Search This Blog

10 December 2010

Do your kids prefer junk food? Blame yourself

Be it junk or healthy food -- what you eat during pregnancy affects your child's food preferences as it helps to form their sense of smell, so says a new study.

This makes the mother's diet more attractive to the child when they are older, reports the Daily Mail.

Study author Josephine Todrank, now at the University of Haifa in Israel, said: "If the mother drinks alcohol, her child may be more attracted to alcohol because the developing foetus 'expects' that whatever comes from the mother must be safe."
"If she eats healthy food, the child will prefer healthy food," added Todrank, according to the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Researchers studying mice found that the pups' sense of smell was changed by what their mothers ate, teaching them to like the flavours in her diet.

At the same time, they found significant changes in the structure of the brain's olfactory glomeruli, which processes smells, because odours in the amniotic fluid affect how this system develops.

Study sponsor Diego Restrepo, said: "This is the first study to address the changes in the brain that occur upon steady exposure to flavours in utero and early in postnatal life

Aspirin Helps in Reducing Cancer Deaths, a Study Finds

Many Americans take aspirin to lower their risk of heart disease, but a new study suggests a remarkable added benefit, reporting that patients who took aspirin regularly for a period of several years were 21 percent less likely decades later to die of solid tumor cancers, including cancers of the stomach, esophagus and lung.

As part of the new study, published online Monday in the journal Lancet, researchers examined the cancer death rates of 25,570 patients who had participated in eight different randomized controlled trials of aspirin that ended up to 20 years earlier.

Participants who had been assigned to the aspirin arms of the studies were 20 percent less likely after 20 years to have died of solid tumor cancers than those who had been in the comparison group taking dummy pills during the clinical trials, and their risk of gastrointestinal cancer death was 35 percent lower. The risk of lung cancer death was 30 percent lower, the risk of colorectal cancer death was 40 percent lower and the risk of esophageal cancer death was 60 percent lower, the study reported.

The specific dose of aspirin taken did not seem to matter — most trials gave out low doses of 75 to 100 milligrams — but the participants in the longest lasting trials had the most drastic reductions in cancer death years later.

“This is important as a proof of principle that a single simple compound like aspirin can reduce the risk of cancer substantially,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Peter M. Rothwell, professor of neurology at the University of Oxford. “There’s been a lot of work over the years showing that certain compounds can increase the risk of cancer, but it’s not been shown before that we can reduce the risk with something as simple as aspirin.”

But even as some experts hailed the new study as a breakthrough, others urged caution, warning people not to start a regimen of aspirin without first consulting a doctor about the potential risks, including gastrointestinal bleeding and bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic strokes).

“Many people may wonder if they should start taking daily aspirin, but it would be premature to recommend people starting taking aspirin specifically to prevent cancer,” said Eric J. Jacobs, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society.

While Dr. Jacobs said the study design was valid, relatively few women were included in the trials, making it difficult to generalize the results to women.

“It’s hard to assess effects on mortality from just one study,” he said.

The findings do not come entirely as a surprise, Dr. Rothwell said, because aspirin has been found to slow or prevent the growth of tumor cell lines in the laboratory. Observational studies have reported that people who took aspirin were at lower risk for colorectal cancer recurrences, while other studies have pointed to similar reductions in cancers of the lung, stomach and esophagus.

“There have been hints of this before, but the quality of this study is the gold standard because it is based on randomized clinical trials,” said Dr. Alan A. Arslan, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and environmental medicine at New York University School of Medicine, who did an observational study several years ago reporting that women who had taken aspirin regularly had a lower risk of ovarian cancer. “Randomized controlled trials carry more weight.”

The strong results “add to the accumulating evidence that aspirin may be protective against various cancers,” Dr. Arslan said.

There are several ways in which aspirin may work to slow the development of cancers, experts say. Inflammation may play a role in cancer, and aspirin blocks the synthesis of prostaglandins, which are mediators of inflammation, and may affect early tumor promotion.

Aspirin may also induce the death of early cancer cells before they become aggressive, Dr. Arslan suggested.

7 December 2010

Light exercise may prevent osteoarthritis

CHICAGO – People at risk for osteoarthritis may be able to delay the onset of the disease or even prevent it with simple changes to their physical activity, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"According to the results of our study, participating in a high-impact activity, such as running, more than one hour per day at least three times a week appears associated with more degenerated cartilage and potentially a higher risk for development of osteoarthritis," said the study's senior author Thomas M. Link, M.D., professor of radiology and chief of musculoskeletal imaging at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). "On the other hand, engaging in light exercise and refraining from frequent knee-bending activities may protect against the onset of the disease."

