Homocystein is an amino acid that is produced by
the body. It is natural to have some homocysteine in the body but elevated
homocysteine levels can cause health hazards like heart attack, stroke and
venous thrombosis (blood clots in veins).

Thus there is a direct association between
elevated homocysteine levels and the increased risk of coronary heart disease.
Studies have estimated that a reduction of 3 μmol/L in serum homocysteine would decrease risk of coronary heart
disease by 18 percent and stroke by 24 percent after a mean follow-up of 7·3
years. However, this association
was more pronounced in populations with low dietary folate consumption.
In regions with established policies of
population folate supplementation, no coronary benefits were observed from
lowering of homocysteine.

Some studies have associated the MTHFR 677C→T polymorphism with raised
homocysteine concentration and increased risk of stroke. MTHFR is a gene called
methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. It provides instructions for making an
enzyme that plays an important role in a chemical reaction involving B-vitamin

In order to
investigate the potential modifying effect of folate status on the association
between the MTHFR 677C→T
variant and stroke risk, a collaboration of genetic studies including data for
homocysteine concentration and stroke events was established. The finding of
this genetic analysis was compared with a meta-analysis of randomised
controlled trials of homocysteine-lowering treatments on stroke risk.

Researchers established genetic studies
consisting of 237 datasets including 59,995 individuals with data for
homocysteine and 20885 stroke events. On comparing the genetic findings with a
meta-analysis of 13 randomised trials of homocysteine lowering treatments and
stroke risk, the following results were found –

The effect of the MTHFR 677C→T variant on homocysteine concentration was larger in
low folate regions than in areas with folate fortification.

It was highly dependent on probable folate
status category.

In regions with no supplementation with folic
acid, for eg; Asia, participants homozygous for the T allele had higher
concentrations of homocysteine than did those homozygous for the C allele. The
effect was reduced in studies undertaken in geographical regions with policies
of folic acid fortification like America, Australia, and New Zealand.

Patterns were similar when heterozygous
individuals were compared with those homozygous for the C allele, although the
magnitude of the genetic effect was smaller.

In regions without
folic acid fortification, the odds of
stroke was 1·68 for comparison of individuals with the TT genotype and those
with the CC genotype. This increase in risk was substantially larger than that
noted in regions with low folate intake and regions with mid folate intake or
folate fortification.

Even though there is a strong evidence of an
increased risk of stroke associated with the MTHFR 677C→T variant, reduction of homocysteine concentration
might not necessarily reverse the risk of stroke in adult life
. Such conclusions can be derived from randomised trials of interventions
such as folic acid that reduce the concentration of homocysteine.

It is important to
emphasis on few differences between the evidence obtained from randomised
trials and genetic studies. Firstly, most trial evidence arose from settings in
which policies of folic acid fortification were well in place. Secondly, genetic
studies reflect lifetime exposure to the phenotype resulting from the genetic
variant, since randomization to the allele variants occurs at conception.
Third, the number of stroke events in trials is substantially lower than that
included in the genetic analyses. Fourth, evidence from randomized trials is
derived mainly from individuals with established vascular disease, whereas that
from genetic studies is mainly population-based. Therefore, genetic evidence
should be regarded only as an approximate guide to the risk reduction achieved
by modification of homocysteine concentrations in randomised trials.

It should also be
considered that MTHFR 677C→T, a
genetic instrument used to evaluate the effects of homocysteine on stroke risk,
has poor specificity and it can not be denied that the genetic effect of
MTHFR could be because of some mechanism other than homocysteine.
the effect seen in low folate regions could be due to selective reporting bias
in the subtype of stroke reported in genetic case-control or cohort studies i.e
if stroke subtype was differentially reported according to continent and was
associated with MTHFR genotype,
the observed signal could be inflated.

The researchers
conclude ‘In regions with increasing levels or established policies of
population folate supplementation, evidence from genetic studies and randomised
trials is concordant in suggesting an absence of benefit from lowering of
homocysteine for prevention of stroke. Further large-scale genetic studies of
the association between MTHFR 677C→T and stroke in low folate settings are
needed to distinguish effect modification by folate from small-study bias. If
future randomised trials of homocysteine-lowering interventions for stroke
prevention are undertaken, they should take place in regions with low folate

Source: Holmes MV, et al. Effect modification by population
dietary folate on the association between MTHFR genotype, homocysteine, and
stroke risk: a meta-analysis of genetic studies and randomised trials. Lancet.
2011 Aug 13;378(9791):584-94. Epub 2011 Jul 29.


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/allhealthnews/~3/k7hiTsXTbEM/Can-Dietary-Folate-Reduce-Stroke-Risk-Not-Always-Says-a-Study-91309-1.htm

The report by Surgeons from Boston Medical Center (BMC) also found the incidence of hypoglycemic events increased with aggressive glycemic control.

Currently, 40 percent of all patients undergoing CABG suffer from diabetes, and this number is quickly rising. Traditionally these patients have more complications following surgery, including greater risk of heart attacks, more wound infections and reduced long-term survival.

