Health Alert

Soda, OJ May Increase Risk of Gout

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According to a new study  drinking too much soda or fruit juice will increase the risk of developing gout, a painful form of arthritis.

Women who drank two cans or more of non-diet soda a day, or 12 ounces or more of orange juice a day, were more than twice as likely to develop gout. Women who drank just one soda or 6-ounce glass of juice per day were at 74 percent and 41 percent greater risk, respectively.

CNN reports:
“The culprit appears to be fructose … [F]ructose increases levels of the chemical uric acid, which causes gout. When uric acid levels in the body get too high, the acid hardens into sharp crystals that are deposited in joints.”

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Soft Drinks Linked to Pancreatic Cancer Risk

CNN November 10, 2010
Journal of the American Medical Association November 10, 2010; [Epub ahead of print]

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H1N1 Pandemic Flu Even Milder Than Seasonal Strains

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According to a new study Swine Flu H1N1 is milder than Seasonal strains. Children & young adults are   disproportionately affected  by H1N1 virus,  but the symptoms and risk of complications were similar to those of seasonal influenza viruses.

For the study, researchers compared the H1N1 pandemic flu with the seasonal H1N1 flu, as well as the H3N2 seasonal flu. H1N1 pandemic flu was not linked to substantially more hospitalization or pneumonia compared with either H1N1 seasonal flu or H3N2 seasonal flu.

Reuters reports:
“This year, it is doubtful H1N1 pandemic flu will be noticed … most people are now immune to this strain, because it spread so far and wide.”


Business Week September 7, 2010

JAMA September 8, 2010; 304(10): 1091-1098 September 8, 2010

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Healthy Tips

High Sugar Intake Greater Risk For Heart Disease

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Individuals should watch their daily sugar intake as a new study suggests that high amounts of added sugars can increase the risk of heart disease.
According to findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, consuming added sugars from processed or prepared foods is related to lower levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), otherwise known as the good cholesterol.

Researchers point out that American citizens have a tendency to consume high amounts of processed foods, and their sugar levels have increased dramatically in recent years due to their new diets.

The scientists observed 6,113 patients and found that the higher sugar levels they had in their system, the more likely they were to have more heart disease risk factors.

“Monitoring trends in consumption and understanding the effect added sugars have on risk of cardiovascular and other diseases is critically important, because added sugars are a potentially modifiable source of calories,” the authors write.

Individuals can take nutritional supplements such as fiber in order to lower their cholesterol.

Source: Better Health Research. April 23. 2010

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High-Flow Oxygen Can Reduce Headaches

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Fifteen minutes of treatment with high flow oxygen significantly eased cluster headaches, according to a new study:-

Cluster headache attacks, characterised by bouts of excruciating pain usually near the eye or temple, typically last for 15 minutes to three hours if untreated and have a frequency of up to eight attacks a day on alternate days.

High flow oxygen is given at a rate of six to seven litres per minute for 10 to 20 minutes at the start of a cluster headache.

Attacks usually occur in bouts, or clusters, lasting for weeks or months, separated by remissions lasting months or years, according to the study.

The current treatment for acute attacks of cluster headache is injection with the drug sumatriptan, but frequent dosing is not recommended because of adverse effects.

Another treatment option is the inhalation of high-dose, high-flow oxygen, but its use may be limited because of the lack of a good quality controlled trial.

Anna S. Cohen, of the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and colleagues conducted a randomised, placebo-controlled trial of high-flow oxygen for the treatment of acute attacks of cluster headache.

The study included 109 adults (aged 18-70 years). Patients treated four cluster headache episodes alternately with high-flow oxygen (inhaled oxygen at 100 percent, or 12 litres per minute, delivered by face mask, for 15 minutes at the start of an attack) or placebo (high-flow air).

Patients were recruited and followed up between 2002 and 2007. The final analysis included 57 patients with episodic cluster headache and 19 with chronic cluster headache.

The researchers found that 78 percent of the patients who received oxygen reported being pain-free or to have adequate relief within 15 minutes of treatment, compared to 20 percent of patients who received air.

For other outcomes, such as being pain-free at 30 minutes or a reduction in pain up to 60 minutes, treatment with oxygen was superior to air. There were no serious adverse events related to the treatments, says a National Hospital release.

“To our knowledge, this is the first adequately powered trial of high-flow oxygen compared with placebo, and it confirms clinical experience and current guidelines that inhaled oxygen can be used as an acute attack therapy for episodic and chronic cluster headache,” the authors write.

Source: The study appeared in the Wednesday issue of JAMA

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Brain Pacemaker for Parkinson’s Patients

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Parkinsonson’s sufferers who had electrodes implanted in their brains improved substantially more than those who took only medicine, according to the biggest test yet of deep brain stimulation.


The study offers the most hopeful news to date for Parkinson’s sufferers. The technique reduced tremors, rigidity and flailing of the limbs and allowed people to move freely for nearly five extra hours a day.

But the research also revealed higher-than-expected risks. About 40% of the patients who received these “brain pacemakers” suffered serious side effects, including a surprising number of falls with injuries.

“We had one patient who felt so good he went up to repair his roof, fell down and broke both his legs,” said lead author Fran Weaver of Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital, outside Chicago. “Patients are feeling so much better; they forget they still have Parkinson’s.”

With deep brain stimulation, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002 for advanced Parkinson’s, a surgeon implants electrodes in the brain, which are then connected to a pacemaker-like device that can be adjusted and turned off and on. That device, implanted under the collarbone or in the abdomen, sends tiny electrical pulses to the brain, disabling overactive nerve cells.

The researchers studied 255 people with advanced Parkinson’s at 13 hospitals. After six months, it was found that in the surgery group, 86 out of 121 (71%) saw improvements in movement, as scored by the neurologists. In the medication group, 43 out of 134 patients (32%) showed improvements. The latest findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Sources: The Times Of India

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