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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Beetroot Beneficial for Athletes and Heart Failure Patients

Beetroots in addition to improving athletic performance, a new research from Kansas State University found that beetroot juice improves the quality of life for heart failure patients.
 Beetroot Beneficial for Athletes and Heart Failure Patients

Recently, the Auburn University football team revealed its pregame ritual of taking beetroot concentrate, or beet juice, before each game. The juice may have contributed to the team's recent winning season — and one exercise physiologist who has been studying the supplement for several years says that may be the case. 

"Our research, published in the journal Physiology in 2013, has shown that the nitrate found in beetroot concentrate increases blood flow to skeletal muscles during exercise," said David Poole, professor of exercise kinesiology and anatomy and physiology at Kansas State University. The journal Physiology is widely regarded as the world's premiere physiology journal. 

The researchers' latest study, "Microvascular oxygen pressures in muscles comprised of different fiber types: Impact of dietary nitrate supplementation," was published in the Journal of Nitric Oxide, Biology and Chemistry. This work provides the basis for how beetroot juice may benefit football players by preferentially increasing blood flow to fast-twitch muscle fibers — the ones used for explosive running. This work was performed by Poole; Scott Ferguson, doctoral student in anatomy and physiology; and Timothy Musch, professor of exercise kinesiology and anatomy and physiology, all at Kansas State University. 

"Remember, for every one football player in the United States, there are many thousands of heart failure patients that would benefit from this therapy," Poole said. "It's a big deal because even if you can only increase oxygen delivery by 10 percent, that can be the difference between a patient being wheelchair-bound versus getting up and walking around and interacting with his or her family." 

The benefits of beetroot come from the nitrate found within it. The amount of nitrate in one 70-milliliter bottle of beetroot juice is about the same amount found in 100 grams of spinach. 

"When consumed, nitrate is reduced in the mouth by bacteria into nitrite," Ferguson said. "The nitrite is swallowed again and then reduced to nitric oxide, which is a potent vasodilator. The nitric oxide dilates the blood vessels, similar to turning on a water faucet, and allows blood to go where it needs to go." 

The beetroot juice consumption resulted in a 38 percent higher blood flow to the skeletal muscles during exercise and was preferential to the less-oxygenated, fast-twitch muscles. 

"Heart failure is a disease where oxygen delivery to particular tissues, especially working skeletal muscles, is impaired, decreasing the capacity to move the arms or legs and be physically active," Poole said. "The best therapy for these patients is getting up and moving around. However, that is often difficult. Increasing the oxygen delivery to these muscles through beetroot can provide a therapeutic avenue to improve the quality of life for these patients." 

Journal of Nitric Oxide, Biology and Chemistry.

Research suggests team-based care is most effective way to control hypertension

Patients with high blood pressure should be treated by doctors and pharmacists for best care

Patients diagnosed with high blood pressure are given better control of their condition from a physician-pharmacist collaborative intervention than physician management alone, according to new research.
Pharmacists can play a key role in communicating with physicians to address suboptimal therapy, helping physicians to provide counselling on lifestyle change and performing patient follow-up.
The research was carried out to evaluate the individual care processes of the physician-pharmacist collaborative intervention in treating hypertension, a major cause of heart disease, strokes and aneurysms of the arteries.
In a study combining two randomised controlled clinical trials, the team of researchers led by Brunel University London found that, resulting from the physician-pharmacist team, each antihypertensive medication alone led to systolic blood pressure (SBP) reduction of 7.19mm Hg, and each session of counselling about lifestyle change alone resulted in a SBP reduction of 5.30mm Hg.
The six-month data was taken from two US studies in 2008 and 2009, in which a total of 496 patients were treated.
Puttarin Kulchaitanaroaj, Research Fellow at Brunel University London's Health Economics Research Group and co-author of the study, said: "By combining data from two trials and using instrumental variable regression we wanted to address unmeasured confounders and isolate the individual actions from the intervention package that led to a successful outcome – in this case, a reduction in hypertension in patients. We hope that researchers can further and better investigate links between care processes and outcomes.
"The results suggest that both medication and lifestyle change are effective in bringing down a patient's blood pressure. The study will be useful for health providers to not undermine the benefit of counselling and for policy makers to consider team-based care."
 Source:Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy

Sunshine may slow weight gain and diabetes onset, study suggests

Exposure to moderate amounts of sunshine may slow the development of obesity and diabetes, a study suggests.
Scientists who looked at the effect of sunlight on mice say further research will be needed to confirm whether it has the same effect on people.
The researchers showed that shining UV light at overfed mice slowed their weight gain. The mice displayed fewer of the warning signs linked to diabetes, such as abnormal glucose levels and resistance to insulin.
The beneficial effects of UV treatment were linked to a compound called nitric oxide, which is released by the skin after exposure to sunlight. Applying a cream containing nitric oxide to the skin of the overfed mice had the same effect of curbing weight gain as exposure to UV light, the team found.
Vitamin D – which is produced by the body in response to sunlight and often lauded for its health benefits – did not play a role, the study found.
The team says the new findings add to the growing body of evidence that supports the health benefits of moderate exposure to the sun's rays.
Previous studies in people have shown that nitric oxide can lower blood pressure after exposure to UV lamps.
The results should be interpreted cautiously, the researchers say, as mice are nocturnal animals covered in fur and not usually exposed to much sunlight. Studies are needed to confirm whether sunshine exposure has the same effect on weight gain and risk of diabetes in people.
Researchers at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, Western Australia, led the study in collaboration with the Universities of Edinburgh and Southampton.
Dr Shelley Gorman, of the Telethon Kids Institute and lead author of the study, said: "Our findings are important as they suggest that casual skin exposure to sunlight, together with plenty of exercise and a healthy diet, may help prevent the development of obesity in children."
"These observations further indicate that the amounts of nitric oxide released from the skin may have beneficial effects not only on heart and blood vessels but also on the way our body regulates metabolism," Dr Martin Feelisch, Professor of Experimental Medicine and Integrative Biology at the University of Southampton, added.

Dr Richard Weller, Senior Lecturer in Dermatology at the University of Edinburgh, said: "We know from epidemiology studies that sun-seekers live longer than those who spend their lives in the shade. Studies such as this one are helping us to understand how the sun can be good for us. We need to remember that skin cancer is not the only disease that can kill us and should perhaps balance our advice on sun exposure."
Source:The research is published today in the journal Diabetes.

Mother's gestational diabetes linked to daughters being overweight later

Women who developed gestational diabetes and were overweight before pregnancy were at a higher risk of having daughters who were obese later in childhood, according to new research published today in Diabetes Care.
Based on long-term research that included a multi-ethnic cohort of 421 girls and their mothers (all members of Kaiser Permanente Northern California), the study is among the first to directly link maternal hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) to offspring being overweight later.
"Glucose levels during pregnancy, particularly gestational diabetes, were associated with the girls being overweight, and this association was much stronger if the mother was also overweight before pregnancy," said Ai Kubo, PhD, the study's lead author and an epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California.
The girls were part of the Cohort study of Young Girls' Nutrition, Environment, and Transitions (CYGNET), part of a National Institutes of Health-funded consortium examining early determinants of puberty.
"This research builds on our long-term study of pubertal development in girls, which has been underway since the girls were between 6 and 8 years old," said Lawrence H. Kushi, ScD, a study co-author and CYGNET Study principal investigator at the Division of Research.
The girls were followed from 2005 to 2011, with annual clinic visits to measure each girl's height, weight, body fat, abdominal obesity, and other parameters. Pregnant women in the Kaiser Permanente system take glucose tolerance tests during gestational weeks 24 to 28. Kaiser Permanente's comprehensive electronic medical records allowed researchers to link data collected on the girls to information about their mothers.
Twenty-seven mothers in the study had gestational diabetes. If a girl's mother had gestational diabetes, her risk of having a body mass index at or above the 85th percentile was 3.5 times higher than that of girls whose mothers did not have gestational diabetes. This association was independent of other important factors that influence girl's obesity, such as race/ethnicity, maternal obesity, and girl's pubertal stage.
Furthermore, the study found that if the girl's mother was also overweight and had gestational diabetes, her subsequent risk of being overweight was about 5.5 times higher. Similar associations were observed for a girl's increased body fat and likelihood of having abdominal obesity.
Kubo said the study suggests that behavior modifications in women to reduce weight gain and improve lifestyle before and during pregnancy may also help reduce the risk of obesity in their offspring.
Source: Diabetes Care

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

YouTube is the Destination of Choice for People Suffering from Mental Illnesses

People suffering from severe mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder seek peer support on popular social media websites like YouTube, claims a new study.
 YouTube is the Destination of Choice for People Suffering from Mental Illnesses
Lead author John Naslund, said that sharing experiences of personal illness could be helpful to others with similar mental health problems. 

