Archived Articles - March 2013



Heart arteries blockage a warning for stroke
    Mar-02-2013

Here is some bad news for people with clogged-up heart arteries. If believed that you do not have any chance of developing a stroke, people with blocked heart arteries may also suffer from stroke. The findings of a latest research, posted online in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, suggest that people with jammed arteries face as much risks of having a stroke, as patients with any other identified risk factors like atrial fibrillation.

Dirk M. Hermann, the study lead author and a professor of dementia and vascular neurology at the Germany-based University Hospital Essen, has issued a press statement saying that their findings show that stroke risk is closely related to coronary atherosclerosis, revealing the intimately associated nature of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease.

During their research, Hermann and his team utilized different usual CT scan to observe heart arteries in as many as 4,180 patients aged between 45 and 75 years. These patients were picked at random from three industrial cities in Germany and none had any history of heart attack or stroke.

The researchers used locally confined electron beam-computed tomography to observe the extent of plague build-up inside the artery walls of the patients. Subsequently, they pursued these patients for roughly eight years. During this period 92 patients suffered strokes, of which 82 were ischemic (owing to blood clotting in brain), while 10 were hemorrhagic (owing to blood loss inside brain).

It has been found that patients over 65 years were inclined to have strokes, especially those having diabetes, hypertension, and high blood cholesterol plus body mass index. Nevertheless, a comparison between these incidences of strokes and the previous CT scans showed that patients with heart artery blocks caused by coronary artery calcification (CAC) were more at risk of stroke than patients who did not have CAC. An elevated CAC level than 400 Hounsfield units (or HU - determining tissue density and other issues noticed in CT scan) was related to three times higher chances of stroke compared to levels below 399 HU.

According to the authors, CAC calculations were especially powerful in envisaging stroke in participants below 65 years and in individuals whose risks were appraised with the regular risk factors had less chances of developing cardiovascular ailments. In addition, CAC computing were accurate in predicting stroke in male as well as female participants, irrespective of whether or not they suffered from atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), which is usually linked to higher risks of having stroke.

According to Hermann, while physicians are evaluating patients for chances of having stroke, they should consider CAC levels and additional risk factors like atrial fibrillation. He has also emphasized on further collaboration throughout various disciplines to prevent and deal with these ailments better.

Another study undertaken recently by scientists at the University of Oxford, UK, details the manner in which the brain guards itself from damages caused by stroke. They suggest that controlling this integral biological mechanism may possibly bring about fresh therapies for stroke plus means to avoid neurodegenerative diseases.

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10 remedies from preferred foods help sleep better, overcome insomnia
    Mar-04-2013

Insomnia or sleeplessness is attributable to several conditions, including muscle and joint aches, restive legs, acid reflux, fear, anxiety and pain due to chronic ailments. Simple things like consuming excessive coffee or going to bed very late may add to insomnia. Fortunately, some home remedies that can be easily prepared from foods you may already have at home are effective in getting proper sleep and curing insomnia.

Top among such foods plus home remedies is having toast with warm milk (raw or organic milk only). It helps in alleviating stress and promoting sleep. Several studies have shown that consumption of warm milk secretes melatonin (sleep hormone) and endorphins to enable you to unwind and sleep well. Taking a little complex carbohydrates like cereal or whole grain toast will make you feel filled, relieving the pangs of hunger at bedtime, and also treat insomnia.

Whole grains are a wonderful meal that secrete serotonin, a forerunner to the neurotransmitter called serotonin, and help you to get back to sleep if you awaken at night. A glass of warm milk with a little whole grain toast is an ideal snack before bedtime and helps to sleep better.

Consume a blend of natural apple cider vinegar (two tablespoonfuls) and water (10 oz to 12 oz). This alkaline drink will help to alleviate the burning sensation caused by acid reflux that puts off sleep and also ease or reduce pains caused by fibromyalgia and arthritis. A drink comprising baking soda (1/2 teaspoon) mixed in one glass (8 oz) of water prior to bedtime helps to alleviate gout pain.

Consuming raw honey, rich in potassium plus additional nutriments, aids in alkalizing the body, nourishing and unwinding the brain, thereby promotes sleep. It also alleviates acid reflux and helps to sleep again if you wake up early. Apple slices doused in raw homey also lighten heartburn, fill the stomach and unwind prior to sleep.

Get respite from headaches, fibromyalgia, and arthritis that may disturb sleep by drinking a blend of water (8 oz) and cream of tartar (1/2 teaspoon) prior to bedtime. In case fibromyalgia or any muscularskeletal pains are responsible for insomnia, consume several pineapple slices before bedtime to help you sleep better. Pineapple encloses bromelain, a digestive enzyme which eases muscle rigidity and aches, besides lessening inflammation.

