Exercise Can Reduce Stroke Risk

A new study from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is one of the first to study the relationship between exercise and stroke in a large biracial cohort of men and women in the United States. The findings are published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Using 27,000 stroke-free blacks and whites ages 45 and older in the United States from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study cohort, researchers examined the association of self-reported physical activity with incident of stroke.

Participants were classified at baseline as being in active (i.e., no workouts in a typical week), moderately active (workouts one to three times per week) or vigorously active (workouts more than four times per week), and they were followed for an average of 5.7 years.

The results showed that physical inactivity was reported by 33 percent of participants and was associated with a 20 percent increased risk of stroke. Those who reported they exercised at least four times a week were less likely to experience a stroke or mini-stroke. Among men, only those who exercised four or more times a week had a lower stroke risk. Among women, the relationship between stroke and frequency of activity was less clear.

"The protective effect of intense physical activity may be through its impact on traditional risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes," explained Virginia Howard, Ph.D., UAB professor of epidemiology and senior study author.

"These findings confirm past results of studies done in only men or only women in limited geographical areas," Howard said. "By using the REGARDS cohort, our study was able to use a larger and more diverse population to show that participating in regular physical activity is associated with lower stroke risk."

Howard added that stroke is preventable, and physical activity is a major modifiable risk factor for stroke. "This should be emphasized more in routine physician check-ups, along with general education on the proven health benefits of regular physical activity on other stroke-risk factors including high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity," Howard said.

Study limitations highlighted include that the results are based on self-reported levels of physical activity, and self-reported data may not be a reflection of the truth. Also, investigators did not have data on the type or duration of the exercise in which people engaged, nor the number of sessions. Howard suggested future studies should consider different ways to measure physical activity through: use of more questions; devices such as accelerometers and heart monitors that can provide more objective data; and capturing information on other dimensions of physical activity such as frequency, intensity and duration.

This study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Source : Daily Science.

Pocket-Sized Sensor Gives Instant Fat Burning Updates

The portable, pocket-sized sensor, produced by a group of researchers in Japan, works by measuring increased levels of acetone on the breath – a good indicator of when the body has begun to break down fat. (Credit: Image courtesy of Institute of Physics (IOP))

Fitness fanatics may soon be able to gauge if their hard work is paying off without the need for weighing scales thanks to a new device that can instantly tell if your body is burning fat.

The device has been presented today, 25 July, in IOP Publishing's Journal of Breath Research.

Acetone is primarily produced in the blood when fat is broken down; however, it is also expelled through tiny sacs, called alveoli, in the lungs during exhalation and is therefore present in exhaled breath.

This new device, which is capable of detecting acetone concentrations in the range of 0.2 to 50 parts-per-million, is just 10 cm long, weighs 125 g and requires two AA batteries to operate.

Developed by a group of researchers from NTT DOCOMO Research Laboratories, the device consists of a pressure sensor to detect the exhaled breath and two types of semiconductor-based gas sensors to detect acetone.

After a user blows into the device, the acetone concentration levels can be calculated and sent to a smartphone, either by Bluetooth or a cable, within 10 seconds.

The volunteers were split into three groups, the first of which carried on with their normal life and were not restricted to a specific numbers of calories in their diet and not required to take part in exercise.

The second group were required to take part in light exercise, such as jogging or fast walking, for 30-60 minutes a day and the final group were required to take part in the same exercise routine and also consume a limited number of calories in their diet each day.

The experiment lasted 14 days and on each day before breakfast, the volunteers were required to measure their body weight, body fat percentage and breath acetone concentrations using the portable device and a standard instrument for comparison.

Results showed that the volunteers in the first two groups -- those leading a normal life and those performing daily exercise -- were not able to lose significant amounts of fat. Their breath acetone concentrations also remained constant.

The volunteers in the third group who followed the exercise regime and had their calorific intake restricted were able to lose significant amounts of fat and their breath acetone concentrations were increased significantly.

