ISLAMABAD  – Coffee may prevent type II diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, evidence shows.

It may also have anti-cancer and antidepressant effects.   Some people can’t tolerate coffee because of side effects

Doctors say if you don’t drink coffee and want to start, ease into it. If you can’t get through your day without a coffee break or two, here’s good news for you What scientists know so far suggests coffee may help you stay healthy.

So, doctors aren’t quite convinced enough to prescribe coffee but they probably don’t need to, because so many people indulge in it anyway. Coffee could cut risk of skin cancer.

“For most people, for people who don’t experience the side effects, the benefits far outweigh the risks,” said Dr. Donald Hensrud of the Mayo Clinic.

More is known about the overall association between coffee and positive health effects than about the mechanism behind it, said Dr. Alberto Ascherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Antioxidants are one potential reason that good outcomes are seen from coffee. Our bodies produce oxygen radicals, which are damaging to DNA. Antioxidants prevent them from doing damage, Ascherio said.

Although antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables, research has shown that coffee is the top source of antioxidants for Americans.

Caffeine itself may also contribute to coffee’s positive effects on brain health. That may be because caffeine is an antagonist to adenosine receptors. These receptors normally slow down neural activity when the chemical adenosine binds to them, producing a sleepy feeling. But if caffeine binds to the receptors, the activity of neurons speeds up.

Coffee also appears to lower levels of insulin and estrogen, which is perhaps why a study last year found a lower risk of endometrial cancer in coffee-drinking women. Insulin also plays a role in prostate cancer, another disease coffee may help stave off.

Smoker mothers in pregnancy increase baby’s risk of asthma

New research has discovered that mothers who smoke during pregnancy may cause wheeze and asthma in their children when they reach preschool, even among kids whose moms did not smoke until late pregnancy or after birth. Asa Neuman, MD, of the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, said: “Epidemiological evidence suggests exposure to maternal smoking during fetal and early life increases the risk off childhood wheezing and asthma, but earlier studies were not able to differentiate the effects of prenatal and postnatal exposure.” Our study, a large pooled analysis of eight birth cohorts with data on more  than 21,000 children, included 735 children who were exposed to maternal  smoking only during pregnancy.

These children were at increased risk for wheeze and asthma at preschool age. Furthermore, the likelihood of developing  wheeze and asthma increased in a significant dose-response pattern in relation  to maternal cigarette consumption during the first trimester.”

The analysis showed that maternal smoking during pregnancy only was associated with increased risks for wheeze (odd ratio 1.39, 95 % CI 1.08-1.77) and asthma (odds ratio 1.65, 1.18-2.31) at ages 4 through 6, after adjusting for factors such as parental education, siblings, sex, and birth weight.

Moreover, maternal smoking during the first trimester of pregnancy showed to have an effect on children’s development of wheeze and asthma; however, smoking during the third trimester or the first year of birth showed no increased risks.

Maternal smoking can begin to cause harm on the fetal respiratory system early in pregnancy, possibly before the mother even knows that she is pregnant, Dr. Neuman pointed out.

The research has a few limitations, such as the parents answering the questionnaires to obtain exposure and outcome information.

New urinary tract infection treatment avoids antibiotics

Chemists have come up with new treatment for urinary tract infections (UTIs) that avoids the use of antibiotics. Their discovery of an alternate way to cure these troublesome infections is especially important to individuals such as myself who suffer from digestive disorders aggravated by antibiotics.

Beat Ernst, Ph.D., of Switzerland’s University of Basel, led a research team whose conclusions appeared in an American Chemical Society podcast. Their new approach caused excitement in the scientific community because by not including antibiotics, it avoids completely the growing issue of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to Medical News Today. The potential treatment works by preventing bacteria from sticking to the inside of the bladder.

UTIs are the reason for 8.1 million visits to U.S. health care providers every year, the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse says. Frequent infections are common in some women. One in five young women with an initial UTI will experience at least one more. A majority of infections are caused by the bacteria E. coli, which normally resides in the intestines.

Antibiotics have been the primary UTI treatment for years. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most commonly prescribed are drugs like Bactrim, Septra, Larotid, Moxatag, Furadantin, Macrodantin, Ampicillin, Cipro, and Levaquin. Treatment ranges from a few days to a few weeks.

As the use of antibiotics has expanded, the number of bacteria resistant to the most common has escalated. One troublesome result is superbugs that remain unscathed by even the most potent antibiotics.

Using mice, the researchers developed a treatment that doesn’t involve killing bacteria. Instead, anti-adhesion molecules prevent them from attaching to the bladder and causing an infection. The results were comparable to those achieved with Cipro in humans.

Like many women, I have developed multiple UTIs, some of them back-to-back infections. Taking antibiotics has caused many problems since I am also one of around 700,000 Americans with Crohn’s disease. While its cause and its cure still elude researchers, experts know that in patients with this disorder, the body somehow interprets normally benevolent objects as harmful invaders, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.

The immune response of a Crohn’s patient commonly mistakes helpful bacteria, some foods, and the individual’s own tissue as objects to be destroyed. The attack it launches creates an inflammatory process that defines the disease. In a number of patients such as myself, use of antibiotics for a week or longer further upsets the chemical balance of the gut and causes disease symptoms to worsen. This sets off a cycle of inflammation that’s sometimes difficult to correct.

I experience the same problem with any condition, such as a sinus infection, for which the doctor prescribes antibiotics. When available, the new urinary tract infection treatment that avoids these drugs could be a major development in keeping my finicky gut a lot calmer.