Friday, May 27, 2011

Heart needs exercise not rest after heart attack, claims study

A new study has found that early exercise as well as prolonged exercise is the best remedy for patients who have suffered a heart attack.
Researchers at the University of Alberta reviewed more than 20 years of trials.
They found that stable patients who have suffered heart attacks get more benefits for heart performance when starting an exercise program one week after the heart attack, than waiting a month or longer to begin rehabilitation.
"While it''s been shown that exercise has a favourable effect on heart function, it''s also important to dispel the idea that what the heart needs is rest," study co-author Mark Haykowsky, researcher in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, said.
The study shows that, in fact, the heart will become better with exercise sooner and with continued exercise over a longer period of time.
"In the past, patients in Canada and the US have been told to wait for one month before beginning their exercise treatment and this treatment typically only goes on for about three months," Alex Clark, researcher in the Faculty of Nursing, said.
Patients who begin an exercise program one week after their heart attack were found to have the best heart performance.
For those who waited to begin their exercise rehabilitation program, the results showed that for every week that a patient delayed his or her exercise treatment, he or she would have to train for the equivalent of one month longer to get similar benefits.
"Our findings suggest that at least six months of exercise is the most beneficial," Clark said.
Exercise in this study is defined as aerobic exercise in a group setting to build up exercise capacity. The researchers reviewed both benefits and harms of exercise.
The authors said there was no evidence in the study to suggest that beginning an exercise program earlier that the typical waiting period had any detrimental effects.
"In the 70''s, health-care professionals were telling patients not to move for three months after a heart attack. Our findings suggest that stable patients need not wait a month to start exercising in a cardiac-rehabilitation setting," Clark said.
Given that, in Canada, only one third of patients are referred to rehabilitation after a heart attack and then only 20 percent attend.
Haykowsky said the key to the best outcome is for patients to not only get referred to rehabilitation, but to be referred early, participate and stick with it.

Protein linked with heart failure discovered

Researchers have discovered a protein switch which can trigger conditions culminating in heart failure, potentially opening the way for improved treatment.
A study shows that the absence of protein PINK1 causes heart cells to produce less energy, reports the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
This lack of energy causes some heart cells to die, forcing the remaining cells to work harder to keep the heart going. Consequently, the heart muscle cells thicken, a condition known as hypertrophy.
"Our research suggests that PINK1 is an important switch that sets off a cascade of events affecting heart cell metabolism," says Phyllis Billia, principal author, clinician-scientist and heart failure specialist at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, Canada.
Heart failure is the most common cause of hospitalization in the US and over 50,000 people are treated for advanced heart failure annually, according to the Cardiac Centre statement.
Transplantation is the only long-term treatment for end-stage heart failure patients, but the long waiting period for a matching donor organ makes it necessary to find other alternatives.
"Heart failure remains a silent epidemic in North America... current therapies, while effective, only target the symptoms of heart failure," study co-author Vivek Rao said.
"The discovery of PINK1's role in the development of heart failure may lead to novel treatment to prevent heart failure in those at risk. This discovery represents a novel and as yet, untapped mechanism to fight the battle against heart failure," Rao added.(IANS)

Almonds ‘could help prevent diabetes, heart disease’

A new study - conducted at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey - has suggested that eating almonds could help prevent diabetes and heart disease.
Scientists discovered that including the nuts into our diets could help treat type 2 diabetes. As well as combating the condition, linked to obesity and physical inactivity, it could tackle cardiovascular disease, they said.
Diabetics have a shortage of insulin or a decreased ability to use the hormone that allows glucose to enter cells and be converted to energy.
When diabetes is not controlled, glucose and fats remain in the blood and over time, damage vital organs.
The latest study showed that a diet rich in almonds may help improve insulin sensitivity and decrease LDL-cholesterol levels in those with pre-diabetes, a condition in which people have blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
The study looked at the effects of consuming an almond-enriched diet on 65 adults with pre-diabetes.
The group on the almond-enriched diet showed greater improvements in insulin sensitivity and significant reductions in LDL-cholesterol compared with the nut-free group.
"It is promising for those with risk factors for chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease that dietary changes may help to improve factors that play a potential role in the disease development," the Daily Mail quoted lead researcher Dr Michelle Wien as saying.

Diabetes'' link to viral infection confirmed

An Australian study has suggested that kids with Type 1 diabetes are nearly 10 times more likely to have a viral infection as compared to healthy children.
Childhood diabetes has been linked to enteroviruses, which can lead to cold, flu and even meningitis. But the researchers have disapproved that the virus causes diabetes.
Researchers at the University of New South Wales and the Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes in Sydney combined the research of several groups to reach to some definitive answers.
They reviewed 26 sets of research involving 4,448 patients and concluded, "The association between enterovirus infection, detected with molecular methods, and diabetes was strong, with almost 10 times the odds of enterovirus infection in children at diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes," reports the BBC.
One of the issues with this type of research is that it is hard to prove what causes what.
Enterovirus could cause diabetes, or diabetes could make you more susceptible to enterovirus - or something else, such as genetic makeup, could make you more likely to get both.