In the study, eighty-two diabetic patients undergoing CABG were prospectively randomized to receive either aggressive glycemic control or moderate glycemic control using continuous intravenous insulin solutions beginning at anesthesia and continuing for 18 hours after surgery.

Researchers found that there was no difference in the incidence of major adverse effects between the two groups.

“Aggressive glycemic control did not result in any significant improvement of clinical outcomes than can be achieved with moderate control,” said Lazar, who is also a professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Boston University School of Medicine.

“Although aggressive glycemic control did increase the incidence of hypoglycemic events, it did not result in an increased incidence of neurological events,” he added.

The study has been published in the journal Annals of Surgery.


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/allhealthnews/~3/CQGUJ0SGIOI/Survival-in-Diabetics-Undergoing-Bypass-Not-Improved-by-Aggressive-Glycemic-Control-91289-1.htm

“It was decided this evening after a meeting that three coffee shops will move from the city centre to the outskirts in the south,” Gertjan Bos, spokesman for Maastrict mayor Onno Hoes, told AFP.

Yearly, some two million visitors frequent the city’s 14 coffee shops, many of them from across the nearby borders with Belgium and Germany, bringing in an estimated 250 million euro ($339 million dollars) in revenue, Bos said.

But the influx of drug tourists has placed a major strain on the city’s 120,000 residents with frequent traffic jams, nocturnal disturbances and an increase in aggressive drug pushers harassing tourists.

Bos said a deal was reached with owners of three coffee shops, the “Smokey”, “Mississippi” and “Missouri”, to move about three kilometres (1.8 miles) outside the city centre to establish a “coffee corner” catering for foreign tourists.

Marc Josemans, president of the Maastricht Association of Coffee Shops, said his association was happy with the deal, which however would only take effect in 2013. “It shows that we can find creative ways of dealing with the problem,” he said. Four other coffee shops are to follow in the future, he said.

On 1 October however, coffee shop operators will be imposing a ban on lighting a joint in their shops unless patrons can prove they were from the Netherlands, Belgium or Germany in an attempt by owners to reduce problems.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/allhealthnews/~3/Vgx8-_1F6h4/Three-Cannabis-Cafes-Moving-to-Outskirts-in-Dutch-City-91290-1.htm

The technology offers the first way to measure ‘exactly how you slept,’ its inventor, Ben Rubin, told the Daily Mail.

Rubin claims the gizmo can even improve your sex life.

The headband has two silver patches to monitor your brain waves, and show whether you are in ‘deep sleep’ or are dreaming.

The app even offers advice on what might be disturbing your sleep, from snoring partners to over-lit bedrooms.

The gadget measures tiny electrical impulses in your skin that reflect what’s going on in your brain – ‘scoring’ you with a ‘ZQ’ score for how much deep sleep and REM sleep you get.

“If you’re a young, healthy person, you should be scoring 100,” says Rubin.

The app is easy to read, with different colour bars representing different ‘types’ of sleep.

It also offers sleep advice if you feed it with data such as your caffeine intake.


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/allhealthnews/~3/7wCejpaGzgY/Better-Sleep-and-Sex-Life-Now-With-a-New-Headband-91275-1.htm

The first results of the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes-Memory in Diabetes (ACCORD-MIND) study appear online today in The Lancet Neurology.

“We know that people with type 2 diabetes have a much higher risk of dementia and memory loss than people without diabetes,” said Jeff D. Williamson, M.D., chief of the Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology and principal investigator of the study”s coordinating center at Wake Forest Baptist. “What we didn”t know was, if you intensively control blood sugar levels in people who have had a history of trouble controlling them, does the added cost and effort to control blood sugar result in a slowed rate of memory loss? After conducting this study, there remains no evidence that it does.

“We also learned, however, that the intensive blood sugar control does preserve brain volume,” added Williamson, director of the Roena Kulynych Center for Memory and Cognition Research at Wake Forest Baptist. “What that means for the long term preservation of cognitive function of these patients, we”re still trying to figure out.”

The ACCORD-MIND trial is a national study sponsored by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute – part of the National Institutes of Health – designed to examine the effects of different glucose-lowering strategies on the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/allhealthnews/~3/juFvOF8L6Wg/Intensive-Glucose-Lowering-Does-Not-Improve-Cognitive-Decline-91256-1.htm

Two mechanisms for learning in the brain

In the hippocampus, two different mechanisms for the long-term storage of new information are at work . Long-term potentiation leads to an increase in the communication between nerve cells. Long-term depression, on the other hand, weakens the connections between the cells. „According to our results, cell populations react with potentiation at the beginning, for instance when we enter a new room “, explains Manahan-Vaughan. „Long-term depression then allows us to refine this new cellular information and encode the details and characteristics of the room.”

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/allhealthnews/~3/EdU_10YewpE/Learning-the-2-Dimensional-Way-91243-1.htm

Functional Health Challenges Develop Sooner in African-American Women

Medindia News No Responses »
Sep 292011

While examining self-reported data about the lives of 8,700 older people, a Case Western Reserve University sociologist identified an accelerated rate of reported physical limitations by African American women in their mid-50s and 60s.

