Displaying items by tag: Health

Tiny blood vessel damage tied to depression among older adults

  • Published in Health

(Reuters Health) - Keeping tiny blood vessels healthy may be one way to ward off depression later in life, suggests a new analysis of existing research.

Damage to the microvascular system - often caused by high blood pressure or diabetes, and made worse by smoking - is tied to an increased risk of depression among people age 40 years and older, researchers found.

"Be aware that your hypertension and diabetes are an enemy to your microvascular circulation," said senior author Miranda Schram of Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands. "Try to treat them."

The body's very small blood vessels, or capillaries, "are responsible for taking the oxygen and nutrients to the tissues," she said. "You can imagine if something goes wrong, the tissue isn’t happy."

The brain, Schram noted, is "quite vulnerable to these microvascular changes, because the tissue in the brain is really demanding and requires a lot of oxygen to work properly."

Problems with these small blood vessels can also affect the eyes, the nerves, the skin and the kidneys.

To see if there is a link between depression and damage to capillaries, the researchers searched for existing studies of the two conditions that included people at least 40 years old.

Altogether, they had data on 43,600 individuals, including 9,203 with depression.

Depending on how microvascular dysfunction was measured in the various studies, it increased the risk of depression by up to 58 percent, according to a report in JAMA Psychiatry.

For example, when signs of injury to small vessels was detected in the blood, the risk of depression was 58 percent higher than when blood tests didn't suggest damage.

People had a 30 percent higher risk of depression when magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed very small strokes in the brain caused by failure of these tiny vessels.

The theory is that this blood vessel damage disrupts communication in areas of the brain important for mood control, said Schram.

"You can imagine that this would lead to a depressed mood," she added.

Dr. Bret Rutherford of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry in New York City told Reuters Health that while the new study is strong, it can't prove microvascular dysfunction causes depression later in life.

"The relationships between healthy brain aging and neuropsychiatric disorders goes in both directions and is sort of complicated," said Rutherford, who was not involved in the new study.

For example, it could be that microvascular damage causes depression. Or, it could be that depression leads to unhealthy blood vessels.

Rutherford said researchers first linked depression to blood vessel damage in the 1990s, but advances in treatment have been limited and mainly focused on preventing poor vascular health.

"We certainly have reason to be very rigorous in our treatment of cardiovascular aging to promote healthy brain aging and to prevent these types of problems later on," he said.

Also, he said, it's important to treat mental health issues early in life to prevent cardiovascular issues later on.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2qFYTM0 JAMA Psychiatry, online May 31, 2017.


Awful factors hindering PH children’s growth

  • Published in Health

By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz /http://news.mb.com.ph

Filipino children have seen far worse childhood than their counterparts in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

A global report by child rights advocate Save the Children brought forth this disturbing news.

Severe malnutrition, lack of basic health care, and early pregnancy have been “robbing” Filipino children of their “happy” childhood, according to Save the Children country director Ned Olney.

This was cited in the report titled “Stolen Childhoods,” which was launched last Thursday, June 1, coinciding with the celebration of the International Children’s Day.

Olney explained that an index of events that impact children’s ability to have a safe and happy childhood was used to rank 172 countries “from best to worst places to grow up.”

The Philippines ranked 96th, which was worse than Vietnam (92nd), Thailand (84th), Malaysia (65th), and Singapore (33rd).

He cited that the eight indicators that “end” children’s childhood are child mortality under five years old, growth stunting, out-of-school children, child labor, early marriage, adolescent pregnancy, displacement by conflict, and child homicide.

“The Philippines’ ranking is a concern because when you look at some of the other countries that are ranked ahead of the Philippines, these are countries that are (used to be) a lot poorer. It is left behind by ASEAN countries like Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. Thirty years ago these countries were far poorer than the Philippines but their rank improved in terms of childhood. They have improved much faster than the Philippines,” Olney pointed out.

“I was very surprised to see the Philippines behind Tajikistan, Bhutan, Turkmenistan and Moldova. These countries have very difficult environment for children and yet Philippines ranked below these countries,” he added.

The greatest concern for the Philippines is in three indices, which include the under-five mortality rate. “This is quite high for a middle income country,” he said.

He noted that child mortality is “very high” with more than 50 percent of newborn mortality happening in the first 28 days. “This is what is keeping the Philippines behind,” he added.

According to Olney, the most significant driver of the country’s “poor” ranking is the high levels of growth stunting and undernutrition, affecting about 30 percent of Filipino children across the country.

Based on its 2015 data, the rate of malnutrition went up by about 10 percent, bringing the latest data to 33 percent. “That is the largest increase in childhood stunting in the last quarter century. Something is going wrong,” he said.

About 50 percent or one out of two children is stunted in the Philippines, he pointed out. “That is worse than the average in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is 30 percent,” he added.

“Disappointing statistics from the Philippines underscore the importance of the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, when they are most susceptible to stunting and most in need of good nutrition. This is an area that must be dramatically improved if the Philippines is to move up the rankings , and most importantly, (to) ensure every child across the country can benefit from a safe and happy childhood,” Olney said.

Children who are stunted in the first two years are also more likely to repeat grades, drop out of school and delay school entry.

“Severe malnutrition is increasing,” Olney said adding that cases of malnutrition are more prevalent in urban Metro Manila, which is ironic because there is available food almost everywhere “and yet children are dying everyday” due to malnutrition.

Save the Children’s “Cost of Hunger: Philippines” study in 2016 put the cost of undernutrition or stunting to the Philippine economy at P320 billion annually–equivalent to almost 3 percent of the country’s GDP.

The second largest driver of the poor ranking is adolescent pregnancy. “What is the direction of the Philippines as regards adolescent birth rate? Ten years ago, the rate was lower. More adolescent girls are giving birth than 10 years ago,” he said.

