The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Six diseases cause most of child deaths

Six mainly preventable diseases account for 73 per cent of child deaths each year, says the World Health Organisation. Pneumonia accounts for 19 per cent of the under-fives who die, followed by diarrhoea, pre-term delivery, malaria, blood infection and lack of oxygen at birth. According to new estimates quoted by the WHO officials, more than seven in 10 of the 10.6 million annual deaths in children younger than five years are attributable to six causes, and that four communicable disease categories account for more than half of all child deaths.They identified under-nutrition as an underlying cause of 53 per cent of all deaths in young children.The report also added that 42 per cent of child fatalities occur in Africa and 29 per cent are in Southeast Asia.

Chewing tobacco harms heart

Unlike smoking, chewable forms of tobacco, such as gutkha or khaini, is not just a risk factor for cancers, it damages your heart and blood vessels too. According to a small study on 16 healthy and young tobacco users, smokeless tobacco showed immediate effects on blood pressure, heart rate, and over time, carried the risk of trouble for the cardiovascular system. Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, found that chewing a round of tobacco not only bumped up the young men's blood pressure, but also dampened the body's stabilising response to blood pressure spikes. The report appeared in the Journal of American College of Cardiology.

Friendly bugs fight colon cancer

Consuming friendly live bacteria may help to lower people's risk of developing cancer in the lower intestine, according to a scientist at the University of Ulster in the US. Examinations by scientists led by Ian Rowland found evidence that probiotics can beneficially influence cells in various stages in the initiation and development of colon cancer. Cancer of the lower intestine is one of the most prevalent cancers worldwide related to a bad diet. The researchers identified compounds in the gut which can damage the DNA and found that live bacteria (such as those found in yogurt) can inactivate those chemicals. The live bacteria are thought to be beneficial to the digestive system by maintaining a balance between healthy and harmful bacteria in the gut.

Last in the line wins prize

Being last in the line-up can help you bag the first prize in a competition, says a New Scientist report. According to psychologists at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who studied the results of competitions as diverse as figure-skating to song contests, judges tend to favour participants who appear at a later stage.

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