Friday , 19 January 2018
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Scientists unravel link between alchohol and cancer

Think twice about that frothy, bubbly alcohol you consume as scientists have issued a new warning about its health effects by unravelling the linkage between it and cancer.

Alcohol damages the DNA of stem cells responsible for producing new blood, according to a mouse study which may explain the link between drinking and cancer, scientists said on Wednesday.

Health watchdogs have long warned that alcohol consumption contributes to seven types of cancer — of the mouth, throat, larynx or voice box, oesophagus or food pipe, breast, liver and bowel.

What was not well understood was: how?

For the new study, published in the science journal Nature, researchers gave lab mice diluted alcohol, known chemically as ethanol.

They then used chromosome and DNA analysis to examine genetic damage caused by acetaldehyde, a chemical produced when the body processes alcohol.

“They found that acetaldehyde can break and damage DNA within blood stem cells, leading to rearranged chromosomes and permanently altering the DNA sequences within these cells,” Cancer Research UK, which helped fund the research, said in a statement.

“It is important to understand how the DNA blueprint within stem cells is damaged because when healthy stem cells become faulty, they can give rise to cancer.”

DNA damage can lead to cell death, but can also trigger the body’s natural repair mechanisms. However, if the DNA is repaired incorrectly, it can lead to cancer.

“While some damage occurs by chance, our findings suggest that drinking alcohol can increase the risk of this damage,” said lead author Ketan Patel of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.

The team also examined how the body fights against alcohol damage using a family of enzymes called ALDH, which turn acetaldehyde into acetate, which cells can use as energy.

Millions of people — particularly from Southeast Asia — either lack these enzymes or carry faulty versions, said the team. And mice lacking ALDH, given alcohol, suffered four times as much DNA damage.

“Our study highlights that not being able to process alcohol effectively can lead to an even higher risk of alcohol-related DNA damage and therefore certain cancers,” said Patel.

It may be a contributor to an “extremely high prevalence” of throat cancer in countries such as China, commented Malcolm Alison of the Queen Mary University of London, who was not involved in the study.

Commentators welcomed the paper’s contribution to the knowledge base.

“This is beautiful work, which puts our finger on the molecular basis for the link between alcohol and increased cancer risk and stem cells. Very important,” said Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz of the University of Cambridge.

Common blood pressure drug raises skin cancer risk

A new study, led by Danish-based researchers, shows that one of the most popular drugs used worldwide in the treatment of hypertension raises the risk of skin cancer by seven times.

Hydrochlorothiazide users may be at a much higher risk of developing skin cancer, according to new research.

The study was led by Anton Pottegård, associate professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, and the findings were published in the Journal of the American Association of Dermatology.

Pottegård and colleagues examined the link between the common drug hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) and the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer.

HCTZ is a popular diuretic used to treat water retention and high blood pressure . In fact, according to some studies , it is “the most commonly prescribed antihypertensive drug worldwide.”

The researchers were prompted in their endeavor by the fact that HCTZ has been linked with an increased risk of lip cancer in the past. In fact, a study led by Pottegård attributed 11 percent of lip cancer cases to the drug.

Moreover, HCTZ, the authors explain, makes the skin more sensitive to the damage of ultraviolet (UV) rays, due to its photosensitizing effects. This was a further reason for the researchers to examine the drug.

Using national databases, Pottegård and colleagues examined the use of HCTZ in over 80,000 patients who had been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer, and compared it with its use in a group of 1.5 million healthy controls.

Additionally, the researchers considered the use of other antihypertensive medication.
The research revealed that those who took HCTZ were up to seven times more likely to develop skin cancer. More specifically, the antihypertensive drug raised the risk of both squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma – a less serious form of skin cancer.

By contrast, none of the other antihypertensive drugs examined seemed to raise skin cancer risk.

“We knew that hydrochlorothiazide made the skin more vulnerable to damage from the sun’s UV rays, but what is new and also surprising is that long-term use of this blood pressure medicine leads to such a significant increase in the risk of skin cancer,” comments Pottegård.

Choosing a different drug might be advisable

Dr. Armand B. Cognetta Jr., chief division of dermatology at Florida State University in Tallahassee and a co-author on the study, weighs in on the findings, saying, “We have seen and followed many patients with different skin cancers where the only risk factor apart from exposure to sunlight seems to be hydrochlorothiazide.”

