The Plain Truth

The Plain Truth
God's Hand Behind the News

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Popular Supplements Glucosamine and Chondroitin No Good for Arthritis

Popular dietary supplements – glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate – proved no better than placebos in treating people suffering from osteoarthritis, a two years study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism revealed.

The study is a follow-up to a large 2006 National Institutes of Health-funded study, which was designed to look whether supplements did a better job than sugar pills or the arthritis pain medication Celebrex in reducing pain in osteoarthritis patients. But the study found no improvement in those given supplements. The study was called GAIT (Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial) and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006.

At the end of the study, the researchers continued to watch 572 volunteers for another 18 months and found the supplements did not appear to slow the loss of cartilage, taken either alone or together. More exactly, arthritis worsened in 24 percent of participants taking both, similar to those taking placebo.

“We don’t have good evidence that it (glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate combination) slows (disease) progression,” rheumatologist Allen Sawitzke, professor of internal medicine at the University of Utah and head investigator, said.

The study comes like a slap in the face of supplements’ makers. The combination glucosamine – chondroitin sulfate is the sixth-top-selling dietary supplement in the United States, with annual sales of $831 million last year, according to the “Nutrition Business Journal.”

However, Dr. Sawitzke said he would neither encourage nor discourage patients from taking the supplements.

"We didn't run into safety issues, so if a patient wants to try them, I don't see a reason to say no. But I can't recommend it; there's no supportive data that says it works," he said.

According to the most recent figures made public by the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, currently affects 27 million of the 46 million people in the United States with arthritis. In addition, one in two Americans are at risk for knee osteoarthritis over their lifetime.

Osteoarthritis (OA), also called osteoarthroses or degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis. OA is a chronic condition characterized by the breakdown of the joint’s cartilage. Cartilage is the part of the joint that cushions the ends of the bones and allows easy movement of joints. The breakdown of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain and loss of movement in the joint. OA typically affects only certain joints, such as the hips, hands, knees, low back and neck. After the age of 50, women are more often affected by OA than men. There are not known cause of OA but certain factors such as heredity, overweight, joint injury, repeated overuse of certain joints, lack of physical activity, nerve injury and aging increase the risk of developing OA.

Arthritis and related conditions, such as OA, cost the U.S. economy nearly $128 billion per year in medical care and indirect expenses, including lost wages and productivity.



© 2007 - 2008 - eFluxMedia

FDA: No Lou Gehrig's disease risk with statins

An analysis of dozens of studies found the widely used statin cholesterol drugs do not increase the risk of Lou Gehrig's disease, U.S. health officials said on Monday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it reviewed 41 long-term controlled clinical trials after receiving a higher- than-expected number of reports of Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in patients who were treated with the cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Millions of people around the world take statins, including Pfizer Inc's Lipitor and AstraZeneca Plc's Crestor.

FDA researchers found that nine out of about 64,000 patients treated with statins were diagnosed with ALS, a fatal neurodegenerative disease, during long-term clinical trials. That compared with 10 of 56,000 patients who got placebos.

"The results show no increased incidence of the disease in patients treated with a statin compared with placebo," an FDA statement said.

Dr. Mark Avigan, director of pharmacovigilance in the FDA's drug center, said the finding was "reassuring," but added that "given the extensive use of this class of drugs and the serious nature of ALS, continued study of this issue is warranted."

Results from another study by researchers at Stanford University and the health insurer Kaiser Permanente should be available in six to nine months, the FDA said. The agency also is considering additional studies of its own.

The FDA analysis was published in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety.

AstraZeneca spokeswoman Donna Huang said the company's own monitoring and reviews of medical literature "has not identified a causal relationship between ALS and the use of Crestor." More than 13 million patients worldwide have been prescribed the drug, she said.  

Pistachios are Heart Healthy

Going green may be heart healthy if the green you choose is pistachio nuts, according to researchers at Penn State who conducted the first study to investigate the way pistachios lower cholesterol.

"We investigated mechanisms of action to explain the cholesterol-lowering effects of the pistachio diets," says Sarah K. Gebauer, recent Penn State Ph.D. recipient, currently a post-doctoral research associate, USDA Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center.

The researchers conducted a randomized, crossover design, controlled feeding experiment to test the effects of pistachios added to a heart healthy moderate-fat diet on cardiovascular disease risk factors. Controlled feeding experiments provide all the food eaten by study subjects for the duration of the study segment.

The participants began the study by eating a typical American diet consisting of 35 percent total fat and 11 percent saturated fat for two weeks. They then tested three diets for four weeks each with about a two-week break between each diet. All three diets were variations on the Step I Diet, a cholesterol-lowering diet in general use. The diets included, as a control, a Step I Diet with no pistachios and about 25 percent total fat and 8 percent saturated fat. The pistachio enhanced diets were Step I Diets with 10 and 20 percent of the energy supplied by pistachio nuts, respectively. The 10 percent pistachio diet had 30 percent total fat and 8 percent saturated fat and the 20 percent pistachio diet had 34 percent total fat and 8 percent saturated fat.

The participants ate half their pistachios as a snack and the rest incorporated into meals.

The researchers report in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that "Inclusion of pistachios in a healthy diet beneficially affects cardiovascular disease risk factors in a dose-dependent manner, which may reflect effects on Stearoyl CoA Desaturase (SCD). " The researchers used the ratio of two fatty acids, 16:1 and 16:0 in plasma as a marker for SCD, an enzyme that is involved in the body's synthesis of fatty acids.

"SCD is an important enzyme involved in cholesterol metabolism," says Gebauer.

They found the ratio of 16:1/16:0 was significantly lower, suggesting a decrease in SCD activity, after eating the 20 percent energy pistachio diet compared to the control diet which had no pistachios. Also, the change in the 16:1/16:0 ratio was correlated with the change in cholesterol, suggesting that SCD activity may contribute to the lipid-lowering effects of pistachios. That, accompanied by the dose-dependent effects of the pistachios, begins to unravel the way in which pistachios improve cardiovascular health.

Compared to the control diet, the 20 percent pistachio diet lowered LDL cholesterol -- bad cholesterol -- about 12 percent and the 10 percent energy pistachio diet lowered LDL cholesterol by 9 percent that suggests a 9 to 12 percent decrease in coronary heart disease risk. The relationships of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol may be more powerful predictors of cardiovascular risk. The effects of the 10 and 20 percent energy diets showed a dose dependent effect on these ratios.

However, the researchers note that the reduction in LDL cholesterol observed was seven times greater than would be expected from only the fatty acid profile of pistachios. They suggest that the lipid lowering effects not only reflect the fatty acid profile of the diet, but also are the result of other bioactive substances in pistachios, perhaps phytosterols and fiber.

