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Impulsive behavior: What happens in the brain?

What makes us impulsive? Why do we find it so easy to say when we know that would be better for us in the long run? A recent study in rodents explores the neural mechanisms behind

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Link of smoking and alcohol consumption to osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the condition in which the bone strength of an individual slowly deteriorates over time making them fragile and susceptible to fracture. A cell mechanism which causes

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by Neha

For decades now, researchers have been finding links between unhealthful dietary habits and the risk of cancer development and recurrence. However, they have not yet proved beyond a doubt that all of these links are causational. At the same time, past findings have been convincing enough to prompt researchers to investigate these connections further. Diet is key point of discussion in cancer prevention, as it is a modifiable factor; well-informed people can make different choices when it comes to what and how they eat, which could make a real difference to their health. The inaugural international Cancer Prevention and Nutrition Conference took place in London, U.K., under the auspices of Ludwig Cancer Research and Cancer Research UK. One problem that the researchers discussed at the conference was the challenges that appear in understanding whether or not nutrition directly impacts the risk of cancer and the success of the treatment. All the researchers involved with the conference argue that it is very important to find ways of using cancer and nutrition research to form better policies and guidelines that will make a real difference to people's lives. To this purpose, they note that scientists must work closely with national policymakers and healthcare professionals to promote healthful, nutritious food over options that are less likely to support well-being.
(Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

Impulsive behavior: What happens in the brain?

by Bindhu

What makes us impulsive? Why do we find it so easy to say when we know that would be better for us in the long run? A recent study in rodents explores the neural mechanisms behind impulsivity. Controlling our impulses can often be difficult, but for some of us, the struggle can be all-consuming. Impulsivity is an integral part of a range of conditions, including drug addiction, obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Parkinson's diseaseTrusted Source. The authors of a recent paper, published in Nature CommunicationsTrusted Source, define impulsivity as responding without apparent forethought for the consequences of on's actions. As they explain, being impulsive is not always a bad thing, but, It can often lead to consequences that are undesired or unintended. The new study sets out to understand more about the mechanisms that produce impulsivity. The scientists hope that this knowledge might, eventually, lead to interventions that could reduce impulsivity. The study also has certain limitations. First and foremost, the scientists investigated impulsivity using specific food based tests in a rodent model. How this would translate to humans as they navigate real-life choices is difficult to say. Because impulsivity appears in a range of conditions, researchers are sure to continue investigating the science that drives it.
(Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

Link of smoking and alcohol consumption to osteoporosis

by Neha

Osteoporosis is the condition in which the bone strength of an individual slowly deteriorates over time making them fragile and susceptible to fracture. A cell mechanism which causes a cell type in the immune system to change into osteoclasts has been found. Osteoclast is a cell which tends to dissolve or resorb bones. It gets initiated when factors including alcohol consumption and smoking are involved and thus raises the risk of osteoporosis. When under stress, the power house of a cell mitochondria sends out signals that initiate this process. When this takes place in the mitochondria of macrophages (prolific immune cells that remove cell waste and foreign objects by swallowing and digesting them), the cells are converted into osteoclasts. We show in this paper that when mitochondrial function is affected, it not only affects energy production but also triggers a type of stress signalling that induces the overproduction of osteoclasts, says senior study author Narayan G. Avadhani. Alongside, factors such as smoking, drinking etc. increases the risk of osteoporosis. In the study, researchers found out a stress signalling pathway and that by triggering the pathway, it can lead macrophages to differentiate into osteoclasts that resorb bone

Some narcissistic traits may be useful for mental health

by Neha


Narcissism is a personality disorder that gets a bad rap due to some of its characteristic traits, such as an inflated sense of self-importance and poor regard for others. But researchers now suggest that some of these traits might help safeguard a person's mental health. Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by traits such as an inflated sense of self-importance and a need to receive constant admiration and emotional reinforcement from others. Studies suggest that up to 6.2%Trusted Source of individuals in given research cohorts have narcissistic personality disorder. Yet, while narcissism does have some fixed traits, researchers have shown that it is a spectrum disorder. Narcissism is part of the dark tetrad of personality that also includes Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism explains Kostas Papageorgiou, who is a lecturer in the School of Psychology at Queen's University Belfast in the United Kingdom. But, he adds, there are two main dimensions to narcissism grandiose and vulnerable. Vulnerable narcissists are likely to be more defensive and view the behavior of others as hostile, whereas grandiose narcissists usually have an overinflated sense of importance and a preoccupation with status and power. Papageorgiou wanted to explore whether this personality disorder also features some positive traits that could help maintain a person's psychological well-being. Papageorgiou and colleagues have recently published two study papers suggesting that people with grandiose narcissism appear to have greater resilience to stress and are less likely to experience depression. Individuals high on the spectrum of dark traits, such as narcissism, engage in risky behavior, hold an unrealistic superior view of themselves, are overconfident, show little empathy for others, and have little shame or guilt," notes the researcher. "However," he continues, "what this research has questioned is — if narcissism, as an example of the dark tetrad, is indeed so socially toxic, why does it persist, and why is it on the rise in modern societies?" The researcher also argues that a more balanced view of narcissistic traits could also help researchers and mental health professionals provide better help to the people they work with. This move forward may help to reduce the marginalization of individuals that score higher than average on the dark traits. It could also facilitate the development of research-informed suggestions on how best to cultivate some manifestations of these traits, while discouraging others, for the collective good,says Papageorgiou.
(Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)