Gene variations linked to type 2 diabetes

A new study has found that certain variations of the gene HMGA1 are associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus for individuals of white European descent.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) is a common metabolic disorder that is associated with major diabetes-related complications, including retinopathy, kidney disease and cardiovascular disease.
Insulin resistance in muscle, liver, and fat tissue is a major feature of most patients with type 2 DM.
And it is considered that heredity is a major contributor to the insulin resistance of type 2 DM, according to the study.
Antonio Brunetti of the University of Catanzaro, Italy and colleagues conducted a study to examine the association of HMGA1 gene variants with type 2 DM.
The study included patients with type 2 DM and controls from 3 populations of white European ancestry in three countries Italy, U. S. and France.
The researchers found that the most frequent functional HMGA1 variant, IVS5-13insC, was present in 7 percent to 8 percent of patients with type 2 DM in all 3 populations.
The prevalence of this variant was higher among patients with type 2 DM (nearly 16 times higher odds of having this variant) than among controls in the Italian population (7.23 percent vs. 0.43 percent in one control group; and 7.23 percent vs. 3.32 percent in the other control group).
In the U. S. population, the prevalence of IVS5-13insC variant was 7.7 percent among patients with type 2 DM vs. 4.7 percent among controls; in the French population, the prevalence of this variant was 7.6 percent among patients with type 2 DM and 0 percent among controls.
In the Italian population, 3 other functional variants were observed. When all 4 variants were analyzed, HMGA1 defects were present in 9.8 percent of Italian patients with type 2 DM and 0.6 percent of controls.

Artificial pancreas can ‘effectively’ improve diabetes control in adults

Researchers have suggested that closed loop insulin delivery (also known as an artificial pancreas) may improve overnight blood glucose control and reduce the risk of nocturnal hypoglycaemia (a sudden drop in blood glucose levels during the night) in adults with type 1 diabetes.
Lifelong insulin therapy is needed to control blood glucose levels, but the risk of hypoglycaemia remains a major challenge, especially during the night.
Recent advances have led to the development of a closed loop insulin delivery system that automatically computes insulin dose according to glucose levels detected by a sensor. Previous studies have shown that this system is effective in children and adolescents, but its effectiveness in adults is unknown.
So a team of researchers, led by Roman Hovorka from the University of Cambridge, carried out two studies to compare the safety and efficacy of overnight closed loop insulin delivery with conventional insulin pump therapy in adults with type 1 diabetes.
These findings provide further evidence that overnight closed loop delivery can operate safely, effectively, and consistently across different age groups, insulin sensitivities, and lifestyle conditions, concluded the authors.
They added that the closed loop system "may in future allow more flexible lifestyles in conjunction with improved glycaemic control for people with type 1 diabetes."

Mobile phones can help underdeveloped nations to check diabetes: Study

"Telehealth programs" could help low-income patients across the globe manage diabetes and other chronic diseases, a new study by the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System and University of Michigan has revealed.
"Telehealth programs have been shown to be very helpful in a variety of contexts, but one of the main limitations for delivering these services in the developing world has been a lack of infrastructure," author John D. Piette, a senior research scientist with the VA and professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School, has said.
Taking advantage of the broad connectivity in Latin America, researchers linked cell phones with low-cost internet-based phone calls to conduct the survey. The service used a cloud computing approach so that the program can be provided from a central location to low income countries across the world that lack a strong technological infrastructure.
Researchers connected to the enrolled diabetic patients from a clinic in a semi-rural area of Honduras, on a weekly basis, and helped them to improve their diabetes management skills and general health.
Researchers reportedly noticed improvement in patients' hemoglobin A1C, a measure of blood sugar control, during the sixth week of their study.
"We wanted to demonstrate that it was possible to deliver a high-tech program from U-M to very vulnerable patients with diabetes in Honduras who only have local cell phone service," Piette says.
The study said the developing world faces a cardiovascular disease crisis because of its dependence of fast food, and the number of people with diabetes across the world is expected grow from 285 million to 439 million by 2030.
Piette's study has been applauded by many veterans.
"We believe the work of Dr. Piette and his colleagues represents an important and sustainable milestone in innovative global health strategies for the prevention, diagnosis, and management of non-communicable diseases. This work truly stands the chance to improve the health of millions of people in a relatively short time," U-M Global Health Director Sofia D. Merajver, said. (ANI)