Naslund and colleagues have found that people suffering with severe mental illness used YouTube to feel less alone and to find hope, to support and to defend each other, and to share personal stories and strategies for coping with day-to-day challenges and to be able to deal with the great deal of stigma and discrimination. 

The researchers had used a method called online ethnography to analyze n=3,044 comments posted to 19 videos uploaded by individuals who self-identified as having schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder. They then used qualitative methods to analyze the comments and find common themes in the data. 

The findings had been consistent with how peer support was viewed in mental health research and practice, which suggested that YouTube or other social media websites might help to extend the reach of informal peer support activities between people with severe mental illness. 

Source:The report was published in the journal PLOS ONE.


World Ayurveda Conference Scheduled to Commence on November 6

The Sixth World Ayurveda Conference will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 6, the first of a series of events proposed to celebrate the place of the 'fifth Veda' in the mainstream of the Indian public health system. 

"Ayurveda may be ignored today in India, but all Indians will be proud to know that the Museum of Pathology in Chicago Medical School in the US has a portrait of the ancient Indian medical practitioner, Susruta. Under the portrait is a caption which reads 'The man who did the first cataract surgery'," Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan told the media here. 

Elaborating on the format of the World Ayurveda Congress, Harsh Vardhan said it will comprise five plenary sessions and 25 technical sessions on 15 research themes. "In all, 750 scientific papers will be presented by scientists from India, Germany, Italy, USA, Argentina, Russia, among other countries," he said. 

Harsh Vardhan also announced that the All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) in New Delhi will admit its first batch of post-graduate students during the academic year 2015-16. 

"One of my first decisions was to approve the course content. I would like to see this develop into an institution comparable to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for Ayurveda." Harsh Vardhan said.
Source:Desk News

Theory on Parkinson's Origin Strengthened

While Parkinson's disease is strongly linked to the degeneration of the brain's movement center, tracing the origin of the disease led researchers to a different part of the human anatomy. In 2003, the German neuropathologist Heiko Braak presented a theory suggesting that the disease begins in the gut and spreads to the brain. The idea has since, despite vocal critics, gained a lot of ground. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden now present the first direct evidence that the disease can actually migrate from the gut to the brain.
The so-called Braak's hypothesis proposes that the disease process begins in the digestive tract and in the brain's center of smell. The theory is supported by the fact that symptoms associated with digestion and smell occur very early on in the disease. 

Researchers at Lund University have previously mapped the spread of Parkinson's in the brain. The disease progression is believed to be driven by a misfolded protein that clumps together and "infects" neighboring cells. Professor Jia-Yi Li's research team has now been able to track this process further, from the gut to the brain in rat models. The experiment shows how the toxic protein, alpha-synuclein, is transported from one cell to another before ultimately reaching the brain's movement center, giving rise to the characteristic movement disorders in Parkinson's disease. 

"We have now been able to prove that the disease process actually can travel from the peripheral nervous system to the central nervous system, in this case from the wall of the gut to the brain. In the longer term, this may give us new therapeutic targets to try to slow or stop the disease at an earlier stage", says Professor Jia-Yi Li, research group leader for Neural Plasticity and Repair at Lund University. 

The research team will now carry out further studies in which the mechanisms behind the transport of the harmful protein will be examined in detail. The current study suggests that the protein is transferred during nerve cell communication. It is at this point of interaction that the researchers want to intervene in order to put a stop to the further spread of the disease. 
Lund University

Osteoporosis screening guidelines miss many younger post-menopausal women

Current risk-assessment tools failed to predict the majority of women who later experienced major fractures

