Monthly Archives: April 2015

Depression does not lead to violent behaviour

Contrary to popular perception, people suffering from depression may not be more prone to commit violent acts in the future, says a new research.

The fact that the German co-pilot suspected to be behind the deadly plane crash in the French Alps last month, killing himself along with the 149 people on board, was apparently suffering from depression has prompted many to speculate that most psychiatric disorders could lead to violent behaviour.

According to the new findings only substance use disorders predict future violence.

“Our findings are relevant to the recent tragic plane crash in the French Alps. Our findings show that no one could have predicted that the pilot — who apparently suffered from depression — would perpetrate this violent act,” said corresponding author Linda Teplin, professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in the US.

“It is not merely a suicide, but an act of mass homicide,” Teplin noted.

The study did find, however, that males with mania were more than twice as likely to report current violence than those without. But these relationships are not necessarily causal, the researchers noted.

Delinquent youth with psychiatric illness have multiple risk factors — such as living in violent and impoverished neighbourhoods — the study emphasised.

The study used data from youth who were detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago between 1995 and 1998.

Violence and psychiatric disorders were assessed via self-report in 1,659 youth aged 13 to 25 years.

“We must improve how we address multiple problems — including violent behaviour — as part of psychiatric treatment,” study first author Katherine Elkington, assistant professor of clinical psychology in psychiatry at Columbia University Medical School, pointed out.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

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Watch video: Why sitting is not natural for your body

Did you know that your body is basically built to move and not sit for longer periods of time? The purpose of sitting is just to recover or recuperate after the body is exhausted. We are simply going against the nature by making it sit for longer periods than required and thus inviting health problems that would otherwise not trouble us.

According to this video by TED-ED, sitting for a longer period affects our spine. Generally people sit with a curved back and slumped shoulders, a position that puts uneven pressure on your spine. Over the time, it causes wear and tear in your spinal discs. This hunched shape also shrinks your chest cavity while you sit, which leaves less space for your lungs to expand when you breath. This also limits the amount of oxygen that fills your lungs.

Sitting and not moving for a large chunk of time also results in numbness and swelling in limbs. The areas that are most compressed – your nerves, arteries and veins can become blocked.

If you are doing a job that requires a lot of thinking, just sitting and working is probably not a good idea. As per the video, being stationary reduces the amount of blood flow and the amount of oxygen entering your blood stream through your lungs. Your brain requires both of these things, so your concentration levels will most likely dip. Taking a break every once in a while in crucial to let the creative juices flow.

In long term, a sedentary job can lead to some types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, kidney and liver problem.

So, are you moving enough?

If your answer is ‘NO’, take a note:

* Aim to move around as much as you can

* Get up every half hour from your desk

* Remember bodies are built for motion and not stillness

If you answer is ‘YES’, congratulations, you are a smart worker!

Watch the video:

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First HIV home test kit works just like a pregnancy test

The first HIV self-test kit that allows people to get a result in 15 minutes at home, is now on sale in Britain, media reported on Monday.

The do-it-yourself test is made by company ‘Bio Sure UK’ and can be bought online, BBC reported. It works just like a pregnancy test, measuring levels of antibodies in a person’s blood.

The device analyses a small droplet of blood, taken from the finger-tip using a lancet. Two purple lines denotes a positive result.

The company recommends attending sexual health clinics for advice and further blood tests, if both lines appear.

According to health officials, an early diagnosis will help people get a treatment soon and also prevent serious complications.

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Just one drink a day ups liver disease risk

If you like to believe that one alcoholic drink a day would not harm you, read this carefully.

New research has found that moving from moderate to heavy daily drinking – up to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men – increases liver cirrhosis risk.

The researchers analysed the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health, which included parameters of alcohol consumption and drinking patterns from 193 countries.

The data showed that the cirrhosis burden caused by alcohol increased by 11.13 percent when moving from the moderate to heavy daily drinking classification.

“The presence of heavy daily drinkers in a population most significantly and independently influences the weight of alcohol in a country’s cirrhosis burden,” said one of the researchers Eva Stein from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

According to the WHO, excessive alcohol drinking is the most common cause of cirrhosis worldwide.

Most studies assessing the prevalence of alcohol abuse as a risk factor for alcoholic cirrhosis focus on total annual amount drunk per person.

However, the researchers highlight that clinical studies suggest that it is a high daily consumption which is the strongest predictor of alcoholic cirrhosis.

According to WHO’s “Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health”, around six percent of global deaths are caused by drinking alcohol, the majority from alcoholic cirrhosis – scarring of the liver as a result of continuous, long-term liver damage.