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain, swelling and stiffness. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects an estimated 27 million Americans over the age of 25.

For the study, the researchers recruited 132 asymptomatic participants at risk for knee osteoarthritis who were enrolled in the National Institutes of Health Osteoarthritis Initiative, as well as 33 age- and body mass index-matched controls. Study participants included 99 women and 66 men between the ages of 45 and 55. The participants were separated into three exercise and strength-training levels, based on their responses to the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) questionnaire. Exercise levels included sedentary, light exercisers and moderate to strenuous exercisers, strength-training groups included none, minimal and frequent. Knee-bending activities were also analyzed.

MRI exams revealed that light exercisers had the healthiest knee cartilage among all exercise levels, and patients with minimal strength training had healthier cartilage than patients with either no strength training or frequent strength training.

Moderate to strenuous exercise in women who did any amount of strength training was associated with higher water content and more degenerated collagen architecture in the knee.

"The results for this group indicate that moderate to strenuous exercise may accelerate cartilage degeneration, putting these women at even greater risk of developing osteoarthritis," said study coauthor Keegan K. Hovis, B.S., R.N., research associate in the Department of Radiology at UCSF.

In addition, the findings showed that frequent knee-bending activities, such as climbing up at least 10 flights of stairs a day, lifting objects weighing more than 25 pounds, or squatting, kneeling or deep knee bending for at least 30 minutes per day, were associated with higher water content and cartilage abnormalities.

According to Dr. Link, known risk factors for cartilage degeneration include excess weight, knee injuries, frequent knee bending and severe or strenuous physical activity.

"People can reduce their risk for osteoarthritis by maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding risky activities and strenuous exercise," he said. "Lower-impact sports, such as walking, swimming or using an elliptical trainer are likely more beneficial than high-impact sports, such as running or tennis."

"Our findings indicate that light exercise, particularly frequent walking, is a safer choice in maintaining healthy cartilage," Hovis added.

Tomato juice can reduce osteoporosis, claims study

Tomato juice can significantly increase the presence of cell-protecting antioxidants that help to fight against osteoporosis, according to new research.

Writing in Osteoporosis International, calcium researchers at the University of Toronto (UT) claim that 30mg of lycopene found in tomatoes – the equivalent to two glasses of tomato juice – is enough to help prevent the brittle-bone disease.

The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Research and Development Departments of Genuine Health, Heinz, Millenium Biologix, Kagome (Japan), and LycoRed.


Osteoporosis is characterised by low bone mass, which leads to an increase risk of fractures, especially the hips, spine and wrists. An estimated 75 million people suffer from it in Europe, the US and Japan.

Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men and previous research indicates that diabetes decreases bone turnover that is associated with impaired osteoblastic maturation and function.

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, the total direct cost of osteoporotic fractures in Europe is €31.7bn so boosting bone density in high-risk and post-menopausal women could ease the burden of osteoporosis.


Lycopene is the red pigment in tomatoes and several fruits. According to the UT scientists, it is a potent carotenoid – a group of naturally occurring pigments essential for plant growth – with a high ability to quench singlet oxygen.

Due to this ability to decrease oxidative stress, lycopene has been associated with a decreased risk of chronic diseases.

The researchers claims that to date, no intervention studies have been published demonstrating the effect of the antioxidant lycopene on bone, and that the aim of the study thus was to determine whether lycopene would act as an antioxidant to decrease oxidative stress parameters that result in decreased bone turnover markers.

Methodology and results

Post-menopausal women aged 50 to 60 were restricted from consuming anything containing lycopene for a month.

The participants were split into four groups over four months. Each group of participants either consumed a 15mg lycopene supplement, a glass of tomato juice naturally containing 15mg of lycopene, a gourmet Japanese tomato juice with 35mg of lycopene or a placebo.

Acupuncture Changes Brain's Perception and Processing of Pain, Researchers Find

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers have captured pictures of the brain while patients experienced a pain stimulus with and without acupuncture to determine acupuncture's effect on how the brain processes pain. Results of the study, which the researchers say suggest the effectiveness of acupuncture, were presented November 30 at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"Until now, the role of acupuncture in the perception and processing of pain has been controversial," said lead researcher Nina Theysohn, M.D., from the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology and Neuroradiology at University Hospital in Essen, Germany. "Functional MRI gives us the opportunity to directly observe areas of the brain that are activated during pain perception and see the variances that occur with acupuncture."

fMRI measures the tiny metabolic changes that take place in an active part of the brain, while a patient performs a task or is exposed to a specific external stimulus.

