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One tiny source could help alleviate the symptoms of an enlarged prostate that affects millions of men.

The spring, about the size of a paper clip, is implanted under local anesthesia and then expands to open the urethra, the tube flowing through the urine, which narrows when the prostate enlarges and causes problems using the toilet.

More than half of men over 50 have benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition in which the prostate – a small gland in the pelvis – enlarges (often as part of the aging process), which narrows parts of the urinary tract.

Hundreds of men are taking part in five clinical trials to see if the implant, which is supposed to be permanent, although it can be removed if necessary, will help with symptoms of BPH

This leads to a number of uncomfortable symptoms such as frequent visits to the toilet and difficulty emptying the bladder completely.

It is estimated that three million men have urinary symptoms as a result of BPH.

Treatment includes lifestyle changes, such as less fluid intake in the evening, as well as medication or surgery.

However, it can take months for medications called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (which reduce the size of the prostate) and alpha blockers (which relax the bladder) to work and can cause side effects, including loss of libido .

In the meantime, surgery to remove excess prostate tissue known as transurethral resection of the prostate requires general anesthesia and carries risks such as incontinence or impotence.

Now researchers are testing another option that they hope will have little or no side effects – a spring that opens the urethra to allow urine to pass freely.

The Zenflow Spring System is made from an alloy of nickel and titanium called nitinol.

It is a shape-memory metal, which means that when it is compressed, it can “remember” its original spring or spiral shape.

In a ten-minute procedure under local anesthesia, the spring is flattened and loaded into a catheter – a thin, flexible tube – with a camera at the end and inserted into the urethra. It is passed to the place where the urethra is narrowed – and then released.

Surgery to remove excess prostate tissue, known as a transurethral resection of the prostate, requires general anesthesia and carries risks such as incontinence or impotence [File photo]

As soon as it is exposed to body temperature, the metal “remembers” its original spring-like shape and expands, pushing the prostate tissue back and supporting the urethra.

According to a study in the World Journal of Men’s Health last year, the first reports from men who have received the implant suggest that it is effective and safe.

“Early clinical cases show a low rate of side effects, quick recovery and lasting results,” it says.

Now hundreds of men are taking part in five clinical trials to see if the implant, which is supposed to be permanent, although it can be removed if necessary, will help with symptoms of BPH.

A multicenter study of 279 patients, led by the University of Texas Southwestern in the US, compares the effects with a placebo procedure that does not involve a spring.

Another study of 40 men at Toronto Western Hospital, Canada looked at the effects on urinary tract symptoms, including difficulty urinating.

Professor Raj Persad, a consultant urological surgeon at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, said, “This seems like a good temporary solution, especially for those who are unsuitable for surgery or who do not wish to have surgery. Although it is an improved material, past experience shows that stents can crust or erode tissue. ‘

An enlarged prostate can protect men from developing prostate cancer, according to a new study from Oakland University in the United States.

According to a study of around 400 men, every 1 cm3 increase in prostate volume leads to a 3 percent lower risk of prostate cancer, reports The Prostate. How an enlarged prostate could provide such protection is currently unclear, but one theory suggests that the growth of the prostate leads to mechanical stresses on the tissue that prevent or limit tumor growth.

In the UK, around 12,000 die from prostate cancer each year.

It’s not just a diet … exercise can aid your digestion

Improving the diversity of bacteria in your gut can increase athletic performance, according to a review of research from the University of Illinois in the US

Different intestinal bacteria allow different digestion of nutrients.

The review found that exercise-related habits, such as z), could improve health and performance.

It was funded in part by Danone Research and published in the journal Advances in Nutrition. It also suggests that exercise can aid digestion by making food move faster through the intestines.

New app detects baby disorders via eye photos

An app that uses photos of baby eyes can help identify jaundice, a study found.

Jaundice is caused when bilirubin, a pigment made when red blood cells break down, builds up because the liver cannot process it properly. If left untreated, it can lead to deafness, brain damage and, in rare cases, death.

Midwives currently use a hand-held device called a bilirubinometer to measure bilirubin levels by analyzing light reflections on the skin. Hopefully the app will become more reliable and affordable.

Developed by the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, it analyzes the whites of the eyes to look for signs of the condition and a review of 37 cases found that all babies with jaundice needing treatment were accurately identified. This means that the app is at least as good as the bilirubinometer, reports PLoS One magazine.

Cooling headband helps women through menopause

Cooling the brow helps suppress hot flashes by “re-educating” the body’s temperature control system, suggests a study of 20 women who wore a headband at night to keep their foreheads between 15 ° C (59 ° F) and 18 ° C (64 ° F).

All found that the duration and severity of their hot flashes and other symptoms improved.

“This pilot study shows that night forehead cooling improves sleep and reduces insomnia, hot flashes, and other symptoms of menopause,” said Pittsburgh University researchers in the journal Behavioral Sleep Medicine.

Cooling the brow helps suppress hot flashes by “re-educating” the body’s temperature control system.

A compound in watercress can help reverse kidney problems related to diabetes. Research from the University of Almaarefa in Saudi Arabia shows the chemical, phenethyl isothiocyanate, found in leafy green vegetables, may help fight the triggers that cause the damage, including inflammation.

Antidepressants can also treat knee pain

Could an Antidepressant Relieve Chronic Knee and Back Pain?

That is the result of a new study with 400 patients with knee osteoarthritis and lower back pain who were given either the antidepressant duloxetine or a placebo every day.

Around 56 percent of patients with back pain and 49 percent of patients with knee pain who took the antidepressant experienced a pain reduction of more than 30 percent compared with no improvements in the placebo groups, according to the study published in the Journal of Orthopedic Science.

Duloxetine acts on two brain chemicals, serotonin and norepinephrine, which are believed to affect how we perceive pain.

Melody medicine

This week: Boosts mood after a stroke

Listening to music can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety after a stroke, researchers at the University of Glasgow report.

They found that “active” listening to music (consciously listening to music, not just playing in the background) improved symptoms of depression and produced feelings of relaxation and positivity.

In the 2019 study, 72 participants spent eight weeks listening to music (actively listening), listening to music (with music in the background), or listening to an audio book for eight weeks.

While all three improved mood, the active listeners were more likely to report that the activity helped them relax and regulate their mood. Lead researcher Professor Jonathan Evans suggests that the benefits of actively listening to music stem from the parallel with mindfulness, which aims to help people feel “fully present” with their feelings, thoughts, and body sensations.

Try this

Biphase Lipo-Alcoholic Spray contains 74 percent alcohol to kill viruses and bacteria on the hands, as well as moisturizing shea oil and squalene, which replenish the lipids in the skin to help prevent dryness, the manufacturer says. 100ml, £ 8, lookfantastic.com

Five-a-day abbreviations

Only a third of us eat our recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Here nutritionist Angela Dowden shows you how easy it is in just one delicious meal.

What to Eat: Grilled Chicken and Bell Pepper Skewers (one serving), plant-based hot dog with onions (one serving), a small corn on the cob (half serving), coleslaw (one serving). Plus a bowl of mixed chopped fruits (one and a half servings) = five servings of fruits and vegetables.

This is how it works: Chop a chicken breast and a paprika for one person and stick on skewers, brush with oil and herbs and grill for ten to 15 minutes, or until the chicken is completely white and hot.

Serve with the hot dog with 80 g roasted onions, grilled corn on the cob and two tablespoons of coleslaw. This is followed by 140 g of fruit salad – made from at least two types of fruit.