Monthly Archives: October 2015

Heavy Net use may lead to high BP and weight gain in teens

Researchers say two hours a day, five days a week is good rule of thumb

Teens who spend hours on the Internet may be at risk for high blood pressure and weight gain, researchers say.
Researchers found that teens who spent at least 14 hours a week on the Internet had elevated blood pressure. Of the 134 teens described by researchers as heavy Internet users, 26 had elevated blood pressure.
This is believed to be the first study showing a link between time spent on the Internet and high blood pressure. The findings add to growing research that has shown an association between heavy Internet use and other health risks like addiction, anxiety, depression, obesity and social isolation, researchers said. The study was published in the Journal of School Nursing.
“Using the Internet is part of our daily life but it shouldn’t consume us. In our study, teens considered heavy
Internet users were on the Internet an average of 25 hours a week,” said Andrea Cassidy-Bushrow, a researcher at Henry Ford’s Department of Public Health Sciences.

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“It’s important that young people take regular breaks from their computer or smartphone, and engage in some form of physical activity. I recommend to parents they limit their children’s’ time at home on the Internet. I think two hours a day, five days a week is good rule of thumb,” Cassidy-Bushrow said.
Researchers analysed data compiled from 335 teens ages 14-17 enrolled in the study including a blood pressure reading taken during a physical exam. Participants also completed a 55-question survey of their
Internet use during the week leading up to their physical exam. Questions ranged from how they spent their time on the Internet and their number of email addresses to time spent on the Internet daily and for what purpose.
For their study, researchers defined Internet use as visiting websites, emailing, instant messaging, playing
games, doing homework, shopping, downloading software and creating or maintaining web pages.
The study also found that teens spent on average 15 hours a week on the Internet at either school or home and 39 per cent of girls were heavy Internet users compared to 43 per cent of boys.
Researchers found that 43 per cent of heavy Internet users were considered overweight compared to 26 per cent of light Internet users.

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Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/heavy-net-use-may-lead-to-high-bp-and-weight-gain-in-teens/

Decoded: How dengue uses human enzyme to spread faster

dengue, dengue cases, dengue patients, dengue deaths, delhi dengue, delhi dengue deaths, dengue deaths delhi, delhi anti mosquito drives, anti mosquito drives, delhi govt, delhi news A bulk of these cases, at least 1,040, were reported in September. According to municipal data, three more dengue deaths have been confirmed taking the toll from the virus this year to five.

In a pioneering feat, Brazilian scientists have decoded how dengue virus binds to a human enzyme to replicate and spread faster in the body.

NS1 is one of the seven proteins composing the dengue virus and more specifically its replication machinery.

It is an abundant protein detected in the serum of infected patients and used as a target for early detection.

Without NS1, the virus cannot replicate whereas NS1 mutation decreases virus yield.

Using a unique technique, the team found that the viral protein that NS1 binds to is well-known to any cell biologist is called “GAPDH”.

GAPDH is an enzyme involved in process where the glucose is broken down to generate energy in humans.

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The enzyme is ubiquitous and very abundant in animal cells and is also involved in non-metabolic processes such as control of gene expression.

Because GAPD is so abundant in the cell, the group also performed other complementing tests to confirm that the binding between NS1 and GAPDH is specific and not a spurious finding.

“As obligatory parasites, viruses rely on the host metabolism to obtain what they need to generate their progeny. We show that in human cells, NS1 binds to GAPDH as a way to increase energy production to be used for viral replication,” explained Dr Ronaldo Mohana Borges from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).

Indeed, energy production modulation is a remarkable feature that improves the energy supply required for supporting active viral replication, he added.

The authors hypothesise that NS1 modulates the host metabolism by increasing GAPDH activity early on in the course of infection and, thus, should be considered as an important target for the development of new drugs to treat dengue.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne tropical disease currently endemic in more than 10 countries, including India.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 390 million people are infected by dengue every year.

The disease can be caused by one of the four types of dengue virus transmitted by the Aedes aegypty mosquito, the main vector for dengue.

In humans, symptoms of dengue infection include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain and a characteristic skin rash.

In some cases, dengue infection can take a dangerous turn and develop into a life-threatening hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome.

The paper has been published in the Journal of Virology.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/decoded-how-dengue-uses-human-enzyme-to-spread-faster/

Be positive to keep heart disease at bay

happiness-main Higher levels of positive emotions were associated with less smoking, greater physical activity, better sleep quality and more adherence to medications at baseline (Source: Thinkstock Images)

People with a positive psychological state such as those who are enthusiastic or interested are likely to develop long-term healthy habits that are important for lowering the risk of heart disease, says a new study.

Over the course of five years, researchers tracked more than 1,000 patients with coronary heart disease. (Also read: Cheers! Two beers a week cut heart attack risk in women)

The researchers found that patients who reported higher positive psychological states were more likely to be physically active, sleep better and take their heart medications and were also less likely to smoke, compared to patients with lower levels of positive states.

“Negative emotions and depression are known to have harmful effects on health, but it is less clear how positive emotions might be health-protective,” said Nancy Sin, postdoctoral fellow at Pennsylvania State University in the US. (Also read: Over 60 per cent of urban Indian women vulnerable to heart disease)

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“We found that positive emotions are associated with a range of long-term health habits, which are important for reducing the risk of future heart problems and death,” Sin noted.

The researchers assessed psychological well-being of participants at baseline and again at a five-year follow-up by asking the participants to rate the extent that they had felt 10 specified positive emotions, including “interested”, “proud”, “enthusiastic” and “inspired”.

