Vitamin D Linked to Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

By jeremyc | August 14, 2018

Earlier research has proved a link between vitamin D and rheumatoid arthritis. However, previous studies didn’t check how the levels of vitamin D in a person affect his or her RA treatment. A new study took up this question and found that taking more vitamin D might be extremely important for relieving arthritis symptoms.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA for short) is an autoimmune disorder. It is more common in women than men. Reports show that almost 3 times more women have RA than men.

The most common symptoms associated with RA are swollen joints and pain in joints. It can also cause fatigue and regular fever.

A number of treatments are available for RA, like corticosteroid drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and surgery. However, many patients still look to use alternative treatments.

In recent years, many studies have been done to investigate if supplements can help ameliorate RA symptoms.

In this study, the researchers first measured levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (a vitamin D marker) in 78 RA patients and then compared their vitamin D levels with those of 41 people who didn’t have RA.

The researchers noted that recommended vitamin D levels were found in just 33 percent of RA patients. Moreover, people with active RA and more serious RA symptoms had much lower vitamin D levels compared to those in whom the disease was in remission.

Vitamin D is considered crucial for a healthy brain, immune system, and bones. Because of this, the prognosis of a disease affecting any of these systems is worse when vitamin D levels are unsatisfactory.

People who don’t get adequate amount of vitamin D from food should use vitamin D supplements. Foods that are rich in vitamin D include mushrooms, fatty fish, eggs, and beef liver, as well as vitamin D fortified foods like milk, tofu, cereals, and orange juice.

Topics: Arthritis | No Comments »

Monster Radish Shows Potential To Lower Heart Disease Risk

By jeremyc | August 13, 2018

Cardiovascular diseases, like stroke and heart attack, account for nearly 20 percent of deaths. Given the widespread prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, a lot of focus in recent years has been on finding ways to lower their risks. In a recent study, the researchers found that Sakurajima daikon (aka monster radish) might offer some resistance.

Native to Japan, monster radish is called so because of its impressively wide girth. The largest one is said to weigh nearly 69 pounds and has a circumference of more than 1 meter.

Radishes are rich in antioxidants. Previous studies show that they might influence those factors that are linked to stroke and heart attack.

In this study, the researchers set out to test if monster radish also provides these benefits, and if yes, to what extent.

Cells lining blood vessels release nitric oxide, which in turn helps lower blood pressure. Research also shows that nitric oxide also helps prevent clot forming, which is a risk factor for heart disease, just like high blood pressure.

In this research, the scientists found that monster radish was able to induce greater production of nitric oxide. They also noticed that monster radish increased nitric oxide production more than other smaller radishes.

On further research, the scientists were able to ascribe these benefits to one main plant hormone known as trigonelline. Medical researchers are well familiar with this plant hormone, which is found in marine products and coffee as well and has been said to lower brain aging.

It might also be helpful in keeping diabetes at bay. Other plants which have this compound include, among others, the following: potatoes, hemp seed, garden peas, and oats.

The researchers believe that further research would reveal the underlying mechanism by which trigonelline is able to induce nitric oxide production and then it might well be possible to develop pharmaceutical interventions to prevent or slow down cardiovascular disease.


Topics: Heart | No Comments »

New Study Says Omega-3 Supplements Don’t Improve Heart Health

By jeremyc | August 12, 2018

Many people around the world take omega-3 supplements because they’ve been purported to be beneficial for heart health. A new study, however, refutes this. In this study, the researchers found that omega-3 supplements don’t improve heart health.

Millions of people take omega-3 pills to lower the effects of heart disease. But the recently-published study states that these pills don’t provide any noticeable benefit.

In this study, the researchers meta-analyzed 79 studies, involving more than 112,000 people. The studied group wasn’t only large but also diverse. The researchers checked the data of people from all over the world, including Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia.

The researchers noted that omega-3 supplements didn’t reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular events, heart irregularities, and stroke. These supplements were also found to have no noticeable impact on coronary heart disease.

The omega-3 supplements also didn’t reduce all-cause mortality. The risk of all-cause mortality in people who took omega-3 supplements was found to be 8.8 percent. This risk in people who didn’t take omega-3 supplements was 9 percent. So the difference is of just 0.2 percent, which is regarded insufficient from statistical point of view.

While the results of this study oppose the popular belief, no other study had considered such a big amount of data.

Topics: Heart | No Comments »

Dietary Soy Good for Bone Health in Women

By jeremyc | August 11, 2018

In a new study the researchers investigated how adding dietary soya to diet affected bone strength in those women who’re of postmenopausal age. The researchers found soy might be beneficial for bone health for all women, irrespective of their age.

Bone strength and bone density both reduces in postmenopausal women. Contributing factors to this are age, lower activity levels, and osteoporosis.

Bone weakness and osteoporosis, in turn, can noticeably increase the risk of developing fractures, which further promotes weight gain and physical inactivity.

