Rice powder treats cholera effectively

Over years, cholera is being treated by oral rehydration that contains mixture of water with glucose and salts. Actually, glucose might increase the duration and toxicity of bacterial infection, a recent study suggests. 

Researchers found that substitution of rice powder, instead of glucose can dramatically reduce the bacterial toxicity by over 75%.

Like humans, cholera-causing bacteria consumes and thrives well by utilizing glucose and cause serious diarrhea or dysentery, said Dr. Melanie Blokesch, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

In laboratory conditions, cholera bacterium was grown in different culture-mediums such as potato, rice powder and different sugars. Bacteria thrived well in glucose and other sugars but not in starch medium of rice powder. The expression of toxicity-causing bacterial gene was found to be decreased in rice powder medium grown organisms.

The study is not against oral rehydration therapy, which is very effective. However, the regimen should be improved based on study findings, especially in outbreak reported geographical locations, the researchers noted.

The study was published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Cancer fighting pill from broccoli

A team of researchers have developed a cancer fighting pill from broccoli. The pill might reduce the risk of developing cancer, delay the progression or stop spreading of cancer to distant organs.                                                                       
Sulforaphane is a plant chemical that effectively fights cancer in humans. Sulforaphane is abundantly present in broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. Scientists have isolated sulforaphane to develop anti-cancer pill using commercial technologies.

Research studies have proved that sulforaphane possess anti-cancer and neuroprotective properties. However, the plant compound is highly unstable in nature. By using advanced industrial technologies such as sulforadex technology, the compound’s potential was stabilized and can be delivered as pills, said Dr. 
Stephen Franklin, Chief executive, Evgen pharmaceuticals.

Further studies are to be conducted in breast cancer patients, prostate cancer patients and brain hemorrhage patients.

Vitamin D deficiency leads to mental depression?

Vitamin D deficiency may also lead to seasonal mental depression or seasonal affective disorder in humans, a review study suggests. Apart from other causative factors, vitamin D influences the development of seasonal depression in humans.                                                                

Depending on the geographical location, seasonal affective disorder occurs during fall and continues through the winter seasons, every year.

The circulatory levels of vitamin D varies from one person to another depending skin color. Low circulatory levels of vitamin D were observed in dark-skinned patients who were also diagnosed with depressive disorders. Individuals with greater skin pigmentation may suffer vitamin D deficiency in addition with increased risk of developing depressive disorders. The study concluded that depressive disorder patients had low blood levels of vitamin D.

Adequate vitamin D levels are vital to maintain healthy bones and to prevent rickets in children and osteomalacia in children.

Decreased physical activity linked with poor academic performance in kids

Decreased physical activity during childhood is linked with poor academic performance in kids, a study published in Monographs suggests.                                                             

Now-a-days, schools are reducing physical activities due to growing emphasis on academics and student performance. Actually, decreased physical activity significantly affects the mental ability and academic performance in children.

When compared to inactive peers, physically active children outperform in academics and achievements. Larger brain volumes, specifically, hippocampus and basal ganglia was observed in physically active kids. These brain regions are associated with cognition, action, behavior, decision-making and memory. Increased concentration with enhanced attention was evident in physically active children than less active kids.

Physical activity could be a viable alternative intervention for children with autism spectrum and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders. Based on the findings of the present study, school administrators should consider and promote physical activity in the school setting to improve kids’ academic performance.

Beetroot juice treats high blood pressure

Due to presence of dietary nitrate, daily consumption of beetroot juice significantly reduced high blood pressure in hypertension patients, an early phase clinical trial suggested. The results were published in Hypertension.                                                             

The phase-II clinical trial included 64 high blood pressure patients who were given 250 mL of beetroot juice daily. The juice corresponds to 6.4 mmol of nitrate dosage, every date. The results were compared with nitrate-free (depleted) beetroot juice consumed patients.

