Jump to content


Super Moderator
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by kalip

  1. What happens to people's lungs when they get coronavirus? Respiratory physician John Wilson explains the range of Covid-19 impacts, from no symptoms to severe illness featuring pneumonia What became known as Covid-19, or the coronavirus, started in late 2019 as a cluster of pneumonia cases with an unknown cause. The cause of the pneumonia was found to be a new virus – severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or Sars-CoV-2. The illness caused by the virus is Covid-19. Now declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the majority of people who contract Covid-19 suffer only mild, cold-like symptoms. WHO says about 80% of people with Covid-19 recover without needing any specialist treatment. Only about one person in six becomes seriously ill “and develops difficulty breathing”. So how can Covid-19 develop into a more serious illness featuring pneumonia, and what does that do to our lungs and the rest of our body? How is the virus affecting people? Guardian Australia spoke with Prof John Wilson, president-elect of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and a respiratory physician. He says almost all serious consequences of Covid-19 feature pneumonia. Wilson says people who catch Covid-19 can be placed into four broad categories. The least serious are those people who are “sub-clinical” and who have the virus but have no symptoms. Next are those who get an infection in the upper respiratory tract, which, Wilson says, “means a person has a fever and a cough and maybe milder symptoms like headache or conjunctivitis”. He says: “Those people with minor symptoms are still able to transmit the virus but may not be aware of it.” The largest group of those who would be positive for Covid-19, and the people most likely to present to hospitals and surgeries, are those who develop the same flu-like symptoms that would usually keep them off work. How many cases of coronavirus are there in Australia? Live Covid-19 numbers and statistics A fourth group, Wilson says, will develop severe illness that features pneumonia. He says: “In Wuhan, it worked out that from those who had tested positive and had sought medical help, roughly 6% had a severe illness.” The WHO says the elderly and people with underlying problems like high blood pressure, heart and lung problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. How does the pneumonia develop? When people with Covid-19 develop a cough and fever, Wilson says this is a result of the infection reaching the respiratory tree – the air passages that conduct air between the lungs and the outside. He says: “The lining of the respiratory tree becomes injured, causing inflammation. This in turn irritates the nerves in the lining of the airway. Just a speck of dust can stimulate a cough. “But if this gets worse, it goes past just the lining of the airway and goes to the gas exchange units, which are at the end of the air passages. “If they become infected, they respond by pouring out inflammatory material into the air sacs that are at the bottom of our lungs.” If the air sacs then become inflamed, Wilson says this causes an “outpouring of inflammatory material [fluid and inflammatory cells] into the lungs and we end up with pneumonia.” He says lungs that become filled with inflammatory material are unable to get enough oxygen to the bloodstream, reducing the body’s ability to take on oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide. “That’s the usual cause of death with severe pneumonia,” he says. How can the pneumonia be treated? Prof Christine Jenkins, chair of Lung Foundation Australia and a leading respiratory physician, told Guardian Australia: “Unfortunately, so far we don’t have anything that can stop people getting Covid-19 pneumonia. “People are already trialling all sorts of medications and we’re hopeful that we might discover that there are various combinations of viral and anti-viral medications that could be effective. At the moment there isn’t any established treatment apart from supportive treatment, which is what we give people in intensive care. “We ventilate them and maintain high oxygen levels until their lungs are able to function in a normal way again as they recover.” Wilson says patients with viral pneumonia are also at risk of developing secondary infections, so they would also be treated with anti-viral medication and antibiotics. “In some situations that isn’t enough,” he says of the current outbreak. “The pneumonia went unabated and the patients did not survive.” Is Covid-19 pneumonia different? Jenkins says Covid-19 pneumonia is different from the most common cases that people are admitted to hospitals for. “Most types of pneumonia that we know of and that we admit people to hospital for are bacterial and they respond to an antibiotic. Wilson says there is evidence that pneumonia caused by Covid-19 may be particularly severe. Wilson says cases of coronavirus pneumonia tend to affect all of the lungs, instead of just small parts. He says: “Once we have an infection in the lung and, if it involves the air sacs, then the body’s response is first to try and destroy [the virus] and limit its replication.” But Wilson says this “first responder mechanism” can be impaired in some groups, including people with underlying heart and lung conditions, diabetes and the elderly. Jenkins says that, generally, people aged 65 and over are at risk of getting pneumonia, as well as people with medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer or a chronic disease affecting the lungs, heart, kidney or liver, smokers, Indigenous Australians, and infants aged 12 months and under. “Age is the major predictor of risk of death from pneumonia. Pneumonia is always serious for an older person and in fact it used to be one of the main causes of death in the elderly. Now we have very good treatments for pneumonia. “It’s important to remember that no matter how healthy and active you are, your risk for getting pneumonia increases with age. This is because our immune system naturally weakens with age, making it harder for our bodies to fight off infections and diseases.” https://www.theguardian.com/ kalip
  2. If You're Panicking About the Coronavirus, Stop Yourself by Trying These 7 Methods It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by all the news coverage on the coronavirus. If you are experiencing heightened levels of anxiety, here are some tips to support your mental and emotional health. It’s hard to escape the coronavirus updates, especially when it’s talked about all over the media. As much as it’s important to stay healthy physically, it’s also important to stay healthy mentally—and not go into panic mode. As a social being, you are conditioned by the environment to respond to changes in everyday circumstances. When those changes are registered as atypical and exceed the “normal” threshold, you may worry. When those changes take place without your control, you may become anxious. When you sense heightened levels of unpredictable change or experience an imminent threat, you may panic. It is important to stay physically healthy and use precautions; it is equally critical to develop healthy mental habits to support your emotional health. Here are seven ways to not trip the panic button. Take a Breath Did you know that breathing and thoughts are connected? When you feel anxious and stressed out, your breathing becomes shallow, rapid, and occurs from your upper chest. Mindfully directing the breath can trigger the brain to reduce the number of anxious thoughts and restore wellness in minutes. Begin by taking an extended deep breath from the belly and release it through your mouth for 4-6 rounds. This simple breathing exercise can bring attention to your body and trigger a rapid relaxation response. Close the Chapter on Storytelling Storytelling happens when one thought is connected to another thought; they are falsely categorized in the mind as fact. The mind generates more worrisome thoughts when they are assumed to be fact. Thoughts are linked together with memory and emotion. When connected together, they become a storyline. It can start with something like this: “The last time I ate dinner at that restaurant, I got a stomach-ache. It is possible they don’t use proper handwashing techniques. I need to avoid that restaurant now more than ever.” Although there is a remote possibility, there is a correlation between the stomach-ache and the restaurant, it is more likely, however, that avoiding the restaurant is based on a fear associated to a negative memory. To close the chapter on storytelling, make a distinction between thought and fact. Become Aware of Rapid-fire Questions What if I have to travel for work? What if there is someone next to me on the plane who is coughing, do I move to another seat? Will they cancel the flight? What about a refund? Do these questions sound familiar? Rapid-fire questions occur when there doesn’t seem to be a way to control an outcome. Restoring the sense of physical and emotional safety becomes paramount. Simply notice that you are asking several questions simultaneously. The act of noticing will help you step back, become aware, and feel safe again. Giving yourself the space to allow presence of mind to guide you. You may decide to call the airlines to check for flexible travel, review the company’s protocols, or choose to discuss your options with a trusted source. Reduce the Number of Conversations About Coronavirus Everyone is talking about it. It is natural to vent because humans are socialized to “air out our problems.” You may think by doing so it can help you feel better; however, more times than not, it leads to more worry. When you are pulled into a conversation that can increase your anxiety about this disease, ask yourself what purpose does continually talking about it serve? If it works to educate, inform, or take protective action, it is helpful. If it does not, what are other proactive ways to help support yourself and the other person? Become Selective About the News . Become Selective About the News The 24/7 news broadcasts are overstimulating. They create a sense of urgency. “Stay tuned” messages from the media are a way to signal that you stick around for further analysis, Q&A and more statistics that heighten anxiety. Unless you are directed to stay on top of the news in your area by state officials, due to a state of emergency, or other directives by your state or government (or health care provider) turning off the news for a few hours can help you de-stimulate the brain. Start Journaling Take 5-10 minutes to mindfully journal. Within a few minutes, you will notice that your head begins to settle down. Simply write down the flurry of thoughts running through your mind and circle only the ones that are facts. Now, highlight those that are simply thoughts or storylines as described earlier. The act of writing often discharges pent-up emotion and allows for a cathectic release of energy. Take Time to Meditate Meditation is key to de-stimulating the brain and resting the body. It allows you to bypass thoughts, trigger rapid healing and slip into a place of stillness. In essence, it allows your brain and body to rest and recharge at the same time. With regular meditation, your brain shifts out of the “fight and flight” response that is triggered in times of stress, and helps you to sort through situations with clarity and ease. Start setting aside a bit of time each day to meditate. If you find yourself overwhelmed with the news about the coronavirus, seek sources that support your well-being and health. Acknowledge the prevention strategies you might already have in place, including the strategies offered by the CDC and health officials, and begin to give yourself permission to relax. You have complete control over your emotional outlook, thought by thought, instance by instance. As we learn to guide our own thoughts, the greater our control over our body-mind. https://chopra.com/articles kalip
