Health Health en Diabetes: three discoveries that may help prevent and control the disease
Six meals per day instead of three to keep blood sugar under control

Greek researchers from the Agricultural University of Athens, the Athens University Medical School, the Attikon University Hospital, and Harokopio University found that eating six meals containing the same number of calories as the usual three helped obese pre-diabetic and type 2 diabetes patients to better control their blood sugar levels.

According to their findings, type 2 diabetics saw a decrease in their glycated hemoglobin and glucose levels, which is a sign of better blood sugar control. For pre-diabetics with severely impaired glucose tolerance, the six meals a day regimen reduced the occurrence of peak insulin readings and delayed the time it took for blood glucose to reach peak levels after eating sugar

Finally, the study noted that the participants, who did not gain weight during the 24-week experiment, felt fuller and were less eager to eat between their six mealtimes.

Coffee increases life expectancy

A second study undertaken by the University of Porto in Portugal, which monitored 3,000 diabetics over 11 years, showed that female diabetics who drink coffee are less likely to die prematurely than female diabetics who don't.

The caffeine contained in coffee had a significant impact on the risk of premature death from all types of illnesses as well as cardiovascular disease, while caffeine contained in theine protected against cancer. One cup of coffee per day (100 mg of caffeine) reduced the risk of mortality by 51%, as opposed to 66% for two cups a day. At the same time, the risk of cancer among patients in the study group who drank tea was reduced by 80%, when compared to the risk of women who did not.

Milk to reduce the risk of diabetes

A British study which monitored 12,000 individuals aged between 30 and 65 reports that there may be a link between dairy consumption, skimmed milk consumption and body fat mass distribution, which is an indicator of metabolic and cardiovascular disease.

Participants who consumed more low-fat dairy products had better abdominal fat distribution and a higher lean fat mass, two criteria associated with a lower risk of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes.

The study also remarked that this protective effect was not observed for any of the specific dairy subtypes like cheese, butter, yogurt and ice cream. — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Health Fri, 22 Sep 2017 19:48:02 +0000 theSundaily 485549 at
World Alzheimer's Day 2017: How science says we can help stave off dementia
Stay social

A team of UK researchers found earlier this year that positive support and a reliable and understanding relationship with partners, children, and family can help reduce the risk of developing dementia in seniors, whereas negative social support can increase it.

In addition, research from UK charity Age UK along with the University of Southampton also found that those who stay socially active later in life report higher levels of well-being overall.

Get moving

European research published online in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that when compared to those who did no exercise, taking part in vigorous physical activity during middle age was associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment later in life.

A US study published earlier this year also found that moderately intense exercise, such as a brisk walk, boosts glucose metabolism in the brain which could help protect against Alzheimer's disease. Those who spent at least 68 minutes per day engaged in moderate physical activity also showed even better glucose metabolism profiles than those who spent less time exercising.

Eat a healthy diet

Four studies presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference earlier this year suggested that certain diets can help to reduce the risk of dementia. The research found that the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet), low in meat and dairy but rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, beans, nuts and 'healthy' fats; the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay), which is similar to the MedDiet and includes foods beneficial in preventing cognitive decline such as berries; and the Nordic Prudent Dietary Pattern (NPDP), which avoids sugary, fatty and processed foods but includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, poultry, fish, and vegetable oil, could all help slow down cognitive decline.

Take up a hobby

Research from the Mayo Clinic found that participating in arts and crafts activities could delay the onset of cognitive decline that often leads to dementia. The team found that those who took part in artistic hobbies such as painting, drawing, and sculpting, were 73% less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who didn't, whilst enjoying craft activities such as woodworking, pottery, ceramics, and sewing reduced the risk by 45%.

A 2013 study also suggested that reading, writing and other brain stimulating activities could be useful in warding off cognitive decline, and UK research presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) 2017 found that the more often people do word puzzles such as crosswords, the better their brain function as they age. — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Health Wed, 20 Sep 2017 19:50:24 +0000 theSundaily 484689 at
Perfect skin
According to Lim, "perfect skin" is the stuff of dreams but, he adds, we can work towards healthy and naturally beautiful skin by using the right skincare and making good lifestyle choices so that skin looks and feels as good as possible, even without make-up. 

