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Medical News Summary 1 August, 2016

Hello! Welcome back to this week’s edition of the News Summary Blog here at The Medic Portal. The News Summary blog keeps you up to date with the latest highlights in medical and health news, and this edition follows stories from the 25th to the 31st of July.

This week has seen research recommending an hours exercise per day to offset the risk of having a desk job, the progression of the Zika virus to the American state of Florida and the adverse effects of deep space radiation on astronaut’s cardiovascular systems.

Exercising every day could reduce early death for desk-job employees

Desk-job employees should do an hour of exercise each day
Desk-job employees should do an hour of exercise each day

Data collected from over one million participants suggests that an hour’s exercise each day offsets the risks of early death that are linked to having a desk-bound job. Being inactive causes an increased risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Sedentary lifestyle is linked to 5.3 million deaths per year globally which is greater than the 5.1 million linked to smoking. The research which was published in The Lancet claims that the global cost of an inactive lifestyle is $67.5 billion per year which is caused by increased healthcare demands and a loss of productivity. The study reanalysed research papers and compared the mortality rate of those who were active for less than five minutes a day to those who were active for over an hour.

They discovered that those who sat for eight hours a day but were physically active for an hour had a lower risk of premature death than those who sat for fewer hours per day but were not active. The study also found that watching TV for more than three hours was also linked to an increased risk of premature death. It is thought that this is due to the fact that people may snack whilst watching TV or slow their metabolism by watching TV after eating.

Zika virus spread to Florida

Zika virus has spread to Florida
Zika virus has spread to Florida

Pregnant women are being advised to consider postponing trips to Florida following an outbreak of the Zika virus.  It has also been recommended that the 50,000 British holidaymakers currently visiting Florida should avoid unprotected sex for eight weeks. Public Health England have issued the warning following the US state confirming four cases of the disease which is thought to have been transmitted by mosquitoes.

Over 1,650 cases of Zika virus have been diagnosed in the US, however this is the first time that it is believed that the disease has been spread by mosquitoes rather than by foreign travel or sexual contact. In a healthy adult Zika only causes mild illness, however the infection can cause pregnant women to give birth to babies with foetal microcephaly.

This is a condition which causes underdevelopment of the brain and a smaller than normal head. Florida has announced that they are implementing aggressive mosquito-control efforts, although evidence gathered from South America has suggested that this may have limited benefit.

Deep space travel increases heart disease risk

Deep space travel increases risk of heart disease
Deep space travel increases risk of heart disease

A new study suggests that astronauts who travel to deep space are more likely to die from heart disease. Three out of seven Apollo astronauts died as a result of cardiovascular disease as it is thought that deep space radiation may damage the body’s cardiovascular system.

This equates to a rate of 43% which is four to five times higher than found amongst astronauts who only flew into low Earth orbit or those who did not travel into space at all. One of the researchers Professor michael Delp expressed concern that little is known about the effects of “deep space radiation on human health”.

The theory was tested on mice who after six months of being exposed to the radiation developed damage to their arteries. Spending long periods in space is already known to have adverse effects on bone density due to the lack of gravity, however Nasa is currently carrying out research into the effects of prolonged spaceflight on the human body with the view of eventually sending astronauts to Mars.

Uploaded by Joelle on 1 August 2016

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