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Category: General Health (Page 1 of 11)

Consuming low-calorie sweeteners at the same time as carbohydrates impacts the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar

Nature »

Sugar substitutes make people feel they can indulge in a sweet treat or a soft drink without the calories. But research suggests that consuming low-calorie sweeteners at the same time as carbohydrates prevents the body from using blood sugar effectively, increasing the risk of health problems.

Dana Small at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and her colleagues asked 60 healthy people to consume 7 beverages of a single type over 2 weeks. The beverages contained either sugar, the low-calorie sweetener sucralose, a non-sweetening carbohydrate or both sucralose and the carbohydrate.

Scientists have cured diabetes in mice for the first time

According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 34 million Americans have diabetes. That’s equal to 10% of the population in the USA. To date the most common treatment has been to manage the disease with diet and insulin shots, when requred.

Further research is required, however this new research could lead to a cure in humans.

Rishabh Jain, International Business Times »

Researchers at the Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri were able to cure diabetes in mice by infusing them with stem cells.

Diabetes affects the ability of the body of producing and managing insulin, which is normally produced by the pancreas. When this happens, body insulin levels need to be monitored regularly and expensive insulin shots need to be administered if blood sugar levels shoot up. According to the researchers, the findings provide a much reliable alternative— using beta cells to generate insulin for diabetics.

The treatment works using pluripotent stem cells. These cells can actually shape-shift into becoming any kind of cells in the body. However, the process is not perfect. The cells can also morph into other types of cells. The cells are harmless but do affect the ratio of the insulin-producing cells, affecting the efficacy of the treatment.

Over 40% of American adults are obese. Nearly 1 in 10 are morbidly obese.

More than 4 in 10 Americans are now obese.

Key findings from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study »

  • In 2017–2018, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity in adults was 42.4%, and there were no significant differences between men and women among all adults or by age group.
  • The age-adjusted prevalence of severe obesity in adults was 9.2% and was higher in women than in men.
  • Among adults, the prevalence of both obesity and severe obesity was highest in non-Hispanic black adults compared with other race and Hispanic-origin groups.
  • The prevalence of severe obesity was highest among adults aged 40–59 compared with other age groups.
  • From 1999–2000 through 2017–2018, the prevalence of both obesity and severe obesity increased among adults.

This research corresponds to earlier studies that suggest half of adult Americans will be obese within 10 years.

More » Associated Press

JP Morgan economists warn climate crisis is threat to human race

Patrick Greenfield and Jonathan Watts, The Guardian »

The JP Morgan report on the economic risks of human-caused global heating said climate policy had to change or else the world faced irreversible consequences.

The study implicitly condemns the US bank’s own investment strategy and highlights growing concerns among major Wall Street institutions about the financial and reputational risks of continued funding of carbon-intensive industries, such as oil and gas.

JP Morgan has provided $75bn (£61bn) in financial services to the companies most aggressively expanding in sectors such as fracking and Arctic oil and gas exploration since the Paris agreement, according to analysis compiled for the Guardian last year.

Five ways hiking is good for you

  1. Hiking keeps your mind sharper than many other forms of exercise
  2. Hiking helps to keep you calm and happy
  3. Hiking helps your relationships
  4. Hiking can increase our creativity
  5. Hiking helps cement a positive relationship with the natural world

Jill Suttie, Greater Good Magazine »

The experience of hiking is unique, research suggests, conveying benefits beyond what you receive from typical exercise. Not only does it oxygenate your heart, it helps keep your mind sharper, your body calmer, your creativity more alive, and your relationships happier. And, if you’re like me and happen to live in a place where nearby woods allow for hiking among trees, all the better: Evidence suggests that being around trees may provide extra benefits, perhaps because of certain organic compounds that trees exude that boost our mood and our overall psychological well-being.

Hiking in nature is so powerful for our health and well-being that some doctors have begun prescribing it as an adjunct to other treatments for disease. As one group of researchers puts it, “The synergistic effect of physical activity and time spent in nature make hiking an ideal activity to increase overall health and wellness.”

Read the whole article to read more about the science behind the benefits of hiking.

Infants exposed to cleaning products are more likely to develop asthma later in life

Ben Cousins, CTV News »

The study, published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, used the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Cohort Study to determine the levels of cleaning product exposure for 2,022 Canadian infants in the first three months of their lives..

The researchers then assessed the children at the age of three to determine if they had developed asthma, wheeze or allergies. The researchers found an association between early exposure to cleaning products and a risk of asthma and wheeze, though there appears to be no such connection to allergies.

We need sleep to keep our brains healthy and guard against cognitive decline

Brain & Life »

How well we sleep impacts how we think and feel, as well as our alertness, memory, and concentration. “Sleep quality and quantity are directly related to the health of the brain,” says Beth A. Malow, MD, MS, FAAN, professor of neurology and director of the sleep disorders division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Several studies have demonstrated an association between sleep disturbances such as insomnia, fragmented sleep, sleep apnea, and even excessive napping and an increased risk of cognitive decline over time, says Brendan P. Lucey, MD, assistant professor of neurology and director of the sleep medicine section at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

In 2009, a series of studies on mice conducted at Washington University were among the first to suggest that chronically sleep-deprived subjects develop higher levels of harmful amyloid beta and tau proteins—considered, along with neurofibrillary tangles, to be hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. “Think of tau and amyloid as the waste produced by typical nerve function,” says Charlene Gamaldo, MD, FAAN, associate professor of neurology and medical director of the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center. “Normally, the brain clears these metabolic waste products away.”

And it may clear away these proteins during sleep, according to a landmark 2013 rodent study in Science by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center, who showed that during deep sleep, when neural activity quiets down, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) bathes the brain, washing away excess amyloid beta and tau proteins. A more recent study, published in the November 2019 issue of iScience, provided further insight into CSF’s function. MRI scans taken while subjects were sleeping showed that during deep sleep, blood flow in the brain diminished as pulsing waves of CSF flushed out excess amyloid beta and tau, presumably girding the brain against cognitive decline. So while it has been known that sleep has some value for survival, these reports seem to put sleep front and center in terms of protecting us from cognitive decline.

Read the whole article to learn why and how to get adequate sleep »

WHO Video » When to use masks to prevent the Wuhan Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infections

The World Health Organization has put together a quick video that helps dispel some of the myths about wearing masks to prevent contracting the new coronavirus.

It’s important to note the seasonal flu claims between 290,000 and 650,000 lives annually. Yet this garners little media attention and so the general public considers the seasonal flu only a mild infection. As I write this, less than 900 people have died as a result of contracting the Coronavirus.

As fears and misconceptions spread online, the World Health Organization (WHO) has started a campaign to educate people on the new coronavirus.

Taking vitamin supplements during chemotherapy for cancer could be counterproductive

CBC »

Researchers at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, N.Y., followed 1,134 breast cancer patients. The six-year study was part of a Phase 3 clinical trial to determine the best dose and schedule for three chemotherapy drugs in high-risk, early-stage breast cancer.

As part of the research, participants filled in surveys about their use of supplements before and during chemotherapy, as well as their lifestyle, diet and exercise habits.

Among the 18 per cent who took vitamins like A, C or E, all of which are antioxidants, their risk of the cancer returning was 40 per cent higher than the participants who didn’t take supplements.

Lab-grown heart muscle has been transplanted into a human for the first time

Researchers hope this procedure becomes a much-needed alternative to heart transplants.

Japan Times »

In the clinical project to verify the safety and efficacy of the therapy using induced pluripotent stem cells, Yoshiki Sawa, a professor in the university’s cardiovascular surgery unit, and colleagues aim to transplant heart muscle cell sheets over the course of three years into 10 patients suffering from serious heart malfunction caused by ischemic cardiomyopathy.

As part of its first step in the project, the team conducted an operation on a patient this month, which was a success. The patient has since moved to the general ward at a hospital.

The cells on the degradable sheets attached to the surface of the patients’ hearts are expected to grow and secrete a protein that can regenerate blood vessels and improve cardiac function. The iPS cells have already been derived from healthy donors’ blood cells and stored.

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