Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Diabetes rate soaring among British under-40s: Number being diagnosed with type 2 up six-fold in 20 years
These correlations are entirely to be expected. Diabetics are big eaters and drinkers so will tend to get fat. Diabetics are however only a small proportion of overweight people so to say that obesity causes diabetes is very poor reasoning. It would be much better founded to say that diabetes cause obesity.
There are admissions below that the rise in diabetes may be artifactual, with doctors being REWARDED for diagnosing it!
Soaring numbers of under-40s are developing a type of diabetes linked to obesity and traditionally seen as a disease of the elderly. A study of GPs' records found the number of young people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes rose six-fold over two decades.
The most common form of the disease, it is strongly linked to obesity and was once the preserve of the middle-aged and elderly.
Those who analysed the figures said the increase can 'almost entirely' be explained by the obesity crisis – and warned developing diabetes early raises the odds of potentially deadly complications.
Diabetics are more likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes than other people.
The condition, in which the body struggles to convert sugar to energy, also increases the risk of blindness, kidney disease and nerve and circulatory damage, which can lead to amputations. Earlier onset gives the disease time to attack the body and could bring decades of ill health.
The study of a snapshot of GPs' surgeries found that from 1991 to 1995, 577 people under 40 were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
But from 2006 to 2010, that soared to more than 14,000 – a more than 20-fold increase – with young women particularly likely to be diagnosed.
A large part of this rise can be explained by changes in the way data is collected, and it is estimated the true rate of diagnosis in under-40s is now around six times higher than in the 1990s, at around 25,000 new cases a year.
Obesity rates roughly doubled in the same period, with 26 per cent of adults dangerously overweight by 2010.
In a report on their findings, published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, the researchers said: 'Not only was the overall incidence increasing but the proportion of people aged 40 or less rose markedly.
'This is likely to place an increasing burden on resources and may also lead to death at a younger age.'
The researchers, from Cardiff University and the Heart of England NHS Trust in Birmingham, said the rise may be partly due to better screening, since GPs now have performance-related pay that rewards them for diagnosing sufferers. However, they said rising obesity was the main driver.
Lead researcher Professor Craig Currie said: 'It's almost entirely obesity. How fat you are is the top and bottom of it.'
Dr Matt Capehorn, of the National Obesity Forum, said even children in their early teens have been diagnosed.
Some are genetically more at risk but lifestyle is the key trigger, he said, adding: 'It's still quite rare but we do see them. In the huge majority of cases type 2 diabetes develops as a consequence of being overweight. So as the weight of the nation increases, the incidence goes up too.
'The implications for NHS spending are huge. It already spends about 10 per cent of its entire budget on diabetes. It's not the diabetes that kills people but usually the heart disease they develop as a consequence.'
Professor Jason Halford, of the UK Association for the Study of Obesity, warned diabetes is the first in a chain of diseases fuelled by obesity.
He said: 'It is likely that in a few years we will see a similar epidemic of cardiovascular disease and, after that, probably an increase in a good number of cancers as well.'
Up to half of all men given the all-clear by NHS prostate cancer tests could actually have the disease
Tests for prostate cancer may be incorrectly giving the all-clear to up to 50 per cent of men who have the disease, according to a study.
Experts believe thousands of patients with the disease could be missed every year because the standard biopsy techniques used at most NHS hospitals are flawed.
And thousands more perfectly healthy people could be wrongly diagnosed with the disease and undergoing needless radiotherapy or surgery, according to a study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University College London.
Most NHS hospitals automatically use biopsies for men with suspected prostate cancer, removing and examining tissue in an attempt to establish whether the disease is present.
More than 100,000 of these ‘blind’ biopsies are carried out every year – but experts say the procedures are inaccurate and risky.
They are instead calling for less invasive – but far more expensive – MRI and ultrasound scans to be used first, which they say could immediately and reliably give the all-clear to men without the disease, and allow doctors to carry out more accurate biopsies by pinpointing the area where a tumour is suspected.
Professor Mark Emberton, of the University College London, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘There is no other organ of the body where we carry out random “blind” biopsies without knowing where we are looking.
‘At UCLH we have been using MRI, followed by a guided biopsy for several years, but there are only a handful of hospitals in this country which do this, and that needs to change.’
The health economists who carried out the Wellcome Trust-funded study calculated that using the alternative procedure could mean a quarter of patients are given the all-clear without having a biopsy.
For every 1,000 men with suspected cancer, 250 men could have been reassured after a scan.
Of 500 of the cases in which significant disease was present, just 50 per cent were detected during the traditional biopsy, compared with 68 per cent using the MRI-guided technique.
One in 20 of those undergoing the traditional biopsy were wrongly found to have significant disease levels.
Using the MRI-guided technique, around half as many men were given a wrong diagnosis.
Sarah Willis, a health economist from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: ‘These findings suggest that the use of MRI and ultrasound not only detects far more cases, but leads to fewer false positives, in which significant disease is wrongly diagnosed.’
Dr Kate Holmes, head of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: ‘This early data suggests that giving men an MRI scan before a biopsy may put clinicians in a better position to tailor investigations and treatments further down the line.
'However, further research is necessary before we will know the true value of this method.’
Posted by jonjayray at 12:08 AM
Monday, June 17, 2013
Fat-fighting nonsense in Australia
And what evidence do they have to show that this system will do any good? None. It's just dubious theory
The Government is touting a new five-star food labelling system as the latest tool to help fight the obesity epidemic in Australia. The star scale would rate foods from half-a-star to five stars, based on nutritional value.
Federal, state and territory ministers will discuss the proposal for the new voluntary system at a meeting tomorrow. If they agree, it is likely stars will appear on the front of food packaging by the middle of next year.
But it is understood the Food and Grocery Council is not convinced the plan is ready to roll out.
The federal Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Shayne Neumann, says he wants all jurisdictions and the industry to support the scheme.
"I'm very pleased the jurisdictional representatives will be there on Friday," he said. "I've had some discussions already and I'm very pleased with the response so far in relation to it. "An at a glance, interpretive information guide is what consumers want. It's a powerful tool."
Michael Moore from the Public Health Association of Australia says the system will make it easier for consumers to make healthier choices.
"People will be able to just, at a glance, have a look at the front of the pack and go, 'Hey this is four-and-a-half star food, that's obviously good for me, it's obviously good for my children'," he said.
"Or one-and-a-half stars - 'look we'll eat a bit of that but we'll be careful'."
The proposal has been worked on for months by representatives from the food industry and retailers, health and consumer groups.
Obesity tipped to soar
Jane Martin from the Obesity Policy Coalition says the aim of the proposal is very clear. "The situation is very serious already. We've got more than 65 per cent of adults overweight or obese and 25 per cent of children," she said. "And, the projections are that by 2020 that will rise to 80 per cent of adults and two-thirds of children."
She says it is a population-wide problem and while obesity rates are higher among low-income earners, it is a middle-class problem
"There's not going to be one magic bullet and we need to give people the kind of information that will help them make better decisions and healthier decisions," she said. "So front of pack labelling system that gives people interpretive information will help them cut through the marketing spin."
Food and Grocery Council has concerns
Most packaged food will be covered. Soft drinks and confectionary will be exempt, but will display the kilojoule content.
But the ABC understands the Australian Food and Grocery Council has concerns about the cost to food manufacturers to change labelling and how the 'health value' of a product would be determined.
The ABC understands it is prepared to consider the options, but it has also written to the states with some concerns. The council did not return calls from the ABC.
Mr Moore says the group has been involved in the process and has lashed out at what he calls their delaying tactics.
"I must say I feel a little jaded because my organisation, the Heart Foundation, Cancer, Choice, have spent quite a significant amount of time and quite a reasonable amount of money to come to this point and I think it's entirely inappropriate action from the Food and Grocery Council," he said.
British PM backs genetically modified crops to prove Britain is pro-science
David Cameron has given the clearest signal yet that the government wants to see controversial genetically-modified crops grown across the country.
The Prime Minister told a conference of entrepreneurs that Britain needs to take a ‘really good look again’ at its policy on GM food if it is to prove it is a ‘pro-science’ country.
The intervention from Mr Cameron that he wants to see a GM free-for-all across the UK will alarm those who deride genetic modification as ‘Frankenscience’.
It emerged earlier this week that ministers are to push the European Union to relax restrictions on the cultivation of GM crops for human consumption.
But it is the first time that the Prime Minister has spoken up in favour of the idea. In opposition he was seen as being sceptical of GM crops.
Advocates argue that GM techniques increase crop yields, avoid the need for pesticides, and could be essential in assuring Britain's future food security.
However, any relaxation of current restrictions will be in the teeth of much opposition. A survey by YouGov out today found only 21 per cent of the population supported the technology, while 35 per cent opposed it.
Mr Cameron made the comments as he addressed an audience of scientists and business leaders in London at an innovation summit linked to the UK's leadership of the G8 group of the world's richest nations.
He said: ‘We need to make sure we are a very pro-science country. I think there are one or two subjects there we need to take on. I think it's time we had a really good look again at GM food and all of that. ‘I think we need to be open to be open to arguments from science.’
The government is reported to be ready to call for EU restrictions on cultivation of the crops for human consumption to be relaxed.
The coalition has allowed small-scale cultivation trials for GM food but widespread use is effectively banned.
