Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Exercise can slow or prevent vision loss


Exercise can slow or prevent the development of macular degeneration and may benefit other common causes of vision loss, such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, new research suggests.
The new study from the University of Virginia School of Medicine found that exercise reduced the harmful overgrowth of blood vessels in the eyes of lab mice by up to 45%. This tangle of blood vessels is a key contributor to macular degeneration and several other eye diseases.
The study represents the first experimental evidence showing that exercise can reduce the severity of macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss, the scientists report. Ten million Americans are estimated to have the condition.
"There has long been a question about whether maintaining a healthy lifestyle can delay or prevent the development of macular degeneration. The way that question has historically been answered has been by taking surveys of people, asking them what they are eating and how much exercise they are performing," said researcher Bradley Gelfand, PhD, of UVA's Center for Advanced Vision Science. "That is basically the most sophisticated study that has been done. The problem with that is that people are notoriously bad self-reporters ... and that can lead to conclusions that may or not be true. This [study] offers hard evidence from the lab for very first time."
The Benefits of Exercise
Enticingly, the research found that the bar for receiving the benefits from exercise was relatively low - more exercise didn't mean more benefit. "Mice are kind of like people in that they will do a spectrum of exercise. As long as they had a wheel and ran on it, there was a benefit," Gelfand said. "The benefit that they obtained is saturated at low levels of exercise."
An initial test comparing mice that voluntarily exercised versus those that did not found that exercise reduced the blood vessel overgrowth by 45%. A second test, to confirm the findings, found a reduction of 32%.
The scientists aren't certain exactly how exercise is preventing the blood vessel overgrowth. There could be a variety of factors at play, they say, including increased blood flow to the eyes.
Gelfand, of UVA's Department of Ophthalmology and Department of Biomedical Engineering, noted that the onset of vision loss is often associated with a decrease in exercise. "It is fairly well known that as people's eyes and vision deteriorate, their tendency to engage in physical activity also goes down," he said. "It can be a challenging thing to study in older people. ... How much of that is one causing the other?"
The researchers already have submitted grant proposals in hopes of obtaining funding to pursue their findings further.
"The next step is to look at how and why this happens, and to see if we can develop a pill or method that will give you the benefits of exercise without having to exercise," Gelfand said. "We're talking about a fairly elderly population [of people with macular degeneration], many of whom may not be capable of conducting the type of exercise regimen that may be required to see some kind of benefit." (He urged people to consult their doctors before beginning any aggressive exercise program.)
Gelfand, a self-described couch potato, disclosed a secret motivation for the research: "One reason I wanted to do this study was sort of selfish. I was hoping to find some reason not to exercise," he joked. "It turned out exercise really is good for you."

Red meat damages our arteries

A compound produced in the gut when we eat red meat damages our arteries and may play a key role in boosting risk of heart disease as we get older, according to new University of Colorado Boulder research.
The study, published this month in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, also suggests that people may be able to prevent or even reverse such age-related decline via dietary changes and targeted therapies, like novel nutritional supplements.
"Our work shows for the first time that not only is this compound directly impairing artery function, it may also help explain the damage to the cardiovascular system that naturally occurs with age," said first author Vienna Brunt, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Integrative Physiology.
Eat a slab of steak or a plate of scrambled eggs, and your resident gut bacteria get to work immediately to break it down. As they metabolize the amino acids L-carnitine and choline, they churn out a metabolic byproduct called trimethylamine, which the liver converts to trimethylamine-N-Oxide (TMAO) and sends coursing through your bloodstream.
Previous studies have shown that people with higher blood levels of TMAO are more than twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke and tend to die earlier.
But to date, scientists haven't completely understood why.
Drawing on animal and human experiments, Brunt and her team set out to answer three questions: Does TMAO somehow damage our vascular system? If so, how? And could it be one reason why cardiovascular health gets worse--even among people who exercise and don't smoke--as we get older?
The researchers measured the blood and arterial health of 101 older adults and 22 young adults and found that TMAO levels significantly rise with age. (This falls in line with a previous study in mice, showing the gut microbiome--or your collection of intestinal bacteria--changes with age, breeding more bacteria that help produce TMAO).
Adults with higher blood levels of TMAO had significantly worse artery function, the new study found, and showed greater signs of oxidative stress, or tissue damage, in the lining of their blood vessels.
When the researchers fed TMAO directly to young mice, their blood vessels swiftly aged.
"Just putting it in their diet made them look like old mice," said Brunt. She noted that 12-month-old mice (the equivalent of humans about 35 years old) looked more like 27-month-old mice (age 80 in people) after eating TMAO for several months.
Preliminary data also show that mice with higher levels of TMAO exhibit decreases in learning and memory, suggesting the compound could also play a role in age-related cognitive decline.
On the flip side, old mice that ate a compound called dimethyl butanol, (found in trace amounts in olive oil, vinegar and red wine) saw their vascular dysfunction reverse. Scientists believe that this compound prevents the production of TMAO.
Brunt notes that everyone--even a young vegan--produces some TMAO. But over time, eating a lot of animal products may take a toll.
"The more red meat you eat, the more you are feeding those bacteria that produce it," she said.
Senior author Doug Seals, director of the Integrative Physiology of Aging Laboratory, said the study is an important breakthrough because it sheds light on why our arteries erode with age, even in the healthiest people.
"Aging is the single greatest risk factor for cardiovascular disease, primarily as a result of oxidative stress to our arteries," said Seals. "But what causes oxidative stress to develop in our arteries as we age? That has been the big unkown. This study identifies what could be a very important driver."
The research team is now further exploring compounds that might block production of TMAO to prevent age-related vascular decline.
For now, they said, a plant-based diet may also keep levels in check.

