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Health Bulletin


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  1. #51
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Eating fish could help you to live longer

    Eating fish twice a week could help you live at least two years longer, a new study has claimed.
    Older people who have higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish and seafood may lower the overall mortality risk by 27 per cent and death risk from heart disease by about 35 per cent.

    Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the University of Washington found that older adults who had the highest blood levels of fish fatty acids lived, on average, 2.2 years longer than those with lower levels.

    "Our findings support the importance of adequate blood omega-3 levels for cardiovascular health, and suggest that later in life these benefits could actually extend the years of remaining life," said lead author Dariush Mozaffarian.

    Researchers examined 16 years of data from about 2,700 US adults aged 65 or older who participated in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS).

    "The findings suggest that the biggest bang-for-your-buck is for going from no intake to modest intake, or about two servings of fatty fish per week," said Mozaffarian.

    Participants came from four US communities in North Carolina, California, Maryland, and Pennsylvania and all were generally healthy.

    The researchers analysed the total proportion of blood omega-3 fatty acids, including three specific ones, in participants' blood samples at baseline.

    They found that the three fatty acids - both individually and combined - were associated with a significantly lower risk of mortality.

    One type in particular - docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA- was most strongly related to lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) death (40 per cent lower risk), especially CHD death due to arrhythmias (electrical disturbances of the heart rhythm) (45 per cent lower risk).

    Of the other blood fatty acids measured – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) - DPA was most strongly associated with lower risk of stroke death, and EPA most strongly linked with lower risk of nonfatal heart attack.

    Overall, study participants with the highest levels of all three types of fatty acids had a 27 per cent lower risk of total mortality due to all causes.

    The study was published in Annals of Internal Medicine.


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  2. #52
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Study to detect cause of sleep disorders

    Alarmed by the high prevalence of sleep disorders among the Indian population and the lack of specific data on this, an Indian-Norwegian group that is running a chain of clinics across the country to treat the disorders will now conduct detailed research on them and recommend remedial measures.

    Despite an estimated 15 per cent of Asians suffering from one or the other kind of sleep disorder, there is lack of India-specific data which is hampering research and treatment, said Ashim Desai, senior ENT consultant with Nova Specialty Surgery (NSS), which has tied up with world leader in sleep treatment, Eurosleep of Norway, for the study.

    "Although there is a lot of global data, there is no comprehensive India-specific data available. The need of the hour is to conduct research studies in this area for the Indian population. We shall conduct research over a large geographic area into the demographics, causes and management of sleep disorders," Desai said.

    He said sleep disorders are a new area of interest globally, as studies have shown that an increasing number of lifestyle diseases are directly attributable to lack of proper sleep.

    Eurosleep global CEO Magne Tvinnereim said that globally validated set protocols are being instituted at all NSS centres.

    "NSS's involvement in this research aims to achieve complete online data integration, to generate meaningful insights from the data collected on the Indian population," Tvinnereim explained.

    NSS co-founder Mahesh Reddy said that the Nova-Eurosleep Sleep Clinics are the largest provider of diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for the comprehensive study and management of sleep-related disorders in India.

    NSS has 10 clinics in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad and one in Muscat. The treatment is mostly day-care but for serious cases requiring surgery, it can be as long as a week. The treatment can cost anything between RS.50,000 and Rs.200,000.

    Referring to the dangers of sleep disorders, Eurosleep Asia CEO Mohan Nair said these can give rise to several physiologival and psychological changes.

    "Besides, sleep disorders heighten the risk of developing hypertension, Type II diabetes and increased body weight. These factors aggrevate the risk of cardiovascular diseases," Nair warned.

    While there are some 80 kinds of sleep disorders, the World Association of Sleep Medicine, the organisers of the World Sleep Day every year, says one of the most common is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) that causes the throat muscles to relax too much, cutting off or restricting the airway.

    Nair quoted an international study which proved that OSA respresents a stress that promotes insulin resistance and hence, atherogenesis, or narrowing of the blood vessels.

    The study, published in the prestigious American Jorunal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine, investigated the relationship between sleep-disordered breathing and insulin resistance.

    It found that OSA subjects were more insulin resistant, as indicated by higher levels of fasting serum insulin that was present in both obese and non-obese participants.

