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Nov 30
Mediterranean diet without breakfast best for diabetics
For patients with diabetes, it is better to eat a single large meal than several smaller meals throughout the day, a new study has found.

Researchers at Linkoping University in Sweden studied the effect on blood glucose, blood lipids and different hormones after meals were compared using three different macronutrient compositions in patients with type 2 diabetes.

The three diets were a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate diet and a Mediterranean diet. The scientists included 21 patients that tested all three diets in a randomised order. During each test day blood samples were collected at six time points.

The low-fat diet had a nutrient composition that has traditionally been recommended in the Nordic countries, with about 55 per cent of the total energy from carbohydrates.

The low-carbohydrate diet had a relatively low content of carbohydrate; approximately 20 per cent of the energy was from carbohydrates and about 50 per cent of the total energy came from fat.

The Mediterranean diet was composed of only a cup of black coffee for breakfast, and with all the caloric content corresponding to breakfast and lunch during the other two test days accumulated to one large lunch.

Furthermore, the total caloric content included energy from 150 ml (women) to 200 ml (men) of French red wine to ingest with the lunch.

The food in the Mediterranean diet had an energy content from carbohydrates that was intermediate between the low-fat and the low-carbohydrate meals, and sources of fat were mainly olives and fatty fish.

"We found that the low-carbohydrate diet increased blood glucose levels much less than the low-fat diet but that levels of triglycerides tended to be high compared to the low-fat diet," said Doctor Hans Guldbrand, who together with Professor Fredrik Nystrom was the principal investigator of the study.

"It is very interesting that the Mediterranean diet, without breakfast and with a massive lunch with wine, did not induce higher blood glucose levels than the low-fat diet lunch, despite such a large single meal," said Nystrom.

"This suggests that it is favourable to have a large meal instead of several smaller meals when you have diabetes, and it is surprising how often one today refers to the usefulness of the so-called Mediterranean diet but forgets that it also traditionally meant the absence of a breakfast," Nystrom said.

"Our results give reason to reconsider both nutritional composition and meal arrangements for patients with diabetes," Nystrom said.

Nov 30
Don't ignore persistent coughs, check for signs of lung cancer
Lung cancer, like all cancers, arises when there is an unrestrained growth of lung cells due to mutations caused by various factors. It is the most common cancer in the world and is responsible for approximately 1.4 million deaths annually.

Here are some facts relating to this deadly disease:

Types

There are two major types of lung cancer; small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) - it accounts for 15% of the disease and is usually caused by smoking and typically begins in the large airways of the lungs from where it can spread to the brain. The other is non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) which comprises 80% of the cases. It has three main types--adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma. NSCLC arises from the epithelial cells lining the larger and smaller airways.

Causes

The main causes of lung cancers include smoking (active and passive), radon gas, asbestos, familial predisposition, air pollution and lung diseases.

Symptoms

1 A persistent cough or worsening of an existing chronic cough
2 Prolonged chest or shoulder pain
3 Unexplained weight loss and/or fatigue
4 Coughing up blood
5 Repeated chest infections
6 Breathing problems

Diagnosis

A chest x-ray is the first diagnostic step taken to detect cancer, if a person shows symptoms of infection. CT imaging and bronchoscopy are used to gather more information about the extent or location of a tumour.

Stages

NSCLC is divided into four stages depending on the severity of a case.

Stage 1-it is confined to the lung

Stage II&III-it is has spread locally but is confined to the chest. (Stage III denotes extent and invasiveness of the tumours)

Stage IV- it has spread from the chest to other parts of the body

SCLC is classified depending on whether the cancer is limited or extensive.

Treatment

Methods of treatment include surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy depending upon the stage and type of lung cancer and also the patient's overall heath condition.

Prevention

Cessation of smoking, reducing radon levels at home, limiting air pollution, eliminating passive smoking and avoiding carcinogens at work; these are some of the measures an individual and the public at large can take to prevent lung cancer.