Does the air we breathe influence our schizophrenia risk?

by Neha

Schizophrenia affects millions of people around the world and is a chief contributor to disability. Researchers are still working to uncover all the risk factors that could facilitate the development of this condition. A new study suggests that air pollution may be one of them. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 20 million people all around the globe live with schizophrenia. Hallucinations, persistent false beliefs, disordered thinking, and emotional disconnect chiefly characterize this mental health condition, and it is one of the main contributors to disability. People who live with schizophrenia also have a higher risk of premature death compared with the general population. Still, researchers are unsure of what causes this condition and why. So far, they argue that the top risk factor might be a person's genetic makeup, which interacts with environmental factors, such as social isolation and substance abuse. The search for risk factors, however, continues, and a new study from Aarhus University in Denmark may have identified another one: exposure to air pollution during childhood. Increasingly, researchers are showing that poor air quality may contribute not just to the development of pulmonary conditions such as lung cancer or asthma but also to the deterioration of brain health. Recently, Medical News Today reported on a study linking exposure to poor air quality with cognitive functioning problems, including memory loss. The current study whose findings appear in JAMA Network Open adds to the evidence that suggests researchers ought to take seriously ambient air pollution as a risk factor for brain and mental health. The investigators analysis indicated that individuals who had experienced exposure to high levels of air pollution growing up also had an increased risk of developing schizophrenia in adulthood. "The study shows that the higher the level of air pollution, the higher the risk of schizophrenia,says senior researcher Henriette Thisted Horsdal, Ph.D. For each 10 micrograms per cubic meter [referring to the concentration of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide in ambient air] increase in the daily average, the risk of schizophrenia increases by approximately 20%, she adds. (Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

Are energy drinks a threat to heart?

by Neha

Energy drinks are said to improve concentration and ae famous for providing mental and physical stimulation. They are gaining fame amongst teenagers and young adults and has bagged the place of second most popular dietary supplement of choice. Its ingredients include caffeine, guarana, taurine, ginseng, and B vitamins which contribute to instant mood boosting effects in consumers and comes in various flavours and tastes. A study was conducted to analyse effect of energy drinks on health. In human body, time taken by heart chambers to contract and relax is called QTc interval of which, 450 milliseconds (ms) in men and 460 ms in women is considered the maximum for a healthy heart rhythm. After the study, researchers found a considerable change in the participants QTc interval. In volunteers who consumed the energy drinks, upto 4hrs of QTc interval length has been observed, which can lead to serious cardiac health issues. We found an association between consuming energy drinks and changes in QT intervals and blood pressure that cannot be attributed to caffeine. We urgently need to investigate the particular ingredient or combination of ingredients in different types of energy drinks that might explain the findings seen in our clinical trial., says Prof. Sachin A. Shah.


Moru Curry

by Rajeena M N

Thick Yogurt 2 Cups in room
temperature
Water approximately 2 to 2.5 Cups
Adjust as per your taste
Grated Coconut Cup
Green Chili 2 to 3 Adjust as per your
taste
Ginger A small piece Skinned and Diced
Turmeric Powder 1 Teaspoon
Roasted Cumin Seed Powder 1/2 Teaspoon
or tsp whole cumin seed
Curry Leaves 3 to 4 leaves
Salt As per your taste
Coconut Oil 2 tablespoon
Mustard seed Teaspoon
Shallots/ Small Onion 2 to 3 Skinned
and Chopped Finely
Dry Red Chili 2 to 3 Cut into small (I
used red round/gundu chili)
Curry Leaves One Sprig To temper
Chili Powder Teaspoon
Roasted Fenugreek Powder/ Whole
Fenugreek

• In a grinder (small jar), place coconut, ginger, green chili, 1 teaspoon turmeric and ½ teaspoon roasted cumin seed powder. Add little water for grind, blend and make a smooth paste form. Keep aside.
• In a big sauce pan, stain yogurt, coconut ground paste and water together.
• With the help of a spoon combine and squeeze all ingredients well, strain it completely.
• Add salt to taste, mix well.
• Heat moru curry 5 to 6 minutes in a low-medium flame. ( Do not boil moru curry, it will curdle) Keep aside.
• In a frying pan, heat coconut oil and pop mustard seeds. Add shallots, dry chili and curry leaves. Fry until golden. Turn off the heat; add ¼ teaspoon red chili powder and ¼ teaspoon fenugreek powder. Mix well and transfer it immediately to the moru curry. Mix well and serve with boiled rice. Enjoy 

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