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Can e-cigarettes lead to cancer?

Health News - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 05:34

Washington D.C. {USA], Mar. 9 : Beware before you rejoice in smoking e-cigarettes, as a study has found significant level of cancer-causing benzene in e-cigarette vapors, when the devices are operated at high power.

Benzene, a component of gasoline, has been linked to a number of diseases, including leukemia and bone marrow failure.

It is found in urban air because of industrial emissions and unburned gasoline in exhaust and fuel tank leakages.

Researchers from Portland State University in the US revealed that with one device operated at high power and when the e-cigarette fluid additive chemicals benzoic acid or benzaldehyde were present, benzene levels were thousands of times higher than in ambient air.

The levels, nevertheless, were still 50 to 100 times lower than in smoke from conventional cigarettes, which deliver considerable benzene.

The finding appeared in the online journal PLOS ONE.

It has been named the largest single cancer-risk ambient air toxin in the United States.

The amount of benzene the PSU scientists measured from e-cigarettes depended greatly on the device. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Good News! Caffeine can protect against dementia

Health News - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 05:39

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 8 : A recent study lists caffeine amongst the 24 compounds that has the potential to boost an enzyme in the brain shown to protect against dementia.

The study appears in the journal Scientific Reports.

The protective effect of the enzyme, called NMNAT2, was discovered last year through research conducted at IU Bloomington.

"This work could help advance efforts to develop drugs that increase levels of this enzyme in the brain, creating a chemical 'blockade' against the debilitating effects of neurodegenerative disorders," said Hui-Chen Lu, who led the study.

Lu is a Gill Professor in the Linda and Jack Gill Center for Biomolecular Science and the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, a part of the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences.

Previously, Lu and colleagues found that NMNAT2 plays two roles in the brain: a protective function to guard neurons from stress and a "chaperone function" to combat misfolded proteins called tau, which accumulate in the brain as "plaques" due to aging. The study was the first to reveal the "chaperone function" in the enzyme.

Misfolded proteins have been linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases, as well as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of these disorders, affects over 5.4 million Americans, with numbers expected to rise as the population ages.

To identify substances with the potential to affect the production of the NMNAT2 enzyme in the brain, Lu's team screened over 1,280 compounds, including existing drugs, using a method developed in her lab. A total of 24 compounds were identified as having potential to increase the production of NMNAT2 in the brain.

One of the substances shown to increase production of the enzyme was caffeine, which also has been shown to improve memory function in mice genetically modified to produce high levels of misfolded tau proteins.

Lu's earlier research found that mice altered to produce misfolded tau also produced lower levels of NMNAT2.

To confirm the effect of caffeine, IU researchers administered caffeine to mice modified to produce lower levels of NMNAT2. As a result, the mice began to produce the same levels of the enzyme as normal mice.

Another compound found to strongly boost NMNAT2 production in the brain was rolipram, an "orphaned drug" whose development as an antidepressant was discontinued in the mid-1990s. The compound remains of interest to brain researchers due to several other studies also showing evidence it could reduce the impact of tangled proteins in the brain.

Other compounds shown by the study to increase the production of NMNAT2 in the brain -- although not as strongly as caffeine or rolipram -- were ziprasidone, cantharidin, wortmannin and retinoic acid. The effect of retinoic acid could be significant since the compound derives from vitamin A, Lu said.

An additional 13 compounds were identified as having potential to lower the production of NMNAT2. Lu said these compounds are also important because understanding their role in the body could lead to new insights into how they may contribute to dementia.

"Increasing our knowledge about the pathways in the brain that appear to naturally cause the decline of this necessary protein is equally as important as identifying compounds that could play a role in future treatment of these debilitating mental disorders," she said. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Graveyard shift woes? Mocha lattes can help you focus better

Health News - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 05:27

London [UK], Mar. 8 : Do you work in overnight shifts and struggle to stay active and focused while working? Good news! Drinking mocha lattes can improve your attention span and help in combating sluggishness.

According to researchers from Clarkson University in New York and the University of Georgia, the combination of coffee and chocolate found in mocha is perfect for helping you stay focused, reports the Independent.

They examined "the acute effects of brewed cocoa consumption on attention, motivation to perform cognitive work and feelings of anxiety, energy and fatigue."

"Cocoa increases cerebral blood flow, which increases cognition and attention. Caffeine alone can increase anxiety. This particular project found that cocoa lessens caffeine's anxiety-producing effects," said Researcher Ali Boolani Clarkson University.

In a study that lasted nearly a year, participants drank either brewed cocoa, cocoa with caffeine, caffeine without cocoa, or a placebo hot drink with neither caffeine nor cocoa.

After drinking the beverage, the participants were asked to do an array of tasks which would see their cognitive function and mood assessed.

They found that those who drink plain cocoa made fewer errors linked to lack of attention.

But then after adding caffeine to the cocoa too, "cognitive effects" were enhanced and the "anxiety-provoking effects" of drinking just coffee were reduced.

