The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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High BP bad for pregnant women

Haemorrhage and high blood pressure are the leading causes of maternal deaths in poor countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, according to research published in The Lancet. Each year about eight million women suffer pregnancy-related complications and over half a million die, but many of the deaths could be prevented, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). HIV/AIDS caused about six per cent of maternal deaths in Africa, while anaemia and obstructed labour resulted in one-tenth of such deaths in Asia. Deaths related to abortions were highest in Latin America and the Caribbean. In developed countries, the leading causes of women dying during childbirth are complications related to Caesarean section delivery and anaesthesia.

Noise linked to heart attacks

Living or working in noisy surroundings may raise a person’s risk of suffering a heart attack, a new study suggests. Researchers in Germany found that urban middle-aged adults who lived near high-traffic roads were 46 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack than those who lived in more peaceful neighbourhoods. Similarly, men whose jobs exposed them to high noise levels were about one-third more likely to have a heart attack than their peers in quieter workplaces. The reason for these associations may be the stress of dealing with chronic noise may be involved, according to the researchers, led by Dr Stefan N. Willich of Charite University Medical Center in Berlin.

Steroids relieve spider phobia

Treatment with oral glucocorticoids, a type of steroid, can alleviate the fear in individuals with social and spider phobias, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The results suggest that glucocorticoid treatment, given with behavioural therapy that includes exposure techniques, “may help to reduce fear and promote extinction of phobic fear,” researchers from the University of Zurich in Switzerland note. Previous reports have suggested that increased glucocorticoid levels impair the retrieval of emotionally arousing memories. The researchers found out that increasing these levels might also block the recall of fear memories tied to phobias.

Casanovas rush for risky sex

Young men who feel good about their looks are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour -- likely to have sex without condoms and to have sex with multiple partners ' a new study of college students shows. In contrast, young women with good looks were less likely to engage in risky sex, the researchers at Pennsylvania State University in the US found.

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