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Stokvel members love island holidays, this travel agency found

Earlier this year, Flight Centre launched a new product aimed at stokvel members.  It found that, apart from local destinations, members were saving up for holidays in Mauritius and Thailand. Earlier this year, the travel agency Flight Centre started a stokvel for travel. More than 80 stokvels have signed up, and so far the most popular destinations (apart from domestic trips) are Thailand and Mauritius. A maximum of 30 people can form part of a stokvel – but they don’t have to travel together. To sign-up, members complete a application form,…

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Bacteria found in milk can trigger rheumatoid arthritis, a disease common in women

Researchers have found that a strain of bacteria commonly found in milk may be a trigger for developing rheumatoid arthritis in people who are genetically at risk. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease that causes the immune system to attack a person’s joints, muscles, bones and organs. Patients suffer from pain and deformities mostly in the hands and feet. It can occur at any age but the most common onset is between 40 and 60 years old and is three times more prevalent in women. The study, published…

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We are facing a silent epidemic. ‘Disturbingly high rates of diabetes’ found in India

India is facing an epidemic of diabetes and high blood pressure, often called “silent killers” because they lead to heart disease, said a report today involving more than 1.3 million people. The rate of diabetes in India is over 6%, while around one quarter of people have high blood pressure, said the first nationally representative figures on the topic, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine. While these rates are lower than the United States and China, experts say a combination of widespread tobacco use,…

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Newly found mechanism could lead to preventing allergic reactions

Scientists have found a new mechanism in which an antibody can prevent allergic reactions in a broad range of patients. The breakthrough could pave the way for a far more effective allergy medicine. The antibody interacts in a complex biochemical process in the human body by which it prevents the human allergy antibody (IgE) from attaching to cells, thus keeping all allergic symptoms from occurring. “We can now describe the interaction of this antibody with its target and the conformational changes very accurately,” said Edzard Spillner, from the Aarhus University…

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Raghuram Rajan: Demonetisation put new interest burden on RBI as people found ways to convert black money

The failure to stop dodgy cash coming back into the banking system after demonetisation has likely burdened the Reserve Bank of India with additional interest payments running into tens of thousands of crores, former governor of the central bank Raghuram Rajan said Thursday. Latest Reserve Bank of India data shows that all but 1% of the high-value bank notes demonetised on November 8 last year have returned to the banking system, meaning black money hoarders found ways to legitimise their cash that now earns interest. Rajan estimates this burden could be as…

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New Way to Fight Therapy-Resistant Prostate Cancer Found

Scientists have identified a signalling circuit in cells that can be targeted to treat advanced prostate cancer in patients who are resistant to existing therapies. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of death after lung cancer in American men, researchers said. Currently, the most effective treatment for advanced prostate cancer is to deprive the cancer of what feeds it – androgen hormones, such as testosterone. However, almost all patients eventually develop resistance to this therapy, leaving doctors with no options to counteract the inevitable. The study at The Scripps Research…

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