Principal investigator of the study, Satoshi Hiyama, said: "Because obesity increases the risk of lifestyle-related illnesses, enabling users to monitor the state of fat burning could play a pivotal role in daily diet management. Current standard methods, however, are still not practically suitable for point-of-care instrumentation for diet-conscious people who wish to monitor their own fat metabolism at home or outside"

"Considering that the effect of dieting could be estimated from changes in breath acetone concentrations, we've shown that our prototype is a practical and alternative checker that can be used in individual dieting programmes."

"It is also known that when diabetes is out of control, patients have elevated levels of breath acetone. It is possible that our prototype could be used to assess how diabetic control is being managed at home."

Source : Daily Science

Conjoined twins fight for life in Jaipur

In a rare occurrence, a woman delivered twin baby boys, joined at the head, in a hospital in Tonk, about 90 km from here, on early Wednesday morning.

The twins, born to Arsi (24), are Dicephalic Parapagus, meaning they have separate heads but are joined from the neck down.

According to doctors, such an occurrence is extremely rare, with this being only the third known case in India and the first ever in Rajasthan.

The twins have a single heart, a single stomach with two food pipes, and two nervous systems.

Doctors at the city’s J.K. Lone paediatric hospital, where the twins were brought on Wednesday, say the twins are inoperable. However, they have not ruled out the chances of them surviving.

“They are inoperable and cannot be operated upon anywhere in the world,” S.D. Harma, Superintendent, J.K. Lone hospital, told The Hindu.

“We have constituted an expert team and they are examining the twins under my supervision to find out the possible course of treatment,” said Dr. Sharma.
Source  the hindu

`96,000 die every year due to Hepatitis in India`

New Delhi: Nearly 96,000 people die annually in India due to Hepatitis, which has become a hidden epidemic and a silent killer, according to health activists.

Legal experts, doctors and activists brought together by NGO `Doctors Without Borders` today expressed concern over the growing rate of Hepatitis C in the country at a function held here to mark the World Hepatitis Day.

Citing a WHO report, the health activists said nearly four lakh Indians have been tested positive for Hepatitis C, leading to 96,000 annual deaths due to the viral infection.
The report said the prevalence of  Hepatitis C is estimated to be within 1.8-2.5 per cent, while among drug users it is 50-90 per cent.

"Most Hepatitis C infections are among people who inject drugs. Thus, HCV infectiousness is ten times more contagious than HIV," said Leena Menghaney, a member of the NGO.

The activists also accused the government of failing to formulate a policy to contain the disease.

"The failure of the Health Ministry to initiate steps to prevent the viral infection and proper treatment facilities is one of the reasons for spreading of the disease in India. It is time that we hold the government accountable for protecting public health," said Anand Grover, lawyer-activist and Special Rapporteur in UNHRC.

A WHO report titled `Global policy report on prevention and control of viral Hepatitis` highlights non-collaboration of the government with civil society groups to develop and implement viral hepatitis prevention and control programme.

The activists said most often patients diagnosed with Hepatitis C lack access to affordable and appropriate treatment and medical care.

"One vial of interferon alfa by a private drug company costs Rs 23,100. Multiply the figure with 48 weeks and that`s how much initial treatment would cost," said Loon Gangte of Delhi Network of Positive People, a group working for the welfare for people suffering from HIV+.

He is of the view that talking more about Hepatitis C and creating an awareness campaign like HIV-AIDS will get things moving.

"Training health care providers, establishing national treatment guidelines, introducing medication...Are some of the steps the Health Ministry must take, until a comprehensive national programme for prevention, control and treatment of viral hepatitis is launched," an activist said.
Source zee news

Marijuana in Teens: Permanent Abnormalities?

Marijuana Use in Adolescence May Cause Permanent Brain Abnormalities, Mouse Study Suggests
Regular marijuana use in adolescence, but not adulthood, may permanently impair brain function and cognition, and may increase the risk of developing serious psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, according to a recent study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Researchers hope that the study, published in Neuropsychopharmacology -- a publication of the journal Nature -- will help to shed light on the potential long-term effects of marijuana use, particularly as lawmakers in Maryland and elsewhere contemplate legalizing the drug.