"The results of the tests are definitely promising and show that cocoa and caffeine are good choices for students and anyone else who needs to improve sustained attention," Boolani explained. (ANI)

Region: LondonGeneral: Health

Treatment with vaginal progesterone lowers newborn complications

Health News - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 04:50

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 8 : Dear mommies to-be, a study finds that treatment with vaginal progesterone in women with a short cervix and a twin pregnancy may reduce the frequency of preterm birth and related serious outcomes.

The results indicated, women who received vaginal progesterone were 31 percent less likely to deliver before 33 weeks of pregnancy.

The findings come from an Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology meta-analysis of six studies encompassing 303 women pregnant with twins, all of whom had a cervical length of 25 mm or less in the mid-trimester.

About 159 women received vaginal progesterone and 144 received a placebo or no treatment.

Vaginal progesterone also reduced the rate of preterm delivery before 32 weeks and 34 weeks.

Infants born to patients who received vaginal progesterone had a 30 percent reduction in the rate of respiratory distress syndrome, the most common complication of prematurity, a 46 percent reduction in the rate of mechanical ventilation and a four percent reduction in the risk of dying in the neonatal period.

"To date, clinical practice and national recommendations to prevent preterm birth and reduce related adverse outcome in twin pregnancies vary significantly because of a lack of convincing scientific evidence and regional variation in the interpretation of said evidence," said Basky Thilaganathan, Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology's Editor-in-Chief.

"The findings of this individual patient data meta-analysis provide scientific evidence that treatment with vaginal progesterone in women with a short cervix and a twin pregnancy reduces the frequency of preterm birth and related serious adverse perinatal outcomes," Thilaganathan added. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Healthy sex life can boost performance at work: Study

Health News - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 04:07

London [UK], Mar. 8 : Want to stay happy and perform better at work? Start performing better in bed, as a study reveals, workers who had sex the night before are doing better at their jobs the next day.

According to researchers from Oregon State University a happy sex life boosts their own job satisfaction which, in turn, gives them a better work-life balance, said researchers from a US university for the specialist Journal of Management.

"They came to work happier and more fulfilled, immersed themselves more in the tasks they were given and enjoyed their job more as a result, said associate professor Keith Leavitt.

"We make jokes about people having a 'spring in their step,' but it turns out this is actually a real thing and we should pay attention to it, he explained.

Sexual intercourse triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with the reward centres in the brain, as well as oxytocin, a neuropeptide associated with social bonding and attachment.

The 'feel good' factor from sex lasts for approximately 24 hours, Leavitt stated.

The team looked at 159 married employees from an unnamed office-based business, monitoring their work performance and their sex habits.

Those who had sex with their partners, at home, performed their work tasks better the next day than those who did not have sex.

They found that maintaining a healthy relationship that includes a healthy sex life will help employees stay happy and engaged in their work, which benefits the employees and the organisations they work for.

In contrast, sacrificing sex in order to work is only likely to lower any feelgood factor and raise levels of stress.

"This is a reminder that sex has social, emotional and physiological benefits, and it's important to make it a priority. Just make time for it," he explained. (ANI)

Region: LondonGeneral: Health

Products with Artificial Fragrances should be Avoided: Study

New Zealand News - Tue, 03/07/2017 - 13:34

Many personal care products available in the market these days include artificial fragrances and a new research has claimed that overexposure to such products is leading to sickness. Hand soaps, body washes, candles, room fresheners, detergent powder and household cleaners include added fragrance. The study team estimated that 98.5 percent of people are exposed to such fragranced products on a daily or weekly basis. The study team also noticed that nearly one-third of the Australian population reported adverse health effects from fragranced products.

Commonly, fragranced products lead to migraine, respiratory problems and asthma attacks to those in the highly vulnerable group. Compared to household air fresheners, more people report sickness due to car fresheners as generally the air flow inside the vehicle is limited. The study team also found that twice as many people would prefer to use fragrance-free products in indoor environments.

The study team also found that over 70 percent of respondents weren’t aware of hazardous air pollutant emissions from fragranced products.

Study lead author Anne Steinemann, a world expert on environmental pollutants, air quality, and health effects, said, “People may think they need these fragranced products to clean the air or disinfect but it can only make the problem worse. Instead of using these strongly scented chemical cleaning supplies simply use bicarb and vinegar or even just plain water.”

The research paper informed, “Overall, 33% of Australians report health problems, such as migraine headaches and asthma attacks, when exposed to fragranced products. Of these health effects, more than half (17.1%) could be considered disabling under the Australian Disability Discrimination Act. This is the first study in Australia to assess the extent of adverse effects associated with exposure to common fragranced products. It provides compelling evidence for the importance and value of reducing fragranced product exposure in order to reduce and prevent adverse health effects and costs.”

Earlier studies have found that too much use of fragrance in an indoor environment leads to negative performance among office staff and also impacts mood.

General: HealthFeaturedRegion: Australia

Effective injury data management shortens fire departments' budget

Health News - Tue, 03/07/2017 - 05:33

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 7 : Hundreds of thousands of dollars can be saved as limited resources are keeping fire departments and their municipalities from accurately counting firefighter injury data, according to new research out of Drexel University.

The study has been published in the journal Injury Prevention.