Reduction in blood vessel stiffness (arteriosclerosis), systolic and diastolic blood pressure with improvements in vascular wall (blood vessel wall) functions was observed in beetroot juice consumed patients. However, no benefits were observed in nitrate-free beetroot juice consumed patients.

Beetroot juice is an affordable, adjunctive, non-expensive treatment for elevated blood pressure.
Consumption of inorganic nitrate from dietary sources could increase blood nitrite levels by a series of chemical reactions. Nitrite is a powerful blood vessel dilator in humans that alleviates blood vessel constriction and high blood pressure.

Take vitamin D supplements reduce lung disease flare-ups

Taking vitamin D supplements can reduce lung disease flare-ups in vitamin D deficient patients, according to a recent study published in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine. Progressive flare-ups are not uncommon in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients that lead to hospitalization risk.                                                                
The present study investigated the beneficial role of vitamin D supplementation in reduction of severity and duration of COPD symptoms including cough, tightness of chest and shortness of breath.

The clinical trial included 240 COPD patients who were assigned to receive either vitamin D supplements or a placebo (dummy pill). Significant reduction in flare-ups was observed in vitamin D deficient patients than normal vitamin D level patients. The study concluded that vitamin D modestly reduced the severity and duration of flare-up in all patients who received vitamin D supplementation.

Vitamin D supplementation is a relatively inexpensive treatment to reduce the risk of flare-ups among vitamin D deficient individuals. COPD patients should test their blood vitamin D levels often and take supplementation, if they’re deficient, said Dr. Adrian Martineau, one of the study researchers.

Vegetable oils combat stomach ulcers and cancer?

Linolenic acid, a chemical present in vegetable oils can combat stomach ulcers and cancer by destroying the causative bacteria, a recent study suggests. The experimental study could lead to novel treatment for these diseases. The study results were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.                                                               

The aim of the study is to counter antibiotic resistance capability of the causative bacteria Helicobacter pylori. The team has developed a nanotherapeutic called LipoLLA that can withstand highly acidic environment of the stomach and kills the bacteria without causing antibiotic resistance, said Dr. Liangfang Zhang, Professor at the University of California.

LipoLLA contains linolenic acid, a chief component of vegetable oil. In experimental studies, LipoLLA was proved to be safe and effective than conventional antibiotics without chances of developing treatment resistance.

Mindfulness as effective as CBT

For treatment of depression and anxiety, group mindfulness is as effective as individual cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a Swedish study suggested.                                                              

The multi-centric study is the first to compare the efficacy of group mindfulness treatment with individual CBT among patients with anxiety and depression in primary healthcare setup.

Approximately 215 patients with 10 individuals per group were randomized to receive either individual CBT or group mindfulness treatment with private training programme. The patients were asked to maintain dairy to record their exercises schedule that lasted 8 weeks. Self-reported survey questionnaire was employed to assess the severity of anxiety and depression symptoms, before and after treatment.

Significant decrease in anxiety symptoms in both groups, with no marked differences in terms of treatment efficacy was observed between two groups. If conducted by certified instructors, group mindfulness is as effective as individual CBT for treatment of depression and anxiety, the researchers noted. 

DHA suppress stress in pregnant women

Taking omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosohexanenoic acid) might be helpful to reduce stress in pregnant women living in high-stress environment. The supplement lower cortisol levels ad improve developmental outcomes of infants in the womb. The study was published in Obstetrics & Gynecology
The study included 64 black women between 16 and 21 weeks of pregnancy. The subjects were aged 20-30 years and lived in low-income environment. The participants were randomly treated with either 450 mg of DHA or a placebo, every day. The stress levels were checked by self-reported questionnaire and saliva test samples at the start date of the study, 24th week and 30th weeks of pregnancy. The stress response to various mental exercises, math problems and speech was tested. Significant reduction in stress levels at 30th week of pregnancy with reduced cortisol levels was observed in DHA-treated women, compared with non-treated women. Suppressed cortisol is believed to be beneficial for infants in terms of developmental skills.

