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Preview: Latest Breaking Health News & Information -RSS headlines- Health.am

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Published: 2016-10-13T13:57:36+00:00

 



Preventing child obesity in the next generation must start before conception

2016-10-13T14:57:36+00:00

The key to preventing obesity in future generations is to make their parents healthier before they conceive, leading health researchers suggest. In a series of papers, published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, the researchers say that the time before couples conceive represents a missed opportunity to prevent the transmission of obesity risk from one generation to the next. They argue that a new approach is needed to motivate future parents to live a healthier lifestyle. There is now a wealth of evidence that the risk of obesity and its associated conditions, such as heart disease diabetes and some cancers, could impact the developing baby. In turn, when the child becomes a young adult they may pass the risk of obesity on to their children - it is a vicious cycle.



It’s time to consider propranolol as an anti-cancer drug, researchers say

2016-10-13T14:54:53+00:00

Propranolol, a beta-blocker commonly prescribed to treat irregular heart rates and other conditions, has significant anti-cancer properties, say researchers in a new clinical study published in ecancermedicalscience. The Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO) project, an international collaboration between the Anticancer Fund, Belgium, and US based GlobalCures, says that existing and widely-used non-cancer drugs may represent a relatively untapped source of novel therapies for cancer. Historically, pharmaceutical companies devote little time to “repurposing” existing drugs. The ReDO project hopes to change that, raising awareness by publishing a series of articles in ecancer to share evidence for using these therapies in cancer medicine.



How long should children play video games?

2016-10-12T14:51:13+00:00

A new study indicates that playing video games for a limited amount of time each week may provide benefits to children, but too much can be detrimental. The findings are published in the Annals of Neurology. There’s much debate over the potential benefits and risks of video gaming in children and teens. To provide some clarity, Jesus Pujol, MD, of the Hospital del Mar in Spain, and his colleaguesinvestigated the relationship between weekly video game use and certain cognitive abilities and conduct-related problems. In their study of 2442 children aged 7 to 11 years, the researchers found that playing video games for one hour per week was associated with better motor skills and higher school achievement scores, but no further benefits were observed in children playing more than two hours each week.



E-cigarette vapor does not cause oxidative stress in viable lung epithelial cells

2016-10-05T15:02:37+00:00

E-cigarette vapour is much less harmful to lung cells than cigarette smoke. Lab tests show that, unlike tobacco smoke, which causes oxidative stress and cell death, e-cigarette vapour does not. Oxidative stress and cell death are driving factors in the development of many smoking-related diseases such as COPD and lung cancer. Vapour from e-cigarettes has been found to contain significantly lower levels of the toxicants found in cigarette smoke (Chemical Research in Toxicology DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.6b00188), but suitable lab tests and clinical studies are necessary to understand whether this translates into reductions in biological responses and disease. Researchers at British American Tobacco have developed a standardized way of measuring and comparing the potential of conventional cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapour to cause oxidative stress in an in vitro model of lung epithelium.



Heavy hitters: Obesity rate soars among professional baseball players

2016-10-05T14:58:26+00:00

Major League Baseball players have become overwhelmingly overweight and obese during the last quarter century, say health researchers. David E. Conroy, Penn State professor of kinesiology, and colleagues looked at 145 years of data on professional baseball players’ body mass. The researchers found that the athletes’ weight held steady for over 100 years, with the majority of them weighing in at what is considered “normal,” - i.e., with a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9. However, around 1991 the average player’s BMI began to rise, and over the last 25 years nearly 80 percent of players fall into the overweight or obese category with a BMI above 25. Obesity in the general U.S. population began to rise in the mid-1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Research exists that shows how having extra weight can help with certain aspects of baseball,” said Conroy, also professor of human development and family studies. “The more force a batter can put into the ball, the further it will travel.”



Rap1, a potential new target to treat obesity

2016-09-27T07:32:12+00:00

cientists at Baylor College of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health and Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have discovered a new mechanism in the mouse brain that regulates obesity. The study, which appears in Cell Reports today, shows that this new mechanism can potentially be targeted to treat obesity. “It’s well known that the brain is involved in the development of obesity, but how a high-fat diet changes the brain so it triggers the accumulation of body fat is still unclear,” said senior author Dr. Makoto Fukuda, assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor and the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital. Fukuda and colleagues studied the mouse Rap1 gene, which is expressed in a variety of tissues, including the brain where it is involved in functions such as memory and learning. Little was known, however, of the role brain Rap1 plays in energy balance.