Half of all cases of cirrhosis are caused by alcohol.

The study was presented at The International Liver Congress 2015 in Vienna, Austria.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/just-one-drink-a-day-ups-liver-disease-risk/

Diet Diary: It’s comfortable but keep an eye on that microwave

 

While the microwave oven has undeniably offered a convenient way to heat food, prompting its extensive use in urban homes and commercial properties, newer studies are, however, pointing out some concerns.

Though the microwave has enjoyed a fairly good safety record, it uses electromagnetic radiations that cause water, fat and sugar molecules in food to vibrate quickly and build-up heat energy. Heating in general destroys some heat labile nutrients. However, if cooking time is short as in microwaves, it does a better job of preserving those nutrients.

Regulatory health authorities consider it safe, if instructions are followed correctly.

Some studies have shown health concerns relating to its radiations and others to its nutritional aspect. Its well documented that nutritional value of microwaved food is preserved effectively, may be better than conventional cooking. However, losses of certain essential nutrients like antioxidants, flavanoid (disease fighting components), vitamins like vitamin B12 and other phenolic compounds have been reported. One of the studies have reported higher losses of flavonoids (97%), sinapic acid derivatives (74%) and caffeoyl-quinic acid derivatives (87%) in broccoli, when it was microwaved compared to conventional cooking methods.

Somalia al-Shabab_Kuma

Researchers suggest using water minimally during cooking of vegetables to help prevent these losses.
A word of caution for mothers who use the microwave for heating formula or breast milk. According a study published in the journal, Paediatrics, microwaving can destroy the essential disease-fighting components in breast milk that offer protection to infants. Microwaved breast milk loses lysozyme activity, antibodies, and may foster the growth of more potentially harmful bacteria.

Till further research evidence is gathered, it is suggested that microwaves are used with care, not as an alternative to conventional cooking and are better used for reheating. An occasional micro-waved meal will certainly not be harmful but a steady diet of eating foods cooked in microwave can certainly be a health concern.

Ishi Khosla is a former senior nutritionist at Escorts. She heads the Centre of Dietary Counselling and also runs a health food store. She feels that for complete well-being, one should integrate physical, mental and spiritual health. According to her: “To be healthy should be the ultimate goal for all.”

 

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Coffee shields you against breast cancer recurrence

Drinking just two cups of coffee a day can help inhibit the growth of tumours and reduce the risk of recurrence in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, a new research suggests.

The researchers combined information about the patients’ lifestyle and clinical data from 1,090 breast cancer patients with studies on breast cancer cells.

“The study shows that among the over 500 women treated with (the drug) tamoxifen, those who had drunk at least two cups of coffee a day had only half the risk of recurrence of those who drank less coffee or none at all,” explained Ann Rosendahl, one of the researchers from Lund University in Sweden.

“The study also shows that those who drank at least two cups of coffee a day had smaller tumours and a lower proportion of hormone-dependent tumours. We saw that this was already the case at the time of diagnosis,” Rosendahl noted.

In the cell study, the researchers looked more closely at two substances found in coffee — caffeine and caffeic acid.

“The breast cancer cells reacted to these substances, especially caffeine, with reduced cell division and increased cell death, especially in combination with tamoxifen,” Rosendahl noted.

“This shows that these substances have an effect on the breast cancer cells and turn off signalling pathways that the cancer cells require to grow,” Rosendahl said.

The study appeared in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/coffee-shields-you-against-breast-cancer-recurrence/

Lethal liver cancer can be spotted early

Liver cancer is life-threatening because it is generally diagnosed in the later stages. Now, scientists have identified a diagnostic biomarker of the disease and a potential way to reverse the damage done.

“Hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer, remains the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide due to a lack of biomarkers for early detection and rapid fatality shortly after diagnosis,” said Ying Fu from the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Washington, DC.

In new research, Fu and his team found that a damaged lesion on a DNA base (guanine) is correlated with the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in two mouse models.

“It has the potential to serve as a biomarker for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma,” the team noted.

Furthermore, polyphenon E, a formulation of green tea extract containing antioxidant catechins (plant metabolites) showed the most potent effect to suppress the lesion.

“More importantly, 86 percent of the mice on the polyphenon E diet appeared to have complete protection from tumour development,” Fu claimed.

The study was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s (AACR) annual meeting in Philadelphia this week.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/lethal-liver-cancer-can-be-spotted-early/

Dietary supplements may cause cancer

Over-the-counter dietary supplements you thought were good for you may actually increase cancer risk if taken in excess of the recommended daily amount, says a new research.