The blood DHA levels of low-income pregnant women were much lower than normal levels, the authors noted.

Omega-3 supplements could reduce cigarette cravings

Taking omega-3 supplements could reduce nicotine cravings and frequency of smoking, according to a study conducted by the researchers at the University of Haifa.                                                                          
Most of the medications being prescribed to reduce or quit smoking are ineffective and often cause serious side effects. Omega-3 supplements are generally inexpensive and safe option to reduce smoking, said Dr. Sharon Rabinovitz Shenkar, addiction medicine expert, University of Haifa.

By depleting circulatory levels of omega-3 fatty acids, prolonged smoking increase the risk of developing immune disorders, progressive lung diseases including cancer. Omega-3 deficiency affects brain’s neural network that are involved in reward pathway, addiction and motivation. Omega-3 deficiency increase addiction risk by causing depression and stress.

The study involved 48 smokers between 18 and 45 years of age who smoked at least 10 cigarettes, every day, over a year. All the subjects were diagnosed with moderate nicotine dependency. One group was assigned to receive omega-3 capsules (5/day for 30 days) and the rest were on placebo. The participants were allowed to smoke throughout the study period.

Using various techniques, nicotine craving and dependence was assessed before, during and at the end of the study. After thirty days, significant reduction in nicotine craving and smoking frequency was observed in omega-3 treated subjects. The treatment benefit continued over a month, even after the subjects discontinued omega-3 supplements. No benefits were observed in placebo group.

Being active is better than medications for back pain management

Simply being active is way better than taking acetaminophen and rest to manage back pain, a recent study revealed.                                                        

Acetaminophen is not really helpful to eliminate back pain in most of the patients. Actually, the pain medication work for some, but not for all. Active life is the key for healthy life. In the modern world, certain nature of job makes us sedentary. Individuals working in PC should move around, change positions often or go for a walk during work hours to keep them healthy, said Dr. Chris Sebelski, one of the researchers.

To reduce or prevent back pain, perform deep breathing exercises such as yoga, loud laughing and cardio to activate key muscles in the trunk. Taking rest actually weakens the muscles, Dr. Chris noted.

Sugar addiction is much worse than cocaine addiction

Yes, it is now officially proved!!! Sugar addiction is much worse than cocaine addiction, a recent suggested. The results of the present study were in-line with previous study published in PLOS ONE in 2007. The brain’s response and reward pathway associated with sugar addiction is similar to addictive illegal drugs. It might be even hard to break habitual sugar consumption than cocaine addiction, according to the study.                                                         

In experimental studies, the laboratory animals were given option to choose either saccharin-mixed drinking water or normal drinking water. About 50% of the animals were on cocaine injections. Shockingly, cocaine-received animals chose normal drinking water while the rest of the animals rushed for saccharin-mixed drinking water. Other similar studies reported that common table sugar was preferred by the animals over cocaine. The pleasure of sweetness, sheer intensity of sugar might be the cause of more addictiveness than cocaine, the scientists believe.
The sugar cravings associated mesolimbic (brain) reward pathway is biologically equivalent to cocaine addiction pathway.Upon abrupt withdrawal of sugar exposure, the animals exhibited characteristics of withdrawal syndrome such as stress, anxiety and behavioral changes, the study concluded.
Some mainstream experts believe that cow’s milk and wheat contains certain opioid-like substances (casomorphin and gluten exorphins) that are equally addictive to heroin.

Links between BPA exposure and food intolerance revealed

For the first time, the possible links between perinatal (period immediately before and after birth) exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) and risk of developing food intolerance in later stages were reported in The FASEB Journal. The risk is likely even at low doses exposure, the experimental study suggested. 
BPA is generally found in polycarbonate plastics used in certain medical devices, food cans, water bottles, dental sealants, baby bottles, water supply pipes and drink packaging etc. BPA leaches into the food substances, and contributes to BPA exposure. The degree of BPA leaching depends on the temperature of food or liquid substances. Hot water accelerates leaching of BPA in water bottles, particularly in prolonged used bottles.

