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Archive for May, 2012

Sugar & Saturated Fats on the Brain, Calcium & Heart Attacks, Longer Lives for Diabetics

May 25, 2012

Friday Roundup:

 

Sugar & Saturated Fats – Not Friends to Brain Function & Memory

Two recent articles on the Food Navigator website are continuing an interesting trend in reporting about the detrimental effects of saturated fats and sugars – veritable foundations of the fast food industry – and their detrimental effects on cognitive brain function and memory. Both articles tout the apparent fact that certain beloved substances simply are not good – either for the human heart or for the human brain. In the article on saturated fats and brain function, a research team studied data from more than 6,000 women, finding “that women over 65 who consumed the highest levels of saturated fats had worse overall cognitive function than those who consumed the least.” In the article on the detrimental effects of sugar in the body and the positive effects of omega-3 oils instead, “The study….suggests that a diet consistently high in fructose “slows” the brain and hinders memory and learning. However, the study also finds that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can counteract the effect.”

That’s good news to know for those who have determined to take charge of their health and watch what they eat. Knowledge is indeed power when it comes to healthy living.

You can read the full articles on sugar and fat consumption and their negative influence on brain function by visiting these website pages: http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Sat-fats-hamper-brain-function-and-memory-study/?c=I4yCUtO7kH%252B2AHZkvKIizA%253D%253D&utm_source=Newsletter_Subject&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%252BSubject

http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Sugar-makes-you-dumber-fish-oil-can-help-research?nocount

 

Calcium Supplements May Raise Heart Attack Risks

For those women (and men) who are concerned about osteoporosis and have begun a regimen of taking calcium supplements to help maintain or increase their bone density, this Swiss study may not be what you really want to hear. According to the Swiss researchers, calcium supplements may contribute to a greater risk of heart attack, although the cause and effect nature of the connection seems hard to explain currently, and the dietary supplement industry is taking issue with the findings.
According to the WebMD article released this Wednesday, “‘The increase [in risk] is, I would say, moderate,’ says Sabine Rohrmann, PhD, assistant professor of chronic disease epidemiology at the University of Zurich.

Rohrmann and her team followed nearly 24,000 men and women for 11 years. Those who took calcium supplements had an 86% increased risk of heart attack compared to those who used no supplements. However, the actual number of heart attacks during the follow-up period was small, with 354 recorded. The researchers found a link, or association, between calcium supplements and heart attack, but the study cannot show cause and effect.”

While this subject will clearly be receiving more attention in the future, Life Line Screening encourages everyone who begins a major supplementation regimen to consult with their doctor first, particularly if taking prescription medicine for some other condition. Life Line Screening also offers osteoporosis screenings across the United States to help men and women understand the state of their skeletal framework.

You can read the full article on calcium supplements and heart disease risk by visiting this website page: http://www.webmd.com/heart/news/20120523/calcium-supplements-may-raise-heart-attack-risk

 

Death Rate Dropping for People with Diabetes

Great news was reported this week on the pages of WebMD.com – “from 1996 to 2006 the risk of dying from heart disease and stroke decreased by 40% among people with diabetes.” In other words, people with diabetes are living longer lives. Since individuals afflicted with diabetes do tend to die earlier in life compared to those without the malady, heart-healthy habits such as exercise and diet control as well as better control of blood sugar levels are being credited with the large improvement in life expectancy and disease control.

“‘This is good news,’ says researcher Edward W. Gregg, PhD,” in the WebMD article. “He’s the acting director of the division for heart disease and stroke prevention at the CDC in Atlanta. ‘We are seeing a reduction in death rates in people with diabetes, and this is largely due to prevention efforts. This should be a source of empowerment and motivation for people with diabetes. People can cut their risk of developing cardiovascular disease in half if they are able to manage their risk factors.’”

At Life Line Screening, we’re committed to helping men and women with proactive health screenings in order to find developing illnesses earlier in their history, thus increasing their chances of battling the disease or at least mitigating its severity. Type 2 diabetes screenings are one of our core service offerings.

