Blog Archives

‘Kid’s waist size can predict disease risk’ DELHI: The waist size of your child can predict if he or she is likely to suffer from any metabolic disorder. This has been found in a multi-centre cross-sectional study done by the International Diabetes Federation. It was conducted on 10,842 children in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune and Raipur.

Dr Archana Dayal Arya, paediatric endocrinologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, and co-author of the study, said Metabolic Syndrome (MS) in children has been defined as the presence of high triglyceride levels in blood, low HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), increased fasting blood glucose levels, high systolic blood pressure and waist circumference > 75th percentile. It results in increased risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and atherosclerosis cardiovascular disease.

“It is shocking to see children as young as six years old with diseases like hypertension, diabetes mellitus and abnormalities in the lipid profile,” the doctor said.

The study found that the risk factor for Indian children for developing MS was at 70th waist circumference (WC) percentile, which is significantly lower than international proposed WC cutoff of 90th percentile.

Dr Anuradha Khadilkar, consultant paediatrician in Jehangir Hospital, Pune and corresponding author of the study, said primary or essential hypertension, commonly seen in adults, is becoming common in children, who are obese or overweight.

The study, which will be published in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Paediatrics, found that 3.3 per cent or 358 children out of a total sample size of 10,842 were hypertensive.


Cocoa may help resist obesity, type-2 diabetes: Study

cocoa beans

Researchers found that cocoa, the basic ingredient in chocolate and one of the most flavanol-rich foods, can actually prevent people from gaining excess weight and lower blood sugar levels.

According to sources, the scientists found that one particular type of antioxidant in cocoa called oligomeric procyanidins, when added to the food fed to laboratory mice, made a big difference in keeping the mice’s weight down and also improved their glucose tolerance level which could potentially help prevent type-2 diabetes.

Researchers reportedly also stated that Oligomeric procyanidins possess the greatest antiobesity and antidiabetic bioactivities of the flavanols in cocoa.

Previous studies have also linked chocolate to health benefits such as improved thinking, decreased appetite and lower blood pressure. The study is published in American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry.

Astrocal (Vitamin D) Supplements: FAQ D had been gaining a reputation as a ”wonder supplement.” Studies have suggested it can help bone and heart health, ease mild depression, and lower the risk of cancer. Others have suggested it might help people with fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and other chronic diseases.

Now comes a different finding. Researchers who looked at dozens of studies say that vitamin D supplements do not lower the risks of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, or fractures by more than 15% in generally healthy people. This was true whether or not the supplements included calcium.

Bottom line: For most healthy adults, vitamin D supplements are not worth it, the researchers say in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Not everyone agrees, and the debate is far from done. Here, two experts address the most common questions about vitamin D supplements.

Are vitamin D supplements losing their luster?

“I believe so,” says Doug Campos-Outcalt, MD, of the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix. He recently wrote a review of vitamin D for The Journal of Family Practice.

Evidence shows that vitamin D helps bone health, he says. But early studies that show vitamin D may help in other areas, such as heart health and cancer prevention, are not convincing.

“Information on the health benefits of vitamin D is difficult to sort out,” he writes in the review. He cites a report from the Institute of Medicine, an independent organization that provides health advice. The institute looked at studies of vitamin D to protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases such as lupus. Except for bone health, it found no evidence that vitamin D helped with any other diseases.

Robert R. Recker, MD, director of osteoporosis research at Creighton University School of Medicine in Nebraska, disagrees. He cites research finding vitamin D lowers the risks of colon, breast, and other cancers, and improves how the immune system works.

On the other hand, other experts say low vitamin D levels may be a result of illness, not the cause.

What do we know for sure about vitamin D?

What it does: Experts agree on the basics. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, and that is good for bone health. Vitamin D also helps reduce inflammation in our cells. Inflammation can trigger disease.

What are the main areas of disagreement about Vitamin D?

How much is needed: At the center of the debate is how much vitamin D is enough. “We need more vitamin D than what we are getting [from diet and sun exposure],” Recker says. “What is not agreed upon is how much more.”

The Institute of Medicine recommends that most Americans need no more than 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day. People 71 and older may need 800 IU, it says. This level is enough for bone health, it says.

Vitamin D is found in some foods, including fatty fish like salmon and tuna, beef liver, fortified dairy products, cheese, and egg yolks. Except for those, getting enough vitamin D from your diet isn’t easy. As examples, a 3-ounce serving of salmon provides 447 IU, and 3 ounces of tuna fish offer 154 IU.

Meanwhile, our skin makes vitamin D when exposed to natural sunlight. This helps vitamin D levels in our blood. But Recker says only people who live at the equator get a large amount of D from sunlight.

Testing: Experts disagree on whether healthy people need routine testing to detect low vitamin D blood levels.

