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How to prevent hypertension

May 24, 2014 14:36 IST

How to prevent hypertension

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A round up of all the health news that matters to you

Researchers have said that a diet that combines unsaturated fats with nitrite-rich vegetables, like olive oil and lettuce, could help protect you from hypertension.

The Mediterranean diet typically includes unsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts and avocados, along with vegetables like spinach, celery and carrots that are rich in nitrites and nitrates.

When these two food groups are combined, the reaction of unsaturated fatty acids with nitrogen compounds in the vegetables results in the formation of nitro fatty acids.

The study, supported by the British Heart Foundation, used mice to investigate the process by which these nitro fatty acids lower blood pressure, looking at whether they inhibited an enzyme known as soluble Epoxide Hydrolase which regulates blood pressure.

Mice genetically engineered to be resistant to this inhibitory process were found to maintain their high blood pressure despite being fed the type of nitro fatty acids that normally form when a Mediterranean diet is consumed. However, nitro fatty acids were found to lower the blood pressure of normal mice following the same diets.

Thus, the study concludes that the protective effect of the Mediterranean diet, combining unsaturated fats and vegetables abundant in nitrite and nitrate, comes at least in part from the nitro fatty acids generated which inhibit soluble Epoxide Hydrolase to lower blood pressure.

The findings have been published in the journal PNAS.

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Your mobile phone can cause an allergic reaction

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Researchers have claimed that despite efforts to control allergen release in phones, many phones on the market release levels of metals, such as nickel and chromium, which are sufficient to induce allergic contact dermatitis (ACD).

In the article, a team of researchers led by Jacob Thyssen, MD, PhD, Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte (Hellerup, Denmark), Loma Linda University School of Medicine (Loma Linda, CA), and University of Arizona College of Medicine (Phoenix, AZ), review the current literature on mobile phone dermatitis in both children and adults. Nickel sensitisation is common in children, resulting in ACD prevalence levels of up to 33 per cent.

This information is important for practitioners, particularly when evaluating patients with dermatitis of the face, neck, hands, breast, or anterior thighs -- common places exposed to cell phones.

The authors provide important diagnostic tips for practitioners and strategies to raise awareness of nickel- or chromium-induced mobile phone ACD.

The study has been published in the journal Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology. 

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Photographs: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

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Male infertility linked to early death

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Researchers have said that men, who are infertile because of defects in their semen, appear to be at higher death risk compared to men with normal semen.

According to a study led by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine, men with two or more abnormalities in their semen were more than twice as likely to die over a roughly eight-year period as men who had normal semen, the study found.

In the new study, Michael Eisenberg, MD, PhD, assistant professor of urology and Stanford’s director of male reproductive medicine and surgery, and his colleagues examined records of men ages 20 to 50 who had visited one of two centers to be evaluated for possible infertility.

In all, about 12,000 men fitting this description were seen between 1994 and 2011 at Stanford Hospital and Clinics or between 1989 and 2009 at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

At both clinics, data were available for several aspects of a patient’s semen quality, such as total semen volume and sperm counts, motility and shape. (Dolores Lamb, PhD, and Larry Lipshultz, MD, of Baylor were senior authors of the study.)

By keying identifiers for the patients to data in the National Death Index and the Social Security Death index, the investigators were able to monitor these men’s mortality for a median of about eight years.

While no single semen abnormality in itself predicted mortality, men with two or more such abnormalities had more than double the risk of death over the eight-year period following their initial fertility examination compared with those with no semen abnormalities. The greater the number of abnormalities, the higher the mortality rate, the study found.

Of the 11,935 men who were followed, 69 died during the follow-up period –

a seemingly small number. This reflects, first and foremost, the patients’ relative youth: Their median age was 36.6 years. But it also reflects the fact that men who get evaluated for infertility tend to have a higher-than-average socio-economic status and have accordingly better diets, education and access to health care.

