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Zika Nerve Damage May Stem From Body’s Response to the Virus

MONDAY, Nov. 27, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Nerve-related complications of Zika infection may be caused by the immune system’s response to the virus, not the virus itself, according to a new study. Zika is spread primarily via the bite of an infected mosquito, but it may also be transmitted by blood transfusion or sexual contact. Most people who become infected don’t have any symptoms, but some develop serious neurological conditions. And an infection during pregnancy can cause devastating birth defects. The researchers said their findings, based on experiments with mice, may help lead to new ways to treat people with Zika-related nerve complications, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome. The syndrome can cause muscle weakness, tingling and even paralysis. The Yale University research team found that when Zika infection spreads from the blood to the brain in mice, immune cells flood the brain. This limits the infection of brain cells, but it can also trigger paralysis. “The immune cells that are generated by infection start attacking our own neurons,” study leader and immunobiologist Akiko Iwasaki said in a university news release. “The damage is not occurring through the virus infection, but rather the immune response to the virus.” The findings suggest that suppressing the immune system response may be a way to treat Guillain-Barre syndrome. However, research in animals frequently doesn’t produce similar results in humans. The study was published online...

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Bali's Mount Agung has first major volcano eruption since 1963, sends thick ash cloud into sky

[embedded content] Mount Agung, a volcano on Bali, erupted over the weekend, sending a thick ash cloud into the sky over the Indonesian island and grounding thousands of travelers. The latest eruption sent ash more than 1.2 miles, or 2,000 meters, into the air on Sunday, Bali’s Regional Disaster Management Agency told CNN. The volcanic ash plume following the eruption reached an altitude of more than 4.7 miles and activity is still ongoing. The eruptions marked the first major activity from Mount Agung since 1963, though there is still the threat of an even bigger eruption to come.  SEE ALSO: Drone captures dramatic footage of erupting volcano in Japan The first eruption occurred around 4:30 a.m. ET on Saturday with more...

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Who’s Most Distracted Behind the Wheel?

FRIDAY, Nov. 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Texting, talking on cellphones, eating, drinking — distractions such as these are a driving hazard, and are more likely to occur among young men, new research shows. People most prone to distracted driving also often tend to think it’s “no big deal” — socially acceptable, the Norwegian study found. These drivers often also felt that they had little control over being distracted. On the other hand, older women, and people who felt they could control their distracted behaviors, were most able to keep their focus where it belongs — on the road ahead. “I found that young men were among the most likely to report distraction,” said study lead author Ole Johansson of Norway’s Institute of Transport Economics. “Others more prone to distraction include those who drive often, and those with neurotic and extroverted personalities.” According to the study authors, the World Health Organization estimates that more than a million lives are lost on roadways each year due to distracted driving. And it only takes two seconds of looking away from the road for risks of an accident to rise significantly, the researchers noted. There was good news, however, from the survey of Norwegian high school students and adults: Overall rates of distracted driving were low, and “fiddling with the radio” was the most common source of distraction. The study was published...

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Sadat to Salman: Israel at the expense of Palestine

President Donald Trump shakes hands with then Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman during a bilateral meeting on May 20, 2017 in Riyadh [AP/Evan Vucci] Israel and Saudi Arabia have been the hot subject of speculation and gossip in recent weeks. Not a day goes by without us hearing about their latest rendezvous, their winks and whims, their flirtations and fantasies. I’m not sure Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did indeed make a secret trip to Tel Aviv, but I did see former Saudi and Israeli intelligence chiefs share a stage at a New York...

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A Former Prisoner of North Korea Has Been Found Burned to Death in California

An American formerly imprisoned in North Korea was found enveloped in flames in a California lot last Friday. An off-duty California Highway Patrol officer stopped to help Aijalon Mahli Gomes, 38, but Gomes was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene, CNN reports. San Diego police are investigating the death, which police say initially suggests an accident or suicide, but the Medical Examiner’s Office will make the final call. Originally from Boston, Gomes was an American teacher detained in North Korea on Jan. 25, 2010 when he illegally crossed the border from China. At the time of his arrest, he had been living and teaching in South Korea. After his arrest, Gomes was sentenced to eight years of hard labor and a fine of...

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