A Mediterranean diet in pregnancy is associated with lower risk of accelerated growth

Image result for A Mediterranean diet in pregnancy is associated with lower risk of accelerated growthThe Mediterranean diet is characterised by a high content of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes and nuts. This healthy diet pattern has been associated with lower obesity and cardiometabolic risk in adults, but few studies have focused on children.

This study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, aimed at evaluating the association between adherence to a Mediterranean diet during pregnancy and growth patterns and cardiometabolic risk in early infancy.

The study was performed with data of over 2,700 pregnant women from Asturias, Guipúzcoa, Sabadell and Valencia, who are part of the INMA-Childhood and Environment cohort. The women filled in a questionnaire on dietary intake in the first and third trimester of pregnancy. In addition, the diet, weight and height of their offspring were followed-up from birth to age 4 years. Other tests such as blood analysis and blood pressure were also performed at age 4.

The results show that pregnant women with higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet had a 32% lower risk of having children with an accelerated growth pattern, as compared to offspring of women that did not follow such diet.

Sílvia Fernández, ISGlobal researcher and first author of the study, underlines that “mothers with lower adherence to the Mediterranean diet were younger, consumed more calories, and had higher probability of smoking and a lower education and social level,” as compared to those women who did follow the diet.”

“These results support the hypothesis that a healthy diet during pregnancy can have a beneficial effect for child development,” concludes the study coordinator Dora Romaguera, researcher at ISGlobal and CIBEROBN. Regarding the mechanisms that underlie this association, the researcher mentions “possible epigenetic modifications that regulate fetal caridiometabolism, or shared eating patterns between mothers and children, although this deserves further investigation.”

The study did not find a correlation between Mediterranean diet in pregnancy and a reduction in cardiometabolic risk (blood pressure or cholesterol) in early infancy. “The effects on cardiometabolic risk could appear later in childhood,” explains Fernández.


Niki Bezzant: Trying a new diet? Trust your gut instinct

What we do know about any kind of extreme diet is that they are hard to stick to long term. Photo / 123RF

The paleo diet seems to have fallen out of fashion these days, in favour of the more extreme “keto” — short for ketogenic — diet. Some of those who started as paleo people eating meat, vegetables and sweet potato are now avoiding the sweet potato, loading up on fat and testing their pee every day.

Whether keto is ultimately healthy is a conversation for another day. But what keto and paleo dieters alike may want to contemplate is that common phenomenon: unintended consequences.

In the early days of the paleo diet, experts sounded a note of caution, not just because the diet seemed to emphasise unhealthy amounts of meat, but also because of what it eliminated: grains, legumes and dairy. The speculation then was that cutting these things out might cause changes — not necessarily positive — to the gut flora, which could cause consequences which were at that time not researched or known.

Now it seems we might be getting an inkling of what those consequences are. Researchers at Perth’s Edith Cowan University have just completed the first study of the paleo diet’s impact on gut bacteria, and the outcome was not good for fans of the caveman way.

The researchers compared 44 people on the paleo diet with 47 following a traditional Australian diet. They measured the amount of trimethylamine-n-oxide (TMAO) in the participants’ blood. High levels of TMAO, an organic compound produced in the gut, are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

They found more than twice the amount of TMAO in the paleo people compared to the regular eaters. They suggest that excluding whole grains — which contain resistant starch and other fermentable fibres known to be good for gut bacteria — might change the bacteria population in a way that enables higher production of TMAO. Potentially larger amounts of meat also creates precursor compounds to TMAO.

The research is yet to be published, so no doubt there’s more to learn here. But what it points to is the idea that when we restrict what we eat, it might have effects beyond what we intend. Going on any diet — paleo and keto included — may well cause weight loss, and may also improve some health markers such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar. They can be healthy ways to eat, especially if people are shifting from a high-processed-food diet.

But we don’t always know what the long-term effects are of cutting out whole food groups. And we might not know that for a while. Will the young women avoiding dairy now, for example, have bone-density problems when they’re in their 60s? Will the keto eaters’ kidneys pack up? Will paleo people be dropping like flies from heart disease or bowel cancer?

What we do know about any kind of extreme diet is that they are hard to stick to long term. And that can lead to harmful yo-yo weight loss and regain, which is bad for body and mind. It’s unsexy, but moderation — for a lifetime — has its benefits.


Expert calls for strong, sustainable action to make world roadways safer


According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) report on road safety, more than 1.3 million people die on the world’s roadways each year—and millions more are injured or disabled. Yet despite the huge cost to families from New York to Mumbai, that death toll has not changed much in the last decade.

A commentary published today in The Lancet Public Health says that these reports, while extremely valuable, have not brought about the needed change, and it is time to start holding policymakers accountable for making roads safer.

