Archive for April 17th, 2013

Stress can increase mental alertness

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Researchers have discovered that stress is not all bad, after all — some bit of it can push one to a level of heightened alertness and better performance, a new study claims.

“You always think about stress as a really bad thing, but it’s not,” said Daniela Kaufer, associate professor of integrative biology at the University of California-Berkeley. “Some amounts of stress are good to push you just to the level of optimal alertness, behavioural and cognitive performance.”

New research by Kaufer and UC-Berkeley post-doctoral fellow Elizabeth Kirby has uncovered exactly how acute stress — short-lived, not chronic — primes the brain for improved performance.

In studies on rats, they found that significant, but brief stressful events caused stem cells in their brains to proliferate into new nerve cells that, when mature two weeks later, improved the rats’ mental performance, reports Science Daily.

“I think intermittent stressful events are probably what keeps the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert,” she said.

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Western-style diet lowers chances for ideal ageing

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

A new study of adults in Britain suggest that adherence to a “Western-style” diet (fried and sweet food, processed and red meat, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products) lead people to age poorly and die earlier.

“The impact of diet on specific age-related diseases has been studied extensively, but few investigations have adopted a more holistic approach to determine the association of diet with overall health at older ages,” lead investigator Tasnime Akbaraly, PhD, Inserm, Montpellier, France said.

“We examined whether diet, assessed in midlife, using dietary patterns and adherence to the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), is associated with ageing phenotypes, identified after a mean 16-year follow-up,” Akbaraly said.

The AHEI is a validated index of diet quality, originally designed to provide dietary guidelines with the specific intention to combat major chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

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High heart rate at rest linked to increased risk of death

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Irrespective of level of physical fitness, people with high resting heart rates have higher risk of death than those with lower heart rates, a new study has found.

A resting heart rate – the number of heart beats per minute – is determined by an individual”s level of physical fitness, circulating hormones, and the autonomic nervous system.

A rate at rest of between 60 and 100 beats per minute is considered normal.

People who are very physically active tend to have a low heart rate at rest, but the researchers wanted to find out if heart rate had any bearing on an individual”s risk of death, irrespective of their level of cardiorespiratory fitness.

They therefore tracked the health of just under 3000 men for 16 years, all of whom were part of the Copenhagen Male Study. In 1971, all participants were interviewed by a doctor about their health and lifestyle, including smoking and exercise, and given a check-up. Their cardiorespiratory fitness was assessed using a cycling test, set at three different levels of exertion.

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Drinking beetroot juice daily can help lower blood pressure

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

A cup of beetroot juice a day may help reduce your blood pressure, a new study led by an Indian researcher has found.

People with high blood pressure who drank about 8 ounces of beetroot juice experienced a decrease in blood pressure of about 10 mm Hg.

But the preliminary findings don’t yet suggest that supplementing your diet with beetroot juice benefits your health, researchers said.

“Our hope is that increasing one’s intake of vegetables with a high dietary nitrate content, such as green leafy vegetables or beetroot, might be a lifestyle approach that one could easily employ to improve cardiovascular health,” Amrita Ahluwalia, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a professor of vascular pharmacology at The Barts and The London Medical School in London, said.

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Top 10 causes of sudden and severe abdominal pain

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Sudden or severe abdominal pain can be brought upon by a variety of reasons.

Abdominal pain is a common complaint of many people, yet it’s difficult to diagnose, as there are many organs in the abdomen; solid organs like spleen, kidney and liver; hollow organs like the entire gastro-intestinal tract and the urinary bladder; and major blood vessels, viz., the abdominal aorta and the inferior vena cava. In this article we will cover abdominal causes of sudden severe abdominal pain or what is medically termed as acute abdomen, which is a surgical emergency. In any of the conditions mentioned below, if prompt medical treatment is unavailable, there is a big chance of the patient losing his life.

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