In the study, conducted in close collaboration with the Department of Complementary and Integrative Medicine at University of Duisburg-Essen, 18 healthy volunteers underwent fMRI while an electrical pain stimulus was attached to the left ankle. Acupuncture needles were then placed at three places on the right side, including between the toes, below the knee, and near the thumb. With the needles in place, fMRI was repeated while electrical currents were again directed at the left ankle. The researchers then compared the images and data obtained from the fMRI sessions with no acupuncture to those of the fMRI sessions with acupuncture.

"Activation of brain areas involved in pain perception was significantly reduced or modulated under acupuncture," Dr. Theysohn said.

Specifically, fMRI revealed significant activation in the contralateral supplementary motor area, somatosensory cortex, precuneus bilateral insula and ipsilateral somatomotor cortex during electrical pain stimulation without acupuncture. During acupuncture, activation in most of these pain-processing areas of the brain was significantly reduced.

According to Dr. Theysohn, in addition to the assumed specific effects on the pain signal, acupuncture also affected brain activation in areas governing the patients' expectations of pain, similar to a placebo analgesic response.

The anterior insula, for example, plays a role in transforming pain sensation to cognition and represents a subjective component of pain sensation. The reduction in activation of the primary somatosensory cortex and the insula during acupuncture indicates an acupuncture-induced modulation of the sensory encoding of the painful stimulus.

"Acupuncture is supposed to act through at least two mechanisms -- nonspecific expectancy-based effects and specific modulation of the incoming pain signal," Dr. Theysohn said. "Our findings support that both these nonspecific and specific mechanisms exist, suggesting that acupuncture can help relieve pain."

Is The Hidden Soy in Your Foods Contributing to Illness and Poor Health?

Chocoholics have finally been matched or overtaken by Soyaholics – people who look for soy in every product and sprinkle it over any products that do not contain any. Women eat soy like it is the Holy Grail of food. It has become America’s favorite “health” food.

Nothing could please the soy industry more. Over the past decade, advertisements and newspaper articles have proclaimed soy foods as the answer to all of America’s nutritional problems. The soy industry formed more than 65 associations to lobby state and federal governments to recommend higher consumption of its product – under an ad campaign called, the “joy of soy”.

Now soy can be found in almost every product on your grocery store shelves. You can find it in simple Doritos corn chips, ice cream, caned tuna and every packaged food you can think of under names like yeast extract,soy protein, soybean oil, soy lecithin and soy flour.

It lurks in nearly 90% of the foods sold including infant formulas, McDonald’s hamburgers and almost all frozen foods. Imagine the savings from diluting real hamburger beef with, for example, 10% soy mix?

But, is it a “wonder health food” or is it just another industry hoax to promote the sales of one of its unhealthy genetically modified products?

In 1999, Big Food lobbyists were successful in getting the FDA to approve a health claim for soy protein. The claim states that, “25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

The additional campaigning touting the possibility that soy would prevent heart disease, fight cancer, eliminate menopause flashes and build strong bodies was very seductive approach to selling soy.

But the industry ignored the fact that soy is one of the top eight allergens that cause immediate hypersensitivity reactions such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose, hives, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing and anaphylactic shock. Delayed allergic responses are even more common and occur anywhere from several hours to several days after the food is eaten.

Cheap genetically modified soy created an opportunity for biotech companies to develop cheap meat substitutes, to dilute products to achieve greater profits, to formulate soy-based pharmaceuticals, and to develop a renewable resource that could replace petroleum-based plastics and fuels.

But, despite their efforts, this is the same genetically modified Bt soy (Bacillus thuringiensis – an insect-killing bacterium ) that Europe and Japan refuse to permit imported into their countries. The reality of Bt toxin soy is summed up in a study by The Cornucopia Institute, “When GM soy was fed to female rats, most of their babies died within three weeks.”

Big Food does not make much profit from any food that people eat in moderation. The continual push seems to be that if the recommend daily allowance (RDA) of any food is good for you, then ten times the RDA must be better. In America, a little or moderate amount of anything is never enough. More is always better for their pockets.

But the FDA health claim for soy protein recommends that consumers incorporate four servings of at least 6.25 grams of soy protein into their daily diet, for a total of at least 25 grams of soy protein each day. The high consumption of soy in Asian countries is an American myth. The fact is that, in Asia, the RDA of organic soy is limited to a mere 39 grams per day. Japan refuses to allow GMO Bt soy to be sold in its country because of its dangers.

