10 major discoveries that changed health in 2017

2017 has been a great year for health discoveries!

It’s hard to believe that another year is nearly upon us.

While so much has happened in the last 365 days, it’s also been a massive year when it came to health discoveries and breakthroughs.

These discoveries are welcomed news for people living with serious health conditions and could change the way they manage their conditions forever.

Today, we’re looking back at some of the biggest health discoveries of the past 12 months.

Dyeing your hair could increase your chances of breast cancer

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Professor Kefah Mokbel, the lead surgeon at the London Breast Institute and Honorary Professor of Breast Cancer Surgery at The Brunel Institute of Cancer Genetics stated earlier this year that dyeing your hair could increase your chance of developing breast cancer.

He claimed that women who dye their hair are 14 per cent more likely to suffer the deadly disease and advised that they reduced their exposure to synthetic hair dyes to no more than six times a year.

His research also suggested that women shouldn’t give up dyeing their hair completely, but should instead opt for dyes that include natural, herbal ingredients such as rose hip or rhubarb.

Read more: Breast cancer risk may depend on how often women dye their hair

It would be preferable to choose hair dyes that contain the minimum concentration of aromatic amines such as PPD.

Eating nuts can reduce heart disease

Recent research from Harvard University published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that eating nuts daily was the key to reducing the chances of a heart attack and stroke.

While nut-lovers were encouraged not to gorge themselves on salted snacks every day, munching on walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pistachios and even cashews was proven to be of benefit.

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Eating walnuts one a week was found to have reduced cardiovascular disease by 19 per cent and saw a 21 per cent decline in the risk of coronary heart disease.

It also found that eating peanuts two times a week had similar results, reducing cardiovascular disease by 13 per cent and a 15 per cent reduction in coronary heart disease.

Read more: Eating nuts linked to reduced risk of heart disease

As nuts are high in calories they should be eaten in place of one of your daily snacks, not in addition to your morning or afternoon tea.

Drinking hot tea could prevent glaucoma eye disease

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If you’re the kind of person who enjoys a cuppa tea every day, research by the British Ophthalmology recently suggested that hot tea can reduce the risk of contracting glaucoma.

The eye disease, which is known to cause blindness, was found to be less prominent in people who drank more than six cups of hot tea each week. In fact, the study suggested that hot tea drinkers were 74 per cent less likely to get glaucoma than people who drank other drinks such as coffee, ice tea, or fizzy drinks.

Although in the early stages of research, the paper suggested that more studies would need to be carried out to ensure the real impact hot tea drinking can have on the eye condition.

Read more: Why drinking a cuppa could do wonders for your eye health

Research suggests drinking hot tea could prevent glaucoma.

Blood pressure medication could cure incontinence

Millions of women around the world suffer from incontinence, an irritating and uncomfortable health issue that sees the bladder releasing urine uncontrollably.

A recent study from the UK suggested that common drugs used to treat blood pressure could be the key to curing incontinence – welcome news to women across the globe who are currently forced to try and train their bladder and pelvic floor, lose weight, or even undergo surgery.

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It is believed that the endothelin pathway is affected when medication used to manage blood pressure is taken, giving hope to medical specialists and people living with the condition.

Read more: Incontinence breakthrough brings relief to millions of women

It is believed that 50 per cent of adult women experiencing bladder leakage at some point.

Being married can reduce dementia risk

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Dementia is one of the cruellest diseases out there, but a paper published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry suggested that married life could help when it comes to the loss of brain function.

The study concluded that people who haven’t been in a long-term relationship for their entire lives are 42 per cent more likely to develop dementia than people who are married or in a relationship.

It also found that people who become widowed were 20 per cent more likely to suffer from dementia, possibly because there’s a lack of information for people who are single or alone.

At present, some 47 million people around the globe are living with the condition, while 413,106 Australians have dementia.

Read more: New research suggests marriage can lower dementia risk

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Being married could help when it comes to dementia.

Washing daily could be bad for your health

Most people are brought up to shower once or twice a day, but Dr Elaine Larson, an infectious disease expert from Columbia University School of Nursing, suggests that doing so could be opening us up to diseases.

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Instead, she recommends people shower just once or twice a week to keep clean and prevent illness.

She hinted that regular washing actually opens up the gaps in the skin and lets germs in, as well as drying out the skin.

Read more: Really? This is how often you are supposed to shower?

Frequent baths also make the skin dry and, especially as the skin thins with age, may increase the odds of infection and sickness.

A simple injection could treat back pain

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After 10 years of research at Monash University and Hudson Institute of Medical Research, an injection has been developed that could help one in six Australians that live with chronic back pain.

By injecting six million stem cells into painful areas, it is believed that the injection would work as an anti-inflammatory of sorts.

Stem cell research has been hailed by the medical world as the future science and is currently used to treat an array of blood diseases and to help regenerate tissues.

Read more: Revolutionary new treatment for back pain discovered

Relief could be on the way for millions suffering with back pain.

Synthetic testosterone will help protect women against asthma

Women are more likely to suffer from asthma than men in Australia, with 267 women dying from the respiratory illness in 2015, compared to 143 men.

A medical team from Australia and France discovered that because men develop testosterone in puberty, it protects them for life from the condition, resulting in lower numbers of males being affected.

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As such, scientists are working on a synthetic testosterone for women that will replace current steroids and hopefully reduce the impact of the condition for those living with asthma.

Read more: Major asthma breakthrough for women

Inhalers could one day be a thing of the past for asthma sufferers.

Pollution is one of the world’s biggest killers

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Esteemed medical journal The Lancet has found that pollution kills more people worldwide than wars, violence, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

It’s said to be the biggest killer in the world, with some nine million people suffering premature deaths annual.

The study took into account the damage that polluted air, water and soil was having on the health of people and found that it actually is worse than most people would expect.

Read more: Pollution kills more people than wars and violence, report finds

The financial cost of pollution-related death, illness and welfare is also having a significant impact on the economy, costing $4.6 trillion in annual losses.

Vitamin D can prevent the onset of arthritis inflammation

It’s one of the most painful and crippling conditions around but a recent study by the University of Birmingham found has suggested that Vitamin D can actually prevent the onset of arthritis inflammation.

The research concluded that Vitamin D has positive impacts on the skeleton and that it has the ability to suppress inflammation in autoimmune diseases.

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While sitting around in the sun is a good way of increasing your body’s exposure to the miracle vitamin, people living with the condition are also recommended to increase levels of Vitamin D in food and drinks by including more fatty fishes, cheeses, egg yolks, cereals and orange juices to their diet.

Read more: How Vitamin D can prevent the onset of painful arthritis

For people who are long-sufferers of severe arthritis, the research suggests that even higher dosages of the vitamin could help with the condition.

Are you living with any health conditions? Has there been any major discoveries this year that have helped you better live with the condition?