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Rare cancer diagnosis after teen’s complaint about leg pain

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

Few parents would assume it was cancer when a sporting 16-year-old boy complains of swelling and pain in his calf.

Paddy O’Brien had finished playing in an all-schools water polo championships in Sydney when he had a crippling cramp in his right calf like a huge knot.

He attributed the pain and swelling to growing pains – maybe even a pulled ligament – similar to one of the many injuries he had acquired playing rugby, cricket, swimming and hockey.

When his usual physiotherapist massaged his leg, it caused such excruciating pain that Paddy was referred for an X-ray which, in turn, raised enough alarm that he was referred for an MRI.

But he had to wait two months because of the lack of services in rural areas.

It was May 2013, and Paddy was in Year 11 in Tamworth. Great things were expected of him in the HSC, so he tried to concentrate on his studies, but the pain was constant.

“I was in agony, I couldn’t sleep, it was debilitating, I couldn’t run, I couldn’t walk. I told mum that my leg was in pain,” he said.

His mother called the doctor, asking for an urgent appoint to request an MRI as soon as possible.

As they arrived, she said, “This better be bloody serious”.

It was.

“I was in maths, fifth period, and the principal walked into class, and said he needed to see Paddy,” recalled Mr O’Brien of the next day when he was told he either had Ewing sarcoma or osteosarcoma (cancer of the bone).

A few days later, he was diagnosed with Ewing, and the lump in the head of the fibula of his right leg was a malignant tumour.

 

It is very rare: only about 50 children on average each year are diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in Australia, less than half of these diagnoses are in the 15 to 19 age group.

It is the same cancer that teenager Hannah Rye died from in August. Hannah’s school formal was moved forward so she could attend with date Trent Hodkinson, a Newcastle Knights NRL player.

Mr O’Brien was among the first patients in Australia to be treated using the approach that is now being trialled in “Ewing 2008” around the world, including Australia and New Zealand. It increased the amount of chemotherapy by 50 per cent, lifting the amount to 14 intensive cycles of three days each. Half of the chemotherapy occurred before surgery to remove his fibula and a nerve – and the balance of chemotherapy after.

Despite “massive chemo brain” – difficulty forming sentences resulting in “massive grammatical errors”, vomiting, lethargy – Mr O’Brien decided to continue at school, determined to finish the HSC with the friends who he had started school with 12 years earlier.

He had phantom pain and remembers that the chemo “massively screws up your bowels, your taste buds, your senses”. His fitness went out the window.

A “very small silver lining” was that some of the pressure of the HSC was reduced. Although he ended up missing 60 per cent of the next year of school, he did well in his HSC and is now 21, and studying at Macquarie University.

He lost his hair each cycle, only for it grow back in fluffy tufts, and then to disappear again during the next round of chemotherapy.

“It is quite cool and weird from that sense,” he said. “I lost all my hair – in my ears, eyebrows, underarms, eyelashes, everywhere. You wouldn’t think eyelashes are that important but they definitely are.”

Another silver lining, he added, was that he saved on shampoo.

“You have to have a humorous outlook on the whole situation, especially in hindsight. If you look back at it with resentment and a dark patch in your life that held you back you will never progress or move on.

“It is quite horrible, terrifying of course, but it dramatically shapes and changes you for the better. You discover new limits for your human body, specifically the interdependence of the body and mind. You also really get to discover who cares and who doesn’t,” he said.

While the survival rate for younger children with this cancer is about 70 per cent over five years, the rate is 60 per cent for young adults such as Mr O’Brien, said Vivek Bhadri, a medical oncologist at Lifehouse Cancer Hospital in Sydney, who treated him.

Nobody knows why the survival rate differs. And Dr Bhadri said the rate had not budged much since the 1980s, and experts hope the Ewing trial will improve outcomes for young people such as Mr O’Brien, who is cancer-free despite a few scares.

About a third of Ewing’s sarcoma occurs in the leg, and in other long bones like the arms, that are rapidly growing in teenagers, said Dr Bhadri.

“That’s when things can go wrong, and cancer can occur,” he said.

Dr Bhadri said another reason why these cancers are not diagnosed faster is that injuries and growing pains are so common in teenagers that very few parents or experts would think the pain and swelling was caused by a cancer.