High-fat diet during pregnancy puts baby at risk of future diabetes

A high-fat diet during pregnancy may program a woman''s baby for future diabetes, even if she herself is not obese or diabetic, a new study has warned.
"We found that exposure to a high-fat diet before birth modifies gene expression in the livers of offspring so they are more likely to overproduce glucose, which can cause early insulin resistance and diabetes," said Yuan-Xiang Pan, a U of I professor of nutrition.
"In recent years, the American diet has shifted to include many high-energy, high-fat, cafeteria-type, and fast foods," he noted.
In the study, Pan and doctoral student Rita Strakovsky fed obesity-resistant rats either a high-fat or a control diet from the first day of gestation. Because the animals were not obese before the study began, the scientists were able to determine that diet alone had produced these effects.
"At birth, offspring in the high-fat group had blood sugar levels that were twice as high as those in the control group, even though their mothers had normal levels," Strakovsky said.
"Until now we didn''t realize that a mother''s diet during pregnancy had a long-term effect on the metabolic pathways that affect her child''s glucose production," Pan said.
"Now that we know this, we urge pregnant women to eat a balanced low-fat diet that follows government guidelines. Then a woman can prime her child for a healthy life instead of future medical struggles,” he added.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Viagra may cause hearing loss

Researchers have found a link between hearing loss and the use of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra.
Gerald McGwin, a professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health in the University of Alabama at Birmingham claims use of Viagra can result in long-term hearing loss. Also, use of other phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE-5i) drugs such as Cialis and Levitra can be harmful for the ear, but results on those drugs are inconclusive.
Study author Gerald McGwin, a professor of epidemiology in the UAB School of Public Health, said: "It appears from these findings that the current government warning regarding hearing loss and the use of PDE-5i medications is warranted.
"Though there are limitations to this study, it is prudent that patients using these medications be warned about the signs and symptoms of hearing impairment and be encouraged to seek immediate medical attention to potentially forestall permanent damage."
In 2007, following the report of several case studies potentially linking PDE-5i use and sudden hearing loss, the Food and Drug Administration announced labeling changes for PDE-5i medications so that the risk of hearing problems was more prominently displayed. McGwin said this is the first epidemiologic study to evaluate the relationship between PDE-5i drugs and long-term hearing loss.
McGwin examined data on 11,525 men over 40 years of age gathered by the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a survey conducted by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality between 2003 and
2006. Men who reported use of PDE-5i medications were twice as likely to also report hearing loss as were men who had not used the drugs.
McGwin said the relationship was strongest for men reporting use of sildenafil (Viagra) over those who used tadalafil (Cialis) or vardenafil (Levitra), a finding he attributed in part to a small sample size for both of the latter drugs. McGwin said the findings indicated an elevated but not statistically significant increase in hearing loss for users of tadalafil and vardenafil.
PDE-5i drugs were originally designed to treat pulmonary hypertension and are now used extensively in the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). McGwin said one important consideration in evaluating the nature of the relationship between the drugs and hearing is the existence of a plausible biological mechanism of how these drugs might cause hearing loss.
McGwin said: "PDE-5i medications work in ED patients by their ability to increase blood flow to certain tissues in the body. It has been hypothesized that they may have a similar effect on similar tissues in the ear, where an increase of blood flow could potentially cause damage leading to hearing loss."
McGwin acknowledged limitations in the study, including the limited sample size for tadalafil and vardenafil, concerns over under-reporting of use of PDE-5i medications and confounding factors such as pre-existing conditions that might also contribute to hearing loss. He suggested that additional research regarding the risk from PDE-5i is necessary due to the largely irreversible nature of hearing loss and its impact on quality of life.
McGwin concluded: "The results of the current study in conjunction with a plausible biologic mechanism lend support to the FDA''s decision to warn patients about the potential risk posed by PDE-5i use".

Sex may be the best way to banish the bulges!