Latest Health Research

 
Diet

Light drinking may protect brain function

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 18 hours ago
Light to moderate drinking may preserve brain function in older age, according to a new study from the University of Georgia. The study examined the link between alcohol consumption and changes in cognitive function over time among middle-aged and older adults in the U.S. "We know there are some older people who believe that drinking a little wine everyday could maintain a good cognitive condition," said lead author Ruiyuan Zhang, a doctoral student at UGA's College of Public Health. "We wanted to know if drinking a small amount of alcohol actually correlates with a good cognitive func... more »
 
BUT:
 

Even 'low-risk' drinking can be harmful

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 2 weeks ago
JOURNAL OF STUDIES ON ALCOHOL AND DRUGS SHARE PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: DOES DRINKING WITHIN CANADA'S LOW-RISK GUIDELINES PREVENT HARM? view more CREDIT: UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA PISCATAWAY, NJ - It's not just heavy drinking that's a problem -- even consuming alcohol within weekly low-risk drinking guidelines can result in hospitalization and death, according to a new study published in the *Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs*. Moderate drinkers "are not insulated from harm," write researchers led by Adam Sherk, Ph.D., of the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Res... more »

The consumption of too much fructose -- particularly in a short period of time -- can overwhelm the gut

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 1 day ago
After one consumes food or a beverage containing fructose, the gastrointestinal system, or gut, helps to shield the liver from damage by breaking down the sugar before it reaches the liver, according to a new multi-center study led by researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. However, the consumption of too much fructose -- particularly in a short period of time -- can overwhelm the gut, causing fructose to "spill over" into the liver, where it wreaks havoc and causes fatty liver, researchers discovered. The findings, in mice, help to unravel ... more »
 

Excessive sugar intake linked with unhealthy fat deposits

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 1 day ago
Sugar consumption is linked with larger fat deposits around the heart and in the abdomen, which are risky for health. That's the finding of a study published today in the *European Journal of Preventive Cardiology*, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).1 "When we consume too much sugar the excess is converted to fat and stored," said study author Ms. So Yun Yi, a PhD student at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. "This fat tissue located around the heart and in the abdomen releases chemicals into the body which can be harmful to health. Our results s... more »
 

Raw milk may do more harm than good

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 1 day ago
Raw or unpasteurized cows' milk from U.S. retail stores can hold a huge amount of antimicrobial-resistant genes if left at room temperature, according to a new study from researchers at the University of California, Davis. The study also found bacteria that harbored antimicrobial-resistant genes can transfer them to other bacteria, potentially spreading resistance if consumed. The study was published in the journal Microbiome. "We don't want to scare people, we want to educate them. If you want to keep drinking raw milk, keep it in your refrigerator to minimize the risk of it develo... more »
 

