Quickscan http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan.rss en Thu Jan 17 12:21:05 IST 2019 https://www.theweek.in/privacy-an-settlement.html exercise-to-fight-memory-loss <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/07/21/exercise-to-fight-memory-loss.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2021/7/21/8-Exercise-to-fight-memory-loss.jpg" /> <p><b>REGULAR AEROBIC</b> exercise can slow memory loss and cognitive decline in people living with Alzheimer’s disease. The study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease included 96 older adults living with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants were randomly assigned to either cycling on a stationary bike or stretching intervention for six months, and they were followed for another six months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers used the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognition (ADAS-Cog) to assess cognition at baseline, three, six, nine and 12 months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Our primary finding indicates that a six-month aerobic exercise intervention significantly reduced the decline in global cognition in comparison to Alzheimer’s disease dementia’s natural course of decline,” said the study author.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study supports the use of “exercise as an additional therapy for Alzheimer’s disease.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Bone marrow cell injections could help stroke patients</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>TREATING STROKE</b> patients with an injection of their own bone marrow cells may lead to a reduction in brain injury and enhance recovery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About 90 per cent of patients who suffer an ischaemic stroke suffer weakness or paralysis to one side of the body caused by injuries to the corticospinal tract (CST) which is the main white matter connection in the brain that carries movement-related information to the spinal cord, the lead researcher explained.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The findings of the clinical trial published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine were based on 37 patients aged 18 to 80. All the patients received standard stroke treatment and follow-up rehabilitation; 17 patients who suffered the most severe strokes also received bone marrow cell injections.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As expected after a stroke, MRI scans of each patient at three months showed a decrease in the integrity of their CST. However, scans taken 12 months after the stroke showed an improvement in the CST of the 17 patients who received injections, even though their stroke was more severe. On the other hand, the CST of those who did not receive the injections showed ongoing and continuing microstructural injury and axonal degeneration.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Working 55 hours or more a week can increase the risk of stroke by 35 per cent and death from heart disease by 17 per cent compared with a normal working week of 35 to 40 hours.</i></p> <p><i><b>WHO</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Suffering in silence</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>HEARING IMPAIRMENT</b> can accelerate decline in physical function as people grow older and put them at an increased risk for mobility limitations, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers used data from 2,956 older adults, average age 79 years. Among them, 33 per cent had normal hearing, 40 per cent had mild hearing impairment, 23 per cent had moderate hearing impairment and 4 per cent had severe hearing impairment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those with hearing impairment had poorer physical function, bad walking endurance, slower gait speed and poorer balance compared to those with normal hearing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Over the study period (close to nine years), participants with hearing impairment had a faster decline in physical function compared with those with normal hearing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Since hearing impairment is a treatable condition and affects nearly two-thirds of adults older than 70 years, prompt and appropriate interventions can “slow the decline of physical function associated with ageing,” the study concluded.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Listening to sedative music before bedtime can help older adults struggling with insomnia sleep better.</i></p> <p><i><b>Journal of the American Geriatrics Society</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Danger from antibiotic overuse</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>OVERUSE OF ANTIBIOTICS</b> can increase the risk of colon cancer, especially in people under 50.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While junk food, sugary drinks, obesity and alcohol are the main drivers for this rise, the study found that unnecessary use of antibiotics, especially in children and young adults, could also be a reason.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study presented at the ESMO World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer 2021, the researchers compared data from 8,000 people with colon and rectal cancer, with people without the disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Antibiotic use was associated with an increased risk of colon cancer across all ages. But the risk was highest among people younger than 50 years who had a nearly 50 per cent increased risk, compared to 9 per cent in people over 50 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Antibiotic use was linked to cancers in the colon's right side in younger people. The use of quinolones and sulfonamides/trimethoprim, antibiotics used to treat a wide range of infections, were associated with these cancers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Covid-19 vaccines are safe in pregnancy</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A US STUDY PUBLISHED</b> in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology has found that Covid-19 vaccines do not damage the placenta and are safe for pregnant women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers examined placenta from 84 vaccinated women and 116 unvaccinated women after delivery. There was no evidence of any injury to the placenta.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers also looked for abnormal blood flow between the mother and foetus, and problems with foetal blood flow, which had been previously reported in pregnant patients who had tested positive for Covid.</p> <p>The rate of these injuries was similar among both the vaccinated and unvaccinated patients.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>An earlier study published by the same team showed that pregnant women make Covid-19 antibodies after vaccination and transfer them to their foetuses.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Your risk of heart disease more than doubles if your spouse has experienced a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke, or has undergone procedures to open or bypass blocked arteries.</i></p> <p><i><b>Study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 70th Annual Scientific Session</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Loneliness shortens lifespan</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>LONELINESS IS ALREADY</b> known to cause depression and other mental health issues. A new study from Singapore, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, finds loneliness in old age can negatively impact quality of life and shorten your lifespan.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 3,449 participants who were interviewed three times between 2009 and 2015.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who were lonely sometimes or most of the time at age 60 die three to five years earlier than their peers who were never lonely. Similarly, people who were lonely at age 70 and 80 have a life expectancy that was three to four years shorter or two to three years shorter, respectively. People who were lonely also spent less of their remaining life in good health or staying active.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Multiple benefits found</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>BLOOD PRESSURE</b>-lowering medication can lower the risk of serious cardiovascular issues such as strokes, heart failure and heart attacks even in adults with normal blood pressure, according to a study published in The Lancet.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers examined data from 3,44,716 adults, average age 65 years, from 48 randomised trials.</p> <p>The participants were divided into two groups: Those with a prior diagnosis of cardiovascular disease (1,57,728 participants) and those without (1,86,988 participants).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Each group was further divided into seven subgroups based on their systolic blood pressure. About 20 per cent of those who had a prior cardiovascular disease and 8 per cent of those who had never had cardiovascular disease had normal or high-normal systolic blood pressure at the onset.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Over an average follow up of four years, 42,324 participants had at least one major cardiovascular event, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or death from cardiovascular disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Each 5mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure lowered the risk of developing major cardiovascular disease by around 10 per cent, stroke by 13 per cent, heart failure by 13 per cent, ischaemic heart disease by 8 per cent, and death from cardiovascular disease by 5 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The beneficial effects of the antihypertensive drugs were similar whether the participants had cardiovascular disease at the start or not, and regardless of their blood pressure at study entry. The relative reductions in risk were proportional to the intensity of blood pressure-lowering.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Ovarian stimulation drugs commonly used during fertility treatments do not increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer.</i></p> <p><i><b>Fertility and Sterility</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>New viable option</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A COMMON INTRAUTERINE</b> device (levonorgestrel IUD) could be a viable option for women who have early endometrial cancer or a precancerous condition, according to an Australian study published in the journal Gynecologic Oncology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The standard treatment for early-stage endometrial cancer is total hysterectomy, the study author explained.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While safe and effective, surgery may not be an option for some patients—those who are young and would like to preserve their fertility and have children, and women who are quite obese and have other serious medical issues such as heart, kidney or lung disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The FEMME study, a phase II randomised clinical trial, included 165 patients with an average age of 53 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 82 per cent of women who had a precursor to endometrial cancer called endometrial hyperplasia with atypia and 52 per cent of women with endometrial cancer responded completely to the treatment. They had a “complete pathological response”. There was no sign of cancer in biopsy after six months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Importantly, the trial also showed that with weight loss, the new treatment was more successful with a 67 per cent response rate, and side effects were less.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/07/21/exercise-to-fight-memory-loss.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/07/21/exercise-to-fight-memory-loss.html Thu Jul 22 18:22:16 IST 2021 adopt-a-healthy-lifestyle-to-beat-dementia <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/06/23/adopt-a-healthy-lifestyle-to-beat-dementia.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2021/6/23/6-Adopt-a-healthy-lifestyle.jpg" /> <p><b>HAVING A PARENT</b> or sibling with dementia can increase a person’s future risk of dementia by nearly 75 per cent compared to someone without a family history.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Conference 2021, following a healthy lifestyle can lower dementia risk even among people who have an increased risk due to family history.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 3,02,239 participants aged 50 to 73 years, who completed a baseline physical examination at the start of the study. None of the adults had dementia. They answered questions about family history and lifestyle behaviours.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants got one point for each of six healthy lifestyle behaviours they followed, including: eating a healthy diet with more fruits and vegetables, and less processed meat and refined grains; getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity a week; sleeping six to nine hours each night; drinking alcohol in moderation; not smoking; and not being obese.</p> <p>Over eight years of follow up, 1,698 participants developed dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those with a family history of dementia had about a 70 per cent increased risk of dementia compared to those without. But the risk of dementia was reduced with the number of healthy lifestyle behaviours followed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who followed all six healthy lifestyle behaviours cut their risk of dementia by nearly half compared to those who followed two or fewer healthy behaviours.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Do sleep medicines work?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>NEARLY 40 PER CENT</b> of people who start taking sleep medications continue to take them for years. While prescription sleep medications may work for short durations, new research published in the journal BMJ Open finds that long term use of these drugs does not provide better sleep quality. The researchers compared 238 women who took medications for sleep problems with 447 women who had sleeping problems but did not take any medication.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The medications included benzodiazepines, Z-drugs which include zolpidem, zaleplon and eszopiclone, as well as other drugs used to treat anxiety and depression. At the start of the study, all the participants reported sleep problems, such as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After a year or two, women who took sleep medications did not report better sleep quality or sleep duration than those who did not take any medications.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sleep medications have side effects including daytime sleepiness.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>OCD triples a person’s risk of stroke</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>PEOPLE WHO SUFFER</b> from obsessive compulsive disorder, commonly known as OCD, are over three times more likely to suffer a stroke than those without the condition.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the journal Stroke, Taiwanese researchers compared stroke risk between 28,064 adults with OCD and 28,064 adults who did not have OCD for up to 11 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Men and women with OCD were more than three times as likely to suffer an ischaemic stroke (caused by a blood clot) compared to adults who did not have OCD. The risk was greatest among adults aged 60 and older.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>OCD was an independent risk factor for ischaemic stroke even after accounting for other risk factors that can increase stroke risk, including obesity, heart disease , smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes . Medications used to treat OCD did not appear to increase the risk of stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Continuous skin-to-skin contact with mothers immediately after delivery (immediate Kangaroo Mother Care) can reduce mortality by 25 per cent in babies with a very low birth weight.</i></p> <p><i><b>The New England Journal of Medicine</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Check heart condition with thumb-palm test</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A SIMPLE THUMB-PALM</b> test can be used to identify people who are at a higher risk of having a hidden ascending aortic aneurysm, which could be fatal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>An aortic aneurysm is an abnormal bulge in the aorta, the largest artery that carries blood from the heart to your body. Aortic aneurysms are often hard to detect in advance, before it ruptures and becomes fatal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The test involves flexing the thumb as far as possible across the palm. People whose “thumb crosses beyond the far edge of the flat palm”may have a hidden aneurysm.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Being able to move the thumb in that way is an indication that a patient’s long bones are excessive, and their joints are lax—possible signs of connective tissue disease throughout the body, including the aorta.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The test was conducted in 305 patients undergoing cardiac surgery for a variety of disorders, including aortic aneurysms.</p> <p>While the majority of aneurysm patients did not manifest a positive thumb-palm sign, those who did have a positive sign were extremely likely to have an ascending aneurysm.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study was published in the American Journal of Cardiology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Pill of hope</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ASTRAZENECA’S DRUG</b> Olaparib (sold under brand name Lynparza) reduced the risk of relapse and death in breast cancer patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, according to findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The OlympiA phase III trial included 1,836 women and men with early-stage breast cancers who had been treated with standard care therapies, such as surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or radiation therapy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About 82 per cent of the patients had triple-negative breast cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They were randomly assigned to take either 300mg of Olaparib or a placebo twice a day for a year. After three years, 86 per cent of patients who took the pill were alive without cancer recurrence compared to 77 per cent in the placebo group.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The drug reduced the risk of cancer recurrence or death by 42 per cent compared to the placebo.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Common side effects included nausea, anemia, fatigue and lower white blood cell counts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The drug is already used to treat breast cancers that have spread throughout the body and for treating certain cancers of the ovaries, prostate, and pancreas.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Just one glass of wine, beer or any other alcoholic beverage can double the risk of suffering an episode of atrial fibrillation within the next four hours. The risk was threefold for people having two or more drinks in one sitting.</i></p> <p><i><b>Study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 70th annual scientific session</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Good news for Parkinson’s patients</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>THE BENEFITS</b> of deep brain stimulation (DBS) last for more than 15 years for patients with Parkinson’s disease, according to a French study published in the journal Neurology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Most of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are due to the gradual loss of a chemical in the brain called dopamine. Patients with Parkinson's disease often take the drug levodopa which can temporarily restore dopamine and help relieve symptoms which affect their speech, walking and balance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But the levels of dopamine can fluctuate through the day, leading to dyskinesia, a side effect of levodopa that can cause involuntary movements such as wriggling, twitching, swaying or head bobbing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In deep brain stimulation, electrodes are placed in specific areas of the brain and are connected to a stimulator device that is placed under the skin of the chest. Similar to a heart pacemaker, the neurostimulator uses electrical pulses to regulate brain activity and control Parkinson's symptoms such as tremor, slowing down of movement, stiffness, and walking problems.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The findings of the study were based on 51 patients who had the device implanted for an average of 17 years. The average age of diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease was 40 and for device implantation was 51.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers compared data from before the implant, at one year, and beyond 15 years after surgery. The amount of time participants experienced dyskinesia was reduced by 75 per cent after the device was implanted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The use of medications to control dopamine levels was reduced by 51 per cent, and the amount of time when medication was no longer working well dropped by 59 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Alcohol consumption can lower chances of pregnancy</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>WOMEN SHOULD</b> limit alcohol consumption if they are planning to get pregnant, suggests a US study published in the journal Human Reproduction that examined the link between alcohol intake and the chances of conceiving during a single menstrual cycle.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers followed 413 women aged 19 to 41 years for a maximum of 19 menstrual cycles.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Heavy drinking during any phase of the menstrual cycle was significantly associated with reduced chances of conception. Both moderate (three to six drinks per week) and heavy (greater than six drinks per week) drinking during the luteal phase—the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle before bleeding would start and when the process of implantation occurs—was associated with a 44 per cent reduction in the odds of conceiving, compared to abstaining from alcohol.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Heavy drinking during the ovulatory phase of the cycle was associated with a 61 per cent reduced odds of becoming pregnant.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Each extra day of binge drinking (four or more drinks on a single day) was associated with a 19 per cent reduction in the odds of conceiving during the luteal phase and a 41 per cent reduction during the ovulatory phase.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Adolescents and young adults with Covid-19 can suffer from symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome—such as extreme fatigue and light headedness—months after their infection, even if their infection was mild.</i></p> <p><i><b>Frontiers in Medicine</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Sit less to keep the pounds away</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>WHAT IS THE</b> secret to keep the pounds from creeping back after losing weight? Sit less and move more.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study published in the journal Obesity included 4,305 people who had lost weight and kept off at least 9.1 kg for 3.3 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers compared their sitting habits with a group of people who were obese and remained obese during the study period.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who kept their weight off sat for three fewer hours each day. They spent one hour less per day sitting at a computer, playing video games or watching TV. They also burned significantly more calories per week in physical activity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Finding ways to sit less and move more is part of the successful package of tools for weight management. Engage in planned physical activity, and also pay attention and interrupt any extended periods of sitting,”said the study author.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Alternative antidepressant</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>NITROUS OXIDE,</b> the anesthetic drug commonly known as laughing gas, might be a safe and effective alternative to treating people suffering from severe depression.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The findings of a phase 2 clinical trial published in the journal Science Translational Medicine showed that symptoms of depression improved rapidly and significantly after just one treatment session and the benefits lasted several weeks.</p> <p>The study included 24 patients aged 18 to 75 who did not respond to standard treatments.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All the patients received three treatments about a month apart. In the first session, patients were exposed to an hour of 50 per cent nitrous oxide and 50 per cent oxygen inhalation treatment; the second session included 25 per cent nitrous oxide; and the third session involved breathing only oxygen, with no nitrous oxide.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Out of the 20 people who completed all three treatment sessions and follow-up exams, 55 per cent experienced significant improvement in at least half their depressive symptoms and 40 per cent were no longer clinically depressed.</p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/06/23/adopt-a-healthy-lifestyle-to-beat-dementia.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/06/23/adopt-a-healthy-lifestyle-to-beat-dementia.html Fri Jun 25 17:46:22 IST 2021 sleep-duration-matters <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/05/26/sleep-duration-matters.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2021/5/26/8-Sleep-duration-matters.jpg" /> <p><b>PEOPLE WHO</b> sleep six hours or less each night in their 50s and 60s are more likely to develop dementia when they are older.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the British study published in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers followed 7,959 British adults for about 25 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants reported their sleep durations six times while they were between ages 35 and 55, and then again between the ages of 63 and 86. Among them, 521 participants developed dementia at an average age of 77.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who consistently slept six hours or less per night were about 30 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with dementia, compared to people who regularly slept seven hours per night.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>No association was seen between sleeping for eight or more hours and dementia risk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Exercise can minimise migraine triggers</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>JUST TWO-AND-A-</b>half hours of exercise a week can reduce migraine triggers, such as stress, depression and sleep problems.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But more than 60 per cent of the people with migraine do not get enough exercise, according to a study presented at the American Academy of Neurology's Annual Meeting.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 4,647 people who completed a questionnaire about their migraine characteristics, sleep, depression, stress, anxiety, and the amount of moderate to vigorous exercise they got each week.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About 75 per cent of the participants had 15 or more migraines a month, while the others had 14 or fewer. People who got less than two-and-a-half hours of moderate to vigorous exercise per week had increased rates of depression, anxiety and sleep problems.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among people who did not exercise, 47 per cent had depression, 39 per cent had anxiety, and 77 per cent had sleep problems. Among people who exercised the most, only 25 per cent had depression, 28 per cent had anxiety, and 61 per cent had sleep problems.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who exercised also had fewer migraines. In the no exercise group, 5 per cent had low headache frequency (zero to four headache days per month) and 48 per cent had high headache frequency (25 or more headache days per month). In the high exercise group, 10 per cent had low headache frequency and 28 per cent had high headache frequency.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Wake up to your favourite song</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>DO YOU WAKE UP GROGGY?</b> You must be experiencing sleep inertia, a feeling of grogginess and lack of alertness.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sleep inertia can last from 30 minutes up to four hours and can adversely affect our memory, decision-making and reaction time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to Australian researchers, setting up your favourite song as your alarm is a simple tactic that can help you wake up more alert.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out if waking up to music is effective, the researchers designed a special app to allow participants to wake up to different alarm sounds on their smartphone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Once awake, they had to immediately perform a game-like task that assessed their state of alertness. The task was to touch their mobile phone screen as quickly as possible when the colour of a shape changed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Melodic alarm sounds resulted in participants having faster and more accurate responses, compared with a control group who woke up using classic alarm sounds without melody,” the researchers said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study was published in the Journal of Sleep Disorders &amp; Therapy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>A study that analysed the air quality in indoor spaces showed that in-flight aircraft cabins had the lowest levels of tiny aerosol particles, while restaurants had the highest particle levels, followed by stores, vehicles, homes and offices.</i></p> <p><i><b>Indoor Air</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>An effective alternative</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CRYOABLATION, OR</b> freezing tumours, could be an effective alternative to surgery for women over 60 years with low-risk breast cancers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The non-invasive procedure is fast, painless and can be delivered under local anesthesia in a doctor’s office. Recovery time is minimal and cosmetic outcomes are excellent with little loss of breast tissue and no scarring,” said the study author.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the treatment, the tumour is exposed to extreme cold to destroy it. The ICE3 clinical trial included 194 patients, aged 60 years or older, with low-risk, early-stage breast cancer. A nitrogen chilled probe was inserted through the skin directly into the tumour site, under localised anaesthesia. Freezing temperatures targeted the tumour and destroyed it. The treatment lasted 20 to 40 minutes. No serious side effects or complications were reported.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Twenty-seven patients also received radiation, 148 patients were further treated with endocrine therapy and one patient underwent chemotherapy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Only four patients (2 per cent) had cancer recurrence during an average follow-up of nearly three years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Compared to a lumpectomy or mastectomy, cryoablation preserves breast volume and minimises infection risk, the study author added.</p> <p><br> The findings were presented at a meeting of the American Society of Breast Surgeons.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>People with abdominal obesity and excess belly fat have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, even if they are not overweight.</i></p> <p><i><b>Circulation</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Tasty poison</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>EATING OUT FREQUENTLY</b> could shorten your lifespan.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, eating too much restaurant food is significantly associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality, as well as cancer and cardiovascular mortality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meals that are not home-cooked tend to be higher in energy density, fat, salt and refined sugars, all of which can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed data from the US National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey 1999-2014:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>35,084 adults aged 20 years or older answered questions about their dietary habits, including the frequency of eating meals prepared away from home. The researchers then analysed death records through December 2015.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There were 2,781 deaths during follow up, including 511 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 638 deaths from cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Compared to people who ate less than one meal per week away from home, people who ate two or more meals per day away from home were 49 per cent more likely to die of any cause. They also had a 67 per cent increased risk of dying of cancer, and an 18 per cent greater risk of dying of cardiovascular diseases.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Common Alzheimer's drug linked to slower cognitive decline</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>PATIENTS WITH ALZHEIMER’S</b> disease are often prescribed a class of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors, which include galantamine, donepezil and rivastigmine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But do they actually work to slow cognitive decline? A Swedish study published in the journal Neurology finds that these drugs show “persisting cognitive benefits and reduced mortality for up to five years after diagnosis.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When a person develops Alzheimer's disease, several chemical neurotransmitters in the brain change, thus inhibiting the ability of the neurons to communicate with each other. One such neurotransmitter is acetylcholine, which plays a crucial role in cognitive functions such as memory, attention and concentration.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers followed 11,652 patients treated with cholinesterase inhibitors within three months of the dementia diagnosis, and a matched control group of 5,826 untreated patients for a period of five years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 255 patients developed severe dementia, and 6,055 patients died during the follow-up.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who were treated with cholinesterase inhibitors had slower cognitive decline over five years. They also had a 27 per cent lower mortality compared with the controls.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Listening to the sounds of nature, like birds singing, waves lapping, and rain falling, can improve health, decrease pain, improve mood, lower stress and annoyance, and enhance cognitive performance.</i></p> <p><i><b>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Borderline hypertension: When to start the treatment</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ACCORDING TO A NEW</b> scientific statement from the American Heart Association, published in its journal Hypertension, if lifestyle changes do not lower blood pressure within six months in people with borderline, or stage-1 high blood pressure, doctors should consider prescribing medication.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People with stage-1 high blood pressure have a systolic pressure (top number) of 130-139 or a diastolic pressure (bottom number) of 80-89. They have a low risk for heart attack or stroke within 10 years, meaning less than 10 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The statement updates the 2017 American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association’s blood pressure management guidelines, which recommend people with stage-1 hypertension to first try to lower their blood pressure with healthy lifestyle changes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The recommended healthy behaviour to lower blood pressure includes maintaining ideal body weight, exercising, limiting sodium intake, enhancing potassium intake, limiting alcohol and not smoking. Also recommended is following Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which includes fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and less saturated and total fat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Personalised cancer vaccine shows promise</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A PERSONALISED CANCER </b>vaccine is showing promise against different cancers, including lung and bladder cancers that have a high risk of recurrence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, developed the vaccine, known as PGV-001. The vaccine was well tolerated with no safety concerns in phase 1 clinical trial, and showed potential benefits.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The personalised cancer vaccine was developed by sequencing each patient's tumour and germ-line DNA and tumour RNA. The patient's tumour-specific target was also identified to help predict whether the patient's immune system would recognise the vaccine's targets.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Following their surgery and any standard-of-care treatment, 13 patients received 10 doses of the vaccine over a six-month period: six had head and neck cancer, three had multiple myeloma, two had lung cancer, one had breast cancer and one had bladder cancer. The patients had at least a 30 per cent chance of disease recurrence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After an average follow-up of 925 days, four patients had no evidence of cancer, four received subsequent lines of therapy, four passed away, and one patient quit the trial. The vaccine was well tolerated. About a third of patients developed minor injection-site reactions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2021.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Pregnant women who drink as little as half a cup of coffee a day on average may give birth to smaller babies than pregnant women who avoided caffeinated beverages.</i></p> <p><i><b>JAMA Network Open</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Covid-19 updates</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>GENDER APPEARS</b> to play a significant role in the risk of death and severity of disease for Covid patients who are obese, according to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology &amp; Infectious Diseases.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>US researchers analysed data from 3,530 Covid-19 patients who were hospitalised.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, compared to patients with a normal weight, moderately obese Covid-19 patients were 44 per cent more likely to die, and those who were severely obese were nearly twice as likely to die.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While the risk for severe pneumonia, need for a ventilator and death all rose for men who were either moderately or severely obese, in women, those risks rose only for those who were severely obese.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A US study published in JAMA Network Open has found that the risk of mother-to-newborn transmission of Covid-19 is extremely low, but preterm delivery is more likely in infected mothers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study looked at 255 babies born to mothers with a recent positive SARS-CoV-2 test result.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of the 88.2 per cent of babies who were tested for Covid-19, only 2.2 per cent had a positive result.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But worsening Covid-19 illness in the mothers accounted for 73.9 per cent of preterm births. Premature birth can increase the risk of several complications, including respiratory distress, chronic health problems and developmental disabilities.</p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/05/26/sleep-duration-matters.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/05/26/sleep-duration-matters.html Thu May 27 20:04:58 IST 2021 twin-birth-rates-on-the-rise <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/04/23/twin-birth-rates-on-the-rise.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2021/4/23/8-Twin-birth-rates-on-the-rise.jpg" /> <p><b>TWIN BIRTH RATES</b> are soaring worldwide, according to a global overview published in the journal Human Reproduction.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed data on twin births from 165 countries between 2010 and 2015. They also looked at data from 112 countries between 1980 and 1985.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Since the 1980s, twin births have increased by more than 30 per cent, from 9 to 12 per 1,000 deliveries. Globally, about 1.6 million twins are born each year and one in every 42 babies born is a twin.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A big reason for this rise is the increase in medically assisted reproduction, including in vitro fertilisation, ovarian stimulation and artificial insemination.</p> <p>Another reason is that women are delaying childbearing. The possibility of having twins increases with the mother’s age. Increased use of contraception and lower fertility overall could also play a role.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The absolute number of twin deliveries has increased everywhere except in South America. There was a 32 per cent increase in twin birthrate in Asia, and 71 per cent increase in North America. In both periods, Africa had the highest twin birth rates. Nearly 80 per cent of all twin deliveries in the world now take place in Asia and Africa.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Short-course antibiotics work well for common infections</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ACCORDING TO NEW</b> recommendations from the American College of Physicians, shorter courses of antibiotics work as effectively as the traditional 10 days or more courses, for some of the most common bacterial infections.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The recommendation addressed conditions such as bronchitis, pneumonia, skin infections (cellulitis) and urinary tract infection (UTI).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Antibiotic treatment duration should be limited to five days when managing patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and acute uncomplicated bronchitis who have clinical signs of a bacterial infection.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients with uncomplicated pneumonia should be treated with antibiotics for a minimum of five days. Longer treatment should be based on clinical symptoms.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>UTIs can be treated with short-course antibiotics: nitrofurantoin for five days, or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole for three days, or fosfomycin as a single dose.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients with uncomplicated cellulitis can be treated with five to six days of an antibiotic that covers streptococci, a common cause of these infections.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even though the guidelines focused on four common conditions, shorter courses could also work for other less serious infections.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But people with diabetes or compromised immune systems may still need longer courses.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Covid-vaccine safe for pregnant women</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ACCORDING TO A US</b> study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, pregnant women who were vaccinated for Covid-19 had a strong immune response after vaccination and they transferred protective antibodies to the baby as well.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed blood samples of 27 pregnant women—who had received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in their third trimester—and the umbilical cord blood of their newborns. The women had a robust immune response after vaccination, suggesting that the vaccines will protect them from Covid-19. The study also found that a longer period between vaccination and delivery was associated with a greater transfer of Covid-19 antibodies to the baby.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Only three babies in the study did not have antibodies at birth. Their mothers received their first vaccine less than three weeks before giving birth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Survivors’ struggle</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ABOUT A THIRD</b> of Covid-19 survivors go on to develop a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis within six months of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The risk was greatest for those who were hospitalised and critically ill.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in The Lancet Psychiatry, researchers from the University of Oxford analysed electronic health records of 2,36,379 Covid-19 patients. They looked at 14 neurological and mental health disorders.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, 34 per cent of patients were diagnosed with a neurological or mental health disorder following Covid-19 infection. For 13 per cent of the patients, it was their first neurological or psychiatric diagnosis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The most commonly diagnosed disorders were anxiety (17 per cent), mood disorders (14 per cent), substance misuse disorders (7 per cent) and insomnia (5 per cent).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk of neurological disorders was lower—0.6 per cent for brain haemorrhage, 2.1 per cent for ischaemic stroke, and 0.7 per cent for dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Exercise for improved heart health</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>AS MEN GROW OLDER,</b> their testosterone levels slowly start to decline. And, often they turn to testosterone supplements.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to an Australian study published in the journal Hypertension, while testosterone supplements can boost levels of the male sex hormone, these supplements do not improve cardiovascular health. Instead, exercise is the best way to boost arterial function and improve cardiovascular health, and prevent heart attack and stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To analyse the impact of testosterone therapy and exercise on the ageing heart, the researchers recruited 78 men, aged 50 to 70 without a history of heart disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>None of the men was on testosterone therapy and their testosterone levels ranged from low to normal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After an initial analysis of their arterial function, the men were randomly assigned to one of four groups: aerobic and strength training exercise two to three times per week plus testosterone therapy; testosterone therapy without exercise; placebo supplements without exercise; and placebo supplements with exercise.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Testosterone levels rose in 62 per cent of men who took the supplements. But, testosterone supplements without exercise did not improve arterial function at all.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the other hand, exercise alone&nbsp;boosted arterial function as well as men's natural testosterone levels.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Arterial function improved by 28 per cent among those who exercised without taking testosterone therapy compared to 19 per cent among those who exercised and took the supplements.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Fast eaters tend to eat more and are more likely to gain weight and become obese.</i></p> <p><i><b>Clinical Obesity</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Dental cavities linked to stroke risk</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ACCORDING TO A US</b> study presented at the American Stroke Association's virtual International Stroke Conference, dental cavities could significantly increase the risk of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain, which can be deadly.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study, the researchers followed 6,506 people without stroke for 30 years. They focused on the link between cavities and intracerebral stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and causes bleeding inside the brain.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 1,227 (19 per cent) participants developed dental cavities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For those who developed cavities, the risk of stroke was only slightly higher in the first 15 years. But their risk increased significantly in the next 15 years. Those with cavities had a 4.5 times higher risk of a stroke from brain bleed than those without cavities, in the second half of the study period, even after accounting for age, gender, race and high blood pressure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>New hope for women in early menopause</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>AN EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENT</b> may help restore fertility in women who go through early menopause.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A woman’s ability to become pregnant typically ends with menopause. But according to a study published in the journal Menopause, administering platelet-rich plasma and gonadotropins near the ovarian follicles may restore ovarian function.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>An estimated 12 per cent of women experience early menopause, when ovarian function ceases at or before age 45. As more women are delaying motherhood to pursue their careers, their hope of conceiving ends with early menopause.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This pilot study included 12 early menopausal women whose ovaries were injected with platelet-rich plasma and gonadotropins. Following treatment, 11 women started to menstruate again, and one became pregnant.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Pen and paper, or tablet?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>FOR LEARNING AND MEMORISATION,</b> paper and pen are better than tablets and other digital devices, according to a Japanese study published in the Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Taking notes on paper is associated with more brain activity, and can help us remember information better than when taking notes on a tablet or smartphone. Those who take notes on paper are also 25 per cent faster than those who use digital devices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study was based on 48 volunteers aged 18 to 29 years who were divided into three groups based on memory skills, preference for digital or analog methods, gender, age and other factors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants read a fictional conversation between characters discussing their future, including 14 different class times, assignment due dates and personal appointments.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The volunteers then recorded this schedule using either a notebook and pen, a digital tablet with a stylus, or a smartphone with touch-screen keyboard.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After an hour, the participants answered questions about the schedule. While answering the questions, the researchers measured the neuronal activity in specific brain areas based on increased blood flow using an fMRI scanner.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Participants who used pen and paper completed the task in about 11 minutes compared to 14 minutes for the tablet users and 16 minutes for the smartphone users. They also scored better than the digital device users on simple test questions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Furthermore, volunteers who used paper had significantly more brain activity in areas associated with language, and imaginary visualisation, as well as in the hippocampus, an area associated with memory and navigation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The activation of the hippocampus suggests that analog methods contain richer spatial details that can be recalled and navigated in the mind’s eye, said the researchers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>People who work more than 55 hours a week after a heart attack are twice as likely to suffer a second heart attack compared with those who work 35 to 40 hours a week.</i></p> <p><i><b>Journal of the American College of Cardiology</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Once-a-week insulin shots are effective</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>AN EXPERIMENTAL</b> once-a-week insulin injection has shown to be safe and effective at controlling blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes. Phase 2 clinical trials of the new drug called Basal Insulin Fc (BIF) was just as effective as the standard once-a-day Basal Insulin degludec.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 32-week trial included 399 patients who had type 2 diabetes. The patients were randomly assigned to once-a-week injections of BIF at one of two different doses or the standard once-daily injections of insulin degludec.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Long-term blood glucose control as measured by haemoglobin A1c was similar for patients taking the weekly shots and for those taking the daily shots. The participants had an average A1c of 8.1 per cent at the start of the study. At the end of the study, patients on BIF had an average improvement in A1c of 0.6 per cent compared to 0.7 per cent for those on insulin degludec.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Moreover, the risk of hypoglycaemia, or dangerously low blood sugar, was significantly lower in patients taking BIF compared to insulin degludec.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Eating your breakfast before 8.30am may reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.</i></p> <p><i><b>Study presented at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Is breastfeeding safe for Covid-infected mothers?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ACCORDING TO A STUDY</b> published in the journal mBio, Covid-19 infected breastfeeding mothers do not transfer the SARS-CoV-2 virus through their breast milk. Furthermore, the study found that Covid-19 antibodies appear to pass from mother to child through breastmilk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed 37 milk samples from 18 Covid-positive women. None of the samples showed any signs of carrying the coronavirus. However, nearly two-thirds did contain two types of Covid-19 antibodies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“These results support recommendations to continue breastfeeding during mild-to-moderate maternal Covid-19 illness as milk likely provides specific immunologic benefits to infants,” the study concluded.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/04/23/twin-birth-rates-on-the-rise.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/04/23/twin-birth-rates-on-the-rise.html Fri Apr 23 20:42:57 IST 2021 suicide-inducing-media <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/03/26/suicide-inducing-media.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2021/3/26/8-Suicide-inducing-media.jpg" /> <p><b>GIRLS WHO SPENT</b> too much time on social media have an increased risk for suicide.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, the researchers tracked social media habits and suicide risk among 500 teenage boys and girls for 10 years. The participants were 14 years on average at the start of the study.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Girls who started using social media for at least two to three hours a day at age 13 and then increased their use over time had the highest risk for suicide risk in emerging adulthood.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, no such pattern was seen among boys.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Research shows that girls and women, in general, are very relationally attuned and sensitive to interpersonal stressors, and social media is all about relationships,” said the study author.