HEALTH & FITNESS

Lower your cholesterol naturally
Dr Deepinder Singh
Heart diseases are one of the leading causes of death. Punjabis are more liable to suffer from heart diseases because of their genetic make-up. Latest studies tell us that one in every four Punjabis will suffer from heart disease in his/her life-time. In addition to the genetic predisposition, acquired factors like our eating habits add fuel to the fire.

Emergency treatment for heart attack patients
WASHINGTON: Experts at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia say that they have devised a way to manipulate cell activity that occurs during the interruption of blood flow to strongly protect heart tissue.

eYESIGHT
Hope for patients of degenerative eye disease
Dr Mahipal S. Sachdev
Scientists believe that stem-cell research could lead to cures for a myriad of diseases afflicting humans. Stem cells are like blank cells and have the potential to become any cell in the human body.

Health Notes
Common cold virus helps locate prostate cancer
WASHINGTON: Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), have successfully used an engineered common cold virus to deliver a genetic payload to prostate cancer cells in mice, which enabled them to locate the diseased cells as they spread to the lymph nodes, the first place prostate cancer goes before invading other organs.

  • Nicotine-based drugs ‘may help treat dementia’
  • Pressure to look sexy driving under-14s to stress, anxiety

 

Top







Lower your cholesterol naturally
Dr Deepinder Singh

Heart diseases are one of the leading causes of death. Punjabis are more liable to suffer from heart diseases because of their genetic make-up. Latest studies tell us that one in every four Punjabis will suffer from heart disease in his/her life-time. In addition to the genetic predisposition, acquired factors like our eating habits add fuel to the fire.

Punjabis are fond of eating rich, fried and fatty foods. Earlier, these foods were required because of work requirements and our love for war-like sports. But the times have changed.

Their eating habits are leading us to increased cholesterol levels which, in turn, is a royal road to heart diseases. But it is never too early or too late to protect our heart. And there is no better time to do it than now.

Scientific evidence is indisputable that lowering your cholesterol reduces your risk of contracting a heart disease and of dying from a heart attack. The cholesterol-lowering plan is as tasty as it is effective. Here is a list of cholesterol-lowering foods that will satisfy our stomach and keep us healthy.

Flax seeds: These are the seeds of flax plant. They contain several essential nutrients like calcium, iron, niacin, phosphorus and vitamin E. Flax seeds are known as ALSI in Hindi and Panjabi. It is also known as jawas, alashi and linseed. They are a rich source of omega-3 fats that are good for heart.

Ways to include flax seeds in home cooking are mentioned below:
Sprinkle ground seeds on cereal and salads.
Substitute a flax seed mix for eggs in home baking.
Substitute flax seed oil for other oils.

Psyllium husk (Isabgol): Psyllium, the main ingredient in Metamucil, is a soluble plant fibre. It is useful for both diarrhoea and constipation. Psyllium husk ‘blocks cholesterol from entering intestinal cells’. It’s among the most powerful LDL-lowering viscous soluble fibres in existence. It soaks up cholesterol. The best way to consume Isabgol is to take half of the daily dose of Metamucil before breakfast and half after dinner.

Oatmeal: Oats are rich in beta-glucan, a special type of soluble fibre that acts like a sponge to ‘soak up cholesterol’. It is available in the market in the form of flour, cereals and some snacks. Oat-bran is a highly concentrated source of beta-glucan, and it is easy to mix it in other flours.

Almonds: Almonds contain two powerful antioxidants - vitamin E and flavonoids - both of which prevent the ‘oxidation of LDL’, a precursor to plaque buildup. So, consume almonds as per your needs.

Garlic: It impedes the liver’s ‘ability to make cholesterol’. It has been an important ingredient used in Indian kitchens. Use it to the maximum as per your taste and body’s requirements.

Apples: Apples, particularly the skin and outer flesh, are rich in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants, which help ‘prevent plaque buildup’. So, an apple a day keeps cholesterol away.

Soy protein: Soy protein contains phytoestrogens - compounds that ‘increase the number and effectiveness of LDL cholesterol receptors’, improving the liver’s ability to get rid of cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Phytosterol-containing foods: Phytosterols are natural plant estrogens found in plant foods like fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. They interfere with cholesterol absorption by ‘blocking cholesterol from entering intestinal cells’. They are also said to prevent cancers. Best source for phytosteroles are acai berries, but found in most of the berries.

Beans: Beans contain a special type of soluble fibre that gets fermented in the colon. Healthy bacteria eat the fibre and bean sugars to form short-chain fatty acids, which travel to the liver and ‘hinder LDL cholesterol production’. All beans contain lots of nutrients, but red beans have the greatest amount of antioxidants.

Workout: Brisk exercise speeds up the blood flow in your arteries, reducing your chances of inflammation and clogging (two precursors to the hardening of the arteries). Aim to take 10,000 steps a day.

The writer is Associate Professor, LMH Medical College, Ludhiana.

Top

Emergency treatment for heart attack patients

WASHINGTON: Experts at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia say that they have devised a way to manipulate cell activity that occurs during the interruption of blood flow to strongly protect heart tissue.