"Over the past 20 years, there has been a major controversy about the long-term effects of marijuana, with some evidence that use in adolescence could be damaging," says the study's senior author Asaf Keller, Ph.D., Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Previous research has shown that children who started using marijuana before the age of 16 are at greater risk of permanent cognitive deficits, and have a significantly higher incidence of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. There likely is a genetic susceptibility, and then you add marijuana during adolescence and it becomes the trigger."

"Adolescence is the critical period during which marijuana use can be damaging," says the study's lead author, Sylvina Mullins Raver, a Ph.D. candidate in the Program in Neuroscience in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "We wanted to identify the biological underpinnings and determine whether there is a real, permanent health risk to marijuana use."

The scientists -- including co-author Sarah Paige Haughwout, a research technician in Dr. Keller's laboratory -- began by examining cortical oscillations in mice. Cortical oscillations are patterns of the activity of neurons in the brain and are believed to underlie the brain's various functions. These oscillations are very abnormal in schizophrenia and in other psychiatric disorders. The scientists exposed young mice to very low doses of the active ingredient in marijuana for 20 days, and then allowed them to return to their siblings and develop normally.

"In the adult mice exposed to marijuana ingredients in adolescence, we found that cortical oscillations were grossly altered, and they exhibited impaired cognitive abilities," says Ms. Raver. "We also found impaired cognitive behavioral performance in those mice. The striking finding is that, even though the mice were exposed to very low drug doses, and only for a brief period during adolescence, their brain abnormalities persisted into adulthood."

The scientists repeated the experiment, this time administering marijuana ingredients to adult mice that had never been exposed to the drug before. Their cortical oscillations and ability to perform cognitive behavioral tasks remained normal, indicating that it was only drug exposure during the critical period of adolescence that impaired cognition through this mechanism. The researchers took the next step in their studies, trying to pinpoint the mechanisms underlying these changes and the time period in which they occur.

"We looked at the different regions of the brain," says Dr. Keller. "The back of the brain develops first, and the frontal parts of the brain develop during adolescence. We found that the frontal cortex is much more affected by the drugs during adolescence. This is the area of the brain controls executive functions such as planning and impulse control. It is also the area most affected in schizophrenia."

Dr. Keller's team believes that the results have indications for humans as well. They will continue to study the underlying mechanisms that cause these changes in cortical oscillations. "The purpose of studying these mechanisms is to see whether we can reverse these effects," says Dr. Keller. "We are hoping we will learn more about schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders, which are complicated conditions. These cognitive symptoms are not affected by medication, but they might be affected by controlling these cortical oscillations."

"This study is an example of how the basic science research taking place in our state-of-the-art laboratories can impact human health and inform health policy," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland and John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "We are proud of this groundbreaking discovery and look forward to watching this research develop further."

Source :Daily Science

Clearest New Pictures of Immune Cells

July 23, 2013 — Scientists from The University of Manchester have revealed new images which provide the clearest picture yet of how white blood immune cells attack viral infections and tumors.

They show how the cells, which are responsible for fighting infections and cancer in the human body, change the organisation of their surface molecules, when activated by a type of protein found on viral-infected or tumour cells.
Professor Daniel Davis, who has been leading the investigation into the immune cells, known as natural killers, said the work could provide important clues for tackling disease.
The research reveals the proteins at the surface of immune cells are not evenly spaced but grouped in clusters -- a bit like stars bunched together in galaxies.
Professor Davis, Director of Research at the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR), a partnership between the University and two pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Astra Zeneca, said: "This is the first time scientists have looked at how these immune cells work at such a high resolution. The surprising thing was that these new pictures revealed that immune cell surfaces alter at this scale -- the nano scale -- which could perhaps change their ability to be activated in a subsequent encounter with a diseased cell.
"We have shown that immune cells are not evenly distributed as once thought, but instead they are grouped in very small clumps -- a bit like if you were an astronomer looking at clusters of stars in the Universe and you would notice that they were grouped in clusters. "We studied how these clusters or proteins change when the immune cells are switched on -- to kill diseased cells. Looking at our cells in this much detail gives us a greater understanding about how the immune system works and could provide useful clues for developing drugs to target disease in the future."
Until now the limitations of light microscopy have prevented a clear understanding of how immune cells detect other cells as being diseased or healthy.
The team used high quality, super-resolution fluorescence microscopy to view the cells in blood samples in their laboratory to create the still images published in the journal Science Signalling this week.

