Chocolate Good for the Heart

Chocolate Good for the Heart

Chocoholics have reason to celebrate today: A large new study confirms that chocolate may be good for the heart and brain. Regularly eating chocolate could cut the risk of heart disease and stroke by about one-third, says researcher Oscar H. Franco, MD, PhD, of the University of Cambridge in the U.K.

But before you indulge, a cautionary note: Chocolate bars, cookies, and drinks are high in sugar, fat, and calories, so eating too much can lead to weight gain and, you guessed it, heart disease. “Moderation is key,” Franco tells WebMD.

Chocolate Linked to 37% Lower Risk of Heart Disease

chocolate

Previous studies have suggested that chocolate may protect against high blood pressure and diabetes, both of which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke. But no large-scale study has ever looked at whether chocolate actually reduces the risk of heart disease, Franco says. So he and colleagues pooled the results of seven published studies involving more than 100,000 people that explored the association between chocolate and heart disease and strokes.

Results showed that people who ate the most chocolate had a 37% lower risk of heart disease and a 29% lower risk of stroke compared with people who ate the least amount of chocolate.

The findings were presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2011 and simultaneously published online at bmj.com.

The Good Stuff in Chocolate

All of the studies reported overall how much chocolate people ate. The research didn’t distinguish between dark or milk chocolate. Any source of chocolate counted, whether chocolate bars, chocolate drinks, or chocolate cookies, for example.

The studies showed how much chocolate people ate, from never to more than once per day. Participants were followed for eight to 16 years.

The components in chocolate that might explain chocolate’s protective effects were not explored. Based on previous research though, the researchers credit what are called polyphenols, antioxidants that increase the body’s production of the chemical nitric oxide.

An increase in nitric oxide production in turn might lead to improvements in blood pressure and blood flow though arteries.

“If we knew what components [exerted the healthy effects, we would package them in a pill,” says past American Heart Association president Robert Bonow, MD, of Northwestern University in Chicago. He was not involved with the study.

Bonow tells WebMD that the study is “impressive” for its large size and the substantial reduction in heart disease and stroke associated with chocolate.

Still, the study doesn’t prove chocolate lowers the rate of heart disease. The people who ate the most chocolate in the studies could share some other characteristics that explain their better heart and brain health.

“The good news is, it’s not bad for you in appropriate quantities,” Bonow says. Franco notes that previous research suggests that dark chocolate may be best for the heart.

‘Baby Blues’ after childbirth! how to deal with it❓

If you have the “baby blues” after childbirth, you’re not alone. About half of women have a few days of mild depression after they have a baby. This can be upsetting, but it’s normal to have some insomnia, irritability, tears, overwhelmed feelings, and mood swings. Baby blues usually peak around the fourth day after the baby is born. They tend to improve in less than 2 weeks, when hormonal changes have settled down. But you can have bouts of baby blues throughout your baby’s first year.

If your depressed feelings have lasted more than 2 weeks, your body isn’t recovering from childbirth as expected.
Postpartum depression:

  • Is a serious medical condition. Without treatment, it can last a long time and make it hard for you to function. And it can affect your baby’s development.
  • Is best treated with counseling and an antidepressant medicine.
  • Can further improve with home treatment.

To prevent serious problems for you and your baby, work with your doctor now to treat your symptoms.

If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself, your baby, or anyone else,see your doctor immediately or call for emergency medical care.

How is postpartum depression treated?

Depression is a medical condition that requires treatment. It’s not a sign of weakness. Be honest with yourself and those who care about you. Tell them about your struggle. You, your doctor, and your friends and family can team up to treat your postpartum depression symptoms.

Talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Work together to decide what type of treatment is right for you. (You may also have your thyroid function checked. This test is to make sure that a thyroid problem isn’t causing your symptoms.)

Treatment options

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy with a supportive counselor. This is recommended for all women who have postpartum depression. It can also help prevent postpartum depression. A cognitive-behavioral counselor can also teach you skills to help you manage anxiety. These skills include deep breathing and relaxation techniques.
  • Interpersonal counseling. It focuses on your relationships and the personal changes that come with having a new baby. It gives you emotional support and helps you solve problems and set goals.
  • Antidepressant medicine, ideally along with counseling. Even if you breast-feed, you can take an antidepressant for postpartum depression. Breast-feeding offers many emotional and physical benefits for both baby and mother. So experts are studying which antidepressants are most safe for breast-feeding babies. Whether or not you breast-feed, your doctor is likely to recommend a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

Breast-feeding babies whose mothers take an antidepressant do not often have side effects. But they can. If you are taking an antidepressant while breast-feeding, talk to your doctor and your baby’s doctor about what types of side effects to look for.

