Monthly Archives: June 2015

Calcium essential for deep sleep: Study

If you are having sleepless nights, blame it on calcium deficiency as a key calcium channel has been identified as responsible for deep sleep, says new study.

The study also gives us a clue to understanding both normal and abnormal waking brain functions.

“It is the same brain, same neurons and similar requirements for oxygen and so on. So what is the difference between these two states?” asked Rodolfo Llinas, a professor of neuroscience at New York University School of Medicine and a Whitman Center Investigator at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole.

To tackle the broad question of sleep, Llinas and his colleagues focused on one crucial part of the puzzle in mice, Marine Biological Laboratory.

Calcium channels, selective gates in neuron walls, are integral in neuron firing, ensuring that all parts of the brain keep talking to one other. But during sleep, calcium channel activity is increased, keeping a slow rhythm that is different from patterns found during wakefulness.

Based on this clue, the scientists removed one type of calcium channel, Cav3.1, and looked at how the absence of that channel’s activity affected mouse brain function.

This calcium channel turns out to be a key player in normal sleep. The mice without working Cav3.1 calcium channels took longer to fall asleep than normal mice, and stayed asleep for much shorter periods.

Their brain activity was also abnormal, more like normal wakefulness than sleep. Most importantly, these mice never reached deep, slow-wave sleep.

“This means that we have discovered that Cav3.1 is the channel that ultimately supports deep sleep,” Llinas said.

Because these mice completely lack the ability to sleep deeply, they eventually express a syndrome similar to psychiatric disorders in humans.

The findings appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/calcium-essential-for-deep-sleep-study/

Osteoporosis linked to heart disease in elderly

Scientists have found a link between heart disease and osteoporosis, suggesting both conditions could have similar causes in the elderly.

The team from the University of Southampton found that people with a history of heart disease had substantially lower bone mineral density in their wrist bone than those without.

The technique was used on 350 men and women aged 70-85 suffering from coronary heart disease such as angina, heart attack or heart failure.

The results showed that bone mineral density was lower among participants with coronary heart disease.

The effect was more prominent in women than in men.

“The results highlight the need to evaluate a history of heart disease in the management of osteoporosis in older people,” said professor Cyrus Cooper, professor of rheumatology at the University of Southampton.

Further research is needed to provide a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms which explain the link between osteoporosis and heart disease, the team said.

The results were published in the journal Osteoporosis International.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/osteoporosis-linked-to-heart-disease-in-elderly/

Foodies beware! Junk food could make you ‘depressed’

If you love gorging on fast food, chances are that you might end up being depressed, claims a new study.

San Diego State University researchers analysed almost 5000 individuals’ trans fats intake, where 1699 were men and 3293 women, and then examined their emotion responses.

It was observed that individuals with higher intakes of trans fats experienced “difficulties with emotional awareness,” as well as a lower level of emotional “clarity”.

In turn, those individuals with a lower trans fats intake were associated with “increased positive and decreased negative affects” and were better able to control their emotions.

Consuming a diet rich in trans fats has been linked to high cholesterol levels in the blood, causing heart attacks, heart disease and strokes, however, the mental health dangers have not been so widely accepted.

Oxford researcher and head of charity Food and Behaviour Research, Dr Alex Richardson, admitted to the Guardian that they knew such a diet was “wrecking our bodies and brains,” and there was a need look at the totality of evidence instead of “randomised controlled double-blind placebo trials.”

The study is published in the Journal of Health Psychology.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/foodies-beware-junk-food-could-make-you-depressed/

Cord ‘milking’ improves blood flow in pre-term infants

A technique to increase the blood flow from the umbilical cord into the infant’s circulatory system improves blood pressure and red blood cell levels in premature infants delivered by Caesarean section, shows a study by Indian-origin researchers.

The technique, known as cord milking, consists of encircling the cord with the thumb and forefinger, gently squeezing, and slowly pushing the blood through the cord to the infant’s abdomen.

For infants delivered by Caesarean section, cord milking appears to offer benefits over the standard practice of waiting 45 to 60 seconds before clamping and then cutting the umbilical cord.

“The study results are very encouraging,” said Tonse Raju, chief of National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NICHD’s pregnancy and perinatology branch.

“The results need to be confirmed in a larger number of births, but it appears that umbilical cord milking may prove to be of great benefit to preterm infants delivered via Caesarean.”

The team enrolled 197 infants, of which 154 were delivered by Caesarean, with 75 assigned at random to the umbilical cord milking group and 79 assigned to the delayed clamping group.

Of the infants undergoing Caesarean deliveries, those in the cord milking group had higher blood flow in the superior vena cava, the large vein carrying blood from the brain to the heart.