Source : Daily Science

Skipping breakfast can give you a 'heart attack'

Men who reported eating breakfast ate on average one more time per day than those who skipped breakfast, implying that those who abstained from breakfast were not eating additional make-up meals later in the day.

Men who regularly skip breakfast are at a 27 percent higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease than those who don’t.

Researchers analyzed food frequency questionnaire data and tracked health outcomes for 16 years (1992-2008) on 26,902 male health professionals ages 45-82.

The study suggested that men who reported not eating breakfast were younger than those who did, and were more likely to be smokers, employed full time, unmarried, less physically active and drank more alcohol.

It was also found that men who reported eating late at night- eating after going to bed- had a 55 percent higher coronary heart disease risk than those who didn't. But researchers were less convinced this was a major public health concern because few men in the study reported this behavior.

During the study, 1,572 of the men had first-time cardiac events.

“Skipping breakfast may lead to one or more risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which may in turn lead to a heart attack over time,” Leah E. Cahill, Ph.D., study lead author and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass said.

Men who reported eating breakfast ate on average one more time per day than those who skipped breakfast, implying that those who abstained from breakfast were not eating additional make-up meals later in the day.

Although there was some overlap between those who skipped breakfast and those who ate late at night, 76 percent of late-night eaters also ate breakfast, researchers said.

According to researchers, while the current study group was composed of men who were of 97 percent white European descent, the results should also apply to women and other ethnic groups, but this should be tested in additional studies.

The study was published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
Source  dna

Sweet snacks 'link to bowel cancer'

cans of fizzy drinks
The study suggested drinking large quantities of fizzy drinks may increase the risk of bowel cancer
Fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, crisps and desserts may increase the risk of bowel cancer, according to a new study.

Scientists looked at factors including diet, levels of physical activity and smoking in Scottish bowel cancer patients.

They reported links with some established risk factors of colorectal cancer - such as family history of cancer, physical activity and smoking.

They also identified new factors including high-energy snacks.

The study, which used data from the Scottish Colorectal Cancer Study, was said to be first of its kind to find a positive link between bowel cancer and a diet high in sugary and fatty foods.

Researchers at Aberdeen and Edinburgh universities looked at the diets of 2,000 bowel cancer patients and compared them to the food and drink intake of a similar-sized healthy population.

It is important to take on board what we've found - especially as people in industrialised countries are consuming more of these foods”Dr Evropi TheodoratouUniversity of Edinburgh

They examined more than 170 foods, including fruit, vegetables, fish and meat, as well as high-energy snack foods such as chocolates, nuts and crisps and fruit drinks including fruit squash.

The study builds on previous research into the link between bowel cancer and diet.

Those studies identified two distinct eating patterns. One was high in fruit, vegetables and other healthy foods and the other - known as the western pattern - was high in meat, fat and sugar.

The healthy dietary pattern was found to be associated with a decreased colorectal cancer risk, while the western dietary pattern was found to be associated with an increased risk.

Dr Evropi Theodoratou, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences, said: "What we have found is very interesting and it merits further investigation using large population studies.

"While the positive associations between a diet high in sugar and fat and colorectal cancer do not automatically imply 'cause and effect', it is important to take on board what we've found - especially as people in industrialised countries are consuming more of these foods."

