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May 30
Impulsive people more prone to 'binge eating'
The more impulsive you get, the chances are the more you will binge eat when you feel low, claims a new study.

According to Kelly Klump, it is human nature to want to turn to something for comfort after experiencing a bad day. But, according to their research, the tendency to act rashly when faced with negative emotions, is a personality trait that could lead to binge eating.

Binge eating refers to the uncontrollable consumption of a large amount of food in a short period of time, and this doesn't just happen because someone's had a rotten day, but is tied to how impulsive you are.

The research determined that people with these eating problems generally have higher levels of negative urgency or a tendency to act impulsively when experiencing negative emotions, than those who do not have pathological eating habits.

Sarah Racine said it is possible that relationships between binge eating and negative urgency reflect impairments in behavioral control over eating when upset.

She added that overeating may instead represent increased sensitivity to rewarding effects of food in the context of negative emotions

Klump believes that if they can treat the underlying tendency to jump to eating when feeling negative emotions like stress then they may be able to help thousands of individuals who suffer from a range of eating disorders.

The study is published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

May 29
Major study finds earlier HIV treatment improves health
A major international study sought to settle how soon is best to start HIV treatment - and the advice is don't delay.

People who started anti-AIDS drugs while their immune system was strong were far less likely to develop AIDS or other serious illnesses than if they waited until blood tests showed their immune system was starting to weaken, the U.S. National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday.

The findings are preliminary, but the NIH found them so compelling that it stopped the study a year early, so that all the participants could receive medication as researchers continue to track their health.

How soon should treatment begin?

"The sooner the better," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which funded the work.

Current U.S. guidelines already recommend early treatment for HIV, but the findings could alter care recommendations in other countries.

HIV may not trigger symptoms for years, raising the question of how soon after diagnosis patients should begin taking expensive medications that may cause side effects. Previous studies have made clear that early treatment dramatically lowers the chances that someone with HIV spreads the virus to a sexual partner. But there was less evidence that the HIV patient's own health would benefit by starting early.

The START trial - Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment - sought proof by randomly assigning still healthy patients either to receive early therapy or to delay therapy until their CD4 cells, a key sign of immune system health, dropped into a worry zone.

While the U.S. guidelines back treatment regardless of patients' CD4 counts, the World Health Organization's guidelines recommend that HIV-infected people begin treatment when their CD4 levels fall below normal, to 500 or below. But that doesn't happen in many poor countries, where often people are sicker before they receive treatment and global funding to expand care is tight.

Even in the U.S., many people don't seek or stick with early care: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that only about 30 percent of Americans with HIV have the virus under control.

The START trial enrolled 4,685 people in 35 countries, all of whom had CD4 counts in the healthy range - above 500 - and had never taken anti-HIV medication. Researchers tracked deaths, the development of AIDS-related illnesses and the development of serious non-AIDS events such as cancer, heart disease and kidney or liver disease.

Over about three years, the risk of serious illness or death was reduced by 53 percent in the early treatment group, NIH said.

The actual numbers of bad outcomes in both groups were very low, given that patients were so healthy when they enrolled in the study: 41 cases in the early-treatment group compared with 86 in the group that delayed treatment until their CD4 count dropped to near 350.

The results, once final, will need careful scrutiny to see if they apply to people with the highest CD4 counts, cautioned Dr. Jay Levy of the University of California, San Francisco, who wasn't involved in the new study.

"I'm still concerned about putting everyone on therapy," Levy said.

But Fauci said the study offers "another reason why we should be more aggressive" in getting people tested and treated. "It tells you that you will benefit from therapy at whatever your CD4 count is," he added.

May 28
Newer contraceptive pills may further raise risk of blood clots
Newer versions of the Pill may raise a woman's risk of dangerous blood clots even more than older versions, a large U.K. study suggests.

Women taking any combined oral contraceptive pills - containing both estrogen and progestin - were three times as likely to develop a blood clot in a deep vein in the leg or pelvis, compared to women not on the Pill. The risk was higher still with all the newer Pill versions except one, researchers found.

"This association is between 1.5 and 1.8 times higher for the newer formulations," said lead author Yana Vinogradova, a research fellow in medical statistics at the University of Nottingham.

The blood clots, known as venous thromboembolisms (VTEs), are common and can be deadly if the clot dislodges and travels to the heart, brain or lungs. They are more common among women taking estrogen medicines, and the risk is even higher if the woman smokes, according to the National Library of Medicine.

But the overall risk of a blood clot for women on any combined oral contraceptives is still relatively low: between six and 14 extra cases per year per 10,000 women taking the drugs, Vinogradova told Reuters Health by email.

Newer combined pills, including the progestins drospirenone, desogestrel, gestodene or cyproterone acetate, have been suspected of carrying an even higher clot risk compared to older versions that include levonorgestrel and norethisterone. But most past studies have been small or flawed by not taking into account certain other risk factors for clots, the study team writes in BMJ.

