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Friday, 11 April 2014

Legumes Like Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils and Peas Lower Cholesterol Levels

If you have been advised to reduce your cholesterol levels, here is one more suggestion that you can adopt - eat a serving of legumes like beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas every day.
 A new study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal studied the effect of taking non-oil-seed legumes in reducing LDL - cholesterol or bad cholesterol levels. They pooled data from individual studies which covered 1037 individuals. They found a 5% reduction in LDL-cholesterol levels in those who took a serving of legumes every day for at least 3 weeks. This could reduce the risk of heart disease to a small extent.

Though legumes are a part of the regular diet in India, it is less consumed in the western world. Adverse effects recorded in the study include bloating, flatulence, diarrhea or constipation.

Types of Legumes

Legumes grow from plants which develop pods with seeds inside. The seeds and sometimes the pods are consumed as food. Common types of legumes include:

Beans: There are several types of beans like French beans, soybeans, fava beans, kidney beans and lima beans.

Peas: Common types of peas include green peas, black-eyed peas and split peas.

Lentils: Lentils are small oval grains that are a type of legumes. Sprouted lentils are nutritionally desired foods.

Nutritional Benefits of Legumes

Legumes are rich in protein. They can substitute the protein requirement in vegetarians. Sprouted lentils are a particularly good source.

They are rich in fiber. Fiber helps to reduce cholesterol levels and also helps in the proper functioning of the digestive system.

Non-oil legumes are low in fat.

Legumes often contain micronutrients like folate, iron, potassium and magnesium.

Heart Disease Diet Plan

Here are a few diet tips to keep your heart healthy:

Control your salt intake. Salt increases blood pressure and increases the work load of the heart.

Reduce your fat intake, especially that of saturated fats. Excessive fats deposit in blood vessels, thereby obstructing the free flow of blood. This can result in a heart attack.

Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. These contain antioxidants that are good for your cardiovascular system.

Eat whole grain-based foods rather than those based on refined grains or flour.

Eat just as much as you need. Eating 5 to 6 small meals may be a better option than three large meals.

Control your intake of sugar, which adds up to your calorie intake.

If you are a non-vegetarian, fish like salmon is good for your heart.

1. Ha V et al. Effect of dietary pulse intake on established therapeutic lipid targets for cardiovascular risk reduction: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. CMAJ 2014. DOI:10.1503/cmaj.131727


Viral hepatitis more deadly than HIV in Europe

Mortality from viral hepatitis is significantly higher than from HIV/AIDS across EU countries, according to results from The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010) which was announced for the first time today at the International Liver CongressTM 2014(1).
GBD 2010 is the most recent version of a large epidemiological study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and coordinated by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
In the EU, in 2010, there were more than 10 times as many deaths due to viral hepatitis as there were HIV-attributable deaths. Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) are estimated to have caused nearly 90,000 deaths that year in the EU (HCV nearly 57,000 deaths, HBV nearly 31,000 deaths), while there were just over 8,000 deaths from HIV/AIDS.
Presenting these thought-provoking figures, EASL's Vice-Secretary Dr. Laurent Castera from the department of Hepatology, Hôpital Beaujon in Paris said: "GBD 2010 is making a critical contribution to our understanding of present and future health priorities for countries and the global community. Although HIV/AIDS undeniably remains a key global health priority, the higher mortality from viral hepatitis than from HIV/AIDS in the EU means that hepatitis B and C must clearly now be counted among the top global and local priorities for health."
"Additional resources are needed to prevent, detect and treat hepatitis B and C in order to address these imbalances in major preventable causes of human death," Dr Castera added.
The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 is the largest ever systematic effort to describe the global distribution and causes of a wide array of major diseases, injuries, and health risk factors. GBD 2010 has collated estimates of 291 diseases and injuries and 1,160 sequelae to identify the causes of human death worldwide
Using country-level and regional causes of death, mortality attributed to HBV, HCV and HIV/AIDS between 1990 and 2010 has been compared across Europe, by region and for specific countries. These findings have then been compared to global trends.
Globally, deaths from both viral hepatitis and HIV increased from 1990-2010 with HIV/AIDS ranking 6th (1.47 million deaths) and viral hepatitis B and C combined ranking 9th, with 1.29 million deaths in 2010.
Whereas HIV-related deaths in the EU fell by more than half following the late 1990s, in Eastern Europe HIV mortality has risen sharply. "This goes some way to explaining why mortality from viral hepatitis does not appear to be higher than that of HIV/AIDS in other areas of Europe outside of the EU," concluded Dr Castera.
Source:European Association for the Study of the Liver

