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Overweight men more likely to die from prostate cancer: Study

Every 10 centimeters (four inches) on a man’s waist increases his risk of dying from prostate cancer by seven percent, according to a new study on Thursday – the largest ever conducted on a possible link between obesity and the disease.

Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and the fourth most common overall, according to the World Health Organization, but its relationship to obesity remains unclear.

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To get a better idea of the size of the risk, researchers examined all the relevant studies published on the subject so far, which covered 2.5 million men, and analyzed new data on more than 200,000 men in the UK.

With each five-point increase in body mass index (BMI), the risk of dying from prostate cancer rose by 10 percent, according to the study published in the journal BMC Medicine.

Aurora Perez-Cornago, a nutritional epidemiologist at Oxford University who led the research, said that if men shaved five points off of their BMI, there would be 1,300 fewer deaths from the cancer every year in the UK alone.

“The key message is: please, men, maintain a healthy weight,” she told AFP.

Previous research had suggested that stomach fat could be “more important for aggressive prostate cancer” than overall weight, the study said.

But Perez-Cornago said they found that “it doesn’t seem to matter that much where the fat is located.”

It is still unknown whether obesity directly causes prostate cancer to develop. Perez-Cornago is carrying out further research on the subject, but does not yet have results.

“To date, we don’t know, because it is also possible that men with obesity may be diagnosed with prostate cancer at a later stage,” she said.

“If they are diagnosed at a later stage, the tumor is likely to be more aggressive and they may be less likely to survive.”

Perez-Cornago said there were several reasons why prostate cancer is often detected later in overweight men, including that they could be less health conscious.

“For example, if they start going to the toilet at night more often – a classic symptom of prostate cancer – they may be less likely to go to a GP,” she said.

Even if they tested, it is be less likely to pick up the molecule indicating cancer because obese men have more blood, diluting the sample.

The study, which was funded by Cancer Research UK, was presented at the European Congress on Obesity in the Netherlands.

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EU proposes to ban use of flavored tobacco vaping products

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed to ban the use of flavored tobacco vaping devices in Europe because of concerns about their increasing popularity and health effects.

“With nine out of ten lung cancers caused by tobacco, we want to make smoking as unattractive as possible to protect the health of our citizens and save lives,” said EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides in a statement.

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Ghislaine Maxwell handed 20-year prison sentence for sex trafficking  

Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday for helping the sex offender and globetrotting financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls, in what a judge called a “horrific scheme” that inflicted “incalculable” harm on victims.

The British socialite, 60, was convicted in December of five charges, including sex trafficking a minor, for recruiting and grooming four girls to have sexual encounters with Epstein, then her boyfriend, between 1994 and 2004.

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Speaking at her sentencing hearing in Manhattan federal court before learning the sentence, Maxwell called Epstein a “manipulative, cunning and controlling man” who fooled everyone in his orbit. She said she was “sorry” for the pain that his victims experienced.

“It is the greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell's month-long trial in late 2021 was widely seen as the reckoning that Epstein – who killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 at age 66 while awaiting his own sex trafficking trial – never had.

It was one of the highest-profile cases in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which encouraged women to speak out about sexual abuse, often at the hands of wealthy and powerful people.

In imposing the sentence, US Circuit Judge Alison Nathan said Maxwell did not appear to express remorse or accept responsibility.

“Maxwell directly and repeatedly and over the course of many years participated in a horrific scheme to entice, transport and traffic underage girls, some as young as 14, for sexual abuse by and with Jeffrey Epstein,” Nathan said. “The damage done to these young girls was incalculable.”

Bobbi Sternheim, a lawyer for Maxwell, said Maxwell would appeal, arguing the public scrutiny of the case before the trial “left little room for her to be treated fairly.”

“We all know that the person who should have been sentenced today escaped accountability, avoided his victims, avoided absorbing their pain and receiving the punishment he truly deserved,” Sternheim told reporters.