    An analysis of the relationship of insulin resistance and hypertension confirmed that insulin resistance was a significant factor for hypertension in this group and OSA may provide a stress stimulus that triggers or aggravates hypertension. Upto 40 percent patients suffering from OSA had increased blood pressure.

    Among the younger population, sleep-disordered breathing in children is a public health concern, given the increasing rates of obesity and hyperactivity in this segment.

    According to research studies, 3-12 per cent of children snore; OSA affects one-10 percent, leading to a host of health problems which may continue to cause concern or aggravate as they grow.

    Since the past one year, Eurosleep Asia has been strengthening its operations in India with focus on spreading technological advancements and know-how, which would facilitiate the proposed research on sleep disorders among Indians.

    Contrary to the general perception that sleep apean is a problem associated with the elderly population, Desai said it is prevalent even among children.

    "Consequences of untreated obstructive sleep apnea among children include failure to thrive, enuresis, attention-deficit disorder, behavior problems, poor academic performance, and cardiopulmonary disease," Desai cautioned.


  3. #53
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    ‘Breathprint’ to end blood & urine tests?

    Exhaled breath carries a molecular 'breathprint' unique to each individual , which may be used as a more convenient tool to diagnose disease, replacing the conventional blood and urine tests, researchers say.

    Doctors routinely have blood and urine analysed in order to obtain hints for infectious and metabolic diseases, to diagnose cancer and organ failure, and to check the dose of medication , based on compounds present in these body fluids.

    Researchers at ETH Zurich and at the University Hospital Zurich now propose to extend such analyses to breath, and in particular to take advantage of modern high-resolution analytical methods that can provide real-time information on the chemical composition of exhaled breath.

    The scientists developed an instrument-based version of a principle by which doctors draw conclusions about the health state of a patient based on the smell of the exhaled breath.

    It is also known that trained dogs and rats can distinguish the smell of the breath of people suffering from certain variants of cancer. In these cases the entire smell of the patient's exhaled breath is gauged, which can give rise to bias.

    The scientists, led by Renato Zenobi, professor at the Laboratory for Organic Chemistry, aim at eliminating this bias and identifying the chemical compounds in breath. Like this, doctors should be able to use specific compounds , which are present in breath, for diagnosis.


  4. #54
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    ‘Breathprint’ to end blood & urine tests?

    Exhaled breath carries a molecular 'breathprint' unique to each individual , which may be used as a more convenient tool to diagnose disease, replacing the conventional blood and urine tests, researchers say.

    Doctors routinely have blood and urine analysed in order to obtain hints for infectious and metabolic diseases, to diagnose cancer and organ failure, and to check the dose of medication , based on compounds present in these body fluids.

    Researchers at ETH Zurich and at the University Hospital Zurich now propose to extend such analyses to breath, and in particular to take advantage of modern high-resolution analytical methods that can provide real-time information on the chemical composition of exhaled breath.

    The scientists developed an instrument-based version of a principle by which doctors draw conclusions about the health state of a patient based on the smell of the exhaled breath.

    It is also known that trained dogs and rats can distinguish the smell of the breath of people suffering from certain variants of cancer. In these cases the entire smell of the patient's exhaled breath is gauged, which can give rise to bias.

    The scientists, led by Renato Zenobi, professor at the Laboratory for Organic Chemistry, aim at eliminating this bias and identifying the chemical compounds in breath. Like this, doctors should be able to use specific compounds , which are present in breath, for diagnosis.


  5. #55
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Radiation therapy new cancer cure

    Scientists have developed a new form of radiation therapy that successfully put cancer into remission in mice, without producing harmful side-effects of conventional chemo and radiation cancer therapies. Scientists from the University of Missouri found that mice treated with the radiation therapy showed no signs of cancer afterwards.

    "Since the 1930s, scientists have sought success with a cancer treatment known as boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT)," said lead researcher professor M Frederick Hawthorne.

    "Our team at MU's International Institute of Nano and Molecular Medicine finally found the way to make BNCT work by taking advantage of a cancer cell's biology with nanochemistry," Hawthorne said.

    Cancer cells grow faster than normal cells and in the process absorb more materials than normal cells. Hawthorne's team took advantage of that fact by getting cancer cells to take in and store a boron chemical designed by Hawthorne.