Combining data from four different databases to look at injury occurrence and reporting in the Philadelphia Fire Department, researchers from the Firefighter Injury Research & Safety Trends (FIRST) program of Drexel's Dornsife School of Public Health discovered that, once injuries were more accurately coded, the difference in workers' compensation costs was as much as $1 million for some injuries.

"It is very important for fire departments to understand causes and cost of injury in order to ensure their limited budget is being properly distributed," said Shannon Widman, project manager at FIRST and lead author on the study published in Injury Prevention. "If departments can accurately pinpoint specific injuries that lead to specific costs, they are empowered to prioritize decisions when considering prevention."

In the study, researchers from FIRST linked data from the Philadelphia Fire Department's human resources records, dispatch data, workers' compensation records, and the records of the first report of firefighter or paramedic injuries. By doing so, they were able to track injuries across the datasets, which allows for more accurate counting and classification.

The issue is that information in any of the four databases could be incomplete or contain discrepencies. Linking them allowed for resolution of the discrepancies and yielded a more complete picture of the injuries.

Across three of the databases, researchers were able to track 88 percent of injuries and developed new metrics on which to create prevention strategies.

Widman and the team, which included FIRST principal investigator and associate professor Jennifer Taylor, PhD, found that the most costly injuries to firefighters and paramedics were strains, falls and burns. With the ability to link all of the data, they found that workers' compensation due to burn injuries was undervalued by $750,000, while strain injuries were undervalued by $1 million.

Getting such precise data could save municipalities that fund fire departments money by allowing them to better allocate funds for prevention and training.

"The cause of injury resulting in the most numerous claims may not result in the highest costs," Widman explained. "A smaller number of more serious injuries may result in higher costs to departments and municipalities."

Linking all of the databases also provided for the creation of a new factor that could help when it comes to better allocating resources for injury prevention: years of experience.

Most data just took into account what age a firefighter or paramedic was when they were injured. But not everyone in the fire service starts at the same age.

"Now, with the years of experience variable, we can more adequately explain where risk occurs," Taylor said. "For example, in our study, we saw that the first 15 years of a firefighter's tenure, regardless of their age, was the time for which they were most at risk for injury. Injuries during that time period represented over 70 percent of total costs incurred."

As a firefighter became more experienced, the data showed they were less likely to get hurt. Although it seems like common sense, there were never hard numbers to back that before. Having those numbers is important because it provides statistical justifications for funding.

However, putting together all the data that the FIRST team did isn't easy.

"Most fire departments collect data on a regular basis, but lack resources to analyze them," Taylor said. "Work like this is very resource-intensive and requires specialized skills, so we need to find continuing resources to building these data architectures."

Since FIRST has developed data systems like these not only for the Philadelphia Fire Department, but also for the Boston Fire Department and the State of Florida, the good news is that the system they've developed is "ready to be reproduced throughout the entire fire service," according to Taylor.

In addition to the ongoing injury research, the FIRST team, including graduate student Genevieve Adair and co-author Loni Philip Tabb, PhD, an assistant professor, from the Dornsife School of Public Health, is continuing to analyze more closely different aspects of the dispatch data collected through geographic information systems, also known as mapping.

"Some of the analyses we are working on now, with additional years of data, include maps showing where different causes and types of injuries are occurring, where pockets of increased numbers and rates of injury are throughout the city, where different types of calls occur, and on which type of call specific injuries occur," Widman said.

"Such activities will give us better insights into how to keep Philadelphia Fire Department members safe, as well as assessing the needs of the Philadelphia community." (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

If done properly, Muslim prayer ritual can reduce lower back pain

Health News - Tue, 03/07/2017 - 04:38

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar.7 : According to a recent research, the complex physical movements of the Muslim prayer ritual can reduce lower back pain if performed regularly and properly.

The paper was published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Five times a day, roughly 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, bow, kneel, and place their foreheads to the ground in the direction of the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, as part of the Islamic prayer ritual, the Salat.

The ritual is one of the five obligatory elements of the faith set forth by the holy book, the Qur'an.

"One way to think about the movements is that they are similar to those of yoga or physical therapy intervention exercises used to treat low back pain," said Professor and Systems Science and Industrial Engineering Department Chair Mohammad Khasawneh, who is one of the authors of "An ergonomic study of body motions during Muslim prayer using digital human modelling."

While the research focused specifically on Islamic prayer practices, similar movements are also found in Christian and Jewish prayer rituals along with yoga and physical therapy.

Working with Khasawneh, an interfaith team of Assistant Professor Faisal Aqlan from the Department of Industrial Engineering at Penn State Behrend, Assistant Professor Abdulaziz Ahmed from the Business Department at the University of Minnesota Crookston, and Performance Improvement Consultant Wen Cao from the Department of Operational Performance Improvement at the Peninsula Regional Medical Center were all co-authors of the paper.

All three are alumni of the Industrial and Systems Engineering doctoral program at Binghamton University.

"Physical health is influenced by socio-economic, lifestyle and religious factors. Moreover, studies indicate that there is a strong association between prayer and vigilance about maintaining a physically healthy lifestyle," said Khasawneh. "Prayer can eliminate physical stress and anxiety, while there is also research that indicates prayer rituals can be considered an effective clinical treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal dysfunction."

