Monday, 17 November 2008

OY!! Get a Load of this Lot

Cary G Dean.

(Scroll down for complete stories):

1. Factors of Exceptional Old Age
2. Cancer Risk Aside, Cell Phones are Dangerous
3. Low Vitamin D Linked With HBP
4. Eating Red Meat Spurs Cancer

Factors of Exceptional Old Age

A study reported in the “Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences” find there are six factors that make it likely elderly people will thrive.

A positive outlook, low stress, moderate consumption of alcohol, avoiding tobacco, an income of over $30,000, and a lack of chronic health conditions are the keys to a healthy old age.

“Many of these factors can be modified when you are young or middle-aged,” said David Feeny, Ph.D., study co-author.

“While these findings may seem like common sense, now we have evidence about which factors contribute to exceptional health during retirement years.”

In a first study of its kind, researchers from Portland State University, the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Oregon Health & Science University and Statistics Canada, studied 2,432 Canadians about the quality of their life.

They filled out questionnaires every two years for ten years, a total of six surveys.

They were asked to rate themselves in eight categories:

Speech, hearing, vision, emotion, cognition, ambulation, dexterity and pain.

“Thrivers” rated themselves as having little or no disability in all eight categories on at least five of the six surveys.

If they rated themselves as having moderate or severe disability on any of thesurveys, they were classified as not having excellent health or a high quality of life.

At the beginning of the surveys, over half of the participants were rated as “thrivers,” but only eight percent were considered thrivers at the end of ten years.

At that time, 47 percent were classified as not having excellent health or a high quality of life, 36 percent had died, and nine percent were institutionalized.

Cancer Risk Aside, Cell Phones are Dangerous

There has been much speculation over the last few years about whether cell phones increase the risk of developing a brain tumor.

Research has not conclusively answered this question, which has left consumers confused.

The majority of studies that have been published in scientific journals do not have sufficient evidence to show that cell phones increase the risk of brain tumors.

(Unless you read my Blog's on this Subject?)

The problem is that cell phone technology is in its infancy, so none of these studies could analyze long-term risks.

This unknown is a particular issue for children, who will face a lifetime of cell phone usage.

While the cell phone/brain tumor connection remains inconclusive, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) cautions that cell phones present plenty of other risks to people’s neurological health, as illustrated by these few real-life scenarios:

~A 29-year-old male was talking on his cell phone while on an escalator, fell backwards, and lacerated his head.

~A 25-year-old male was talking on his cell phone and walked into a street sign, lacerating his head.

~A 43-year-old female fell down 13-14 steps while talking on her cell phone, after drinking alcohol. She suffered a neck sprain and contusions to her head, back, shoulder, and leg.

~A 50-year-old female suffered nerve damage which was related to extensive cell phone usage. She felt pain in her fingers and the length of her arm while holding her cell phone, and was diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy.

~A 39-year-old man suffered a head injury after crashing into a tree on his bicycle while texting

~A 16-year-old boy suffered a concussion because he was texting and walked into a telephone pole.

Several studies show cell phones are a leading cause of automobile crashes.

It is estimated that drivers distracted by cell phones are four times more likely to be in a motor vehicle accident.

The following are some sobering statistics:

~According to a Harvard University study, an estimated 2,600 people die and 12,000 suffer serious to moderate injuries each year in cell phone-related accidents.

~A Canadian study analysis of 26,798 cell phone calls made during the 14-month study period showed that the risk of an automobile accident was four times higher when using a cell phone.

~National statistics indicate that an estimated 50,000 traumatic brain injury-related deaths occur annually in the United States, 25,000-35,000 of which are attributed to motor vehicle accidents.

Cell Phone Injury Prevention Tips:

~Talk hands free by using an earpiece or on speaker mode whenever possible.

~Follow all cell phone laws applicable to your city and state – these vary greatly.

~Use your cell phone only when safely parked, or have a passenger use it.

~Do not dial the phone or take notes while driving, cycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, etc.

~Never text message while driving, walking, cycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, etc.