As magnesium and calcium also promote sleep, consume a snack having rich contents of these minerals like warm milk, kefir, yogurt, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, black strap molasses and others. You will also have better sleep if you take green drinks like kale, dandelion greens or collards with yogurt plus honey as a cooling snack before bedtime during summer.

Although herbal teas prepared with valerian root or chamomile may cure insomnia and help you sleep better, having them in excess may result in insomnia, disturbance, anxiety and tetchiness. Consumption of wild lettuce helps to alleviate headaches and joint aches plus relieve anxiety and restiveness owing to its calming attributes and may promote sleep.

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Study finds organic tomatoes are tastier and healthier
    Mar-06-2013

Findings of a latest research undertaken by scientists at the Federal University of Ceara in Brazil and carried in the medical journal PLOS ONE say that organic tomatoes are not only healthier, but also taste better.

Contrary to the common belief that organic vegetables and fruits contain fewer toxic chemical deposits, the latest study discovered that, in fact, they contain more nutriments. According to the scientists, the reason for this is that plants grown organically undergo normal stress and are not protected by use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. As they contain loads of antioxidants, they are healthier.

Scientists evaluated the weights and biological composition of tomatoes growing on 30 dissimilar plants at two different farms - one using organic techniques, while the other used conventional methods - located at a distance of roughly one mile in Brazil ensuring that they grew in identical natural surroundings. The organic farm only used vegetable compost and manure as fertilizers, while the other one used synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

It was found that tomatoes grown organically were roughly 40 per cent less in weight compared to those cultivated using conventional technique. In addition, organically grown plants produced more tomatoes that were loaded with potent antioxidants and contained more natural sugars, besides tasting better. The organic tomatoes also contained more nutrients - vitamin C and phenols, antioxidant compounds that inhibit tumor growth as well as lessen the chances of developing prostate cancer, compared to those grown using conventional methods.

The organic tomatoes contained 57 per cent more vitamin C and double the amount of phenols as well as an enzyme called phenylalanine ammonia lyase or PAL compared to conventionally grown tomatoes. It has been found that these compounds have the aptitude to neutralize stress induced by oxidation and, hence, be helpful in lessening the chances of developing chronic ailments like cancer, dementia and heart problems, besides slowing the consequences of aging.

It now seems that even tomato plants possess similar stress-combating effects and the researchers plants are exposed to stressors like insect invasions, inclement weather and minor nutrient deficit, during their growing season, they produce more antioxidants like vitamin C and phenols as a defensive measure. Thus, humans also obtain similar benefits when they consume these fruits.

Researchers conclude that the farmers would be committing a mistake by get rid of the stressors from the environment of growing plants. Hence, healthier foods can be produced by ensuring the presence of stressors required for enhancing the nutrients in the foods, while maintaining the size of the yield.

However, the fact is that consumers do not choose organic vegetables and fruits because they contain more nutrients, but also because they have lesser environmental impact in general, less pesticide deposits, as well as more dependable environments for farm employees and inhabitants of rural areas.

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Study shows processed meat may lead to premature death
    Mar-07-2013

Findings of a recent mammoth study involving 500,000 men and women and published in BMC Medicine, an open access journal of Biomed Central, hint that consumption of more processed meat augments the chances of premature deaths due to cardiovascular ailments and cancer, and not only due to detrimental choices in life.

The confusing impact of one's lifestyle on health is one of the major hurdles in determining the health effects of meat consumption. Compared to the common people, the lifestyle of vegetarians is healthier. They may possibly not smoke and are less fat and physically more active. Hence, it is only possible to isolate the effects of consuming processed meat when very large studies are undertaken.

Roughly 500,000 men and women from 10 European nations, spread over 23 centers, were involved in the EPIC study - European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Generally, having a meal with high amounts of processed meat was associated with other harmful alternatives. It was found that people who consumed plenty of processed meat and took very few vegetables and fruits were more inclined to smoke. Men who consumed excess meat also showed a tendency to be heavy drinkers.

The chances of untimely death augmented when a person consumed too much processed meat. On the contrary, it was found that consuming a little red meat was beneficial. According to researchers, this is owing to the fact that meat is a vital resource of vitamins and other nutriments.

University of Zurich's Prof. Sabine Rohrmann, who headed the study, said that the risks related to premature death due to cardiovascular disease and cancer were augmented with quantity of processed meat consumed. According to the researchers, provided people consumed below 20 grams processed meat daily it would be possible to prevent about three per cent premature deaths.

