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Jul 31
Increasing coffee intake bad for your brain
London: While drinking your daily cup of coffee can help you stay sharp, modifying your habit by increasing coffee consumption over time may increase risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia, says new research.

"These findings from the Italian Longitudinal Study on Ageing suggested that cognitively normal older individuals who never or rarely consumed coffee and those who increased their coffee consumption habits had a higher risk of developing MCI," said one of the researchers Francesco Panza from the University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy.

"Therefore, moderate and regular coffee consumption may have neuroprotective effects also against MCI - confirming previous studies on the long-term protective effects of coffee, tea, or caffeine consumption and plasma levels of caffeine against cognitive decline and dementia," Panza noted.

The study involved 1,445 individuals aged 65-84 years.

An interesting finding in this study was that cognitively normal older individuals who modified their habits by increasing with time their amount of coffee consumption ( more than a cup of coffee/day) had about two times higher rate of MCI compared to those with reduced habits (less than a cup of coffee/day).

They also had about one and a half time higher rate of MCI in comparison with those with constant habits (neither more nor less than one cup of coffee/day).

Moreover, those who habitually consumed a moderate amount of coffee (one or two cups of coffee/day) had a reduced rate of the incidence of MCI than those who habitually never or rarely consumed coffee.

These findings were published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Jul 30
Google Glass may improve social skills in autistic people
A new technology uses Google Glass to help those with autism make eye contact, engage in conversations and more easily read social situations.

Ned Sahin, a Boston entrepreneur and scientist, has developed a new technology that aims to change the way those with autism see the world.

"The Brain Power system adds enhancements to the Google Glass or other wearable (technology) and then a suite of software," Sahin said.

The software was designed to help those with autism make eye contact, engage in conversations and more easily read social situations.

"It coaches eye contact directly, rewarding points to the child or adult with autism. Then, when they look at someone in the eye, their little computer screen shows the emotions the other person is feeling," Sahin said.

The glasses can help make someone relax by playing soft music and even has a solution to the fear of "wandering", 'wbir.Com' reported.

"Mom can speak to her child through the device and actually see what he is seeing," Sahin explained.

"We activate the camera so it becomes a remote version of her eyes," he said.

Clinical trials for the new technology will begin later this year at Harvard Medical School.

Jul 27
Exercise, healthy food prevent knee pain in adults with diabetes
As per a new study by medical researchers, regular exercise and healthy food habits may reduce the short-term onset of knee pain for overweight adults with type 2 diabetes.

Daniel White, Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware, wrote an article which was a key study for 2015 at the Osteoarthritis Society's international meeting.

The study compared subjects receiving intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) to a group receiving standard diabetes support and education (DSE) to measure knee pain at the end of one year and four years.

White and his colleagues conducted a secondary analysis of the Action for Health in Diabetes study, a randomised intervention of trial adults aged 45 to 76 years who were obese and had Type 2 diabetes mellitus. The Action for Health in Diabetes study began in 2001.

White said that the analysis involved a group of 2,889 subjects, who reported no knee pain at baseline, but were at high risk due to obesity.

The primary method of achieving weight loss was caloric intake restrictions, based on guidelines from the American Diabetes Association. The diet limits total calories from fat to 30 percent while mandating at least 10 percent of calories to be obtained from protein.

Moderate-intensity walking encouraged as a primary type of physical activity for most of the participants.

White said the study concluded that an intensive program of diet and exercise had a small but statistically significant protective effect against the development of knee pain in the short-term among overweight adults with diabetes.

The story is published in Arthritis Care and Research.

Jul 25
Prawns can protect us from parasitic disease: Study
Freshwater prawns can help prevent the spread of schistosomiasis, a potentially deadly parasitic disease that can cause anaemia, stunted growth, infertility, liver failure, bladder cancer and lasting cognitive impairment, says a new study.

"Where drugs, alone, fail to control schistosomiasis due to rapid reinfection, prawns may offer a complementary strategy for controlling the disease," the study said.

The prawns prey on parasite-infected snails, while providing a source of marketable protein-rich food. Because prawns cannot support schistosomiasis' complex life cycle, they do not transmit the disease themselves, the findings showed.