treadmills, long walks and Atkins diet, an expert has come up with a new way of staying in shape—and it has nothing to do with cutting out on carbs – it’s indulging in plenty of sex.
Yes, you heard it right, "sexercise" makes a person slimmer – if you do enough of it.
Combining sex and fitness is like killing two birds with one stone. Sex gets you fit. And being fit makes you want to have more sex. This is, in large part, because of all of the benefits a good sexercise routine offers, like: improved blood flow in strengthening your heart, better cholesterol, changing more of your bad cholesterol (LDL) to good cholesterol (HDL), weight control, better sleep and greater energy, including longer life and a better quality of life.
According to Fox News, women, in particular, feel more attractive with sexual fitness, since they produce more estrogen. This makes for shinier, smoother hair. Both sexes glow as their skin pores become cleansed, thanks to sweating. They feel sexier than ever.
But how do you start this sexercise routine? Well, sex educator Dr. Yvonne KristĂ­n Fulbright has come to your rescue.
Get a physical if you haven’t in a while. While it may be laughable to do this, you’re going to be physically active, accelerating your heart rate, pulse, and blood pressure.
You’re also going to be testing and developing your strength, stamina, and flexibility. As with any form of exercise, you need to make sure that you’re good to go.
Aim for half-hour romps 3-5 times a week. This may seem like a lot, but this is actually not very time-consuming. Consider the amount of time you put into your favorite TV show.
Remind yourself of the rewards. Sex for 30 minutes burns anywhere from 15-350 calories, depending on how physically active you are. This is the equivalent of calories burned during a half an hour of brisk walking, running, or lifting weights.
Vigorous or longer sex sessions five times per week can burn up to 1,650 calories! The active partner — typically the one on top — tends to burn more.
Don’t lose focus. You can easily get distracted with all of sex’s delights. But your goal is to make it burn. In a matter of weeks, you can notice improvements in the tone and strength of your stomach, back, buttocks, legs and arms.
Aim for variety. Your sexercise routine doesn’t have to be routine. You can’t take it for granted that sexercising won’t be boring, at least not in the same way as your treadmill. So get creative.
Watch what you eat and maintain moderate exercise out of the bedroom.

Why men find bigger boobs sexier

Wonder why men, rather than talking looking straight into your eyes, are more interested in gazing below the neck? Or what is it about big breasts that attract men towards females? Well, the answers to all these questions are rooted in fertility, according to a science journalist.
In her fascinating new book, ‘Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes?” American science journalist Jena Pincott has given a detailed account as to why women’s breasts are so sexy and get so big, and how they play a role in attracting the opposite sex.
The Freudian concept theorizes men’s Oedipus complex, by claiming that they’re always looking for a mother figure.
Fuller breasts could be considered to be a sign of increased fertility, and that’s why many men think bigger busts are better.
The fat that accumulates in your chest (as well as your bottom, thighs and hips) is due to the influence of the hormone oestrogen, which also affects your ability to conceive.
A study by Harvard epidemiologist Grazyna Jasienska found that full-figured women are roughly three times as likely to get pregnant as women with other body types.
The book claims that breasts are an advertisement of age, health and good genes, which makes the anthropologists think that they play a vital role in sexual selection even in cultures that don’t eroticise the chest any more than the face. (ANI)

Watermelon is a natural Viagra

Want to steam up your rocky bedroom life? Well, you can rekindle your passion just by eating six slices of watermelon.
The juicy fruit delivers Viagra-like effects to the body’s blood vessels, and may even increase libido.
Scientists say that it contains a chemical called Citrulline that relaxes the blood vessels, thereby making blood move around the body more easily and causing consumers to become aroused, reports the Sun.
It’s not only watermelon; even libido patches designed for men can help stimulate the libido.
Each patch is impregnated with aromas known to affect the sex drive.
Anne Summers’, the original blue pill, which is over-the-counter version of prescription-only Viagra can also stimulate sex drive.
One pill is enough for both men and women for endless fun between the sheets.
Pheromone spray is also known to trigger seductive affect and spice up things in bed.
‘Lure For Him’ contains seductive powers that project silent, subconscious scent signals to the opposite sex, which naturally trigger romantic feelings.
Horny Goat Weed, a Chinese herbal remedy, which has long been known as a natural aphrodisiac can also help enhance sex drive.
Just one pill a day can increase energy and stamina for improved performance. (ANI)

Half of British men are bedroom flops

Half of the British men develop impotence at some point, with alcohol largely to be blamed.
The delicate nature of the subject means that many suffer in silence, with crashing self-esteem and relationships.
Boots, a chemist chain, surveyed 4,500 men. It found that 19 percent have struggled to make love when sober, while a further 31 percent have suffered problems after a boozy night out.
Some 68 percent of those polled also owned up to having experienced premature ejaculation at some point in their lives, reports the Daily Mail.
Two-thirds of married men said they would refuse to discuss the issue with their doctor and one in eight was so embarrassed that he would not talk about it with anyone.
Colm O'Mahony, consultant physician in sexual health at Chester Hospital, said: "Although extremely widespread, the taboo nature of these problems means that most sufferers do not seek help.
"Stigma, shame, concern for their partner's reaction, and sometimes denial, all play a part. Many endure in silence, believing that the problem is transient, and that no help is available.
"It can be crushing. Guys get worn down and when you fix them, the change in their demeanour is dramatic.
Sexual problems are most common among older men, with causes including obesity, smoking, alcohol, stress, medication and hardening of the arteries.
Although Viagra is the best-known treatment, other drugs are also available. Premature ejaculation, which can also be exacerbated by stress, tends to hit younger men and is usually treatable by changes in -sexual technique.(IANS)