Researchers analyzed statistics based on the movements of computer-generated digital human models of healthy Indian, Asian, and American men and women, and models with lower back pain.

The group found that the bowing portion is the most stressful on the lower back, but for individuals with low back pain, using proper knee and back angles during the ritual can reduce pain. The angles are based on individual body shapes.

"The maximum compression forces created during prayer postures is much lower than National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) safety limits, and the movements can be safely considered a clinical treatment for low back pain, as it requires different movements of the human body on a regular basis," Khasawneh said. "Based on the pain level, a combination of back and knee angles can be identified."

For those with back pain, maintaining exact prayer postures may not be possible. According to Islamic traditions and practices, if individuals cannot stand, they are allowed to pray seated or laying. If they are able to stand, they should maintain correct postures as much as they can.

"The kneeling posture (sujud) increases the elasticity of joints. It is recommended for these individuals to spend more time in the kneeling posture," Khasawneh said.

According to the research team, using incorrect angles and movements can increase pain. The team also suggested that further study is needed for physically handicapped individuals, those with more extreme body types and women -- especially pregnant women -- to find the best movements for these groups. The group plans to further validate the findings with physical experiments using sensors and cameras to track the stresses on the individual body parts during the prayer ritual. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Addiction to social media leads to increased feelings of isolation

Health News - Mon, 03/06/2017 - 06:44

Washington D.C.[USA], Mar. 6 : Addicted to social media? You are more likely to feel isolated, according to a new study.

In addition to the time spent online, the scientists found that frequency of use was associated with increased social isolation.

The finding, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, suggests that use of social media does not present a panacea to help reduce perceived social isolation -- when a person lacks a sense of social belonging, true engagement with others and fulfilling relationships. In the past, social isolation has been independently associated with an increased risk for mortality.

"This is an important issue to study because mental health problems and social isolation are at epidemic levels among young adults," said lead author Brian A. Primack, M.D., Ph.D., director of Pitt's Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health, and assistant vice chancellor for health and society in Pitt's Schools of the Health Sciences. "We are inherently social creatures, but modern life tends to compartmentalize us instead of bringing us together. While it may seem that social media presents opportunities to fill that social void, I think this study suggests that it may not be the solution people were hoping for."

In 2014, Primack and his colleagues sampled 1,787 U.S. adults ages 19 through 32, using questionnaires to determine time and frequency of social media use by asking about the 11 most popular social media platforms at the time: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine and LinkedIn.

The scientists measured participants' perceived social isolation using a validated assessment tool called the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System.

Even when the researchers controlled for a variety of social and demographic factors, participants who used social media more than two hours a day had twice the odds for perceived social isolation than their peers who spent less than half an hour on social media each day. And participants who visited various social media platforms 58 or more times per week had about triple the odds of perceived social isolation than those who visited fewer than nine times per week.

"We do not yet know which came first--the social media use or the perceived social isolation," said senior author Elizabeth Miller, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics at Pitt and chief of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

"It's possible that young adults who initially felt socially isolated turned to social media. Or it could be that their increased use of social media somehow led to feeling isolated from the real world. It also could be a combination of both. But even if the social isolation came first, it did not seem to be alleviated by spending time online, even in purportedly social situations."

The researchers have several theories for how increased use of social media could fuel feelings of social isolation, including:

-Social media use displaces more authentic social experiences because the more time a person spends online, the less time there is for real-world interactions.

-Certain characteristics of social media facilitate feelings of being excluded, such as when one sees photos of friends having fun at an event to which they were not invited.

-Exposure to highly idealized representations of peers' lives on social media sites may elicit feelings of envy and the distorted belief that others lead happier and more successful lives.

Primack, a family medicine physician, and Miller, a pediatrician, both encourage doctors to ask patients about their social media use and counsel them in reducing that use if it seems linked to symptoms of social isolation. However, they noted, much more study is needed to understand nuances around social media use.

"People interact with each other over social media in many different ways," said Primack, also a professor of medicine, pediatrics, and clinical and translational science at Pitt.

"In a large population-based study such as this, we report overall tendencies that may or may not apply to each individual. I don't doubt that some people using certain platforms in specific ways may find comfort and social connectedness via social media relationships. However, the results of this study simply remind us that, on the whole, use of social media tends to be associated with increased social isolation and not decreased social isolation." (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Depressed? Yoga comes to your rescue

Health News - Mon, 03/06/2017 - 05:15

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 6 : Suffering from depression? Attending yoga classes at least twice a week plus practice at home tremendously reduces the symptoms, suggests a study.

The findings, which appear in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, provide preliminary support for the use of yoga-based interventions as an alternative or supplement to pharmacologic treatments for depression.

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is common, recurrent, chronic and disabling. Due in part to its prevalence, depression is globally responsible for more years lost to disability than any other disease. Up to 40 percent of individuals treated with antidepressant medications for MDD do not achieve full remission. This study used lyengar yoga that has an emphasis on detail, precision and alignment in the performance of posture and breath control.

