Tag Archives: BMJ

The Amazing Nutrient that Lowers Your Blood Pressure

Research has recently found that vitamin D has a protective effect against arterial stiffness and impaired blood vessel relaxation.

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Study participants with reduced levels of vitamin D had increased arterial stiffness and vascular function impairment. However, among those whose vitamin D levels were normalized over a six month period, vascular health improved and blood pressure measurements declined.

Science Newsline Reports:

“The results add to evidence that lack of vitamin D can lead to impaired vascular health, contributing to high blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

In related news, researchers have also found that high level of vitamin D could be protective against the development of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss in adults.

In women younger than 75, those who had 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations lower than 38 nanomoles per liter were more likely to have age-related macular degeneration than women with concentrations greater than 38 nanomoles per liter.

Resources:
*Science Newsline April 4, 2011
*Archives of Ophthalmology April 2011; 129(4): 481-489
*MSNBC April 27, 2011
*Science Daily March 21, 2011
*Journal of General Internal Medicine April 21, 2011 [Epub ahead of print]
*Diabetes Care May 2011;34(5):1133-8
*Journal of General Internal Medicine March 15, 2011 [Epub ahead of print]

Posted By Dr. Mercola | April 30 2011

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Why do Obstetricians Still Rush to Clamp the Cord?

For many years, the World Health Organization and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics have advised against early umbilical cord clamping. But obstetricians have been reluctant to change their habits.

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Although no clamping occurs in nature, cord clamping has become such an accepted norm that delayed clamping is generally considered a new or unproved intervention.

Basic teaching of physiology could be a factor — most textbooks state or imply that the cord circulation closes only because of the application of the cord clamp, which is not accurate.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, Dr. David Hutchon argues:
“Clamping the functioning umbilical cord at birth is an unproved intervention. Lack of awareness of current evidence, pragmatism, and conflicting guidelines are all preventing change. To prevent further injury to babies we would be better to rush to change.”

A separate review in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine also highlights the importance of delayed cord clamping, stating:

“Many clinical studies have revealed that the delayed cord clamping elevates blood volume and hemoglobin and prevents anemia in infants.

Moreover, since it was known that umbilical cord blood contains various valuable stem cells such as hematopoietic stem cells, endothelial cell precursors, mesenchymal progenitors and multipotent/pluripotent lineage stem cells, the merit of delayed cord clamping has been magnified.”

Resources:
British Medical Journal November 10 2010
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine March 2010; 14(3):488-95
iVillage.com June 1, 2010

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Salt Enhances Health Risks

It’s known that eating a lot of salt puts people at greater risk of high blood pressure. Now there’s confirmation of a corollary: High salt intake also translates to significantly greater risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
…………………………..eating_salt
A review published in the Nov. 25 online edition of BMJ found that a difference of just 5 grams of regular daily salt intake spells a 23 percent difference in the rate of stroke and a 17 percent difference in the rate of cardiovascular disease.
According to the review, the World Health Organization recommends that people consume only 5 grams — about a teaspoon — of salt each day. But people in the West typically eat around 10 grams a day, and those in Eastern Europe consume even more.

The review authors analyzed 13 studies, involving more than 170,000 people, that assessed the link between salt and cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The researchers estimated that reducing daily salt intake by 5 grams around the world could prevent more than 1 million stroke deaths and nearly 3 million deaths from cardiovascular disease each year. And because it’s hard to measure salt intake, those numbers could actually be even higher, the authors noted.

Click for more knowlwdge

Source:
British Medical Journal, Nov. 25, 2009

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Health Spreads Really do Lower Heart Risk

The makers of two leading brands of spreads have been cleared to carry on claiming their products can reduce cholesterol.
Benecol and Flora pro.activ contain plant ingredients which EU health watchdogs now agree can help lower the risk of coronary heart disease….click & see

It is Britain’s biggest killer, with 110,000 victims a year.

Some two in three adults in Britain have raised cholesterol, which leads to clogged arteries and is a factor in heart disease.
The vital ingredients work with the body by partially blocking the entry of cholesterol into the bloodstream. It is claimed they lower bad cholesterol, known as LDL, by up to 15 per cent when used every day as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Currently, millions of people rely on statin pills, prescribed by GPs, to reduce cholesterol. However, these can have side-effects, such as muscle pain.
Dietician and nutrition expert Helen Bond said: ‘People concerned about cholesterol need to have access to reliable, evidence based claims that will help them make wise food choices.