“We are not sure why this is happening at the molecular level but evidence shows that people who take more dietary supplements than needed tend to have a higher risk of developing cancer,” said lead researcher Tim Byers from the University of Colorado Cancer Centre.

The line of research started 20 years ago with the observation that people who ate more fruits and vegetables tended to have less cancer.

Researchers including Byers wanted to see if taking extra vitamins and minerals would reduce cancer risk even further. They studied thousands of patients for 10 years, who were taking dietary supplements and placebos. The results were not what they expected.

“We found that the supplements were actually not beneficial for their health. In fact, some people actually got more cancer while on the vitamins,” Byers said.

One trial exploring the effects of beta-keratin supplements showed that taking more than the recommended dosage increased the risk of developing both lung cancer and heart disease by 20 percent.

Folic acid, which was thought to help reduce the number of polyps in a colon, actually increased the number in another trial.

“If taken at the correct dosage, multi-vitamins can be good for you. But there is no substitute for good, nutritional food,” he concluded.

Byers said that people can get the daily recommended doses of vitamins and minerals in their diets by eating healthy meals and that many adults who take vitamin supplements may not need them.

The findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2015 in Pennsylvania, US.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/dietary-supplements-may-cause-cancer/

Overnight fasting may reduce the risk of breast cancer

Overnight fasting may reduce the risk of breast cancer among women, says a study.

A decrease in the amount of time spent eating and an increase in overnight fasting reduces glucose levels and consequently may reduce the risk of breast cancer.

“Increasing the duration of overnight fasting could be a novel strategy to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer,” said first author Catherine Marinac from University of California, San Diego.

“This is a simple dietary change that, we believe, most women can understand and adopt. It may have a big impact on public health without requiring complicated counting of calories or nutrients,” Marinac added.

Women who fasted for longer periods of time overnight had significantly better control over blood glucose concentrations.

The data showed that each three hour increase in night time fasting was associated with a four percent lower postprandial glucose level, regardless of how much women ate.

“The dietary advice for cancer prevention usually focuses on limiting consumption of red meat, alcohol and refined grains while increasing plant-based foods,” said co-author Ruth Patterson, also from UC San Diego.

“New evidence suggests that when and how often people eat can also play a role in cancer risk,” Patterson said.

Women in the study reported eating five times per day with a mean night time fasting of 12 hours.

Those who reported longer fast durations also indicated they consumed fewer calories per day, ate fewer calories after 10 p.m. and had fewer eating episodes.

One maximal aspect of night-time fasting could mean that you didn’t let anything cross your lips from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., but ate anything you wanted for eight hours a day.

The period of night-time fasting could be reduced but studies have found that fasting brings benefits such as increased insulin sensitivity, improved cholesterol profiles, better cognitive function and, of course, weight loss.

Researchers further recommended large-scale clinical trials to confirm that night time fasting results in favourable changes to biomarkers of glycemic control and breast cancer risk.

The study appeared in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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Broccoli might save you from oral cancer

A new therapy containing broccoli sprout extract has been found to protect not only mice against oral cancer but also tolerable in a small group of healthy human volunteers, says a new study.

“People who are cured of head and neck cancer are still at very high risk for a second cancer in their mouth or throat, and, unfortunately, these second cancers are commonly fatal,” explained lead author Julie Bauman from University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute in the US.

“So we are developing a safe, natural molecule found in cruciferous vegetables to protect the oral lining, where these cancers form,” Bauman noted.

Previous studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and garden cress — which have a high concentration of sulforaphane — help mitigate the effects of environmental carcinogens.

For the new study, mice predisposed to oral cancer were given sulforaphane for several months and the team found that it significantly reduced the incidence and number of tumours.

The researchers then treated 10 healthy human volunteers with fruit juice mixed with sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout extract.

The volunteers had no ill-effects from the extract and protective changes were detectable in the lining of their mouths, meaning it was absorbed and directed to at-risk tissue.

The researchers now plan to conduct a clinical trial that will recruit 40 volunteers, who have been curatively treated for head and neck cancer.

The participants will regularly take capsules containing broccoli seed powder to determine if they can tolerate the regimen and whether it has enough of an impact on their oral lining to prevent cancer. From there, larger clinical trials could be warranted, the researchers noted.

“We call this ‘green chemoprevention,’ where simple seed preparations or plant extracts are used to prevent disease,” Bauman noted.

“Green chemoprevention requires less money and fewer resources than a traditional pharmaceutical study and could be more easily disseminated in developing countries where head and neck cancer is a significant problem,” Bauman said.

The findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/broccoli-might-save-you-from-oral-cancer/