Henry Sapiecha

Viagra slows the spread of malaria, report shows

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Viagra does more than treat erectile dysfunction. Researchers have found it can slow the spread of malaria image www.newcures.info

Viagra does more than treat erectile dysfunction. Researchers have found it can slow the spread of malaria.

The little blue pill that gives men more oomph in the bedroom has an unexpected benefit – it can slow the spread of malaria.

Viagra doesn’t just have a stiffening effect on men’s anatomy, it also makes the one-celled parasite that causes malaria more rigid.

A team of European researchers have found that this effect deforms the red blood cells that transport the parasite, encouraging the spleen to clear them from the system.

viagra & malaria image www.newcures.info

With fewer infected red blood cells circulating the body, it becomes harder for one of the most common malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum, to be transmitted to an uninfected mosquito when it feeds on an infected person or animal.

Lead researcher Catherine Lavasec, from the Pasteur Institute in France, said there was a desperate need for novel interventions to target the transmission of the malaria parasite from a human host to the mosquito.

“Blocking Plasmodium falciparum transmission to mosquitoes has been designated a strategic objective in the global agenda of malaria elimination,” she said.

Normally, infected blood cells slip by the spleen because they are as squishy as healthy red blood cells.

Using an artificial spleen, the team found that certain drugs such as Viagra, also known as sildenafil, could stiffen these cells by inhibiting an enzyme that would normally make them squishy. The stiff cells are then cleared by the spleen.

As well as treating erectile dysfunction, Viagra has been used to lower blood pressure and relieve altitude sickness.

The research team said their findings are “proof of principle” that certain drugs can target malaria-infected red blood cells and these may be used as a new class of antimalarial drugs.

More than 198 million people were infected with malaria and more than 500,000 people died from the disease in 2013, according to the latest global estimates collected by the World Health Organisation.

The malaria parasite can only be transmitted by the females of certain varieties of mosquitoes from the Anopheles genus. Females need nutrients from a blood meal to develop their eggs.

The study was partly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust and has been published in the scientific journal PLOS Pathogens.

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Henry Sapiecha

 

Human sperm grown in lab for first time, say scientists

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Sperm created from embryonic stem cells at Newcastle University in Britain image www.newcures.info

Sperm created from embryonic stem cells at Newcastle University in Britain.

London: Human sperm cells have been grown in a laboratory for the first time, in a breakthrough that could lead to a treatment for male infertility, scientists claim.

A French firm said it had produced “fully formed” sperm from basic reproduction cells.

The research has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, and experts greeted the news with caution. However, if proven, the technique could offer hope to people who cannot have children.

The Kallistem laboratory in Lyon said its finding paved the way for new methods of treating infertile men

“At the end of 2014, the company was able to produce fully formed human spermatozoa [sperm cells] in the laboratory setting, using patient testicular biopsies containing only immature germ cells, or spermatogonia,” the company said in a statement.

“This research paves the way for innovative therapies to preserve and restore male fertility, a major issue with global impact; numbers of spermatozoa have declined by 50 per cent over the last 50 years.”

Joyce Harper, professor of human genetics and embryology at University College London, said: “This is a great move forward – it is really exciting.”

However, she added: “They have said that this is still early stages and we’ve got a long way to go, and that is absolutely correct. There are a number of studies that need to be done.

“The only way you can check if a sperm is really viable is if it fertilises an egg and goes on and develops into a baby.”

Professor Harper said most infertile men did produce sperm that can be extracted from their reproductive system as part of specialised treatment.

Kallistem’s new treatment would be for those who do not produce any mature sperm at all, she added, although, in these cases, the resulting cells would have to be checked to ensure they are “genetically normal”.

Spermatogenesis, the process through which basic reproduction cells – the germ cells – develop into sperm cells, is an extremely complex one. It takes about 72 days in the human body. The scientists said their research could help tens of thousands of men.

Infertility affects at least 10 per cent of couples, and in at least a third of cases it relates to male fertility problems, which are often genetic.

The most common defect is missing regions of male Y chromosomes, which is associated with the production of few or no sperm.

Under the new process, experts would be able to extract reproductive cells from a man’s testes and then freeze them until he wishes to father a child, the firm said.

However, Professor Allan Pacey, of the University of Sheffield, urged couples to treat the announcement with caution.

He said: “This is a bold claim to make and we have had our fingers burnt before. Until I see a peer-reviewed scientific publication showing unequivocally that this has been done, I have to remain sceptical.