Some GM products are contained in imported foods, but most supermarkets have banned the ingredients from their own-brand products because of public unease about the material.
Earlier this week, science minister David Willetts supported calls for controls on GM crops to be weakened to make it easier for Britain’s farmers to grow them.
'We believe that GM crops can help make agriculture more efficient and also just as importantly more sustainable, by, for example, reducing the use of pesticides and the use of fossil fuels,' he said.
A European Commission analysis of 130 research projects carried out by 500 groups over 25 years concluded in 2010 that there is 'no scientific evidence associating genetically-modified organisms with higher risks for the environment or food and feed safety than conventional plants or organisms'.
But opponents of GM crops argue that it is far too early to conclude that the technique is safe – including many farmers, with a quarter of those surveyed saying they would not cultivate them under any circumstances.
They are concerned that GM crops could foster stronger pests, diseases and weeds that evolve to adapt to engineered plants.
Mr Cameron also used the innovation event to launch a prize fund, with £1million of taxpayers' money, to encourage revolutionary new ideas aimed at solving the world's biggest problem.
He said the modern version of the 1714 Longitude Prize would be a ‘Britain's Got Talent’ for innovators.
‘There are so many problems in our world that need that amazing solution, whether it is a cure for dementia, solving the problem of diabetes, having a flight from Britain to New York that's carbon free,’ he said.
‘Let's challenge the public and challenge the scientists for which is the great problem we want to crack.
‘I'm thinking of something - Britain's Got Talent, you know, you switch on the TV and you watch the dog jumping over the pole, or whatever it is. Let's actually get the nation engaged on what the biggest problems are in science and in our lives that we need to crack, with a multi-million pound prize to then help us do that.’
Sunday, June 16, 2013
So Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Called Us to Complain about vaccines …
He says scientists lie, journalists are scared of the CDC, and the government is poisoning children -- a brainless attention-seeker
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. likes to talk. When he calls you to discuss vaccines, he talks a lot, uninterruptably. He called Keith Kloor after Kloor wrote a story for Discover about RFK Jr.’s keynote address to a convention of people who think vaccines cause autism.
RFK Jr. was displeased. His managing director emailed me (I’m the health and science editor) to say that the story was full of inaccuracies, and I offered to correct any errors right away. He said Kennedy wanted to speak to Plait or me; I requested comments or corrections in writing; we went back and forth. Eventually Kennedy got me on the phone and he talked and I listened.
The short version of the vaccine conspiracy theory (if you are stuck on the phone with RFK Jr., you will be subjected to the long version) is that a vaccine preservative called thimerosal causes autism when injected into children. Government epidemiologists and other scientists, conspiring with the vaccine industry, have covered up data and lied about vaccine ingredients to hide this fact. Journalists are dupes of this powerful cabal that is intentionally poisoning children.
For a guy whose family has such a distinguished record of public service, Kennedy says some pretty awful things about government employees: “The lies that you are hearing and printing from the CDC are things that should be investigated.” He spoke to one scientist (he named her but I won’t spread the defamation) who, he said, “was actually very honest. She said it’s not safe. She said we know it destroys their brains.”
I asked the scientist about their conversation. She said there is in fact no evidence that thimerosal destroys children’s brains, and that she never said that it did.
Like a lot of conspiracy theories, this one started with a mystery: Autism diagnoses were going up, and it wasn’t entirely clear why. It was reasonable to ask whether vaccines were disrupting neural development somehow, and a paper published in a prestigious medical journal claimed to show evidence of a link.
So scientists studied the question. They found that the incidence of autism is independent of when and how many vaccines children are given, that taking thimerosal out of vaccines doesn’t reduce the incidence of autism, and that the study by Andrew Wakefield purporting to show a link was entirely made up.
Thimerosal is a mercury compound, which sounds scary, but mercury comes in many forms that behave differently in the body, and this isn’t the dangerous kind. And in any case, a decade ago thimerosal was removed from the childhood vaccines that anti-vaxxers claimed were causing autism. The evidence is pretty clear now that the increase in autism rates is mostly a matter of better diagnoses and more parents seeking services.
But RFK Jr. disagrees. A scientist told him about the changes in diagnostic criteria, but “I knew that that was not true, because I spent my life working with people with intellectual disabilities. My family started the Special Olympics. I worked at Camp Shriver from when I was 8 years old. … I saw every kind of mental disability, but I had never seen autistic. I didn’t know what autism was until I saw Rain Man.”
Kennedy claims that scientists admit to him in private that they are lying about the data. When he challenged one university scientist about the accuracy of studies showing that the presence of thimerosal in vaccines had no effect on autism diagnoses, “He folded like a house of cards. Three weeks later I heard him on the radio and he was saying the same things he said to me, which I knew he knew was lying.”
A cover-up of such proportions might sound like Pulitzer bait, but he says journalists aren’t pursuing the story because we won’t read scientific papers. (Phil Plait and I both have science Ph.D.s.) As RFK Jr. explained, “journalists get their information from government officials who are saying there’s no problem. Not one of them has picked up the multitude of studies that say thimerosal is the most potent brain killer imaginable.”
When RFK Jr. challenged the university scientist about a study of the biological activity of thimerosal in vitro, which “everybody accepts because journalists hadn’t read it,” the scientist said, “ ‘Oh, yeah, you’re right about that.’ He backpedaled.” That’s because “now he was dealing with somebody who wasn’t afraid to read science.”
I talked to the scientist, who would prefer I not use his name because he gets death threats from unhinged anti-vaxxers. He said, “Kennedy completely misrepresented everything I said.”
Seth Mnookin knows the vaccine-autism conspiracy theory as well as anyone. I asked him about Kennedy’s claims, and he said, “What he has done is taken concern that there could be a problem as evidence that there was a problem.” Kennedy also said that Mnookin, in his book, “doesn’t talk about the science.” The Panic Virus has 66 pages of source notes and 38 pages of bibliography.
The underdog narrative is powerful. So is fear of chemicals. So is the desire for a simple solution to a complicated problem. And conspiracy theories are alluring. For some people, it’s deeply rewarding to believe that you and your fellow conference attendees are the only ones who know the real story behind the moon landing, Area 51, or the obvious example. Like doomsday cultists after the world doesn’t end, they misinterpret every new bit of information to make it fit into their existing worldview.
And vaccines are a special case. You’re allowing your healthy child to be injected with some mysterious substance to prevent a disease that —because vaccines work so well— you have never even seen. There’s a long history of conspiracy theories about vaccines, and it’s sometimes easier to recognize the paranoia from afar.
In parts of Pakistan, Nigeria, and other countries, people are convinced that a polio eradication campaign is a Western plot to sterilize Muslim children. They know it is: They have it on good authority from leaders with famous names.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s elaborate conspiracy theory is just as delusional and dangerous. Rather than accepting the findings of the Institute of Medicine, the National Institute of Mental Health, or the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kennedy says the scientists are lying. He says vaccine-makers are intentionally poisoning kids and giving them autism. Only he and his fellow activists know the truth because journalists, although they may report aggressively on the National Security Agency, Defense Department, and Central Intelligence Agency, are cowed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kennedy had one substantive objection to Phil Plait’s story that I hope shows he may someday change his mind. We refer to people who say vaccines cause autism with the shorthand “anti-vaxxers” or say that they are part of the “anti-vaccine movement.” Kennedy said that he is “very much pro-vaccine” and that “vaccines have saved millions and millions of lives.”
They will save even more lives if he and his colleagues stop spreading fear and misinformation about them. Kennedy is a passionate guy with practically unique name recognition, powerful connections, and the ability to command attention. He could reverse the course of the anti-vaccine movement today if he announced that his concern about vaccines had been well-intentioned, but that research has shown that vaccines don’t cause autism after all. It would be a proud legacy, one worthy of his name.
Aggressive anti-vaccination nuts in Australia
The Australian Vaccination Network (AVN), which is actually anti-vaccine, is fighting an order to change its name.
It claims to be a lobby and support group that promotes health choices. But the New South Wales Fair Trading Department says that is misleading because it is, in fact, an anti-vaccination group.
New Zealand father Ian Williams has become the latest vocal campaigner in favour of vaccination.
He and his wife had not vaccinated their children, but then their son got a cut on his foot, and the situation became very serious.
"It took a stay of 24 hours in hospital for them to diagnose it was tetanus, because the spasms started getting worse and worse," he said. "It's a terrible thing. Your whole body arches, your arms go up in the air."
Mr Williams says the vaccine controversy is difficult to navigate. "It looks like, when you go into it, there's a whole lot of pros and cons, and there's a 50-50 argument," he said.
In reality, almost 100 per cent of doctors are pro-vaccine.
The Australian Vaccination Network sounds like an organisation that would agree with Mr Williams' views that vaccination is a life saver, but it does not.
In fact, it actively promotes the link between vaccination and autism, a theory that was debunked by the medical world 20 years ago.
The NSW Department of Fair Trading has ordered it to change its name, but the AVN is resisting the order in court. The parties will be back in court on Friday.
New South Wales Opposition health spokesman and paediatrician, Dr Andrew McDonald, says the AVN's name is a serious problem.
"This is all about false advertising. The Australian Vaccination Network, a vehement anti-vaccination group, who are doing whatever they can to keep their name near the top of a Google search," he said.