How much is enough: Experts also disagree on how much vitamin D we need in our blood to be healthy.

Which groups of people might benefit more from higher levels of D?

Older adults who are frail, Campos-Outcalt says. Getting 800 IU a day may help them prevent falls and fractures.

Recker says older people who are healthy can also benefit from the higher levels, ”because the skin loses the ability to make vitamin D” as people age. Some older people also stay indoors more as they age, he says.

Other people may also need to pay close attention to vitamin D in their foods. Among them are people on corticosteroids and other medications that can affect bone health, Recker says.

What are the potential harms of excess vitamin D supplements?

Very high doses of vitamin D can cause extremely high levels of calcium in your blood, which can lead to heart rhythm problems, kidney stones and damage, and severe muscle weakness. This calcium excess usually happens if you take 40,000 IU per day for a couple of months or longer, or take a very large one-time dose.

Diabetes hits young women due to sedentary lifestyle: Study

Younger women in the age bracket of 30-35 years are prone to diabetes because of sedentary lifestyle and wrong eating habits, according to a study.

Population in Western India tends to eat fried food and no fruits, due to which several people are seen to be at higher risk of diabetes and obesity.

Diabetes risk levels have been observed to be high among men and women in the age bracket of 45-50 years, an Indus Health Plus report said on Wednesday.

As per the International Diabetes Federation, India is the diabetes capital of the world, with 40 million people living with diabetes. About 371 million people suffer from diabetes across the nation and half of the cases are undiagnosed.

The report released on the eve of World Diabetes Day which falls on on November 14, revealed that in Maharashtra, sugar levels were found to be high, surprisingly among youth, especially in the the age group of 25-35 years of age.

The study observed that consumption of oil, ghee,butter is high and a cholesterol rich diet increases obesity and hypertension, fuelling chances of getting diabetes.

Amol Naikawadi, Joint Managing Director, Indus Health Plus said, “Our Abnormality Report validates the rapid growth of diabetes which is not only prevalent in adults but is beginning to affect the younger generation, especially women in India. Lifestyle characterised by unhealthy nutrition, reduced physical activity and tobacco consumption has increased the risk factor of diabetes.”

“If left untreated or uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to blindness, cardiovascular diseases and kidney failure. Timely and regular check-up can reduce the risk of diabetes”, Naikawadi said.

Eating walnuts may keep heart disease and diabetes at bay!

WalnutAre you overweight and scared of developing heart disease and diabetes? Walnuts might just be the answer to your worries. According to a study led by Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, eating walnuts may cut risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.

The study was conducted by recruiting 46 overweight adults who were not smokers. They were then divided into two groups, and one group had walnuts in their diet, while the other did not. After 8 weeks, the health indicators for developing diabetes and heart disease in the people who had walnuts were significantly improved.

The study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition said: ‘FMD improved significantly from baseline when subjects consumed a walnut-enriched diet as compared with the control diet. Beneficial trends in systolic blood pressure reduction were seen, and maintenance of the baseline anthropometric values was also observed. Other measures were unaltered,’

Walnuts can also help cut the chances of prostate cancer

If that wasn’t reason enough to go to the supermarket, and pick up some walnut s- a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that eating walnuts can also help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

What makes walnuts so good?

Lead researcher of the study linking walnuts and prostate cancer, Dr. Paul Davis said walnuts have many ingredients which makes them so nutritious. ‘Walnuts are a whole food that provides a rich package of healthful substances, including omega-3 fatty acids, gamma tocopherol (a form of vitamin E), polyphenols, and antioxidants. These likely then work synergistically.’

Walnuts can also help boost your sex life

According to a study published in Biology of Reproduction, men aged 21-35 who regularly ate walnuts- had sperm with enhanced vitality and movement.

Antipsychotic drug use in kids ups risk of type 2 diabetes

Prescribing antipsychotic drugs to kids and young adults having behavioural problems or mood disorders could put them at a risk for acquiring type 2 diabetes, a study has showed.

The Vanderbilt University Medical Center study shows that young people using medications like risperidone, quetiapine, aripiprazol and olanzapine led to a threefold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes within the first year of taking the drug.

Senior author Wayne A. Ray, Ph.D., professor of Preventive Medicine, said that while other studies have shown an increased risk for type 2 diabetes associated with the use atypical antipsychotic medications, this is the first large, well-designed study to look at the risk in children.

The authors noted that the use of these drugs for non-psychosis-related mood, attention or behavioral disorders in youth/children now accounts for the majority of prescriptions.

Ray said that as they wanted to address this question of risk for indications for which there were therapeutic alternatives, they deliberately excluded those taking antipsychotics for schizophrenia and other psychoses; thus, our entire sample consisted of patients for whom there were alternatives to antipsychotics.

