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4 March 2011

Highly-anticipated Scoliosis Exercise DVD by Dr. Kevin Lau set to release March 02, 2011!

Highly-anticipated Scoliosis Exercise DVD by Dr. Kevin Lau set to release March 02, 2011!

Health in Your Hands Offers Scoliosis Patients New Tool to Gain Real Results in Reversing Condition’s Progression without Invasive Surgery
Dr. Kevin Lau, D.C., acclaimed author of Health In Your Hands: Your Plan for Natural Scoliosis Prevention and Treatment, announces the release of his highly-anticipated Scoliosis Prevention and Correction Exercise DVD on March 02, 2011. The carefully designed exercise program is Dr. Lau’s latest addition to his book’s comprehensive program for scoliosis patients worldwide to live a scoliosis-free life.

More information can be found in this PressDoc:

Launch of Innovative New iPhone App for Patients to Track Individual Progression of Scoliosis

Launch of Innovative New iPhone App for Patients to Track Individual Progression of Scoliosis

Health In Your Hands Launches Innovative New iPhone App for Patients to Track Individual Progression of Scoliosis at Home
Dr. Kevin Lau, D.C., author of "Your Plan for Natural Scoliosis Prevention and Treatment - Health In Your Hands" book and exercise DVD, announces the release of a Singapore made application called ScolioTrack, an innovative new iPhone application which places an instrument similar to a doctor's scoliometer into the hands of scoliosis patients worldwide. The device proves much safer than x-ray technology and can be used in between doctor's visits to track one's individual condition.

More information can be found in this PressDoc:

3 March 2011

Vitamin D may help keep blood sugar under control

(Reuters Health) - Drinking yogurt with extra vitamin D may help people with diabetes regulate their blood sugar, a study from Iran finds.

In the trial, 90 adults with diabetes were divided into three groups, all given daily yogurt drinks: one group received plain yogurt, one got yogurt with extra vitamin D, and one was given yogurt with extra vitamin D and calcium.

At the end of 12 weeks, "we found a relatively remarkable improvement" in blood sugar levels in the groups that got extra vitamin D, compared to the plain yogurt group, co-author Tirang Neyestani, associate professor at National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute in Iran, told Reuters Health in an e-mail.

Past studies on the role of vitamin D in diabetes have not been able to show cause and effect.

It's noteworthy that this study does, and that it suggests vitamin D has a positive effect on people with type 2 diabetes, said Dr. Anastassios Pittas, assistant professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. He was not part of the study.

In type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, the body has trouble using insulin to process glucose from foods, resulting in excessive levels of the sugar in the bloodstream. Vitamin D is thought to help regulate the body's sensitivity to insulin and possibly insulin production by the pancreas.

Going back to the 1980s, numerous studies have linked vitamin D to a lowered risk of diabetes, however others have found no benefit. A recent report showed no link between women's blood levels of vitamin D and their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, for example. (See Reuters Health story of February 22, 2011.)

Few studies have directly tested the theory by giving people vitamin D and
then seeing how they compare over time in diabetes-related measurements with similar subjects who did not consume the vitamin.

In the new study, 55 women and 35 men were divided into groups of 30, and all drank their assigned yogurt twice a day. The plain yogurt contained150 milligrams of calcium, the vitamin D-fortified yogurt had 500 international units (IU) of vitamin D and 150 milligrams of calcium, and the doubly-fortified yogurt contained 500 IU of vitamin D and 250 milligrams of calcium.

After three months, the plain yogurt group's average blood sugar increased from 187 to 203 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). In both the fortified-yogurt groups, blood sugar dropped from 184 to about 172 mg/dL. Blood sugar levels above126 mg/dL are considered to be diabetic.

It's odd that the blood sugar of those who didn't receive extra vitamin D got worse, Pittas said. This could make it seem that the improvement in the vitamin D-fortified group was greater than it actually was, overstating the finding.

The plain-yogurt group also had an increase in hemoglobin A1C, a sign of raised blood sugar levels over time, while both vitamin-D groups' A1C numbers decreased.

In addition, people who got the fortified yogurt lost an average of two to five pounds during the study, while the plain-yogurt group stayed about the same.

Although this difference may seem small, it may have affected the participants' blood sugar levels, Pittas said.

"Weight loss by itself, regardless of what causes it, can improve diabetes," he told Reuters Health

Drinking Alcohol in Moderation Protects Against Heart Disease, Meta-Analysis Finds

Individuals who drink alcohol in moderation (about one drink a day or less) are 14-25% less likely to develop heart disease compared to those who drink no alcohol at all, finds research led by Professor William Ghali from the University of Calgary, published online in the British Medical Journal.

The first paper, led by Paul Ronksley from the University of Calgary, emphasises that a balance needs to be found between the public health message that consuming large amounts of alcohol is bad for you, and the one that drinking in moderation can have health benefits.

An accompanying paper led by Dr Susan Brien, also from the University of Calgary, finds that moderate consumption of alcohol (up to one drink or 15 g alcohol per day for women and up to two drinks or 30 g alcohol per day for men) is good for health. They say moderate amounts of alcohol significantly increase the levels of 'good' cholesterol circulating in the body and this has a protective effect against heart disease.

Brien and colleagues argue that their study strengthens the case that there is a causal link between alcohol consumption and reduced heart disease.

The authors of both papers acknowledge that a number of previous studies have concluded that moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with a decrease in heart disease. However, they say that the research was out-of-date and there was a need for new material. Professor Ghali says his team's research is the most comprehensive to date.

Ghali and colleagues reviewed 84 studies of alcohol consumption and heart disease. They compared alcohol drinkers with non-drinkers and their outcomes in relation to heart disease, death from heart disease, incidences of stroke and death from having a stroke.