Nutrition a key ingredient for cognitive health

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 6 days ago
Fruit and vegetable intake, immigration status, age, education, blood pressure, obesity and body fat were found to be associated with greater verbal fluency among anglophone Canadians aged 45 and older UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO SHARE PRINT E-MAIL A new study, investigating factors associated with verbal fluency among a large sample of anglophone Canadians aged 45-85, found that individuals who consumed more vegetables and fruits and more nuts and pulses (such as lentils and beans) scored higher on tests of verbal fluency. "These findings are consistent with other research that has f... more »
 

Following a variety of healthy eating patterns associated with lower heart disease risk

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 2 weeks ago
HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH SHARE PRINT E-MAIL Boston, MA - Greater adherence to a variety of healthy eating patterns was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to new research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The findings add support for the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which focus on healthy eating patterns rather than individual ingredients and nutrients to better account for diverse cultural and personal food traditions and preferences. "Although each healthy eating pattern represents a different... more »

Vegetarians are slimmer and less extroverted than meat eaters

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 2 weeks ago
According to a survey by the Allensbach Institute, more than 6.1 million Germans stated last year that they were vegetarians, 400,000 more than two years earlier. A large-scale study at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) in cooperation with the University Hospital of Leipzig has now examined in almost 9,000 people how this form of nutrition is related to the body and the psyche - regardless of age, gender and level of education. It was found that the rarer the proportion of animal food in a person's diet, the lower their body mass index (BMI) o... more »
 

Vitamin K may offer protective health benefits in older age

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 2 weeks ago
A new, multi-ethnic study found older adults with low vitamin K levels were more likely to die within 13 years compared to those whose vitamin K levels were adequate. The results suggest vitamin K, a nutrient found in leafy greens and vegetable oils, may have protective health benefits as we age, according to the researchers. The meta-analysis, involving nearly 4,000 Americans aged 54-76, one-third of whom were non-white, was led by researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University (USDA HNRCA) and Tufts Medical Center and is published i... more »
 

People who eat a late dinner may gain weight

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 2 weeks ago
Eating a late dinner may contribute to weight gain and high blood sugar, according to a small study published in the Endocrine Society's *Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism*. Over 2.1 billion adults are estimated to have overweight or obesity which make health complications like diabetes and high blood pressure more likely. Some studies suggest that consuming calories later in the day is associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome. "This study sheds new light on how eating a late dinner worsens glucose tolerance and reduces the amount of fat burned. The effect of late ... more »

High-salt diet impacts health of gut microbiome

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 3 weeks ago
Particularly in females with untreated hypertension, reducing salt intake to what's considered a healthier level appears to be good for both their gut microbiome and their blood pressure, scientists report. In the blood of 145 adults with untreated hypertension, the scientists found that, particularly for the females, just six weeks of a daily sodium intake close to the 2,300 milligrams recommended by groups like the American Heart Association, resulted in increased levels of short-chain fatty acids, an indicator of a healthy microbiome, circulating in the blood. The hypertensive ad... more »
 

Drinking fruit juice in early years can have long term dietary benefits

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 3 weeks ago
A new study from Boston University published on-line at *BMC Nutrition* by Lynn L. Moore and colleagues, found that drinking 100% fruit juice early in life was associated with healthier dietary patterns in later childhood without adversely impacting weight gain. The study found that consumption of 100% fruit juice during the preschool years was associated with higher intakes of whole fruit and total fruit as well as better diet quality through childhood and into middle adolescence. "We know that whole fruit intake as well as diet quality typically decline from early childhood throug... more »
 

Combination of healthy lifestyle traits may substantially reduce Alzheimer's disease risk

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 1 week ago
Data from two NIH studies show 60% lower risk among those with highest number of healthy behaviors NIH/NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING SHARE PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: COMBINING FOUR OR FIVE HEALTHY LIFESTYLE BEHAVIORS -- SUCH AS SWIMMING -- MAY LOWER RISK OF ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE. view more CREDIT: NIH/NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING Combining more healthy lifestyle behaviors was associated with substantially lower risk for Alzheimer's disease in a study that included data from nearly 3,000 research participants. Those who adhered to four or all of the five specified healthy beh...more »
 

Regular volunteer work provides demonstrable benefits for the health and well-being of older adults