State-provided, de-identified medical records were examined for TennCare youths ages 6-24 from 1996 through 2007.

During that time children and youth who were prescribed treatment with atypical antipsychotics for attention, behavioral or mood disorders, were compared with similar youth prescribed approved medications for those disorders.

Even with the further elimination of certain disorders that are commonly associated with diabetes, like polycystic ovarian syndrome, those taking antipsychotics had triple the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the following year, with the risk increasing further as cumulative dosages increased. The increased risk persisted for at least a year after the medications were stopped.

Ray and his colleagues point out developing type 2 diabetes is still rare in this age group. Of the nearly 29,000 children and youth in the antipsychotic medication group and 14,400 children in the control group, 106 were ultimately diagnosed and treated for type 2 diabetes.

The study has been published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Dogs can sniff out low blood sugar

DogDogs can be trained to alert their diabetic owners if their blood sugar levels are dangerously low, scientists have found.

Dogs can act as a reliable early-warning system for diabetes patients, researchers said. Canines that are trained to respond to their owners’ hypoglycaemia could offer a very effective way to alert diabetic patients of impending lowered blood sugars. Hypoglycemia is a medical emergency that involves an abnormally diminished content of glucose in the blood. Researchers believe dogs use their acute sense of smell to detect changes in the chemical composition of their owner’s sweat or breath to respond to glycaemic control.

The study, led by academics at the University of Bristol, investigated whether specially trained ‘glycaemia alert dogs’ could accurately and consistently detect the signs of low/high blood sugar in their owners and alert them when levels were reported to be outside their target range.

A total of seventeen dogs that were trained to alert their owners when their blood sugars were out of target range were studied. While some dogs had been specifically chosen for their potential to work as a ‘glycaemia alert dog’, mostly donated to and trained by the charity, others were clients’ pets which had been trained in situ.

The findings showed that since obtaining their dog, all seventeen clients studied reported positive effects including reduced paramedic call outs, decreased unconscious episodes and improved independence.

Owner-recorded data showed that dogs alerted their owners, with significant, though variable, accuracy at times of low and high blood sugar. “Despite considerable resources having been invested in developing electronic systems to facilitate tightened glycaemic control, current equipment has numerous limitations,” said Dr Nicola Rooney, the study’s lead author and a research fellow in the University’s School of Veterinary Sciences.

“These findings are important as they show the value of trained dogs and demonstrate that glycaemia alert dogs placed with clients living with diabetes, afford significant improvements to owner well-being including increased glycaemic control, client independence and quality-of-life and potentially could reduce the costs of long-term health care,” Rooney said.

“Some of the owners also describe their dogs respond even before their blood sugars are low but as they start to drop, so it is possible that the dogs are even more effective than this study suggests,” Rooney said. The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Diabetes has same effect as HIV on tuberculosis

CHENNAI: The combination of diabetes and tuberculosis doesn’t just complicate treatment ; the double disease could be as dangerous as having HIV/AIDS with TB. A new study has confirmed that diabetes can make the TB bacteria harder to treat, just as HIV/AIDS does.

A group of doctors from MV Hospital for Diabetes, who pored over records of tuberculosis patients registered in the government’s Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme in Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram , found that at least 50% of TB patients had diabetes or pre-diabetes .

All patients were given medication under the DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course) programme, recommended by World Health Organisation for TB control. At the end of two months, doctors did a sputum test to see if medicines had brought down infection. Nearly 14% of patients with diabetes tested positive for TB compared to 3% of those without diabetes . After six months, doctors said 4% of TBdiabetes patients had not responded to treatment compared to 0.7% of those without diabetes.

The effect of diabetes on TB is similar to HIV on TB, said diabetologist Dr Vijay Vishwanathan , who led the research team. They will urge the government to integrate national programmes for TB and diabetes. “We must ensure that all TB patients are tested for diabetes and vice versa,” he said. According to the Union health ministry, 40% of Indians are TB carriers. At least 10% of people in India are diabetic and in cities like Chennai the incidence is 20%.

“The chances of TB recurrence are higher among diabetics. We are planning a larger study to determine a new treatment regimen, including better diagnosis methods for TB-diabetes patients,” said Dr Vishwanthan.

National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis director Soumya Swaminathan said they did a study among 100 patients with TB and diabetes and found that if sugar levels are under control, treatment outcomes are better. “This hardly happens. TB is diagnosed when patients are in their 40s, the same time when many learn they are diabetics as well,” she said.

‘Diabetes capital’ tag a burden on India’s heart

Being home to around 40 million diabetics, India is emerging as the ‘diabetes capital’ of the world.

And with this, people would be more susceptible to heart disease.