To make matters worse, instructing anyone to eat the same thing everyday is dangerous to your health. The repeating of the same thing day after day will cause delayed food intolerance/allergy. So, even if you start out not having allergic/intolerance illnesses, you will eventually. The soy becomes toxic to the body which can not broken down properly. The toxic element starts a cycle of the body craving the soy. Eventually, this will result in over eating and weight gain. It is very unhealthy.

As we say in our other blogs, the same can be said with the corn products and by products that are now in almost everything, including your medicines. Yes, your Intravenous I.V. have corn and medicines sometimes soy. So much of everything in our daily diet are the same but with different flavor enhances. Repeat eating will result in immune system problems, silent chronic inflammation and future diseases, including sudden heart attack.

Initially, people turned their nose up at the sound of soy. Full Psychological profiling reports were accumulated on how to get people to buy into their program of eating lots of soy. The governmental programs and university’s such as Cornell have plenty of marketing savvy. Like corn and MSG, soy became other names hidden in ingredients to sell the GMO soy products.

The soy industry advertisers claim that by simply eating soy for your protein daily you can prevent a heart attack and lower your cholesterol. The vast multi-million dollar campaign worked. Despite the FDA recommendation of only 25 grams per day, some Americans eat as much as 250 grams or 1 cup or more of soy per meal. Dieters who consume energy, breakfast drinks and tofu meatless meals consume even more.

According to the Whole Soy Story - The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food by Kaayla T. Daniel, “There’s nothing natural about these modern soy protein products. Textured soy protein, for example, is made by forcing defatted soy flour through a machine called an extruder under conditions of such extreme heat and pressure that the very structure of the soy protein is changed. Production differs little from the extrusion technology used to produce starch-based packing materials, fiber-based industrial products, and plastic toy parts, bowls, and plates.”

To make soy more appetizing, the manufacturers added sugar, synthetic sweeteners, genetically modified high fructose corn sugar, refined salt, artificial flavorings, colors and MSG. So the soy isn’t really soy. It is a Frankenfood created for the sole purpose of making a profit from health conscious people trying to live a healthier life.

We know many vegans and vegetarians who consider their meatless diets safe. Many, thinking they are mirroring a healthy custom in Asian countries, eat genetically modified soy in amounts their bodies cannot digest. But Americans on a genetically modified (GMO) Bt soy based diet are in as much danger of heart attacks and cancer as red meat eaters.

That is because the process of making soy protein isolate begins with defatted soybean meal, which is mixed with a caustic alkaline solution to remove the fiber, then washed in an acid solution to precipitate out the protein. The protein curds are then dipped into another alkaline solution. But vitamin, mineral, and protein quality are sacrificed in the process. And levels of carcinogens such as nitrosamines are increased to a dangerous level.

In 1979, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology said that the only safe use for this type of soy was for sealers for cardboard packages.

Literally thousands of studies have linked all forms of soy to many diseases, including malnutrition. Many of these studies have also linked soy to digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility. Now studies are linking soy to even cancer and heart disease.

More than 70 years of human, animal, and laboratory studies show that soybeans put the thyroid at risk. Infants, whose main source of nutrient is soy-based formula, are at the highest risk of illness and disease because of their size and organ developmental.

In 1998, scientists attending the Working Group of biosafety of The UN-Concention on Bilogical Diversity warned the group about soy stating “. . . all governments to use whatever methods available to them to bar from their markets, on grounds of injury to public health, Monsanto’s genetically manipulated (GM) ‘Roundup-Ready” soybeans.

Make no mistake about it, the differences between organic soy and genetically modified soy are dangerous to your health. If you are pregnant or have an infant, then the dangers increases exponentially. If you are going to eat soy, eat organic soy in moderation and never above 25 grams per day. Don’t be fooled by industry claims said for the sole purpose of selling you more soy and increasing their profits.

Many Risks Related to Early Onset Scoliosis Treatments

Surgically treating early onset scoliosis with growing rods or vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib procedures may not fully control the deformity over a patient's entire growth period, and both procedures are beset with complications, according to a literature review published in the Dec. 1 issue of Spine.

FRIDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Surgically treating early onset scoliosis (EOS) with growing rods (GR) or vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR) procedures may not fully control the deformity over a patient's entire growth period, and both procedures are beset with complications, according to a literature review published in the Dec. 1 issue of Spine.

Behrooz A. Akbarnia, M.D., of the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, and John B. Emans, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, reviewed studies on EOS and the indications, complications, and outcomes of GR and VEPTR.

