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Posted at: Mar 1, 2015, 12:23 AM; last updated: Feb 28, 2015, 9:52 PM (IST)

Health Capsules

Health Capsules

Exercise lessens heart problems in the elderly

Every minute of physical activity contributes to reducing risk of heart attack and coronary death in older adults with limited mobility, says a study. “Reducing time spent being sedentary even by engaging in low-intensity activities could have important cardiovascular benefits for older adults with mobility limitations,” said study author Thomas Buford from the University of Florida Institute on Aging in Gainesville, Florida. For the study, the researchers measured movement with accelerometers in 1,170 people aged 74-84 at eight centers across the US who had physical limitations but could walk 400 metres. For every 25-30 minutes a participant was sedentary per day, his/her predicted risk was one percent higher. Physical activity like slow walking or light housekeeping was linked to higher HDL or high-density lipoprotein (“good”) cholesterol levels in people with no history of heart disease. Participants on an average spent only an hour or less with physical activity such as moderate walking. Generally, most physical activity recommendations suggest that adults should engage in higher intensity activities to improve or maintain health. But that level might not be realistic for sedentary older adults with limited mobility, researchers said. The study appeared in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

One-minute walk daily can be ‘lifesaving’

So it turns out the price of healthy living is really not that much, as a mere 60 seconds walk per day can help cut the risk of a heart attack or stroke. The study of more than 1,000 elderly people showed that inactive people who often do small doses of daily exercise combined with a healthy diet, cut their blood pressure and cholesterol and live a long and healthy life, the Daily Express reported. Housework and gardening chores can also make a person live longer. The breakthrough comes after tests showed it is better to keep moving throughout the day rather than undertake an intense burst of exercise followed by rest. Researchers at the University of Florida said that encouraging individuals to just reduce the amount of time they spend being sedentary may have important cardiovascular benefits. Official guidelines say people should do 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week — but many fail to achieve this target. Experts said it was already known that older adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits, and they should just try to be active daily and should try to move regularly through the day and minimise time spent being sedentary for extended periods.

Drug reverses vision loss caused by diabetes

A prescription drug commonly used to treat age-related vision loss also reverses vision loss caused by diabetes, says a study. The drug, Ranibizumab is manufactured and marketed by US-based Genentech Inc. under the trade name Lucentis. “We found that Ranibizumab can save the sight of thousands of working-age individuals suffering from diabetic eye disease, as standard treatments such as laser are not as effective,” said author Rohit Varma, director of the University of Southern California (USC) Eye Institute. Diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema are the leading causes of vision loss in working-age adults in the USA, according to the National Eye Institute. Varma’s team developed a population-based model that suggests that administering 0.3 milligrams of ranibizumab every four weeks to patients with diabetic macular edema would reduce the number of cases of vision impairment by 45 per cent, or 5,134 individuals, and the number of cases of legal blindness by 75 per cent, or 1,275 individuals. The model was based on the approximately 37,000 adults with diabetic macular edema in the US for whom ranibizumab treatment could be used. The study supported in part by Genentech Inc appeared in the online edition of the journal Ophthalmology.

A good night’s sleep can reduce cancer risk

A new research has shed light on how good night sleep can save one from cancer. The study conducted at German Cancer Research Center suggested that under conditions of stress, such as during chronic blood loss or infection, hematopoietic stem cells are driven into a state of rapid cell division in order to produce new blood cells and repair the damaged tissue. Dr Michael Milsom, leader of the study, said that their theory was that this state of dormancy protected hematopoietic stem cells from DNA damage and, therefore, protects them from premature aging. Experts believe that this model perfectly explains the gradual accumulation of DNA damage in stem cells with age and the associated reduction in the ability of a tissue to maintain and repair itself as one gets older. Another expert said that the novel link between physiologic stress, mutations in stem cells and aging is very exciting and by understanding the mechanism via which stem cells age, we can start to think about strategies to prevent or at least reduce the risk of damaged stem cells which are the cause of aging and the seed of cancer. — Agencies

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