More and More Children with Food Allergies

The rate of food allergies around the world is increasingThe rise in food allergies has affected western countries most. 

Especially children are at risk.  In some cases, allergies can lead to dangerous and even life-threatening situations. More and more families must change their diets in order to fight allergies.  Children can be allergic  to various types of food, above all, milk and dairy products, nuts , and fish.

Allergies are caused by allergens , which are basically harmless substances that the immune system tries to fight .  Victims suffer from a variety of symptoms including redness of the  skin, vomiting, diarrhea and breathing difficulties.

In the United States 8% of children have some form of allergy. In Australia, 5% of all children are affected.  The UK has seen a 500% increase in peanut allergies alone in the past 20 years.

While industrialized countries are hardest hit, allergy rates in developing countries are lower. Cities are  affected more than rural areas.

Scientists have been trying to find out why we are becoming more allergic to food.  One reason may be improved hygiene , which leads to children having fewer infections. Another cause may be the lack of vitamin D which helps our immune system  fight allergies.

At the moment a  food allergy cannot be cured. In addition, it is very difficult to determine which food children are allergic to.  Doctors recommend eating small amounts of possibly allergic food and observe how the body reacts .

 

Peanuts are causing an increasing number of allergies with children
Peanuts are causing an increasing number of allergies with children

Words

  • above all = mostly
  • affect = to do something that causes a change in a certain situation
  • allergen = material that causes an allergy
  • cause = lead to ; to be the reason for
  • cure = to make an illness go away
  • dairy products = products that are made from  milk , like cheese, joghurt etc..
  • developing country = poor country of the Third World
  • determine = find out
  • diarrhea = an illness in which body waste comes out in a watery, liquid form
  • diet =the kind of food that you eat every day
  • especially = above all
  • harmless = not dangerous
  • hygiene = when you keep yourself  and the things around you clean in order to prevent diseases
  • immune system = the system by which our body protects itself against diseases and illnesses
  • improve = to make better
  • in addition = also
  • increase = to go up
  • infection = a disease that affects your body and is caused by a virus or bacteria
  • lack = not enough
  • life-threatening = very dangerous ; a situation that can lead to death
  • observe= watch something very closely
  • peanut = pale, brown nut with a thin shell that grows under the  ground
  • rate = the number of times something happens
  • rural = in the countryside
  • scientist = person who is trained in science and works in a lab
  • substance = material
  • symptom = sign that a health problem exists
  • various = different
  • variety = many different types
  • victim = here: a person who suffers from an allergy
  • vomit = to bring up the food you eat from your stomach through your mouth , because yo are ill

New Measles Outbreak in Europe

According to the World Health Organisation, there was a new massive outbreak of measles in Europe last year. There were four times as many cases in 2017 than there were in 2016, a record low year. Across Europe, over 20,000 people fell ill and 35 died.

The outbreak affected 15 countries. Romania, Italy and Ukraine reported the highest number of measle cases. 

One of the reasons for the new outbreak is that more and more adults don’t want to get vaccinated. Most children in European countries are vaccinated at an early age, however, recently more and more parents have not wanted their children treated. Italy, for example,  reported that only 85% of all under two-year-olds are vaccinated.

Measles is an infectious disease that can be deadly if not treated. It starts with a runny nose, coughing and sneezing and is often accompanied by fever. Typical symptoms show a red-brown rash on various parts of the body. One in a thousand cases develops a swelling of the brain that may cause serious diseases and even lead to blindness.

Apart from Europe, measles has been on the decline worldwide.  For the first time in history, there were less than 100,000 measles deaths a year. About  85 % of the world’s children receive immunisation by the time they reach their first birthday.

The WHO has now put pressure on European countries to raise public awareness. Many are introducing measures to encourage parents to have their children vaccinated.