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 2 weeks ago
A new study in the *American Journal of Preventive Medicine*, published by Elsevier, takes a closer look at the benefits of volunteering to the health and well-being of volunteers, both validating and refuting findings from previous research. The results verify that adults over 50 who volunteer for at least 100 hours a year (about two hours per week) have a substantially reduced risk of mortality and developing physical limitations, higher levels of subsequent physical activity, and improved sense of well-being later on compared to individuals who do not volunteer. "Humans are socia... more »
Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 1 day ago
[image: IMAGE] IMAGE: THE WEIGHT TRAINING SETUP (LEFT) AND THE WEIGHT PROGRESSION FOR EACH MONKEY (RIGHT). view more CREDIT: GLOVER AND BAKER, JNEUROSCI 2020 Gym-goers may get frustrated when they don't see results from weightlifting right away, but their efforts are not in vain: the first few weeks of training strengthen the nervous system, not muscles. New research published in *JNeurosci* reveals how. The brain orchestrates movement via two major neural highways descending to the spinal cord: the corticospinal tract (CST) and reticulospinal tract (RST). The CST is thought to be t... more »

Exercise increases benefits of breast milk for babies

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 1 day ago
A new study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine finds even moderate exercise during pregnancy increases a compound in breast milk that reduces a baby's lifelong risks of serious health issues such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Findings from the study published online today in the journal *Nature Metabolism*. "We've done studies in the past that have shown that maternal exercise improves the health of offspring, but in this study, we wanted to begin to answer the question of why," said Kristin Stanford, a researcher ... more »

Study links increased exercise with lower sleep apnea risk

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 6 days ago
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF SLEEP MEDICINE SHARE PRINT E-MAIL A study published online as an accepted paper in the *Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine* found that increased physical activity is associated with a lower risk of obstructive sleep apnea, a common sleep-related breathing disorder. The study is the largest to date focused on the relationship between sleep apnea and levels of physical activity in the general community. Researchers reviewed lifestyle, medical, socio-demographic and sleep health data collected from more than 155,000 adults participating in the Ontario Health S... more »

Study shows sedentary behavior independently predicts cancer mortality

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 1 week ago
 
Replacing sitting time with 30 minutes of activity associated with lower risk of cancer death UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS M. D. ANDERSON CANCER CENTER SHARE PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: SUSAN GILCHRIST, M.D. view more CREDIT: THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS MD ANDERSON CANCER CENTER HOUSTON -- In the first study to look at objective measures of sedentary behavior and cancer mortality, researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found that greater inactivity was independently associated with a higher risk of dying from cancer. The most sedentary individuals had an 8... more »

Keep moving to prevent major mobility disability

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 2 weeks ago
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society research summary AMERICAN GERIATRICS SOCIETY SHARE PRINT E-MAIL Having trouble getting around on your own--such as difficulty walking, climbing steps, or being able to get in and out of a chair--can lead to physical disability and losing your independence. According to research, being physically inactive is the strongest risk factor for disability as we age. We know that physical activity has proven health benefits, especially moderate-to-vigorous physical activity such as walking to the store or many types of gardening. But perhaps sur... more »

 

Medicine

Many antibiotic substitutions for self-reported penicillin allergies likely unnecessary

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 21 hours ago
Hospitalized patients who report an allergy to penicillin are often prescribed alternative antibiotics for infection that can be harmful, even though diagnostic testing or evaluations would show that the vast majority of these reported allergies could be disproven, according to researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital. In a national study published in *JAMA Internal Medicine*, the team found that the 16% of hospitalized patients with a documented penicillin allergy were twice as likely to be prescribed alternative antibiotics. Given that more than 90 percent of documented pen... more »

Long-term use of muscle relaxants has skyrocketed since 2005

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 1 day ago
Office visits for ongoing prescribing of skeletal muscle relaxant drugs tripled from 2005 to 2016, according to a new study from researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Moreover, in 2016, nearly 70 percent of patients prescribed muscle relaxants were simultaneously prescribed an opioid -- a combination that has the potential to cause dangerous interactions. The researchers also found that muscle relaxants were prescribed disproportionately to older adults during this time period, despite national guidelines warning that this class of drugs s... more »

Botox is an effective treatment for some common sports injuries

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 3 weeks ago
While botulinum toxin is commonly known as a cosmetic treatment for facial lines and wrinkles, a growing body of evidence suggests that "Botox" can also be an effective treatment for certain sports injuries and chronic pain conditions, according to a review in the June issue of *Current Sports Medicine Reports*, official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer. Clint Moore, DO, and colleagues of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences assembled and analyzed previous research o... more »

Should nursing home residents nearing the end of life continue taking statins?

