Tag Archives: University of Michigan

Tart Cherries Lower Heart Disease Risk

A new study by University of Michigan researchers has linked tart cherries, one of today’s hottest ‘Super Fruits,’ to lowering risk factors for heart disease.

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Besides lowering cholesterol and reducing inflammation, the study found that a cherry-enriched diet lowered body weight and fat – major risk factors for heart disease.

In the study, at-risk, obese rats that were fed a cherry-enriched diet saw significant decreases in body weight and fat while maintaining lean muscle mass.

After twelve weeks, the cherry-fed rats had 14 percent lower body fat compared to the other rats who did not consume cherries.

The researchers suggested cherry consumption could have an effect on important fat genes and genetic expression.

The animals were fed a “Western diet,” characterized by high fat and moderate carbohydrate – in line with the typical American diet – with or without added whole tart cherry powder, as 1 percent of the diet.

“We know excess body fat increases the risk for heart disease. This research gives us one more support point suggesting that diet changes, such as including cherries, could potentially lower heart disease risk,” said study co-author Dr. Steven F. Bolling, a cardiac surgeon at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center who also heads the U-M Cardioprotection Research Laboratory, where the study was performed.

Cherry-enriched diets in the study also reduced total cholesterol levels by about 11 percent and two known markers of inflammation – commonly produced by abdominal fat and linked to increased risk for heart disease.

Inflammation marker TNF-alpha was reduced by 40 percent and interleukin 6 (IL-6) was lowered by 31 percent.

In their genetic analysis, the researchers found that the cherry-enriched diets reduced the genes for these two inflammation compounds, suggesting a direct anti-inflammation effect.

While inflammation is a normal process the body uses to fight off infection or injury, according to recent science, a chronic state of inflammation could increase the risk for diseases and may be especially common for those who are overweight or obese, at least in part because of excess weight around the middle.

Researchers say the animal study is encouraging and will lead to further clinical studies in humans to explore the link between diet, weight, inflammation and lowering heart disease risk.

The study is being presented at next week’s American Dietetic Association annual meeting.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Sweaty People Less Prone to Asthma

Perspiration does more than just keeping the body cool — it cuts the risk of exercise-related asthma, a new study has revealed.

..A new benefit from sweating?->.

An international team has carried out the study and found that people who sweat less when exercising are actually more likely to develop breathing problems — the reason could be there is too little fluid in their airways.

“It now appears that how much fluid your airways secrete could be a key determinant in protecting you from exercise-induced asthma. So, if athletes sweat, drool, or cry, at least they won’t gasp,” the British media quoted lead researcher Dr Warren Lockette as saying.

In fact, in their study, the researchers led by the University of Michigan looked at 56 volunteers suspected of having the condition before coming to the conclusion that sweating makes people less prone to asthma.

The team measured the subjects’ responses to a drug called pilocarpine, which induces sweat and saliva production, and another which constricts the airways in people with exercise-induced asthma.

Those who had the greatest response to the airway drug tended to have the lowest response to the sweating drug and vice versa.

Even without the help of the drug the researchers found a correlation in their subjects between the amount they actually sweated and the amount of saliva as well as tear secretion.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Vitamin D Keeps Heart in Shape

The list of benefits conferred by Vitamin D has just got longer. It also keeps the heart fit as a fiddle, besides developing strong bones, healthy immune system and protection against cancer, according to new research.

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In studies on rats, Robert U Simpson and his team at the University of Michigan have reported the first concrete evidence that treatment with activated vitamin D can protect against heart failure.

Treatment with activated vitamin D prevented heart muscle cells from growing bigger – called hypertrophy – in which the heart becomes enlarged and overworked, sometimes leading to heart failure.

They also prevented heart muscle cells from the over-stimulation and increased contractions associated with the progression of heart failure.

Heart failure is a progressive, disabling condition in which the heart becomes enlarged as it is forced to work harder and harder, even for routine daily activities.

Many heart patients or those with poorly controlled high blood pressure go on to experience a form of heart failure called congestive heart failure, in which the heart’s inability to pump blood around the body causes weakness and fluid build-up in lungs and limbs.

Many people with heart failure, who tend to be older, have been found to be deficient in vitamin D.

“Heart failure will progress despite the best medications,” said Simpson. “We think vitamin D retards that progression and protects the heart.”

Simpson and colleagues have explored vitamin D’s effects on heart muscle and the cardiovascular system for more than 20 years.

Way back in 1987, when Simpson showed the link between vitamin D and heart health, the idea seemed far-fetched and research funding was scarce. Now, a number of studies worldwide attest to the vitamin D-heart health link.

The findings of the study are being published in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology.

You may click to see:->Heart-healthy diet

>The Heart Scan Blog

Sources: The Times Of India

Medicated Stents Safe For Heart

Heart patients who have undergone angioplasty can breathe more easy.

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One of the largest follow-up studies has come out with “reassuring” results that suggest medicated stents (used during angioplasty) are safe. This clears serious concerns raised on medicated stents with regard to blood-clot formation, leading to heart attacks.

Stents are spring-like devices inserted in the arteries after clearing the blockage during an angioplasty procedure to keep them open. Drug-coated or medicated stents, first introduced in 2003, incorporate medicines to prevent the artery from reclosing.

A huge debate has been raging over the last couple of years on the safety of medicated stents as against the bare-metal ones. Last year, reports started surfacing from studies on patients in Europe that drug-releasing stents carry a greater risk of blood clot formation (stent thrombosis), thus leading to heart attacks.