To assess VTE risk in women on both older and newer-generation pills, the researchers analyzed U.K. general practice databases covering the period between 2001 and 2013. They found 5,062 cases of VTE among women ages 15 to 49, and matched each of these women with up to five women who did not have a blood clot in the same year, but were of similar age and treated at a similar medical practice.

The researchers accounted for smoking, alcohol consumption, race, body mass index and other health problems, and found that women taking any combined oral contraceptive were almost three times as likely to suffer a blood clot as those not taking contraceptive pills.

Women taking older-generation drugs were about 2.5 times as likely to have a blood clot as women not taking any oral contraceptives over the previous year. Those taking newer types of combined pills were about four times as likely to suffer a clot compared to women not taking oral contraceptives.

The exception among the newer formulations was norgestimate, with a risk profile more similar to the older drugs.

The results would translate to a number of "extra" cases of VTE among women taking the combined pills versus women not on the Pill. These numbers were lowest for the older drug levonorgestrel and the newer norgestimate, with an additional six cases per 10,000 women per year, and highest for two newer drugs, desogestrel and cyproterone, with an extra 14 cases each.

"However," Vinogradova noted, "these increased risks of (venous thromboembolism) associated with both the older and the newer pills are lower than those associated with pregnancy," which may increase clot risk tenfold.

The newer pills carry higher clot risk, but were introduced as potentially having new benefits as well, including reduced acne, headache, depression, weight-gain, breast symptoms and breakthrough bleeding, she said.

The association between different oral contraceptives and blood clot risk has been controversial and previous study results have been mixed, but the new findings help to clarify those inconsistencies, Susan Jick, a professor at Boston University School of Public Health wrote in an editorial accompanying the new results.

About nine percent of women worldwide take birth control pills, including 28 percent of women in the U.K., the authors write.

Any women who are concerned should discuss treatment options with their doctor at their next routine appointment, Vinogradova said.

"Some women are at higher risk of (blood clot) because of family history or other medical conditions and doctors will already take account of these factors when advising women regarding their options for contraception," she said.

May 27
Extra 2-minutes walk every hour can add years to your life
A new study has revealed that walking an extra two minutes each hour may offset hazards of sitting too long.

The University Of Utah Health Sciences study suggests that engaging in low intensity activities such as standing may not be enough to offset the health hazards of sitting for long periods of time. On the bright side, adding two minutes of walking each hour to your routine just might do the trick.

Numerous studies have shown that sitting for extended periods of time each day leads to increased risk for early death, as well as heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions. Considering that 80 percent of Americans fall short of completing the recommended amount of exercise, 2.5 hours of moderate activity each week, it seems unrealistic to expect that people will replace sitting with even more exercise.

They found that there is no benefit to decreasing sitting by two minutes each hour, and adding a corresponding two minutes more of low intensity activities. However, a "trade-off" of sitting for light intensity activities for two minutes each hour was associated with a 33 percent lower risk of dying.

Lead author Srinivasan Beddhu said that it was fascinating to see the results because the current national focus is on moderate or vigorous activity. To see that light activity had an association with lower mortality is intriguing.

Beddhu explained that while it's obvious that it takes energy to exercise, strolling and other light activities use energy, too. Even short walks add up to a lot when repeated many times over the course of a week. Assuming 16 awake hours each day, two minutes of strolling each hour expends 400 kcal each week. That number approaches the 600 kcal it takes to accomplish the recommended weekly goal of moderate exercise.

He concluded that based on these results they would recommend adding two minutes of walking each hour in combination with normal activities, which should include 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week. Moderate exercise strengthens the heart, muscles, and bones and confers health benefits that low and light activities can't.

The study is published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).

May 26
How 'green tea' helps reduce stress levels
In a trial, scientists tested a drink based on a green tea ingredient, L-Theanine, and found that it significantly reduces stress and cortisol levels in healthy and young adults.

During a symposium at the Association for Psychological Sciences Conference, world-renowned researchers from Swinburne University in Australia announced the results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial in which a beverage (neuro BLISS) significantly cut down stress.

The trial's statistically significant results include:

Acute stress reduction

Reduction in cortisol levels

Shifting of brain waves to the alpha spectrum as confirmed by magnetoencephalography (MEG). Alpha spectrum brain waves are associated with a relaxed state of focused concentration

This marks the first use of MEG technology to evaluate the effects of a natural ingredient presented in a functional beverage.

L-Theanine is found in green tea and is the primary functional ingredient of a proprietary formula found only in neuro BLISS.

Chris Noonan, MPH, working on behalf of NeuroBrands stated that the research was truly ground breaking and the company is proud to play a role in developing this science.

The results are due to be published in a prestigious scientific journal.

May 25
Regular aspirin may slow progression of deadly lung disease 'emphysema'
A regular use of aspirin may help slow progression of early emphysema, a deadly lung disease, claims a news research.

Researcher Carrie Aaron of the New York-based Columbia University said that other than smoking cessation and avoidance, there were no known methods for reducing the risk of developing emphysema.

"In our large general population sample, we found that using aspirin 3 or more days per week was associated with a slower progression of percent emphysema on computed tomography (CT) scans over 10 years," she said.