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 6 days ago
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Research Summary AMERICAN GERIATRICS SOCIETY SHARE PRINT E-MAIL Cardiovascular disease (also called heart disease) is one of the most common medical conditions older adults face. In nursing homes, almost half of all older adult residents have been diagnosed with problems affecting the heart and/or blood vessels. In spite of this, we know very little about how effective a class of popular heart disease medications may be for those 75 and older. Known as statins, these medications are prescribed to reduce the amount of cholesterol in you... more »

Should diabetes treatment lessen for older adults approaching the end of life?

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 6 days ago
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Research Summary AMERICAN GERIATRICS SOCIETY SHARE PRINT E-MAIL One in four people aged 65 or older has diabetes. The disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and a major contributor to heart disease. Experts have recommended that the best way to slow the progression of diabetes--and help prevent its many complications--is to maintain strict control of blood sugar levels. For healthy younger people, this means keeping the target blood sugar level (known as A1c or HbA1c) lower than 6.5 percent to 7.0 percent. F... more »
 
Sleep

Poor teenage sleep significantly linked with depression in later liife

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 1 week ago
Teenagers who experience very poor sleep may be more likely to experience poor mental health in later life, according to a new study. In a paper published in the *Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry*, researchers analysed self-reported sleep quality and quantity from teenagers and found that there was a significant relationship between poor sleep and mental health issues. The team, based at the University of Reading, and Goldsmiths and Flinders Universities found that among the 4790 participants, those who experienced depression reported both poor quality and quantity of sleep,... more »
 

Less sleep reduces positive feelings

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 1 week ago
Reaction time, other measures of performance also affected Sleeping less than normal impacts how we feel the next morning. "Not in the sense that we have more negative feelings, like being down or depressed. But participants in our study experienced a flattening of emotions when they slept less than normal. They felt less joy, enthusiasm, attention and fulfilment," says Associate Professor Ingvild Saksvik-Lehouillier at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU) Department of Psychology. Most sleep research is done in laboratories, but Saksvik-Lehouillier and the NTN... more »
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Supplements

Alternative medicine is widespread among people with MS

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 1 day ago
A new survey of more than 1,000 people with multiple sclerosis finds that an overwhelming majority use complementary and alternative medicine, with many using cannabis. Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University conducted the survey of people in Oregon and Southwest Washington in 2018. The results were published recently in the journal *Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders* . The survey found that patients are nine times more likely to talk with their neurologist about the use of alternative therapies than patients in a similar survey conducted in 2001, a sign of broader s... more »

Fish Oil and Vitamin D Fail in Knee OA

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 2 days ago
— No role in treatment, say researchers share to facebook share to twitter share to linkedin email article [image: Fish oil and vitamin D softgels arranged in a grid on a pink background] Dietary supplementation with vitamin D or fish oil failed to alleviate chronic knee pain in older adults, a secondary analysis of data from the large randomized VITAL trial found. At baseline, pain scores on the 100-point Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) Arthritis Index were 35.4 among patients receiving vitamin D and 36.5 for those given placebo. At the time of last follow-up, after... more »
 
 

Camelina sativa oil and fatty fish have positive effects on lipid metabolism

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 2 weeks ago
Camelina sativa oil and fatty fish are rich in polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, but their health benefits seem to differ. A new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows that Camelina sativa oil reduces the formation of fatty acid derivatives that may be harmful to cardiovascular health. Camelina sativa oil also seems to protect against oxidative stress. Fatty fish, on the other hand, increases the circulatory concentration of fatty acid derivatives that alleviate inflammation. The study, conducted in collaboration between the University of Eastern Finland and Karolinsk... more »

Study shows fish oil may help with depression

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 2 weeks ago
A study published in *Molecular Psychiatry*shows that patient-derived adult stem cells can be used to model major depressive disorder and test how a patient may respond to medication. Using stem cells from adults with a clinical diagnosis of depression, the researchers who conducted the study also found that fish oil, when tested in the model, created an antidepressant response. The research provides a number of novel findings that can help scientists better understand how the brain works and why some people respond to drug treatment for depression, while others experience limited... more »
 