Individuals with MDD were randomized to the high dose group, three 90-minute classes a week along with home practice, or the low dose group, two 90-minute classes a week, plus home practice.

Both groups had significant decreases in their depressive symptoms and no significant differences in compliance. Although a greater number of subjects in the high dose group had less depressive symptoms, the researchers believe attending twice weekly classes (plus home practice) may constitute a less burdensome but still effective way to gain the mood benefits from the intervention.

"This study supports the use of a yoga and coherent breathing intervention in major depressive disorder in people who are not on antidepressants and in those who have been on a stable dose of antidepressants and have not achieved a resolution of their symptoms," explained corresponding author Chris Streeter, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and a psychiatrist at Boston Medical Center.

According to Streeter compared with mood altering medications, this intervention has the advantages of avoiding additional drug side effects and drug interactions. "While most pharmacologic treatment for depression target monoamine systems, such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, this intervention targets the parasympathetic and gamma aminobutyric acid system and provides a new avenue for treatment." (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Early periods linked with risk of gestational diabetes: Study

Health News - Mon, 03/06/2017 - 05:04

Washington D.C.[USA], Mar. 6 : According to a recent study, the age at which girls start menstruating is an important factor that could flag a later risk of diabetes during pregnancy.

The research is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

UQ School of Public Health researchers analysed data from more than 4700 women from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health and found a higher number of women who reported having their first period at a younger age had later developed gestational diabetes.

Researcher Danielle Schoenaker said those who had their first period at age 11 or younger were 50 per cent more likely to develop gestational diabetes than those who experienced their first period at age 13.

"This finding could mean that health professionals will start asking women when they had their first period to identify those at higher risk of gestational diabetes," Schoenaker said.

Gestational diabetes is an increasingly common pregnancy complication and can have long-lasting health consequences for mothers and their children.

Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health Director Professor Gita Mishra said early puberty in girls had now been shown to be a significant marker for several adverse health outcomes, including gestational diabetes.

"Research into this topic is of particular public health importance due to global trends of girls starting their menstrual cycles at a younger age," Professor Mishra said.

Schoenaker said the significant association with gestational diabetes risk remained after researchers took into account body mass index and childhood, reproductive and lifestyle factors.

"A large proportion of women who develop diabetes during pregnancy are overweight or obese, and encouraging those with an early start of puberty to control their weight before pregnancy may help to lower their risk of gestational diabetes," she said.

"While a healthy weight is important, it is also plausible that the higher risk is explained by hormonal changes, and the research calls for more studies to investigate the mechanisms behind this." (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Decoded! Is rice healthy or not?

Health News - Mon, 03/06/2017 - 04:49

New York [US], Mar. 6 : Rice is a staple food for many Asian countries, serving as a main food source for about half the world's population. But, is the carbohydrate-rich grain a healthy one?

The answer to this lies in the type of rice you choose.

A report in CNN reads white rice is considered a nutritionally inferior "refined grain" because its bran and germ are removed during the milling process, which strips away B vitamins, iron and fiber. Though white rice is typically enriched with iron and B vitamins, fiber is not added back.

Brown rice is the same thing as white rice but is a "whole grain," because only its inedible outer husk is removed. Since brown rice retains its bran and germ, it's a better source of antioxidants, vitamin E and fiber.

In fact, a cup of cooked medium-grain brown rice has 3.5 grams of fiber; the same amount of white rice has less than 1 gram.

And here's an interesting fact: Research has suggested that a part of the grain known as the subaleurone layer, which is present in brown rice but not in white rice, may provide protection against high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

One large study involving several thousand men and women also revealed that substituting brown rice for white rice may the lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

One thing to keep in mind: Most of us think of "brown rice" as being synonymous with whole grain rice, but technically whole grain rice can be many different colors, depending on the variety of rice, according to the Whole Grains Council.

What about wild rice? Interestingly, wild rice is the seed of a water grass. It has slightly more protein than brown rice, and studies have revealed that it has specific antioxidant and cholesterol-lowering properties.

Although brown rice and wild rice are nutritionally superior to white rice, be careful with store-bought rice medleys, which can be high in sodium. For example, a cup of Near East Whole Grain Blends brown rice pilaf has 600 milligrams of sodium (salt is the third ingredient).

Compare that to a cup of cooked brown rice, which has only 8 milligrams of sodium.

Also, if you are watching calories or concerned with blood sugar, limit your portions to a half-cup, since rice is calorie- and carbohydrate-dense. One cup typically contains over 200 calories and up to 50 grams of carbs. (ANI)

Region: New YorkGeneral: Health

Believe it or not! De-stressing helps you lose weight

Health News - Mon, 03/06/2017 - 03:40

London [UK], Mar. 6 : Have you ever noticed that your eating habits change whenever you are stressed?

It's long been suspected that stress can lead to weight gain, but a new study - the first of its kind - now suggests that long term stress can lead to gaining weight over time.

Researchers from University College London (UCL) conducted the study on 2,527 men and women over the age of 50.

They measured the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, in two centimetre clippings of hair (about two months' growth).

After taking into account variations in age and sex as well as other factors like whether someone smokes or has diabetes, the researchers found that the higher the level of cortisol (ie. the more stressed someone was), the bigger the body weight, BMI and waist circumference of the person.

What's more, having a higher level of cortisol was also linked to persistent obesity over time.

Previous studies that have looked into the connection between stress and weight-gain have always studied cortisol levels in the blood, urine or saliva, which vary throughout the day and are affected by temporary factors.

This research is the first that's ever found a way to measure stress levels over the course of two months.

However it's not actually clear whether stress causes obesity - being overweight could also be a source of stress for some people.

Lead study author Sarah E. Jackson, an epidemiologist at UCL, said that while we probably can't eliminate all stress from our lives, we might be able to find ways to control it: "Even just being aware that stress might make you eat more may help."

So if you want to lose weight, perhaps it's time to stop counting calories and simply relax. (ANI)

Region: LondonGeneral: Health

Good news! 2 drugs approved for treatment of bowel cancer

Health News - Sun, 03/05/2017 - 05:58

Washington D.C.[USA], Mar. 5 : A health watchdog has recommended two drugs could improve care for patients with bowel cancer.

Bowel cancer is diagnosed every 15 minutes in the UK and the deadly disease claims the lives of more than 40 people each day - partly because the symptoms are so hard to spot.

It is the country's second biggest cancer killer.

Treatment for bowel cancer will usually depend on which part of your bowel is affected and how far the cancer has spread.

Surgery is usually the main treatment for bowel cancer, and may be combined with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or biological treatments, depending on your particular case.

Two bowel cancer drugs available on the Cancer Drugs Fund should move into routine NHS use, NICE has said in new guidance.

The guidance recommends cetuximab (Erbitux, Merck Serono) and panitumumab (Vectibix, Amgen) as first-line treatments for certain types of bowel cancer.

Health watchdog NICE reviewed its original guidance on cetuximab and panitumumab after a change to their licenses altered the group of patients they could be used by.

The Cancer Drugs Fund National Health Service (NHS) was set up to help patients in England get cancer drugs that are not routinely available on the NHS.

NICE has been asked to review drugs, approved and still available only through the old Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), and has now reached the half way point.

A price drop has meant more cancer drugs will be routinely available to patients.

In all cases so far NICE has been able to make recommendations for routine NHS use, companies have reviewed and reduced their prices, and in some cases provided clearer evidence as to why they will benefit patients and the NHS.

NICE is appraising 24 drugs, across 33 cancer indications that have been supplied to patients who applied for conditional funding through the CDF.

The remaining drugs are in the process of being appraised and no drugs have received a final negative decision.

Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, said: "The system is working well.

"Companies are cooperating well with our reviews and the good news for patients is that more cancer drugs than ever are being recommended for routine use.

"As drugs move off the CDF, we free up funding for new drugs coming down the pipeline, so patients will have faster access to promising cancer drugs and the NHS makes the most of its resources."

Patients will also learn the fate of three best new breast cancer drugs in the coming weeks.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: "Women with incurable secondary breast cancer have unfortunately been subjected to a heart-breaking few months as a result of two provisional drug rejections, with key final decisions now looming.

"While we need companies to play their part in ensuring patients get the drugs they need through more responsible pricing, we believe there are major flaws in the NICE process which may block new and more novel drugs coming through.

"We desperately hope to be proven wrong, but all indicators to date suggest this system is not fit for purpose in assessing modern cancer drugs.

"We need the Government to initiate wholescale reform to this process, otherwise revolutionary new breast cancer treatments being made available in other countries will pass NHS patients by." (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

The more you exercise, the stronger your bones get

Health News - Sat, 03/04/2017 - 07:24

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 4 : You may want to start hitting the gym as a recent study suggests that exercise-induced hormone irisin may have a therapeutic potential in strengthening bone.

The Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) study, published in Bone Research, found that two weeks of voluntary wheel running induces higher expression of irisin.

In addition, systemic administration of irisin increased bone formation and thickness, mimicking the effects of exercise on the mouse skeletal system. The findings demonstrate a potential new mechanism for the regulation of bone metabolism.

"Our results provide insight into the complex regulatory interplay of muscle, bone and fat tissues. Increased irisin levels in circulation upon systemic administration can recapitulate part of the beneficial effects of exercise in the skeletal system," said senior author Jake Chen. "Further experimentation will be needed to evaluate the involvement of irisin and other factors increased by exercise and expressed by bone, muscle and fat tissue."

The team's findings demonstrate that irisin produced by bone could have a role in bone metabolism through both direct mechanisms and indirect mechanisms, as the transition from white fat to brown fat has been shown to lead to increased bone formation by previous studies. In addition, recombinant irisin has also been shown to suppress sclerostin, a protein that is involved in bone loss during prolonged lack of mechanical load, such as in bed-ridden patients.