Love really can last a lifetime

 A new study has challenged popular beliefs that love is destined to flicker and flame out in course of time.
Researchers at Stony Brook University in New York have found that people can be as madly in love with each other a couple of decades into marriage as they were when they met, reports CBS News.
They conducted brain scans on couples in the early and long-term stages of relationships.
“The couples were shown a picture of their significant other and it highlighted the reward centre (of the brain). So what that can tell us is (that lifelong love is) not mythical, it''s not fairy tale, it shows the same kind of reaction in both
(early and long-term relationships), and that''s wonderful news,” said ‘Early Show’ contributor and psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein.
“The more colour highlights (on the scan reveals) the fact that there is a greater attachment that''s built. Attachment areas grow over time,” she added.
“Love can last much longer than we really thought about because their divorce rate is so high. So I think this is really hopeful that maybe love is equally long-lasting,” said Hartstein.
‘Early Show’ co-anchor Jeff Glor said one important part of the study was that long-term couples who said they were madly in love still have sex frequently.
So how important is sex in a relationship?
“Sex is important for lots of reasons. We know there are actually a physical health benefit, mental health benefit, and most importantly, keeps you connected to your partner. And that''s only going to build passion and positive feeling towards the other person,” said Hartstein.
But beyond sex, she said it is communication that makes a relationship last.

Condoms to be handed to Brit pupils during sexual health lessons

A school in Britain could hand out condoms and prescriptions for the pill to its pupils during “sexual health and family planning” lessons, said a doctor who came up with the idea.
Pupils at Sir Henry Cooper School in Hull could be prescribed contraception between classes under plans to open the country’s first GP surgery in a school.
Dr Mike Holmes of Haxby Group, said the idea behind the scheme was that young people were much more likely to seek medical advice for a range of problems if it was “convenient for them”.
The school for 11 to 16-year-olds was in a relatively deprived area with “a high rate of teenage pregnancies and heart disease”, problems, which should be tackled as early in life as possible.
“We would offer the same services that they could get by visiting any surgery,” the Telegraph quoted him as he spoke about what would be offered by the GPs and nurses.
“We would, for example, offer advice on sexual health and family planning, drugs and obesity, as well as carry out screenings and monitor patients’ height, weight and development,” he stated.
He admitted that dispensing condoms and pill prescriptions was “controversial”.

Common hair loss drugs ‘may impair men’s sexual health’

Men who take the drug finasteride, commonly marketed under the trademark names Propecia and Proscar, may report an on-going reduction in sex drive, and in some cases, prolonged periods of erectile dysfunction even after they stop using the medications, according to a new study by The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
"The study looked at the reported types and duration of persistent sexual side effects in otherwise healthy men who took finasteride for male pattern hair loss," said Dr. Michael Irwig, Assistant Professor of Medicine.
"While finasteride has been associated with reversible adverse sexual side effects in multiple randomized placebo controlled trials, this is the first series to find that symptoms persisted for at least three months despite stopping finasteride."
Dr. Irwig conducted standardized interviews with 71 men aged 21-46 who reported they were in otherwise good health and who claimed they experienced the new onset of sexual side effects after they began finasteride.
Of the men studied, 94 percent said they developed low sexual desire, 92 percent said they developed erectile dysfunction, 92 percent said they developed decreased arousal and 69 percent said they developed problems with orgasm.
Men in this study reported they used finasteride for an average of 28 months and reported an average duration of persistent sexual side effects was 40 months from the time of stopping finasteride to the interview date.
Additionally, the study found the mean number of sexual episodes the survey respondents reported per month dropped, and the reported total sexual dysfunction score increased before and after finasteride use, according to the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale.
Although the exact incidence of persistent sexual dysfunction is unknown, Dr. Irwig recommends that men contemplating the use of finasteride discuss the potential risk for persistent sexual side effects with their doctors.
"The study underscores the importance of physicians, who are treating male pattern hair loss, discussing the potential risk of persistent sexual side effects with their patients."