The study, which was published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, was funded by the Medical Research Council, the Chief Scientist Office and Cancer Research UK.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK after lung cancer.
Source  bbc

Madurai to get super speciality hospital

MADURAI: The proposed upgradation of the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) at a cost of Rs 150 crore would come up on the Madurai Medical College grounds. A high-level committee consisting of Sandeep K Nayak, Central joint secretary for health and Dr C Vamsadhara, director of medical education, Tamil Nadu government stated this after conducting an inspection at the site selected for the new building on Tuesday.

Nayak said construction work for the super speciality hospital would commence in September. Both the Central and state governments have already allocated their share of Rs 125 crore and Rs 25 crore respectively. The final clearance from Prime Minister Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) under which the upgradation is planned, is expected to be obtained by the end of July.

"The architectural plan for the upcoming building has been prepared and kept ready. The construction work for the building would be started from the month of September after obtaining the nod from PMSSY. Once the construction is started it would take 18 months for its completion. Six months after that, the hospital would start functioning," Nayak said.

"The hospital building is coming up on four acres of land. The site has been identified as the Madurai Medical College ground which has 11 acres in total. The hospital would serve the people from southern districts to get super speciality treatment without travelling to Chennai or Bangalore," Dr Vamsadhara, said. Of the allocated Rs 150 crore, Rs 90 crore would be spent on building construction alone. Another Rs 35 crore would be spent on medical equipment and the remaining Rs 15 crore would be spent on other expenses.

Dr N Mohan, dean, Madurai Medical College and GRH said, "Specialities including urology, nephrology, neuro surgery, gastroenterology, medical gastroenterology, surgical gastroenterology and micro surgery would be available in the new building. The required number of doctors, staff nurses and multipurpose hospital employees is being worked out. The required strength would be obtained from the government."

The four-storeyed building will meet the green rating for integrated habitat assessment (GRIHA). Solar panels would be installed on the building to meet the power requirement for hot water and lighting the premises. Three or four star rating is expected from GRIHA, said Srhreekar, an architect who worked on the hospital design. A 300-ft length bridge connecting the existing GRH's extension building near Anna bus stand and the upcoming hospital would also be constructed. The bridge on the second floor would help transporting critical patients to intensive care unit and operation theatre in the new building, he added.
Source  timesofindia

Government tables bill to ban tobacco products in Assam

GUWAHATI: The state government on Tuesday tabled the much-awaited bill that prohibits manufacture, advertisement, trade, storage, distribution, sale and consumption of zarda, gutka and paan masala containing tobacco in the state.

Once the Assam Health Bill, 2013, is passed, the manufacture, trade, advertisement, storage, distribution, sale and consumption of all forms of smokeless and chewing tobacco will be banned in the state.

Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, while tabling the bill, said that an improved public health is the prime objective of the bill and violation of the bill will be treated as a cognizable offence. As per the bill, "Anyone who violates the law shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend up to seven years and with a fine not less than Rs one lakh, which may extend to Rs 5 lakh. Consumption or possessing of zarda, gutka and paan masala containing tobacco shall be punished with a fine of Rs 1,000 for the first offence and Rs 2,000 for the second offence and subsequent offence."

The bill added that if a person previously convicted of an offence under this act, is subsequently convicted for the same offence again, he shall be liable to punishment again.

The bill will also not spare any company for violating the law. The bill empowers police officers not below the rank of a sub-inspector to enter, search, and seize the entire quantity of tobacco that may be stored for manufacture, trade, distribution, sale and consumption. The bill may come up for discussion in the house this week. Meanwhile, the finance department stated that the implementation of the bill will result in a financial loss of Rs 20 crore annually to the state exchequer.
Source timesofindia