"Our study has shown that pistachios, eaten with a heart healthy diet, may decrease a person's CVD risk profile, says Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition and primary investigator of the study."


www.newsmax.com


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Melamine found in sauce packets from Taiwan's Pizza Hut

Taipei - Pizza Hut restaurants in Taiwan stopped giving away cheese sauce packets Thursday night after the toxic chemical melamine was found in them, the Central New Agency (CNA) reportedMore...

Statins Harm Skeletal Muscles

A new study confirms that cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) have adverse effects on skeletal muscles, which are the muscles that allow the body to move. The study, conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, found that statin drugs cause muscle cramping, fatigue, and potential myopathy (weakness).More..

Friday, September 26, 2008

Brits Say No Ritalin for Tots

Parents should be taught how to cope with hyperactive youngsters and Ritalin should only be prescribed as a last resort and never given to the under-fives, a health watchdog said Wednesday.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued new guidelines on how to cope with unruly youngsters suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The disorder affects 365,000 children in Britain, and youngsters with ADHD are easily distracted, forgetful and have difficulty keeping still.

Doctors have prescribed Ritalin -- which can cause insomnia, weight loss, nausea and an erratic heartbeat -- to 37,000 children, but NICE says parents should instead be taught how to create a structured home environment, encourage attentiveness and deal properly with misbehaviour.

NICE -- which examines the cost-effectiveness of particular treatments by the NHS -- said drugs still remain the first option for children over five with severe ADHD, but only as part of a broad treatment plan.

"Quite commonly, people tend to revert to offering methylphenidate or atomoxetene...because the child has got what appears to be ADHD and that's what's available," said Tim Kendall -- the joint director of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health which assisted NICE in framing the new guidelines.

"Its easier to prescribe a drug when other options like parent training programmes are not available," he added.

The ADHD charity ADDISS questioned the new guidelines.

"Parenting programmes are extremely important, but they need to be specific for ADHD. The ones that NICE are recommending were designed for the parents of children with conduct disorder, which is completely different from ADHD," said ADDISS chief executive Andrea Bilbow.

Copyright AFP

Chlorinated Pools Boost Asthma Risk 5 Times

Swimming in outdoor chlorinated pools appears to increase the odds a child will develop asthma, Belgian researchers said on Thursday. ..more...

Herbal Remedy May Be Natural Viagra

Move over, Viagra! Researchers in Italy report that an ancient Chinese herbal remedy known as “horny goat weed” shows potential in lab studies as source for new future drugs to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). The study, which provides scientific evidence supporting the herb’s well-known use as a natural aphrodisiac, is scheduled for the October 24 issue of ACS’ Journal of Natural Products, a monthly publication.

In the new study, Mario Dell’Agli and colleagues point out that Viagra (sildenafil) and several other prescription drugs are now available for ED, or male impotence. ED affects an estimated 18 million men in the United States alone. Studies show, however, that these drugs may cause side effects such as headache, facial flushing, stomach upset, and visual disturbances.

To find better treatments, the scientists studied herbal extracts reputed to improve sexual performance. Scientists exposed the substances to an enzyme that controls blood flow to the penis and whose inhibition results in an erection. Of the extracts tested, “horny goat weed” was the most potent inhibitor of the enzyme. By chemical modification of icariin, the active ingredient purified from the extract, the scientists obtained a derivative with activity similar to Viagra and a potential for fewer side effects because it targeted the protein more precisely than sildenafil.


source: www.newsmax.com


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why God Wants Us To Fast on the Day of Atonement

And other days as well!

Why would God want us to fast, and is fasting any good for us even to do? God commanded HIS people to fast at least once a year on the Day of Atonement, but are we do follow the old Law? Does fasting, and the Day of Atonement apply to modern Christians today?

The benefits of fasting:

Almost every expert admits that fasting of some sort is good for the human body and many studies make a claim that persons that fast live longer, healthier and happier lives. The physical exhilaration during the fasting, produces a sensation of delight in most sections of the body. A person feels more pleasure in fasting than in eating food. One begins feeling a  dislike for food. So, people that fast appear calm,
contented and happy from the start of their fasts, because they feel restful. Most individuals feel very little to no pain during fasting. There are some patients that fasting could be harmful for. They are the weak, elderly and sick. God wants us all to fast, but accepts any type of fast that we can do. GOD READS OUR HEARTS and not our bellies. Do the best you can do for your condition and God will reward you.

However, many researches have shown that weak persons should not be afraid of fasting, because their weight will increase rather than decrease. The weight of such persons can be increased by giving them a little food during the fasts. Therefore, it is incorrect to infer that fasting benefits just  obese persons. Occasionally, weakness is experienced during the fasts, because the ordinary bodily processes that are slightly blocked. The organs and the tissues of the body have an chance to rest during the fasting. Therefore, they, too, work slowly. The heart throbs at a slower rate, blood circulation is slower, breathing is less, and the muscles of the body reduce their work. Especially, the tired, sick body feels relief and rests. This is the desired condition. The body regains its full strength, after it is cleansed. The feeling of energy is experienced after the fasts, long before the food intake is started. This is why, a little weakness for a few days should not be considered when compared with the physical advantages accrued through the fasts. Your doctor can help you on this. (Source:www.healthguidance.org/authors/371/Krishan-Bakhru)

Persons that are addicted to alcoholic drinks or smoking and those who always take very spicy foods, feel many more troubles in the early days of fasting. In the absence of such things which they have to skip, they feel nervous, angry, etc. Furthermore, they vomit and do not sleep well. Uneasiness and pain is felt in the body. They suffer from severe head­ache. This painful situation does exist for some days. Therefore, it is not proper to be apprehensive about it and break the fast. After some days the situation changes and the patient returns to his normal condition.

Herbert Armstrong wrote some sixty years ago: "First, its connection with PHYSICAL HEALTH. Most people have come to believe today that it is NATURAL for people to be sick. THAT IS NOT TRUE! Sickness and disease is not natural, or accidental, but caused in every case by destructive habits. Sickness and disease cannot be eradicated until good habits -- living according to NATURE'S LAWS as set in motion by Creator -- are substituted for bad ones. Bad habits of thought may be a contributing cause to sickness and disease or impaired health. Insufficient exercise, lack of drinking enough pure water, lack of deep breathing of fresh air, lack of sunshine, lack of sleep, faulty elimination, often contribute to poor health. But above all WRONG FOOD is the great outstanding cause. Few people realize this. Doctors seldom tell people this vital truth. Yet the nation's most famous physicians and surgeons -- men like Dr. McCollum of Johns Hopkins, the famous Mayo brothers, Dr. Sherman -- later Senator Sherman of New York, Dr. Kellogg and others -- estimate that from 90 to 95 of all sickness and disease are caused by faulty diet. Dietitians have exclaimed that the average American table is a dietetic horror! People eat things they would never thing of feeding their cows or their dogs. God has revealed to us which animal meats He created to be properly digestible in the human stomach, Leviticus 11. Some day we will learn to our astonishment that the eating of filthy swine's flesh has been a major cause of cancer, fast becoming the nation's number one killer! I want, as soon as we can enlarge The PLAIN TRUTH to 16 pages or more, to have an interesting, vigorous article every month on FOOD, and on sickness, disease, and the laws of health. We can SIN physically as well as spiritually. We sin physically by breaking nature's laws -- the laws of God established for physical health. The penalty of this physical sinning is sickness, suffering, pain, and often the first death. The penaltyfor spiritual sin -- the transgression of God's great spiritual Law, summed up in the Ten Commandments -- is ETERNAL death -- the second death. Jesus continually HEALED THE SICK. When He healed, He said "Go and SIN NO MORE." He was speaking of violating the physical laws of health. Just as the repentant sinner who is converted thru Christ is commanded to turn away from sin and quit sinning (transgressing God's Law), so if we look to God for healing we should try to learn in what manner we have been violating God's physical health laws, and CORRECT OUR LIVING! It is BECAUSE men for untold generations have been living incorrectly, violating these precious health laws. And increasingly so these past four or five generations, that we are a degenerate generation today"