To reduce the risk of bone fractures and the complications arising from them, the United States Preventive Services Task force (USPSTF) recommends that all women age 65 and older be tested and treated for low bone mineral density.
The task force also recommends that postmenopausal women aged 50 to 64, get bone mineral density screenings if their 10-year probability of suffering a hip, vertebral, humerus or wrist fracture is 9.3 percent or greater, based on the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool.
A new UCLA-led study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, however, finds that the USPSTF strategy predicted only slightly more than one fourth of the women who went on to experience major osteoporotic fractures within 10 years. The study also found that two older osteoporosis risk-assessment tools were not much better.
The Osteoporosis Self-Assessment Tool (OST) is based on a person's weight and age, and the Simple Calculated Osteoporosis Risk Estimation Tool (SCORE), uses race, rheumatoid arthritis, history of non-traumatic fracture, age, prior estrogen therapy and weight.
"If we want to prevent fractures, we need tools that help us accurately predict who will suffer these osteoporotic injuries so that we can target these at-risk people for preventive measures," said Dr. Carolyn Crandall, professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and the study's primary investigator. "Our results suggest that our current guidelines for screening in younger post-menopausal women do not accurately identify who will suffer a fracture."
The researchers used data from the Women's Health Initiative, which collected details about fractures during 10 years' time and information about osteoporosis risk factors from 62,492 postmenopausal women in the United States from ages 50 to 64. Of the women studied, 85 percent were white, 9 percent were black, and 4 percent were Hispanic. The average age was 57.9.
The study found that overall the USPSTF strategy captured only 25.8 percent of the women who suffered fractures within 10 years, SCORE captured 38.6 percent and OST caught 39.8 percent.
These were the findings for the percentage of women whose fractures were predicted using each risk-assessment tool for three age groups:
Ages 50-544.7 percent20.5 percent37.3 percent
Ages 55-5918.5 percent22.1 percent57.6 percent
Ages 60-6422.9 percent36.7 percent48.1 percent

The authors note some weaknesses in the study. For instance, the participants of the Women's Health Initiative may be healthier than similarly-aged women doctors see in their clinical practice, so the findings may not generalize to others.
Still, these findings suggest that the current USPSTF screening strategy does not identify the vast majority of younger post-menopausal women who experienced bone fractures, and the other strategies have significant weaknesses as well.
"Neither the USPSTF nor the other two screening strategies performed better than chance alone in discriminating women who did and did not have subsequent fractures," the researchers write. "These findings highlight the pressing need for further prospective evaluation of alternative strategies with the goal of better targeting resources to at-risk young postmenopausal women. Our findings do not support use of the USPSTF strategy or the other tools we tested to identify younger postmenopausal women who are at higher risk of fracture."
Source:Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism

Children who drink non-cow's milk are twice as likely to have low vitamin D

Children who drink non-cow's milk such as rice, almond, soy or goat's milk, have lower levels of vitamin D in their blood than those who drink cow's milk, according to a new study published in theCanadian Medical Association Journal.
Non-cow's milk is becoming increasingly popular because of perceived health benefits, milk allergies or lactose intolerance.
"Children drinking only non-cow's milk were more than twice as likely to be vitamin D deficient as children drinking only cow's milk," said Dr. Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician and researcher with St. Michael's Hospital. "Among children who drank non-cow's milk, every additional cup of non-cow's milk was associated with a five per cent drop in vitamin D levels per month."
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient produced through sun exposure or found in fortified cow's milk, fish and other foods. It plays an important role in the development and strengthening of bones. In children, low levels of vitamin D can cause bone weakness and, in severe cases, rickets – a condition causing the bones to become soft and weak and potentially leading to bone deformities.
In North America, every 100 millilitres of cow's milk is required to be fortified with 40 units of vitamin D. Adding vitamin D to non-cow's milk, however, is voluntary.
"It is difficult for consumers to tell how much vitamin D is in non-cow's milk," said Dr. Maguire. "Caregivers need to be aware of the amount of vitamin D, calcium and other nutrients in alternative milk beverages so they can make informed choices for their children."
The study involved 3,821 healthy children ages one to six. Researchers looked at differences in blood levels of vitamin D associated with drinking cow's milk and non-cow's milk. The children were recruited from seven Toronto pediatric or family medicine practices that are part of a research network called TARGet Kids!.
"Our findings may also be helpful to health care providers working with children who regularly consume non-cow's milk due to cow's milk allergy, lactose intolerance or dietary preference," said Dr. Maguire.

Eighty-seven per cent of children involved in the study drank predominantly cow's milk and 13 per cent drank non-cow's milk.
Source:Canadian Medical Association Journal

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