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thirteen-year-olds may not be developmentally ready to handle the darker side of social media such as cyberbullying, fear of missing out and constant comparisons, she explained.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Benefits of clinical breast examination</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>BREAST CANCERS</b> are often detected in advanced stages in low and middle-income countries, and death from breast cancer is steadily rising, while breast cancer mortality is decreasing in developed countries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Led by Dr Indraneel Mittra from the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, a new study sought to compare the effectiveness of screening by clinical breast examination in earlier diagnosis and reduced mortality, with no screening.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study published in The BMJ was based on medical records of 1,51, 538 women aged 35 to 64, with no history of breast cancer, living in slum areas. The women were randomly assigned to 10 screening and 10 control groups, and were followed for 20 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The women in the screening group (75,360) received four screening rounds of clinical breast examination conducted by trained female primary health workers and cancer awareness information every two years, followed by five rounds of active surveillance every two years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The women in the control group (76,178) received one round of cancer awareness followed by eight rounds of active surveillance every two years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Breast cancer was detected at an earlier age in the screening group than in the control group. Among women who developed breast cancer, there was a significant reduction in the proportion of women with more advanced disease in the screening group compared to the control group (37 per cent vs 47 per cent).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Breast cancer mortality was 15 per cent lower in the screening group across all ages. However, among women aged 50 and older, there was a 30 per cent reduction in breast cancer mortality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A 5 per cent reduction in all-cause mortality was also seen in the screening group.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Prediabetes is a predictor</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>PEOPLE WITH PREDIABETES</b> may have an increased risk of cognitive decline and vascular dementia, according to a British study published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People with prediabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. They have an increased risk of developing diabetes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed data from 5,00,000 people aged 58 years on average. They were divided into five groups based on their blood sugar levels: low-normal, normal, prediabetes, undiagnosed diabetes and diabetes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People with prediabetes were 42 per cent more likely to experience cognitive decline over an average of four years and were 54 per cent more likely to develop vascular dementia over an average of eight years compared to people with normal blood sugar levels. However, prediabetes was not associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>MRI scans showed that prediabetes was associated with having lesions on the brain and a slightly smaller hippocampus—both associated with age-related cognitive decline.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Exercise regularly to survive a heart attack</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>PEOPLE WHO EXERCISE</b> regularly are more likely to survive a heart attack, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To study the impact of an active versus sedentary lifestyle on the risk of death after a heart attack, the researchers used data from 28,140 patients who suffered a heart attack.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Based on their weekly level of physical activity, the participants were categorised as sedentary, low, moderate, or high.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 4,976 (17.7 per cent) patients died within 28 days of their heart attack. Of these, 3,101 (62.3 per cent) died instantly.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, patients who were physically active had a lower risk of death instantly and within 28 days. Patients with high levels of leisure-time physical activity had a 45 per cent lower risk of immediate death and a 28 per cent lower risk of death within 28 days of a heart attack compared to sedentary patients.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk of immediate death was 33 per cent lower for those who had engaged in moderate levels of activity. At 28 days, they had a 36 per cent lower risk of death.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Chronic heartburn linked to oesophageal and laryngeal cancers</b></p> <p><b>PEOPLE WITH GASTROESOPHAGEAL</b> reflux disease (GERD), or chronic heartburn, may have an increased risk of developing cancers of the oesophagus or larynx, according to a US study published in the journal Cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The findings were based on 4,90,605 US adults aged 50 to 71 at the outset. About a quarter of the participants had GERD.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Over about 16 years of follow up, there were 931 cases of oesophageal adenocarcinoma, 876 cases of laryngeal cancer and 301 cases of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, people with GERD were about twice as likely to develop one of the three cancers compared to people without GERD, after accounting for smoking, alcohol intake and gender.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chronic exposure of the oesophagus to gastric acid and other digestive enzymes can damage the oesophageal tissue, which could potentially lead to cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Older adults who get five or fewer hours of sleep per night have twice the risk of developing dementia or dying of all causes.</i></p> <p><i><b>Aging</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Eat five servings of fruits and veggies</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>FIVE SERVINGS OF FRUITS</b> and vegetables a day can help you live longer. Two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables a day is the optimal balance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the journal Circulation, US researchers analysed data from about 2 million people from 29 countries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Eating about five servings of fruits and vegetables daily was associated with the lowest risk of death.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Compared to participants who had two servings of fruit and vegetables per day, those who had five servings a day had a 13 per cent lower risk of death from all causes; a 12 per cent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke; a 10 per cent lower risk of death from cancer; and a 35 per cent lower risk of death from respiratory disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Eating about two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day was associated with the lowest mortality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, eating more than five servings a day did not provide any additional benefits.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Having more than seven servings of refined grains per day was associated with a 27 per cent greater risk for early death, 33 per cent greater risk for heart disease and 47 per cent greater risk for stroke.</i></p> <p><i><b>The BMJ</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Eyes carry signs</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ACCORDING TO A STUDY</b> presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2021, people with the eye disease retinopathy have an increased risk of stroke, dementia and early death.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 5,543 adults with an average age of 56 years who were followed for nearly 10 years. The participants provided their medical history and had retinal scans to look for signs of retinopathy; 696 participants had retinopathy, 289 had stroke, and 597 had dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Compared to participants without retinopathy, those with retinopathy were more than twice as likely to have had a stroke and almost 70 per cent more likely to have dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They were also more likely to die during the follow up. The risk of death increased one to three times depending on the severity of retinopathy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The increased risk remained even after accounting for age and vascular risk factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>BCG vaccination may protect babies from other infectious diseases</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>THE TUBERCULOSIS VACCINE,</b> Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), could also protect newborns from a number of other common infections, such as upper respiratory tract infections, chest infections and diarrhoea, according to a British study published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 560 healthy newborns in Uganda who were randomly assigned to receive BCG at birth or at six weeks of age and were followed up for 10 weeks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers took blood samples from all the infants to examine their immune system.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At six weeks, infection rates from any disease were 25 per cent lower in the group who received the vaccine at birth compared to the delayed vaccination group. Infants who were especially vulnerable, such as low birth-weight babies, and boys, appeared to be protected the most. The vaccine protected against mild, moderate and severe types of infections.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After the delayed vaccination group received BCG at six weeks, there was no difference in the rates of infection between the two groups, suggesting that the infants in the delayed group quickly “caught up” once they received the vaccine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About a million babies die each year of common infections. Vaccinating all babies on the day of birth with BCG could reduce neonatal infections and death, especially in countries with high rates of infectious disease, potentially saving thousands of lives, the research team noted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Women who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before they started having periods have a shorter reproductive lifespan and are at risk for premature ovarian ageing. They start menstruating later and enter menopause earlier.</i></p> <p><i><b>Menopause</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Covid-19 updates</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A FRENCH STUDY</b> of 2,796 hospitalised diabetic Covid-19 patients, published in the journal Diabetologia, found that 21 per cent of patients died within 28 days of admission, while 50 per cent were discharged.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients who regularly took insulin, indicating more advanced diabetes, had a 44 per cent higher risk of death than those not treated with insulin.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>An asymptomatic Covid-19 person can infect others by simply talking. Japanese researchers report in the journal Physics of Fluids that the virus can spread through small aerosol droplets in their exhaled breath.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers recommend wearing both a mask and a face shield when providing services to customers in face-to-face customer service settings, such as in hair salons, medical exam rooms, or long-term care facilities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Being overweight is the second greatest predictor, after old age, of hospitalisation and higher risk of death from Covid-19.</p> <p>According to researchers from the World Obesity Federation, nearly 90 per cent or 2.2 million of the 2.5 million Covid-19 deaths reported by the end of February 2021 have taken place in countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy and United States, where over half the population is classified as overweight.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who are obese should be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccines and testing, according to the researchers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/03/26/suicide-inducing-media.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/03/26/suicide-inducing-media.html Fri Mar 26 15:33:19 IST 2021 night-sign <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/02/24/night-sign.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2021/2/24/6-Night-sign.jpg" /> <p><b>HIGHER BLOOD PRESSURE</b> at night compared to this day can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in older men.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Blood pressure varies over 24 hours and is typically lower at nighttime. But in some people, this pattern is reversed, and they have higher blood pressure at night, which is called reverse dipping.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nighttime is also important for human brain health and blood pressure is one of the risk factors for Alzheimer's and other types of dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the journal Hypertension, the researchers used data from 997 Swedish men, who were followed for a maximum of 24 years. The men were in their early seventies at the start of the study.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There were 286 cases of dementia during the study period.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Men with reverse dipping had a 1.64 times greater risk of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those with normal dipping.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>An afternoon nap helps the brain</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A CHINESE STUDY</b> published in the journal General Psychiatry suggests that afternoon nap may improve mental agility.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study was based on 2,214 healthy adults aged at least 60 years. Among them, 1,534 took regular afternoon naps, while 680 did not. The participants in both groups averaged 6.5 hours of nighttime sleep.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who took regular afternoon naps had a better cognitive function and scored higher than those who did not take naps, especially on locational awareness, verbal fluency and memory.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sleep regulates the body’s immune response and regular naps may help reduce inflammation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Extra pounds may help</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ACCORDING TO A US STUDY</b> published in the journal Annals of Epidemiology, people who enter adulthood with a normal weight and go on to become overweight, but not obese, as they grow older, tend to live the longest.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed data on 4,576 people and 3,753 of their children, from age 31 to 80. The participants in the older generation were followed from 1948 through 2010. Their children were followed from 1971 to 2014.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Almost all the members of the older generation had died by the end of the study, which helped the researchers understand better the link between BMI and mortality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Across both generations, those who started at a normal weight at age 31 and moved on to become overweight later in the life lived the longest. Those who stayed at a normal weight throughout their life had the second-longest lifespan.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who started as obese and continued to gain weight had the shortest lifespan.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) therapy can help men control their anger and reduce intimate partner violence, including sexual, physical, psychological or emotional violence.</i></p> <p><i><b>BMC Psychiatry</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Insulin may not need refrigeration</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>INSULIN VIALS</b> can be stored without refrigeration for four weeks, even in hot weather.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The current pharmaceutical protocol requires insulin vials to be stored between 2° and 8 °C until opened, and then at 25 °C for 4 weeks. This is not always viable in poor, tropical regions and refugee camps where people may not have refrigerators and the temperature can get very hot.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So, people with diabetes often have to go to a hospital every day to get their insulin injections, which could make it difficult for them to go to work.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Researchers from Doctors Without Borders and the University of Geneva tested insulin storage in real conditions ranging from 25 °C to 37 °C for four weeks, the time it typically takes to use a vial of insulin.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The findings published in the journal PLOS ONE showed that the structural integrity and stability of insulin stored in fluctuating temperatures were the same as those stored in cold temperatures, with no impact on efficacy. Insulin stored at fluctuating temperatures as well as those kept in cold storage lost no more than one per cent in potency. Pharmaceutical regulation allows a loss of up to five per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>High-risk patients</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>COVID-19 PATIENTS</b> who have gum disease are nine times more likely to die. They also have a higher risk of needing ventilators and being admitted to intensive care units.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, researchers examined the health records of 568 patients diagnosed with Covid-19.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of the 258 patients who had periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, 33 experienced Covid-19 complications compared to only seven of the 310 patients without periodontitis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Covid-19 patients with gum disease were 8.81 times more likely to die compared to those without gum disease. They were also 3.54 times more likely to be admitted to intensive care units and 4.57 more likely to need ventilators.</p> <p>Overall, patients with gum disease were 3.67 times more likely to suffer from severe Covid-19 complications.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gum disease can be a sign of inflammation and systemic inflammation is also a symptom of Covid-19.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>New hope for weight loss</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A new weight-loss drug could be a game-changer for people who struggle with obesity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The drug, semaglutide, was almost twice as effective as the current medications in helping people lose weight, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The weekly injectable 2.4 milligram dose of semaglutide works by reducing hunger and calorie intake.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 68-week study included 1,961 overweight or obese adults from 16 countries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants started with an average weight of 230 lb and a body mass index of 38 kg/m2.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Participants who got semaglutide shots had an average weight loss of 14.9 per cent compared to 2.4 per cent for the placebo group.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Semaglutide proved to be about 1.5 to two times more effective than other weight-loss drugs, which helps people lose between 6 to 11 per cent of their body weight.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One-third of the participants lost 20 per cent (46 lb) of their body weight, which is comparable to what those who have undergone weight-loss (bariatric) surgery lose.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Participants treated with semaglutide also reported better physical functioning, like walking faster and climbing stairs with less pain. They also saw improvements in their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose control.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Wearing tight-fitting masks that prevent leakage from the mask’s edges by double masking, or wearing a cloth mask over a medical mask, and knotting the ear loops and then tucking in and flattening the extra material close to the face, can cut Covid-19 transmission by 95 per cent.</i></p> <p><i><b>Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Harm from hand sanitisers</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>WIDESPREAD</b> use of hand sanitisers to prevent the spread of Covid-19 may be causing eye injuries among children, according to a French study published in JAMA Ophthalmology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The injury is often caused by accidentally spraying the liquid into the eye or rubbing the eyes before the sanitiser has fully evaporated.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Exposure to small amounts of hand sanitisers is not worrisome. But if large amounts of hand sanitiser get into the eye, it can lead to more severe complications such as keratitis (inflammation of the cornea) or corneal abrasions (scratch on the surface of the eye).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers reviewed data collected by the French Poison Control Centers and a paediatric ophthalmology hospital in Paris on accidental eye injuries and emergency calls related to exposure to hand sanitiser among children under 18 in 2019 and 2020.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cases related to eye injuries increased sevenfold from April to August in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Women who drink coffee during pregnancy are more likely to have kids with behavioural problems, including attention difficulties and hyperactivity.</i></p> <p><i><b>Neuropharmacology</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Prediabetes is a predictor</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>PEOPLE WITH PREDIABETES</b> have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. A person with prediabetes has blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but below the levels required for a diagnosis of diabetes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, people who reverse their prediabetes can lower their risk of heart attack, stroke and death from any cause.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Chinese study included 14,231 participants, average age 58 years, without cardiovascular disease. The participants’ blood sugar was checked in 2006, and again in 2008.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>From 2006 to 2008, about 45 per cent of the participants reverted from prediabetes to normal blood sugar; about 42 per cent stayed the same, and 13 per cent progressed to diabetes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During an average follow up of about nine years, there were 713 cases of stroke, 180 cases of myocardial infarction and 941cases of all‐cause mortality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Participants who reverted to normal blood sugar from prediabetes had a 38 per cent lower risk of heart attack, a 28 per cent lower risk of ischaemic stroke and an 18 per cent lower risk of dying of any cause compared to those who progressed to diabetes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/02/24/night-sign.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/02/24/night-sign.html Wed Feb 24 17:00:55 IST 2021 covid-19-updates <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/01/29/covid-19-updates.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2021/1/29/8-COVID-19-updates.jpg" /> <p><b>PATIENTS WITH ACUTE</b> heart failure may be nearly twice as likely to die if they get Covid-19, according to the study published in the journal ESC Heart Failure. The study highlights the need for heart failure patients to take all the necessary precautions to avoid getting Covid-19 as well as prioritising them for vaccination.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Diabetic patients who take a class of drugs known as sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors have an increased risk for a potentially fatal complication called diabetic ketoacidosis if they contract Covid-19, according to a study published in the journal AACE Clinical Case Reports. The study authors recommend avoiding these medications during SARS-CoV-2 infection.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>PRESSURE PERIL</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>EVEN SLIGHTLY ELEVATED</b> blood pressure in middle and older age can accelerate memory loss and cognitive problems, according to a Brazilian study published in the journal Hypertension.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed blood pressure and cognitive health information of 7,063 adults whose average age was about 59 years at the start of the study. Cognitive function rapidly declined for participants regardless of whether hypertension started in middle age or older age. The faster declines were evident even in participants with prehypertension, a condition of slightly elevated blood pressure, and even if they had high blood pressure only for a short duration.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those with uncontrolled hypertension showed a faster decline in memory and cognitive function compared to adults who controlled their blood pressure with medication.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The good news: effectively treating high blood pressure with medication and lifestyle changes at any age reduced or prevented this acceleration.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>SLEEP WELL FOR A SAFE HEART</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>PEOPLE WHO HAVE</b> healthy sleep habits are less likely to suffer from heart failure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To examine the relationship between healthy sleep habits and heart failure, the researchers analysed data on 4,08,802 adults aged 37 to 73. Each participant was given a “healthy sleep score” of 0 to 5 based on five healthy sleep practices: sleeping seven to eight hours per night, not snoring, no frequent insomnia, no excessive daytime sleepiness, and rising in the morning.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There were 5,221 cases of heart failure during a median follow-up of 10 years. Participants with the healthiest sleep patterns (score of 5) had a 42 per cent lower risk of heart failure compared to people with an unhealthy sleep pattern, even after accounting for other risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, smoking and alcohol use, and genetic variations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk of heart failure was also independently associated with each sleep habit: 8 per cent lower in early risers; 12 per cent lower in those who slept 7 to 8 hours daily; 17 per cent lower in those who did not have frequent insomnia; and 34 per cent lower in those reporting no daytime sleepiness.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>FIVE-STEP FIGHT</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>FOLLOWING A FIVE-STEP</b> lifestyle plan can considerably ease the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as chronic heartburn, and reduce, or even eliminate, the need for medications in people suffering from the condition.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The five-step diet and lifestyle factors include avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, eating healthy, and limiting coffee, tea and sodas to two cups daily.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine included data from almost 43,000 women aged 42 to 62 who answered questions about heartburn symptoms from 2005 to 2017.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who adhered to all five factors reduced GERD symptoms by 37 per cent. The more factors they adhered to, the lower their risk of symptoms. Following the guidelines also reduced symptoms in women taking common heartburn medications.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>TEST YOUR HEART HEALTH</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>IF YOU CAN</b> climb four flights of stairs in less than a minute, your heart is in good shape. But if it takes you more than one-and-a-half minutes to ascend four flights of stairs, your health is suboptimal, and it would be a good idea to consult a doctor, says a study presented at the meeting of the European Society of Cardiology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 165 patients who had been referred for exercise testing. All of them had known or suspected coronary artery disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants first walked or ran on a treadmill, the intensity gradually increasing and continuing until they became exhausted. Their exercise capacity was measured as metabolic equivalents (METs), which has been linked to mortality rate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After resting for 15 to 20 minutes, the patients were asked to climb four flights of stairs (60 stairs) at a fast pace without stopping, but also without running. The researchers then compared the patients’ METs achieved during exercise testing and the time it took for them to climb four flights of stairs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who climbed the stairs in less than 40–45 seconds achieved more than nine METs. Ten METs during an exercise test is linked with a low mortality rate (1 per cent or less per year, or 10 per cent in 10 years).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, those who took 1.5 minutes or longer to climb the stairs achieved less than eight METs, which translates to a mortality rate of 2–4 per cent per year, or 30 per cent in 10 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Just one alcoholic drink (120ml glass of wine, 330ml of beer or 40ml of spirits) a day was linked to a 16 per cent increased risk of atrial fibrillation.</i></p> <p><i><b>European Heart Journal</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>DO MULTIVITAMINS REALLY MAKE YOU HEALTHY?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>THE HEALTH BENEFITS</b> of multivitamins may all be in the mind of the users. However, a US study published in the journal BMJ Open did not find any clinically measurable health benefits when people who took multivitamins without known vitamin or mineral deficiencies were compared to non-users.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed data on 21,603 adults; 4,933 of the participants regularly took multivitamin/mineral supplements, while 16,670 respondents did not.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Multivitamin users considered themselves healthier than nonusers. They self-reported 30 per cent better overall health than nonusers. But there was no difference between those who did and did not take the supplements in the history of 10 chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, asthma and arthritis; the presence of 19 common health conditions, including infections, memory loss, neurological and musculoskeletal problems; severity of current psychological distress and rates of needing help with daily activities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>YOUNG, WILD AND LONELY</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>SURPRISING RESULTS</b> <b>OF</b> a study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, has found that young adults in the 20s are the loneliest, while people in the 60s are the least lonely.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The findings were based on a survey of 2,843 participants, aged 20 to 69 years, from across the United States, in 2019.</p> <p>Levels of loneliness were highest in the 20s, followed by the mid-40s, and lowest in the 60s.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People in the 20s usually face high stress while trying to establish a career and find a life partner.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“A lot of people in this decade are also constantly comparing themselves on social media and are concerned about how many likes and followers they have. The lower level of self-efficacy may lead to greater loneliness,” says the study author.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Lower levels of empathy and compassion, smaller social circles, lack of a spouse or a partner, and sleep problems were predictors of loneliness across all age groups. On the contrary, compassion appeared to reduce the level of loneliness at all ages.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>For every hour of a delay from the onset of heart attack symptoms to an artery-clearing procedure called angioplasty, the risk of death or hospitalisation for heart failure within a year rose 11 per cent.</i></p> <p><i><b>Circulation: Cardiovascular Intervention</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>AGE MYTH BURSTS</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>AGE MAY NOT</b> be a factor in the success of vasectomy reversal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A US study published in the journal Urology finds that men over 50 who undergo a vasectomy reversal procedure have the same rate of pregnancy with their partners as those under 50.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study, the researchers analysed the results of vasectomy reversal in 2,777 men over 50 and 353 men under 50. All the procedures were performed by the same surgeon.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The partners of 33.4 per cent of the younger group and 26.1 per cent of the older group got pregnant after the procedure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The odds of successful pregnancy were higher when the woman was under 35 and/or the man had the vasectomy less than 10 years ago, and lower if the man was smoking.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the researchers, one reason why older men were usually not as successful as younger men in reaching pregnancy was because older men tend to have older female partners.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Participants given a cocoa drink enriched with flavanols performed 11 per cent faster on cognitive tasks than when drinking a non-flavanol enriched-drink.</i></p> <p><i><b>Scientific reports</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>FAN THERAPY FOR HELP</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>MANY ADVANCED CANCER</b> patients suffer from dyspnea or shortness of breath.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Blowing air from a fan into the face of patients with advanced cancer was more effective in easing breathlessness than other pharmacologic interventions, according to a US study published in the journal JAMA Oncology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The conclusion was drawn from a review of 29 clinical trials involving 2,423 adults with advanced cancer who suffered from breathlessness.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nonpharmacological interventions that helped ease breathlessness in hospitalised patients included fan therapy and bi-level ventilation (air pressure delivered through a face mask covering the mouth and nose). Both therapies provided relief lasting from a few minutes to a few hours.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For outpatients, acupressure and reflexology, as well as interventions that combined activity and rehabilitation with behavioural, psychosocial and integrative medicine provided relief lasting for a few weeks to months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the contrary, medications such as opioids and anti-anxiety drugs had limited impact in improving breathlessness and can cause side effects such as drowsiness and constipation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/01/29/covid-19-updates.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2021/01/29/covid-19-updates.html Fri Jan 29 14:16:31 IST 2021 covid-19-updates <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/12/26/covid-19-updates.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2020/12/26/8-COVID-19-updates.jpg" /> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">PATIENTS WITH COVID-19</b><span style="font-size: 0.8125rem;"> are more likely to develop psychiatric disorders. And, having a psychiatric disorder can increase the risk of getting Covid-19.</span><br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One in five Covid-survivors received a diagnosis of anxiety, depression, or insomnia within three months of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2. People with a pre-existing psychiatric diagnosis were 65 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19 than those without. The findings were published in The Lancet Psychiatry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The WHO is not recommending the use of the antiviral drug remdesivir for patients with Covid-19 because the drug has not shown any effective impact on survival, the need for ventilation or time to clinical improvement. The WHO guideline on drugs for Covid-19 was published in The BMJ.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a study published in Science Advances the best way to limit transmission (apart from wearing a mask) while travelling in a taxi or other ride-sharing modes of commute is to keep all four windows down and have the passenger sit in the back on the opposite side from the driver.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>An Archives of Disease in Childhood study suggests that healthier blood vessels and a stronger immune system are likely the factors that protect children from severe Covid-19.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CHEAP DIAGNOSIS</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>THE FIRST BLOOD</b> test that can help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease goes on sale in the US, even though it has not received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Developed by C2N Diagnostics, the PrecivityAD™ test measures the concentrations of two types of amyloid particles as well as the presence of apolipoprotein E isoforms in the blood. The results are then combined with other data such as a person’s age to determine their risk of having amyloid buildup in the brain, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The blood test report includes a score that shows a low, intermediate or high probability of having amyloid plaques in the brain.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The blood test is intended only for people 60 or older suffering from thinking and memory problems.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the company, in a study of 686 patients, aged 60 and older, with cognitive impairment or dementia, the blood test correctly identified brain amyloid plaque buildup in 86 per cent of the patients when the results were compared with PET scans.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The best method to diagnose Alzheimer’s is a PET scan which can be very costly. The blood test is cheap and non-invasive and can be easily accessible.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>MEAL TIMINGS MATTER</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ACCORDING TO A STUDY</b> presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions conference, inconsistent meal times can negatively impact your cardiovascular health.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Greater meal time inconsistency is associated with higher body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure and fasting glucose.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The findings were based on a study of 116 women aged 20 to 64. The women recorded their meal timings and diet for a week using an electronic food diary.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers looked at day-to-day changes in eating timing, duration of the eating period, evening eating and differences in eating patterns on weekdays versus weekends.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Each one hour increase in the difference between first meal time on weekdays compared to weekends was associated with higher body mass index, diastolic blood pressure and systolic blood pressure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Each one hour increase in the difference between weekdays vs weekend nightly fasting duration was associated with higher body mass index, fasting glucose and systolic blood pressure. Greater inconsistency in nighttime eating was associated with higher waist circumference.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>WORLD'S NO 1 KILLER</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES, </b>especially ischaemic heart disease and stroke, are the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for one-third of all deaths globally in 2019, according to review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The review was based on data from The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2019, which examined all “available population-level data sources on incidence, prevalence, case fatality, mortality and health risks to estimate measures of population health for 204 countries and territories”.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cardiovascular disease cases nearly doubled from 271 million in 1990 to 523 million in 2019. The number of cardiovascular disease deaths also steadily increased from 12.1 million in 1990 to 18.6 million in 2019.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Most of the cardiovascular disease deaths were from ischaemic heart disease and stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2019, 9.6 million men and 8.9 million women died from cardiovascular diseases. More than 6 million of these deaths occurred in people between the ages of 30 and 70.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The number of years lived with heart disease-related disability doubled to 34.4 million in 2019 from 17.7 million in 1990.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>NOT FIT FOR CHILDREN</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>GIVING CHILDREN ANTIBIOTICS</b> before age two can increase their risk of several chronic conditions, including asthma, hay fever, food allergies, eczema, celiac disease, obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the researchers followed 14,572 children born between 2003 and 2011, for nearly eight years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 70 per cent were given at least one antibiotic prescription during their first two years, with most receiving multiple antibiotics.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The association varied with the gender, and number, type and timing of antibiotic exposure. The risk was greatest when babies were exposed to antibiotics within the first six months. The risk increased when kids were exposed to several courses of antibiotics.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk also differed with different antibiotics. Use of cephalosporins was associated with the highest risk for multiple health conditions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Girls exposed to antibiotics were more susceptible to eczema and celiac disease, while boys were more susceptible to obesity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Early exposure to antibiotics could alter the baby’s microbiome during critical developmental periods which can have long-term health consequences.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>DID YOU KNOW?</b></i></p> <p><i>Regular participation in organised sports could help reduce behavioural problems in young boys with development delays.</i></p> <p><i><b>The Journal of Pediatrics</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>VULNERABLE STAGES</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>WHILE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION</b> can be harmful throughout a person’s life, Australian and British researchers have identified three life stages when the brain is most susceptible to the damaging effects of alcohol.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The negative effects of alcohol are most prominent during gestation (from conception to birth), later adolescence (15-19 years), and older adulthood (over 65 years)—three periods when the brain is going through dynamic changes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Heavy alcohol use during pregnancy can cause foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which can lead to reductions in brain volume and cognitive impairment. Even low or moderate alcohol consumption is associated with poorer psychological and behavioral outcomes in offspring.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Binge-drinking in adolescence is associated with reduced brain volume, poorer white matter development (critical for efficient brain functioning), and a range of cognitive functioning issues.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In older people, alcohol use is one of the strongest modifiable risk factors for all types of dementia, especially early onset, compared with other known risk factors such as high blood pressure and smoking.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even moderate drinking can lead to significant brain shrinkage in midlife. The study was published in The BMJ.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>DID YOU KNOW?</b></i></p> <p><i>Eating tree nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts, daily can improve sperm quality.</i></p> <p><i><b>Andrology</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>THE END OF INSULIN SHOTS?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A GROUNDBREAKING</b> procedure could help people with type 2 diabetes stop insulin therapy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Researchers from the Netherlands used the minimally-invasive procedure—Duodenal Mucosal Resurfacing—which rejuvenates the lining of the duodenum, in combination with daily doses of a class of diabetes medication called glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) and lifestyle counselling.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During DMR, an endoscope is used to resurface, or ablate, the lining of the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine that is connected to the stomach.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The preliminary study included 16 patients who underwent DMR. The participants had type 2 diabetes for an average of 11 years and had been on insulin for about three years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Six months after the procedure, 75 per cent of the patients no longer needed insulin. At 12 months, their average A1C levels (average blood glucose levels over three months) fell to 6.7.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The average body mass index of patients who responded to the treatment fell from 29.8 to 25.5 after 12 months. The percentage of fat in their liver also dropped from 8.1 per cent to 4.6 per cent at six months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients who still needed insulin after the procedure were able to reduce their insulin dose by more than half—from 35 units per day at the start of the study to 17 units per day at 12 months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>DID YOU KNOW?</b></i></p> <p><i>Long-term androgen deprivation therapy was associated with an almost four-fold increased risk of cardiovascular mortality and reduced cardiorespiratory fitness in prostate cancer patients with high risk of cardiovascular disease.</i></p> <p><i><b>JACC: CardioOncology</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>DELAYED FERTILITY AFTER STOPPING CONTRACEPTION</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>HOW LONG WILL</b> it take for fertility to return after women stop using contraceptives?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out, researchers examined data from 17,954 Danish and American women. The women provided information about their contraceptive history, as well as personal, medical, and lifestyle information, at the start of the study and then answered follow-up questionnaires every two months for up to 12 months or until they became pregnant.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The most commonly used method of contraception was oral contraceptives, followed by barrier methods and natural methods. About 13 per cent of the women used long-acting reversible contraceptive methods, such as IUDs and injectable contraceptives.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Almost 56 per cent of women conceived within six menstrual cycles of stopping contraceptives, and 77 per cent within twelve cycles. Return to fertility varied depending on the contraceptive method used. Women who used injectable contraceptives had the longest delay in return of normal fertility (five to eight cycles), followed by users of patch contraceptives (four cycles), users of oral contraceptives and vaginal rings (three cycles), and users of hormonal and copper intrauterine devices and implant contraceptives (two cycles).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study was published in The BMJ.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/12/26/covid-19-updates.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/12/26/covid-19-updates.html Sat Dec 26 12:04:40 IST 2020 chili-pepper-is-a-life-saver <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/11/24/chili-pepper-is-a-life-saver.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2020/11/24/6-Chili-pepper-is-a-life-saver.jpg" /> <p><b>ACCORDING TO A</b> study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2020, people who regularly include chili peppers in their diet have a significantly reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer and other causes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Previous studies have shown that capsaicin, an active component in chili peppers that makes them spicy, has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer and blood-glucose regulating properties.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic in the US analysed four large studies that included health and dietary records of more than 5,70,000 people in the United States, Italy, China and Iran. They compared the health outcomes of those who consumed chili peppers with those who rarely or never did.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who ate chili peppers had a 26 per cent reduction in death from cardiovascular diseases; a 23 per cent reduction in cancer-related deaths; and a 25 per cent reduction in death from all illnesses, compared to people who rarely or never ate chili peppers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>DELAYING TREATMENT IS DANGEROUS</p> <p><b>DELAYING CANCER TREATMENT</b> by just four weeks can increase the risk of dying from it by about 10 per cent, according to a study published in The BMJ. The risk of death increases the longer the treatment is delayed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As part of the study, Canadian and UK researchers looked at the impact of delaying treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy on a person’s mortality risk for seven types of cancer—bladder, breast, colon, rectum, lung, cervix, and head and neck. Together, these cancers account for 44 per cent of all cancers globally.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers examined 34 studies involving more than 1.2 million patients. A month’s delay across all forms of cancer treatment was associated with a 6 per cent to 13 per cent higher risk of death.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For surgery, there was a 6 to 8 per cent increase in the risk of death for every month treatment was delayed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There was a 9 per cent increased risk of death if radiotherapy was delayed for head and neck cancer, and delay in follow up chemotherapy for colorectal cancer increased the risk of death by 13 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Delays of up to eight and 12 weeks increased the risk of death further. An eight-week delay in breast cancer surgery increased the risk of death by 17 per cent, and a 12-week delay increased the risk by 26 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>NOCTURNAL BLOOD PRESSURE, AN INDICATOR</p> <p><b>CHANGES IN NIGHTTIME</b> blood pressure could increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to a Japanese study published in the journal Circulation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 6,359 Japanese adults, average age 69. About three quarters of the participants were on blood pressure lowering medications, but none had a symptomatic cardiovascular disease at the start of the study.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants had 20 daytime and seven nighttime ambulatory blood pressure readings. During a mean follow up of 4.5 years, there were a total of 306 cardiovascular events, including 119 strokes, 99 diagnoses of coronary artery disease and 88 diagnoses of heart failure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed the occurrence and timing of heart events in relation to blood pressure variations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When nighttime systolic blood pressure increased by 20mmHg compared to daytime systolic reading, the risk of heart disease and stroke increased by 18 per cent and the risk of heart failure increased by 25 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Participants who had higher blood pressure readings at night, but normal readings during the day, had a 48 per cent greater overall cardiovascular disease risk and more than twice the risk of heart failure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>DID YOU KNOW?</b></p> <p>After one member in a household becomes sick with Covid-19, about 53 per cent of others living in the same home also become infected.</p> <p><b>US CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>SCREEN EARLY</p> <p><b>ADULTS SHOULD START</b> getting screened for colorectal cancer at the age of 45, according to new recommendations by the US Preventive Services Task Force.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The current guidelines recommend adults aged 50 to 75 be regularly screened for colorectal cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“We have epidemiologic data that the risks of colorectal cancer are increasing before age 50, particularly in the 45- to 49-year-old age group,” said task force member Dr Michael Barry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But people with an increased risk, such as those with a family history of colon cancer, a hereditary predisposition to the disease, or those who suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, should have screening even earlier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>FOOD FOR YOUR HEART</p> <p><b>FOLLOWING A DIET</b> rich in anti-inflammatory food, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, says a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To analyse the effects of pro- and anti-inflammatory diets on cardiovascular disease risk, Harvard researchers followed more than 2,10,000 women and men for up to 32 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants, who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at the start of the study, provided dietary information every four years. There were 15,837 cardiovascular disease cases, including 9,794 coronary heart disease cases and 6,174 strokes during the study period.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who ate the most pro-inflammatory diets had a 46 per cent greater risk of heart disease and a 28 per cent greater risk of stroke than those who had the most anti-inflammatory diets.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Food with anti-inflammatory properties include green leafy vegetables, yellow vegetables, whole grains, fruits, tea and coffee. On the other hand, foods such as refined grains, red meat, processed meat and sugary beverages promote chronic inflammation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>DID YOU KNOW?</b></p> <p>Children who spend more time in extracurricular activities, like sports and the arts, and less than two hours in recreational screen-based activities [will] have better mental health, and lower levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms.</p> <p><b>Preventive Medicine</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WORKING WOMEN EXPERIENCE SLOWER MEMORY DECLINE</p> <p><b>WOMEN WHO WORKED</b> for pay in early adulthood and middle age may have slower memory decline later in life compared to women who did not work outside the home, according to a new study published in the journal Neurology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The link remained regardless of whether a woman was married, single or had children. To analyse the link of work-family experiences between 16 and 50 years, and memory decline after 55 years, the researchers followed 6,189 women with an average age of 57 for about 12 years. The women took memory tests every two years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Between the ages of 55 and 60, memory scores were similar for all women. But after age 60, the average rate of decline on the memory test scores was slower for women who worked for pay.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, after adjusting for factors such as age, education and socioeconomic status, rate of memory decline was 50 per cent greater among women who did not work for pay after having children than among working mothers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WORK REMOTELY, STAY SAFE</p> <p><b>WORKING IN AN</b> office or school setting, instead of remotely, could double your risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, according to research published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To compare the impact of remote working and working in an office on SARS-CoV-2 infection, the researchers interviewed 314 adults who had taken a Covid-19 test in July.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who tested positive for Covid-19 were almost twice as likely to report regularly going to an office or school setting in the two weeks before illness onset, compared with those who tested negative. This was true even among those working in a profession outside of the critical infrastructure, including health care and factory settings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>DID YOU KNOW?</b></p> <p>A person whose husband or wife is admitted to the ICU has an increased risk of suffering a cardiovascular event, such as chest pain, heart attack, stroke, irregular heart rhythm, heart failure or pulmonary embolism, within a month of the ICU admission.</p> <p><b>Circulation</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>KEEP YOUR WINDOWS UP WHILE DRIVING</p> <p><b>DRIVING WITH THE</b> windows down can increase the risk of air pollution exposure by 80 per cent, according to a UK study published in the Science of The Total Environment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As part of the study, the researchers analysed air pollution exposure levels for commuters in ten cities around the world. They looked at air pollution exposure levels inside vehicles during different times of the day and with different types of car ventilation—when the drivers used recirculation systems, fans and simply opened the windows.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>No matter the city and the car model, the highest exposure was when drivers kept the windows open, followed by fan-on and recirculation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Exposure was much lower when driving during off peak hours. Exposure was 91 per cent less when driving with windows open during off peak hours compared to morning peak hours and 40 per cent less compared to evening peak hours.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who used the recirculation system were exposed to about 80 per cent less harmful particles than those who kept the car windows open.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/11/24/chili-pepper-is-a-life-saver.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/11/24/chili-pepper-is-a-life-saver.html Tue Nov 24 15:34:23 IST 2020 mask-will-not-cause-oxygen-levels-to-drop <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/10/23/mask-will-not-cause-oxygen-levels-to-drop.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2020/10/23/shutterstock_1720804024.jpg" /> <p>Wearing a face mask, though uncomfortable, does not cause overexposure to carbon dioxide, even in people with severe lung diseases, according to a study published in the&nbsp;Annals of the American Thoracic Society. The researchers examined whether wearing a face mask had any effect on gas exchange—changes in oxygen or carbon dioxide levels—in 15 healthy physicians and 15 military veterans with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. The volunteers participated in a quick paced six-minute walk test wearing surgical masks. Oxygen and carbon dioxide levels were measured before and after the walking test. There were no major changes in gas exchange measurements in either group up to 30 minutes after taking the walking test. According to the study authors, the discomfort people feel while wearing masks can be attributed to “neurological reactions [increased afferent impulses—impulses that travel from sensory organs/receptors to the central nervous system—from the highly thermosensitive area of the face covered by the mask or from the increased temperature of the inspired air] or associated psychological phenomena such as anxiety, claustrophobia or affective responses to perceived difficulty in breathing.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Seasonal strike</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Flu-like illness</b> can trigger heart attacks and strokes, according to a US study published in the&nbsp;<i>Journal of the American Heart Association</i>. Heart attack, stroke and influenza occur at higher rates during the winter months.</p> <p>To examine the&nbsp;correlation among the three health conditions, the researchers analysed data from patients who were hospitalised for either a stroke, heart attack or influenza-like illness from 2004 to 2015 in New York. While the risk of heart attack increased immediately after a flu-like illness, there was a time lag of 30&nbsp;days in the risk of stroke.</p> <p>“We found that if someone is going to have a heart attack, it is going to occur within seven days of the flu-like illness, during the acute phase. With stroke, we see an increased risk seven to 15 days after, similar to heart attacks. But with stroke, there is an additional higher-risk period after 30 days,” the lead researcher said. The study also found that the rates of influenza-like illness and the rates of subsequent heart attacks and strokes after flu-like illness were lower in the years when the flu vaccine was highly effective.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>The arm squeezes to save</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>The first line</b> of treatment for patients who suffer a stroke is administration of a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to break up the blood clots.</p> <p>A new Chinese study published in the journal <i>Neurology</i>&nbsp;finds that combining clot-busting drugs with a therapy called remote ischaemic post-conditioning could improve outcomes for stroke patients. Remote ischaemic post-conditioning involves using blood pressure cuffs to squeeze the arms which repeatedly stops and restores blood flow, and the oxygen it carries.</p> <p>The study included 68 patients, average age 65, who were treated with the clot-busting medication (tPA) within four-and-a-half hours of suffering an ischaemic stroke, when blood flow to a part of the brain is blocked by a clot.</p> <p>Half of the patients were also randomly assigned to receive remote ischaemic post-conditioning therapy. For an average of 11 days, twice a day they wore blood pressure cuffs on both arms for 40 minutes, with alternating cycles of inflation for five minutes and deflation for three minutes.</p> <p>Seventy-two per cent of the patients who received the therapy (23 of 32 people) had a favorable recovery, compared to 50 per cent (17 of 34 people) who did not receive the therapy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p><b>Fly safe</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A review</b> published in the <i>Journal of Travel Medicine</i>&nbsp;provides simple guidelines to help pregnant women reduce the risk of blood clots during flights.</p> <p>Air travel can increase the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), or blood clots. About 1,50,000 cases of travel-related VTE are diagnosed annually. While the risk of VTE is highest in the first week after travel, it can remain high for up to eight&nbsp;weeks after a long-distance flight.</p> <p>The risk is even greater for pregnant and postpartum women who fly long distance, especially if they have other risk factors such as obesity, prior history of blood clots, family history, recent surgery, or inherited conditions that promote blood clots. The risk remains high up to 12 weeks after childbirth,</p> <p>For pregnant women without any risk factors, the study recommends non-medical measures such as frequent walks around the cabin, stretching the legs and calf muscles, drinking plenty of water, wearing loose, comfortable clothing and minimising baggage under the seat.</p> <p>For pregnant women with risk factors, graduated compression stockings can be used. High risk women can also consult their doctor about the use of injectable blood thinners.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Honey remedy</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Honey is often touted as a home remedy for upper respiratory tract infections like cold, cough, sore throat and congestion. A review of 14 studies involving 1,761 participants of varying ages, published in the BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, has shown that honey may indeed be more beneficial than traditional medicines, such as antihistamines, expectorants, cough suppressants, and painkillers, for treating upper respiratory tract symptoms, especially in reducing the frequency and severity of coughing. Antibiotics are often prescribed for upper respiratory tract infections. But as most of the upper respiratory tract infections are caused by viruses, antibiotics are “both ineffective and inappropriate.” And overuse of antibiotics can cause antimicrobial resistance Honey is a safe and cheap alternative to treat upper respiratory tract symptoms, said the researchers. It is widely available, and does not have any side effects.&nbsp; Honey, however, should not be given to babies under one year of age because it carries a risk for infant botulism.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Survival instinct</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>SARS-CoV-2, </b>the virus that causes Covid-19, can survive on human skin for about nine hours, compared to the influenza A virus, which remained viable for about two&nbsp;hours,&nbsp;according to a Japanese study published in the journal&nbsp;<i>Clinical Infectious Diseases</i>.</p> <p>The researchers compared the survival times of the two viruses by applying samples of the coronavirus and influenza viruses to human skin collected from autopsy specimens about 24 hours after death.</p> <p>The coronavirus survived on the human skin for 9.04 hours, compared with 1.82 hours for the influenza A virus. The good news is that both viruses can be completely inactivated within 15&nbsp;seconds by using a hand sanitizer that contained 80 per cent ethanol.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p><b>Early indicator</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A woman’s reproductive health could be a window to her risk for future health problems. A US study published in <i>The BMJ</i> suggests that women’s menstrual cycle could be a predictor of early death risk (before age 70).</p> <p>The researchers used data from 79,505 premenopausal women (average age 38 years) without a history of cardiovascular disease, cancer, or diabetes. During the follow up of 24 years, 1,975 premature deaths were reported, including 894 from cancer and 172 from cardiovascular disease. Women who reported consistently irregular and long menstrual cycles during adolescence and adulthood had a greater risk of early death, especially from cardiovascular diseases. The risk was even greater for women who smoked.&nbsp;</p> <p>Another study from the UK published in <i>The BMJ</i> also found that a woman’s reproductive health can affect her risk of heart disease and stroke later in life.</p> <p>The researchers reviewed 32 studies with an average follow-up period of seven to 10 years.&nbsp;Several factors, including early menarche, use of combined oral contraceptives, polycystic ovary syndrome, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy), pre-term birth, low birth weight, miscarriage, stillbirth and early menopause were associated with up to a two-fold risk of cardiovascular diseases. Pre-eclampsia was associated with a four-fold risk of heart failure.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/10/23/mask-will-not-cause-oxygen-levels-to-drop.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/10/23/mask-will-not-cause-oxygen-levels-to-drop.html Fri Oct 23 19:20:51 IST 2020 slow-murder <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/03/06/slow-murder.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2020/3/6/12-Slow-murder.jpg" /> <p>Women who experience domestic abuse are more likely to develop cardiometabolic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. They also have a higher risk of all-cause mortality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers compared the medical records of 18,547 women who had experienced domestic abuse with 72,231 women matched by age and lifestyle factors who did not have such an experience recorded.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who had been exposed to domestic abuse were 31 per cent more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, especially coronary artery disease and stroke, and 51 per cent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. In addition, they also had a 44 per cent increased risk of all-cause mortality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women exposed to domestic abuse are more likely to have adverse lifestyle factors such as poor diet, smoking and excessive alcohol use as well as chronic stress, all of which could partly explain the increased health risks. “Clinicians should be made aware of the disproportionally increased risk and encouraged to manage modifiable risk factors actively in this group,” the study concluded.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Time your knee replacement</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>According to a US study</b> published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, timing is crucial for knee replacement surgery. A study of 8,002 participants who had or were at risk of knee osteoarthritis found that 91 per cent of them waited too long before surgery, while 25 per cent underwent surgery without needing it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who wait too long may not regain function and mobility as much as someone who gets the procedure done at the appropriate time. “When people wait too long, two things happen,” the study author said. “The osteoarthritis causes deterioration of their function. Some of them wouldn’t be able to straighten their legs, affecting their walking and mobility.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the other hand, getting the surgery too early may yield limited benefits while exposing the patient to increased risk of major surgery-associated complications. These patients may also need a second surgery later, which is much more complicated and has poorer outcomes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Degree of pain, joint function, age and radiographic assessment should be used to figure out the ideal time to have knee replacement surgery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Active, adult men who could perform more than 40 push-ups in one attempt had a 96 per cent reduced risk of major cardiovascular events over the next 10 years compared with those who were able to do fewer than 10 push-ups.</i></p> <p>—<i><b>JAMA Network Open</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Fish oil for fertility</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Taking fish oil</b> supplements, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, may improve sperm count and quality in young men, according to a Danish study published in JAMA Network Open.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 1,679 healthy Danish men, aged 18 and 19, taking a compulsory medical examination for military service. Ninety-eight of them reported taking fish oil supplements in the previous three months. Those who took fish oil supplements for at least 60 days during the previous three months had a higher sperm count than others. They also had higher semen volume, greater proportion of normal sperm cells, larger testicular size and improved levels of male hormones.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study did not find any association between taking other daily supplements, such as multivitamins, and measures of testicular function. Previous studies have shown that fish oil supplements can improve semen quality among men with infertility. The current study shows that it improved semen quality and reproductive hormone levels among healthy men as well.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The fish oil supplements also had a dose-response effect. Those who took the supplements for more than 60 days had better testicular function that those who took them less often.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>BP rises earlier, faster in women</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Women's blood</b> vessels age at a faster rate than men's. Blood pressure starts to increase at a younger age in women and continues to rise at a faster rate, than men.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in JAMA Cardiology, the researchers analysed nearly 1,45,000 blood pressure measurements collected from 32,833 people (54 per cent women) aged 5 to 98, over a period of 43 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women showed signs of high blood pressure in their 20s compared with men and it continued to rise at a steeper rate throughout life. High blood pressure is a strong risk factor of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure. The study suggests that the biological and physiological processes that lead to cardiac events start earlier in women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Our data showed that rates of accelerating blood pressure elevation were significantly higher in women than men, starting earlier in life,” the author of the study said. “This means that if we define the hypertension threshold the exact same way, a 30-year-old woman with high blood pressure is probably at higher risk for cardiovascular disease than a man with high blood pressure at the same age.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Praise for performance</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Students focus</b> more and behave better in class when teachers praise good behaviour rather than reprimand bad behaviour, according to a study published in Educational Psychology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study, the researchers observed 2,536 students (aged 5 to 12 years) in 151 classes in 19 elementary schools for three years. Half of the classes observed followed a behavioural intervention programme, where students were told about the behaviour expected in class and commended for doing so. The other half of the classes followed typical classroom management practices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The more teachers praised, the more attentive students were in class. The students listened to the teacher and focused on tasks up to 30 per cent more when teachers praised them more than they reprimanded them. “Even if teachers praised as much as they reprimanded, students' on-task behaviour reached 60 per cent,” the study author said. “Everyone values being praised and recognised for their endeavours. It is a huge part of nurturing children's self-esteem and confidence. If teachers are praising students for good behaviour, it stands to reason that this behaviour will increase, and learning will improve.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Suicidal thoughts start young</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Children as young as nine</b> and 10 can have suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 11,814 children aged nine and 10 and their caregivers. Around 2.4 to 6.2 per cent of the children reported having suicidal thoughts, from wishing they were dead to planning but not executing a suicide attempt.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Around 1.3 per cent said they had tried to commit suicide, while 9.1 per cent reported non-suicidal self-injury. Boys were more likely than girls to have suicidal thoughts and commit non-suicidal self-injury. But this trend reverses as they grow older.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study also found that family conflict and lack of parental monitoring are significant predictors of suicidal thoughts. Caregivers were mostly oblivious to their children having such thoughts. In more than 75 per cent of cases where children reported suicidal thoughts or behaviour, the caregivers were unaware of the child’s experience.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Usually people do not ask young kids if they have suicidal thoughts. But the author of the study said, “If you have kids who are distressed in some way, you should be asking about this. You can help identify kids who might be in trouble.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Burnout linked to A-Fib</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>People who constantly</b> feel stressed, irritated and exhausted may have burnout syndrome, or vital exhaustion. According to a US study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, burnout can increase the risk of irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation, or A-Fib, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers surveyed 11,445 people, with an average age of 57, who were free of A-Fib. They were monitored for signs of burnout and followed for 25 years. Burnout “is typically caused by prolonged and profound stress at work or home” and “differs from depression, which is characterised by low mood, guilt and poor self-esteem”.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There were 2,220 new cases of A-Fib during the study period. Those with the highest levels of burnout were 20 per cent more likely to develop A-Fib compared to those with little or no evidence of burnout.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Vital exhaustion is associated with increased inflammation and heightened activation of the body’s physiologic stress response,” the author of the study explained. “When these two things are chronically triggered that can have serious and damaging effects on the heart tissue, which could then eventually lead to the development of this arrhythmia.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Getting two-and-a-half to five hours of moderate exercise or one-and-a-quarter to two-and-a-half hours of vigorous exercise per week can significantly lower the risk for seven cancer types, including colon, breast, endometrial, kidney, multiple myeloma, liver, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.</i></p> <p>—<i><b>Journal of Clinical Oncology</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>New tool for post-stroke recovery</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A new, non-invasive wearable</b> magnetic brain stimulator could boost recovery and improve motor function in stroke survivors. The study presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference showed that the device improved brain activity in areas damaged by the stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thirty ischemic stroke survivors at least three months post-stroke, who had weakness on one side of their body, were included in the clinical trial. Half of the patients used a new wearable, multifocal, transcranial, rotating, permanent magnet stimulator for 40 minutes per session, for a total of 20 sessions over four weeks. The device, which is worn like a swim cap, has multiple magnetic microstimulators attached to it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The remaining patients had a placebo treatment. The researchers analysed brain activity before, immediately after and one month after treatment. The device significantly increased brain activity—nearly nine times more than the placebo. There was also some improvement in motor function. The treatment was well tolerated, without any device-related complications.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If confirmed in larger clinical trials, “this technology would be the first proven treatment for recovery of motor function after chronic ischemic stroke”, the lead researcher said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Older adults who regularly consume food (like green leafy vegetables, apples, pears and tea) that are good sources of a type of antioxidants called flavonols have a 48 per cent decreased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.</i></p> <p>—<i><b>Neurology</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A brainy solution</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Brain stents are safe</b> and effective in cutting the odds of a recurrent stroke and death in patients who suffer a stroke due to intracranial atherosclerotic disease, or cholesterol-clogged brain arteries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference analysed data on recurrent stroke or death in 152 stroke survivors and found that the risk of a repeat stroke was about 50 per cent lower in patients who had received a brain stent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“After a year, there was a low risk of recurrent stroke or death in these patients compared to what we would expect historically. About 9 per cent or so of the patients had a recurrent event, compared with what we would expect to be closer to 20 per cent,” the study author said, adding that stenting could provide an alternative to stroke survivors when medical therapy and other treatments have been unsuccessful.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/03/06/slow-murder.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/03/06/slow-murder.html Fri Mar 06 15:12:48 IST 2020 magic-therapy <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/02/10/magic-therapy.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2020/2/10/8-Magic-therapy.jpg" /> <p><b>A single dose of psilocybin</b>—a compound found in magic mushrooms—along with psychotherapy, may improve the emotional well-being of cancer patients for up to five years, says a new study. Psilocybin is chemically similar to the neurotransmitter serotonin, that is involved in different neural functions controlling perception and mood. The compound can produce profound effects on subjective experience by mimicking the effects of serotonin.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As part of the study, 29 cancer patients were given psilocybin-assisted therapy at NYU Grossman School of Medicine in 2016. Researchers found that the treatment produced immediate relief in conditions of anxiety and depression in patients. Six months later, they found that 60 to 80 per cent patients continued with significant reduction in depression and increased quality of life.</p> <p>Now, after a follow up of five years, 70 per cent patients reported that the therapy has brought long-term positive life changes. Although the exact working of psilocybin is not fully understood, researchers have the opinion that the drug makes the brain more receptive to newer ideas and thought patterns.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, the researchers warn against any attempt to self-medicate using psilocybin.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Bank of emotions</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>According to a study</b> by the IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca, Italy, the entire set of our emotions is topographically represented in a 3cm area of the brain’s cortex.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To investigate how distinct components of emotional states are processed by the brain, the researchers asked a group of 15 volunteers to express and rate their emotions while watching the Hollywood movie Forrest Gump.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The volunteers reported their “emotional ratings” to each scene on a scale from 1 to 100. Their answers were then compared to those of 15 other persons who had watched the same movie during a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study in Germany. The researchers found that the activation of bundles of nerves at two lobes in the brain, called temporo-parietal regions, had a connection with the emotional state of the subjects.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The intensity of emotional experiences were represented by smooth transitions of electrical activity in temporo-parietal areas of the brain. The researchers made the conclusion that the unique spatial arrangements and shapes formed by the nerve bundles in distinct parts of the cortex allows the brain to map a variety of emotional states within a single patch of this region.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Smoking marijuana carries many of the same cardiovascular health hazards as smoking tobacco.</i></p> <p><i><b>Journal of the American College of Cardiology</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Exercise, to stay alert</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Twenty minutes</b> of exercise has the same effect on your working memory as a cup of coffee, according to a new study published in Nature Scientific Reports. Caffeine in coffee can fire up the grey cells in the morning. But caffeine is a psychoactive substance and its regular consumption can cause withdrawal symptoms like headache, fatigue, anxiety and difficulty in concentrating.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To compare the effects of caffeine and exercise on working memory, the researchers used something called an n-back test, which is similar to a card game. The participants were randomly allotted into a caffeine group or exercise group. They were presented with a list of items, and were asked to spot the repeats. In the first part of the study, both caffeine consumers and non-caffeine consumers underwent the n-back tasks prior to and after exercise and caffeine administration. The second part of the study focused on caffeine withdrawal. Here, the coffee drinkers took the tests after 12 hours of caffeine deprivation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The results revealed that the improvements in the participants’ working memory were similar after spending 20 minutes on a treadmill and consuming a single serving of caffeine. The study found that exercise can help with caffeine withdrawal symptoms, too.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Reset yourself, fight diabetes</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Reset your internal</b> circadian clock to fight diabetes. The circadian clock allows organisms to adjust to changes related to geophysical time. Most of the cells in the body comprise molecular clocks. They regulate and synchronise metabolic functions to a 24-hour cycle.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As part of the study, researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and at the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), Switzerland, compared pancreatic cells of type 2 diabetic patients with that of healthy people. Bioluminescence-fluorescence time-lapse microscopy, a technology that allows tracking the molecular clock activity, was employed as part of the study.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They found that pancreatic islet cells derived from the type 2 diabetic human donors exhibit both reduced amplitudes of circadian oscillations and poor synchronisation capacity. It was found that with the disruption of the circadian clock, hormone secretion had no longer been coordinated. However, when researchers reset the disrupted cellular clocks using a clock modulator extracted from a lemon peel, they found that insulin levels improved.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Vegetarian diet to prevent UTI</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Those following</b> a vegetarian diet have a lower risk of developing a urinary tract infection than those who eat meat, according to a Taiwanese study published in the journal Scientific Reports. The study analysed the responses on diet, smoking, drinking, physical activity and medical conditions by more than 9,700 participants. None of the participants previously had a UTI.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During the study period of nine years, 217 of the 3,257 vegetarian participants developed UTI, compared with 444 of the 6,467 non-vegetarians. A vegetarian diet was linked to a 16 per cent lower risk of developing UTI, compared with meat eating, after taking into account factors such as age, sex, lifestyle and health conditions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers say that this may be because meat, particularly pork and poultry, is known to contain the strains of E-coli bacteria that cause UTIs. By avoiding a meat-based diet, people decrease their exposure to these bacteria, reducing levels in the bowel and hence lowering the risk they will reach the urethra. However, the study did not consider factors like history of UTIs, the frequency with which participants had sex or the method of contraception.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>High protein risk</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>High-protein diets</b> increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Metabolism. As part of the study, a few mice received a diet that was high in fat and proteins, whereas others received a high-fat diet with low-protein content. To see if the high protein level has an effect on cardiovascular health, the amount of protein received by the mice in the high-fat, high-protein diet was tripled (keeping the fat constant).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Researchers found that the build-up of arterial plaque was more than 30 per cent in mice that were in the high-fat, high protein-diet compared to those in the high-fat, low-protein diet. The excess amount of plaque in the arteries could accumulate on an artery wall. In time, the plaque could break off, and cause a blood clot. If the clot is large enough, it will block blood flow through the coronary artery and result in a heart attack.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Young-onset Parkinson’s disease, defined by onset at less than 50 years, accounts for approximately 10 per cent of all Parkinson’s disease cases.</i></p> <p><i><b>Nature Medicine</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Quit today, fight back</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>According to a new</b> study published in the journal Nature, human lungs can produce new healthy cells and can replace some of the tobacco-damaged and cancer-prone cells, if a person quits smoking. The researchers examined lung biopsies of 16 people including current smokers, former smokers and never smokers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The results revealed that despite not being cancerous, more than 9 out of every 10 lung cells in current smokers had up to 10,000 extra genetic mutations compared with non-smokers. These mutations happened because of the chemicals in tobacco smoke. More than a quarter of these damaged cells had at least one cancer-driver mutation, too. In those who quit smoking, it was found that many of these damaged cells had been replaced by healthy ones just like those in non-smokers. About 40 per cent of the lung cells in ex-smokers was found to be healthy—four times more than current smokers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study revealed that these healthy lung cells could repair the lining of the airways in ex-smokers and help protect them against lung cancer. However, smoking also causes damage deeper in the lungs that can lead to emphysema—a chronic lung disease. This damage is not reversible, even after stopping smoking.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Root of addiction</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Exercise addiction</b> is more common among people with an eating disorder, says a study published in the journal Eating and Weight Disorders. As part of the study, researchers compared exercise addiction in people with and without the characteristics of an eating disorder. Data of 2,140 participants across nine different studies was examined.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those with exercise addiction are driven primarily by a desire to control body weight, shape and composition. They often make their food choices solely based on exercise. This is the first time the risk factor connecting unhealthy relationship with food and exercise addiction is being calculated. The results revealed that people displaying characteristics of an eating disorder are 3.7 times more likely to suffer from addiction to exercise than people displaying no indication of an eating disorder. It is well known that those with eating disorders are more likely to display addictive personality and obsessive-compulsive behaviours.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Dimensional psychopathology (including depression, anxiety, impulsive behaviour) in children is negatively correlated with sleep duration.</i></p> <p><i><b>Molecular Psychiatry</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Soy solution to health</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A new Japanese</b> study suggests that people who have higher consumption of fermented soy have a reduced mortality risk. In Asian countries, especially Japan, several types of soy products are widely consumed, such as natto, miso, and tofu. The study published in the British Medical Journal is based on the dietary habits, lifestyle, and health status of 42,750 men and 50,165 women aged 45-74 years. The subjects were followed for nearly 15 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who ate natto (soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis) had a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality. The researchers found that a higher intake of fermented soy was associated with 10 per cent lower risk of all-cause mortality. However, total soy product intake did not impact all-cause mortality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fermented soy products are rich in fibre, potassium and bioactive components than their non-fermented counterparts. Apparently, scientists could not prove any association between soy intake and cancer-related mortality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>COMPILED BY: NIRMAL JOVIAL</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/02/10/magic-therapy.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/02/10/magic-therapy.html Mon Feb 10 14:49:55 IST 2020 green-tea-for-longevity <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/01/24/green-tea-for-longevity.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2020/1/24/10-Green-tea-for-longevity.jpg" /> <p><b>PEOPLE WHO</b> drink green tea at least three times a week may live longer and suffer a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a Chinese study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As part of study, 1,00,902 adults free of heart attack, stroke, or cancer were followed for a median of 7.3 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Habitual tea drinkers (three or more times a week) had a 20 per cent lower risk of heart attack and stroke, 22 per cent lower risk of dying from heart disease and stroke, and 15 per cent lower risk of dying from all causes compared to non-habitual tea drinkers (less than three times a week).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>An analysis of a subset of 14,081 participants found that habitual tea drinkers had a 39 per cent lower risk of heart disease and stroke, 56 per cent lower risk of fatal heart disease and stroke, and 29 per cent lower risk of all-cause mortality compared to never or non-habitual tea drinkers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Abstain from alcohol to ease a-fib</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>GIVING UP</b> alcohol can reduce the symptoms of atrial fibrillation (a-fib), or irregular heart rhythm. Previous studies have shown that the incidence of a-fib increases by 8 per cent for every one standard drink. The researchers wanted to see if abstinence or alcohol reduction can reduce a-fib episodes and time to recurrence. The Australian study published in The New England Journal of Medicine included 140 adults, average age 63, who suffered from a-fib and consumed 10 or more standard drinks per week. All the participants were moderate drinkers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Half of them were randomly assigned to abstain from alcohol for six months, while the other half (the control group) were allowed to drink as usual.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While about two-thirds of the abstinence group gave up alcohol completely, the other third still consumed two or fewer drinks per week.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A-fib episodes were much lower in the abstinence group compared to the control group. While 73 per cent of the patients in the control group had an a-fib episode during the study period, only 53 per cent of the patients in the abstinence group had an episode.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients who abstained from alcohol also saw significant reduction in weight and blood pressure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Stroke signal</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>According to a study</b> published in the journal Stroke, patients who suffer a stroke for the first time have a considerably increased risk of major heart problems, even if they do not have any preexisting heart condition.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 93,627 men and women without known heart diseases. Among them, 21,931 (12,421 women and 9,510 men) had suffered an ischaemic stroke for the first time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk of a major cardiac event such as a heart attack, coronary artery disease, heart failure or cardiovascular death was significantly higher in both men and women after suffering a first time stroke compared to those who did not have a stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk was highest within 30 days of suffering a stroke: 25 times higher in women and 23 times higher in men.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk decreased with time, but still remained significant. Between 31 and 90 days, the risk was nearly 5 times higher for women and 4 times higher for men. Both men and women still had twice the risk of a major cardiac event between 91 and up to 365 days.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk was higher even in patients without underlying heart diseases and risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and smoking.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Running a marathon for the first time was associated with reduced blood pressure and arterial stiffness equivalent to a four-year reduction in vascular age.</i></p> <p><i><b>Journal of the American College of Cardiology</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>98.6 F no longer the normal body temperature</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>THE AVERAGE HUMAN</b> body temperature is falling.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The average human body temperature was set at 98.6 Fahrenheit in 1851.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But according to Stanford researchers that is no longer correct.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in eLife researchers analysed more than 6,77,423 body temperature measurements from three datasets: 23,710 readings from 1862 to 1930; 15,301 readings from 1971 to 1975; and 1,50,280 readings from 2007 to 2017.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The body temperature of men born in the 2000s is on average 1.06 F lower than that of men born in the early 1800s. Likewise, the body temperature of women born in the 2000s is on average 0.58 F lower than that of women born in the 1890s.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The mean body temperature is 1.6 per cent lower than the 1800s. The average body temperature today is about 97.5 F.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another recent study found that the average body temperature of 25,000 Britons was 97.9 F.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers are not fully sure about the reason for this downward trend. One possible explanation could be the reduction in metabolic rate (the amount of energy people use) brought about by a population-wide decline in inflammation which could be the result of economic development, improved standard of living, advancement in dental and medical care, and the consistent indoor temperatures maintained by modern heating and air conditioning.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Low dose, better results</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>TREATING MEN</b> with half the typical amount of chemotherapy can prevent testicular cancer recurrence, according to a study published in the journal European Urology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Testicular cancer is the most common cancer affecting young men in their twenties and thirties. Men who undergo chemotherapy may suffer serious side effects such as hearing loss, hair loss, infections and infertility. Cutting the amount of chemotherapy in half can reduce the risk of these side effects that can have lifelong consequences.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included nearly 250 men with early-stage testicular cancer that had a high risk of recurrence after surgery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients are currently offered two cycles of chemotherapy after surgery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The patients in the study were given one three-week cycle of a chemotherapy known as BEP.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers compared cancer recurrence rates within two years of treatment among those treated with one cycle and patients who were given two cycles.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Only three men (1.3 per cent) who received one cycle saw their testicular cancer return. This was identical to the rates seen in previous studies of patients who had received two cycles of the chemotherapy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>41 per cent of the men who received one cycle of chemotherapy had one or more serious side effects during treatment, such as an increased risk of infection, sepsis or vomiting. But only 2.6 per cent had long-term side effects such as damage to their hearing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Natural stress busters</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>FEELING STRESSED</b> at work? Keeping an indoor plant on your desk could be the solution.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a Japanese study published in the journal HortTechnology, just gazing at indoor plants can relieve stress at work and improve your mental health.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To scientifically analyse the degree of psychological and physiological impact of indoor plants at the workplace, the researchers recruited 63 office workers at an electric company and conducted the experiment in a real office setting, instead of a traditional lab setting.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The experiment had two phases: a control period without plants in the office and an intervention period when the participants had a small plant placed near the PC monitor on their desk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants were asked to take a three-minute rest when they felt tired at work. The researchers recorded pulse rates and measured psychological stress of the participants using the state-trait anxiety inventory before and after placing a plant on the desk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants had a significantly lower pulse rate after a three-minute rest with interaction with their desk plant. Anxiety decreased significantly from the control period (without plants) to the intervention period. The results were similar for employees of different age groups and with different plant selections.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Add extra years to your life</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A HEALTHY</b> lifestyle in middle age can add 10 extra years—free of chronic diseases—for women and 7 for men.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Harvard study published in The BMJ analysed 34 years of data from 73,196 women and 28 years of data from 38,366 men.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Each participant was given a healthy lifestyle score ranging from 0 to 5 (5 being the healthiest) based on five lifestyle factors: at least 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity; never smoking; healthy weight; good quality diet; and moderate alcohol intake (one serving per day for women and up to two for men).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who followed four or five of these healthy habits at age 50 lived about 34.4 more years free of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer, compared to 23.7 healthy years among women who followed none of these healthy habits.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Men who followed four or five healthy habits at age 50 lived 31.1 more years free of these chronic diseases compared to 23.5 years among men who practiced none. Men who smoked heavily, and obese men and women had the lowest disease-free life expectancy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Listening to music while exercising not only makes exercise more enjoyable but it can actually make it more productive and less tiresome, enhance physical performance, and improve physiological efficiency.</i></p> <p><i><b>Psychological Bulletin</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Dietary danger</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>BREAST CANCER </b>patients who take certain dietary supplements during chemotherapy may be at an increased risk of disease recurrence and death, according to a US study published in the&nbsp;Journal of Clinical Oncology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dietary supplements known as antioxidants, as well as iron, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids may interfere with the ability of chemotherapy to kill cancer cells.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 1,134 patients who provided information about their supplement use at the outset and during treatment, and were followed for six years. Among them, 18 per cent used at least one antioxidant daily, while 44 per cent took multivitamins.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients who reported taking any antioxidant, including vitamins A, C, E and carotenoids and Coenzyme Q10, both before and during chemotherapy were 41 per cent&nbsp;more likely to have their breast cancer return and 40 per cent more likely to die during follow-up compared to patients who did not take these supplements.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients taking B12 were 83 per cent more likely to experience a recurrence and had twice the risk of mortality. Patients taking omega-3 fatty acids before and during chemo had a 67 per cent higher risk of recurrence and those taking iron supplements were 91 per cent more likely to experience a recurrence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Working 49 or more hours each week was linked to a 66 per cent greater risk of developing sustained hypertension and a 70 per cent greater risk of having masked or hidden hypertension, a type that can go undetected.</i></p> <p><i><b>Hypertension</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>AI to save</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A NEW ARTIFICIAL</b> intelligence (AI) system developed by Google was able to accurately detect breast cancer using mammograms and outperformed radiologists in reducing errors, according to a study published in the journal Nature.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Breast cancer affects about one in eight women globally. Mammograms are widely used to screen for breast cancer. But according to the American Cancer Society, radiologists miss about one in five cases of breast cancer (false negative) which can result in delayed detection and treatment. Also, half of all women who undergo screening for a 10-year period will get a false positive report, where cancer is wrongly suspected, which can lead to unnecessary treatments such as invasive biopsies and breast tissue removal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The AI model can reduce such errors while accurately detecting cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Researchers from the US and UK first trained an AI model to identify breast cancers on tens of thousands of mammograms, which had been previously interpreted by radiologists.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They then tested the model against a new set of 25,856 new mammograms from the UK and 3,097 in the US. The results were compared with those gathered from six radiologists in an independent study.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The AI system could detect cancers as accurately as the radiologists. But it outperformed the radiologists in reducing errors. False positives were reduced by 5.7 per cent in the US group and by 1.2 per cent in the UK group, and false negatives were reduced by 9.4 per cent in the US group, and by 2.7 per cent in the UK group.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/01/24/green-tea-for-longevity.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/01/24/green-tea-for-longevity.html Fri Jan 24 15:21:08 IST 2020 dyeing-issue <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/01/10/dyeing-issue.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2020/1/10/8-Dyeing-issue.jpg" /> <p><b>WOMEN WHO</b> use permanent hair dyes and chemical hair straighteners have an increased risk of developing breast cancer, and the risk increases with more frequent use.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers analysed data from 46,709 women, aged 35 to 74 years. Among them, 55 per cent reported using permanent dyes in the year prior to enrolling in the study. During a median follow-up of eight years, 2,794 participants developed breast cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who regularly used permanent hair dyes were 9 per cent more likely to develop breast cancer than women who did not use hair dyes. The study did not find an increased risk of breast cancer with the use of semi-permanent or temporary dyes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who used chemical hair straighteners had an 18 per cent higher risk of breast cancer compared to those who did not use these products.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Brush for heart</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>PEOPLE WHO</b> brush their teeth regularly have a lower risk of heart issues such as atrial fibrillation and heart failure, according to a South Korean study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 1,61,286 participants, aged 40 to 79, without a history of atrial fibrillation or heart failure. The participants had a routine medical examination at the start of the study and provided information about their lifestyle, oral health, and oral hygiene habits.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During an average follow-up of 10.5 years, 4,911 participants developed atrial fibrillation and 7,971 developed heart failure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who brushed their teeth three or more times a day had a 10 per cent lower risk of atrial fibrillation and a 12 per cent lower risk of heart failure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Getting regular professional dental cleanings was also linked to a 7 per cent lower risk of heart failure. But missing 22 or more teeth was linked to a 32 per cent higher risk of heart failure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The reduced risk was independent of factors such as age, sex, socioeconomic status, regular exercise, alcohol consumption, body mass index, and hypertension.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Eating chilli peppers at least four times a week was associated with a 23 per cent lower risk of all-cause mortality and a 34 per cent lower risk of dying of cardiovascular diseases compared to never or rarely eating them.</i></p> <p><i><b>Journal of the American College of Cardiology</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>For your baby’s safety</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>INDUCING LABOUR</b> at 41 weeks is associated with a lower risk of new-born death compared with waiting until 42 weeks, according to a Swedish study published in The BMJ.