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  1. 1 point
    Healthy habits 'deliver extra disease-free decade' Women can gain 10 and men seven years of life free of cancer, heart problems and type-2 diabetes from a healthy lifestyle, a study in the BMJ suggests. They must exercise regularly, drink in moderation only, have a healthy weight and good diet and not smoke. The US research is based on 111,000 people tracked for more than 20 years. Lead author Dr Frank Hu, of Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston, said the study had "a positive message for the public". "They gain not just more years of life but good years through improved lifestyle choices." What is a healthy lifestyle? At the age of 50, study participants were asked if they met at least four of these five criteria: never smoking a healthy, balanced diet 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity every day a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9 no more alcohol than a small glass of wine a day for women and a pint of beer for men Women who said they met four out of five lived an average of another 34 years free of cancer, cardiovascular disease (such as heart attack and stroke) and type-2 diabetes - more than 10 years longer than those who did not. For healthy men, it meant another 31 years of disease-free life - more than seven years extra than unhealthy men could expect. Why the difference between women and men? It may be linkMen who smoked more than 15 cigarettes a day and obese men and women (with a BMI of more than 30) had the lowest disease-free life expectancy, the study found. But some things were true for both sexes - not only did a healthy lifestyle reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes, it also improved survival if men and women were diagnosed with any of the diseases. "The benefits add up for men and women," Dr Hu said. Why focus on these diseases? Cancer, cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes are three of the most common diseases in old age. They are also closely linked to people's lifestyles. Being obese or overweight, for example, is thought to be linked to 13 different types of cancers, including breast, bowel, kidney, liver and oesophagus. ed to the fact women live longer than men on average. Cancer Research UK has calculated that four in 10 cancers can be prevented by people changing aspects of their lifestyle, such as cutting down on processed meat, eating more fibre in their diet and protecting their skin in the sun. Could other factors play a role? This was a large, observational study, so it can't conclude these lifestyle factors were directly responsible for extending life free of disease. It did try to account for other factors, however, such as family medical history, ethnic background and age, which could have had an impact on the results. The research team also had to rely on people giving them information on their food intake, their exercise habits and even their height and weight, which is not always accurate. Most of the participants in the study, involving more than 73,000 women and 38,000 men, were white health professionals. https://www.bbc.com/news/health kalip
  2. 1 point
    Running your first marathon ‘makes you four years younger’ in heart health Running a marathon for the first time can reverse key markers of ageing by four years, a British study has found. The research on novice runners who tackled the London Marathon found they experienced a significant reduction in artery stiffness and blood pressure – cutting their chance of heart attacks and strokes. Scientists said the changes were equivalent to a four year reduction in vascular age. The greatest benefits were seen among those who were older, male and slower runners. Researchers from University College London and Barts Health NHS Trust tracked 138 healthy people who ran the London Marathon for the first time in 2016 or 2017, Participants had been running for less than two hours a week before they began training, mostly following a beginner’s plan consisting of around three runs a week. After six months of training, scans found major improvements in their blood pressure and arterial stiffness. On average systolic and diastolic blood pressure dropped by 4mmHg and 3mmHg respectively. Stiffness of the arteries indicates damage to the blood vessels, and is a key predictor of heart and circulatory problems in later life. Arteries normally stiffen with age, but experts said exercise could reverse or limit the damage. Among participants, some measures of arterial flexibility increased by nine per cent. The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, only included healthy participants. Experts said even more benefit might be seen in those with higher blood pressure and stiffer arteries. Lead researcher Dr Charlotte Manisty said:“Our study shows it is possible to reverse the consequences of aging on our blood vessels with real-world exercise in just six months. “These benefits were observed in overall healthy individuals across a broad age range and their marathon times are suggestive of achievable exercise training in novice participants.” The average