You can read the full article on the dropping diabetes death rate by visiting this website page: http://diabetes.webmd.com/news/20120522/death-rate-dropping-for-people-with-diabetes




National Stroke Awareness Month – Tips for Preventing Strokes

May 23, 2012

It doesn’t take a brain scientist to figure out many of the common sense factors that can help to reduce one’s risk of stroke, although the results of those factors can certainly influence the brain towards a healthier life. Since May is National Stroke Awareness Month, this seemed like a good time to remind our many readers of the ways that you’re more or less in control of a good deal of your health when it comes to stroke prevention, and we think that’s very good news worth sharing time and again. Below are several great tips that anyone of any age can incorporate into their personal stroke prevention regimen, courtesy of the folks at Health.com.

  1. Keep your weight under control. After the age of 18, even putting on 22 extra pounds of weight contributes to an increased risk of stroke. There are plenty of reasons why this is the case – decreased movement capacity, a harder working heart, greater fat deposits in and around blood vessels – but the bottom line is, extra weight on your body is just bad for business. Your joints, your self-esteem, your heart and your brain will thank you for keeping your weight under control throughout your lifetime, and there are plenty of resources out there to help people of all ages shed those extra pounds – from reducing calories, eating nutritious foods and portion control to weight-training exercise and aerobics for fat-burning. You CAN manage your weight successfully.
  2. Stop smoking. This one seems like a complete “no brainer” but many people are unaware that cigarette smoking contributes to stroke. The very good news is that once you quit, your risk of stroke decreases considerably after just two years, and after 5 years, your risk of stroke is at the same level as complete non-smokers! When you think about all that smoking “contributes” to a life – lung cancer and emphysema risk, facial skin wrinkles, heart disease, stroke, smelly clothing, monetary depletion —there are multiple reasons for quitting or at least reducing.
  3. Enjoy a healthy diet. High saturated fat and high cholesterol diets – diets mainly based on meats and heavy dairy products – contribute to higher cholesterol levels and higher levels of atherosclerosis (fatty plaque in the arteries) in the human body. These conditions contribute to stroke by increasing the risk of blockages in the arteries. High sodium levels also raise blood pressure, which can contribute to stroke. Eating 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day may reduce stroke risk. ry depletion —there are multiple reasons for quitting or at least reducing.
  4. “M” is for moderate drinking. Did you know that alcohol consumption raises blood pressures levels, which of course increases the risk of stroke? And did you know that studies have found that alcohol consumption raises the risk of certain brain hemorrhages and ischemic stroke as well? Drinking two drinks per day seems to be the limit of putting beneficial alcohol into your body, so watching your alcohol consumption is a very good way of lowering your risk of stroke. But don’t just watch your alcohol consumption – keep it to two drinks a day for safety’s sake. And if you don’t drink, that is just fine. There’s no need to start.
  5. “E” is for exercise. Life Line Screening will always advocate for the regular inclusion of exercise in everyone’s day-to-day activities. Exercise does amazing things for almost all parts and processes in the human body – from appetite and digestion to building strong bones and releasing endorphins. Exercise makes your heart stronger and lowers your blood pressure, plus reduces your weight so that your heart does not have to work as hard pumping blood throughout your body. The sky’s the limit when it comes to the value of exercise, so we encourage all our customers to battle diabetes and high cholesterol (2 key elements in stroke formation) through an organized exercise regimen. As always, if you’re just starting out with exercise, talk to your physician before you begin.

Life Line Screening provides stroke screening tests to clients all across America every week of the year. During National Stroke Awareness Month, we encourage you to check us out on Facebook and Twitter as well to learn much more.