Home treatment

  • Schedule outings and visits with friends and family. Ask them to call you often. Isolation can make depression worse, especially when it’s combined with the stress of caring for a newborn.
  • Get as much sunlight as you can. Keep your shades and curtains open. And get outside as much as you can.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. If you don’t feel hungry, eat small snacks throughout the day. Nutritional supplement shakes are also useful for keeping up your energy.
  • Get some exercise every day, such as outdoor stroller walks. Exercise helps improve mood.
  • Ask for help with preparing food and doing other daily tasks. Family and friends are often happy to help a mother with a newborn.
  • Don’t overdo it. And get as much rest and sleep as you can. Fatigue can increase depression.
  • Join a support group of moms with new babies. An infant massage class is another great way of getting out and spending time with others whose daily lives are like yours. You will also learn new ways to bond with your baby.
  • Play upbeat music throughout your day and soothing music at night.

visit: www.vikramhospital.com

credits:
ByHealthwise Staff

Benefits of Eating Frequently During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can cause many changes in your body. In pre-pregnancy days you had lots of energy, strength and stamina. You hardly ever had to worry about weight gain. But now, you are fatigued, weak, light-headed and gaining pounds rapidly. Is there any hope to effectively deal with these ongoing issues?

A simple, yet productive approach to many undesired changes in pregnancy would be to change your eating habits. Of course you should eat a healthy balanced diet stuffed with lean protein and veggies, but what about the timing of your meals?

Eating small meals every 2-3 hours has loads of benefits — not only for pregnant women, but for all people. The typical American diet revolves around three major meal times — breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, this is a less healthy way of eating. Have you noticed that the dinner portions at your favorite restaurant are noticeable larger than the lunch portions? This is exactly what you don’t want. Living in an unhealthy culture makes it more difficult to stick to a nutritious-eating plan, but if you try hard enough, you can do it!

By choosing to switch to a six to eight meals a day plan, you will most likely see an improvement in the following conditions:

Too much weight gain 
Eating frequent meals naturally speeds up your metabolism and your body burns more fat at a faster pace. This one change in your eating routine could help you slow down on the
 pregnancy weight gain.

Dizziness 
During pregnancy, dizziness can be caused by many things. Sometimes low-iron(anemia) or low blood sugar(hypoglycemia) can occur during pregnancy and can cause dizziness. Eating small snacks every 2-3 hours can help keep those conditions stable.

Nausea 
Pregnant women are more susceptible to nausea on an empty tummy. Keep the bites frequent, but low-calorie and healthy for a nausea-busting trick. Keep whole wheat crackers or healthy nuts in your purse in case you are busy and don’t have time to run home and eat.

Morning Sickness and Vomiting 
Eating frequent meals will also help
 alleviate morning sickness. Vomiting is more likely to happen if you go many hours without eating. This can be a result of low-blood sugar and other pregnancy-related ailments. So, keep snacking!

Constipation 
Digesting a large meal takes a lot of work. Give your system a break by consuming smaller meals. An easy trick for pregnant moms that work outside the home is eat half your meal at the restaurant and save half for 2-3 hours later. This way, you are still consuming your meals in more frequent intervals without breaking the work schedule.

Fatigue
Your body is going through so many changes — it’s growing a baby! Keep it fueled and charged with powerful, energy snacks throughout the day.

Low-blood sugar. 
Eating frequently will aid in keeping blood sugar levels normal. Low blood sugar can wreak havoc on your day. It can cause irritability, extreme fatigue, rapid heartbeats, panic attacks, and breathlessness. Stay away from refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, as these can also cause your blood sugar to spike, but then dip dangerously low.

HeadachesPregnancy headaches are typically a result of stress, low blood sugar, fatigue or anemia. Starting this small meal plan will help control those issues and lower the amount of headaches you experience during pregnancy.

Just knowing that your health and comfort during pregnancy could be changed drastically by following a more frequent meal plan is reason enough to get started! Here is a sample menu of what your six to eight meals could look like.

