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Role of bad cholesterol in triggering early-onset Alzheimers

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease which affects memory as well as other relevant memory functions. While most people suffer from Alzheimer’s in their late years, rar

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Too much sleep or too little sleep can affect heart attack risk

The right amount of sleep is protective of heart health. This was the conclusion of new research that found sleep duration can influence a person's risk of heart attack, regardles

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by Bindhu Sreedhar

Detox drinks have always been included in detoxifying diets assuming it to help cleanse a person’s body and to help lose weight. Detoxification sure takes up a role in medical context, but it has little proven detoxifying benefits as commonly believed while including in a daily diet. In medical science, detoxification assists with any withdrawal symptoms of a person when the drugs he is addicted to are stopped. Hence, the use of the word detox is not always appropriate when not in medical context. Detox drinks may boost health, aid in weight loss, and support the body's natural detoxification processes, but this is different from medical detoxification. Studies say that commercially available detox diets are said to improve how toxins are removed from liver, but it has also been highlighted that these studies have flawed methodologies too. The claim on weight loss by following a detox diet is only because the diet is low in calories and also, the lost weight is said to be gained back after a certain period of time, thus making it a short-term solution to weight gain. Detox drinks are not bad, it is always good to include drinks including fruits and veggies to complete a balanced diet. It is just better to call it health drink or smoothie as the claimed detoxifying factors are negligible. (Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

Role of bad cholesterol in triggering early-onset Alzheimers

by Bindhu

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease which affects memory as well as other relevant memory functions. While most people suffer from Alzheimer’s in their late years, rare conditions suffer from early-onset Alzheimer’s which occurs before the age of 65. The reasons responsible for early-onset Alzheimer’s are not yet fully comprehended by the scientists, yet they have significant doubts in the role of “bad cholesterol” in it. The only determined factor is genetic, namely the expression of a variant of the gene APOE, called APOE E4, which also has an association with higher levels of circulating low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Earlier researches have shown that LDL cholesterol has adverse effects on health as its rise in level could lead to accumulation in arteries thus obstructing blood flow, which in turn leads to cardiovascular issues, hence known as bad cholesterol. A new study has revealed the connection of high (LDL) cholesterol with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Lead author Dr. Thomas Wingo says that their next agenda is to establish whether there is a causal link between cholesterol levels in the blood and Alzheimer's disease risk and that the current analysis has been vague about this. “One interpretation of our current data is that LDL cholesterol does play a causal role. If that is the case, we might need to revise targets for LDC cholesterol to help reduce Alzheimer's risk.", saya Dr. Thomas Wingo.

Too much sleep or too little sleep can affect heart attack risk

by Bindhu

The right amount of sleep is protective of heart health. This was the conclusion of new research that found sleep duration can influence a person's risk of heart attack, regardless of other heart risk factors, including genetic ones. The analysis revealed that those who slept less than 6 hours per night had a 20% higher risk of a first heart attack in comparison to those who slept 6–9 hours. Those who slept more than 9 hours had a 34% higher risk. The researchers also found that keeping sleep duration to 6–9 hours per night can reduce the risk of a first heart attack by 18% in those people with a "high genetic liability" for developing heart disease. The CDC recommend the following tips for good sleep:

 

  • - Go to bed and rise at the same time every day, even at the weekend.

  • - Get enough natural light — especially earlier in the day.

  • - Avoid exposure to artificial light, particularly in the hours up to bedtime.

  • - Get enough daily exercise and avoid exercising near bedtime.

  • - Avoid eating and drinking in the hours before bedtime — especially alcohol and high fat and sugar-rich foods.

  • - If difficulties persist, seek medical advice to help identify obstacles to sleep, including other health conditions.

