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‘Inactive’ ingredients in most pills may cause allergic reactions: Study

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A vast majority of the most frequently prescribed medications contain at least one ingredient capable of causing an adverse allergic reaction, a US study has found. Known as inactive ingredients, these components are added to improve the taste, shelf-life, absorption and other characteristics of a pill, but the researchers found that more than 90 per cent of all oral medications tested contained at least one ingredient that can cause allergic or gastrointestinal symptoms in sensitive individuals.
Such ingredients include lactose, peanut oil, gluten and chemical dyes, scientists said. “When you’re a clinician, the last thing you want to do is prescribe a medication that could cause an adverse reaction or allergic reaction in a patient,” said C Giovanni Traverso, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
“This project was inspired by a real-life incident where a patient with Celiac disease was prescribed a medication and the formulation of the pill they picked up from the pharmacy had gluten in it,” Traverso said. “We wanted to understand the problem and drill down to characterise the entire universe of inactive ingredients across thousands of drugs,” he said.
Researchers analysed data on the inactive ingredients found in 42,052 oral medications that contained more than 354,597 inactive ingredients. Inactive ingredients are defined as substances that are added to a pill’s formulation but are not intended or expected to have a direct biological or therapeutic effect. Although such ingredients have been tested for safety at the population level, scattered case reports have suggested that inactive ingredients may cause adverse reactions in individuals who have allergies or intolerances.
“There are hundreds of different versions of pills or capsules that deliver the same medication using a different combination of inactive ingredients,” said Daniel Reker, a postdoctoral fellow at MIT. “This highlights how convoluted the possible choices of inactive ingredients are, but also suggests that there is a largely untapped opportunity today to specifically select the most appropriate version of a medication for a patient with unusual sensitivities,” Reker said.
The team found a total of 38 inactive ingredients that have been described in the literature to cause allergic symptoms after oral exposure. Researchers reported that 92.8 per cent of the medications they analysed contained at least one of these inactive ingredients. The team found that inactive ingredients can cause an adverse reaction through an allergy or an intolerance. It is unclear what amount of an ingredient is necessary to trigger a reaction in sensitive individuals — the content of lactose in a medication, for instance, may be too low to cause a reaction in many patients, except for those with severe lactose intolerance or those taking many medications containing lactose.
“While we call these ingredients ‘inactive,’ in many cases, they are not. While the doses may be low, we don’t know what the threshold is for individuals to react in the majority of instances,” said Traverso. “This pushes us to think about precision care and about the role for regulation and legislation when it comes to labelling medications that contain an ingredient that may cause an adverse reaction,” he said.


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Health

How to Keep Stroke at Bay

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Stroke can affect everyone regardless of their age and sex. You might think that you’re healthy one minute then the next you’ve been hit by this cardio problem. Although those who often smoke, drink, and eat unhealthy meals are highly likely to suffer from stroke, you can never be too sure unless you learn how to keep this disease at bay.

If you want to avoid triggering stroke, these tips can help you out.

Pay attention to your emotions. Depression is a silent killer and one that can increase your risk of stroke. When you feel depressed, your body won’t function properly thus putting you at risk of suffering from various health issues with stroke being on top. If you are aware of your feelings, you will be able to get help from your family and even professionals to address this issue immediately.

 

Exercise more. Exercise has always been recommended by doctors to those who want to stay healthy because keeping your heart pumping and your blood flowing prevent buildup of plaque in your arterial wall. This also promotes more oxygen being delivered to different parts of your body which can boost their functions.

Sleep. If you think that late nights are good for your health, you should think again. Sleep plays an important role in your health as it is at this moment of rest does your body regenerate itself. Without proper sleep, you’re putting yourself at risk of suffering from high blood pressure which can trigger stroke when you are not careful.

Drink in moderation. If you often go out with friends or party all night, you’re probably drinking several bottles of booze every night. Although you’ll look cool in the presence of your friends, you are not actually helping yourself in terms of health. Too much alcoholic beverage can wreak havoc in your liver which can increase your cholesterol level and putting you at risk of suffering from stroke. Following the recommendation of one glass of wine for women and two glasses for men should be beneficial to you rather than drinking several bottles of beer.

Use olive oil. Cooking with palm oil, canola oil, and the like can increase your risk of stroke. A better option would be to switch to olive oil when cooking as it has low melting point and it contains plenty of nutrients that your body needs to combat various diseases including stroke. Using olive oil regularly will reduce your risk of stroke up to 40%.

Keep an eye on your weight. Another tip to keeping stroke at bay is to learn how to manage your weight. Going beyond the weight suitable for your age, height, and sex will already put you at risk of suffering from various cardiovascular diseases like stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure just to name a few. If you keep your weight down by eating healthy foods and exercising regularly, you will be able to successfully keep stroke at bay.

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Health

Eating junk food can raise risk of bipolar disorder, depression

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Feeling depressed? It’s time to cut out the unhealthy junk food from your diet as it increases the risk of psychological disorders including bipolar disorder and depression, said researchers.

Junk food is not only harmful for metabolism but also increases the risk of psychological problems such as bipolar disorder and depression, irrespective of personal characteristics such as age, gender, education and marital status, according to the study, published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, indiatvnews.com wrote.

High-sugar consumption was found to be linked with bipolar disorder, while fried foods or processed grains were associated with depression.

 

“Perhaps the time has come for us to take a closer look at the role of diet in mental health because it could be that healthy diet choices contribute to mental health,” said lead author Jim E Banta, Associate Professor at Loma Linda University, California.

“More research is needed before we can answer definitively, but the evidence seems to be pointing in that direction,” Banta added.

The findings provide “additional evidence that public policy and clinical practice should more explicitly aim to improve diet quality among those struggling with mental health”.

It also pointed out that “dietary interventions for people with mental illness should especially target young adults, those with less than 12 years of education, and obese individuals.”

For the study, the team of researchers reviewed data from over 2,40,000 telephone surveys conducted between 2005 and 2015.

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Health

Drinking carbonated beverages during and after exercise can cause kidney injury’

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After an intense workout session, it is common for people to drink either water or soft drinks. But according to the latest study, while drinking water is safe and causes no harm to the body, carbonated beverages may lead to kidney damage.

According to the study, published in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, it has been found that drinking soda after exercise is a big No-No — “The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that consuming a soft drink (i.e., a high fructose, caffeinated beverage) during and following exercise in the heat elevates biomarkers of acute kidney injury (AKI) in humans.”

The researchers recruited twelve healthy adults who were made to drink 2 litres of an assigned beverage during 4 hours of exercise in the heat. While half of the people were given a popular soft drink, the other half were given water to drink. They also had to drink 1 litre of the same beverages after leaving the laboratory. Stage 1 AKI was detected at post-exercise in 75 per cent of the participants in the soft drink trial compared to 8 per cent in water drinking trial.

 

Furthermore, according to the findings, “urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL), a biomarker of AKI, was higher during an overnight collection period after the soft drink trial compared to water.”

The study further added, “Changes in serum uric acid from pre-exercise were greater in the soft drink trial than water at post-exercise. There were greater increases from pre-exercise in serum copeptin, a stable marker of vasopressin, at post-exercise in the soft drink trial than water. These findings indicate that consuming a soft drink during and following exercise in the heat induces AKI, likely via vasopressin mediated mechanisms.”

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