According to Dr. Sandrine Menard, department of Neuro-Gastroenterology and Nutrition, INRA, France, food consumption is the main source of BPA exposure in most people. The study found evidential association between perinatal BPA exposure and development of food intolerance/allergy in later stages of life.

The study involved low dose oral exposure of BPA in rat pups, up to weaning period. In later stages of life, abnormal immune response to new food proteins such as ovalbumin (egg protein) was observed. The symptoms of immune reaction to ovalbumin mimicked food intolerance/allergy in BPA exposed animals. Generally, the results of experimental animals are similar to human clinical trials.

Cocoa might reverse age-related memory decline

Flavanols, an ingredient present in cocoa might reverse age-related memory decline, a study appear in Nature Neuroscience reported.                                                
The study was conducted in 37 healthy volunteers aged between 50 and 69 years of age. The study participants were given a daily drink of either high flavanols of 900 mg or 10mg for three months.

Brain scans and blood tests were performed before and after the study to assess the memory performance in the volunteers. Additionally, a 20-minute pattern recognition exercise for memory testing was conducted.

Improved brain blood flow with significant memory improvements were observed in the high flavanol received individuals.

Naturally occurring food such as green tea, grapes, blueberries and some vegetables are rich sources of flavanols.

Light alcohol drinking linked with better episodic memory

Although alcoholism is not good for health, light alcohol drinking in later life might improve episodic memory, a recent study published in the American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias suggested. Light alcoholics who are over 60 years of age might be able to recall memories of events better than non-alcoholic peers, the study reported.                                                       

Researchers examined medical records of over 660 patients who registered themselves at Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort. The possible association between midlife and late-life alcoholism, cognitive functioning and regional brain volume was assessed in adults without history of memory problems (dementia) and history of alcohol abuse. The study subjects were inquired about memory skills and alcohol habits by questionnaire survey. All the volunteers underwent various neuropsychological assessments and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease.

When compared to midlife, light and moderate alcoholics, higher episodic memory was observed in older individuals with light and moderate alcohol consumption habits. The latter group was presented with larger volume of hippocampus (a brain region) and recalled memories, even better than the former group. Hippocampus is vital for memory and cognition. Additionally, no significant adverse effects were observed on overall mental ability among light alcoholics.

Music therapy improve behavioral problems in kids

A recent Irish study found that music therapy reduced behavioral and emotional problems including depression in children and adolescents. The study was jointly conducted by Queen’s University and Northern Ireland music therapy trust.                                                      

The study analyzed 251 children and young adults with behavioral, emotional and developmental problems. Among them, 128 were assigned to conventional treatment while the rest were on music therapy plus usual care.

When compared to kids not treated with music therapy, significantly improved self-esteem and depression symptoms were observed in music therapy received kids. Music therapy improved interactive and communicative skills, the largest-ever study reported.

Previously published studies have suggested long-term, sustained benefits of music therapy. Further studies are to be conducted to compare the cost-effectiveness of music therapy with other treatments.

A Walnut a day may keep AD at bay

Eating walnut-enriched diet every day may prevent, reduce the risk or delay the onset, progression, worsening of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to a research study appears in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. The research was conducted by an Indian-origin scientist Dr. Abha Chauhan at New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR).                                                 
The study examined the dietary supplementation benefits of 6% and 9% walnuts, equivalent of 28.3 gm and 42.5 gm, every day, respectively in laboratory animals with experimentally-induced brain degeneration. The symptoms of brain degeneration mimicked symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Walnut-enriched diet fed animals showed significant reduction in anxiety problems with improved learning skills, motor development and cognitive memory.

The brain-protective benefits of walnuts might be due to high antioxidant content that delayed/prevented brain degeneration, the researchers believe.

Acupuncture may reduce side effects of breast cancer drugs

Acupuncture may reduce side effects of breast cancer medications such as aromatase inhibitors, a recent study published in the journal Cancer has suggested. Aromatase inhibitors are estrogen-lowering drugs being used to treat estrogen-responsive breast cancers. Some of the common side effects of aromatase inhibitors are hot flashes and menopausal symptoms.                                                                              

In the randomized clinical trial study, acupuncture reduced menopausal symptoms in aromatase-inhibitors treated breast cancer patients. No side effects or risks were reported after acupuncture treatment, the researchers have noted.

The study included 47 breast cancer patients who were assigned to receive either acupuncture treatment or a sham treatment for eight weeks. Reduced severity and frequency of hot flashes, night sweats, joints and muscle pain were reported in the treatment group.

Yoga improve overall wellbeing of breast cancer patients

Practicing yoga could improve quality of life and general well being among breast cancer patients, a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has suggested.                                                                       

The study was conducted by the researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center. The study involved about 191 breast cancer patients who were divided into three groups based on physical activity. No activity, yoga practicing and simple stretching group. Some of the common yoga exercises are relaxation techniques, breathing and meditation. All the participants have received radiation therapy.

When compared to other groups, yoga practiced group has experienced improved overall well being and quality of life including ability to engage in routine activities with reduced stress and fatigue. Research studies have suggested that yoga restored normal neural activity and reduced stress hormones such as cortisol.

Eat yogurt to cut diabetes risk

Eating low-fat yogurt and cottage-cheese could reduce the risk of developing diabetes mellitus by one-third, a study has suggested in Diabetologia.                                                                          

The study has assessed 4000 UK people between 45 and 74 years of age, including 753 type-2 diabetics. When compared to non-eaters, people who consumed large amounts of low-fat yogurt, fromage frais and cottage cheese were less likely to develop type-2 diabetes by 28%.

Although the study could not prove the causal link, the association between the factors was strong.

Blue light improves mental alertness

A recent study published in the journal Sleep has suggested that blue light exposure could improve mental alertness and performance.

Researchers at Brigham’s Women Hospital have developed specialized light equipment with short wavelength (blue light). The effects of blue light were compared with the effects of green light. The researchers have observed that exposure to blue light during the daytime may increase the alertness and mental performance. The study involved 16 participants who were exposed to both lights over 6.5 days, every day. The mental alertness rate, reaction time and brain activity patterns were assessed. 

When compared to green light exposed participants, quicker reaction time, fewer attention lapses, fatigue, increased alertness and optimal brain activity patterns were observed in the blue light exposed individuals.

Natural light is ideal for human health; however, controlled lighting settings including schools and work place may affect the daylight access and natural exposure to sunlight. 

Too much salt intake increase obesity and inflammation risks

Too much salt intake increase obesity and inflammatory diseases risks in the adolescents, a study published in the journal Pediatrics has suggested. Consumption of sodium (salt) more than the recommended daily allowance may increase body fat deposition and inflammation. Chronic inflammation contributes to several diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus and other autoimmune disorders by release of immuno-modulatory factors.                                                                   

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables over processed foods and reducing diet salt could prevent these problems. Weight loss could be achieved by reducing the salt intake which control calorie intake and burning mechanisms.

Increased food consumption, particularly processed foods is associated with more sodium intake that increases obesity risk, the researchers concluded.

Vitamin C and E blunts endurance training benefits

Taking vitamin C and E supplements could blunt endurance training induced augmentation of certain mitochondrial proteins, according to a study published in the Journal of Physiology. Taking these antioxidants could interfere with the process of exercise-induced muscular reactions and endurance.                                                                             

Vitamin C and E increase oxygen demand in the muscles and reduce endurance training benefits. 

The present study involved several participants who were assigned to receive either 1000 mg of vitamin C with 235 mg of vitamin E or a placebo. No significant differences in performance were observed. However, muscular biopsy has suggested lack of oxygen supply in certain muscles among vitamins-supplemented participants.

Strawberries and cucumbers may prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Fisentin, a beneficial plant chemical present in strawberries and cucumbers may prevent Alzheimer’s disease and associated memory loss, according to a study published in the journal Aging Cell.                                                                           

The experimental study was conducted by the researchers at Salk Institute. Fisetin, a flavonol significantly prevented progressive learning impairments and memory problems. However, the plant chemical did not reduced amyloid plaque formation in the brain that leads to Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings have suggested an amyloid-independent way to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

The neuro-protective, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of Fisetin were proved by previously published research studies.

Pet caring nature is linked with stronger social relationships

Kids and young adults who are emotionally attached with pet animals are tend to grow as sensitive individuals with stronger social or community relationships in future, according to a study published in the journal Applied Developmental Science.                                                                      
The survey study involved over 500 subjects between 18 and 26 years of age, mostly females. The participants were inquired about the interactions and attitudes towards animals. The study was led by Dr. Megan Mueller, assistant professor of developmental psychology, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University.

The developmental characteristics and contributing activities including confidence, competence, caring, character, sense of depression, leadership skills, community and family rapport were assessed and scored. When compared to others, evidential community servicing characters, family or friends helping nature with demonstrated leadership were observed in young adults who cared for animals. Higher the pet’s care, more the contribution scores in the young adults.

The role of animals in developing an individual’s character, particularly in earlier stages of life is more significant that increase sense of connection with others, confidence and empathy

Hemp seed oil is good for heart

Derived from Cannabis plant, hemp seed is a good source of edible oil. Most of us don’t know that hemp seed oil is good for heart health. When compared to other forms of Cannabis, the hallucinogenic properties of hemp are low, and possess high levels of beta-carotene, minerals, fibre, vitamin A, C, E and proteins.                                                                             
Cannabis is being used for textile, food and medicinal purposes.

Botanical study led by Dr. Fernandez-Arche has investigated the health benefits of hemp seed oil. The team have found abundant levels of sterols and linolenic acids are present in hemp seed oils. Linolenic acid belongs to omega-3 fatty acids that prevent heart diseases and other vascular diseases.

The study was published in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Skip breakfast to develop metabolic syndrome

Skipping breakfast during teenage could increase risk of developing metabolic syndrome in later parts of the life. Metabolic syndrome is characterized by high blood cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. The study was published in the journal Public Health Nutrition.                                                                        

People who ate poor breakfast or neglect breakfast are at high risk of developing metabolic syndrome during adulthood. The Swedish survey has inquired the breakfast habits of about 889 teens during 1981.

The study subjects were followed-up over 27 years and evidences of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity were observed in 68% of people who skipped breakfast.

IVF: A Boon or Bane?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) or test tube baby technique was introduced in 1981 and till date over 10 million babies were born using the treatment. However, the technique may be overused, and the risks could outweigh the benefits, according to a study published in British Medical Journal.                                                                          

IVF should be considered for women who are severely infertile or having infertile partner. But, most of the fertility experts are using IVF to treat unexplained infertility, a common problem among modern day couples. Most of the unexplained infertility patients are able to conceive naturally before treatment, and hence the rationality of IVF use in such individuals is questionable, according to a Dutch study.  

Some research studies have pointed out that extended IVF use could increase the health risks in both mother and the unborn fetus. Some of the common complications of multiple pregnancies associated with IVF are fetal growth restrictions, diabetes during pregnancy, preeclampsia and premature birth in the unborn fetus.

When compared to naturally conceived babies, singleton born to an assisted pregnant mother is prone to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and blood vessel abnormalities.

In the recent days, IVF has turned to be a profit-generating industry for fertility clinicians. Most of the research studies do not assess the long-term safety of IVF in mothers and children, the health experts have concerned.

For unexplained infertility patients, when it comes to pregnancy, the choice should be decided be the couples, not by the physicians. To minimize health risks, IVF interventions should be used judiciously.