HEALTH & FITNESS

The heart is its own best healer
Washington: Researchers in Bristol have found that the heart may develop innate protection against further damage after coronary disease. However, the same study has also shown that western-style high-fat diets can significantly weaken this internal defence of the organ.

Elbow injuries a common problem
Almost everyone suffers from elbow injury, minor or serious, at one time or the other. Most elbow injuries occur as a result of fall or due to high-impact sports like tennis, squash and badminton.

How to sleep without drugs
Sleep is a natural phenomena for rest and recuperation of the body and mind. The scope and importance of good sleep have been equated with the soundness of health and it is believed that all physiological systems of the body get benefited by its soothing and salutary effects.

Health Notes

  • Excess TV viewing may lead to behavioural problem
  • Daily dark chocolate dose may help reduce chronic fatigue
  • Soon, a nasal spray to fight Alzheimer’s

  • Study identifies best weight-loss plans for heart health

 

 

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The heart is its own best healer

Washington: Researchers in Bristol have found that the heart may develop innate protection against further damage after coronary disease.

However, the same study has also shown that western-style high-fat diets can significantly weaken this internal defence of the organ.

Saadeh Suleiman, Professor of Cardiac Physiology at the University of Bristol, and his colleagues at the Bristol Heart Institute modified the apoE gene in mice, which changed their cholesterol processing and made the rodents prone to fatty build-up in the coronary arteries, similar to human heart disease.

Thereafter, the genetically modified mice were fed a high-fat diet that is typically consumed by people in North America and the UK, causing them to develop coronary artery disease and suffer heart attack. On the other hand, mice fed a normal rodent diet for the same period did not develop coronary disease.

The researchers say that coronary disease seemed to have “preconditioned” the hearts, that is, it caused them to develop an innate protection against further damage.

According to them, this finding confirms a widely held belief that in certain heart attack survivors, the heart may become naturally preconditioned against further damage, and that when treating patients with coronary disease, surgeons and cardiologists have an advantage that can be further exploited to protect the heart.

The researchers also observed that though normal mice do not develop coronary disease upon being fed the same Western-type high-fat diet, they were much more vulnerable to injury than rodents fed normal diet in case their hearts were starved of blood supply, as happens in a heart attack during surgery.

Professor Suleiman says that the finding is in complete contrast to the disease-prone animals, and suggests that Western style high-fat diet can significantly weaken the internal defences of the otherwise normally working heart and render it vulnerable to any sudden stress.

Based on their study’s results, the researchers have come to the conclusion that western-style high-fat diets are not only bad for people with disease-prone hearts, but also for individuals with healthy hearts.

“We have shown that in mice prone to developing coronary artery disease, a Western-style diet accelerates the progression of disease but that hearts with coronary disease then became more resistant to further damage, such as occurs during surgery. But it is still better to avoid surgery altogether by adopting healthy eating habits!” the researcher said. — ANI


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Elbow injuries a common problem
Dr Ravinder Chadha

Almost everyone suffers from elbow injury, minor or serious, at one time or the other. Most elbow injuries occur as a result of fall or due to high-impact sports like tennis, squash and badminton.

Anterior elbow disorders includes biceps/pronator muscle injury due to activities involving repetitive elbow flexion and joint pain due to the activities requiring repetitive hyperextension of the elbow.

Posterior elbow disorders include triceps tendon, olecranon impingement injuries due to throwing activities and is characterised by pain, clicking or locking of the elbow with extension.

Lateral elbow disorders lead to pain felt on the outside part of the elbow, may be tennis elbow. This is the most common type of injury that affects the elbow during sports such as tennis, swimming and golf or daily activities, such as lifting objects or gardening.

Medial elbow disorder includes golfer’s elbow, ulnar collateral ligament/nerve entrapment. It often occurs in throwing sports as well as racquet sports, weight lifting, etc.

Home treatment may help relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness. The patient must do the following:

  •  Remove all rings, watches, jewellery, etc, as it will be more difficult to remove them later if swelling increases.
  • Use rest, ice, compression and elevation to treat pain and swelling for the first 48 hours.
  • Wear a sling, elbow support or a counterforce brace to support the injured area.
  • After 48 hours, if swelling decreases, apply heat and start exercises for motion and strength.

Stop any activity if it causes pain and give the injured area more rest. Gentle stretching will prevent the formation of scar tissue.

  • Extend the arm with the palm of hand facing downwards and then pull hand upwards towards the forearm. Stay for a count of eight. The second stretch is a reversal of this by pulling hand downwards towards the underside of the forearm.

Strength exercises can be started once the swelling is decreased and the range of motion is restored. Begin the following resistance exercises with stretchband or dumbbells.

Wrist curls

  • Grasp a dumbbell/ stretch band while sitting down. Lay forearm on the thigh with the hand rolling over the knee with the palm facing upwards. Curl the weight/ stretch band upwards at the wrist and then slowly lower it down. Repeat 8-10 times for three sets. Then with palm facing downwards, curl the weight/ stretch band upwards.
  •  Squeeze a tennis ball in the palm of your hand and hold it momentarily before releasing.
  •  Rubber band exercise the rubber band should be placed at the fingertips. Extend the fingers outwards and then hold for a few seconds before releasing. Repeat till the time the hand gets tired.