Viagra reverses nerve disease: Study

Anti-impotence drug Viagra drastically reduces symptoms of multiple sclerosis - which affects the brain and spinal nerve cells - in animal models, says a study.
The research by Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) in Spain shows that a practically complete recovery occurs in 50 percent of the animals after eight days of treatment.
Researchers are hopeful of clinical trials with patients, given that the drug is well tolerated and has been used to treat sexual dysfunction in some multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, reports the journal Acta Neuropathologica.
MS is the most common chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system comprising the brain and the spinal cord and one of the main causes of disability among young adults, according to an UAB statement.
The disease can cause a variety of symptoms - changes in sensation, muscle weakness, abnormal muscle spasms, or difficulty moving; difficulties with coordination and balance; problems in speech or swallowing, visual problems, among others.
There is currently no cure for the disease, although some drugs have proven effective in fighting symptoms and preventing it from progressing.
A research team from the UAB Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, directed by Agustina Garcia, along with another led by Juan Hidalgo, Garcia's counterpart, has studied the effects of a treatment using sildenafil, sold as Viagra, in an animal model of multiple sclerosis.
Researchers demonstrated that a daily treatment with sildenafil after disease onset quickly reduced clinical signs, with a practically complete recovery in 50 percent of the cases after eight days of treatment.
Scientists observed how the drug reduced the infiltration of inflammatory cells into the white matter of the spinal cord, thus reducing damage to the nerve cell's axon and facilitating myelin repair.(IANS)

‘Social distancing’ highly effective in stopping disease spread in pandemics: Study

According to a recently conducted study, social distancing measures during pandemics are highly effective in stopping the disease from spreading further.
Researchers analyzed the impact of the eighteen-day period of mandatory school closure in Mexico during the 2009 influenza pandemic and found that it had resulted in 29 to 37 pc reduction in the transmission rate.
Social distancing interventions can be implemented during unusual infectious disease outbreaks and include school closing, closure of movie theaters and restaurants and the cancellation of large public gatherings.
The study suggests that school closure and other measures could be useful to mitigate future influenza pandemics.
The researchers'' findings highlight variation in pandemic influenza incidence and severity among age groups. It also reveals the importance of school cycles on the transmission dynamics of this disease.
The conclusion emerges from the findings that school closure effectively reduced influenza transmission in spring 2009 in Mexico.
"We believe this study has implications for improving preparedness plans in future pandemics," said Gerardo Chowell, Fogarty investigator and faculty member at Arizona State University, Tempe.

Why aging brains become less resilient to stress

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have explained why the aging brain is less resilient and less capable of learning from life experiences.
The findings provide further insight into the cognitive decline associated with aging and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer''s.
The team evaluated the prefrontal cortex-the part of the brain that controls a wide range of cognitive processes and mediates the highest levels of learning.
Nerve cell circuitry in the prefrontal cortex of young animals is highly plastic and life experiences, particularly those that involve learning, can profoundly alter prefrontal circuitry.
In order to investigate the effects of age on such plasticity, young, middle-aged, and aged rats were subjected to a behavioral stress test known to elicit nerve cell changes in the prefrontal cortex.
The research team then used microscopic techniques to visualize the spines on nerve cells within the prefrontal cortex, which form the synapses that are critically important to the process of learning.
In the young rats, the spines were able to adjust and change, indicating that the brain responded to the experience and initiated a compensatory change.
In the middle-aged rats, and even more so in the aged rats, the spines did not change, demonstrating that age is accompanied by a profound loss in the capacity of prefrontal cortex to "re-wire" in response to life events.
"The prefrontal cortex is constantly ''rewiring'' in response to life experiences. The aged brain has already suffered significant spine loss, and the spines that remain are unable to mount a response to stress or learning, making this part of the brain unable to effectively rewire," said John H. Morrison, who led the study with graduate student Erik B. Bloss.

Why schizophrenia patients may have trouble reading social cues

 Vanderbilt University researchers have found possible evidence on why people with schizophrenia might have difficulty in understanding the actions of other people.
They have discovered that impairments in a brain area involved in perception of social stimuli may be partly responsible for this difficulty.
"Misunderstanding social situations and interactions are core deficits in schizophrenia," said Sohee Park, Gertrude Conaway Professor of Psychology and one of the co-authors on this study.
"Our findings may help explain the origins of some of the delusions involving perception and thoughts experienced by those with schizophrenia," he said.
They found that a particular brain area, the posterior superior temporal sulcus or STS, appears to be implicated in this deficit.
"Using brain imaging together with perceptual testing, we found that a brain area in a neural network involved in perception of social stimuli responds abnormally in individuals with schizophrenia," said Randolph Blake, Centennial Professor of Psychology and co-author of the study.
"We found this brain area fails to distinguish genuine biological motion from highly distorted versions of that motion," he said.
The study's lead author, Jejoong Kim, completed the experiments under the supervision of Park and Blake in Vanderbilt's Department of Psychology.

What's good for women's heart? Baked mackerel!