  3. Olive Oil Could Help Lower Your Heart Disease Risk If you love to drizzle a bit of olive oil on your salad, a new study suggests a side benefit to that tasty fat: a lower risk of heart disease. The research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, found that people who had more than half a tablespoon of olive oil daily had a 21% lower risk of heart disease. And, if you replace a teaspoon of butter, margarine or mayonnaise with the same amount of olive oil, your risk of heart disease and stroke may drop by 5%, the study found. "The take-home message from our study is that our results provide recommendations to replace saturated animal fats (like butter) with unsaturated plant oils for the prevention of cardiovascular disease," said the study's lead author Marta Guasch-Ferre. She's a research scientist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston. How might olive oil help your heart? Guasch-Ferre said olive oil is high in oleic acid, a healthy fatty acid associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Olive oil also has healthy properties linked to lower cholesterol levels and less inflammation, she explained. Olive oil is a key component of the Mediterranean diet, which has been touted for its heart-protective properties. The Mediterranean diet consists of a lot of plant-based foods, fish and healthy fats, such as olive oil. But the researchers said studies haven't looked at the use of olive oil in a typical American diet. To examine that, the investigators looked at nearly 100,000 men and women who participated in long-term studies from 1990 to 2014. Guasch-Ferre said the researchers collected information on lifestyle factors every two years, and detailed diet information every four years. People who had more than a half-tablespoon a day of olive oil had a 15% reduced risk of any type of cardiovascular disease, and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease, specifically. And, greater olive oil intake lowered the risk even more, Guasch-Ferre said. But researchers don't know if there's an upper limit where olive oil's benefits would stabilize or drop, she noted. Replacing a teaspoon of butter, margarine or mayonnaise with olive oil lowered the risk of any type of cardiovascular disease by 5% and the risk of coronary heart disease by 7%. The researchers pointed out that in the 1990s, margarines contained a substantial amount of unhealthy trans fatty acids. These results may not apply to today's vegetable oil-based margarines, they said. When the researchers looked at stroke risk alone, they didn't find an impact from using olive oil. They also used statistical models to see if other plant oils -- corn, canola, safflower and soybean -- might have benefits similar to olive oil, and they did. Guasch-Ferre said researchers didn't look at the specific types of olive oil, such as virgin, extra virgin, cold-pressed or light. But previous research has suggested that extra virgin olive oil may provide more benefits, because it gets less processing. Dietitian Jill Ashbey-Pejoves, chief clinical dietitian at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., said this study confirms what has already been known. "Replacing saturated animal fat with a plant-based fat is a positive dietary step," she said. But, Ashbey-Pejoves added that this study wasn't designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship. It could only find a potential link. Still, she noted, "The more plant-forward your diet is, the more whole foods you eat, the better, especially for your cardiovascular disease risk." Guasch-Ferre is scheduled to present the study's findings Thursday at an American Heart Association meeting in Phoenix. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal. More information Read more about healthy oils from the American Heart Association. https://consumer.healthday.com/ kalip
  4. After Heart Attack, Following Doctor's Orders Greatly Boosts Survival Heart attack survivors receive a laundry list of tasks from their doctors as they leave the hospital, all aimed at improving their heart health. It would be understandable to look at the list with a raised eyebrow and ask just how important all of it is. Vitally important, it turns out. Heart patients who follow all of their doctor's recommendations have a much lower risk of death than those who only follow some or most of them, according to a new study published March 5 in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Each additional recommendation a patient follows appears to reduce their risk of death by between 8% and 11%, researchers found. Patients who faithfully followed all seven recommendations had a 43% lower risk of death compared to those who followed three or fewer. That benefit decreased with the number of recommendations followed, from six (31%) to five (25%) to four (16%). "All of them are important," said senior researcher Dr. Alan Go, associate director of cardiovascular and metabolism research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California. "If you only get to four, there's value to getting to five and in going from five to six and from six to seven." For this study, Kaiser Permanente researchers followed more than 25,000 heart attack survivors after their discharge from the hospital. The survivors were each given seven tasks or goals intended to help them live longer and prevent future heart attacks. These included: Taking an ACE inhibitor or ARB medication. Taking a beta blocker. Taking blood thinners. Taking cholesterol-lowering medications. Controlling their blood pressure. Quitting smoking. Reducing their "bad" LDL cholesterol levels. "The amazing therapies we can provide at the time of a heart attack these days, like stents and IV medicines in the hospital, really are just the beginning of a long journey toward wellness and improving your heart health," said lead researcher Dr. Matthew Solomon, a cardiologist with Kaiser Permanente's Oakland Medical Centre. "There are many things patients need to do after the heart attack." Doctors checked in with patients at one month and three months after their discharge to see how well the survivors had complied with this list of heart-saving measures. They then tracked the patients for six years, from 2008 to 2014, to see whether these recommendations had any effect on patients' long-term survival. "We wondered, 'Are there going to be diminishing returns?'" Solomon said. "We don't have great information for patients who follow all of the recommendations. Do they do as well as people who only follow some of them?" About 23% of patients were able to stick with all seven recommendations by three months following their hospital discharge, and they had the lowest risk of death, the researchers found. "Given that a majority of people did not follow all of the guidelines, there is a substantial opportunity for clinicians, health care systems, communities and patients to improve," said Dr. Richard Becker, director of the University of Cincinnati's Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute, adding that such action "promises to be lifesaving." He wasn't involved with the study. The results show the importance of cardiac rehabilitation programs aimed at preventing second heart attacks, Solomon said. Unfortunately, typical nationwide participation in cardiac rehab programs is around 30%, Solomon noted. Kaiser Permanente offers a comprehensive home-based cardiac rehab, and its enrolment is 77%. Kaiser Permanente heart patients receive an exercise prescription and a care plan that targets smoking cessation, medication adherence, cholesterol management, blood pressure control, dietary advice, stress reduction and weight management. More information The American Heart Association has more about recovering from a heart attack. https://consumer.healthday.com/ kalip kalip
  5. Cholesterol Drugs Might Help Curb Prostate Cancers Drugs that many men with prostate cancer might already be taking -- cholesterol-lowering statins -- may help extend their survival if they have a "high-risk" form of the disease, new research suggests. High-risk patients include men with high blood levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) and a "Gleason score" of 8 or more. Gleason scores are a calculation used to gauge prognosis in prostate cancer. Men with a high Gleason score may develop difficult-to-treat cancers. Prior research had suggested that statins and the diabetes drug metformin (often prescribed together) have anticancer properties. However, it hasn't been clear which of the two drugs is the bigger cancer-fighter, or whether either might help against high-risk prostate cancer. To help answer those questions, a team led by Grace Lu-Yao of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Centre--Jefferson Health, in Philadelphia, tracked data on nearly 13,000 high-risk prostate cancer patients. All were diagnosed between 2007 and 2011. The study couldn't prove cause and effect, but it found that statins, taken alone or with metformin, did seem associated with an increase in survival. Men who took both statins and metformin had higher median survival (3.9 years) than those who took statins alone (3.6 years), metformin alone (3.1 years), or those who did not take either drug (3.1 years). The study was published Feb. 8 in the journal Cancer Medicine. "Both metformin and statins have been associated with longer life in prostate cancer patients, yet because they are commonly prescribed together, no study we know of has looked at these two medications separately," Lu-Yao said in a Centre news release. She's associate director of population science at the Centre. "With respect to prostate mortality, metformin plus statin was associated with a 36% reduction in risk of death followed by statins alone," Lu-Yao added. The study also found that those who took one of three types of statin -- atorvastatin, pravastatin or rosuvastatin -- had longer survival than those who did not take any statins. A similar benefit was not seen with a fourth statin, lovastatin. Because prostate cancer thrives on testosterone, patients often receive treatments that reduce levels of male hormones (androgens). The new study found that among patients who received such therapies, those who took atorvastatin had a longer median time to prostate cancer progression than those who didn't take statins. It's not clear why such effects were limited to atorvastatin, Lu-Yao said, but it appears to have the best "bioavailability" of the statin drugs and lingers longest in the body. The research team believes that, based on the existing evidence, a clinical trial should be conducted to assess the effectiveness of statins and the combination of statins/metformin in extending survival of prostate cancer patients. Two prostate cancer specialists unconnected to the new study agreed that the findings show promise. "It appears that there may be a place in the treatment of prostate cancer for statins," said Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler, a urology specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "However, we are not yet at a point where we can use the data to direct patient care." She believes testosterone may be key here. According to Kavaler, higher cholesterol levels promote higher levels of androgens, which in turn help encourage the growth of prostate cancer. Statins may help slow that process, Kavaler explained. Dr. Manish Vira is vice chair for urologic research at The Arthur Smith Institute for Urology in New Hyde Park, N.Y. He agreed that the findings are encouraging, and noted that "a dozen actively recruiting clinical trials using either metformin or a statin in prostate cancer treatment" are already underway. More information The American Cancer Society has more on prostate cancer. https://consumer.healthday.com/ kalip
  6. Experts Predict Dairy Industry Could Disappear In 10 Years Dairy sales are declining. As consumers become aware of the health risks and opt for more vegan options, experts say this could be the end of milk. Consumers are growing weary of dairy. Sales of milk continue to drop – recent data released by the Dairy Farmers of America showed a $1.1 billion loss in revenue for the dairy industry in 2018 — an eight percent drop over 2017. The decline is far more systemic and dire for dairy producers in the U.S. and across the globe — milk consumption is at a fraction of where it was in the early 2000s. According to USDA data, milk sales declined by 22 percent between 2000 and 2016. Those numbers are down significantly from the 1970s and 1980s. The Milk Industry Declines By the time the famous ’90s-era ‘Got Milk’ advertising campaign hit the airwaves and pages of magazines, liquid milk sales were already on the decline,” NPR’s The Salt reports. And despite the health halo that surrounded milk, particularly for children — a myth that still permeates the nation’s school systems today — by the 1970s, research was beginning to point to the health risks connected to consuming dairy. Nearly seventy-five percent of Black Americans are lactose intolerant, and Harvard cites dairy as the number one source of saturated fat. High levels of saturated fat can lead to serious health problems including heart disease, and diabetes. “Milk is the perfect food – for calves,” Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, and author of “Food Politics,” tells NPR. “There is no question about that. But for humans, it may not be. And it may not be necessary, and there is plenty of evidence that it isn’t necessary.” And the dairy industry is feeling the strain. At a recent conference in Glasgow, experts discussed the public’s ever-waning interest in dairy products — choosing instead more vegan alternatives. They warned that if the current anti-dairy message persists, then the industry could cease to exist within the next decade. Livestock sustainability consultant, Dr. Judith Capper stated that, despite vegans only making up a small percentage of the population, they still have a loud voice that’s being heard by the masses. “There is a need in the dairy sector for some myth-busting. If consumers don’t buy our products – milk, cream, butter, cheese etc. – we will not have a dairy industry in five to 10 years,” said Capper. Despite Capper’s belief that the dairy industry needs to bust myths, many people are choosing to ditch dairy for health reasons most of which are backed up by credible scientific research. Dairy-Free Sales Skyrocket Consumers may be reducing their cow milk consumption, but they’re not foregoing dairy altogether. They’re purchasing dairy-free options en masse. While milk sales drop, the vegan milk market is booming — sales were up nine percent in 2018 and are expected to exceed $34 billion by 2024. Fluid dairy-free options dominate the vegan category, but other categories are catching up quickly. Dairy-free ice cream is on the uptick with brands like Magnum, Ben & Jerry’s, and Halo Top all launching and expanding their offerings. IKEA recently launched a vegan strawberry soft-serve. Vegan cheese was one of the hottest trends at the recent Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, Calif., the largest natural foods industry trade show in the country. Brands like Miyoko’s are proving that dairy-free cheeses can be made in the same way as traditional cheesemaking — fermenting and ageing milk made from nuts, seeds, or beans. https://www.livekindly.co/ kalip
