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» U.S. oil prices inch up, but global economic concerns weigh

U.S. oil prices inch up, but global economic concerns weighU.S. oil prices edged up on Monday amid a fall in drilling activity in the United States, but lingering concerns about weaker economic growth in major economies kept a lid on gains. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $51.35 per barrel at 0010 GMT, up 0.3 percent, or 15 cents, from their last settlement. International Brent crude oil futures had yet to trade.

» Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may be triggered by hyperactive immune system, study suggests 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may be triggered by hyperactive immune system, study suggests Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may be triggered by an out-of-control immune system which overreacts to an illness or emotional stress, a new study suggests. CFS, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a long-term illness, characterised by extreme tiredness, but the biology of the disease has remained a mystery. Now researchers at Kings’ College London have discovered that some patients who were given drugs to ramp up their immune system to fight hepatitis C show similar symptoms to people suffering CFS. Out of 55 patients studied, 18 developed lasting fatigue, suggesting that their boosted immune system had triggered long term changes in the body. And crucially, even before treatment, those who went on to develop lasting fatigue already had higher levels of biomarkers associated with inflammation, suggesting their immune system had already been primed to over-respond. Lead researcher Dr Alice Russell from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s said: “‘For the first time, we have shown that people who are prone to develop a CFS-like illness have an overactive immune system, both before and during a challenge to the immune system. “Our findings suggest that people who have an exaggerated immune response to a trigger may be more at risk of developing CFS.” In Britain 250,000 people are affected by CFS, with one in four so severely affected they are rendered housebound or bendbour, with some even needing to be fed via a tube. Chronic fatigue syndrome Sufferers are often confined to their beds, unable to walk, and need help even to shower - an action that could them lay them low for days, even weeks. Senior researcher Professor Carmine Pariante added: “A better understanding of the biology underlying the development of CFS is needed to help patients suffering with this debilitating condition. “Although screening tests are a long way off, our results are the first step in identifying those at risk and catching the illness in its crucial early stages.” The research was welcomed by charities who called for more research into the link between the immune system and the condition. Dr Charles Shepherd, the ME Association’s medical advisor, said: “Piecing together the scientific jigsaw, it now seems increasingly likely that we are dealing with a sequence of events in ME/CFS that involve both infection and the immune system response.” “A straightforward viral infection is leading to a immune system reaction that then fails to settle down. “And the on-going production of inflammation then causes immune system chemicals that affect various parts of the body - muscle and brain function in particular.” “These findings also reinforce the need to investigate treatments - as are being used very successfully in inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis - which can dampen down low-level immune system activation.” The research is published in the journal Psychnoneuroendocrinology.

» Scientists who revealed cause of 'great dying' mass extinction call for action to halt climate change

Scientists who revealed cause of 'great dying' mass extinction call for action to halt climate changeThe scientists who revealed what caused the “greatest crisis in the history of life of Earth”, have called for immediate action to halt the further warming of the planet through human caused climate change. Oceanographers based in Seattle said the largest mass extinction in the planet’s history - what has been termed the “great dying” - was caused by extreme global warming that saw ocean temperatures rise by as much as 10C around 252m years ago. The scientists said this resulted in the seas losing as much as 80 per cent of their oxygen.