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Health Bulletin


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  1. #481
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Eating 'beetroot bread' can help lower BP

    Making a loaf with beetroot can lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart, a new study has revealed.

    Researchers from the University of Reading gave 24 participants with four slices (200g) of bread containing 100g of beetroot or a control bread with no beetroot added to it, the Daily Express reported.

    It was found that the diastolic blood pressure of those who ate the "beetroot bread" was lowered by 7mmHg when compared to the control group, approximately three hours after consumption.

    The component of beetroot bread thought to be responsible for the beneficial effects on blood vessel function and blood pressure is dietary nitrate.

    According to the researchers, when dietary nitrate is eaten it produces nitric oxide in the blood vessel wall which causes relaxation of the vessel and increased blood flow . This ultimately results in lowering of blood pressure and an improvement in blood vessel function.

    The study is published in the Journal of Nutrition.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Cradle of imagination in human brain found

    Researchers have solved the long standing mystery of how and where imagination occurs in the human brain.

    Philosophers and scientists have long puzzled over what makes humans able to create art, invent tools, think scientifically and perform other incredibly diverse behaviours.

    Dartmouth College researchers found that the answer lies in a widespread neural network — the brain's "mental workspace" — that consciously manipulates images, symbols, ideas and theories and gives humans the laser-like mental focus needed to solve complex problems and come up with new ideas.

    "Our findings move us closer to understanding how the organization of our brains sets us apart from other species and provides such a rich internal playground for us to think freely and creatively," said lead author Alex Schlegel.

    "Understanding these differences will give us insight into where human creativity comes from and possibly allow us to recreate those same creative processes in machines," said Schlegel.

    Scholars theorize that human imagination requires a widespread neural network in the brain, but evidence for such a "mental workspace" has been difficult to produce with techniques that mainly study brain activity in isolation.

    Researchers addressed the issue by asking: How does the brain allow us to manipulate mental imagery? For instance, imagining a bumblebee with the head of a bull, a seemingly effortless task but one that requires the brain to construct a totally new image and make it appear in our mind's eye.

    In the study, 15 participants were asked to imagine specific abstract visual shapes and then to mentally combine them into new more complex figures or to mentally dismantle them into their separate parts.

    Researchers measured the participants' brain activity with functional MRI and found a cortical and subcortical network over a large part of the brain was responsible for their imagery manipulations.

    The network closely resembles the "mental workspace" that scholars have theorized might be responsible for much of human conscious experience and for the flexible cognitive abilities that humans have evolved.

    The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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  3. #483
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Cradle of imagination in human brain found

    Researchers have solved the long standing mystery of how and where imagination occurs in the human brain.

    Philosophers and scientists have long puzzled over what makes humans able to create art, invent tools, think scientifically and perform other incredibly diverse behaviours.

    Dartmouth College researchers found that the answer lies in a widespread neural network the brain's "mental workspace" that consciously manipulates images, symbols, ideas and theories and gives humans the laser-like mental focus needed to solve complex problems and come up with new ideas.

    "Our findings move us closer to understanding how the organization of our brains sets us apart from other species and provides such a rich internal playground for us to think freely and creatively," said lead author Alex Schlegel.

    "Understanding these differences will give us insight into where human creativity comes from and possibly allow us to recreate those same creative processes in machines," said Schlegel.

    Scholars theorize that human imagination requires a widespread neural network in the brain, but evidence for such a "mental workspace" has been difficult to produce with techniques that mainly study brain activity in isolation.

    Researchers addressed the issue by asking: How does the brain allow us to manipulate mental imagery? For instance, imagining a bumblebee with the head of a bull, a seemingly effortless task but one that requires the brain to construct a totally new image and make it appear in our mind's eye.

    In the study, 15 participants were asked to imagine specific abstract visual shapes and then to mentally combine them into new more complex figures or to mentally dismantle them into their separate parts.

    Researchers measured the participants' brain activity with functional MRI and found a cortical and subcortical network over a large part of the brain was responsible for their imagery manipulations.

    The network closely resembles the "mental workspace" that scholars have theorized might be responsible for much of human conscious experience and for the flexible cognitive abilities that humans have evolved.

    The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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  4. #484
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Arthritis-countering copper bracelets and magnet wrist straps 'a farce'

    Copper bracelets and magnet wrist straps don't have any real effect on pain, swelling, or disease progression in rheumatoid arthritis, according to a new research.


    In the first randomised controlled trial to study the effects of copper bracelets and magnetic wrist straps on rheumatoid arthritis, 70 patients with active symptoms each wore four different devices over a five-month period, reporting on their pain, disability, and medication use throughout the study.

    Participants also provided blood samples, after wearing each device for five weeks, in order to monitor changes in inflammation.

    The research showed that both the standard magnetic wrist strap and the copper bracelet provided no meaningful therapeutic effects beyond those of a placebo, which was not magnetic and did not contain copper.

    Lead researcher Dr Stewart Richmond, a Research Fellow in the Department of Health Sciences at York, said that the findings reveal that people who suffer with rheumatoid arthritis may be better off saving their money, or spending it on other complementary interventions, like dietary fish oils for example, which have far better evidence for effectiveness.