  7. Heart Health: Time for a Diet Change? The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Heart There’s a lot you can do to keep your heart well. Exercise done regularly is key. So are stress relief and not smoking. But many cardiologists and health experts say diet is especially important for heart health. “If I could pick one thing for people to do to reduce their risk of heart disease and heart disease-related death, it would be changing how they eat,” says Kim Williams Sr., MD, chief of cardiology at Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago and a past president of the American College of Cardiology. Adjusting your diet may sound like a tall order. But small changes add up. “That’s especially true when you make them part of your everyday lifestyle,” says Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, a preventive cardiologist in New York and a long-time volunteer expert for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement. Here are three simple but powerful changes to make today. Eat More Whole Foods at Every Meal Heart experts agree: The less processed food in your diet, the better. Williams recommends adopting a whole food-rich vegan diet that’s free of all animal proteins. (He eats this way himself, too.) Steinbaum favours a Mediterranean-style diet that’s rich in vegetables and healthier fat sources, like olive oil, but also allows for fatty fish, dairy, and lean protein like chicken. The American Heart Association recommends mostly eating whole fruits, vegetables, legumes (like beans and chickpeas), nuts, whole grains (think oatmeal or whole grain rice), and lean vegetable or animal protein, especially fish. These foods are high in vitamins and other nutrients, like fibre, and free of additives like sugar. “They can help lower LDL [aka “bad”] cholesterol, which is a major driver of heart disease and heart attacks,” says Sean P. Heffron, MD, a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health. Skip Foods That Have Added Sugar The good news: Whole foods are naturally free of added sugar. So if you’re loading up on them, you’re already getting less sugar than most people. It still helps to check the label of any processed food you eat for ingredients like sugar, fructose, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup, Steinbaum says. A 2014 JAMA Internal Medicine study found that people who got 25% or more of their calories from added sugar were more than twice as likely to die of heart disease, compared to those whose diets were less than 10% added sugar (by calories). Researchers aren’t sure exactly why this is. But sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, raise blood pressure. Sugar also increases the amount of insulin your pancreas makes and can contribute to weight gain and inflammation, which make you more likely to have diabetes. And both weight gain and diabetes increase your risk of having heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends women get no more than 100 calories from added sugar a day, and men get no more than 150 calories from added sugar daily. But when it comes to sugar, “the less you eat, the better,” Steinbaum says. Steer Clear of Saturated Fat Reaching a healthy weight takes stress off your cardiovascular system and reduces inflammation. But while some high-fat plans (like the keto diet) may promise fast weight loss, that doesn’t mean they’re heart-smart. In fact, every expert we interviewed for this story stressed the importance of cutting down on saturated fat (which mainly comes from animal sources like red meat, high-fat dairy, and pork, but is also in coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil). “I tell patients to ask themselves, does it walk on land? If so, try to reduce how much of it you’re eating,” Heffron says. Williams points out that multiple studies show that eating animal protein raises the risk of early death from heart attack and other causes. And he notes that those studies also show that substituting plant protein for animal protein reduces the risk of heart-related death. You may have heard coconut oil touted as a weight loss aid and health booster. But those benefits aren’t proven. Coconut oil is one of the few plant sources of saturated fat. If you choose to eat it, opt for very small amounts. Most of the time, it’s best to choose unsaturated fats, which lower cholesterol instead of raising it. These include polyunsaturated fats, which are found in foods like fish, flaxseed, walnuts, and soybean oil. They also include monounsaturated fats, such as avocado, avocado oil, and olive oil. Track Yourself The quality of your food is important, but so is the quantity. Limiting your portion sizes and sticking to no more than one healthful snack between meals can keep your weight in check, Steinbaum says. That lowers your risk of heart disease and heart attack. One simple way to make sure you’re not overdoing it is to keep track of what you eat and drink. “You can use a paper journal or an app on your phone or computer,” Steinbaum says. “It’s so easy to say, ‘I don’t know why I’m gaining weight,’ or ‘I can’t remember what I ate.’ Tracking can provide answers and keep you mindful.” Not seeing the changes you’d like? Consider sharing your food journal with your doctor or a dietitian. “Knowing where you’re at can help you and your health care team figure out your next steps,” Steinbaum says. Dietitians can make sure you’re meeting all your nutritional needs, and they can give you tips on making the transition to a heart-healthy diet something you can stick with for life. https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news-features kalip
  8. Do We Really Need to Drink Milk? Cow’s milk is creamy, filling, and delicious ice-cold, and decades of advertising have sold it to Americans as a food that “does a body good.” Dairy products are rich in calcium and protein, and they have long been promoted as important for helping kids grow and helping kids and adults build and maintain strong bones. But does dairy deserve its health halo? The current U.S. dietary guidelines recommend that just about everyone eat three servings of dairy a day. Now, in a new review, Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and his co-author, David Ludwig, MD, PhD, a professor of paediatrics and nutrition at Harvard, say the science behind those dietary recommendations is thin. And they say eating too much dairy may cause harm to both our bodies and the planet. “If we’re going to recommend something, it obviously should be based on strong evidence,” says Willett. He reviewed the risks and benefits of drinking milk for The New England Journal of Medicine. “The basis of calcium recommendations is, I think, fundamentally flawed in the United States,” he says. He’s not the only one who feels that way. Elizabeth Jacobs, PhD, is a professor of epidemiology, biostatistics, and nutritional sciences at the University of Arizona Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health in Tucson. She and her colleagues recently reviewed the science behind the dairy recommendations and concluded that the U.S. should follow Canada’s lead and ditch dairy as a separate food group. Instead, they recommended placing dairy foods in the protein category, making them one choice among many that would help people meet their protein requirements. Their paper is published in Nutrition Reviews. The two papers come at time when the U.S. dietary guidelines are under review. A new version of the guidelines will be issued by a panel of experts later this year, and for the first time will include advice for pregnant women and for children under age 2. “We’re not saying milk is dangerous or harmful,” Jacobs says. “No matter how you slice it, Americans are moving away from milk. So let’s adapt to this change and give people more opportunity to meet their nutritional needs.” Willett also points out that dairy farming is hard on the environment. While that might not have been a big consideration 20 years ago, climate change makes it critical to consider now. “If it’s going to have a major adverse environmental impact, we better take a serious look at our recommendations as well and see what we’re going to do to mitigate that,” he says. Slim Evidence Behind Dairy’s Health Claims While we’re drinking less dairy as a beverage, we’re still consuming more of it overall. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American ate and drank about 9% more dairy in 2018 than we consumed per person in 1975. Data shows that we’re eating more cheese and yoghurt but drinking a lot less milk. Milk consumption has fallen about 40% since 1975. But because it takes more milk to make products like cheese and yoghurt, dairy consumption is up overall. The current dietary guidelines for dairy are based on the idea that we need milk to help meet daily calcium requirements. Yet Willett says those recommendations come from studies that were relatively small -- including just 155 men and women. And those studies were short -- following people for 2 to 3 weeks. Researchers measured how much calcium they ate and drank, and compared it to how much they were excreting in stool and urine. The idea was to find out how much calcium the body needs to keep it in balance. In adults, who are done growing, calcium balance should be net zero. That is, people should excrete about the same amount as they eat or drink. In Americans, who tend to eat a lot of calcium compared to people in other countries, the studies concluded 741 milligrams of calcium a day was enough for balance. In other countries, like Peru, where diets typically aren’t as rich in calcium and dairy products, the amount needed for balance was much less -- around 200 milligrams. Willett says this is consistent with the idea that the body can change how much calcium it absorbs from food. When people eat less calcium, the body may simply absorb more to meet its needs. He also points to large population-based studies that offer snapshots of how people eat and what happens to their health. These kinds of studies have consistently shown that in countries where people eat the most dairy, they also have higher rates of fractures. “That raises sort of a red flag that there’s something wrong here,” Willett says. Those studies can’t prove that eating more dairy causes hip fractures, but Willett believes it makes sense because eating dairy products in childhood is known to accelerate growth and lengthen bones. The risk appears to be highest for men who drank a lot of milk in childhood. “That’s probably because of basic mechanics. If you have long bones, they’re easier to break than short bones,” he says. Not everyone agrees with the study’s conclusions. In a written statement, the National Dairy Council, which represents dairy farmers, said the study didn’t include the “total body of evidence” on dairy foods. “Dairy remains an important part of a balanced diet and provides lasting and meaningful nourishment for people, the planet and communities,” Gregory Miller, PhD, chief global science officer at the National Dairy Council, said in a written statement. In additional to bone health, milk has been touted as being helpful for weight loss. The review found no evidence to support that. Research shows that dairy products can help control blood pressure, but only when they’re part of an overall healthy diet. That