A good vitamin D status can protect against cancer

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report - 2 weeks ago
A good vitamin D status is beneficial both in cancer prevention and in the prognosis of several cancers, according to a new research review. The anti-cancer effects of vitamin D are especially pronounced in the prevention and treatment of colon cancer and blood cancers. In addition, high vitamin D responsiveness can be linked to a smaller cancer risk. Vitamin D responsiveness varies between individuals, affecting their need for vitamin D supplementation. The review article, published in *Seminars in Cancer Biology* and written by Professor Carsten Carlberg from the University of Eas... more »

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

'Morning sickness' is misleading and inaccurate,


The term 'morning sickness' is misleading and should instead be described as nausea and sickness in pregnancy, argue researchers led by the University of Warwick who have demonstrated that these symptoms can occur at any time of the day
UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
  • Analysis of symptom diaries kept by 256 pregnant women shows that is inaccurate to describe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy as 'morning sickness'
  • Team led by University of Warwick finds that symptoms can occur at any time of the day
  • Although likelihood of experiencing symptoms is highest in the morning, nausea was still likely to occur later in the day
  • First time that the symptom patterns of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy have been mapped
The term 'morning sickness' is misleading and should instead be described as nausea and sickness in pregnancy, argue researchers led by the University of Warwick who have demonstrated that these symptoms can occur at any time of the day - not just the morning.
The researchers call for the change in a study published today (30 June) in the British Journal of General Practice which shows that, while the most likely time for pregnancy sickness symptoms to occur is in the morning, a significant number of women can experience them at any time of the day.
'Morning sickness' has long been used to describe nausea and vomiting that women often experience in the early stages of pregnancy. Although pregnant women often report experiencing nausea and sickness throughout the waking day, until now no research has described the likelihood of these symptoms occurring at different times of the day.
For this study, the researchers used data from daily symptom diaries kept by 256 pregnant women. In these diaries, the women recorded their experience of nausea and vomiting for each hour in the day, from the day they discovered they were pregnant until the 60th day of their pregnancy. The researchers then used this data to map the likelihood of experiencing nausea and experiencing vomiting in each hour of the day, broken down into weeks following last ovulation.
They found that whilst vomiting was most common between the hours of 7.00 am and 1.00 pm, nausea is highly likely throughout the whole daytime, not just the morning. Furthermore, many women still reported vomiting as a symptom even into the evening. The most common hour for participants to experience nausea and vomiting was between 9.00 am and 10.00 am with 82% experiencing nausea in this hour, and 29% experiencing vomiting.
94.2% of participants experienced at least one of these symptoms during the study, with 58% experiencing both.
In addition, by comparing occurrence of symptoms across the first 7 weeks of pregnancy, measured from last ovulation, the researchers found that the later the week, the higher the probability of experiencing symptoms. The probability of experiencing nausea is at its highest in weeks 5, 6 and 7 while for vomiting it is in week 7. As the study only examined the first seven weeks of pregnancy, the probabilities after week 7 are not known.
Professor Roger Gadsby, of Warwick Medical School, said: "Morning sickness is widely used by the general public, media and even healthcare professionals but it doesn't give an accurate description of the condition.
"If a pregnant woman experiences sickness in the afternoon she may feel that this is unusual and wrong, or if she experiences no vomiting but feels nauseated all day she might think she is not covered by the term 'morning sickness'. And those women who experience severe symptoms feel it trivialises the condition.
"Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) can have a significant negative impact on the lives of sufferers. It can cause, feelings of depression, of being unable to look after the family, and of loss of time from paid work. Very severe NVP called hyperemesis gravidarm (HG) is the commonest cause of admission to hospital in the first trimester of pregnancy."
It is estimated that the annual costs of managing nausea and vomiting in pregnancy to the NHS in England and Wales are around £62 million.
The study authors said: "The continued use of the term 'morning sickness' could imply that symptoms only rarely occur in the afternoon and evening so that sufferers will have significant parts of the day symptom-free.
"This study shows that this is an incorrect assumption and that symptoms, particularly nausea, can occur at any time of the day."