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Health risks to the mother and baby starts to increase as the pregnancy continues beyond 40 weeks. About 14 per cent of stillbirths worldwide are associated with prolonged pregnancy. The researchers wanted to compare the risks and health outcomes of induction after 41 weeks with 42 gestational weeks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study, 2,760 pregnant women—average age 31—with uncomplicated, low-risk single pregnancy were randomly assigned to receive induction at either 41 full weeks (1,381 women) or at 42 full weeks (1,379 women).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of most health measures including pneumonia, sepsis, low oxygen levels, breathing problems, birth weight, convulsions and admission to an intensive care unit for the baby and complications such as caesarean delivery, vaginal birth with instruments, prolonged labour, epidural anaesthesia, wound infection and haemorrhage for the mother.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, a significant difference was found when considering infant mortality. While there were no deaths in the group that was induced after 41 full gestational weeks, there were five stillbirths and one neonatal death among the women who waited until week 42.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Healthy window</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>EATING WITHIN</b> a 10-hour window and fasting for 14 hours can help people with metabolic syndrome reduce weight, abdominal fat, blood pressure and cholesterol.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of conditions, such as obesity, excess abdominal fat, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol or triglycerides, which can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in Cell Metabolism, 19 participants diagnosed with metabolic syndrome were asked to restrict their eating to within a window of 10 hours or less a day over a period of 12 weeks. The participants logged when and what they ate on an app created by the lab. Among them, 84 per cent were on some type of medication for one or more conditions, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even though the participants could eat what they wanted, they consumed about 8.6 per cent fewer calories, probably due to the limited eating window.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At the end of 12 weeks, the participants lost weight, reduced abdominal fat, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol and had more stable blood sugar and insulin levels. They also reported better sleep and more energy, and many of the participants were able to have their medications lowered or stopped.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>No escape from risk</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>EVEN LIGHT</b> to moderate alcohol consumption can increase the risk of cancer. For the study published in the journal Cancer, researchers compared clinical data on 63,232 cancer patients with 63,232 matched controls. The participants provided information about their average daily consumption of alcohol and the duration of drinking.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One standardised drink was considered equivalent to 500ml of beer, 180ml of wine, or 60ml of whiskey.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The overall cancer risk was lowest at zero alcohol consumption. There was an almost linear association between cancer risk and alcohol consumption. Those who drank two or fewer drinks per day had an elevated cancer risk regardless of how long they had consumed alcohol.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After controlling for smoking, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and other factors, consuming one drink per day for 10 years or two drinks per day for five years was associated with a five percent increased risk of cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The relative risk of having any cancer increased by 54 per cent for those who consumed two drinks a day for 40 years, compared to teetotallers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Heavy smoking can affect facial attractiveness, increase wrinkling and accelerate facial ageing.</i></p> <p><i><b>PLOS Genetics</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Danger of sleeping too much</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>SLEEPING NINE</b> hours or more a night and taking long afternoon naps can increase your risk of stroke, according to a Chinese study published in the journal Neurology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers followed 31,750 healthy people—average age 62—for six years. Among them, 24 per cent reported sleeping for at least nine hours each night and 8 per cent reported taking naps for longer than 90 minutes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During the follow up, 1,557 participants reported suffering a stroke. Those who slept for nine or more hours per night had a 23 per cent greater risk of stroke than those who regularly slept seven to eight hours each night.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Taking afternoon naps for more than 90 minutes a day was associated with a 25 per cent increased risk of stroke compared with napping for 30 minutes or less.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who slept more than nine hours and napped more than 90 minutes per day had an 85 per cent higher risk of stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who reported poor sleep quality had a 29 per cent increased risk of stroke than those who reported good sleep quality. Those who slept more than nine hours per night and had poor sleep quality had an 82 per cent increased risk of stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Lose weight, prevent cancer</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>BEING OVERWEIGHT</b> or obese is a known risk factor for breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, postmenopausal women who are overweight or obese have up to two times higher risk of breast cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that losing weight can reduce a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. The more weight a woman loses, the lower her risk of breast cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out if losing weight in middle or later adulthood can reduce breast cancer risk, the researchers analysed data from 1,80,885 women aged 50 and older, who were cancer-free at the start of the study.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Their weight was assessed three times over a decade; 6,930 women developed breast cancer during follow-up.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women with sustained weight loss had a lower risk of breast cancer. Compared to women whose weight remained stable, those who lost 2kg to 4.5kg had an 18 per cent lower risk of breast cancer. The risk was 25 per cent lower for women who lost 4.5kg to 9kg, and 32 per cent lower for women who lost 9kg or more.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even women who lost 9kg or more, but gained some of it back, had a lower risk of breast cancer compared with those whose weight remained stable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Birth season and heart health</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ACCORDING TO A</b> study published in the BMJ, women born during spring and summer months, especially March-July, are more likely to die from cardiovascular diseases.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 1,16, 911 women aged 30 to 55.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During 38 years of follow-up, 43,248 participants died; 8,360 deaths were from cardiovascular causes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While no significant association was seen between birth month, birth season, and overall mortality, women born in the spring and summer were more likely to die of heart disease than those born in autumn and winter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People born in April had the highest cardiovascular mortality, while those born in December had the lowest. Those born in December had an 18 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality compared to those born in April.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While the exact reason for these differences are not clear, the researchers think seasonal fluctuations in diet, air pollution levels, and availability of sunlight before birth and in early life could be contributing factors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Grandparents who care for grandchildren scored lower on loneliness and social isolation, and had a larger social network than those who did not care for grandchildren.</i></p> <p><i><b>BMJ Open</b></i><b></b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Musicians, beware of tinnitus</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>MUSICIANS ARE</b> constantly exposed to loud noise which puts them at a higher risk of developing tinnitus.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People with tinnitus hear ringing, buzzing, hissing or whistling sounds when there are no external sounds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the journal Trends in Hearing, researchers used data from 23,000 people to compare tinnitus rates and hearing problems in people working in noisy jobs such as construction, agriculture and music to people working in quiet jobs such as finance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People working in all genres of music industry (even classical music), including musicians, music directors and production staff, are nearly twice as likely to develop tinnitus as those working in quieter industries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The length of safe noise exposure is reduced by half for every three decibels increase in noise intensity—that would be four hours of daily exposure for 88 decibels of noise, two hours for 91 decibels, and so forth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Most amplified concerts exceed 100 decibels, meaning that musicians should not be exposed to that level of noise for more than 15 minutes without proper hearing protection,” said the study author.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Prescribed less, more effective</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ANTI-HYPERTENSIVE</b> drugs inhibitors, the most widely prescribed first-line blood pressure medication, is less effective and has more side effects than thiazide diuretics, another class of medication that is prescribed less often.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As per the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines, patients with high blood pressure can be started on any drug from five different classes of medications: ACE inhibitors; thiazide diuretics; angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs); dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers and non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out the safety and effectives of these medications, the researchers tracked data on nearly five million patients from four countries—Germany, Japan, South Korea and the United States.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All the patients had been started on treatment for high blood pressure with a single drug: 48 per cent of the patients were started on an ACE inhibitor compared with 17 per cent of patients who were first prescribed thiazide diuretics.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Compared to those who had been prescribed ACE inhibitors, patients who were started on thiazide diuretics had 15 per cent fewer heart attacks, strokes and hospitalisations for heart failure, as well as fewer side effects.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the researchers, about 3,100 major cardiovascular events among the patients who first took ACE inhibitors could have been prevented if they had been started on thiazide diuretics.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers were also less effective than all the other four first-line classes of blood pressure drugs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/01/10/dyeing-issue.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2020/01/10/dyeing-issue.html Fri Jan 10 15:02:26 IST 2020 run-to-live-longer <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/12/06/run-to-live-longer.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/12/6/8-Run.jpg" /> <p><b>ACCORDING TO AN</b> Australian study published in the ‌‌British‌ ‌Journal‌ ‌of‌ ‌Sports‌ ‌Medicine, running on a regular basis for as little as 50 minutes a week is associated with a significantly lower risk of death from all causes, especially cardiovascular diseases and cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers reviewed 14 studies involving 2,32,149 people whose health had been tracked for between 5.5 and 35 years; 25,951 participants died during the study period.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Compared to people who did not run at all, those who ran had 27 per cent lower risk of death from all causes, 30 per cent lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and 23 per cent lower risk of death from cancer. The benefits were seen in both men and women and among those who ran only once a week, or even less frequently.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Duration, frequency and intensity did not seem to matter much. Even people who ran for less than ‌50‌ ‌minutes‌ ‌a week ‌and‌ ‌at‌ ‌a‌ ‌speed‌ ‌below‌ ‌9.7‌km ‌per ‌hour tend to live longer. The study did not find greater benefits with higher amounts of running.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Testosterone therapy linked to blood clots</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>TAKING TESTOSTERONE</b> supplements can double a man's risk of suffering venous thromboembolism (VTE), a potentially deadly medical condition which causes blood clots to form in the veins.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Testosterone therapy is already known to increase a man's risk of heart attack and stroke. Millions of men who do not suffer from hypogonadism (a condition in which the body does not produce enough testosterone) take testosterone supplements to combat common symptoms of ageing such as weight gain and sexual disfunction.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the researchers analysed the use of testosterone in 39,622 men, aged 18 to 99 years, who had venous thromboembolism. Among them, 7.8 per cent had been diagnosed with hypogonadism.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Men without hypogonadism had a 2.3 times increased risk of developing a deep vein clot within six months of taking the hormone. The risk was two times greater in men diagnosed with hypogonadism. The risk was even greater in middle-aged men than in seniors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Men under 65 who did not have hypogonadism had about three times greater risk compared to men 65 years and older, whose risk was only about 1.5 times greater.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Herbal remedies are risky</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CANCER PATIENTS</b> who take herbal products such as garlic, ginger and turmeric could be doing more harm than good as these products can interfere with their treatment and affect wound healing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cancer patients often turn to complementary therapies even though there is no scientific evidence for their efficacy. Skin lesions that appear when the cancer has spread are often difficult to treat effectively. The pain and the smell caused by these lesions often push patients to try different herbal products and creams that can actually cause harm.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ingredients in many of these products can delay wound healing and interfere with systemic anti-cancer treatments such as hormone therapy or chemotherapy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Products such as garlic, ginger, ginkgo, ginseng, hawthorn, horse chestnut and turmeric can slow down blood-clotting, causing the wound to take longer to heal and cause more scarring.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study author urges patients to try complementary therapies such as mindfulness, acupuncture, Reiki and yoga to alleviate psychological distress. The study was presented at the Advanced Breast Cancer Fifth International Consensus Conference.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Late eating is harmful</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>EATING LATE IN</b> the evening is not good for women’s cardiovascular health. Women who consumed most of their daily calories later in the evening had a greater risk for cardiovascular disease, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2019.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 112 women, average age 33, whose heart health was assessed at the start of the study and 12 months later.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Most women ate some food after 6pm, but those who consumed a higher proportion of their daily calories after this time had poorer heart health. They were more likely to have higher blood pressure, higher body mass index and poorer long-term control of blood sugar. Heart health deteriorated with every 1 per cent increase in calories consumed after 6pm.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>A person's risk of atrial fibrillation, or irregular heart beat that can lead to stroke, heart failure and other heart related complications, increases by about 3 per cent for every one inch increase in height over the average height of 5 feet and 7 inches.</i></p> <p><i><b>American Heart Association’s 2019 Scientific Sessions</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Fit to return to work?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>HOW FAST A</b> stroke survivor can walk could determine whether they are ready to go back to work, according to a study published in the journal Stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About 25 per cent of patients who suffer a stroke are younger than 65 years old and about 44 per cent may not be able to return to work mostly because of walking difficulties.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers compared mobility in 46 stroke survivors, aged 18 to 65, with 15 people who did not have a stroke. The participants took a walking test to see how far and how fast they could walk in three minutes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A walking speed of more than three feet per second was identified as the threshold that predicts whether a stroke survivor can return to work.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among the 23 per cent of study participants who went back to work, 90 per cent walked faster than three feet per second, almost six feet per second. But those who did not return to work walked only about 2.5 feet per second.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Benefits of angioplasty limited</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ANGIOPLASTY AND BYPASS</b> surgery may not provide any added benefits over medications and lifestyle changes in preventing an array of major cardiovascular events in patients with severe but stable heart disease, according to the findings of a major international clinical trial presented at the American Heart Association meeting.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The trial was conducted at 320 sites in 37 countries and included 5,179 patients with moderate to severe but stable ischaemia—a condition in which blood flow to the heart is reduced due to clogged arteries. About 50 per cent of patients had severe ischaemia, 33 per cent had moderate, and 12 per cent had mild.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All the participants received medications such as aspirin, blood pressure medications and cholesterol-lowering drugs and lifestyle advice. But half were also randomly assigned to undergo either angioplasty or a bypass surgery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, the risk of major cardiovascular events like heart-related death, heart attack, hospitalisation with unstable angina (chest pain), heart failure or cardiac arrest was similar for patients in both groups. Invasive procedures were not better than conservative therapy at reducing adverse heart events.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, invasive treatments provided better symptom relief and quality of life in patients who had severe and frequent chest pain. But they did not lower their odds of death or heart related problems.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The findings, however, do not apply to heart patients with blockages in the left main coronary artery and those suffering a heart attack. In such cases the procedures do save lives.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Supercooling can preserve donor organs longer</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>A NEW SUPERCOOLING</b> technique can triple the time that donor organs can be stored before transplantation. Once removed, human livers can be currently preserved for only about nine hours—stored at 4 degrees Celsius—before the tissues become damaged, making the organ unusable for transplantation. This short time frame makes it very difficult to get the organs to compatible patients, especially if they live far away.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Organs can survive longer in freezing temperatures, but it causes ice crystals to form within the organs' cells which damages the tissues and the organ would be unviable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The new supercooling method allows the organ to be preserved in -6 degrees Celsius without freezing and causing damage to the tissues for up to 27 hours, giving doctors and patients a much longer time to work with.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The technique was developed by scientists at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. The findings are published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>An international survey found kindness tops qualities that we look for in a life-partner.</i></p> <p><i><b>Journal of Personality</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Spot depression in kids</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ACCORDING TO A</b> US survey, two-thirds of parents find it difficult to distinguish between their teen’s normal mood swings and signs of depression.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers surveyed 819 parents with at least one child in middle school, junior high, or high school. They found that 40 per cent of parents could not differentiate between normal ups and down and depression symptoms; 30 per cent said their kids are good at hiding feelings. Other hindrances include not talking about feelings with their kids, not spending enough time with their kids and not being aware of the signs of depression.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But children are familiar with depression and suicide. One in four parents said their child knows a peer with depression and one in 10 knew a peer who committed suicide.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Since rates of teen suicide are steadily rising, it is paramount to recognise depression in youth. Parents should look out for signs of depression in kids, which include sadness, isolation, anger, irritability and acting out.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Not worth the wait</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ACCORDING TO A</b> study presented at the American College of Surgeons annual meeting, delaying a gallbladder removal operation can increase the odds of complications, longer hospital stays and hospital readmissions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gallstones that form in the gallbladder can lead to serious inflammation and infection. The study was based on nearly 50,000 patients who had either a laparoscopy or open abdominal surgery for gall bladder attack.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The patients were divided into three groups based on the time from admission to surgery: 12,968 patients had their gallbladders removed within 24 hours of admission; 26,758 patients had the surgery between 24 and 72 hours after admission and 9,594 patients had the surgery 72 hours or more after admission.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Delaying the operation three days or more after admission increased the likelihood of requiring an open operation versus a laparoscopic procedure by 28 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk of complications also increased with delayed surgery. The risk of sepsis increased by nearly 50 per cent, venous thrombus embolism by over 80 per cent, and surgical site infection by 20 per cent when surgery was done 72 hours or more from admission compared to within 24 hours.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Moreover, patients who had the surgery within 24 hours of admission were able to go home the day after the operation, while patients who had the procedure after 72 hours had to stay in the hospital for about five days.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Listening to music can relieve the cardiac stress induced by driving in heavy traffic.</i></p> <p><i><b>Complementary Therapies in Medicine</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Exercise more as you grow old</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ACCORDING TO A</b> South Korean study published in the European Heart Journal, older adults should increase or maintain their exercise levels to prevent heart disease and stroke, even if they have disabilities and chronic health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included more than 1.1 million people aged 60 and older without cardiovascular diseases at the start of the study. Among them, 47 per cent were men. The participants had two health screenings between 2009 and 2012, and they were followed until the end of 2016.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About two-thirds of the participants were physically inactive during both screening periods. Women were more likely to be inactive.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While 22 per cent of inactive people increased their physical activity by the time of the second screening, 54 per cent of those who had been active became inactive by the time of the second screening.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During the follow-up period, 1,14,856 cases of heart disease or stroke occurred. Those who were inactive at the start and became moderately or vigorously active three to four times a week by the second screening had an 11 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular problems. Those who increased their activity from one or two times a week to five or more times a week had a 10 per cent reduced risk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At the same time, those who were moderately or vigorously active more than five times a week at the first screening and then became inactive had a 27 per cent increased risk of cardiovascular issues.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even people with disabilities and chronic conditions lowered their risk with increased activity. The risk was 16 per cent lower for those with disabilities, and 4 to 7 per cent lower for those with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/12/06/run-to-live-longer.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/12/06/run-to-live-longer.html Fri Dec 06 15:39:06 IST 2019 adulthood-will-be-good <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/11/12/adulthood-will-be-good.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/11/12/8-Adulthood-will-be-good.jpg" /> <p><b>EVEN THOUGH PREMATURE</b> babies have an increased risk of several health issues, including heart, lung and neuropsychiatric disorders, and premature mortality, a US study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that most premature babies grow up to be healthy adults.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed the health data of more than 2.5 million Swedes born between 1973 and 1997, and followed them through 2015 (ages 18 to 43 years). Among them, 1,49,065 were born preterm (gestational age less than 37 weeks); 48.6 per cent were female.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About 55 per cent of those born premature had no serious chronic physical or mental health issues by early adulthood, compared with 63 per cent of those born full-term. But only 22.3 per cent of babies born extremely preterm (22 to 27 weeks) were alive without any major health conditions in adulthood.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The odds of disease-free survival improved as the gestation period increased; 48.5 per cent of preterm babies (28 to 33 weeks) and 58 per cent of late preterm babies (34 to 36 weeks) were alive and generally healthy by early adulthood.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The results were similar for both men and women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Toothache? Antibiotics not necessary</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ANTIBIOTICS ARE NOT</b> necessary for most toothaches, according to new guidelines issued by the American Dental Association.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The advisory committee reviewed studies on the benefits and harms of using antibiotics for the treatment of various tooth problems and concluded that the medications may actually cause significant harm with limited benefit.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Antibiotics may not be effective in treating most toothaches. Instead, they can cause serious side effects, and overuse can result in antibiotic resistance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients should not be prescribed antibiotics for most cases of dental pain, even though most doctors do. Instead, they should get dental treatment and, if necessary, take pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Most dental infections can be managed with dental treatments such as pulpotomy, pulpectomy, and nonsurgical root canal treatment. Antibiotics should only be used if dental treatment is not immediately available and the patient has other signs and symptoms such as fever or swollen lymph nodes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>A diet rich in plant-based food is associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer, while a high consumption of dairy products is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.</i></p> <p><i><b>The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Be aware and beware</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>MALE BREAST CANCER</b> is very rare. Only less than 1 per cent of all breast cancers occur in men. But according to a US study published in JAMA Oncology, men are more likely to die after a breast cancer diagnosis than women, across all stages of the disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed 11 years of data from the national cancer database to compare death rates among 1.8 million female patients (average age 59.9 years) and 16,025 male patients (average age 63.3 years).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, the five-year mortality rate for men was 19 per cent higher than for women. The higher death rate remained even after accounting for clinical characteristics, such as types and stage of breast tumours, age at diagnosis, treatments received and access to care, which combined with under-treatment accounted for 63.3 per cent of the gender-related mortality disparity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The disparity could be attributed to possible distinct cancer biology, according to the study authors. Lack of adequate treatment, late diagnosis, treatment compliance issues and an unhealthy lifestyle could be contributing factors as well.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Painful days</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CAN WEATHER</b> conditions affect pain?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Humid, windy days can worsen pain for people suffering from chronic conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine and neuropathic pain, according to a British study published in the journal NPJ Digital Medicine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 2,658 people across the United Kingdom. The participants used a smartphone app to record daily pain symptoms over 15 months and the local weather was determined using the location data on the smartphone’s GPS.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The majority of participants suffered from arthritis. The researchers analysed about six months’ data.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People with chronic pain were 20 per cent more likely to suffer from pain on humid and windy days with low atmospheric pressure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Humid days were the worst, whereas dry days were least likely to be painful. Rainfall also did not affect pain.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even though it is widely believed, the study did not find an association between temperature and pain. Cold days did not aggravate pain, but cold days that were also damp and windy did.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Exercise before or after breakfast?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>EXERCISE BEFORE</b> breakfast to reap the most health benefits.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, people who exercise before breakfast burn more fat and have a better control over blood sugar levels, which can lower their risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out how exercise timing affect muscle fat stores and insulin response, the researchers divided 30 overweight or obese men to one of three groups: eat breakfast before exercise, eat breakfast after exercise and make no lifestyle changes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who exercised before breakfast burned twice the fat as those who exercised after breakfast.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When people exercise after having fasted overnight, they have lower insulin levels and they use more of the fat from their fat tissue and muscles as fuel. While eating after exercise did not have any effect on weight loss, it significantly improved their overall health. The muscles of those who exercised before breakfast responded better to insulin, keeping their blood sugar levels under control and thus reducing the risk for diabetes and heart disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Parents and toddlers are more engaged with each other and have a more shared experience when reading from a print book. But an e-book tends to create conflict because both parents and kids try to control the tablet.</i></p> <p><i><b>JAMA Pediatrics</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Bedtime, the best time</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ACCORDING TO A STUDY</b> published in the European Heart Journal, taking blood pressure medications at bedtime rather than in the morning can reduce your risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure and death from such events by nearly half.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To analyse the impact of antihypertensive medication timing on the risk of cardiovascular events, the researchers randomly assigned 19,084 adults (10,614 men and 8,470 women) with hypertension to take all their the blood pressure pills either in the morning or at bedtime.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants wore 48-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring devices that tracked their blood pressure, at least once a year. During an average follow-up of six years, 1,752 participants experienced a cardiovascular event: 521 cases of heart failure; 345 strokes; 302 coronary revascularisation (procedures to open clogged arteries); 274 heart attacks, and 310 deaths from a cardiovascular event.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Taking the pills at bedtime reduced the risk of death due to heart or blood vessel conditions by 66 per cent, stroke by 49 per cent; heart attack by 44 per cent, heart failure by 42 per cent, and coronary revascularisation by 40 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The overall reduction in risk for cardiovascular-related death was 45 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>People with mental illness die early</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>PEOPLE WHO SUFFER</b> from mental disorders have a shorter lifespan than the general population. For the study published in The Lancet, the researchers analysed data form 7.4 million Danish adults.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers classified mental disorders into 10 groups and causes of death into 11 groups. The aim of the study was to analyse age specific and gender specific mortality risk for each type of disorder, as well as specific causes of death such as cancer, diabetes and suicide.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Across all ages, the risk of early death was higher for people with mental disorders. Men had a greater death risk than women. The average life expectancy was 10 years shorter for men and seven years shorter for women after a diagnosis of mental disorder compared to a person of the same age.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Men and women with mood disorders died about 7.9 and 6.2 years earlier than a person of the same age, respectively. Apart from an increased risk of death due to suicide, people with mental disorders also had an increased risk of death from other medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, respiratory diseases and diabetes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This could be due to diagnostic overshadowing, meaning, while getting help for mental disorders, a person’s symptoms for other physical ailments may be attributed to his mental illness.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Early surgery saves</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>DUCTAL CARCINOMA</b> in situ (DCIS) is the earliest stage of breast cancer. Abnormal cells form inside the milk duct of the breast at this stage. DCIS is noninvasive, but when the cancerous cells spread beyond the milk duct, it becomes invasive. If left untreated, 30 to 50 per cent of women with DCIS will get invasive cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Treatment for DCIS include surgery and radiotherapy, along with endocrine therapy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a US study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology, women who delay surgery for DCIS may have a higher risk of invasive ductal carcinoma and a slightly lower survival outcome.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 123,947 women with DCIS and 16,668 women with invasive ductal carcinoma. The overall survival and risk of progression to invasive cancer were compared during five time intervals between diagnosis and surgery: less than 30 days, 31-60 days, 61-90 days, 91-120 days, or 121-365 days.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Five-year survival for all patients was 95.8 per cent, with an average time from diagnosis to surgery of 38 days. But with each increase in diagnosis to surgery interval, the risk of death increased by 7.4 per cent. Delaying surgery also predicted progression to invasive cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Paracetamol peril</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>WOMEN WHO TAKE</b> acetaminophen (paracetamol) during pregnancy are more likely to have a child with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Acetaminophen is widely used by pregnant women for aches and is generally thought to be safe. Previous studies based on maternal self-report on the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy have suggested a connection between acetaminophen and ADHD and autism in children.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The current analysis was based on 996 babies and their mothers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Acetaminophen has been shown to cross the placenta and reach the baby. The researchers measured the amount of acetaminophen and two of its byproducts in each umbilical cord blood sample.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>By the time the children were an average of about ten years, 257 had been diagnosed with ADHD, 66 with ASD, and 42 with both ADHD and ASD, 304 with other development disorders and 327 did not have any disabilities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Children whose cord blood contained the highest levels of acetaminophen metabolites were 2.86 times more likely to have been diagnosed with ADHD and 3.62 times more likely to have an ASD diagnosis than those with the lowest levels.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/11/12/adulthood-will-be-good.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/11/12/adulthood-will-be-good.html Tue Nov 12 14:44:03 IST 2019 planning-to-conceive-avoid-alcohol <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/11/01/planning-to-conceive-avoid-alcohol.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/11/1/16-Planning-to-conceive-Avoid-alcohol.jpg" /> <p><b>ACCORDING TO A</b> Chinese study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, parental alcohol consumption in the months before conception can increase the risk of congenital heart disease in their babies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed 55 studies that included 41,747 babies with congenital heart disease and 2,97,587 without. The risk of congenital heart diseases gradually rose as parental alcohol consumption increased. Babies had a 44 per cent increased risk of congenital heart disease if fathers drank alcohol three months before conception, compared with babies whose fathers abstained. If mothers drank three months prior to conception and during the first trimester, babies had a 16 per cent higher risk of congenital heart defects.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Five or more drinks per sitting was linked to a 52 per cent higher likelihood of having a baby with birth defects for men. It was 16 per cent for women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Forcing will not help</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CHILDREN WHO ARE</b> forced to diet or lose weight by their parents are more likely to be obese as adults and suffer from eating disorders. The study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health was based on 1,116 adolescents (61 per cent girls) who completed surveys in 1998-1999.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Follow-up surveys were completed every five years from 2003 to 2016. More than 40 per cent of women and 27 per cent of men said their mothers had encouraged them to diet to stay slim. About 20 per cent of women and 18 per cent of men had received similar messages from their fathers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Parental pressure to lose weight was associated with poor health, unhealthy weight-related behaviours and lower psychosocial wellbeing in young adulthood. Girls and boys who had been pressured to diet had a 49 per cent and 13 per cent higher odds of being obese as adults, respectively, compared to those who did not face any parental pressure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The likelihood of being obese was 29 per cent higher for girls whose parents resorted to extreme weight control behaviours and 12 per cent greater for boys. Girls had a 17 per cent higher risk for binge eating. The risk was 39 per cent greater for boys.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Tone matters</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>WANT TO GET</b> your teenager to listen to you? Talk to them in a warm, supportive voice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a British study published in the journal Developmental Psychology, teenagers are less likely to listen to their mothers when spoken in a controlling tone of voice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study examined how 1,000 teens would respond to their mothers when receiving instructions in different tones. The mothers used either a controlling, supportive, or neutral tone of voice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Teens were more likely to engage and respond positively to instructions that conveyed a sense of encouragement and support for self-expression and choice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Speaking in a controlling tone elicited a range of negative emotions and less feelings of closeness.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“If parents want conversations with their teens to have the most benefit, it is important to remember to use supportive tone of voice. It is easy for parents to forget, especially if they are feeling stressed, tired or pressured themselves,” said the study author.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Radiation after surgery, not a must</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>RADIATION THERAPY</b> right after surgery may not be necessary for men with prostate cancer, according to a study presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology meeting.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out whether the benefits of radiotherapy after surgery outweigh the side effects, the researchers enrolled 1,396 patients after surgery for prostate cancer. They were randomly assigned to either radiotherapy right after surgery or to an observation-only group that received radiotherapy only if the disease recurred.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study did not find any difference in disease recurrence at five years between those who had radiotherapy shortly after surgery and those who had radiotherapy later, if the cancer came back.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Eighty five per cent of the men in the radiotherapy group were cancer-free five years after their surgery compared to 88 per cent in the standard care group.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Omitting or delaying radiotherapy can help many men avoid the side-effects of radiotherapy such as urinary incontinence and narrowing of the urethra, which can make urination difficult.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>A single child is not more self-centered or narcissistic than children with siblings.</i></p> <p><i><b>Social Psychological and Personality Science</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Sleep at least six hours</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>MIDDLE-AGED</b> adults with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke, who sleep less than six hours a day, could be at an increased risk for cancer and early death.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers analysed data from 1,654 adults, aged 20 to 74 years old. More than half of the participants were women. Of the 512 people who died during 20 years of follow up, one-third died of heart disease or stroke and one-fourth died due to cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People with high blood pressure or diabetes who slept less than six hours had twice the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke compared to those who slept for more hours.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People with a history of heart disease or stroke who slept less than six hours had three times the increased risk of dying from cancer. These associations remained even after accounting for sex, age, race, smoking, obesity, or other physical or mental health conditions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Exercise helps, in all ages</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ACCORDING TO A</b> French study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, regular exercise will benefit all patients with cardiovascular disease regardless of their age.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Older patients are especially at a higher risk for complications and accelerated physical de-conditioning after a cardiovascular event. But often they are not referred to cardiac rehabilitation programmes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study was based on 733 patients who participated in a 25-session cardiac rehabilitation programme. They were divided into three subgroups by age: under 65, between 65 and 80, and 80 and older.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Exercise benefited all patients regardless of their age.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“We found a few weeks of exercise training not only significantly improved exercise capacity but also decreased anxiety and depression. Patients with the greatest physical impairments at baseline benefited the most from exercise,” said the study author.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Your personality as a teen could predict your risk of dementia: those who were calm and mature as teens had a 10 per cent reduced risk of dementia in their 70s.</i></p> <p><i><b>JAMA Psychiatry</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>More harm than good</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CORTICOSTEROID</b> injections are often given to patients with osteoarthritis to reduce pain and inflammation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But according to a US study published in the journal Radiology, these steroid shots can accelerate osteoarthritis progression and joint destruction. The study was based on 459 patients who had one to three corticosteroid injections for hip or knee arthritis in 2018.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Eight per cent of the patients suffered complications: 26 patients had a quick progression of their arthritis; three patients suffered rapid joint destruction, including bone loss; four had stress fractures; and three had complications from osteonecrosis, where bone tissue dies. The complications were detected, on average, seven months after the corticosteroid injection.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Ageing indicator</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>SLOW WALKING</b> could be a sign of accelerated physical and biological ageing, according to a US study published in JAMA Network Open. The study included nearly 1,000 people born between 1972 and 1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand. They underwent frequent tests that assessed vision, hearing, neuropsychology, musculoskeletal health, respiratory and cardiovascular health, social and lifestyle habits, mental health, reproductive and sexual health, physical and grip strength, and facial ageing from birth to age 45.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At age 45, slow walkers showed more signs of ageing. They had lower total brain volume and cortical thickness, reduced brain surface area and higher incidence of white matter hyperintensities, which is associated with cognitive decline and dementia. Their lungs, teeth and immune systems were in worse shape than fast walkers. They also looked older to a panel of eight screeners who were asked to guess each participant’s facial age from a photograph.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Irregular periods? Be cautious</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>WOMEN WHO</b> consistently had irregular periods or extra-long menstrual cycles had an increased risk of death during twenty years of follow up.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting analysed data on 93,775 women without a history of cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants provided information about the usual length and regularity of their cycles. The women were followed from 1991 to 2013, during which time 1,679 people died including 828 from cancer and 166 from cardiovascular disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who consistently had irregular periods between the ages of 14 and 17 were 21 per cent more likely to die from any cause during the study than women with regular periods. The risk was 34 per cent higher for women who had irregular periods from 18 to 22. A similar association was seen in women with irregular menstrual cycles from ages 28 to 48.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who had longer cycles (more than 32 days) were also more likely to die from any cause during the study, than women whose cycles lasted 26 to 31 days.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/11/01/planning-to-conceive-avoid-alcohol.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/11/01/planning-to-conceive-avoid-alcohol.html Fri Nov 01 15:25:43 IST 2019 healthy-drinks-healthy-kids <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/10/04/healthy-drinks-healthy-kids.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/10/4/8-Healthy-drinks-healthy-kids.jpg" /> <p>What children drink in early childhood can impact their health and determine their choices throughout life. With so many products in the market, it can be confusing for parents.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Four key national health and nutrition organisations in the US have come together to issue a comprehensive guideline for beverage consumption for children from birth to age five. Here are the highlights:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>0-6 months:</b> Babies need only breast milk or infant formula.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>6-12 months:</b> In addition to breast milk or formula, babies can be given few sips of water once they are started on solid foods. Fruit juice should be avoided. Even 100 per cent fruit juice does not provide any nutritional benefits compared to whole fruit.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>1-2 years:</b> Introduce cow’s milk (whole) and add more water to your child's diet. Small amounts of 100 per cent fruit juice can be given. But small pieces of whole fruit is healthier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>2-5 years:</b> Continue with milk and water, but switch to skim or low-fat milk. Stick to small amounts of 100 per cent fruit juice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The committee does not recommend plant-based milk products, such as soy, almond, rice and oats, unless the child is allergic to cow’s milk or is lactose intolerant. Plant-based milk products lack essential nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium. Any drink with caffeine as well as all flavoured milk and all sugary beverages should be avoided.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Naps are good for heart</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Taking naps could be good for your heart health. According to a Swiss study published in the journal Heart, adults who took a daytime nap once or twice a week had a lower risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke and heart failure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 3,462 Swiss adults aged 35 to 75, who provided information about their sleep habits, and were followed for 5.3 years. More than half of the participants had not napped during the previous week of the study. And 155 fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events occurred during the follow up.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who napped occasionally were almost 50 per cent less likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke or heart failure compared to those who did not nap at all.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>No association was seen with more frequent napping or duration of napping. Occasional naps could relieve stress due to inadequate nighttime sleep and promote cardiovascular health.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know?</b></i></p> <p><i>People who drink tea regularly have better organised brain regions, suggesting that habitual tea drinking can protect against age-related decline in brain structure and cognitive function.</i></p> <p><i>Aging</i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Breast cancer screening for men</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Men at high risk of breast cancer may benefit from mammography screening, according to a US study published in the journal Radiology. Though rare, breast cancer is often deadly in men because it is often diagnosed at a more advanced stage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To analyse how breast imaging affects disease outcomes, the researchers examined the records of 1,869 men, aged between 18 and 96, who underwent mammography, over a 12-year period. Of the 2,304 breast lesions detected during screening, 149 were biopsied. Of those, 41 (27.5 per cent) were malignant.