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What damage can soft drinks possibly do to your teeth?
Can eating pistachios cut heart risk in diabetics?
Can eating pulses help you reduce weight?
All this and more in our weekly dose of health news from across the globe. Read on and stay healthy :-)
Acidic drinks can cause major and irreversible damage to young people's teeth within just 30 seconds, researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have warned.
Dental researchers at the University of Adelaide are warning parents of the dangers of soft drinks, fruit juice, sports drinks and other drinks high in acidity, which they say form part of a "triple-threat" of permanent damage to young people's teeth.
For the first time, researchers have been able to demonstrate that lifelong damage is caused by acidity to the teeth within the first 30 seconds of acid attack.
The researchers say drinks high in acidity combined with night-time tooth grinding and reflux can cause major, irreversible damage to young people's teeth.
"Dental erosion is an issue of growing concern in developed countries, and it is often only detected clinically after extensive tooth wear has occurred," said Dr Sarbin
Ranjitkar, corresponding author of a research paper published in the Journal of Dentistry.
The research was conducted by School of Dentistry Honours student Chelsea Mann.
"Such erosion can lead to a lifetime of compromised dental health that may require complex and extensive rehabilitation - but it is also preventable with minimal intervention," Ranjitkar said.
Speaking during the Australian Dental Association's Dental Health Week, Ranjitkar said the number of cases of tooth erosion from the consumption of acidic beverages is on the rise in children and young adults.
"Often, children and adolescents grind their teeth at night, and they can have undiagnosed regurgitation or reflux, which brings with it acidity from the stomach. Combined with drinks high in acidity, this creates a triple threat to young people's teeth which can cause long-term damage to teeth," he said.
Ranjitkar said parents should minimise consumption of any kind of soft drinks, sports drink, fruit juice or acidic foods to their children.
"Our research has shown that permanent damage to the tooth enamel will occur within the first 30 seconds of high acidity coming into contact with the teeth. This is an important finding and it suggests that such drinks are best avoided.
"If high acidity drinks are consumed, it is not simply a matter of having a child clean their teeth an hour or 30 minutes later and hoping they'll be okay - the damage is already done," he said.
Ranjitkar suggests children consume fresh fruit instead of drinking fruit juice.
"Although fresh fruit is naturally acidic, it is a healthier option to fruit juice, which can have additional food acids in it.
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Eating about one serving a day of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils can increase fullness, which may lead to better weight management and weight loss, a new study has found.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of all available clinical trials found that people felt 31 per cent fuller after eating on average 160 g of dietary pulses compared with a control diet, according to senior author Dr John Sievenpiper of Canada's St Michael's Hospital's Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre.
Pulses have a low glycemic index (meaning that they are foods that break down slowly) and can be used to reduce or displace animal protein as well as "bad" fats such as trans fat in a dish or meal.
Sievenpiper noted that 90 per cent of weight loss interventions fail, resulting in weight regain, which may be due in part to hunger and food cravings.
Knowing which foods make people feel fuller longer may help them lose weight and keep it off.
He said the finding that pulses make people feel fuller was true across various age categories and Body Mass Indexes.
Although the analysis found pulses had little impact on "second meal food intake," the amount of food someone eats at his or her next meal, these findings support longer term clinical trials that have shown a weight loss benefit of dietary pulses.
Sievenpiper's systematic review and meta-analysis, published in the journal Obesity, included nine clinical trials involving 126 participants out of more than 2,000 papers screened.
Another recently published systematic review and meta-analysis by Sievenpiper's research group has found that eating on average one serving a day of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils can also reduce "bad cholesterol" by five per cent and therefore lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
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Researchers have recently revealed that eating pistachios may help type 2 diabetic patients in curbing vascular response to everyday life stress. Sheila G West, professor of bio-behavioural health and nutritional sciences, said that in adults with diabetes, two servings of pistachios per day lowered body’s response during stress and improved neural control of the heart.
She further explained that although nuts are high in fat, they contained good fats, fibre, potassium and antioxidants and given the high risk of heart disease in people with diabetes, nuts are an important component of a heart healthy diet in this population.
The study found that after the pistachio diet, blood vessels remained more relaxed and open during the stress tests. When arteries are dilated, the load on the heart would be reduced.
The researchers also recorded improvements in heart rate variability, a measure of how well the nervous system controls heart function. These data indicated that pistachios increased the activity of the vagus nerve, an important part of the parasympathetic nervous system that could be damaged with diabetes.
It was also suggested that if sustained with longer term treatment, these improvements in sleep blood pressure, vascular response to stress and vagal control of the heart could reduce risk of heart disease in this high risk group. The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
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Taking aspirin daily can significantly reduce the risk of developing and dying from the major cancers of the digestive tract, such as bowel, stomach and oesophageal cancer, scientists have found.
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) reviewed all the available evidence from many studies and clinical trials assessing both the benefits and harms of preventive use of aspirin.
The researchers, led by Professor Jack Cuzick, Head of QMUL's Centre for Cancer Prevention, found taking aspirin for 10 years could cut bowel cancer cases by around 35 per cent and deaths by 40 per cent.
Rates of oesophageal and stomach cancers were cut by 30 per cent and deaths from these cancers by 35-50 per cent.
To reap the benefits of aspirin, people need to start taking a daily dose of 75-100 mg for at least five years and probably 10 years between the ages of 50 and 65.
No benefit was seen whilst taking aspirin for the first three years, and death rates were only reduced after five years.
However, the research also warns taking aspirin long-term increases the risk of bleeding from the digestive tract, eg stomach bleeding.
Among 60-year-old individuals who take daily aspirin for 10 years, the risk of digestive tract bleeds increases from 2.2 per cent to 3.6 per cent, and this could be life-threatening in a very small proportion (less than 5 per cent) of people.
It is also not clear whether taking aspirin for longer than 10 years will result in greater benefits, researchers said.
"It has long been known that aspirin -- one of the cheapest and most common drugs on the market -- can protect against certain types of cancer," said Cuzick.
"But until our study, where we analysed all the available evidence, it was unclear whether the pros of taking aspirin outweighed the cons.
"Whilst there are some serious side effects that can't be ignored, taking aspirin daily looks to be the most important thing we can do to reduce cancer after stopping smoking and reducing obesity, and will probably be much easier to implement.
"Our study shows that if everyone aged between 50-65 started taking aspirin daily for at least 10 years, there would be a 9 per cent reduction in the number of cancers, strokes and heart attacks overall in men and around 7 per cent in women.
"The total number of deaths from any cause would also be lower, by about 4 per cent over a 20-year period. The benefits of aspirin use would be most visible in the reduction in deaths due to cancer," he said.
The study is published in the journal Annals of Oncology.