“Claims like this can often cause heartache for infertile couples who see them as hope only to have their hopes dashed later when it doesn’t translate into an available procedure.”

Kallistem, which is trying to raise funding for its research, will hold preclinical trials until next year and clinical trials in 2017.

“If it works, this procedure opens great prospects,” said Nathalie Rives, the manager of a fertility clinic.

However, like Professor Harper, she warned that adults suffering from a complete lack of sperm might have “genetic anomalies” that could exclude them from the process.

Professor Israel Nisand, co-founder of the European Bioethics Forum, said the procedure was preferable to reproductive cloning.

Previously, lab-created spermatogenesis had been successful only in mice.

Last year, American researchers announced that they had used skin from infertile men to create sperm after the samples were implanted into the testes of mice.

The samples were genetically engineered to assume the properties of embryonic stem cells beforehand.

Telegraph, London

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Henry Sapiecha

HPV Vaccine in Men Would Save Costs of Treating Throat Cancer

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

A new study shows that giving men Gardasil is cost-effective and prevents throat cancer.

Gardasil is cost-effective and prevents throat cancer.image www.newcures.info

Controversy over the HPV vaccine has centered on its risks to girls and the idea that protecting them against cervical cancer could also lead them to experiment with sex at a younger age. But a new study underscores the effect of HPV on men, and points out that vaccinating men against the virus could prevent throat cancer as well.
About 9,300 men in the U.S. each year are affected by HPV-caused cancers, among them oropharyngeal cancer that occurs in the middle part of the throat behind the mouth and can develop around the tonsils and the back of the tongue. That number is expected to grow dramatically in the coming years.

“It is projected that by 2020, HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer will become the most common HPV-related cancer in the U.S., surpassing cervical cancer,” Dr. Donna Graham, a medical oncologist who led a new study on vaccination in men, said in a statement.

THROAT OPERATION PATIENT image www.newcures (1)

The virus can be transmitted through oral sex, but the cases of throat cancer are four times more common in men than women. Men can also carry the virus in the genitals without knowing it, partly because researchers still have not figured out how to test men for the virus to detect early cancer cells. The new study in which Graham was involved shows that administering the vaccine to more boys could prevent them from getting cancer much later in life.

“People who are exposed to the virus may or may not get infected,” says Dr. Lillian Sui, another author of the study who is also staff medical oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and a professor at the University of Toronto.

[RELATED: The Future of Male Birth Control]

The study, released online Monday in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, indicates that vaccinating 12-year-old boys against HPV is a cost-effective strategy for preventing throat cancer.

Researchers applied a statistical model to 192,940 Canadian boys who were 12 years old in 2012, and found that vaccination could save $6 million to $22 million, depending on the cost of the vaccine, its effectiveness, the cost of cancer treatment and the survival rate of patients who get cancer.

Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show vaccination rates for males climbed from 20.8 percent in 2012 to 34.6 percent in 2013. Sui says that if more boys were vaccinated, then the vaccine would prevent throat cancer as effectively as it prevents cervical cancer.

For women, the vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix protect against 70 percent of cervical cancers and 90 percent of genital warts cases. They work in the body for at least a decade without becoming less effective and have not been associated with any long-term health problems. Gardasil is the vaccine typically given to men.

Still, rates of vaccination even for women are not as high as they are for other vaccines, and a November 2014 CDC report showed millions of U.S. women are not getting screened for cervical cancer. “Herd immunity,” which occurs when large numbers of people become immune to a virus, requires 80-90 percent of people to be vaccinated in order to be effective. Vaccinating more men would help protect women who are not vaccinated as well as protecting men who have sex with unvaccinated men.

Concerns linger over what administering the vaccine could mean to young people, partially because it is recommended by the CDC at such a young age. For boys and girls, the agency has recommended since 2011 that children receive the three-part vaccine at ages 11 or 12. The agency has said that doing so would allow the immune system to build before teens become sexually active.

The most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S., HPV infects 14 million people a year. It has more than 100 strains, most of which are not harmful and go away within two years. About 30 types, however, can put women at risk for cervical, vulvar or vaginal cancer. Other types cause warts in men and women. Even people who have no symptoms can spread the virus, and cancer can take years to develop after a person becomes infected.