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study found that mammography was more effective at detecting cancer in high risk men than in women with average risk of breast cancer. For every 1,000 exams in high risk men, 18 had breast cancer. But the detection rate was 3 to 5 for every 1,000 exams in average risk women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Men who already had breast cancer had an 84 times greater risk of getting it again. Men with a first degree relative, such as a sister or mother, with breast cancer had a three times greater risk of getting the disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Reverse-balding cap</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Engineers at the University of Wisconsin, USA, have developed a low-cost, noninvasive device that can regrow hair. The electric patch can be discreetly worn under a baseball cap. It is powered by the movement of the wearer. It gathers energy from a person’s day-to-day movements and then transmits low-frequency electric pulses to the scalp, which causes dormant follicles to reactivate hair production.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The device is most suitable for people who have recently lost hair and is not effective for people who have been bald for several years. It only reactivates hair follicles that are dormant and does not cause new hair follicles to grow on smooth skin.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The device does not have any side effects. Since the electric pulses are so low, they will not penetrate beyond the very outermost layers of the scalp. When tested on mice, the device was as effective as baldness medicines. The researchers are starting human testing soon. The findings are detailed in the journal ACS Nano.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Height and diabetes</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Taller people have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, finds a German study published in the journal Diabetologia. The study included 2,500 adults who were part of a larger study that comprised 26,437 people aged between 35 and 65.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About 800 of these participants developed type 2 diabetes during seven years of follow up. Every 10 centimeter (4-inch) increase in a person's height was associated with a 41 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes for men and a 33 per cent lower risk for women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So how does height influence diabetes risk? According to the researchers, shorter people may have higher levels of liver fat. They are also more likely to have other cardio-metabolic risk factors such as higher blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Interventions to reduce liver fat may help reduce the risk of diabetes in shorter people, the study authors suggested.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Taking a hot bath or shower in water of 40-42.5°C for about 90 minutes before bedtime can significantly improve sleep quality and help you fall asleep faster.</i></p> <p><i>Sleep Medicine Reviews</i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Empty-stomach decisions</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People should avoid making important decisions on an empty stomach, according to a Scottish study published in the Psychonomic Bulletin &amp; Review. Fifty participants were offered three different types of rewards (food, money and music downloads) twice—once they had eaten normally and once after they had fasted for 10 hours.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They had the option to receive a small reward immediately or wait for a bigger one later. People preferred the smaller rewards rather than larger ones that would arrive later even for choices unrelated to food. When offered a reward now or the choice to double that reward later, most were willing to wait for 35 days to double the reward, but when hungry this dropped to only 3 days.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study suggest: “A reluctance to defer gratification may carry over into other kinds of decisions. It is important that people know that hunger might affect their preferences in ways they don't necessarily predict.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Aided by hearing aids</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Using hearing aids soon after a diagnosis of hearing loss can lower the risk of dementia, depression or anxiety, and fall-related injuries. The cost and stigma often deter most people with a diagnosis of hearing loss from get hearing aids.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out how hearing devices can lower those risks, US researchers analysed data from 1,14,862 people 66 years and older with hearing loss. They looked at the health records of the participants from one year before their diagnosis to three years afterward.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Only 12 per cent of those with a diagnosis of hearing loss actually get the devices. Men were more likely to get a hearing aid than women (13.3 per cent vs 11.3 per cent).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who wore a hearing aid reduced the relative risk of being diagnosed with dementia by 18 per cent. They also had an 11 per cent lower risk of being diagnosed with depression or anxiety and a 13 per cent lower risk of being treated for fall-related injuries. The findings were published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know?</b></i></p> <p><i>One person dies from suicide every 40 seconds. It is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29, after road injury.</i></p> <p><i>WHO</i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Killer silent strokes</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Silent (covert) strokes are common in seniors after an elective, non-cardiac surgery, which can double their risk of cognitive decline within a year. While an overt stroke causes symptoms such as weakness or speech problems, a covert stroke does not have any symptoms and can be seen only on brain scans.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Canadian researchers looked at the incidence and impact of silent strokes in 1,114 seniors from 12 centres around the world. All the patients had an MRI scan within nine days of their surgery. The study found that a covert stroke is more common than overt strokes in people aged 65 or older who have major, non-cardiac surgery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One in 14 people had a silent stroke, suggesting that about three million seniors globally suffer a covert stroke after surgery each year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers found that those who had a silent stroke after surgery were more likely to experience cognitive decline, perioperative delirium, overt stroke or transient ischemic attack. The findings were published in The Lancet.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/10/04/healthy-drinks-healthy-kids.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/10/04/healthy-drinks-healthy-kids.html Fri Oct 04 16:59:57 IST 2019 optimists-live-longer <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/09/10/optimists-live-longer.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/9/10/10-Optimists-live-longer.jpg" /> <p>People who are optimistic are more likely to live to age 85 or older. The conclusion comes from a study published in PNAS that included 69,744 women who were followed for 10 years and 1,429 men who were followed for 30 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants completed surveys that assessed their level of optimism and health habits such as diet, smoking and alcohol use.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The most optimistic men and women lived, on average, 11 to 15 per cent longer than the least optimistic participants. They were also 50 to 70 per cent more likely to live to the age of 85.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The results remained even after accounting for age, education, chronic diseases, depression, alcohol use, exercise and diet.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers provide possible explanations: optimistic people may have healthier habits like exercising and not smoking which could increase lifespan. They also may be able to regulate emotions better and recover from stressors more effectively.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Haemoglobin levels linked to dementia</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a Dutch study published in the journal Neurology, people who have either low or high levels of haemoglobin may have a higher risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s, as they get older.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 12,305 people without dementia (average age 65). Haemoglobin levels were measured at the start of the study and the participants were divided into five groups based on that. Among them, 745 participants (6 per cent) had anaemia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During an average follow up of 12 years, 1,520 people developed dementia, including 1,194 with Alzheimer’s disease. People with anaemia were 41 per cent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and 34 per cent more likely to develop any type of dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People with high levels of haemoglobin also had a higher risk of dementia. Those with the highest haemoglobin levels were 20 per cent more likely to develop dementia than those with levels in the middle. Similarly, those with the lowest haemoglobin levels were 29 per cent more likely to develop dementia than those with levels in the middle.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The results remained the same even after accounting for other risk factors of dementia, including smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and alcohol intake.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Open all blockages</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Opening all the clogged arteries with stents after a heart attack is significantly better than opening only the one blockage that caused the heart attack, according to a major clinical trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nearly half of all heart attack patients have more clogged arteries than the one that caused their heart attack. Doctors usually open only the one artery responsible for the heart attack, leaving the other blockages to be treated with medication alone. The international study included 4,041 patients treated at 140 hospitals in 31 countries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Opening all the blockages reduced the risk of the patient's risk of dying or having a recurrent heart attack by 26 per cent. All the patients had the blocked artery that caused the heart attack opened. Half of them were assigned to a second procedure to have other blocked arteries opened.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Over a median follow up of three years, 7.8 per cent of the patients who had all their blockages opened suffered a second heart attack or cardiovascular death compared to 10.5 per cent of those who had only the artery that caused the first heart attack opened.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Risk remains</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Smoking is a leading cause of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death. Quitting can significantly reduce the risk. But it could take 10 to 15 years after quitting for the risk to be similar to that of someone who never smoked, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out the risk of cardiovascular diseases after smoking cessation, the researchers followed 8,770 adults with a mean age of 42 years for an average of 26 years. Among them, 2,371 were heavy smokers, smoking at least one pack of cigarettes daily for 20 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There were 2,435 cardiovascular events during the study period. Of these, 1,095 were among heavy smokers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Quitting smoking reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 39 per cent within five years for former heavy smokers compared with current smokers. But their risk remained significantly higher for at least 10 to 15 years and possibly for 25 years after quitting compared to never-smokers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Practising mindfulness meditation can help adults with mild cognitive impairment enhance their cognitive reserve.</i></p> <p><i><b>Journal of Alzheimer's Disease</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Polypill solution</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A low cost polypill that contains four drugs could effectively reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by more than half.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study, published in The Lancet, included 6,841 people aged 55 years or over living in northern Iran. Nearly half the participants were women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 3,421 participants were asked to take a daily polypill, while 3,417 participants were given advice on a heart-healthy lifestyle. The polypill contained aspirin, a cholesterol-lowering statin and two blood pressure medications.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During five years of follow up, 301 participants in the lifestyle advice group suffered a cardiovascular event, compared to only 202 participants in the polypill group.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those taking the polypill had a 34 per cent lower risk of major heart events, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, acute coronary syndrome, procedures to reopen clogged arteries and heart related mortality, compared with those who received only lifestyle advice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk was 40 per cent lower among people without a history of heart disease, and up to 57 per cent lower in people who took the medication as recommended.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The benefits and side effects were similar in both men and women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>The best companion</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dog owners have better heart health, according to a US study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality &amp; Outcomes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To study the impact of pet ownership, specifically dog ownership, on cardiovascular health and risk factors, the researchers recruited 1,769 adults aged 25 to 64 years without a history of cardiovascular diseases from the Czech Republic.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Pet owners, in general, were more likely to eat a healthy diet, be physically active, and have ideal blood glucose levels and higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Regardless of their age, sex and education level, the greatest heart benefits were seen in dog owners.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The cardiovascular benefits could be explained by the simple fact that dogs keep their owners physically active, which could also explain the lower blood sugar levels. On average, 67 per cent of dog owners met the recommended exercise goals compared to 48 per cent of people without pets and 55 per cent of other pet owners.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dogs also promote better mental health by providing companionship and emotional comfort. They reduce stress and relieve feelings of loneliness.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know?</b></i></p> <p><i>The US Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers that Hyland's homeopathic teething tablets contain inconsistent amounts of belladonna, a toxic substance, that can cause unnecessary risk to infants and children.</i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Eat more plant protein</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who eat more plant proteins like nuts, soy, legumes and beans tend to live longer, according to a Japanese study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To analyse the association between dietary protein intake and the risk of death, the researchers followed 70,696 healthy people, average age of about 55, for about 20 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 12,381 people died during the study period: 5,055 deaths from cancer; 3,025 from cardiovascular disease; 1,528 from heart disease; and 1,198 from cerebrovascular disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Participants whose diet had the most plant protein had a 13 per cent lower risk of all-cause mortality and a 16 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular mortality compared to those who consumed the least plant protein.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Substituting just 3 per cent of red meat with plant protein was associated with a 34 per cent lower risk of all-cause mortality, a 39 per cent lower risk of cancer related mortality, and a 42 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular mortality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Substituting just 4 per cent of processed meat with plant protein was associated with 46 per cent lower risk of dying from all causes and 50 per cent lower risk of dying from cancer. No association was seen between intake of animal protein and mortality outcomes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Avoid alcohol during pregnancy</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>No level of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. Even small amounts can increase the risk of miscarriages.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>More than half of women drink alcohol in the early stages of pregnancy before they realise they are pregnant. Alcohol-related adverse pregnancy outcomes, like foetal alcohol syndrome, are often thought to be related to heavy consumption.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But according to the current study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, consuming even small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriages by 19 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among women who have less than five drinks a week, each additional drink per week during pregnancy was associated with a 6 per cent increase in miscarriage risk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The findings were based on 24 studies that included more than 2,31,808 pregnant women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know?</b></i></p> <p><i>A comparison of healthiness of packaged food and beverages among different countries showed that India and China had the worst Health Star Rating.</i></p> <p><i><b>Obesity Reviews</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Abusers at home</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As their physical and intellectual capabilities start to wane, senior citizens often become victims of scams and abuse. But who is the most likely perpetrator?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology, in majority of cases the perpetrator is a family member and not a stranger. The findings are based on an analysis of 1,939 calls made to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) resource line which was created to help people seeking information on how to identify or report elder abuse.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 42.2 per cent of the calls reported some form of abuse, with 54.9 involving financial abuse; 23 per cent of the calls reported multiple abuse types and 18.2 per cent alleged multiple abusers. A family member was the alleged perpetrator in nearly 48 per cent of the calls.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Financial abuse was the most common type of abuse perpetrated by family members (61.8 per cent), followed by emotional abuse (35 per cent), neglect (20.1 per cent), physical abuse (12 per cent) and sexual abuse (0.3 per cent).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>More than one type of abuse was reported in more than 32 per cent of the calls alleging abuse by a family member.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Cancer and antibiotic response</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a US study published in the journal Gut, antibiotic exposure can increase the risk of colon cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study, the researchers compared the medical records of 19,726 colon cancer patients and 9,254 rectal cancer patients with 1,37,077 people matched for age and sex, who did not develop these cancers. Nearly six out of 10 of all study participants had been prescribed more than one class of antibiotics.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even a single course of antibiotic use can slightly increase the risk of colon cancer, and the risk increased with prolonged usage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who were on antibiotics for a total of 15 to 30 days had an 8 per cent greater risk of colon cancer compared to those who had not taken any antibiotics. The risk was 15 per cent greater with 30 or more days of total antibiotic exposure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the other hand, antibiotic use was linked to a small decrease in the risk of rectal cancer. This could be due to differences in the impact of antibiotics on the gut bacteria.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/09/10/optimists-live-longer.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/09/10/optimists-live-longer.html Tue Sep 10 15:20:39 IST 2019 is-jogging-the-best-way-to-lose-weight <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/08/20/is-jogging-the-best-way-to-lose-weight.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/8/20/8-Is-jogging-the-best-way-to-lose-weight.jpg" /> <p>Are you doomed to become overweight if you are genetically prone to obesity? A Chinese study published in the journal PLOS Genetics has identified six exercises that can help people with obesity genes to avoid weight gain.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 18,424 adults aged 30 to 70 who provided information about their workout regimen. The researchers looked for genetic markers of obesity and examined the impact of 18 types of exercise on several measures of obesity, including body mass index, body fat percentage, waist circumference, hip circumference and waist-to-hip ratio.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, people who exercised regularly had a lower BMI, even if they were genetically prone to obesity, compared to those who did not engage in regular exercise. Jogging topped the list in helping people avoid obesity. Regular jogging was associated with a lower BMI, lower body fat percentage and a smaller hip circumference.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mountain climbing, walking, exercise walking, international standard dancing, and a longer practice of yoga also help reduce the genetic effects of obesity. But the study also found that exercises such as cycling, stretching, swimming and qigong were not effective in keeping weight in check.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Blood pressure control to prevent second stroke</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One in four stroke survivors will suffer a recurrent stroke. But intensive blood pressure control can reduce the risk of recurrence, finds a Japanese study published in JAMA Neurology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The trial included 1,263 people, average age of 67.2 years, who had suffered a stroke within three years before the start of the study. Half of the participants were randomly assigned to standard blood pressure control (less than 140/90mmHg), while the other half were assigned to intensive blood pressure control (less than 120/80mmHg). The mean baseline blood pressure was 145/84mmHg. During a mean follow up of 3.9 years, the average blood pressure was 133/78mmHg in the standard group and 127/77mmHg in the intensive group. Ninety-one people suffered a second stroke, but the risk was lower in the intensive group.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When the study results were combined with the findings of three similar studies, intensive blood pressure control was associated with a 22 per cent lower risk of a second stroke. A healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, reducing stress and reducing salt intake are other factors that can help reduce the risk of a second stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Eat plant-based food for a healthy heart</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who follow a mostly plant-based diet have a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke, cardiovascular disease mortality, and all-cause mortality, according to a US study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers followed 12,168 middle-aged US adults for nearly 30 years. None of the participants had cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. Of the subjects, 5,436 participants died during the study period, including 1,565 deaths from cardiovascular disease. There were 4,381 incidents of cardiovascular diseases.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who ate the most plant-based foods had a 16 per cent lower risk of heart attacks, stroke, heart failure and other heart conditions; a 32 per cent lower risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease; and a 25 per cent lower risk of dying from any cause compared to those who ate mostly animal-based foods.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>People who have a parent, sibling, or child with blood cancer have an increased risk for the malignancy. People with a relative diagnosed at a young age or with multiple affected relatives are especially at risk.</i></p> <p><i><b>Blood</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Blood test to detect Alzheimer’s</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A blood test to spot Alzheimer’ disease even before symptoms appear could soon be a reality. Harmful clumps of the amyloid beta protein, associated with Alzheimer's, begin to accumulate in the brain about 20 years before people actually show symptoms of the disease such as memory loss and confusion, the researchers said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>By measuring the levels of the protein in blood, it would be possible to predict with 88 per cent accuracy whether the protein has accumulated in the brain as well. People with early Alzheimer’s brain changes can be identified with 94 per cent accuracy when the blood test is combined with age and the presence of the genetic variant APOE4—two major Alzheimer’s risk factors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study, published in the journal Neurology, included 158 adults over 50 without any cognitive or memory problems. The blood test could be even more beneficial once more treatments are available for Alzheimer’s disease. It would help to identify at-risk patients early and start treatment and prevent disease progression. The immediate advantage of the blood test is identifying people who have signs of the disease and enrolling them for clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of drugs to prevent Alzheimer’s.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Smokers have nearly triple the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and double the risk of a heart attack, a stroke or heart failure compared to nonsmokers. Quitting at any age reduces the risk, and quitting by age 45 can eliminate about 90 per cent of the cardiovascular risks linked to smoking.</i></p> <p><i><b>BMC Medicine</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Don't stop statins in old age</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Discontinuing statins (drugs that reduce levels of fat in the blood) in old age can increase the risk of cardiovascular events, finds a French study published in the European Heart Journal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It has been proven that statin therapy can help control cholesterol levels and prevent cardiovascular problems. But can statins prevent cardiovascular events in healthy, older adults? To find out, the researchers examined the medical records of 1,20,173 participants, aged 75 or older, without any history of cardiovascular disease. The participants had been taking statins regularly for two years prior to the start of the study. During an average follow up of 2.4 years, 17,204 people (14.3 per cent) stopped taking statins for at least three consecutive months. Of that, 5,396 people had to be admitted to hospital for cardiovascular issues. Those who discontinued their statins were 33 per cent more likely to experience a cardiovascular event, had a 46 per cent increased risk of a coronary event and a 26 per cent increased risk of a blood vessel problem, such as stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Sling treatment for shoulder fractures</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nondisplaced shoulder fractures are usually treated by resting the shoulder in a sling for two to three weeks, followed by physical therapy. But for displaced shoulder fractures, the typical treatment is surgery in which the bones are rejoined with plates or metal screws.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But according to a European study published in the journal PLOS Medicine, treatment with a sling is as good as surgery for displaced shoulder fractures as well. The study included 88 patients over 60 who suffered a displaced shoulder fracture. Half of them had surgery, while the other half only had the arm supported by a sling. All patients underwent rehabilitation and were monitored for two years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There was no significant difference between the two treatments. The patients who underwent surgery did not have better shoulder function, less pain or better quality of life than those who had the sling treatment. In that context, the study author suggested that treatment with a sling should be preferred as patients thereby avoid surgery-related complications.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Stay socially connected</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who are socially active in their 50s and 60s may have a lower risk of developing dementia, according to a British study published in the journal PLOS Medicine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers followed 10,228 adults aged 35 to 55 for 28 years. The participants provided information about the frequency of social contact with non-cohabiting relatives and friends and took cognitive tests several times during the study period.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The medical records of the participants were analysed for a diagnosis of dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>More frequent social connection was associated with a lower dementia risk. This association was linked to social contact with friends rather than relatives. People in their 60s who interacted with friends nearly every day had a 12 per cent lower risk of developing dementia than people who saw a couple of friends every few months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Similar association was seen with social contact at ages 50 and 70. More frequent social contact in middle age was also associated with better cognitive function during follow-up.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Procedure to delay menopause by 20 years</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women can delay menopause by up to 20 years with a new 30-minute surgical procedure, claim doctors at ProFaM (Protecting Fertility and Menopause) in Birmingham, England.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The procedure involves having a piece of ovarian tissue removed using keyhole surgery. The tissue is then cryogenically frozen. As the woman gets closer to menopause, the tissue will be thawed and transplanted back into the armpit, which hopefully will restore their younger hormones and delay menopause. A similar procedure is already available to protect the fertility of young women and girls before undergoing cancer treatment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The procedure to delay menopause has been performed on nine British women ranging from 22 to 36. The long term effects will be known only several decades later. The doctors hope that delaying menopause could help women stave off common menopausal symptoms such as low sex drive, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, hot flushes, night sweats and other health problems such as heart disease and osteoporosis that are brought on by menopause.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The surgical procedure was launched by Professor Simon Fishel, the fertility expert who pioneered IVF.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Osteoarthritis may increase heart disease risk</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Two studies have linked osteoarthritis to an increased risk of heart disease. According to one study published in the journal Arthritis &amp; Rheumatology, taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in osteoarthritis patients. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen are the most common medication to manage pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study, the researchers matched 7,743 osteoarthritis patients with 23,229 people without the disease. Overall, osteoarthritis patients had a 23 per cent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. They had a 42 per cent higher risk of congestive heart failure; a 17 per cent greater risk of ischemic heart disease; and a 14 per cent greater risk of stroke. Taking NSAIDS accounted for nearly 41 per cent of the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another study published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage followed 4,69,177 Swedish people, aged 45 to 84, for up to 11 years. The researchers looked for cause-specific mortality among the 34,699 people who had osteoarthritis. Most cases were not linked to specific causes of death. But people with knee or hip osteoarthritis had a 19 per cent increased risk of dying from chronic heart diseases, and the risk increased with the duration of the disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Pregnant women who change residence during the first trimester have a 37 per cent greater risk of having a baby with low birthweight and a 42 per cent heightened risk of premature birth compared with women who do not move during this period.</i></p> <p><i><b>Journal of Epidemiology &amp; Community Health</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Track blood pressure with a selfie</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Monitoring your blood pressure could be as easy as taking a selfie video, according to findings of a new research published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The new smartphone-based technology, developed by researchers at the University of Toronto, uses transdermal optical imaging, which measures blood pressure based on facial blood flow changes. Ambient light penetrates the skin’s outer layer allowing optical sensors in smartphones to capture blood flow patterns. Transdermal optical imaging models use these patterns to predict blood pressure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers tested the technology on 1,328 Canadian and Chinese adults with normal blood pressure and then compared the values measured using the videos to readings taken using a traditional device. The imaging technology was about 95 per cent accurate in predicting systolic blood pressure and about 96 per cent accurate in predicting diastolic blood pressure with pulse pressure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But several issues need to be resolved before the technique can be used widely. The study was conducted in a controlled environment with fixed lighting. The researchers need to make the system work in a normal home setting. Also, the study did not include people with extremely dark or fair skin tones and people with high or low blood pressure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Mortality risk high post noncardiac surgery</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients undergoing noncardiac surgery are more likely to die during recovery than during the surgery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, included 40,004 patients aged 45 or above undergoing noncardiac surgery at 28 hospitals in 14 countries across North and South America, Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of them, 715 patients (1.8 per cent) died within 30 days of the surgery. Major bleeding, injury to the heart muscle and severe infection (sepsis) accounted for 45 per cent of the deaths.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Only five patients (0.7 per cent) died in the operating room compared to 500 patients (69.9 per cent) who died in the hospital and 210 patients (29.4%) who died after they were discharged from the hospital. “Given that most deaths in adults undergoing non-cardiac surgery occur not in the operating room but afterwards, efforts to improve postsurgical care has substantial potential to reduce mortality,” the study author said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the study, nearly 100 million adults aged 45 or older, worldwide, undergo noncardiac surgery every year and about 1.8 million people die of complications within 30 days.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/08/20/is-jogging-the-best-way-to-lose-weight.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/08/20/is-jogging-the-best-way-to-lose-weight.html Tue Aug 20 11:36:41 IST 2019 a-salaried-job-helps <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/08/02/a-salaried-job-helps.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/8/2/8-A-salaried-job-helps.jpg" /> <p>Women who have salaried jobs experience slower decline in memory, which may reduce their risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the US study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, the researchers followed 6,836 women born between 1935 and 1956.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The women, who were in their 50s at the start of the study, provided information about their parental and marital status and employment history. They had memory assessment tests, which included memorising a series of words and recalling them later, every two years for about 20 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The group included working married mothers, working single mothers, stay-at-home married mothers and stay-at-home single mothers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Some level of cognitive decline was seen in most women after the age of 60, which is natural. But memory declined at a faster rate in women who did not engage in paid work.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Married mothers who did not work had a 61 per cent faster memory decline compared to married mothers who had paying jobs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Single mothers without paid work saw the fastest decline. Their memory declined 83 per cent faster compared to married mothers who worked.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Cancerous heartbreak</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Broken heart syndrome is not just a trigger for heart events. According to an international study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, one in six people with broken heart syndrome also had cancer. What is more, they were more likely to die within five years after the syndrome began.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Broken heart syndrome occurs when the heart’s main pumping chamber temporarily enlarges and does not pump properly. It can be triggered by emotional situations such as the death of a loved one, or by a surgery or physical trauma.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of the 1,604 patients with broken heart syndrome included in the study, 267 patients had cancer. The average age was 69.5 years, and 87.6 per cent were women. The most common type of cancer was breast cancer. Other affected areas included the gastrointestinal system, respiratory tract, internal sex organs, and the skin.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cancer patients were more likely to have physical triggers and less likely to have emotional triggers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Blind about women's issue</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Blindness in general, and blindness caused by cataracts in particular, are considerably higher among Indian women compared to Indian men. But women are less likely to have their cataracts corrected with surgery, finds an Indian study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To analyse the gender-related differences in blindness, cataract blindness and cataract surgery in India, the researchers reviewed 22 studies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The age of the study participants ranged from 61 to 70.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Blindness was more prevalent among women (5.68 per cent) than in men (4.17 per cent).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women were 35 per cent more likely to be blind and 69 per cent more likely to be cataract blind than men. But women were 27 per cent less likely to get cataract surgery compared to men.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Around 35 per cent of the prevalence of blindness and 33 per cent of the prevalence of cataract blindness in women can be attributed to their gender alone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers highlight several possible explanations for the gender difference in the prevalence of blindness in India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Longer life expectancy and biological predisposition to age-related illnesses can only partly explain the gender differences.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Access to surgery could be a major contributing factor. Having less control over household income, inability to travel outside their village to access care, and lack of education or awareness make surgical correction less likely.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Pressure parameter</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that the diastolic blood pressure is also an important indicator of cardiovascular events.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers reviewed more than 36 million blood pressure readings from 1.3 million people for the study.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to new guidelines issued by the American College of Cardiology, a reading of 130/80 mmHg is considered as high blood pressure which is lower than the traditional threshold of 140/90 mmHg. A reading of 120/80 mmHg is considered normal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Over eight years of follow up, more than 44,000 patients had a heart attack or stroke. The study found that while systolic blood pressure was a stronger predictor of heart attack and stroke, diastolic blood pressure also increased the risk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On average, the risk of cardiovascular events rose by about 18 per cent with increase in each unit of systolic pressure above 140. Similarly, the risk increased by 6 per cent with increase in each unit of diastolic blood pressure above 90.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Cognitively normal older adults with high levels of amyloid-ß protein, linked to Alzheimer's disease, in their brains can slow any mental decline if they socialise regularly.</i></p> <p><i><b>American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Age is not just a number</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Foot morphology, or the shape of our feet, changes and foot deformities increase as we grow older. But older adults often wear ill-fitting shoes that can affect their balance and gait, and increase the risk of falls and fracture.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out the effects of footwear on comfort, mobility and quality of life among adults aged 65 and older, Dutch researchers reviewed 57 studies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to them, safe and comfortable footwear for older adults should include proper anatomical fit, a well-fitting toe box, a low heel height, a broad enough heel, a firm insole and midsole, an outsole with sufficient tread and width, a bevelled heel and shoe nose, a firm heel counter with snug fit, and an easy and effective closing mechanism.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers found that when older adults were provided with properly fitted shoes, they experienced less pain, and higher quality of life related to foot health and general health.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Sugary cause for cancer</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who drink a lot of sugary drinks, including soda and juice, have an increased risk for various cancers, especially breast cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The French study published in The BMJ included 101,257 healthy adults (21 per cent men and 79 per cent women) with an average age of 42 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Participants answered questions about their daily intake of 3,300 different foods and beverages. Men, on average, drank more sugary drinks than women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During nine years of follow up, 2,193 cases of cancer were diagnosed. The average age at diagnosis was 59 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Drinking 100ml of sugary drinks each day was associated with an 18 per cent increased risk of overall cancer and a 22 per cent increased risk of breast cancer, even after accounting for well known risk factors for cancer, such as age, sex, education, family history, smoking and physical activity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All sugary drinks, including 100 per cent fruit juice were associated with a higher risk of overall cancer. However, artificially sweetened beverages were not associated with a risk of cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Genetic factors account for 80 per cent of autism spectrum disorders. Environmental causes are responsible for the remaining 20 per cent. Maternal factors such as a mother's diet and weight, and mode or timing of delivery were almost nonexistent.</i></p> <p><i><b>JAMA Psychiatry</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Can dementia be prevented?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a British study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, following a healthy lifestyle can lower your risk of dementia even if you have a high genetic risk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 196,383 adults, aged 60 and older, without dementia at the onset.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Based on their genetic predisposition, the participants were grouped as high, intermediate and low genetic risk for dementia. They were also grouped on the basis of favourable, intermediate and unfavourable lifestyles they follow.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There were 1,769 cases of dementia during eight years of follow-up. Both genetic risk and healthy lifestyle were independently associated with risk of dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk of dementia was 32 per cent lower in people with a high genetic risk if they had followed a healthy lifestyle, compared to those who had an unhealthy lifestyle. Participants with high genetic risk and an unhealthy lifestyle were almost three times more likely to develop dementia, compared to those with a low genetic risk and healthy lifestyle.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Early indicators</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People with high blood pressure or high cholesterol before age 40 are at an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases later in life.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology included data from six studies involving 36,030 participants aged 18 to 84.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers looked at the association between blood pressure readings and cholesterol levels during early adulthood (18 to 39 years) and later adulthood (above 40), and subsequent risks of coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During 17 years of follow up, 4,570 people had coronary heart disease, 5,119 had heart failure and 2,862 people suffered a stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People whose LDL (bad) cholesterol was 100mg/dL and up before age 40 had a 64 per cent higher risk of coronary heart disease compared to people with low LDL levels in early adulthood.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Young adults with a systolic blood pressure (top number) reading above 130 had a 37 per cent elevated risk for heart failure later in life compared with someone with a reading under 120. And those with a diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) reading above 80 had a 21 per cent greater risk compared to someone with a reading under 80.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Having access to a garden, or being able to see green spaces from your home can reduce cravings for alcohol, cigarettes, and unhealthy food.</i></p> <p><i><b>Health &amp; Place</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Every minute matters</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Starting treatment for stroke patients 15 minutes sooner can save lives and prevent long term disability, according to a study published in JAMA.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To analyse patient outcomes based on their 'door-to-puncture' time—the interval from their arrival at the hospital to the time their treatment began—the researchers reviewed data for 6,756 patients who suffered ischaemic strokes and were treated with endovascular reperfusion therapy. The average age of the patients was 69.5 years, and 51.2 per cent were women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For every 1,000 patients whose time to treatment was 15 minutes sooner, 15 fewer died or required hospice care after discharge from the hospital, 17 more were able to walk out of the hospital without support and 22 more could care for themselves after leaving the hospital.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study found that the median time from arrival at the hospital to the start of treatment was 1 hour 27 minutes, and the median time from the start of stroke symptoms to treatment was 3 hours 50 minutes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study also found that treatment initiation tends to be delayed in hospitals that treat less than 30 stroke patients each year and at hospitals that are not certified as comprehensive stroke centres.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Microvascular risk</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Microvascular disease, or small vessel disease, can increase the risk of leg amputations, irrespective of its location in the body.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the journal Circulation, the researchers looked at the risk of amputation among 125,674 veterans with microvascular disease, peripheral artery disease (PAD) or both.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>PAD is a narrowing of the arteries typically found in the legs. Left untreated, PAD can lead to gangrene and amputation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There were a total of 1,185 amputations during an average of nine years of follow up.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those with microvascular disease had a 3.7 times greater risk of lower limb amputation, and accounted for 18 per cent of all amputations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those with PAD had a 13.9 times greater risk of lower limb amputation and accounted for 22 per cent of all amputations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Participants with both microvascular disease and PAD had a 23-fold increased risk of lower limb amputation and accounted for 45 per cent of all amputations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>You are more likely to meet your weekly exercise goals if you exercise at the same time every day.</i></p> <p><i><b>Obesity</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Small cut, big impact</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cutting just 300 calories from your daily diet can significantly improve cardio-metabolic risk factors, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and related deaths.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes &amp; Endocrinology included 218 healthy, non-obese adults aged 21 to 50.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 143 participants were assigned to a calorie-restricted diet. They had to reduce their daily calorie intake by 25 per cent for two years, while the remaining participants continued their usual diet.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ability to cut calories varied among the participants in the calorie-restricted group. The average calorie reduction was about 12 per cent over two years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even with 12 per cent calorie retraction, which equals about 300 calories, they lost 10 per cent of their body weight, 71 per cent of which was fat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They also had lower levels of a biomarker that indicates chronic inflammation, which has been linked to heart disease, cancer and cognitive decline.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/08/02/a-salaried-job-helps.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/08/02/a-salaried-job-helps.html Fri Aug 02 16:34:02 IST 2019 nature-the-best-healer <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/07/20/nature-the-best-healer.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/7/20/10-Nature-the-best-healer.jpg" /> <p>Spending just two hours a week in nature may promote physical and mental well-being, according to a British study published in the journal Scientific Reports.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study was based on a survey of nearly 20,000 people in England who were asked to rate their general health and well-being, and also answered questions about their engagement with nature during the previous week, including parks, beaches, countryside and other natural settings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who spent two to three hours per week in nature were 59 per cent more likely to report good health and 23 per cent more likely to report high well-being, compared to participants without any nature contact.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The positive association peaked at 300 minutes per week, beyond which there was no further gain. The benefits were seen across different groups of people, men and women, old and young, different occupational and ethnic groups, and those living in both rich and poor areas.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even people with long-term illnesses or disabilities reported better health and well-being if they spent two hours in nature. And the benefits were seen if the nature visits were done in one long stretch or several short visits in a week.</p> <p>The majority of nature visits in the study took place within just two miles of home.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Shape matters</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Your cardiovascular disease risk may depend on your body shape.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a US study published in the European Heart Journal, post-menopausal women who are apple-shaped have a greater risk of cardiovascular diseases, even if they are of normal weight, while pear-shaped women have a considerably lower risk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To analyse if fat distribution impacted heart disease risk, the researchers followed 2,683 women with normal body mass index for nearly 18 years. None of the participants had cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. During the study period, 291 new cases occurred.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who stored most fat round their middle (apple shaped) had almost twice the risk of heart disease and stroke compared to women with the least fat stored around their middle. On the other hand, the risk was 40 per cent lower in women who stored the most fat in their legs (pear-shaped).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who had the highest percentage of fat around their middle and the lowest percentage of leg fat had more than three times greater risk compared to women with the least body fat and the most leg fat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Stroke-triggering infections</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Infections, especially urinary tract infections, may put you at risk of suffering a stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the journal Stroke, the researchers looked at the medical records of more than 190,000 people who had been treated for a stroke to see if they had been hospitalised for infections, including skin, urinary tract, septicaemia, abdominal and respiratory, at seven, 14, 30, 60, 90, and 120 days prior to the stroke occurrence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Every type of infection increased the risk of ischaemic stroke, a type of stroke caused by blocked blood vessels in the brain. But UTIs showed the strongest link. Patients were more than three times as likely to suffer an ischaemic stroke within 30 days of an UTI. The risk was over five times greater in the week following an infection.