    The research has been published in PLOS ONE.

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  5. #485
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Watching others beat fears may help diminish own phobias

    Watching another person interact safely with a supposedly harmful object could help reduce one's fears, and prevent them from resurfacing later on, a new study has revealed.


    The research indicates that this type of vicarious social learning may be more effective than direct personal experience in extinguishing fear responses.

    Lead author Armita Golka of Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, said that information about what is dangerous and safe in our environment is often transferred from other individuals through social forms of learning.

    In their study, 36 males participants were presented with a series of faces, one of which was followed by an unpleasant, but not painful, electrical stimulation to the wrist six out of the nine times it was shown.

    Next, they viewed movie footage of the experiment in which the target face was not accompanied by an electrical stimulation.

    Participants who watched a movie clip that included an actual person -- the social learning condition - showed significantly less fear response to the target face than those who watched a similar clip that didn't include a person. Also they showed no signs of a reinstated fear response after they received three shocks without warning.

    The researchers wrote that their findings suggest that model-based learning may help to optimize exposure treatment by attenuating the recovery of learned fears.

    The research has been published in Psychological Science.

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  6. #486
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Net addiction linked to depression

    If you surf the Web or play online games for more than 38 hours a week, then you are addicted, say mental health experts who claim that this leads to depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.

    Experts add that most users are not aware that they are getting addicted to the Internet, which leaches away their “real emotional expressions”.
    Psychiatrists identify over indulgence in social networking, pornography, chat, messaging and video games as traits of Internet Addiction Syndrome.
    Most users are not aware that they are addicted.

    Actions like forcefully taking away gadgets or damage to the gadgets leaves the addicts fuming and angry.

    Dr Minhaj Nasriabadi, psychiatrist at Apollo Hospitals, explained: “The most vulnerable are children who have easy access to smartphones, iPads and computers. It is very important that parents maintain timings, otherwise the increase in the number of hours spent online is often swift and unaccounted for. Children lose out tremendously on ‘real inter-personal relationships’ as their exposure becomes limited. They then look at the virtual world as the best medium of expression.”

    Psychiatrists state that 25 per cent of the total Indian population is vulnerable to this problem and children are in great need of counselling for the right use of gadgets.

    Dr P.K.N. Choudhary of Chetana Psychiatric Hospital said, “Parents shun their responsibilities by giving gadgets without realising the pr-oblems they cause. Low self-esteem, inability to communicate and maintaining eye contact are the initial problems. Often these children are helpless without the gadgets and are not able to concentrate on studies.”

    The easiest way to spot the problem is when a person is constantly updating their social networking accounts.
    “New status updates or comments on others’ updates are more important than any other aspect of daily life for the addicts,” said counsellor Namita Yadav who deals with Internet addi-ction among school kids.

    Yadav explained, “Parents wake up when there is a slip in academic performance. Most of the times, they completely ban all activities leaving the child depressed.”

    The de-addiction has to be scientifically handled and the time on the Web has to be slowly reduced. Confinement is requi-red in severe cases, say psychiatrists.


  7. #487
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Working less can boost health

    A new research suggests that working fewer hours each week can be good for your health, protect the environment and even boost the economy.

    A group of economists believes the working week should be reduced from an average of 40 hours to just 30 and cite Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, among others, as examples of countries that have shorter working weeks but no less productivity among workers, the Independent reported.

    Anna Coote, head of social policy at the New Economic Forum think-tank, which compiled the research, said that having too little time to call our own can seriously damage our health and well-being, our family life, friendships and communities.

    She said that no one should be made to work long and unsocial hours to make ends meet.

    The authors of Time on Our Side argue that there is no correlation between average paid working hours and the strength of a country's economy, and point out that the working week in Britain is longer than in almost every other European country.

    A quarter of all sick days taken are due to work-related problems, especially stress and mental illness, with Britons suffering the most in Europe, the study revealed.

    A recent survey by the European Depression Association found one in four British workers has been diagnosed with stress or depression, compared with just 12 percent of Italians.

    However, the economists argue that, with a shorter working week, staff would be less likely to call in sick, be more productive, and this would create jobs for the unemployed.

    A shorter working week would mean less money, but the authors claim that this would in turn be good for the environment.

    The spare time could also be used to care for the elderly, an ever-growing issue as the ageing population increases, the researchers suggest.


  8. #488
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Is gum disease linked to heart disease?

    Gum disease and heart disease are two separate health problems. But, are both these diseases linked?

    Though research is still on-going and the conclusion debatable, we attempt to find out more about this connection to the heart. We break it down further to understand periodontal and heart disease.

    In past studies, patients suffering from cardiac diseases had a larger incidence of periodontal problems in comparison to the general population. Cardiac problems generally stem from the narrowing of the blood vessels supplying nutrition to the heart. This narrowing happens due to thickening and clumping on the inner walls of the vessels. It is also know that bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream through the gums. These bacteria have been found to be clumped on the cardiac vessel walls. A possible hypothesis is that these bacteria stick to these blood vessel adhesions and contribute to the blockage. Another possibility is that the body's natural inflammatory response to these bacteria.

