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Sweating up new skin cells

Humans have evolved a sweaty way to repair skin wounds.

It was thought that the body repairs wounds such as bed sores and burns by generating new skin cells from hair follicles or the skin at the edges of the wound, the same way that other animals do.

But Laure Rittie of the University of Michigan Medical School and colleagues have shown that a type of sweat gland not found in animals also plays a role.

The team used a laser to create minor wounds in 31 volunteers. Over the following week, they took skin biopsies of the wound to identify where new skin cells had grown. Before wounding, there were few new cells in the eccrine glands, which help regulate temperature, but four days later, there were plenty.

This suggests that the glands contain a reservoir of adult stem cells that can be recruited to repair wounds (The American Journal of Pathology). Humans have three times more eccrine glands than hair follicles, making them the major contributor to new skin cells.

The finding is “unexpected and against current dogma,” said Elaine Fuchs of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland.


Yogurt can help hypertension

People who take in at least 2 percent of their calories from yogurt have lower blood pressure and are about 30 percent less likely to develop hypertension than people who don't eat yogurt, scientists reported at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research meeting in Washington, D.C.

The yogurt finding is from a study in which researchers followed nearly 2,200 adults for 15 years and assessed their diets periodically with a questionnaire.

Eating at least one 6-ounce serving of yogurt every three days would provide the 2 percent “dose” cited in the study. Yogurt by itself does not lower blood pressure or prevent hypertension, but a diet that includes nutrient-rich foods such as low-fat yogurt instead of less-healthy foods does combat high blood pressure.


The changing hysterectomy

For generations of women, hysterectomy was all but a rite of passage before age 50, albeit a difficult one. Even now, it remains the second-most-performed surgical procedure for American women still of reproductive age, and by age 60, one in three women has undergone the surgery, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Despite that, hysterectomy rates in the past three decades have dropped from almost 56 per 10,000 women to 33 per 10,000, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists statistics show, and the surgery itself has been streamlined into minimally invasive procedures that make the operation and recovery easier.

Hysterectomy remains controversial. While many medical experts see good news in pioneering advances and quick recovery times, some of them also say that up to two-thirds of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed each year in this country could be avoided.

Today, alternative treatments often replace surgery,

For younger women, 90 percent of hysterectomies deal not with reproductive cancers but rather with pelvic pain; uterine fibroids, or benign tumors; excessive bleeding; and endometriosis.

For older women, the most common underlying diagnosis is cancer.

Side effects of the surgery can include the early onset of menopause, bladder and bowel problems and loss of sex drive.

Research also shows that hysterectomy can increase a woman's risk of heart disease and lung cancer.



Compiled from News wire services