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Adolescents’ eyes could signal risk of cardiovascular disease

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Structural changes in the retina of adolescents could reveal their risk of cardiovascular disease later, say researchers including one of Indian-origin. The findings showed adolescents particularly males with poorer health-related quality of life had wider arteriolar and narrower venular blood vessels in the retina. “These particular changes are possible indicators for future cardiovascular disease risk,” said lead researcher Bamini Gopinath, Associate Professor at The Westmead Institute for Medical Research in Sydney, Australia.
“Our research indicates the subtle changes to retinal blood vessels could be promising indicators of a future risk of cardiovascular disease,” Gopinath added. The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed adolescents with poorer scores in the social and mental well-being domains of “health-related quality of life” have structural changes in their retinal blood vessels that could be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in later life.
“Poor well-being and certain structural changes to the retina are both associated with an increased risk of future cardiovascular disease,” Gopinath said. Importantly, the health-related quality of life measures were independently linked to the structural changes we observed. This means the changes will still occur, even if no traditional risk factors, such as higher body mass and blood pressure, are present.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause. An estimated 17.7 million people died from cardiovascular disease in 2015, representing 31 per cent of all global deaths. Early intervention is the key for preventing the disease in those with an increased risk. “Our findings suggest that in the future, health-related quality of life assessments could also be used to improve or add to existing evaluations of adolescent cardiovascular health,” Gopinath said.


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Health

This Homemade Immunity Boosting Powder Is All You Need To Stay Healthy

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Our immune system is made up of special organs, cells and chemicals that help fight infection and prevent certain diseases. The essential parts of the immune system are white blood cells, antibodies, the spleen, the complement system, lymphatic system, thymus and the bone marrow as they play an important role in fighting infection. People who have a weak immunity system tend to fall sick more frequently.

Therefore, it is often advised to strengthen your immune system and there are certain foods, herbs and spices that specifically help in building a strong immunity.

Celeb health coach Luke Coutinho in his recent Instagram post tells us how to make a simple and extremely nutritious immunity boosting powder. This homemade immunity boosting powder helps maintaining your health and shortens the duration of your cold and flu. The powder is made up of seven herbs and spices which are found in almost every Indian household. The seven ingredients that go into this delicious yet healthy powder are: organic turmeric powder (seven tablespoons), cumin seeds (four tablespoons), coriander seeds (four tablespoons), fennel seeds (seven tablespoons), dry ginger powder (two tablespoons), whole black pepper (two tablespoon), cinnamon powder(half tablespoon) and cardamom(three tablespoon).

This homemade immunity boosting powder can help stimulate and boost your immunity. The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties make it great for treating and preventing the common cold, cough and flu. As an added benefit, it is high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Feeding your body with certain local and seasonal foods may help keep your immune system strong. If you are looking for ways to prevent winter colds and flu and keep your body warm, your first step should be preparing this immunity powder which is loaded with essential nutrients and vitamins.

Here’s how you can make this immunity boosting powder:

Keep the turmeric powder and dry ginger powder in a separate bowl. Do not roast the turmeric powder and dry ginger powder. You can roast the remaining ingredients on a slow flame till you get a nice aroma. Make sure you do not burn these spices. After roasting keep them for a while. Let them cool. Once these spices are cooled grind them into a fine and smooth powder. You can now add dry ginger powder and turmeric to it. Mix it all in and store in a air tight steel or glass jar.

You can consume this powder either as a seasoning in food or everyday with water. The powder can be a healthy alternative to garam masala as well. You can even heat one tablespoon of ghee and add half a tablespoon of the powder to the ghee. Make a thick paste and you can consume this every day in the morning. The powder can be consumed by adults as well children for better immunity and overall health. He further suggests to carry this powder whenever you travel as immunity is everything when it comes to prevention and healing.

Things to keep in mind:

If you are on a medication, you should ask the doctor before consuming it If your body heats quickly adjust the dosage
(Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach, Integrative Medicine)

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E-Cigarette Additives Can Impair Lung Function, Finds Study

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Flavouring and additive ingredients used in e-cigarettes are more likely to increase inflammation and impair lung function, according to new research. E-cigarettes — popular battery-powered devices that simulate the act of smoking a traditional cigarette — dispense a vapour derived from liquid chemicals in a refillable cartridge. Researchers from the University of Athens found that short-term exposure to e-cigarettes was enough to cause lung inflammation similar or worse than that seen in traditional cigarette use.

The study, published in the American Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, examined several groups of mice that received whole-body exposure to varying chemical combinations four times each day.

Each exposure session was separated by 30-minute smoke-free intervals.

One group was exposed to cigarette smoke, another with e-cigarette vapour containing propylene glycol and vegetable glycerol — an odourless liquid derived from plant oils, the third with e-cigarette vapour containing propylene glycol and nicotine and another group was exposed to e-cigarette vapour containing propylene glycol, nicotine and tobacco flavouring.

The findings suggested an increase in markers of inflammation, mucus production and altered lung function in the propylene, propylene plus nicotine and flavouring groups after three days.

In addition, two inflammation-producing proteins became elevated only in the flavouring group, which suggested that some flavouring components on the market may not be safe for even short-term use.

The level of oxidative stress — stress at a cellular level — in the flavouring group was equal to or higher than that of the cigarette group.

However, respiratory mechanics were adversely affected only in mice exposed to cigarette smoke and not to e-cigarette vapour after prolonged treatment.

“The observed detrimental effects in the lung upon (e-cigarette) vapour exposure in animal models highlight the need for further investigation of safety and toxicity of these rapidly expanding devices worldwide,” the researchers warned.

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Higher BMI may increase your BP as well

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If you have a higher body mass index (BMI) then there are chances that you may have increased blood pressure (BP) too, a new study has found.

The findings, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, showed a strong correlation between the degree of obesity and high blood pressure.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to several cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure.

For the study, the research team involved 1.7 million Chinese men and women aged between 35 and 80 years and recorded the participants’ blood pressure from September 2014 to June 2017.

They observed an increase of 0.8 to 1.7 mm Hg (kg/m2) in blood pressure per additional unit of BMI in individuals who were not taking anti-hypertensive medication.

Overall, the population had a mean BMI of 24.7 and a mean systolic blood pressure of 136.5, which qualifies as stage-I hypertension, according to American Heart Association guidelines.

“If trends in overweight and obesity continue in China, the implication of our study is that hypertension, already a major risk factor, is likely to become even more important,” said senior author Harlan Krumholz from Yale University in the US.

“This paper is ringing the bell that the time is now to focus on these risk factors,” he added.

“The enormous size of the dataset — the result of an unprecedented effort in China — allows us to characterise this relationship between BMI and blood pressure across tens of thousands of subgroups, which simply would not be possible in a smaller study,” said author George Linderman from the varsity.

This research has been supported by grants from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Innovation Fund for Medical Science, the Ministry of Finance of China and the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China to name a few.

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