In the beginning of the fasts, some physical changes do occur, depending in each individual. Some times a heaviness in tongue is felt, bad smell may be given out from the mouth or breathing, teeth may be sticky. Symptoms of fever may be felt in the mouth, tongue, breathing, etc. Usually this occurs in fast longer than 24 hours. Many Christians fast for two days, sometimes three days at a time, but unless you are Moses, or Jesus, I would limit the time to a day or two at most if you choose not to drink water. I know some Christians who fast for a week at a time, but they do take in water, and some even vitamin waters.

Urination during the fasts is routine but the color of the urine may change after a few hours and some hardship may be felt in passing the urine. The urine of some patients is dark in color and foul-smelling. From this change in urination, it can be concluded that the kidneys have to overwork for cleansing the accumulated waste. This waste is being thrown out through the urine. When the cleansing is complete, the urine assumes its normal color and form. Important cells of the body have to utilize the nutritive substances stored in advance. They get energized from these substances only and cleanse the body quickly. As the unwanted cells are destroyed, the excess weight of the body, is reduced quickly. This weight loss is also considered as a cleansing programme. At the same time symptoms of health improvement are also observed. (source:http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/4803/1/Benefits-of-Fasting.html)

The physical excitement during the fasting, creates a feeling of joy in most parts of the body. A person feels more pleasure in fasting thanin taking food. He starts feeling a natural dislike for food. Therefore, these types of patients appear calm, contented and cheerful from the start of their fasts, because they feel very restful. Most people feel very little pain during the fasts. (source:http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/4803/1/Benefits-of-Fasting.html)

People who are addicted to alcoholic drinks or smoking and those who always take very spicy foods, feel many more troubles in the early days of fasting. In the absence of such things which they have to skip, they feel nervous, angry, etc. and they vomit and do not sleep well. Uneasiness and pain is felt in the body. They suffer from severe head­ache. This painful situation does exist for some days. Therefore, it is not proper to be apprehensive about it and break the fast. After some days the situation changes and the patient returns to his normal condition. (source:http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/4803/1/Benefits-of-Fasting.html)


Some people start worrying about fasting in advance. Such people imagine the pain, produced during the cleansing of the body during the fast, to be far greater than the real one. But all these troubles do not occur in all the stages of fasting. Very few such examples of pain are seen. There is no rule about it. Most of the people are not found suffering from such little troubles. Sometimes, the cleansing process of the body is completed without any trouble. If some painful situation arises sometime, it should be welcomed warmly, because it is surely for the well-being of the patient.

Sometimes, some boils or pimples are seen on the skin during fasting, but it should also be considered as a result of the cleansing process. Sometimes giddiness is felt and may result in swooning. The heart-throbs increase and other such symptoms are seen but we should not be frightened. There is no danger in this situation. (Source:www.healthguidance.org/authors/371/Krishan-Bakhru)

Finally, I will allow our readers to think for themselves about fasting and following the Day of Atonement. Know this, the early church fasted often and always on the Day of Atonement :
Acts 27:9
Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast.SoPaul warnedthem, (THE FAST means Day of Atonement!)
It is a personal decision, so get your Bible out and look at these verses. In fact, I put quick links in most of the to make it easier!

Isaiah 58:6
"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

1 Kings 21:9

In those letters shewrote: "Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people.

2 Kings 18:6
He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses.

Isaiah 58:4
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.

Matthew 4:2
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

Matthew 6:16
[ Fasting ] "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 9:14 [Jesus Questioned About Fasting ]Then John's disciples came and asked him, "How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

Luke 2:37
and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.

Luke 5:35
But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast."
Acts 13:2
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."

Acts 13:3
So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

Acts 14:23
Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.







Does Monthly Fasting Help Your Heart?


fasting, skipping mealsPeople who skip meals once a month are 40 percent less likely to have clogged arteries as those who do not fast regularly, according to Utah researchers.

About 70 percent of Utah’s population are Mormons, who fast during the first Sunday of each month.

Religion, however, was not behind the benefits of fasting. Even non-Mormons who skipped food occasionally were less likely to have clogged arteries.

The study came about after researchers discovered that only 61 percent of Mormons had heart disease compared with 66 percent of non-Mormons. After surveying 515 people about Mormon’s typical religious practices, which included a weekly day of rest, not drinking alcohol or smoking, donating time and money to charity, avoiding tea and coffee, and monthly fasting, only fasting made a significant difference in heart risk.

Only 59 percent of those who skipped meals regularly were diagnosed with heart disease, compared with 67 percent of non-fasters.

The researchers suggested that periodic fasting forces your body to burn fat and also gives it a break from making insulin to metabolize sugar. Fasting may therefore help to resensitize insulin-producing cells and make them work better.

Read More...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Statins Raise Risk of Postoperative Delirium

The use of statins is associated with a 28% increased risk of postoperative delirium in elderly patients, found University of Toronto professor Dr. Donald Redelmeier and colleagues in a retrospective cohort analysis involving more than 280 000 patients.

Ontario's Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) looked at elderly patients who underwent elective surgery in Ontario and who had received 2 or more prescriptions for statins in the year before surgery, including at least one prescription in the 90 days preceding surgery. Many patients took multiple medications, underwent abdominal, musculoskeletal or urogenital surgery which had a mean duration of about 115 minutes.

Delirium, in addition to causing anxiety in patients and families, contributes to longer hospital stays, a prolonged need for intensive care, and can disrupt and delay care.

They found that 1 in 14 elderly patients were taking statins before surgery and 1 in 90 experienced delirium. Longer surgeries and age over 70 years increased the risk of delirium.