You can read the full article on stroke prevention tips by visiting this website page: http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20411053,00.html




Life Line Screening Friday Roundup Post: The USA Targets Alzheimer’s, Coffee’s Health-Giving Effects, And HBO Tackles a Weighty Issue in New Documentary

May 18, 2012

Friday Roundup:

 

USA Sets Goal to Tame Alzheimer’s by 2025

As part of the first-ever National Alzheimer’s Plan, Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius recently announced that the United States is seeking to develop an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. Citing an ageing population, spiraling medical costs, and figures that estimate that the current 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s or related dementias will grow to 16 million Americans afflicted with the disease by 2050, “Mrs. Sebelius said the Alzheimer’s plan was a “national” effort and not a centralized push by the federal government. ‘Reducing the burden of Alzheimer’s will require the active engagement of both the public and private sectors,’ she said,” according to the May 15th BBC article.

Among some of the tactics and research called for in the plan are better training for doctors to recognize the disease earlier, greater public awareness on the disease, and more support for care-givers dealing with Alzheimer’s patients. Most exciting are two trial tests designed to investigate treatments for Alzheimer’s – one concerning a drug that attacks the protein amyloid that is thought to cause Alzheimer’s, and the other testing an insulin nasal spray and its ability to restore memory to those with the disease.

“We are at an exceptional moment,” declared Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, in regards to the National Alzheimer’s Plan.

You can read the full article on the new National Alzheimer’s Plan and upcoming research by visiting this website page: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-18076186

 

Coffee Drinking Linked to Longer Life

A new study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine as reported by CNN says that even several cups of coffee a day is unlikely to harm your health, and may even lower your risk of dying from such chronic diseases as diabetes and heart disease. This is an interesting study because coffee consumption has at times been considered good for you, and at other times been cited as a negative influence since caffeine has been theorized to have negative effects on blood pressure, cholesterol and heart rate – all elements that can contribute to heart disease.

Coffee and heart healthAccording to the article, “The new study is by far the largest of its kind to date. As part of a joint project with the AARP, researchers from the National Institutes of Health followed more than 400,000 healthy men and women between the ages of 50 and 71 for up to 13 years, during which time 13% of the participants died. Overall, coffee drinkers were less likely than their peers to die during the study, and the more coffee they drank, the lower their mortality risk tended to be. Compared with people who drank no coffee at all, men and women who drank six or more cups per day were 10% and 15% less likely, respectively, to die during the study.”

As usual, more research will need to be conducted on these findings, and if you’re not already a coffee drinker you will want to consult with your doctor before starting to consume the very popular and powerful beverage. Life Line Screening also offers health screening services for both diabetes and heart disease to our customers across the United States.

You can read the full article on the new study on coffee consumption and its health benefits by visiting this website page: http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/16/health/coffee-drinking-longer-life/index.html?hpt=he_c1

 

HBO’s The Weight of the Nation – The wait is Over

This week HBO unveiled its latest documentary project – a startling and candid look at the state of American health in regards to obesity. Kudos go out to HBO for tackling this controversial subject matter with scientific and journalistic integrity, for often times it seems obesity is either ignored or else very stereotypically addressed with little new knowledge added to the collective mindset about the condition. While almost everyone would agree that being overweight causes serious health problems particularly as one advances in age, there is still a huge amount to be learned if we are to stem the rising tide of obesity, and the HBO documentary aims to do just that – provide information and offer some helpful solutions. A few facts to consider about obesity right now in America are:

  • Over 1/3 of American adults are obese.
  • 12.5 million children aged 2 to 19 years of age are obese in America – 17% of our children; almost 1/5 of our kids.
  • Obesity, like diabetes and stroke, affects all ethnic backgrounds, income and education levels, although the highest levels of obesity in our country are found among minorities, lower income and education levels, and in rural populations.
  • High blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and stoke are all health consequences of being overweight or obese. Life Line Screening offers health screening services for all these conditions.

Life Line Screening encourages all our readers and customers to watch this riveting 4-part documentary and to learn what you can do to lose weight as well as to keep those you love within healthy weight zones for their entire lifetime. As goes the motto for this documentary project, “To win, we have to lose.”

