By jeremyc | October 22, 2016
Does substance abuse causes schizophrenia? This is a question many studies have investigated in the past without much success. No study was able to prove a link between the two conclusively. However, a new study, in which data of over three million individuals was studied, has stated conclusively that drug abuse increases schizophrenia risk.
Previous study couldn’t come up with a conclusive answer mainly because they weren’t able to factor in one important factor—co-abuse (that is, individuals who take more than one drug).
For this study, the researchers investigated data of 3,133,968 individuals. The researchers noted over 200,000 drug abuse cases and more than 21,000 diagnoses of schizophrenia. The team was able to take into account many factors, including urbanity, co-abuse, gender, psychiatric history, etc.
The researchers noted drug abuse was linked with a greater risk of schizophrenia. Here’s how different drugs increase schizophrenia risk:
· Alcohol – 3.4 times
· Sedatives – 1.7 times
· Amphetamines – 1.24 times
· Hallucinogens – 1.9 times
· Cannabis – 5.2 times
· Other drugs – 2.8 times
However, one thing the researchers couldn’t pinpoint was what caused which, that is, whether substance abuse increases the risk of schizophrenia or whether people with a predisposition to schizophrenia are more prone to substance abuse.
By jeremyc | October 21, 2016
The risk of diabetes is significantly greater in people who consume two or more 200-millimetre sugary or artificially sweetened drinks every day, according to a new study.
Previous studies had claimed a high risk of diabetes type II in people drinking a lot of sugary drinks. This study claims that high intake of artificially sweetened drinks is equally dangerous. It also states that high consumption of sugary and artificially sweetened drinks increases risk of not only diabetes type II but also a subtype of diabetes type I, called latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA).
Diabetes is of two types: diabetes type I and type II. Diabetes type I is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly eliminate those cells in the pancreas which are responsible for producing insulin. In this condition, the body produces no or little insulin.
Diabetes type I accounts for 5 to 10 percent of all diabetes cases. A subtype of diabetes type 1, LADA usually affects adults in the age bracket of 30 to 50 years and exhibits some symptoms of both diabetes type I and diabetes type II.
Diabetes type II accounts for almost 90 percent of all diabetes cases. In this condition, the body produces enough insulin but is not able to properly utilise it.
For their study, the researchers enrolled 2,874 adults. In the studied group, 1,136 participants suffered from diabetes type 1, 357 from LADA, and the rest 1,137 adults from neither. The researchers perused dietary data of every individual, specifically consumption of soft drinks in the past one year.
Adults who consumed two or more 200-millimetre soft drinks, containing artificial sweetener or sugar, had a 2.4 times greater risk of developing diabetes type II and 2 times greater risk of developing LADA in comparison to people with lower intake of sugary or artificially sweetened soft drinks.
By jeremyc | October 20, 2016
It is estimated that no fewer than 16 million individuals in the US have cognitive impairment. Reduced supply of blood to brain is the root cause of this condition, especially vascular cognitive impairment (VCI for short). In a new study, the scientists have found that regular exercise helps prevent cognitive decline in individuals having VCI.
After Alzheimer’s, VCI causes more numbers of dementia cases than any other condition. Deterioration in thinking, memory, language, and problem-solving are some common symptoms of VCI.
Reduced flow of blood to brain causes VCI. Decreased blood flow results in death of cells in the brain, which in turn leads to cognition problems. In a number of cases, blockage or shrinking of blood vessels, which diminishes supply to the brain, is caused by hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and smoking.
There are no treatments for VCI. However, positive lifestyle changes, like weight loss, regular exercise, giving up smoking can help deal with hypertension and slow the progression of VCI.
For this study, the researchers enrolled 70 people having VCI. The group’s average age of was 74 years. Two groups were formed; one participated in an hour-long exercise class thrice a week for a period of 6 months while the second group didn’t.
The researchers noted that the performance of the exercise group on the thinking test improved by about 1.7 points in comparison to the participants who didn’t exercise.