10 ways to quit smoking

Quitting smoking is not that difficult if you are determined to stop. Here are different ways to quit smoking.
Keep in mind the benefits of quitting
Quitting has a number of positive effects. You just have to keep in mind those benefits each time you feel like smoking. Also remind yourself that quitting is not a difficult task. Find a replacement for your cigarette. Replace it with an apple or a chewing gum or something that you like more than a cigarette. Each time you feel like smoking, put that favourite thing in your mouth.
Reduce smoking gradually

It's not necessary for you to stop suddenly in a day. Reduce smoking gradually. You can start by avoiding two, then three, then five and then an entire pack.
Exercise helps people quit smoking. It helps in reducing the urge to smoke. Exercise can be in any form - 10 minutes of walking or cycling is sufficient enough for keeping yourself physically active and reducing the urge to smoke.
Read success stories

Everyday several people quit smoking and many people among them write their success stories. Read them. It will help in motivating yourself to quit smoking.
Tell people

Tell people around you that you're planning to quit. They'll surely encourage you. Spreading the word will also have a positive impact on others trying to quit.
Keep a money box

You can save all the money you spend on cigarette packets, everyday. Keep the change in a box. Each time you remove money from your pocket to buy that one cigarette, don't buy it, instead put that money in a box. Save or donate to a charity of your choice.
Throw your ashtray and lighter

Throw everything that reminds you of smoking - your ashtray, lighter and even cigarettes that you bought before quitting.
Reward yourself

Once you have successfully completed a week or a month of smoking - reward yourself. Not with a cigarette, but something else. For instance, reward yourself with a cheesecake, that one blueberry cheesecake that you were wanting to have since months but didn't get time for it. Purchase it with the money that you saved from quitting.
Try drugs that can help you quit

There are several prescribed drugs available at various pharmacies that can help you quit smoking. But don't forget to visit a doctor before you do.
Cut down on alcohol too

Alcohol is generally preferred with a smoke. So stay away from both.

Source - DNA

Why yo-yo diets are never a good idea when trying to lose weight

Researchers have found that YO-YO dieters are programmed to pile the pounds back on.
Experts say restricting calories will only make you crave them more.

They said that the reason so few people stay slim after a strict diet is because the more you restrict the calories, the greater the brain responds to foods such as chocolate milkshakes, the Daily Expressreported.
The study by Dr Eric Stice, at the Oregon Research Institute in the US, looked at why people relapse after a diet, particularly if they have fasted or skipped meals.

Researchers studied the brain responses of teenagers who had restricted their calorie intake to photographs of various types of food.

Dr Stice said the results were the first to suggest that cutting calories increases the reward value of appetising high calorie food “and that the more successful people are at caloric-restriction dieting, the greater difficulty they will face in maintaining the restriction.

Talking about the report, he said the implications were “crystal clear,” saying, “If people want to lose excess weight, it would be more effective to consume healthy, low-fat/low-sugar foods during regular meals, rather than go for long periods of time without any caloric intake.

The study is published in the journal NeuroImage.

Four Daily Cups Of Tea Or Coffee Can Lower Blood Pressure

Four daily cups of tea or coffee can lower blood pressure

People who drink four cups of tea or coffee a day have lower blood pressure than those who drink none, a new 10-year study has found. French scientists in the long-term study found heavy tea drinkers had lower blood pressure, pulse pressure and heart rate than lighter drinkers

The research analysed 176,437 men and women aged between 16 to 95 years. The participants answered how much coffee or tea they drank per day in a questionnaire.

Based on the consumption of these beverages, individuals were classified into three groups: those who drank no coffee/tea, those who drank one to four cups, and those who drank more than four cups.

Researchers found that heavy coffee drinkers were found to have slightly higher blood pressure than normal but non-drinkers had the highest readings, the 'Daily Express' reported. Study author Bruno Pannier, from the Preventive and Clinical Investigations Centre in Paris, said it was possible that the flavonoids in tea had a relaxing effect on blood vessels.

"The vasorelaxing compounds included in these beverages might be involved in these results, something that has been suggested by the experimental data," he said. The study was presented to the European Society of Hypertension in Milan.
Source - authint mail


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