"They're number two on a Google search if you use the words 'Australia' and 'vaccination' and that's why they want to preserve their name to keep it there."
Journalist Jane Hansen has been heading up a recent campaign at Sydney's Sunday Telegraph designed to raise vaccination rates.
"Anyone who criticises the AVN - and this is journalists, politicians or even parents that have had sick children who have gone public with their views on vaccination - very quickly find themselves on the end of some pretty vile attacks," she said.
"They pride themselves on this all natural approach but there's no peace, love and lentils if you criticise them.
"They come at you, criticising you of being on the payroll of 'Big Pharma'."
Dr McDonald has also felt their sting. "We've had the police around our office following and they've investigated threatening emails to this office," he said.
PM has contacted the founder of the AVN, Meryl Dorey, to respond to those allegations.
Dr McDonald says it is time for doctors to educate the community about the consequences of non-vaccination.
"The tragedy is that we are now seeing as much whooping cough as I did 30 years ago," he said. "We've just had a major epidemic of measles in Campbelltown. "Unless we improve our immunisation rates, we are at risk of future epidemics."
Posted by jonjayray at 12:13 AM
Friday, June 14, 2013
The best way to boost brain power and improve exam grades? Chant 'Om' like the Beatles did
Class again. Not many workers would be doing TM
A meditation technique made famous by the Beatles could boost brain power and even improve exam grades, scientists have claimed.
A study of high school students found graduation rates were up to 25 per cent better for those who Chanting ‘om’ or a similar meditation mantra for 20 minutes twice a day.
The relaxation technique, known as Transcendental Meditation, involves a particular sound being repeated over and over again with the eyes closed.
It has also been shown to reduce the risk of death from heart attack and strokes and soothe stress and anxiety.
It became fashionable among ‘flower power’ hippies of the Sixties after John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr visited India and were taught it by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Professor Robert Colbert, from the University of Connecticut, said improved graduation rates benefit society as a whole, as well as improving prospects for the individual.
He added that dropping out can result in loss of income, along with more risk of turning to crime and ending up in jail, or becoming dependent on state benefit.
In the study, analysis of the records of 235 students at an urban school on the east coast of the U.S. showed a 15 per cent higher graduation rate for those put on a transcendental mediation program compared to a control group.
When only the lowest academically performing participants in both groups were considered, passes rose by 25 per cent in the meditators.
The meditating students were also less likely to drop out from school, or enter prison, and were more likely to be accepted to further education.
Prof Colbert said: 'While there are bright spots in public education today, urban schools on the whole tend to suffer from a range of factors which contribute to poor student academic performance and low graduation rates.
'Students need to be provided with value added educational programs that can provide opportunities for school success.
'Our study investigated one such program, Transcendental Meditation, which appears to hold tremendous promise for enriching the lives of our nation’s students.'
In a 2009 interview, Ringo Starr said of Transcendental Meditation: 'Over 40 years ago, we ended up in Rishikesh.
That is where we hung out with Maharishi. We had met him a few months before in Wales. Since then, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, I have meditated. It is a gift he gave me.’
Paul McCartney added: 'It is one of the few things anyone has ever given to me that means so much to me. For us, it came at a time when we were looking for something to stabilise us at the end of the crazy Sixties.'
The research is published in the journal Education.
Can an hour in a salt cave cure your ills>
The crisp white powder crunches under foot, stacks of crystalline rock sparkle and ‘icicles’ glitter from above. No, it’s not a secluded Alpine cave but a clinic in West London.
The white powder isn’t snow, it’s salt. So are the icicles and the rocks piled in the corner. I am standing in the Adalex Clinic’s recently-opened ‘salt grotto’.
The grotto (actually, it’s less of a ‘grotto’ than just a plain old room with assorted sun loungers) is the brainchild of Grace Hart, a former psychologist.
She says that such grottos are commonplace in her native Poland, and claims that a spell in its salty confines — a typical session lasts an hour and costs £25 — offers all manner of health benefits, from relieving asthma to improving blood circulation and lowering blood pressure.
Above all, after an hour in the grotto I should experience, she says, a sense of ‘psycho physical comfort’. Which definitely sounds like a good thing — even if I’m not entirely sure what she means by it.
Actually, quite a lot of what clinic manager Grace says about the health benefits of the salt grotto doesn’t bear close scrutiny.
‘It’s about feeling good, mentally and physically,’ she tells me. ‘You will feel calm and refreshed, and you won’t have any anxiety.’
The apparently miraculous power of salt is all, she says, down to its ‘micro-elements’.
Salt is rich in minerals such as iodine, potassium and bromide. Usually, we get these by eating it — but Grace believes we can absorb them by sitting in a room full of the stuff.
‘We are depleted of micro-elements because our water is polluted, our diet is bad. But micro-elements like bromide have a calming effect on the brain. If you are stressed out, you can become calm in a natural way.’
As well as a new-found sense of calm, after an hour in the grotto, she promises, I should feel reinvigorated and healthy.
‘The air is very clean inside the grotto — ten times cleaner than normal air,’ she continues. ‘Salt is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. You start breathing slower and deeper as the salt opens up your bronchial airways. You breathe better and you feel better.’
While it may sound like bunkum (OK, it definitely does sound like bunkum), in Central and Eastern Europe they have been using salt grottos — both natural and artificial — for donkey’s years.
The first was set up 150 years ago after Dr Feliks Boczkowski, a Polish physician from Wieliczka, near Krakow, noted that local salt miners didn’t suffer from lung diseases. A natural grotto was carved out within the Wieliczka mines themselves, 400 feet underground. It became popular with those suffering respiratory disease, and is still in use today.
Before I’m allowed into Grace’s grotto, she hands me a pair of blue plastic shoe covers to protect both the salt and my shoes.
To keep the salt fresh, it is regularly topped up from the stash of enormous 25kg sacks kept in a storage room at the back.
And it definitely is salt. After Grace closes the grotto’s outer door and leaves me alone, I taste a pinch just to be sure.
The PA system in the corner plays a pan-pipes version of Just The Way You Are, while angled lamps make the salt look rosy pink, with blotches of blue on the ceiling and orange stripes along the walls.
It’s a little like being in a Seventies nightclub. Nevertheless, after 20 minutes in the cave, the promised sense of calm is indeed descending. In fact, I’m starting to nod off. I’m seated on a squishy sun lounger and wrapped up in a snuggly blanket which Grace has provided.
Though there are magazines in the waiting room, in the grotto there’s nothing to do but drift in and out of sleep. Clients are asked to leave their mobile phones behind.
There is a soporific sound of gently trickling water coming from what looks like an enormous garden water feature. This, explains Grace, is the grotto’s ‘evaporation tower’.
A good six feet high, it features an artfully-arranged fan of salt-encrusted twigs inside a giant wooden display case. Water flowing from a tank concealed within the tower’s wardrobe-like structure is trickling over them. It’s brine, brought over from Poland, Grace tells me.
‘It is one of the most healthy, healing waters,’ she says. It is a very special mineral water. Sitting near it as it flows, many of your positive ions will change to negative ions, which always make you feel better.
‘In the city, there are a lot of positive ions — which make you feel anxious, angry and agitated. Negative ions make you feel refreshed and fantastic.’
From what I can remember of GCSE physics, ions are simply atoms or molecules with positive or negative electrical charges. Why they should leave you anxious or refreshed eludes me.
The twigs, meanwhile, are birch — a ‘healing wood’ according to Grace. But of course!
The salt itself is equally exotic. The three tons which cover the floor have been brought from Poland, while the rocks lining the walls and piled at the corners are Himalayan salt imported from Pakistan.
According to Grace: ‘Not every salt has all the special properties. Himalayan salt has 84 different micro-elements.’
In total, the room contains more than 10 tons of salt. Building it took a month and cost £35,000.
There’s no doubt that lolling around in my sun lounger is a rather pleasant way to while away an hour — but how does the scientific evidence stack up? Unfortunately, there isn’t a huge amount.
‘I know of no good scientific evidence about this approach and see no reason why this should be any better than relaxing in any other quiet environment,’ says Professor Edzard Ernst, a physician and former Professor of Complementary Medicine at Exeter University.
Wendy Sadler, of Science Made Simple, an independent organisation aimed at explaining scientific research to the public, agrees — and questions the idea that exposure to ‘micro-particles’ and ‘negative ions’ can make you feel calmer and more energised.
She says: ‘There’s no reason at all you should feel calm because of exposure to negative ions. And there have been no studies that have shown mineral water will convert positive ions to negative ones.’
Neither is there much to support the myriad other health benefits salt grottos purport to offer.
Malayka Rahman, research officer at Asthma UK, says that while some sufferers have noticed short-term benefits, it is not clear whether that’s down to salt or simply the effect of an hour’s relaxation.
A couple of months ago a similar business, the Salt Cave — a company which operates a chain of grottos across the UK — was forced to remove a section of its website which claimed salt therapy could treat various ailments, including cystic fibrosis and psoriasis.
The Advertising Standards Authority concluded that there was insufficient evidence.
Grace is unperturbed by such naysayers. ‘There’s always a war between traditional doctors and alternative therapies,’ she says. ‘The medical world is like a Mafia. You can’t patent a natural thing like this, so there’s no money in it for them.’
