In the news: Hidden tumours, the danger of antibiotics and strong legs linked to fitter brains

LEG WORK: 
In the news: Hidden tumours, the danger of antibiotics and strong legs linked to fitter brains

Scientists have discovered a link between strong legs and a fit brain that resists the effects of ageing.

British researchers found a “striking protective relationship” between more leg power and better preserved mental ability and brain structure over a period of 10 years.

The study of female twins found that the twin who had stronger legs at the start of the study maintained her mental ability better as she got older.

HIDDEN TUMOURS:

A new blood test that analyses proteins and genes linked to prostate cancer can spot “hidden” aggressive tumours that might otherwise go undetected, research has shown.

The STHLM3 test was trialled in a group of 58,818 men to see what difference it made to diagnosing dangerous cancers earlier.

Not only was it far more reliable than the standard PSA blood test, but it also revealed the presence of potentially lethal cancers that could easily be missed.

Lead scientist Professor Henrik Gronberg, from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said: “If we can introduce a more accurate way of testing for prostate cancer, we’ll spare patients unnecessary suffering and save resources.”

ANTIBIOTIC ABNORMALITIES:

Antibiotics commonly used to treat bronchial infections can increase the risk of abnormal heart beats and sudden death, a study has found.

Experts from China point out that the chances of any one individual dying after taking one of the drugs is tiny, and patients should not be unduly worried.

However, at the population level, the statistically significant effect “may not be negligible”, say the researchers.

The macrolide family of antibiotics includes the three popular medicines azithromycin, clarithromycin and erythromycin. Scientists found all were associated with an increased risk of sudden heart death or potentially life-threatening rapid heart beats called ventricular tachyarrhythmias.

The findings are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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