Archive for December 13th, 2012

Even light smoking ups sudden cardiac death risk in women

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Scientists, led by an Indian-origin researcher, have found that women who are even light-to-moderate smokers may be significantly more likely to suffer sudden cardiac death as compared to non-smokers.

The findings of the new study indicate long-term smokers may be at even greater risk, but smoking can reduce and eliminate the risk over time.

“Cigarette smoking is a known risk factor for sudden cardiac death, but until now, we didn’t know how the quantity and duration of smoking effected the risk among apparently healthy women, nor did we have long-term follow-up,” Roopinder K. Sandhu, the study’s lead author from the University of Alberta, Canada, said.

Researchers examined the incidence of sudden cardiac death among more than 101,000 healthy women in the Nurses’ Health Study, which has collected biannual health questionnaires from female nurses nationwide since 1976.

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Why some fats are more harmful than others

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Some types of fats have been linked to ailments like heart disease and diabetes, while others, like those often found in plants and fish, have well documented health benefits.

So why do our bodies respond so destructively to some fats but not others?

The answer may lie in how different fats interact with the microbes in our guts, according to researchers from the University of New Mexico and Northwestern University.

They assumed that some fats might encourage the growth of harmful bacteria in the digestive system. Our bodies have evolved to recognize those fats and launch an immune response to pre-empt the impeding changes in harmful bacteria. The result is low-level inflammation that, over the long term, causes chronic disease.

“Although the inflammatory effects of [fats] are well documented, it is less well appreciated that they also influence bacterial survival and proliferation in the gastrointestinal tract,” said the researchers, led by Joe Alcock, of the University of New Mexico Department of Emergency Medicine and VA Medical Center.

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High-fat ‘western’ diet could lead to atherosclerosis

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

A diet high in saturated fat raises levels of endothelial lipase (EL), an enzyme associated with the development of atherosclerosis, according to Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers.

Conversely their study, conducted in mice, found that a diet high in omega-3 polyunsaturated fat lowers levels of this enzyme.

The findings establish a “new” link between diet and atherosclerosis and suggest a novel way to prevent cardiovascular heart disease.

In addition, the research may help to explain why the type 2 diabetes drug rosiglitazone (Avandia) has been linked to heart problems.

Like other lipases, EL plays a role in the metabolism of blood lipoproteins, which are complexes of lipids (fats) and proteins. EL, which is secreted by macrophages (a type of white blood cell) and other cells in arteries, was discovered in 1999.

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