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  1. #591
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    U-turn : Butter, cheese, eggs not bad for heart

    A cardiologist of Indian origin in the UK has spun conventional medical wisdom around by showing that fatty food like butter, cheese, eggs and yoghurt can be good for the heart.

    Cardiologist Aseem Malhotra published his findings on Wednesday in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) saying that the medical advice of cutting down on saturated fats to reduce the risk of heart disease may be wrong. He said that recent studies “have not supported any significant association between saturated fat intake and risk of cardiovascular disease”.
    Malhotra is an interventional cardiology specialist and registrar at Croydon University Hospital in London says scientific evidence shows that advice to reduce saturated fat intake “has paradoxically increased our cardiovascular risks.”

    He says the government’s obsession with levels of total cholesterol “has led to the over-medication of millions of people with statins and has diverted our attention from the more egregious risk factor of atherogenic dyslipidaemia” (an unfavourable ratio of blood fats).

    Saturated fat has been demonized since the 1970s when a landmark study concluded that there was a correlation between incidence of coronary heart disease and total cholesterol which was then correlated with the percentage of calories provided by saturated fat, Malhotra said.

    “But correlation is not causation,” he said. But patients were advised to “reduce fat intake to 30% of total energy and a fall in saturated fat intake to 10%”. One of the earliest obesity experiments published in the Lancet in 1956 compared groups consuming diets of 90% fat versus 90% protein versus 90% carbohydrate and revealed that the greatest weight loss was in the fat consuming group. More recently, a study revealed that a “low fat” diet showed the greatest decrease in energy expenditure an unhealthy lipid pattern and increased insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) compared with a low carbohydrate and low glycaemic index diet.

    Malhotra pointed to the United States where percentage of calorie consumption from fat has declined from 40% to 30% in the past 30 years (although absolute fat consumption has remained the same) but obesity has rocketed. One reason, he said, is that the food industry “compensated by replacing saturated fat with added sugar.” Adopting a Mediterranean diet after a heart attack is almost three times as powerful in reducing mortality as taking a statin, writes Malhotra.

    “Doctors need to embrace prevention as well as treatment. The greatest improvements in morbidity and mortality have been due not to personal responsibility but rather to public health… It is time to bust the myth of the role of saturated in heart disease and dietary advice that has contributed to obesity,” he said.

    Commenting on the study, the chair of Britain’s National Obesity Forum David Haslam said, “It’s extremely naive of the public and the medical profession to imagine that a calorie of bread, a calorie of meat and a calorie of alcohol are all dealt in the same way by the amazingly complex systems of the body. The assumption has been made that increased fat in the bloodstream is caused by increased saturated fat in the diet whereas modern scientific evidence is proving that refined carbohydrates and sugar in particular are actually the culprits.”


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  2. #592
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    U-turn : Butter, cheese, eggs not bad for heart

    A cardiologist of Indian origin in the UK has spun conventional medical wisdom around by showing that fatty food like butter, cheese, eggs and yoghurt can be good for the heart.

    Cardiologist Aseem Malhotra published his findings on Wednesday in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) saying that the medical advice of cutting down on saturated fats to reduce the risk of heart disease may be wrong. He said that recent studies “have not supported any significant association between saturated fat intake and risk of cardiovascular disease”.
    Malhotra is an interventional cardiology specialist and registrar at Croydon University Hospital in London says scientific evidence shows that advice to reduce saturated fat intake “has paradoxically increased our cardiovascular risks.”

    He says the government’s obsession with levels of total cholesterol “has led to the over-medication of millions of people with statins and has diverted our attention from the more egregious risk factor of atherogenic dyslipidaemia” (an unfavourable ratio of blood fats).

    Saturated fat has been demonized since the 1970s when a landmark study concluded that there was a correlation between incidence of coronary heart disease and total cholesterol which was then correlated with the percentage of calories provided by saturated fat, Malhotra said.