First author Anup C. Katheria, another Indian-American neonatologist at the Neonatal Research Institute at the Sharp Mary Birch Hospital, noted that some studies failed to find a reduction in intraventricular haemorrhage from delayed cord clamping among preterm infants delivered by Caesarean.

Among preterm infants, the delay is believed to protect from intraventricular haemorrhage, or bleeding in the ventricles — the cavities inside the infant’s brain.

The haemorrhage is thought to result from low blood pressure, brought on by having too little blood in the circulatory system.

Cord milking might compensate for diminished blood flow through the umbilical cord and increase the amount of blood available to the infant.

The study was published online in Pediatrics.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/cord-milking-improves-blood-flow-in-pre-term-infants/

Indian-origin scientist finds key to early Alzheimer’s diagnosis

According to an Indian-origin scientists, errors on memory and thinking tests may signal Alzheimer’s up to 18 years before the disease can be diagnosed.

“The changes in thinking and memory that precede obvious symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease begin decades before,” said study author Kumar B Rajan with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

“While we cannot currently detect such changes in individuals at risk, we were able to observe them among a group of individuals who eventually developed dementia due to Alzheimer’s,” Kumar said.

For the study, 2,125 European-American and African-American people from Chicago with an average age of 73 without Alzheimer’s disease were given tests of memory and thinking skills every three years for 18 years.

Twenty-three per cent of African-Americans and 17 per cent of European-Americans developed Alzheimer’s disease during the study.

Those who scored lower overall on the memory and thinking tests had an increased risk of developing the disease.

During the first year of the study, people with lower test scores were about 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease than people with higher scores, with the odds increasing by 10 for every standard deviation that the score was lower than the average.

Based on tests completed 13 to 18 years before the final assessments took place, one unit lower in performance of the standardised cognitive test score was associated with an 85 per cent greater risk (relative risk of 1.85) of future dementia.

“A general current concept is that in development of Alzheimer’s disease, certain physical and biologic changes precede memory and thinking impairment. If this is so, then these underlying processes may have a very long duration,” Kumar said.

“Efforts to successfully prevent the disease may well require a better understanding of these processes near middle age,” Kumar said.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/indian-origin-scientist-finds-key-to-early-alzheimers-diagnosis/

International Yoga day: Watch the original yoga guru Dhirendra Brahmachari

Today is International Yoga Day and right from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to India’s common citizens, yoga seems to be the buzz word. Of course these days, in India for many people, Baba Ramdev is synonymous with reviving yoga and there are many who attend his camps and watch his show.

However before Baba Ramdev took to our screens to teach us yoga, guru Dhirendra Brahmachari in the 1970s had promoted Yoga on Doordarshan. His show was a weekly one on DD and he had also introduced yoga as a subject in Kendriya Vidyalayas.

Brahmachari, who was the yoga mentor of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, had ashrams in Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir.  The current Moraji Desai National Institute of Yoga was earlier owned by him. Brahmachari died in 1994 in a plane crash.

His first work on Yoga was published in 1956 and was called ‘Yogic Sukshma Vyayam.’ Watch a video below from the 1970s which shows him teaching the Sukshma Vyayam . (App users click here for video)

 

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/international-yoga-day-watch-the-original-yoga-guru-dhirendra-brahmachari/

Yoga reduces side effects of chemotherapy, says experts

With upcoming International Yoga Day, experts talk about ways in which this age-old practice can cure the side effects of chemotherapy in various types of cancer and also increases the patient’s life span.

They have urged nations across the world to integrate Yoga with the modern medicine, as research has shown evidence that Yoga supports treatment and helps patients in tackling several dreaded diseases.

“Not just Indian but American and European studies have concluded that Yoga helps in decreasing nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy. It not just minimises the pain and the anxiety in the patients but also helps them increase the toleration power and immunity. However, it is necessary for the patient to continue practicing yoga,” P.K. Jhulka, a renowned oncologist and former dean of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), told IANS.

Noting that while undergoing chemotherapy, patients suffer from weakness and mental trauma, he said that Yoga gives mental and physical balance to the patient’s life.

Recent researches have proved that Yoga is beneficial for a plethora of 101 health complications like improving lymphatic circulation, lower blood pressure, lubricate joints and ease the pain of scoliosis.

Sunil Mittal, an eminent psychiatrist and chairman of Cosmos Institute of Mental and Behavioral Sciences (CIMBS), said Yoga is the strongest tool for enhancing health and in building self-confidence.

“There have been proofs that patients with continuous Yoga have recovered even failure of body immunity. It is a holistic science that improves body strength and helps the patients in showing positivity during heart treatment,” Mittal told IANS.

The United Nations has declared June 21 as International Yoga Day in a global endorsement of the ancient Indian discipline.