Belief about nicotine content in cigarette may change brain activity and craving

2016-09-27T07:30:52+00:00

How the brain responds to nicotine depends on a smoker’s belief about the nicotine content in a cigarette, according to new research from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas. The study, recently published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, found that smoking a nicotine cigarette but believing that it lacked nicotine failed to satisfy cravings related to nicotine addiction. Contrary to their expectations, researchers found that in order to satisfy nicotine cravings, smokers had to not only smoke a cigarette with nicotine but also believe that they were smoking nicotine. “These results suggest that for drugs to have an effect on a person, he or she needs to believe that the drug is present,” said Dr. Xiaosi Gu, assistant professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and the study’s lead author.



You Can Stop Feeling Bad About Eating Chocolate

2016-07-12T09:24:05+00:00

Whether you’re an avid baker, or just love a sweet treat, it’s hard to resist the appeal of chocolate. But increasing evidence shows that resistance may not be necessary. Studies demonstrate myriad benefits of chocolate, from creating a feel-good buzz to boosting cardiovascular health. Read on to learn more, then try some healthy recipes. The Latest Research A recent study in the journal Heart shows that habitual chocolate consumption is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Keeping in mind that the study only demonstrated correlation (not causation), it’s nonetheless exciting to see that among participants who consumed a relatively high volume of chocolate every day, 12% developed or died of cardiovascular disease during the 12-year study. Compare that to participants who didn’t eat chocolate at all, among whom 17.4% developed or died of the disease. How much were the chocolate-eaters consuming? About 16 to 100 grams per day, or roughly one half to two typical chocolate bars.



Overweight and obese type 2 patients show improvements with structured nutrition therapy

2016-06-22T06:49:55+00:00

Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center have announced the results of a study that may change how nutrition therapy is delivered to overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes. The “Nutrition Pathway Study” compared three models of nutrition therapy and found that a highly structured nutrition plan provides the most significant impact on A1C, body weight and lipid profiles. The study results were presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 76th Scientific Sessions in New Orleans, Louisiana. Participants in the structured nutrition therapy arm of the study reduced A1C by an average of 0.67 percent and reduced body weight by an average of 3.5 Kg over 16 weeks. According to Osama Hamdy, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Director of the Obesity Clinical Program at Joslin Diabetes Center and lead investigator on the study, these results were achieved without increasing exercise, changing medications or undertaking behavioral changes. “This drop in A1C due to nutrition therapy alone is much better than what we have been able to achieve with many of the current medications for type 2 diabetes ,” said Dr. Hamdy. “This is very encouraging since participants in the study have lived with type 2 diabetes for more than 10 years and were not able to control their blood glucose or weight with multiple medications.”



Researchers explore epigenetic influences of chronic pain

2016-06-22T06:35:47+00:00

Chronic pain is one of the most prevalent, disabling and expensive public health crises in the United States. It affects more than 100 million Americans, with annual costs estimated at $635 billion, says a 2014 report from the American Pain Society. Despite the enormous societal impact of chronic pain, present treatment options are limited to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), opioids, anticonvulsants and antidepressants, which provide pain relief to only about half of patients. Furthering the problem, prescription opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999. There were more than 45,000 painkiller-related deaths in 2014 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, researchers at Drexel University College of Medicine are aiming to identify new molecular mechanisms involved in pain. Their latest study, published this month in Epigenetics & Chromatin, shows how one protein - acting as a master controller - can regulate the expression of a large number of genes that modulate pain.



Global study shows diabetes and heart disease can be a deadly combination

2016-06-11T22:36:57+00:00

The combination of type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease can be deadly. New research from a global study led by a physician from UConn Health has found that patients with Type 2 diabetes admitted into the hospital for congestive heart failure face a one in four chance of dying over the next 18 months. The results were presented on June 11 at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) annual meeting in New Orleans and published online in the ADA journal Diabetes Care. The findings paint a much grimmer picture of the outcome for diabetes patients with severe heart disease than was previously known.