    “But correlation is not causation,” he said. But patients were advised to “reduce fat intake to 30% of total energy and a fall in saturated fat intake to 10%”. One of the earliest obesity experiments published in the Lancet in 1956 compared groups consuming diets of 90% fat versus 90% protein versus 90% carbohydrate and revealed that the greatest weight loss was in the fat consuming group. More recently, a study revealed that a “low fat” diet showed the greatest decrease in energy expenditure an unhealthy lipid pattern and increased insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) compared with a low carbohydrate and low glycaemic index diet.

    Malhotra pointed to the United States where percentage of calorie consumption from fat has declined from 40% to 30% in the past 30 years (although absolute fat consumption has remained the same) but obesity has rocketed. One reason, he said, is that the food industry “compensated by replacing saturated fat with added sugar.” Adopting a Mediterranean diet after a heart attack is almost three times as powerful in reducing mortality as taking a statin, writes Malhotra.

    “Doctors need to embrace prevention as well as treatment. The greatest improvements in morbidity and mortality have been due not to personal responsibility but rather to public health… It is time to bust the myth of the role of saturated in heart disease and dietary advice that has contributed to obesity,” he said.

    Commenting on the study, the chair of Britain’s National Obesity Forum David Haslam said, “It’s extremely naive of the public and the medical profession to imagine that a calorie of bread, a calorie of meat and a calorie of alcohol are all dealt in the same way by the amazingly complex systems of the body. The assumption has been made that increased fat in the bloodstream is caused by increased saturated fat in the diet whereas modern scientific evidence is proving that refined carbohydrates and sugar in particular are actually the culprits.”


  3. #593
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Youth reaps benefits of dissolving stent

    Use of bioresorbable vascular scaffold (BVS) as a mode of treatment to open up clogged arteries in the heart is gaining acceptance among patients and medical practitioners.

    BVS is a devise designed to restore blood flow by opening clogged vessels and providing support while it heals. A 29-year-old male patient, a smoker with no previous history of heart problem, underwent the treatment recently. Dr M V Manjunath, chief interventional cardiologist and professor and head of cardiology, A J Hospital and Research Centre and Medical College, said the patient was wheeled into emergency centre and he was immediately taken to Cathlab where doctors confirmed he had a heart attack and needed immediate intervention.

    Considering his age, the doctors decided to implant BVS in him. The patient was discharged after two days and is healthier now.

    The vessel remains open without any extra support after implanting BVS and it is designed to slowly metabolize and eventually dissolve into carbon dioxide and water in the body.

    The treatment for coronary artery disease has come a long way from the day of balloon angioplasties and metal stents. A dissolving stent like BVS is interesting as clogged artery can be enlarged and supported effectively without the stent leaving any fragments behind, he explains.

    M/s Abbott Vascular, USA, manufacturers of BVS will provide insurance to patients implanted with their devise. Insurance covers against risk of redo procedure, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, coronary artery bypass graft and plain old balloon angioplasty in patients where BVS is deployed.

    The sum assured per BVS is Rs 2 lakh. it covers hospitalization expenses and is valid for two years from date of implant.

    Dr R Purushottam, interventional cardiologist and associate professor, said, "The device is made of polylactide, a proven biocompatible material that is commonly used in medical implants such as dissolving sutures. Since permanent implants are not left behind, a vessel treated with BVS ultimately may have the ability to move, flex and pulsate similar to an untreated vessel. The only hitch is promoting use of BVS now is its cost."


  4. #594
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Mouth bacteria could be your new password!

    The bacteria in the human mouth is unique and can be as powerful as a fingerprint to identify a person, a new study led by an Indian-origin scientist has found.

    Scientists have used oral bacteria - particularly those nestled under the gums - to identify a person's ethnicity.

    Scientists identified a total of almost 400 different species of microbes in the mouths of 100 study participants belonging to four ethnic affiliations: non-Hispanic blacks, whites, Chinese and Latinos.

    Only two per cent of bacterial species were present in all individuals - but in different concentrations according to ethnicity - and 8 per cent were detected in 90 per cent of the participants.

    Researchers found that each ethnic group in the study was represented by a "signature" of shared microbial communities.