Nov 29
Diabetic women should monitor glucose levels before pregnancy
Women suffering from diabetes and wishing to start a family should monitor their blood glucose levels and take a daily high dose of folic acid before pregnancy to avoid risk to their baby's health, a new study said Wednesday.

The risk of stillbirth - when the foetus dies in the uterus or death during the first year of birth - was over four times greater in women with diabetes than in those without the disease.

The team from Newcastle University studied the outcome of over 400,000 pregnancies delivered in north of England between 1996 and 2008.

"We found that 2.7 percent of births in women with diabetes resulted in stillbirth, six times than the rate for women without diabetes, while 0.7 percent died during the first year of life, nearly double the rate in women without diabetes," said Ruth Bell, one of the researchers.

The research also said that nearly 40 percent of deaths might have been avoided if all of the women were able to achieve good control of their blood glucose before pregnancy.

"Stillbirths and infant deaths are thankfully not common, but they could be even less common if all women with diabetes can be helped to achieve the best possible control of their blood glucose levels before becoming pregnant," added Bell.

Nov 29
Newly discovered HIV strain leads to faster AIDS development
A new study has suggested that a recently discovered HIV strain leads to significantly faster development of AIDS than currently prevalent forms.

The period from infection to development of AIDS was the shortest reported among HIV-1 types, at around five years.

There are over 60 different epidemic strains of HIV-1 in the world, and geographic regions are often dominated by one or two of these. If a person becomes infected with two different strains, they can fuse and a recombined form can occur.

"Recombinants seem to be more vigorous and more aggressive than the strains from which they developed," Angelica Palm, a doctoral student at Lund University in Sweden, explained.

The recombinant studied is called A3by02 and is a cross between the two most common strains in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa - 02AG and A3. It has previously been described by Joakim Esbjornsson, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford, who is a co-author of the study.

So far, the new strain has only been identified in West Africa, but other studies have shown that the global spread of different recombinants is increasing.

In countries and regions with high levels of immigration, such as the US and Europe, the trend is towards an increasingly mixed and complex HIV flora, unlike in the beginning of the epidemic when a small number of non-recombinant variants of the virus dominated. There is therefore reason to be wary of HIV recombinants in general.

Nov 28
AIIMS researchers prove yoga`s benefits for COPD patients
COPD patients can improve their lung function by practicing yoga, a new research led by Indian origin scientist has revealed.

The study by researchers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep Disorders found that lung function, shortness of breath, and inflammation all showed significant improvement after patients completed 12 weeks of training.

"COPD is a systemic inflammatory disease that causes difficulty breathing. We investigated to see whether simple, structured yoga training affects the level of inflammation, shortness of breath, and quality of life in patients with stable COPD," study presenter Randeep Guleria said.

The study included 29 stable patients with COPD who received yoga training in a format that included the use of physical postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), cleansing techniques, (kriyas), meditation, and a relaxation technique (shavasan) for 1 hour, twice a week, for 4 weeks.

Following the 4-week period, patients were trained for 1 hour every 2 weeks, with the remaining sessions completed at home. Patients were evaluated on assessment of lung function, breathing, quality of life, and inflammation status.
A repeat assessment was done at the end of the 12-week training session. All parameters showed significant improvement at the end of the 12-week period.

Guleria said that yoga can be a simple, cost-effective method that can help improve quality of life in patients with COPD .

The study was presented at CHEST 2013.

Nov 28
Two cups of wild blueberries a day may help keep the doctor at bay
A new research has revealed that regular long-term wild blueberry diets may help improve or prevent pathologies associated with the metabolic syndrome, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Wild blueberries are a rich source of phytochemicals called polyphenols, which have been reported by a growing number of studies to exert a wide array of protective health benefits and the study by researchers at the University of Maine adds to this growing body of evidence.
"The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a group of risk factors characterized by obesity, hypertension, inflammation, dyslipidemia, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, and endothelial dysfunction," Dr. Klimis-Zacas , a Professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Maine and a co-author of the study explained.
"We have previously documented the cardiovascular benefits of a polyphenol-rich wild blueberry in a rat model with impaired vascular health and high blood pressure, our new findings show that these benefits extend to the obese Zucker rat, a widely used model resembling human MetS," Klimis-Zacas said.
According to the study, wild blueberry consumption (2 cups per day, human equivalent) for 8 weeks was shown to regulate and improve the balance between relaxing and constricting factors in the vascular wall, improving blood flow and blood pressure regulation of obese Zucker rats with metabolic syndrome.
The researcher said the study documented that wild blueberries reduce chronic inflammation and improve the abnormal lipid profile and gene expression associated with the MetS.
The study is published in journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