"The results of our study open the pathway to a novel approach for the control of schistosomiasis," said study co-author Giulio De Leo, a biology professor at Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University in the US.

Worldwide, nearly 800 million people are at risk of getting schistosomiasis. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, tracked parasite-infected snails and people in villages in Senegal, West Africa.

In one village, the international research team and Senegalese partner Biomedical Research Center Espoir pour la Sante stocked a river access point with prawns.

Over the course of 18 months, they found 80 percent fewer infected snails and a 50 percent lower disease burden (the mean number of parasite eggs in a person's urine) in people living in the prawn-stocked village.

"They can synergize with local efforts in the developing world to fight parasitic disease and to foster new aquaculture-based industries," lead author Susanne Sokolow from Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station said.

Currently, the only treatment for the disease is the drug praziquantel. Insufficient global supplies, cost and other factors limit that drug's effectiveness.

Even if it were widely and cheaply available, praziquantel would be an incomplete solution for people who enter river water to bathe and clean clothing, among other reasons, and get reinfected frequently through contact with schistosome-contaminated waters, the study said.

Jul 24
Class of diabetes drugs may also help with Parkinson's disease
Scientists have found a link between a class of drugs used to treat diabetes and protection against Parkinson's disease (PD).

The study conducted by Dr. Ruth Brauer, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, found a lower incidence of PD among people using a glitazone drug (either rosiglitazone or pioglitazone) to treat diabetes when compared to people who had used different treatments for diabetes.

These findings are consistent with animal and in vitro studies which suggested that glitazones and other drugs that target peroxisome proliferation-activated receptor gamma may have neuroprotective effects.

It is important to note that these results may not apply to people without diabetes and do not indicate whether glitazones can slow PD progression.

Further, it is possible that unknown patient characteristics associated with glitazone use might also be linked to PD, contributing to the appearance of a direct causal connection. In addition, glitazones have been associated with serious side effects.

However, the authors are hopeful that these findings may pave the way towards other treatments that target the same pathway.

The study is published in PLOS Medicine. (ANI)

Jul 23
Menopause raises heart disease risk in women
Post-menopausal women have significantly greater volumes of fat around their hearts - a risk factor for heart disease - than their pre-menopausal counterparts, new research shows.

"Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, and it increases after age 50 - the average age when a woman is going through menopause," said lead author Samar El Khoudary, assistant professor at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in the US.

"By showing that menopause appears to be associated with a shift in fat deposits that leads to more fat around the heart, we have uncovered a new potential contributor to increased risk of cardiovascular disease in women," El Khoudary said.

The finding, published online in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, could guide potentially life-saving interventions.

Weight gain in women during and after menopause has long been attributed to ageing, rather than menopause itself.

In the new research, El Khoudary and her team evaluated clinical data, including blood samples and heart CT scans, on 456 women in the US.

The women averaged about 51 years of age and were not on hormone replacement therapy.

As concentrations of the sex hormone estradiol - the most potent estrogen - declined during menopause, greater volumes of cardiovascular fat were found.

The finding held even after the team took into account the effects of age, race, obesity, physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, medication use and chronic diseases.

"Developing prevention strategies to reduce cardiovascular fat in women at midlife may reduce their heart disease risk, especially knowing that the menopausal transition puts women at risk for excess fat around their hearts," El Khoudary said.

Jul 22
Arthritis drug beats untreatable eczema
Treatment with a drug approved for rheumatoid arthritis has led to dramatic improvement in six patients with moderate to severe eczema who had previously tried old therapies with no success, says a study.

The new study suggests that a change in the standard of care for eczema -- a skin condition for which there is no targeted therapy -- may be on the horizon, said the researchers.

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a chronic condition that causes severe itching and leaves the skin red and thickened. It can adversely affect sleep and also the quality of life. Standard treatments, such as steroid creams and oral medicines, commonly fail to relieve symptoms in patients with moderate to severe eczema.

In the study, the researchers from Yale School of Medicine in the US hypothesized that the drug tofacitinib citrate, would interrupt the immune response that causes eczema.

During treatment all six patients reported significant reduction in itch as well as improved sleep. The redness and thickening of the skin also diminished, showed the findings reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

"These individuals were not only very happy with the results, they also expressed a tremendous sense of relief at being comfortable in their skin for the first time in many years," said assistant professor of dermatology Brett King.