    "This is the first time it has been shown that ethnicity is a huge component in determining what you carry in your mouth," said Purnima Kumar, associate professor of periodontology at The Ohio State University.

    "No two people were exactly alike. That's truly a fingerprint," said Kumar, senior author of the study.

    Kumar used a DNA deep sequencing methodology to obtain an unprecedented in-depth view of these microbial communities in their natural setting.

    When the scientists trained a machine to classify each assortment of microbes from under the gums according to ethnicity, a given bacterial community predicted an individual's ethnicity with 62 per cent accuracy.

    The classifier identified African Americans according to their microbial signature correctly 100 per cent of the time.

    The research also confirms that one type of dental treatment is not appropriate for all, and could contribute to a more personalized approach to care of the mouth.

    "The most important point of this paper is discovering that ethnicity-specific oral microbial communities may predispose individuals to future disease," Kumar said.

    Though it's too soon to change dental practice based on this work, she said the findings show that "there is huge potential to develop chair-side tools to determine a patient's susceptibility to disease."

    Kumar and colleagues collected samples of bacteria from the saliva, tooth surfaces and under the gums of the study participants.

    More than 60 per cent of bacteria in the human mouth have never been classified, named or studied because they won't grow in a laboratory dish, so the researchers identified the different species - or species-level operational taxonomic units - by sequencing their DNA.

    The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.


  5. #595
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Deficiency of protein linked to learning issues

    Indian scientists have finally decoded how long-term protein deficiency, a problem faced not just by malnourished children but also healthy-looking adults, impairs brain functioning. They have shown how protein deficiency reduces the ability of brain cells to process information, leading to learning disabilities, difficulty in memorizing and delayed response.

    The scientists have also identified a molecule, GAD65, found in excess among those suffering from protein deficiency that inhibits the activity of brain cells. The results have been published in the latest issue of medical journal Plos One.

    V Rema, the lead researcher, said identification of this molecule could help in developing therapeutic agents and targets to improve brain functioning in patients. Dietary changes and supplements are suggested to people suffering from protein deficiency.

    "For our brain to function, neurons (brain cells) have to be dynamically active and regulated at moderate levels. If the neurons act slowly, one can suffer from cognitive impairment. On the other hand, uncontrolled movement can lead to epilepsy and stroke. Protein deficiency, we found, slowed neuron activity and processing of information," said Rema, a scientist at National Brain Research Center in Manesar, Haryana. The experiment, she added, was conducted on animal model.

    The protein requirement of an average person is 1 gram/kg/day. In this study, the investigators said they induced moderate protein-deficiency in rats by feeding them low protein diet throughout life to emulate human condition.

    The protein-deficient rats, tests showed, fared poorly in performing simple behaviours that required detection and differentiating touch behavior. Their neurons were less active and slow in processing sensory information such as taste, smell, sight, hearing and touch. In addition, the sensory signals were not being transferred optimally between various regions in the brain. The protein deficient animal models also suffered from stunted growth.

    The findings of this research, say experts, has large implication for public health policy particularly for developing countries like India where the prevalence of malnutrition is very high. More than 40% of under-five children suffer from the condition and in many cases the deficiency continues till adulthood causing various symptoms including cognitive impairment. "Proteins are mainly found in milk and milk products and through chicken, fish and other meat products. Cereals and pulses too contain the important nutrient. However, poor eating habit in children from well-to-do families and their insistence to have sugary drinks and burgers and pizzas is putting them at risk for protein deficiency too. We often advise patients to change the diet pattern and in some cases food supplements are suggested," said Dr Nilanjana Singh, chief nutritionist at PSRI hospital and research institute.

    Dr H P S Sachdev, senior consultant pediatrics and public health nutrition at Sitaram Bharatia Institute of Science and Research, said that severe protein deficiency is known to cause memory impairment, learning disability and stunted growth among others. "Its incidence is not known though. Given the health implications posed by the nutritional deficiency, revealed in this study, we must look into the issue seriously," he said.