Postmenopausal women who often consumed baked or broiled fish had a 30 percent lower risk of developing heart failure, as compared to women who seldom ate it. And dark fish like salmon and mackerel are particularly good.
A maximum serving of five or more per week of baked or broiled fish was linked with a lower risk, says a large-scale study.
Previous research has found that fatty acids (omega-3) in fish, EPA, DHA and ALA may lower risk of heart disease by decreasing inflammation, resisting oxidative stress and improving blood pressure, cardiac and blood vessel function, reports the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.
Researchers found that dark fish (salmon, mackerel and bluefish) were associated with a significantly greater risk reduction than either tuna or white fish (sole, snapper and cod).
In a similar analysis, eating fried fish was associated with increased heart failure risk. Even one serving a week was associated with a 48 percent higher heart failure risk.
"Not all fish are equal, and how you prepare it really matters," said senior study author Donald Lloyd-Jones, associate professor in preventive medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago.
"When you fry fish, you not only lose a lot of the benefits, you likely add some things related to the cooking process that are harmful," Lloyd said, according to a Feinberg statement.
Other research has shown that frying increases the trans fatty acid (TFA) content of foods, which is associated with increasing risk for heart disease. In this study, however, the researchers did not find an association between TFA and heart failure risk.
Lloyd-Jones and his team examined self-reported dietary data from 84,493 postmenopausal women in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study.
They conducted their analysis based on data from 1991 through August 2008. During an average follow-up of 10 years, 1,858 cases of heart failure occurred.(IANS)

Online news websites add to social stigma of obesity

 A study has found that online news websites add to the social stigma of obesity.
A new research on obesity from Yale University has suggested that online news outlets stigmatise obese people by excessive use of their negative images in ill-fitting clothes or eating fast food, just to consolidate their stories about obesity.
The researchers looked at 429 news stories about obesity, along with their accompanying photos, published on five major news websites.
Of the photos depicting overweight or obese people, the study found, 72 percent portrayed them "in a negative, stigmatising manner".
There were six criteria used to determine whether a given image was negative or stigmatising, including being shown without a head (59 percent of overweight/obese people).
Being shown from the side or rear angle (40 percent), only showing the abdomen or lower body (52 percent), and being shown without clothes or bare midriff (12 percent).
Other criteria were poorly fitting clothes (6 percent), being shown eating or drinking (8 percent), and being engaged in a sedentary activity (5 percent).
While the researchers did not investigate whether photos accompanying news stories about thin people were treated the same way, another research by Benjamin Radford, deputy editor of the science magazine `Skeptical Inquirer', found that approximately 80 percent of the photos of thin people should also be considered negative or stigmatising.
According to him, the images of thin people are used in the same degrading manner as those of obese individuals.
"Obese people are highly stigmatised in our society in important domains of living, including education, employment, and health care," Discovery News quoted the study as noting.

Diabetics have three to five times higher risk of developing tuberculosis

A recent study has found that diabetics have a three to five times higher risk of developing tuberculosis (TB) than those without the disease.
Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) analyzed 233 patients with TB living in Texas and Mexico along the border to confirm the findings.
"With the increase in diabetes patients in TB-endemic areas, our findings highlight the re-emerging impact of diabetes mellitus, known as type 2, on TB control in regions of the world where both diseases are prevalent," said Blanca Restrepo, associate professor of epidemiology at The University of Texas School of Public Health.
The research suggested that diabetes depresses the immune response, which in turn facilitates infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and/or progression to symptomatic disease.
"This research confirms results from several other studies showing an increased risk of TB in people with diabetes and means that it is important that clinicians actively seek to diagnose diabetes in people with TB, and vice versa," said Knut Lonnroth, medical officer in the Stop TB Department at the World Health Organization.
According to Restrepo, a combined diagnosis of TB and diabetes is becoming more evident in the Hispanic population, but this may also be the case in American Indians and African-Americans.

Frequent moderate alcohol drinking linked to lower risk of fatty liver disease

A large study of men in Japan has shown that the frequency of moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of fatty liver disease.
But there was some suggestion of an increase in fatty liver disease with higher volume of alcohol consumed per day.
Moderate drinkers had lower levels of obesity than did non-drinkers, and both obesity and metabolic abnormalities were positively associated with fatty liver disease.
These findings support the results of a number of other recent studies showing that moderate drinking does not increase the risk of this common type of liver disease; instead, it is associated with a lower risk of its occurrence.
"These results suggest that lifestyle modifications aimed at fighting central obesity and metabolic abnormalities should be the most important recommendations for the management of fatty liver," the authors said.
"In addition, it seems unlikely that the risk of fatty liver can be reduced by the discontinuation and/or reduction of alcohol consumption alone," they stated. (ANI)

Best diet secret- Day long fruit salad meals with fruit snacks

 Want to loose weight in a healthy way? Just eat various varieties of fruits daily.