However, keep in mind that skincare requirements changes as we grow and what's good for you as a teenager will not work when you are an adult.

Dermatologists understand this, which is why they have developed derma skincare for the different age groups. 

Unlike skincare from cosmetic house brands, derma skincare products are developed by skin experts in collaboration with chemists to produce precise formulations that optimise efficacy. Combining their in-depth knowledge of what skin really needs and long years spent on research to determine what really works, they can offer solutions with active ingredients for not only different ages but also a variety of skin conditions.  

Skin starts ageing when we hit the 20s, says Lim. "This is partly due to genetics, diet and the environment.  As we grow older, there will be loss of subcutaneous volume (dermis, collagen), loss of elasticity and atrophy of the underlying natural fat pads.facial. Bone structure also changes (through loss of bone volume) and muscle loses volume. Fine lines turn into wrinkles and finally into folds," he adds.

"What we can do, however, is to try and slow down the process, through modifiable factors such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, cutting down on late nights and not exposing the skin to harsh environments. Neglect and chronic illnesses will further deteriorate skin condition."

Lim offers the following advice for the different age groups: 

Twenties: This is the start of ageing. In your 20s, fine lines start to appear as the epidermis and dermis start to thin. To combat these issues, you need to maintain general skin health and condition with a twice-daily routine involving the basic steps of cleanse, tone and protect using a good sunscreen. Slow down and prevent UV related aging on skin.
Derma skincare solution: Cleansing is essential to remove dirt and sebum as well as to prepare the skin for the next steps in your skincare regime. Choose products that are gentle as harsh cleansers and alcohol-based toners will only weaken the skin's barrier function. To support and replenish your skin, look for products which respect the skin's natural state; skin has a mildly acidic pH level of between 4.5 and 5.75. Can start to use moisturiser at this age group.

Thirties:  At this age, the skin barrier function starts to weaken, leading to moisture loss. Similarly, our metabolic processes start to slow down and skin elasticity is reduced. Age spots or hyperpigmentation may start to appear and fine lines become more visible. So start using special care products such as a serum, to address the early signs of ageing. For best results, apply this on freshly cleaned skin and wait a few minutes for it to be absorbed before applying a day or night cream. 

Derma skincare solution: Do invest in special care products that address hyperpigmentation. Ingredients like butyl resorcinol are clinically proven to help reduce melanin production, with visible results in four weeks. To combat early signs of ageing, it's recommended to use products that contain Hyaluronic Acid. And also products that help epidermis turnover and repair of the skin like retinol, multipeptides example in eucerin volume filler range.

Forties & fifties: These are the years when skin goes through many changes, resulting in loss of strength, volume and elasticity. The two layers of the skin (epidermis and dermis) starts to grow thinner. At the same time, blood flow, regeneration and production of lipids, hyaluronic acid and collagen starts to slow. As a result, skin is dehydrated and looks dull, with more prominent wrinkles showing, so it's essential to combat dryness. Use stronger products for aged skin from Eucerin to stimulate collagen production and increase blood circulation.

Derma skincare solution:  Natural moisturising factors such as urea and lactate as well as humectants such as glycerol glucoside, can stimulate the skin's moisture networks (aquaporins) and help to relieve symptoms of dry skin. Other active ingredients such as carnitine, amino acids, Pyrrolidone Carbonic Acid (PCA), inorganic salts and saccharides all work together at each of the three levels of skin to combat dryness. ]]>
Health Wed, 20 Sep 2017 09:30:35 +0000 Chen Mei Fung 484482 at
Madagascar health minister separates siamese twins
Not in Madagascar, where Mamy Lalatiana Andriamanarivo recently picked up a scalpel and separated conjoined siamese twins in a medical first for the Indian Ocean island nation.

"Surgery was performed at the Joseph Ravoahangy Andrianavalona hospital on Sept 13 to separate siamese twins joined at the abdomen and lower thorax," Jean Marie Rasamimanana, the deputy technical director at the hospital in the capital Antananarivo, told AFP on Tuesday.

"The separation of the five-month-old twins, Mitia and Fitia, who weighed 13kg and were delivered by caesarian section, involved the separation of their liver, ribs and diaphragm," he said, adding that the pair were doing well following their operation.