The researchers found that risks associated with GR included spontaneous spinal fusion and rod breakage. Risks associated with VEPTR included drifting rib attachments and chest wall scars. Potential adverse outcomes associated with the treatments included failure to prevent progressive deformity or thoracic insufficiency syndrome, a spine that is too short or stiff or an unacceptably deformed thorax, increased burden of care for families, and negative psychological consequences from repeated surgery. The authors note that neither technique reliably controls deformity over the full growth period.

"Consideration of the options must include a discussion of complications as they relate to GR or VEPTR. Families need to understand that there will be unexpected events such as rod breakage or loss of anchor points or need for revision or exchange, and these complications might cause the premature cessation of treatment of EOS," the authors write.

6 December 2010

Your Child and Self Diagnosis for Scoliosis

It is understandable that a parent may feel a little distressed if they believe that their child has scoliosis, however it is vitally important that you know the difference between a self diagnosis and that carried out by a physician. 

Scoliosis is a condition of the spine that can cause great discomfort and stress to the sufferer. The curving of the spine is something that can affect young people from a relatively early age, and cause great self conscious embarrassment and anxiety. This is the reason why so many people opt to have a screening for it as early as possible. This article looks at ways in which scoliosis is screened for, and how you can even make some attempt to carry out a self screening process, one that may even do as good a job as that which the medical professional will do. It must be stated that if you do opt for any kind of self screening process, it is important that you also gain the advice of a medical professional. This kind of advice can never be substituted for your own assessment, so it is vital that you follow up any self screening with a visit to your local physician if you are concerned about scoliosis.

Scoliosis can greatly affect the flexibility of the sufferer, and even, when cases are more severe, affect the free movement of the sufferer. This can be extremely distressing and cause all sorts of problems for the mental wellbeing of the patient. Since scoliosis is basically an abnormal curve to the back, it is relatively easy to know when it is occurring. If one looks at a person’s back from slightly above or, better still, directly above, you will be able to notice the curvature.

The first thing you should do for your child is go for a physical examination. Doctors are of course the first recommended port of call for this aspect of the treatment plan, and it is advisable that you take yourself to the physician for this initial consultation. However, once you realise that all this entails is being shirtless and bending forward prior to the medical examination, one can see how it can be done by someone at home.
Essentially, any physician is looking for any abnormal variations when it comes to the length and curvature of the spine. Children are especially open to screening, because the effect of scoliosis is pronounced in younger bodies, and this is why children are often screened in this way at school.  With the permission of the parents, the child undergoes the examination. Since discomfort and strain is often a common sign of scoliosis when a sufferer bends forward, it can be quite easy to note what is potentially a sign of the condition. Parents do obviously have to be involved and often request an examination themselves for their child. It can be a little upsetting for a child, but it is often best to check at an early age.
Once a suspected case of scoliosis has been made clear from the physician (or if you think that you have the condition), then it is important that the next stage is proceeded towards as quickly as possible, this is where the x-ray comes into play.

Having an x-ray is vital when it comes to ascertaining if there is indeed a scoliosis case to deal with. As you can understand, if such a condition is suspected, then the x-ray is there to back up the examination with the picture of the condition. This is the best way to get a clear an accurate picture of the extent of the curvature of the spine. This is something that you cannot adequately do in the home environment, so it is most definitely the next stage after the initial examination. So if you are at the stage where you have checked the spine of your child, for example, and you suspect a clear case of scoliosis, then you should now move towards the point where you use x-ray technology to gain a full and clear picture of the problem.

A full diagnosis can only really be made once the physician has carried out the physical examination, and backed this up with the x-ray pictures. Add to this the taking of a full medical history, and you have a complete diagnosis of scoliosis of the spine.

The medical history is an important part of the picture. Once the physician has this to hand and the other factors, then they can make a full diagnosis. Then treatment can proceed.

Treatment of any kind will only really be offered if the curvature of the spine is deemed to be significant. This means that it is pronounced and causing enough discomfort to the sufferer that it will debilitate them in the future f not at the pint of diagnosis. The general benchmark as regards ‘significant’ is if the curvature is 25 degrees.

So there you have it. By all means take the opportunity to diagnoses scoliosis at home. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, many medical conditions are diagnosed or at least suspected by people before they approach medical professionals. However, as this article explains, having a full diagnosis done by physicians helps to assess the depth of the problem, and therefore the move towards treatment.

If your child is suffering from what you believe to be scoliosis, it shouldn’t be too hard to notice as you go about your caring for them. But general medical treatment, whichever country you are in, is not always guaranteed. Remember that the 25 degrees benchmark is a general one for most practitioners and healthcare providers, and if your child falls below this, other treatments may be an option.