makes it tough to tease out whether milk or dairy products were responsible for the benefit. Its effects on other health outcomes are mixed. Willett says observational studies have found strong links between eating dairy and some kinds of cancer, such as prostate cancers. Again, these studies can’t show that milk causes cancer. There were no links found between milk and getting diabetes. And there was no link between lifespan and eating dairy. Taken together, the science shows that “milk is not essential for health,” says Marion Nestle, PhD, a retired professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University who was not involved in the study. “This tells me that milk is a food like any other, meaning that its effects depend on everything else people are eating or doing. People who like milk can continue drinking it. Those who don’t like it don’t have to,” she says. “It’s just a food.” Willett agrees. He says if you’re a dairy underachiever, you shouldn’t worry about it. If you’re not getting any dairy in your diet at all, it’s not a bad idea to take a calcium supplement, but don’t take gobs -- 500-600 milligrams a day should be enough. What About Kids? “It’s complicated for adults, but it’s even more complicated for kids, and we have even less data,” Willett says. The calcium needs of kids are trickier to figure out. They’re growing, so they’ll naturally need more. But the role dairy should play in meeting their calcium needs isn’t clear. There is good evidence that kids who drink cow’s milk grow taller than those who don’t. It’s not known exactly how milk accelerates growth. But the study authors say cows are often pregnant when they’re milked, which increases hormones like oestrogen and progesterone. Cows have also been bred to produce more of another hormone, called insulin-like growth factor, which increases milk production, but those hormones may also promote growth in people. There’s also some worry that hormones in milk may lead to the cancer later in life, but the evidence for that is mostly circumstantial. Kids need calcium for building strong bones, Willett says, but studies don’t show that adding a lot more dairy makes a difference. One study, for example, randomly assigned 240 kids, ages 8 to 15, who weren't getting enough calcium in their diets, to a meal plan with three added daily servings of dairy, or to continue on their normal diets. After 18 months, the study found no difference in bone density between the kids who had more dairy and the ones who didn’t. Willett also notes that while the U.S. recommends that kids ages 4 to 8 get 1,000 milligrams of calcium in their diets, the U.K. recommends about half that much, just 450 to 550 milligrams a day. That doesn’t have to come from milk, he says. Other foods like kale, broccoli, tofu, nuts, and beans all count toward the goal. One important point, he says, is if dairy is off the table at your house, make sure your kids are getting vitamin D, though a dietary supplement. Jean Welsh, PhD, who researches nutrition as an associate professor of paediatrics at Emory University, praised the reviewers for raising important questions about dairy. But she urged caution when it comes to taking dairy off the table for kids. “What always makes me nervous when we talk about these key features of our diets is if we promote a change, what’s going to replace it?” says Welsh, who was not involved in the review. “The study authors say that if you have a good-quality diet, you don’t need milk. Well, yeah,” Welsh says. “It’s not like we’re eating well.” On average, many kids probably don’t get enough broccoli, kale, or other sources of calcium in their diets to meet all their needs, she says. Milk is better than sugar-sweetened beverages, she says, especially for kids. Welsh recently tested several brands of conventional and organic milk for pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones. While pesticides and antibiotics were sometimes found in the conventionally farmed milk samples, none were found in the organic milk samples. Hormone levels were also higher in the conventionally farmed samples, compared to the organic samples. She says that if organic milk is too pricey, parents shouldn’t worry. Milk is still good for kids. Especially if they’re picky eaters. “While there are advantages to drinking organic milk in that it’s free of chemicals often used in milk production, we do not have evidence that this makes a difference in children’s health,” Welsh says. “What we do know is that milk, organic or not, is a readily available source of nutrients important in the diets of children.” Environmental Impacts of Dairy Even if you’ve loved dairy for a long time, there are reasons to reconsider, not least of which is climate change. Willett notes that considering different sources of protein, the costs of dairy to the environment are probably five to 10 times greater than plant-based protein sources. Dairy farms consume more water. They can contribute to water pollution. Large-scale dairies may depend on antibiotics to keep their animals healthy, which contributes to antibiotic resistance in people. He says limiting dairy production would make a “major contribution” to reaching greenhouse gas targets. Some dairy alternatives have their own environmental issues. Almonds, for example, are a water-intensive crop. Miller, of the National Dairy Council, says dairy farmers are working to green their operations. “U.S. dairy only accounts for approximately 2% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Farmers continue to make even more environmental progress. For example, producing a gallon of milk in 2017 involved 30% less water, 21% less land, 19% smaller carbon footprint and 20% less manure than in 2007,” he says. https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/
  9. Doctors working on a clinical trial for treatment of heart disease held back key data, Newsnight has been told. The Excel trial tested whether stents were as effective as open-heart surgery at treating patients with a heart problem called left main disease. The data suggested more people fitted with stents were dying after three years. It was eventually published - but only after treatment guidelines that partly relied on the trial had been written. These guidelines recommend both stents and heart surgery for certain patients with left main disease. Trial authors defend standards The authors of the trial said it was carried out rigorously and to accepted academic standards. In the trial, sponsored by US stent manufacturer Abbott, half the patients were given stents, the other half had open heart surgery. Not all the patients were recruited at the same time. Some were recruited in 2011, others over the years that followed. So, when the first results were published in 2016, the doctors doing the trial knew there was data about what had happened to some of the patients five years after their stent or heart surgery procedure. But they chose to look only at what happened up to three years after the patients' procedures and publish that data. A spokesman for Abbott said: "The study's execution, data collection, analysis and interpretation were entirely performed by independent research organisations. The publication of three-year Excel data reflects the original follow-up period and endpoints the study was powered to assess." 'Absolutely appalled' Prof Nick Freemantle, a biostatistician at University College London, said: "If somebody had died three years and one day into the trial, that death wouldn't have been counted in the results. "I'm absolutely appalled that they've done this," he said. "I've taken a straw poll of my professional colleagues and it draws disbelief that people would do this," he said The researchers said the outcomes of the study were analysed and reported according to the protocol. Newsnight has seen information shared between people involved with the safety of the trial that suggested things were starting to look worse for people with stents after three years. More people were dying than those who had had surgery. Emails from the the trial's safety committee warned that all the data about deaths should be viewed by the researchers and published. "It might be very concerning if in the future, suspicions were raised that already available information on mortality was withheld from the cardiology and thoracic surgery community," Dr Lars Wallentin, the head of the safety committee, wrote to the researchers in 2017. He was worried that major European clinical guidelines were being drawn up by heart doctors about how people with left main disease should be treated and the trial results would be used as part of their work. But the doctors on the trial chose not to publish the data when the safety committee asked, despite the warning. They published further data after the guidelines were completed. Even without this additional data, there was disagreement among those writing the guidelines about whether stents or surgery was the better treatment for patients. Review 'not shared' An external reviewer was brought in by the European Society of Cardiology to look at a number of trials and resolve the debate. Newsnight has seen the review. It said that the evidence suggested stents were worse than surgery for those with left main disease. "I think most patients would find these differences to be clinically meaningful, I do not believe that both these procedures should receive the same class of recommendation," it said. But the review was not shared with everyone who believed they should have seen it. One of those people was Prof Freemantle, who was involved in the European guidelines. He claims that this calls into question the neutrality of the whole process. Newsnight has previously reported that the same trial failed to publish certain heart attack data that cast stents in a bad light. The researchers said our leak data was fake and their methodology was the right one. Following Newsnight's previous report, a number of major surgical organisations have called for a review of the trial. The researchers carrying out the trial have agreed to an "independent" review of the raw data. Various names have been put forward by the researchers and the European Society of Cardiology about who is doing the analysis. All have ties to the researchers, guidelines process or medical device industry. When approached by the BBC they have all said they are not doing it. No ties Prof John Ioannadis, from Stanford University, an expert on medical research design, said the analysis must be completely independent. "I think that if you have the same network, the same closed club passing the data from one member to another, that's not really very helpful," he said. He believes the trial and guidelines process raise concerns which are indicative of a wider systemic problem with the way medical research is done. All the main doctors working on the trial, and the lead doctor writing the guidelines for left main disease, have declared financial contributions to either themselves or their institutions from companies that manufacture stents. "You have the same people who run the show at all levels. They design the trials. They set the agenda, they choose what to present. "They are involved in disseminating the information and running the large conferences that are attended by tens of thousands of people, specialists in the field. And then they also populate the guideline panels that reach the recommendations," he said. The organisations involved and researchers have declared the conflicts of interest, and say that they are effective in managing them. The conflict-of-interest declarations are intended to mitigate against conscious or unconscious bias - or the appearance of it. https://www.bbc.com/news/health kalip
  10. Vegan Cheddar Cheese Ingredients • 1/2 cup water • 2 tablespoons agar powder, or 2 teaspoons kappa carrageenan • 1/2 cup water • 1/2 cup cashews • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped seeds removed • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes • 2 tablespoons lemon juice • 2 tablespoons coconut milk • 2 tablespoons coconut oil • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch • 1 tablespoon non-GMO corn-starch • 1 teaspoon granulated onion powder • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder • 1 teaspoon salt • Pinch Cayenne pepper, optional Instructions 1. If using a high-speed blender, add water, cashews, bell pepper, nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice, coconut milk, coconut oil, tapioca starch, corn-starch, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. Process until smooth and creamy. 2. Mix cold water with agar powder in a saucepan, bring to boil on medium stirring constantly. Remove from heat and immediately add to cheese sauce. 3. Process until smooth. 4. Pour mixture into an oiled container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 5. Alternatively, especially when using a regular blender, process all the ingredients including agar powder in a blender until smooth. Pour sauce into a non-stick sauce on medium heat whisking constantly until thick and bubbly. Immediately pour into an oiled container and refrigerate for an hour. https://healthiersteps.com/recipes/ kalip