Nearly half of Americans lack knowledge of burn injuries and treatment

Summertime means Americans are spending more time around grills, firepits, and fireworks, increasing their risk for fire-related burn injuries. While 53% of Americans say they know some or a lot about burn injuries and treatment, many mistakenly underestimate their risks with these activities, according to a new Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise Health/Ipsos survey. In fact, only 11% know that fire-flame injuries such as those from a firepit or grill are the most common types of burn injuries.

"Burn injuries increase in the summer months as more people are grilling outside, sitting around firepits, and setting off fireworks," said Kevin Foster, MD, director of Burn Services for the Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise Health. "It's important for people to be aware of not only their risk for suffering from a burn injury, but what to do if they or a loved one experience a burn."
The online survey of 1,000 adults conducted in June by Ipsos, a multinational independent market research firm, shows that a majority of Americans are unaware that applying ice to a burn is not recommended. Nearly six in 10 either think you should immediately apply ice directly to a burn (39%) or do not know whether it is okay (18%), when doing so can actually increase tissue damage.
Additionally, 40% of Americans say they are planning to use their own fireworks or sparklers this summer, activities that put a significant number of people at risk for serious burns. Children are particularly at risk because parents are more likely than the general population to report they will be around fire hazards, including fireworks (65.8% vs. 40%), and firepits or campfires (65% vs. 50%). Additionally, of those parents planning to use or be around fireworks, half (50%) say they don't know much or anything at all about burn injuries and treatments.
Lack of knowledge can be especially dangerous around grills, as they account for thousands of visits to the emergency room every year. Seventy-one percent of respondents say they are planning to grill this summer, but one in four incorrectly thinks water is the best way to put out a grill fire. Additionally, while nearly two-thirds (59%) of parents who plan to grill this summer know it is not okay to put out a grill fire with water, 41% falsely think it is okay or don't know. "Burns are one of the leading causes of injury-related death in children, so the lack of knowledge that Americans demonstrate around burn injuries is concerning," said Dr. Foster. "People need to be aware of the dangers, even with something as common as grilling, so that they are prepared to react appropriately and safely in an emergency. I encourage anyone planning to grill or use a firepit or fireworks this summer to review basic safety measures for these activities and understand what to do if someone experiences a burn."
If you plan to use or be around a grill, firepit, fireworks, or sparklers this summer, here are just a few tips to help keep you and your family safe:
  • When grilling, cook your food in batches to avoid overloading the grill, particularly with fatty meats that can cause a flare-up.
  • If you are faced with a grill fire, use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, not water.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area at all times.
  • If the flame goes out on your gas grill, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting.
  • Fire pits should be placed at a minimum of ten feet away from your house.
  • Store matches and lighters out of children's sight and reach.
  • Use a metal screen over wood-burning firepits to keep sparks and embers contained.
  • When using fireworks or sparklers, keep a supply of water or fire extinguisher at hand.
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands and never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol.
  • Instead of sparklers, consider using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers or colored streamers.
If you or someone with you experiences a burn, please seek immediate medical attention if the burn is larger than your palm; it covers your hands, joints, or face; if the pain progressively gets worse; or if the skin is peeling. For more information on burn safety, please visit The Arizona Burn Center's website: https://valleywisehealth.org/patient-education-resource/burn-care-patient-education/

Light drinking may protect brain function

Light to moderate drinking may preserve brain function in older age, according to a new study from the University of Georgia.
The study examined the link between alcohol consumption and changes in cognitive function over time among middle-aged and older adults in the U.S.
"We know there are some older people who believe that drinking a little wine everyday could maintain a good cognitive condition," said lead author Ruiyuan Zhang, a doctoral student at UGA's College of Public Health.
"We wanted to know if drinking a small amount of alcohol actually correlates with a good cognitive function, or is it just a kind of survivor bias."
Regular, moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to promote heart health and some research points to a similar protective benefit for brain health. However, many of these studies were not designed to isolate the effects of alcohol on cognition or did not measure effects over time.
Zhang and his team developed a way to track cognition performance over 10 years using participant data from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study.
During the study, a total of 19,887 participants completed surveys every two years about their health and lifestyle, including questions on drinking habits. Light to moderate drinking is defined as fewer than eight drinks per week for women and 15 drinks or fewer per week among men.
These participants also had their cognitive function measured in a series of tests looking at their overall mental status, word recall and vocabulary. Their test results were combined to form a total cognitive score.
Zhang and his colleagues looked at how participants performed on these cognitive tests over the course of the study and categorized their performance as high or low trajectories, meaning their cognitive function remained high over time or began to decline.
Compared to nondrinkers, they found that those who had a drink or two a day tended to perform better on cognitive tests over time.
Even when other important factors known to impact cognition such as age, smoking or education level were controlled for, they saw a pattern of light drinking associated with high cognitive trajectories.
The optimal amount of drinks per week was between 10 and 14 drinks. But that doesn't mean those who drink less should start indulging more, says Zhang.
"It is hard to say this effect is causal," he said. "So, if some people don't drink alcoholic beverages, this study does not encourage them to drink to prevent cognitive function decline."
Also of note, the association was stronger among white participants versus African American participants, which is significant, said Zhang, and prompts further exploration into the mechanisms of alcohol's effect on cognition.