And anyway, she says, business is booming. Though the clinic is ghostly quiet during my time there, Grace claims her grotto often has 30 customers a day.
Clients hoping to treat their asthma are recommended to make two or three visits a week for seven or eight weeks — at a cost of more than £400. It sounds an awful lot to realign your ions, if you ask me.
You can even hire the grotto for private parties — complete with champagne and canapés in the clinic’s sleek white reception area.
The next marketing opportunity is a new wrinkle cream made with hemp oil and (yes, you guessed it) Himalayan salt.
Grace says: ‘Salt keeps moisture in the skin and smooths it out. Look, I’m 62, but I don’t have many wrinkles.’ (It is true that she does look some ten years younger than her age.)
As for me? Well, I can’t say I experience any great transformation.
Grace tells me I should sleep deeply that night, and certainly I leave the clinic feeling relaxed. But whether that’s the salt at work or has more to do with the fact that I’ve spent an hour snoozing on a sun lounger, I don’t know.
At any rate, it was a perfectly pleasant — if expensive — way to spend a morning. As for any supposed health benefits . . . well, I’d take those with a pinch of salt.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:55 AM
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Vegetable oil and nuts 'fight prostate cancer': Swapping cakes for foods can stop disease spreading
At least the authors disclaim causal inferences. The people on more "correct" diets were probably middle class and it was that which gave a better prostate outcome -- as middles are healthier generally
Swapping to vegetable oils and nuts may increase a man’s chances of surviving prostate cancer.
A study found that those diagnosed with the disease early had a lower risk of the cancer spreading if they replaced animal fats found in processed foods – such as cake and pastries – with healthy vegetable fats.
One serving of oil-based salad dressing a day, equivalent to one tablespoon, was linked with a 29 per cent lower risk of potentially lethal prostate cancer and a 13 per cent lower chance of dying from any cause.
The US authors stressed the research involving 4,577 prostate cancer patients had revealed an association and could not necessarily prove a diet rich in oils and nuts was the cause.
In an online paper published by the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, they wrote: ‘Overall, our findings support counselling men with prostate cancer to follow a heart-healthy diet in which carbohydrate calories are replaced with unsaturated oils and nuts to reduce the risk of all-cause mortality.’
Of the men with prostate cancer enrolled into the study, around a fifth died from the disease over a period of about eight years. Another 31 per cent died from heart disease and almost 21 per cent from other cancers.
At the time they were recruited, all the men had non-metastatic prostate cancer, meaning the disease had not yet spread.
Information about the patients’ dietary habits was collected from questionnaires.
Swapping animal fats and carbohydrates for healthy vegetable fats, including olive and canola oil as well as oils from nuts, seeds and avocados, was found to have a significant impact on disease progression and death.
Men who replaced 10 per cent of their daily carbohydrate consumption with vegetable fats had a 29 per cent lower risk of developing deadly prostate cancer and a 26 per cent reduced risk of dying from any cause.
The study also showed that eating an ounce of nuts a day led to an 18 per cent lower risk of lethal prostate cancer and an 11 per cent lower risk of death.
Dr Erin Richman, from the University of California at San Francisco, said: ‘Consumption of healthy oils and nuts increases plasma (blood) antioxidants and reduces insulin and inflammation, which may deter prostate cancer progression.’
Babies of obese mothers are at a higher risk of premature birth, serious illness and death
The usual naivety. Fatties were probably mostly working class and that give the adverse outcomes
Babies born to overweight women are more likely to be born prematurely, increasing the likelihood of serious illness and even death.
A study of 1.5 million births in Sweden between 1992 and 2010 found the danger of early delivery rose proportionally with the mother’s weight.
Women with the highest BMI (body mass index) also had the highest statistical risk of giving birth prematurely, and especially extremely early.
Compared to women of normal size, an extremely premature birth was 25 per cent more likely for overweight women and 60 per cent more likely for obese mothers.
For severely obese (BMI 35-39.9) or extremely obese (BMI 40 or more) women, the corresponding risk was doubled and tripled respectively. Risks of very and moderately preterm deliveries also increased with BMI.
The findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association are alarming with the obesity levels in Britain fast approaching those in the U.S.
Three in five adults are overweight or obese possibly explaining the 40,000 babies a year born prematurely, the highest in Europe.
Professor Sven Cnattingius, of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, said: ‘For the individual woman who is overweight or obese, the risk of an extremely preterm delivery is still small.
‘However, these findings are important from a population perspective. Preterm infants and, above all, extremely preterm infants account for a substantial fraction of infant mortality and morbidity in high income countries.’
In the study, his researchers calculated the women’s BMI (weight in kilograms divided by height in square metres) from information given at their first visit to prenatal care.
A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 was assessed as normal, 25 to 29.9 as overweight, and 30 or more as obese.
Dr Cnattingius said a third of all pregnant women in Sweden are either overweight or obese, and this impacts the number of premature babies.
He said: ‘Overweight and obesity also increase the risk of maternal pregnancy complications including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and Caesarean delivery.’
In Sweden there are about 100,000 births a year of which around 250 are extremely early, in that they are delivered more than 12 weeks before the expected date.
Another 500 are very premature (8 to 12 weeks too early), and 4,500 moderately so (4 to 8 weeks).
The study also found the risk was substantially explained by obesity-related diseases such as the severe pregnancy complication preeclampsia that endangers the health of both mother and child.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:10 AM
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Teenagers who spend time in the sun are 'significantly' less likely to develop hay fever and eczema
But why? Maybe less healthy children to start with are kept indoors and out of the sun
Teenagers who spend more time outside in the sun have a lower risk of hay fever and eczema, according to a new study.
Those who spend more than four hours per day exposed to sunlight on summer days benefit from decreased rates of both conditions, Australian scientists found.
‘Higher sun exposure during summer holidays and summer weekends in adolescence was associated with significantly reduced eczema and rye grass positive rhinitis,’ they wrote.
The team found that the benefit of sun exposure persisted after accounting for measured levels of vitamin D, the so-called sunshine vitamin which our body produces from sunlight on our skin, in participants.
This suggests the benefit stems from another mechanism, according to the researchers led by Dr Andrew Kemp at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
The study involved 415 participants, who were recruited at birth and followed until the age of 16. Their average daily duration of sun exposure in summer months was recorded at eight and 16 years of age.
At 16, researchers also recorded whether they suffered from hay fever, eczema, asthma or showed any signs of sensitisation to allergens.
There was no significant association between sun exposure aged eight and any allergic disease or allergen sensitisation at 16.
But teens who spent more than four hours per summer day in the sun aged 16 had a significantly decreased risk of hay fever and eczema.
Asthma was not related to sun exposure, whether assessed through diagnosis by a doctor or use of asthma medications.
The authors, whose findings are published in the online version of the journal Paediatric Allergy and Immunology, said the reasons for the protective effect of sunlight were not certain.
They said one possibility is that ultraviolet (UV) irradiation can have effects on the immune system that might impact on the development of allergies.
A number of previous studies have shown that UV exposure can suppress the immune system and inflammatory activities.
But this does not explain the effect on hay fever, where the site of inflammation is not directly exposed to UV light.
‘It is possible that cells modulated by UV, following migration from the skin to other organs, might produce effects elsewhere,’ they wrote.
‘It has also been suggested sun exposure by inducing antimicrobial peptides may enhance antibacterial defences. This could benefit diseases such as eczema where bacterial colonisation of the skin is considered to play a significant role.’
They called for further studies in the area to consider both exposure to UV rays and vitamin D before sun exposure is recommended to reduce rates of allergic disease.
Breast screening 'doesn't cut deaths': Study of 40 years of mammograms show 'no evidence' they reduce chance of dying
Screening for breast cancer does not cut the chance of dying from the disease, a study claims. The examination of 40 years of UK data produced ‘no evidence’ there was a greater fall in death rates in women who underwent mammograms.
In fact, the age group that showed the steepest fall in mortality rates were the under 40s – who are not eligible for the regular X-ray check-ups.
It is the latest study to cast doubts on the effectiveness of screening, with some experts now suggesting that advances in treatment are more likely to account for the better chances of survival.
The research was carried out by scientists from Oxford University’s Department of Public Health, who looked at the Oxford region before and after the introduction of the NHS’s screening programme in 1988.
Comparing the results with England as a whole, they found no evidence that death rates fell greater in screened women.
The greatest drop was among those under 40, where rates decreased by five per cent a year from 2000.
Lead researcher Toqir Mukhtar said although the two million women a year who undergo screening may still benefit because cancer can be detected earlier, the £75million annual cost of the programme should be reviewed.
The findings, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, contrast with last year’s Department of Health review, which concluded that screenings cut relative mortality by 20 per cent.
Professor Michael Baum, a sceptic of screening, said: ‘The good news for women is that breast cancer death rates are falling, but it is almost entirely attributable to better treatment rather than screening.’
However, Eluned Hughes, of the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said it was hard to ‘unpick’ the factors that contribute to improving survival rates.
‘It’s important that women have all the information available to them on the pros and cons of screening in order to make an informed choice that’s right for them,’ she said.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, of Breast Cancer Campaign, claimed the Department of Health’s ‘comprehensive’ review proves that screening ‘does save lives’.
