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How binge drinking affects male, female brains?

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While binge drinking affects the health of both males and females, the effect of gene expression in an area of the brain linked to addiction was found to be different, finds a new study.
Repeated binge drinking was found to significantly alter molecular pathways in the nucleus accumbens — a region of the brain linked to addiction.
But, in females, the genes linked to hormone signalling and immune function are altered, whereas in males genes related to nerve signalling are affected.
The study has significant implications for the treatment of alcohol use disorder as they emphasise the importance of tailoring effective therapies towards male and female patients, said researchers led by Deborah Finn, Professor at Oregon Health and Science University.
Repeated binge drinking can be a risk factor for the development of alcohol dependence.
For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Genetics, the team analysed gene expression in nucleus accumbens.
“We examined the effect of repeated binge drinking on the expression of 384 genes previously identified as important in addiction and mood disorders,” Finn said.
Of a total of 106 genes regulated by binge drinking, only 14 were regulated in both males and females, representing common targets to binge drinking. Interestingly, only 4 of these 14 genes were regulated in the same direction and the top 30 genes regulated by binge drinking in each sex differed markedly.
“We have shown that pharmacologically manipulating a pathway in both sexes that only was affected by binge drinking in males did not decrease binge drinking in females; binge drinking was only decreased in males,” Finn explained.
She noted that a consideration of sex is critical in the development of potential pharmacological therapies for the treatment of alcohol use disorder.


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Health

Include This Nut In Your Diet For Glowing And Radiant Skin

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Nuts are all time favourite whether you want to munch it for a health reason or simply because they are delicious. All the nuts are healthy and provide numerous health benefits. But this nut stands out from all the rest because of its superb nutritional value. These nuts are Brazil nuts. They are edible seeds from the Brazil nut tree, and they can be consumed either raw or blanched. The nuts grow inside a round, thick, brown, coconut-like shell, in orange-like segments which, when split open, reveals around ten to twenty Brazil nuts. Brazil nut is smooth in texture, extremely delicious and has an earthy flavour. Nutrient-dense these nuts are beneficial for the skin, hair and overall health.
According to nutrionist Monisha, a Delhi-based Nutritionist, ” With a low saturated fat content and a high unsaturated fat profile eating Brazil nuts is an excellent way to get rid of high LDL levels. High in selenium these nuts are an excellent way to fight cancer causing free radicals. If you are feeling low? Let go of your sweet cravings and have a handful of Brazil nuts! The selenium present in it will just lift up your mood.”
Top 5 amazing benefits of Brazil nuts:
1. Weight control: Brazil nut help in weight management. They are rich in protein and fiber that control hunger and stop you from overeating in the next meal. Eating a small serving of Brazil nuts helps you keep full for a longer time, thereby reducing the likelihood of snacking in between the meals.
2. Healthy heart: Brazil nuts contain high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids that reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. These nuts are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic and palmitoleic acid. This is beneficial for lowering the bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol in the blood. Selenium in Brazil nuts helps in preventing the clotting of blood.
3. Glowing skin: Selenium in Brazil nuts speeds up the cell turnover process, providing a natural glow to the skin. The high levels of antioxidants in Brazil nuts stimulate the production of glutathione, which combats free radicals that damage the skin collagen. The Vitamin E present in nuts also maintains the integrity of the cells of the mucus membranes and the skin.
4. Prevents cancer: The antioxidants in Brazil nuts that help prevent atherosclerosis are beneficial in preventing certain cancers. A study from Cornell University and the University of Arizona demonstrated that those test subjects who took 200 mcg selenium (which Brazil nuts are packed with) every day for at least 10 years showed a significant reduction (as much as 41%) in cancer rates compared to those who did not.
5. Thyroid control: The anti-oxidant selenium in Brazil nut is an important nutrient that plays a major role in proper functioning of the thyroid. It is a major key component to be able to create and use hormones produced by the thyroid. Thyroid is responsible in controlling our body’s metabolism, heart rate and temperature.
” The best way to incorporate these nuts into your diet is simply add them to your smoothie for an extra dose of taste and good health,” the nutritionist added.
(Monisha Ashokan is a clinical nutritionist at Nourish Me, Delhi)

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Obesity and vitamin D deficiency can raise risk of breast cancer