 

Measles on a person's skin
Measles on a person’s skin – Image : Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Words

  • according to = as said by …
  • accompany = together with
  • affect = here: happen in
  • apart from = except for
  • blindness = not being able to see anything
  • brain = organ inside your head that controls how you think, feel and move
  • decline = to go down
  • encourage = to get people to do something
  • however = but
  • infectious disease = illness that can be passed on from one person to another, especially through the air that you breathe
  • massive = very strong
  • measles = infectious disease in which you have a fever and small red spots on your body or face
  • measures = action; to do something
  • outbreak = here: an illness or disease that starts very quickly and affects many people
  • pressure= to try to make a person do something that you think is important
  • public awareness = to make more and more people know and understand something about a subject
  • raise = improve
  • rash = a lot of red spots on a person’s skin
  • receive = get
  • record = here: lowest ever
  • runny nose = when sticky liquid comes out of your nose, usually because you have a cold
  • swelling = a part of your body that becomes larger than normal
  • symptom = something wrong with your body that shows you have an illness
  • treat = to cure an illness by giving someone medicine
  • vaccinate, vaccination = to protect a person from an illness by giving them medicine that contains  a weak form of bacteria or the virus that causes the disease
  • various = different
  • World Health Organisation (WHO) = international organisation which helps countries improve their people’s health by giving them medicine and information about diseases

New Blood Test May Be Able To Detect Cancer

Researchers at the John Hopkins University in Baltimore have announced that they are close to developing a new blood test that could detect common cancer forms.

The new test, called  CancerSEEK ,  would cost about $500 and be able to identify early forms of cancer cells in the body. According to the scientists, the test concentrates on the most frequent types of cancers including lung, breast, colon,  and stomach cancer.

After testing about  1000 people diagnosed with these cancer forms the new blood test found signs of cancer in 70% of them. Tumours release tiny amounts of altered DNA into the bloodstream. The test looks for mutations in 16 genes that frequently come up in cancer.

Although the first tests have had promising results there are still problems that have to be dealt with. There is still a high rate of false alarms, where cancer is shown in patients who are not diagnosed with any disease. Another problem is that the test sometimes shows signs of cancer but cannot pinpoint where exactly in the body they appear.

Doctors state that the new blood test could be a major breakthrough for cancer patients and can extend their lives. The earlier a cancer is found and located the better the chances are for it to be treated.

The ultimate goal is to find cancer at early stages of the illness, at a time when patients can be treated successfully. In some forms of cancer, for example, pancreatic cancer, symptoms show up in the late stages of the illness. As a result, four out of five patients die shortly after it has been diagnosed

 

New blood testing could detect cancer at an early stage
New blood testing could detect cancer at an early stage – Image: GrahamColm

Words

  • according to = as said by …
  • altered = changed
  • although = while
  • announce = to say officially, in public
  • bloodstream =the blood flowing through your body
  • breakthrough = an important new discovery, especially after having done experiments for a long time
  • cancer = serious illness in which cells in parts of the body grow in an uncontrolled way
  • colon = lower part of your stomach in which food is changed into waste matter that leaves your body
  • common = something that happens very often
  • concentrate on = focus on
  • deal with = to take action to solve a problem
  • detect = find something that is very difficult to see
  • develop = to make or do something new
  • diagnose = to find out what illness a person  has by doing medical tests
  • disease = illness
  • DNA = substance that carries genetic information in the cells of the body
  • extend = lengthen, make longer
  • frequent = often
  • gene = part of a cell in a living thing that controls what it looks like, how it grows
  • goal= something you hope to achieve or finish in the future
  • high rate = very many
  • identify = to recognise and name something correctly
  • including = also
  • major = very important
  • mutation = a change in the structure of something
  • pinpoint = to show the exact position of something
  • promising = to show signs of being successful
  • release = set free
  • researcher = person who studies a subject in order to find out more about it
  • scientist = person who is trained in science and works in a lab
  • stage = phase, period
  • state = to say that something is true
  • successful = to complete what you have wanted to
  • tiny = very small
  • treat = to try to cure a disease and make someone healthy again
  • tumour = mass of bad cells in your body that have divided and grow very quickly
  • ultimate = final; in the end

Cailfornia Legalises Marijuana For Recreational Use

California has become the largest American state to legalize the sales of marijuana for recreational use. In November 2016,  citizens in the state voted in favour of a proposition that would allow citizens to possess small amounts of the substance. It is now legal to grow six plants of your own or have an ounce of pot.