Erectile dysfunction can be reversed without medication

Men suffering from sexual dysfunction can be successful at reversing their problem, by focusing on lifestyle factors and not just relying on medication, according to research at the University of Adelaide.
In a new paper published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers highlight the incidence of erectile dysfunction and lack of sexual desire among Australian men aged 35-80 years.
Over a five-year period, 31% of the 810 men involved in the study developed some form of erectile dysfunction.
"Sexual relations are not only an important part of people's wellbeing. From a clinical point of view, the inability of some men to perform sexually can also be linked to a range of other health problems, many of which can be debilitating or potentially fatal," says Professor Gary Wittert, Head of the Discipline of Medicine at the University of Adelaide and Director of the University's Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men's Health.
"Our study saw a large proportion of men suffering from some form of erectile dysfunction, which is a concern. The major risk factors for this are typically physical conditions rather than psychological ones, such as being overweight or obese, a higher level of alcohol intake, having sleeping difficulties or obstructive sleep apnoea, and age.
"The good news is, our study also found that a large proportion of men were naturally overcoming erectile dysfunction issues. The remission rate of those with erectile dysfunction was 29%, which is very high. This shows that many of these factors affecting men are modifiable, offering them an opportunity to do something about their condition," Professor Wittert says.
The lead author of the paper, Dr Sean Martin from the University of Adelaide's Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men's Health, says: "Even when medication to help with erectile function is required, it is likely to be considerably more effective if lifestyle factors are also addressed.
"Erectile dysfunction can be a very serious issue because it's a marker of underlying cardiovascular disease, and it often occurs before heart conditions become apparent. Therefore, men should consider improving their weight and overall nutrition, exercise more, drink less alcohol and have a better night's sleep, as well as address risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol.
"This is not only likely to improve their sexual ability, but will be improve their cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of developing diabetes if they don't already have it."
Source:University of Adelaide

Breastfeeding and infant sleep

Are babies who wake to breastfeed at night trying to delay the birth of a sibling?

In a new article published online today in the journal Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, Professor David Haig argues that infants that wake frequently at night to breastfeed are delaying the resumption of the mother's ovulation and therefore preventing the birth of a sibling with whom they would have to compete.
It has already been documented that smaller gaps between the births of siblings are associated with increased mortality of infants and toddlers, especially in environments where resources are scarce and where infectious disease rates are high, and Professor Haig believes that the benefits of delay are such that the selective forces are strong enough to have engendered a significant evolutionary response.
Professor Haig says, "The duration of postpartum amenorrhea is a major determinant of interbirth internals (IBI) in natural fertility populations with more frequent and more intense nursing, especially at night, associated with prolonged infertility. Natural selection will have preserved suckling and sleeping behaviours of infants that suppress ovarian function in mothers because infants have benefited from delay of the next birth. Maximal night waking can be conjectured to overlap with the greatest benefits of contraceptive suckling."
Haig also points out that while less frequent night waking in formula-fed infants is usually explained by the fact that formula is harder to digest, and therefore more soporific, than breast milk, infants who were breastfed but were not nursed during the night slept longer than breastfed infants who were nursed at night.
Attention is also drawn to the sleep of infants with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) – who often have a weak suck and sleep a lot – and infants with Angelman syndrome (AS) – who wake frequently at night. These syndromes are both caused by deletion of a cluster of imprinted genes at chromosome 15q13 but differ in the parental origin of the deletion. These phenotypes suggest that imprinted genes of paternal and maternal origin have contrasting effects on sleep in infants without deletions, with genes of paternal origin promoting suckling and waking. Small-scale behavioural interventions in which parents were instructed not to respond to night waking by children with AS have resulted in dramatic improvements in sleep quality. Professor Haig writes: "In the developed world, many of the health advantages of prolonged IBIs have diminished and more reliable forms of contraception have replaced lactational amenorrhea. Therefore, the selective forces responsible for these behaviours have been attenuated but the behaviours remain part of our biological heritage. One should question whether modern sleep practices have had unintended consequences for child health but it would be irresponsible to recommend changes to these practices, solely on the basis of mismatch, without epidemiological evidence of harm. Mismatch is a medical problem only if it causes pathology.
"Identification of the 'environment of evolutionary adaptedness' with the optimal environment for wellbeing conflates questions of fitness and health. What was best for one was not always best for the other. Genetic conflicts within the family are part of our biological heritage, as are love and care for our children."
The journal has also published five articles and commentaries that respond to Professor Haig's paper from varying perspectives, along with a further reply to the responses by the author.
Source:Oxford University Press