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>UTI, blood infection and respiratory infection increased the risk for intra-cerebral haemorrhage, which is caused by a ruptured blood vessel in the brain. Respiratory infection also increased the likelihood of subarachnoid haemorrhage, caused by bleeds in the inner lining of the brain.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Anticholinergic drugs and dementia risk</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A commonly prescribed class of drugs has been shown to increase the risk of dementia. According to a British study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, patients aged 55 and older who took anticholinergic medication daily for three years or more, had a 50 per cent increased risk of dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Anticholinergic drugs work by blocking acetylcholine, a chemical that transmits messages in the nervous system. They are prescribed for a variety of health conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bladder conditions, depression, allergies, gastrointestinal disorders and Parkinson’s disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers compared the medical records of 58,769 patients with dementia and 225,574 patients without dementia. All the patients were 55 and older.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The increased risk of dementia was especially seen in patients who took anticholinergic drugs for depression, Parkinson’s, bladder problems and epilepsy, and in people aged below 80, suggesting that “anticholinergic drugs should be prescribed with caution in middle-aged and older people”.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Risky treatment</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients who receive radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment for hyperthyroidism have an increased long-term risk of cancer death from solid tumours, especially breast cancer. RAI is one of three commonly prescribed treatments for hyperthyroidism. The other two are anti-thyroid drugs and surgery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The US study published in JAMA Internal Medicine included nearly 19,000 people with hyperthyroidism (mainly Graves’ disease) who received the radiation treatment between 1946 and 1964. None of them had cancer at the start of the study.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers estimated radiation doses that each organ or tissue was exposed to as part of the treatment. While most of the radiation is absorbed by the thyroid gland, other organs like the breast and stomach are also exposed during treatment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There was a dose-response relationship between the radiation dose absorbed by an organ and the risk of death from cancer at that site, especially for solid tumours in men and women, and for breast cancer in women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Every 100 milligram of dose was associated with a 12 per cent increased risk of breast cancer death and 5 per cent greater risk of death from other solid cancers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the study, for every 1,000 patients (average age 40) treated with RAI, there would be an additional 19 to 32 radiation-related solid cancer deaths.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>The risk of stillbirth increases with every week that a pregnancy continues beyond 37 weeks, which is considered full term. The risk increased by 87 per cent for deliveries at 42 weeks compared to 41 weeks of gestation.</i></p> <p><i><b>PLOS Medicine</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>For timely detection</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Prostate cancer often grows slowly and most men with a diagnosis do not require treatment. But the current prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests cannot predict which tumours will become aggressive, making it hard for doctors to decide which men need further treatment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About 75 per cent of men with a high PSA test result do not have prostate cancer when they have a biopsy. On the other hand, PSA test fails to spot cancer in about 15 per cent of men with prostate cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Prostate urine risk (PUR), the new urine test, can predict which patients will require treatment, five years earlier than the current tests. PUR looks for genetic markers to make a more accurate diagnosis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers hope the new test would help low-risk patients on active surveillance avoid unnecessary and repeated biopsies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The findings were published in the journal BJU International.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Yogurt to fight colon cancer</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Eating yoghurt may lower the risk of colon cancer in men.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study published in the journal Gut was based on 32,606 men and 55,743 women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All of them had a colonoscopy between 1986 and 2012. During the study, 5,811 men and 8,116 women developed polyps or adenomas, which are abnormal growths that have the potential to turn cancerous.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Men who ate two or more servings of yoghurt a week were 19 per cent less likely to develop conventional adenomas compared with men who did not eat any yoghurt. They were also 26 per cent less likely to develop the kind of adenomas that have the highest potential to become cancerous.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, the study did not find any link between yoghurt consumption and adenoma risk in women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So how does yoghurt help fight cancer? According to the researchers, yoghurt may promote the growth of healthy bacteria in our gut. Two common probiotics found in yoghurt, lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus, may reduce acids and cancer-causing chemicals in the colon. Yoghurt may also reduce inflammation, which reduces cancer risk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Using LASER antiretroviral therapy followed by gene editing, US researchers have successfully eliminated HIV from infected animals’ genome for the first time.</i></p> <p><i><b>Nature Communications</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Can cervical cancer be eradicated?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A global review of the impact of HPV vaccinations has shown significant reductions in human papillomavirus infections, genital warts and precancerous lesions that can lead to cervical cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The HPV vaccine, offered to girls and boys, protects against the HPV strains—HPV 16 and 18—that cause 70 per cent of cervical cancers. It also provides protection against 90 per cent of the strains that cause genital warts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in The Lancet, researchers reviewed 65 studies that included data collected over eight years from more than 60 million people in 14 countries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Compared to rates before vaccination, HPV 16 and 18 dropped by 83 per cent in girls aged 13 to 19 years, and by 66 per cent among women aged 20 to 24, five to eight years after vaccination initiation. In addition, there was a 54 per cent reduction in three other types of HPV—31, 33 and 45—in teen girls.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Precancerous cervical lesions went down by 31 per cent in women aged 20 to 24 and 51 per cent in teen girls.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cases of genital warts went down by 67 per cent in girls aged 15 to 19, 48 per cent in boys aged 15 to 19, 54 per cent in women aged 20 to 24, 32 per cent in men aged 20 to 24, and 31 per cent in women aged 25 to 29 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>For your sexual health</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Regular nut consumption can improve erectile and sexual function in healthy men.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Lifestyle factors, including smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity, psychological stress, and unhealthy diets can negatively impact erectile and sexual function.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the Spanish study published in the journal Nutrients, researchers assigned 83 healthy men, aged 18 to 35, to one of two groups. Men in the nut group were asked to add 60g raw mixed nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts) daily to their usual western-style diet for 14 weeks, while those in the control group followed their usual western-style diet without any nuts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The nut intervention group reported significant increase in the orgasmic function and sexual desire at the end of the study period compared to the control group.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Our study suggests that compliance with a healthy diet supplemented with mixed nuts may help improve erectile function and sexual desire,” the study concluded.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Hidden recovery signals</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There is no clear way for doctors to predict which patients will recover from coma after a brain injury. Neurological examinations and other tests that are currently used by doctors to estimate the likelihood of recovery are often inaccurate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, some patients in coma may show signs of hidden consciousness that are detectable with EEGs just days after injury and those patients are more likely to get better.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study was based on 104 unresponsive adult patients who had suffered a sudden brain injury due to internal bleeding, trauma, or oxygen deprivation. They were unable to talk and did not respond to commands to move.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers used EEG to scan the brain waves of the patients as they were asked many times to open and close their hands or stop opening and closing their hands. Using an algorithm, the brain waves were then analysed to see if there were different patterns of activity, suggesting that the patients could differentiate between the two commands even though they could not act on it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fifteen per cent of the patients had brain activity patterns suggesting hidden consciousness within four days of the injury. Among them, 50 per cent were able to follow verbal commands before being discharged from hospital compared to 26 per cent of those without such brain activity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A year later, 44 per cent of patients with the brain activity patterns were able to function independently for eight hours daily, compared with only 14 per cent of those without such brain activity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know?</b></i></p> <p><i>About 81 per cent of antibiotics prescribed by dentists before dental procedures to prevent infections are unnecessary.</i></p> <p><i><b>JAMA Network Open</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Beware, workaholics</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who regularly work long hours have a higher risk of stroke, especially if they do so for ten years or more, according to a French study published in the journal Stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study defined long hours as working more than ten hours for at least 50 days a year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk was similar for both men and women, but greatest for people younger than 50. The study included 143,592 participants, 29 per cent of whom reported working long hours and 10 per cent reported working long hours for a decade or more.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 1,224 had suffered a stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Working long hours was associated with a 29 per cent greater risk of stroke. The risk was 45 per cent greater for those who worked long hours for ten years or more.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Part-time workers and those who suffered a stroke before working long hours were excluded from the study.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/07/20/nature-the-best-healer.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/07/20/nature-the-best-healer.html Sat Jul 20 15:48:05 IST 2019 preventive-dose-daily <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/06/25/preventive-dose-daily.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/6/25/8-Preventive-dose-daily.jpg" /> <p>New guidelines issued by the US Preventive Services Task Force is recommending all healthy people at high risk of HIV infection take a daily pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) pill. PrEP is a combination of two HIV medicines—tenofovir and emtricitabine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, taking PrEP pill daily can reduce the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90 per cent. Combining PrEP with condoms can reduce the risk of infection even further. PrEP can also reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who inject drugs by more than 70 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>PrEP is highly effective in preventing HIV if used as prescribed. It is much less effective in people who do not take it consistently.</p> <p>Side effects are mild and include some kidney and gastrointestinal issues. The new recommendations are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Additional defence</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A landmark clinical trial has shown that a common diabetes drug—canagliflozin—may also reduce the risks of kidney failure and cardiovascular events, including heart failure, in patients with diabetes and kidney disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine included 4,401 patients with diabetes and chronic kidney disease from 34 countries. Half of the participants were given canagliflozin, while the other half received a placebo. All the participants received treatment for kidney disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who took canagliflozin had a 30 per cent reduced risk of developing kidney failure, a 30 per cent lower risk of dying from either kidney failure or cardiovascular disease, a 39 per cent lower risk of heart failure, and a 20 per cent reduced risk of major cardiovascular outcomes, including heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Stents for elderly, too</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), also known as angioplasty with stent, is a non-surgical procedure that unlocks arteries that have been narrowed by plaque buildup. The blocked arteries can lead to a heart attack. PCI is safe, effective and improves overall survival, and is widely used in younger heart-attack patients.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But what about older patients?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out if PCIs work in older adults, researchers analysed medical records of nearly 470,000 older patients admitted to US hospitals who faced their first heart attack.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They grouped patients aged 75 to 79 years as 'young-old', 80 to 84 as 'middle-old' and 85 and older as 'old-old'.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Though the use of PCI has been steadily increasing among all age groups, 'old-old' patients were the least likely to receive the lifesaving procedure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>PCI was performed in 38 per cent of young-old patients compared to 33 per cent of middle-olds and 20 per cent of old-olds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall death was 5 per cent lower among the young-olds in the PCI group compared to those who did not get the procedure. The reduction in death with PCI was 49 per cent and 42 per cent lower among the middle-olds and old-olds, respectively.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The findings were published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>DID YOU KNOW</b></i></p> <p><i>Pregnant women who take benzodiazepines, a class of drugs prescribed for anxiety, seizures and insomnia that include Xanax and Valium, are nearly twice as likely to suffer miscarriages. <br> <b>JAMA Psychiatry</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Count your steps</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a US study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine, taking as few as 4,400 steps per day was significantly associated with a lower risk of death and the benefits seemed to taper off at around 7,500 steps per day, which is much less than the 10,000 steps touted by many wearable devices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study, 16,741 women, average age 72 years, wore an accelerometer that counted steps and measured stepping intensity for seven consecutive days.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During an average follow-up of over four years, 504 women died. Among them, 275 of them were in the bottom 25 per cent of steps walked, an average of 2,700 per day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study found a close association between daily step count and mortality risk. Women who took about 4,400 steps per day had a 41 per cent lower risk compared to those who walked 2,700 steps per day. The risk of death steadily declined with more steps taken, but levelled off at around 7,500 steps per day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Rehab after big fight</b></p> <p>Advances in cancer screening, detection and treatment have significantly improved the survival odds of cancer patients.</p> <p>But cancer survivors are 1.3 to 3.6 times more likely to die from cardiovascular causes and 1.7 to 18.5 times more likely to develop diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or other risk factors for heart disease than someone without a cancer history.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cancer treatments can damage the heart and survivors may also have to grapple with weight gain or loss of fitness.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A new scientific statement from the American Heart Association published in the journal Circulation, aims to draw attention to the importance of adopting a cardiac rehab plan for cancer survivors—cardio-oncology rehabilitation—similar to the one used for heart attack survivors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The aim of the programme is to identify cancer survivors at risk of heart disease and provide exercise training, nutritional guidance, information about management of weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. It also includes counselling to reduce stress and anxiety. The programme can help people regain some of the cardiorespiratory fitness lost during cancer treatment and improve their muscular strength and quality of life.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>DID YOU KNOW</b></i></p> <p><i>Men who wear moustaches have a 16 times lower risk of developing actinic keratosis (a pre-cancerous lesion) on the lower lip that can increase the risk of a cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.<br> <b>Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Sign of serious problems</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fainting during pregnancy is often considered normal and benign.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But according to a Canadian study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, fainting spells during the first semester could be a sign of health concerns for both the mother and baby.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers reviewed the birth records of 481,930 babies and the medical records of their mothers for one year after delivery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About one per cent of the mothers experienced fainting spells. Among them, 32 per cent of those were during the first trimester, 44.1 per cent during the second trimester and 23.6 per cent during the third trimester.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk of preterm birth was higher among women who fainted during the first trimester. Children born to mothers who had fainted multiple times were more likely to have congenital anomalies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who fainted during pregnancy had higher rates of cardiac arrhythmia and further fainting episodes after delivery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>DID YOU KNOW</b></i></p> <p><i>Increasing the reach of treatment for high blood pressure to 70 per cent of the world’s population could save the lives of 39.4 million people; reducing sodium intake by 30 per cent could prevent another 40 million deaths; and eliminating trans fat could prevent an additional 14.8 million deaths.Circulation</i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Are PPIs safe?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Long term use of popular heartburn drugs can increase the risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease and upper gastrointestinal cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Popular proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which include drugs such as omeprazole, lansoprazole, pantoprazole, rabeprazole, esomeprazole and dexlansoprazole, are often prescribed for heartburn, ulcers and acid reflux.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in The BMJ, researchers studied the medical records of 157,625 people who were prescribed PPIs and 56,842 people taking another class of heartburn drugs known as H2 blockers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>PPI users had a 17 per cent increased risk of death compared with the H2 blocker users. PPI use was specifically associated with deaths from cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease and upper gastrointestinal cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk increased with the duration of PPI use and even when the drugs were taken at low doses. More than half of the people were taking PPIs without any medical indication and death rates were highest among them.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Ultra-processed menace</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Two studies published in The BMJ have found a strong association between eating ultra-processed foods and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and early death.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the first study, 105,159 adults with an average age of 43 years completed six 24-hour dietary questionnaires that measured the intake of 3,300 different food items that were grouped based on the degree of processing. They were followed for an average of 5.2 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For every 10 per cent increase in the amount of ultra-processed foods the participants consumed, the risk of cardiovascular disease increased by 12 per cent, coronary heart disease by 13 per cent and cerebrovascular disease by 11 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the other hand, the risk of all these diseases were significantly lower in those who consumed more unprocessed or minimally-processed foods.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the second study, 19,899 adults with an average age of 38 years completed a food questionnaire of 136 items. Among them, 335 died during an average of ten years of follow-up.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who consumed more than four servings of ultra-processed foods per day had a 62 per cent higher risk of all-cause mortality compared with those who ate less than two servings per day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For each additional daily serving of ultra-processed food, mortality risk increased by 18 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Advanced combination</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Adding a newer drug, Ribociclib, which is taken as a tablet, to the standard hormone treatment can improve the odds of survival by about 30 per cent in younger women with advanced breast cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ribociclib belongs to a class of drugs called CDK4/6 inhibitors. They work by targeting cancerous cells and blocking their ability to multiply.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The findings of the current study included 672 women, aged 25 to 58, with advanced breast cancer, who were premenopausal or going through menopause. All had cancer that was hormone receptor-positive, but lack a protein called HER2.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Half of the patients were randomly assigned to take Ribociclib in cycles of three weeks on the drug and one week off, while the other half took placebo tablets.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All the women received standard hormonal therapy and drugs to stop the production of the hormone oestrogen.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 70 per cent of patients on hormone therapy plus Ribociclib were still alive three and half years later compared with only 46 per cent of those on hormone therapy alone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The drug is less toxic than chemotherapy. Possible side effects include fatigue, nausea, diarrhoea and constipation, and a drop in certain white blood cells that help fight infections.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/06/25/preventive-dose-daily.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/06/25/preventive-dose-daily.html Tue Jun 25 17:33:26 IST 2019 sleep-mantra <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/06/15/sleep-mantra.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/6/15/6-Sleep-mantra.jpg" /> <p>Sleep problems in teenagers can be easily reversed by limiting evening exposure to blue light-emitting devices such as phones, tablets and computers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Too much evening exposure to the blue light emitted from screens can affect the body’s circadian rhythm and the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, disrupting the quality of sleep.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chronic sleep deprivation can cause fatigue and poor concentration as well as increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Dutch study presented at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting found a simple fix to the problem.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers assessed the sleep patterns of 25 frequent users of phones in two settings: wear orange-tinted glasses that block blue light when using devices before bed time for a week and abstain from usage in the evening for a week.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Both methods were equally effective. Just one week of limiting exposure to blue-light emitting devices in the evening improved sleep quality of the participants and reduced symptoms of fatigue, lack of concentration and bad mood.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>To deal with dementia</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The World Health Organization has issued new guidelines to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dementia affects about 50 million people globally, with nearly 10 million new cases added every year. The number of people with dementia is expected to triple to 152 million in the next 30 years, and the cost of caring for dementia patients is expected to rise to $2 trillion by 2030.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While age is the most important risk factor for cognitive decline, according to the report, "Dementia is not a natural or inevitable consequence of ageing”.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations to prevent or delay the onset and progression of cognitive decline and dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Getting regular exercise topped the list followed by nonsmoking, non-drinking healthy diet, controlling weight, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Vitamins and supplements did not appear to offer protection, nor did social activity and cognitive training and interventions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There was also insufficient evidence to recommend antidepressants or hearing aids to reduce the risk of dementia. Nevertheless, being socially engaged, treating depression and managing hearing loss are important for good health and wellbeing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Fast walkers live long</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a British study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, people who habitually walk faster tend to live longer regardless of their body weight or waist circumference.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Walking pace is an important marker of cardiorespiratory fitness and overall health.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To analyse the link between physical fitness—assessed by walking pace and handgrip strength—and life expectancy, the researchers used data from 474,919 participants with an average age of 58 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 12,823 people died over a median follow-up of seven years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Participants with faster walking pace had longer life expectancies, ranging from 86 to 87 years in women and 85 to 86 years in men, across all weight groups.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the other hand, participants with slow walking pace had shorter life expectancies. Slow walkers with a BMI less than 20 kg/m2 had an average of 72 years for women and 64 years for men.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A similar pattern of results was found for waist circumference measurements as well.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Early indicator</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Diabetes is a strong predictor of deadly liver diseases, including cirrhosis and cancer, finds a British study published in the journal BMC Medicine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers looked at the medical records of 18 million adults and identified 136,703 patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>NAFLD is the most common liver disease in the world and is closely linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Even though NAFLD is a benign condition, about one in six people with the condition will go on to develop NASH, a more aggressive disease, which can lead to liver injury, cirrhosis, liver failure and even cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Each NAFLD patient was matched with 100 controls without the disease to see who would develop liver cirrhosis and liver cancer over time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients with NAFLD/NASH were more likely to have type 2 diabetes, hypertension and obesity than matched controls.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>NAFLD/NASH patients who had type 2 diabetes were more than twice as likely to develop aggressive liver disease, suggesting that diabetes could be a good predictor of liver disease progression.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>NAFLD/NASH patients were almost five times more likely to be diagnosed with cirrhosis and more than three and a half times more likely to be diagnosed with liver cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>In the zone of a second stroke</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Smoking is already known to increase the risk of numerous cancers and cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a Chinese study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, smokers who do not quit after an initial stroke are more likely to suffer a second stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 3,069 patients who suffered a first stroke. Among them, 48 per cent were current smokers, 8.6 per cent were former smokers and 43.4 per cent were nonsmokers; 61.6 per cent of the current smokers quit smoking after the initial stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During the study period, 9.5 per cent of the patients suffered a second stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Compared to nonsmokers, the risk for a recurrent stroke was 93 per cent higher in persistent smokers, 31 per cent higher in those who quit smoking after the initial stroke and 16 per cent higher in former smokers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk of a repeat stroke increased with the number of daily cigarettes smoked. Those who smoked up to 20 cigarettes daily were 68 per cent more likely to suffer a second stroke, while the risk was almost three times greater for those who smoked more than 40 cigarettes a day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Bipolar disorder increases Parkinson’s risk</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients suffering from bipolar disorder are seven times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease, according to a Taiwanese study published in the journal Neurology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers compared the medical records of 56,340 patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder between 2001 and 2009 with 225,360 matched controls without bipolar disorder. People in both groups did not have a history of Parkinson’s disease.</p> <p>Both groups were followed until the end of 2011.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During the study, 372 people with bipolar disorder developed Parkinson's disease, compared to 222 of those without the disorder.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People with bipolar disorder developed Parkinson's disease at a younger age—64 years old at diagnosis compared to 73 years old for those without the disorder.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients who were hospitalised more often for bipolar disorder were more likely to develop Parkinson's disease. Those who were hospitalised one to two times per year were four times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than those who were hospitalised less than once per year. The risk was six times greater for those who were hospitalised more than two times per year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Weighing yourself daily can help you maintain or even lose weight. Seeing weight increase can motivate behavioural changes like exercising more and watching your diet.</i></p> <p><i><b>Obesity</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Don’t fat-shame children</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Teasing children about their weight may lead to more weight and fat gain, according to a US study published in the journal Pediatric Obesity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 110 kids with an average age of 12 years at the start of the study. They were either overweight, or at risk of being overweight because their parents were overweight or obese.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They completed a brief questionnaire on whether they had been teased about their weight. They were then followed for 15 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Children who were teased about their weight had a 33 per cent increase in their body mass index each year compared with children who had not been teased. They also had a 91 per cent greater gain in fat mass (an additional 0.65 kg) per year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the study authors, kids who are teased about their weight are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviours, such as binge eating and avoiding exercise. The stress of being teased may also stimulate the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which may lead to weight gain.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Older adults who regularly play word and number puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku have sharper brains and perform better on a range of cognitive tasks assessing memory, attention and reasoning.</i></p> <p><i><b>International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Diabetes linked to several cancers</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk for several cancers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a Chinese study published in the Journal of Diabetes, diabetes can increase the risk for 11 types of cancer in men and 13 types of cancer in women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers identified 410,191 adults with type 2 diabetes from July 2013 to December 2016.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>None of them had cancer at the start of the study. They were followed until December 2017.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 8,485 of the participants were diagnosed with cancer during the follow up period.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Men and women with diabetes had a 34 per cent and 62 per cent elevated risk of cancer compared to men and women without diabetes, respectively.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For men, the greatest risk was for prostate cancer; the risk was 86 per cent greater. They also had a higher risk for leukaemia, skin cancer, thyroid cancer, lymphoma, kidney cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and stomach cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For women with diabetes, the highest risk was for nasopharynx cancer. They also had a higher risk for liver cancer, oesophageal cancer, thyroid cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, lymphoma, uterine cancer, colorectal cancer, leukaemia, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and stomach cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study found a lower risk for oesophageal cancer and gallbladder cancer for men and women with diabetes, respectively.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Diet matters</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Unhealthy diets accounted for 5.2 per cent of all new cancer cases among adults 20 and older in the US in 2015, according to a study published in JNCI Cancer Spectrum.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This is similar to the rates of cancer cases associated with alcohol consumption, which is 4 to 6 per cent. In comparison, being obese accounts for 7 to 8 per cent of the cancer cases and physical inactivity is associated with 2 to 3 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers identified seven dietary factors that could increase the risk of cancer. Low whole-grain intake accounted for the largest proportion of new cancer cases, followed by low dairy intake, high intake of processed meat and red meat, low fruit and vegetable intake and high intake of sugary beverages.</p> <p>The largest number of cancer cases associated with poor diet was for colorectal cancer, followed by cancer of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx, uterine cancer, post-menopausal breast cancer, kidney cancer, stomach cancer and liver cancer.</p> <p>Middle-aged men had the highest proportion of diet-related cancers compared to other age and gender groups.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Drinking 32 ounces of energy drink in an hour can cause abnormal electrical activity in the heart and increase blood pressure.</i></p> <p><i><b>Journal of the American Heart Association</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>For mothers' wellness</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Giving a single dose of antibiotics soon after delivery to women who undergo assisted vaginal birth could halve the rate of maternal infections and reduce the need for antibiotics later.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Pregnancy-related infections after assisted vaginal delivery are a major cause of death and serious illness, affecting about one in five women worldwide.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in The Lancet, 3,427 women were randomly assigned to receive either a single dose of intravenous amoxicillin with clavulanic acid or a saline placebo about three hours after delivery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 19 per cent of those who received the placebo developed an infection after childbirth, compared with only 11 per cent of those in the antibiotic group. The rates of sepsis, a more serious infection, were 56 per cent lower in women who received the antibiotics than those who received the placebo.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who received the antibiotics also had lower rates of perineal infection, perineal pain, burst stitches and problems feeding babies as a result of pain. They also had a better recovery after childbirth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A single dose of antibiotic given prophylactically also reduced the overall use of antibiotics for post-delivery infections by 17 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Delayed fatherhood has consequences</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Men who delay fatherhood may be putting the health of their partners and children at risk, according to US study published in the journal Maturitas.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To evaluate the effect of parental age on fertility, pregnancy and the health of children, the researchers reviewed 40 years of research.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Men aged 45 and older can have decreased fertility. Their partners are at a greater risk for increased pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and preterm birth. Infants born to older fathers have a higher risk of premature birth, late still birth, low birth weight, higher incidence of newborn seizures and birth defects such as congenital heart disease and cleft palate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As they get older, these children have an increased risk for cancers, psychiatric and cognitive disorders, and autism.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/06/15/sleep-mantra.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/06/15/sleep-mantra.html Sat Jun 15 18:27:30 IST 2019 living-withloneliness <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/05/22/living-withloneliness.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/5/22/6-Living-with-loneliness.jpg" /> <p>People who live alone are more likely to suffer from common mental disorders such as anxiety, mood disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders and substance abuse, irrespective of age and gender.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The number of people living alone has been increasing steadily, mostly due to population ageing, decreasing marriage rates, increasing divorce rates and falling fertility.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Previous studies have mostly focused on older adults. But the current study published in PLOS ONE looks at the link between living alone and mental disorders in people of all age groups.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>French researchers used data from 20,503 people aged 16 to 64 living in England who participated in National Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys in 1993, 2000 or 2007.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants also provided information about their weight and height, alcohol dependence, drug use, social support, loneliness and the number of people living in a household.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The percentage of people living alone increased steadily from 8.8 per cent in 1993, to 9.8 per cent in 2000 and 10.7 per cent in 2007. Correspondingly, the rates of common mental disorders also increased from 14.1 per cent in 1993 to 16.3 per cent in 2000, and 16.4 per cent in 2007.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Rate your heart</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A resting heart rate of 75 beats per minute (bpm) in midlife can double the risk of an early death, according to a Swedish study published in the journal Open Heart.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Resting heart rate refers to the number of times your heart beats in a minute when the body is at rest. A resting heart rate of 50 to 100 beats per minute is considered to be normal. A lower rate indicates better cardiovascular fitness and heart function.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out the impact of resting heart rate on health and mortality risk before age 75, the researchers studied 798 men born in 1943.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 1993, these men (aged 50) answered questions about their health and lifestyle, and underwent a comprehensive medical check-up, which included their resting heart rate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Resting heart rate was measured again in 2003 and 2014 among those who were alive and willing to participate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About 15 per cent of the original participants had died before their 71st birthday; 28 per cent developed cardiovascular disease; and 14 per cent developed coronary heart disease during the 21-year period.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A resting heart rate of 75 bpm or higher in 1993 was associated with a nearly twofold risk of death from any cause, from cardiovascular disease, and from coronary heart disease, compared with a resting heart rate of 55 or below.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But on the other hand, having a resting heart rate that remained stable between the ages of 50 and 60 was associated with a 44 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease over the next 11 years compared with a resting heart rate that had increased over this period.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Dealing with dengue</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a vaccine for the prevention of dengue disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dengvaxia, which is effective against all dengue virus serotypes, has been approved for people who already had a dengue infection. Dengvaxia has already been approved in the European Union and 19 countries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The vaccine was found to be 76 per cent effective in three randomised, placebo-controlled studies that included about 35,000 participants. The vaccine is administered as three separate injections, with the initial dose followed by one at six and twelve months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Infection by one type of dengue virus usually provides immunity against that specific serotype, but a subsequent infection by any of the other three serotypes of the virus increases the risk of developing severe dengue disease, which may lead to hospitalisation or even death,” said the director of the FDA’s Centre for Biologics Evaluation and Research.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“This vaccine will help protect people previously infected with dengue virus from subsequent development of dengue disease.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In people who have not had a previous dengue virus infection, Dengvaxia may act like a first dengue infection and a subsequent infection can result in severe dengue disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Hormonal harm</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients who receive androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer may have an increased risk of dementia, according to two studies presented at the 2019 American Urological Association annual meeting.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Androgen deprivation therapy refers to the use of drugs to lower testosterone levels to stop them from stimulating the growth of prostate cancer cells.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A US study of 1,00,414 prostate cancer patients, aged 66 years or older, showed that hormone therapy increased the risk of dementia from any cause by 22 per cent and Alzheimer’s disease by 29 per cent. Patients who received hormone therapy were also 15 per cent more likely to seek psychiatric services.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk of dementia increased with the duration of the treatment. Men on hormone therapy for seven months or longer had a 30 per cent and 41 per cent increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, respectively, compared with those who did not receive hormone therapy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another study from Taiwan, which included 17,425 men with prostate cancer, found that men who received hormone therapy had a 51 per cent increased risk of overall cognitive decline, 38 per cent increased risk of dementia, and 83 per cent increased risk of Parkinson’s disease compared with those who did not receive hormone therapy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Antiretroviral treatment prevents sexual transmission of the HIV virus from an HIV-positive partner to an HIV-negative partner even when they have sex without using protection.</i></p> <p><i><b>The Lancet</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Stroke survivors, beware</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Stroke survivors have up to four times greater risk of osteoporosis, falls or fractures compared with healthy people, but they are often not screened or treated for osteoporosis, according to a Canadian study published in the journal Stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Stroke survivors often have impaired mobility, which can decrease bone mineral density and increase their risk of falls and fractures.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of the 16,581 stroke survivors, aged 65 and older, included in the study, only 5.1 per cent had undergone bone mineral density testing. Only 15.5 per cent had been prescribed medications for osteoporosis within one year of suffering a stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients were more likely to be prescribed medications for osteoporosis after a stroke if they were female, already had osteoporosis, had previously broken bones, had previous bone mineral density testing and had fallen or broken bones after their stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Women who have fertility problems have an overall 18 per cent higher risk of developing cancer; a 78 per cent greater risk of uterine cancer; a 64 per cent greater risk of ovarian cancer; and a 59 per cent higher risk of liver and gall bladder cancer, compared with women without fertility problems.</i></p> <p><i><b>Human Reproduction</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Smell the risk</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Older adults with a poor sense of smell have a nearly 50 per cent increased risk of dying within the next ten years, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Our sense of smell starts to fade as we get older.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out the reasons for this link, the researchers used data from 2,289 healthy adults aged 71 to 82 years. The participants took a smell test at the start of the study. They were asked to identify 12 common odours and were then classified as having good, moderate or poor sense of smell.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 1,211 participants died during 13 years of follow up.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Older adults with a poor smell were 46 per cent more likely to have died by year ten and 30 per cent more likely to have died by year 13 compared to those with a good sense of smell. The risk was similar in both men and women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Can appendix removal cause Parkinson's?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a US study presented at the Digestive Disease Week annual meeting, having your appendix removed can put you at risk of Parkinson’s disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed the medical records of more than 62.2 million patients. Among them 4,470 (0.92 per cent) of the 488,190 people who had their appendix removed developed Parkinson’s disease later in life. But only 0.29 per cent of the 61.7 million patients who did not have an appendectomy developed the disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who had an appendectomy were more than three times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who had not. The risk was seen across all age groups and races, as well as in both genders.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>So what’s the brain-gut connection?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Recent research into the cause of Parkinson’s has centred on alpha synuclein, a protein found in the gastrointestinal tract early in the onset of Parkinson’s. This is why scientists around the world have been looking into the gastrointestinal tract, including the appendix, for evidence about the development of Parkinson’s,” said the lead author of the study.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know?</b></i></p> <p><i>Long commutes to work during pregnancy can increase the risk of adverse birth outcomes, including having low-birth weight babies.</i></p> <p><i><b>Economics &amp; Human Biology</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Guidelines for children</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The World Health Organization has issued new guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under five.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Physical activity: Infants under one should interact in floor-based play several times a day. Those who are not yet mobile should have at least 30 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day while awake.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Children older than one should spend at least 180 minutes in different types of physical activities throughout the day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sedentary behaviour and screen time: Children should not be restrained for more than one hour at a time in prams and seats, or sit for extended periods of time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Screen time is not recommended for children under one. For those aged two years and older, screen time should be limited to no more than one hour a day. When children are sedentary, they should be engaging in reading and storytelling with a caregiver.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sleep: Newborns (up to three months of age) should get 14 to 17 hours of sleep a day, and four to 11-month-old babies should get 12 to16 hours of sleep, including naps.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Children, one to two years old, should get 11 to 14 hours of sleep, including naps, with regular sleep and wake-up times. Children, three to four years old, should get 10 to13 hours of sleep, which may include a nap, with regular sleep and wake-up times.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Boost your baby’s intelligence</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Children whose mothers eat nuts during the first trimester of pregnancy tend to score higher on tests of IQ, memory and attention.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nuts are already known to have a protective effect against cognitive decline in older age.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Spanish study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology included 2,208 children whose mothers answered questions about their food habits during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. The children undertook tests of motor and intellectual ability at ages one and a half, five and eight years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, children whose mothers ate more nuts during the first trimester did better on tests that assessed cognitive function, attention capacity and long-term working memory compared with children born to mothers who ate no nuts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Children whose mothers reported the highest consumption of nuts—a weekly average of about three 30g servings—during the first trimester scored the highest. Eating nuts during the third trimester, however, did not make a difference.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nuts are rich in folic acid and essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6, which “tend to accumulate in neural tissue, particularly in the frontal areas of the brain, which influence memory and executive functions.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Appointment time matters</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a US study published in the journal JAMA Network Open, doctors are less likely to order cancer screening to eligible patients who have appointment times later in the day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers looked at 33 primary care practices that included 52,722 patients eligible for breast cancer and colorectal cancer screenings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Breast cancer screening order rates were highest at 8am (63.7 per cent), but dropped to 47.8 per cent at 5pm.