‘Dietary and lifestyle advice is always recommended as the first step for reducing cholesterol. Obesity, diabetes, raised cholesterol and a lack of physical activity are major risk factors for coronary heart disease.

‘This decision by the European Food Safety Authority will help people find the foods that will make a real difference.’
The manufacturers hailed the move to allow their so-called disease risk reduction claims as an important breakthrough.
Benecol products using the cholesterol reducing ingredients, called plant stanol esters, include drinks, yoghurts, spreads and cream cheese.
Benecol spokesman Esther van Onselen said: ‘Approval of the disease risk reduction claim is a really exciting step in helping consumers make an informed choice about which foods are proven to have a positive impact on their health.

‘There are more than 50 independent clinical studies which prove the cholesterol-lowering benefits of plant stanol esters.’
Flora pro.activ is made by Unilever, whose spokesman, Caroline Banquet, said: ‘We are delighted that the EU has now formally granted approval of our disease risk reduction claim.

‘Consumers can continue to be reassured that they can confidently trust our cholesterol-lowering health claims, in the knowledge that the science underpinning them has gone through rigorous and independent expert scrutiny.’
Unilever has carried out research into the cholesterol-lowering properties of plant ingredients since the 1980s. It first introduced Flora pro.activ spread in 2001, followed by yoghurt mini-drinks and milk drinks

Source:Mail Online, 23rd. Nov.’09

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Statin Cuts Heart Attack Risk in Healthy Too

Should all over-50s take anti-cholesterol drug?

STATIN PILLS

Statins cut the risk of heart attacks by 30 per cent even in healthy people, researchers say.

The cholesterol-busting drugs also reduce the chances of death from all causes by 12 per cent.

The findings, from a review of studies involving people without heart disease, will renew the heated debate over whether everyone over the age of 50 should be prescribed the powerful drugs.

At present they are given only to those at significant risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Many experts say wider access to the cheap drug could save hundreds of thousands of lives while also saving the NHS billions every year.

More than six million adults already take statins, saving around 10,000 lives a year.

The Government’s heart disease czar Roger Boyle says all older people should ideally be taking statins or a polypill, new tablets being developed which contain the drugs.

And last month heart expert Professor Malcolm Law wrote in the British Medical Journal that everyone over 55 should be given statins in the same way that everyone would be offered a vaccine against swine flu if it became serious.

Although low dose statins can be bought over the counter, effective versions of the drugs cannot legally be purchased without a prescription.

The latest review analysed the results of ten large trials involving more than 70,000 patients who did not have established cardiovascular disease.

The trials compared statin therapy with placebo agents or no treatment and tracked patients for an average of four years.

Deaths from all causes were cut by 12 per cent among those taking statins, and the risk of major events such as a heart attack went down by 30 per cent. The risk of a stroke was cut by 19 per cent.
STATIN CUTS HEART DISEASES FEAR
No significant treatment differences were found between men and women, young and old, and those with and without diabetes. There was no raised risk of cancer, feared as a possible side effect.

Dr Jasper Brugts of Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, which carried out the study, said the findings justify giving statins to those without established cardiovascular disease, but with risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

Writing on the BMJ website, he aid: ‘People at increased risk for cardiovascular disease should not be denied the relative benefits of long-term statin use.’
mahood

He said men over 65 with risk factors, or older women with diabetes and risk factors, would probably benefit most.

At present, those with established risk factors including diabetes are eligible for statins because they are being prescribed for secondary prevention of heart and circulatory problems.

The big issue is whether taking statins would benefit ‘healthy’ people for primary prevention.

A drive is planned by GPs over the next five years where adults aged 40 to 74 will be invited for a health check to identify heart and stroke risk, as well as kidney disease. Anyone in this age group who is believed to have a 20 per cent risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke over the next ten years will be eligible for the drugs.

It is thought that 15million people will benefit from checks. The move could prevent a further 15,000 heart ‘events’ each year, such as heart attacks and strokes, in addition to the 7,000 heart attacks already being prevented.

But GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick, author of The Great Cholesterol Con, said the jury was still out on whether statins provide any overall health benefit for people without a history of heart disease.

Dr Kendrick, a long-standing sceptic about statins for those at low risk of heart problems, said: ‘The suggestion that people at low risk should be taking drugs for the rest of their lives is not supported by the trials.

In addition to the lack of benefit and expense, statins carry a substantial burden of side effects.’

The Department of Health said it would study the findings.

Source:Mail Online. 1st. July.’09

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