"Exercise-induced irisin may not only act as an endocrine factor capable of promoting the browning of white adipose tissue, but could also regulate bone metabolism by autocrine mechanisms," said Chen. "Our results suggest that irisin may have a therapeutic potential in strengthening bone in bone-loss-associated diseases, and additional studies are needed to evaluate the underlying mechanisms by which irisin functions." (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Alas! There's room to smoke, but no room to breastfeed

Health News - Sat, 03/04/2017 - 05:43

New Delhi [India], Mar. 4 : Breastfeeding in public places is a problematic issue women face on a regular basis.

Irony is, at workplaces, malls, hospitals, airports you will see a special place is allocated for smoking, but to breastfeed the kid, a woman just has the option of washroom.

A recent Breastfeeding Report - 'Choices and Spaces' by SHEROES supported by Medela and powered by Babygogo, aimed to understand the comfort levels of mothers, breastfeeding in public and at work in India.

It also focuses on the problems that prevent women to breastfeed and what could be offered to create that support eco-system.

It highlights that women are changing their normal behaviour, post delivery, to accommodate breastfeeding- some limit going out in public and many quit job to raise their babies.

Only 20 percent of the respondents indicated their workplaces had safe and comfortable places to breastfeed.

Over 3500 women participated in the breastfeeding survey from across sectors. 66.7 percent new moms stated they were uncomfortable with breastfeeding their babies in public spaces, while 49 percent women felt uncomfortable while feeding babies at workplaces. Most were from India, with a few respondents from the UAE and Singapore.

Out of these respondents, a majority of them were working women from the corporate sector and the rest were staying at home moms.

Annually, about 26 million babies take birth in India. According to National Family Health Survey -3 (NFHS-3) data, 20 million are not able to receive exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and about 13 million do not get good timely and appropriate complementary feeding after six months, along with continued breastfeeding.

• Home: Most comfortable space

More than 67 percent of women responded that they felt comfortable breastfeeding in front of family members. However, a significant number of almost 30 percent women do not feel comfortable even in the familiarity of family members.

•Breastfeeding in public

Most women are comfortable breastfeeding in front of family members and have no issues being supported in this way, although a few did mention that family helps to perpetuate myths about bottle feeding being better and scaring them that they are not producing enough milk.

One respondent stated, "I really face so many problems outside the home because I don't find any place to feed him and my in laws said it's good to give bottle feed to your child because may be he doesn't get the enough feed from me."

• Public attitude towards breastfeeding

Most respondents felt uncomfortable breastfeeding in public. They mainly cited staring and rude comments as the primary reasons to avoid breastfeeding in public. (ANI)

Region: IndiaGeneral: Health

Pre- pregnancy stress level may lead to eczema future child

Health News - Sat, 03/04/2017 - 05:22

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 4 : Every woman, planning to take a step forward in life to embrace motherhood, do not stress yourself!

A Southampton research show, infants, whose mothers felt stressed before they fell pregnant, had a higher risk of eczema the age of 12 months.

The study from the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, is the first to link preconception maternal stress to the risk of atopic eczema in the child.

The researchers believe the findings support the concept that eczema partly originates as a baby develops in the womb and could reveal ways of reducing the risk of the skin condition.

The research, published in Clinical and Experimental Allergy, assessed the stress levels of women recruited to the Southampton Women's Survey before they were pregnant. They were asked to report how stressed they were in their daily lives. A sub-group was asked about their psychological wellbeing.

Around 3,000 babies, born into the Survey, were then assessed for eczema at ages six and 12 months.

Dr Sarah El-Heis, the study's lead researcher from the University of Southampton, comments, "We know that maternal stress can release certain hormones that can have an effect on the baby's immune response, leading to an increased risk in conditions like eczema."

"More than one in six women of the mothers in the Southampton Women's Survey reported that stress affected their health 'quite a lot' or 'extremely' - our analyses showed that their infants had a 20 percent higher likelihood of developing atopic eczema at age 12 months when compared with the remainder of the study cohort. The findings also showed that stress and low mood experienced closer to the time of conception may have a greater impact on the risk offspring atopic eczema."

The research showed similar findings of an increased risk of infant eczema for the women who reported psychological distress before they became pregnant. The associations were robust to adjustment for other influences, including a history of eczema in the mother, smoking during pregnancy and infant gestational age, sex and breastfeeding duration.

Professor Keith Godfrey, director of the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre in Nutrition, added, "Previous research has linked low maternal mood after delivery with an increased risk of eczema in the infant, but the new research showed no association between postnatal mood and eczema after taking account of preconception stress. More research is needed to investigate this interesting association, but the findings are further evidence of the influence preconception maternal health and wellbeing has on infants."(ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Researchers find Painkillers without dangerous side effects

Health News - Sat, 03/04/2017 - 04:59

Berlin [Germany], Mar. 3 : People, we have some good news for you. Researchers from Charite - Universitatsmedizin Berlin have discovered a new way of developing painkillers.

This research has been published the journal Science.

The team of researchers used computational simulation to analyze interactions at opioid receptors - the cell's docking sites for painkillers. When used in an animal model, their prototype of a morphine-like molecule was able to produce substantial pain relief in inflamed tissues.

However, healthy tissues remained unaffected, suggesting that the severe side effects currently associated with these types of painkillers might be avoided.