running time for those in the group was 5.4 hours for women and 4.5 hours for men. Expert said this suggested a training schedule of six to 13 miles per week. Dr Manisty said signing up for a major health challenge could be a good way to make significant changes in health. “Making a goal-oriented exercise training recommendation – such as signing up for a marathon or fun-run – may be a good motivator for our patients to keep active. “Our study highlights the importance of lifestyle modifications to slow the risks associated with aging, especially as it appears to never be too late as evidenced by our older, slower runners.” NHS guidance says all adults should get 150 minutes of exercise each week – such as a 30 minute brisk walk five times a week. Commenting on the British Heart Foundation-funded study, its Associate Medical Director Professor Metin Avkiran said: “The benefits of exercise are undeniable. Keeping active reduces your risk of having a heart attack or stroke and cuts your chances of an early death. “As the old mantra goes, if exercise were a pill it would be hailed as a wonder drug. “Setting yourself a goal – such as training for a marathon – is a great way to stay motivated and follow through on your New Year health resolutions. “But you don’t need to train for a marathon to reap the benefits. More is usually better, but every bit counts.” https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/ kalip
  3. 1 point
    AI 'outperforms' doctors diagnosing breast cancer Artificial intelligence is more accurate than doctors in diagnosing breast cancer from mammograms, a study in the journal Nature suggests. An international team, including researchers from Google Health and Imperial College London, designed and trained a computer model on X-ray images from nearly 29,000 women. The algorithm outperformed six radiologists in reading mammograms. AI was still as good as two doctors working together. Unlike humans, AI is tireless. Experts say it could improve detection. How good is it? The current system in the NHS uses two radiologists to analyse each woman's X-rays. In rare cases where they disagree, a third doctor assesses the images. In the research study, an AI model was given anonymised images, so that the women could not be identified. Unlike the human experts, who had access to the patient's history, AI had only the mammograms to go on. The results showed that the AI model was as good as the current double-reading system of two doctors. And it was actually superior at spotting cancer than a single doctor. Compared to one radiologist, there was a reduction of 1.2% in false positives, when a mammogram is incorrectly diagnosed as abnormal. There was also a reduction of 2.7% in false negatives, where a cancer is missed. Dominic King from Google Health said: "Our team is really proud of these research findings, which suggest that we are on our way to developing a tool that can help clinicians spot breast cancer with greater accuracy." Most of the mammograms came from Cancer Research UK's OPTIMAM dataset collected from St George's Hospital London, the Jarvis Breast Centre in Guildford and Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge. It takes over a decade of training as a doctor and specialist to become a radiologist, capable of interpreting mammograms. Reading X-rays is vital but time-consuming work, and there is an estimated shortage of more than 1,000 radiologists across the UK. Will AI take over from humans? No. It took humans to design and train the artificial intelligence model. This was a research study, and as yet the AI system has not been let loose in the clinic. Even when it is, at least one radiologist would remain in charge of diagnosis. But AI could largely do away with the need for dual reading of mammograms by two doctors, easing pressure on their workload, say researchers. Prof Ara Darzi, report co-author and director of the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Imperial Centre, told the BBC: "This went far beyond my expectations. It will have a significant impact on improving the quality of reporting, and also free up radiologists to do even more important things." Women aged between 50 and 70 are invited for NHS breast screening every three years - those who are older can ask to be screened. The use of AI could eventually speed up diagnosis, as images can be analysed within seconds by the computer algorithm. Sara Hiom, director of cancer intelligence and early diagnosis at CRUK, told the BBC: "This is promising early research which suggests that in future it may be possible to make screening more accurate and efficient, which means less waiting and worrying for patients, and better outcomes." Helen Edwards, from Surrey, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 44, before she was eligible for screening. She required surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but has been cancer-free for more than a decade. She was a patient representative on the CRUK panel which had to decide whether to grant Google Health permission to use the anonymised breast cancer data. Helen told the BBC: "Initially I was a bit concerned about what Google might do with the data, but it is stripped of all identifiers. "In the long term this can only benefit women. "Artificial intelligence machines don't get tired... they can work 24/7 whereas a human being can't do that, so to combine the two is a great idea." https://www.bbc.com/news/health kalip
