A new study has found that chronic cigarette use affects your posture because it affects the brain systems. Postural instability is pretty common among alcohol dependent (AD) individuals, because alcohol damages that parts of the brain systems that maintain postural stability.
Thomas Paul Schmidt, a research associate in the department of radiology and biomedical imaging at the University of California San Francisco, and San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said that anecdotal and empirical findings revealed that postural instabilities with eyes open or closed is common in treatment-seeking AD individuals.
During the study, Schmidt and his colleagues recruited AD participants from substance-abuse outpatient clinics and controls from the local community. To assess postural stability and balance, they administered an ataxia battery to 115 smoking and non-smoking AD individuals and to 74 smoking and non-smoking light/non-drinking controls. The researchers assessed subgroups of AD individuals at three testing sessions during abstinence from alcohol: one week, five weeks, and 34 weeks of abstinence.
They assessed all controls once, and a subset of the non-smoking controls was re-tested after 40 weeks. The researchers then used this data to find out if cigarette smoking affected postural stability in both the control and AD groups, and if postural stability is affected by smoking during alcohol abstinence.
Schmidt remarked that during the research it was revealed that non-smoking AD individuals showed marked improvement on a measure of postural stability over the course of eight months of abstinence.
The study has been published online in the journalism Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
NEW DELHI: Could stress play a role in development of diabetes? A study by the doctors at Delhi’s University College of Medical Sciences has found a link between the two most common chronic ailments in urban India.
The researchers reviewed health parameters of 1,000 people aged 30 years and above, including 500 newly detected type II diabetes patients, and found the disease was more common in people who suffered from chronic stress. The cause of stress included loss of job, separation from spouse or death of a relative among others.
Dr S V Madhu, the lead researcher, said increased secretion of the stress hormone—cortisol—leads to redistribution of fat, central obesity and insulin resistance. He added, “Higher stress levels also causes activation of oxidative and inflammatory pathways resulting eventually in development of type II diabetes.”
Dr Madhu, who heads the medicine and the endocrinology and metabolism division at UCMS, said this is the first study that has used different stress scales to characterize chronic psychological stress and evaluate its role in development of diabetes.
Doctors said, among the stress scales, the ability to cope with stress was found to be the strongest independent predictor of diabetes with an odds ratio of 0.77 that translates to a 33 percent lower risk of diabetes. “This is a positive finding. It shows that de-stressing mechanisms such as yoga, listening to music, sports or travelling can reduce the risk factor,” said another senior doctor.
Simply put, diabetes is a condition in which the body has trouble turning food into energy. All bodies break down digested food into a sugar called glucose, their main source of fuel. In a healthy person, the hormone insulin helps glucose enter the cells. But in a diabetic, the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, or the body does not properly use it. Cells starve while glucose builds up in the blood.
There are two predominant types of diabetes. In Type 1, the immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. In Type 2, which accounts for an estimated 90-95% of all cases, either the body’s cells are not sufficiently receptive to insulin or the pancreas makes too little of the hormone, or both.
With more than 63 million diabetic patients, India is second only to China in the number of people living with the ailment. However, awareness about the disease remains low, says Dr B M Makkar from Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India, RSSDI.
“Studies show almost 85 percent of type II diabetics are overweight. However, only six to ten percent are aware that being overweight put them at a higher risk for diabetes,” Dr Kakkar added.
Many health organizations recommend eating more produce for colorectal cancer protection, but the mechanism for its disease-fighting ability is less well understood. Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber and antioxidants – compounds that protect cells – and scientists have suspected that both play a role. Researchers from Stuttgart, Germany looked the relationship of three antioxidants – lycopene, beta-carotene, and alpha-tocopherol – and their association with colorectal adenomas, growths that are possibly precancerous.
The 165 volunteers were part of a larger study of lifestyle habits and colorectal adenomas. All had a recent colonoscopy to evaluate hidden blood in the stool, but were otherwise healthy, with no prior personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps. Polyps discovered during the colonoscopy exam were removed and classified as adenomatous – growths that might turn cancerous if not removed – or hyperplastic, which tend to be smaller and are thought to be unlikely to ever develop into cancer. A nutritionist questioned the volunteers about their diets, including consumption of alcoholic beverages, and other habits. Blood samples were measured for levels of lycopene, beta-carotene, and alpha-tocopherol. The investigators looked for relationships between blood levels of the antioxidants and colorectal growths.
Low blood levels of lycopene and smoking were both associated with an increased risk for adenomas, after other factors were ruled out that can influence colorectal cancer risk, such as age, body fat, and gender. There was no relationship between the presence of adenomas and levels of beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol.
Lycopene is concentrated in tomatoes and tomato products. The researchers concluded that lycopene is in part responsible for the protective effect high tomato intake has against the risk of colorectal adenomas. Other studies have shown that beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol have a healthful influence too, but this study does not substantiate that. Lycopene appears to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals, which are by-products from the body’s oxygen use and also a result of exposure to cigarette smoke and excessive sunlight.
Besides tomatoes and tomato products, other lycopene-rich foods include watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava, and papaya. Include these foods in your daily mix of fruits and vegetables. The American Cancer Society recommends at least five servings of produce a day. Another lifestyle choice, which consistently proves beneficial – as in this study – is not to smoke.