How Negative Energy Affects Your Life And How To Clear It

You know that like attracts like, right? So here’s the deal: Positive people are drawn to positive energy;negative people are drawn to negative energy. We tend to perceive negative energy as something other people have. Sure, sometimes we feel negative – as in, “go away and leave me alone, world!” but did you know that negativity can be so ingrained in you that it goes unnoticed?
That’s because negativity sometimes wears a disguise called ‘reality’. It’s easy to rationalize that you’re ‘just being realistic’ in not daring to act on a dream – and believe it! You may assume that positive people are not being realistic – that they’re being naive, that they are in denial with their heads stuck in the sand, that they put on fake smiles in the face of difficulty and so forth. But are they really happy idiots or is there something to their positivity?
Consider this: since when does ‘being realistic’ necessarily mean that things will go wrong and that you have to accept that as the truth? That doesn’t mean that being realistic is automatically negative. When you view the world from a ‘realistic’ standpoint, you can’t help but be negative IF your version of reality is negative. If your version of reality is negative, you are conditioned to believe that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong and whatever can go right, will probably go wrong too.
Your unconsciously held beliefs make you into a negative person without your being aware of it! So – if this negativity is so ingrained in you that you don’t notice it, how do you determine whether you’re stuck in a cloud of negative energy that is attracting the wrong people, wrong situations and wrong feelings? And how can you be sure you’re not perpetuating that negativity?
Here’s a quick quiz to gauge the level of negative energy within you: – Do you complain? All the time or just sometimes? – Do you often discuss what’s wrong in the world more than what’s right? This includes the ‘terrible’ weather, ‘horrible’ traffic, ‘idiotic’ government, ‘lousy’ economy, ‘stupid’ in-laws, etc. – Do you criticize? All the time or just certain people? – Are you attracted to drama and disaster (can you unglue yourself from the TV when there’s a news story of a disaster and can you avoid getting involved in the lives of dysfunctional celebrities?)
Do you blame? All the time or just certain situations? – Do you believe that you have no control over most of your results? – Do you feel like a victim? Do you talk about people doing things to you? – Are you grateful for what is or will you be grateful when things finally start going right for you? – Do you feel like things are happening to you? Or do you feel that they are happening through you?
These last two points are important: If you’re not grateful except when things go right, you are negative. Gratitude is positive. If you are grateful for what is (including the unpleasant school of life lessons, then you can invite more and more positive energy into your life. Believing that things happen to you puts you in the role of victim; then it’s easy to be negative because it’s convenient to give up that power.
So consider this alternative: who or what is to blame when GOOD things happen to you? Do you acknowledge that you are responsible for the good things – as in, you worked hard, you earned it, etc… but blame external events or other people for your failures? So how come, when good things happen, they are a result of what you do, but when bad things happen, they are not your fault? Nobody likes to hear that. It takes courage to accept that you create your life experience!
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you are holding on to negative energy to some degree! To clear your negative energy and raise your vibration, you will need to retrain yourself to choose a positive attitude. Here’s another interesting idea to consider: have you noticed that positive people seem to get what they want out of life, and even if things don’t go their way, they still enjoy their lives… while negative people whine and moan about their misfortunes and even the good things in their lives? To clear negative energy, try this 3 -step process:
1.Take ownership: “When you think everything is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy.” – the Dalai Lama
2. Cancel negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts. This takes practice, dedication and making a decision to see the world through the eyes of “what can go right” instead of “what can go wrong.” You’ll have to catch yourself anytime you are acting out or speaking out your negativity, and immediately change your tune.
3. Use the Love or Above Spiritual Toolkit to clear your energy and bring more light and love into your life; visualize the positive instead of getting sucked into negativity; overcome past conditioning; think intuitively from the soul instead from ‘reality’; create a new, desired reality in your imagination and manifest it in the outer world. Nobody wants negative energy to permeate their lives, yet many of us allow it. But we allow it unconsciously, based on past conditioning that suggests an inevitable outcome to certain situations.
When you overcome that conditioning and realize that the future is NOT cast in stone but that you have more control over your circumstances than you believe – then you can begin to consciously design your life. What’s going to happen then? Your positive energy will magnetically attract what you consider to be good and right for you: people, situations, things… and you’ll notice a huge, huge increase in your happiness and inner peace. Why not choose positive energy? Make some changes within, and you’ll quickly see positive changes in your life. Enjoy the good feelings and abundance!
Source: LoveorAbove