"Our results suggest that this association was more than a coincidence, particularly among patients who received higher doses of statins and had longer duration noncardiac surgeries," state Dr. Redelmeier and colleagues. "The association between statins and risk of delirium was distinct and was not observed with other lipid-lowering medications, cardiovascular medications or common drugs that reflect underlying chronic diseases but have no major effects on the cardiovascular system."

The researchers suggest patients temporarily stop taking statins before surgery to lower their risk. If needed, restarting statins after surgery might provide their heart protecting benefits without the risk of delirium.


www.newsmax.com


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Doctor's Orders.... Not Always Followed for many reasons!


Joke

Moral: Listen to your doctor!

Five Home Remedies That Really Wo

Mom always had her favorite home remedies – did anyone’s mom not believe in the power of chicken soup over a cold? – and scientists have actually proven that some of mom’s favorite home remedies are as helpful as she believed. These traditional remedies, passed from mom to mom for generations, have held up to scientific scrutiny:


• Honey for coughs. Not only has honey been proven a good cough suppressant, a 2007 study indicated that honey worked better than over-the-counter cough medicines at relieving the coughs of children with upper respiratory infections.


• Cranberries for urinary problems. American Indians first discovered the ability of cranberries to fight infections and passed the remedy along to early settlers. Modern scientists have found that cranberries are unique in their ability to keep bacteria from sticking to bladder walls. A daily glass of cranberry juice or cranberry capsules reduces bladder infections, especially in women who have them often.


• Saltwater for the nose. Nasal saline irrigation, in which salt water is used to rinse the nasal passages, has long been a remedy to relieve the misery of a stuffy nose. Twenty-first century medicine has scientifically proven it to be a cheap, safe and effective remedy for clogged noses caused by sinusitis, allergies and other maladies.


• Staying warm to ward off colds. Mom always told us to bundle up in winter, but scientists always chuckled. They’ve stopped laughing since a 2005 study indicated that being cold might actually lead to developing a cold. Researchers believe that when a person’s extremities are chilled, the blood vessels in the nose narrow, limiting the amount of disease-fighting white blood cells in the nose, the body’s first defense against viruses.


• Chicken soup for colds. Mom was right on target; chicken soup really does fight the common cold. Studies show that mom’s favorite home remedy may be slightly anti-inflammatory, helping fight the worst of a cold’s symptoms. Steam from the hot soup also helps drain sinuses, prevent dehydration and calm sore throats.

source www.Newsmax.com

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Trans Fatty Acids Linked to Fetal Death

Trans fatty acids, the much maligned 'solid' fats implicated as artery-clogging contributors to cardiovascular disease, may also increase the risk of fetal death during pregnancy, study findings suggest.

Dr. Charles J. Glueck, of Jewish Hospital Cholesterol Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and colleagues found a higher percentage of fetal loss among women who consumed higher levels of trans fatty acids. ..more....

Regular Acetaminophen Use Triples Asthma Risk


People who regularly use acetaminophen triple their risk for developing asthma.

A study by the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network asked 521 people with asthma and 507 without about their use of painkillers. They found that those who use paracetamol (known as acetaminophen in the U.S. and sold under brand names such as Tylenol) on a regular basis triple their risk of asthma.

Researchers suggest that acetaminophen reduces levels of glutathione in the lungs, a chemical necessary to protect airways from the damage of air and smoke pollution.

“Epidemiological evidence is growing that shows a link between paracetamol and asthma,” study author Dr. Seif Shaheen told London’s Telegraph. “Since 2000, several publications have reported this association in the UK and the USA. We have also shown that asthma prevalence is higher in children and adults in countries with higher paracetamol sales.”

The use of acetaminophen only once a week increased the risk of developing asthma. Other painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen had no effect.

© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Egg Carton 101


Now they can be cage free and free range, vegetarian and omega-3 fortified, organic, “certified humane” or “American humane certified.” The incredible, edible egg is becoming unintelligible.

Some claims on egg cartons are regulated by the federal government, some by the states and some not at all. Some affect consumers’ health, some touch upon ethics and some are meaningless.

All purport to describe how the hens were raised, or what they were fed, or what extra benefits their eggs might provide. more..

Food Makers Skimp on Ingredients in an Effort to Fatten Their Profits


greed, ingredients, profits, food makers, food manufacturers, fillers, hershey's, groceries, rice bran, soy proteinMajor food makers have been quietly altering the recipes for their products. For candy, dairy products, and a variety of other food products, fillers have been added and cheaper ingredients are being used as substitutes in order to cut costs.

Hershey’s, as one example, is using vegetable oil for a portion of the cocoa butter traditionally used in some of its chocolates, a move which has led to some complaints.

Spice maker McCormick & Co. is now supplying food companies with cheaper spices. They are providing Mexican oregano instead of the pricier Mediterranean variety, and garlic concentrate instead of garlic cloves, which are heavier and costlier to ship.

 

Feeling the pain from rising gas prices, more and more U.S. consumers are taking steps to compensate for the price of their commutes. According to recent research from The Nielsen Company, 63 percent of consumers are now reducing their spending on other consumer goods, including food. Their research also found that 78 percent of consumers are combining shopping trips; 52 percent are now eating out less, and 51 percent stay home more often than before. 

But consumers aren’t the only ones trying to squeeze more out of each dollar.

Not only has gas been “watered-down” with 10 percent ethanol without showing a noticeable decrease in price, but food manufacturers have also adopted new ways of reducing their spending and increasing profits. 

Honey, They Shrunk Our Groceries

You may not have realized this, but many  food products are mysteriously shrinking in content – some while increasing the size of the package at the same time! – in an effort to trick you into believing prices have remained the same, or worse; that you’re actually getting a better deal than before.

 It’s a phenomenon that consumerist.com has dubbed "the grocery shrink ray.”

 Mouseprint.org, a web site devoted to "exposing the strings and catches buried in the fine print," has also caught on, listing examples of products that are now smaller than previously, while price remains the same (or higher).

Rather than raising prices, many companies opt for the less obvious route of reducing content. But you’re still spending more money for what you’re getting.

Oftentimes these changes are small enough that you won’t notice them unless you actually read the labels. A quick glance at mayonnaise jars, for example, may not immediately reveal a size difference, but some are now sold in 30-ounce jars, slightly less than the standard 32-ounce containers without being visibly smaller.

Fill ‘Er Up!

In September of 2007 I ran a story about the industry campaign to allow vegetable oil to be substituted for cocoa butter and still be called chocolate. About a dozen food industry groups pushed to change the long standing federal standards to allow cocoa butter to be replaced with up to five percent of another vegetable fat, which can save chocolate manufacturers millions of dollars. (The European Union has already used a five percent vegetable oil ceiling in their chocolate since 2003.)

America’s largest candy maker, Hershey’s, known for their Hershey’s chocolate bars, bite-sized Kisses, and Reese’s peanut butter cups are now substituting a portion of their cocoa butter with vegetable oil. But they’re also raising wholesale prices by 11 percent, their second increase this year.