Co-authors Dian Griesel, and Tom Griesel, of the new book, ‘TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust’ (BSH, 2011) proposed a significant amount of fruit in the diet. They even recommended that sometimes days of just fruit.

“Fruits which are so commonly restricted in most “weight-loss” diets and lacking in most everyday diets are essential for optimal health along with plenty of fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, and animal proteins like meat, fish, eggs and cheese,” said Griesels.

“The plethora of benefits delivered by fruit will continue to be proven in scientific studies.”

Tom said, “As fruits are always lumped into the ‘carb’ category they get a very unfair rap and are too often eliminated from diets. This is convenient for manufacturers, but detrimental to our health and well being. A piece of fruit provides lots of nutrition, easy take-along packaging and natural water.”

“It may take awhile for fruit to regain its rightful position as a healthy, popular food, but its nutrition value cannot be denied,” said Dian.

“Our advice: Take control of your own health. Start eating fruit salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner along with fruit snacks in between! This simple step will help elevate moods, spirits, improve key biomarkers and certainly elevate absorbable nutrient intake,” added Dian.

Fathers-to-be suffer from pregnancy pain too

A quarter of expectant fathers have claimed that they too go through their own nine-month ''pregnancy symptoms' like mothers-to-be.

According to the Pampers study, modern men have become so closely involved with their partner's pregnancy that 23 per cent report emotional and physical changes often associated with women.

The research found they become more emotional, "weepy", and suffer mood swings, nausea and even phantom pregnancy pains.

Fathers-to-be involved in the study also reported cravings for bizarre food combinations.

Experts said, "The strange phenomenon is due to the emotional upheaval men also go through during their partners pregnancy and more of them attending antenatal classes and scans."

"Many fathers-to-be are overwhelmed by the prospect of becoming a father and need support and reassurance during their partner's pregnancy," the Daily Mail quoted Professor Mary Steen, who works as a consultant for Pampers, as saying.

"The expectant mother will always be the main focus during any pregnancy but it is important to recognise how pregnancy can affect the expectant dad," Steen added.

Mushrooms could help fight prostate cancer

Mushroom used in Asia for medicinal purposes vanquished prostate tumour successfully in mice during early trials.

"Polysaccharopeptide (PSP), a compound extracted from the "turkey tail" mushroom, was found to target prostate cancer stem cells and suppress their formation in mice," says a new study conducted by senior research fellow Patrick Ling.

Ling, from the Institute for Biomedical Health and Innovation (IHBI) at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) added that the results could be an important step towards fighting a disease that kills 3,000 Australian men a year, reports the journal Public Library of Science ONE.

"What we wanted to demonstrate was whether that compound could stop the development of prostate tumours in the first place," said Ling, according to a Queensland statement.

"In the past, other inhibitors tested in research trials have been shown to be up to 70 per cent effective, but we're seeing 100 per cent of this tumour prevented from developing with PSP. Importantly, we did not see any side effects from the treatment."

Ling said, "Conventional therapies were only effective in targeting certain cancer cells, not cancer stem cells, which initiated cancer and caused the disease to progress."

During the research trial, in collaboration with the University of Hong Kong and Provital Pty Ltd, transgenic mice that developed prostate tumours were fed PSP for 20 weeks.

Ling said, "No tumours were found in any of the mice fed PSP, whereas mice not given the treatment developed prostate tumours". He said, "The research suggested that PSP treatment could completely inhibit prostate tumour formation." 

Childhood Cancer Therapies Tied to Gastrointestinal Issues

Children who are successfully treated for cancer are at greater risk of developing mild to severe gastrointestinal problems down the road, a new study finds.
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco analyzed the self-reported gastrointestinal (GI) problems of 14,358 patients who survived at least five years following treatment for cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia, brain tumors or bone tumors.
More than 40 percent experienced some type of GI problem -- including ulcers, esophageal disease, indigestion, polyps, chronic diarrhea, colitis, gallstones and jaundice -- within two decades of their treatment, the investigators found.
Moreover, people diagnosed with cancer at an older age and who had to undergo more rigorous therapy (chemotherapy, radiation, surgery) were more likely to experience long-term GI issues, according to the study in the May issue of Gastroenterology.
About one in 500 young adults in the United States is a survivor of childhood cancer, the study authors noted in a UCSF news release.
"While physicians continue to learn about the long-term consequences of pediatric cancer and its therapy, it is essential that we provide comprehensive follow-up care that appropriately addresses the complications cancer survivors may experience," lead study author Dr. Robert Goldsby, pediatric cancer specialist at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and director of the UCSF Survivors of Childhood Cancer Program, said in the news release.
"These are serious issues that can have a real impact on a person's quality of life,"