And Professor Julietta Patnick, director of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, said check-ups play a ‘key role’ in giving women the best chance of receiving successful treatment.
‘All new evidence about the benefits and harms of breast cancer screening is kept under review to ensure that the breast screening programmes are based on the latest available evidence,’ she added.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:32 AM
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Tomatoes could ease night-times for prostate patients by relieving pressure on the bladder
Too few details provided to check these claims
Tomatoes have already been credited with a host of health benefits – and now another one can be added to the list. Lycopene, the antioxidant which makes tomatoes red, has been found to reduce age-related enlargement of the prostate and thereby pressure on the bladder.
The revelation will bring comfort to those men troubled by the need to visit the toilet frequently, especially at night.
Tomatoes – packed with vitamins, natural anti-inflammatories and other goodies – have been previously identified as helping to combat cardiovascular disease, stroke and prostate cancer.
The latest benefit emerged from research in Queensland, Australia. A three-month study was carried out into the effect of lycopene in combination with other natural compounds.
A total of 57 men aged 40 to 80 were given pills containing active ingredients or identical dummy tablets. They were not told which ones they were taking.
Researchers found that the number of night-time visits to the toilet was cut by more than a third and overall bladder function was substantially improved.
Meanwhile, evidence has been growing about the benefits of a recently launched British supplement called Ateronon containing an artificial version of lycopene.
Research presented by Cambridge University at the prestigious American Heart Association showed it had a unique effect in improving blood vessel flexibility and reducing hardening of the arteries.
Ian Wilkinson, director of the university’s clinical trials unit, is confident that similar benefits will be gained in reducing the risk of prostate cancer and slowing the disease in men already diagnosed.
‘Ateronon could be more beneficial than natural lycopene because it is more easily absorbed by the body,’ Mr Wilkinson said. ‘We are designing a trial to prove that.’
Luis Vitetta, also a director at the university, said lycopene has a similar chemical structure to finasteride, the main drug used to treat benign enlargement of the prostate. ‘That may be the reason for the effect,’ he said.
A second newly-published study in Chicago has shown beneficial proteins in prostate cells were boosted when exposed to lycopene.
Project leader Richard van Breemen said a long-term study was needed on lycopene as it took time to have an effect.
Medical breakthrough for MS sufferers
In a breakthrough discovery, researchers have discovered a treatment capable of reducing the debilitating autoimmune response that occurs in people suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS).
When patients are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, their bodies begin to attack the protein myelin, which insulates the body’s spinal cord, brain and optic nerves. As a result, MS patients experience symptoms such as numbness in their limbs, paralysis and sometimes blindness.
However, during a phase one clinical trial of a new treatment for MS patients, researchers were able to curtail the body’s attacks on myelin by 50 to 75 percent, while sustaining the functionality of the rest of the immune system.
Current treatments for MS seek to lessen the body’s autoimmune response to myelin, but this often results in decreased effectiveness of the entire immune system.
“Most therapies for autoimmune diseases employ approaches broadly called immunosuppressors – they knock down immune response without specificity,” study co-author Stephen Miller, professor of microbiology-immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told FoxNews.com.
“People can become highly susceptible to everyday infections and develop higher rates of cancer.”
Miller and his colleagues sought a more targeted ‘tolerance’ treatment that would leave the greater immune system intact while knocking out only the autoimmune response to myelin.
“In MS, the idea is to target autoreactive T-cells directed against myelin…which would (reduce) disease progression, but wouldn’t make patient susceptible to higher rates of infection,” Miller said.
In a study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, a small group of MS patients were treated intravenously with an infusion of their own white blood cells, which had been engineered to carry billions of myelin antigens. Researchers hoped the cells would teach the body to stop attacking myelin.
Miller and his team needed to determine if the treatment, which was based on 30 years of previous research, could be safely applied in humans – and they were pleased to discover it could be.
“It was safe to infuse as many as 3 billion autologous cells that we collected and manipulated back into the same patient and didn’t trigger exacerbations,” Miller said. “Most patients didn’t show any increased signs of disease during the six-month follow up.”
Furthermore, the treatment did not seem to impede the larger immune system. Researchers tested this by analyzing whether or not each patient continued to retain their immunity to tetanus, for which all of the patients had previously been vaccinated.
“Among four patients receiving the highest doses (of autologous cells), immune response to myelin antigens had diminished or gone away - but tetanus had not gone away,” Miller said.
This indicated that the immune system’s ability to fight other diseases after the procedure remained intact.
Though researchers caution that the study was too small to draw any significant conclusions, they are optimistic about the outcomes of larger studies and the ability of this treatment to help halt the progress of MS – particularly among recently-diagnosed patients.
“The idea is that if we’re able to intervene early enough in disease process, we can stop the autoimmune destruction and (the patient) will have little or no clinical deficit as result of earlier attacks before being diagnosed,” Miller said.
Researchers hope to receive funding to begin a phase two trial soon.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:19 AM
Monday, June 10, 2013
Breast really is best if you want a brainy baby (?)
Naive hi-tech nonsense. IQ is a strong predictor of breast-feeding and IQ is strongly genetically inherited. Control for IQ among the mothers would be needed if this were to tell us anything about breast feeding as such
Breast milk boosts brain development in babies by up to 30 per cent, according to a new study.
Children exclusively fed breast milk for at least three months have up to 30 per cent extra growth in the key parts of the brain which control language, emotion, and understanding, say scientists.
The study of under-fours showed children who have breast milk as part of their diet have a clear advantage when it comes to brain development.
Research carried out at Brown University, in the U.S., found that by the time the babies had reached their second birthday a discernible difference could be seen in their brain structure.
Dr Sean Deoni, an engineering professor and lead author, said: ‘We're finding the difference [in white matter growth] is in the order of 20 to 30 per cent, comparing the breastfed and the non-breastfed kids.’
Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) brain scans were taken of the babies who had been fed a diet of breast milk in the earliest stages of their development, and of those who had been fed formula milk.
The scans showed that babies fed breast milk alone had the fastest growth in myelinated white matter - tissue packed full of long nerve fibres that link different parts of the brain that are used for learning.
The babies who were weaned on a diet of formula were found to have the least white matter.
Dr Deoni's team carried out the study to see how early the changes in brain development took place.
‘We show that they're there almost right off the bat,’ he said.
Scans show that babies fed breast milk alone have the fastest growth in myelinated white matter - tissue packed full of long nerve fibres that link different parts of the brain that are used for learning
Scans show that babies fed breast milk alone have the fastest growth in myelinated white matter - tissue packed full of long nerve fibres that link different parts of the brain that are used for learning
Researchers looked at the brains of 133 babies who were born on time and came from similar families.
By comparing the myelin in older and younger children they were able to calculate how breast milk influenced the development of white matter.
The researchers backed up the results of the scans with a set of basic cognitive tests that showed language performance, visual reception and motor control were all better in the breastfed children.
The team found that the longer the babies were fed with breast milk the more developed their brains were, especially in the areas of the brain associated with movement and coordination.
While the Brown study published in the journal NeuroImage is not the first to link breastfeeding with improved development in the young, Dr Deoni claimed it is the first time MRI scans have been used to compare the brains in breastfed and non-breastfed children.
Dr Deoni said: ‘I think it's astounding that you could have that much difference so early. I think I would argue that combined with all the other evidence, it seems like breastfeeding is absolutely beneficial.’
Food authoritarianism in national parks
No definition of "healthy" and no evidence that the preferred foods will have a positive health effect
How about some goat cheese with huckleberry coulis and organic watercress after you've worked up an appetite by hiking in a national park? Or maybe some juniper-smoked bison with arugula?
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced on Wednesday that as part of a new "Healthy Parks, Healthy People" initiative, America's national parks will offer visitors a greater variety of nutritious foods.
“Today, as part of the administration’s efforts to promote healthier choices, we are adding yet another reason to visit our national parks and increasing the number of healthy food options available to visitors at parks from coast to coast."
Jewell said the new initiative is in line with President Barack Obama’s “commitment to health and well-being” and First Lady Michele Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to fight childhood obesity.
I want to emphasize this is about choice,” National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said at the event on the National Mall, where chefs from park concessions around the country cooked up samples. “American people like their choices."
But while visitors may have a choice, vendors do not: Concessionaires who renew their contracts with the government will be required to include at least two “healthy” options, according to Kathy Kupper, spokesperson for the Park Service. Vendors with existing contracts will follow the new guidelines on a voluntary basis until the contract comes up for renewal.
Executive chefs from national parks around the country prepared some of the offerings at an event on June 5, 2013 to announce new guidelines for park food vendors. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)
Jarvis said the changes don't mean park visitors must eat healthy food. Traditional fare such as hot dogs and chicken tenders will still be available from food vendors who already sell those items. But, added Jarvis, “There’s no reason to take a vacation from eating well when you visit a national park.”
Gerry Gabrys, one of several National Park food vendors attending the event, said customers want healthier foods.
Some of the fare served at Wednesday's event included “Free-range Chicken Breast with Sweet Potato Cake and Fennel Salad,” “Crisp Filo, Goat Cheese with Caramelized Pecans, Huckleberry Coulis and Organic Watercress,” “Juniper Smoked Bison Strip Loin with Arugula and Low-fat Horseradish Crème Fraiche,” and “Griddled Cumin-Scented Chesapeake Bay Seafood Taco.”