“More than a million people are dying from traffic crashes on roadways around the world—and that death toll has not declined since 2009,” said Adnan Hyder, MD, MPH, Ph.D., senior associate dean for research and professor of global health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH), who authored the commentary. “While we see bright spots where road injuries have been reduced, the widespread change needed to prevent these deaths across the world has not happened so far.”

Hyder goes on to say that the new 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety serves as a valuable tool for monitoring the risks, outcomes and progress related to road safety but such measurements alone do not bring down the death toll.

What needs to happen?

First, Hyder says that governments must commit to reducing traffic deaths by delegating both authority and financial resources to make roadways safer.

Second, WHO and partners must support a truly multi-sectoral approach to road safety and make it a priority not only for health and transportation officials but also for those in the environment, justice, education and economic sectors.

Third, WHO needs to provide support, operational assistance and implementation guidance so that member countries can actually put in place effective interventions on the ground to make roads safer.

Fourth, WHO and partners must help develop the relatively weak non-governmental sector around this issue. Expansion of non-governmental organizations that take an interest in road safety will help promote social and political change on a broad scale, he says.

Finally, the commentary says WHO and partners must acknowledge threats to road safety, including those posed by industry. For example, Hyder says the alcohol industry “openly engages and promotes action that at best have little or no evidence of impact.” He calls on the United Nations to adopt a policy of non-engagement with industries where there is such potential for conflict of interest.

“Safe roads are of critical importance for people around the world,” Hyder said. “Accepting our lack of progress is the first step to developing a strong and sustainable set of actions for changing the status quo on global road safety.”


Here’s what we know today about the dangers of vaping

Here's what we know today about the dangers of vaping

Florida International University psychologists Elisa Trucco and Matthew Sutherland are in a race to find answers about the impact of e-cigarettes on the adolescent brain. Calls to the FIU Center for Children and Families have been increasing as concerned parents are trying to understand the effects of e-cigarettes. Trucco and Sutherland are leading one of the first studies to examine decision-making as it relates to vaping devices.

E-cigarette use, or vaping, among teens has skyrocketed in recent years. According to the surgeon general, vaping among high school students increased by 900 percent from 2011 to 2015. The nation is now scrambling to find effective ways to discourage vaping and educate misinformed teens and their parents on the dangers of e-cigarette use in what the FDA is calling an epidemic.

Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of nicotine because their brains are still rapidly developing, according to Trucco and Sutherland. Research is critical to help clinicians improve prevention programming and assist policymakers in deciding how to continue regulating these products, they said. Their current project—Antecedents and Consequences of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ACE)—is funded by the National Institutes of Health as part of a collaborative research study between the FIU Center for Children and Families and the Research Center in Minority Institutions. They are studying what influences an adolescent’s decision to use or not use e-cigarettes, vaping devices or other electronic nicotine delivery systems and how that decision may affect other risky behaviors and the developing brain.

While Trucco and Sutherland are currently recruiting participants for the study, there are some facts they want parents to know.

Most e-cigarettes contain the highly addictive drug nicotine

Most types of e-cigarettes, including the most popular brand Juul, contain nicotine, the addictive drug found in traditional tobacco cigarettes. One Juul pod contains roughly the same amount of nicotine found in 20 cigarettes (or one pack). Nicotine is highly addictive and can cause brain changes leading to compulsive use of e-cigarettes.

Long-term effects of vaping are unknown

Although e-cigarettes were developed in part to help adult smokers cut their tobacco-use and to provide a “healthier” alternative, no study has yet been conducted that can provide information on the long-term effects of e-cigarette use. Due to the recent dramatic increase in e-cigarette use, preliminary findings are now showing that there is a negative effect on heart and lung function associated with e-cigarette use. However, there is still no definitive answer on whether these risks outweigh the benefits of switching from traditional tobacco cigarettes.

Vaping leads to higher risk of cigarette smoking in teens

Teenage e-cigarette users are actually at a higher risk of smoking tobacco cigarettes compared to non-users. More than 30 percent of adolescent e-cigarette users start smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes within six months.

Vaping can produce second-hand effects

Although e-cigarettes do not produce smoke, breathing in the second-hand vapor is not harmless. The aerosol from e-cigarettes contains many potentially harmful chemicals, including lead and other heavy metals. It also has flavorings including diacetyl, which has been linked to lung disease. The second-hand vapor can also contain nicotine, which when inhaled by non-users can increase their risk of becoming nicotine dependent. There is also the danger of third-hand exposure, which occurs when residual nicotine from the second-hand vapor remains on surfaces and is absorbed through unintentional ingestion or through the skin via contact.


Pune woman fired for being HIV+ve gets her job back after 3 years

Pune woman job ordeal

A Pune-based woman, who was sacked by her employer almost three years ago for being HIV +ve, finally got her job back after the labour court ordered the company to reinstate her and provide her wages for the absentee period.