“The combination of living and residing in sunny Florida while taking hydrochlorothiazide seems to be very serious and even life-threatening for some patients,” he adds.

“The study carried out by Pottegård and his colleagues will have [a] great impact on skin cancer prevention and public health worldwide,” Dr. Cognetta explains.

However, Pottegård cautions against dismissing the use of HCTZ altogether as a result of his study, saying, “The risk of skin cancer must, of course, be weighed against the fact that hydrochlorothiazide is an effective and otherwise safe treatment for most patients.”

“Nevertheless,” he continues, “our results should lead to a reconsideration of the use of hydrochlorothiazide. Hopefully, with this study, we can contribute towards ensuring safer treatment of high blood pressure in the future.

“You should not interrupt your treatment without first consulting your doctor. However, if you use hydrochlorothiazide at present, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor to see if it is possible to choose a different medicine.”

(Medical News Today)

Diabetes kills only careless people – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday morning led hundreds of people on road walk  for diabetes awareness in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, saying  “diabetes kills only careless people.”
Obasanjo  who was joined in the road walk by the Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrasheed  Adewale Akanbi (Osun State) and Commissioner of Health in Ogun State, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, added if one took care of oneself, one would discover that “diabetes is not a killer disease.”
The Ebora Owu who noted he is now  well above 80 and could walk  with agility despite being diabetic(covering a distance of 1km  uphill of the distance on foot during the walk), lamented that many of the nation’s youth rarely exercise.
“Diabetes is not a disease that should kill, I was diagnosed to be diabetic more than 30 years ago but rather, I am growing strong, if you don’t believe I am growing strong and you didn’t witness this walk, come and see me at night, you will know I am growing strong, come and see me in the morning, you will know I am growing, even in the afternoon, you will know I am growing strong.
“What is necessary is a management of diabetes. Some people said some diseases are incurable, but diabetes is manageable and compliant.
“My headmaster in primary school was diagnosed at the age of 50 and died at age 85, you will agree with he tried.
“What to do is that if you’re diabetic, don’t be nonchalant about it and don’t eat carelessly. Three things are important, the food you eat, regular exercise and prescribed medication, those are the three most important things.
“You can be diabetic and still lives till 100, I don’t know when I would die but I am above 80 and many of the youth could not catch up with my pace during  the exercise this morning, many of them were running after me.
” This is my message. Whether you’re diabetic or you have a family or friend with diabetic, diabetes is not a killer disease or it should not be a killer disease unless you are careless,” Obasanjo said.
The about two kilometre walk which began at the Marque within the sprawling Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library(OOPL), Abeokuta, coursed through MKO Abiola Way and had 15 minutes stop – over at the premises Sunny Yinka Oil on same before turning to end it at the take off point.
The road walk was organized by the Southwest zone of the Diabetes Association of Nigeria(DAN) in collaboration with OOPL to mark the 2017 edition of World Diabetes Day.

Doctor says bacteria good for female babies’ genitals


A pediatric doctor, Dr Juliet Ochi, has urged mothers and caregivers to avoid the use of medicated soap in washing the genitals of their female babies to prevent infection.

Ochi, a doctor at the Enugu State Teaching Hospital (ESUTH), gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Enugu.

According to her, it is better to use toilet soap.

“The genitals of the female have useful bacteria that protect it. The use of medicated soap could damage such bacteria, thereby causing an infection on that region.

“Medicated soap is meant for the skin. It is only on the prescription of a dermatologist that such soap should be used.

“Some are important and protect the region from contacting infection, so using medicated soap on it will mean removing them.

“Not all bacteria on the region are bad, some are very important and protect the vagina from germs.

“If you use medicated soap on the region, it means you are weakening the vagina’s defense system thereby attracting infection to the region,’’ she said.

Ochi urged females to also used mild toilet soap when washing their genitals.

She explained that medicated soaps make the vagina unfavorable for the good bacteria which could lead to candida, a fungus that causes yeast infection in females.

Monkey pox suicide: Family raises posers for hospital

The Monkey pox victim who committed suicide at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH), Okolobiri in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State has been identified as Mr. Perekebina Biu.