Those entrees are more likely to be served at restaurants in some of the bigger national parks, such as Yellowstone and the Shenandoah.
The new healthy food standards and sustainable food guidelines are spelled out in detail in a six-page document.
In addition to providing more nutritious food options, the National Park Service is encouraging park food concessions to incorporate locally grown or raised items, when available.
The new guidelines include the following:
-- 30 percent of beverages should have no added sugar.
-- Offer half servings or reduced portion servings when possible such as when items are prepared in bulk like pasta and soups and are served to order.
-- Offer coffee that is fair-trade certified and shade grown.
-- Where seafood option are offered, provide only those that are “Best Choices” or “Good Alternatives” on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch list, certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council, or identified by an equivalent program that has been approved by the National Park Service.
-- For grab and go food establishments, ensure that healthier options are placed where they are noticeable and likely to be purchased.
-- Do not offer fried items as “specials” or “featured” items.
The guidelines will help the National Park Service meet "Action Goal #8 – Eat Well and Prosper,” the text states.
“Providing additional choices is good for our customers and good for our business,” said Gabrys, CEO of Guest Services, Inc. “All of us have seen a growing consumer demand for healthy food and we are committed to meeting the needs and desires of park visitors while keeping prices affordable. The new guidelines include many efforts already underway by the industry and reflect the close collaboration and positive partnership we enjoy with the National Park Service.”
Posted by jonjayray at 12:11 AM
Sunday, June 09, 2013
Babies who eat FISH are less likely to develop allergies in later life
The usual correlational faith. Given the prevalence of a fish oil religion, it was preobably middle class parents who spent a lot on fish. And they are healthier anyway
Babies regularly fed fish in their first year of life are much less likely to develop common allergies when they get older, new research shows.
Scientists who monitored babies' diets found many of those that ate plenty of fish early in life were much more likely to still be free of allergies 12 years later, when the study ended.
Their chances of developing eczema dropped by 22 per cent, and hay fever by 26 per cent.
The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest giving fish to infants as little as two or three times a month may be enough to substantially reduce their risks.
Eczema affects an estimated one in eight children in the UK. It can cause red, itchy skin condition that can be very distressing and there are few very effective treatments.
In the worst cases, children have to be bandaged with cotton dressings from head to foot.
Hay fever, meanwhile, is thought to affect up to one in five youngsters. Both conditions are also linked with an increased risk of asthma.
Although previous research has suggested early exposure to fish in the diet could have a protective effect up to the age of four, researchers wanted to see if the benefits lasted even longer.
Experts at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, tracked 3,285 babies to study their dietary intake at the ages of one, two, four, eight and 12.
They also looked at how many went on to develop allergies.
The results showed fish plays a big part in dietary patterns among Swedish infants, with 80 per cent consuming it at least twice a month.
Among these children, the risk of allergies dropped significantly compared to others that rarely or never ate fish.
However, the study did not examine exactly which type of fish had the most potent affect.
In a report on their findings researchers said: 'Regular fish consumption in infancy may reduce the risk of allergic disease up to the age of 12.'
HRT IS safe to combat menopause, say experts: After decade of controversy, benefits now thought to outweigh risks
More vindication of what I said from the beginning
Taking medication to reduce the symptoms of the menopause is safe according to medical experts.
They say hundreds of thousands of women have suffered unnecessarily as a result of the decade-long controversy over the effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Fresh guidance from the British Menopause Society is seeking to reassure patients, saying the benefits of HRT outweigh any potential risk for women in their 50s.
They say GPs should prescribe the treatment to any woman who has unpleasant menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and mood changes. HRT is also known to provide bone protection in later life.
However, the debate is likely to rage on as The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists continues to advise HRT only for women with serious menopausal symptoms for the shortest time possible.
After five years doctors are not expected to continue prescribing it without discussing potential risks.
Uptake of HRT halved after two studies linked it to an increased risk of heart disease and breast cancer. An estimated one million women in the UK stopped having the treatment.
Consultant Endocrinologist Dr Helen Buckler, from the University of Manchester, said the emerging consensus was that the benefits of HRT outweighed the risks for most women, and that GPs should consider the updated BMS advice when treating the condition.
Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival, she said the two studies linking HRT to breast cancer and heart disease were scientifically unreliable.
She said: 'The new advice is HRT should be used for a slightly wider age, if need be. If a woman has symptoms affecting the quality of her personal or professional life, then the benefits outweigh the risk.'
The scare began in 2002, when the US Women's Health Initiative study was halted three years early because researchers claimed women using HRT were at higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease and strokes.
This contradicted previous – and later – research which suggested it guarded against heart problems.
How the debate has raged
HRT is normally prescribed to menopausal women in their 50s, but in the WHI study, it was also given to women in their 60s and 70s who had gone through the menopause more than a decade earlier.
Shortly afterwards the UK Million Women Study, part funded by Cancer Research, said HRT doubled breast cancer risk, but a review last year said it was 'unreliable and defective'.
Cancer Research advice remains that there is still convincing evidence that women who take HRT have an increased risk of breast cancer. But Dr Buckler said the charity was 'out of step' and its approach had tended to 'put women off' taking the treatment.
Some younger doctors have never prescribed HRT because they wrongly believe the risks outweigh the benefits, experts have warned.
Jessica Harris, of Cancer Research UK, said there was 'convincing evidence' that women who take HRT have an increased risk of breast cancer, but that risk returns to normal around five years after stopping using it.
The BMS guidance is also opposed to the 'arbitrary' five year limit on treatment, and says it should be continued if symptoms persist.
The BMS – a registered charity and medical foundation – receives no government funding. Its medical advisory council comprises leading international experts in post reproductive health management, who draw up guidelines for health professionals.
Posted by jonjayray at 1:05 AM
Friday, June 07, 2013
Car Emissions Turn HDL Cholesterol from ‘Good’ to ‘Bad,’ Mice Study Shows
So mice should keep out of traffic
An international team of scientists has found that breathing car emissions triggers a change in high-density lipoprotein, sometimes called the ‘good cholesterol,’ altering its cardiovascular protective qualities so that it actually contributes to clogged arteries.
According to their paper published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, in addition to changing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) from ‘good’ to ‘bad,’ the inhalation of car emissions activates other components of oxidation, the early cell and tissue damage that causes inflammation, leading to hardening of the arteries.
Emission particles such as those from vehicles are major pollutants in urban settings. These particles are coated in chemicals that are sensitive to free radicals, which have been known to cause oxidation. The mechanism behind how this leads to atherosclerosis, however, has not been well understood.
The team found that after 2 weeks of exposure to vehicle emissions, mice showed oxidative damage in the blood and liver – damage that was not reversed after a subsequent week of receiving filtered air. Altered HDL cholesterol may play a key role in this damaging process.
“This is the first study showing that air pollutants promote the development of dysfunctional, pro-oxidative HDL cholesterol and the activation of an internal oxidation pathway, which may be one of the mechanisms in how air pollution can exacerbate clogged arteries that lead to heart disease and stroke,” said senior author Prof Jesus Araujo of the University of California’s David Geffen School of Medicine.
One group of mice was exposed to vehicle emissions for two weeks and then filtered air for one week, a second was exposed to two weeks of emissions with no filtered air, and a third was exposed to only clean, filtered air for two weeks.
Study co-author Prof Michael Rosenfeld from the University of Washington said: “the biggest surprise was finding that after two weeks of exposure to vehicle emissions, one week of breathing clean filtered air was not enough to reverse the damage.”
Mice were exposed for a few hours, several days a week, to whole diesel exhaust at a particulate mass concentration within the range of what mine workers usually are exposed to.
After the exposures, the team analyzed blood and tissue specimens and checked to see if the protective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of HDL were still intact. The scientists used special analytical laboratory procedures to evaluate how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ HDL had become. The team found that many of the positive properties of HDL were markedly altered after the air-pollutant exposure.
For example, the HDL of mice exposed to two weeks of vehicle emissions, including those that received a subsequent week of filtered air, had a much-decreased ability to protect against oxidation and inflammation induced by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, than the mice that had only been exposed to filtered air.
Without HDL’s ability to inhibit LDL, along with other factors, the oxidation process may run unchecked. Moreover, not only was the HDL of the mice exposed to diesel exhaust unable to protect against oxidation, but, in fact, it further enhanced the oxidative process and even worked in tandem with the LDL to promote even more oxidative damage.
Researchers also found a twofold to threefold increase of additional oxidation products in the blood of mice exposed to vehicle emissions, as well as activation of oxidation pathways in the liver. The degree of HDL dysfunction was correlated with the level of these oxidation markers.
“We suggest that people try to limit their exposure to air pollutants, as they may induce damage that starts during the exposure and continues long after it ends,” said study first author Dr Fen Yin fron the Geffen School of Medicine.
Obese mothers may pass on health risks to grandchildren
More rodent wisdom
Obese women may be passing health problems such as heart disease and diabetes onto their grandchildren, a new study has suggested.
Researchers have discovered that conditions linked to obesity can skip a generation.
Researchers have discovered that conditions linked to obesity can skip a generation, leaving the children of moderately obese mothers apparently healthy.
However, their grandchildren are more likely to suffer from obesity and related diseases such as diabetes.
