Monday, January 31, 2011

Guidelines urge Americans to clean up their diets

Many Americans' diets are a train wreck loaded with junk food, fast food, sugary beverages and too few healthful foods.
So it's no surprise that the federal government's new dietary guidelines, being released today, recommend people get back on track and eat healthier by slashing sugar, salt and solid fats such as butter and stick margarine from their diets and eating more seafood, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
The latestDietary Guidelines for Americans, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, are designed to help people reach a healthy weight and reduce their risk of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
Consume fewer calories from solid fats and added sugars.
Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Choose a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas.
Consume at least half of all grains as whole grains. Increase whole-grain intake by replacing refined grains with whole grains.
Increase the amounts of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese and fortified soy beverages.
Use oils to replace solid fats where possible.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Resistant Starch Food A Possible Alternative to Dieting

A study by the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center for Human Nutrition shows that resistant starch food can help people "eat less, burn more calories, feel more energized and less stressed, and lower cholesterol."

According to Health News, the study was based on 4,451 participants. Essentially, the researchers found that the slimmest people ate the most carbohydrates, while the heaviest ones ate the least. Also, the specific sorts of carbohydrates eaten made a difference between weight gain and a trim waistline.

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and World Health organization (WHO) support eating starch resistant food. Bananas, potatoes, pasta, whole grain bread, oatmeal, barley, and brown rice are typical examples.

The logic behind the magic of starch resistant food is that regular starch foods gets digested quickly in the small intestine, and are converted into short-term energy, which, if it is not needed immediately, is stored as fat.
Resistant starch food, on the other hand, is digested through fermentation in the large intestine and converted into energy for the body more slowly. Resistant starch food stays in the body for a longer time, making people feel fuller for longer. This increase in feeling satiated also contributes to a reduction in the overall amount of calories taken in daily.

According to Health magazine, resistant starch foods improve blood-sugar control, lower cancer risk, and foster healthy digestion.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What can you do against the flu?

What can you do against the flu?The threat from influenza is not over.
Only last week, two young people in Hong Kong were hospitalised in critical condition as a result of H1N1 flu, also known as 'swine flu'. Experts in Taiwan have also predicted that H1N1 flu could re-emerge in the island next month.
In Singapore, the number of acute respiratory infections (ARI) is reported to have hit epidemic levels, with a massive spike in patients seeking medical help.
The flu is a highly contagious viral infection that affects mainly the respiratory system - the nose, throat, and occasionally, the lungs. Most flu infections last for about a week, and have the following symptoms:
• Sudden high fever of over 38 degrees Celsius
• Nasal congestion (blocked nose)
• Chills and sweats
• Headache
• Muscle aches (particularly in the back, arms and legs)
• Fatigue and weakness
At first glance, the symptoms of the flu may seem very similar to that of the common cold. A resource on the Mayo Clinic website says that one can differentiate between the two by the onset and severity of the symptoms: "Colds usually develop slowly, whereas the flu tends to come on suddenly. And although a cold can be a nuisance, you usually feel much worse with the flu."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lawmakers welcome mandatory health checks

The proposal to make it mandatory for lawmakers in the country to undergo annual health checks after 11 elected politicians died of wide-ranging illnesses in less than three years, has been well-received.
Kota Belud member of parliament Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahalan agreed with the suggestion but he said that medical information of the members of parliament and assemblymen should be restricted to only party leaders.
He reminded elected representatives to be cautious when travelling long hours to interior areas by boat or overland as it could take a toll on their health.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said on Saturday that he would soon recommend to the Cabinet for mandatory health examinations involving members of Parliament and state legislatures.
“Currently, we just let the elected representatives take the initiative to go for medical check-ups but we want to make sure that they go for at least one every year,” he said.
“We will also make sure they get reminders for the scheduled check-ups.
He stressed that the move would help Members of Parliament and state assemblymen keep tabs on their health status and ensure they were fit enough to serve the rakyat.
“If the examinations show that they are unhealthy, we will ensure they get the appropriate treatment immediately,” he said.
Since the general election in March 2008, 14 by-elections have been held with one more to be announced following the death of Merlimau assemblyman Datuk Mohamad Hidhir Abu Hassan on Thursday.
The number of by-elections so far is the highest in the country’s electoral history

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chicken pox vaccine associated with shingles epidemic