A large number of Yoga mats will be spread along Rajpath and the verdant lawns of the Central Vista at India Gate in the national capital on Sunday (June 21). Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead the nation in some early morning Yoga exercises – with 192 countries across the world joining in.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/yoga-reduces-side-effects-of-chemotherapy-says-experts/

Six, eight-packs are not healthy, says Leena Mogre

Celebrity fitness trainer Leena Mogre, who has trained B-town actors and actresses like Madhuri Dixit, John Abraham and Bipasha Basu, is wary of the six and eight-pack abs trend in Bollywood, saying that “it is not at all healthy.”

“Six and eight packs are a creation of the media. The actors do it for their roles, but it is not at all healthy. It is not easily attainable and a strenuous process,” she said.

While highlighting the negative effect of building six and eight-pack abs, Mogre said, “The body fat percentage deceases a lot during this process. Moreover, during film shooting there are a lot of devices like lighting, angles and shots through which six and eight-pack abs are enhanced.”

Another advice to Bollywood from Mogre is, “Don’t think short-term and plan for the long-term as long-term should be their actual goal. Like Madhuri Dixit, who is still fit at this age due to her focus on fitness.”

She also said that fitness enthusiasts must “avoid steroids, eat healthy and stay healthy.”

Mogre owns a chain of fitness centres and has also written a book “Total Fitness: The Leena Mogre Way.”

 

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/six-eight-packs-are-not-healthy-says-leena-mogre/

Diabetic? Exercise can help control blood sugar

Diabetics who exercise can trim waist size and body fat, and also control blood glucose even if they do not see cardiorespiratory benefits or improvement in ability to take in oxygen, new research has found.

Researchers found that waist circumference, percentage of body fat and hemoglobin A1c levels, a test of long-term blood sugar, all improved in diabetic participants who exercised compared to those who did not.

And the beneficial effects of exercise were seen whether they participated in aerobics, resistance training, or a combination of the two compared to a control group that did not exercise.

“What we observed is that exercise improves diabetes control regardless of improvement in exercise capacity,” said co-senior author of the study Jarett Berry, associate professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre in the US.

Following an exercise training program generally improves fitness. Researchers typically measure fitness by the ability of the respiratory system to exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen. The more you train, the better your ability to take in oxygen.

But a sub-group of exercisers, considered non-responders, are unable to improve their cardiorespiratory fitness levels despite diligent exercise, study first author Ambarish Pandey, cardiology fellow at UT Southwestern, said.

Using data from the Health Benefits of Aerobic and Resistance Training in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes (HART-D) trial, the study looked at whether non-responders who exercised saw improvements in their diabetes control.

The results appeared in the journal Diabetes Care.

“This finding suggests that our definition of ‘non-responder’ is too narrow. We need to broaden our understanding of what it means to respond to exercise training.”

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/diabetic-exercise-can-help-control-blood-sugar/

Severe exercise may lead to blood poisoning

Over four hours of exercise daily can cause intestinal bacteria to leak into the bloodstream, leading to blood poisoning, new research says.

For the research, the experts monitored people participating in a range of extreme endurance events, including 24-hour ultra-marathons and multi-stage ultra-marathons, run on consecutive days.

“Blood samples taken before and after the events, compared with a control group, proved that exercise over a prolonged period of time causes the gut wall to change, allowing the naturally present bacteria, known as endotoxins, in the gut to leak into the bloodstream,” said the research led by Ricardo Costa from Monash University in Australia.

“This then triggers a systemic inflammatory response from the body’s immune cells, similar to a serious infection episode,” the study authors said.

With elevated levels of endotoxins in the blood, the immune system’s response can be far greater than the body’s protective counter-action.

In extreme cases, it leads to sepsis induced systemic inflammatory response syndrome, which can be fatal if it is not diagnosed and treated promptly.

Significantly the study found that individuals who are fit, healthy and follow a steady training programme to build up to extreme endurance events, develop immune mechanisms to counteract this, without any side effects.

However individuals who take part in extreme endurance events, especially in the heat and with little training, put their bodies under enormous strain above the body’s protective capacity, the research said.

Costa said anything over four hours of exercise and repetitive days of endurance exercise is considered extreme.

“Exercising in this way is no longer unusual — waiting lists for marathons, Ironman triathlon events and ultra-marathons are the norm and they are growing in popularity,” Costa said.

“It is crucial that anyone, who signs up to an event, gets a health check first and builds a slow and steady training program, rather than jumping straight into a marathon, for example, with only a month’s training,” he added.

Thus, the 24-hour ultra-marathon study, published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine and the multi-stage ultra-marathon study, published in Exercise Immunology Reviews, both by Costa’s team, reinforces current guidelines for people wanting to take part in extreme endurance events.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/severe-exercise-may-lead-to-blood-poisoning/