Biu, who was receiving treatment in the isolation ward of the hospital reportedly hanged himself with a rope.

It was gathered that the deceased until the incident was the Treasurer of the Agbere Youth body in Sagbama Local Government Area and was married with three children.

His father, it was learnt, hails from Patani in Delta state while his mother is from Agbere community.

Agbere was reportedly recovering from the Monkeypox disease he contracted in Yenagoa before he took his life.

Family sources, who spoke in confidence, formulated some posers for the management of NDUTH.

They accused the hospital management of negligence wondering how a patient in a quarantine centre could take his life easily without the knowledge of doctors and nurses.

A source said: “The late victim was in the hospital for treatment. And he was responding to treatment though. But come to think about it, how did it happen?

“The Monkey pox victims were supposed to be in an isolated area. Where were the Doctors, nurses and other staff? Where did he get the rope? The hospital management has a question to answer.”

The deceased, according to family sources had no record of a mental case.

The Bayelsa State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, said the deceased was among the 21 suspected cases of ‘Monkey pox’ that were being managed at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH).

He expressed regret that the patient took his own life despite speedily recovering from the disease.

He ‎said the deceased medical history did not suggest any mental illness or features of depression.

He maintained that the patient did not die from the Monkey pox disease.

Etebu said that the police and his family had been duly contacted and all due diligence was being followed for his funeral.

He sympathised with the family and said that a committee had been put in place to evaluate his past and recent clinical and social history.

He said the examination would determine “if there were undisclosed mental illness or personal family problem that could have justified the suicide”.

No monkeypox in Lagos, three confirmed cases in Bayelsa -FG


The Federal Ministry of Health says all the Monkey Pox test samples obtained from Lagos tested negative.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said this during a press conference in Abuja on Monday.

He said only three cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in Nigeria.

Adewole said, “As of October 13, 2017, there were 17 suspected cases reported from Yenagoa LGA in Bayelsa State.

“We have received laboratory confirmation for Monkeypox virus from three of these cases from the WHO Regional Laboratory in Dakar, Senegal. Samples from 12 other cases from Bayelsa were negative.

“With these results, four suspected Monkeypox outbreak in Yenagoa have been confirmed with laboratory evidence. The most likely source of infection is a primary zoonotic transmission, from an animal, with secondary person-to-person transmission.

“Since our initial announcement, a total of 43 other suspected cases have been reported from eight other States (Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ekiti, Lagos, Enugu, Nasarawa, Rivers, and FCT). Of these, four cases from Lagos have also been tested and confirmed to be negative for the Monkeypox virus.

“We expect that many of these cases being reported from other states in Nigeria are not caused by the Monkeypox virus, but we will continue to investigate all those cases that fit the case definition.

“Further laboratory tests using whole genome sequencing are being carried out by the Africa Centre for Genomics and Infectious Diseases in Redeemers University Ede, Ogun State.”

‘Aso Rock Clinic got only N1.9bn in 3 years’



The Permanent Secretary, State House, Mr Jalal Arabi, has refuted media report suggesting that the State House Medical Centre (SHMC), had received N11.01billion as appropriation for the period 2015-2017.

Arabi’s refutal is contained in a statement by Mr Attah Esa, the Deputy Director, Information in the State House, Abuja on Sunday.

According to him, out of the total capital appropriation of N2.9billion and recurrent appropriation of N465.9million for the period under reference, only the sum of N969.6million (representing 32.97%) for Capital and N225.5million (representing 48.41%) for recurrent was actually released.

He also revealed that there was zero capital allocation for the Medical Centre in 2017, while out of the N331.7million being recurrent appropriation for 2017, the actual amount released up to September was N91.3million, representing 27.5 per cent.

The Permanent Secretary emphasised that the above figures were verifiable from the Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

He observed that, “during the three-year period under review (indeed two years since no capital allocation for 2017), and despite the shortfalls between budgetary provisions and actual releases, the Centre continued to provide free services to the over 10,000 registered patients annually.

He added that the Centre had also continued to execute on-going projects.

Giving further insight into the scope of the Centre’s clientele, Arabi stressed that apart from the Presidency, other beneficiaries of the free services include political appointees, the military, para-military, other security agencies, members of the National Assembly, and the general public.

