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Peanut allergy study; hepatitis C study; dealing with stress

UAMS researchers have found promise in an experimental peanut allergy treatment. A new gene discovered -- affecting the passage of hepatitis C -- may just help in preventing it. How can we take on the New Year with a less stressful attitude?
UAMS researchers have found promise in an experimental peanut allergy treatment.

They found sublingual immuno-therapy -- also called SLIT -- can reduce the allergic response to peanuts in adolescents and adults.

With SLIT, doctors place a small amount of the allergen under the patient's tongue to decrease their sensitivity to it.

The study is the first randomized, placebo-controlled research to test the efficiency and safety of slit to treat peanut allergy.

Hepatitis C study

A new gene discovered -- affecting the passage of hepatitis C -- may just help in preventing it.

Chronic infection with hep-c is a major cause of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Scientists say the human interferon gene -- also called lambda 4 -- affects the clearance of the virus.

Herbert Bonkovsky, M.D. with Carolinas Health Care says, "Hepatitis C virus... And I don’t mean just treat it or prevent it. I mean truly cure it. The best treatments can cure up to 70%. We think within five years well be able to cure up to 95% of patients with this disorder. And if we can get rid of the virus and do long term follow up for five or ten years, the risk of recurrence of infection will be really low. So it is a virus we can cure."

Nearly 80 percent of people acutely-infected -- develop chronic hepatitis C. Of these -- five percent develop liver cancer.

Dealing with stress

Stress is not good for us. It can lead to early aging, heart problems, sleeplessness, even death. So how can we take on the New Year - with a less stressful attitude?

Stress! It's everywhere. And although a little stress can actually help keep us motivated, too much stress can lead to serious health problems.

According to doctors, stress increases cortisol and other hormone levels in our bodies that can cause us to age.

That aging can increase our risk of cancer and cause inflammation that can lead to heart disease, memory loss and stroke.

So, how can you cut down on stress? Meditate.

Doctors recommend you try to meditate at least 20 to 30 minutes a day. Close your eyes; silence your mind and get out of the rat race.

Life really hectic? Try deep breathing, it helps regulate your pulmonary and circulatory systems and opens your blood vessels.

Things got you down? Get together with friends to talk out your problems. Don't carry the burden alone. And try better to understand your fellow human beings. Be empathetic. Instead of getting angry with people, try to put yourself in their shoes.

We all have bad days.

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