The chickenpox (varicella) vaccine was first licensed for use in Japan and Korea in 1988. After many years of development, it was licensed in the United States in 1995. Since that time, the number of hospitalizations and deaths from varicella has declined more than 90%. In 2005, a combination vaccine containing live attenuated measles-mumps-rubella and varicella (MMRV) vaccine was licensed for use in people age 12 months through age 12 years.
Goldman's research supports that shingles, which results in three times as many deaths and five times the number of hospitalizations as chicken pox, is suppressed naturally by occasional contact with chicken pox.
Dr. Goldman's findings have corroborated other independent researchers who estimate that if chickenpox were to be nearly eradicated by vaccination, the higher number of shingles cases could continue in the U.S. for up to 50 years; and that while death rates from chickenpox are already very low, any deaths prevented by vaccination will be offset by deaths from increasing shingles disease. Another recent peer-reviewed article authored by Dr. Goldman and published in Vaccine presents a cost-benefit analysis of the universal chicken pox (varicella) vaccination program. Goldman points out that during a 50-year time span, there would be an estimated additional 14.6 million (42%) shingles cases among adults aged less than 50 years, presenting society with a substantial additional medical cost burden of $4.1 billion. This translates into $80 million annually, utilizing an estimated mean healthcare provider cost of $280 per shingles case

Thursday, January 20, 2011

We're cool to health claims on food

Nearly half of Canadians don't believe health claims on food products, according to a new poll released this week.
The nationwide Ipsos Reid survey conducted last week for Global National and Postmedia News found only a slim majority -- 53 per cent -- believe health claims made on food labels. And most of these people only "somewhat agree" (47 per cent) with the statement that they believe the health claims on food labels, compared to only five per cent of Canadians who "strongly believe" that statement.
Overall, 47 per cent say they don't believe health claims made on food labels, including nine per cent who feel strongly about it. Younger Canadians aged 18-34 are the least likely to be skeptics, while those 55 years old are the most likely to distrust label claims.
Among the regions, residents of Quebec are the most likely to believe health claims (59 per cent), followed by Atlantic Canadians (54 per cent) and Ontarians (53 per cent). Western Canadians are the most skeptical, with fewer than half saying they believe health claims (47 per cent in each of the provinces).
It's not all bad news for food industry, however.
Seven in 10 (72 per cent) responded that they believe probiotics -- live microorganisms added to food products -- improve their health, while eight in 10 (79 per cent) believe that the addition of Omega-3 fatty acids to food products makes them healthier.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Healthy lifestyle and cholesterol levels

A new study links cholesterol levels in young adults to changes in lifestyle between childhood and adulthood.

Previous research had looked at whether blood fat levels, such as cholesterol and triglyceride levels, remain steady from childhood to adulthood. Although previous studies found that youth levels correlate well with adult levels, they have shown that a substantial proportion of youth with high-risk levels will not have high-risk levels in adulthood and that a substantial proportion of adults with high-risk levels have normal levels as youth.

For the new research, researchers looked at the cholesterol and triglyceride levels in 539 Australian young adults both in childhood and as young adults: levels were measured in 1985 when the participants were 9, 12 or 15 years of age and again between 2004 and 2006, when they were in their 20s and 30s. High-risk levels were defined as a total cholesterol level of 240 milligrams per deciliter or higher, an LDL or "bad" cholesterol level of 160 milligrams per deciliter or higher, an HDL or "good" cholesterol level of less than 40 milligrams per deciliter or a triglyceride level of 200 milligrams per deciliter or higher. In addition, their height, weight, waist circumference, skin-fold thickness, smoking behaviors, cardiorespiratory fitness and socioeconomic factors were recorded at both time points.

It was found that substantial proportions of individuals with high-risk blood lipid and lipoprotein levels at baseline no longer had high-risk levels at follow-up. Those who continued to have high levels were more likely to have gained body fat and either started or continued to smoke. Those who went from low risk in childhood to high risk as adults were also more likely to have gained body fat, were less likely to improve their socioeconomic conditions and become less fit. When looking only at HDL or "good" cholesterol, it was found that participants who did not improve any lifestyle factors between youth and adulthood had more than double the prevalence of low HDL levels than the study average. Conversely, those who had improved at least two lifestyle factors had a prevalence of low HDL less than one-fourth that of the study average.

The above findings suggest that beneficial changes in modifiable risk factors (smoking and adiposity) in the time between youth and adulthood have the potential to shift those with high-risk blood lipid and lipoprotein levels in youth to low-risk levels in adulthood. The findings also emphasise that preventive programmes aimed at those who do not have high-risk blood lipid and lipoprotein levels in youth are equally important if the proportion of adults with high-risk levels is to be reduced.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The importance of a good night’s sleep

Sleep affects how we look, feel and perform on a daily basis and can have a major impact on our overall quality of life. Sleep is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Chronic sleep deprivation significantly affects one’s well-being and people who do not get enough sleep are at greater risk for a number of diseases and health problems. Interestingly, many of us are sleep deprived without knowing it. According to most experts — and despite the claims of such high-powered personalities as Martha Stewart — six hours or less of sleep a night is not enough. (See “How Much Sleep Do We Need” for optimal sleep hours.)