    When those boron-infused cancer cells were exposed to neutrons, a subatomic particle, the boron atom shattered and selectively tore apart the cancer cells, sparing neighbouring healthy cells. The physical properties of boron made Hawthorne's technique possible. A particular form of boron will split when it captures a neutron and release lithium, helium and energy. Like pool balls careening around a billiards table, the helium and lithium atoms penetrate the cancer cell and destroy it from the inside without harming surrounding tissues.

    "The technique worked excellently in mice. We are ready to move on to trials in larger animals, then people. However, before we can start treating humans, we will need to build suitable equipment and facilities. When it is built, MU will have the first radiation therapy of this kind in the world," Hawthorne said.


  6. #56
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Fat people risk kidney disease in old age

    Those who are overweight starting in early adulthood (ages 26 or 36 years) may be twice as likely to have chronic kidney disease at age 60 to 64 years than those who are not overweight, according to a new study.


    Larger waist-to-hip ratios ("apple-shaped" bodies) during middle age are also linked with chronic kidney disease at age 60 to 64 years.

    The findings emphasize the importance of excess weight as a risk factor for chronic kidney disease (CKD).

    Because many populations across the globe continue to gain excess weight, Richard Silverwood, PhD, Dorothea Nitsch, MD (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in England), and their colleagues conducted a study to see what sort of effect being overweight or obese might have on kidney health.

    The researchers analyzed information from the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development, a sample of children born in one week in March 1946 in England, Scotland, and Wales. A total of 4,584 participants had available data, including body mass index at ages 20, 26, 36, 43, 53, and 60 to 64 years.

    They found that participants who were overweight beginning early in adulthood (ages 26 or 36 years) were twice as likely to have CKD at age 60 to 64 years compared with those who first became overweight at age 60 to 64 years or never became overweight.

    The link between overweight and CKD was only in part explained by taking diabetes and hypertension into account.

    Larger waist-to-hip ratios ("apple-shaped" bodies) at ages 43 and 53 years were also linked with CKD at age 60 to 64 years.

    "We estimated that 36 per cent of CKD cases at age 60 to 64 in the current US population could be avoided if nobody became overweight until at least that age, assuming the same associations as in the analysis sample," said Dr. Nitsch.

    "To our knowledge we are the first to report how age of exposure to overweight across adulthood may affect kidney disease risk," she added.

    It is unclear whether the timing of overweight onset or the duration of being overweight drives the link with CKD seen in the study. Either explanation suggests that preventing excess weight gain in early adulthood could have a considerable effect on the prevalence of CKD.

    Doing so appears to have a larger effect than any treatment for CKD known to date, the researchers said.

    The study will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of


  7. #57
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Now, glass and plastic mix implants to mend broken bones

    The idea is to give bones a scaffold to grow on so they can heal properly. As the bones heal, the polymer dissolves.

    A novel implants designed by mixing glass and plastic could make the steel pins that are often employed today to hold the bones together after fracture a thing of past, and reduce the number of surgeries patients with big breaks have to go through.

    To make implants that can hold bones together and then dissolve when the implants aren’t needed anymore, scientists have been working on a composite of polymer and glass (called “bioglass”), according to Discovery News.

    The idea is to give bones a scaffold to grow on so they can heal properly. As the bones heal, the polymer dissolves. Polymers aren’t stiff and strong enough to hold bone together, and so scientists added glass particles, which gives the polymer extra strength.

    But the plastic and glass particle mix has to be heat-treated, which is the problem scientists have been facing until now as at higher temperatures the glass particles react with the polymer, making chemicals that you don’t want inside your body.

    Now, Jose Ramon Sarasua and Aitor Larranaga, researchers in the materials engineering department of the University of the Basque Country, have proposed a way around this problem: treat the glass particles with a plasma, an ionized gas that alters the chemistry of the particles’ surface.

    The result is better thermal stability for the implant material — meaning it can be heat-treated like other plastics, and still be safe for use in the body
    Sarasua told Discovery News that the implant his team designed isn’t meant for breaks bigger than an inch or so, at least not yet.

    The results were published in the journal Polymer Degradation and Stability.


  8. #58
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Low blood pressure a myth created by doctors: Experts

    This World Health Day on April 7, a slew of programmes will seek to raise awareness about hypertension. But in the din over the travails of high blood pressure and concomitant diseases such as diabetes, chronic low blood pressure has gone out of focus.

    Low blood pressure without any symptoms, experts say, is not a cause for concern; it may, in fact, be a sign of health. Since there is a close link between a person's build and blood pressure, small people tend to have lower blood pressure. Indeed, pressure as low as 90/60 can be "normal" provided the person is able to go about her routine without problem.

    Theories that linked low blood pressure with chronic malnutrition have been effectively junked, but the diagnosis continues to be a money spinner for physicians in small towns and major cities.

    "Low blood pressure is a myth created by doctors. Blood pressure as low as 90/60 can be considered normal provided there are no other related symptoms," says Dr D Prabhakaran, executive director of Centre for Chronic Disease Control.

    The definition of normal blood pressure has seen a continuous downward revision over the years. In 1960s, 160/95 was the upper limit of normal pressure in an adult but now even 115/75 is considered "undesirable high blood pressure". This has effectively narrowed the "low blood pressure" band to a wafer, that too only if it is accompanied by other complaints.

    It is only a sudden fall in blood pressure that may cause a person to lose consciousness or experience severe dizziness that can indicate an inherent pathological condition. There is a known phenomenon called orthostatic hypotension, where sudden postural changes are associated with a feeling of giddiness that may sometimes be a cause for concern. However, low pressure in most cases is no more than one of the symptoms of a range of conditions, from pregnancy to heart failure, erroneous heart beat rate to heat stroke. Besides, prescription medicines for high blood pressure, depression or Parkinson's can precipitate a bout of hypotension, as can hormonal conditions such as thyroid imbalance.


  9. #59
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    'Artificial ovary could replace missing sex hormones'

    A bio-artificial ovary could make hormone replacement therapy (HRT) a thing of the past for women with damaged ovaries, a new study has found.

    Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine demonstrated that in the laboratory setting, engineered ovaries showed sustained release of the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone.

    "Our goal is to develop a tissue - or cell-based hormone therapy - essentially an artificial ovary to deliver sex hormones in a more natural manner than drugs," said Emmanuel C Opara, professor of regenerative medicine and senior author.

    "A bio-artificial ovary has the potential to secrete hormones in a natural way based on the body's needs, rather than the patient taking a specific dose of drugs each day," Opara said in a statement.

    The loss of ovarian function can be due to surgical removal, chemotherapy and radiation treatments for certain types of cancer, and menopause.

    The effects of hormone loss can range from hot flashes and vaginal dryness to infertility and increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.

    "This research project is interesting because it offers hope to replace natural ovarian hormones in women with premature ovarian failure or in women going through menopause," Tamer Yalcinkaya, associate professor and section head of reproductive medicine at Wake Forest Baptist.

    "The graft format would bring certain advantages: it would eliminate pharmacokinetic variations of hormones when administered as drugs and would also allow body's feedback mechanisms to control the release of ovarian hormones," said Yalcinkaya.

    The project to engineer a bio-artificial ovary involves encapsulating ovarian cells inside a thin membrane that allows oxygen and nutrients to enter the capsule, but would prevent the patient from rejecting the cells.


  10. #60
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Red meat boosts gut bacteria that raise heart disease risk

    A compound that is abundant in red meat and is added as a supplement to popular energy drinks has been found to promote atherosclerosis - or the hardening or clogging of the arteries, a new study has revealed.

    The study showed that the bacteria living in the human digestive tract metabolize the compound carnitine, turning it into trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), a metabolite that in a previous study was found to promote atherosclerosis in humans.

    Further, the research found that a carnitine high diet promoted the growth of the bacteria, which metabolize carnitine, compounding the problem by producing even more of TMAO.

    The research team led by Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, vice-chair of Translational Research for the Lerner Research Institute and section head of Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation in the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic, and Robert Koeth, a medical student at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University tested the carnitine and TMAO levels of omnivores, vegans and vegetarians, and examined the clinical data of 2,595 patients undergoing elective cardiac evaluations.

    They team examined the cardiac effects of a carnitine-enhanced diet in normal mice compared to mice with suppressed levels of gut microbes, and discovered that TMAO altered cholesterol metabolism at multiple levels, explaining how it enhanced the problem.

    The researchers found that increased carnitine levels in patients predicted increased risks for cardiovascular disease and major cardiac events such as heart attack, stroke and death, but only in subjects with concurrently high TMAO levels.

    While carnitine occurs naturally in red meats, including beef, venison, lamb, mutton, duck, and pork, it's also a dietary supplement available in pill form and a common ingredient in energy drinks.

    The study has been published in the journal Nature Medicine.


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