You can learn much more about the new HBO documentary series on obesity by visiting the documentary website page: http://theweightofthenation.hbo.com/about-the-project




Life Line Screening Friday Roundup Post: Heart Health, Infections & Cancer and Boosting Brain Power with Exercise

May 11, 2012

Friday Roundup:

 

The Worst Habits for Your Heart

Did you know that flossing your teeth helps to keep your heart healthy and reduces your risk of heart disease? Or that spending too much time in front of the television as opposed to exercising can be a fatal habit? Or that cultivating an optimistic outlook on life may cut heart disease and stroke danger by as much as 50%? How about that eating fiber-rich foods could add years to your life? These surprising and easily adaptable lifestyle changes are all written about by Yahoo’s health correspondent, Lisa Collier Cool, in a recent article we thought you should be aware of. Since May is National Stroke Awareness Month, the optimism angle seems especially promising as a means to defeat the fourth largest killer of adult men and women in America, and what could be better than defeating a crippling disease through the power of smiles and happiness!

You can read the full article on habits for your heart by visiting this website page:
http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/worst-habits-your-heart
 

Infections Today Cause One in Six Cancer Cases

A recent study published by the journal The Lancet Oncology and reported on the CNN site reveals some shocking statistics that everyone needs to keep in mind – one in six cancer cases globally are caused by infections, many of which are preventable or treatable by medicine. The research blames many of these cancer cases on the Human papillomavirus, as well as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and the stomach bacterium known as Helicobacter pylori. Both HPV and hepatitis B can be prevented through a vaccine, while hepatitis C cannot be vaccinated against but can be treated. A powerful antibiotic cocktail is being used to address Helicobacter pylori, which so far has not prevented the bacterial infection from causing gastric cancer, although this is the hope of researching clinicians.

How do medical researchers know if cancers are caused by an infectious disease? Viruses such as HPV and Hepatitis B & C actually invade a person’s DNA and leave their signature in the genetic sequences, to be found later. Helicobacter pylori does not leave these genetic markings, but the bacterium can be found in gastric tumors. Of course, more studies need conducted, but the understanding that infection and even inflammation can stimulate cancer development is a bold move forward in our battle against cancer’s terrible legacy.

You can read the full article on infections and cancer by visiting this website page:
http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/08/infections-cause-one-in-six-cancer-cases/?hpt=he_c2

 

Exercising Your Muscles Can Boost Your Brain Power

It’s always exciting and encouraging to learn good news about health habits that keep one in better condition longer throughout life, especially if those habits are intentional and prove to be ones that just about everybody can do. A recent article in the New York Times trumpets the effects running and other endurance-based exercises can have on the increase in the number of neurons in the brain that are dedicated to memory and learning – very good news for men and women as they advance in years.

The researchers in the study were especially interested in the possibility that the action which creates these new neurons may be starting outside the brain – and specifically in the muscles. “We wondered whether peripheral triggers might be activating the cellular and molecular cascades in the brain that lead to improvements in cognition,” says Henriette van Praag, the investigator at the National Institute on Aging who led the study. Muscles are, as everyone knows, greatly influenced by exercise. Muscle cells respond to exercise by pumping out a variety of substances that result in larger, stronger muscles. Some of those compounds might be entering the bloodstream and traveling to the brain, Dr. van Praag theorizes.

Although the exact process for the neuron generation isn’t clearly understood, at least yet, Dr. van Praag speculates that some of the AMPK enzyme created during exercise enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain, setting off a series of new reactions there that lead to the creation of more neurons for memory-based and learning-based activities. The moral here? You don’t need to understand how car works to drive one; in the same way, we may not understand for a long while HOW this process works, but everyone needs to be doing some form of endurance exercise several times each week – walking, running, jogging, biking, swimming, dancing. Great news as spring and then summer come around this year!