It is worth mentioning that this write-up is the first of a collection brought out by BMC Medicine on Medicine for Global Health that addresses healthcare policy development, health initiatives, and guidelines based on evidences that are necessary for dealing with the worldwide burden of ailments. Susceptible people, particularly those in countries having poor or reasonable incomes, are still distressed by infectious as well as non-communicable diseases, counting uncared for tropical diseases, even as problems related to pregnancy along with childbirth in these parts of the world put mothers as well as babies in risk of serious disability and even death.

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Black mamba snake venom a potent analgesic: scientists
    Mar-08-2013

The longest, most swift and poisonous snake in Africa is called the black mamba, whose venom is a virulent neurotoxin which paralyzes and exterminates little animals. Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Nice, France, scientists, whose findings were carried in the science journal Nature, say the venom of black mamba also encloses a natural analgesic that is much more potent compared to morphine.

The findings of their research, which involved examining the venoms of about 50 snake species, show that black mamba's venom encloses a peptide named mambalgin - an analgesic compound. Dissimilar to morphine that often causes addiction and has unpleasant side effects like vomiting, migraines, muscle convulsions, and brain fog, mambalgin practically does not have any side effects, as it uses different courses to obstruct the pain sensations.

The study co-author Dr. Eric Lingueglia said when mambalgin was examined on mice, it was found to possess analgesic properties as potent as morphine, but did not cause any side effects. However, the experiment is in its initial stage and it cannot be said whether it will be an effective analgesic for humans too.

According to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine's snake venom specialist Dr. Nicholas Casewell, it is strange to learn that the venom of black mamba contains analgesic compounds. He hinted that mambalgins may possibly be effective when used in combination with other toxic substances enclosed by the venom that stops the prey from escaping. This peptide may have dissimilar results on different animals, said, adding that this is really exciting as it talks about getting new drugs from snake venom - a completely different type of analgesics.

Although the method used by scientists to find the analgesic attribute of mambalgin (testing it on animals) is debateable, the findings are noteworthy as it once again underlines the natural basis of several allopathic medications.

Big Pharma claims that most of their popular medications have a natural origin and are also very inexpensive as well as safer to use. For instance, a major ingredient of the extensively used analgesic aspirin contains salicylic acid - a compound obtained from salicin enclosed by the bark of white willow. Likewise, several throat lozenges are prepared using a natural analgesic - licorice. Morphine too is produced from a chemical present in opium poppy.

Provided the research undertaken by Dr. Lingueglia and his colleagues proves that mambalgin is also effective in humans, there is no doubt that this peptide will also be included in the list of promising painkillers, notwithstanding the damage it may cause to use and also the population of black mamba.

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Six most life-saving, health-boosting practices
    Mar-12-2013

Six tips to boost your health

Healthy eating: Irrespective of anything you do, healthy eating is foremost for good health. As a single diet does not provide all requisites, you may consult a holistic practitioner or Ayurvedic physician.

It is important to keep away from GMO, processed or junk foods and read the label of the product before using it. In case a food contains an ingredient you are unsure about, don't take it till you find what it precisely is. Also minimize your sugar consumption and use raw honey instead of artificial sweeteners.

Consume enough fresh organic vegetables and fruits and you may also take lots of legumes and organic grains. Ensure that you relax while eating, chew properly and shun overeating. Don't go by the propaganda of mainstream news to avoid all fats, but find and consume fats that are healthy.

Hydrate: Drink lots of clean water. Avoid using commercially available bottled water if you are not sure that it is really mineral or spring water. Remember, most brand name bottled water is simply tap water packed in bisphenol A (BPA). Provided the water supply is not healthy, you may install a carbon filter machine or reverse osmosis to purify the municipality supplied water.

While fluoridated water is detrimental, reverse osmosis takes away 85% of sodium fluoride, removing some minerals too. So just incorporate the minerals after reverse osmosis by adding little amount of trace minerals or sea salt. Pure water should be used for cooking too.

Eliminate toxic items: Get rid of all toxic items at home, counting all supple plastics and recycled toilet paper having BPS or BPA - including plastic toys and shower curtains. Don't use Styrofoam tea sets for hot foods and avoid microwave ovens for heating water or cooking. Avoid synthetic insecticides and pesticides and replace them with natural substances. Do the same with toothpastes, perfumes and deodorants.

Use appropriate supplements: While using dietary supplements, use them prudently for some may cause health problems. Instead of supplementing calcium, use magnesium supplements because it is the most widespread undersupplied mineral. Before using green super-foods (chlorella, spirulina), you need to verify their utility. If you have a sluggish thyroid, use iodine supplements.