Hershey’s claims the increases are necessary to offset the rise in cost of raw materials like sugar, cocoa and peanuts, which have risen as much as 45 percent since the beginning of the year.

Other cheap fillers finding their way into more and more of your packaged foods include soy protein and rice bran.

According to Michael Considine, an executive at the Minnesota grain company CHS Inc., their company has increased the volume of soy protein sales to major food companies by 10 percent just in the last two years.

And another ingredient supplier, NutraCea Inc., has reported an increased demand from food makers for its rice bran. Rice bran is a rice-milling byproduct that, until about 20 years ago, was considered fit only for animal consumption.

Despite the increased use of inexpensive filler materials, most of your processed foods still cost the same, if not more. In fact, data from AC Nielsen show that food companies raised prices across 35 key product categories by 7.3 percent over the 12-week period ending Aug. 9. 

Restaurants, too, are fiddling with the ingredients of their dishes. Sysco Corp., America’s largest food-service company by sales, has been working with restaurants to make cost-saving changes like replacing butter with oil/butter blends.

A Cheap Steak By Any Other Name is Still a Cheap Steak

Other companies are dressing up their lower-end products to make them seem more appetizing. For example, Cargill Inc. introduced cheaper cuts of meat with fancy-sounding names to supermarkets in July; with names like Maranada steak (flank steak), Marbello steak (skirt steak) and Cordelico sirloin (flap meat), these less tender cuts suddenly have a gourmet flair.  

How to Avoid Being Deceived in the Supermarket 

Most of these alterations can only be spotted in the fine print of the package's ingredient’s list, so as I’ve said on many occasions, you simply must read the labels of the products you buy.  

Your best bet however, is to avoid most all processed foods entirely. They’re mostly devoid of nutrients, and loaded with fillers and artificial ingredients. In the end, they end up costing you more, not just in grocery bills, but in future medical expenses as well as they will inevitably destroy your health.  

For more information on where and how to purchase truly healthy foods, how to plan healthy meals and save money in the process, please review my Related Articles below.

Read More...

Plastic Packaging Linked to Diabetes and Other Health Problems


"Widespread and continuous exposure to BPA, primarily through food but also through drinking water and oher sources, is evident from the presence of detectable levels of BPA in more than 90 percent of the U.S. population," says a JAMA study.


18 September 2008
Recommend this Article:

Average Rating:

This press release is an announcement submitted by the Journal of the American Medical Association, and was not written by Diabetes Health.

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Benjamin: Just how do you mean that, sir?

- The Graduate

Higher urinary levels of the commonly used chemical, BPA, are linked with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Higher levels of urinary bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical compound commonly used in plastic packaging for food and beverages, is associated with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver-enzyme abnormalities, according to a study in the September 17 issue of JAMA. This study is being released early to coincide with a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hearing on BPA.

BPA is one of the world's highest production-volume chemicals, with more than two million metric tons produced worldwide in 2003 and annual increase in demand of 6 percent to 10 percent annually, according to background information in the article. It is used in plastics in many consumer products. "Widespread and continuous exposureto BPA, primarily through food but also through drinking water, dental sealants, dermal exposure, and inhalation of household dusts, is evident from the presence of detectable levels of BPA in more than 90 percent of the U.S. population," the authors write. 

Evidence of adverse effects in animals has created concern over low-level chronic exposures in humans, but there are few data of sufficient statistical power to detect low-dose effects. This is the first study of associations with BPA levels in a large population, and it explores "normal" levels of BPA exposure.

David Melzer, MB, PhD, of Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, U.K., and colleagues examined associations between urinary BPA concentrations and the health status of adults, using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2004. The survey included 1,455 adults, ages 18 through 74 years, with measured urinary BPA concentrations.

The researchers found that average BPA concentrations, adjusted for age and sex, appeared higher in those who reported diagnoses of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. A 1 standard deviation (SD) increase in BPA concentration was associated with a 39 percent increased odds of cardiovascular disease (angina, coronary heart disease, or heart attack combined) and diabetes.

When dividing BPA concentrations into quartiles, participants in the highest BPA concentration quartile had nearly three times the odds of cardiovascular disease compared with those in the lowest quartile. Similarly, those in the highest BPA concentration quartile had 2.4 times the odds of diabetes compared with those in the lowest quartile.

In addition, higher BPA concentrations were associated with clinically abnormal concentrations for three liver enzymes. No associations with other diagnoses were observed.

"Using data representative of the adult U.S. population, we found that higher urinary concentrations of BPA were associated with an increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver-enzyme abnormalities. These findings add to the evidence suggesting adverse effects of low-dose BPA in animals. Independent replication and follow-up studies are needed to confirm these findings and to provide evidence on whether the associations are causal," the authors conclude. "Given the substantial negative effects on adult health that may be associated with increased BPA concentrations andalso given the potential for reducing human exposure, our findings deserve scientific follow-up."

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)

In an accompanying editorial, Frederick S. vom Saal, PhD, of the University of Missouri, Columbia, and John Peterson Myers, PhD, of Environmental Health Sciences, Charlottesville, Va., comment on the findings regarding BPA.

"Since worldwide BPA production has now reached approximately 7 billion pounds per year, eliminating direct exposures from its use in food and beverage containers will prove far easier than finding solutions for the massive worldwide contamination by this chemical due its to disposal in landfills and the dumping into aquatic ecosystems of myriad other products containing BPA, which Canada has already declared to be a major environmental contaminant."

"The good news is that government action to reduce exposures may offer an effective intervention for improving health and reducing the burden of some of the most consequential human health problems. Thus, even while awaiting confirmation of the findings of Lang et al., decreasing exposure to BPA and developing alternatives to its use are the logical next steps to minimize risk to public health."

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association

Officials Call Off Controversial Autism Study

WASHINGTON - Health officials have called off plans for a study examining a controversial type of treatment that some autism activists have touted as alternative medical therapy for children with the condition. .more...

Healthy Living Halves Premature Death Risk

Women who heed common sense health messages about smoking, diet and exercise can cut their risk of premature death in half, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

Many studies look at the impact of just one lifestyle change on overall health, but researchers at Harvard University wanted to see the total impact of a healthy diet, regular exercise, a healthy weight and a lifetime without smoking. ..more...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Virtual Colonoscopy Vs. Traditional Colonoscopy

A new study showed that virtual colonoscopy was able to detect 90% of precancerous polyps larger than 10 millimetres, giving the patients a less expensive alternative to standard colonoscopy, which had the same accuracy. These non-invasive tests are as effective as old-fashioned colonoscopies and ready to be widely used for cancer screening, said Dr. C. Daniel Johnson, lead author of the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and the third most common type of cancer. More that 56,000 people lose the battle with cancer each year. The American Cancer Society estimates almost 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer for 2008 in the U.S. Screening for polyps is recommended at age 50, but people avoid standard procedures because they are unpleasant. They involve inserting a long and flexible tube in a patient’s large intestine (rectum and colon). A small video camera is attached to the colonoscope so that your doctor can take pictures or video of the large colon. The test helps find ulcers, polyps, tumors and areas of inflammation or bleeding. In some cases during colonoscopy, if a polyp or abnormal tissue is found, your doctor may remove it at that time. During the procedure, a tissue sample (biopsy) of the polyp may be taken for lab analysis to determine whether subsequent surgical removal of the tissue is needed.