  6. #596
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New research finds how genes shape faces

    Scientists have identified thousands of enhancers in the human genome that influence the way facial features develop.

    Scientists set out to determine what makes facial morphology so distinct.

    Genetics play a major role as evident in the similarities between parents and their children, but researchers have puzzled over what is it in our DNA that fine-tunes the genetics so that siblings - especially identical twins - resemble one another but look different from unrelated individuals.

    Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) found that gene enhancers - regulatory sequences of DNA that act to turn-on or amplify the expression of a specific gene - are major players in craniofacial development.

    "Our results suggest it is likely there are thousands of enhancers in the human genome that are somehow involved in craniofacial development," said Axel Visel, a geneticist with Berkeley Lab's Genomics Division who led the study.

    Previous work by Visel and his collaborators, in which they mapped gene enhancers in the heart, the brain and other organ systems demonstrated that gene enhancers can regulate their targets from across distances of hundreds of thousands of base pairs.

    To learn whether gene enhancers can also have the same long-distance impact on craniofacial development, Visel and a multinational team of collaborators studied transgenic mice.

    Researchers identified more than 4,000 candidate enhancer sequences predicted to be active in fine-tuning the expression of genes involved in craniofacial development, and created genome-wide maps of these enhancers by pin-pointing their location in the mouse genome.

    The researchers also characterised in detail the activity of some 200 of these gene enhancers and deleted three of them.

    Majority of the enhancer sequences identified and mapped are at least partially conserved between humans and mice, and many are located in human chromosomal regions associated with normal facial morphology or craniofacial birth defects.

    "Knowing about the existence of these enhancers, which are inherited from parents to their children just like genes, knowing their exact location in the human genome, and knowing their general activity pattern in craniofacial development should facilitate a better understanding of the connection between genetics and human craniofacial morphology," Visel said.

    "Our results also offer an opportunity for human geneticists to look for mutations specifically in enhancers that may play a role in birth defects, which in turn may help to develop better diagnostic and therapeutic approaches," Visel said.

    The study was published in the journal Science.


  7. #597
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Washing hands can make you optimistic: Study

    Washing your hands after you have failed at something can make you optimistic, a new study has found.

    Washing our hands influences how we think, judge and decide, according to researchers who examined how physical cleansing affects people after failure.

    They found that test subjects who washed their hands after a task were more optimistic than those who did not wash their hands, but it hampered their future performance in the same task domain.
    For the experiment, Dr Kai Kaspar from the University of Cologne in Germany, took 98 subjects in three groups.

    In the first part of the experiment, participants from two groups had to solve an impossible task. Both the group who after failing washed their hands as well as the one that did not wash their hands were optimistic that they would do better the second time.

    The optimism of the group who washed their hands was, however, much greater.

    In contrast to the usual finding that higher optimism results in better performance, the opposite was the case here: the subjects who did not wash their hands did considerably better than the group who washed their hands.

    Instead, the performance of those who had washed their hands was on the level if the third group who had not experienced failure and only taken part in the second test run.

    According to Kaspar, it can be concluded from the results that while physical cleansing after failure may eliminate negative feelings, it reduces the motivation to try harder in a new test situation to restore one's own perception of competence.

    The findings of the study were published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.


  8. #598
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Baking can ward off depression

    A new research has revealed that baking can be helpful to lift people out of depression.

    The 2012 winner of BBC2's Great British Bake Off, John Whaite , described suffering from crippling depression and believes baking is emerging "as a form of pill-less Prozac," the Independent reported.

    According to the Real Bread Campaign report, Whaite, who is the ambassador for the campaign group Baking a Smile, calls for more people suffering from mental health issues, or who are simply going through a tough time to get the chance to try their hand at baking real bread to see how it could help them.


  9. #599
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Scientists decode kiwifruit genome

    Scientists have decoded the DNA sequence of the kiwifruit and found that the fruit has many genetic similarities between its 39,040 genes and other plant species, including potatoes and tomatoes.


    The study also unveiled two major evolutionary events that occurred millions of years ago in the kiwifruit genome.