Many antibiotic substitutions for self-reported penicillin allergies likely unnecessary

Hospitalized patients who report an allergy to penicillin are often prescribed alternative antibiotics for infection that can be harmful, even though diagnostic testing or evaluations would show that the vast majority of these reported allergies could be disproven, according to researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital.


In a national study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the team found that the 16% of hospitalized patients with a documented penicillin allergy were twice as likely to be prescribed alternative antibiotics. Given that more than 90 percent of documented penicillin allergies are unconfirmable, those antibiotic substitutions by physicians were likely unnecessary.
"Too often clinicians are making inferior antibiotic decisions based on unverified penicillin allergy histories that may date back to a patient's childhood and are no longer valid," says Kimberly Blumenthal , MD, MSc, with the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology, MGH, and lead author of the study.
"As a result, patients are often prescribed antibiotics other than penicillins and cephalosporins - some of our core infection fighters - that may increase the risk of adverse side effects and antibiotic resistance.
"This pattern could be changed with a little more testing or, in many cases, by simply taking the time to talk to patients in order to learn more about a reported penicillin allergy, instead of taking the penicillin allergy label at face value."
Approximately half of hospitalized patients today receive antibiotics to treat or prevent infections caused by bacteria, and more than 10 percent have a penicillin allergy documented in their medical records.
In the first study to investigate antibiotic use patterns in documented penicillin allergy on a national scale, Mass General researchers combed the records of nearly 11,000 patients at 106 hospitals.
They found that the 16 percent of inpatients with a penicillin allergy on their medical records were typically treated with β-lactam alternative antibiotics, including significantly increased use of clindamycin, linezolid, fluoroquinolones, aminoglycosides, tetracyclines, and vancomycin.
The highest risk exposure was to clindamycin, which is associated with C difficile infection. Patients with a documented penicillin allergy were five times more likely to be given clindamycin than those without such an allergy.
Another key finding involved inpatients with a documented penicillin allergy who received antibiotics as prophylaxis for an upcoming surgical procedure to prevent infections. Although a β-lactam is the recommended antibiotic for this indication in most cases, the study found that patients with a documented penicillin allergy were nine-fold less likely to receive a β-lactam, but seven-fold more likely to receive a β-lactam alternative antibiotic.
"Hospitals should especially be targeting penicillin allergy evaluations for patients with planned surgical procedures and those who are otherwise likely to be prescribed clindamycin," says Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, chief of Infectious Diseases at MGH, Steve and Deborah Gorlin MGH Research Scholar and senior author of the study.
"For patients who claim a penicillin allergy, those interventions could be as simple as asking the right questions and compiling a comprehensive history. Unfortunately, antibiotic decisions are often made based on limited information or without a thorough investigation. We learned from our study that antibiotic prescribing without full allergy information can ultimately do the patient more harm than good."
Blumenthal, an expert in allergy and immunology, underscores the need for hospitals across the country to more aggressively address penicillin allergy risk detection. While a diagnostic test exists to help clinicians accurately make that determination, less than half of hospitals have access to it, she points out.
"Hospitals should clearly be treating patients with the most targeted and effective antibiotic for their infection, rather than being influenced by a penicillin reaction years earlier that might have been nothing more than itching or a headache," Blumenthal declares. "That will require hospitals to become much more vigilant and proactive in penicillin allergy assessment as part of their inpatient antibiotic stewardship programs."
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