[READ: Parents Still Seek Natural Exposure to Viruses]

The CDC says that not having sex is the only sure way to avoid HPV entirely – though condoms can reduce the likelihood of transmission.

Sui isn’t a pediatrician, so she points out that she doesn’t have conversations about the vaccine with young people – but she does see patients down the line who have developed cancer. The vaccines may seem irrelevant at such a young age but parents, doctors and young people should discuss it, she says.

For men, throat cancer develops anywhere from 40-60 years of age, and a test can determine whether HPV is the cause. Women can have Pap smears or HPV tests for early screening efforts, but these types of screening methods do not exist for men. Sui says the incidences of throat cancer found to be related to HPV range from 70-80 percent in North America.

Smoking also can increase the risk of developing HPV-related throat cancer, while the virus can also lead to cancers of the anus and penis. Men are likely to have a better outcome if cancer of the throat is found to be linked with HPV rather than with smoking, Sui says. They are likely to live longer, and this type is less likely to recur, according to the American Cancer Society.

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Henry Sapiecha

‘Manorexia’: Family tells of father’s potentially deadly wish to be thin

Friday, April 17th, 2015

mans torso with arms crossed in front image www.newcures.info

The report found one in 10 anorexia sufferers were men or boys

Anorexia is a health condition we often think only affects young women.

But a new report by The Butterfly Foundation revealed more than 500 males died as a result of eating disorders in Australia last year.

According to the National Eating Disorders Collaboration Report, male body dissatisfaction has increased, with one in 10 of those diagnosed with anorexia nervosa identified as boys or men.

Anorexia nervosa now has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness

Tim* is a 47-year-old West Australian mine worker living with anorexia and bulimia.

His condition began after he underwent gastric band surgery in 2009 to help him lose weight, but instead of helping him, it triggered his six-year battle with the eating disorders.

His daughter, Emma*, spoke out about the devastating effect anorexia has had on her father.

“The band helped him lose a lot of weight, but one of the side effects is if you eat too much you start to vomit because your stomach can’t physically hold anymore, ” she said.

“I don’t think he adjusted to it well because he’s just stuck with the vomiting ever since.

“He used to weigh well into the hundreds [kilos], but now he’s down to around the 60s or 70s.

“He’s literally skin and bones and it worries me because I don’t think he’s going to be around when I have kids.”

Emma said the vomiting was constant and, at times, unbearable to be around.

“He doesn’t shut the bathroom door and because he’s forcing himself to vomit, the vomiting is so loud,” she said.

“I used to worry that the neighbours could hear him.

“He still thinks he’s overweight. He was tormented by his family for being an overweight kid, so I think every time he looks in the mirror he still see the fat kid.

“If someone was to tell me that in the future your dad’s going to be bulimic, I would never have believed them because he was a guy who was really into health and sports.”

An estimated nine per cent of Australians are struggling with eating disorders and the report suggested up to a quarter of people suffering with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa were men.

Most of the common risk factors that apply to women with eating disorders are the same for men.

But different cultural influences, such as body shape and control over body image, increase men’s vulnerability to developing an eating disorder.

Although eating disorders can develop at any age, males are more prone to developing anorexia in their late teens or early 20s.

Jessica Smith is a former Paralympian and eating disorder advocate for The Butterfly Foundation.

She struggled with anorexia and bulimia for more than a decade and now uses her experience to help raise awareness and support for others.

She said society often didn’t realise the seriousness of eating disorders and the impact it had on individuals.

“We are seeing new diets and weight loss programs all the time and sometimes the severity of these disorders can be limited by the hype of the media,” Jessica said.

“People need to know that they’re not alone and there are organisations that provide services to help them.

“It’s important to tell someone that you trust and stand up for yourself because there are people who will listen.”

Emma believed her father’s illness was influenced by the high expectations women place on men.

“What women don’t realise is we have a huge expectation on males. We expect them to look like Channing Tatum when they take their shirts off,” she said.

“Also, with the new gym junkie trend, you aren’t going to see the guys who are struggling with body images because they can just hide behind the whole image of ‘I’m a man I go to the gym’.

“Dad’s never spoken to us about it and it’s just something that no one talks about. I feel there are a lot of guys who struggle with eating disorders but just aren’t open to talk about it.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling with negative body images or eating disorders please call the National Eating Disorders Help Line on 1800 33 4673 or visit www.nedc.com.au

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of individuals.

