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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Washington D.C.[USA], Mar. 3 : Scientists have uncovered the physiological mechanics underlying inflammation and obesity by tracking the actions of 'guardian immune cells' in response to changes in diet.
The study has been published in the Journal Immunity.
They believe their work may herald a new era of research now that they have new therapeutic targets to prevent and control obesity-related inflammation and metabolic disease.
The scientists, led by Professor Lydia Lynch of Trinity College Dublin and Harvard Medical School, discovered that special guardian immune cells are unable to function properly once obesity is established, which results in severe inflammation and metabolic dysfunction.
These guardian immune cells, called Adipose Type One Innate Lymphoid Cells, or ILCs, were only recently discovered by Professor Lynch and her team. They live in our fat, and are charged with maintaining a delicate balance of our immune systems.
Professor Lynch said: "All people have fat, even if they are not obese. Fat is found around almost all tissues in our body, and all fat has its own immune system, which we are only recently learning about.
"We have revealed that ILCs keep other immune cells called macrophages in check, by killing them based on certain physiological conditions in the body - they essentially guard against inflammation when macrophages are too numerous in fat. This function is unique as immune cells are not generally supposed to kill other healthy immune cells in non-pathological conditions."
In other cases, 'natural killer' cells-which are part of the ILC family-recognise specific proteins on the surfaces of healthy immune cells that act a little like passwords; if a cell possesses the password, the natural killer cells let it go about its normal business.
Natural killer cells typically kill cancer cells, which lack the required password, whereas the healthy immune cells don't.
However, uniquely in fat, the ILCs do not recognise these passwords and instead attack the healthy macrophages.
Professor Lynch said: "We know that macrophages enter fat at the onset of obesity and that they likely do a protective job cleaning up as much excess fat as they can. However, as obesity progresses, these macrophages get overwhelmed by the workload and turn inflammatory, which leads to more severe obesity and further complications like diabetes."
"Importantly, in healthy states, our ILCs protect against this inflammation and metabolic disease by killing the troublesome macrophages in our fat. But when obesity is established these ILCs are depleted and lose their regulatory killing function, which results in a dangerous accumulation of macrophages and all the bad things that come with that."
Professor Lynch's work was recently published in the international journal Immunity. The findings confirmed that ILCs are very responsive to diet, which underlines the role that healthy eating plays in affecting our immune systems. For example, after eating a fatty diet for just five days, ILCs home in on fat cells; likewise, their numbers in blood and fat go the other way when weight is lost. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
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