Wednesday January 22, 2020

Peer Victimisation May Lead to Risky Health Behaviours: Researchers

Peer victimisation may lead to risky sex among teenagers

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Peer victimisation
Peer victimisation is associated with adverse psychological and behavioural problems. Pixabay

Researchers have found that peer victimisation is associated with adverse psychological and behavioural problems, including depression and risky health behaviours, such as substance use and unprotected sex with multiple partners.

According to the study published in the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, in 2015, approximately one-third of high school students in the US reported having sex recently.

Of these, 43 per cent had not used a condom, 21 per cent had drunk alcohol or used drugs before sexual intercourse, and 14 per cent had not used any contraception methods.

“It is critical to create safe and private spaces for boys to share their experiences, and we hope that this research will encourage schools to consider efforts to destigmatize victimisation through peer mentorship and open communication,” said study researchers Youn Kyoung Kim from University of Tennessee.

Peer depression
People who have faced peer victimisation are more likely to suffer from depression. Pixabay

For the study, the researchers analysed the 2015 Youth Risk Behaviour System Survey, a nationally representative survey of US high school students containing data from 5,288 individuals who reported having engaged in sexual intercourse.

They also examined gender differences in the relationships between four types of peer victimisation (school bullying, cyber bullying, physical dating violence, and sexual dating violence), depression, and risky sexual behaviours among US high school students.

The results show that all types of peer victimisation are related to symptoms of depression for both females and males, and physical and sexual dating violence are associated with increased risky sexual behaviours.

However, school bullying does not predict risky sexual behaviours.

Among males, cyber bullying predicts increased risky sexual behaviours and the relationship is greater when a boy is depressed, the research said.

Also Read- Women More Likely to Die Because of Heart Failure Than Men, Says Study

The findings suggest that adolescent boys who are cyber bullied pursue risky sexual behaviours more frequently than girls who are cyber bullied.

Results may reflect a culture of toxic masculinity and highlight the need to pay special attention to male victims, who may be reluctant to self-identify, and therefore, at greater risk of negative health outcomes. (IANS)

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Drugs That Treat Arthritis in Dogs Can Kill Cancer Cells: Study

Drug for arthritis in dogs can fight cancer in people

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Cancer Cells
Drugs for diabetes, inflammation, alcoholism and even for treating arthritis in dogs can also kill cancer cells. Pixabay

Drugs for diabetes, inflammation, alcoholism — and even for treating arthritis in dogs — can also kill cancer cells in the lab, according to a new health news and study.

The researchers systematically analysed thousands of already developed drug compounds and found nearly 50 that have previously unrecognised anti-cancer activity.

The findings, which also revealed novel drug mechanisms and targets, suggest a possible way to accelerate the development of new cancer drugs or repurpose existing drugs to treat cancer.

“We thought we’d be lucky if we found even a single compound with anti-cancer properties, but we were surprised to find so many,” said study researcher Todd Golub from Harvard University in the US.

Cancer Cells
Most of the non-oncology drugs that killed cancer cells in the study did so by interacting with a previously unrecognized molecular target. (Representational Image). Pixabay

The study, published in the journal Nature Cancer, yet to employ the Broad’s Drug Repurposing Hub, a collection that currently comprises more than 6,000 existing drugs and compounds that are either FDA-approved or have been proven safe in clinical trials (at the time of the study, the Hub contained 4,518 drugs).

Historically, scientists have stumbled upon new uses for a few existing medicines, such as the discovery of aspirin’s cardiovascular benefits.

“We created the repurposing hub to enable researchers to make these kinds of serendipitous discoveries in a more deliberate way,” said study first author Steven Corsello, from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and founder of the Drug Repurposing Hub.

The researchers tested all the compounds in the Drug Repurposing Hub on 578 human cancer cell lines from the Broad’s Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia (CCLE).

Using a molecular barcoding method known as PRISM, which was developed in the Golub lab, the researchers tagged each cell line with a DNA barcode, allowing them to pool several cell lines together in each dish and more quickly conduct a larger experiment.

The team then exposed each pool of barcoded cells to a single compound from the repurposing library, and measured the survival rate of the cancer cells.

They found nearly 50 non-cancer drugs — including those initially developed to lower cholesterol or reduce inflammation — that killed some cancer cells while leaving others alone.

Some of the compounds killed cancer cells in unexpected ways.

“Most existing cancer drugs work by blocking proteins, but we’re finding that compounds can act through other mechanisms,” said Corsello.

Cancer Cells
The researchers tested all the compounds in the Drug Repurposing Hub on 578 human cancer cells lines from the Broad’s Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Some of the four-dozen drugs researchers identified appear to act not by inhibiting a protein but by activating a protein or stabilising a protein-protein interaction.

For example, the team found that nearly a dozen non-oncology drugs killed cancer cells that express a protein called PDE3A by stabilising the interaction between PDE3A and another protein called SLFN12 — a previously unknown mechanism for some of these drugs.

These unexpected drug mechanisms were easier to find using the study’s cell-based approach, which measures cell survival, than through traditional non-cell-based high-throughput screening methods, Corsello said.

Also Read- Mothers Find Gaps in Accessibility of Breastfeeding Resources at Work: Research

Most of the non-oncology drugs that killed cancer cells in the study did so by interacting with a previously unrecognized molecular target.

For example, the anti-inflammatory drug tepoxalin, originally developed for use in people but approved for treating osteoarthritis in dogs, killed cancer cells by hitting an unknown target in cells that overexpress the protein MDR1, which commonly drives resistance to chemotherapy drugs. (IANS)