  11. THE COMPLETE NUT CHEESE GUIDE You don’t have to give up cheese if you give up dairy. Inhale, exhale — everything is going to be alright. Vegan cheese is no longer what it once was. Today’s dairy-free cheeses taste like the real thing, from individually-wrapped slices that make the most beautiful vegan grilled cheese to artisan nut cheeses for pairing with wine (or non-alcoholic sparkling fruit juice) and crackers. Is Cheese Healthy? The question of the day: is cheese healthy? Many of us were raised to believe that cheese is part of a healthy diet. The old food pyramid recommended one to two servings of dairy (milk, cheese, or yogurt) as a source for calcium and vitamin D. Entire marketing campaigns were built on the idea that dairy helps build strong bones. It was even once recommended for babies. Today, cheese is no longer the dietary staple it once was — relegated to a tiny “Dairy” circle in the new MyPlate nutrition guide. “Calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage) is also part of the Dairy Group,” the new guidelines state. The American Heart Association names cheese on its list of foods high in saturated fat. “Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and stroke,” states the website. Cheese is also high in sodium. According to the University of California San Francisco Health: “Sodium controls fluid balance in our bodies and maintains blood volume and blood pressure. Eating too much sodium may raise blood pressure and cause fluid retention, which could lead to swelling of the legs and feet or other health issues.” A 2017 study funded by the National Cancer Institute found that eating dairy may increase one’s breast cancer risk. It analysed the diets of 1,941 women diagnosed with breast cancer and found that those who ate the most American, cheddar, and cream cheese had a 53 percent increased risk. Those who drank the most milk had a 58 percent increase in their risk for breast cancer. Doctors from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) recently petitioned the FDA to add breast cancer warnings on cheese labels, similar to the one on cigarette packs. How Do Nut Cheeses Taste? Vegan cheese has evolved beyond the options found in health food stores of the 1990s, which often tasted plastic-y when melted. Today, we could theoretically divide vegan cheese into two categories. There those that work best as an ingredient in pizza, sandwiches, and tacos, like shreds and slices. Nuts and seeds are used to make some artisan vegan cheeses. Flavours vary. Some vegan cheeses made to taste like the real thing, including varieties like camembert, brie, gouda, and pepper jack. Aged nut cheeses may be made with vegan prebiotics, which helps it ferment and makes it taste tangy. Miso paste also bestows an authentic flavour. Best Nuts For Cheese Vegan cheese can be made from cashews, almonds, and macadamia. It can also be nut-free, made from pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or hemp. But, what’s the best type for making cheese? According to Stiner, owner and operator at Portland, Oregon-based Vtopian Artisan Cheeses, it’s cashews. “They have a mild buttery taste and when blended they get so magically creamy and smooth,” he tells LIVEKINDLY in an email. He adds, “I make sure to use fair trade brands that get their cashews from farms that treat and pay their workers well.” Vegan cheese may be kind to animals, but depending on the cashew’s origin, it may not be kind to humans. Traditionally, harvesting and processing cashews is done by hand. The majority of the world’s cashews are harvested in India while Vietnam is increasingly taking a bigger market share, Quartz reports. Many cashew processors must meet a quota passed on weight. They are paid by this, rather than by hours worked, encouraging people to work fast for extended hours. Processing cashews can be harmful, exposing workers’ hands to the caustic chemicals within the nut. Gloves are available, but due to steep quotes, many forgo them due to how they slow down the shelling process. Many workers’ rights violations have been reported, Quartz notes. But mechanization of facilities –which is slowly happening in some areas, such as Nigeria — can help improve working conditions and make traceability for cashews easier. Choosing fair trade cashews is a way to ensure that you’re buying from an ethical supply chain. But, what’s the best type of vegan cheese for making what you would typically serve on a cheese or charcuterie board? Kat Magsaysay, founder of Cruelty-Free Charcuterie in Portland, Oregon, tells LIVEKINDLY that there are three rules to follow: a soft cheese, a hard cheese, and one that can be either cut into cubed or sliced. Magsaysay, who describes herself as “seriously pro charcuterie, especially when it’s sans cruelty,” builds elaborate vegan charcuterie for clients in the Portland area. She suggests Sweet Simple Vegan’s baked almond cheese ball is one “that I truly love having on my boards.” Magsaysay also loves to build boards with Treeline Chive cheese (“one of my go-to cheeses”), Miyoko’s Sundried Tomato Garlic, Daiya for the cheese slices, and Reine Vegan Cuisine Gouda (“Tastes almost as close as the real stuff!”). Vegan Cheese Benefits Nut-based cheese is lower in saturated fat and sodium. Since it’s dairy-free, it’s a more sustainable way to enjoy cheese. A 2010 report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) found that cheese processing is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than any other product from the dairy sector. Research from the University of Wisconsin found that it takes 10 pounds of milk to produce one pound of cheese. That single pound of milk produces 1.2 kg of carbon dioxide CO2. Cheese’s carbon footprint increases as it ages. Cattle are responsible for 65 percent of the livestock sector’s emissions, according to the FAO. About Dairy Cows It’s also much kinder to animals. Cows, like humans, feed their babies with milk. The cycle of giving birth and producing milk often results in mastitis, the inflammation of the mammary glands. They live like this, a cycle of being forcibly impregnated to induce milk production, until they are “spent” and sent to slaughter. Dairy products have another victim — the calf. If a baby is female, she will become a dairy cow like her mother. The veal industry usually buys the male calves. https://www.livekindly.co/ kalip
  12. There's a Virus Spreading in U.S. That's Killed 10,000: The Flu Folks fretting about the coronavirus are forgetting there's another virus already running rampant in the United States, one that's killed nearly 20 times as many people in this country alone. Influenza has already taken the lives of 10,000 Americans this season, according to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 19 million have caught the flu, and an estimated 180,000 became so ill they landed in the hospital. By comparison, there are 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, and just over 31,000 confirmed cases in mainland China, where the virus first emerged. More than 3,800 cases in China are critical, and 636 people there have died from complications of coronavirus infection. "Influenza is easier to pick up and there are far, far more cases," said Dr. Alan Taege, an infectious disease physician at the Cleveland Clinic. "It's already much larger than coronavirus has been so far in the whole world, in our own country alone." It's easy to forget the clear and present danger posed by influenza because it's always there, sickening millions and killing thousands every year during flu season, said Dr. Bernard Camins, medical director for infection prevention at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. "Currently, we have high levels of influenza in the country, which started out really early this year, around Thanksgiving," Camins said. "Pretty much the entire country has high levels of influenza-like illness right now." The CDC predicts that at least 12,000 Americans will die from the flu in any given year. As many as 61,000 people died in the 2017-2018 flu season, and 45 million were infected. And it's even worse when a new type of flu virus emerges, mutated into a form against which humans have limited immunity, Camins added. The H1N1 strain of influenza first appeared in 2009, and that year there were between 151,700 and 575,400 deaths caused by the new strain, Camins said. That's why there's a new flu vaccine every year. Influenza is constantly mutating in a Darwinian attempt to become more infectious, and public health officials have to scramble to stay one step ahead. On the other hand, there are a multitude of different coronaviruses but less than a handful have proven deadly, Taege noted. "Coronavirus comes in many, many different forms, and most of them are similar to just a cold virus," Taege said. "This will be the third known episode of a coronavirus that had a significant impact on health beyond just a cold," the first two being SARS and MERS. Coronavirus also appears to be much less infectious than flu, based on what is known at this point. Of the 12 cases in America, only two people caught the virus from another person inside the United States, and in both of those cases the person was infected by a spouse with whom they had constant contact. By comparison, flu viruses travel through the air in droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or even breathes. You can catch the flu by inhaling it in the air or by touching a surface upon which the virus has landed and then touching your eyes, nose and mouth. It's too early to say how deadly coronavirus will prove, given the inconsistent data coming out of China, Taege said. "Influenza is a killer. Coronavirus can be, too," Taege said. "We don't have enough data yet to make across-the-board comparisons." In the meantime, Americans can protect themselves from the health threat already at their doorstep by getting the flu vaccine if they haven't already, Camins and Taege said. "The vaccine is still available, and it's not too late to get it," Camins said. "As we learned from last year, in some regions in the country the flu season didn't end until the first week in May." Here's how you can also protect yourself from the flu: Wash your hands regularly. Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose or mouth. Avoid crowds and stay away from sick people. More information The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about this year's flu season. Copyright © 2020 healthday.com/ kalip
  13. Vegetarian Diet Healthy When You Have Type 2? Plant-based diets are becoming more and more popular. Some people go vegetarian or vegan for ethical reasons—for the welfare of animals and the planet. Others are focused on the health benefits of eliminating animal products, like avoiding excess hormones and antibiotics. Whatever the reason, there are many benefits to eating more plant-based foods, such as boosting fibre intake and getting in a good dose of antioxidants. But what does this mean for those living with diabetes? Are the health benefits the same? How does going vegetarian play a role in managing blood sugars? If you’re thinking about going vegetarian, vegan, or simply looking to reduce your meat intake, here are some things to consider about adopting a plant-based diet while living with diabetes. What Will Your Diet Consist Of? There are several different versions of plant-based diets. Some people choose to completely eliminate all animal-based products from their lifestyle, including things like meat, eggs, cheese, and honey (a vegan diet). Other versions only focus on eliminating animal flesh but still allow for some animal products—things like cheese, eggs, and milk (vegetarianism). There is no right answer as to exactly “how vegetarian” you should be – it’s really a matter of personal preference. But whatever you plan to exclude from your diet, it’s very important to think about what you plan to replace it with. When completely eliminating meat, it’s important to eat a variety of plant-based sources of protein to make up for what you’re removing from your diet. Things like nuts, seeds, beans, tofu and tempeh make great replacements for meat in everyday meals. Yogurt, cheese and eggs also contain high amounts of protein if you plan to keep those in your diet. Try to fill up on foods rich in fibre and antioxidants, like colourful fruits and non-starchy vegetables. This will be key in staying full and meeting your nutrient requirements throughout the day. Finally, if you are planning to go vegan, consider including a multivitamin with B12 into your daily routine, since most sources of the nutrient are found in animal-based foods. How Will You Manage Your Blood Sugars? When going vegetarian, it’s quite common for people to end up consuming more carbohydrates than they used to. For someone living with diabetes, this can end up spiking blood sugars and making it more difficult to keep blood glucose stabilised. Avoid this common mistake by making sure you’re not replacing animal foods with sources of carbohydrates. At each meal, aim to get a full serving of protein, fat and fibre. These three nutrients help to slow the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, making them essential for maintaining balanced blood sugars. Need some meal planning tips? Check out the USDA’s vegetarian MyPlate for ideas on how to create well balanced meals without meat. Essentially this guideline recommends that, for each meal, you fill up half of your plate with non-starchy fruits and veggies, a quarter with a high-fibre carbohydrate, and the remaining quarter with a plant-based protein. Will Going Vegetarian Cure Your Diabetes? Going vegetarian won’t necessarily get rid of your diabetes but there are some great benefits to following a more plant-based diet. For example, eating a diet that’s comprised of mostly plant-based foods has been associated with reduced body weight, lower cholesterol, and improved insulin sensitivity—all of which are important factors in staying healthy while living with diabetes. Still on the fence? The good news is you don’t have to completely eliminate meat to reap the benefits of adding in more plant-based foods to your weekly routine. If you do decide to go vegetarian or vegan, meet with a Registered Dietitian to ensure you’re getting in all the proper nutrients you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. (As always, be sure to talk your doctor before you make any changes to your diet.) https://www.webmd.com/news/default.htm kalip
