Health Watch: January 3rd

- British researchers say people who had shingles before the age of 40 are 74 percent more likely to suffer a stroke later in life. Patients over 40 carry a 15 percent higher risk and it is not clear why. Shingles is a painful rash triggered by the same virus that causes chickenpox. 

Japanese researchers say "junk DNA" may play a role in schizophrenia. Scientists gave the material its name because it does not contain genetic information like other stretches of DNA. A new study found schizophrenia patients have more junk DNA in their brain than people without the disorder. Scientists hope the finding will lead to new treatments. 

Modern doctors are hoping an ancient Chinese medicine can help ease chronic pain. The compound DHCB is found in the corydalis plant and has been used for thousands of years in China to relieve pain. DHCB might be a good treatment for chronic pain because it does not lose effectiveness over time like some other painkillers. Further testing is being done to make sure the compound is safe for long-term use. 

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