The report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which was the largest of this kind, involved 2,600 men and women tested at 15 medical centers. All participants were over the age of 50 and had no known significant risk factors for colon cancer. All patients received both a virtual and a traditional colonoscopy. Researchers found that the virtual technique detected 90% of precancerous polyps 10 millimetres or larger. The virtual version of the test is done mainly outside the body and uses an X-ray computed tomography or CT scanner.

Virtual colonoscopy, also known as CT colonography or CTC, which costs $600 to $1,200 – the standard colonoscopy is much more expensive – is effective and is lessinvasive compared with traditional colonoscopy, the study authors said.

C. Daniel Johnson, MD, professor of radiology at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz, who led the study, and colleagues also found that CT colonography could detect 78% of polyps as small as 6 millimeters in diameter. The procedure failed to detect about one in ten of the largest lesions. Previous studies showed that standard colonoscopies also failed to spot about 5 percent to 10 percent of the lesions.

Both techniques require preparations, which are the patients’ biggest complaint. For the procedures to be accurate, the colon must be well prepared. It must be clear of stool and fluids that obscure the view of the colon and rectal lining.

The National Cancer Institute and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network funded the research.

A second study published in the same journal involved nearly 2,500 people with an average risk of colon cancer. All participants had an initial colonoscopy and patients who had no signs of precancerous polyps on an initial test had an extremely low risk of developing colon cancer in the next five years.  “We found no colon cancer after five years, and the risk of advanced precancerous polyps was very low,”said the study’s lead author, Dr. Thomas F. Imperiale, a professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine and a research scientist at the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis.

Both studies move the field of colon cancer screening forward, wrote Robert Fletcher, professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School in Boston, in an editorial accompanying the studies.



© 2007 - 2008 - eFluxMedia

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Common Plastics Chemical Linked to Heart Problems

A major study links a chemical widely used in plastic products, including baby bottles, to health problems in humans like heart disease and diabetes, but U.S. regulators said on Tuesday they still believe it is safe.

The chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, is commonly used in plastic food and beverage containers and in the coating of food cans.

Until now, environmental and consumer activists who have questioned the safety of BPA have relied on animal studies. ..more...

Blood Pressure Drug Combo Reduces Heart Deaths

Thousands of patients with high blood pressure could benefit from changing their drug treatment regimen to reduce their risk of cardiac death.

The current U.S. hypertension treatment guidelines recommend using a thiazide diuretic – a drug that increases the volume of urine – alone as the initial drug therapy for high blood pressure. But a failure of diuretic drugs to decrease deaths from heart attacks, an important consequence of hypertension, prompted Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers to analyze data from existing clinical trials of diuretic drugs.

They found that combining a thiazide diuretic with a “potassium-sparing” drug to treat hypertension reduced both sudden cardiac death and total coronary mortality by 40 percent. The findings call into question the current treatment guidelines.

“The recommendations can now be re-examined in light of these new findings,” said John Oates, M.D., senior author of the study published in the September/October issue of the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension. The Joint National Committee, under the direction of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, publishes clinical practice guidelines for hypertension – new guidelines are expected in 2009.

Thiazide diuretics successfully reduce blood pressure for many patients, but they are also known to deplete potassium, said Oates, a professor of Medicine and hypertension specialist. This potassium “wasting” has sparked concern over the years with studies suggesting a link between potassium loss and sudden cardiac death.

Oates and colleagues examined data from controlled clinical trials that compared a thiazide diuretic/potassium-sparing (ENaC inhibitor) drug combination to placebo. They generated new, previously unpublished data on sudden death in these trials, and then analyzed the results of the trials in a meta-analysis – a statistical evaluation of data combined from multiple trials. They found a 40 percent reduction in total cardiac mortality and in sudden cardiac death in elderly patients with hypertension taking the drug combination, compared with those receiving placebo.

“It was very striking,” Oates said.

The investigators also performed a new meta-analysis of the clinical trials of thiazides given without a potassium-sparing drug, adding new trials to the mix. They found no benefit in coronary mortality and a 26 percent increase in sudden death. Even though the increase was not statistically significant, it was “going in the direction in which you didn’t want to go,” Oates said.

Observational studies previously had found an increase in sudden cardiac death in patients taking a thiazide diuretic alone, and one showed that sudden death was greater at higher doses of thiazides, he said. Studies in animal models of heart attacks also have demonstrated that low potassium levels (caused by thiazide diuretics) can spark the abnormal heart rhythms that lead to sudden death.

Do thiazide diuretics given alone have an adverse effect of increasing the risk of sudden cardiac death in patients with high blood pressure? It’s possible.

“There’s biologic plausibility for an adverse effect of the thiazides,” Oates said. “If it’s true, it’s probably the largest adverse effect in the history of modern pharmacology. The number of individuals affected over the last 50 years would be staggering.”

And since the current U.S. clinical practice guidelines for hypertension recommend a thiazide diuretic without a potassium-sparing drug, millions of patients may be at increased risk of coronary death, Oates pointed out.

Oates acknowledges that potassium-sparing drugs may reduce coronary mortality through a mechanism unrelated to their prevention of potassium loss. As studies proceed to determine how these drugs reduce death risk, he said, it’s time to add them to thiazides as recommended first-line treatment for high blood pressure in the elderly.


Print Page  |  Forward Page  |  E-mail Us


Related Links:

Your Car is a Germ-Mobile


“People would be horrified at the thought of eating off their toilet seat,” says British researcher Anthony Hilton. “But few realize eating off their car dashboard is just as likely to make them sick.”

Hilton was the leader of a new British study by Aston University in Birmingham which shows the typical vehicle harbors over 280 different bacteria per square centimeter. The study, conducted for a U.K. insurance company, showed some spots are nastier than others—the gearshift, for example, usually crawls with over 350 different varieties.

The worst place is the trunk, where about 850 bacteria typically hitch a ride. Scientists even found evidence of excrement in one Germ-Mobile’s trunk, which is where many people put their grocery bags. They also found that cars used to transport kids and pets are the germiest. “Whilst most of the bacteria we’ve found are unlikely to cause serious health problems, some cars, particularly those which regularly carry children and animals, play host to potentially harmful germs,” Hilton said.