  14. Dear Shannon I am just a lay person, a patient but my cardiologist said that Nuclear stress test or Coronary Angiogram can detect coronary blockages. However, the best person to guide you on this is your cardiologist. This site may be helpful https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/tests-your-doctor-may-order-to-determine-whether-you-have-heart-disease
  15. EARLY DEATH RISK DROPS BY MORE THAN 30% ON MEAT-FREE DIET A meat-free diet could cut the risk of premature death by as much as one-third, according to Harvard scientists. According to the study from Harvard Medical School, at least 200,000 lives could be saved each year by going vegetarian. The figures, presented at the Unite to Cure Fourth International Vatican Conference in Vatican City in April 2018, looked purely at how diet affects health, The Telegraph reported. “We have just been doing some calculations looking at the question of how much could we reduce mortality shifting towards a healthy, more plant-based diet, not necessarily totally vegan, and our estimates are about one-third of deaths could be prevented,” said Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Willet believes that the benefits of a meat-free diet have been underestimated. He continued: “When we start to look at it we see that healthy diet is related to a lower risk of almost everything that we look at. Perhaps not too surprising because everything in the body is connected by the same underlying processes.” We’re Underestimating The Effect’ Dr. Willet is not alone in speaking to the health benefits of a meat-free diet. At the conference, Professor David Jenkins of the University of Toronto — who is credited with creating the glycaemic index — also promoted a plant-forward diet. Dr. Jenkins advised that humans would be healthier following a “simian” diet, similar to lowland gorillas, who eat vegetation and fruit. When he and his team recreated the animals’ diet in humans, they saw a 35 percent drop in cholesterol levels in two weeks, the equivalent of taking statins. Dr. Jenkins described the drop as “quite dramatic.” He added, “We’re saying you’ve got a choice, you can change your diet to therapeutically meaningful change or you can take a statin. Drug or diet.” Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), also weighed in of the health benefits of a plant-based diet. PCRM, a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., says it “combines the clout and expertise of more than 12,000 physicians with the dedicated actions of more than 175,00 members.” Speaking to delegates at the conference, he said that people are “underestimating” how a vegan diet can prevent not only an early death, but also other diseases. “I think people imagine that a healthy diet has only a modest effect and a vegetarian diet might help you lose a little bit of weight. But when these diets are properly constructed I think they are enormously powerful,” he said. Dr. Barnard also highlighted the “tremendous potential” of plant-based diets to alleviate inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. How Not To Die (Early) Dr. Michael Greger also agrees that a plant-based diet can help prevent early death. The American physician is the author of “How Not to Die,” which delves into the way diet can influence disease. Greger promotes the increased consumption of plant-based foods — especially greens, berries, legumes, flaxseeds, and turmeric — to ward off life-threatening diseases. More research is linking vegan food to improved health, and meat, dairy, and eggs to an increased risk of disease. However, Americans are still eating animal products. A study from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that American adults have not decreased their processed meat consumption over the past 18 years. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) classed processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen. The category is used when there is “convincing” evidence that something causes cancer, WHO explains on its website. Tobacco smoking and asbestos are also in this category. According to the WHO, eating 50 grams of processed meat a day — roughly four strips of bacon or one hot dog — increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent. Meat consumption has also been linked to diabetes, liver disease, and heart disease. However, plant-based foods can have the opposite effect, even reversing disease in some cases. In an interview with Fox Business Network, Greger said, “We have tremendous power over our health destiny and longevity. The vast majority of premature death and disability is preventable with a plant-based diet and other healthy lifestyle behaviours.” A study from the Cleveland Clinic found that eating red meat increases the risk of heart disease 1,000 percent more than a vegan diet. Separate research found that adhering to a plant-based diet could lower the risk of cardiovascular problems and early death as effectively as pharmacotherapies. Meat-Free Diet Benefits Greger acknowledged that people suffering from health problems do have the “extra motivation” to revamp their diet. However, he pointed out that the “sustaining motivation” comes from “how good you feel when you start eating healthier.” “All of a sudden you’re feeling better, you’re sleeping better, your digestion is better. And then you have that internal motivation to continue to eat healthier because you feel so much better. But you don’t know how good you feel until you give it a try,” he explained. The analysis of the unchanging meat-eating habits of Americans highlights “the abject failure of the public health community to warn consumers about the dangers of processed meat,” Greger said. “Bacon, ham, hot dogs, lunch meat, sausage — these are known human carcinogens. We know they cause cancer in people. You know, we try not to smoke around our kids. But why are we sending them to school with a baloney sandwich?” “Some of our leading killers can be reversed. For example, heart disease, the number one killer of men and women — arteries can be opened, heart disease reversed without drugs, without surgery, just a healthy enough diet centred around whole plant foods,” the doctor continued. “There’s only one diet that’s ever been proven to reverse heart disease in the majority of patients: a plant-based diet.” He added, “You’d think that’d be the default diet. But instead, unfortunately, just not enough people know about the power they have at the end of their fork.” France has said that it will ban the controversial, commonplace practice of culling male chicks by live-shredding them. It will be one of the first countries in the world to implement such a restriction on its egg industry. French Minister of Agriculture Didier Guillaume announced the ban in Paris. He told reporters: “From the end of 2021, nothing will be like it was before.” Every year, the egg industry culls approximately seven billion male chicks. The industry considers male chicks worthless, as they don’t produce eggs or commercially popular meat. Live-shredding and death by C02 gas are typical. Electrocution and suffocation are also common. Switzerland has already banned the practice of live-shredding male chicks, while in Germany shredding will continue until an “alternative“—one that is suitable for intensive farming practices—is found. Guillaume said he hopes farmers will soon be able to determine the @@@ of chicken embryos before they are hatched. In addition to the culling ban, Guillaume says piglets will no longer be castrated without anaesthetic. But castration, in general, will continue. French animal protection group L214 has said that the measures are “not ambitious” and still “do not address the basic problems.” “There is nothing on slaughter conditions, nor on how to exit from intensive animal farming,” adds L214. An IFOP opinion poll, commissioned by the animal welfare group Fondation 30 Million D’Amis, suggests that French consumers are critical of animal cruelty. Fifty-five percent want animal issues such as factory farming, hunting, and fur to be discussed in the Grand Débat. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they were in favour of ending intensive farming. The Egg Industry According to British animal rights group Viva!, female mutilations, and cramped conditions are “all part of the egg industry.” The organisation also suggests that much of free-range agriculture is now so intensive it is comparable to factory farming. Sparing male chicks a gruesome death will not impact the lives of female chicks. On modern factory farms, chickens are fed high protein feed and live in cramped, constantly lit areas to maximize egg production. Many produce more than 300 eggs a year, compared to the 20 eggs a hen would naturally lay in the wild. According to Farm Sanctuary, 280 million hens laid 77.3 billion eggs in 2007. https://www.livekindly.co/ kalup
  16. How Effective is Body Cooling in Patients that Experience Cardiac Arrest? A new nationwide clinical trial hopes to discover if patients that experience cardiac arrest survive more often and have a better recovery based on how long they have their body temperature cooled. While body temperature cooling is not a new treatment tactic for patients who experience cardiac arrest, a new clinical trial hopes to better understand the optimal amount of time for targeted temperature management. “Cardiac arrest is a common and devastating cardiac and neurological emergency affecting almost 400,000 victims in the United States every year,” says Robert Silbergleit, M.D., a professor of emergency medicine at Michigan Medicine. “Many of whom are successfully resuscitated, but then die in the hospital or are left with severe disability from injury to the brain during the cardiac arrest.” Induced therapeutic hypothermia, or medically-induced cooling of the body’s temperature, is commonly used to treat comatose patients who survive a cardiac arrest. Generally, these patients have their body temperature lowered via special cooling pads or cooling catheters placed in large veins. “Immediate temperature control and cooling of comatose survivors of cardiac arrest is commonly used to try to reduce the injury to the brain,” says William Meurer, M.D., M.S., an associate professor of emergency medicine and neurology at Michigan Medicine. “But it remains uncertain whether cooling actually works, how long a survivor of cardiac arrest should be cooled and which patients are most likely to benefit from the cooling.” "We hope this study allows us to not only discover which cardiac arrest patient population benefits the most from body cooling, but the optimal duration of body cooling to give patients the best chance of full neurological recovery." Meurer and Silbergleit are principal investigators of a new clinical trial that will explore whether whole-body cooling improves the survival and recovery of comatose patients after a cardiac arrest, and if increasing durations of cooling are associated with better outcomes and recovery in these patients. Meurer and Silbergleit are joined by Romergryko Geocadin, M.D., from Johns Hopkins Medicine, as well as Sharon Yeatts, Ph.D., and Ramesh Ramakrishnan, Ph.D., from Medical University of South Carolina, as leaders of the study, which is funded by nearly $30 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health. The research team notes that the study is unique, as it will explore body cooling in patients resuscitated from shockable cardiac arrest and non-shockable cardiac arrest. “Most previous research has only studied patients whose hearts were restarted with a defibrillator, a device that gives an electrical shock to restart a heart that has stopped beating,” says Meurer, a member of the Michigan Centre for Integrative Research in Critical Care. “These patients are easier to study and already do better than those with other types of cardiac arrest, called asystole or pulseless electrical activity, that don’t respond to defibrillation and who typically have longer periods of cardiac arrest.” Silbergleit adds, “Body cooling has appeared in the past to increase the rate of good neurological outcomes in patients resuscitated from shockable rhythms, but even in the most optimistic prior research, no more than 50% of these patients get better.” Silbergleit says that’s not good enough. “We want to do better than that,” he says. “In addition, whether body cooling works in the half of patients that get resuscitated from asystole and pulseless electrical activity has never been studied before in a randomized study.” Increasing neurological recovery The study will include comatose patients who have experienced a cardiac arrest and have had their body successfully cooled to 34 degrees Celsius or lower in the emergency department or intensive care unit. The cooling must be part of their usual care and take place within 240 minutes of experiencing the cardiac arrest. In addition, patients will only be enrolled with written informed consent from a legally authorized representative. Early on in the trial, patients who experience either type of cardiac arrest will be equally randomized between 12, 24 and 48 hours of cooling. Later, as the trial progresses and more patients are enrolled, they may be randomized to shorter or longer cooling treatment time frames depending on what durations of treatment seem to work best. Durations of cooling up to 72 hours may be explored. Ninety days after their cardiac arrest and having their heart restarted, patients in the trial will be assessed on a scale that measures their degree of neurological disability. “We hope this study allows us to not only discover which cardiac arrest patient population benefits the most from body cooling, but the optimal duration of body cooling to give patients the best chance of full neurological recovery,” Meurer says. The study begins in early 2020 and is anticipated to take place for four years. It will be conducted through the National Institutes of Health-funded network, The Strategies to Innovate Emergency Care Clinical Trials Network (SIREN). SIREN seeks to improve the outcomes of patients with neurologic, cardiac, respiratory, hematologic and trauma emergencies by identifying effective treatments administered in the earliest stages of critical care. Michigan Medicine serves as the network’s clinical coordinating centre, with a data coordinating centre at the Medical University of South Carolina and 11 award hubs with primary investigators at each. “The SIREN network allows us to perform this clinical trial at sites across the country,” says Silbergleit, one of the principal investigators of the SIREN network. “We anticipate around 50 hospitals enrolling an average of nine patients each year.” Future care The study team hopes this clinical trial will help with future body cooling treatment guidelines. “We’ve noted that body cooling is a commonly-used treatment in comatose cardiac arrest survivors, but there is limited data in the treatment guidelines, specifically about its ability to reduce brain injury,” Meurer says. Silbergleit agrees, “We hope the results of this trial will impact clinical practice and give emergency medicine and intensive care unit physicians additional information on body cooling and its effects on patients.” The study, “ICECAP: Influence of Cooling duration on Efficacy in Cardiac Arrest Patients”, is funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute under award number UG3HL145269. To view the study’s U.S. Food and Drug Administration protocol, please visit the study’s website. https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/body-work kalip
  17. Is it safe to go vegan in older age? The diet takes vegetarianism to the extreme and poses a risk for nutrient deficiency. But it does offer health benefits. If tofu turkey and meatless meatloaf are on your holiday menu this year, you may have made the switch to a vegetarian diet, eliminating at least some animal protein. But how much animal protein can you safely cut out of your diet? Vegetarian diet benefits Among the many types of vegetarian diets, three are particularly common: a pescatarian diet allows seafood; a lacto-ovo diet allows dairy products and eggs; finally, a vegan diet allows no seafood, dairy, or other animal products. All of these approaches typically include lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils. These plant-based foods contain several healthy components: a wide variety of antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties that are linked to better health lots of fibre, which helps prevent constipation, lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol, and controls blood sugar and weight low saturated fat compared with a non-vegetarian diet. Compared with meat-containing diets, the health benefits of all vegetarian diets are well documented: lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. The picture isn't completely straightforward: a study published Sept. 4, 2019, by The BMJ found that along with lower rates of heart attacks, vegetarians had higher rates of haemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke, compared with meat eaters. The increase equalled about three more cases of haemorrhagic stroke per 1,000 people over 10 years. Most other studies have not identified such a risk. Vegan diet benefits and challenges If plant-based foods are generally healthier than animal-based foods, should you consider a vegan diet, banishing all animal products? It seems like something to consider, with the increasing amount of vegan foods now sold in grocery stores and restaurants. Whether a vegan diet has even greater benefits than a less restrictive vegetarian diet is unclear. "Because the vegan diet is restrictive, it can be a challenge to maintain over the long term," says Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. A study published in April 2019 in The Journal of Nutrition found that a vegan diet slightly outperformed a pescatarian diet and a lacto-ovo diet when it came to the amount of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids in the blood, and that a vegan diet significantly outperformed diets with meat. However, this is just one study. "Most studies don't separate vegan and vegetarian diets, so we don't have a lot of evidence comparing one vegetarian diet to the other," says McManus. A vegan diet also comes with health risks, especially for older adults, although you can take action to counteract those risks. In particular, McManus notes, when you cut out animal products, you may come up short on certain nutrients: Calcium. Calcium is important to many functions, especially bone, dental, heart, nerve, and blood health. Protein. We need protein to build strong muscles, bones, and skin — particularly as we age and lose muscle and bone mass and have a harder time healing from wounds. Vitamin B12. This vitamin comes only from animal-based foods. B12 is crucial to our DNA, red blood cell formation, new cell growth, glucose metabolism, and maintaining our nervous system and thinking skills. In addition, you may have trouble getting enough calories on a highly restricted diet. If you don't give your body enough fuel, you may become tired or malnourished. Avoiding deficiencies "You have to be selective when choosing a plant-based diet to ensure that you get enough calories and nutrients," McManus says. Here's how to avoid the potential pitfalls of a vegan diet — or, for that matter, any other type of vegetarian diet: Avoid calcium deficiency. Eat plant-based foods that are rich in calcium: almonds, dark leafy greens (kale, spinach), figs, tofu, and oranges. A medium-sized orange has about 50 milligrams (mg) of calcium; a cup of cooked collard greens has 268 mg of calcium. Aim for 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium per day. Get enough protein. Eat protein-rich plant foods: soy products (tofu, tempeh, and edamame), legumes (beans, lentils), nuts (walnuts, almonds), chia seeds, and spirulina (blue or green algae). For example, a cup of canned navy beans has 20 grams of protein. Chia seeds have about 4.5 grams of protein per ounce, and sunflower seeds have about 6 grams per ounce. You need about 7 grams of protein daily for every 20 pounds of body weight. Avoid vitamin B12 deficiency. Try B12-enriched vegan foods such as fortified plant milks (like almond or soy milk) or fortified cereals. McManus says you may need to take a B12 supplement while on a vegan diet. We also advise that your doctor check your blood level of vitamin B12 regularly. How should you start? Get the okay from your doctor before starting a vegan diet, and then seek advice from a registered dietitian, who can tailor an eating plan to your nutritional needs. Combine plant food sources for the maximum amount of vitamins and nutrients. Soups, salads, and smoothies with lots of different kinds of foods will help you maximize calories and nutrients. And by all means, take it slowly. "Get rid of red meat, and then poultry, and then dairy products and fish," McManus says, "But don't feel that you have to eliminate all of them at once." https://www.health.harvard.edu/ kalip
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 'Intermittent Fasting' Diet Could Boost Your Health Here comes the new year, and with it hordes of folks looking for ways to fulfill resolutions to eat healthy. Intermittent fasting is a legitimate option they might want to consider, claims a new review in the Dec. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. "The state of the science on intermittent fasting has evolved to the point that it now can be considered as one approach, with exercise and healthy food, to improving and maintaining health as a lifestyle approach," said senior author Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist with Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. There are two main ways to adopt intermittent fasting into your life, Mattson said: Daily time-restricted feeding gives you a narrow window during which you can eat, usually 6 to 8 hours each day. 5:2 intermittent fasting requires that people only eat one moderate-sized meal on two days each week. When people are fasting, they are slowly burning through the glucose stored in their liver, Mattson explained. The liver holds about 700 calories of glucose. "It takes 10 to 12 hours to use the liver's energy stores," Mattson said. "Then what happens is, fats are used for energy." This process is called "metabolic switching," and the three-meals-a-day eating pattern favored by Americans doesn't allow their bodies to run through their liver's energy stores and make the switch to fat-burning, Mattson said. In the new paper, Mattson and colleagues summarised the current scientific evidence. Studies show that intermittent fasting can: Stabilise blood sugar levels, increase resistance to stress, and suppress inflammation. Decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and improve resting heart rate. Improve brain health and memory. "If you're thinking of intermittent fasting as a fad diet, I think it's actually a pretty legitimate option," said Hannah Kittrell, a registered dietitian and manager of the Mount Sinai PhysioLab in New York City, a nutrition and exercise physiology clinic. "The reason for that is it's not completely cutting out any food groups," said Kittrell, who wasn't part of the study. "It's not telling you don't eat carbs, don't eat fat. It's just modulating when you're eating food." Kittrell said her lab evaluates different diets by looking at the evolutionary, historical and biological basis for them, and intermittent fasting passes all three tests. "There's an evolutionary basis in the sense that hunter-gatherers essentially followed an intermittent fasting diet because food was scarce. They wouldn't necessarily know the next time they'd eat," she said. The metabolic switch described by Mattson reflects the biological basis of intermittent fasting, and history is full of examples of humans engaging in fasting, Kittrell said. "It's been used a lot for