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Spice That Prevents Fluoride From Destroying Your Brain

Fluoride is found everywhere today, from antibiotics to drinking water, no-stick pans to toothpaste, making exposure inevitable. All the more reason why new research proving this common spice can prevent fluoride damage is so promising!
Fluoride’s neurotoxicity has been the subject of academic debate for decades, and now a matter of increasingly impassioned controversy among the general public, as well. From ‘conspiracy theories’ about it being first used in drinking water in Russian and Nazi concentration camps to chemically lobotomize captives, to its now well-known IQ lowering properties, to its ability to enhance the calcification of the pineal gland – the traditional ‘seat of the soul’ – many around the world, and increasingly in the heavily fluoridated regions of the United States, are starting to organize at the local and statewide level to oust this ubiquitous toxicant from municipal drinking water.
Now, a new study published in the Pharmacognosy Magazine titled, “Curcumin attenuates neurotoxicity induced by fluoride: An in vivo evidence,” adds experimental support to the suspicion that fluoride is indeed a brain-damaging substance, also revealing that a natural spice-derived protective agent against the various health effects associated with this compound is available.
Source:The study was authored by researchers from the Department of Zoology, University College of Science, M.L. Sukhadia University, Udaipur, India, who have spent the past decade investigating the mechanisms through which fluoride induce severe neurodegenerative changes in the mammalian brain, particularly in cells of the hippocampus and cerebral cortex.

Guideline: Medical marijuana in pill form or oral spray may ease some MS symptoms