Cancer: Why drug testing needs to improve

by Bindhu


Researchers keep on developing new drugs to fight cancer, and while some are indeed effective, others never fulfill their promise. A new study now explains why many cancer drugs may not work in the way their developers think they do. But within the problem also lies the solution. As the search for improved anticancer drugs continues, a new study has discovered that many of the new medications that do work often target different mechanisms than those the scientists intended them for. This may also explain why many new drugs fail to work. The finding comes from a team of scientists at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, who originally set out to study a different issue. Jason Sheltzer, Ph.D., and team initially wanted to identify the genes that had links to low survival rates among people receiving cancer treatment. But this work led them to find something they did not expect: that MELK, a protein formerly linked with cancer growth, does not affect tumor progression. Because cancer tumors contain high levels of MELK, researchers had thought that cancer cells used this protein to proliferate. They thought that by stopping MELK production, this would also slow down tumor growth. “If this kind of evidence was routinely collected before drugs entered clinical trials, we might be able to do a better job assigning patients to therapies that are most likely to provide some benefit. With this knowledge, I believe we can better fulfill the promise of precision medicine." Says Jason Sheltzer, Ph.D. (CREDITS: www.medicalnewstoday.com)


Gut bacteria has a role in the working of medication

by Bindhu

In humans, Bacteria are an essential part of overall good health and human gut microbiome is made up of over 1,000 species of bacteria. Scientists have recently seen that gut bacteria are interfering with working of medications. "This kind of microbial metabolism can also be detrimental. Maybe the drug is not going to reach its target in the body, maybe it's going to be toxic all of a sudden, maybe it's going to be less helpful" says Vayu Maini Rekdal, a graduate student. The new study, however, has already resulted in at least one positive finding; the researchers have found a specific molecule that can inhibit the bacteria without completely destroying them. "The molecule turns off this unwanted bacterial metabolism without killing the bacteria; it's just targeting a nonessential enzyme," says Maini Rekdal. There is currently no cure for Parkinson's, but treatment options are available. Therapies vary by person but can include medication and surgery. Further research into the treatment of Parkinson's is ongoing, and the hope is that this new study — which has uncovered why L-dopa does not work as well as it should — may lead to better treatments for Parkinson's in the future.(Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

New findings on reversal and prevention of diabetes

by Bindhu

A protein has been discovered by scientists in the fat cells of mice, which when targeted has the capability to reverse or prevent Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and 1 in 10 people suffers from it. When we eat more calories than our body needs, a type of fat called white adipose tissue (WAT) expands to store the excess energy as fat. However, if we take on more energy than we need for more extended periods, this system cannot cope, eventually leading to insulin resistance. Researchers used mice that lacked the gene that codes for CD248 in their WAT (although other cell types were still producing CD248). In these experiments, the researchers found that the mice were protected from developing insulin resistance and T2D. The mice did not develop diabetes, even when they were fed a high-fat diet and became obese. A most interesting finding was that the insulin sensitivity of mice that already have diabetes can be improved by reducing CD248 levels in the fat cells, even while they remain obese." Says Co-senior author Dr. Edward Conway. However, scientists say that the journey from research in cells and mice to treating human patients is a long, expensive, and often unsuccessful one. (Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com)


Spinach, sweet potato & lentil dhal

by Sophie Godwin

1 tbsp sesame oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
thumb-sized piece ginger
peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli
finely chopped
1.5 tsp ground turmeric
1.5 tsp ground cumin
2 sweet potatoes (about 400g/14oz), cut into
even chunks

250g red split lentils
600ml vegetable stock
80g bag of spinach

4 spring onions
sliced on the diagonal, to serve
half small pack of Thai basil,
leaves torn, to serve

  1. Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil in a wide-based pan with a tight-fitting lid.

  2. Add 1 finely chopped red onion and cook over a low heat for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until softened.

  3. Add 1 crushed garlic clove, a finely chopped thumb-sized piece of ginger and 1 finely chopped red chilli, cook for 1 min, then add 1 ½ tsp ground turmeric and 1 ½ tsp ground cumin and cook for 1 min more.

  4. Turn up the heat to medium, add 2 sweet potatoes, cut into even chunks, and stir everything together so the potato is coated in the spice mixture.

  5. Tip in 250g red split lentils, 600ml vegetable stock and some seasoning. 

  6. Bring the liquid to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and cook for 20 mins until the lentils are tender and the potato is just holding its shape.

  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then gently stir in the 80g spinach. Once wilted, top with the 4 diagonally sliced spring onions and ½ small pack torn basil leaves to serve.

  8. Alternatively, allow to cool completely, then divide between airtight containers and store in the fridge for a healthy lunchbox.

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