Nov 27
Why Alzheimer's disease is associated with disrupted sleep
Researchers have suggested that disabling a gene that helps keep track of time makes brain cells more likely to die spontaneously, and they believe that this connection may help strong connections between sleep problems and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Pennsylvania have shown that brain cell damage similar to that seen in Alzheimer's disease and other disorders results when a gene that controls the sleep-wake cycle and other bodily rhythms is disabled.

The researchers found evidence that disabling a circadian clock gene that controls the daily rhythms of many bodily processes blocks a part of the brain's housekeeping cycle that neutralizes dangerous chemicals known as free radicals.

"Normally in the hours leading up to midday, the brain increases its production of certain antioxidant enzymes, which help clean up free radicals," first author Erik Musiek, assistant professor of neurology at the School of Medicine, said. "When clock genes are disabled, though, this surge no longer occurs, and the free radicals may linger in the brain and cause more damage."

Musiek studied mice lacking a master clock gene called Bmal1. Without this gene, activities that normally occur at particular times of day are disrupted.

Musiek found that as the mice aged, many of their brain cells became damaged and did not function normally. The patterns of damage were similar to those seen in Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

The study was published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Nov 27
Obesity linked to higher risk of hearing loss in women
A new research has revealed that a higher body mass index (BMI) and larger waist circumference are each associated with higher risk of hearing loss, while a higher level of physical activity is linked to lower risk of hearing loss in women.

"We often think of hearing loss as an inevitable part of the aging process, but these findings provide evidence that potentially modifiable risk factors, such as maintaining a healthy weight and staying physically active, may help in the prevention of hearing loss or delay its progression," lead author, Sharon Curhan from the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, said.

Using data from 68,421 women in the Nurses' Health Study II who were followed from 1989 to 2009, researchers analyzed information on BMI, waist circumference, physical activity, and self-reported hearing loss. The baseline and updated information was obtained through validated biennial questionnaires.

Researchers found that women with a BMI of 30-34 had a relative risk for hearing loss that was 17 percent higher, and with a BMI of 40 or more had a relative risk that was 25 percent higher, when compared with those with a BMI of less than 25.

For women with waist circumference 80-88 cm, the relative risk for hearing loss was 11 percent higher and with waist circumference greater than 88 cm the relative risk was 27 percent higher when compared with women with waist circumference less than 71 cm.

Researchers also found that higher level of physical activity was associated with lower risk. Compared with women who were the least physically active, women who were the most physically active had a 17 percent lower risk of hearing loss.

Walking, which was the most common form of physical activity reported among these women, was associated with lower risk; walking 2 hours per week or more was associated with a 15 percent lower risk of hearing loss, compared with walking less than one hour per week.

The study was published in The American Journal of Medicine.

Nov 26
More walking tied to lower stroke risk among men
Older men who spend several hours walking each day are less likely to have a stroke than their peers who rarely walk, a new study suggests. And walking pace didn't seem to matter.

Researchers said few studies have looked specifically at how both walking speed and walking time or distance are linked to stroke risk.

"Stroke is a major cause of death and disability and it is important to find ways to prevent it, especially in older people who are at high stroke risk," Barbara J. Jefferis told a news agency in an email. She led the research at University College London in the UK.

"Our study suggests that maintaining an active lifestyle, specifically by spending more time on all forms of walking, could be an important part of stroke prevention strategies in older people," Jefferis said.

She and her co-authors analyzed data from men enrolled in a long-term British heart study.

