NIGHT-SHIFT WORKERS have an increased risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease. A new US study published in the journal Science Advances suggests that eating during the daytime could be a simple intervention that can reduce the adverse metabolic effects linked to night-shift work.
The study included 19 healthy young men and women who were randomly assigned to a 14-day simulated night-work schedule with one of two eating plans: one group ate during the night-time which is typical among night-shift workers, and the other group ate during the daytime which aligns with their internal circadian rhythms.
The researchers found that eating during the night increased glucose levels by 6.4 per cent, a risk factor for diabetes. But those who restricted meals to the day did not see this spike in glucose levels.
Eating during the day can help night shift workers maintain internal circadian alignment and prevent glucose intolerance.
Anger may trigger stroke
LOSING YOUR TEMPER, getting emotionally upset and heavy physical exertion could trigger a stroke, according to the INTERSTROKE study published in the European Heart Journal.
Most studies on stroke focus on medium to long-term exposures, such as hypertension, obesity or smoking.
To explore the impact of acute exposure that could contribute to a stroke, the researchers looked at 13,462 cases of acute stroke, both ischaemic stroke and intracerebral haemorrhage, involving patients from 32 countries.
Among them, 9.2 per cent (1,233 participants) were angry or emotionally upset and 5.3 per cent (708 participants) engaged in heavy physical exertion within an hour of symptom onset.
The study found that one in 11 stroke survivors experienced a period of anger or were upset in the one hour leading up to it and one in 20 patients had engaged in heavy physical exertion.
Anger or emotional upset was linked to a 37 per cent increase in the risk of stroke for one hour after the episode. The risk was greater if the patient did not have a history of depression.
Heavy physical exertion was linked to a 62 per cent increase in the risk of intracerebral haemorrhage for an hour afterwards. The risk was greater for women and less for those with a normal BMI.
Elevated heart rate linked to a greater risk of dementia
YOUR RESTING HEART rate could be a predictor of future dementia risk.
According to a Swedish study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, older adults with an elevated resting heart rate have an increased risk of dementia and faster cognitive decline.
Elevated resting heart rate is already known to increase the risk of several cardiovascular diseases such as ischaemic heart disease, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and stroke, and these conditions are known risk factors for dementia as well.
To find out if the elevated resting heart rate is an independent risk factor for dementia, the researchers followed 2,147 people aged 60 and older. During 12 years of follow up, 289 people were diagnosed with dementia.
Individuals with a resting heart rate of 80 beats or more per minute had on average a 55 per cent greater risk of dementia than those with a heart rate of 60 to 69 beats per minute.
The association remained significant even after excluding participants with prevalent and incident cardiovascular diseases. The researchers added that resting heart rate could be used as a tool to identify people who are at an increased risk of dementia and intervene early to delay the onset of dementia.
Resting heart rate can be easily measured and can be lowered with exercise or medical treatment.
Did You Know?
Looking in the mirror encourages healthy behaviours in overweight and obese people. It reduces anxiety and body dissatisfaction and improves self-awareness which encourages them to choose healthier food and engage in exercise.
Journal of Clinical Nursing
Quit smoking before 45 to eliminate cancer risk
QUITTING SMOKING AT any age can reduce the risk of dying from lung and other tobacco-related cancers.
According to a US study published in JAMA Oncology, smokers who stop the habit before age 45 reduced their excess risk by 89 per cent.
The study involving more than 4,10,000 people examined the association between age at smoking initiation and cessation and cancer mortality at ages 25 to 79 years.
Smokers who gave up the habit before age 35 completely erased the risk.
Quitting at any age is beneficial. Those who quit between the ages of 45 and 54, reduced their excess risk by 78 per cent, and by 56 per cent if they quit between the ages of 55 and 64.
Equally important was the age at which smokers start the habit. Overall, smokers are three times more likely to die of cancer compared to non-smokers. The risk was four times greater for people who start smoking before age 10.
Among current smokers, smoking accounted for about 75 per cent of cancer deaths among those who started smoking before the age of 10 years, and 59 per cent of cancer deaths among those who started at age 21 years and older.
Surgery vs antibiotics for appendicitis
THE LARGEST STUDY comparing appendectomy and antibiotics for appendicitis, the Comparison of the Outcomes of Antibiotic Drugs and Appendectomy, or CODA trial, concluded that antibiotics can be the first-line of treatment for most patients with appendicitis.
Appendectomy has been the standard treatment for appendicitis for more than 120 years and is one of the most common emergency abdominal procedures. The findings of the trial give patients a safe alternative to surgical removal of the appendix.
As part of the trial, 1,552 patients with appendicitis from 25 hospitals across 14 American states were examined. They were randomly assigned to receive antibiotics or to undergo an appendectomy.
Around 70 per cent of the patients could avoid surgery the first three months after taking the antibiotics. While the proportion of patients who underwent surgery after initially taking antibiotics increased over time, just above 50 per cent of the patients could avoid the surgery up to four years.
Patients with an appendicolith, a small stone in the appendix—seen in about 25 per cent of cases of acute appendicitis—had a higher chance of appendectomy in the first 30 days.
The final results of the CODA Trial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine .
Did You Know?
Seniors who regularly did household chores such as washing dishes, dusting, ironing, cooking. vacuuming and mopping had a higher cognitive function, especially better memory and attention span, and stronger legs, which helps prevent falls.
Viagra could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease
VIAGRA (SILDENAFIL), a drug commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction, could potentially help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, according to a US study published in the journal Nature Aging.
The research team from Cleveland Clinic analysed health insurance claims data of 7.23 million people to compare the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease among sildenafil users and non-users.
They found that sildenafil users were 69 per cent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than non-users after six years of follow-up.
“Notably, we found that sildenafil use reduced the likelihood of Alzheimer’s in individuals with coronary artery disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes, all of which are comorbidities significantly associated with risk of the disease, as well as in those without,” the study author added.
In lab experiments with an Alzheimer’s patient-derived brain cell model using stem cells, the researchers also found that sildenafil increased brain cell growth and reduced tau protein accumulation in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers are planning a phase II randomised clinical trial to test the possibility of repurposing sildenafil as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease.
Is there an optimal bedtime?
ACCORDING TO A BRITISH study published in the European Heart Journal: Digital Health, going to sleep between 10pm and 11pm is associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease.
The study included 88,026 adults with an average age of 61 years. Their data on sleep and wake times were collected over a week using a wrist-worn accelerometer. The participants also provided information about their lifestyle and health.
Among them, 3,172 participants (3.6 per cent) developed cardiovascular disease during an average follow-up of 5.7 years.
The incidence of cardiovascular disease was lowest in those who went to sleep between 10pm and 10:59pm.
Those who went to sleep at midnight or later had a 25 per cent higher risk of cardiovascular disease. The risk was 12 per cent greater for those who went to bed between 11 to 11:59pm, and 24 per cent higher for those who hit the bed before 10pm.
The association between bedtimes and cardiovascular risk was stronger in women.
A chewing gum to fight Covid-19
RESEARCHERS AT THE University of Pennsylvania are developing a chewing gum that could reduce the spread of Covid-19 transmission.
The gum is laced with a plant-based protein known as ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) which can trap and neutralise SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19, found in the saliva.
This gum can lower the viral load by neutralising the virus in the saliva, the primary site of viral replication, and possibly reduce transmission and infection.
The ACE2 protein was originally being studied to treat hypertension.
When saliva samples from Covid-19 patients were exposed to the gum with ACE2 protein, levels of viral RNA fell so dramatically that it was almost undetectable.
The researchers are working on obtaining approval for a clinical trial.
The study was published in the journal Molecular Therapy.