~Never text message or use a cell phone while performing any physical activities that require attention.

~If your phone rings while driving, let the call go into voice mail and respond later when you are safely parked.

Low Vitamin D Linked With HBP

Lower blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a protein that provides an acquire measure of vitamin D in the blood, are independently associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, according to findings published in Hypertension.

Studies have shown 25(OH)D levels and skin exposure to UVB radiation...are associated with lower blood pressure, but definitive studies are limited, Dr. John P. Forman and colleagues from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston wrote.

The researchers conducted a study with1484 healthy women from the second Nurses' Health Study.

Cases were compared with a placebo group with a similar age, race and other features.

The subjects' average age was 43 years.

The case patients had a significantly lower average blood level of 25(OH)D than controls (25.6 ng/mL vs 27.3).

Compared to women with the highest 25(OH)D levels, those with the lowest levels had a 66 percent increased risk of high blood pressure.

Overall, 65.7 percent of the women had vitamin D deficiency.

In subjects who were vitamin D-deficient, the odds of developing high blood pressure were increased by 47 percent compared to those with adequate levels.

"Given that 65.7 percent of women were vitamin D deficient, the population risk attributable to vitamin D deficiency is 4.53 new cases of high blood pressure per 1000 young women annually,"

They note.

"If this association is causal, then vitamin D deficiency may account for 23.7 percent of all new cases of high blood pressure developing among young women every year."

The authors call for randomized trials to determine whether vitamin D supplementation could reduce blood pressure.

SOURE: Hypertension, November 2008.

Eating Red Meat Spurs Cancer

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, led by Ajit Varki, M.D., have shown a new mechanism for how human consumption of red meat and milk products could contribute to the increased risk of cancerous tumors.

Their findings, which suggest that inflammation resulting from a molecule introduced through consumption of these foods could promote tumor growth, are published online this week in advance of print publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Varki, UC San Diego School of Medicine distinguished professor of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine, and co-director of the UCSD Glycobiology Research and Training Center, and colleagues studied a non-human cellular molecule called N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc).

Neu5Gc is a type of glycan, or sugar molecule, that humans don’t naturally produce, but that can be incorporated into human tissues as a result of eating red meat.

The body then develops anti-Neu5Gc antibodies – an immune response that could potentially lead to chronic inflammation, as first suggested in a 2003 PNAS paper by Varki.

“We’ve shown that tumor tissues contain much more Neu5Gc than is usually found in normal human tissues,”

Said Varki.

“We therefore surmised that Neu5Gc must somehow benefit tumors.”

It has been recognized by scientists for some time that chronic inflammation can actually stimulate cancer, Varki explained.

So the researchers wondered if this was why tumors containing the non-human molecule grew even in the presence of Neu5Gc antibodies.

“The paradox of Neu5Gc accumulating in human tumors in the face of circulating antibodies suggested that a low-grade, chronic inflammation actually facilitated the tumor growth, so we set out to study that hypothesis,” said co-author Nissi M.Varki, M.D., UCSD professor of pathology.

Using specially bred mouse models that lacked the Neu5Gc molecule – mimicking humans before the molecule is absorbed into the body through ingesting red meat – the researchers induced tumors containing Neu5Gc, and then administered anti-Neu5Gc antibodies to half of the mice.

In mice that were given antibodies inflammation was induced, and the tumors grew faster.

In the control mice that were not treated with antibodies, the tumors were less aggressive

Others have previously shown that humans who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (commonly known as NSAIDs) have a reduced risk of cancer.

Therefore, the mice with cancerous tumors facilitated by anti-Neu5Gc antibodies were treated with an NSAID.

In these animals, the anti-inflammatory treatment blocked the effect of the Neu5Gc antibodies and the tumors were reduced in size.

“Taken together, our data indicate that chronic inflammation results from interaction of Neu5Gc accumulated in our bodies from eating red meat with the antibodies that circulate as an immune response to this non-human molecule – and this may contribute to cancer risk,” said Varki.

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