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Health Bulletin


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  1. #1401
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Not salt but high BMI triggers hyper-tension

    If you are suffering from high blood pressure, check your Body Mass Index (BMI) first as a new study indicates sodium intake has less impact on overall health than previously thought.

    Using the data from a cross-sectional analysis of 8,670 volunteers from the NutriNet-Sante Study -- an ongoing French web-based cohort study, researchers found that BMI was the main contributory factor of blood pressure (BP) level.

    During the study, dietary intakes were assessed using three 24-hour records.

    Information on lifestyle factors was collected using questionnaires and three BP measurements.

    Age adjusted associations and then multi-variate associations between systolic BP (SBP) - pressure that is created on the arteries to send blood throughout the rest of the body - and lifestyle behaviours were estimated using multiple linear regressions.

    They found that the SBP was higher in participants with elevated body mass indices (BMIs).

    Salt intake was positively associated with SBP in men but not in women.

    "The negative relationship between consumption of fruits and vegetables and SBP was significant in both sexes," the study authors noted.

    Alcohol intake was positively associated with SBP in both sexes while physical activity was not.

    "Age and BMI were the most important parameters relating to SBP level," researchers concluded in a paper appeared in the journal American Journal of Hypertension


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  2. #1402
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Fish oil may help check seizures in epilepsy

    Low doses of omega-3 fatty acids are a key component in fish oil capsules that may help decrease the frequency of seizures in people who are afflicted with epilepsy and have not been helped by drug treatments, says a study.

    Just three capsules of fish oil a day -- around 1080 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, could reduce the incidence of seizures in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy, the findings showed.

    "Low dose fish oil is a safe and low cost intervention that may reduce seizures and improve cardio-vascular health in people with epilepsy," said lead author of the research, Christopher DeGiorgio, a professor from the University of California, Los Angeles in the US.

    Omega-3 fatty acids can cross over into the central nervous system, where they reduce the excitability of brain cells which trigger seizures.

    For the study, researchers provided three separate treatments, each lasting 10 weeks and separated by a period of six weeks to 24 people whose epilepsy was no longer responsive to drugs.

    They found that two people on the low dose fish oil were completely seizure free during the 10 week trial.

    However, no one taking the high dose fish oil or the placebo was seizure free.

    "We do not completely understand why low dose works and higher doses do not, but there is evidence from animal studies that high doses are counterproductive," DeGiorgio concluded.

    The study appeared in the journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry (JNNP).


  3. #1403
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    AB blood type may increase dementia risk

    According to a study, your blood type may have some role in your risk of dementia. People with AB blood type are more likely to develop thinking and memory problems in later years than people with other blood types.

    People with blood type AB, which includes about 4 percent of the population (the least common blood type) were 82 percent more likely to develop dementia as they age.

    For the study, researchers evaluated data from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke study, which followed 30,000 participants for a 3.4-year duration.

    Researchers found 495 individuals that developed cognitive and memory problems during the study. After they compared those participants with 587 individuals without cognitive impairment, they discovered 6% of participants with memory loss had the AB blood type.

    "Our study looks at blood type and risk of cognitive impairment," said study author Mary Cushman from the University of Vermont, College of Medicine in Burlington.

    "Blood type is also related to other vascular conditions like stroke, so the findings highlight the connections between vascular issues and brain health," Cushman added.

    The researchers also looked at levels of factor VIII, a protein that helps blood to clot. High levels of factor VIII are related to higher risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.


  4. #1404
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Lab-generated stem cells set for human trial in Japan

    In a major boost to stem cell research, a Japanese patient with a debilitating eye disease is set to become the first person in the world to be treated with induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

    A 19-member health ministry committee here vetted the researchers' safety tests and cleared the team to begin the experimental procedure, the scientific journal Nature reported.

    Masayo Takahashi, an ophthalmologist at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) in Kobe has been using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to prepare a treatment for age related macular degeneration.

    The Japanese team will now use iPS cells to treat the patient with degenerative eye disease.

    During her research on mice and monkeys, Takahashi took skin cells from people with the disease and converted them to iPS cells.

    She then coaxed these cells to become retinal pigment epithelium cells and then to grow into thin sheets that can be transplanted onto the damaged retina.

    In monkey studies, iPS cells generated from the recipients' own cells did not provoke an immune reaction that caused them to be rejected.

    They are capable of becoming any cell type in the body and have the potential to treat a wide range of diseases.

    The news could be a welcome boost for the CDB which has been mired in controversy over studies on stem cell research that were later retracted, the Nature report added.


  5. #1405
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Sunshine may slash suicide risk in men: Study

    Daily exposure to sunshine may cut down the risk of suicide in men, a new study has claimed.

    Lower rates of suicide are associated with more daily sunshine in the 14 to 60 days prior to the suicide event, researchers said.

    Light interacts with brain serotonin systems and possibly influences serotonin-related behaviours, such as mood and impulsiveness, which can play a role in suicide, according to research author Benjamin Vyssoki, of the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, and colleagues.

    The authors examined the relationship between suicide and the duration of sunshine after mathematically removing seasonal variations in sunshine and suicide numbers.
    They analyzed data on 69,462 officially confirmed suicides in Austria between January 1970 and May 2010. Hours of sunshine per day were calculated from 86 representative meteorological stations.

    There was a positive correlation between the number of suicides and hours of daily sunshine on the day of the suicide and up to 10 days before that seemed to facilitate suicide, while sunshine 14 to 60 days prior appeared to have a negative correlation and was associated with reduced suicides.

    The correlation between daily sunshine hours and suicide rates was seen largely among women, while negative correlations between the two were mainly found among men.

    "Owing to the correlative nature of the data, it is impossible to directly attribute the increase in suicide to sunshine during the 10 days prior to the suicide event. Further research is warranted to determine which patients with severe episodes of depression are more susceptible to the suicide-triggering effects of sunshine," said researchers.


  6. #1406
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Daily meditation may reduce migraine pain

    For those suffering from migraine attacks, daily meditation might be a good idea for instant relief.

    During a small study, researchers assessed the safety, feasibility and effects of a standardised meditation and yoga intervention called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in adults with migraines.

    Nineteen adults were assigned to two groups with 10 receiving the MBSR intervention and nine receiving standard medical care.

    The participants attended eight weekly classes to learn MBSR techniques and were instructed to practice 45 minutes on their own at least five additional days per week.

    “We found that MBSR participants had trends of fewer migraines that were less severe,” said Rebecca Erwin Wells, an assistant professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre in North Carolina.

    Secondary effects included headaches that were shorter in duration and less disabling.

    Participants had increases in mindfulness and self-efficacy - a sense of personal control over migraine pain.

    “In addition, there were no adverse events and excellent adherence,” Wells reported.

    Specifically, the MBSR participants had 1.4 fewer migraines per month that were less severe.

    The participants' headaches were significantly shorter as compared to the control group.

    “MBSR is a safe and feasible therapy for adults with migraines. Although the sample size of this pilot study was small, secondary outcomes demonstrated this intervention had a beneficial effect on headache duration, disability, self-efficacy and mindfulness,” researchers concluded.

    The paper was published online in the journal Headache.


  7. #1407
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    5-yr-old Mumbai girl detected with rare 'ROHHAD' syndrome

    In a first such reported case in the country, a five-year-old girl here has been found to be suffering from a rare breathing disorder - 'ROHHAD' syndrome - for which there is no "perfect treatment" at present.

    The girl breathes normally when awake, but either completely stops breathing or breathes irregularly while asleep, a doctor treating her told PTI.

    "The girl was first admitted to our hospital three years back for a spine tumour called ganglioneuroblastoma. We had treated her then and discharged her," said Dr Mukesh Sanklecha, paediatrician at Bombay Hospital, where she is currently undergoing treatment.

    "Her parents readmitted her in May 2013 when she started getting increasingly drowsy. We had to keep her in the ICU once again to make sure she has no breathing problem. She was given a discharge in October. She had even suffered two cardiac arrests while she was in the ICU," he said.

    The child was again admitted to the hospital in December 2013 and was put on ventilator.

    "When she got admitted for the third time, we did a complete diagnosis of her illness and realised that she was suffering from ROHHAD (Rapid-onset Obesity with Hypothalamic Dysfunction, Hypoventilation and Autonomic Dysregulation) syndrome," he said.

    "A person's breathing is controlled by the hypothalamus (a portion of the brain). In her case, when she is awake she breathes normally and either stops breathing, or does not breathe properly when she is sleeping as a result of which the oxygen level in her body drops dangerously and carbon dioxide level increases and she goes into coma," he said.

    The girl was shifted to the pediatric ward in June this year, where she is still undergoing treatment.

    "Since the girl faces no problem while she is awake, we only have to take care of her while she is sleeping...So when she goes off to sleep, we attach a nasal Bi Pap (positive airway pressure) machine which ensures that she continues to breathe when she is asleep," Dr Sanklecha said.

    Since there are only about 100 cases of ROHHAD syndrome reported worldwide and this is the first such case in India, the treatment being offered to patients is only "experimental," he said.

    "There is no perfect treatment of this disease till now. After we discharge her in the next few weeks, we will keep a tab on her case and hope that in future, a permanent cure develops for patients suffering from this syndrome.

    "Till then, she will have to sleep with a Bi Pap machine inserted in her nose," he said, adding that since March this year all her medical expenses are being borne by the Bombay hospital," the doctor said.


  8. #1408
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Cure for glaucoma in sight

    A cure is now in sight for the dangerous eye disease glaucoma, which is a leading cause of irreversible blindness, says a new study.

    Glaucoma appears to be a consequence of mechanical dysfunction of endothelial cells - a thin layer of cells that is the final barrier to fluid entering Schlemm's canal, from where fluid drains from the eye

    "Our work shows that cells of this endothelial layer act as mechanical gates. Therapeutic strategies that alter the stiffness of these cells could potentially lead to a cure for this debilitating disease," said senior study author Mark Johnson from the Northwestern University in the US.

    Glaucoma is associated with elevated pressure in the eye. This elevated pressure essentially is due to a plumbing problem.

    Fluid builds up in the eye, increasing pressure and eventually damaging the optic nerve.

    For nearly 150 years, researchers have been trying to understand what causes the blockage that prevents the eye from draining properly.

    "The work appears to be one of the first times that the methods of mechanobiology - the study of the mechanical characteristics of cells - have been used to show that dysfunctional cell mechanics lies at the heart of a disease process," Johnson said.

    The findings were published in the online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


  9. #1409
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Traffic pollution can make older people fat

    A new study has recently associated the increased levels of obesity-related hormone leptin, among older adults, with the higher exposure to traffic related air pollution.

    Gregory A. Wellenius, ScD, of Brown University and colleagues analyzed a significant association between exposure to black carbon, a measure of fine-particle air pollution from traffic sources, and leptin levels.
    Researchers found that people with higher exposure to black carbon were less likely to be white, had lower incomes, and had higher rates of high blood pressure and diabetes.

    Higher levels of leptin, an "inflammatory cytokine," have been linked to increased rates of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

    But even after adjustment for these differences, average leptin levels were 27 percent higher for older adults in the highest category of black carbon exposure.

    An alternative measure of exposure to traffic-related pollution,residential distance to the nearest major roadway, was unrelated to leptin levels.

    Study concluded the emerging evidence suggested that certain sources of traffic pollution might be associated with adverse cardiometabolic effects.

    The study is published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.


  10. #1410
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Daily consumption of dairy products can help curb high BP

    A new study has revealed that drinking just over two cups a day of milk and consuming total dairy, low-fat dairy products can help in curbing high blood pressure.

    However, milk intake was not statistically significantly associated with risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and total mortality.

    In addition to reviewing the role of dairy and heart health, international experts presented data evaluating the effects of dairy products and dairy fat on chronic disease risk factors, such as cholesterol biomarkers, body fat accumulation and weight gain.

    New research about milk fat and associated fat-soluble nutrients in infant formula to benefit brain development and to enhance elderly nutrition suggest an untapped nutritional value of dairy food components.

    Dr. Cindy Schweitzer, PhD, said that dairy's nutrient-rich package might have a positive impact on health, development and performance in more ways than previously expected.


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