  • 7 am: One cup healthy cereal with fresh fruit and skim milk
  • 10 am: One cup of non-fat yogurt and a handful of almonds, pistachios or walnuts
  • 1 pm: One serving of hummus with fresh veggies, a glass of skim milk or fruit juice
  • 3 pm: One 8 oz carton of cottage cheese with sliced peaches or strawberries, two pieces wheat toast
  • 5 pm: Small serving of lean protein served with brown rice and sautéed green beans.
  • 7 pm: One apple, sliced with peanut butter
  • 9 pm: Glass of skim milk and a handful of whole wheat crackers

Take thought throughout the day to keep drinking lots of water. Water will help you digest your meals and keep everything moving in the digestive system. Also, remember this is only a sample suggestion for a small-meal plan. Your diet may need more or less carbs, more or less protein or other specific nutritional values.

Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers

Men Who Ejaculate More Have Lower Prostate Cancer Risks

An epidemiological study of 30,000 American men by Michael Leitzman, a cancer researcher at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, has found that men who enjoy an active sex life do not risk prostate cancer in later life.

There has been a suggested link with greater sexual activity and increased incidents of prostate cancer in previous scientific data because of the link with the male hormone testosterone and its effect on promoting cancer cell growth.

Leitzmann’s findings were that men who ejaculate between 13 and 20 times a month had a 14% lower risk of prostate cancer that men who ejaculated on average, between 4 and 7 times a month for most of their adult life. Men who ejaculated upwards of 21 times a month had a 33% lower lifetime risk of prostate cancer than the baseline group.
The study of predominantly white professional males would seem to suggest, as Mr. Leitzmann himself says, ‘the finding warrant further investigation’.

What Is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men, right behind skin cancer. Prostate cancer is also the second most deadly cancer in American men. Prostate cancer is more frequent among African American men than it is among white men. Furthermore, African American men are more likely to die of prostate cancer than are white men.
The vast majority of prostate cancers are a type of cancer called adenocarcinoma.
Adenocarcinomas arise from cells that produce fluids like mucus.

What Are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?
Many people who are otherwise healthy and have prostate cancer exhibit no symptoms. Eventually, when the cancer grows large enough or spreads, prostate cancer can cause a variety of symptoms including the following:
• problems urinating due to obstruction (slow or weak stream);
• frequent nighttime urination (nocturia);
• blood in the urine;
• erectile dysfunction (trouble getting an erection);
• pain in the hips, back and other bones (once the cancer has spread or metastasized);
• weakness in the legs and feet (due to metastatic tumors pressing on the spinal cord) .
Please note that if you have a weakened urinary stream or you’re peeing a lot at night (nocturia), this doesn’t automatically mean that you have prostate cancer. In fact, a much more common cause of weak urine stream is benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), a condition which isn’t cancerous. Nevertheless, if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, you must see your physician as soon as possible.

How Is Prostate Cancer Treated?
Here’s the thing about prostate cancer: Not everybody who has it goes on to die of the cancer. Many older men die of other causes before the cancer becomes severe. Although it’s imperative that anybody who is suspected of having prostate cancer be screened and, if needed, staged for the disease, a physician may decide to forego treatment in lieu of “watchful waiting.”

However, certain people–like those with advanced disease that has spread or metastasized–require treatment.

Here are some treatments for prostate cancer:
• watchful waiting
• surgery
• chemotherapy
• radiation therapy
• hormone therapy
• vaccine therapy (there exists a prostate cancer vaccine called Provenge that induces the body to attack prostate cancer cells)
• cryotherapy (cryosurgery)
• bone-directed therapy

Know more: http://www.vikramhospital.com/specialities/urology/

Sources
Ejaculation Frequency and Subsequent Risk of Prostate Cancer. Michael F. Leitzmann, MD; Elizabeth A. Platz, ScD; Meir J. Stampfer, MD; Walter C. Willett, MD; Edward Giovannucci, MD JAMA. 2004;291:1578-1586

Research Discovers Enzyme which effects depression.

Summary: Depression is the predominant mental disease and constitutes the most common cause of morbidity in developed countries. Now researchers have managed to find a connection between development of depression and the existence of an enzyme in the brain of the fetus.