The new study has been published online in the journal Human Reproduction. 

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Photographs: Rediff Archives

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Cheers! Red wine is good for your teeth

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Researchers have said that red wine could help ward off dental diseases with fewer side effects.

M. Victoria Moreno-Arribas and colleagues explain that dental diseases are extremely common throughout the world. Cavities, periodontal disease and tooth loss affect an estimated 60 to 90 per cent of the global population.

The problems start when certain bacteria in the mouth get together and form biofilms, which are communities of bacteria that are difficult to kill. They form plaque and produce acid, which starts damaging teeth.

Brushing, fluoride in toothpaste and water and other methods can help get rid of bacterial plaques, but the effects are limited. In addition, currently used antimicrobial rinses can change the colour of the gums and alter taste, so people are less likely to use them for as long as they should. Some research has suggested that polyphenols, grape seed extract and wine can slow bacterial growth, so Moreno-Arribas’ team decided to test them under realistic conditions for the first time.

They grew cultures of bacteria responsible for dental diseases as a biofilm. They dipped the biofilms for a couple of minutes in different liquids, including red wine, red wine without the alcohol, red wine spiked with grape seed extract, and water and 12 per cent ethanol for comparison.

Red wine with or without alcohol and wine with grape seed extract were the most effective at getting rid of the bacteria.

The study has been published in the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 

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Photographs: Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

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Too much exercise may be bad for the heart

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A new research has found that too much exercise may increase the risk of death from heart attack or stroke in patients with existing heart problems.

The new study tracked a decade’s worth of exercise habits and survival of more than 1,000 people with diagnosed -- but stable -- coronary artery disease.

The majority of the study’s participants were in their 60s and had attended a cardiac rehabilitation programme to avoid future heart attacks or strokes.

Around 40 per cent of the study participants did an hour of moderate-intensity aerobic activity 2 to 4 times per week; of the remaining 60 per cent, half exercised at that level more than four times a week and the other half exercised less. Overall, 1 in 10 said they rarely or never exercised.

The researchers found those who were most sedentary were around twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as those who were regularly physically active, CBS News reported.

They were around four times as likely to die of cardiovascular events and all other causes.

But more surprisingly, those who did the most strenuous daily exercise were also more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than people who engaged in more moderate activity.

The study is published in the journal Heart. 

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Photographs: Dangereously Fit/Creative Commons

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Vitamin E in canola and other oils hurts lungs

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Researchers have found a link between Vitamin E in canola and other oils to the rising incidence of lung inflammation and, possibly, asthma.

The new study shows drastically different health effects of vitamin E depending on its form. The form of Vitamin E called gamma-tocopherol in the ubiquitous soybean, corn and canola oils is associated with decreased lung function in humans, the study reports.

The other form of Vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol, which is found in olive and sunflower oils, does the opposite. It is associated with better lung function.

This is the first study to show gamma-tocopherol is associated with worse lung function.

The study examined 4,526 individuals from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study (CARDIA).

Cook-Mills had done previous allergy research in mice showing alpha-tocopherol decreased lung inflammation, protecting healthy lung function and gamma-tocopherol increased lung inflammation and airway hyper-responsiveness, a characteristic of asthma. She hypothesised that they might have similar effects in humans.

Cook-Mills examined the CARDIA results for individuals’ lung function tests at four intervals from baseline to 20 years and the type of tocopherol levels in their blood plasma at three intervals from baseline to 15 years. She found that a high level of gamma-tocoperol, 10 micromolar in the blood plasma, was associated with a 10 to 17 per cent reduction in lung function.

Micromolar is a measure of the amount of gamma-tocopherol per litre volume of blood plasma.

“The blood plasma showed how much they had acquired in their tissues,” Cook-Mills said. “You get vitamin E from your diet or supplements.”

The study has been published in the journal Respiratory Research. 


Photographs: Lemone/Wikimedia Commons

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Source: ANI