ISLAMABAD - Research shows that those who suffer from epilepsy and sleep on their stomach may be at higher risk of sudden unexpected death, drawing a parallel to sudden infant death syndrome in babies.

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes repeated seizures and affects an estimated 50 million people worldwide. “Sudden unexpected death is the main cause of death in uncontrolled epilepsy and usually occurs unwitnessed during sleep,” said James Tao from University of Chicago in Illinois, Medical News today reported. The study found that 73 percent of the cases died in the stomach sleep position, whereas 27 percent died in other sleep positions.

People younger than 40 were four times more likely to be found on their stomachs at the time of sudden death than people over 40. “Our findings highlight an important strategy for preventing sudden unexpected death in epilepsy - that ‘back is best’. Using wrist watches and bed alarms designed to detect seizures during sleep may also help prevent these deaths,” Tao said.

Is eating orange better than orange juice?

While it is believed that eating an orange is better than having orange juice, scientists have explained in a new study that it may not be that clear. Although juice is indeed high in sugar, the scientists found that certain nutrients in orange juice might be easier for the body to absorb than when a person consumes them from unprocessed fruit.

Ralf Schweiggert, Julian Aschoff and colleagues note that oranges are packed with nutrients such as carotenoids and flavonoids that, among other benefits, can potentially help lower a person’s risk for certain cancers and cardiovascular disease. But many people prefer to drink a glass of orange juice rather than eat the fruit.

The researchers found that the production of pasteurized orange juice slightly lowered the levels of carotenoids and vitamin C. But at the same time, it significantly improved the carotenoid and vitamin C bioaccessibility-or how much the body can absorb and use.

And contrary to conventional wisdom, although juicing oranges dramatically cut flavonoid levels, the remaining ones were much more bioaccessible than those in orange segments.

Vitamin D boosts immune system to fight colorectal cancer

A new study has revealed that people with high levels of vitamin D in their bloodstream have a lower overall risk of developing colorectal cancer. The research by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute investigators, which represents the first time that a link between vitamin D and the immune response to cancer has been shown in a large human population, that vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is produced by the body in response to sunlight exposure, plays a key role in cancer prevention.

Senior author Shuji Ogino said that laboratory research suggests that vitamin D boosts immune system function by activating T cells that recognize and attack cancer cells.

Researchers theorized that if the two phenomena were connected, then people with high levels of vitamin D would be less likely to develop colorectal tumours that are permeated with large numbers of immune system cells and colorectal tumours that do develop in these individuals would, by the same logic, be more resistant to the immune response.

Ogino added that this is the first study to show evidence of the effect of vitamin D on anti-cancer immune function in actual patients, and vindicates basic laboratory discoveries that vitamin D can interact with the immune system to raise the body’s defences against cancer.

Ogino concluded that in the future, they may be able to predict how increasing an individual’s vitamin D intake and immune function can reduce his or her risk of colorectal cancer.