Category Archives: Uncategorized

Is intermittent fasting safe for older adults? – Harvard

Intermittent fasting is a popular eating strategy being studied in labs and practiced in kitchens across America. And it’s more than a fad. Restricting your calories or mealtimes may have the potential for many benefits, such as weight loss and reduced risk of various diseases. We don’t have much evidence, however, about intermittent fasting’s effect on the health of older adults, according to Harvard Medical School.

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Intermittent fasting restricts when or how much you eat — and sometimes both. There are several approaches.

In alternate-day fasting, you eat normally every other day. On days in between, you eat just 25% of your daily calorie needs, in one meal. So if you consume 1,800 calories on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you’d eat a 450-calorie meal (and nothing else) on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Tony

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Exercise shown to release protein reducing bowel cancer risk

Scientists at Newcastle University have shown that physical activity causes the cancer-fighting protein, interleukin-6 (IL-6), to be released into the bloodstream which helps repair the DNA of damaged cells.

The findings, published in the International Journal of Cancer, sheds new light on the importance of moderate activity in the fight against the life-threatening illness and could help develop treatments in the future.

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Repairing DNA

Dr Sam Orange, Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at Newcastle University, said: “Previous scientific evidence suggests that more exercise is better for reducing bowel cancer risk as the more physical activity people do, the lower their chances of getting it. Our findings support this idea.

“When exercise is repeated multiple times each week over an extended period, cancer-fighting substances – such as IL-6 – released into the bloodstream have the opportunity to interact with abnormal cells, repairing their DNA and reducing growth into cancer.”

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Frivolous Friday …

I thought the new header was a bit more fun than Weekend Funnies. What do you think?

Tony

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Don’t go bananas – but maybe eat one – AHA

On the screen, bananas are a menace. Just ask Charlie Chaplin, Bugs Bunny or anyone who’s played Mario Kart.

In your diet, though, bananas can be a boon. Experts have a bunch of reasons to like them and see only a few ways the elongated yellow fruit could cause your health to slip.

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“They’re rich in nutrients and fiber,” said Colleen Spees, associate professor of medical dietetics at Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus. “They’re delicious. They’re inexpensive. They’re all the right things.”

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About 1 in 4 adults has an often-missed liver disorder linked to higher heart disease risk

Statement Highlights:

  • It is estimated that about one in four adults worldwide has an abnormal build-up of fat in the liver, called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
  • NAFLD can lead to permanent liver damage, and heart disease is the leading cause of death in people with fatty liver disease.
  • Because NAFLD is often missed in routine medical screening, the new American Heart Association scientific statement raises awareness and understanding about its link to heart disease and to outline how to prevent and diagnose the condition.
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It is estimated that about one in four adults worldwide has a liver condition that is a risk factor for heart disease, according to a new American Heart Association scientific statement published today in the Association’s peer-reviewed journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. The condition, called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), occurs when abnormally elevated amounts of fat are deposited in the liver, sometimes resulting in inflammation and scarring. The prevalence of NAFLD is an estimate, given the challenges in diagnosing the condition, which are detailed in the statement.

An American Heart Association scientific statement is an expert analysis of current research and may inform future guidelines. Professional organizations specializing in gastroenterology have previously published statements on the condition, however, they focus on liver toxicity (including scarring, cirrhosis and liver cancer) rather than heart disease risk. This is the Association’s first statement about NAFLD.

“Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common condition that is often hidden or missed in routine medical care. It is important to know about the condition and treat it early because it is a risk factor for chronic liver damage and cardiovascular disease,” said P. Barton Duell, M.D., FAHA, chair of the statement writing committee and professor of medicine in the Knight Cardiovascular Institute and Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical Nutrition at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon.

There are two types of NAFLD: one when only fat is present in the liver (called non-alcoholic fatty liver), and the other when inflammation and scarring are also present (called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH). Excess alcohol intake can cause similar fat deposits and liver dysfunction, so the term NAFLD is used to differentiate between disease caused by excess alcohol intake vs. disease without alcohol as the underlying cause.

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Weekend funnies …

Tony

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Alcohol: Good or Bad for You? – Rush

It’s hard to know what to think about the recommendations for alcohol consumption when the narrative around it changes like the wind.

Numerous studies have come out in support of moderate alcohol consumption because of its potential health benefits only to be countered by similar studies arguing that it’s actually more harmful than beneficial, according to Rush University Medical Center.

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And it’s not just conflicting research that make decisions about alcohol difficult; other related factors, such as your age, gender and overall health, can further complicate the issue.

So is it OK to have a glass or two of red wine with dinner? Or to enjoy a few beers at the ballgame? 

Here, we explain how alcohol affects your body — both positively and negatively — why all alcohol isn’t created equal, and how to make the right choices for your personal health.

How much alcohol is too much?

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Combination of biomarkers can identify common cognitive disease

In recent years, subcortical small-vessel disease has become an increasingly common cognitive diagnosis. Researchers at University of Gothenburg have now shown that it is possible to identify patients with the disease by combining two biomarkers that are measured in spinal fluid and blood, increasing the potential for both treatment and development of medication.

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Subcortical small-vessel disease is one of the most common cognitive diseases, along with Alzheimer’s disease and mixed dementia, which is a form in which Alzheimer’s disease occurs together with vascular damage in the brain.

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Study suggests why most smokers don’t get lung cancer

Cigarette smoking is overwhelmingly the main cause of lung cancer, yet only a minority of smokers develop the disease. A study led by scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and published online today in Nature Genetics suggests that some smokers may have robust mechanisms that protect them from lung cancer by limiting mutations. The findings could help identify those smokers who face an increased risk for the disease and therefore warrant especially close monitoring.

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“This may prove to be an important step toward the prevention and early detection of lung cancer risk and away from the current herculean efforts needed to battle late-stage disease, where the majority of health expenditures and misery occur,” said Simon Spivack, M.D., M.P.H., a co-senior author of the study, professor of medicine, of epidemiology & population health, and of genetics at Einstein, and a pulmonologist at Montefiore Health System.

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Enhancing Deep Sleep

Many people, especially the elderly, suffer from abnormal sleep. In particular, the deep sleep phases become shorter and shallower with age. Deep sleep is important for the regeneration of the brain and memory, and also has a positive influence on the cardiovascular system.

Researchers have shown that the brain waves characterizing deep sleep, so-​called slow waves, can be improved by playing precisely timed sounds through earphones while sleeping. While this works well in the sleep laboratory under controlled conditions, there has thus far been no at home solution that can be used longer than just one night.

SleepLoop to the rescue

As part of the SleepLoop project (see illustration), researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a mobile system that can be used at home and aims to promote deep sleep through auditory brain stimulation.

The SleepLoop system consists of a headband that is put on at bedtime and worn throughout the night. This headband contains electrodes and a microchip that constantly measure the brain activity of the person sleeping. Data from this is analysed autonomously in real-​time on the microchip using custom software. As soon as the sleeping person shows slow waves in the brain activity characterizing deep sleep, the system triggers a short auditory signal (clicking). This helps to synchronize the neuronal cells and enhance the slow waves. What makes the solution unique is that the person sleeping is not consciously aware of this sound during deep sleep.

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Weekend Funnies …

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. Or, maybe I was just in a goofier mood then normal.

Tony

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New technique rewinds the age of skin cells by 30 years

Research from the Babraham Institute has developed a method to ‘time jump’ human skin cells by 30 years, turning back the ageing clock for cells without losing their specialised function. Work by researchers in the Institute’s Epigenetics research program has been able to partly restore the function of older cells, as well as rejuvenating the molecular measures of biological age. The research is published in the journal eLife and while at an early stage of exploration, it could revolutionize regenerative medicine.

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What is regenerative medicine?

As we age, our cells’ ability to function declines and the genome accumulates marks of aging. Regenerative biology aims to repair or replace cells including old ones. One of the most important tools in regenerative biology is our ability to create ‘induced’ stem cells. The process is a result of several steps, each erasing some of the marks that make cells specialized. In theory, these stem cells have the potential to become any cell type, but scientists aren’t yet able to reliably recreate the conditions to re-differentiate stem cells into all cell types.

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First direct evidence to show cost-effectiveness of salt substitutes on cardiovascular outcomes

Replacing table salt with a reduced-sodium, added-potassium ‘salt substitute’ is cost-saving and prevents death and disease in people at high risk of having a stroke, according to new research. Salt substitution has been shown to reduce stroke risk by 14 percent and the number of strokes and heart attacks combined by 13 percent, but this new analysis revealed that the costs saved as a result outweighed the cost of the intervention.

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The results were presented at the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session in Washington DC on April 3 by Professor Bruce Neal, Executive Director of The George Institute Australia, and published in Circulation.

Senior author Thomas Lung, Senior Research Fellow at The George Institute for Global Health said salt substitutes should now be considered as a key element of any salt reduction campaigns.

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Hold the salt: Reducing sodium intake can help heart failure patients

For the past century, people with weak hearts have been told to lower their salt intake, but until now there has been little scientific evidence behind the recommendation.

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The largest randomized clinical trial to look at sodium reduction and heart failure reported results simultaneously in The Lancet and at the American College of Cardiology’s 71st annual scientific session over the weekend, and the findings were mixed.

Though reducing salt intake did not lead to fewer emergency visits, hospitalizations or deaths for patients with heart failure, the researchers did find an improvement in symptoms such as swelling, fatigue and coughing, as well as better overall quality of life.

“We can no longer put a blanket recommendation across all patients and say that limiting sodium intake is going to reduce your chances of either dying or being in hospital, but I can say comfortably that it could improve people’s quality of life overall,” said lead author Justin Ezekowitz, professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and co-director of the Canadian VIGOUR Centre

Avoid anything in a bag, box or can

The researchers followed 806 patients at 26 medical centers in Canada, Australia, Colombia, Chile, Mexico and New Zealand. All were suffering from heart failure, a condition in which the heart becomes too weak to pump blood effectively. Half of the study participants were randomly assigned to receive usual care, while the rest received nutritional counseling on how to reduce their dietary salt intake.

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Seated form of tai chi might boost stroke recovery – AHA

A seated form of a traditional martial art can help stroke survivors regain strength and balance and help relieve depression symptoms as well as or better than standard post-stroke exercise programs, according to a new study from China.

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The study’s authors said it was the first randomized controlled trial to analyze the ability of a modified tai chi program to help stroke survivors recover. The research appeared Thursday in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Tai chi combines deep breathing with a series of slow, careful movements of the hands, arms, neck, legs and core. A 2014 scientific statement about activity and exercise for stroke survivors highlights tai chi and yoga as flexibility and muscle strength training programs that can improve balance, quality of life and mental health while reducing the fear of falling.

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