In this research, the scientists wanted to investigate if soy-based proteins can improve bone health in postmenopausal women.

The researchers conducted their study on rats. Ovaries were surgically removed in 50 percent of these rats. One half of the rats were fed a soy diet while the others were given corn. The total daily caloric count of both the diets was the same.

The researchers noted that rats that ate soy recorded improvements in their bone strength. This was true in case of both types of rats—those that had their ovaries removed as well as those with ovaries.

Based on these findings, the researchers believe that eating soy products might be beneficial to bone health of women of all ages. Interestingly, the researchers found that women don’t have to eat a lot of soy to get the benefits. They noted that women will get the benefits even when they eat less soy than found in an average Asian diet.

Topics: Women's Health | No Comments »

Psychedelic Drugs Might Provide Symptomatic Relief to Depression, PTSD, & Anxiety Patients

By jeremyc | August 10, 2018

Psychedelic drugs enjoy a notorious reputation. They can be harmful and cause addiction. In many countries, they are banned or regulated heavily. But can they be useful in managing conditions like anxiety when used with psychotherapy? This is the question that many researchers are looking into.

While no one refutes the harmful effects of psychedelic drugs, in last few months, researchers belonging to several different global institutions have discussed whether there might be some merit in testing psychedelic drugs for management of conditions like depression, symptoms of psychological trauma, and depression.

In one research, scientists investigated if MDMA (popularly known as ecstasy) is useful for treating social anxiety in adult autism patients.

For this study, the researchers enrolled 12 adult autism patients, all of whom had moderate or severe social anxiety. All these patients took MDMA treatment along with psychotherapy.

The patients reported noticeable and long-term symptomatic relief. In most of these 12 patients, the positive effects lasted for months, even years.

In another study, the researchers suggested that psilocybin, LSD, and ayahuasca might help manage depression, certain eating disorders and anxiety. The researchers said that they found that these drugs improved psychological symptoms by improving how a person related to his/her emotions and his/her sense of spirituality.

Another study has noted that psychedelic drugs when used with psychotherapy might help reduce psychological distress and anxiety in cancer patients.

Topics: Depression | No Comments »

Exercise boosts Mental Health But Not When You Overdo It

By jeremyc | August 9, 2018

While growing up, you might have heard these words several times: too much of everything else is bad. New research confirms this is true even for exercise. Latest research confirms the findings of previous studies that exercise boosts mental health, but it also cautioned that too much of exercise can have a negative impact on the health.

Depression is a huge public health concern. Millions of people in the U.S. are living with depression. Given the fact that depression is so common and on the rise, health experts agree that there’s a strong need to do whatever possible to prevent it and alleviate it symptoms.

One such thing is staying physically active. Previous studies have shown that physical exercise reduces the risk of depression. But whether there’s anything like too much exercise for mental health was one thing they didn’t check.

The researchers who did the latest study took up this question. They also set out to find if certain exercises are better at dispelling depression than others.

This study was the largest of its kind, involving 1.2 million individuals. All the participants provided data regarding their physical activity levels and poor mental health.

The average number of poor mental health days reported by the participants was 3.4 days. People who exercised, however, reported 1.5 fewer poor mental health days than those who didn’t.

The researchers also checked how exercise affected people who had depression. Among depression-sufferers, the exercise group had 3.75 fewer poor days compared to those who didn’t exercise.

In short, exercise is good for mental health for all. The researchers also noted that all kinds of exercise, and this included doing household chores, were beneficial for mental health.

However, certain exercises were linked with greater mental health benefits. These were team sports, aerobic exercise, gym exercises, and cycling.

In addition, the researchers also noted that participants who were physically active for half-an-hour to one hour 3-5 times a week benefited most.

On the other hand, people who exercised for more than 3 hours showed poorer mental health than people who weren’t physically active.

Topics: General Health News | No Comments »

Risk of Developing Heart Problems Increase with Low Levels of Air Pollution

By jeremyc | August 8, 2018

Air pollution is a serious health hazard. Many studies have shown that high levels of air pollution increase the risk of several health diseases. Now a new study suggests that even low levels of air pollution can cause severe heart problems.

A previous study, published a couple of years ago, had claimed that air pollution is a big risk factor for stroke across the world.

While many believe that only high levels of air pollution increases the risk of developing stroke, heart disease, and other conditions, this is not so. Recently another study has suggested that air pollution levels which are adjudged “safe” increases the risk of developing diabetes.

In this study the researchers studied data of more than 39,000 individuals. All of the participants were healthy and voluntarily gave information regarding their health, lifestyle and residential area. All of them let researchers measure their heart’s size, function and weight through MRI.

The researchers found a strong association between living close to busy roads and having enlarged heart ventricles. People who live close to busy roads are exposed more to NO2.

The enlargement of ventricles which the researchers noted in these people is typically seen when heart failure is in its early stages.

The researchers also noted that for every 1 mg increment in PM2.5/m3, heart ventricles became bigger by 1%. The same was found to be true for every 10 mg/ m3 increment of NO2.

Topics: General Health News | No Comments »

An Existing Drug Shows Promise at Preventing Alzheimer Disease

By jeremyc | August 7, 2018

New evidence suggests an existing drug might be effective at preventing Alzheimer’s from developing. However, this is possible only when the drug is administered much before Alzheimer’s symptoms appear.

Alzheimer’s is much more common than other forms of dementia. It accounts for 60 percent of all dementia cases. It is estimated that nearly 5.7 million people are living with it in the U.S.

As of now there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s. Once the symptoms appear, they usually start deteriorating progressively.

Because Alzheimer’s is incurable, researchers tend to focus a lot on finding a definite answer to the question, “Is it possible to prevent Alzheimer’s from developing?”

This question was the main focus of this research as well, in which experts focused on a particular drug named memantine, which at present is used for managing Alzheimer’s symptoms. The researchers wanted to test if this drug could prevent Alzheimer’s from developing.

The researchers have found that it can, but only when a person uses it much before Alzheimer’s symptoms start appearing.

This drug showed the ability to prevent a process from happening which in turn is the cause of neuron death in the brain in Alzheimer’s.

According to the study author, it will be impossible to cure the disease once the symptoms start appearing and therefore our best bet is to identify people who are at increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s and then treat them preventatively with drugs so that the silent phase of Alzheimer’s progresses at a very slow rate.

The researchers now are focusing on doing a clinical test to see if this strategy is an effective one or not.


Topics: Alzheimer's/Dementia | No Comments »

Too Little and Too Much Sleep Bad For Health

By jeremyc | August 6, 2018

Sleeping more than recommended 7-8 hours at night increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, as does sleeping for fewer hours than recommended. However, sleeping more is linked with greater risk to cardiovascular disease than sleeping less. In other words, excess sleep is more harmful to health than insufficient sleep.

These were the findings of a new study.

While other studies, too, have investigated the link between sleep duration and cardiovascular risk, this is the first study to evaluate how every hour increment or decrement in sleep affects health. It is also the first one to investigate the effect of sleep quality on cardiovascular risk.

In this study, the researchers found that more you sleep over 7-8 hours, greater the negative impact on health. For instance, people who sleep for 9 hours were found to have 14 percent greater mortality risk. On the other hand, this risk rose 30 percent when sleep duration was 10 hours.

The researchers also noted that poor-quality sleep was associated with 44 percent greater risk of developing coronary artery disease.

An umbrella term, cardiovascular disease is used for referring heart and blood vessel disorders, such as heart attack, stroke, heart disease, and atherosclerosis.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. and accounts for 610,000 deaths every year.

Both insufficient and excessive sleep are linked with other negative health outcomes also. For instance, insufficient sleep is linked to increased inflammation, which in turn is linked to cancer and cardiovascular disease. Insufficient sleep is also believed to promote obesity.

Excess sleep, on the other hand, might be associated with heart disease because of underlying conditions which increase fatigue, such as anemia or increased inflammation.



Topics: General Health News | No Comments »

Using Alternative Cancer Treatment Reduces Your Survival Chances

By jeremyc | August 5, 2018

People who’ve treatable cancer and use complementary alternative medicine sometimes refuse to use conventional cancer treatments. According a new report, these patients are harming their survival chances.

Many cancer patients use complementary medicines such as homeopathy, herbs and vitamins so that they can better manage the unwanted effects conventional cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.

However, a recent study suggests many such patients are not using alternative medicines to complement conventional treatment but rather as its replacement. The study goes on to say that such people are lowering their chances of survival.

In this study, the researchers looked at the data of 1,290 individuals diagnosed with different forms of cancer, such as lung, prostate, breast, or colorectal cancer. They compared the survival rate of 258 patients who opted for complementary medicine with more than a thousand patients who chose to stick with conventional cancer treatment.

The results reveal that people who opt to use complementary treatment tend to reject at minimum one recommended conventional treatment like hormone therapy, radiation or chemotherapy.

In effect these people were hand-picking which conventional cancer treatment they wished to use.

The researchers found that cancer patients who opted for complementary treatment along with conventional treatments carried a two times increased risk of death than people who used only conventional cancer treatments.

Alternative treatments that cancer patients frequently use include traditional Chinese medicine, herbs, vitamins, naturotherapy, homeopathy, and specialized diets.

This study didn’t look at how an individual complementary treatment, such as the ones above, affects cancer survival. And being a purely observational study it didn’t prove cause and effect, either.

An earlier study done by these very researchers had found that the risk of dying was 2.5 times greater among cancer patients who used only complementary treatments, compared to those who went only with conventional treatments.

The researchers state that they have nothing against complementary cancer treatments but their use should be limited to only alleviating unwanted effects of conventional treatment and the patients using them shouldn’t refuse any recommended aspect of their cancer care.



Topics: Cancer | No Comments »

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