A new guideline from the American Academy of Neurology suggests that there is little evidence that most complementary or alternative medicine therapies (CAM) treat the symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the guideline states the CAM therapies oral cannabis, or medical marijuana pills, and oral medical marijuana spray may ease patients' reported symptoms of spasticity, pain related to spasticity and frequent urination in multiple sclerosis (MS). The guideline, which is published in the March 25, 2014, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, states that there is not enough evidence to show whether smoking marijuana is helpful in treating MS symptoms.
The guideline looked at CAM therapies, which are nonconventional therapies used in addition to or instead of doctor-recommended therapies. Examples include oral cannabis, or medical marijuana pills and oral medical marijuana spray, ginkgo biloba, magnetic therapy, bee sting therapy, omega-3 fatty acids and reflexology.
"Using different CAM therapies is common in 33 to 80 percent of people with MS, particularly those who are female, have higher education levels and report poorer health," said guideline lead author Vijayshree Yadav, MD, MCR, with Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "People with MS should let their doctors know what types of these therapies they are taking, or thinking about taking."
For most CAM therapies, safety is unknown. There is not enough information to show if CAM therapies interact with prescription MS drugs. Most CAM therapies are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dronabinol and nabilone are synthetic forms of key ingredients in marijuana. The FDA approved both drugs as treatments for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy that do not respond to standard treatments. Dronabinol also is approved for loss of appetite associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS.
The guideline found that certain forms of medical marijuana, in pill or oral spray form only, may help reduce patients' reported spasticity symptoms, pain due to spasticity, and frequent urination but not loss of bladder control. The therapy may not help reduce tremor. Long-term safety of medical marijuana use in pill or oral spray is not known. Most of the studies are short, lasting six to 15 weeks. Medical marijuana in pill or oral spray form may cause side effects, some of which can be serious. Examples are seizures, dizziness, thinking and memory problems as well as psychological problems such as depression. This can be a concern given that some people with MS are at an increased risk for depression or suicide. Both doctors and patients must weigh the possible side effects that medical marijuana in pill or oral spray form can cause.
Among other CAM therapies studied for MS, ginkgo biloba might possibly help reduce tiredness but not thinking and memory problems. Magnetic therapy may also help reduce tiredness but not depression.
Reflexology might possibly help ease symptoms such tingling, numbness and other unusual skin sensations. Bee sting therapy, a low-fat diet with fish oil, and a therapy called the Cari Loder regimen all do not appear to help MS symptoms such as disability, depression and tiredness. Bee stings can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction and dangerous infections.
Moderate evidence shows that omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil likely do not reduce relapses, disability, tiredness or MRI brain scan lesions, nor do they improve quality of life in people with MS.
Source:American Academy of Neurology 

Are chromium supplements helpful in lowering blood sugar levels?

University of Miami study shows that chromium supplementation is not effective in lowering fasting glucose in diabetic and non-diabetic populations
Approximately 26 percent of the U.S. population has impaired fasting glucose, which is a predisposition for developing type 2 diabetes, and chromium supplementation has been suggested as a method that may help control and prevent the disease.
A new study by a University of Miami (UM) researcher analyses nearly three decades of data on the effect of chromium supplementation on blood sugar and concludes that chromium supplements are not effective at lowering fasting blood sugar in healthy individuals, or diabetics.
Chromium is a mineral required by humans in minute concentrations and is obtained naturally in the diet. Actually, few cases of deficiency have been documented.
"Some previous research reported that chromium supplements lower the levels of fasting glucose," says Christopher H. Bailey, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences, at UM's School of Education and Human Development and author of the study. "However, the effect may have been exaggerated or mistaken for the effects of other concurrent treatments, such as exercise training."
Previous studies have also used different methods to analyze and report their results. These differences in methodology could potentially lead to different results regarding the effect, or lack of an effect of chromium supplementation, the study says.
Nonetheless, the door is not closed upon the possibility that chromium may have other effects of interest.
"Although chromium supplementation doesn't lower fasting blood sugar, there may be other beneficial effects on the body that require more research," Bailey says. "Fasting blood sugar is only one aspect of human health."
The current study addresses the limitations of previous research, by improving the statistical methods used to analyze the data. The project looked at 16 studies published from 1985 to 2012. It included 809 participants between 36 to 67 years old. The chromium supplements included in the analysis were chromium chloride, chromium picolinate, chromium nicotinate, chromium dinicocysteinate and chromium yeast. Doses of chromium ranged from 200 to 1,000 μg per day.
The study, "Improved meta-analytic methods show no effect on chromium supplements on fasting glucose" is published in the journal Biological Trace Element Research.
Bailey suggests that more research is necessary to show whether other dietary supplement ingredients may provide positive, negative, or no effects on fasting blood sugar.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder May Reflect a Propensity for Bad Habits f