Once overall strength improves, other elbow extension exercises can be included. The important point is to maintain aerobic fitness by cycling, jogging, etc any exercise that doesn’t strain the elbow.

Post-elbow stiffness is very common among the patients not undergoing appropriate treatment, Such a ptient is difficult to treat. Sometimes surgery becomes mandatory for him.

The writer is a former doctor/physiotherapist, Indian cricket team


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How to sleep without drugs
Dr R. Vatsyayan

Sleep is a natural phenomena for rest and recuperation of the body and mind. The scope and importance of good sleep have been equated with the soundness of health and it is believed that all physiological systems of the body get benefited by its soothing and salutary effects.

It is disturbing to note that nowadays a growing number of people are using tranquilisers and hypnotic drugs to sleep and most of the times prescriptions of health consultants end up by writing a sleep-inducing medicine. Having taken those drugs for a long time, a majority of the patients appear unwilling to leave them. It is worth mentioning that no drug, howsoever good, can produce a normal and natural sleep.

What ensures a good night’s sleep is a mind free of worries and anxieties, and a body free of pain, tired but not exhausted from day’s toil and activity. Apart from the irregular routine of the patient, environmental factors like noise, light and extreme temperatures also interfere with sleep. Some medications like those used to treat cold, allergies, depression, high blood pressure and asthma disturb the sleep pattern. Tea, coffee, aerated drinks with caffeine and smoking act as mood elevators, thus delaying the onset of sleep. Elderly persons usually experience sleep disturbance due to the increased frequency of urine.

Once a person has not slept properly for a few nights, insomnia tends to perpetuate itself. One should investigate and remove any cause of sleeplessness. Adequate physical activity during the day and comfortable and serene surroundings in the room facilitate normal sleep. If there is any stress and anxiety, look for its cause and try to remove it or face it boldly. Fixing a proper daily schedule to go to bed also sets the biological clock in order.

Taking a light and timely dinner and avoiding late night TV viewing or socialising is an equally important factor to get proper sleep. All tranquilisers and hypnotic drugs should be gradually tapered off. Washing hands, feet and face with fresh water and taking a few deep breaths before going to bed relaxes the tense nerves. Milk also has sleep-inducing properties and one can take a cup of it before going to bed. Once you feel sleepy and yawning, do not disturb this half-sleep state. Focusing the mind to a silent prayer while lying down in the bed also promotes a restful sleep.

The writer is a Ludhiana-based senior ayurvedic physician.


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Health Notes
Excess TV viewing may lead to behavioural problems

Washington: Children who spend two or more hours a day in front of the idiot box are at an increased risk of developing behavioural problems and poor social skill, warn researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The finding is based on an analysis of data for 2,707 children between 2.5 and 5.5 years of age collected from the Healthy Steps for Young Children national evaluation by the researchers.

According to the study, the impact of TV viewing on a child’s behaviour and social skills varied by the age at which the viewing occurred. More importantly, heavy television viewing that decreased over time was not associated with behaviour or social problems. — ANI

Daily dark chocolate dose may help reduce chronic fatigue

London: Eating a daily dose of dark chocolate a day may help reduce chronic fatigue, say researchers from Hull York Medical School, UK.

Researchers led by Professor Steve Atkin, an expert in endocrinology, came up with the idea of studying dark chocolate after a patient reported feeling less fatigued after she decided to swap her normal milk chocolate for dark chocolate with a high cocoa solid content.

Prof Atkin and his team then carried out a trial of 10 patients to check whether dark chocolate benefited them also.

As a part of the experiment, the patients received a daily dose — 45g — of dark chocolate or white chocolate dyed to look like dark chocolate for two months. This was followed by a month in which they were not given any chocolate, before being given the other type of chocolate for two months.

To their surprise, the researchers noted that patients taking dark chocolate reported significantly less fatigue when they started eating the sweet. They also reported more fatigue when they stopped eating it. — ANI

Soon, a nasal spray to fight Alzheimer’s

London: Israeli scientists have developed a nasal spray packed with viruses called bacteriophages, which can ease the devastating symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers say that their spray has the potential to break up beta amyloid, a sticky protein that clogs up the brain in Alzheimer’s patients to destroy connections between brain cells.

Stressing that phages are typically known to kill bacteria, the researchers claimed that they were the first to show that phages can affect plaques in the brain also.

They revealed that tests on mice had demonstrated that a regular treatment with the phages for a year cuts the amount of amyloid in the rodents’ brains by 80 per cent. It also improved the mice’s memory and learning, and restored their sense of smell that is often lost early in the onset of Alzheimer’s.

“The mice showed a very nice recovery of their cognitive function,” the Daily Mail quoted Professor Beka Solomon of Tel Aviv University as saying. — ANI

Study identifies best weight-loss plans for heart health

Washington: A new research from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) has identified weight-loss plans that reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Particularly, the researchers found that the Ornish, Weight Watchers High Carbohydrate and New Glucose Revolution plans, scored highest when measured by the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), that is proven to be a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease.

The AHEI is a measure that isolates dietary components that are most strongly linked to cardiovascular disease risk reduction.

“Obviously, obesity is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease,” said UMMS Assistant Professor of Medicine Yunsheng Ma, one of the study’s primary authors.

“Optimal weight-loss plans should facilitate both weight loss and chronic disease prevention, specifically cardiovascular risk reduction.” Ma added. — ANI



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