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Stroke Risk Rises with Lack of Sleep, Study Detects Start of Alzheimer’s 25 Years in Advance, Low-Dosage Aspirin Cuts Risk of Colon Cancer

admin - July 20, 2012

Friday Roundup:

Get Enough Shut-Eye to Lower Your Stroke Risk

One way to keep your risk of stroke low is to ensure you’re getting enough sleep every night.

Researchers in the Netherlands conducted a study on how stress and sleep loss affect a person’s risk of stroke. They found that even for young people, increased levels of stress and high sleep deprivation raise stroke risk.

The scientists conducted the study on healthy young men in a sleep lab by restricting sleep for some and not restricting sleep for others. They found that of the men whose sleep was restricted, the white blood cell count spiked as if their immune systems had been exposed to some type of threat. They found that a lack of sleep puts huge stress on the immune system. This led researchers to the conclusion that people who get six or less hours of sleep per day have a 4.5 percent greater risk of stroke than those who get 7 or more hours of sleep per day.

Although scientists aren’t exactly sure why, they do know that sleep deprivation can cause inflammation, which can have such negative consequences on the body as elevated blood pressure, glucose levels and heart rate. All three factors can lead to higher stroke risk.

Other types of stress can increase the risk of stroke and heart disease, as well. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon believe the reason is cortisol—the stress hormone released whenever we feel scared, anxious or worried. This hormone is almost like adrenaline—it gives a jolt of energy that enables the body to react in ways not normally done, like the ability to sprint away from danger or without thinking, put your safety at risk to help a loved one in trouble.

The longer the immune system is filled with cortisol, the worse our body is able to regulate inflammation. This is because tissues in the body stop releasing as much anti-inflammatory substances and this can lead to illnesses such as heart disease and stroke.

Life Line Screening conducts preventive health screenings for those who may be at risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke. Learn more about the screenings offered by Life Line Screening and schedule a screening today to gain peace of mind about your health status.

To read the full article of how sleep deprivation may increase stroke risk, view the following link:

Can Alzheimer’s Be Predicted 25 Years in Advance?

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that brain changes in people with Alzheimer’s happen earlier than we thought. The changes in the brain were found to develop a full 25 years before memory loss symptoms showed.

The findings offer a timeline of changes in spinal fluid, brain size, appearance of brain plaques and other factors that appear before the onset of Alzheimer’s in people at risk. The results of the study are significant because the memory-loss disease is the only cause of death (within the top ten causes of death in the U.S.) that, so far, can’t be prevented, slowed or cured.

Dr. Randall Bateman of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis led the study. He researched 129 individuals who had family histories of Alzheimer’s to estimate when the participants would start to develop symptoms of the disease. From there, the team created a timeline of changes in the body leading up to the major symptoms of Alzheimer’s, like diminishing thinking skills and memory loss.

Results show that the first of the changes are a drop in the level of a protein called amyloid and can be detected in a person’s spinal fluid as early as 25 years before the disease fully develops.

Other changes include the formulation of the Alzheimer’s protein beta amyloid at 15 years before the onset of the disease, which can be visible in brain scans. At ten years before development of the disease, the brain begins to use glucose less and small instances of memory loss begin.

“What we don’t know is if the time, the order of magnitude and the size of these changes is similar or not,” Bateman said in a Huffington Post article. “It may be many years before we have this information.”

To read the full article on the study of Alzheimer’s brain changes from Huffington Post, visit the following link:

Low-Dosage Aspirin Cuts Risk of Colon Cancer

We already know that aspirin benefits the body in many ways. Not only does it temporarily relieve aches and pains, it’s also been found to help prevent skin cancer. The latest update on aspirin from BBC News reports the drug may also help prevent the development and spread of other types of cancer, like colon cancer.

The study showed that in individuals between the ages of 50 to 70 years old, taking low-doses of aspirin on a regular basis can help kill the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, a known cause of stomach bleeds which can lead to cancer. Swallowing some aspirin can kill the bacteria and therefore decrease the risk of developing cancer.

By taking low-doses of aspirin for five years, an individual cuts their risk of colon cancer in half, according to a study conducted by Prof Cuzick of the University of London. The most recent data showed that daily low-dose aspirin cut the risk of dying from esophageal cancer by 66 percent and cut the risk by 25 percent for lung cancer. The risk of death dropped by 25 percent for all cancers combined.

Another impressive find is aspirin’s effect on the spread of cancer. When taking consistent, low-doses of aspirin, researchers found that the secondary spread of cancer to the lungs, liver and brain was reduced by about 50 percent.

We also know that aspirin can benefit individuals at risk of heart attack or stroke. A low dose of aspirin is already recommended by doctors to be taken to lower risk of these two serious and often fatal conditions.

Life Line Screening conducts preventive health screenings for those who may be at risk of heart attack or stroke. As always, simple lifestyle changes like taking low-doses of aspirin can help prevent such conditions from developing, but you can become fully aware of the state of your health by scheduling a health screening today.

To read the full article on aspirin’s effect on decreasing cancer risk, view this link:


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