“One-third of the diabetics develop coronary artery disease (CAD), irrespective of the precaution they take and death of 80% diabetics can be attributed to CAD,” said Prof AK Srivastava, chairman, Divine Heart Multi-Specialty Hospital.

He was delivering a talk on ‘Impact of Diabetes on Heart’ organised by the Lucknow Management Association in collaboration with Hearts and Minds at the LMA hall.

“Around 50 to 60 million Indians suffer from heart disease and if figures are further explained, every 10th Indian suffers with either CAD or diabetes,” he said.

According to Prof Srivastava, diabetes attacks people in many ways.

First it alters lipid metabolism, precipitates clotting in the artery and t6hen damages artery walls.

“The most vulnerable are those who have a family history of diabetes. For them, I would advise check-ups after the age of 35 years, which is the best way to prevent disease,” said Prof Srivastava.

He said when people from the vulnerable group go for preventive test, they should ensure that albumin is included in the test.

The sugar test should also be considered important where fasting level should be below 110, random between 140 and 160 and the range for the 2-hour glucose test should be 180 to 200.

Apart from these clinical precautions diet is another factor, which can help check the impact of diabetes on the heart.

“For diabetics, controlled intake of carbohydrates is one of the important factors in diet management,” said Sachin Singh of Diet Mantra.

As per statistics, about 50% diabetics develop renal problems. But by checking their vulnerability status and with regular tests, further ailments could be prevented.

In the next 17 years, India, China and the US would have the largest number of diabetics. It is estimated that every fifth person with diabetes will be an Indian.

Due to this, the economic burden due to diabetes in India is amongst the highest in the world.

As per WHO estimates, mortality from diabetes, heart disease and stroke cost about $210 billion in India in 2005.

Much of the heart disease and stroke in these estimates was linked to diabetes.

Diabetes, heart disease and stroke together would cost about $ 333.6 billion over the next 10 years in India alone, estimates WHO.

Grandparents and Grandchildren Can Protect Each Other’s Mental Health

Grandparents and GrandchildrenGrandparents and their grown up grandchildren play important roles in each other’s health, a new study finds. The two-decade study found the quality of relationships between the two generations has measurable consequences on the mental well-being of both.

The researchers looked at 376 grandparents and 340 grandchildren, and tracked their mental health from 1985 to 2004. They found that both grandparents and adult grandchildren who felt emotionally close to the other generation had fewer symptoms of depression.

“Extended family members, such as grandparents and grandchildren, serve important functions in one another’s daily lives throughout adulthood,” said study researcher Sara Moorman, professor of sociology at Boston College.

Grandparents and their grown up grandchildren play important roles in each other’s health, a new study finds. The two-decade study found the quality of relationships between the two generations has measurable consequences on the mental well-being of both.

The researchers looked at 376 grandparents and 340 grandchildren, and tracked their mental health from 1985 to 2004. They found that both grandparents and adult grandchildren who felt emotionally close to the other generation had fewer symptoms of depression.

“Extended family members, such as grandparents and grandchildren, serve important functions in one another’s daily lives throughout adulthood,” said study researcher Sara Moorman, professor of sociology at Boston College.

The relationships between extended family members may be more important today than they’ve ever been, the researchers said. As life expectancy is increasing, generations co-exist for unprecedentedly long periods of time, and they can be sources of support, or strain, across people’s lives, the researchers said.

“Now, you can be 40 years old and still have one or more grandparents living, which is historically really new,” Moorman said. [10 Scientific Tips for Raising Happy Kids]

For the study, which was presented today (Aug. 12) in at the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in New York, the participants filled out surveys every few years, answering questions such as how often they helped each other with housework, gave or received rides to the doctor’s office or grocery store, and how well they got along. Participants also reported how often they felt depressive symptoms such as sadness and lack of appetite.

The average grandparent in the study was born in 1917 and the average grandchild in 1963, making them 77 years old and 31 years old, respectively, at the midpoint of the study in 1994.

The results showed that besides the positive mental-health effects of having an emotionally close relationship, it is important for grandparents to be able to reciprocate the help they receive from their grandchildren, according to the researchers.

“Grandparents expect to be able to help their grandchildren, even when their grandchildren are grown,” Moorman said.

Among the participants, grandparents who felt independent, gave their grandchildren advice and bought them an occasional gift or paid for lunch had fewer depressive symptoms, whereas grandparents who only received help, without reciprocating had increased depressive symptoms.

The findings also showed it is important for grandchildren to help their grandparents remain independent, and maintain a two-way, supportive relationship, in order to ward off the detrimental effects of aging on the mental and emotional well-being of the older adults.

“All people benefit from feeling needed, worthwhile, and independent. In other words, let granddad write you a check on your birthday, even if he’s on Social Security and you’ve held a real job for years now,” Moorman said.

%d bloggers like this: