Monthly Archives: March 2017

New Diagnosis For Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection caused by the inhalation of tiny droplets, typically from coughs or sneezes. It primarily affects the lungs and the respiratory system but it can spread to other areas of the body. It is a disease that can be cured with a substantial quantity of antibiotics.

The problem with tuberculosis is trying to work out which drugs will be most effective against different strains of the disease. This means that often the bacteria, mycobacterium tuberculosis, are resistant to the drugs prescribed.

However, it is thought that different strains of the disease can be isolated using genome sequencing (looking at the DNA of the bacteria). By identifying the particular strain of the disease, drugs can be matched up straight away. This therefore means that instead of waiting weeks, maybe even months for the correct drugs, the individual can be diagnosed in about a week. Chances of recovery will thus be much higher. This breakthrough has the potential to ‘save lives’ thanks to researchers in Oxford and Birmingham.

The quicker treatment can begin, the less chance there is of the tuberculosis spreading to other parts of the body and becoming much more dangerous. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is confident that this breakthrough can lead us in the right direction towards eradicating TB from our country.

Is Gluten Free All That It Claims To Be?

You probably all know someone who is on the gluten free diet, whether they are intolerant or whether it is by choice. Personally, I’ve never really known much about it, other than it’s supposedly the healthier option. However, it was reported this week that this may be untrue.

Gluten is a protein found in certain foods such as wheat, rye and barley. Coeliac disease is the condition whereby individuals are intolerant to this specific protein, and thus is the only situation when a gluten-free diet is essential. It is a condition that only 1% of the population have. Having said this, a lot of non-coeliac disease sufferers go for a gluten-free diet; this is mainly as a result from the media claiming that there are significant long-term health benefits.

Scientists from the US have claimed that a gluten-free diet can increase your risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes by 13% compared to those who have a ‘normal’ intake of gluten. The evidence of this was based on medical records of 200,000 patients over a course of 30 years. As with most claims, though, much more research would have to be completed for this claim to become set in stone.