Despite the fact that more than four percent of the world’s population suffer from depression, and even though approximately 1,500 individuals commit suicide each year in Sweden, the understanding of the pathophysiology of depression remains unclear and only a few new discoveries of mechanisms behind it have been made in recent years. New approved pharmacological interventions are mainly absent, despite intensive research on the subject.

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have characterized the role of the enzyme CYP2C19 in depression and functional and morphological changes in the brain. The enzyme is responsible for the metabolism of many neuroactive compounds, including antidepressants, and is located in the fetal brain and adult liver.

“We previously found that the CYP2C19 gene is expressed not only in the liver, but also in fetal brain. We described that transgenic mice that overexpress the human CYP2C19 in fetal life, in adult life have smaller hippocampus as well as an altered composition of nerve cells in the hippocampus and suffer from a higher level of anxiety- and depression-like behavior as compared to the wild type mice,” says Magnus Ingelman-Sundberg, who has been leader of the study together with Marin Jukic.

Altered structure and function of the hippocampus was the starting point

The hippocampus is a central part of the brain for control of emotions and stress, and the finding of altered structure and function of the hippocampus following overexpression of CYP2C19 was in the starting point for the new study. The researchers now have examined to what extent these findings in mice can be extrapolated to humans.

Such analysis was facilitated by the fact that four percent of the population lacks the CYP2C19 enzyme, while thirty percent have increased expression of the same enzyme. By analysis of MRI-based measurements of the hippocampal volume and by analyzing epidemiological statistics for suicide as well as by evaluating tests of depressive mood from thousands of people, researchers found that the absence of the enzyme was associated with a larger volume of the hippocampus.

“These persons showed a lesser degree of depressed mode. Conversely, we found that increased activity of CYP2C19 was associated with higher suicidal incidences in depressed patients,” Marin Jukic says.

The results, presented in the international publication Molecular Psychiatry, show that the propensity for depression and hippocampal function in part is programmed in fetal life. Fetuses lacking CYP2C19 enzyme have a lower risk of depression and have larger hippocampi in adulthood.

“These findings form the basis for the identification of new biomarkers for depressive phenotypes and strengthen the fact that our CYP2C19 depression mice model can be used to understand new mechanisms for the basis of depression and for preclinical screening of new drug candidates for anti-depressant effect, in particular for those that affect the serotonergic neurotransmission,” Magnus Ingelman-Sundberg concludes.

www.vikramhospital.com
Source: Karolinska Institute

Harvesting stem cells for therapy one day be as simple as asking patients for a urine sample?

Researchers have identified stem cells in urine that can be directed to become multiple cell types.

Could harvesting stem cells for therapy one day be as simple as asking patients for a urine sample? Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine and colleagues have identified stem cells in urine that can be directed to become multiple cell types.
“These cells can be obtained through a simple, non-invasive low-cost approach that avoids surgical procedures,” said Yuanyuan Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of regenerative medicine and senior researcher on the project.

Reporting online in the journal Stem Cells, the team successfully directed stem cells from urine to become bladder-type cells, such as smooth muscle and urothelial, the cells that line the bladder. But the urine-derived cells could also form bone, cartilage, fat, skeletal muscle, nerve, and endothelial cells, which line blood vessels. The multipotency of the cells suggests their use in a variety of therapies.

“These stem cells represent virtually a limitless supply of autologous cells for treating not only urology-related conditions such as kidney disease, urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction, but could be used in other fields as well,” said Zhang. “They could also potentially be used to engineer replacement bladders, urine tubes and other urologic organs.”

Being able to use a patient’s own stem cells for therapy is considered advantageous because they do not induce immune responses or rejection. However, because tissue-specific cells are a very small subpopulation of cells, they can be difficult to isolate from organs and tissues.

Zhang’s team first identified the cells, which are a small subset of the many cells found in urine, in 2006. The current research builds on earlier studies by confirming the multipotency of the cells. In addition, the research found that unlike iPS cells or embryonic stem cells, the urine derived-stem cells do not form tumors when implanted in the body, indicating they may be safe for use in patients.

The research involved obtaining urine samples from 17 healthy individuals ranging in age from five to 75 years. Isolating the cells from urine involves minimal processing, according to the authors. Next, they evaluated the cells’ ability to become multiple cell types.

