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Category: General Health (page 1 of 7)

Are pets really good for us?

Jules Howard, writing in The Guardian »

The good news, at face value, is this: if you are looking for proof that having a pet improves your general health, the evidence abounds. For instance, there is plenty about how a bout of pet-stroking can lower your heart rate (and the pet’s), easing your body into a less stressed condition. This seems to apply across the spectrum, from dogs and cats to snakes and goats. And there’s more. There’s evidence from Germany and Australia (sample size: 10,000) that pet-owners make fewer visits to the doctor and, from China, that pet-owners sleep more soundly than those who aren’t. Just last week, the American Heart Association reported that the survival prospects for people who have had heart attacks and strokes are better in dog-owners than in those who are not.

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If we were able to put all these pros and cons into a melting pot and come up with a definitive answer to the question of whether or not pets are good for us, what would the answer be? The answer would be … complicated. Because humans and our circumstances are so universally mixed up and complex. The simple truth is that having a pet has good and bad sides, and it may not be for everyone. Which means we have a duty to think carefully before acquiring one. We need to imagine the good times we might have with a pet and to consider the bad times, too: the insecurity, the grumpiness in old age, the infirmity.

Read the whole article at The Guardian »

Providing essential medicines free to those how can least afford it, significantly improves their health

Kas Roussy and Marcy Cuttler, writing for CBC »

In Monday’s issue of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, Persaud and his team reported giving medications free resulted in 11.6 per cent better adherence to treatment.

The researchers monitored patients taking medications for high blood pressure and blood glucose in diabetes, as well as antiretrovirals for HIV, antipsychotics, antibiotics and analgesics.

More people who received drugs free took the essential medications as prescribed (151 of 395 or 38.2 per cent) compared with those in the group with usual access to medicine (104 of 391 or 26.6 per cent).

Read more at CBC »

Drinking fruit juice tied to increased diabetes risk

The research suggests it is healthier to consume coffee, tea, or water.

Lisa Rapaport, writing for Reuters »

After accounting for how much people weighed and their overall eating patterns, researchers found that those who increased their total consumption of sugary drinks by a half serving a day over four years were 16% more likely to develop diabetes over the next four-year period. With the same daily half-serving increase in artificially-sweetened drinks, the odds went up 18%.

Even though consumption of 100% fruit juices has been considered a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages because of the vitamins and minerals in fruit juices, they typically contain similar amounts of sugar and calories as sugar-sweetened beverages,” said Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier, lead author of the study and a nutrition researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

The study results “raise concerns about the negative health effects of sugary beverages, regardless of whether the sugar is added or naturally occurring,” Drouin-Chartier said by email.

Telegraph » An extra half glass of fruit juice a day could sharply increase diabetes risk

Drinking an extra half a glass of fruit juice a day could increase the risk of diabetes by 15 per cent, research by Harvard University suggests.

The study of more than 190,000 men and women found all types of sugary soft drink were linked to a raised chance of developing type two diabetes.

Bur fruit juice appeared to carry significantly higher risks than drinks with added sugar, which appeared to increase the chance of diabetes by 9 per cent.

Diabetes U.K. » Fruit juice and diet drinks linked with increased type 2 diabetes risk

The findings showed that each half-serving increase in consumption of sugary drinks (including fruit juice) was associated with a 16% increase in risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the next four years.

The related increase in risk of type 2 diabetes, over the same time-period, for each half-serving increase in consumption of artificially sweetened beverages was 18%.

The substitution of one daily serving of a sugary drink with water, coffee or tea was associated with between a 2 and 10% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

First author Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, said: “The study provides further evidence demonstrating the health benefits associated with decreasing sugary beverage consumption and replacing these drinks with healthier alternatives like water, coffee, or tea.”

More » American Diabetes Association

‘Unacceptable level’ of cancer-causing agents in popular heartburn meds such as Zantac (Updated Oct 8)

Updated October 8 » GlaxoSmithKline recalls the prescription heartburn medicine Zantac in all markets

Saumya Joseph, writing for Reuters »

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday it found “unacceptable levels” of a cancer-causing impurity in the popular heartburn drug Zantac and its generic versions known chemically as ranitidine.

Read more »

While e-smokes company Juul suspends advertising in the USA, it’s business as usual in Canada

Juul is suspending all print, broadcast, and digital advertising of it’s popular e-cigarettes in the USA after coming under increase pressure from legislators and the public after a large number of deaths have reportedly been connected to the ‘safer’ smoking alternative.

However, the company is not offering the same consideration to Canadians. It’s business as usual and there does not appear to be any plans to change strategies.

Pete Evans at the CBC News writes »

“Juul Labs is a global company, and this announcement impacts the U.S. only,” a spokesperson for the company told CBC News on Wednesday.

The company advertises in Canada through various means, and has employed lobbyists to meet with politicians to try to influence policy numerous times in the past year, according to the federal registry of officially recognized lobbyists.

The company did not immediately reply to a request for comment from CBC News as to why it saw fit to change the way it does business in the U.S., but not in Canada. The company did say, however, that it complies with all “Canadian regulations, and the company is intentionally conservative in its flavour selection, expansion and naming, to avoid the risk of youth appeal.”

Read more at the CBC »

Low-income seniors live a better, healthier life if they live in affluent rural areas

A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that where low-income people live plays a key role in their health. Stanford Health Policy’s Maria Polyakova, PhD, and Lynn Hua, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, found that older, low-income Americans tend to be healthier if they live in more affluent areas of the country.

Not only are they healthier, but their physical well-being is better across the board with a lower prevalence of dozens of chronic conditions, particularly if they live in rural communities. This, despite their income having less purchasing power in those better-resourced neighborhoods.

» Read more from Beth Duff-Brown at Stanford Medicine…

An increasing number of respiratory illnesses have been linked to e-cigarettes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is asking American vape-users to watch for symptoms such as coughing, chest pain, or shortness of breath

Update » Sept 6, 2019 » Another Patient Has Died From Lung Disease After Vaping » NY Times

Originally published Aug 31, 2019

Results of a recent study suggest lifestyle choices plays a greater role than genetics in most cases of premature heart disease

The study, which was presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2019, found evidence that physical inactivity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol play a greater role than genetics for most patients under 50 with coronary artery disease (CAD).

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 “Our study provides strong evidence that people with a family history of premature heart disease should adopt healthy lifestyles, since their poor behaviors may be a greater contributor to heart disease than their genetics,” Sousa explained. “That means quit smoking, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and get blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked.”

» Read More at MD Mag…

Dog owners fitter, slimmer and healthier

Rachael Turner, writing for Country Life »

Research published by Mayo Clinic has found keeping a pet is associated with better cardiovascular health, especially if that animal is a dog.

The study examined the association of pet ownership with cardiovascular disease risk factors.

‘In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal level,’ said researcher Andrea Maugeri. ‘The greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who owned a dog, independent of their age, sex and education level.’

Read more at Country Life »

Increased Physical Activity May Protect Against Cognitive Decline and Ward Off Alzheimer’s Onset

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have found that higher levels of daily physical activity may protect against cognitive decline and brain tissue loss in adults who are believed to be at greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The best results were found among the research participants who took more than 8,900 steps per day.

Traci Pedersen, writing in PsychCentral:

“One of the most striking findings from our study was that greater physical activity not only appeared to have positive effects on slowing cognitive decline, but also on slowing the rate of brain tissue loss over time in normal people who had high levels of amyloid plaque in the brain,” said Jasmeer Chhatwal, M.D., Ph.D. of the MGH Department of Neurology, and corresponding author of the study.

The results suggest that physical activity might reduce b-amyloid (Ab)-related cortical thinning and preserve gray matter structure in regions of the brain that have been associated with episodic memory loss and Alzheimer’s-related neurodegeneration.

The underlying processes of Alzheimer’s disease can begin decades before clinical symptoms appear and is characterized by early accumulation of b-amyloid protein.

The new study is among the first to demonstrate the protective effects of physical activity and vascular risk management in the preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease, while there is an opportunity to intervene prior to the onset of substantial neuronal loss and clinical impairment.

“Because there are currently no disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, there is a critical need to identify potential risk-altering factors that might delay progression of the disease,” Chhatwal said.

The new research published in the journal JAMA Neurology.

Read More…

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