In an order passed on Monday (December 3), the court ordered the company to restore her in the same designation and provide the wages, news agency ANI reported.

The episode dates back to 2015 when the concerned pharma company had terminated her after she submitted medical documents to the company for claiming benefits. The report revealed to her employer that she was diagnosed with HIV, following which the company asked her to resign within 30 minutes.

“I was asked to submit a document for the medical claim and when I did that, they asked me about it [HIV]. I told them I got it from my husband and within 30 minutes, they forced me to resign. I had been working there as a trainee operator for five years,” she said.

Her husband died of the disease. She was also boycotted by her in-laws for having this infection.

The woman further claimed that the company officials had verbally informed her that the reason for her removal was the HIV infection; the documents (relieving letter/experience letter) handed over to her by the company clear mentioned absenteeism as the reason.

Advocate Vishal Jadhav, who appeared for woman, said, “An employee was terminated on the basis of being tested positive for HIV, however, the company claims that the employee resigned herself.”

The Pune court, on Monday, declared that no employee can be terminated on being tested positive for HIV.

“The company was asked to reinstate her in the same post she was in, along with providing all the back wages,” the lawyer added.


Scientists May Have Found A Way To Cure Baldness

Researchers at the New York University School of Medicine have made an intriguing discovery that could make hair loss a thing of the past.

The NYU scientists say the secret to reversing hair loss is all about activating something called the ‘sonic hedgehog signalling pathway’.

The sonic hedgehog gene plays an important part in embryo development and was  — bizarrely — named in honour of the SEGA video game character, after postdoctorate fellow Dr Robert Riddle saw the famous critter in his six-year-old daughter’s comic book.

video games sega GIF

By activating the sonic hedgehog (SHH) pathway, the researchers were able to create “crosstalk among skin cells that form the roots of hair” and regrow hair strands on damaged skin, NYU Langone Health reported.

While the SHH pathway is quite active when a fetus is growing and developing follicles,  it is “otherwise stalled in wounded skin in healthy adults”.

Which is apparently why hair stops growing in places that have been wounded or undergone surgery.

“Our results show that stimulating fibroblasts through the sonic hedgehog pathway can trigger hair growth not previously seen in wound healing,” said study senior investigator and cell biologist Mayumi Ito, PhD.

(Getty Images)

Researchers conducted these experiments on mice over a three-year period and are planning future investigations on wounded human skin. Dr Ito says her goal is to identify likely drug targets for hair regrowth.

Which is good news for anyone hoping for a little more coverage on their chrome dome.

Although we personally think beloved celebrities like Danny Devito, Jason Alexander, Terry Crews, and Bruce Willis are perfect the way they are without the help of a stimulated sonic hedgehog.


This Ayurvedic Beverage May Help Relieve Acidity and Indigestion

This Ayurvedic Beverage May Help Relieve Acidity and Indigestion

Picture this: You had a great lunch at one of your favourite restaurants. You are headed back home, and as soon as you are about to tell your friends about how amazing your meal was- you burp. You go for it again and you feel this strange burning sensation around your chest, your tummy is heavy and this discomfort is only getting worse with each passing minute. Acidity can spoil any good meal experience in just few minutes. Fortunately, we know plenty of natural home remedies that help relieve acidity and indigestion. According to Ayurveda, cumin is one such spice that can stimulate digestive juices and keep tummy troubles like acidity and indigestion at bay.

According to Ayurvedic Expert Dr. Ashutosh Gautam, “Jeera water helps get rid of acidity and bloating, and provides relief from indigestion. It acts as a painkiller and is especially beneficial in curing stomach ache and abdominal pain.” Cumin water generally stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes and accelerates the digestion process, thus helping you fight gut issues.

Cumin seeds serve as a great acid neutraliser, aid digestion and relieve stomach pain. Chewing on a handful of seeds could prove to be very effective at times. However, the strong flavour of cumin may get a bit too much to handle for some people. In this case, you can make yourself a glass of jeera water. Drinking jeera water daily could help keep your digestion healthy.


Winter Health Tips: Benefits And Easy Ways Of Staying Hydrated During Winters

Winter Health Tips: Benefits And Easy Ways Of Staying Hydrated During Winters

Winters are here and while we’re all looking forward to the feasting and snuggling, it is important to take care of health as well. Like any other season, winter also demands special dietary and lifestyle adjustments to prepare the body for the cold weather. Staying hydrated may not look like an important thing to do during winters, as we don’t lose a lot of sweat during cold weather. But as in summers, drinking enough water and retaining it in the body is important during winters as well. Staying hydrated may seem like an easy enough thing to do during winters, but it may not be so for a number of reasons. For one, dehydration is much less noticeable during winters, than it is during summers as you don’t notice how much sweat you’ve lost under all those layers of clothing.

