Category: Health

Morning smoking may up cancer risk: study

Smoking a cigarette immediately after waking up in the morning may increase the risk of developing lung or oral cancer, a new study has warned. “We found that smokers who consume cigarettes immediately after waking have higher levels of NNAL – a metabolite of the tobacco-specific carcinogen NNK – in their blood than smokers who refrain from smoking a half hour or more after waking, regardless of how many cigarettes they smoke per day,” said Steven Branstetter, assistant professor of biobehavioural health in Pennsylvania State University. According to Branstetter, other research has shown that NNK induces lung tumours in several rodent species. Levels of NNAL in the blood can therefore predict lung cancer risk in rodents as well as in humans. In addition, NNAL levels are stable in smokers over time, and a single measurement can accurately reflect an individual’s exposure. Branstetter and his colleague Joshua Muscat, professor of public health sciences, examined data on 1,945 smoking adult participants from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey who had provided urine samples for analysis of NNAL. These participants also had provided information about their smoking behaviour, including how soon they typically smoked after waking. The researchers found that around 32 per cent of the participants they examined smoked their first cigarette of the day within 5 minutes of waking; 31 per cent smoked within 6 to 30 minutes of...

Read More

Papaya could help lower heart attack risk

Karachi: A group of students from University of Karachi has explored health benefits of papaya and discovered some facts about the delicious tropical fruit, including its usage in lowering chances of heart attack and controlling diabetes. During the research, final year students of BS, Agriculture and Agribusiness Department, KU – Mariam Naseem and Muhammad Kamran Nasir – also discovered numerous advantages of papaya seeds. Naseem explained that juice of papaya seeds is every essential to protect kidney from becoming dysfunctional because seeds contains flavonoids and phenotic, which provides prevention from germs of such diseases. Besides this papaya seeds can also protect from number of infections and could also be used to clean intestines insects, she added. She cited that in Nigeria, 76.7 percent children got rid from intestines insects by drinking juice of papaya seeds in seven days. People in Japan also believed that liver could be protected from diseases with usage of one teaspoon of papaya seeds, Naseem said. It seeds can be used with milk to avoid typhoid disease and it can also cure from hemorrhoids-kind diseases. Papaya seeds also contain a special compound, which helps to stop formation of tumor, Naseem added. Nasir, the other researcher, said papaya contain huge amount of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron, thiamin and magnesium. He noted that enzyme papain in papaya gives relief from indigestion and gastric problems, and added...

Read More

Vitamin D important during pregnancy

Low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy are associated with an increased risk of complications in mothers-to-be and low birth weight in their newborns, a new study finds. The research shows an association but doesn’t prove that insufficient vitamin D causes complications. Still, taking vitamin D supplements may help reduce these risks, the researchers noted. Researchers examined data from 31 studies published between 1980 and 2012. The studies had between 95 and 1 100 participants. The analysis revealed that pregnant women with low levels of vitamin D were more likely to develop gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) and preeclampsia (high blood pressure and protein in the urine). They were also more likely to have a low birth weight baby. The findings are “concerning” given recent evidence that low levels of vitamin D are common during pregnancy, particularly among vegetarians, women with limited sun exposure and those with darker skin, the researchers said. The body makes vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Other sources include supplements and certain types of foods, such as fish. Milk is usually fortified with vitamin D. While the study identified a significant association between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk for pregnancy complications, further research is need to determine whether programmes to boost vitamin D levels in pregnant women would reduce those risks, the researchers at the University of Calgary...

Read More

How Happiness Affects Your Health

By Dr. Anjuli Srivastava In recent years, physicians, psychologists and economists have embarked on a journey to illuminate the connection between joy and wellness. Fascinating research exists, and there is value in understanding the effect of happiness on our lives. To start a conversation about the secrets of happiness, ABC News’ chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser hosted a Twitter chat Tuesday. Experts from the National Institutes of Health, Mayo Clinic, Harvard University and TEDMED, as well as clinicians and people from across the country, joined the one-hour discussion. Here are some of the highlights. How Do We Measure Happiness? There are countless ways to evaluate happiness, a subjective and often dynamic state. With research on the topic soaring, investigators have devised surveys to study people’s sense of well-being. Dr. Amit Sood, a specialist in integrative mind-body medicine at the Mayo Clinic, tweeted that we can measure happiness “through validated happiness scales. Assessment is subjective.” @toddkashdan noted that, “despite problems with self-reports, [there is] no better way to assess happiness than capturing personal thoughts & feelings.” Angela Haupt, health and wellness editor for U.S. News and World Report, tweeted “happiness indicators include life satisfaction, health, community, and civic engagement.” While scientists attempt to quantify elements of happiness, others often believe that true joy is more ethereal. Dr Friedman, a psychiatrist at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Hospital, said...

Read More

Where do all the condoms go?

The condom distribution target was missed by 60% in the 2011/12 financial year according to the South African Institute of Race Relations. Some 399 million condoms, both male and female, were distributed, against a target of just over one billion. The Western Cape had the highest rate of condom distribution, at 46 male condoms distributed per adult male (aged 15 and older) in 2011. The North West distributed an eighth of this number, at 6 condoms per adult male. This is according to the Health Systems Trust database. Condoms used per adult Gauteng and the Northern Cape each distributed 8 condoms per adult male. These were the lowest distribution rates after the North West. Limpopo distributed 20 condoms per adult male and Mpumalanga 19. These were the highest distribution rates after the Western Cape, but were less than half that of the top performing province. The data was obtained from the Department of Health. ‘Condom distribution is likely to be more difficult in areas with low population density. The Northern Cape, for example, has the lowest population density at three people per square kilometre. This is consistent with its low distribution rate of eight condoms per adult male. Gauteng, however, has a population density significantly higher than that of all the other provinces with 675 people per square kilometre, yet it had the same distribution rate as the Northern...