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Henry Sapiecha

TESTOSTERONE BOOSTER BASED ON THE FENUGREEK PLANT SHOWS PROMISE IN THE MANS WORLD

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

This New Natural Testosterone Booster

Has Men Everywhere Raving

This New Natural Testosterone Booster Has Men Everywhere Raving

Wow… I’m getting old.

AAA

It’s a disturbing thought, one that usually hits after an unexpected physical challenge. Maybe you’ve been unable to maintain your usual workout levels, or recovery is taking a lot longer than it used to. Perhaps fixes to the house are just a bit more difficult, or you can’t perform in the bedroom the way you used to.

What’s most startling about this realization is that you don’t normally “feel old” but, nevertheless, you know you don’t look or feel like the man you used to be.

And the issue? You might not have enough free testosterone

A person’s bloodstream contains two types of testosterone: bonded testosterone and free testosterone. Bonded testosterone attaches to molecules in the body and is mostly ineffective. However, free testosterone can enter your cells easily and plays a vital role in libido, strength, stamina, and vitality—all of which are important to men.

Over the last few years the market has been flooded with questionable options for increasing a man’s free testosterone levels: useless pills, questionable supplements, and dangerous or illegal medical treatments. But now a group of researchers in Boston, Massachusetts have developed a dietary supplement that triggers the body to increase its levels of free testosterone naturally and safely.

This supplement primarily relies on an ingredient called Testofen®, which comes from the rare Fenugreek plant. Testofen® has been shown in clinical trials to boost free testosterone levels, increase sex drive, and improve libido. Adding to Nugenix’s potency are additional key ingredients like zinc and vitamins B12 and B6, which have been shown to improve physical performance and strength, increase drive, and aid in recovery.

It is claimed this product has no harmful side effects, is manufactured in the United States under FDA Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), and has been shown to deliver improvements in strength and endurance in as little as a week.

This isn’t product hype delivered by a know-it-all enthusiast from the gym. According to studies held in both Irvine, California and Queensland, Australia, the results from Nugenix are nothing short of spectacular. From greater muscle definition and quicker recovery times, to increased sex drive and feelings of alertness, these users are reporting virtual transformations as a result of safely boosting their free testosterone with Nugenix.

Nugenix is the top selling men’s vitality product in GNC, outselling every other brand —many of which don’t contain the clinically substantiated amounts of Testofen® needed to see actual results.

AAA

Henry Sapiecha

rainbow line

OLDEST MAN ON THE PLANET QUIETLY ACHIEVES A MILESTONE IN LONGEVITY

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

WHO IS THE OLDEST MAN ON EARTH

Jiroemon Kimura, a 115-year-old Japanese man born when Queen Victoria still reigned over the British Empire, became the oldest man in recorded history on Friday, Guinness World Records said.

Kimura, of Kyotango, western Japan, was born April 19, 1897, in the 30th year of the Meiji era, according to London-based Guinness. That makes him 115 years and 253 days as of today, breaking the longevity record for men held by Christian Mortensen of California, who died in 1998 at the age of 115 years and 252 days. The oldest woman in recorded history, Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, died in 1997 at the age of 122.

“He has an amazingly strong will to live,” Kimura’s nephew Tamotsu Miyake, 80, said in an interview. “He is strongly confident that he lives right and well.”

Kimura is among 22 Japanese people on a list of the world’s 64 oldest people compiled by the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, highlighting the challenges facing Japan as its population ages. A combination of the world’s highest life expectancy, the world’s second-largest public debt and a below- replacement birthrate is straining the nation’s pension system, prompting the government to curb payouts, raise contributions and delay the age of eligibility.

Japan’s average life expectancy at birth is 83 years, a figure projected to exceed 90 for women by 2050. The number of Japanese centenarians rose 7.6 per cent from a year earlier to 51,376 as of September, and there are 40 centenarians per 100,000 people in the country, which has the world’s highest proportion of elderly, according to Japan’s health ministry.

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Oldest living person

Kimura became the world’s oldest currently living person on December 17, when 115-year-old Dina Manfredini of Iowa died, according to Guinness and the Gerontology Research Group. Manfredini was born 15 days before Kimura.

Kimura was in a hospital this morning, Yasuhiro Kawato, head of the section for elderly welfare at Kyotango’s city hall, said by phone.

