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Lead, mercury exposure raises cholesterol levels: Study. Pixabay

Increased levels of lead and mercury in the blood could raise bad cholesterol levels, known to damage arteries, and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to a preliminary research.

The findings by researchers from the Jacobi Medical Center in New York City showed that people with a high level of lead had 56 per cent greater odds of having higher total cholesterol and 22 per cent more likely to have higher bad cholesterol or lower density lipoprotein (LDL).


Those with the highest levels of mercury in their blood were 73 per cent more likely to have higher total cholesterol, while those with increased cadmium levels in the blood had a 41 per cent higher risk of cholesterol.

In addition, mercury levels increased the odds for higher LDL by 23 per cent among those who fell in the middle for their heavy metal levels, compared to those with the lowest level.

The rise in cholesterol seen with increasing heavy metal levels in the blood might have cardiovascular consequences in people exposed to heavy metals, such as in areas with disaster water crises, the researchers said.


Representational image. (IANS)

This suggests the need for screening for heavy metals as a risk for high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, they said.

The results will be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2018 in Chicago.

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For the study, the team reviewed information from a national representative database which includes cholesterol levels and blood levels of heavy metals among US adults.

They found a notable difference between those with the least blood levels of heavy metal and those with the most, with LDL becoming progressively higher as lead levels increased. (IANS)


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When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades.

The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.

Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.

The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.

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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.

"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.

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It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.

The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.

Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.

"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.

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Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.

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Jeff Bezos at the ENCORE awards.

Following the grand Richard Branson show where he carried Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla and fellow space travelers on his shoulders after successfully flying to the edge of space, it is time for Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to applaud Sanjal Gavande, one of the key engineers who designed the New Shephard rocket set to take Bezos and the crew to space on July 20.

Billionaire Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space aboard what is touted as the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight. Born in Kalyan, Maharashtra, Gavande is a systems engineer at Blue Origin who always dreamt of designing aerospace rockets.

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After completing Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai, she flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University. She also applied for an engineering job at the US space agency NASA but finally landed her dream job at Blue Origin

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