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Immune response to flu causes death in older people, not the virus, study suggests

A new study suggests that death from influenza virus in older people may be primarily caused by a damaging immune response to flu and not by the virus itself. The insight could lead to novel strategies for combating flu in the most vulnerable patients, said the researchers.

The study, demonstrates that replication of the flu virus alone is not enough to drive the deaths caused by seasonal flu, the researchers noted.

Ninety percent of the deaths attributed to flu each year worldwide occur in people aged 65 and older. To understand why older adults are more susceptible, the research team first observed the effect of flu infection on immune cells derived from young and older people. They found that the secretion of key antiviral proteins, known as interferons, was significantly reduced in older adults.

Is your home harming you? New research highlights deadly effects of indoor pollution

Collaborative effort researchers assessed the harmful effects of indoor pollution in order to make recommendations on how best to monitor and negate these outcomes.

Dr Prashant Kumar explained, "When we think of the term 'air pollution' we tend to think of car exhausts or factory fumes expelling grey smoke. However, there are actually various sources of pollution that have a negative effect on air quality, many of which are found inside our homes and offices. From cooking residue to paints, varnishes and fungal spores the air we breathe indoors is often more polluted than that outside."

Protein injection hope for Alzheimer's

Scientists believe injections of a natural protein may lessen the symptoms and progress of Alzheimer's dementia after promising early trials in mice.

The treatment - IL 33 - appeared to improve memory and help clear and prevent brain deposits similar to those seen in people with Alzheimer's, according to BBC.

Tentative human studies of the treatment will soon begin, but experts say it will take many years to know if it could help patients in real life.

Skin cancer: Pair of drugs 'eliminate 20% of tumours'

 

A fifth of people with advanced melanoma have no sign of tumours in their body after treatment with a pair of immunotherapy drugs, a study shows.

The first survival data on using ipilimumab and nivolumab in combination showed 69% of patients, in a trial on 142, were still alive after two years, according to BBC.

UK doctors leading the trial said the results were "very encouraging".

Children who drink non-cow's milk are twice as likely to have low vitamin D

Children, who drink non-cow's milk such as rice, almond, soy or goat's milk, have lower levels of vitamin D in their blood than those who drink cow's milk, according to a new study.

Non-cow's milk is becoming increasingly popular because of perceived health benefits, milk allergies or lactose intolerance.

"Children drinking only non-cow's milk were more than twice as likely to be vitamin D deficient as children drinking only cow's milk," said Dr. Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician and researcher. "Among children who drank non-cow's milk, every additional cup of non-cow's milk was associated with a five per cent drop in vitamin D levels per month."