By jeremyc | October 19, 2016
Hormonal imbalance is the underlying cause of polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS, a common endocrine system disorder affecting women of reproductive age. A recent study has revealed that resveratrol, present in grapes, red wine, peanuts, raspberries, and several other plants, can help improve the hormonal balance and by extension symptoms of PCOS.
The most common symptoms of PCOS are growth of ovarian cysts, irregular menstrual cycle, and fertility issues. Other symptoms include acne, weight gain, and excessive body hair.
Resveratrol is found in several plants. Anti-inflammatory in nature, resveratrol is produced when a plant respond to threat posed by fungus, infection, injury, stress, or UV irradiation. Previous research has linked resveratrol with a lower risk of cancer and heart disease.
In this study, the researchers enrolled 30 PCOS patients, who were divided into 2 groups. One group received a dose of 1,500 mg resveratrol daily and the other a placebo.
The researchers found that resveratrol receiving group recorded a 23.1% reduction in the levels of testosterone and a 22.2% reduction in the levels of DHEAS. On the other hand, the placebo group recorded an increment in the levels of both these hormones.
By jeremyc | October 18, 2016
Many experts have long believed that the immune system and inflammation are linked with mental health, and a new research suggests this might be really so. In their research, the team found that anti-inflammatory drugs might alleviate depression symptoms.
Whenever our body perceives a threat from pathogens, it releases certain chemicals to ward off the threat. Inflammation is result of this natural defensive response. With that said, at times the immune system perceives threat when there is none. It starts perceiving healthy cells as harmful and sets upon destroying them. This causes autoimmune diseases like psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease.
For some time now, experts have hinted that immune system as well as inflammation influences mental health. A 2014-study showed that children having high inflammation had an increased risk of developing psychosis and depression in adulthood.
Two new types of drugs that fight inflammation have been tested clinically against many autoimmune diseases with good success. These are cytokine inhibitors and anti-cytokine monoclonal antibodies.
In this study, the researchers investigated if these two drugs also help improve depression symptoms. The team analysed 20 trials that evaluated the efficacy of the two aforementioned classes of anti-inflammatory drugs in treating autoimmune diseases.
The researcher found that depression symptoms were noticeably reduced in patients who took cytokine inhibitors and anti-cytokine monoclonal antibodies. This positive effect was not dependent on efficacy of these two drugs in alleviating symptoms of autoimmune diseases.
By jeremyc | October 17, 2016
Soy protein is healthier than milk, at least as far as bone health is concerned, according to a new study. According to this study, intake of soy protein isolate early in life ensures good bone health in adulthood. The soy protein isolated is tipped to offer excellent protection against bone loss later in life.
While research before this one too had hailed soy protein isolate as good for bone health, this was the first animal study to show conclusively that adding soy to diet early in life is significantly beneficial for bone health in adulthood years.
In this study, the researchers used young female rats that were divided into two groups. The first group was given a soy diet for a period of 30 days, following which they were administered a regular rodent diet until they were 6 months old. The second group was given a regular rodent diet right from the start. In both groups, the researchers altered the female rats to produce the similar kind of bone loss that women experience after menopause.
The researchers found that bone loss was significantly less in the female rats of the first group than of the second group.
Based on this finding, the researchers advise inclusion of soy in diet early in life. However, they don’t advocate giving up milk, which is also needed for growing strong bones.
By jeremyc | October 16, 2016
Calcium supplements should be taken only after consulting your physician, this is the advice of the researchers who examined tests of over 2,700 people. The researchers concluded that calcium supplements might make you more prone to atherosclerosis. However, calcium taken through diet poses no such problem and people who are on a high-calcium diet can continue with their diet without worrying about increased risk of atherosclerosis.