About 90 licences are to be handed out statewide to shops that want to sell recreational marijuana. In the last two decades, special shops have been allowed to sell marijuana only for medical reasons, in order to treat pain and anxiety. People who want to buy medical marijuana need a prescription from a doctor.

Apart from legalizing the drug, there will be strict controls monitored by state authorities. Californians will not be allowed to consume marijuana in public places or near schools. Local governments will be able to set up their own rules on where smoking is allowed.

Despite this new state law, the federal government still looks at marijuana as an illegal substance. California has become the eighth state to legalize the drug.

In 2016 California produced about 13 million pounds of pot. 80% of it was transferred illegally out of the state.The illegal marijuana market, currently at 5 billion dollars, is expected to grow to 7 billion in California by 2020. In addition, the state will be able to generate additional taxes from selling legal marijuana.

Shopkeepers who have been able to sell medical marijuana are worried that prices will go up because of additional taxes. Some fear that additional licences could ruin their business.

 

 

medical marijuana
Medical marijuana card that allows a person to buy marijuana for medical purposes

Words

  • additional = extra
  • anxiety = feeling worried about or afraid of something
  • apart from = besides
  • authorities = organisation that can make decisions
  • billion = a thousand million
  • citizen = person who lives in a place and has rights there
  • consume = here: smoke
  • currently = at the moment
  • decade = ten years
  • despite = even though
  • federal government = the government of the United States, not the state government
  • generate = produce, get
  • government = people who rule a country or state
  • hand out = give to someone
  • illegal substance = drug that is not allowed
  • in addition = also
  • in favour of = to be for something
  • legal = allowed
  • legalize = allow
  • licence = here: a document that allows you to sell something
  • marijuana = illegal drug that is smoked like a cigarette
  • monitor = to watch carefully
  • ounce = unit for measuring weight = 28.35 grams
  • pain = feeling you have when something hurts
  • possess = own, have
  • pot = another word for marijuana
  • prescription = piece of paper on which a doctor writes down what medicine you need
  • proposition = a suggested change of the law
  • public place = place where everyone can go to
  • recreational use = for fun or pleasure
  • ruin = destroy
  • small amounts = a little bit
  • statewide = in the whole state
  • substance = material ; here: drug
  • transfer = take, carry
  • treat = to try to help if oyu have an illness

 

 

US Life Expectancy Drops Because of Opioid Abuse

For the second year in a row life expectancy in the United States has decreased. One of the main reasons is the rise in opioid-related deaths, especially with young adults.

Life expectancy in 2016 was 78.6 years, compared with 78.4 years two years earlier. It is the first two-year decline in over 50 years. While life expectancy in other parts of the world is going up, the average American is dying at an earlier age.

According to a recently published report, overdoses of painkillers and other opioids are causing more and more premature deaths. The figures have risen from 6.1 per 100,000 people in 1999 to 21 per 100,000 people in 2016.

Last year 63 000 people died from some form of drug overdose. While 15000 of them were heroin addicts an alarming 14000 died from other painkillers. Most of them were in the 28-54 year age group.

In many cases, drug abuse is caused by a general dissatisfaction with a person’s personal situation. This results in depression and hopelessness if addicts don’t have a family to support them. Such victims don’t have the stability that they need. As a consequence, they turn to alcohol and drugs.

Opioids are drugs that reduce pain by targeting pain receptors in the brain. You need a doctor’s prescription to get them, but more and more people are buying them illegally on the streets.

While many start out with painkilling drugs, they later turn to heroin, also an opioid. In the terminal stages of cancer, morphine is often used to reduce a patient’s pain.

 

Different kinds of painkilling drugs
Different kinds of painkilling drugs

Words

  • abuse = using something in a way that you shouldn’t
  • according to = as reported by …
  • addict = someone who is not able to stop taking drugs
  • as a consequence = this results in; it leads to
  • average = normal
  • brain = organ in your head that control your thoughts, feelings and movements
  • cancer = very serious illness in which cells in your body grow in an uncontrollable way
  • compared with= to look at two things and see how they are different
  • decline = when something goes down
  • decrease = to go down
  • depression = a medical condition in which you are unhappy with yourself and cannot lead a normal life
  • dissatisfaction = here: not being happy with yourself
  • especially = above all
  • heroin = powerful and illegal drug made of morphine
  • illegally = not allowed; against the law
  • life expectancy = the number of years a person is expected to live
  • morphine = powerful drug that is used to make people calmer and stop the pain
  • opioid = a drug that acts on the nervous system to reduce pain
  • overdose = to take too much of a drug at one time
  • pain = the feeling you have when part of your body hurts
  • painkiller = medicine which removes or reduces pain
  • premature = when something happens before the natural time
  • prescription = piece of paper that a doctor writes so that an ill person can get medicine
  • recently = a short time ago
  • receptor = a nerve ending that gets information  and causes the body to react in a special way
  • reduce = lower
  • result in = lead to, be the reason for somehting
  • stability = here: strength
  • target = attack
  • terminal stages = the last days, weeks or months before a person dies of an illness

Baby Girl Born From Embryo Frozen 24 Years Ago

A human embryo that was frozen 24 years ago has now become a baby girl.  Emma Wren Gibson was born in Knoxville, Tennessee from an embryo frozen in 1992. The mother, Tina Gibson, at 25,  is only a year older than the embryo.  It is the longest known frozen embryo that has successfully become a baby.

The Gibsons are unable to have children of their own and, in the past, have taken care of several other children.

Couples who use IVF to have a baby usually end up with more embryos than they need. They can decide to store them for later use, dispose of them or donate them for scientific research. Many parents who have leftover embryos give them to special centres where they can be used for others.

Doctors claim them frozen embryos can develop just as well as fresh ones. The dangerous part, however, is the thawing process.Only about 75% of all frozen embryos survive it. Health experts think that there may be up to a million frozen embryos in the United States.

For those who can’t have babies, using a frozen embryo from a donation centre is similar to adoption, only that the baby grows inside the adoptive mother.

 

An eight-cell human embryo
An eight-cell human embryo

Words

  • adoptive = to become parent of a child that isn’t your own
  • claim = to say that something is true
  • develop = grow
  • dispose of = get rid of; destroy
  • donate = give something to an organisation in order to help
  • donation centre = here: a place where couples can give embryos they don’t need for others to use
  • embryo = a human being that has not yet been born but just started to develop
  • however  = but
  • IVF = in vitro fertilisation = process in which a human egg gets together with male sperm outside a woman’s body; it is also called a test-tube baby
  • leftover = here: embryos that you do not need any more
  • scientific research = when scientists try to find out more about a disease or medical problem
  • similar = like
  • store = to put things away and keep them somewhere until they are needed
  • successfully = having the effect that you wanted
  • survive= live on after a dangerous situation
  • take care of = to care for someone or look after them
  • thawing process = here: to take an embryo out of a freezer and wait until its body temperature becomes normal
  • unable = cannot

 

 

 

California Publishes New Cell Phone Guidelines

California’s Department of Health has published new guidelines on how to handle cell phones. It warns that radiation emitted from cell phones can be harmful but does not say that cell phones are dangerous.

.Health authorities in California suggest a few measures cell phone users should take. When sleeping, you should keep your phone at least an arm’s length away from your body.  You should also avoid keeping your cell phone in your pocket. They also recommend only using cell phones when reception is strong.

Some doctors agree that carrying cell phones close to your body could increase the risk of getting brain tumours , cancer and becoming infertile. It may also lead to headaches, hearing problems and a loss of memory. On the other side, there are many health experts who say that the risks cell phone usage present are not proven

Cell phones emit radiation in the form of low-energy radio waves when they receive and send signals from cell towers.    The frequencies that cell phones use could be linked to various illnesses.

The new cell phone guidelines have existed since 2009 but not been published. Recently, a Berkeley professor won a lawsuit against the Department of Health to release the guidelines to the public and push for more action.

 

The California Department of Health has released new guidelines on how to use cell phones.
The California Department of Health has released new guidelines on how to use cell phones.

Words

  • authorities = government organisation that can make decisions
  • avoid = stop; not do something
  • brain tumour = illness in your brain  in which cells increase in an uncontrolled way
  • cancer = serious disease in which cells in one part of your body start to grow in a way that is not normal
  • cell tower = high object that sends out and receives cell phone signals
  • Department of Health = authorities that are responsible  for health programs and health information that is given to the public
  • emit = release, send out
  • guidelines = instructions on how people should do something or deal with something
  • handle = use
  • increase = go up
  • infertile = if you are not able to have babies
  • lawsuit = a problem that is settled by a judge in court
  • loss of memory = when you start forgetting things
  • public = the people in general
  • publish = to release official information to all people
  • radiation = form of energy that is sent out as waves that you cannot see
  • receive = pick up, get
  • recently = a short time ago
  • reception = the quality of the signal you get for your cell phone
  • suggest = recommend
  • usage = how something is used

Moderate Coffee Consumption May Keep You Healthy

According to new research drinking coffee may actually be healthier than previously thought. Some health experts now say that a few cups of coffee a day could reduce the risk of certain illnesses including liver disease, cancerstrokedementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Coffee may contain substances that help fight these diseases. Caffeine is probably not one of them since people who drank decaffeinated coffee had the same benefits.

Although there is no real proof that coffee consumption will actually help you live longer, it seems to be safe to drink it. The research collected evidence from previous studies and showed that, compared with non-coffee drinkers, those who drink an average of 3 cups a day, experience a lower risk of some diseases.

On the other side, drinking too much coffee during pregnancy could be harmful to the unborn child. Health experts also say that coffee drinkers should avoid putting too much milk, cream or sugar in their coffee. In addition, doctors say you shouldn’t start drinking coffee if you haven’t done so before. 

Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. Two billion cups are consumed every day.

 

A cup of coffee
A cup of coffee – Image : Julius Schorzman

Words

  • according to = as shown by …
  • although = while
  • avoid = not do something
  • benefits = good sides, advantages
  • billion = a thousand million = 1,000,000,000
  • beverage = hot or cold drink
  • caffeine = a substance that keeps you awake
  • cancer = very serious disease in which cells in one part of the body grow in an uncontrolled way
  • compared = if you look at …
  • consume = here: drink
  • contain = to have in them
  • decaffeinated = without caffeine
  • dementia = illness that affects the brain and your memory; it slowly makes you unable to think and remember things
  • evidence = facts that show that some things really are true or exist
  • experience = here: the effect that something has on you
  • illness = disease
  • in addition  = also
  • liver = large organ inside your body that cleans your blood
  • popular = common; liked by many people
  • pregnancy = situation in which you are expecting a baby
  • previously = before, earlier
  • research = studies about a special subject
  • stroke = a blood vessel in your brain suddenly bursts or gets blocked; you could die or be unable to move some muscles
  • studies = research work
  • substance = material; small parts of something

Dog Ownership May Improve Your Health

A Swedish publication released recently says that having a dog could not only make your life more worthwhile but actually save it. Apart from being great companions, especially for single individuals, dog ownership may lengthen your life. The survey studied Swedish individuals between 40 and 80 over a 12-year period.

The study found out that owning a dog reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases by almost a third. The risk of suffering a heart attack is 11% lower compared to singles without a dog. People who owned hunting dogs, like terriers and retrievers, benefited the most.

Dog owners are more active because they exercise with their dogs. Extensive physical activity reduces the risk of heart diseases, strengthens the immune system and makes life less stressful. It also results in lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Dogs are increasingly used as a therapy after a severe illness. An American study shows that patients who have undergone surgery recovered more quickly if they had contact with dogs.

On the other side dogs have a calming effect on people and are important company for those living alone. Loneliness and lack of social interaction is one of the biggest problems of older people. Petting a dog, for example, has proven to be helpful to those suffering from depression. In addition, dogs are especially helpful in helping and guiding disabled and blind people.