Likewise, about 11 percent of Filipinos’ five to 14 years old are already working and almost 10 percent of adolescents aged 15 to 19 are married.

These indicators have put the Philippines in a poor standing.

“It all comes down to poverty. The drivers go really high when you are poor and goes really low when you are wealthy,” he said.


Debunking Diet Myths

In today’s health-oriented world, the four major players – diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol abuse – are in the spotlight. Diet weighs heavily on this equation and has also been a subject of a lot of pervasive myths and misinformation. Today, we shall review some of the most popular misconception about diet.

Fasting is the best way to start.

Fasting is the wrong way to start, or even “punctuate,” your dieting schedule.  Fasting has no place at all in controlling weight or quality of nutrition for our body. The temporary weight loss resulting from fasting is thru water loss (dehydration). The best way to maintain your weight is to burn the calories your take in daily (example: if you take in 2000 calories, you should exercise off 2000 calories that day). It is a matter of intake and output, an obvious common sense approach. If one is overweight and wants to lose weight, then the calories burned should be higher than the calories ingested, until the goal is reached…and at that point, the maintenance intake and output formula should prevail. Those who want to gain weight to reach the ideal weight, obviously, should have more intake than output of calories.


Low carb - hi protein diet is best

Not true. Those on low carbohydrate diet alone, but on high protein (meats, egss, etc) had good initial weight loss, but regained the weight after six to 12 months, as shown by some studies. They faired better than those on low fat diet, which is actually more healthy as far as cardiovascular diseases, metabolic illnesses and cancers are concerned. However, low carb diet, combined with low fat diet and exercise, has been found to be the best regimen. This means the diet mainly consists of fish and bean curd, beans, grains and nuts (as the main source of protein and oil) and a lot of green leafy and other vegetables, and fruits. Among diabetics, fruits should be included in the calculation of the total daily restricted calorie intake.


Enemas aids in dieting

False! This is a myth that is unhealthy. Enemas for cleansing “to get rid of toxins in our body,” is not medically accepted as a means of detoxification and weight control. To detoxify our body, the best way is to abstain from smoking, minimize alcohol intake and exposure to other toxic agents, eat a lot of vegetables, nuts, some fruits, and to exercise daily. There have been reports of deaths with frequent self-prescribed enemas. They could lead to diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte imbalance, heartbeat irregularity, and bowel perforation. The so-called designer coffee enema for colon cleansing is not only expensive but also useless and very dangerous.


Eating late at night leads to more weight gain and fats

This is no more true than the myth that Elvis Presley is alive. Of course, it is best not to have a full stomach close to bedtime. Going to bed 3 to 4 hours after a meal is fine. The calories taken at night have the same effect as those taken during the daytime. While you burn less calories while sleeping, you lose these when you get up in the morning and start your daily routine, especially if you exercise every day. 


“Slimming Tea” works

This is a myth. “Slimming Tea,” or other drinks that are advertised as effective for weight reduction, are per se, useless and a waste of money.  Any beverage, so long as they are zero calorie drinks, can help in weight reduction, if taken in lieu of a ton of calories. And I repeat, in lieu of. Not together with thousands of calories. If you drink them and still eat more calories than you burn, then you will gain weight, regardless of what fluid you drink. There is absolutely NO beverage on the market that will lead to weight reduction, per se. There is no easy solution to overweight; it takes education, discipline, determination and hard work. But the dividends are worth the sacrifices. 


Drinking a lot of water leads to weight gain

Only if you heart or kidney is not healthy. Heart or kidney failure patients tend to retain water, so water restriction is part of the treatment among many of them. However, for someone who is otherwise healthy except for excess body weight, drinking two glasses of water before each meal is a great strategy in appetite and calorie control (it “fools” the brain into thinking the stomach is already full), which reduces the food intake, and, subsequently, the weight. The recommended fluid intake is at least 8 glasses of water a day. However, if the beverage ingested is loaded with a lot of calories (like regular cola drinks, fruit drinks, smoothies, etc.), then rapid weight gain results. Fruits juices (fresh fruits are better than the juice) should be limited to 4 oz a day since it has a high concentration of added sugar. Sugar-loaded pop beverages are among the top culprits in the calorie explosion of today, and should be avoided. Purified water is the healthier and cheaper universal beverage for all seasons.


Eating grapefruit will help burn body fats

A caveat to remember: there is no food known to man today that can burn or “melt” body fats, or that can reduce weight without proper dieting. Eating grapefruit is good, if done (again) in lieu of eating tons of calories. Grapefruits, like many fruits and multi-colored and green leafy vegetables, are loaded with good anti-oxidants that protect our body from the ravages caused by free radicals. So, eating them daily is healthy for us, but for fat and weight reduction, the only guaranteed formula is our basic common sense principle: output must be equal to intake (calories taken in = calories burned) in order to maintain a certain weight.  And you can extrapolate from there to suit your personal goal.


Soft drinks is safe?

Soft drinks, regular or diet, cola or uncola, caffeinated or not, are not only unhealthy but toxic to the body, especially for children. They increase the risk for the development of metabolic syndrome, number one killer among diseases. For those on a diet, drinking soft drinks is like pouring water on someone who is already drowning. Taxes for soft drinks, like taxes for cigarettes, are being increased through legislation to discourage people from using these toxic agents.


Diet without exercise

While dieting or watching our diet, pushing ourselves away from the dining table less than full to maintain a healthy weight, body, and mind, doing this disciplined strategy, adding exercise to this healthy lifestyle regimen, more than triple its beneficial effects as far as boosting our immune system, our physiology, disease prevention, and overall well-being for health and longevity.

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