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Air pollution linked to blood vessel damage in healthy young adults

Fine particulate matter air pollution may be associated with blood vessel damage and inflammation among young, healthy adults, according to new research.

"These results substantially expand our understanding about how air pollution contributes to cardiovascular disease by showing that exposure is associated with a cascade of adverse effects," said C. Arden Pope, Ph.D., study lead author and Mary Lou Fulton Professor of Economics.

"These findings suggest that living in a polluted environment could promote the development of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke more pervasively and at an earlier stage than previously thought," said Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., study co-author and the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine. "Although we have known for some time that air pollution can trigger heart attacks or strokes in susceptible, high-risk individuals, the finding that it could also affect even seemingly healthy individuals suggests that increased levels of air pollution are of concern to all of us, not just the sick or the elderly."

Toss eggs onto salads to increase Vitamin E absorption

Adding whole eggs to a colorful salad boosts the amount of Vitamin E the body absorbs from the vegetables, according to research.

"Vitamin E is the second-most under-consumed nutrient in the average diet, which is problematic because this fat-soluble nutrient has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties," said Wayne Campbell, a professor of nutrition science. "Now consumers can easily improve their diets by adding eggs to a salad that boasts a variety of colorful vegetables."

Jung Eun Kim, a postdoctoral researcher, said, "We found Vitamin E absorption was 4- to 7-fold higher when three whole eggs were added to a salad. This study is novel because we measured the absorption of Vitamin E from real foods, rather than supplements, which contain mega-dose amounts of Vitamin E."

Exploring the evolution of spider venom to improve human health

More than 46,000 species of spiders creepy crawl across the globe, on every continent except Antarctica. Each species produces a venom composed of an average of 500 distinct toxins, putting the conservative estimate of unique venom compounds at more than 22 million. This staggering diversity of venoms, collectively referred to as the venome, has only begun to be explored.

Among the handful of brave scientists studying spider venom are Greta Binford,Oregon and Jessica Garb. Both of these researchers analyze the protein structures of various venom chemicals in search of clues that can explain why some are lethal, while the vast majority are thought to be relatively harmless.

The scientists also use molecular biology tools to compare the genomes of spiders that have extremely noxious venoms, including the black widow and the brown recluse, to those of spiders with non-poisonous venoms, such as the house spider. "For some reason I tend to gravitate to these really dangerous spiders like the black widow," says Garb. "But they're amazing. With their shiny black body adorned with the red hourglass, they're actually quite elegant."

Fatal measles complication more common than thought: U.S. study

A deadly complication of measles in young children that strikes years after infection may be more common than previously thought, according to a study presented that stressed the importance of vaccinations against the highly contagious disease.

The risk of acquiring the always fatal neurological disorder, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), was believed to be about 1-in-1,700, based on an earlier German study of children under five years of age infected with measles, according to Reuters.

Vitamin E makes a quarter of older men who smoke and don't exercise 'more prone to pneumonia'

A common vitamin that boosts the immune system can actually make older men more prone to pneumonia, scientists warn.

Vitamin E is found in a wide variety of foods with the richest sources being plant oils, such as corn and olive oil, nuts and seeds and wheat germ.

It acts as an antioxidant, which protects cell membranes, and helps maintain healthy skin and eyes and strengthens the immune system.

It increased the risk of pneumonia for nearly one in four older men who smoked and did not exercise.