Read More

5 tips to keep weight in check

March is National Nutrition Month, when The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics rolls out its annual education and awareness campaign encouraging everyone to “Eat Right, Your Way, and Every Day.” Their message is important because food and diet have such a direct impact on health – including healthy body weight. Being overweight raises the risk of serious diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, some forms of cancer, and more. Eating right is key for wellness and vitality, and for sure it puts prevention into practice. It’s a myth that eating sensibly is tedious and dull. In truth, a healthy diet contains plenty of delicious and satisfying foods. And for weight control, good food and healthy eating habits make it no big deal. Choose foods high in fiber Fiber is a dieter’s friend because it fills you up, boosts metabolism and foods high in fiber taste great and are naturally low in calories. A study conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center found that women who doubled their fiber intake cut their calorie absorption by 90 calories daily. Combine fiber and protein at every meal Fiber and protein are the two nutrients that take the longest to digest. It is this perfect combination that keeps your serum glucose levels steady, so you have sustained energy and no nagging sugar cravings. Spice it up...

Read More

Eating kiwis can make your skin glow

London: Eating at least three portions of fruit and vegetables daily – including carrots, cabbages and kiwi fruit – gives your skin a “healthy” radiance akin to a tan after just a few weeks, a new study has revealed. Psychologists from the University of St Andrews analysed the impact fruit and vegetable consumption had on perception of skin colour. Pictures were taken of men and women to analyse their skin tone before and after the test period. Researchers found that increased fruit and vegetable consumption led to a deepening of natural red and yellow skin colouration, the Daily Mail reported. They calculated that 2.9 portions of fruit and veggies a day over a six-week period are enough to make people look more healthy, while 3.3 portions will boost attractiveness. In a second project, participants were asked to “judge” the pictures to rate how attractive the faces were. Those with the “healthy glow” were deemed most desirable. Campaigners struggling to persuade people to eat the recommended five portions of fruit and veggies a day could use the findings to promote the idea that such products are not only healthy, but make you more attractive. “Advertising the results of our work could be persuasive in motivating individuals to eschew the dangers of excess ultraviolet exposure in favour of improving diet, which we show to be a more effective way of improving...

Read More

Indian bitter melon `Karela` may hold cure for cancer

Washington: An Indian origin scientist has received a 39,42-dollar grant from the Lottie Caroline Hardy Charitable Trust to continue her research on treating cancer with an extract from bitter melon, a vegetable common in India and known as ` karela ` in Hindi. Ratna Ray, Ph.D., professor of pathology at Saint Louis University, is studying the effect of the extract from the vegetable, which is often used in Indian and Chinese cooking, on head and neck cancer cells. “The goal of our study is to see if a complementary alternative medicine treatment based upon bitter melon can stop the spread of head and neck cancer,” she said. Ray studies using bitter melon extract to prevent or treat cancer by thwarting the spread of cancer cells. In a controlled lab setting, she previously found that bitter melon extract activated a pathway that triggered the death of breast cancer cells, stopping them from growing and spreading. The effectiveness of using bitter melon extract to treat breast cancer in people has not been tested. Then, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, she expanded her research on bitter melon extract to include prostate cancer prevention. With that research underway, Ray discussed her bitter melon research with Dr. Mark Varvares, a SLUCare head and neck cancer specialist and director of the Saint Louis University Cancer Center, who thought her findings could have...

Read More

World Anti-tuberculosis Day today

The World Tuberculosis Day, which is celebrated on March 24 every year, is being marked in Nepal today with the slogan ‘Commitment for Quality and Accessible Service: Global Unity for Tuberculosis-free World’. Director at the National Tuberculosis Control and Prevention Centre, Thimi Dr Rajendra Panta said that 35,735 TB patients have been registered in the DOTS programme of the Nepal government during the fiscal year 2068-69 BS and among them 15,057 have been detected with TB infection. Informing that 90 per cent of the TB patients were cured during the year, he further said still more than 9,000 TB patients are outside the reach of health facilities. According to a survey conducted in 2011 BS, 2.2 per cent of total TB patients are detected with primary DR TB while 15.4 per cent have secondary DR TB in Nepal. The day is being marked with different sets of programme to impart a message that ‘TB could be prevented with the regular intake of medicine’ and eliminate superstitious beliefs on tuberculosis, he...

Read More

Salt causes 2.3 million deaths a year

Over-abundant salt intake was a factor in nearly 2.3 million deaths from heart attacks, strokes and other heart-related causes that occurred worldwide in 2010, according to a new study. That number represents 15% of all heart-related deaths that year, the researchers said. Nearly 1 million deaths (40%) caused by eating too much salt were considered premature, occurring in people aged 69 and younger, the study found. 60% of the deaths were in men. The United States ranked 19th out of the 30 largest countries, with 429 deaths per million adults caused by eating too much salt. That works out to one in 10 of all heart-related deaths in the United States, the study authors noted. Heart attacks and strokes Heart attacks caused 42% of the deaths worldwide, while strokes caused 41%. The rest of the deaths were caused by other types of cardiovascular disease. 84% of the deaths were in low- and middle-income countries. (The United States is considered a high-income nation.) Among the 30 largest countries, those with the highest death rates due to excess salt consumption per million adults were: Ukraine, 2 109; Russia, 1 803; and Egypt, 836. Among all countries, those with the lowest death rates related to salt consumption per million adults were: Qatar, 73; Kenya, 78; and United Arab Emirates, 134. “National and global public health measures, such as comprehensive sodium reduction programs,...

Read More