14th Dec 2014, 07:53 PM #1641
Re: Health Bulletin
Gout attacks more common at nights
A new study has found that the risk of acute gout attacks is more than two times higher during the night or early morning hours than it is in the daytime.
The nocturnal attacks persist even among those who did not consume alcohol and had a low amount of purine intake during the 24 hours prior to the gout attack.
The body produces uric acid from the process of breaking down purines - natural substances in cells in the body and in most foods. High purine levels are found in organ meat, seafood and alcohol (yeast).
Acute gout flares are triggered by the crystallisation of uric acid within the joints, and experts believe these flares are "among the most painful events experienced by humans".
"It is speculated that lower body temperature, night-time dehydration, or a nocturnal dip of cortisol levels may contribute to the risk of gout attacks at night," said lead author Hyon Choi of the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Medical School in the US.
The research team recruited 724 gout patients, who were followed for one year via the internet.
Findings indicate that participants experienced 1,433 gout attacks - 733 in the overnight hours (midnight to 7.59 a.m.), 310 in the daytime (8.00 a.m. to 2.59 p.m.), and 390 in the evening (3.00 p.m. to 11.59 p.m.) during the one-year study period.
The risk of a gout flare was 2.4 times higher overnight and 1.3 times higher in the evening compared to daytime hours.
"As a result of our study, prophylactic measures that prevent gout flares, especially at night, may be more effective," the researchers said.
Furthermore, researchers found that this risk persisted even among those with no alcohol intake and low purine intake during the 24 hours prior to the gout attack.
The study was published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).
15th Dec 2014, 03:30 PM #1642
Re: Health Bulletin
Male and female breast cancers not identical
Male breast cancers are not identical to female breast cancers and male patients are not as well managed as female ones, a new study has found.
The study, which included 1,822 men treated for breast cancer between 1990 and 2010 in Europe and US, found significant improvement in survival for men with breast cancer, but this improvement was not as good as that observed for women.
"This study aims to characterise the biology of this rare disease; only with this crucial knowledge will men with breast cancer be properly treated in the future, which will definitely improve both their survival and quality of life," said Dr Fatima Cardoso of the Champalimaud Clinical Center in Lisbon and coordinator of the study.
Even though it is considered a rare disease, male breast cancer remains frequently lethal. In 2013, estimates indicated just 2,240 new cases of male breast cancer in the US yet, alarmingly, 410 deaths.
Currently, treatment strategies for men afflicted with this disease are based on those that have been used successfully for women, and research on the differences between men and women regarding the characteristics of this disease was sorely needed, researchers said.
In the new research, the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC), Breast International Group (BIG), and the North American Breast Cancer Groups (NABCG) joined forces to launch International Programme on Male Breast Cancer.
The results of the study showed that male breast cancers are not identical to female breast cancers, and that men are not as well managed as female patients.
For example, although the majority of male breast cancers are estrogen receptor (ER) positive, only 77 per cent of male patients with this disease received hormonal therapy such as Tamoxifen, and despite the fact that slightly over half of all male breast cancers are diagnosed when the tumours are very small, only four per cent of male breast cancer patients received breast-conserving surgery.
The majority underwent mastectomies, a treatment decisions that can adversely affect quality of life, self-esteem and sexuality.
Analyses of tumour samples showed that 99 per cent of male breast cancers were ER positive, seven per cent were human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positive, and one per cent were triple negative, meaning that they do not express the genes for ER, progesterone receptor (PR), or HER-2, and consequently do not respond to hormonal therapy nor anti-HER-2 therapies.
For women, on the other hand, roughly 70 per cent of breast cancers are ER-positive, 20 per cent are HER2-positive, and 10 to 15 per cent are triple-negative.
The results were presented at the 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
15th Dec 2014, 03:31 PM #1643
Re: Health Bulletin
A 'bionic bra' that adjusts to breast rhythm
Scientists have designed the world's first 'bionic bra' that automatically adjusts itself in response to the breast movement to provide more comfort to the wearer.
Researchers from the University of Wollongong in Australia have created a new prototype of the bra, which has been made using intelligent components.
"The advent of approaches such as 3D printing has enabled us to assemble structures containing new sensing technologies to more accurately monitor movement and new artificial muscle technologies to control it," professor Gordon Wallace, executive research director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science at UOW said.
"These advances have inspired us to (re)confront the challenges involved in creating the bionic bra," Wallace said.
Professor Julie Steele, director of Breast Research Australia (BRA) based at UOW, has been investigating the movement of women's breasts during physical activity for more than 15 years.
She said that without the right breast support, long-term damage can be done, including numbness in the fingers caused by compression of nerves on the shoulders, as well as neck and back pain.
"Unfortunately, the most supportive sports bras tend to be the most uncomfortable to wear. Making matters worse, BRA research has found that 85% of women are wearing bras that do not fit or support their breasts correctly," said Wallace.
While vast improvements have been made recently to the design of the bionic bra, the researchers said that there are still some kinks to iron out.
"Although we have made substantial progress, we still have a way to go before the bionic bra can be taken from the bench top to the washing machine. However, when finished, the bionic bra will transform bra design," Steele said.
"Results indicate that our technologies can sense breast motion and provide additional breast support. The challenge now is to integrate these technologies into a functional, comfortable bra," Bionic Bra team member Sheridan Gho said.
16th Dec 2014, 12:21 PM #1644
Re: Health Bulletin
How nitrate-rich beet juice can help improve hypertension, heart attack conditions
A new research was recently able to confirm the long-standing controversial nitrite hypothesis, it has been reported.
As director of Wake Forest University's Translational Science Center, Daniel Kim-Shapiro, and others have conducted studies that look at how nitrite and its biological precursor, nitrate (found in beet root juice) can be utilized in treatments for a variety of conditions.
In a 2010 study, they were the first to find a link between consumption of nitrate-rich beet juice and increased blood flow to the brain.
The research showed that deoxygenated hemoglobin was indeed responsible for triggering the conversion of nitrite to nitric oxide, a process that affects blood flow and clotting.
Understanding how nitrite can improve conditions such as hypertension, heart attack and stroke has been the object of worldwide research studies. New research from Wake Forest University has potentially moved the science one step closer to this goal.
Kim-Shapiro said that they have shown the conversion of nitrite to nitric oxide by deoxygenated hemoglobin in red blood cells that reduces platelet activation, and this action has implications in treatments to reduce clotting in pathological conditions including sickle cell disease and stroke.
In 2003, Kim-Shapiro collaborated with Mark Gladwin, now at the University of Pittsburgh, who led a study that showed that nitrite (which is also used to cure processed meats), was not biologically inert as had been previously thought, but can be converted to the important signaling molecule nitric oxide (NO), and thereby increase blood flow. At that time, the researchers hypothesized that the conversion of nitrite to NO was due to a reaction with deoxygenated hemoglobin in red blood cells.
The main goal of the latest research, Kim-Shapiro said, was to determine how red blood cells perform these important signaling functions that lead to increased blood flow. The researchers used several biophysical techniques to measure NO production from nitrite and red blood cells and examined the mechanism of NO production.
The study will be published in issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
16th Dec 2014, 12:27 PM #1645
Re: Health Bulletin
Lifestyle responsible for brain ageing: Age UK
Lifestyle has been found to be responsible for up to 76 per cent of changes in brain ageing, according to Age UK.
A scientific study has confirmed that five factors can reduce the risk of dementia by up to 36 per cent.
Analysis by Age UK suggests there are five steps people can take to maintain brain health and reduce their risk of developing dementia.
The review of academic studies and data reveals that about 76 per cent of cognitive decline - changes in thinking skills with age including memory loss and speed of thinking — is accounted for by lifestyle and other environmental factors including level of education.
The finding from The Disconnected Mind, an Age UK funded research project into how thinking skills alter with age, which was part of the analysis, suggests that there is significant potential to influence these changes.
Certain lifestyle factors — regular physical exercise, eating a Mediterranean diet, not smoking and drinking alcohol in moderation — decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer's, and other forms of dementia.
In addition, preventing and treating diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity were also found to reduce the risk of dementia.
One large UK study carried out over 30 years found that men aged between 45 and 59 who followed 4-5 of the identified lifestyle factors were found to have a 36 per cent lower risk of developing cognitive decline and a 36 per cent lower risk of developing dementia than those who did not.
Age UK's evidence review also revealed that physical exercise — aerobic, resistance or balance — was the most effective way to ward off cognitive decline in healthy older people and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Studies suggest that exercise three to five times a week for between 30 minutes and an hour is beneficial.
It also found that there are significantly more new cases of Alzheimer's among current smokers compared with those who have never smoked.
Caroline Abrahams, director of Age UK said "While there's still no cure or way to reverse dementia, this evidence shows that there are simple and effective ways to reduce our risk of developing it to begin with. What's more, the changes that we need to make to keep our brains healthy are already proven to be good for the heart and overall health, so it's common sense for us all to try to build them into our lives. The sooner we start, the better our chance of having a healthy later life".
17th Dec 2014, 05:13 PM #1646
Re: Health Bulletin
Ban on gutka has positive impact: WHO
tringent state-level laws banning gutka have a positive impact as reduced product availability has resulted in decreased consumption of gutka, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).
In a study conducted by the WHO in seven states -- Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha and National Capital Region (NCR) -- 92 per cent respondents supported ban on sale of gutka, while a whopping 99 per cent said the ban was good for the health of Indian youth.
"These findings have a strong message that regulatory mechanisms are effective and can have a positive impact on the consumption pattern. The ban did impact use. Of the respondents who continue to use pre-packaged gutka, 49 per cent reported they consume less since the ban.
There was high degree of unanimity among respondents (90 per cent) that the government should ban the manufacturing, sale and distribution of other forms of smokeless tobacco," WHO Representative to India Dr Nata Menabde said in a release here.
However, sharing the peril of use of tobacco with other ingredients like pan masala etc, Director, Research and Strategic Planning at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communications Programs, Dr Pradeep Krishnatray said most of the respondents consumed tobacco by mixing it with a packet of pan masala with zarda.
"This innovation has adversely affected the very purpose and consequent impact of the ban," he added.
The study found that interest in quitting is high as approximately half of respondents reported attempting to quit gutka in last one year.
About 80 percent of respondents agreed that ban on gutka will help people to quit it.
Of the respondents who quit since ban, a substantial proportion from 41-88 per cent, in each state said they have quit consuming gutka because of the ban.
Surveys were conducted with 1,001 people who currently consume gutka and those who quit it and 458 tobacco product retailers to gain insight into the effect of the ban on consumer use and product availability.
Observations of 450 retail environments and 54 in-depth interviews with government officials, enforcement officials and citizens working with civil society groups were also included in the study.
Gutka, a form of chewing tobacco flavoured with spices and sweeteners, is a major cause of oral cancer in India, it said.
In recent years, all states in the country have banned the manufacturing, sale and distribution of gutka in an effort to address the astounding public health impacts caused by this deadly product.
India is the world's largest consumer of smokeless tobacco and recent estimates indicate that 26 per cent of adults (15 years of age or older) use smokeless tobacco.
Tobacco use is a major preventable cause of death and disease worldwide. Nearly one million people die in India every year due to tobacco use.
17th Dec 2014, 05:13 PM #1647
Re: Health Bulletin
Extra vitamin E can protect against pneumonia
A little extra intake of vitamin E can help regulate an ageing immune system, protecting the body from a bacterial infection that commonly causes , a research has found.
Sunflower seeds, tomatoes, mangoes, and kiwis are rich sources of vitamin E, among other foods.
"A growing body of research suggests vitamin E could make up for the loss of immune response caused by aging," said co-senior author Simin Nikbin Meydani from Tufts University, US.
People, aged over 65, are at a high risk for developing pneumonia, an inflammation of the lungs typically caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.
The research team studied older male mice before and after they were infected with the pneumonia-causing bacteria.
The experimental group of mice was fed extra amount of vitamin E, equivalent to about 200 IU (international unit)/day consumed by humans -- about 10 times the recommended daily allowance but below the upper limit.
