San Francisco, Oct 29 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Researchers from China's Taiwan Province have found that a common drug used to treat type 2 diabetes may have an effect of lowering the possibility of developing a disease leading to blindness, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) said Sunday.
The San Francisco-based academy said the research, disclosed at AAO 2018, its 122nd Annual Meeting being held in Chicago from Oct. 27 to Oct. 30, showed the diabetes patients who took the medication of metformin have a significant lower rate of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of blindness in Americans aged 50 or above.
The researchers studied the statistics of the health insurance research database in Taiwan from a period spanning from 2001 and 2013 and found that 45,524 type 2 diabetes patients who took metformin have better chances to avoid suffering AMD that affects about 2.1 million people in the United States.
The study suggests that metformin, which controls the blood glucose level in type 2 diabetes patients, can suppress inflammation and oxidative stress, the two major factors that play a key role in the development of both diabetes and AMD.
"Our study is the first to reveal the protective effect of metformin on the development of AMD," said lead investigator Yu-Yen Chen.
The AAO is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons, with a global community of 32,000 medical doctors, which is committed to advocating the protection of sight and empowering lives by promoting eye care and health for the public.
Sydney, Oct 25 (Xinhua/UNB) -- University of Queensland researchers said on Thursday that they have developed new breast cancer pathology guidelines that will give patients a better chance of fighting the major disease.
The guidelines allow medical specialists to identify which patients have more aggressive forms of breast cancer, which means they can be classified appropriately and their treatment can be tailored, according to a university statement.
The team which developed the guidelines specifically investigated metaplastic breast carcinomas (MBC), a rare but aggressive form of breast cancer, said the university's Amy McCart Reed.
"For patients with MBC, we found the number of different cell types in the tumors had a significant impact on survival," she said.
"The more diverse the tumor, the worse the patient's prognosis is likely to be.
"Among patients with a bad tumor type like MBC, there are some who will do well and some will do poorly, and this new metric helps us to categorize this."
The World Health Organization (WHO) will also incorporate the guidelines into the fifth edition of its major "Blue book" and "Classification of Tumours of the Breast" from next year, said the university.
"Previously, the WHO guidelines have described the types of cancer cells within tumors without telling pathologists specifically what and how much to record," said McCart Reed, whose team's study was reported in The Journal of Pathology medical publication.
"Now we can advise pathologists to record the number of types of morphologies within tumors because a more accurate prognosis can be made based on this."
Honolulu, Oct 25 (AP/UNB) — Hawaii scientists found two tiny baby octopuses floating on plastic trash they were cleaning up as they monitored coral reefs.
Marine ecologist Sallie Beavers of Kaloko-Honokohau (KAH-loh-koh Hoh-noh-KOH-how) National Historical Park said Wednesday that the octopuses were the size of green peas.
She believes they were likely either day octopus or night octopus, both species commonly found off Hawaii. They can grow to 12 pounds (5.4 kilograms) as adults, with arm spans of 3 feet (1 meter.)
Scientists found them months ago, but the U.S. Interior Department highlighted them this week when it posted a photo of one on social media.
Octopus babies hide under logs and other floating debris until they're a few months old. Beavers says one squirted a tiny bit of ink when they released it in the ocean.
Johannesburg, Oct 16 (AP/UNB) — The World Health Organization says it is convening a meeting on Wednesday to determine whether Congo's latest Ebola outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
Aid organizations have expressed alarm as the rate of new cases has more than doubled this month and community resistance to Ebola containment efforts in some cases has turned violent.
This is Congo's tenth Ebola outbreak but this is the first time the deadly virus has appeared in the far northeast, an area of active rebel attacks that health workers have compared to a war zone.
WHO recently said the risk of regional spread was "very high" as confirmed cases were reported close to the heavily traveled border with Uganda.
Congo's health ministry says there are now 179 confirmed cases, including 104 deaths.
Sydney, Oct 16 (AP/UNB) — A beaming Duke and Duchess of Sussex started the first day of official engagements of a royal tour of Australia on Tuesday with the public focus on the former Meghan Markle's newly announced pregnancy.
Meghan wore a tight-fitting cream dress by Australian designer Karen Gee that barely revealed a royal bump as they were welcomed at an event at the Sydney Harbor-side mansion where the couple are staying.
The news of the pregnancy was announced after Prince Harry and the American former actress arrived in Sydney on Monday and 15 hours before their first public appearance.
Among those taken by surprise were their Sydney hosts, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Lynne Cosgrove. The governor general, who represents Queen Elizabeth II, Australia's head of state and Harry's grandmother, sent staff to hastily buy a toy kangaroo with a joey in its pouch and tiny pair of Australian sheep skin boots for their pregnant guest.
"Here's your first gift for the nursery," the governor-general told the couple during the official welcome at his official residence, Admiralty House.
"Thank you, that's so sweet," Meghan said as she received the toy.
The main focus of Tuesday's engagement was to meet Invictus Games representatives from the 18 countries competing in the event that starts Saturday. The sporting event, founded by Harry in 2014, gives sick and injured military personnel and veterans the opportunity to compete in sports such as wheelchair basketball.
Several of the representatives congratulated the couple on their baby news. Meghan replied: "Thank you so much. We are very excited."
The pregnancy has made front-page news across Australia.
The Sydney Morning Herald ran the headline: "A smooth ride to Sydney, but royals reveal bump on the way."
Another Sydney tabloid screamed: "HEIR DINKUM!" — a play on the Australian term "fair dinkum," which is used to emphasize the genuineness or truth of something.
Darwin's irreverent NT News chose the headline: "Ginger Pregs" — a play on a long-running Australian comic strip about a mischievous red-head boy called "Ginger Megs."
Harry, dressed in navy blue suit, smiled proudly as the couple held hands on their tour through Admiralty House.
The couple are on 16-day visit to Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.
The announcement of the pregnancy confirms weeks of speculation from royal watchers about why Meghan was not joining Harry on his Sydney Harbor Bridge climb set for Friday.
Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37 — along with Prince William and his wife, Kate, the duchess of Cambridge — have stepped to the fore in the last year as the 92-year-old queen slightly reduces her public schedule.
Harry has become immensely popular in Britain, in part because of his military service and tireless work on behalf of wounded soldiers, and he has spoken often in recent years of his desire to settle down and start a family.
Meghan, with her American roots and successful acting career, has been seen as a modernizing influence on the sometimes stodgy royal family, and she is credited by many for bringing happiness to Harry, who has long struggled to cope with the early death of his mother, Princess Diana.