Stronger Bones, New Blood Tests, and Potential for a New Flu Treatment

Stronger Bones, New Blood Tests, and Potential for a New Flu Treatment

Prunes and Bone Health

According to researchers from San Diego State University, you can improve your bone health by eating five or six prunes a day.

They conducted a study in which they gave post-menopausal women a 50-gram supplement of dried plums, which equates to five or six prunes, or a placebo daily for six months. The results found an association between taking the supplements and have stronger, denser bones. Post-menopausal women are prone to weakened bones. And the prunes and plums have chemicals in them that block bone reabsorption, which is what causes our bones to break down as we age.

A New Blood Test for Heart Attacks

A new blood test can warn of an impending heart attack. The test detects levels of troponin, which is a protein that releases naturally when the heart is damaged. Doctors currently use this test to confirm someone suffered a heart attack.

Researchers at Emory University’s School of Medicine conducted a study in which patients with diagnosed heart issues were put in situations that increased stress. These included public speaking and hard exercise. The researchers monitored troponin levels of the participants.

Based on the results, researchers determine that patients develop high levels of troponin before, not just after, a heart attack. Therefore, this blood test could determine whether a patient is showing symptoms of early damage and it could help prevent potential attacks.

 

Painkillers and the Flu

A medication used to manage inflammation and pain has been found effective to treat the flu as well. Scientists have to develop new vaccines every year for the flu, because the proteins targeted by the vaccine mutate so quickly.

At the National Institute of Agricultural Research in Paris, researchers identified a more reliable target for the vaccine—proteins inside the ribonucleoprotein complexes, which are necessary for the virus to replicate.

 

The researchers determined that naproxen, an anti-inflammatory drug, had a pronounced effect on the complexes. A small clinical trial of 100 patients is underway in Hong Kong. All patients have severe flu and will receive a standard antiviral treatment either with or without naproxen for five days.

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