Night sign


HIGHER BLOOD PRESSURE at night compared to this day can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in older men.

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.

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.

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.

There were 286 cases of dementia during the study period.

Men with reverse dipping had a 1.64 times greater risk of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those with normal dipping.

An afternoon nap helps the brain

A CHINESE STUDY published in the journal General Psychiatry suggests that afternoon nap may improve mental agility.

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.

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.

Sleep regulates the body’s immune response and regular naps may help reduce inflammation.

Extra pounds may help

ACCORDING TO A US STUDY 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.

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.

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.

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.

Those who started as obese and continued to gain weight had the shortest lifespan.

Did You Know?

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) therapy can help men control their anger and reduce intimate partner violence, including sexual, physical, psychological or emotional violence.

BMC Psychiatry

Insulin may not need refrigeration

INSULIN VIALS can be stored without refrigeration for four weeks, even in hot weather.

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.

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.

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.

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.

High-risk patients

COVID-19 PATIENTS 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.

For the study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, researchers examined the health records of 568 patients diagnosed with Covid-19.

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.

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.

Overall, patients with gum disease were 3.67 times more likely to suffer from severe Covid-19 complications.

Gum disease can be a sign of inflammation and systemic inflammation is also a symptom of Covid-19.

New hope for weight loss

A new weight-loss drug could be a game-changer for people who struggle with obesity.

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.

The weekly injectable 2.4 milligram dose of semaglutide works by reducing hunger and calorie intake.

The 68-week study included 1,961 overweight or obese adults from 16 countries.

The participants started with an average weight of 230 lb and a body mass index of 38 kg/m2.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Did You Know?

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.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Harm from hand sanitisers

WIDESPREAD 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.

The injury is often caused by accidentally spraying the liquid into the eye or rubbing the eyes before the sanitiser has fully evaporated.

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).

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.

Cases related to eye injuries increased sevenfold from April to August in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

Did You Know?

Women who drink coffee during pregnancy are more likely to have kids with behavioural problems, including attention difficulties and hyperactivity.


Prediabetes is a predictor

PEOPLE WITH PREDIABETES 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.