Opioids are a class of strong pain killers. They are mainly used to treat pain associated with tissue damage and inflammation, such as that caused by surgery, nerve damage, arthritis or cancer. Common side effects associated with their use include drowsiness, nausea, constipation and dependency and, in some cases, respiratory arrest.

By analyzing drug-opioid receptor interactions in damaged tissues, as opposed to healthy tissues, we were hoping to provide useful information for the design of new painkillers without harmful side effects," explains Prof. Dr. Christoph Stein, Head of the Department of Anesthesiology and Surgical Critical Care Medicine on Campus Benjamin Franklin.

In cooperation with PD Dr. Marcus Weber from the Zuse Institute Berlin, and with the help of innovative computational simulations, the researchers were able to analyze morphine-like molecules and their interactions with opioid receptors. They were able to successfully identify a new mechanism of action, which is capable of producing pain relief only in the desired target tissues - those affected by inflammation.

Treating postoperative and chronic inflammatory pain should now be possible without causing side effects. Doing so would substantially improve patient quality of life.

"In contrast to conventional opioids, our NFEPP-prototype appears to only bind to, and activate, opioid receptors in an acidic environment. This means it produces pain relief only in injured tissues, and without causing respiratory depression, drowsiness, the risk of dependency, or constipation," explained the study's first authors, Dr. Viola Spahn and Dr. Giovanna Del Vecchio.

After designing and synthesizing the drug prototype, the researchers subjected it to experimental testing.

"We were able to show that the protonation of drugs is a key requirement for the activation of opioid receptors," conclude the authors.

Their findings, which may also apply to other types of pain, may even find application in other areas of receptor research. Thereby, the benefits of improved drug efficacy and tolerability are not limited to painkillers, but may include other drugs as well.(ANI)

Region: GermanyGeneral: Health

Will Trump's sexual, reproductive health policy changes risk women?

Health News - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 08:30

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 3 : According to an expert, The US President Donald Trump's sexual and reproductive health policy changes threaten women worldwide.

"Much progress has been made in the use of more effective contraception and in the reduction of unintended pregnancies," explained University of California's Daniel Grossman, noting "Trump's policies could roll back progress on women's health."

A concerning development is Trump's re-imposition of the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule, which prevents US-funded organisations from providing, informing about, or advocating for abortion care in their countries.

"If reducing abortion were the aim of this policy," Grossman said, "it is not at all clear that this is effective," as data suggests the policy was associated with an increase in abortion in sub-Saharan African countries. This is possibly because affected organisations lost funding for contraceptive supplies.

Furthermore, Trump has made statements in support of reversing the Roe v. Wade 1973 landmark ruling that made abortion legal. While it is unclear that this ruling could be overturned, it is worrying because "state legislatures and the US Congress will certainly feel emboldened under the new administration to pass more restrictive legislation," explained Grossman.

Several policy proposals have the potential to severely limit access to contraception, continued Grossman.

This includes prohibiting clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding from sources such as Medicaid, and Title X, which help low income individuals. Evidence has shown after clinics in Texas were excluded, contraceptive usage declined significantly and unintended pregnancy increased.

Furthermore, if the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is repealed, as Trump has promised, this may lead to more restrictions.

"It remains to be seen how many of these proposed policies will really go into effect," he explained. "But regardless, it is clear that the US political war on women has reached an all-time apex. Women's health physicians have a critical role to play: we must be a loud voice in support of evidence-based health care that is unencumbered by political interference."

This study is published in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Air pollution alters effectiveness of antibiotics

Health News - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 04:43

Washington D.C.[USA], Mar. 3 : Researchers from the University of Leicester have, for the first time, discovered that bacteria that cause respiratory infections are directly affected by air pollution - increasing the potential for infection and changing the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment.

The interdisciplinary study, which has been published in the journal Environmental Microbiology, has important implications for the treatment of infectious diseases, which are known to be increased in areas with high levels of air pollution.

The study looked into how air pollution affects the bacteria living in our bodies, specifically the respiratory tract - the nose, throat and lungs.

A major component of air pollution is black carbon, which is produced through the burning of fossil fuels such as diesel, biofuels, and biomass.

The research shows that this pollutant changes the way in which bacteria grow and form communities, which could affect how they survive on the lining of our respiratory tracts and how well they are able to hide from, and combat, our immune systems.

Dr Julie Morrissey, Associate Professor in Microbial Genetics in the University of Leicester's Department of Genetics and lead author on the paper, said: "This work increases our understanding of how air pollution affects human health. It shows that the bacteria which cause respiratory infections are affected by air pollution, possibly increasing the risk of infection and the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment of these illnesses.

"Our research could initiate an entirely new understanding of how air pollution affects human health. It will lead to enhancement of research to understand how air pollution leads to severe respiratory problems and perturbs the environmental cycles essential for life."

Dr Shane Hussey and Dr Jo Purves, the research associates working on the project said: "Everybody worldwide is exposed to air pollution every time they breathe. It is something we cannot limit our exposure to as individuals, but we know that it can make us ill. So we need to understand what it is doing to us, how it is making us unhealthy, and how we might be able to stop these effects." (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

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