Exercise moderately: Instead of visiting the gym, walking for a mile briskly five days a week will help to remove lymph fluid build-up. Yoga is a wonderful means to tone internal and external organs and enhance energy and improve your health.

Meditate: Last, but not the least, meditation helps to provide and maintain good health. Practise yoga, especially the 'corpse' asana daily to relax the mind, sleep better, enhance vitality and alleviate anxiety.


Vital vitamin D deficiency symptoms you need to identify
    Mar-13-2013

Findings of a recent study by scientists at University of Zurich have corroborated that one should ingest adequate amounts of vitamin D, which is essential for bone health.

Contrary to the common belief that consuming healthy foods is sufficient, in reality, very few foods enclose adequate amounts of vitamin D. A faculty member at the UZH Dr. Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari says that if one desires to obtain considerable amounts of vitamin D only from diet, he/ she should have at least two servings of oily fishes like mackerel or salmon daily. In addition, it is important to take vitamin D supplements and expose oneself to sunlight to ensure proper functioning of the body.

It is important to note that vitamin D is not a separate vitamin, but performs several functions along with additional elements, including magnesium. This exceptional trait of vitamin D has helped in dealing with several chronic diseases. Earlier, medical practitioners believed that vitamin D was essential only for the health of bones and teeth, but, as science has progressed, people now realize the importance of this vitamin for our overall health - appropriate functioning of the body plus diminishing the risks of ailments related to its deficiency.

However, not everyone seems to recognize the importance of vitamin D and the trend of working indoors has added to the deficiency of this vitamin in people globally. Moreover, most people often don't realize that they have a dearth of vitamin D. While having your blood examined will reveal if there is a vitamin D deficiency, certain ailments are also indications of a dearth of this vitamin. Provided you have been diagnosed of vitamin D deficiency, it is advisable that you check with your physician and initiate remedial measures.

Ailments that reveal a dearth of vitamin D include influenza, asthma, psoriasis, debility of muscles, diabetes, chronic kidney ailments, cardiovascular diseases, periodontal disease (a persistent gum problem that causes bleeding and swelling of the gums), schizophrenia and depression as well as cancer, especially breast cancer. Several separate researches have shown that increased intake of vitamin D not only helps to reduce these conditions significantly, but, in many cases, even prevent their occurrence.

Prevention

However, people suffering from health conditions caused by vitamin D deficiency should not be alarmed. Initiating preventive measures may go a long way in thwarting the occurrence of diseases related to dearth of vitamin D. Remember, besides having a peace of mind, you will be able to save much money on treatments and medications, just by taking a walk in the sunlight. So, it will be prudent if you keep the umbrella only for shelter from rains!


Popular antidepressants further enhance bone fracture risk
    Mar-15-2013

Usually, most pharmaceutical antidepressants belong to the class of drugs called selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or SSRIs. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced by the brain nerves and is responsible for making us feel good. So, why should restraining serotonins that make us feel good also reduce depression?

It is believed that SSRIs change plus reallocate serotonins, preventing other neurons from taking them up, while allowing chemical synapse actions with the surplus serotonins within the brain.

SSRIs are available under different brand names - Celexa, Effexor, Lexapro, Luvox, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft - and these are used to treat anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder and compulsive obsessive disorders. Sometimes, these drugs are given to kids to facilitate controlling them probably because nearly all SSRIs enclose fluoride molecules that might help them stay dumb and quiet. Unfortunately, many youths taking antidepressants have been reported to be associated with shootings in schools or even suicides.

Apart from the common side effects caused by SSRIs, such as anxiety, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, mania and weight gain, they also produce a 'black box', intended for physicians, stating that these drugs may bring about suicidal as well as homicidal contemplations. As a result, often doubts have been raised regarding the effectiveness of these medicaments.

Significantly, findings of a latest Canadian study have revealed that use of SSRIs may also cause brittle bones. The study undertaken to ascertain the dangers associated with bone fractures found that the risk was twice more in people who took these medicaments.

Researchers say that preventing serotonin from binding to receptors on nerve cells causes a negative effect on bone formation. The condition aggravates as people with depression are inclined to elevated inflammation markers, which causes bones to be weaker, besides causing different persistent autoimmune diseases.

Another report by Harvard Medical School's Placebo Studies Program's associate director Irving Kirsch was more negative, as the scientist found out that all positive changes caused by SSRIs in people having gentle to reasonable depression were owing to a placebo effect, instead of the chemicals. While the chemicals were found to have a minor effect in people with acute depression, mostly SSRIs were prescribed for people with mild or reasonable depression and troublesome school children.

Natural remedies

Hence, it is always prudent to use natural medications to cure depression. While St. John's wort is the most widely used herb for treating anxiety and depression, homeopathic remedies may also be effective for curing this condition. Taking a healthy diet is also helpful in addressing depression. Several studies have found that people consuming junk food are predisposed to suffer from depression more compared to those taking healthy diets, including omega-3 fatty oils.

Exposure to sunlight also enhances one's mood. In case you are unable to get enough sunlight, full spectrum or blue lighting indoors may also be helpful. Undertaking work-outs also perk up serotonin production. Therefore, exercise to feel well and ensure you have sufficient quality sleep.


Acupuncture proven effective for reducing dysmenorrhea
    Mar-19-2013

Findings of several studies have shown that the pain and length of throbbing due to pre-menstrual (PMS) cramping, a condition called dysmenorrhea, can be diminished by acupuncture.

Dysmenorrhea may occur owing to two reasons - a basic health condition related to the pelvis (called 'secondary dysmenorrhea), or due to nonexistence of any identified cause or disease (called 'primary' dysmenorrhea). Roughly, one-fourth of all incidences of dysmenorrhea, irrespective of being primary or secondary, are resilient to therapy by painkillers belonging to the class of drugs called NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Although people in China have used acupuncture for long to treat menstrual pains, the controlled scientific researches to ascertain its effectiveness have started only recently. One study, findings of which were carried in Evidence-based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in the year 2010, involved women suffering from restrained to serious dysmenorrhea for no less than a year, and whose pain could not be eased using NSAIDs. Usually, physicians first recommend therapy using oral contraceptives, but all these women refused to undergo the treatment.

Researchers detected that among the 15 participating women, 13 said that their pain had reduced significantly after acupuncture therapy and lessened their NSAIDs usage. In fact, acupuncture was most useful in diminishing pain in women having primary dysmenorrhea.

Another study undertaken by scientists at Shandong Academy of Chinese Medicine in 2011 and circulated in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine tracked 80 women having primary dysmenorrhea for three full menstrual cycles. These women were divided into three groups - one did not receive any acupuncture treatment, the second received 'immediate acupuncture' (acupuncture therapy when they had dysmenorrhea symptoms), while the third group received 'preconditioning acupuncture' (acupuncture therapy at the beginning of their menstruation). It was found that preconditioning acupuncture was most useful in lessening the acuteness and duration of dysmenorrhea symptoms.

Contrary to the treatment in Western countries like hormonal contraceptives, which target particular symptoms and produce serious adverse side effects, acupuncture is an element of a holistic therapy of traditional Chinese medicine. Like any other elements of Chinese medicine, acupuncture also conceives the body to be made up of interconnected systems, which should remain in perfect balance for optimum health.

Acupuncture entails inserting small needles into meridians (particular locations in the body) and it is generally used together with additional methods of treatment, such as lifestyle and dietary changes, energy therapy like Quigong, and herbal supplementations.

Of late, acupuncture is becoming more and more popular in the West, partially owing to an increasing group of scientific studies that corroborate its efficacy. It has been found that acupuncture is particularly effective for alleviating pain. The popularity of acupuncture in the West is such that currently several private insurance plans cover it and it has been prescribed by the United States military too. In addition, the National Institute of Health too has recognized acupuncture to be a scientific mode of treatment and advocated its use for many health conditions, counting dysmenorrhea.


Consumption of Greek style coffee may lead to a longer life
    Mar-20-2013

Believe it or not, the key to a longer life is very simple; just drinking our morning coffee in the Greek style. Consumption of fair amount of Greek (style) coffee is likely to somewhat lessen the chances of coronary heart disease, besides being beneficial for endothelial health.

In fact, aged people in the Greek island of Ikaria claim to have the maximum rates of long life worldwide and even many scientists refer to these people while trying to unearth the mysteries of long life span. According to a latest research in Vascular Medicines, carried in SAGE, scientists probing cardiovascular health consider that a cupful of boiled Greek coffee is responsible for the robust health of Ikaria people.

While a mere 0.1 per cent of people in Europe survive beyond 90 years, the figure of the islanders is 1 per cent - the maximum long life anywhere.

Gerasimos Siasos, a professor at the University of Athens Medical School and a physician, and his colleagues to discover whether coffee consumption by the elderly people of Ikaria was related to their good health, especially focusing on the effect of coffee on their endothelial health. They followed coffee consumption as recent researches hinted that consumption of moderate amount of coffee somewhat decreased the chances of coronary heart disease, besides possibly being beneficial for some endothelial health aspects.

Among the 673 people in Ikaria who were aged above 65 years and lived permanently on the island, scientists chose 71 men plus 71 women at random for participating in the research. Medical personnel checked the health, such as hypertension, diabetes and others, of the subjects and they were asked to answer questionnaires related to their lifestyles, medical health and coffee consumption, besides examining the functioning of their endothelium.

The scientists also probed into every coffee variety consumed by the subjects and it was interesting to note that over 87 per cent of them took boiled Greek coffee every day. The scientists noted that the endothelial function of those taking boiled Greek coffee was better compared to those who took other different variety of coffee. In fact, even the endothelial function of people with hypertension and having boiled Greek coffee was better and they were not worried about the effects on their blood pressure.

Siasos deduces that consuming boiled Greek coffee, which contains elevated amounts of antioxidants and polyphenols, but very less caffeine, appeared to offer more health benefits in comparison to other coffee beverages.

Findings of the latest study offer us a new relation between cardiovascular health and nutritional habits. Considering the amount of coffee consumed worldwide, even the little health effects offered by one variety of coffee may possibly have a major consequence on people's health. While this study offers an interesting point to begin with, the fact remains that more research is required to ascertain the precise valuable means of coffee on the health of our cardiovascular system.


How extra virgin olive oil defends against Alzheimer's disease
    Mar-21-2013

Extra virgin olive oil contains a substance called oleocanthal, which has demonstrated a steady pattern in the manner it enhances production of a vital enzyme and two proteins that are considered to be important for the brain to get rid of beta-amyloid.

Scientists assume that a particular element in olive oil may be responsible for the extra virgin oil aiding in decreasing the chances of developing Alzheimer's disease (also called AD). According to a new research published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience, this component aids in removing the anomalous AD proteins from the brain.

The group of scientists headed by Amal Kaddoumi has noticed that while AD has an effect over roughly 30 million people across the world, its occurrence is comparatively low in the Mediterranean nations. There was a time when scientists believed that elevated levels of the healthy monounsaturated fats present in olive oil that comprises a major part of the Mediterranean diet are responsible for the lower incidences of AD in this part of the world. However, latest studies hint that in reality oleocanthal found in olive oil helps to shield the nerve cells from the type of harm caused by AD. In effect, Kaddoumi and his colleagues looked for proof whether or not oleocanthal aided in lessening the buildup of beta-amyloid, which is said to be responsible for AD, within the brain.

In their report, the scientists have explained how they followed the consequences of oleocanthal within the brain and also in the cultured mice brain cells in the laboratory, which were employed in the form of a substitute for the humans during the course of the study. In both cases, it was found that oleocanthal has a steady pattern wherein it augmented the manufacture of a essential enzyme and two proteins, which are considered to be vital for getting rid of Aβ from our brain.

Concluding, the report states that oleocanthal derived from extra virgin olive oil, which is linked to consuming Mediterranean diet, possibly has the aptitude to lessen the chances of developing AD or associated neurodegenerative dementias.


Studies show chocolate definitely lowers blood pressure
    Mar-22-2013

If the findings of an increasing number of researches are to be believed, consuming chocolate can actually help bring down high blood pressure.

For several years, since the discovery of the fact that the native Kuna people of San Blas Island in Central America have normal blood pressure even when they are old, scientists believed that chocolate may possibly have a positive result on blood pressure. Scientists found that while the Kuna people drink excessive amounts of natural cocoa, the contemporary urbanites do not.

Later, trials in laboratories corroborated that chocolate naturally contains substances called flavanols, which may possibly have a helpful result on blood pressure. Researchers assume that flavanols result in the formation of nitric acid within the body, which, subsequently, dilates the blood vessels. However, till recently, there was very little scientific evidence that just consuming processed chocolate available in the US was beneficial.

Recently, in August 2012, scientists at the Melbourne's National Institute of Integrative Medicine as well as the University of Adelaide brought out a research appraisal in The Cochrane Library stating that the blood pressure of people consuming excess cocoa or chocolate is actually less.

These scientists evaluated the findings of 20 individual studies concerning 865 subjects who were asked to consume about 3 grams to 100 grams cocoa or chocolate enclosing about 30 mg to 1,080 mg flavanols daily. These studies lasted for two to eight weeks, barring one, which continued for 18 weeks.

It was generally found that the blood pressure of people who ate chocolate was lower by two to three mmHg in comparison to those who took placebos. People in the placebo group were given flavanol-free chocolate.