    There are other diseases linked to gum diseases:

    1) Diabetes

    2) Low birth weight

    3) Stomach ulcers

    4) Lung infections

    5) Erectile dysfunction

    But the study about the links between diseases and gum diseases is still in the nascent stage.

    How to prevent gum problems:

    - Brush your teeth twice a day - Floss your teeth - Go for dental check-ups regularly.


  9. #489
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Studies confirm colon cancer screening reduces deaths

    There's new evidence that regular screening for colon cancer has long-term benefits.

    Testing for blood in the stool reduced the risk of death from colorectal cancer by as much as 32 percent and it seemed to keep the death rate low even after testing stopped, according to one study.

    A second found that getting a regular colonoscopy, where a tube is put in the colon to look for and - in some cases - remove abnormal growths, was linked to a 68 percent reduction in risk. It also confirmed that, if no growths are found, people can safely wait 10 years for their next test.

    But the findings do not compare the relative merits of the two methods, even though that may be tempting, wrote Drs. Theodore Levin and Douglas Corley in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, where the studies appear.

    "Both colonoscopy and fecal occult-blood testing are effective for colorectal cancer screening, and these new studies support current screening guidelines," said the duo, who are based at Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers in California - Levin in Walnut Creek and Antioch and Corley in San Francisco.

    "Both tests have been improved since they were used among the participants in either study. However, the two studies are different, which makes direct comparisons of effectiveness difficult."

    "These studies don't break new ground, but they put us on more solid footing in recommending colorectal cancer screening by the current methods and, in general, at the current intervals," said Dr. Greg Enders, a gastroenterologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, who was not connected with either study.

    Colorectal cancer kills over 600,000 people worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization. The American Cancer Society estimates that the U.S. has about 50,800 deaths per year, with 142,800 new cases annually, a rate that has been declining thanks to screening.

    But doctors are still trying to discern how best to screen and how often.

    The government-backed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends people between ages 50 and 75 get screened by colonoscopy every 10 years, with a high-sensitivity fecal occult blood test every year or with a sigmoidoscopy every five years in addition to fecal occult blood testing every three years.

    The test that looks for blood in the feces has been the safest, cheapest and least complicated. But unless a tumour is releasing blood, the test can miss it. If blood is found, a colonoscopy is done to look for cancer or remove suspicious growths.

    For its evaluation of the blood test, a team led by Dr. Aasma Shaukat of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis looked at records from 46,551 participants in the Minnesota Colon Cancer Control Study who were followed for 30 years.

    People were either screened for fecal blood annually, every two years or not at all. However, the formal screening program only spanned two six-year windows. The researchers had no follow-up information on which patients received subsequent screening with the blood test or a colonoscopy.

    Nonetheless, the people who received annual screening during those initial periods ultimately saw a 32 percent reduction in their risk of dying from colorectal cancer. With biennial screening, the risk was cut by 22 percent. Screening did not affect the overall risk of dying during that period.

    In total, 732 of 33,020 deaths over the 30 years were from colorectal cancer.

    "You would expect to see a decrease in the risk of dying of colon cancer in the first eight to 10 years. The fact that the effect was sustained through 30 years is actually fairly remarkable," said Shaukat.

    "It shows that the effect of colon cancer screening is profound," she said.

    "The study of fecal occult blood testing provides the longest follow-up of any colorectal cancer screening study to date - an impressive 30 years - and shows that the benefits of screening by this method endure for the lifetime of the patient," Enders told Reuters Health in an email.

    The researchers also found that with the fecal blood test, the greatest benefit was among men age 60 to 69. Their risk of death from colon cancer dropped by 54 percent compared to men of that age who were not screened.

    The study on colonoscopies also looked at a less-thorough technique, known as a sigmoidoscopy, where a tube is only inserted into the end of the large intestine. A colonoscopy examines the full length. The information on 88,902 people, followed over 22 years, came from two databases: the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

    Screening with sigmoidoscopy was tied to a 41 percent reduced risk of death from colorectal cancer. A full exploration of the colon by a colonoscopy was linked to a 68 percent lower risk.

    The study "lays to rest a lingering concern that colonoscopy might not be more effective than sigmoidoscopy in preventing colorectal cancer deaths," said Enders. "National medical societies and Medicare have gone 'all in' on the common sense notion that more endoscopy - that is colonoscopy - is better, but convincing data were not in hand."

    Having a colonoscopy every three years or less - even though no suspicious growths were seen - was tied to a 65 percent reduced risk of colorectal cancer. The reduction was 60 percent if done every three to five years and 48 percent if done every five to 10 years.

    Co-author Dr. Shuji Ogino of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston said the findings suggest that when no growths are found, a colonoscopy doesn't need to be repeated for a decade.

    Up to now, "there has not been good solid evidence to support a 10-year interval," he told Reuters Health. "But now we know that with low risk individuals, 10 years won't make a difference."

    People with polyps or a family history of colorectal cancer will need more frequent examinations, he said.


  10. #490
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Very good info viji.thanks.

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