And you may want to think twice before turning on the heater or air conditioner—when the fan comes on, it blows even more germs and fungi around the interior, probably because few people regularly replace the vehicle’s interior air filter. Most of the people whose vehicles were used for study owned up to being slobs with their cars, and half said they would never allow their homes to get in the condition their cars were in.

.

© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved

Healthy Lifestyle Increases Anti-Aging Enzyme

Sweeping lifestyle changes including a better diet and more exercise can raise the body's levels of an enzyme closely involved in controlling the aging process, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

The small study involved 30 men with low-risk prostate cancer who underwent three months of lifestyle changes. They had blood levels of the enzyme telomerase 29 percent higher after these three months than when they began.

Telomerase fixes and lengthens parts of chromosomes known as telomeres that control longevity and are also important for maintenance of immune-system cells.

The research in the journal Lancet Oncology was led by Dr. Dean Ornish, head of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, and a well-known author advocating lifestyle changes to improve health.

The lifestyle changes included a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and soy products, moderate exercise such as walking for half an hour a day, and an hour of daily stress management methods such as meditation.

"This is the first study showing that anything can increase telomerase. If it were a new drug that had been shown to do this, it would be a billion-dollar drug. But this is something that people can do for free," Ornish said in a telephone interview.

Shortening of telomeres is seen as an indicator of disease risk and premature death in some types of cancer, including breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer.

Previously published findings from the same group of men showed they experienced dramatic changes at the genetic level.

As expected, they lost weight, lowered their blood pressure and saw other health improvements.

They also had changes in activity in about 500 genes. The activity of disease-preventing genes increasing while some disease-promoting genes, including those involved in prostate cancer and breast cancer, shut down, the researchers said.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Basil Fights Aging

In a “What’s old is new” medical moment, Indian researchers discovered that holy basil, a native Indian herb long believed to promote health, really does promote health—and it has anti-aging properties in the bargain.

Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum), also known as “Tulsi,” is a relative of the herb used in Western cooking. It differs from culinary basil in that it is more clove-like, and its leaves are commonly used in India to brew a tea valued for its healing powers.

Read More...

Stress May Increase Breast Cancer Risk

The results of a new study support an interaction between severe life events, psychological distress, and breast cancer. The findings appear in the online BioMed Central journal BMC Cancer.

"Young women who are exposed to severe life events more than once should be considered as a risk group for breast cancer and treated accordingly," first author Dr. Ronit Peled said in a telephone interview with Reuters Health.

Read More...

Air Pollution Can Interfere With Heart's Function

 


Recent research found that air pollution may cause heart disease, and a new study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association indicates that it may be especially harmful for those who already have heart disease.

Researchers in Boston, Massachusetts, studied 48 patients who had serious coronary artery disease and had been hospitalized for heart-related problems. They periodically monitored electrical impulses in their hearts at three-month intervals with a 24-hour monitoring device, and then measured the air pollution in the area where patients lived. They discovered that microscopic particles in polluted air affected the heart’s ability to send electrical signals.

Their research adds to a growing body of knowledge that indicates air pollution is linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

“Our study provides additional rationale to avoid or reduce heavy traffic exposure after discharge, even for those without a heart attack, since traffic exposure involves pollution exposure as well as stress,” said Dr. Diane Gold, senior author of the study. Other experts recommend that people with heart disease who live in polluted cities limit the time they spend outdoors.

© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Veggie Diet May Actually Shrink Your Brain!

It seems to have happened to Hollywood!
MELBOURNE: Scientists have discovered that going veggie could be bad for your brain-with those on a meat-free diet six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage... more....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Home Depot: Do the Right Thing and Dump Monsanto!


monsanto, roundup, fertilizer, herbicide, toxins, toxic, home depot, seeds, gmo, GE, genetically engineered, genetically modified, genetic modification, roundup readyMonsanto's top retail product is RoundUp, a broad-spectrum herbicide. Millions of pounds of RoundUp are used every year on U.S. gardens, lawns and farms.

Home Depot is a major vendor of RoundUp.

RoundUp has been linked to numerous environmental and human health problems, including:

  • Increased risks of the cancer non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Miscarriages
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Reduced production of sex hormones
  • Genetic damage and damage to the immune system in fish, and genetic damage and abnormal development in frogs

To sign a petition asking Home Depot to dump RoundUp from its inventory, click the link below.

Read More...

More U.S. Drinking Water Affected by Drugs

Testing prompted by an Associated Press story that revealed trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in drinking water supplies has shown that more Americans are affected by the problem than previously thought — at least 46 million.more..

Mediterranean Diet Lowers Chronic Disease Deaths




Sticking to a full Mediterranean diet provides substantial protection against major chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer and Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published on bmj.com today.

A 'score' based on adherence to the Mediterranean diet could be used as an effective preventive tool for reducing the risk of premature death in the general population, say the authors.

The Mediterranean diet from populations bordering the Mediterranean Sea has a reputation for being a model of healthy eating and contributing to better health and quality of life. It is rich in olive oil, grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and fish, but low in meat, dairy products and alcohol.

Previous research on the Mediterranean diet suggests that it has a protective role in cardiovascular disease and cancer, but no study has reviewed all the available data for a possible association between sticking to the Mediterranean diet, premature death, and the occurrence of chronic diseases in the general population.

A team of researchers from the University of Florence assessed 12 international studies, which collectively included more than 1.5 million participants whose dietary habits and health were tracked for follow-up periods ranging from three to 18 years.

All the studies examined the concept of using a numerical score to estimate how much people stuck to the diet, called an 'adherence score'.

The researchers found that people who stuck strictly to a Mediterranean diet had significant improvements in their health, including a 9% drop in overall mortality, a 9% drop in mortality from cardiovascular disease, a 13% reduction in incidence of Parkinson and Alzheimer's disease, and a 6% reduction in cancer.

The researchers suggestthat keeping an 'adherence score' based on "a theoretically defined Mediterranean diet could be an effective preventive tool for reducing the risk of mortality and morbidity in the general population."

The results of this study have important implications for public health, particularly for reducing the risk of premature death in the general population, conclude the authors.

The findings confirm the current guidelines and recommendations from all major scientific institutions that encourage a Mediterranean-like dietary pattern for the prevention of major chronic diseases.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Flax: Is it healthy?

Posted: Sep 10th 2008 4:26PM by Martha Edwards
Filed under: Food and Nutrition

Flax is something we hear about often, and it's always praise -- in fact, health food nuts just can't get enough of it. So when one of my favourite bloggers asked the question Is Flax Bad? I was a little baffled. Bad? It's considered a superfood because of all those healthy Omega 3s! How can it be bad?

Here's the thing: Flax was recently linked to prostate cancer. It has nothing to do with Omega-3s; rather, it has to do with ALA, an organic compound in some vegetable oils that has been linked to cancer.

So what does this mean for you? Research is just in the preliminary stages, but nonethless, you might want to consider a different source of Omega-3s, such as fish oil. This goes for both men and women. For more information, head over to Mark's Daily Apple.

Gallery: Foods that fight cancer

Beans, beans, the magical fruitBerriesCruciferous VegetablesDark, leafy vegetables

Health Buzz: 9/11 Health Effects and Other Health News

Posted September 11, 2008
Asthma, PTSD, and Other Health Effects of 9/11

An analysis of the health of 71,437 people enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry shows that many of them may have developed post-traumatic stress disorder after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Included in the registry—which was started in 2003 to track mental and physical health effects of 9/11—are rescue and recovery workers, commuters, area workers, Lower Manhattan residents, and passersby. Two to three years after 9/11, 3 percent of adults enrolled in the registry reported new onset of asthma since the attacks, 16 percent had likely experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, and 8 percent endured severe psychological distress. Rescue and recovery workers experienced the highest rate of asthma, and post-traumatic stress disorder was more common among those who were injured and in Hispanics and low-income registry participants. Overall, women, minorities, and low-income participants had higher rates of physical and mental problems.more....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lung Cancer in Nonsmokers: Men Die More

Sept. 9, 2008 -- Researchers looking into lung cancers in nonsmokers have found that men seem to die from the disease more than women.

The reasons for this are not clear from the study results.

Researchers led by the American Cancer Society's Michael Thun, MD, looked at data to try to better understand how lung cancer affects men and women in different cultures and from different time periods.

They pooled information on lung cancer rates and deaths from 13 large groups representing about 2 million people around the world.

Researchers also abstracted data for women from 22 cancer registries and 10 countries in places where few women smoked.

All the participants were self-described nonsmokers.

Read More...

Study: Blood-sugar control lowers diabetics' risks

Diabetics who tightly control their blood sugar -- even if only for the first decade after their condition is diagnosed -- have lower risks of heart attack, death and other complications 10 or more years later, a large follow-up study has found.

Tight glucose control, even for the first decade after diagnosis, can carry strong benefits, a study shows." Tight glucose control, even for the first decade after diagnosis, can carry strong benefits, a study shows.

The discovery of this "legacy effect" may put new emphasis on rigorous treatment when people first learn they have Type 2 diabetes, the most common form and the type linked to obesity.

Doctors warn that people should not let their blood sugar spin out of control -- that could have serious health consequences.

"What you don't want is for people to think that they had a period of good glucose control and then they allow their blood glucose to go high -- that would be disadvantageous," said Dr. Stephen Davis, head of Vanderbilt University's diabetes and endocrinology division, who had no role in the study.

Results were published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine and were being presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting in Rome.

Read More...

Vitamin B12 Tied to Brain Shrinkage

WASHINGTON (Sept. 9) - Having higher vitamin B12 levels may protect against brain shrinkage in elderly people, according to a study published on Monday.
The researchers called their findings striking, but said more information is needed before recommending that people take vitamin B12 supplements to guard against the loss of brain volume and possibly prevent declines in thinking and memory.

Read More...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Beef Feeding Research Studies Pasture Vs. Grain

 Blacksburg, Va. – Does it make a difference whether beef cattle are pasture or grain fed?

Early research results at Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences indicate that pasture-fed beef has less fat and higher conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), indicating that it may be a healthier choice. CLA is a combination of different types of fatty acids.. Animals change the chemical structure of these acids that are found in plants, in their digestive system. Studies are continuing on the value of CLA in human health.

Research into pasture- vs. grain-fed beef is in preliminary stages. The goal is to develop innovative concepts and practices to enhance the efficiency, profitability, and sustainability of grassland-based beef production systems in the Appalachian Region, said Joseph P. Fontenot, the emeritus John W. Hancock Jr. Professor of animal science at Virginia Tech. The project, which includes eight Virginia Tech faculty members among 25 scientists, is in its fourth year of a 10-year study. It is partially supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Research Service along with funding from the universities involved, West Virginia University, the University of Georgia, and Virginia Tech.

Read More...

Red Bull Can Give You a Stroke

red bull, energy drinks, alcohol, stroke, heart attack, heart diseaseJust one can of the popular stimulant energy drink Red Bull can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. The effect was seen even in young people.

The caffeine-loaded beverage causes blood to become sticky, a pre-cursor to cardiovascular problems such as stroke.

One hour after drinking Red Bull, your blood system becomes abnormal, as might be expected from a patient with cardiovascular disease.

Red Bull is banned in Norway, Uruguay and Denmark because of health risks.

Read More...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

FDA Post list of Problem Drugs

If you have a drug on this list, you should call your Doctor to discuss.
List of medications with potential safety problems
The list of drugs under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, what they are used for and the potential problem.


—R-Gene 10, a growth hormone, pediatric overdose due to labeling/packaging confusion.
—Suprane, an anesthetic, cardiac arrest.
—Cymbalta, for depression and other conditions, urinary retention.
—Intelence, an HIV medication, bleeding into joints.
—Carac and Kuric, creams for skin conditions and fungal infections, name confusion.
—Heparin, a blood-thinner, serious allergic reactions.
—Extraneal, used in kidney dialysis, low blood sugars.
—Humilin R, for diabetes, dosing confusion.
—Stromectol and Warfarin, an anti-parasite drug and a blood thinner, drug interaction.
—Tykerb, for advanced breast cancer, liver damage.
—Revlimid, for multiple myeloma, severe skin blistering and bleeding.
—Tysabri, for multiple sclerosis, skin melanomas.
—Nitrostat, for angina, overdose due to labeling confusion.
—Sandostatin LAR, for abnormal bone growth, bowel obstruction.
—Oxycontin, a pain killer, drug misuse, abuse and overdose.
—Definity, used in cardiac imaging, cardiopulmonary reactions.
—Dilantin injection, for epileptic seizures, serious skin reaction.
—Seroquel, for bipolar disorder, overdose due to sample pack labeling confusion.
—Tyzeka, for chronic hepatitis B, nerve damage.
—Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) Blockers, for juvenile arthritis, cancers in children and young adults.


Heavy teens run risk of severe liver damage

Although disease is becoming more common in obese kids, few are testedImage: Irving Shaffino
TRENTON, N.J. - In a new and disturbing twist on the obesity epidemic, some overweight teenagers have severe liver damage caused by too much body fat, and a handful have needed liver transplants.

Many more may need a new liver by their 30s or 40s, say experts warning that pediatricians need to be more vigilant. The condition, which can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure or liver cancer, is being seen in kids in the United States, Europe, Australia and even some developing countries, according to a surge of recent medical studies and doctors interviewed by The Associated Press.

The American Liver Foundation and other experts estimate 2 percent to 5 percent of American children over age 5, nearly all of them obese or overweight, have the condition, called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.more..,.