Importantly, the cells differentiated into the three tissue layers (endoderm, ectoderm and mesoderm) that are a hallmark of true stem cells and also differentiated into the specific cell types mentioned earlier.
Next, the researchers placed cells that had been differentiated into smooth muscle and urothelial cells onto scaffolds made of pig intestine. When implanted in mice for one month, the cells formed multi-layer, tissue-like structures.

The urine-derived stem cells have markers of mesenchymal cells, which are adult stem cells from connective tissue such as bone marrow. They also have markers for pericytes, a subset of mesenchymal cells found in small blood vessels.

Where do the cells come from? Researchers suspect that the cells originate from the upper urinary tract, including the kidney. Female study participants who had received kidney transplants from male donors were found to have the y chromosome in their urine-derived stem cells, suggesting the kidney as the source of the cells.
“Identifying the origins of the cells will lead to a better understanding of the biology of this multipotent population of mesenchymal cells within the urinary tract system,” said Zhang.

http://www.vikramhospital.com/specialities/urology/

Source: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Deepika Padukone: i had to take medication for depression.

Deepika Padukone recently appeared on a news channel to talk about her battle with depression. In January this year, she broke her silence for the first time in an HT exclusive to tell the world that she was struggling with anxiety and depression, at a time when she was establishing her credentials as one of Bollywood’s most sought after actors. Here’s the article in which she bared her heart for the first time about how she straddled these two aspects of her life and came out a winner.

In early 2014, while I was being appreciated for my work, one morning, I woke up feeling different. A day earlier, I had fainted due to exhaustion; it was all downhill from there. I felt a strange emptiness in my stomach. I felt empty and directionless.

I thought it was stress, so I tried to distract myself by focusing on work, and surrounding myself with people, which helped for a while. But the nagging feeling didn’t go away. My breath was shallow, I suffered from lack of concentration and I broke down often.

Over a period of time, it got worse. When my parents visited, I would put up a brave front because they were worried about me living alone and working long hours.

Then, once, while talking to my mother (Ujjala Padukone), I broke down. She realised the problem, and got in touch with a psychologist friend, Anna Chandy, to get to the root of the cause.

Every morning, it was a struggle to wake up, and shoot for Happy New Year’s (HNY; 2014) climax. Finally, I had a word with Anna aunty. She flew to Mumbai from Bengaluru, and I talked my heart out to her. She concluded that I was suffering from anxiety and depression.

When she suggested I take medication, I was resistant. I thought talking was enough. Later, I met another psychologist in Bengaluru for a second opinion.

There were days when I would feel okay, but at times, within a day, there was a roller-coaster of feelings. Finally, I accepted my condition. The counselling helped, but only to an extent. Then, I took medication, and today I am much better.

Most of HNY was shot through this phase. But before starting my next with Shoojit Sircar, I took a two-month break to recover mentally and physically. I spent time with my family in Bengaluru and was soon better. But, when I returned to Mumbai, I heard about a friend committing suicide due to anxiety and depression. It was a huge blow.

and; My personal experience as well as my friend’s death urged me to take up this issue, which isn’t usually talked about. There is shame and stigma attached to talking about depression. In fact, one in every four people suffer from anxiety and depression.

The World Health Organisation has stated that this will be the most widespread epidemic in the next few years. We talk about all kinds of aliments, but this is probably one of the deadliest mental disorders. Nothing, including life, makes sense to people suffering from it. Overcoming it has made me a stronger person and I now value my life much more. Accepting it and speaking about it has liberated me. I have stopped taking medication, and I hope my example will help people reach out for help.

I feel that at times, the patient just wants to talk, and isn’t seeking advice. But, well-wishers saying things like, ‘Don’t worry, it will all be alright,’ might be detrimental.

Being sad and being depressed are two different things. Also, people going through depression don’t look so, while someone sad will look sad. The most common reaction is, ‘How can you be depressed? You have everything going for you. You are the supposed number one heroine and have a plush home, car, movies… What else do you want?’ It’s not about what you have or don’t have. People talk about physical fitness, but mental health is equally important. I see people suffering, and their families feel a sense of shame about it, which doesn’t help. One needs support and understanding.

I am now working on an initiative to create awareness about anxiety and depression, and help people. My team is working with me to formulate a plan, which will be unveiled soon.

Get in touch : http://www.vikramhospital.com/specialities/psychiatry/

(As told to Kavita Awaasthi)

Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/ Contine reading