The researchers had previously shown that tofacitinib citrate regrows hair in patients with an autoimmune-related form of hair loss called as alopecia areata.

They also published findings reporting the successful treatment of a patient with vitiligo, which can leave widespread irregular white patches all over the body.

Jul 21
Benefits of chocolate milk vary according to workout intensities
Chocolate milk has it all whether it comes to proteins, carbs, sugar or the taste and is also trending with athletes, but a big question arises that is this dairy beverage perfect for everyone in replenishing the energy?

According to Slate, during high intensity workouts muscle proteins break down and glycogen levels deplete by 60-75 percent, however for muscle growth after workout, one need to replenish glycogen and protein that can easily be gained from chocolate milk.

Even trainers suggest their students to take 4 grams of carbohydrates to 1 gram of protein within 30 minutes after workout.

However, workout intensity and duration of workouts determines how much energy is used like high intensity workout such as running stairs, boxing, competitive soccer, where the max heart rate is 80-85 percent burn more calories, whereas low intensity workout such as Pilates, walking, hiking that makes the heart rate reaches to 60-65 percent and burns fewer calories.

Though a less intense workout requires less replenishing and less chocolate milk and instead of this one should go for Blueberries (rich in anti-oxidants and accelerates muscle recovery time), Organe juice (high in potassium and carbs and helps in restoring body fuel levels), Coconut Water (high in potassium and low sodium which is better for low intensity workout) and Water (key to post-workout recovery).

Jul 20
Exercise of five hours a week may cut breast cancer
Post-menopausal women, especially those who are obese, should exercise at least five hours a week to curb obesity and breast cancer risk, shows research.

Exercising 300 minutes per week is recommended for reducing total fat in post-menopausal women than the currently recommended 150 minutes, the researchers said.

"A possible association between physical activity and post-menopausal breast cancer risk is supported by more than 100 epidemiologic studies, with strong biologic rationale supporting fat loss as an important (though not the only) mediator of this association," the study said.

"Our findings of a dose-response effect of exercise on total fat mass and several other adiposity measures, including abdominal fat, especially in obese women, provide a basis for encouraging post-menopausal women to exercise at least 300 minutes/week, longer than the minimum recommended for cancer prevention," researchers said.

The results of the one-year clinical trial was published online in the journal JAMA Oncology.

According to the study, physical activity is an inexpensive, non-invasive strategy for disease prevention advocated by public health agencies around the world, with recommendations to be physically active at least 150 minutes per week at moderate intensity or 60 to 75 minutes per week at vigorous intensity for overall health.

For the new study, Christine Friedenreich of Alberta Health Services, Canada, and colleagues compared 300 minutes of exercise per week with 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for its effect on body fat in 400 inactive post-menopausal women who were evenly split into the two exercise groups.

The women, who had body mass index (BMI) 22 to 40, were asked not to change their usual diet.

Any aerobic activity that raised the heart rate 65 percent to 75 percent of heart rate reserve was permitted, and most of the activities involved the elliptical trainer, walking, bicycling and running.

Average reductions in total body fat were larger in the 300-minute versus 150-minute group.

Abdominal fat, BMI, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio also decreased more in the 300-minute group, the findings showed.

Jul 17
Workout can help middle-aged men cut risk of osteoporosis
Middle aged men should exercise to reverse age related bone loss, cut risk of decrease osteoporosis, finds a new study.

University of Missouri researchers have found that certain types of weight-lifting and jumping exercises, when completed for at least six months, improve bone density in active, healthy, middle-aged men with low bone mass. These exercises may help prevent osteoporosis by facilitating bone growth.

Associate professor Pam Hinton said that their study was the first to show that exercise-based interventions work to increase bone density in middle-aged men with low bone mass who are otherwise healthy.Hinton said the study results did not indicate that all kinds of weight lifting will help improve bone mass; rather, targeted exercises made the training programs effective.

Throughout their training programs, participants rated pain and fatigue after completing their exercises. The participants reported minimal pain and fatigue, and these ratings decreased over the year. Hinton said individuals who want to use similar training programs to improve bone density should consider their current activity levels and exercise preferences as well as time and equipment constraints.

The study is published in Bone.