He said: “Considering the unrestricted patronage base and free services of the State House Medical Centre, coupled with the funding hiccups and periodic receipts, it may not be far-fetched to notice gaps between demand and supply of medical equipment and consumables at certain stages of the budget circle.’’


The State House Medical Centre has come under serious criticisms, from different quarters, including members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s family over lack of drugs and equipment at the facility.

The House of Representatives, had on Oct. 12, inaugurated an ad-hoc committee to investigate the condition of the medical centre.

The house set up the committee following a motion raised by Henry Archibong (PDP-Akwa Ibom) at the plenary on Thursday, alleging that despite huge budgetary allocations, the clinic lacked necessary facilities, drugs and other consumables.

The wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, on Octtober 9, had lambasted the management of the facility, and called for a probe of the Centre.

She had lamented the poor state of health facilities in the hospital despite the huge budgetary allocation to it.

However, Arabi, in an earlier statement on October 2, said the State House Medical Centre, would be commercialised and repositioned to offer qualitative and efficient services.

We’re yet to confirm monkey pox cases, says minister

With 33 suspected cases of “monkey pox infection” already recorded in seven states, the Federal Government is still trying to confirm exactly what health workers are dealing with.

According to Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole, many of the cases reported in Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Cross River did not fit into the classic prototype of monkey pox.

He spoke with State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Adewole was with Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige and the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina.

The minister said: “Many of the cases so reported do not fit into the classic prototype of monkey pox. But we are trying to confirm and before the end of today or early tomorrow, we should be able to confirm exactly what we are dealing with. Is it truly monkey pox? But what is obvious is that we have a disease that is close to the pox family.

“One of our scientists, Prof. Christian Appeh, is looking into it in the laboratory to confirm if it is truly monkey pox. We are also doing a double confirmation in Senegal because Senegal also has a public health laboratory that could make diagnosis.

“We are looking at the two and hopefully in the next 24 or 48 hours, we should be able to make a diagnosis as to what we have.”

According to him, there was no reported case of death from the decease.

He said: “The other one which is less topical but less deadly is monkey pox and this actually started in Bayelsa and we have recorded 33 suspected cases in all from the states, Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Cross River.

In the interim, he urged Nigerians not to panic, but to continue to maintain high-level of hygiene and avoid contact with dead animals.

He said: “Our advice to Nigerians will be not to panic, report all suspected cases to health facilities and to continue to maintain a high level of hygiene. Let’s wash our hands, let’s avoid contact with dead animals and clean our surroundings.

“And as much as possible for health workers to maintain barrier nursing while managing people with suspected cases of monkey pox.

“There are two types of monkey pox. There is the Central African type and the West African type. We suspect that if confirmed, we probably have the West African type, which is milder because so far we have not recorded any death from monkey pox.”

Adewole added: “FEC received the usual report on public health situation in the country and that report dealt with our current tracking of several outbreaks in the country. We presented the status report on Lassa fever, and we reported that no new confirmed case of lassa fever has been reported in the country.

“We also reported the declining case of cholera in Borno State and we are quite happy that no death has been reported from Borno State.

“There is also an ongoing outbreak of yellow fever, which started in Kwara. So far, we have recorded four cases in Kwara, two in Kogi, two in Plateau, one in Abia and one in Edo, making 10 cases in all.

“What we have decided to do is to start our reactive campaign in Kwara and Kogi starting from Friday.”

Seven victims discharged in Bayelsa

It was, however, learnt yesterday that seven of the victims of monkey pox quarantined at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH), Okolobiri, Bayelsa State, have been treated and discharged from the facility.

Commissioner for Information and Orientation Daniel Iworiso-Markson, who confirmed the development yesterday, said the victims had recovered from the infection.

He said others were strictly under supervision and were responding to treatment.

The commissioner added that they would soon be allowed to leave the hospital.

He said so far, the government could beat its chest to say it had “been able to successfully contain the spread of the disease as no new case had been reported in the last few days”.

Iworiso-Markson said: “With the way and manner the government deployed its machinery and with the team of dedicated health and medical personnel, Monkey pox will soon be fully kicked out of Bayelsa State.”

He hailed the state government, especially the Ministry of Health and its officials as well as the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) for their efforts in the fight against the disease.