The surgery was a medical first for Madagascar. A medical team from the country successfully separated siamese twins in 2009 but because of a lack of equipment in the island's hospitals, the surgery was performed in Paris.

Andriamanarivo, the minister and pediatric surgeon, reportedly praised the breakthrough and said it would save the island's medical system a small fortune as a comparable surgery would have cost €100,000 euros ($120,000/RM503,000) if performed overseas.

Madagascar is one of the world's poorest nations and more than 90% of its 25 million people live on less than $2 (RM8.29) per day. Almost half of under fives suffer development issues. — AFP]]>
Health Wed, 20 Sep 2017 03:51:24 +0000 theSundaily 484303 at
Smokers with HIV far more likely to die of lung cancer
"Having HIV and using tobacco may together accelerate the development of lung cancer," warned the report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Jama) Internal Medicine.

Smoking reduces life expectancy among people living with HIV — and undergoing antiretroviral therapy to keep their disease at bay — more than HIV itself, it added.

The findings are of particular concern because smoking is so common among people with HIV.

The prevalence of smokers among the population of people with HIV is 40%, about twice the rest of the US population.

"Smoking and HIV are a particularly bad combination when it comes to lung cancer," said lead author Krishna Reddy, a doctor at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

"Smoking rates are extraordinarily high among people with HIV, and both smoking and HIV increase the risk of lung cancer."

Almost 25% of people who adhere well to anti–HIV medications but continue to smoke will die from lung cancer, said the findings.

People with HIV who take antiviral drugs and also smoke are from six to 13 times more likely to die from lung cancer than from HIV/AIDS, it added.

But there is hope for those who manage to quit.

Among smokers who quit at age 40, only about 6% will die of lung cancer, according to the study, which is based on projections using a computer model.

"Quitting smoking is one of the most important things that people with HIV can do to improve their health and live longer," said co–author Travis Baggett, also of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Nearly 60,000 of the 644,2000 people aged 20–64 living with HIV and receiving care are expected to die from lung cancer by age 80 if smoking habits do not change. — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Health Tue, 19 Sep 2017 19:50:15 +0000 theSundaily 484169 at
Bayer to end non-US sales of Essure, a contested sterilisation implant
"This decision is being taken for commercial reasons," the German group said.

The withdrawal extended a decision taken in May to halt sales of the device in most countries where it was being marketed, it said.

Essure, a non–hormonal coil implant used to sterilise women, has in some women caused chronic pain, perforation of the uterus and fallopian tubes and led to hysterectomies, news reports say.

In its statement in French, Bayer insisted "this decision is not linked to any problem of safety or quality of the product... the safety and effectiveness of Essure is supported by more than 10 years of scientific research and real–life clinical settings."

It added: "Bayer will continue to market the Essure medical device in the United States, where the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] recently assessed this device and concluded that the method had a favourable benefit–risk ratio."

The European Union had already suspended sales of Essure in the 28–nation bloc for three months from August in response to regulatory concern.

Bayer said that, under Monday's decision, it would halt sales and distribution of the product "in all countries except the United States."

In addition, it would not seek to renew its application for the "CE" marking — the letters that are a commercial licence enabling the device to be sold across the EU.

A tiny spring–shaped device, Essure is inserted under local anaesthetic into the fallopian tubes, blocking them in order to prevent fertilisation. It can be performed in the physician's office.

Approved in the United States in 2002, its perceived advantage is that it is a less invasive alternative to tubal litigation, in which a small hole is cut into the abdomen and the surgeon blocks or cuts the fallopian tube. — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Health Tue, 19 Sep 2017 08:01:44 +0000 theSundaily 483939 at
5,000 'Dieselgate' deaths in Europe per year
The numbers are in line with previous assessments of deaths due to the so–called "Dieselgate" scandal, which erupted when carmaker Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to cheating on vehicle emissions tests.

Many other carmakers have since fallen under suspicion.

In May this year, a study in the journal Nature said "excess" emissions from diesel vehicles exceeding certification limits were associated with about 38,000 "premature" deaths globally in 2015.

The new study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, focuses on the perils for Europe.

The researchers from Norway, Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands calculated that about 10,000 deaths in Europe per year can be attributed to small particle pollution from light duty diesel vehicles (LDDVs).

Almost half of these would have been avoided if emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from diesel cars on the road had matched levels measured in the lab.

Volkswagen admitted installing illegal software devices in cars that reduced emissions only for the duration of tests.

If diesel cars emitted as little NOx as petrol ones, almost 4,000 of the 5,000 premature deaths would have been avoided, said the authors.

The countries with the heaviest burden are Italy, Germany, and France, the team added, "resulting from their large populations and high share of diesel cars in their national fleets."

Touted as less polluting, the share of diesel cars in Europe rose fast compared to petrol since the 1990s, and now comprise about half the fleet.

There are more than 100 million diesel cars in Europe today, twice as many as in the rest of the world together, said the study authors.

Diesel engines emit less planet–warming carbon dioxide than petrol ones, but significantly more NOx.

Road transport, said the study authors, contributed about 40% of NOx emissions in the countries of the European Union plus Norway and Switzerland.

Composed of nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide, NOx gases contribute to acid rain and suffocating smog.

Through long–term exposure, they can cause breathing problems, eye irritation, loss of appetite, corroded teeth, headaches, and chronically reduced lung function.

"Excessive premature deaths will continue into the future until LDDVs with high on–road NOx emissions have been replaced," said the study authors.

Earlier this month, tougher emissions tests came into force in Europe. — AFP]]>
Health Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:22:24 +0000 theSundaily 483472 at
Back to school time: 9 reasons why it could be a good time to book your child an eye exam
"More often than not, vision problems go unnoticed until children begin school," said Associate Professor of Ophthalmology Marcela Frazier, "Children grow up naturally adapting to vision issues, so when they get into school and start reading and learning, that is when parents and teachers begin to notice certain problems."

A thorough eye exam can detect a variety of eye conditions that if left untreated in a child could affect eye health later in life, potentially even leading to partial or complete loss of sight.

The team also remind parents that even a small change in vision can cause eye strain and affect a child's performance in school, with Frazier explaining that, "Vision isn't the first culprit parents think of when their child is struggling in school, but it can be playing a part in their child's poor school or sports performance."

Here they give nine signs for parents to look out that suggest children may need an eye exam.

Complaining of headaches

When children strain their eyes to focus, this causes headaches over extended periods of time.

Becoming fatigued after reading

If your child feels their eyes are burning, itching, or tired, this is eye fatigue. It might be difficult to notice these symptoms in a child, but if they are falling behind in reading comprehension or try to avoid reading activities, this might be the culprit.

Poor sports performance

If a child's visual processing seems slower than it should, this might be a sign there is a vision issue. A child with an untreated vision problem might perform poorly in sports due to clumsiness, poor hand-eye coordination, inability to focus or skewed depth perception.

Squinting or closing one eye

Squinting does not damage eyes, but it might be a sign that a child needs glasses. By squinting, a child is subconsciously attempting to make the pupil smaller, therefore letting in less light. This technique enhances a child's focus that might be potentially blurry.

Blinking or rubbing eyes

If a child rubs his/her eyes while trying to concentrate on an activity, particularly reading, or while being active, it could also be a sign that the child has a vision problem.

Poor reading ability and comprehension

Good vision is essential for students of all ages to reach their full academic potential. If a child seems disinterested in reading, is sidetracked easily, does not understand material read, or reads the same sentence multiple times, it might be time to schedule an eye exam.

Poor school performance

It is important for parents to remember that children do not have a concept of poor vision, so they might not always tell you when they cannot read something their teacher writes on the blackboard. As a result, his/her grades can suffer.

Holding electronic devices or books too close to eyes

It is a myth that sitting too close to electronic devices can hurt your eyes, but if a child is sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close to his/her face, it might be a sign of a vision problem. Leaning closely in to read text or see images on the television might often mean a child is living with nearsightedness.

Losing their place while reading

Using a finger to track the words can be typical behavior for a child who is learning to read, but it's also a good idea to pay attention to this behaviour – he or she should eventually be able to focus on the words without losing place. — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Health Sun, 17 Sep 2017 19:49:04 +0000 theSundaily 483355 at
Keeping a steady, healthy weight as we age also helps keep blood pressure low
Presented on Friday at the American Heart Association (AHA) Council on Hypertension, AHA Council on Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease, American Society of Hypertension Joint Scientific Sessions 2017 in San Francisco, the study looked at the impact of five health behaviors on blood pressure levels over a 25-year period.