The study holds a great relevance for India where the use of medicated stents is growing rapidly, and in 2006 was about 70% — about 40% of patients had medicated stents the previous year. The latest study carried out in the US thus nullifies the findings of earlier follow-ups which had said that medicated stents were riskier to use and thus had safety concerns, doctors say.

Says Ashok Seth, chairman and chief cardiologist Max Heart and Vascular Institute: “Studies and follow up trials on patients suggest that medicated stents are as safe as the metal ones. The latest US study nullifies the concern on drug-eluting stents, and these are no different from the metal ones.”

In fact, stents made by some Indian companies such as Sahajanand are almost ona par with the American/German ones used here, doctors say. Amongst the American stents used in India are ones by Johnson & Johnson and Abbott-Guidant.

The latest US study, presented at the American Heart Association, analyzed data on 20,654 stent patients in a Massachusetts data-base. About 65% of patients received a stent-coated with a drug to reduce re-narrowing of the artery and about 35% were implanted bare metal stents without the drug coating.

The Massachusetts study followed patients whose stents were implanted between April 2003 and December 2004. The incidence of heart attacks was similar in both groups, at 10.8% for drug-coated stent patients and 11.8% for those receiving bare metal. “In India, the case has been slightly different with a rare incidence of stent thrombosis cases,” Seth adds.

Source: The Times Of India

Gum Disease

If you haven’t had gum problems yet, chances are you will: Three out of four adults overage 35 experience tender, swollen, or bleeding gums at some point in their lives. But there are plenty of things you can do to relieve pain, heal the gums, and preserve your teeth.

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Symptoms
Red, swollen, and tender gums.
A toothache made worse by hot, cold, or sweet foods or liquids.
Chronic bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.
Loose or missing teeth.

When to Call Your Doctor
See your dentist if you experience red, swollen gums or loose teeth. It may save your
teeth. Have your teeth professionally cleaned if you haven’t done so in the previous year.

What It Is
There are two main types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis — marked by tender, inflamed gums — occurs when bacteria in the mouth form a thin, sticky film called plaque that coats the teeth and gums. If ignored, plaque will turn into tartar, a hard mineral shell that erodes gum tissue. Over time this will lead to the more serious — and harder to treat — condition known as periodontitis. In advanced periodontal disease, the gums recede in places and pockets form around the teeth, allowing bacteria to eat away at the bone anchoring the teeth.

What Causes It
Poor oral hygiene — including improper brushing, flossing, or rinsing — is the leading
cause of gum disease. Other precipitating factors include a high-sugar diet, lack of vitamin C or other nutrients, and smoking (the chemicals in tobacco smoke harm gums and teeth). In addition, certain medications can make gum disease worse because they inhibit saliva production, which helps wash away bacteria and sugars. Genetic factors likely make some people particularly susceptible to gum disease. Women seem to be more prone to gum problems during pregnancy and menopause because of hormonal changes. Diabetes and other chronic diseases that can lower resistance to infection also increase the risk.

How Supplements Can Help
Various supplements — used together — can help heal sore and bleeding gums. Benefits
should be noticed within two weeks. People at high risk for gum disease can also take them on a long-term preventive basis.

What Else You Can Do
Floss at least once a day and brush at least twice with a soft-bristle brush. It is
important to use the proper technique, including brushing the tongue, which collects the
same bacteria that stick to your teeth. If you’re not sure you’re flossing or brushing
correctly, ask your dentist or dental hygienist to show you how. Plan to spend five minutes or so each session.

Massaging of gum with yor finger and flowsing at least twice daily is said to be very helpful.
Limit your intake of sweets and sticky carbohydrates — or at least brush as soon as
possible after eating them. These foods can accumulate in gum spaces and pockets,
particularly in older people, who tend to have more exposed roots in their teeth.
See a dentist at least once a year for a professional cleaning — or more often if you have
a problem that needs special attention. Try natural toothpastes and mouthwashes containing the herb bloodroot. These supply an antibacterial substance called sanguinarine that helps reduce and prevent the accumulation of dental plaque — the first step in gum disease. Make a chamomile tea mouthwash using 2 or 3 teaspoons of herb per cup of hot water. Steep for 10 minutes, strain, and cool. Use as a daily mouthwash or gargle. Commission E, a noted panel of health experts in Germany that reviews herbal supplements, officially recognizes chamomile as an effective gargle or mouthwash for the treatment of gingivitis.

Supplement Recommendations

Vitamin C/Flavonoids
Coenzyme Q10
Vitamin E
Folic Acid Liquid
Vitamin C Powder

Vitamin C/Flavonoids
Dosage: 1,000 mg vitamin C and 500 mg flavonoids twice a day.
Comments: Reduce vitamin C dose if diarrhea develops.

Coenzyme Q10
Dosage: 50 mg twice a day.
Comments: For best absorption, take with food.

Vitamin E
Dosage: Break open a 400 IU capsule; rub contents on gums.
Comments: Alternate with folic acid/vitamin C treatments.

Folic Acid Liquid
Dosage: Dip swab in liquid; apply along gum line every other day.
Comments: Follow up with vitamin C powder. Alternate with vitamin E gum treatment every other day.

Vitamin C Powder
Dosage: Using 1/2 tsp. powder, brush along gum line every other day.
Comments: Alternate with vitamin E treatment every other day.

Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs (Reader’s Digest)

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