“His condition has improved, and we’re not worried, but the doctors said it would be best if he stayed in the hospital into the new year,” Kawato said.
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The world’s second-oldest living person, Japanese woman Koto Okubo, turned 115 on December 24.

Kimura is only the third man in history to reach 115 years of age, Guinness said in a statement today. He’s one of just four male super-centenarians, or people aged 110 or more, currently known to be alive, the organisation said.

“To be able to present Mr Kimura his second Guinness World Records title is truly an honour,” Guinness Editor-in- Chief Craig Glenday said in the statement. “Kimura-san is an exceptional person.”

Kimura lives with his grandson’s widow, Eiko Kimura, in a two-story wooden house he built in the 1960s. Eiko wakes him up every day at 7:30 am and takes him by wheelchair to a dining room for breakfast consisting of porridge and miso soup with potatoes and vegetables. He has never suffered from serious diseases, can communicate and spends most of his time in bed, Eiko said.

“Grandpa is positive and optimistic,” she said. “He becomes cheerful when he has guests. He’s well with a good appetite. Even when he falls ill, I can tell he’ll recover.”
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Sino-Japanese War

Kimura, the third of six children, was born as Kinjiro Miyake in Kamiukawa, a fishing and farming village sandwiched between the mountains and the Sea of Japan. His parents, Morizo and Fusa Miyake, were farmers who grew rice and vegetables.

Only two years earlier, Japan’s success in the First Sino-Japanese War had established the nation as the dominant power in East Asia. Less than a year after Kimura was born, the sinking of the US battleship Maine in Havana Harbour would trigger the Spanish-American War.

According to Kimura’s nephew Tamotsu, the 115-year-old’s birthday is actually March 19. Records say he was born April 19 because an official misprinted the month when records from merging towns were consolidated in 1955, the nephew said

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After finishing school at the age of 14 as the second-best student in his class, Kimura worked at local post offices for 45 years until his retirement in 1962 at the age of 65. He also worked at a government communication unit in Korea in the 1920s, when the peninsula was under Japanese rule, and returned to marry his neighbour Yae Kimura.

As his wife’s family didn’t have a male heir, he changed his name to Jiroemon Kimura, making him the ninth person in the family to bear the name. Since retiring, he has enjoyed reading newspapers and watching sumo wrestling on television. He sometimes helped his son farm until he was about 90 years old, Eiko Kimura said.

Kimura was a disciplined, serious man when he was younger, Miyake said. Even when he drank with his brothers, he would sit straight and keep quiet, Miyake said.

His wife, Yae, died 34 years ago at the age of 74. Four of Kimura’s five siblings lived to be more than 90 years old, and his youngest brother, Tetsuo, died at 100, Miyake said. Kimura’s living descendants include five children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren.

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THE SECRET OF WHY WOMEN LIVE LONGER THAN MEN SAY UNIVERSITY FINDINGS

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

WOMEN LIVE LONGER THAN MEN & THIS IS WHY THEY SAY

THE reason women live roughly four years longer than men in a place like Australia is not solely down to their reduced rate of obesity, risky behaviour and smoking. According to research published today, it’s down to genetics.

Both men and women have mitochondrial DNA but researchers from Monash University in Melbourne and Lancaster University in Britain found only females were immune to mutations carried in the mitochondria, which is found in every cell of the body.

This ”evolutionary quirk” means males are more susceptible to the mutations, negatively affecting their life expectancy.
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”A significant genetic difference in lifespan between men and women can be traced back to the mitochondria,” said the Monash University evolutionary biologist Damian Dowling.

”This difference is not caused by hormonal differences between the sexes, such as testosterone in males, or to risk-taking behaviour. It’s genetic.”

The Bureau of Statistics says a girl born today can expect to live to almost 84 while a boy is expected to live to 80.

Mitochondria are found around the nucleus of cells. Often described as the powerhouse of cells because of their responsibility for producing energy, mitochondria have also been tied to the ageing process.

While both sexes have mitochondrial DNA, only the mother passes it on to her children.

”It’s this strict maternal inheritance of mitochondria that has allowed mutations to creep in to mitochondrial genes that are harmful to males, while having no simultaneous effect on the female of the species,” Dr Dowling said.

Published in Current Biology, the study took into account the obvious tendency for men to lead riskier lifestyles than women.

”When we take out those factors, there are genetic mutations which are tied to early male ageing and these same mutations have no effect on females.”
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