For another, the dryness in the air may dehydrate our bodies quicker than we can imagine and most often we don’t even feel thirsty, so our need for adequate water may remain unmet. The effects of dehydration may be subtle and hence, less noticeable during winters, but it’s important to work pre-emptively to replenish the fluid reserves of the body, in order to avoid any physical discomfort in the future.

Also Read: The Winter Diet: 4 Winter-Friendly Flours You Must Try This Season

Here are some health benefits of drinking adequate water during winters:

1. Temperature Regulation: Water helps regulate the body temperature, during both summers and winters. Staying hydrated may be a sure shot way to stay warm internally and prevent conditions like hypothermia.

2. Boosting Immunity: The cold and dry air may sap your body of energy, making you feel sluggish and even making you more susceptible to cold and flu. Stay hydrated to boost immunity and protect your body from illnesses.

Also Read: 10 Best Indian Winter Vegetable Recipes

3. Regulating Weight: When you’re hydrated, your body is more capable of breaking down fats, effectively regulating body weight.

4. Boosting Skin Health: Drinking adequate water is one of the first things any beauty expert will suggest to you for skin health. During winters, it’s essential to stay hydrated to prevent dry and dull skin.

oc4pjp5Winter health tips: Drinking enough water is key to keeping warm during winters

How To Stay Hydrated During Winters

1. Drink Warm/Room Temperature Water: After exercising during winters or even generally, one should drink beverages or water which is at room temperature. This is because cold water/liquids get absorbed faster in the body.

2. Eat Fruits/Veggies With High Water Content: Eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content is also a great way to stay hydrated. Load up on strawberries, oranges, pineapple, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, cucumber, etc.

3. Limit Consumption of Alcohol/Caffeine: Although it’s extremely tempting to indulge in hot teas, coffees and alcohol during winters, both alcohol and caffeine may dehydrate your body, so excessive consumption of both is not recommended.

4. Eat More Soups/Broths: Salty foods like soups and broths are healthy and may help in retaining water in the body. They also have the added advantage of warming you up from the inside.


Cancer death gap widens in poorer areas

CancerImage copyright jamesbenet/Thinkstock
Image caption Lung, bowel, breast and prostate cancers all saw a slowdown in decline in death rates

There is a growing gap between cancer death rates of people living in deprived parts of Wales and those in richer areas, latest trends suggest.

The drop in cancer deaths in the most deprived areas is not as steep as less deprived areas, said the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit.

Macmillan Cancer Support said it was concerned about the widening gap.

The charity said it was also “worrying” to see a slowing down of the falling cancer death rate.

In the seven years to 2017, the age-adjusted cancer death rate in Wales fell by 5.4%, but in the same period before 2010, the cancer death rate dropped by 9.2%.

The rate of decline was also more rapid in Scotland and England – and amongst women.

The latest trends – published in a cancer mortality report – also show half of cancer deaths are of people who are aged under 75.

The latest trends show cancer death rates are falling – and are still falling steeply in poorer areas. But the gap is widening between people living in the most deprived areas and those in the least deprived parts of Wales.

This gap increased by 14.1% between 2001 and 2005, and 2013 and 2017, from 111 cancer deaths per 100,000 people to 126.6 cancer deaths per 100,000 people.

  • Q&A: Cancer in Wales
  • NHS Wales aims to speed up cancer diagnsosisdiagnosis
  • Cancer statistics broken down across Wales

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death, with 1,891 deaths in 2017 – more than 20% of all cancer deaths.

It is also is now increasing amongst very old men, as well as in middle-aged to older women, and very old women.

Richard Pugh, of Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, said there was still too much variation in how many people die from cancer according to where they live, their gender and the type of cancer they have.

“We need a focused effort across Wales to support early cancer diagnosis, timely, high quality cancer treatment which meets people’s needs, as well as the right workforce and infrastructure in place to support this,” he said


EIRMC honoring cancer patients with tree lighting ceremony

Courtesy Coleen Niemann, Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center

IDAHO FALLS – Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center is holding their second annual Tree of Hope Lighting Ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 6 starting at 5 p.m. at the Idaho Cancer Center.

The event is meant to celebrate the lives of people who have suffered from cancer and encourage those who are still suffering by decorating a Christmas tree ornament.

“You can decorate for yourself, or you can decorate in honor of someone else,” said Coleen Niemann, director of marketing and community relations at EIRMC. “Anyone who wants to remember someone they may have lost to cancer, or even be inspired because they’re still battling cancer, can decorate an ornament.”

At 6:30 p.m., radiation oncologist Daniel Miller will discuss the meaning behind the lighted tree and how it relates to people who have died of cancer. Then the ornaments will be added and lights will be turned on the tree.

The event is free and refreshments will be provided.