Lack of sleep has consequences that go way beyond just “feeling drowsy.” If you go about your day feeling energetic and alert, you are probably meeting your sleep needs. However, you are probably lacking sleep if you are showing any of the following signs or symptoms:

• Irritability, moodiness
• Inability to cope with stress
• Weight gain
• Fatigue, lethargy
• Social ineptness
• Memory loss
• Inability to concentrate
• Frequent colds and infections
• More errors at work
• Reduced efficiency and productivity
• Accidents
• Impaired judgment
• Reduced coordination and reaction time

Sleep and Chronic Diseases
The cost of insufficient sleep is much greater than people realize. Studies have shown that people who consistently fail to get adequate sleep are at greater risk for chronic disease. Interest in the role of sleep in the development and management of chronic diseases has grown, as these diseases have assumed an increasingly common role in premature death and illness. Notably, insufficient sleep has been linked to the development and management of a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including:

• Diabetes
• Cardiovascular disease
• Obesity
• Depression

Treating sleep as a priority may be an important step in preventing a number of these chronic medical conditions.
Read More

Monday, January 17, 2011

Top 5 Simple Ways to Reduce Tension in Your Life

Almost everybody suffers from stress especially in this busy society. Everything seems to change so fast. We must be able to cope with the changes to minimize stress. Not everyone deal with stress the same way. How we deal with stress depends upon each and every one of us. Some people may choose supplements while others may try a more natural route like yoga exercise.

There are several simple steps you can take to help you to treat your tension

1) Identify the real cause of stress.

If we know the root cause of the stress then it is easy to get help or find any solution. Always be open to other people's suggestions.

2) Face all situations with Courage

Never ignore any problems. Accept that problem is a part of our life and learn to overcome it with confidence.

3) Always Be positive minded

Happy people are positive minded and have no time for thinking any pessimistic thoughts.

4) Control Your Anger

Anger is a very negative emotion. Learn to cope with it by practicing some self control. When the feeling of anger begins to consume you, you must stop what you are doing immediately and take a deep breath and take stock of the situation.

5) Do Yoga Exercise

Yoga is a way of life for the ancients of India. It was not just a way to keep fit. By following breathing exercise, it can help to reduce tension.

You could start with a simple bending exercise. Just place your feet apart and raise your hands above your head. Inhale, touch your feet, exhale and come back to previous position. Repeat this exercise for 6 times.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Health Benefits of Soybean

Classed under the plant legume, Soybeans (or Soya beans) is mostly found in Southeast Asia. It is found in varied of sizes as well as seed coat colors, right from black, brown, blue, and yellow. Soybeans contain all three of the macro-nutrients required for good nutrition: complete protein, carbohydrate and fat, as well as vitamins and minerals, including calcium, folic acid and iron.

Together, oil and protein content account for about 60% of dry soybeans by weight; protein at 40% and oil at 20%. The remainder consists of 35% carbohydrate and about 5% ash. Soybean cultivars comprise approximately 8% seed coat or hull, 90% cotyledons and 2% hypocotyl axis or germ.

Most soy protein is a relatively heat-stable storage protein. This heat stability enables soy food products requiring high temperature cooking, such as tofu, soy milk and textured vegetable protein (soy flour) to be made.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Where does sleeping sickness occur and how many people are affected?

The Trypanosoma parasite exists in two sub-species in Africa. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that the disease threatens 70 million people in the poorest underdeveloped countries in the world.

T. brucei gambiense is widespread in the western and central parts of Africa. Its host fly prefers shady river banks. The T. brucei gambiense parasite can apparently only affect humans, and so there may be a chance of bringing the disease under control.

T. brucei rhodiense exists in eastern and southern Africa, particularly in areas with large numbers of cattle. Unfortunately, this parasite can also infect a number of mammals, so that there's a 'reservoir' in the animal population that's difficult to eradicate.

Epidemic areas are noted above. In several provinces in these countries, it's estimated that up to 20 per cent of the population are infected by the disease. It has a serious social and economic impact by affecting the workforce and resources and is a major obstacle to development in these areas.

Considerable attempts have been made to control the parasite since the 1930s, and the number of infected people had been falling.

But in the last 30 years, increasing poverty and a decreasing number of surveillance programmes have had undesirable consequences, and epidemics have been seen both in known endemic areas and in areas where it had been thought that the fly and parasite had been eradicated.