The researchers revealed that they had made this advance while they were experimenting on mice.

According to them, their approach has the potential to become an emergency treatment for heart attack patients, particularly since already existing drugs might be pressed into service to produce the protective effects. — ANI

Top

eYESIGHT
Hope for patients of degenerative eye disease
Dr Mahipal S. Sachdev

Scientists believe that stem-cell research could lead to cures for a myriad of diseases afflicting humans. Stem cells are like blank cells and have the potential to become any cell in the human body.

We are aware that different types of cells make up our body (e.g. blood cells, skin cells, cervical cells) but usually forget to appreciate that all of these different cell types arose from a single cell, the fertilized egg.

Stem cells from embryos can become any kind of cell in the human body. Umbilical cords after childbirth can be the source of stem cells and hold the potential for research.

Stem cells also exist in adults and allow specific tissues to regenerate throughout life. They also have the ability for self-renewal and multi-lineage differentiation. In fact, the list for identifying adult stem cells and lineage specific progenitor cells (with limited self-renewal ability) is growing.

Stem cells can be used to re-grow damaged or lost cells in the cornea and other parts of the eye. Stem cells exist in various regions of the eye, even into old age.

Ocular conditions with abnormalities of ocular surface repair include pterygium, limbal tumours, severe scarring following burns, cicatricial pemphigoid and Stevens-Johnson syndrome, herpes simplex epithelial disease, radiation keratopathy, contact lens-induced keratopathy, neuroparalytic keratitis and drug toxicity. Restoring ocular health in these eyes has traditionally been frustrating. This new technology has great potential for a group of diseases otherwise considered incurable.

Management of these conditions has improved with the introduction of the limbal stem cell concept and use of amniotic membrane transplantation. Currently, culturing corneal epithelial stem cells is the most exciting and promising technique in limbal transplantation. It is possible to culture stem cells using a small amount of tissue, thereby minimising the damage to the donor surface and the potential limbal epithelial exhaustion.

The concept of culturing stem cells was derived from the use of cultured human epidermal cells as autologous grafts in burns patients and in plastic and reconstructive surgery. The fear of rejection as with transplants is cleared as these are patients’ own cells.

The stem cell therapy is already under trial in age-related macular degeneration, macular hole and retinitis pigmentosa cases.

Stem cell research and its clinical trials are already being carried out at AIIMS, New Delhi, and in LVPEI.

One of the corporate houses in India has announced the commercial availability of stem cells for various ocular pathologies.

Stem cell therapies aren’t some distant dream out of a science fiction novel. If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of a degenerative eye disease, there is hope. Stem cell therapy rebuilds the affected areas, which is welcome news for anyone who has lost his/her ability to see the world in all its richness.

The writer is Chairman and Medical Director, Centre for Sight, New Delhi.

Email: [email protected]

Top

Health Notes
Common cold virus helps locate prostate cancer

WASHINGTON: Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), have successfully used an engineered common cold virus to deliver a genetic payload to prostate cancer cells in mice, which enabled them to locate the diseased cells as they spread to the lymph nodes, the first place prostate cancer goes before invading other organs.

The researchers have revealed that they used Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to locate the pelvic lymph nodes, which are very difficult to find using conventional imaging tools such as CT scanning.

Senior author of the study Lily Wu, a researcher at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center, says that this discovery attains significance because it may enable oncologists to find the cancer’s spread earlier, when it’s more treatable, and before it invades distant organs.

She says that the next step for her team will be to link the non-invasive imaging advance with a treatment component, activating a toxic agent in the genetic payload to kill the spreading cancer cells. — ANI

Nicotine-based drugs ‘may help treat dementia’

LONDON: Nicotine has toxic effects and carries a strong risk of addiction, but now scientists at King’s College London have found that it may hold the key to new treatments for dementia.

Researchers have shown that nicotine-based drugs could boost learning, memory and attention.

The effect is small, but researchers believe it may help give dementia patients up to six extra months of independent living. The King’s team, based at the Institute of Psychiatry, demonstrated the positive effects of nicotine in experiments on rats.

They showed that nicotine boosted the animals’ ability to carry out a task accurately — particularly when they were also distracted.

When able to give full concentration, the animals responded correctly to stimuli about 80 per cent of the time. Nicotine boosted the accuracy rate by about 5 per cent. — ANI

Pressure to look sexy driving under-14s to stress, anxiety

LONDON: A new study has shown that under-14s believe that the influence of magazines, websites and friends telling them to look and act sexually is making them unhappy, and driving some of them to self-harm and eating disorders.

It has shown that girls as young as ten are suffering from stress and anxiety as they struggle to cope with growing up in today’s society.

During the study, conducted by Girlguiding UK, researchers found that pressure to own the latest must-haves such as fashionable clothes; iPods and mobile phones left one in five of them feeling angry or sad.

The study also showed that two out of five of the ten to 15-year-olds felt worse about themselves after looking at pictures of glamorous models, pop stars and actresses.

The report, A Generation Under Stress?, is based on an online survey of 350 Girl Guides aged below 15, together with detailed interviews conducted with teenagers across the country. — ANI

Top

HOME PAGE