Poor living conditions cause of spread

Poor living conditions of the citizenry has been blamed for the spread of monkey pox virus.

The virus has spread to seven states barely 20 days of the outbreak in Bayelsa state on September 22.

Other six affected states are Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Cross Rivers State

In a statement yesterday, a charity group, Envision Global Care Foundation, observed that the less-privileged groups are more vulnerable to disease outbreaks due to their poor living condition, access to good medical care and other environmental hazards.

The foundation, therefore, called on the Federal Government to improve the living condition of the nation’s less privileged to prevent similar disease outbreak in the country.

The statement, which was signed by Ndidi Chukwu, communication consultant to the group, urged the Federal Government to declare the virus a serious medical emergency.

Osun establishes isolation centres

Osun State has established three isolation centres following the alleged outbreak of the disease.

However, for security reason, the state government did not reveal where the centres are located.

Commissioner for Health Dr. Rafiu Isamotu at a news briefing in Osogbo, the state capital, said health workers across the state are already on red alert as part of preventive measure against spread of the disease.

According to Isamotu, the move to curtail the spread of the disease was necessary to insulate the state against the outbreak.

The commissioner explained that no case of monkey pox had been recorded in the state.

He further explained that the state government has begun sensitisation of the public and would soon begin training of health personnel.


Aisha Buhari tasks governors’ wives on maternal, child health initiatives

The wife of the President Her Excellency Mrs. Aisha Buhari has called upon wives of the state Governors to champion the cause of advocacy and commit to support Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn Child, Adolescent Health plus Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) programmes in their various states.

Mrs. Buhari was speaking at the one day RMNCAH+N stakeholders meeting held in Abuja, which had wives of governors in Nigeria in attendance.

She asked the Governors Wives Forum to dedicate a section of their meeting agenda to updating themselves on advocacy activities in each of their states.

Mrs Buhari noted that although Nigeria is one of the countries with the worst health outcomes for women and children globally, significant progress has been made over the years, but a lot still needs to be done, this she hopes to achieve by creating a strong coalition with the wives of Governors that will create awareness on the importance of improving RMNCAH+N, promoting advocacy for better service delivery and increased utilization of RMNCAH+N services.

She also called on developmental partners, international agencies, the private sector, government and all stakeholders to provide support to the all the activities of the just established Governors wives coalition in the states and the FCT.

Earlier, the Minister of H, ealth Professor Isaac Folorunso Adewole, had decried the fact that less than 10% of Nigerian women have skilled birth attendants which is important in reducing maternal mortality, he thanked Mrs Buhari for her dedication through her non-governmental organization Future Assured in helping them to deliver on their mandate concerning health to Ngerians.

The representative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Paul Basinga said some of their cardinal points are to ensure young people survive and thrive, ensure women and newborns remain healthy during pregnancy and childbirth, stating that investing in women has a ripple effect.

It would be recalled that two years ago Mrs Buhari committed herself to championing the cause of improving the Health and well being of women and children in Nigeria.

Why men should stop squeezing ladies’ breasts like oranges- Doctor

The President of Breast Care International, Dr. Beatrice Wiafe -Addai, has urged men to handle the breast of women with care as it is a very fragile part of a woman’s anatomy.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is celebrated in October every year, Dr. Wiafe-Addai told Starr Fm morning show host Francis Abban that contrary to claims that the sucking of breast by men reduces the risk of getting breast cancer in women, those claims are untrue.

“It is not true that the more you suck a woman’s breast it prevents the risk of getting breast cancer. What is true is that women who have children should breastfeed, and breastfeeding has some positive effect on the woman as far as breast cancer is concerned. But it is not for adult men to go and suck the breast thinking it will protect the woman from breast cancer, that is not true, it is very fragile so let’s handle it with care…don’t squeeze it like you have some mango or orange that you are squeezing to get some fluid out,” Wiafe-Addai counselled.

Dr. Wiafe-Addai also advised men not to abandon women diagnosed with breast cancer but rather them help to fight it.

“If you find something in a woman’s breast don’t send her to her family home because she has been diagnosed of breast cancer. Give her all the morale even if not financial. So that she knows that someone is with her through the fight. The fight against breast cancer is not an easy one so women need all the support from men, society and the nation,” she noted