Two new studies published this week in Biological Psychiatry shed light on the propensity for habit formation in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These studies suggest that a tendency to develop habits, i.e., the compulsive component of the disorder, may be a core feature of the disorder rather than a consequence of irrational beliefs. In other words, instead of washing one’s hands because of the belief that they are contaminated, some people may develop concerns about hand contamination as a consequence of a recurring urge to wash their hands. Habits are behaviors engrained by practice that enable us to perform very complex behaviors in a nearly automatic way, such as swinging a golf club or performing a piano sonata. Habits do not seem to be fully conscious goal-directed behaviors in that when one thinks about the details of the complex behavior, for example when trying to improve a golf swing, it often interferes with the expression of the habit. Habits also appear to be defining characteristics of psychiatric disorders with prominent behavioral components, such as alcoholism, drug addiction, pathological gambling, and eating disorders. These new studies support the view that habit formation is also an important component of OCD. Both studies were conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge who compared habits and goal-directed behaviors in a group of people diagnosed with OCD and a matched group of healthy people. They found that the group with OCD had a greater tendency to develop avoidance habits and also displayed impairments of their goal-directed decision making. “Habit formation is appearing to be a critical component of an increasing number of illnesses including eating disorders, addictions, and now OCD,” commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. “For all of these conditions, we need to better understand the biology of habit formation to rationally develop new and more effective treatments.” “The bigger picture from these studies is that we have identified a model of compulsivity, which may extend beyond OCD and prove to be a good model of how people lose control over their own behavior more generally, and in other disorders of compulsivity, like addiction and some eating disorders,” said Dr. Claire Gillan, corresponding author on both projects. “Importantly, this model was derived from earlier work in both animals and humans which characterized dissociable neural systems supporting the balance between purposeful action and more automatic habits. The time is right for psychiatry to start moving away from diagnostic labels and instead focus of biological traits that transcend the current definitions of discrete disorders.” It is hoped that a greater level of biological precision will allow for the development of targeted treatments for individuals, and hopefully allow movement away from a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. These studies are a step in this direction. 
The articles are “Enhanced Avoidance Habits in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder” by Claire M. Gillan, Sharon Morein-Zamir, Gonzalo P. Urcelay, Akeem Sule, Valerie Voon, Annemieke M. Apergis-Schoute, Naomi A. Fineberg, Barbara J. Sahakian, and Trevor W. Robbins (DOI: 10.1016/ j.biopsych.2013.02.002) and “Counterfactual Processing of Economic Action-Outcome Alternatives in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Further Evidence of Impaired Goal-Directed Behavior” by Claire M. Gillan, Sharon Morein-Zamir, Muzaffer Kaser, Naomi A. Fineberg, Akeem Sule, Barbara J. Sahakian, Rudolf N. Cardinal, and Trevor W. Robbins (DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.01.018). The articles appear in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 75, Issue 8 (April 15, 2014), published by Elsevier. 

Study Claims Mobile Phones Linked to Erectile Dysfunction

 Study Claims Mobile Phones Linked to Erectile Dysfunction
Increased mobile phone usage has been linked in a new study to erectile dysfunction (ED). 

However, researchers suggest that larger-scale research is needed to prove the findings.

Medical teams in Austria and Egypt identified a positive correlation between carrying a switched-on mobile phone and ED, the Independent reported. 

The pilot study was based on a group of 20 men who had complained of ED for at least six months, as well as another group of 10 healthy men with no history of ED. There was no significant difference between either group regarding age, weight, height, smoking, total testosterone or exposure to other known sources of radiation.

All men completed the German version of the Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM) for evaluation of the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), as well as another questionnaire designed to assess their mobile phone usage.

According to the researchers, the men suffering from ED carried their switched-on mobiles for an average of 4.4 hours a day, compared with just 1.8 hours for those without any problems.

Source:The report is published in the Central European Journal of Urology.


Link Between Painkillers and Irregular Heartbeat Risk Identified

 Link Between Painkillers and Irregular Heartbeat Risk Identified
The research team regularly monitored the heart health of 8423 people taking part in the Rotterdam Study, a population based study that has been tracking the development of ill health and associated risk factors among adults aged 55 and older since 1990 in one district of Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

New and current cases of atrial fibrillation were diagnosed using heart tracer recordings (ECGs) while details of drugs prescribed to study participants was gathered from pharmacies collaborating on the research project.

The average of the study participants was 68.5, and over half of them (58%) were women.