medical and religious reasons," Kittrell said. "Ramadan is a great example of prolonged intermittent fasting." In the paper, Mattson lays out a couple of sample prescriptions for incorporating fasting into your daily life. People who want to try time-restricted feeding could limit themselves to a 10-hour feeding period five days a week for the first month, then bring the period down to 8 and then 6 hours in subsequent months. The goal would be to achieve a 6-hour feeding period seven days a week, the researchers wrote. Or people could start out by fasting one day a week, with one meal on that day of 1,000 calories, and extend that to two days a week by the second month. The goal would be a single 500-calorie meal on two days each week. Mattson and Kittrell warn that you'll likely be uncomfortable as your body adapts to your new eating pattern. "This is very similar to exercise programs where someone who is sedentary, they take a month or two to get in shape while their organ systems adapt to the exercise," Mattson said. It can take between a few weeks to a couple of months for someone to get comfortable with intermittent fasting, Mattson and Kittrell said. "If someone typically eats breakfast and tomorrow they don't eat breakfast, they're going to be hungry and irritable as it gets towards lunchtime," Mattson said. "That will be gone after two weeks to a month, if they stick with it. That's a very important practical aspect." Don't expect immediate results, either -- it can take a few weeks before your body adapts to the point where you'll start dropping pounds and experiencing improved health indicators, Mattson said. Participants also must keep in mind that fasting doesn't give them free license to eat whatever they want, Kittrell added. "Obviously, you're still going to want to follow a healthy diet," Kittrell said. "It's not like you can eat only fast food but because you're doing intermittent fasting you'll be healthy." Although Kittrell considers intermittent fasting a reasonable diet option, she said there's still a lot to learn about it. For example, studies show that some people respond better to fasting than others, though the reasons why aren't yet understood, she said. "I think it shows promise, but there's still a lot of work to be done before you can say that intermittent fasting is 100% safe and effective for everybody to follow," Kittrell said. Mattson, who's been fasting for 20 years himself, said there are certain types of people for whom he wouldn't recommend the practice -- children, the elderly and people who already have very low body weight. He agrees with Kittrell that more research needs to be done regarding the health potential of fasting. For one thing, there's a strong argument to be made that intermittent fasting might improve cancer treatment, Mattson said. "It turns out cancer cells typically only use glucose as a food source. They cannot use fats," Mattson said. "If you hit them with chemotherapeutic drugs or radiation when the person is fasting, then their cancer cells are more easily killed." There are multiple trials ongoing to see if fasting could help treat cancer, Mattson noted. https://consumer.healthday.com/ kalip
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. Fatty Diets Tied to Leading Cause of Vision Loss in Seniors - Diets heavy in red meat and fatty foods could help spur a leading cause of vision loss in older Americans, new research suggests. The study found that people who ate more typical Western diets were three times more likely to develop an eye condition that robs you of your central vision -- late-stage age-related macular degeneration. "What you eat seems to be important to your vision, and to whether or not you have vision loss later in life," said study lead author Amy Millen. She's an associate professor in the department of epidemiology and environmental health at the University at Buffalo's School of Public Health and Health Professions, in Buffalo, N.Y. "People know that diet influences cardiovascular risk and the risk of obesity, but the public may not know that diet can affect vision loss," Millen said. Age-related macular degeneration occurs when a part of the eye called the macula is damaged. Sometimes this happens when deposits called drusen grow on the macula. Or it can occur when new blood vessels keep forming and leak blood, scarring the macula, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Genetics and smoking are known risk factors for age-related macular degeneration. The study included almost 1,300 people from a nationally representative sample. Most did not have macular degeneration. There were 117 who had early AMD, and 27 had late. All of the study participants completed surveys about their diets twice during the 18-year study. The researchers sorted the foods into 29 categories to measure the quality of the diet. They found that people who ate a more Western diet were much more likely to develop late-stage AMD. Foods linked to a higher risk included: Red and processed meats Fats, such as margarine and butter High-fat dairy Fried foods. "Diet is one way you might be able to modify your risk of vision loss from age-related macular degeneration," Millen said, especially if you have a family history of the disease. She noted that since the study was observational, it couldn't prove that eating healthy foods would reduce the risk of AMD, but she said it did show the foods you probably don't want to eat often. Dr. Avnish Deobhakta, an ophthalmologist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai in New York City, wasn't involved with the study, but said he wasn't surprised by the findings. "This study shows what we've suspected. A diet high in fatty foods, processed meats and refined grains makes the more severe form of macular degeneration more likely," Deobhakta said. Both Millen and Deobhakta said inflammation caused by a less healthy diet and stress on the cells in the eyes (oxidative stress) are likely behind the increased risk. "The eyes are a sentinel for the rest of the body. In the tiny blood vessels of the eyes, even small changes that you would not otherwise notice in other organs, you will notice in the eyes," Deobhakta said. So can you make up for a lifetime of eating poorly? That's not known. But both experts said that a healthy diet -- full of vegetables (especially dark, leafy greens) and fruits and fatty fish -- contains important nutrients for eye health, including lutein and zeaxanthin. "It's difficult to switch the way you eat overnight, but this is almost certainly a decades-long process, so try to slowly move toward more virtuous behaviour with food. Try to supplement your current diet with more leafy vegetables and increase your consumption of fish," Deobhakta said. And both experts strongly advised no smoking. The study was published in the December issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology. More information Learn more about macular degeneration from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. healthday kalip
  25. Eggs and cholesterol: Is industry funded research misleading? Whether dietary cholesterol increases levels of cholesterol in the blood is a controversial topic. Although many researchers have investigated this question, a recent review asks whether industry funding has slanted the overall results. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is essential for good health as it is an important structural component of cell walls. Our liver can produce all of the cholesterol that we need, but we also consume it in animal products. As cholesterol circulates the body, it can cause problems. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which people often refer to as "bad" cholesterol, increases the risk of atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of fatty plaques on the walls of blood vessels. Atherosclerosis increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and peripheral artery disease. As eggs are high in cholesterol, scientists have raised concerns that they might lead to elevated cholesterol levels in the blood if a person eats them in excess. To investigate this, scientists have carried out many studies over more than 50 years. To date, however, the findings have fallen short of conclusive. The egg industry's role Some experts are concerned that industry funded research is muddying the waters and skewing result As the authors of the recent review explain, "In recent years, the egg industry, working especially through [United States] federally administered programs, has funded studies investigating the effects of eggs on blood cholesterol concentrations." They continue: "[T]he potential for industry funding for research to influence nutrition policy decisions has become an important concern." The primary purpose of the current review was to understand whether the proportion of industry funded studies is growing. The researchers also wanted to see "whether study conclusions reflected their objective findings." In total, the researchers found 211 papers that met their criteria for review, and they published their results in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. The authors note that industry funding has increased significantly. In the 1950s and 1960s, there were no industry funded studies, but from 2010 to 2019, 60% of studies had industry backing. Misrepresenting findings Overall, more than 85% of the studies reported that eggs increased blood cholesterol. However, the findings showed that the authors of industry funded papers were more likely to downplay the significance of these results. In fact, 49% of industry funded papers reported conclusions that did not match their results, compared with 13% of the papers that had not received industry funding. As an example, in one study, the researchers asked college students to eat two eggs with breakfast for 5 days each week for 14 weeks. At the end of the study, the participants' average LDL cholesterol had increased by 15 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dl). To put this into perspective, LDL cholesterol should be under 100 mg/dl for a healthy adult. So, an increase from 100 mg/dl to 115 mg/dl is a 15% rise in LDL cholesterol. Although this seems to be a substantial rise, in this study, it did not reach statistical significance. In other words, there was more than a 5% chance that the increase could have occurred by chance. As a result, the authors of the study concluded that an "additional 400 mg/day of dietary cholesterol did not negatively impact blood lipids." Study author Dr. Neal Barnard explains that "t would have been appropriate for the investigators to report that the cholesterol increases associated with eggs could have been due to chance. Instead, they wrote that the increases did not happen at all. Similar conclusions were reported in more than half of industry funded studies." The authors write, "It is important to differentiate between the absence of a statistically significant difference and the absence of a difference." Influencing policy The findings of this review are particularly worrying because this line of research has the power to influence policy. In 2015, for instance, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee wrote that "available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol." However, after reviewing the available evidence, in the final guidelines, they called for eating "as little dietary cholesterol as possible." According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 95 million adults over the age of 20 years have high cholesterol. Giving the public the right advice is of paramount importance. "In decades past, the egg industry played little or no role in cholesterol research, and the studies' conclusions clearly showed that eggs raise cholesterol," explains Dr. Barnard. "In recent years, the egg industry has sought to neutralise eggs' unhealthy image as a cholesterol-raising product by funding more studies and skewing the interpretation of the results." In particular, the authors identify the American Egg Board, which is a federally authorised, industry funded body. Their mission is "to increase demand for all U.S. eggs and egg products." Over the years, scientists have carried out a number of meta-analyses to assess the effect of egg consumption on levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood. As one example, a recent analysis that collated results from 28 studies concluded that eating eggs significantly increases both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol concentrations. "The egg industry has mounted an intense effort to try to show that eggs do not adversely affect blood cholesterol levels. For years, faulty studies on the effects of eggs on cholesterol have duped the press, public, and policymakers to serve industry interests." Study author Dr. Neal Barnard https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/ kalip
  • Create New...