You can read the entire article on endurance exercise and mental functioning by visiting this website page:
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/how-working-the-muscles-may-boost-brainpower/?ref=health




Life Line Screening Monday Roundup Post: Omega-3s, Menopause and Osteoporosis and Stroke Awareness

May 7, 2012

Monday Roundup:

Omega-3 May Curb Memory Loss & Alzheimer’s

Researchers at New York’s Columbia University Medical Center have discovered that the inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids in one’s diet – often associated with the so-called Mediterranean Diet of fatty fish like mackerel, trout, tuna, salmon, and other sources such as kale, tofu, soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed and more – may “significantly” lower their risk of developing memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease. What’s more, the researchers think they know why as well.

It turns out that a protein found in the blood called beta-amyloid is associated with memory problems and Alzheimer’s. Indeed, tangles and plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients are clumps of this protein, perhaps akin to cholesterol clumps that accumulate in arteries that can lead to stroke and even heart attack. People in the study – 1,219 individuals over the age of 65 – who consumed foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids had significantly lower levels of beta-amyloid in their blood, with an apparent correlation being that the more omega-3s consumed, the lower the levels of amyloid in the bloodstream.

Interestingly, omega-3 was the only nutrient that showed an association with lower amyloid blood levels, period. This study also correlates with a 2010 study that found that people who ate foods high in omega-3 acids had a 40% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s compared to those who did not consume omega-3s. Although it’s best to get such nutrients from natural sources, omega-3 supplements can also be effective – though you should consult with your doctor before adding fish oil supplements to your diet because they may interact with other medications. Food for thought indeed!

You can read the full article on omega-3s and memory loss by visiting this website page:
http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/02/omega-3-may-curb-memory-loss-study-says/?hpt=he_c2

Early Menopause Raises Osteoporosis Risk and More

An article published in Medical News Today based on research from Skane University Hospital, Malmo, Sweden, indicates that women who experience menopause earlier than normal (defined as women who start menopause before the age of 47) nearly double their risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. Within the test group of women in the research study, 56% of the women who experienced early-onset menopause had osteoporosis by the age of 77, compared to only 30% of the women who started menopause after the age of 47.

According to the senior author of the study, orthopedic surgeon Ola Svejme, “The results of this study suggest that early menopause is a significant risk factor for osteoporosis, fragility fracture and mortality in a long-term perspective. To our knowledge, this is the first prospective study with a follow-up period of more than three decades.”

Life Line Screening believes this kind of study all the more validates the osteoporosis screening service we offer our customers, as understanding bone density loss earlier in its development means that proactive steps can be taken to counteract osteoporosis for a healthier, happier future.

You can read more about early onset menopause and its risk for osteoporosis by visiting this website page:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/244657.php

 

The History of National Stroke Awareness Month

Did you know that National Stroke Awareness Month has been around for over two decades now, since 1989? That’s right, for 23 years now medical professionals across the country as well as community organizations and health educators have taken upon themselves the task of raising awareness on the 4th largest killer in America – stroke as brought about by carotid artery disease.

On May 11, 1989, President George Bush signed Presidential Proclamation 5975, designating each May as National Stroke Awareness month – largely brought about by the urgings of the National Stroke Association. Since that time, various campaigns have been conducted every May to target the general populace on the dangers and issues surround stroke, as well as to draw attention to specific interest groups who are affected by stroke, such as African-Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and women.

Life Line Screening is proud of our stroke screening tests we conduct around the United States, and the many thousands upon thousands of men and women we have helped become aware of their personal development of carotid artery disease before a stroke manifested in their lives. This May we continue our work promoting education about stroke and stroke prevention as well as our stroke/carotid artery screenings across the United States.

To learn more about our stroke screening tests, please visit this website page:
http://www.lifelinescreening.com/health-screening-services/carotid-artery-disease.aspx

You can also set-up an appointment for a stroke screening in your part of the country by going to this page on our website:
https://secure.lifelinescreening.com/signups/?SourceCd=WGGL-999




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