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Breast cancer: Higher levels of vitamin D can reduce risk of breast cancer mortality by 50% in women with lower body mass index (BMI), says a new study.
Obesity coupled with vitamin D deficiency in postmenopausal women may pose a significant risk of breast cancer — the most common and leading cause of death in women, finds a study. The findings showed that higher levels of vitamin D — well known for its benefits in building healthy bones — may reduce breast cancer mortality by 50% in women with lower body mass index (BMI). Vitamin D reduces cancer risk by inhibiting cell proliferation, the researchers said.
“This study suggests that higher levels of vitamin D in the body are associated with lowered breast cancer risk,” said JoAnn Pinkerton, Executive Director at The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) in the US. “Vitamin D may play a role in controlling breast cancer cells or stopping them from growing. Vitamin D comes from direct sunlight exposure, vitamin D3 supplements, or foods rich in vitamin D,” Pinkerton added.
Reproductive risk factors such as early onset of puberty, late menopause, later age at first pregnancy, never having been pregnant, obesity, and a family history have all been shown to be associated with breast cancer development. For the study, published in the journal Menopause, the team involved more than 600 Brazilian women.
They found that postmenopausal women had an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency at the time of their breast cancer diagnoses, associated with higher rates of obesity, than women of the same age group without cancer. The results showed that women in the highest quartile of vitamin D concentrations, in fact, had a 50% lower death rate from breast cancer than those in the lower quartile, suggesting that vitamin D levels should be restored to a normal range in all women with breast cancer.

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Revealed! Surprising Facts About Breakfast Cereal You Never Knew

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Breakfast cereal is made up from processed grain and is considered as a healthy early morning breakfast. But, are these cereal really healthy as they are perceived to be? It is usually eaten with milk, yogurt, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds. You were unaware of this but breakfast cereal is often fortified with vitamins and minerals. This means that the nutrients are added to make it nutritious. Breakfast cereals claim to be packed with essential vitamins and minerals. No doubt, they are a convenient option for both kids and adults. Breakfast cereal are usually made up of corn, wheat, oats and rice. However, they also contain added nutrients like vitamins and minerals, salt, added sugar, preservatives, yeast, and some other flavorings to enhance the taste. Some breakfast cereal also contains added nuts and dried fruits, coated with chocolate.
According to the Delhi based nutritionist and author Pooja Malhotra, ”Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. So your breakfast choice holds a lot of significance. Breakfast must be a wholesome and balanced meal and should include all the important food groups. We can include whole grains like wheat, millets, oats etc in our breakfast. Not to forget, our breakfast must be freshly prepared from local and seasonal ingredients.” She further adds, ”Ready to eat breakfast cereals are laced with hidden sugars, chemical preservatives and various other additives. As a thumb rule, if the food comes from a plant, eat it; if it is manufactured in a plant, do not eat it! So ready to eat packaged cereals are best avoided. One can prepare one’s own home – made muesli or granola.”
Some reasons why you shouldn’t have cereal for breakfast:
1.Weight gain: No doubt, most breakfast cereals are flavored with preservatives, artificial food additives and sugars to make them more appetizing, especially to kids. As a result, regular consumption of cereals will lead to weight gain.
2. Gluten sensitivity: Gluten in the wheat-based products can irritate the intestines. Gluten is a protein that acts like glue which gradually builds up in the intestines. Gluten causes irritation in the gut. This will slow down your entire digestive process, eventually causing the body to absorb fewer nutrients. On top of that, gluten-sensitive individuals will suffer from minor discomforts such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation. Even more worse, gluten can slow down your metabolic rate, making you prone to weight gain.
3. Ultra – refined grains: Though the box of cereal will be misleading claiming ”made of whole grains or low-fat ingredients.” But when you look at the nutritional label, the first few on the list are often refined grains and sugar. They are highly processed foods and much of their nutrients and fiber is lost once they are made.
4. High in sugar and refined carbs: If you start your day with high-sugar breakfast cereal it will increase your blood sugar levels. A few hours later, your blood sugar may crash, and your body will crave for another high-carbohydrate meal or a snack, thus creating a vicious cycle of overeating. Excessive consumption of sugar may also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and cancer.
(Pooja Malhotra is a Delhi based nutritionist and an author)

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