The findings provide growing evidence for how lifestyle choices by parents can pre-programme the genes of their children and even their grandchildren.
Dr Amanda Drake, senior clinical research fellow at the University of Edinburgh, where the work was carried out, said: “Given the worldwide increase in obesity, it is vital that we gain an understanding of how future generations may be affected.”
Around one in four adults in England are now considered to be obese while recent figures show that 22 per cent of four to five year olds are obese and 34 per cent of 10 to 11 year olds are obese.
During the study, published in the journal Endocrinology, used moderately obese female mice that were fed a high fat and sugary diet before and during pregnancy.
The first generation of mice were found to have few ill effects when fed a normal diet, but the second generation were more prone to obesity related diseases.
Scientists now believe this occurs due to the tweaks that occur to a person’s DNA while they are in the womb.
Known as known as developmental programming or epigenetics, these are thought to help prepare babies for the environment they are about to born into.
However, there is a growing body of evidence that shows these can at times also be detrimental by altering a child’s risk to cancer, obesity and other diseases.
Dr Drake said scientists now needed to look at how disease risk may be passed down not just from parents to their children but also to their grandchildren.
This should help public health organisations offer advice on how parents can change their lifestyles to protect their children and grandchildren from greater health risks.
She added: “Future studies could look at these trends in humans but they would need to take into account genetics, environmental, social and cultural factors.”
Thursday, June 06, 2013
Coffee Drinking as a Mental Disorder
Caffeine dependency does seem to be fairly common
Coffee-drinkers, beware: Your caffeine habit could induce a temporary mental disorder. The new edition of the mental health manual, the DSM-5, lists caffeine intoxication among the many disorders known to psychiatry.
Restlessness, nervousness, excitement, red face, gastrointestinal upset, muscle twitching, rambling speech, sleeplessness, rapid and irregular heartbeat and other symptoms may be familiar to many of us, but they are telltale signs of caffeine intoxication.
Specifically, a coffee drinker who experiences five or more of these symptoms during or shortly after consuming caffeine could be diagnosed with caffeine intoxication. The intoxication must also meet a standard DSM test: It must cause distress or impair the drinker's ability to function. [10 Odd Facts About Coffee]
This condition appears in both the old edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-IV) and the new DSM-5, but the new version, officially released Thursday (May 22), adds a related diagnosis: caffeine withdrawal, which describes the effects of stopping or dramatically reducing the pick-me-up habit.
Withdrawal symptoms include headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, depressed mood and other issues.
Caffeine is the most widely used, behaviorally active drug in the world, and some consumers may be unaware of their physical dependence on it, the DSM-5 notes.
"The symptoms of caffeine withdrawal are transitory, they take care of themselves," said Robin Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist and co-author of the psychology textbook "Abnormal Psychology" (Worth Publishers, 2009). "It's just a natural response to stopping caffeine, and it clears up on its own in short order."
The more long-standing diagnosis of caffeine intoxication also describes a temporary state, Rosenberg said, adding that she does not understand why either is included in the DSM.
Alan Budney, who served on the DSM-5 working group for substance-use disorders, explained the rationale for including caffeine withdrawal to Medscape Medical News in 2011.
"Caffeine is invading our society more and more. So there's concern enough to consider this topic seriously, even though it's probably one of the more controversial issues faced by our work group," said Budney, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychiatry at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Caffeine withdrawal can affect someone's sleep, work and other aspects of his or her life, he said.
Typically, caffeine is used as a performance-enhancing substance. A bitter-tasting stimulant, it revs up the central nervous system, ideally making someone feel awake, alert and energetic. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea and chocolate, and is added to headache medication, energy and alcoholic beverages, and even water.
Everyone from athletes to morning commuters to people looking to get in a long night of partying take advantage of this stimulant. Some benefits, such as a reduced risk of some cancers, have been linked to coffee drinking, but its active ingredient, caffeine, can also harm. In rare cases when consumed at high enough doses, caffeine can kill.
Between 2005 and 2009, emergency room visits associated with the consumption of caffeine-laden energy drinks, often in combination with alcohol and other drugs, increased tenfold.
Of course, caffeine is not the only chemical that can intoxicate. The DSM groups this disorder with others associated with substances ranging from alcohol and nicotine to cannabis and hallucinogens. The use of mind-altering substances like these can alter behavior, mental processes and cause physical symptoms.
Ketamine cousin rapidly lifts depression without side effects
Sounds hopeful. "No side-effects" tends to be famous last words, however
GLYX-13, a molecular cousin to ketamine, induces similar antidepressant results without the street drug side effects, reported a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) that was published last month in Neuropsychopharmacology.
Major depression affects about 10 percent of the adult population and is the second leading cause of disability in U.S. adults, according to the World Health Organization.
Despite the availability of several different classes of antidepressant drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), 30 to 40 percent of adults are unresponsive to these medications. Moreover, SSRIs typically take weeks to work, which increases the risk for suicide.
Enter NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor modulators. In the 1970s, researchers linked the receptors to learning and memory. Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in the 1980s attempted to apply chemical blockers to these receptors as a means to prevent stroke. But blocking these receptors led to the opposite effect—the rise of cardiovascular disease.
Research in the field dampened until a glutamate receptor antagonist already approved for anesthesia, and known on the streets as "Special K," ketamine, made headlines in the early 2000s.
Human clinical studies demonstrated that ketamine can ward off major and bipolar depressive symptoms within 2 hours of administration and last for several days.
Ketamine is fraught with serious side effects including excessive sleepiness, hallucinations, and substance abuse behavior.
"Ketamine lit the field back up," said Joseph Moskal, Ph.D., a molecular neurobiologist at Northwestern University and senior study author. "Our drug, GLYX-13, is very different. It does not block the receptor ion channel, which may account for why it doesn't have the same side effects."
Moskal's journey with GLYX-13 came about from his earlier days as a Senior Staff Fellow in NIMH's Intramural Research Program. While at NIMH, he created specific molecules, monoclonal antibodies, to use as new probes to understand pathways of learning of memory. Some of the antibodies he created were for NMDA receptors.
When he moved to Northwestern University, Moskal converted the antibodies to small protein molecules. Comprised of only four amino acids, GLYX-13 is one of these molecules. Previous electrophysiological and conditioning studies have suggested that GLYX-13, unlike ketamine, enhanced memory and learning in rats, particularly in the brain's memory hub or hippocampus. GLYX-13 also produced analgesic effects.
Using several rat behavioral and molecular experiments, Moskal's research team tested four compounds: GLYX-13, an inactive "scrambled" version of GLYX-13 that had its amino acids rearranged, ketamine, and the SSRI fluoxetine.
GLYX-13 and ketamine produced rapid acting (1 hour) and long-lasting (24 hour) antidepressant-like effects in the rats.
Fluoxetine, an SSRI that typically takes from 2-4 weeks to show efficacy in humans, did not produce a rapid antidepressant effect in this study. As expected, the scrambled GLYX-13 showed any antidepressant-like effects.
The researchers observed none of the aforementioned side effects of ketamine in the GLYX-13-treated rats. Protein studies indicated an increase in the hippocampus of the NMDA receptor NR2B and a receptor for the chemical messanger glutamate called AMPA.
Electrophysiology studies in this brain region showed that GLYX-13 and ketamine produced long-lasting signal transmission in neurons, known as long-term potentiation/synaptic plasticity. This phenomenon is essential in learning and memory.
The researchers propose how GLYX-13 works: GLYX-13 triggers NR2B receptor activation that leads to intracellular calcium influx and the expression of AMPA, which is then responsible for increased communication between neurons.
The results are consistent with data from a recent Phase 2 clinical trial, in which a single administration of GLYX-13 produced statistically significant reductions in depression scores in patients who had failed treatment with current antidepressants. The reductions were evident within 24 hours and persisted for an average of 7 days. After a single dose of GLYX-13, the drug's antidepressant efficacy nearly doubled that seen with most conventional antidepressants after 4-6 weeks of dosing. GLYX-13 was well tolerated and it did not produce any of the schizophrenia-like effects associated with other NMDA receptor modulating agents.
NMDA receptors need a molecule each of the amino acid chemical messangers glutamate and glycine to become activated. Moskal speculates that GLYX-13 either directly binds to the glycine site on the NMDA receptor or indirectly modulates how glycine works with the receptor. Resulting activation of more NMDA and AMPA receptors leads to an increase in memory, learning—and antidepressant effects.
By contrast, ketamine only blocks the NMDA receptor, but also increases the activity of the AMPA receptor. Knowledge of these mechanisms could lead to the development of more effective antidepressants.
GLYX-13 is now being tested in a Phase 2 repeated dose antidepressant trial, where Moskal and his colleagues at Naurex, Inc., a biotechnology company he founded, hope to find in humans the optimal dosing for the drug.
They also want to see if this molecule, and others like it, regulate other NMDA receptor subtypes—there are over 20 of them—and whether it will work on other disorders, such as schizophrenia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism.
"One could call NMDA modulators such as GLYX-13 'comback kids,'" said Moskal. "A toolkit that I developed in 1983 is now setting the stage in 2013 for the development of possible new therapeutics that may provide individuals suffering from depression with a valuable new treatment option."