According to Karin Ried, the lead researcher, while they still do not have any proof regarding continued reduction in blood pressure, the small decrease noted by them during the brief period may accompany additional treatment choices for and help in diminishing chances of cardiovascular ailments.

A large study lasting for a longer period provided more evidence. During the research undertaken by scientists at the German Institute of Human Nutrition and carried out in March, 2010 edition of European Heart Journal, scientists gathered information regarding 19,357 people's diets. All these people belonged to the 35-65 year age group, did not have any history related to heart attacks and did not use any medications for blood pressure. It was found that the blood pressure of people who ate maximum chocolate (generally 7.5 gm daily) was less by one mmHg compared to those who usually consumed 1.7 gm chocolate daily.

Eight years after the study, scientists found that people who consumed maximum chocolate had very less chances of having strokes or heart attacks. They wrote, it seems that consuming chocolate lower chances of having cardiovascular diseases - partially from high blood pressure.


Probiotics show potential in putting off toxic shock syndrome
    Mar-24-2013

The presence of aerobic bacteria in the vagina causes specific Streptococci to produce additional toxin 1 related to toxic shock syndrome, at times even to hazardous levels. However, the findings of a study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology state that researchers at the University of Western Ontario have found that particular lactobacillus bacteria strains have the aptitude to diminish the toxin's production.

According to Gregor Reid, the principal researcher, it seems that specific bacteria found in the vagina have an effect on the hazards of possibly fatal toxic shock syndrome. He says that while preparing the study he found that strains of Staphylococcus aureus have the aptitude to make the toxin related to toxic shock syndrome under specific environmental situations - the pH as well as additional bacteria present in the vagina.

During the study, scientists obtained swabs from women whose vaginas were clinically healthy plus women whose vaginal status was intermediary as well as those who were found to have bacterial vaginosis. Subsequently, the species of bacteria were identified and examined for toxic shock syndrome (also called TSS) toxin 1. Reid said that especially, Streptococcus agalactiae, which is frequently called Group B streptococci and a microbe that is of special concern during childbirth, produced 3.7 times more of this toxin. On the other hand, the toxin production by other lactobacillus species was inhibited, and one among them produced just 72% of its normal production of toxin 1.

Reid further said that these tests underline that the presence of all types of bacteria in the vagina is essential for appropriate clinical treatment of women. He added that while bacterial cultures are not adequate, a little microscopy is possible provided the viewer possesses the proficiency to evaluate vaginal stains. For this it is necessary to have rapid 16s sequencing arrangements in the form of diagnostic means, as it is hard to culture several species or because cultures of some species have never been undertaken.

Reid emphasized on the need to greatly improve the way they detect infections and decide on the hazards to women due to these infections. He has suggested that the competence to influence microbiota using probiotics needs to be improved instead of employing all-purpose antibiotics developed four decades back and which are not useful in the vagina - especially not meant for counteracting toxins.


Simple foods may facilitate counteracting inflammation
    Mar-25-2013

On many occasions, we would be able to do without anti-inflammatory medicaments simply by concentrating on our diets. Hence, experts suggest incorporating simple foods into our diets.

The normal response of our body to injury is inflammation and although it might be an innate defense mechanism, but when it is recurrent, it may result in diseases.

According to Lauren Whitt, an adjunct professor (personal health) and director of Birmingham-based University of Alabama Employee Wellness, one of the best ways to counteract inflammation is through foods. Whitt says that the objective of inflammation is to react instantaneously to identify and destroy the toxic substance present in harmed tissues even before it is able to disseminate to other body areas. However, trouble begins when our defense mechanism becomes unmanageable and starts devastating healthy tissue, leading to further damage.

The National Council on Strength and Fitness states that scientists have discovered that obesity is one reason for inflammation and it may result in metabolic and cardiovascular ailments. Since weight loss is associated with diminishing inflammation, Whitt suggests taking appropriate anti-inflammatory foods will solve this problem.

Whitt suggests that consumption of foods containing adequate fiber and whole foods will prove to be beneficial. Hence, you may try anti-inflammatory fruits like dark green, leafy vegetables (containing elevated levels of vitamin K); citrus fruits (containing antioxidants like vitamins C and E); tomatoes (its red pigment contains a potent antioxidant lycopene); and salmon caught wild (containing high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids).

According to the UAB professor for personal health, one should never view anti-inflammatory foods as something disheartening, as eating for diminishing inflammation should never be a daunting task. It is advisable to start taking these foods gradually, by including green leafy vegetables in your salad or adding some whole fruit in your breakfast.