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Similarly, colorectal cancer screening order rates were highest at 8am (36.5 per cent) and dropped to 23.4 per cent at 5pm.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There was a temporary spike in screening orders when patients saw their doctors around lunchtime.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The reason? The study authors believe these drops could be due to 'decision fatigue' or doctors may be falling behind schedule as the day progresses, and they may shorten their interactions and put aside the discussion for a later appointment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/05/22/living-withloneliness.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/05/22/living-withloneliness.html Sat May 25 18:12:09 IST 2019 nature-pill-to-lower-stress <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/05/03/nature-pill-to-lower-stress.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/5/3/6-Nature-pill-to-lower-stress.jpg" /> <p>Connecting with nature for just 20 minutes a day can significantly lower your stress, according to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To provide an evidence-based solution, 36 urban dwellers were asked to take a “nature pill”—spend ten minutes or more outside, at least three times a week, over a period of eight weeks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers measured levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, from saliva samples taken before and after a nature pill, once every two weeks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants could choose the time of day, the duration, and the place, but it had to be during daylight and they had to abstain from social media, internet, phone calls, conversations and reading.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature,” the lead author of the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cortisol levels continued to go down after 30 minutes of nature experience, but at a slower rate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Sleep mantra to avoid stillbirth</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Pregnant women can lower the risk of stillbirth by more than half by sleeping on their side, compared to going to sleep on their back, according to a study published in The Lancet.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study based on 851 bereaved mothers and 2,257 women with ongoing pregnancy found that pregnant women who went to sleep on their back from 28 weeks of pregnancy increased the risk of stillbirth by 2.6 times, independent of other known risk factors for stillbirth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sleeping on both the left and right side was equally safe, and considerably reduced the risk. According to the study, blood flow to the baby is decreased by up to 80 per cent when pregnant women sleep on their back, compared to their side.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The message, that it is safer for the baby if women from 28 weeks of pregnancy settle to sleep on either side is simple, and can be implemented by pregnant women,” the study concluded.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Memory booster</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Using brain stimulation, researchers at Boston University restored the working memory of 70-year-olds’ to that of 20-year-olds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Working memory is the “workbench of the mind” that we use to temporarily store and manage the information required to execute cognitive tasks. Working memory starts to decline as we get older.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the researchers, this decline in working memory can be reversed by stimulating the two brain areas at a specific rhythm, which allows them to communicate better with each other.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, included 42 volunteers aged 20 to 29 and 42 volunteers aged 60 to 76 years. They were asked to perform working memory tasks using a computer simulated test at the onset. The older participants repeated the tests after brain stimulation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The younger participants significantly outperformed the older participants on the first test. But, after 25 minutes of brain stimulation, the older participants performed at the same level as the 20 year olds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The effect lasted for at least 50 minutes following the stimulation that the researchers tracked the brain activity for.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The stimulation benefited younger adults, too. When the stimulation was tried on 14 of the young adult participants who performed poorly on the memory tasks, they performed better.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know</b></i></p> <p><i>A new male contraceptive pill (11-beta-MNTDC) has shown to be safe and effective in a phase one trial. The pill decreased sperm production, while preserving men's libido and not decreasing sexual activity.</i></p> <p><i><b>Endocrine Society’s annual meeting</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>The age factor</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For people with diabetes, the risk for heart disease and death from heart disease may vary depending on how old they are when they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The younger they are at diagnosis, the greater the risk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before age 40 (especially women) are more likely to have or die from cardiovascular diseases compared to people of similar age without the disease, according to a Scottish study published in the journal Circulation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study, researchers analysed the data of 318,083 patients with type 2 diabetes and assessed their risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, atrial fibrillation and death from cardiovascular causes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before age 40 had nearly threefold higher risk for cardiovascular mortality and more than fourfold greater risk for heart failure and coronary heart disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The additional risks for cardiovascular disease and death declined progressively with increasing age at diagnosis. For people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 80 or older, the risk was similar to those of the same age without diabetes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Dietary supplements may not help</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a US study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, dietary supplements may not help you live longer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To study the impact of nutrient intake, both from food and supplements, on mortality, the researchers used data from 30,899 adults aged 20 years or older, who provided information about their dietary supplement use as well as their diet.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>More than half the participants used at least one supplement. Vitamins C, D, E, and calcium were the most commonly used supplements.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During 6.1 years of follow up, 3,613 people died, including 945 deaths from cardiovascular diseases and 805 deaths from cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Adequate intake of vitamin A, vitamin K, magnesium, zinc, and copper was associated with a reduction of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, but only when the nutrients came from food. Dietary supplements had no impact on mortality risk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>More important, the study found that taking at least 1,000mg of calcium supplements daily was associated with an increased risk of death from cancer. But no such association was seen for calcium intake from food.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who took vitamin D supplements, but did not have vitamin D deficiency, also had an increased risk of death from all causes including cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>To deal with infections</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Wrapping cardiac devices like pacemakers and defibrillators in absorbable, antibiotic-eluting envelopes when implanting can reduce the risk of dangerous infections by 40 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Cleveland Clinic-led trial included 6,983 patients, undergoing procedures involving implantable cardiac devices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All the patients received antibiotics before the procedure to reduce the risk of infections. Half of them were randomly chosen to have their cardiac devices wrapped in an antibiotic envelope.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The envelope is made of an absorbable mesh that is coated with two antibiotics—minocycline and rifampin. The antibiotics are continuously released into the device pocket over a period of seven days. The envelope is fully absorbed in nine weeks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During 12 months of follow up, 1.2 per cent of the patients in the control group developed a major infection compared with 0.7 per cent in the envelope group.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There was no increase in complications when the envelope was used. The findings of the clinical trial were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Smoking trap</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While tobacco smoking and the mortality and morbidity attributed to it is declining steadily in western counties, a tobacco epidemic is on the rise in many Asian countries. About half of the world’s male smokers live in China, India and Indonesia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in JAMA Network Open, the researchers analysed data from 20 studies that included more than 1 million participants, aged 35 years or older, from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While smoking prevalence among men has continued to rise in India and China, it has plateaued in the other four countries. Smoking cessation is also relatively low in India and China.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The mean age at which participants started smoking was 22.8 years and the mean number of cigarettes smoked per day was 16.5 cigarettes for men. Men born in recent years tend to start smoking at a younger age and smoke more cigarettes per day compared to those born earlier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During a mean follow up of 11.7 years, there were 144,366 deaths; 9,158 deaths were from lung cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Tobacco smoking was associated with 12.5 per cent of total deaths and 56.6 per cent of lung cancer deaths in men born before 1920; 21.1 per cent of total deaths and 66.6 per cent of lung cancer deaths in those born in the 1920s; and 29.3 per cent of total deaths and 68.4 per cent of lung cancer deaths among men born in 1930 or later.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know</b></i></p> <p><i>Transgender men have more than twice and four times the rate of heart attack as cisgender men and cisgender women, respectively. Transgender women have more than twice the rate of myocardial infarction as cisgender women, but no significant increase in the rate of myocardial infarction compared with cisgender men.</i></p> <p><i><b>Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Mother's age and miscarriage</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk of miscarriages increases with the mother’s age, previous miscarriages and previous pregnancy complications, according to a Norwegian study published in The BMJ.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out the underlying factors contributing to miscarriages, the researchers analysed data from health registers and included all pregnancies in Norway between 2009 and 2013.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There were 421,201 pregnancies during the study period.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The overall miscarriage rate was 12.8 per cent, after accounting for induced abortions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk of miscarriages was strongly related to maternal age. The lowest risk was among women aged 25 to 29 (10 per cent), and then steadily increased with the mother’s age. For women aged 45 years and older, the risk was 54 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk of miscarriage was also greater in women whose previous pregnancy ended in a stillbirth or miscarriage. A woman who had a previous miscarriage had a 50 per cent greater risk of another miscarriage. The risk doubled after two miscarriages and was four times greater after three consecutive miscarriages.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Previous pregnancy complications like preterm delivery and gestational diabetes and an earlier caesarean section also increased the risk of miscarriages.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>World’s biggest killer</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Poor diet is the biggest killer in the world, accounting for one in five deaths (11 million deaths) globally in 2017.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is responsible for more deaths than any other risk factor including high blood pressure or smoking, which account for 10.4 million and 8 million deaths per year worldwide, respectively.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the Global Burden of Disease Study published in the Lancet, researchers analysed dietary intakes across 195 countries between 1990 and 2017, and examined the impact of diet on death and disease from non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Bottom of Form Poor diet refers to not just the unhealthy foods that we eat, but also the healthy foods that we do not eat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Three dietary factors—too much salt, too little whole grains and fruits accounted for more than 50 per cent of diet-related deaths. Other leading risk factors include too little consumption of vegetables, nuts and seeds and high consumption of red meat, processed meat, sugar-sweetened beverages, and trans-fatty acids.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About 10 million deaths attributed to diet were from cardiovascular diseases, followed by cancers (913,100 deaths), diabetes (338,700 deaths) and kidney diseases (136,600 deaths).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Poor diet also accounts for 16 per cent of all disability-adjusted life years among adults globally.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Feeling moody? Just smile!</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a study published in the journal Psychological Bulletin, simply smiling can make you feel happier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study, researchers used data from 138 studies that included more than 11,000 participants from all over the world.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The conclusion? Yes, our emotional feelings are influenced by facial expressions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“We do not think that people can smile their way to happiness. But, these findings are exciting because they provide a clue about how the mind and the body interact to shape our conscious experience of emotion. We still have a lot to learn about these facial feedback effects, but this meta-analysis put us a little closer to understanding how emotions work,” said the study author.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know</b></i></p> <p><i>Using e-cigarettes or vaping may be associated with seizures, especially among young adults.</i></p> <p><i><b>US Food and Drug Administration</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Vitamin C can shorten ICU stays</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A study published in the journal Nutrients suggests that administering Vitamin C can significantly shorten the length of stay of ICU patients.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out how vitamin C impacts the length of ICU stay, the researchers analysed 12 studies that included 1,766 patients and found that vitamin C administration, on average, shortened ICU stays by 7.8 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In six trials, orally administered vitamin C with an average dose of 2gm per day reduced the length of ICU stay on average by 8.6 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In three trials in which patients needed mechanical ventilation, vitamin C shortened the duration of mechanical ventilation by 18.2 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Given the insignificant cost of vitamin C, even an 8 per cent reduction in ICU stay is worth exploring,” the researchers concluded.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/05/03/nature-pill-to-lower-stress.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/05/03/nature-pill-to-lower-stress.html Fri May 03 15:38:51 IST 2019 hormone-therapy-linked-to-alzheimer <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/04/18/hormone-therapy-linked-to-alzheimer.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/4/18/8-Hormone-therapy.jpg" /> <p>Women who take hormone replacement therapy, long term, to relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats have a slightly increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hormone therapy is already known to increase the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A Finnish study published in the BMJ compared the results of hormone therapy in 84,739 postmenopausal women diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and a similar number of women without the disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 11,805 women had been taking hormone therapy for over ten years. The use of oral hormone therapy was associated with a 9 to 17 per cent increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk was similar in women who took oestrogen-only tablets and combined oestrogen-progestogen tablets. However, the use of vaginal hormone therapy was not associated with an increased risk. Age at which hormone therapy was started also did not have a bearing on the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Fighting postpartum depression</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The USFDA has approved the first drug to specifically treat postpartum depression (PPD). The drug brexanolone, marketed as Zulresso, is administered as a continuous, intravenous infusion over the course of 60 hours in a certified health care facility. The patients have to be monitored continuously because it can cause sudden loss of consciousness.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The efficacy of the drug was studied in one group of patients with severe PPD and another group with moderate PPD. They were then followed for four weeks. In both groups, Zulresso outperformed the placebo in reducing depressive symptoms, both at the end of the infusion as well as at the end of four weeks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Zulresso works within hours unlike the current treatments of PPD, including counselling and medication that can take weeks to work.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The most common side effects reported were sleepiness, dry mouth, loss of consciousness and flushing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Pregnant women who work two or more night shifts per week have a 32 per cent higher risk of miscarriage, after the eighth week, compared to those who do not work nights. The risk further increased with the number of night shifts as well as number of consecutive night-shifts worked.</i></p> <p><i><b>Occupational &amp; Environmental Medicine</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Relations and risk</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is already known that having a first-degree relative (parents, siblings) with Alzheimer’s disease can increase your risk of the disease. But, what if your great-grandparents, grandparents, uncles or cousins have the disease?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A US study published in the journal Neurology suggests that having second- or third-degree relatives with Alzheimer’s can put you at risk of developing the disease as well.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>From a database that includes the genealogy of Utah pioneers from the 1800s and their descendants up until modern day, the researchers analysed data from 2,70,800 people which had death certificates that showed the causes of death.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The death certificate of 4,436 people indicated Alzheimer's disease as a cause of death. Having a first-degree relative with Alzheimer's disease increases the risk of developing the disease by 73 per cent. The risk was four times greater if you have two first-degree relatives with the disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those with one first-degree relative and one second-degree relative had a 21 times greater risk. Having two second-degree relatives and no first-degree relatives raised the risk by 25 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Parental Smoking kills</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Paternal smoking can increase the risk of congenital heart defects in their children. Congenital heart defects are the leading cause of stillbirth. It affects eight in 1,000 babies born worldwide.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is already known that maternal smoking can harm the unborn child. But, what about secondhand smoking exposure?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the researchers examined 125 studies that included 1,37,574 babies with congenital heart defects and 8.8 million prospective parents.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Any type of parental smoking was associated with a greater risk of congenital heart defects. Compared to no-smoking exposure, the risk was 124 per cent higher when expectant moms were exposed to secondhand smoking.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Maternal smoking was linked to a 27 per cent greater risk of atrial septal defect and a 43 per cent greater risk of right ventricular outflow tract obstruction.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Exposure to secondhand smoke during all stages of pregnancy and even before becoming pregnant was detrimental to the health of the baby.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Tea trap</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, drinking hot tea may increase the risk of oesophageal cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 50,045 adults aged 40 to 75 years. During a median follow up of ten years, 317 new cases of oesophageal cancer were diagnosed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, drinking three cups (700ml) of tea or more per day at a higher temperature (60°C or higher) was associated with a 90 per cent higher risk of oesophageal cancer compared with drinking less than 700ml of tea per day at less than 60°C.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Many people enjoy drinking tea, coffee, or other hot beverages. It is advisable to wait until hot beverages cool down before drinking,” said the lead author.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Drinking one bottle of wine a week is equivalent to smoking ten cigarettes a week for women and five for men in increasing the lifetime risk of developing cancer, especially breast cancer in women and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract in men.</i></p> <p><i><b>BMC Public Health</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Drug therapy vs surgery</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Atrial fibrillation (a-fib) is a heart rhythm disorder that affects about 33 million people worldwide. It is treated with both medication and a surgery called catheter ablation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But, which is better?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Two studies published in JAMA tries to answer this question.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 2,204 patients with atrial fibrillation in ten countries who were assigned to either ablation or medication alone. The average patient age was 68, and 37 per cent were women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While both medication and ablation were equally effective in preventing strokes and other complications, patients treated with ablation experienced long-term improvements in quality of life. They also had fewer recurrences of a-fib and fewer hospitalisations because of cardiovascular reasons.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But, almost 27 per cent of the patients in the drug-therapy group opted for an ablation procedure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When the researchers examined the data according to the treatment received, the ablation group had significantly lower rate of death (40 per cent), as well as the combination of death, disabling stroke, serious bleeding, or cardiac arrest (33 per cent), compared with patients who only received drug therapy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Safe and effective</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A minimally-invasive procedure called uterine fibroid embolisation (UFE) is as effective as myomectomy (surgery) to treat uterine fibroids and it has fewer post-surgical complications, according to a study presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumours that grow in the uterus. Treatment options include hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus), myomectomy and UFE.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Myomectomy involves the surgical removal of just the fibroids, leaving the uterus intact. During UFE, using a catheter, tiny particles are released into the uterine arteries to block the blood flow to the fibroid tumours causing them to shrink. UFE is less painful, has faster recovery, and women can get on with their lives sooner than those who had surgery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed treatment outcomes of 950 uterine fibroid patients, half of whom underwent UFE and other half, myomectomy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Both treatments were equally effective in treating fibroids. But women who had myomectomy had a higher rate of post-surgical complications, including a 2.9 per cent rate of blood transfusion compared to a 1.1 per cent rate for UFE patients. UFE patients also had a slightly lower need for secondary interventions than myomectomy patients.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Pressure potion</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Findings of a new study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session suggests that even moderate alcohol consumption—seven to 13 drinks per week—can substantially increase the risk of high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed data from 17,059 adults who provided information about their drinking habits. Their blood pressure was also recorded.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Participants were divided into three groups: never drinkers, moderate drinkers (7 to 13 drinks per week) and heavy drinkers (14 or more drinks per week).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Compared with those who never drank, moderate drinkers were 53 per cent more likely to have stage-1 hypertension and twice as likely to have stage-2 hypertension. Heavy drinkers were 69 per cent more likely to have stage-1 hypertension and 2.4 times as likely to have stage-2 hypertension.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The average blood pressure reading was also higher among those who drank alcohol—about 109/67mmHg among never-drinkers, 128/79mmHg among moderate drinkers and 153/82mmHg among heavy drinkers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>People whose nightly sleep length varied by more than two hours on average during a seven-day period were 2.2 times more likely to have a cardiovascular event. People whose bedtime varied by more than 90 minutes each night had double the risk of a cardiovascular event.</i></p> <p><i><b>American Heart Association</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Take extra care</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Infants born with even minor heart defects have a considerably higher risk for stroke and heart problems including heart attack, heart failure and atrial fibrillation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While those born with major heart defects are followed up throughout their lives, for mild heart defects—such as a hole in the heart or a faulty valve, that has been corrected—long term follow- up care is not usually recommended.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But, according to Stanford University researchers, someone born with a heart defect is twice as likely to develop heart problems, even if they follow a heart-healthy lifestyle, compared to someone born without a defect who has a heart-averse lifestyle.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the journal Circulation, the researchers studied the health data of 2,006 people who had mild, congenital heart defects.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those born with mild heart defects had a 13 times greater risk of heart failure or atrial fibrillation, five times greater risk of stroke, and twice the risk for heart attack compared to those born without heart defects.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who followed a heart-healthy lifestyle fared better. Among adult survivors of congenital heart defects, those who had fewer risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, high blood pressure and obesity were about a third less likely to develop heart conditions than those with five or more risk factors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/04/18/hormone-therapy-linked-to-alzheimer.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/04/18/hormone-therapy-linked-to-alzheimer.html Thu Apr 18 15:26:47 IST 2019 pregnancy-safe-within-a-year-of-stillbirth <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/03/29/pregnancy-safe-within-a-year-of-stillbirth.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/3/29/10-pregnancy-safe-within-a-year-of-stillbirth.jpg" /> <p>Women can safely conceive within a year of stillbirth, and they do not have an increased risk of adverse outcomes such as stillbirth, preterm birth or small-for-gestational-age birth in the following pregnancy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the Lancet, researchers looked at 14,452 single births among women who had a stillbirth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 63 per cent of the women got pregnant again within a year, and 37 per cent did within six months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Only 228 pregnancies ended in another stillbirth; 98 per cent were live births; 18 per cent were preterm and 9 per cent were small-for-gestational-age births.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There was no additional risk of another stillbirth, preterm birth or small-for-gestational-age birth among women who conceived in less than 12 months after a stillbirth compared with women who waited 24 to 59 months to get pregnant again.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Work-life and depression</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who clock long hours at work are more likely to suffer from depression, but not so for men, according to a British study published in the Journal of Epidemiology &amp; Community Health.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Working weekends can increase the risk of depression for both men and women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers analysed data from 11,215 working men and 12,188 working women for the study. In general, women were more likely to be depressed than men, even though nearly half the men worked more than the standard 35-40 hours weekly, compared to fewer than one in four women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who worked 55 or more hours a week had 7.3 per cent more depressive symptoms than women who worked the standard 35-40 hours weekly. But men who worked long hours did not show any depressive symptoms.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who worked for all or most weekends had 4.6 per cent more depressive symptoms on average compared to women working only weekdays. Men who worked all or most weekends had 3.4 per cent more depressive symptoms than men working only weekdays.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>One round, no harm</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One round of chemotherapy for testicular cancer will not affect sperm count and fertility, according to a study published in the Annals of Oncology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Testicular patients often undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy to reduce the risk of recurrence. Patients in advanced stage of cancer require several rounds of chemotherapy or high doses of radiotherapy, which is known to reduce sperm count and concentration. But patients with early stage cancer require only one course of postoperative chemotherapy or radiotherapy.</p> <p>The study was based on 182 men, aged 18 to 50, who had surgery for stage-1 testicular cancer. After surgery, the patients had either one course of chemotherapy, one course of radiation therapy or no further treatment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The men provided sperm samples immediately after surgery and then six months, one year, two years, three years and five years thereafter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There was a drop in average sperm number and concentration six months after treatment in men who received radiotherapy, but it recovered thereafter. No such drop was seen in men who received chemotherapy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>It's never too late to start</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a US study published in JAMA Network Open, you can reduce mortality risk even if you had been a couch potato all your life and started exercising in middle age.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study, the researchers used data from 3,15,059 adults, aged 50 to 71 years who reported their leisure-time physical activity at four different stages in their lives:15 to 18 years, 19 to 29 years, 35 to 39 years and 40 to 61 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 71,377 participants died during the study period; 22,219 deaths were from cardiovascular diseases and 16,388 were from cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Participants who stayed physically active throughout their lives had the lowest risk for all-cause, cardiovascular disease related and cancer related mortality, compared with those who were inactive throughout adulthood. They had a 36 per cent lower risk of dying from all causes, 42 per cent reduced risk of dying from heart disease and 14 per cent reduced risk of dying from cancer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Surprisingly, those who had been inactive when they were younger, but ramped up in middle-age had almost the same reduced mortality risk—35 per cent all-cause, 43 per cent heart-disease related and 16 per cent cancer-related mortality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Midlife is not too late to start physical activity,” the study concluded.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Smoking just one cigarette a day during pregnancy can double the risk of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID). The risk increased by 0.07 with each additional cigarette smoked.</i></p> <p><i><b>Paediatrics</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Sleep apnoea linked to Alzheimer’s</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a study presented at the American Academy of Neurology, people with sleep apnoea have a high accumulation of an Alzheimer's disease biomarker called tau in an area of the brain that is important for memory.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Tau is a protein that forms tangles and is found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's. People with obstructive sleep apnoea stop breathing several times during sleep.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 288 people, aged 65 and older, without cognitive impairment. PET brain scans were used to look for accumulation of tau tangles in an area of the brain in the temporal lobe that helps manage memory, navigation and perception of time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers asked the bed partners of the participants if they had witnessed episodes of stopped breathing during sleep. Bed partners of 43 participants (15 per cent) had witnessed episodes of apnoea.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who had sleep apnoea had on average 4.5 per cent more tau in the brain than those who did not have apnoea.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Antibiotics at the earliest</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Older adults with urinary tract infection (UTI) should be prescribed antibiotics immediately to reduce the risk of sepsis (bloodstream infection) and death. Urinary tract infection is the most common bacterial infection in older patients.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the BMJ, researchers analysed data from 1,57,264 patients over the age of 65 who had been diagnosed with UTI. Among them, 87 per cent were prescribed antibiotics immediately; 6.2per cent had antibiotics delayed by up to seven days and 7.2 per cent were not prescribed antibiotics at all.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients who had their prescription delayed or received no antibiotics at all were up to eight times more likely to develop sepsis compared to patients who received antibiotics immediately.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While 1.6 per cent of those who received antibiotics immediately died in the following 60 days, mortality risk was 16 per cent for those who had delayed prescription and more than double for those who received no antibiotics.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Men older than 85 years and those living in poor areas had the highest risk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Midday nap is powerful</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Taking a midday nap may be as effective at lowering blood pressure as lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise and taking anti-hypertensive medications, according to a study presented at the American College of Cardiology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 212 people, average age 62 years, with a mean blood pressure of 129.9mmHg. The researchers compared the blood pressure readings of those who napped for about 49 minutes with those who did not.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The average systolic blood pressure was 5.3mmHg lower among those who napped than those who did not. People who napped had more favourable overall blood pressure readings—128.7/76.2 against 134.5/79.5mmHg. For every hour of napping, the average 24-hour systolic blood pressure dropped 3mmHg.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For comparison, reducing salt and alcohol can lower blood pressure levels by 3 to 5mmHg and taking a low-dose antihypertensive medication usually lowers blood pressure levels by 5 to 7mmHg.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Patients with fluctuating blood pressure after suffering a stroke have a higher risk of dying within 90 days.</i></p> <p><i><b>American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Yo-yo dieting is risky</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Maintaining a healthy weight is a struggle for most people. Many women go through a pattern of weight loss followed by subsequent weight gain known as yo-yo dieting or weight cycling.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a study presented at an American Heart Association meeting, women with a history of yo-yo dieting have more cardiovascular risk factors than those who maintain a consistent weight.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 485 women, aged 20 to 76 years, from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. The average body mass index (BMI) was 26, which is slightly overweight.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The women were asked the number of times, other than during pregnancy, they had lost at least 4.5kg and then regained it within a year. Among them, 73 per cent reported at least one episode of weight cycling. The range was zero to 20 cycles.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers assessed the women’s cardiovascular health and observed that yo-yo dieters were 82 per cent less likely to be at an optimal weight and 29 per cent had poor cardiovascular health.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The negative effects of yo-yo dieting were stronger for women who had never been pregnant, probably because they might have started weight-cycling at an earlier age.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Obese patients often need higher doses of radiation during X-ray than normal weight people, increasing their risk of cancer by more than double (153 per cent) compared to normal weight people undergoing X-ray.</i></p> <p><i><b>Journal of Radiological Protection</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>An eye on Alzheimer’s</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A study published in the journal Ophthalmology Retina suggests that the blood vessels at the back of the eye inside the retina are less dense in people with Alzheimer's disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Using a noninvasive optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA), the researchers scanned the eyes of over 200 people.</p> <p>OCTA machines use light waves that reveal blood flow in every layer of the retina, even in tiny capillaries that are less than half the width of a human hair.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The eyes of 133 people with healthy brains had a dense microscopic network of blood vessels inside the retina. But the web was less dense and even sparse in the eyes of 39 people with Alzheimer's disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“It is possible that these changes in blood vessel density in the retina could mirror what is going on in the tiny blood vessels in the brain, perhaps before we are able to detect any changes in cognition,” said the lead author.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>To fight depression</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a nasal spray containing esketamine for the treatment of depression in adults who have failed to respond to other antidepressant medications.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Esketamine (Spravato is the brand name) is a powerful anesthetic used in surgery. It is approved only for patients who have not responded to two other conventional antidepressants and has to be used in conjunction with an oral antidepressant.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While other antidepressants take weeks to ease symptoms, Spravato’s effect is immediate. Patients cannot take the medicine at home. It has to be administered under the supervision of a health care provider. Patients have to be monitored for at least two hours after receiving a dose and cannot drive for the rest of the day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The most common side effects are disassociation, dizziness, nausea, sedation, vertigo, decreased feeling or sensitivity, anxiety, lethargy, increased blood pressure and vomiting.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Drawing enhanced memory in older adults and helped them retain new information much better than other techniques including rewriting notes, visualisation exercises or passively looking at images.</i></p> <p><i><b>Experimental Ageing and Research</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Prenatal vitamins to lower the risk</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If mothers take prenatal vitamins in the first month of pregnancy, the risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is considerably reduced in the younger siblings of children with ASD who are at a high risk for the disorder.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk of ASD is 13 times greater for younger siblings of children with ASD compared to the general population.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study published in JAMA Psychiatry included 241 younger siblings of children who had been diagnosed with ASD.</p> <p>While most of the mothers (96 per cent) reported taking a prenatal vitamin during pregnancy, only 36 per cent followed the recommendations to take them six months before pregnancy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The risk of being diagnosed with autism was reduced by half in younger siblings if their mothers took prenatal vitamins during the first month of pregnancy. And in children who did develop autism, the severity of the disorder was much lower and they had higher cognitive skills.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/03/29/pregnancy-safe-within-a-year-of-stillbirth.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/03/29/pregnancy-safe-within-a-year-of-stillbirth.html Fri Mar 29 14:34:33 IST 2019 to-shed-pounds <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/03/08/to-shed-pounds.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/3/8/8-To-shed-pounds.jpg" /> <p>According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, interval training—workouts that involve a series of intense exercises with brief recovery periods—may help you lose more weight than continuous moderate intensity workouts on a treadmill or elliptical.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers compared interval training with continuous moderate intensity workout for weight loss by analysing data from 41 studies involving 1,115 people.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The two most common types of interval training are high intensity interval training (HIIT) and sprint interval training. HIIT includes various exercises, whereas sprint interval training includes running, jogging, speed walking and cycling.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While both exercise regimen reduced overall weight and percentage of body fat, regardless of starting weight or gender, interval training provided greater total weight loss. Overall, interval training provided a 28.5 per cent greater reduction in weight.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sprint interval training was the most effective and provided an even larger difference in weight loss.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Ultra-processed menace</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ready-to-eat meals and snacks may be convenient and tasty, but they can increase your risk of early death. According to a French study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, eating ultra-processed food increases the risk of all-cause mortality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ultra-processed food has already been linked to a number of health conditions, including obesity, hypertension and cancer. To analyse the mortality risk link, researchers analysed data from 44,551 adults aged 45 or older.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During an average of 7.1 years of follow-up, the volunteers periodically answered questions about their food intake. Ultra-processed food accounted for 14.1 per cent of the total food consumed by the participants, and about 30 per cent of their daily calorie intake.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 602 participants died during the study period. Each 10 per cent increase in the amount of ultra-processed food was associated with a 14 per cent increase in mortality risk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know</b></i></p> <p><i>Four hundred and sixty-six million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, up from 360 million in 2010. The figure is expected to rise to 900 million by 2050. The culprit—prolonged exposure to loud sounds, including listening to music using headphones.</i></p> <p><i><b>World Health Organization</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Stroke stimulators</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Post menopausal women who drink more than one diet soda or other artificially-sweetened juices a day have a higher risk of stroke, heart disease and death, according to a US study published in the journal Stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers followed 81,714 postmenopausal women (aged 50 to 79) for an average of 11.9 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After accounting for other risk factors for stroke, such as age, smoking and high blood pressure, the study found that consuming two or more artificially sweetened beverages per day was associated with a 23 per cent higher risk of stroke; 31 per cent increased risk of clot-caused (ischemic) stroke; 29 per cent greater risk of heart disease (fatal or non-fatal heart attack); and 16 per cent higher risk of death from any cause, compared with women who consumed diet drinks less than once a week or not at all.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>High consumption of diet drinks was associated with a 2.03 times increased risk of ischemic stroke in obese women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know</b></i></p> <p><i>Oral contraceptives can hinder a woman’s ability to read emotional expressions of others, which could adversely affect their interpersonal relationships.</i></p> <p><i><b>Frontiers in Neuroscience</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Safe up to an hour</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Infants can be safely given up to an hour of general anaesthesia without the risk of neuro-developmental or behavioural problems.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About one in ten children in developed countries would have to have general anaesthesia for surgical, medical and diagnostic procedures during the first three years of life, mostly for hernia repair, tonsillectomy, imaging scans and endoscopies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But, parents and clinicians often delay these essential procedures.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the Australian study published in The Lancet, 722 babies, aged less than 60 weeks, who were having hernia operations were randomly assigned to receive either general anesthesia or local anesthesia. The average duration of general anesthesia was 54 minutes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At age five, the children had tests to assess their IQ, memory, attention, executive function and behaviour. There was no significant difference between the two groups in IQ scores as well as neuro-cognitive function. But, the safety of longer and repeated exposure remains unknown, the study authors cautioned.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>For a healthy baby</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For women in impoverished and rural settings, taking a certain daily nutritional supplement before conception or in early pregnancy may improve foetal growth and outcomes, according to a National Institutes of Health- funded study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The supplement that was used in this study consisted of dried skimmed milk, soybean and peanut extract, blended into a peanut butter-like consistency and fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. The supplement provided women with protein and fatty acids that were often lacking in their diets.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study, 7,387 women in rural areas of India, Pakistan, Congo and Guatemala were randomised to either receive the supplement three months before conception or during the first trimester of pregnancy, or receive no supplement other than what they may have received from local health services.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who took the supplements were 31 per cent less likely to have an infant that was stunted at birth and 22 per cent less likely to have an infant that was small for gestational age.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Education helps</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hearing impairment can speed up cognitive decline, but the impact may be lessened by higher education, according to a US study published in the Journal of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Majority of adults aged 70 and older suffer from some degree of hearing loss.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Researchers followed 1,164 adults, average age 73.5 years, for up to 24 years. The participants had their hearing checked at the start of the study. None of them were using a hearing aid. Their cognitive function was also assessed at the start and every four years thereafter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nearly half of the participants had mild hearing impairment and 16.8 per cent had moderate-to-severe hearing loss.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those with serious hearing impairment performed worse on the initial cognitive assessment tests. People with mild hearing loss as well as those with more severe hearing impairment showed greater decline in subsequent cognitive tests. Mild hearing loss was associated with a steeper cognitive decline among participants without a college education, but not among those with higher education.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Inexpensive, but effective</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The number of push-ups a man can do may determine his heart health.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a Harvard University study published in JAMA Network Open, middle-aged men who could do more than 40 push-ups in a row had a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular diseases during ten years of follow-up, compared with men who could do only fewer than ten.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers tracked the heart health of 1,104 active male firefighters for ten years. Their average age was 39.6 and mean body mass index was 28.7.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants' push-up capacity as well as aerobic capacity measured by a treadmill test were analysed at the start of the study. Among them, 37 men suffered cardiovascular events during the study period.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Men who were able to do more than 40 push-ups at baseline were 96 per cent less likely to suffer a cardiovascular event, including coronary artery disease, heart failure or sudden cardiac death, compared with those who were able to do fewer than ten push-ups. “Our findings provide evidence that push-up capacity could be an easy, no-cost method to help assess cardiovascular disease risk in almost any setting,” said the lead researcher.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know</b></i></p> <p><i>People with type 2 diabetes who ate five servings of nuts per week had a 17 per cent lower risk of total cardiovascular disease incidence; 20 per cent lower risk of coronary heart disease; 34 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease death; and 31 per cent reduced risk of all-cause mortality, compared with those who ate less than one serving a month.</i></p> <p><i><b>Circulation Research</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Yoga heals</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Just eight weeks of yoga can ease the physical and psychological symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, according to a study from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients with rheumatoid arthritis often suffer from psychological factors like depression, which make treatment much harder. Medical therapies often fail to address the psychological component of the disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study published in the journal Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, 72 patients with rheumatoid arthritis were randomly assigned to either 120-minute sessions of yoga five times a week—for eight weeks—along with medication for the disease or just medication (control group).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Blood samples were collected for measurements of systemic biomarkers at the beginning and end of the study. Disease activity, functional status and depression severity were also assessed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients in the yoga group saw significant decrease in the severity of rheumatoid arthritis, which corresponded with significant improvement in markers of neuro-plasticity, inflammation, cellular health integrity and ageing as well as reduction in depression, disease activity and disability.