‘Pattern of deflection of blame’

Maxwell’s lawyers had proposed she serve no more than 5-1/4 years, arguing she was being scapegoated for Epstein’s crimes. Prosecutors had last week suggested she serve between 30 and 55 years in prison, but on Tuesday said the 20-year sentence would hold Maxwell accountable for “heinous crimes against children.”

“This sentence sends a strong message that no one is above the law and it is never too late for justice,” Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, said in a statement.

Nathan said Maxwell’s statements showed a “pattern of deflection of blame.”

“Although Epstein was of course central to this criminal scheme, Ms. Maxwell is not being punished in place of Epstein or as a proxy for Epstein,” Nathan said. “Ms. Maxwell was instrumental in the abuse of several underage girls.”

In often emotional and explicit testimony during the trial, Annie Farmer, a woman known as “Kate,” and two other women testified that Maxwell, who was found guilty on five counts, was a central figure in their abuse by Epstein.

During Tuesday's hearing, Farmer, now a psychologist, said her experience being exploited by Maxwell “resulted in significant shame” that sometimes left her feeling like she wanted to “disappear.”

Kate said she was proud to help hold Maxwell accountable.

“Today, I can look at Ghislaine and tell her that I became what I am today in spite of her and her efforts to make me feel powerless and insignificant, and I will cast that empowerment on my daughter,” Kate said.

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UK hospital uses holographic patients, XR to train future doctors in world’s first

A hospital in the United Kingdom has become the first in the world to train its future doctors with the use of holographic patients.

Researchers at the Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge have developed mixed-reality technology that can mimic medical situations for students through which they can treat virtual patients.

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During these simulations, medical students encounter a virtual patient experiencing symptoms and must make decisions on how to care of it in real-time.

The students wearing the mixed-reality headsets are able to see each other in real life, while also interacting with a multi-layered, medically accurate holographic patient, a statement by Cambridge University Hospitals said. This enables an environment where medical students can learn and practice vita decision making and treatment in real-time.

The new mixed-reality training application, HoloScenarios, is being developed by Cambridge University Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust (CUH) in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Los Angeles-based technology company GigXR.

NHS medical director Sir Stephen Powis said that this new technology “could enhance the learning experience of our next generation of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers, by creating new environments to practice medicine in real-time, while improving access to training worldwide.”

Through the same type of mixed-reality headset, medical instructors can alter patient responses, introduce complications to the simulations, and record observations and discussions. This can be conducted in person within a teaching group or remotely, and can be done in various locations worldwide via the internet.

“This makes training much more interactive and realistic, and you can safely make mistakes and learn from them,” said CUH junior doctor Aniket Bharadwaj.

“Throughout medical school we would have situations where actors would come in an act as patients. With the pandemic a lot of that changed to tablet-based interactions because of the risk to people of the virus.”

Learners can watch, contribute to and assess these patient scenarios from their Android or iOS smartphones, or tablets. The technology is now available for license to learning institutions all over the world.

The first module features a hologram patient with asthma, followed by anaphylaxis, pulmonary embolism and pneumonia, the statement revealed, adding that further modules in cardiology and neurology are now in development.

“Mixed reality is increasingly recognized as a useful method of simulator training. As institutions scale procurement, the demand for platforms that offer utility and ease of mixed reality learning management is rapidly expanding,” said the project’s leader Dr. Aruna Gupta, who is also a consultant anesthetist at CUH and director of postgraduate education at Cambridge University Health Partnership.

The new technology provides an opportunity for more flexible, cost-effective training without heavy resource demand of traditional simulations, which can make immersive training financially prohibitive.

“Empowering instructors with 360-degree preparation for clinical practice represents a milestone for GigXR that allows us to provide our customers with a library of applications that offers solutions for students from their first courses to continuing education,” said GigXR founder David King Lassman.

“Our first HoloScenarios module represents a new and incredibly powerful way to use mixed reality for healthcare training, to be followed up by many more modules and new applications delivered soon.”

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