Physical activity, sleep quality, medication adherence and alcohol and cigarette use were also measured at baseline and again five years later.

Higher levels of positive emotions were associated with less smoking, greater physical activity, better sleep quality and more adherence to medications at baseline, the study found.

They found no correlation between positive emotions and alcohol use.

“Efforts to sustain or enhance positive emotions may be promising for promoting better health behaviours,” the study said.

The findings appeared in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/be-positive-to-keep-heart-disease-at-bay/

Therapy program for depression may be beneficial in the long term

Sad little girl “Even six years after the intervention,” the risk of depression was lower for adolescents who received cognitive-behavioral prevention therapy than for those who received usual care

A cognitive-behavioral prevention program to prevent depressive symptoms among at-risk youth may still be effective years later, according to a new study.

“We have already shown that the intervention was more effective than usual care but it is surprising that we are still finding a difference between groups six years later,” said lead author Dr. David A. Brent of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Over time, youngsters in the therapy group were still at risk for depression but were functioning better at work and in their interpersonal lives as a result of having more depression free days, Brent told Reuters Health by email.

The researchers randomly divided 316 at-risk teens, with prior depressive episodes of their own and with at least one parent having current or prior depressive episodes, into two groups between 2003 and 2006.

Teens in the cognitive-behavioral prevention program attended eight weekly 90-minute group therapy sessions followed by six months of monthly sessions. The other group did not receive care other than what might have been initiated by their family members.

Some teens in each group did develop depression during the study period and over the six-year follow up period, but it was less common in the therapy group, the authors reported in JAMA Psychiatry.

Over the first nine months of the study, those in the therapy group were about 36 percent less likely to develop depression than those in the comparison group.

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“Even six years after the intervention,” the risk of depression was lower for adolescents who received cognitive-behavioral prevention therapy than for those who received usual care, the authors reported.

“This preventive effect largely was driven by the significant difference in new onsets of depression during the first nine months after enrollment,” they added, because after that point, the risk of new depressive episodes was similar in the two groups.

The therapy was most effective for kids whose parents were not depressed when the study began, the authors noted.

“Theoretically, cognitive behavioral therapy works by changing children’s thinking patterns – so that they can challenge negative thoughts and not engage in the kinds of interpretations of events in their lives that lead to depression,” said Irwin Sandler, director of the Prevention Research Center at Arizona State University in Tempe, who was not part of the new study.

The best time to begin this preventive therapy may be following a parent’s treatment for depression rather than during treatment, Sandler told Reuters Health by email.

Teens are actively learning new academic and social skills, and a person who is depressed most likely will fall behind his or her peers, he said.

“By relieving that depression, he or she will catch up to some degree and that could be reflected years later,” he said.

“Youth who have had a previous episode of depression should receive some ongoing help to keep them well, this is now standard care,” he said. “Youth who are at risk, and may have some symptoms but not full blown depression would probably benefit from getting (cognitive-behavioral therapy) earlier, prior to developing a full-blown episode.”

If a child appears to develop depressive symptoms, earlier intervention is better, he said.

Group therapy sessions cost considerably less than individual sessions, said Jeremy Pettit, professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Florida International University in Miami, who was not part of the new study.

“Even adolescents who do not respond well to this kind of program in terms of depression prevention tend to report that they benefited in some ways from the program and that they are satisfied with the program,” Pettit told Reuters Health by email.

“Prevention services are not widely available because our health system does not reimburse for them, so it’s a real problem, Sandler said. Some programs are offered through schools or other community agencies, he said.

Not everything offered as prevention really is evidence based, so parents need to do their homework and insist on programs that have been demonstrated to work and where the leaders are certified to be competent providers of the program, Sandler said.

More on health

Alcohol addiction may trigger various cancers in Indians

Dizziness after standing may signal brain diseases!

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/therapy-program-for-depression-may-be-beneficial-in-the-long-term/

A new app to help autistic people with technology

There is a new smartphone app that can tap into the creative juices of people with autism to find new tech solutions to some of the everyday challenges they face.

The app — called ASCmeI.T — has been developed by researchers from the Universities of Sussex, Bath and Southampton with the simple aim of involving people with autism in the development of new technologies that could help them.

It enables people with autism spectrum conditions — as well as families, teachers, professionals and anyone who supports someone with autism — to share their ideas on what kind of new technology would best help. “If you’ve ever had a moment where you wished there was a useful technology out there to help you, or someone else, with something related to autism, this is the chance to get your idea heard,” said Sarah Parsons of the Southampton Education School at the University of Southampton.

“We want to use this new app to crowd-source ideas which we can blend with latest research and development,” said Parsons.

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Through the app, users can upload a one-minute video explaining their idea, which will be shared with researchers, so that new developments in digital technologies for autism can be matched to support the needs of users. Despite there being more than half a million people living with autism in the UK (around one in every 100), this is the first time such an initiative has been piloted, researchers said.

The researchers hope it will lead to new developments — anything from technologies to support transitions, service delivery or inclusion through to learning, employment or addressing bullying — that will be uniquely suited to the needs of those with autism. “This project is totally unique and encourages ‘citizen science’,” said co-investigator on the project Mark Brosnan, from the University of Bath’s Department of Psychology.

“ASCmeI.T is a simple yet highly effective way to enable people with autism to get their voices heard and to allow the creativity of a previously neglected group to be realised,” Brosan said. “Getting developers to listen to the people on the ground is really going to make a difference for people with autism,” said Nicola Yuill, of the University of Sussex.

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Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/a-new-app-to-help-autistic-people-with-technology/