 

Dog helping an elderly person
Dog helping an elderly person

Words

  • apart from = besides; in addition to
  • benefit = to have advantages
  • blood pressure = the force with which blood travels through your body
  • calming = relaxed and quiet
  • cardiovascular  disease = illness connected with the heart and blood moving through your body
  • cholesterol = chemical substance in your blood; too much of it may cause heart disease
  • company = when you are with someone else and not alone
  • compare =to look at two things and show how much the same or different they are
  • companion = friend
  • depression = the feeling of sadness  that makes you think there is no hope for the future
  • disabled = someone who cannot use parts of their body properly
  • especially = above all
  • exercise = physical activity that makes you stronger and keeps you healthy
  • extensive = a lot ; much
  • guide = lead to a place
  • heart attack = when your heart suddenly stops beating
  • heart disease = illness related to your heart
  • illness = disease
  • immune system = system by which your body protects itself  against diseases
  • in addition = also
  • increasingly = more and more
  • lack = not enough of …
  • lengthen = make longer
  • loneliness = being alone
  • ownership = having or possessing something
  • patient = someone who receives medical treatment in a hospital or at a doctor’s
  • pet = to touch or move your hand softly over an animal
  • publication = when you make something known to the public
  • recently = a short time ago
  • recover = to get better after you have been ill for some time
  • reduce = lower
  • release = to publish
  • severe = bad
  • social interaction = when two or more people do things together
  • strengthen = to make stronger
  • survey = a set of questions you ask a larger number of people about a certain topic
  • therapy = treatment or an illness after  a long period of time
  • worthwhile = if something is important or useful; you can profit from  something
  • undergo surgery = to be operated on

American Cardiologists Publish New Blood Pressure Guidelines

America’s heart specialists have published new guidelines on blood pressure limits. Now, high blood pressure begins at 130 over 80 instead of 140 over 90.  Under the new guidelines, an additional 30 million Americans are considered to suffer from high blood pressure. 46% of the population have blood pressure above the new limits.

The guidelines were changed because studies have shown that blood pressure above 120/80 put people at a higher risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. It is the first change in standards since 2003.

Although cardiologists say that you shouldn’t get worried if you are above the new limits, you should take it seriously and talk with your doctor about it. The new limits do not automatically raise the risk of having a heart attack or stroke tomorrow but they may affect your overall health within the next 20 to 30 years.

For people who suffer from high blood pressure, doctors recommend changes in lifestyle. Thirty minutes of exercise on five days a week will not only help you lose weight but also lower your blood pressure. A healthy and balanced diet, the reduction of sodium, salt and alcohol, as well as not smoking will also contribute to lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Medical experts recommend checking your blood pressure regularly.

High blood pressure is often called a silent killer because people don’t feel it.  Not treating it over the years can lead to severe heart problems and eventually death. Doctors often prescribe medicine that lowers blood pressure, even if patients are within safe limits.

 

Checking blood pressure
Checking blood pressure – Image : www.volganet.ru

Words

  • additional = extra
  • affect = influence , change
  • although = while even if
  • balanced diet = when you eat many different types of food
  • blood pressure = the force with which blood travels through your body; it is expressed in two numbers, for example, 120/80 . The first number shows the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats and pushes blood through your body, the second number refers to the pressure between heartbeats.
  • cardiologist = doctor who studies and treats heart diseases
  • cardiovascular disease = illness that is connected to the heart and the tubes that push blood around your body
  • considered = thought to …
  • contribute = help
  • eventually = slowly, as time goes on, in the end
  • exercise = physical activities that help you stay healthy and make your body stronger
  • guideline = here: rules, instructions or limits that doctors suggest
  • heart attack = when your heart suddenly stops beating
  • lead to = cause
  • lifestyle = the way you live, what you eat etc..
  • limit = range
  • lower = reduce
  • prescribe = to say what medicine a person should take
  • publish = to make information possible for everyone to read
  • raise = increase, move up
  • recommend = suggest
  • reduce , reduction = to lower the amount of something
  • regularly = often, like once a week or once a month
  • risk = danger
  • seriously = it is important
  • severe= very serious, dangerous
  • sodium = the chemical Na; it is in salt
  • standards = guidelines
  • stroke = a blood vessel in your brain suddenly bursts  or becomes blocked, so that you may die or not be able to move or use  some muscles
  • study = piece of work that is done in order to find out more about a subject
  • suffer = to have a disease or disorder for a longer time
  • treat = cure an illness or disease  by using medicine
  • weight = how heavy you are