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Stay active in midlife</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Staying both physically and mentally active when you are younger may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease when you are older.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Swedish study published in the journal Neurology followed 800 women, aged 38 to 54 years, for 44 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The women provided information about their regular mental and physical activities at the start of the study.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 194 women developed dementia, including 102 with Alzheimer's disease during the study period.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who were mentally active in midlife were 34 per cent less likely to develop any form of dementia and 46 per cent less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease compared to women who indulged in fewer cognitive activities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who were physically active were 52 per cent less likely to develop vascular dementia and 56 per cent less likely to develop mixed dementia, compared with inactive women.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>These associations held even after accounting for other risk factors for dementia, including high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Adversities on shoulder</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Shoulder replacement surgeries are rapidly increasing. Especially among adults older than 50, surgery increased more than 5.6-fold.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out the lifetime risk of re-operation and other adverse events after elective shoulder replacement surgery for arthritis, researchers at Oxford University looked at the hospital and mortality records of 51,895 adults, aged 50 and older.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rates of serious adverse events such as major blood clots, heart attack, infections, stroke and death were calculated at 30 and 90 days after surgery. Risk for revision surgery was estimated at three, five, ten and 15 years after surgery, and over a patient’s lifetime.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The lifetime risk of re-operation was considerably higher in young participants, especially men, compared with older participants. The risk of revision surgery was highest during the first five years after surgery. The lifetime risk ranged from one in 37 in women (aged 85 years and older) to one in four in men (aged 55 to 59 years).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The overall rate of serious adverse events at 30 days was 3.5 per cent and at 90 days was 4.6 per cent. Increasing age and existing illness increased the risk of serious adverse events—one in nine women and one in five men, aged 85 years and older, experienced at least one serious adverse event within 90 days.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Our findings caution against unchecked expansion of shoulder replacement surgery in both younger and older patients,” the study concluded.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did you know</b></i></p> <p><i>Women's brains appear to be about three years younger than men's of the same chronologicalage, which could explain women tend to stay mentally sharp longer than men.</i></p> <p><i><b>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>For your child's oral health</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey, children start to brush their teeth late. And, when they do, they often use too much toothpaste.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So what are the oral health guidelines for kids?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Parents should start brushing their children’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears, which can be as early as six months, and they should have their first dental visit when they are one.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Children should brush their teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste only starting at age two. Even though fluoride use helps prevent dental caries and cavities, ingesting too much fluoride while teeth are developing can cause visibly detectable changes in enamel structure such as discoloration and pitting (dental fluorosis). So, fluoride toothpaste is recommended only when the children turn two.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Children younger than three should use only a smear of toothpaste—the size of a rice grain—and children older than three should use a pea-sized amount until age six.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The guidelines also recommend parents to supervise young children during brushing and to monitor fluoride ingestion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/03/08/to-shed-pounds.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/03/08/to-shed-pounds.html Fri Mar 08 14:08:00 IST 2019 delay-first-bath <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/02/16/delay-first-bath.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/2/16/6-Delay-first-bath.jpg" /> <p>Newborns are often given a bath within a few hours of their birth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But, according to a US study published in the Journal for Obstetrics, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, holding off baby’s first bath for 12 or more hours after birth increased the rate of exclusive breastfeeding during the newborn’s hospital stay, which, in turn, could boost the odds of breastfeeding after discharge, too.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 996 healthy mother-newborn pairs. Among them, 448 babies were given baths shortly after birth, while 548 babies were bathed at least 12 hours after birth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Exclusive breastfeeding rates increased from 59.8 per cent (immediate bath group) to 68.2 per cent (delayed bath group). Also mothers of babies who had delayed bath were more likely to have discharge feeding plans that included breastfeeding.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The effect was stronger in women who delivered vaginally compared to those who had C-section deliveries, probably because babies are placed on the mother’s chest immediately after a vaginal delivery, while skin–to-skin contact is delayed after C-section deliveries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the study author, two factors—smell and temperature—may explain the increased rates of breastfeeding associated with delayed bathing. The similarity in smell between the amniotic fluid and the breast may encourage babies to latch.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>De-stressing love</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A study published in the journal Psychophysiology suggests that just the thought of our loved one can help regulate the body's cardiovascular response to stress.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study, 102 adults in long-term romantic relationships were asked to complete a stressful task. They had to submerge one foot into three inches of cold water ranging from 3.3–4.4°C. The participants’ blood pressure, heart rate and heart rate variability were measured before, during and after the task.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants were divided into three groups: The first group had their romantic partner in the room while they completed the task; the second group was asked to think about their romantic partner during the task and the third group was asked to think about their day during the task.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those who had their partner physically present in the room or who thought about their partner had a lower blood pressure response to the stress of the cold water compared to those who thought about their day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“This suggests that one way being in a romantic relationship might support people's health is through allowing people to better cope with stress and lower levels of cardiovascular reactivity to stress across the day,” said the lead researcher.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Aspirin: risks outweigh benefits</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a British study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the small benefit in reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke by taking daily aspirin is offset by an equal increase in the risk of serious bleeding.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To assess the role of aspirin in preventing cardiovascular events and bleeding in people without cardiovascular diseases, the researchers analysed 13 randomised clinical trials with more than 1,64,225 participants, aged 53 to 74.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Taking aspirin was associated with an 11 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular events. But, the risk for a major bleeding event increased by 43 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Aspirin decreased the absolute risk of heart attack, stroke or death from heart disease by 0.38 per cent. But, it increased the absolute risk of major bleeding by 0.47 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Soft killer</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Drinking soft drinks while exercising or working outside in hot weather may increase the risk of kidney disease, according to a study published in the American Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers studied 12 healthy adults, average age 24, in a laboratory setting that mimicked working at an agricultural site on a really hot day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants completed 30 minutes on the treadmill followed by 15 minutes of lifting, dexterity and sledgehammer swinging activities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While resting for 15 minutes after their exercise, they drank 16 ounces of either a high-fructose, caffeinated soft drink or water.</p> <p>They repeated the cycle three more times for a total of four hours.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers measured the participants’ core body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, body weight and markers of kidney injury before, immediately after, and 24 hours after each session.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A week later, the volunteers repeated the four-hour session once again. But, those who had soft drinks in the previous trial received water and vice versa.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants had higher levels of creatinine in the blood and a lower glomerular filtration rate—both markers for kidney injury—after the soft drink trial, but not when they drank water. They also had higher blood levels of vasopressin, an anti-diuretic hormone that raises blood pressure, and they were slightly dehydrated after the soft drink trial.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Sleep like a baby</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Babies fall asleep faster when they are rocked to sleep. A Swiss study published in Current Biology suggests that rocking motion helps adults sleep better, too. It also boosts memory.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 18 healthy young adults who spent three nights in a sleep lab. The first night was meant to get them used to sleeping there. The second night, the participants slept on a gently rocking bed and on the third night, they slept on an identical bed that was not moving.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants fell asleep faster while rocking. Once asleep, they also spent more time in non-rapid eye movement sleep, woke up fewer times and slept more deeply.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out if better sleep influenced memory, participants studied word pairs. The researchers then measured how accurately they recalled those paired words in an evening session compared to the next morning.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People did better on the morning test when they were rocked during sleep.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Additionally, the studies found that continuous rocking motion helped to synchronise brain activities that are important in both sleep and memory.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>People who eat one or more serving of fried food per day have an 8 per cent higher chance of dying early from all causes compared to those who do not eat fried food.</i></p> <p><i><b>The BMJ</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>New guidelines</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The popular anti-clotting drug warfarin is no longer considered the preferred treatment for atrial fibrillation (AFib), a common heart rhythm disorder.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to new guidelines jointly issued by the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the Heart Rhythm Society, non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants (NOACs), a newer class of blood-thinning medication, is a better alternative to warfarin for reducing the risk of stroke associated with atrial fibrillation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>AFib is a type of irregular heartbeat in the atria, or upper chambers of the heart, that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. Atrial fibrillation is associated with a five-fold increased risk for stroke. About 15–20 per cent of people who have strokes have Afib.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“New scientific studies show that NOACs may be safer for patients because there is less risk of bleeding, and they may also be more effective at preventing blood clots than warfarin,” said Craig T. January, co-chair of the focused update.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, NOACs are not recommended for patients with moderate to severe mitral stenosis (narrowing of the mitral valve), or for patients with an artificial heart valve. The new guidelines also recommend weight loss for AFib patients who are overweight or obese.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Natural painkiller</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A good night’s sleep is the best painkiller. According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, a single night of inadequate sleep can augment physical pain by heightening pain sensitivity and numbing the brain’s painkilling response.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers applied uncomfortable levels of heat to the legs of 25 healthy young adults while scanning their brains twice—once after a good night’s sleep and once after a night of no sleep.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All sleep-deprived participants reported feeling discomfort at lower temperatures. Brain scans showed that activity in their somatosensory cortex, previously associated with the location and intensity of pain, was enhanced following sleep loss.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sleep deprivation also decreased the activity associated with pain relief in two regions, called the striatum and the insula, that is involved in processing pain, including evaluating its severity and controlling our emotional response to it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers further surveyed more than 230 adults of all ages. They were asked to report their nightly hours of sleep, as well as their day-to-day pain levels over the course of a few days. The participants reported increased pain during the day after reporting poor sleep the night before.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Breaking breakfast myth</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Eating breakfast does not help you lose weight, according to an Australian study published in The BMJ.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is widely suggested that eating breakfast can help maintain a healthy weight. But an analysis of 13 randomised controlled trials concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest that eating breakfast promotes weight loss or that skipping breakfast leads to weight gain.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the contrary, the review found that people who ate breakfast consumed, on average, about 260 calories more per day than people who skipped breakfast.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Also, they weighed an average of 0.44kg more than those who skipped breakfast.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Unlike popular belief, people who skipped breakfast did not feel hungrier during the day nor did they eat more. There was no significant difference in metabolic rates between breakfast eaters and skippers, either.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“This study suggests that the addition of breakfast might not be a good strategy for weight loss, regardless of established breakfast habit,” the study concluded.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Exercising regularly was associated with a 12 per cent lower risk of falls, 26 per cent reduced risk of injurious falls and 16 per cent reduced risk of fractures in older adults.</i></p> <p><i><b>JAMA Internal Medicine</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Body size matters</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who are tall and slim are more likely to reach 90. According to a Dutch study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, body size (height and weight) may influence women’s lifespan, but not men’s.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While body size did not matter for men, exercise helped both men and women live longer. For the study, 3,646 men and 4,161 women, aged 68 to 70, provided information about their weight and height, weight when aged 20, and their leisure time physical activity, in 1986. The researchers followed them until death or the age of 90, whichever came first.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 433 men (16.7 per cent) and 944 women (34.4 per cent) lived to the age of 90.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who were taller, had weighed less at the start of the study, and had put on less weight since the age of 20, were more likely to live to the age of 90 than women who were shorter and heavier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In fact, women who were more than 5 feet 9 inches tall were 31 per cent more likely to reach 90 than women less than 5 feet 3 inches. Height and weight, however, did not influence longevity in men.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Beating bad</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Breast cancer patients have a higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation, a condition marked by irregular heartbeat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide and the second most common cancer overall. Modern treatment regimens ensure that approximately 80 percent of breast cancer patients become long-term survivors. But these survivors can have long-term complications from both the cancer and related treatments.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers hypothesised that breast cancer patients may be at a higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation because breast cancer induces inflammation. To find out, they compared the medical records of 74,155 female breast cancer patients with 2,22,465 women of the same age from the general population.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Breast cancer patients had an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, and the risk was dependent on age and time since diagnosis, the study published in the journal Heart Rhythm found.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For patients younger than 60, the risk more than doubled in the first six months after diagnosis, and rose 80 per cent from six months to three years after their diagnosis. The risk for women older than 60 was similar to the general population during the first six months, but increased 14 per cent from six months to three years after diagnosis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Night owls may have an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes than early risers. They tend to have erratic eating patterns and consume more unhealthy foods such as alcohol, sugars, caffeinated drinks and fast food.</i></p> <p><i><b>Advances in Nutrition</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Stay active</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Older adults who were physically active, either by exercising or just doing daily housework, kept their minds sharp, even if their brains showed signs of lesions or other markers linked to Alzheimer's disease or dementia, according to findings of a study published in the journal Neurology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 454 older adults, 191 of whom had dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants had physical exams and tests of memory and thinking skills every year for 20 years. All of them agreed to donate their brains for research after death.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The average age at death was 91. About two years before death, each participant was asked to wear a wrist-worn device called an accelerometer, which measured every single movement round the clock, including walking around the house and exercise routines.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Participants who moved around the most had better thinking and memory skills. Those who had better motor skills (that help with movement and coordination) also had better thinking and memory skills.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For every standard deviation of increase in physical activity and motor skills, the participants were 31 per cent and 55 per cent less likely to develop dementia, respectively.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The link between higher activity and better thinking skills remained consistent even in people who had dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/02/16/delay-first-bath.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/02/16/delay-first-bath.html Sat Feb 16 14:27:08 IST 2019 stay-worthwhile-stay-healthy <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/01/25/stay-worthwhile-stay-healthy.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/1/25/10-stay-worthwhile-stay-healthy.jpg" /> <p>Older adults who have a sense of purpose, and think that they are engaged in meaningful activities, tend to be healthier and happier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was based on 7,304 adults, aged 50 and older.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants were rated on a scale of one to ten, on the basis of the extent to which they felt their daily activities were worthwhile. As part of the study, they answered questions about their health and lifestyle, and underwent tests that measured a range of health parameters.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, the more worthwhile people thought their activities were, the better their physical and mental health at the start of the study, and four years later.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As the worthwhile ratings increased, the chances of developing a new disease, depression, chronic pain or a disability dropped.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who reported lower worthwhile ratings were twice as likely to develop depressive symptoms over the study period and 30 per cent more likely to develop chronic pain.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Depression net</b></p> <p>Teenage girls are twice as likely to show depressive symptoms linked to social media use compared to boys, according to a British study published in the EclinicalMedicine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To examine the link between social media usage and depressive symptoms, the researchers analysed data from 10,904 teens.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Girls were heavier users of social media, with two fifths of them using it for more than three hours per day compared with one fifth of boys. Twelve per cent of light social media users and 38 per cent of heavy social media users (five or more hours a day) showed signs of severe depression.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Three to five hours of social media usage per day increased depression scores by 26 per cent in girls and 21 per cent in boys, compared to those who used it for one to three hours a day. Depression scores rose by 50 per cent in girls and 35 per cent in boys with social media use of over five hours per day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Greater social media use was related to online harassment, poor sleep, low self-esteem and poor body image, which in turn were linked to higher depressive symptom scores.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Men whose fathers smoked at the time of pregnancy had a 41 per cent lower sperm concentration and 51 per cent lower sperm count compared to men with non-smoking fathers.</i></p> <p><i><b>PLOS ONE</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>At the heart of income volatility</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Money issues can negatively impact your mental health. According to a study published in the journal Circulation, sudden, unpredictable drops in personal income during young adulthood was associated with an increased risk of developing heart diseases and all-cause mortality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers followed 3,937 people for 15 years. The participants, who were 23 to 35 years old in 1990 when the study began, provided information about their income at the onset and four more times during the study. Their medical records were analysed for heart events and deaths.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who experienced the biggest fluctuations in personal income had nearly double the risk of all-cause mortality and more than double the risk for cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks, stroke, heart failure, or death, compared to those with more stable incomes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who suffered two or more income drops during the study period were 2.5 times more likely to develop heart disease and 92 per cent more likely to die from any cause, compared to those without income drops.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Bypass surgery vs angioplasty</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Diabetic patients with multiple-clogged heart arteries who opted for bypass surgery lived longer compared to similar patients who had angioplasty, according to follow-up results from the FREEDOM trial published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The initial FREEDOM trial results, published in 2012, showed that diabetic patients with multiple blocked arteries had fewer heart attacks and lived longer if they underwent bypass surgery instead of getting a stent, during an average 3.8-year follow-up.</p> <p>The researchers continued to track patients to evaluate the long- term survival advantage with bypass surgery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among 943 patients who were followed for eight years, 24 per cent of the patients who received stents died from all causes compared to 18 per cent of those who had bypass surgery. The greatest benefit was seen in patients under 65.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients treated with bypass surgery had a 36 per cent better survival advantage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Anti-seizure drug to fight depression</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>An anti-seizure drug could be a new treatment option for patients suffering from depression. Ezogabine (also known as retigabine) significantly reduced depressive symptoms and increased resilience to stress in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ezogabine is a potassium channel opener and can increase the activity of the area in the brain that controls potassium. Potassium channels in the brain’s reward system mediate the brain's resilience to depression.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ezogabine was found to have significant antidepressant effects in mice. This suggested that Ezogabine may have an antidepressant affect in humans, too.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers tried the drug in 18 patients with MDD who were not taking any other medication. The participants received up to 900mg of Ezogabine daily over 10 weeks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients experienced a 45 per cent reduction in depressive symptoms, a significant reduction in anhedonia—the inability to feel pleasure—and a significant increase in resilience.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The findings of the study were published in Molecular Psychiatry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Strike off stroke</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Can a healthy lifestyle offset the effect of genetics on stroke risk?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a study published in The BMJ, a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of stroke even if the deadly disease runs in your family.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Both genetic and environmental factors, including diet and lifestyle, can influence your risk of suffering a stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers looked for 90 gene variants that are known to increase stroke risk in 3,06, 473 men and women, aged 40-73 years, without a history of stroke or heart attack.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hospital and death records were examined to identify stroke events. Over an average follow-up of seven years, 2,077 fatal or non-fatal strokes were reported.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, the risk of stroke was higher in men than women. Additionally, the risk of stroke was 35 per cent higher among those at high genetic risk compared with those at low genetic risk, irrespective of lifestyle.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At the same time, people who adhered to a healthy lifestyle had a 66 per cent lower risk of stroke than those with an unhealthy lifestyle, regardless of their level of genetic risk for stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People with a high genetic risk combined with an unhealthy lifestyle had more than double the risk for stroke, compared to people with a low genetic risk with a healthy lifestyle.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>A review of 56 previous studies that included both kids and adults did not find any substantial health benefits by replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners. The researchers looked at a range of health outcomes including weight, oral health, cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, blood sugar levels, mood and behaviour.</i></p> <p><i><b>The BMJ</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Sperm quality matters</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Recurrent miscarriages are often thought to be caused by health issues with the mother. A new study published in the journal Clinical Chemistry suggests that poor quality of a man’s sperm could also be responsible for recurrent miscarriages—defined as the consecutive loss of three of more pregnancies before 20 weeks gestation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers compared the sperm health of 50 men whose partners suffered multiple miscarriages to that of 60 male volunteers whose partners had not suffered a miscarriage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The sperm of men whose partners suffered recurrent miscarriages had twice as much DNA damage compared to the healthy group.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The DNA damage was caused by reactive oxygen species, molecules formed within the semen to protect sperm from bacteria and infection. But in high concentrations, these molecules can cause significant damage to sperm cells.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The sperm from men whose partners had suffered miscarriages had a four-fold increase in the amount of reactive oxygen species compared to the control group.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the researchers, previous infections, obesity and older age could be contributing to the oxidative damage to the sperms.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Bottle fed infants are more likely to be left-handed, whereas babies who are breast fed for more than six months are more likely to be right handed.</i></p> <p><i><b>Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Eat more fibre</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a study published in The Lancet, eating a diet rich in fibre and whole grains can help lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and other chronic diseases.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The conclusion was based on 185 observational studies and 58 clinical trials that was conducted over the past 40 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who ate more fibre lowered their risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer, as well as their risk of dying early from any cause, by 15 per cent to 30 per cent compared with those who ate less fibre.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who ate more fibre-rich food also had significantly lower body weight, systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol. The optimum amount of fibre that people should consume daily to gain these health benefits is 25 to 29 grams. The health benefits increased with greater consumption. For every additional 8 grams of dietary fibre a person consumes, the risk for each of those illnesses and death dropped by 5 to 27 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mediterranean diet, with its emphasis on fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, whole grains, legumes and nuts, was picked as the healthiest diet from 41 different popular diets. The Mediterranean diet has been linked to increased longevity and a decreased risk of chronic illnesses.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>U.S. News &amp; World Report's annual diet review</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Exercise for survival</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who exercise after a heart attack, and before and after a cancer diagnosis, tend to live longer compared to those are inactive, according to two separate studies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The first study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association included 22,227 patients who were surveyed about their activity levels at six to ten weeks, and ten to twelve months after a heart attack.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During an average follow-up of 4.2 years, 1,087 people died.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients who were constantly active post heart attack were 71 per cent less likely to die compared to those who were inactive. Those who increased their activity over time after a heart attack were 59 per cent less likely to die. Even those who reduced their activity levels, but still got at least a little exercise, were 44 per cent less likely to die.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The second study published in the journal Cancer Causes &amp; Control included 5,807 patients with early- to late-stage cancer.</p> <p>Patients who exercised three to four times a week before and after their diagnosis had a 40 per cent lower risk of death compared with patients who did not exercise.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even those who exercised only once or twice a week had significantly better survival compared to inactive patients, suggesting that some amount of weekly activity is better than no activity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Improved survival was also seen in patients who began exercising only after their cancer diagnosis. They cut their risk of death by 25 to 28 per cent compared with those who remained inactive even after the diagnosis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Infections increase risk</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Infections such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes over the following three months, according to a study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study used data from 1,312 patients who had a heart attack or other type of coronary event, and 727 patients who had an ischaemic stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Infections substantially increased the odds of having a heart attack or stroke up to 90 days after infections, compared to a year or two earlier, in the same group of patients. The odds of having a heart attack and stroke were increased by 13-fold and six-fold, respectively, in the first two weeks following the infection.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About 37 per cent of the heart disease patients and 30 per cent of stroke patients had some type of infection within the previous three months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Severe infections increased the risk of stroke and heart attack substantially compared to mild infections.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Hot solution</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hot baths may help reduce inflammation and improve blood sugar (glucose) levels in people who cannot exercise, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Raising body temperature through exercise can trigger the release of anti-inflammatory substances that can reduce inflammation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A spike in body temperature can also aid nitric oxide production, a substance that aids blood flow and helps carry glucose throughout the body.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out whether these would work as alternatives for people who cannot exercise, researchers studied the impact of hot-water immersion on markers of inflammation, and blood sugar and insulin levels on ten sedentary, overweight men.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants sat immersed up to their necks in 39°C water for 60 minutes. Their heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature were measured every 15 minutes. Blood samples were taken before and after the bath.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A single hot-water immersion caused the elevation of IL-6 levels—a marker of inflammation—and increased nitric oxide production.</p> <p>Two weeks of daily hot-water baths showed a reduction in fasting blood sugar and insulin levels, and inflammation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/01/25/stay-worthwhile-stay-healthy.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/01/25/stay-worthwhile-stay-healthy.html Fri Jan 25 16:04:08 IST 2019 life-from-death <a href="http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/01/11/life-from-death.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/health/quickscan/images/2019/1/11/6-Life-from-death.jpg" /> <p>The world's first baby born to a woman who had a uterus transplant from a deceased donor is healthy and thriving, Brazilian doctors have reported in the journal The Lancet.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There have been 11 successful pregnancies so far using uterus transplants from live donors. But this is the first case of successful pregnancy using uterus from a deceased donor.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The donor was a 45-year-old woman and had three children, and had died of a stroke. The recipient was a 32-year-old woman who was born without a uterus.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The uterus from the deceased donor was implanted during a ten-hour operation in September 2016. The recipient received immunosuppression therapy, which was continued until the baby's birth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The woman underwent in vitro fertilisation before the transplant, and the resulting embryo was implanted seven months after the transplant.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The baby girl was delivered by C-section on December 15, 2017, at 35 weeks and three days. The only complication during pregnancy was a kidney infection, and it was treated with antibiotics. Nearly a year later, both mother and baby are healthy and the baby is growing normally.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Oversleeping kills</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a study published in the European Heart Journal, people who slept more than six to eight hours a day (daytime naps included) had an increased risk of dying or developing cardiovascular diseases.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 1,16,632 adults aged between 35 and 70 years in 21 countries with different income levels in seven geographic regions, including South Asia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During an average follow-up of eight years, 4,381 people died and 4,365 suffered a major cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Compared to people who slept for the recommended six to eight hours a day, those who slept a total of eight to nine hours a day had 5 per cent increased risk; the risk was 17 per cent higher for those who slept nine to ten hours a day and 41 per cent higher for those who slept more than ten.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People who slept a total of six or fewer hours also had a 9 per cent increased risk. Regular daytime naps that varied from 30 to 60 minutes are common in the Middle East, China, Southeast Asia and South America.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Daytime nap is associated with a slightly increased risk for major cardiovascular events and deaths in people who slept more than six hours at night, but not in people who slept six or fewer hours at night.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Holidays can be hard on the heart: overall risk of a heart attack during Christmas/New Year's was 15 per cent higher than a regular December day. The risk peaked on Christmas Eve to 37 per cent and is highest at 10pm. The risk was 20 per cent higher on New Year's Day.</i></p> <p><i><b>The BMJ</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Statins: benefits far outweigh risks</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The benefits of taking statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) far outweigh the risks, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Statins are used to reduce low-density lipoprotein, or LDL (bad) cholesterol. Statins can lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and even death from cardiovascular diseases.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The scientific statement was based on a review of several studies evaluating the safety and potential side-effects of statins. About 10 per cent of people stop taking statins because of symptoms that they assume are due to the drug. The statement addresses several side-effects associated with statins including muscle pain, muscle weakness and type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The only worrisome side-effect is rhabdomyolysis, which can result in acute kidney failure and affects less than 0.1 per cent of patients on statin therapy. It is marked by a noticeable symptom—dark urine. Patients who see this sign should stop taking statins and contact their doctor.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Statins were not associated with a greater risk of other possible side-effects including liver damage, cancer, cognitive dysfunction, neurological effects, peripheral neuropathy, cataracts, tendon ruptures or erectile dysfunction.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Avoid taking fluoroquinolones</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Taking a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones can increase the risk of heart vessel tears, the US Food and Drug Administration has warned.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>These antibiotics can cause serious events of ruptures or tears of the aorta, the main artery of the body that carries oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Aortic dissections, or ruptures of an aortic aneurysm can lead to dangerous bleeding or even death.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fluoroquinolones are a widely used class of antibiotics, especially for upper respiratory infections. They include ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, gemifloxacin, and moxifloxacin. They have been used for more than 30 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>These ruptures can occur with fluoroquinolones, taken as a pill or through an injection.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People with a history of blockages or aneurysms (abnormal bulges) of the aorta or other blood vessels, high blood pressure, certain genetic disorders such as Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome that involve blood vessel changes, and the elderly are particularly at risk. Fluoroquinolones should not be used in these patients unless there are no other treatment options.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Mammograms save lives</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a study published in the journal Cancer, women who take part in breast screening have a significantly greater benefit from treatments than those who are not screened.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 52,438 Swedish women aged 40 to 69 years during a 39-year period. The researchers looked at the annual incidence of breast cancers, causing death within 10 years and within 20 years after breast cancer diagnosis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All patients received stage-specific cancer treatment according to the latest national guidelines, irrespective of the mode of detection.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who participated in an organised breast cancer screening programme had a 60 per cent lower risk of dying from breast cancer within 10 years after diagnosis, and a 47 per cent lower risk of dying from breast cancer within 20 years after diagnosis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The authors say that this benefit could be attributed to early detection. Screening detects cancers at an earlier stage when they respond much better to treatment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Moderate intensity aerobic exercise, two to three times a week for at least 150 minutes, can effectively reduce symptoms of depression and schizophrenia, and improve cognition and cardiorespiratory health in patients with depression and schizophrenia.</i></p> <p><i><b>European Psychiatry</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Antipsychotics do not ease ICU delirium</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>ICU patients often experience delirium, making them disoriented, withdrawn and drowsy. Critically-ill patients in intensive care units are given antipsychotic medications to treat delirium. But, according to a US study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, two commonly used antipsychotic drugs—haloperidol and ziprasidone—are ineffective in treating the condition.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Antipsychotic medications have been used to treat delirium in ICU patients for more than 40 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the study, 566 ICU patients who developed delirium were given either intravenous haloperidol, ziprasidone or a placebo. There was no significant difference between the three groups in duration of delirium or coma, or in 30-day or 90-day mortality, or in time spent on a ventilator, in the ICU, or in the hospital.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Depressive and traumatic</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients who are treated in intensive care units are more likely to report symptoms of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after they are discharged, according to a study from the University of Oxford published in the journal Critical Care.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>ICU survivors who reported symptoms of depression were at greater risk of death in the two years following discharge.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study was based on 4,943 patients who had received at least 24 hours of treatment in one of 26 ICUs in the UK between 2006 and 2013.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The patients completed questionnaires on symptoms of psychological disorders at three and 12 months after discharge from the ICU.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 55 per cent of patients had symptoms for one or more conditions; 46 per cent of the patients reported symptoms of anxiety; 40 per cent reported symptoms of depression; 22 per cent reported symptoms of PTSD; and 18 per cent of patients reported having symptoms of all three psychological conditions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When symptoms of one psychological condition was present, there was a 65 per cent chance that they will co-occur with symptoms of one of the other two disorders.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Brisk walk for your knees</b></p> <p>According to a study presented at the American College of Rheumatology's annual meeting, walking at a moderate-to-vigorous intensity may lower the odds of needing knee replacement surgery or total knee arthroplasty (TKA) for people with knee arthritis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To find out if walking helps or harms the knees, the researchers analysed data from 1,854 older adults with knee arthritis who wore portable devices that tracked their walking intensities for at least four days.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Over five years, 108 (6 per cent) of the participants received total knee-replacement surgery. Participants who had five minutes per day of moderate-to-high intensity walking reduced their need for a knee-replacement surgery by 16 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Moderate-to-high Intensity walking was defined as walking more than 100 steps per minute. Light intensity walking had no impact.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Clinicians should consider encouraging their patients with or at high risk of knee osteoarthritis to go for a brisk walk for five to 10 continuous minutes each and every day,” said the study author.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Danger triples</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Pre-eclampsia can triple the risk of dementia later in life, says a US study published in The BMJ.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Pre-eclampsia, a serious condition where abnormally high blood pressure and other complications develop during pregnancy, affects about 3 to 5 per cent of pregnancies, and is dangerous for both mother and child.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included more than 1.1 million Danish women who gave birth at least once between 1978 and 2015, and had not been diagnosed with heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, diabetes, or dementia before first birth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 58,410 had a history of pre-eclampsia. The women were followed for an average of 21 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women with a history of pre-eclampsia had a 53 per cent increase in the overall risk of dementia compared with women without a history. They were 3.4 times more likely to suffer from vascular dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This association was particularly strong for women who developed dementia after age 65. They had a 6.5 times greater risk. A history of pre-eclampsia, however, was only modestly associated with the risk of Alzheimer's disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Risk reducers</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Anti-clotting drugs reduce the risk of stroke and dementia in patients with atrial fibrillation, according to two studies from Karolinska Institute, Sweden.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Patients with atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) are at an increased risk of stroke. Anti-clotting drugs are more widely prescribed for such patients now and that has contributed to a significant reduction in ischaemic stroke.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study published in the journal Stroke included two groups of patients: 41,008 patients in 2012—when warfarin was more widely used—and 49,510 patients in 2017—when non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) were more widely prescribed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The use of oral anticoagulants increased considerably from 51.6 per cent to 73.8 per cent during this period, and the incidence of stroke decreased by 58 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Atrial fibrillation is also associated with an increased risk of dementia. But it is not clear if anti-clotting drugs can reduce this risk. The study published in the European Heart Journal compared the incidence of new dementia in patients with irregular heartbeat who did or did not take anti-clotting drugs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among 4,44,106 patients who were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation between 2006 and 2014, 26,210 were diagnosed with dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Less than half of the patients were taking anti-clotting drugs at the start of the study and they had a 29 per cent lower risk of developing dementia compared with patients who were not taking anti-clotting drugs. Patients who continued to stay on the medication had a 48 per cent reduction in the risk of dementia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>The rate of loneliness has nearly doubled over the past 50 years. Loneliness hits people hardest during three specific age periods: late-20s, mid-50s and late-80s.</i></p> <p><i><b>International Psychogeriatric</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Fasting myth</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a US study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology, routine fasting for cholesterol blood tests may not be necessary. And, in the case of people with diabetes, fasting could actually be harmful.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Missing breakfast while fasting for blood tests can lead to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) in people with diabetes who take insulin. Hypoglycaemia can cause faintness, confusion and even a loss of consciousness. It is especially dangerous for patients who drive to and from the lab because a severe hypoglycaemic event can cause accidents.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study included 363 diabetic patients who completed a survey about hypoglycaemic events while fasting for labs in the preceding 12 months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them, 17.1 per cent of patients experienced hypoglycaemia while fasting for a lab test. Among those taking insulin to manage their blood sugar, 22 per cent had hypoglycaemia while waiting for their lab test.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>Did You Know</b></i></p> <p><i>Pregnant women who consume caffeine, both from coffee or tea, are more likely to have shorter gestational age, and babies with lower birth weight and smaller head circumference.</i></p> <p><i><b>The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Exercise during pregnancy</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who exercise during pregnancy can reduce the risks of major complications, according to the 2019 Canadian Guideline for Physical Activity Throughout Pregnancy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For optimal foetal and maternal health, all women, with the exception of those who are advised not to exercise for medical reasons, should be physically active throughout their pregnancy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Pregnant women should aim for 150 minutes of moderately-intense exercise each week, accumulated over a minimum of three days per week.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women should incorporate aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming and stationary cycling as well as resistance training exercises. Adding yoga and gentle stretching may also be beneficial.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Women who exercise during pregnancy have a 25 per cent reduced risk of developing pregnancy-related illnesses, such as depression, and a 40 per cent lower risk of developing major pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia, gestational high blood pressure or gestational diabetes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>CONTRIBUTOR: SHYLA JOVITHA ABRAHAM</b></p> http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/01/11/life-from-death.html http://www.theweek.in/health/quickscan/2019/01/11/life-from-death.html Fri Jan 11 15:39:09 IST 2019