These behaviors included a healthy body weight (measured as a body mass index less than 25 kg/m2), never smoking, zero to seven alcoholic drinks weekly for women and zero to 14 for men, 150 minutes or more moderate to vigorous physical activity per week, and eating a healthy diet based on adhering to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan.

A total of 4,630 participants from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study were recruited for the research, with all subjects between 18 to 30 years old in 1985 and 1986 when the study started.

During the following 25 years the researchers measured blood pressure and health behaviors eight times.

The analysis showed that maintaining a healthy body weight appeared to be more important for maintaining a normal blood pressure than the other four behaviors, with participants who kept their weight in check 41% less likely to have increasing blood pressure as they grew older.

Never smoking and no or moderate alcohol consumption were also associated with a lower increase in blood pressure by middle age, but the team added that a larger study is needed to confirm these results.

Perhaps surprisingly, no association was found between physical activity or a healthy diet and any changes in blood pressure during the 25-year period.

When looking at the behaviors combined, the team also found that those who maintained at least four of the health behaviors were 27% more likely to have a normal blood pressure than an increasing blood pressure as they aged.

"Increasing blood pressure at younger ages is associated with earlier onset of heart disease and stroke, and US high blood pressure treatment guidelines support maintaining healthy behaviors across the lifespan to limit rises in blood pressure as we age," said John N. Booth III, Ph.D., "This data suggests that body weight is very important in terms of maintaining a normal blood pressure from early and into middle adulthood. The other behaviors we studied may play an important role since they can influence body weight."

Booth also stressed that although the other four behaviors included in the study were not as closely linked to maintaining blood pressure as a healthy weight was, they still have clear benefits for health in general. — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Health Sat, 16 Sep 2017 19:48:38 +0000 theSundaily 483035 at
Regular exercise could improve life for lupus sufferers finds new study
Carried out by researchers from The Ohio State University, the study first looked at a mouse model of lupus to assess the effect of both exercise and stress on the condition.

They found that moderate exercise – 45 minutes of treadmill walking per day – significantly decreased inflammatory damage to the kidneys.

In addition, the team also observed that while 88% of the mice who didn't exercise had severe kidney damage, only 45% of the those who exercised on the treadmill did.

The team proposed that the exercise reduced levels of several biomarkers that are known to increase inflammation.

To research further they also looked at what would happen to these biomarkers when the mice were exposed to daily stress.

This time they observed nearly the opposite effect – inflammatory biomarkers markers increased sharply, causing substantial kidney damage in the mice.

"If we observe similar results in human studies, this could mean that stress reduction and a daily regimen of physical therapy should be considered as interventional strategies to be used alongside current medical treatment," said study senior author Nicholas Young, a research scientist in rheumatology and immunology at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center.

To test this theory, Young and his team carried out a small pilot study, enrolling a group of lupus patients into a daily tai chi program which combined both moderate exercise and stress reduction.

The initial results showed a significant decrease in some of the same inflammatory biomarkers identified in the mouse experiments, which has now prompted the researchers to seek funding for a larger human trial,

"What you hear a lot from patients is that they're hurting and they don't want to get out of bed in the morning and don't feel like exercising," Young said. "One of the largest hurdles to get over is that it may not seem intuitive that movement will make you feel better, but it does."

"If we find consistent benefits in a large group of people with lupus and can standardize a specific regimen, you could almost imagine a prescription for exercise and stress reduction."

The findings of the mouse study can be found published online in the journal Frontiers in Physiology.

The preliminary results of the tai chi study, called the Stress Moderation Impacting Lupus with Exercise (SMILE) study, were published in the abstract supplement for the annual European League Against Rheumatism conference in June and will be presented at the American College of Rheumatology meeting in Nov.

Lupus is in the spotlight at the moment as singer Selena Gomez, who suffers from the condition, revealed Thursday that she recently needed to undergo a kidney transplant because of the disease. — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Health Fri, 15 Sep 2017 19:48:40 +0000 theSundaily 482780 at