More information: Burgdorf J, Zhang X-l, Nicholson KL, Balster RL, Leander JD, Stanton PK, Gross AL, Kroes RA, Moskal JR. GLYX-13, a NMDA Receptor Glycine-Site Functional Partial Agonist, Induces Antidepressant-LIke Effects Without Ketamine-Like Side Effects. Neuropsychopharmacology, April 2013. 38:729-742.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:14 AM
Wednesday, June 05, 2013
'Superfoods' shown to fight prostate cancer
The effect was on an indicator, not on cancer itself -- and an effect was shown not on people in general but on cancer survivors. Lots of room for slippage there
Superfoods have been shown to fight prostate cancer, in a ground-breaking study.
Men who had been treated with surgery or radiotherapy for the disease were given a capsule containing essence of pomegranate, green tea, turmeric and broccoli.
At the end of a six-month trial, their PSA levels - a protein which is an indicator of the cancer - were 63 per cent lower than those who took a placebo.
While lab tests and small non-randomised studies have previously suggested that such foods, which are rich in polyphenol, have an anti-cancer effect, the British study is the first to demonstrate such an impact on sufferers of prostate cancer, compared with those who were not given the capsules.
Prof Robert Thomas, a consultant oncologist at Bedford Hospital and Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge will present the results of the “Pomi-T” study at the American Society of Clinical Ontology in Chicago today.
Professor Thomas said: “Our experience in offering high-quality clinical care, collaboration with cancer charities and world-class research with the University of Cambridge has resulted in findings which will have an world-wide impact.
"We hope this will help millions of men to help combat the onset of prostate cancer.
The study found virtually no adverse affects among the group who were given the supplement.
Because of the lowered PSA levels among those given the capsule significantly fewer men proceeded to potentially toxic therapies at the end of the study, the study said.
“Healthy eating and lifestyle is the main way of helping to combat the development of cancer but men can now also turn to a whole food supplement which has been shown to work,” said Prof Thomas.
Statins could lead to muscular injuries, scientists warn
At long last
Millions of people taking statins to lower their cholesterol could be putting themselves at risk of muscular injuries, researchers have warned.
The drugs have been associated with musculoskeletal conditions and joint diseases, with users more likely to suffer such conditions.
The findings were described as “concerning” in light of the fact that taking statins from a young age to prevent cardiovascular diseases has been widely advised.
Dr Ishak Mansi of the North Texas Health Care System in Dallas studied data from a military health care system to determine whether the drugs were associated with musculoskeletal conditions.
A total of 46,249 patients were divided into those who used statins and those who did not.
Dr Mansi said: "Musculoskeletal conditions, arthropathies, injuries and pain are more common among statin users than among similar non-users.
"The full spectrum of statins' musculoskeletal adverse events may not be fully explored, and further studies are warranted, especially in physically active individuals."
The study, which was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that statin users had a higher odds ratio (OR) for musculoskeletal diseases, strains and sprains and dislocation.
Dr Mansi said: "To our knowledge, this is the first study, using propensity score matching, to show that statin use is associated with an increased likelihood of diagnoses of musculoskeletal conditions, arthropathies (joint injuries) and injuries.
"In our primary analysis, we did not find a statistically significant association between statin use and arthropathy; however, this association was statistically significant in all other analyses.
"These findings are concerning because starting statin therapy at a young age for primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases has been widely advocated.”
Statins can reduce the level of bad cholesterol in the blood and thus lower the risk of a heart attack in people at high risk.
They have been hailed as a wonder drug that everyone over 50 should be taking, but concerns have already been raised about side effects and possible health problems.
In March, researchers warned that taking high-dose statins put people at an increased risk of potentially fatal kidney problems.
Medics have also warned that statins can cause tiredness in many users.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:06 AM
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
Gruesome, medieval and utterly bizarre... but leeches freed me from awful migraines
The result below could be due to a placebo effect. She arrived ready to believe and admits that her migraines were intermittent
Migraines are miserable with bells on – actually, the idea of listening to the sound of a bell with a migraine brings me out in a sweat. When I am suffering with one, I can’t even stand the sound of my sheets rustling.
Apart from the intense throbbing, all-encompassing pain in my head, I also feel extremely nauseous and sensitive to light. I feel as if I am a vampire – a small sliver of daylight and POOF: I will spontaneously combust.
Some find there are triggers: hormonal cycles, stress, red wine. But mine hit me without rhyme or reason.
Which is why I decided to give leech therapy, or hirudotherapy – to give the treatment its correct medical term – a go.
As a believer in alternative medicine, I wanted to try something natural and holistic that didn’t involve days spent downing industrial-strength analgesics.
And before you put me and Demi in a box marked ‘Complete loons’, it seems modern medicine is also looking to this rather medieval practice as a solution for a host of ailments.
In the 1980s, leeches began to be used by reconstructive plastic surgeons needing to remove stagnant blood from reattached limbs, to stave off gangrene.
But now there are numerous studies into medical uses for leeches. One found that a single session of leeching – the medical application of bloodsucking leeches – can significantly reduce knee pain caused by arthritis for at least two months.
Researchers from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany claimed improvement levels were comparable to those achieved with daily moderate doses of painkillers such as ibuprofen. And before you say you’d probably rather pop a pill, consider the damage regularly taking painkillers can do to the stomach.
Bloodletting was discredited at the end of the 19th Century as doctors felt it left patients weak and prone to infection, but it has had a recent resurgence, with a wave of celebrities trying it.
Another clinical trial at the university is investigating whether nerve pain caused by shingles could also be remedied by leeching.
The secret is in the leeches’ saliva: it apparently contains a large number of analgesic, anaesthetic, and blood-thinning compounds that tackle pain and inflammation, say the researchers.
Google led me to Alicja, a Russian/Polish hirudotherapist with ten years’ experience. She is based in Las Vegas and New York but she has clients from all around the world.
Her passion for natural medicine goes back to her childhood in 1960s Poland, where leeches were used as a popular ‘country healing method’ to cure various health problems.
Back then, Kolyszko reminisces, leeches were sold at many pharmacies. Her grandmother would bring one home whenever any family member got sick, pop it on for an hour, and everything would be better.
These aren’t your common-or- garden leeches (there are more than 700 species that live wild in freshwater and marine environments – one once attached itself to my buttock while I was bathing in the Mekong river in Cambodia).
Medicinal leeches are specially cultivated in a sterile environment. The largest leech farm in the world – Biopharm in Hendy, South Wales – was established in 1812, moving to its current base in 1984.
Just before it bit into me, I could feel its cold and slimy body against my temple. But once it actually did, I was relieved that it felt like no more than a mild sting – the leech secretes an anaesthetic that numbs the skin, otherwise the pain would be unbearable. Botox is a million times worse.
Once Alicja is sure the leech has got to work, then it’s time for the next one, and the one after that, until you have four attached to you. You can definitely feel them working – it is a mild tugging sensation.
I know this sounds extraordinary, but I felt incredibly relaxed. The treatment takes about 40 minutes, until the leech is full and falls off, leaving a mark in the shape of a peace sign. They swell to about four times their normal size, as they become gorged with blood.
To get the most out of hirudotherapy, you need about three sessions within weeks of each other. I have not had a migraine since that first session. More than that, I feel rejuvenated.
Leeches really are miracle workers. I am a total convert.
People whose parents live a long life are 25% less likely to get cancer
This is consistent with there being a general syndrome of biological fitness
People whose parents who live to a ripe old age are more likely to live longer themselves, and are less prone to cancer and other common diseases associated with ageing.
Those whose mothers live beyond the age of 91 or fathers live past 97 are 24 per cent less likely to get cancer, say researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School.
They discovered that overall mortality rates dropped by up to 19 per cent for each decade that at least one of the parents lived past the age of 65.
For those whose mothers lived beyond 85, mortality rates were 40 per cent lower, reports The Journals of Gerontology: Series A.
The figure was a little lower (14 per cent) for fathers, possibly because of adverse lifestyle factors such as smoking, which may have been more common in the fathers.
The research saw nearly 10,000 people questioned. The participants were based in America, and were followed up over 18 years, from 1992 to 2010.
They were interviewed every two years, with questions including the ages of their parents and when they died. In 2010, the participants were in their seventies.
Professor William Henley, from the University of Exeter Medical School, said: 'Previous studies have shown that the children of centenarians tend to live longer with less heart disease, but this is the first robust evidence that the children of longer-lived parents are also less likely to get cancer.
'We also found that they are less prone to diabetes or suffering a stroke.
'These protective effects are passed on from parents who live beyond 65 - far younger than shown in previous studies, which have looked at those over the age of 80.
'Obviously children of older parents are not immune to contracting cancer or any other diseases of ageing, but our evidence shows that rates are lower.
'We also found that this inherited resistance to age-related diseases gets stronger the older their parents lived.'
Ambarish Dutta, from the Asian Institute of Public Health at the Ravenshaw University in India, said: 'Interestingly from a nature versus nurture perspective, we found no evidence that these health advantages are passed on from parents-in-law.
'Despite being likely to share the same environment and lifestyle in their married lives, spouses had no health benefit from their parents-in-law reaching a ripe old age.
'If the findings resulted from cultural or lifestyle factors, you might expect these effects to extend to husbands and wives in at least some cases, but there was no impact whatsoever.'
Posted by jonjayray at 12:09 AM