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Harvard biologist turns back the aging process in mice

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Using proteins that can turn an adult cell into a stem cell, Harvard Medical School molecular biologist David Sinclair and his team have reset aging cells in mice to earlier versions of themselves. 

In his team’s first breakthrough, old mice with poor eyesight and damaged retinas could suddenly see again, with vision that at times rivaled their offspring’s, CNN reported.

“It’s a permanent reset, as far as we can tell, and we think it may be a universal process that could be applied across the body to reset our age,” said Sinclair, who has spent the last 20 years studying ways to reverse the ravages of time.

“If we reverse aging, these diseases should not happen. We have the technology today to be able to go into your hundreds without worrying about getting cancer in your 70s, heart disease in your 80s and Alzheimer’s in your 90s,” Sinclair said at an event presented by CNN. 

“This is the world that is coming. It’s literally a question of when and for most of us, it’s going to happen in our lifetimes,” Sinclair told the audience.

Studies on whether the genetic intervention that revitalized mice will do the same for people are in early stages, Sinclair said. It will be years before human trials are finished, analyzed and, if safe and successful, scaled to the mass needed for a federal stamp of approval.

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Congo fever cases rise 38% in last two months in Afghanistan

The Public Health Ministry’s spokesman said in the first five months of this year, 203 positive cases of Congo fever and six deaths were recorded across the country

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On the eve of Eid al-Adha, the Ministry of Public Health has announced that cases of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever have increased by 38 percent in the last two months across the country.

The Ministry of Public Health said that last year there were about 244 positive cases of Congo fever, of which about 100 patients died.

Sharaf Zaman, the spokesperson of Public Health Ministry, added that in the first five months of this year, 203 positive cases of Congo fever and six deaths were recorded throughout Afghanistan.

According to him, Congo fever cases have increased by 38% in the last two months.

“It is very important to allow at least fifteen minutes for the blood to drain completely after slaughtering the animals on Eid days”

Congo fever is carried by domestic animals and can be transmitted by ticks. It is found in Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia. Symptoms include headaches, back pain, vomiting, severe bruising and nosebleeds.

“It is very important to allow at least fifteen minutes for the blood to drain completely after slaughtering the animals on Eid days. Then cover the blood on the ground with soil or wash it with soap, powder or only water. After skinning the animal, the skin should be put in a plastic bag immediately,” said Faridullah Omari, a medic.

According to medics, to prevent the spread of Congo fever, infected people should be quarantined and they should avoid contact with healthy people.

 

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24 mothers, 167 infants die in Afghanistan each day, WHO reports

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Afghanistan faces a staggering daily toll of 24 maternal deaths and 167 infant deaths due to preventable causes, according to a new report released Sunday by the World Health Organization.

The report underscores the continuing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, highlighting the multifaceted challenges that citizens endure daily.

“Afghan citizens face an unstable health system and the daily specter of food scarcity and malnutrition,” the WHO states. This crisis is further exacerbated by the burden of both communicable and noncommunicable diseases, frequent disease outbreaks, severe drought, and natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes, the report stated.

The situation for Afghan women has particularly deteriorated, with limited access to education and livelihoods, WHO said.

The WHO report emphasizes that the need for humanitarian assistance has surged dramatically, adding that children and women bear the brunt of the health emergency.

“Preventable maternal mortality claims the lives of 24 mothers every day, and a staggering 167 infants die each day of preventable causes,” the WHO report highlights.

In addition, Afghanistan’s high level of food insecurity affects 15.8 million people, WHO stated.

Polio also remains a concern, although there have been significant gains in its eradication since 2021, the report noted.

The ongoing geopolitical situation has also affected the health sector, leading to reduced international support. “The health sector is struggling to meet the surging demand for services,” the WHO report states. Severe underfunding led to the closure of 428 static and mobile health facilities between January and December 2023, impacting over 3 million individuals, including more than 600,000 children under five and over 240,000 pregnant and lactating women.

However, the Ministry of Public Health’s spokesman Sharafat Zaman says the report cites incorrect data. He said 300 mother have lost their lives while giving birth in the past six months.

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Polio vaccination campaign gets underway in Afghanistan

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The Ministry of Public Health, in cooperation with the relevant international organizations, on Monday launched the second nationwide campaign of polio vaccination for the year 2024.

The campaign will run throughout the country from June 3 to June 6. The aim of the campaign is to vaccinate more than 11.2 million children under the age of five against the polio virus.

“The Ministry of Public Health is committed to stop the wild polio virus in Afghanistan with the cooperation of its partners. We will continue polio vaccination campaigns and health services to reach the goal of completely eradicating polio throughout the country,” Acting Minister of Public Health Noor Jalal Jalali said at a ceremony to launch the campaign.

“It is important for religious scholars, elders, parents and influential people in the society to support the vaccinators throughout the country so that they participate in the fight against polio and keep their children healthy,” Jalali said.

There is no cure for polio; it can only be prevented by immunization. The polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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