Medical News

Energy Drinks Cause Heart Problems: Study

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A new study has found energy drinks can cause heart problems.

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Professor Drici said: “So-called ‘energy drinks’ are popular in dance clubs and during physical exercise, with people sometimes consuming a number of drinks one after the other. This situation can lead to a number of adverse conditions including angina, cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and even sudden death.”

He added: “Around 96% of these drinks contain caffeine, with a typical 0.25 litre can holding 2 espressos worth of caffeine. Caffeine is one of the most potent agonists of the ryanodine receptors and leads to a massive release of calcium within cardiac cells. This can cause arrhythmias, but also has effects on the heart’s abilities to contract and to use oxygen. In addition, 52% of drinks contain taurine, 33% have glucuronolactone and two-thirds contain vitamins.”

Dr Drici continued: “In 2008 energy drinks were granted marketing authorisation in France. In 2009 this was accompanied by a national nutritional surveillance scheme which required national health agencies and regional centres to send information on spontaneously reported adverse events to the A.N.S.E.S, the French agency for food safety.”

The current study analysed adverse events reported to the agency between 1 January 2009 and 30 November 2012. Some 15 specialists including cardiologists, psychiatrists, neurologists and physiologists contributed to the investigation. The findings were compared to published data in the scientific literature.

The researchers found that consumption of the 103 energy drinks in France increased by 30% between 2009 and 2011 up to over 30 million litres. The leading brand made up 40% of energy drinks consumed. Two-thirds of drinks were consumed away from home.

During the two year period 257 cases were reported to the agency, of which 212 provided sufficient information for food and drug safety evaluation. The experts found that 95 of the reported adverse events had cardiovascular symptoms, 74 psychiatric, and 57 neurological, sometimes overlapping. Cardiac arrests and sudden or unexplained deaths occurred at least in 8 cases, while 46 people had heart rhythm disorders, 13 had angina and 3 had hypertension.

Dr Drici said: “We found that ‘caffeine syndrome’ was the most common problem, occurring in 60 people. It is characterised by a fast heart rate (called tachycardia), tremor, anxiety and headache.

Rare but severe adverse events were also associated with these drinks, such as sudden or unexplained death, arrhythmia and heart attack (myocardial infarction). Our literature search confirmed that these conditions can be related to consumption of energy drinks.”

He added: “Patients with cardiac conditions including catecholaminergic arrhythmias, long QT syndrome and angina should be aware of the potential danger of a large intake of caffeine, which is a stimulant that can exacerbate their condition with possibly fatal consequences.”

Dr Drici continued: “The general public need to know that so-called ‘energy drinks’ have absolutely no place during or after physical exercise, as compared with other drinks designed for that purpose. When used in long alcoholic cocktails, the caffeine in ‘energy drinks’ enables young people in dance clubs or elsewhere to overcome the unwanted effects of alcohol, leading to an even greater intake of caffeine.”

He concluded: “Patients rarely mention consumption of energy drinks to their doctors unless they are asked. Doctors should warn patients with cardiac conditions about the potential dangers of these drinks and ask young people in particular whether they consume such drinks on a regular basis or through binge drinking.”

Source: medindia.net

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High Blood Pressure Requires Adequate Diagnosis

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High blood pressure —also known as hypertension— is common, but treatment often fails, and one in 5 people with hypertension does not respond to therapy.

This is frequently due to inadequate diagnosis, as Franz Weber and Manfred Anlauf point out in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2014; 111: 425-31). If a patient’s blood pressure is not controlled by treatment, this can be due to a number of reasons.

Often it is the medication the patient is on. Some patients may be taking other medicines – in addition to their antihypertensive therapy – which increase blood pressure as a side effect. In these cases, the treatment of the high blood pressure appears to be ineffective, but all that would be needed is some adjustment to the medication regimen. Then there is diet.

Licorice, for example, does increase blood pressure; so eating too much of it may reduce the effect of the antihypertensive therapy. Likewise, salt-sensitive patients may increase their blood pressure by eating salt; thus they have to keep this in mind when seasoning their dishes.Besides drugs and food, certain symptoms may interfere with antihypertensive therapy. Once the underlying condition has been successfully treated, blood pressure control does often improve. An example for this is the sleep apnea syndrome: Apart from sleep problems and fatigue, it makes high blood pressure worse.