The finding surfaced as researchers looked generally at how the intersection of gender and race/ethnicity affect health disparities among older African-Americans, Mexican-Americans and Whites.

David Warner, assistant professor of sociology at Case Western Reserve University, found that, in general, men of all racial/ethnic groups fared better than the women. And, those with education, economic means and higher net worth reported fewer physical health issues.

“But we could not find the reason why African-American women developed limitations faster than other gender and racial/ethnic groups,” he said.

Warner and his co-investigator Tyson H. Brown from Vanderbilt University set out to approach health disparities in a new way by looking at gender and race/ethnicity concurrently in order to better understand health disparities.

Overall, the researchers found that gender and race/ethnicity jointly and simultaneously define access to resources that promote health and exposure to risks that undermine the health of individuals over time.

The researchers did find that life disadvantages, such as lower incomes and lack of access to health care surfacing in midlife tend to follow individuals throughout their lives and that women are particularly at risk for such disadvantages.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/allhealthnews/~3/6WZhwKFmu4U/Functional-Health-Challenges-Develop-Sooner-in-African-American-Women-91244-1.htm

Potatoes: Best Natural Source of Potassium

Medindia News No Responses »
Sep 282011

Dr. Adam Drewnowski and colleagues from the University of Washington merged nutrient composition data from the USDA Food and Nutrition Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS 2.0) with the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) national food prices database. Frequency of consumption data was obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2003-4). The Affordable Nutrition Index (ANI) was the metric used to assess nutritional value per dollar for potatoes and for other vegetables.

Potatoes were the lowest cost source of dietary potassium, a nutrient identified by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines as lacking in the American diet. The high cost of meeting federal dietary guidelines for potassium, 4,700 mg per person per day, presents a challenge for consumers and health professionals, alike. However, the cost of potassium-rich white potatoes was half that of most other vegetables.

“Potatoes deserve credit for contributing to higher diet quality and increasing vegetable consumption,” said lead researcher Adam Drewnowski, PhD. “Potatoes also play an important role in providing affordable nutrition to Americans. You CAN afford to meet key dietary guidelines IF you include potatoes in your diet.”

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/allhealthnews/~3/NTXIEa84rBc/Potatoes-Best-Natural-Source-of-Potassium-91226-1.htm

New Research Probes Near-death Experiences

Medindia News No Responses »
Sep 282011

In their study, neuroscientist Dean Mobbs, of the University of Cambridge’s Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, and Caroline Watt, of the University of Edinburgh, found that “contrary to popular belief, there is nothing paranormal about these experiences.

“Instead, near-death experiences are the manifestation of normal brain function gone awry, during a traumatic, and sometimes harmless, event,” the report adds.

Mobbs and Watt noted that many classic NDE symptoms are actually reported by people who were never in danger of dying in the first place.

This suggests that the perception that one is near death is traumatic and disturbing enough to cause some of the experiences.

“The sufferer feels that he or she is dead, even though not actually near death. It can be associated with trauma and some illnesses. It’s not fully understood why individuals suffer from Cotard syndrome, but one possibility is that it’s the brain’s attempt to make sense of the strange experiences that the patient is having,” Watt told Discovery News.

Watt believes that near-death experiences hold an enduring fascination for people because they like the idea that humans survive bodily death.

The study has been published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences.


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/allhealthnews/~3/2ryYEH0s-TI/New-Research-Probes-Near-death-Experiences-91216-1.htm

Customers can File Online Complaints About Health Insurance Companies With IRDA

Medindia News No Responses »
Sep 282011

Online complaints about health insurance companies can now be filed with the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) at http://www.igms.irda.gov.in.

The Integrated Grievance Management System (IGMS) of IRDA facilitates online registration of policyholders’ complaints and helps track their status. One can avail of further assistance on a toll-free number 155255.

This is a step forward from last year, when IRDA had opened a channel to accept complaints on insurance policies, in case the insurer’s response wasn’t satisfactory. Now, one can register a complaint as well as check its status later.

What should one do in case of a complaint against an insurer?

One should first approach the insurer’s Grievance Redressal Mechanism as spelt out in the insurance policy document (link to the insurers’ grievance mechanism is available in http://www.igms.irda.gov.in at List of Insurers).

What happens if there is no response from the insurer?

In case the complaint is not fully attended to by the insurer within 15 days of its being lodged, the customer may use the IGMS for escalating the complaint to IRDA.

How to use the IGMS:

A policyholder can make optimum use of this system by giving accurate information about the complaint like the policy number, name of the insurer, complainant’s contact details, etc. One must keep the policy document ready while registering the complaint online.

The Complaint Registration Process involves two simple steps:

Step 1 : Registration of the customer by entering his/her credentials

Provide personal details such as name, date of birth, gender, contact number and address. Enter the permanent account number (PAN), voter ID number, or the passport

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/allhealthnews/~3/CfcXhxh4jF0/Customers-can-File-Online-Complaints-About-Health-Insurance-Companies-With-IRDA-91196-1.htm

© 2011 Health Problems Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha