By jeremyc | December 5, 2016
Nuts are often labeled as superfoods and quite rightly so. They are rich in antioxidants, low saturated fats, and fiber. Previous research has revealed eating a handful of nuts lowers the risk of many major diseases, like cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Recent research claims nuts provide health benefits well beyond the aforementioned diseases.
The latest benefits of nuts were found when a team of researchers conducted a meta-analysis of nearly 30 studies, in which more than 800,000 people participated. All types of tree nuts, such as walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and macadamia nuts were included in this study. The researchers also included peanuts, which actually are not nuts but legumes. The researchers found that risk of many diseases was cut considerably by eating a few nuts every day.
People who eat a few nuts daily have a 22 percent lower risk of death from all causes. The researchers also found eating 20 g of nuts daily was associated with 30 percent lower risk of heart disease, 21 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and 15 percent lower risk of all types of cancers.
In addition, regular nut consumption was found to reduce the risk of respiratory disease by 52 percent. Further, people who eat nuts on a regular basis were 40 percent less likely to suffer from diabetes and 75 percent less likely to develop infectious disease.
By jeremyc | December 4, 2016
Not all wines are equal—white wine might increase the risk of developing melanoma, the most deadly of all skin cancers, according to a new study. While melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer, it’s the one with the worst survival rate. Many factors, some avoidable and some unavoidable, contribute to development of melanoma. Now researchers have added one new entry to the list: white wine.
Our skin contains pigment cells. Melanoma occurs when these pigment-producing cells in the skin become cancerous. Overexposure to sun is a big risk factor of melanoma. A family history of melanoma is also a serious risk factor of it. Others include a weak immune system, light hair, and fair skin.
For this study, the researchers checked the data of over 200,000 adults who took part in three studies to determine if alcohol consumption is linked to melanoma risk.
The participants were required to complete a detailed questionnaire, in which, among other things, they were asked to quantify their alcohol consumption as well as mention the type of alcohol beverage they took. The mean follow-up period was 18.3 years.
The team found that the risk of melanoma was 14 percent greater in people who consumed alcohol daily, the type of alcohol beverage notwithstanding. The team also noted that only white wine and no other alcohol beverage that was investigated (which included beer, liquor, and red wine) had a significant impact on the risk of developing melanoma.
Drinking one glass of white wine daily was found to increase the risk of melanoma by 13 percent.
By jeremyc | December 3, 2016
Alzheimer’s disease is hard to detect in the early stages because in most cases the cause is not genetic. As a matter of fact, in nearly 95 percent of Alzheimer’s patients, the disease occurs because of non-genetic reasons.
Given this fact, there is a dire need to develop biomarkers which could help detect Alzheimer’s when it’s still in nascent stages. Recently in an animal study, researchers have found a connection between early reduction in bone mineral density and brain degeneration. In other words, in future, a measurement of bone density can be used to evaluate the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
While more studies are required before bone density measurement can be used as a biomarker of Alzheimer’s, but this finding is extremely encouraging because it identifies changes which manifest in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.
In the US alone, over 5 million people have Alzheimer’s, a common form of dementia in which patient experience problems with memory, thinking, decision-making, and behavior. The symptoms develop slowly but over time get worse, so much so that the patient becomes incapable of taking his care himself. It is estimated that Alzheimer’s account for no fewer than 60-80 percent of all dementia cases.
By jeremyc | December 2, 2016
Nearly 30 million people in the US have diabetes. It is estimated that additional 86 million in the US are prediabetic. Diabetes features in the seventh place in the list of top 10 leading cause of death in America. In short, diabetes is a serious health hazard.
For past many years, scientists have been trying to replace beta cells of the pancreas which produce insulin and which are destroyed in diabetes. New research has found a novel way of achieving this. In this research, the scientists were able to turn alpha cells in the pancreas into insulin-producing cells by using malaria drugs.
Diabetes type 1 occurs when the beta cells in the pancreas stop producing insulin because the immune system mistakenly attacks them. When there’s no insulin, the glucose in the bloodstream doesn’t get broken down and as a result blood glucose levels rise sharply.
In their research, the team tested the effect of malaria drugs on cultured alpha cells. However, they are hopeful that similar effects will be seen in humans. Needless to say, more studies are required on this, but the initial result has been very promising.
By jeremyc | December 1, 2016
A few states in the US have legalized medical marijuana, and many more are debating whether they should too follow suit. Some are even contemplating legalizing recreational marijuana. A new study, however, claims marijuana use is not free of risks.
According to it, marijuana might increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia accounting for 60-80 percent of total dementia cases. The researchers found that marijuana reduced the flow of blood to hippocampus, the area of the brain which is affected by Alzheimer’s.
In their study, the team found that marijuana link was linked with a lower-than-normal supply of blood in many parts of the brain, with the greatest effect visible in hippocampus. In Alzheimer’s patients, hippocampus is the very first brain region to be affected. It is believed to be the center of memory and learning.
In the light of this finding, experts believe all possible harmful effects of marijuana, like its effect on Alzheimer’s risk, must be considered before making it legal for medical or recreational purposes.
Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disorder in which healthy brain cells die, leading to memory loss and cognitive decline. The symptoms develop slowly but over time become worse. In the later stages, the patient is unable to take his own care. At present, there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
By jeremyc | November 30, 2016
Nearly 30 millions of people in the US have diabetes, a severe health condition which features in the seventh place in the list of top 10 leading causes of death in the country. Obesity, which too affects millions in the US, is linked to a range of health conditions, like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Now, researchers have come up with a novel way to prevent both.
Researchers have found that a particular protein in pasteurized Akkermansia muciniphila, a common bacteria found in the gut, can help prevent both diabetes and obesity. The name of the protein is Amuc_100*.
In an earlier study, the researchers found that obese rodents have lower levels of Akkermansia muciniphila. When they administered Akkermansia muciniphila to rodents, obesity stopped and many metabolic disorders were reversed.
Luckily, during the experiments conducted to find an effective way to produce this bacterium by making it inactive but retaining its properties, the researchers found pasteurized Akkermansia muciniphila was two times more effective. After pasteurization the bacterium prevented not only the development of obesity but also diabetes type 2 in rodents.
When the researchers made efforts to understand the reason behind this, they found only the protein Amuc_100* survived in Akkermansia muciniphila after pasteurization. Putting two and two together, they hypothesized that Amuc_100* was effective in preventing diabetes as well as obesity in rodents. Upon testing their theory, the researchers found that this indeed was the case.
As Amuc_100* is compatible with humans, in coming years it could be used for preventing diabetes as well as obesity in humans.
By jeremyc | November 29, 2016
Smokers are at increased risk of heart disease—this much almost everybody knows. However, how great the risk of heart disease is in smokers is something that is often ignored. According to a recent study, smokers under 50 carry the greatest risk of heart disease.
Data suggests that more than 16 million people in the US have a health condition brought on by smoking. Smoking is a huge factor of cancer, stroke, and heart disease, but it also causes many other serious diseases, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and lung disease.
It is estimated that smoking causes about 33 percent deaths from cardiovascular disease, an umbrella term for heart conditions caused by atherosclerosis.
In this study, the researchers investigated how smokers’ age affects the risk of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI for short), a specific type of heart attack in which a heart’s major artery is blocked completely all of a sudden.
The researchers found that the risk of STEMI is inversely related to smokers’ age. That is, young smokers had a greater risk of STEMI than older smokers. The risk of STEMI was highest in smokers under 50, who had an 8 times greater risk of developing STEMI than ex-smokers and non-smokers combined.
By jeremyc | November 28, 2016
In the last few years, there’s been a sharp increase in prescriptions of testosterone replacement therapy. An increasingly number of men over 40 now opts for it to counter low hormone production because of aging. A new research states that this therapy might have unwanted effects. It might put you at a greater risk of developing blood clots.
Testosterone, also known as the male hormone, is mainly produced by testicles in men. Testosterone production increases sharply with the onset of puberty and tapers off after 30 or so. This hormone is linked with sex drive in men and plays a crucial role in the production of the sperm, but it also has other important functions. It is important for healthy bone and muscle mass, influences how fat is stored, and affects mood.
Hypogonadism, a medical condition in which the body produces low amount of testosterone, affects many men after 40. Common symptoms of hypogonadism include low sex drive, weight gain, less energy, low self-esteem, thinner bones, and mood swings.
Men who are over 40 and have hypogonadism are usually prescribed testosterone. It improves sex drive as well as muscle mass.
By jeremyc | November 27, 2016
The most common first line of treatment for major depression is serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Additional medication is prescribed to patients who fail to get the desired benefit from this type of antidepressant.
However, many a time patients don’t respond to antidepressants. As a matter of fact, over 50 percent of depression patients in the US don’t respond well to antidepressants. A new study shows that for such patients Sudarshan Kriya Yoga, a powerful rhythmic breathing technique which uses certain natural rhythms of the breath, might be a good option.
In this study, the researchers found that participants who did Sudarshan Kriya Yoga for a period of 8 weeks experienced relief from symptoms of depression as well as anxiety.
It is estimated that more people suffer from depression in the US than any other mental illness. Most common symptoms of major depression include, among others, continuous feeling of sadness, pessimism, feeling of worthlessness, guilt, fatigue, less-than-normal appetite, weight loss, trouble sleeping, and lack of interest in everyday tasks and things which earlier gave pleasure.
Twenty five adult depression patients participated in this study. All of them were on antidepressants but medication didn’t improve their symptoms by much. The researchers found that participants who did Sudarshan Kriya Yoga recorded a significant improvement in a test used to measure symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to those participants who didn’t.
By jeremyc | November 26, 2016
Carotenoids are plant pigments that give color to several plant parts, including many fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids not only play a vital role in plant life but are also beneficial to us. The antioxidant effects of carotenoids improve visual health. However, latest research shows carotenoids might be beneficial for cognition too.
Many fruits and vegetables are rich in carotenoids. Examples include oranges, pumpkins, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes. Some dark green colored vegetables, like peas, kale, and spinach, contain carotenoids. These vegetables are a good source of zeaxanthin and lutein.
More than one study has shown that these two carotenoids are beneficial to visual health. They are also effective in slowing the progression of certain age-related eye conditions.
Some studies have also hinted at zeaxanthin and lutein improving cognitive function in elderly. Scientists, however, do not know yet why increased levels of zeaxanthin and lutein are linked to greater verbal fluency and better memory.