Here, most patients find their blood pressure improved with targeted treatment of the apnea and quite often the antihypertensive medication can be reduced. Thus rigorous diagnostic evaluation is key to a successful treatment of hypertension. In their current study the authors expect that with this approach almost half of the cases classified as treatment-resistant hypertension could be treated.

Source : medindia.net

CDC: 1 in 68 children diagnosed with autism

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The rates of autism continue to rise.

According to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 in 68 children have been identified as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the United States. The new statistics represent a 30 percent increase from the 2012 estimates of 1 in 88 children with ASD.

“Community leaders, health professionals, educators and childcare providers should use these data to ensure children with ASD are identified as early as possible and connected to the services they need,” Coleen Boyle, director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said in a press release.

The findings were reported Thursday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. To get their statistics, researchers utilized community records regarding diagnoses, treatment and services provided to children with disabilities.

The report also found that rates varied widely between communities, ranging from 1 in 175 children in Alabama to 1 in 45 children in New Jersey. Additionally, the condition continues to affect more boys than girls: 1 in 42 versus 1 in 189 respectively.

Given this sharp increase in ASD incidence, CDC officials are urging parents to have their children screened for developmental delays as soon as possible.

“The most important thing for parents to do is to act early when there is a concern about a child’s development,” said Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, chief of the CDC’s Developmental Disabilities Branch. “If you have a concern about how your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, or moves, take action. Don’t wait.”

Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor for FoxNews.com, said these numbers are shocking and are an indication of a major public health issue.

“Even if you take into consideration the more aggressive screenings, where in some cases, there might have been a misdiagnosis, I still feel that this continues to be a wake up call for parents, teachers, pediatricians and the federal government to better identify children on the spectrum, since the only effective tool for treatment we have is early intervention. Also, the discrepancy from state to state might give more weight to environmental factors as a cause.”

Source: Foxnews.com

Diabetes and High Blood Pressure in Middle Age May Lead to Brain Cell Loss Later in Life

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People who develop diabetes and high blood pressure in middle age are more likely to have brain cell loss and other damage to the brain, as well as problems with memory and thinking skills, than people who never have diabetes or high blood pressure or who develop it in old age.

This is according to a new study published in the March 19, 2014, online issue of Neurology. Middle age was defined as age 40 to 64 and old age as age 65 and older.

“Potentially, if we can prevent or control diabetes and high blood pressure in middle age, we can prevent or delay the brain damage that occurs decades later and leads to memory and thinking problems and dementia,” says study author and Mayo Clinic epidemiologist Rosebud Roberts M.B., Ch.B.

For the study, the thinking and memory skills of 1,437 people with an average age of 80 were evaluated. The participants had either no thinking or memory problems or mild memory and thinking problems called mild cognitive impairment. They then had brain scans to look for markers of brain damage that can be a precursor to dementia. Participants’ medical records were reviewed to determine whether they had been diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure in middle age or later.

For diabetes, 72 people developed it in middle age, 142 in old age and 1,192 did not have diabetes. For high blood pressure, 449 people developed it in middle age, 448 in old age and 369 did not have it.

Compared to people who did not have diabetes, people who developed diabetes in middle age had a total brain volume average of 2.9 percent smaller. In the hippocampus area of the brain, the volume was 4 percent smaller. They also were twice as likely to have thinking and memory problems.

Compared to people who did not have high blood pressure, people who developed high blood pressure in middle age were twice as likely to have areas of brain damage.

“People who developed diabetes even in old age also were more likely to have areas of brain damage. Conversely, there were not many effects from high blood pressure that developed in old age,” Roberts says. “Overall, our findings suggest that the effects of these diseases on the brain take decades to develop and show up as brain damage and lead to symptoms that affect their memory and other thinking skills. In particular, diabetes has adverse effects regardless of the age at which diabetes develops.”

The study was supported by the National Institute on Aging, Robert H. and Clarice Smith and Abigail Van Buren Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program, Rochester Epidemiology Project, National Institutes of Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and European Union Regional Development Fund.

Source : http://www.medindia.net

11 Intelligence Killing Foods You Need To Avoid

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When it comes to nutrition, it must be mentioned that there are all sorts of foods: some super-foods are your greatest allies against extra pounds, while others stimulate your cognitive function and improve your memory. On the other hand, some foods are known to have a devastating effect on your brain functioning, and nutritionists advise us to consume them moderately in order to limit their negative impact. Having said that, here are the top 11 foods that kill your intelligence, slowly but surely:

1. Sugary Products

Sugar and sugary products are bad not only for your waistline, but for your brain function as well. Long-term consumption of sugar can create a wealth of neurological problems, and it can also interfere with your memory. On the other hand, sugar can also interfere with your ability to learn, this is why it is recommended to avoid pre-baked goods, sugar, corn syrup and products that are high in fructose.

2. Alcohol

Alcohol is known to harm your liver in the long run, and it also causes what is known as “brain fog”. Like the name suggests, the term of brain fog refers to a feeling of mental confusion, it acts like a cloud that impacts your ability to think clearly, as well as your memory. Have you ever noticed that you cannot remember common item names, or you cannot recall certain events or you are not sure whether they were dreams or they actually happened? This might be influenced by the high alcohol intake which impacts the balance of the brain. Fortunately, these symptoms are reversible provided that you stop consuming alcohol, or you limit your intake to one or two drinks per week.

3. Junk Food

A recent study that was performed at the University of Montreal has revealed that junk food can change the chemicals in the brains, thus leading to symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. Besides, foods that are high in fat can also trigger some symptoms that are similar to the signs of withdrawal when you stop consuming them. These foods affect the production of dopamine, an important chemical that promotes happiness and an overall feeling of well-being. Moreover, dopamine also supports the cognitive function, the learning capacity, alertness, motivation and memory. This is why it is important to avoid all foods that contain excessive fat.

 4. Fried Foods

Almost all processed foods contain chemicals, dyes, additives, artificial flavors, preservatives and such – these can affect the behavior and the cognitive functioning due to the chemical that causes hyperactivity, both in children and in adults. Fried or processed foods slowly destroy the nerve cells located in the brain. However, some oils are more dangerous than others – sunflower oil is considered to be among the most toxic ones.

5. Processed Or Pre-Cooked Foods

Just like fried foods, processed or pre-cooked foods also impact your central nervous system and they also increase the risk of developing a degenerative brain disorder later in live (such as Alzheimer’s disease).

6. Very Salty Foods

Everybody knows that salty foods affect your blood pressure and they are very hard on your heart. However, as research suggests, foods that contain high amounts of salt (sodium) can affect your cognitive function and impair your ability to think. Otherwise stated, salty foods affect your intelligence!

As a matter of fact, the consumption of salty foods and nicotine have been shown to have the same effects as drugs, as they cause harsh withdrawal symptoms and cravings for salty foods.

7. Grains, Except 100% Whole Grain

All sorts of grains have an impact on your brain functioning and your overall health, except for 100% whole grain which is very rich and fiber and it is known to prevent arterial aging. If you consume regular grains, your body risks to age quicker than it is supposed to and you can also experience memory loss and brain fog. Having said that, try swapping the regular carbs for the complex carbohydrates – all you need to do is to opt for whole grain bread!
8. Processed Proteins

Proteins are the building blocks of muscles and they are very important for the proper functioning of your body. Meat is the richest source of high-quality protein, but avoid overly processed protein such as hot dogs, salami, sausages and such. Unlike the natural proteins that help your body insulate the nervous system, processed proteins do exactly the opposite. Opt for natural fish (especially tuna and salmon), dairy, walnuts and seeds as these are natural, high-quality protein sources.

 9. Avoid Trans Fats At All Costs

Trans fats cause a series of problems, from heart-related issues to elevated cholesterol and obesity. However, they are bad for your brain as well, as they make your brain more sluggish, they affect your reflexes and the quality of your brain response – not to mention that they increase the risk of stroke!
Trans fats can also have other effects on your brain: if consumed for too long, they can result in a sort of brain shrinkage that is somewhat similar to the shrinkage caused by Alzheimer’s disease. This brain shrinkage takes place due to the fact that trans fats slowly damage the arteries – you can prevent this and lower the stroke risk by simply limiting your intake of trans fats.

10. Artificial Sweeteners

When people try to lose weight, they tend to think that they will become slim overnight by simply replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners. It is true that artificial sweeteners do contain less calories, but they can actually do more harm than good! If used for an extended period of time, artificial sweeteners can cause brain damage and interfere with your cognitive capacity, especially if you use high amounts of sweetener.

11. Nicotine

Despite the fact that nicotine is not really a food product, it still wreaks havoc on your brain by restricting the blood flow to this important organ, along with the regular flow of glucose and oxygen. Nicotine not only causes premature aging, bad breath and poses an increased risk for lung cancer, but it also affects the production and the function of neurotransmitters by tightening the capillaries, the tiny blood vessels that play a pivotal role when it comes to your brain function.