Read More

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Color blindness

What is colour blindness?
Sometimes a person may not have as many of the different types of cone cells, or they may be missing altogether. This means that some people cannot see some colours.
Some people may be unable to see the colours green and red – this is the most common type of colour blindness. They might see red as orange and green as white.
Some people may have cones missing which cause them to be unable to see blue and yellow.
How your eyes see colour
Light from the sun or from a light bulb bounces off everything that your eyes see and goes through the pupil (the black hole in the centre of the front of your eye).
The light reaches the retina, which is like a movie screen at the back of your eye.
How do you get colour blindness?
Defective colour vision, as it is called by doctors and scientists, is something which is passed on in the genes. That means that a person gets it from his parents, and they got it from their parents.
Most of the people with colour blindness are male – about 1 boy in 10 will be colour blind, while only about 1 girl in 200 will be colour blind.

Flexibility is power in red blood cells

Now researchers at the University of North Carolina have synthesized red blood cell-sized and -shaped nanoparticles that mimic this flexibility and longevity. The discovery may lead to the development of better method for delivering drugs, they reported Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

"We believe this study represents a real game changer for the future of nanomedicine," told Joseph DiSimone, the study's co-lead investigator, in a news release. Getting particles to continue circulating in the body for extended periods has been a challenge, he said.

Previous studies had focused on how size, shape and surface characteristics of particles affected their movement through the bloodstream, the team wrote, but flexibility's role is less well understood. To test it out, the researchers built artificial cells out of a gel material with "tunable elasticity" -- that is, the team could manage how deformable the cells were.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tomatoes may prevent vascular disease onset

Tomatoes may prevent the onset of vascular disease, according to a latest study out of Japan.

A team of researchers from Kyoto University told that a compound found in the world’s most widely-produced fruit may prevent a condition known as dyslipidemia, which is caused by an abnormal amount of cholesterol and fat in the blood stream.

The compound, 9-oxo-octadecadienoic acid, has anti-duslipidemia effects that the researchers said could help prevent the onset of vascular illness.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Survey Suggests Eating Habits Don’t Match the Belief of Most Americans That Their Diet Is Healthy

Close to 90% of Americans say they eat a healthy diet, but their penchant for sweet foods and drinks suggests otherwise.

A new purchaser Reports Health telephone poll of 1,234 adults showed that 52.6% of respondents said their diet was “somewhat healthy,” 31.5% thought their diet was “very” healthy, and 5.6% said they were “extremely” healthy eaters.

But 43% of said they drank at least one sugary soda or sugar-sweetened coffee or tea drink per day, and around one-quarter said they limit the amount of sweets and fat they get every day.

These not-so-healthy eating habits may sabotage their diets and their waistlines, say Nancy Metcalf, the senior program editor for Consumer Reports Health in Yonkers, N.Y.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

U.S. Kids Getting Lots of Radiation Scans, Study Finds

Exposure to radiation from medical imaging procedures such as X-rays and CT scans has become general among American children, a latest study has found, prompting researchers to call for steps to be taken to ensure appropriate use of the tests to protect children.

Increasing use of diagnostic imaging has led to concerns about radiation exposure. Although X-rays emit relatively little radiation, CT scans emit more and may raise the risk for cancer, mainly in children.

Compared with adults, infants and children are at top risk for tumors because their developing tissues are more sensitive to radiation, the researchers noted.

For the research, Dr. Adam Dorfman, of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor and his colleagues looked at the health insurance records of 355,088 children and teens younger than 18 for a three-year period, from the begin of 2005 through the end of 2007.

In that time, 42 percent of the children had a scan that used radiation, the research found. Most of the 436,711 imaging procedures were done on children older than 10, but infants 2 years or younger also were given scans.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Teen heart risks 'can be tackled', a study suggests

Concerns have been raised that warning signs like high cholesterol are being seen in the young, laying the foundation for future health troubles.

But the research of more than 500 people found those with high cholesterol at 15 could normalise it by their mid-30s.

The Australian study is published in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Participants in the Australian research had levels of cholesterol and other blood fats measured in 1985 when they were aged 9, 12 or 15.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Obesity can begin in 9-month-olds too!

If you believe that children are part of the obesity epidemic, then here's something you should know.

A latest study has revealed that obesity can begin in babies as young as nine months old.

"With the consistent evidence that the per cent of overweight children has steadily increased over the past decade, we weren't surprised by the prevalence rates we found in our research, but we were surprised the trend began at such a young age," said lead research author Brian Moss, at the social work school at Wayne State University in Detroit.

The researchers analysed the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort information collected on 16,400 American children born in 2001. Of these, 8,900 were nine-months-old and 7,500 were two-years-old.

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