During the average monitoring period, which spanned just under 13 years, 857 of the 8423 participants developed atrial fibrillation, 261 of whom had never used NSAIDs when they were diagnosed, while 554 had used NSAIDs in the past, and 42 were currently taking these drugs.

Current use was associated with a 76% greater risk of atrial fibrillation than never use, after taking account of other risk factors, such as age, sex, and underlying cardiovascular problems.

Similarly, recent use (with the preceding 30 days) of these drugs was linked to an 84% greater risk of atrial fibrillation. While there was a trend for higher doses to be linked to a correspondingly higher risk, this trend was not statistically significant.

NSAIDs may contribute to atrial fibrillation because they inhibit the production of the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase, which may increase blood pressure as a result of fluid retention, suggest the authors.

Alternatively, use of NSAIDs may indicate underlying inflammation, which may increase the risk of atrial fibrillation, they say.

But whatever the explanation, "the underlying mechanism behind this association [between NSAIDs and atrial fibrillation] deserves further attention," they conclude.
Source:BMJ Open.

Among older adults, painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs may be linked to a higher risk of an irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation), says study published in BMJ Open.Atrial fibrillation has itself been linked to stroke, heart failure, and reduced life expectancy, while previously published research has linked the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, to a heightened risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attack. 

Secrets of Breast Tissue Unlocked

 Secrets of Breast Tissue Unlocked
Recent research work has shed light on how the microbes in the female breast contribute to health and disease. The study titled "Microbiota of human breast tissue," is now published online, in advance of the May issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
The human body is home to a large and diverse population of bacteria with properties that are both harmful and beneficial to our health. Studies are revealing the presence of bacteria in unexpected sites.

This new research has uncovered bacteria in breast tissue associated with cancer. Forms of bacteria known as 'Proteobacteria' were the most abundant, potentially as they are able to metabolize the fatty tissue, said the paper's first author, Camilla Urbaniak, a PhD student in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology. Her studies, under the supervision of Lawson Health Research Institute Scientist and Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry Professor Gregor Reid, involved breast tissue from 81 women in Canada and Ireland. Ten of the women undergoing breast reduction acted as controls, with 71 having benign or cancerous tumors. Bacteria were found in and beside the tumours.

"Although we have not proven that bacteria cause cancer, or that certain types of bacteria actually may reduce the risk of cancer, the findings open a completely new avenue for this important disease," said Reid. "Imagine if women have a microbiota in the breast that puts them at higher risk of cancer? Or, if various drugs such as antibiotics or birth control pills alter the types of bacteria and their risk of cancer?"
Source:May issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.


Coffee Consumption Wards Off Alzheimer's Disease

Caffeine has a positive effect on tau deposits in Alzheimer's disease, say researchers.

Tau deposits, along with beta-amyloid plaques, are among the characteristic features of Alzheimer's disease. These protein deposits disrupt the communication of the nerve cells in the brain and contribute to their degeneration. Despite intensive research there is no drug available to date which can prevent this detrimental process. 

Based on the results of Prof. Dr. Christa Muller from the University of Bonn, Dr. David Blum and their team, a new class of drugs may now be developed for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Caffeine, an adenosine receptor antagonist, blocks various receptors in the brain which are activated by adenosine. Initial results of the team of researchers had already indicated that the blockade of the adenosine receptor subtype A2A in particular could play an important role.

Initially, Prof. Muller and her colleagues developed an A2A antagonist in ultrapure and water-soluble form (designated MSX-3). This compound had fewer adverse effects than caffeine since it only blocks only the A2A adenosine receptor subtype, and at the same time it is significantly more effective.

Over several weeks, the researchers then treated genetically altered mice with the A2A antagonist. The mice had an altered tau protein which, without therapy, leads to the early development of Alzheimer's symptoms.

In comparison to a control group which only received a placebo, the treated animals achieved significantly better results on memory tests. The A2A antagonist displayed positive effects in particular on spatial memory. Also, an amelioration of the pathogenic processes was demonstrated in the hippocampus, which is the site of memory in rodents.

Source:The results have been published online in the journal Neurobiology of Agin

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