    "The kiwifruit is an economically and nutritionally important fruit crop. It has long been called 'the king of fruits' because of its remarkably high vitamin C content and balanced nutritional composition of minerals, dietary fibre and other health-benefits," said Zhangjun Fei, a scientist from the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University.

    Fei contributed to the study, which was conducted by a team of plant scientists from the US and China.

    "The genome sequence will serve as a valuable resource for kiwifruit research and may facilitate the breeding programme for improved fruit quality and disease resistance," Fei said.

    Scientists observed a high percentage of similarities within the kiwifruit DNA. The data revealed two unusual mishaps that occurred in the process of cell division about 27 and 80 million years ago, when an extensive expansion of genes arose from an entire extra copy of the genome, followed by extensive gene loss.

    "The kiwifruit genome has undergone two recent whole-genome duplication events," Fei said.

    When genes are duplicated, the extra genes can mutate to perform entirely new functions that were not previously present in the organism.

    This process, called neofunctionalisation, can occur with no adverse effects in plants and, in the case of kiwifruit, was quite beneficial.

    "The duplication contributed to adding additional members of gene families that are involved in regulating important kiwifruit characteristics, such as fruit vitamin C, flavonoid and carotenoid metabolism," said Fei.

    For the sequencing, the scientists used a Chinese variety called "Hongyang," which is widely grown in China, to produce the draft sequence.

    They then compared kiwifruit to the genomes of other representative plant species including tomato, rice, grape and the mustard weed Arabidopsis. They uncovered about 8,000 genes that were common among all five species.

    The comparison revealed important evolutionary relationships, including the development genes related to fruit growth, ripening, nutrient metabolism, and disease resistance.

    The study was published in the journal Nature C


  10. #600
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    'Goa tops list of colon cancer in India'

    Goa has been seeing an increase in the number of cancer cases over the last few years and tops the list in the country in colon cancer with about 80 to 100 cases of the cancer reported every year in the state, doctors of the Bangalore-based HealthCare Global cancer specialty hospital said on Saturday.

    Increasing imitation of Western food habits is seen as one of the reasons for the increase in colon cancer cases, said Dr G Kilara, senior radiation oncologist at HealthCare Global Enterprises.

    "Across the country there is change in dietary habits and we are consuming food with less fibres. When the food remains in the gut for longer periods due to constipation because of lack of fibre, it can be a cause of colon cancer. We get a lot of more colon cancer cases around the country than before," Kilara said.

    He said that many states now have a cancer hospital based registry which gives more accurate data about types of cancers on the rise in the regions, but the registry is not available in Goa at present.

    "Under the Indian Council for Medical Research, not only cancer cases reported in hospitals but in pathology laboratories and private clinics are also recorded by a team of people that go to all private facilities for the data. Before the cancer registry, we thought that cervical cancer and cancers of the head and neck were highest in India. But after the cancer registry, stomach cancers have emerged as the number one cancer in the country," Kilara said.

    Paediatric oncologist Dr C P Raghuram said that on an average 5% to 8% of all cancer cases reported in the country involve children between zero to 18 years of age, and the average is highest at 12% in Chandigarh. "Children affected by cancer are known to recover better in multispecialty hospitals that provide other treatments like physiotherapy and psychotherapy, which we provide at HCG in Bangalore. A child being affected not just takes a toll on the young patient but also the entire family," Raghuram said.

    Kilara said that HCG provides cyberknife and other non-invasive radiation treatments for cancer that have 98% recovery in the early stages of the illness. "These treatments are more accurate and require the patient to stay in Bangalore only from seven to 10 days. The cost involved is from Rs 3 to Rs 5 lakh depending on the treatment, which is like in the case of any other life saving treatment like kidney and cardiac care," he said. tnn

    Cancers of prostrate, breast, throat and colon can be treated with new radiation technology

    In 65% of the cases, the patient does not die due to the cancer after the advanced radiation treatments

    Now cancer affected organ and its function can be retained only by removal of the tumour


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