In atherosclerosis, the arteries become hard and constricted owing to buildup of plaque, and this in turn affects the blood flow and increases the risk of cardiovascular event. While the study found a link between taking calcium as a supplement and buildup of plaque in arteries, it didn’t shed light on why this is so.
It is estimated that nearly 370,000 people die due to coronary heart disease in a year in the US. Data suggests that about 47 percent of adults in the US use a health supplement, including calcium. It is also estimated that almost 50 percent of women over 60 years of age use a calcium supplement and many of them take it without consulting their physician.
Given that calcium supplement contributes to plaque buildup, adults should not consult their doctor before taking it or should obtain it naturally through eating more calcium-rich foods.
By jeremyc | October 15, 2016
A new type of treatment for insulin-dependent diabetes is in progress, according to researchers. Till now insulin-dependent diabetes (also called diabetes type 1) is being treated with insulin injections, which the patient must take at regular intervals every day. The new treatment, toward which researchers have taken an encouraging initial step, involves use of a drug. This new treatment in effect could mean an end of the practice of using insulin injections.
Diabetes is of two types, Diabetes type 1 and Diabetes type 2. In the former, the body produces no or insufficient insulin because the immune system mistakenly attacks those cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. On the other hand, in the latter, the body produces insulin but is not able to properly use it.
Insulin transports glucose to cells, and in its absence or lack of adequate presence, the blood glucose levels rise alarmingly. Diabetes type 1 is treated with insulin injections and Diabetes type 2 with oral drugs.
However, soon diabetes type 1 could also be treated with an oral drug called aldesleukin, recombinant interleukin -2 (IL-2). This drug is currently used at high doses for treating certain skin cancers and kidney cancers. The researchers have found that at lower doses, this drug prevents the immune system from attacking its own organs (which is the root cause of diabetes type 1).
By jeremyc | October 14, 2016
Propranolol should be listed as an anti-cancer drug, according to the researchers of a new study that appeared in ecancermedicalscience. A beta-antagonist, Propranolol is used in treatment of irregular heart beat.
The drug has shown potent anticancer properties, because of which researchers believe it could be well used for cancer. As a matter of fact, Propranolol has shown noticeable efficacy in angiosarcoma, cancer of the inner lining of blood vessels.
Angiosarcoma is a rare type of cancer of the heart, and Propranolol offers safe, inexpensive, and efficient treatment to angiosarcoma patients. In fact, researchers believe Propranolol is a good option in other cancers also.
Data available regarding Propranolol and its efficacy in treating cancer is encouraging and requires a serious evaluation, according to the researchers. Propranolol has also shown promise in treating infantile hemangioma.
The researchers state there is an acute need to evaluate what more Propranolol has to offer, especially in regard to cancer care, and Propranolol is not the only drug that should be examined carefully. The Repurposing Drugs in Oncology project states several existing drugs used for treating conditions other than cancer might offer effective treatment against cancer.
By jeremyc | October 13, 2016
Prostate cancer patients who undergo androgen deprivation therapy have a much higher risk of developing dementia than patients who are not treated with this hormone therapy.
Androgen deprivation therapy, as the name suggests, targets androgens, which facilitate growth of cancer cells. This therapy is being used for many years, but lately studies have linked serious side effects, like cognitive impairment, with it.
Androgen deprivation therapy is usually recommended to men with prostate cancer who cannot be treated with radiation or chemotherapy. It is also a viable option for patients in which cancer has returned after surgery. Oncologists may also recommend it with radiation to produce better results.
The present study is the second in line to suggest a link exists between androgen deprivation therapy and dementia. Earlier this year, another study had hinted at an association between this hormone therapy and Alzheimer’s.
In this study, the researchers found that men who underwent androgen deprivation therapy were more than two times likely to have dementia in next 5 years than men who didn’t use this therapy. The risk of dementia in men who underwent androgen deprivation therapy was 7.9 percent while for others it was 3.5 percent.
Given the risk associated, the researchers believe doctors should brief the patients about it before deciding on androgen deprivation therapy.