The men entered the study in 1978 to 1980. In 1998 to 2000, when they were in their 60s and 70s, they filled out surveys about how often they were physically active.

The new analysis includes 2,995 men who had not had a stroke or heart disease at the time of that survey. Researchers followed them for another 11 years.

More than half of the men walked an hour or less each day. About one in six reported walking more than two hours per day.

During the follow-up period, 195 of the men had a stroke. The researchers found that the more time men spent walking, the lower their risk of stroke.

Men who walked four to seven hours each week were 11 percent less likely to have a stroke than men who walked for three hours per week or less. But that difference could have been due to chance, Jefferis and her colleagues reported in the journal Stroke.

A stronger finding was that men who walked the most - for more than three hours each day - had a two-thirds lower risk of stroke than those who spent the least time walking.

Walking pace was also tied to stroke risk, such that average-pace or brisk walkers had a 38 percent lower risk of stroke than slow walkers. But distance walked explained that finding: men who walked at an average or brisk pace also walked further than their slower peers, according to the study.

The findings don't prove walking prevents strokes. But they could not be explained by factors known to increase a person's risk of stroke, like age, blood pressure and cholesterol. More recently identified markers of stroke, such as proteins associated with inflammation, blood clotting or heart muscle damage also weren't behind the link.

"What we found was that all of these factors explained only a small amount of the relationship between time spent walking and onset of stroke," Jefferis said. "This suggests that there may be other factors operating which explain why walking protects against stroke."

Her team's study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research and the British Heart Foundation.

Although it only included men, Jefferis said other research has suggested walking is good for women, too.

For instance, a team of Spanish researchers reported late last year that women who walked briskly for at least three and a half hours per week had a lower risk of stroke than inactive women.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 800,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke every year, and strokes are the most common cause of serious long-term disability.

"Getting into the habit of walking every day for at least an hour could protect against stroke," Jefferis said. That can include walking that is done while running errands, walking for leisure in a park or just walking around indoors.

Both the World Health Organization and CDC recommend adults get at least two and a half hours of moderate exercise each week.

Nov 26
Skin cancer more dangerous for men! Know why?
Men are less likely to develop skin cancer than women but they are more likely to die from the disease due to lack of awareness, says Iain Mack of The MOLE Clinic.

The facts about skin cancer have been revealed following Hugh Jackman's scare. Recently, the Hollywood star revealed his skin cancer problem and how early detection made his life easier.

Mack is the founder of The MOLE Clinic, an independent skin cancer screening and diagnostic centre, and a skin cancer survivor.

"Men are less likely to develop skin cancer than women; however they are more likely to die from it due to lack of awareness. The number of British men who die each year of skin cancer melanoma has exceeded 1,000," femalefirst.co.uk quoted Mack as saying.

"Around 2,000 people die of melanoma a year and over 1,000 are men. The latest melanoma survival rates show that 78 percent of men and 91 percent of women are alive five years after diagnosis," Mack added.

Mack says that skin cancer usually appears as a new or changing mole or freckle.

"Skin cancer has no cure, so it is important for the public to become more aware of their moles and spot any that might be suspect. If a mole is new or changing it needs to be examined by an expert right away," he said.

Over half of people with moles, which are cancerous or at risk of skin cancer, have a history of sunburn or sunbed use, according to figures released by The MOLE Clinic.

In the past 12 months, the London-based independent skin cancer screening clinic screened more than 10,000 moles. This is a record figure in the company's 10 years of skin cancer screening.

<b>What are the preventive measures to avoid skin cancer?</b>

Virginia Hubbard, consultant dermatologist at London Bridge Hospital, recommends that people examine their skin every month.

"People with fair skin, who burn easily, and people with lots of moles should take particular care as these people are more likely to develop a skin cancer.

"Check your skin regularly. If in any doubt about any changes in a mole, seek expert help. Avoid sunburn of your skin. Use a sunscreen of at least SPF30, with UVA protection too. Use twice as much sunscreen as you think you need. Make sure you reapply every hour or so, especially if sweating or after swimming," said Hubbard.