Compared to the mice that had normal amount of vitamin E in their diet, the mice fed extra vitamin E had 1,000 times fewer bacteria in their lungs. They also had two times fewer the number of white blood cells (neutrophils)
The reduced number of bacteria and white blood cells resulted in less lung damage in the older mice who received extra vitamin E. These mice were able to control the infection as efficiently as young mice.
"Whether vitamin E can help protect people against this type of pneumonia affecting older adults requires more research," Meydani added.
The study appeared in The Journal of Immunology.
17th Dec 2014, 05:14 PM #1648
Re: Health Bulletin
Low glycemic index diets not necessarily beneficial for heart, diabetes
A new research has indicated that a low glycemic diet does not improve insulin sensitivity, lipid levels or blood pressure.
In new findings led by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston and Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, researchers looked at glycemic index' effect on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes and found that low glycemic diets did not improve insulin sensitivity or cardiovascular risk factors.
Frank M. Sacks said that the study results were very surprising and they hypothesized that a low glycemic index would cause modest, though potentially important improvements in insulin sensitivity and CVD risk factors.
Sacks added that their findings demonstrated that using glycemic index to select specific foods did not improve LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure or insulin resistance.
Sacks explained that they studied diets that had a large contrast in glycemic index, while at the same time we controlled intake of total carbohydrates and other key nutrients, as well as maintained baseline body weight.
Sacks continued that they found that composing a healthful diet with low-glycemic index carbohydrate containing foods rather that high-glycemic index foods did not improve insulin sensitivity, HDL or LDL cholesterol levels or systolic blood pressure.
The researchers note that future studies are needed to see if low glycemic index diets are helpful with type 2 diabetes or for long-term weight loss and previous research has shown inconsistent results on whether low glycemic index helped people lose weight.
These findings are published in JAMA.
17th Dec 2014, 05:14 PM #1649
Re: Health Bulletin
Does coffee have different affect when taken with sugar?
In a new study, scientists have investigated whether the people respond differently to caffeinated drinks that do or do not have sugar.
It is known that consuming caffeinated or sugary drinks can affect the body's metabolism, causing changes in heart and respiratory rate and weight gain.
The article by Elaine Rush, PhD and coauthors, Auckland University of Technology (Auckland, New Zealand), describes a study in which heart rate and carbon dioxide production (as a measure of respiration) were measured 30 minutes before and after individuals consumed a defined quantity of sugar, caffeine, or sugar and caffeine. Responses to the different treatments varied widely among individuals.
Dr. Patricia A. Broderick, Editor-in-Chief of the journal where the results are available, said that given the caveat that sugar itself affects brain reward just as caffeine does, and this effect would in itself cause variations, this was still an essential paper for the scientist and the lay person to read.
The study is published in Journal of Caffeine Research.
17th Dec 2014, 05:14 PM #1650
Re: Health Bulletin
People may inherit bad 'gut' bacteria: Study
A study has found that people may inherit some intestinal bacteria that cause Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
It also confirmed that antibiotics could worsen the imbalance in the gut microbes.
"The people develop intestinal bacteria or 'gut microbiome' at a very young age and it can have a big impact on their health for the rest of life," said the study's lead author Dan Knights, assistant professor at University of Minnesota.
"We have found groups of genes which may play a role in shaping the development of imbalanced gut microbes," he added.
The researchers examined three independent cohorts of a total of 474 adults with IBD.
Doctors and nurses in those locations collected samples of DNA from each human subject and the DNA of their intestinal bacteria over about a two-year period.
The researchers looked at thousands of microbial species and human genes. The results showed that human subjects' DNA was linked to the bacteria in their intestines.
Patients with IBD had lower biodiversity of bacteria and more "opportunistic" bacteria.
Previous studies have shown links between human gut bacteria and increased risk of a wide variety of diseases including diabetes, autism, heart disease and even some forms of cancer.
"This is an important step in developing drug treatments that target certain genes or certain products derived from the intestinal bacteria," the authors noted.
The study was published in the journal Genome Medicine.