immediate symptoms of tiredness and poor concentration but can also increase the risk of more serious long-term health issues such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

 

Other studies have suggested that sleep deprivation related to screen time may affect children and adolescents more than adults, but no studies have fully investigated how real-life exposure is affecting sleep in adolescents at home and whether it can be reversed.

Researchers from Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience, the Amsterdam UMC and the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, investigated the effects of blue light exposure on adolescents at home.

Those who had more than four hours per day of screen time had on average 30 minutes later sleep onset and wake up times than those who recorded less than one hour per day of screen time, as well as more symptoms of sleep loss.

The team conducted a randomised controlled trial to assess the effects of blocking blue light with glasses and no screen time during the evening on the sleep pattern of 25 frequent users.

Both blocking blue light with glasses and screen abstinence resulted in sleep onset and wake up times occurring 20 minutes earlier, and a reduction in reported symptoms of sleep loss in participants, after just one week.

“Adolescents increasingly spend more time on devices with screens and sleep complaints are frequent in this age group,” said Dirk Jan Stenvers from the Amsterdam UMC.

“Here we show very simply that these sleep complaints can be easily reversed by minimising evening screen use or exposure to blue light,” Stenvers said.

“Based on our data, it is likely that adolescent sleep complaints and delayed sleep onset are at least partly mediated by blue light from screens,” he said.

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Health

Common chemicals can increase risk of metabolic disorders

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Do you know that your everyday exposure to everyday harmful chemicals can land you into serious trouble?

A recent study has found that people exposed to chemicals called Phthalates, increasing the risk of metabolic disorders. The study was discussed in the meeting, ‘ECE 2019’. Researchers found a correlation between levels of phthalate exposure and markers of impaired liver function, which are indicators of increased risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

These findings suggest that more actions may need to be taken to reduce people’s exposure to these potentially harmful, yet commonly used chemicals. Phthalates are common additives used in manufacturing to produce plastics and they can be found in numerous everyday items including milk, bottled water, instant coffee, perfume, makeup, shampoo, toys and food packaging.

 

Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals has previously been implicated in causing serious harm to fertility and development, as well as increased obesity risk in rodents and people.

However, no studies have directly investigated how Phthalate exposure is associated with obesity and metabolism. In this study, Professor Milica Medi Stojanoska, one of the researchers correlated the levels of Phthalate absorbed by people with their body weight, type 2 diabetes incidence and markers of impaired liver and metabolic function.

Higher exposure to the chemical was associated with increased markers of liver damage, insulin resistance and cholesterol in people with obesity and diabetes.

Prof Stojanoska says, “Although a small association study, these findings suggest that not only do phthalates alter metabolism to increase the risk of obesity and diabetes but that they are also causing toxic damage to the liver.”

Prof Stojanoska’s research is now looking at the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on human health in adults, adolescents and babies.

“We need to inform people about the potential adverse effects of endocrine disruptors on their health and look at ways to minimise our contact with these harmful chemicals,” adds the professor.

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