Whitt also says that one can easily do away with some drugs by eating more foods obtained directly from the farm and also by avoiding fried and processed foods.

People in the United States are always searching for instant relief and, hence, they generally take some medicament to keep them moving whenever their immune system becomes overactive, Whitt said, adding that if we concentrate on the diet we take, in many cases, we would be able to do away with the requirement for anti-inflammatory medicaments.


Eat mindfully, as food memories may help lose weight
    Mar-26-2013

Here is some good news for people struggling to lose that extra flab. Findings of a recent study undertaken by the University of Liverpool psychologists show that recollecting meals, understanding and concentrating more on meals leads to eating less and may add value to weight loss plans.

In fact, scientists have detected that employing recollections of meals taken recently decrease the quantity of food one consumes afterward. They also discovered that distractions while eating results in consumption of more food.

During the course of their research, the psychologists evaluated 24 different studies that had observed the effect of attention, awareness, memory as well as distraction on the amount of food consumed by us.

The scientists also discovered that adopting a few techniques like noting details about earlier meals, making use of visual cues related to previous meals as well as retaining food wrappers were helpful in remembering foods consumed and resulted in decreased size of meals later on.

According to the Dr. Eric Robinson, a psychologist at the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, the study found that when people were able to remember that their previous meal was contending as well as filling, they consumed less food during their subsequent meal. He informed that they examined studies that included adults having a fit body mass index and, hence, further research is required to detect the manner in which it influences obese people.

In fact, scientists believe that the findings of this research may be developed into a new weight loss approach, in addition to reducing and maintaining the requirement for dieting by controlling calorie intake. According to Dr. Robinson, while remembering previous meals may help in consuming less food, it is important to develop realistic approaches from the findings of their research.

In addition, the study found that distractions while eating meals not only result in consumption of more food during the immediate meal, but also affects the amount of food eaten later on.

The type of distractions that influence the amount of food eaten include listening to music or radio, reading newspaper or watching television while at the dining table. These distractions hinder the awareness of people regarding the food being consumed and lead to eating excessive food.


Cinnamon, chromium, bitter melon can alleviate high blood sugar risks
    Mar-29-2013

High blood sugar, not only results in wasting diseases like diabetes, but is also responsible for kidney, eye, heart and brain disorders, in addition to accelerating the aging process. Sugar is responsible for inflammations, which burn the cells by means of oxidation - a process known as glycation. This process harms the cells, blood vessels and different organs. Excessive blood sugar levels may cause a person to feel weary, exhausted, particularly following meals, and become obese. People with high blood sugar may also feel irritated.

Often this results in accumulation of fat inside the stomach and weight gain. Therefore, avoid consuming refines as well as white sugars. Also read the label of processed foods like corn sweeteners for presence of any concealed sugars.

On the other hand, low levels of blood sugar may result in edgy or nervous sensations, besides making one feel wobbly and giddy. Such people may have a strong desire for coffee or sweets. In fact, they may feel hungry and crave for sugar even after taking a meal.

The mineral chromium works to rid the blood of glucose. After consumption of sugar, the body makes use of chromium supply and, hence, you need to include this nutriment in diet. As we age, the level of chromium or chromium polynicotinate, the most active biological form of the mineral, decreases by as much as 40%.

In addition, the trace mineral vanadium, which is absorbed by the body as vanadyl sulfate, is helpful in keeping blood sugar levels stable. It helps in moving blood sugar to muscles, where it burns easily.

Cinnamon, on the other hand, improves the body's response to insulin and is very helpful for insulin resistant people and those with diabetes. It encloses a polymer called methylhydroxy chalone or MHCP, which stabilizes blood sugar and improves the energy storage of the body. One study found that cinnamon helped to lower blood sugar levels by 29%, besides lowering cholesterol.

A herb used in Ayurveda called Gymnema sylvestre helps to destroy sugar, which gives the plant its name. It inhibits ingested sugar from converting into glucose, besides slowing down the transformation of sugar into blood glucose, thereby, stabilizing the blood sugar levels further.

Hundreds of studies have found that bitter melon (Momordica charantia) possesses attributes that help to lower blood sugar. Besides decreasing appetite, this tropical fruit, which contains a substance known as lectin and four additional compounds, reduces the intensity of sugar in bloodstream. In addition, bitter melon invigorates an enzyme that imitates the manner in which work-outs use blood sugar for energy. In other words, consumption of bitter melon helps to transport sugar in bloodstream to muscles, where it is transformed into energy, rather than being turned into fat.


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