The study included 4,471 individuals participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Lung Study., where the percentage of lung volume with emphysematous features (percent emphysema) was assessed on up to 4 CT scans performed over approximately 10 years of follow-up. Spirometry, a measure of expiratory airflow, was performed in 81 percent of study subjects.

Aaron said the results showed that people taking aspirin regularly had a slower progression of emphysema over ten years compared to those who did not, and that this difference was not explained by many factors that we believe affect progression of emphysema.

The research was presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference.

May 23
Protein-rich snacks make teens feel full, diet better
Munching on snacks rich in protein promotes feeling of fullness, and helps teenagers cut down unhealthy eating habits, finds a new research.

MU researchers have found that afternoon snacking, particularly on high-protein-soy foods, reduces afternoon appetite, delays subsequent eating and reduces unhealthy evening snacking in teenagers.

Assistant Professor Heather Leidy said that when kids eat high-protein snacks in the afternoon, they are less likely to eat unhealthy snacks later in the day, which is particularly important for kids who want to prevent unhealthy weight gain.

Male and female adolescents between the ages of 13 and 19 who were classified as either normal weight or overweight participated in the study.

Leidy said that in addition to the appetite and satiety benefits, they found that when the teens ate the high-protein snacks, they incorporated more protein throughout the day and consumed less dietary fat. Thus, adding protein snacks in the afternoon could be a good strategy for individuals who are trying to eat more protein throughout the day.

They also found that the high-protein snacks improved certain aspects of mood and cognitive function.

May 22
Walnut diet may slow colon cancer growth
A diet containing walnuts may lead to genetic changes that can slow growth of colorectal tumour, the third most common type of cancer worldwide, new animal study by Harvard Medical School has found.

The study examined whether walnut consumption can cause changes to micro-ribonucleic acids (miRNA), the nucleotides that are involved in altering gene expression.

"Our research demonstrates that a walnut diet causes significant changes in the expression profile of miRNAs in localised colorectal cancer tissue, and that a walnut diet incorporates protective fatty acids in the colonic tumour either through its direct effects or through additive or synergistic effects of multiple other compounds present in walnuts," said lead researcher Christos Mantzoros.

Walnuts are the only nut that contain a significant source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential fatty acid critical to various body processes and is known to reduce inflammation.

Walnuts also contain a variety of antioxidants, and numerous vitamins and minerals.

The researchers conducted the randomised study with two groups of mice. One group was fed the equivalent of two servings (56 grams) per day of walnuts for humans, while the second group received a similar control diet with no walnuts.

After 25 days, researchers found that in walnut-fed mice, key miRNA that may affect cancer cell inflammation, blood supply and proliferation were positively engaged.

The study results found that a smaller tumour size was associated with walnut-containing diet, suggesting that ALA may provide a protective benefit.

Tumour growth rate was also significantly slower in the walnut group compared to the control group.

The study was published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

May 21
Skipping meals could actually increase belly fat
If you are dieting with a size zero figure in mind, think again! Researchers have found that skipping meals can ultimately result in abdominal weight gain.

"This does support the notion that small meals throughout the day can be helpful for weight loss, though that may not be practical for many people," said senior author of the study Martha Belury, professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University in the US.

"But you definitely do not want to skip meals to save calories because it sets your body up for larger fluctuations in insulin and glucose and could be setting you up for more fat gain instead of fat loss," Belury explained.

In the study, mice that ate all of their food as a single meal and fasted the rest of the day developed insulin resistance in their livers.

When the liver does not respond to insulin signals telling it to stop producing glucose, that extra sugar in the blood is stored as fat.

These mice initially were put on a restricted diet and lost weight compared to controls that had unlimited access to food.

The restricted-diet mice regained weight as calories were added back into their diets and nearly caught up to controls by the study's end.

But fat around their middles - the equivalent to human belly fat - weighed more in the restricted-diet mice than in mice that were free to nibble all day long.

An excess of that kind of fat is associated with insulin resistance and risk for Type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

The research was published online in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

May 20
Make kids grow veggies to encourage healthy eating
One simple way to make children eat more healthy is to help them grow vegetables in the gardens, says a new research.

The researchers found that when garden grown vegetables were slipped into school salads, kids were over four times as likely to take a salad.

"This is a small study, but it suggests gardens can help children's diets," said lead author Brian Wansink from Cornell University.

This pilot study, conducted in the US, measured the change in vegetable selection and plate waste when school grown salad greens were incorporated in the cafeteria school lunch. The researchers measured the selections and plate waste of a total of 370 enrolled high school students over three separate days.

When the salad bar contained produce grown by students, the percentage of those who selected salads with their meals increased from two percent to 10 percent and on average, students ate two-thirds of their salads.

Overall, salad consumption for the entire student body increased from approximately five to 12 servings per day. This study implies the larger potential benefits of the school garden programmes.

"We see great promise with this research. The first hurdle in increasing vegetable consumption is simply getting kids to put them on their plate," co-author Drew Hanks from Ohio State University noted.

The study was published in the journal Acta Paediatrica.