Health News

Salt’s real role in high blood pressure revealed

Salt’s real role in high blood pressure revealed Washington, Jan 14 : Researchers have debunked the widely-believed concept that hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the result of excess salt causing an increased blood volume, exerting extra pressure on the arteries.

Their research found that excess salt stimulates the sympathetic nervous system to produce adrenalin, causing artery constriction and hypertension.

The research was led by Irene Gavras, MD, and Haralambos Gavras, MD, both professors of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.


Discrimination may harm your health

Discrimination may harm your health Washington, Jan 13 : Racial discrimination may be harmful to one's health, a new study has suggested.

In the study, conducted by Jenifer Bratter and Bridget Gorman from Rice University, the authors examined data containing measures of social class, race and perceived discriminatory behaviour and found that approximately 18 percent of blacks and 4 percent of whites reported higher levels of emotional upset and/or physical symptoms due to race-based treatment.

"Discriminatory behaviour very well may be a `missing link' in the analysis of racial and ethnic health disparities," Bratter said.


Love fatty foods? Blame your taste buds

Love fatty foods? Blame your taste budsWashington, Jan 13 : Our taste buds can recognize fat and some people may even have a preference for it due to variation in genes that can make certain persons more or less receptive to the taste of fat in foods.

These findings were made in a study by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Investigators found that people with a particular variant of the CD36 gene are far more sensitive to the presence of fat than others.


Educating women about heart attacks may save lives

Educating women about heart attacks may save lives Washington, Jan 13 : Educating women about heart attack symptoms and early warning signs of the disease may shorten the time to treatment and eventually cut risk of risk of death or grave disability, researchers say.

Women often do not have the same kind of chest pains that men generally experience during a heart attack. They may also have a range of other symptoms, not all of them easy for the typical sufferer to identify and so in many cases, they tend to just ignore the warning signs.


Genes behind common muscular disease identified

 Genes behind common muscular disease identified Washington, Jan 13 : Researchers have now identified the genes and proteins, which damage muscle cells, as well as the mechanisms that can cause a common form of muscular dystrophy.

The discovery made by an international team of researchers led by a scientist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center could lead to a biomarker-based test for diagnosing facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), and the findings have implications for developing future treatments as well as for cancer immunotherapies in general.

The work established a viable roadmap for how the expression of the DUX4 gene can cause FSHD.


Well-informed people stick to healthier eating patterns

Well-informed people stick to healthier eating patterns Washington, Jan 13 : The more people are informed by newspapers, television and the Internet, the more they stick to the Mediterranean diet, which is the healthiest eating pattern in the world, a new study has found.

The study conducted by the Research Laboratories at the Fondazione di Ricerca e Cura "Giovanni Paolo II" in Campobasso which analysed data from a sample of more than 1,000 people from the largest Moli-sani Project, the epidemiological study that recruited 25,000 subjects in Molise, a southern region of Italy.


Protein that could halt progress of parasite-borne illnesses identified

Protein that could halt progress of parasite-borne illnesses identifiedWashington, Jan 13 : Scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have discovered a protein that plays a pivotal role in the progression of deadly diseases and have shown that its function could be genetically blocked in order to halt the progress of parasite-borne illnesses.

The protein, identified by researchers from Boston College as DOC2.1, plays a similar role in the secretion of microneme organelles that are crucial to the mobility of the parasitic protozoa Toxoplasma gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis, and Plasmodium falciparum, which causes malaria.


Types and levels of gut bacteria may predict heart attack risk

Types and levels of gut bacteria may predict heart attack riskWashington, Jan 13 : The types and levels of bacteria in the intestines may be used to predict a person's likelihood of having a heart attack, and that manipulating these organisms may help reduce heart attack risk.

This discovery may lead to new diagnostic tests and therapies that physicians use to prevent and treat heart attacks.

In addition, this research suggests that probiotics may be able to protect the heart in patients undergoing heart surgery and angioplasty.


Iron intake during adolescence impacts brain in later life

Iron intake during adolescence impacts brain in later life Washington, Jan 13 : Lack of iron intake during one's teen years can impact the physical structure of the brain in later life, a new study has found.

Iron is a popular topic in health news and doctors prescribe it for medical reasons, and it's available over the counter as a dietary supplement.

While it's known that too little iron can result in cognitive problems, it's also known that too much promotes neurodegenerative diseases.

Paul Thompson and his colleagues from the University of California, Los Angeles, measured levels of transferrin, a protein that transports iron throughout the body and brain, in adolescents.


Brain routes traffic to maximise alertness

Brain routes traffic to maximise alertness Washington, Jan 13 : Scientists have thrown light on how the brain reconfigures its connections to minimize distractions and take best advantage of our knowledge of situations.

"In order to behave efficiently, you want to process relevant sensory information as fast as possible, but relevance is determined by your current situation," said Joy Geng, assistant professor of psychology at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain.

For example, a flashing road sign alerts us to traffic merging ahead; or a startled animal might cue you to look out for a hidden predator.


Chlorophyll helps prevent cancer but can also make problem worse

Chlorophyll helps prevent cancer but can also make problem worse Washington, Jan 13 : In a new study, chlorophyll in green vegetables was found to offer protection against cancer when tested against the modest carcinogen exposure levels most likely to be found in the environment, but it actually increases the number of tumours at very high carcinogen exposure levels.

Beyond confirming the value of chlorophyll, the study at Oregon State University raises serious questions about whether traditional lab studies done with mice and high levels of toxic exposure are providing accurate answers to what is a real health risk, what isn't, and what dietary or pharmaceutical approaches are useful.


Grapes may help stave off age-related visual degeneration

Grapes may help stave off age-related visual degeneration Washington, Jan 13 : Grapes provide more antioxidant protection for the eyes and may help prevent the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a new study has found.

The study compared the impact of an antioxidant-rich diet on vision using mice prone to developing retinal damage in old age in much the same way as humans do. Mice either received a grape-enriched diet, a diet with added lutein, or a normal diet.


Light treatment has therapeutic effects on Alzheimer’s patients

Light treatment has therapeutic effects on Alzheimer’s patients Washington, Jan 12 : In a new study, Alzheimer's disease patients treated with blue-green light were perceived by their caregivers as having improved global functioning.

Caregivers said patients receiving the treatment seemed more awake and alert, were more verbally competent and showed improved recognition, recollection and motor coordination, reported LuAnn Nowak Etcher, Ph. D., assistant professor of nursing at Wayne State University.

They also said patients seemed to recapture their personalities and were more engaged with their environment. Patients' moods also were described as improved.


Light treatment has therapeutic effects on Alzheimer’s patients

Light treatment has therapeutic effects on Alzheimer’s patientsWashington, Jan 12 : In a new study, Alzheimer's disease patients treated with blue-green light were perceived by their caregivers as having improved global functioning.

Caregivers said patients receiving the treatment seemed more awake and alert, were more verbally competent and showed improved recognition, recollection and motor coordination, reported LuAnn Nowak Etcher, Ph. D., assistant professor of nursing at Wayne State University.

They also said patients seemed to recapture their personalities and were more engaged with their environment. Patients' moods also were described as improved.


Physical exercise cuts heart attack risk while car and TV increases it

 Physical exercise cuts heart attack risk while car and TV increases it Washington, Jan 11 : Physical activity during work and leisure time significantly lowers the risk of heart attacks, while ownership of a car and television is linked to an increased risk, particularly in low and middle-income countries, a worldwide study has shown.

The findings come from the INTERHEART study, a case-control study of over 29,000 people from 262 centres in 52 countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, North and South America.


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