A family-based weight management program improved self-perception among obese children

2016-06-07T08:03:01+00:00

Battling the childhood obesity epidemic is a priority for many researchers, as obesity during adolescence increases the risk of chronic diseases throughout life. Because obese children have lower quality of life and self-esteem, greater levels of depression and anxiety, and also face more teasing and bullying than normal-weight peers, including mental health in any intervention is necessary. To that end, researchers studied the self-perception of children participating in the Fit Families program. Fit Families is a program based on Social Cognitive Theory delivered through the New Mexico Cooperative Extension service. The program was developed for areas of southern New Mexico lacking resources to help combat childhood obesity in a positive, culturally appropriate manner by encouraging healthy food and nutrient intake and increased physical activity. For this study, children with a body mass index at least in the 85th percentile were referred by local physicians. The final study included 46 children, ranging from 8 to 17 years of age, 43% of whom were male, and 80% of whom were Hispanic. “With our emphasis on fun physical activity, children and parents reported enjoying the games at Fit Families. We believe this may have resulted in the children’s increased self-perception related to their athletic ability,” said Martha Archuleta, PhD, RD, lead author of the study. “Children also improved the perception of their physical appearance, possibly due to the way self-acceptance and diversity of body sizes were promoted.”



Changes needed to increase access to colorectal cancer screening

2016-05-08T00:30:07+00:00

Colorectal cancer is the second highest cause of cancer death in the United States, expected to claim the lives of an estimated 49,190 people in 2016. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) aimed to increase access to CRC screening by not holding patients responsible for all costs of the procedure, yet current Medicare insurance beneficiaries lacking supplemental insurance may not be able to afford colon cancer screening and treatment. This policy disproportionally puts low-income Americans at risk and adds unnecessary strains on overall health care costs, according to a commentary in the May issue of the journal Gastroenterology. “Study after study shows that screening saves lives,” said Chyke A. Doubeni, MD, MPH, chair and the Presidential Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and lead author of the commentary. “Yet many of those in the group most affected by this deadly disease are unable to afford the screening they critically need. We must renew efforts to ensure equitable access to and use of disease prevention, detection, and treatment services for colorectal cancer.” For CRC screening, a full colonoscopy is necessary, where the doctor inspects the rectum and entire colon through a flexible lighted tube, and can remove any abnormal growth. The entire colon has to be cleansed before the colonoscopy, for which the patient is usually sedated There are currently an estimated 55.5 million Medicare beneficiaries in the U.S. A 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 14 percent lacked supplemental coverage. Until recently, colon cancer screening has been viewed as a one-time activity, while in practice, screening is a series of clinical activities to identify and test patients and perform diagnostic confirmation when necessary. This series of tests and steps include a diagnostic workup, which can include a biopsy to obtain a tissue sample or polypectomy, in which polyps are removed to prevent them from becoming cancerous.



Despite efforts, childhood obesity remains on the rise

2016-04-26T10:02:03+00:00

The alarming increase in U.S. childhood obesity rates that began nearly 30 years ago continues unabated, with the biggest increases in severe obesity, according to a study led by a Duke Clinical Research Institute scientist. “Despite some other recent reports, we found no indication of a decline in obesity prevalence in the United States in any group of children aged 2 through 19,” said lead author Asheley Skinner, Ph.D., associate professor at Duke. “This is particularly true with severe obesity, which remains high, especially among adolescents.” Skinner, along with colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University, analyzed data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, a large, ongoing compilation of health information that has spanned decades.



Infant BMI is good predictor of obesity at age 2

2016-04-22T17:56:15+00:00

Babies with a high body mass index (BMI) at age two months are at risk for obesity at age two years, say pediatric researchers. The authors, in an online study published today in Pediatrics, say that BMI better predicts early childhood obesity than weight-for-length, the current standard measurement. “An important factor in preventing obesity in adults is identifying at-risk individuals as early as possible, when interventions may have the greatest effect - even during infancy,” said lead author Sani Roy, M.D., a pediatric endocrinology fellow at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). “However, there is no currently accepted definition for excess body weight below age two.” Roy added that the American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends using weight-for-length (WFL) as a standard measurement during infancy, and that WFL is also predominantly used worldwide.