A recent study performed by researchers at Cambridge University and the University of Warick from the United Kingdom, found that oversleeping increase the risk of a stroke. The results of the study were published in the journal Neurology.
The study showed that people who got more than eight hours of sleep a night had an increased risk of developing a stroke, when compared to people who slept 6 to 8 hours per night. It was also discovered that people who changed their sleeping habits from less than 6 hours of sleep per night to 8 hours quadruple their risk of developing a stroke later on in life.
The scientists haven’t really managed to translate the results of the study and explain why oversleeping increases the risk of a stroke.
The researchers used data from a previous cancer study, the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer which was conducted over a decade. The study collected information from 9,500 Brits with ages between 40 and 79, about eating habits, stress levels and sleep patterns and habits, among other things.
The scientists who analyzed the data also took into account other factors that could have influenced the outcome, such as body mass index (BMI), family history, cardiovascular disease, age and smoking.
Researchers found that 350 participants experienced a stroke during the 10 years of the study and 67 people died as a result of a stroke. After careful examination of the data, it was concluded that people who slept more than 8 hours a day had a much higher possibility of developing a stroke. It was also noticed that women who overslept were more predisposed at having a stroke than men were.
Yue Leng, doctoral candidate at the University of Cambridge, said that it is apparent from the data collected from the participants that there is a link between sleeping longer than 8 hours and an increased risk of stroke.
It was noted by the scientists study that more research is needed to validate the current results. The main reason is that the study does not prove causation, only correlation. Researchers concluded that oversleeping is also a sign of other health issues, such as neurological deterioration, depression and cancer.
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An Italian surgeon believes that human head transplant will become a reality in 2 years’ time. Dr. Sergio Canavero is a surgeon in Turin, Italy and believes that 642-883 the procedure would revolutionize medicine and the way people are being treated.
He said that a human head transplant would help extend the lives of people with terminal diseases and allow people with spinal cord injuries to let their old body behind and get a new one.
Canavero revealed that all the technology that is needed for a human 640-878 head transplant is either already available or not very far off in the future. The doctor will be presenting an introduction about human head transplant at a conference in June about orthopedic surgery where he hopes his peers will offer expertise and support.
Canavero said that for the human head transplant to be successful, the spinal cord would need to be cleanly cut so that nerve damage is minimized. The next step would be moving the head onto the body of the donor and the muscles and blood vessels would be stitched together.
Naturally, the most challenging part would be fusing the two ends of the spinal cord, which currently cannot be done. Canavero thinks that using a chemical that would encourage the fat in the cell membranes of the spinal cord to glue everything together.
After the stitching is done the patient would need to stay completely still for several weeks for that they don’t disturb the new connections and the Italian surgeon proposes they be kept in a coma. Keeping someone in an artificial coma is a very challenging and dangerous thing, so scientists would need to figure out a way to do it safely. The patient would learn to walk in about a year, Canavero believes.
A head transplant was attempted in the 1970s when scientists transplanted the head of a monkey onto the body of another one, but they didn’t even attempt to fuse the spinal cords. As a result, the monkey could not move or even breathe unattended. It died nine days later after its immune system rejected the head.
As expected, the notion that a human head transplant is just around the corner was met with much criticism from the scientific community. Dr. William Mathews, a spinal surgeon and chairman of the AANOS (American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons) revealed that the idea of spinal fusion is indeed plausible but he added that it was highly unlikely that anyone would succeed in doing it in the next two years. He concluded, referring to Canavero:
He thinks he’s ready, I think it’s far into the future.
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At the Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center a baby was born fully encased in the amniotic sac, following a Caesarian section that delivered him prematurely. Being born with the amniotic sac intact is a medical rarity and this is why little Silas Philips has been making the rounds on the Internet.
Silas was born completely en caul, which means encased in the amniotic sac and because this is such a rarity, the doctor had to snap a photo of him with his phone.
There have been a few voices that have been saying that the doctor should have attended to the baby and helping him breathe instead of taking out the phone for a photo, but the doctors stated that the baby was still attached with the umbilical cord to the mother and the sac was intact, so he was still getting his oxygen and nutrients from his mother.
William Binder, neonatologist at the Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center told the press that it felt like a moment of awe and the people in the room caught their breath. After the initial shock the team of doctors rushed to aid the little one, as he was born three months premature.
Normally, when a baby gets ready to come into the world, the moment is signaled by the rupturing of the amniotic sac, or water breaking. Sometimes, the amniotic sac can get stuck around certain parts of the baby. For example, a part of the sac can get wrapped around the baby’s head and make it look as if the baby is wearing a helmet.
One in 80,000 babies are born inside the amniotic sac, or en caul inside the United States every year. The amniotic sac protects the baby inside the mother, by creating a perfect environment where they can develop and grow.
Usually with C-sections, the scalpel almost always pierces the amniotic sac. When Silas’ mother heard about the news that her baby was born in the amniotic sac, she was shocked and said that he was indeed special.
Little Silas Philips is doing fine and will be released from the hospital around his initial due date, which is in a month.
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A new study has revealed the least and most addictive foods for humans. The research was conducted by scientists from the University of Michigan and it was published in the Journal PLOS One.
It has been debated for years whether or not food addiction exists. While there is still no definite conclusion, many psychologists believe that addiction to food is real and people who are addicted to certain foods can go through withdrawal-like symptoms that are similar to ones experienced by alcoholics or drug addicts in withdrawal.
The new study was conducted by a researcher from the University of Michigan and one from the New York Obesity Research Center, the Department of Medicine and sought to find which foods and food attributes are capable of actually triggering an addictive response. The scientists felt the need to clarify that the broad term of food doesn’t refer just to foods in their natural state, such as a banana or a potato, but also to those processed foods with added fat and/or sugar or other additives, such as chips and ice cream.
The scientists gathered data from 500 participants about which foods gave them the most problems, in terms of the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YGAS). The scale is a questionnaire that has 25 points and was created by Ashley Gearhardt, a researcher from Yale who wanted to identify which people are more likely to be dependent of certain types of food and the symptoms of addiction experienced.
The researchers found that the most addictive foods are usually heavily processed. The number one most addictive food is ice-cream, followed by chips, chocolate, cookies and pizza. The least-addictive food was found to be cucumber, closely followed by carrots, apples, brown rice and beans.
The most addictive foods aren’t just heavily processed foods, they are also very high in fat and glycemic load, which is a measurement of how a particular food can raise a person’s blood sugar after they consume it.
The current study found that highly processed foods, with added amounts of fat and/or refined carbohydrates (e.g., sugar, white flour), were most likely to be associated with behavioral indicators of addictive-like eating.
Even though the food addiction has some blurry lines, this new study can initiate new exploration into the study of obesity and food triggers.
This isn’t the first time such a study is being made. According to a study conducted in 2014 by researchers at the University of Edinburgh that delved into food addiction revealed that:
The real problem underlying our unhealthy food consumption is the psychological compulsion to eat because of the pleasure and satisfaction we get from food.
The study concluded that food addiction is a psychological disorder and not related to substances present in the food itself.
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Until now, the purpose of eyelashes was thought to only be that of protecting the eyes against dust and small debris, but a new study has revealed that the purpose of eyelash length is that of protecting the eyes from frying out. The results of the study were published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
David Hu, lead author of the study and researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, was prompted to research eyelashes after seeing his newborn child’s eyelashes. Joined by graduate students and colleagues, he set out to find why eyelashes are the length they are.
The researchers measured the lashes of various mammals and then proceeded to make an artificial eye with lashes which they placed inside a wind tunnel. They also measured the eyelashes of 22 species of mammals that were preserved at the American Museum of Natural History and found that the measurements showed the constant relation to the eye size.
The next step was to create mathematical models of airflow over the eyelashes and after careful examination of the results, they determined that lashes are almost always about one third as long as the eye is wide. This measurement appears to be ideal for diverting the airflow around the eye and helping reduce evaporation. The experiments in the wind tunnel corroborated the mathematical data.
Steven Vogel, professor at Duke, studies related issues in biomechanics and catalogued the results of the study as being terrific. He continued to say that now people know why eyelashes are the length they are.
Guillermo Amador, study co-author and a graduate student at Georgia Tech, stated:
[We] expected that longer eyelashes would be better. Instead, it seems like nature has come to this optimal eyelash length to help protect the eye, and making eyelashes any longer doesn’t really benefit them.
In humans, eyelashes have an additional role in seduction and sex, or to put it bluntly, in performing mating rituals. Dr. Hu said that, while that may be true for some species, the changing airflow around the eyes is so important that the proportion of the eyelash length to eye width does not change, from elephants to rabbits to humans.
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According to an international health mission, extra measures have to be taken so as to combat the spread of the MERS virus in Saudi Arabia, which is by far the country worst hit by this Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, or MERS-CoV. Reportedly over 20 countries have been affected by the MERS (UK, USA, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Qatar) but most cases have definitely been linked to the Middle East.
Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), along with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and Institut Pasteur, France organised a mission to Saudi Arabia to evaluate the situation and to also make specific recommendations to improve the surveillance, the prevention and the control of the virus.
So the members of the joint mission had talks with high-level representatives from the Ministry of Health, they also visited the Command and Control Centre, which has been conducting all activities involving the control of the MERS-CoV, and made a tour of the emergency and isolation facilities of the Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Hospital, as well.
“The Kingdom did a lot to control the MERS-CoV. We want to hear WHO experts’ feedback on the Kingdom’s progress but also where we can improve. The government is fully committed to implementing the right control and prevention measures and also to funding any activities needed to control this disease,”
Ahmed Bin Aqeel Al Khateeb, the Saudi Arabian Health Minister, explained in a statement.
As far as statistics are concerned, a total of 899 people have been infected in the kingdom; 382 of them have died since the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was identified back in 2012. But concerns rose significantly as the health ministry recorded 5 deaths Thursday alone, thus bringing to 16 the number of deaths since February 11. There is no cure or vaccine for the disease caused by this virus.
Researchers are currently trying to establish the cause of the infection. It is believed that it crosses over to humans from animals ,possibly camels. But by now, person-to-person transmission has remained limited to clusters. Nevertheless the WHO warns individuals to avoid raw camel milk and stay away from their urine and also to make sure the camel meat is properly cooked.
According to new rules set in by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which were released Thursday, eggs and coffee have insinuated themselves into the nutritionists’ favour. So having more than a cup of coffee a day is ok; so is eating more than one egg per day.
But what nutritionists called for was a more environmentally friendly diet, that’s lower in red and processed meats. Salt limits have become more permissive, but sugar ones have kept their stakes high. Sugar is incredibly harmful, especially for children and young adults.
The final 2015 dietary guidelines will be written down by the end of the year. They basically affect everything from subsidised school lunches to supermarket labels, going all the way to your doctor’s advice.
“These guidelines can have a huge impact on people’s diets and ultimately our natural resources. The production and consumption of meat in the U.S. requires massive amounts of pesticides, fertilisers, feed, land and water. (..) Particularly for us here in California, with the drought, reducing meat consumption can reduce pressure on resources like water,”
Kari Hamerschlag, senior program manager at Berkeley-based Friends of the Earth, explained.
According to the panel’s report, global food production is responsible for no less than 80% of the planet’s deforestation, 70 % of freshwater use and also 30% of human-generated greenhouse gases. But people are not advised to eliminate meat from their diet completely. They are simply encouraged to reduce its consumption.
But the good news is that enjoying that extra cup of coffee after you’ve already had 3 seems to be less of a problem. The report explains that coffee can reduce the risk of diabetes and of heart disease, too. But the worst thing you can do is to serve your coffee with plenty of sugar, which shouldn’t represent more than 200 calories a day.
So the panel also underlined the fact that consuming too much cholesterol-rich foods, like eggs, is not such a bad thing after all. The so called “fat-free” food have significantly contributed to obesity and health problems among American citizens, as cholesterol has been significantly substituted with carbs, which have proved to be really bad for our bodies if consumed in large amounts, embracing carb foods in our obsession for avoiding bad cholesterol. So moderation is the answer, after all.
Caramel colour, a common ingredient in colas and other dark soft drinks, has turned out to be carcinogenic, according to recent studies. 44 to 58 % of people over 6 years of age usually have at least one can of soda every day, even more, therefore exposing themselves to 4-methylimidazole or 4-MEI, which is a human carcinogen that’s formed as a consequence of the manufacturing procedure of some kinds of caramel colour.
The researchers at the University Bloomberg School of Public Health published the study online in the notorious journal PLoS One.
“Soft drink consumers are being exposed to an avoidable and unnecessary cancer risk from an ingredient that is being added to these beverages simply for esthetic purposes,”
Prof. Keeve Nachman, senior author of this study and also director of the food production and public health program at the Centre for a Livable Future (CLF) of the University said.
A 2014 study of 110 samples of soda brands tried to look into the same matters, but it was not large enough so as to be capable of recommending one brand instead of another or to draw conclusions regarding specific brands. However results indicated clearly that levels of 4-MEI could very well vary substantially among samples, even for samples representing the same type of beverage.
The samples used in the study mostly came from California and New York, regarding to which researchers noted that soft drinks in California tend to have lower levels of 4-MEI than the samples sold outside the state of California. This is because food and drink manufacturers are compelled by the California state law to post warning labels on any products that expose consumers to more than a specific amount of 4-MEI each day.
There’s currently no federal limit regarding 4-MEI in neither food nor beverages despite the fact that the US Food and Drug Administration has been petitioned to set limits for this potential carcinogen ingredient last year.
California has already taken an important step towards the 4-MEI regimentation by setting a threshold for prompting Proposition 65 labelling based on daily 4-MEI exposure. Moreover intervention by the FDA, such as establishing maximum levels for 4-MEI in beverages, may represent a valuable approach towards reducing cancer risk.
The diabetic macular edema (DME) drug Eylea (aflibercept) was proved to provide greater visual improvement than Avastin (bevacizumab) or Lucentis (ranibizumab), a recent study found. This applies to a starting vision of 20/50 or worse. Nevertheless the 3 drugs mentioned above led to similar average improvement whenever starting vision was 20/40 to 20/32.
The study was conducted by the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network, funded by the U.S. National Eye Institute (NEI), and was published online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
According to the NEI, roughly 750,000 Americans currently suffer from diabetic macular edema. This condition can affect people with a type of diabetes-related eye disease, which is called diabetic retinopathy. Actually the DME is among the most common reasons for visual loss that may affect the 7.7 million Americans who are suffering from diabetic retinopathy. This condition usually occurs whenever abnormal blood vessels in the retina start leaking into the central area of the retina thus causing distorted vision.
“The results certainly seem to suggest here that if you have 20/50 vision or worse, you would certainly consider Eylea as the preferred drug,”
Dr. John A. Wells, a retina specialist in West Columbia, S.C., who was the chairman of the study, explained.
Among patients with the baddest vision, 67 % in the Eylea group noticed an improvement of about 15 letters, or three lines on an eye chart, which is undoubtedly a meaningful progress. Only 50 % of the ones treated with Lucentis, along with 41% treated with Avastin, admitted to have gained that much vision.
Moreover the study also found that patients getting Eylea eventually ended up needing fewer injections and less backup treatments, like lasers.
Dr. Frederick L. Ferris III, the clinical director of the NEI and also a study co-author, explained that their findings proved all the studied drugs to be effective, but nevertheless these public results can aid guide the medical care in a manner that’s based on evidence as well.
As far as Medicare allowable charges are concerned, the costs of each drug per injection dose used in the study were $1,960 for Eylea, $70 for Avastin, and $1200 for Lucentis. But keep in mind the fact that during this one year-long study, the participants on Avastin and Lucentis received about 10 injections, while the ones on Eylea received only 9.
Scientists have put their fingers on a new brain circuit involved in the munchies attacks that occur after smoking. It appears that the munchies are also triggered by brain cells that are supposed to turn down appetite, according to thenew study published in this week’s Nature magazine.
Scientists have found that under the influence of pot, these circuits switch their purpose. So instead of advising you not to eat, they urge you to do so, even if your body doesn’t need any food, study author Tamas Horvath, a neurobiologist at Yale University School of Medicine explained.
“At first glance, the finding was completely “nonsensical.” It’s as if “you’re driving down a hill and you brake, brake, brake, and all of a sudden the brake becomes an accelerator,”
Horvath and his team experimented on mice, by taking a look at nerve cells called pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC). They gave the mice a chemical that mimics the marijuana effects by fastening to cannabinoid receptors (the molecules in the brain involved in controlling your appetite, in feeling pain and other processes). Taking a look at the rodents’ brains to search for the active neural circuitry, they found that nerve cells that normally suppress appetite lit up.
Afterwards the team experimented turning nerve cells, or neurones on and off, while activating the cannabinoid receptors. By dampening the activity of the neurones, the mice became less likely to munch; on the other hand, while stimulating the neurones the mice were encouraged to eat more.
“We didn’t mean to find what we found. It was a simple controlled study where we wanted look at these neurons where we suspected they should be off, to see if they were off, and under these conditions if cannabinoids induce feeding. We found they sped up, which was a shocking surprise for us, “
Horvath also said that his team and him are interested in finding the link between the munchies and other behavioural responses to smoking pot. For instance great things may result, as people with appetite suppression, if exposed to these cannabinoid signals, they are likely to have their hunger increased.