  4. 1 point
    Carbohydrates and Cholesterol Levels Not all carbohydrates are equal -- especially when it comes to their effect on cholesterol. Some carbohydrates raise cholesterol, while others lower it. You find carbohydrates in breads, cereals, grains, milk, yogurt, fruits, vegetables, and foods that contain added sugars. All carbs are converted into glucose -- which is also known as blood sugar -- in the body and carbs can be used immediately for energy or stored for later use. Research suggests that the quantity and type of carbohydrates consumed can affect cholesterol. Cholesterol and Triglycerides Cholesterol is in the fats in your blood. High cholesterol is the build-up of these fats, which can lead to heart disease or stroke. Two types of cholesterol exist: LDL, which is also known as low-density lipoprotein and HDL, which is also known as high-density lipoprotein. LDL is the "bad" cholesterol, because it causes a build-up of plaque in the arteries. HDL is the "good" cholesterol, because it helps the body get rid of excess LDL in the blood by carrying it away from the organs to the liver, so that it can be removed. Triglycerides are another type of fat found in the blood, and high triglyceride levels also increase the risk for heart disease. Research on Carbs and Cholesterol Carbohydrate consumption from refined carbohydrates that are high in sugar and low in fibre such as cookies and cakes, is associated with lower levels of HDL and higher levels of LDL and triglycerides, which is associated with an increased risk for heart disease. Very high carbohydrate intakes of more than 60 percent of total calories -- along with excess sugar consumption -- are associated with an increase in triglycerides, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. A 2005 OmniHeart study by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions compared three diets that emphasised either protein, monounsaturated fat or carbohydrate and found that the protein and monounsaturated fat diets were more effective in reducing the risk factors for heart disease than the high-carbohydrate diet. Breaking Down the Carbohydrates A food's glycaemic index -- which is how fast it increases blood sugar -- may affect your cholesterol. The glycaemic index of a food depends upon a handful of factors, including the type of starch, fibre content and fat content of that food. For example, a refined or processed food such as white bread, has a higher glycaemic index than whole-wheat bread. Additionally, ripe foods tend to have more sugar, while lower fat foods digest faster and cause blood sugar to rise more rapidly, causing them to have a higher glycaemic index. In general, whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables are not only healthy but also have a low glycaemic index. Women who eat a high-glycaemic index diet are more than twice as likely to develop heart disease, according to a 2010 study published in the "Archives of Internal Medicine." Soluble fibre Plays a Role Although refined carbohydrates may raise your cholesterol, healthier carbohydrates with whole grains and fibre can help lower your cholesterol. The beneficial effects of a low-glycaemic diet that contains whole grains may because of its high-fibre content. In particular, soluble fibre has been shown to block cholesterol and fats from absorption, thus lowering the LDL cholesterol. Foods high in soluble fibre include kidney beans, oatmeal, barley, pears, apples and prunes. Aim for five to 10 grams of soluble fibre each day to lower your total cholesterol and your LDL cholesterol. For example, it is possible to meet this goal if you have half a cup of oatmeal for breakfast, half a cup of kidney beans for lunch, one apple for a snack and one medium artichoke with dinner. The Takeaway To improve your cholesterol, eat only a moderate amount of carbohydrates. Everyone has individual requirements, but it can be helpful to have less than 60 percent of your calories come from carbohydrates. Choose carbohydrates that have whole grains, are high in fibre and low in sugar, and include fruits and vegetables. Try replacing unhealthy, high-glycaemic carbohydrates -- such as chips or cookies -- with either whole grains or healthy fats, such as nuts or guacamole. https://www.livestrong.com/ kalip
  5. 1 point
    Cholesterol levels in young adults can predict heart disease risk A recent study investigates the relationship between cholesterol levels in young adulthood and cardiovascular risk in later life — with interesting recommendations for further research. Research has already well documented that high cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, and stroke, the fifth leading cause of death. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that the liver and foods we eat, such as eggs, cheese, and certain meat products produce. Cholesterol is necessary for the body to function. However, too much "bad" cholesterol, which is also called low-density lipoprotein (LDL), can clog the arteries with a fatty build-up, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, or peripheral artery disease. Scientists have also linked high total cholesterol to overweight, lack of exercise, smoking, and alcohol consumption. More than 12% of adults in the U.S. aged 20 years and over have total cholesterol levels above 240 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dl), which doctors consider high. Of children and adolescents aged 6–19 years, some 7% have high total cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is "good" cholesterol and helps to sweep LDL from the arteries back to the liver, which removes it from the body. A long look at lipids A new, comprehensive study, appearing in The Lancet, follows almost 400,000 people in 19 countries for up to 43.5 years (1970–2013). The findings shine a spotlight on the link between bad cholesterol (non-HDL) levels in people under 45 years of age and the long-term risk of heart disease and stroke. Set apart from previous studies, this observational and modelling study, which looked at individual level data, suggests that elevated non-HDL cholesterol levels at a younger age can predict cardiovascular risk at 75 years of age. The study used data from 38 studies carried out in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. Of the nearly 400,000 individuals that the study followed, none had cardiovascular disease at the start. The scientists tracked the participants over decades and took details of any heart disease event, fatal or otherwise, or stroke. In total, there were 54,542 incidents of heart disease, fatal or non-fatal, and stroke. When researchers analysed the data for all age groups and both sexes, they saw that the risk of heart disease or stroke dropped continuously as non-HDL levels dropped. In fact, those with the lowest non-HDL levels, — which the scientists defined as 2.6 millimoles (mmol) non-HDL cholesterol per litre — had the least risk. The highest long-term risks of heart and artery disease were in those younger than 45 years old. "This increased risk in younger people could be due to the longer exposure to harmful lipids in the blood," says Prof. Barbara Thorand, of the German Research Centre for Environmental Health in Neuherberg. Study suggests early intervention vital The study confirmed that the level of non-HDL and HDL cholesterol in the blood played a significant part in predicting the risk of cardiovascular disease over time. Researchers used data to create a model for people aged 35–70 years that could estimate the chances of a heart event by age 75 years. It factored in @@@, age, non-HDL levels, and cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood pressure, BMI, diabetes, and smoking status. It also examined how much one could lower risk if non-HDL cholesterol levels were a hypothetical 50% lower. Using this approach, the researchers saw the most significant reduction in risk in the youngest age group. As an example, a male under 45 years of age has starting levels of non-HDL cholesterol of between 3.7–4.8 mmol per litre and at least two risk factors for cardiovascular disease; if the individual was to halve their levels of non-HDL cholesterol, they could reduce the risk from 16% to 4%. A female with the same factors could reduce their risk from around 29% to 6%. Using the same levels of non-HDL cholesterol in individuals of 60 years or more, males could reduce risk from 21% to 10%, and females from 12% to 6%. The researchers suggest that intensive efforts to lower non-HDL cholesterol levels could reverse early signs of blocked arteries, which is known as atherosclerosis. However, there was no clarity on how much slightly increased or seemingly normal cholesterol levels affected cardiovascular risk over a person's lifetime or at what level treatment recommendations should occur, especially in younger adults. "Our estimates suggest that halving non-HDL cholesterol levels may be associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular events by the age of 75 years and that this reduction in risk is larger the sooner cholesterol levels are reduced." Co-author Prof. Stefan Blankenberg "The risk scores currently used in the clinic to decide whether a person should have lipid-lowering treatment only assess the risk of cardiovascular disease over 10 years, and so may underestimate lifetime risk, particularly in young people," notes the study's co-author, Prof. Stefan Blankenberg. The authors say future research is needed to understand whether early intervention in younger people with low 10-year risk but high lifetime risk would have more benefits than later intervention. A limitation of the study is that it may not apply to all regions or ethnic groups because its focus was on high income countries. High cholesterol has no symptoms, and many people are unaware that they have high levels; however, doctors can check levels with a simple blood test. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/ kalip
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