Source :ww.fitnea.com

Fighting Brain Damage from Stroke With a Substance Naturally Found in Humans

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A molecular substance found naturally in humans and rats can ‘substantially reduce’ brain damage after an acute stroke and help in better recovery, says a new animal study by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital.

The study, published online before print in Stroke, the journal of the American Heart Association, was the first ever to show that the peptide AcSDKP provides neurological protection when administered one to four hours after the onset of an ischemic stroke.

This type of a stroke occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked by a blood clot, cutting off oxygen and killing brain tissue with crippling or fatal results.

“Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide,” said Li Zhang, M.D., a researcher at Henry Ford and lead author of the study. “Our data showed that treatment of acute stroke with AcSDKP alone or in combination with tPA substantially reduced neurovascular damage and improved neurological outcome.”

Commonly called a “clot-buster,” tPA, or tissue plasminogen activator , is the only FDA-approved treatment for acute stroke.

However, tPA must be given shortly after the onset of stroke to provide the best results. It also has the potential to cause a brain hemorrhage.

The Henry Ford study found that this narrow “therapeutic window” is extended for up to four hours after stroke and the therapeutic benefit of tPA is amplified when tPA is combined with AcSDKP. Further, the researchers discovered that AcSDKP alone is an effective treatment if given up to one hour after the brain attack.

The researchers tested the actions of both substances on laboratory rats in which acute stroke had been induced. It was already known that the peptide AcSDKP provides anti-inflammatory effects and helps protect the heart when used to treat a variety of cardiovascular diseases. The Henry Ford scientists reasoned that the peptide may have similar neurological benefits.

Significantly, they found that AcSDKP can readily cross the so-called “blood brain barrier” that blocks other neuroprotective substances.

A battery of behavioral tests was given to the lab rats both before and after stroke was induced to measure the effects of AcSDKP administered alone one hour after onset and combined with tPA four hours after stroke.

Besides finding that both methods “robustly” decreased neurological damage associated with stroke, they did so without increasing the incidence of brain hemorrhage or the formation of additional blood clots.

“With the increased use of clot-busting therapy in patients with acute stroke, both the safety and effectiveness of the combined treatment shown in our study should encourage the development of clinical trials of AcSDKP with tPA,” Dr. Zhang says.

Source : Medindia.net

Glaucoma Linked to New Eye Layer

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The findings, published in a paper in the BritishJournal of Ophthalmology, could shed new light on glaucoma, a devastating disease caused bydefective drainage of fluid from the eye and the world’s second leading cause of blindness.

The latest research shows that the new layer, dubbed Dua’s Layer after the academic ProfessorHarminder Dua who discovered it, makes an important contribution to the sieve-like meshwork, thetrabecular meshwork (TM), in the periphery of the cornea.

The TM is a wedge-shaped bandof tissue that extends along the circumference of the angle of the anterior chamber of the eye.It is made of beams of collagen wrapped in a basement membrane to which trabecular cells andendothelial cells attach. The beams branch out randomly to form a ‘meshwork’.

Pressurewithin the eye is maintained by the balance of aqueous fluid production by eye tissue called theciliary body and drainage principally through the TM to the canal of Schlemm, a circular channelin the angle of the eye.

Defective drainage through the TM is an important cause ofglaucoma, a condition that leads to raised pressure in the eye that can permanently affectsight. Around 1 to 2% of the world’s population yearly have chronic glaucoma and globally around45 million people have open angle glaucoma which can permanently damage the optic nerve — 10% ofwhom are blind.

The latest research by Professor Dua and colleagues in AcademicOphthalmology at The University of Nottingham sheds new light on the basic anatomy of Dua’sLayer, which is just 15 microns thick but incredibly tough. Comprised of thin plates ofcollagen, it sits at the back of the cornea between the corneal stroma and Descemet’smembrane.

By examining human donor eyes using electron microscopy, the researchers wereable to look at Dua’s Layer beyond the central part of the cornea to shed more light on itsfeatures at the extreme periphery of the cornea. They discovered that the collagen fibres ofDua’s Layer also branch out to form a meshwork and that the core of TM is in fact an extensionof Dua’s Layer.

It is hoped the discovery will offer new clues on why the drainage systemmalfunctions in the eyes of some people, leading to high pressure.

Professor Dua said:”Many surgeons who perform lamellar corneal transplant recognise this layer as an important

Source : medindia.net