In the companion study, Brien and colleagues reviewed 63 studies and investigated alcohol consumption with known physical markers for heart disease such as cholesterol, levels of inflammation, fat cells and the condition of blood vessels. They also assessed the impact of the type of alcohol consumed (wine, beer and spirits).

Interestingly, Brien's research concludes that it is the alcohol content that provides the health benefits not the type of alcoholic beverage (wine, beer or spirits) that is drunk.

Professor Ghali concludes that the debate between the impact of alcohol on heart disease should now centre "on how to integrate this evidence into clinical practice and public health messages."

He adds "with respect to public health messages there may now be an impetus to better communicate to the public that alcohol, in moderation, may have overall health benefits that outweigh the risks in selected subsets of patients … any such strategy would need to be accompanied by rigorous study and oversight of impacts."

10 Unsettling Facts about Diet Soda

We've all heard that if you're going to drink sodas, choose diet. This may seem like the best option for diabetics and people who are watching their weight, but there is more to consider when drinking diet sodas than just calories. We may not know exactly what these carbonated colas are doing to our bodies, but there is plenty of research that suggests they aren't doing much good. Here are 10 unsettling facts about diet soda:
  1. Causes Diabetic Complications: Diet sodas are often recommended to diabetics, who have to reduce their sugar intake. However, research suggests that the artificial sweetener, aspartame, may actually cause negative side effects for diabetics. Aspartame may cause diabetic complications or worsen them, such as retinopathy, cataracts and metabolic disorders. The artificial sweetener can also make it harder for diabetics to properly control their insulin levels, in addition to affecting appetite or causing weight gain.
  2. Dissolves Tooth Enamel: Even though diet sodas do not directly cause cavities like the sugar in regular sodas, the acid in diet sodas may contribute to enamel breakdown, which makes you more susceptible to tooth decay when sugar is consumed. Diet sodas are very acidic. For example, Diet Coke, Diet Dr. Pepper and Diet 7-Up have pH values ranging from 3.39 to 3.67. Acid starts to dissolve tooth enamel at pH value of 5.5 or less.
  3. Contains a High Caffeine Amount: One 12oz can of diet soda contains anywhere from 23 to 54 mg of caffeine. The amount of caffeine varies by diet soda brands, but most diets sodas contain more caffeine than regular sodas. If you're caffeine intake exceeds 500 to 600 mg a day, your health could be in risk. High caffeine consumption may cause headaches, restlessness, anxiety and other potential health problems.

1 March 2011

Poor sleep quality is associated with greater disability in rheumatoid arthritis patients

The relationship between sleep quality and disability mediated by pain severity and fatigue
DARIEN, Ill. – A study in the Feb. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that poor sleep quality correlated with higher levels of depressive symptoms, greater pain severity, increased fatigue, and greater functional disability in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). The study suggests that addressing sleep problems via pharmacological or behavioral interventions may have a critical impact on the health and lives of patients with RA.

The study represents a cross-sectional examination of the relationship between sleep quality and functional disability in 162 patients with RA. The sample had an average age of 58.5 years, and 76 percent were female. All patients had been diagnosed with RA for at least two years; on average, patients had RA for 14 years.

Participants completed the following questionnaires: Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Beck Depression Inventory-II, Medical Outcomes Study Short Form - 36, and the Health Assessment Questionnaire. The results provided input on their sleep quality, depression, fatigue, and functional disability and pain severity, respectively. Patients also provided sociodemographic information and their medical history.

Results show that sleep quality has an indirect effect on functional disability after controlling for age, gender and number of comorbities. According to the PSQI results, 61 percent of patients were poor sleepers and 33 percent reported having pain that disturbed their sleep three or more times per week.

"The primary finding of our study is that poor sleep quality is associated with greater functional disability among patients with RA and this relationship may be explained by pain severity and fatigue," said lead author Dr. Faith S. Luyster, research assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing in Pittsburgh, Pa. "These results highlight the importance of addressing sleep complaints among patients with RA. By treating sleep problems either pharmacologically or behaviorally, symptoms and activity limitations associated with RA may be reduced."

The study's finding that poorer sleep quality is associated with greater pain severity is consistent with recent evidence suggesting that sleep disruption may lower pain threshold and enhance pain in RA and otherwise healthy adults.

According to the National Institute of Health, RA is an inflammatory disease affecting about 1.3 million U.S. adults, and causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints. Disturbed sleep has been found to be a major concern among persons with RA.

Physical disability resulting from polyarticular joint disease in patients with RA may limit their ability to carry out daily activities such as dressing, walking, grooming, and writing - tasks that can be further restricted by fatigue, pain severity, and depression.

It is possible that functional disability may affect depression, pain severity and fatigue, which in turn may affect sleep quality. It is likely that the relationships are bidirectional to some extent.

"Not sleeping well at night can contribute to greater pain sensitivity and fatigue during the day which in turn can limit a patient's ability to engage in activities of daily living and discretionary activities," Luyster said.

Luyster noted that treating sleep disturbances in RA patients might have beneficial effects beyond improving sleep.

Cholesterol 'does not predict stroke in women'

High levels of cholesterol do not predict the risk of stroke in women, according to researchers in Denmark.

They did detect an increased risk in men, but only when cholesterol was at almost twice the average level.

The report in Annals of Neurology recommends using a different type of fat in the blood, non-fasting triglycerides, to measure the risk.

The Stroke Association said triglyceride tests needed to become routine to reduce the risk of stroke.

A total of 150,000 people have a stroke in the UK each year. Most are ischemic strokes, in which a clot in an artery disrupts the brain's blood supply.

The research followed 13,951 men and women, who took part in the Copenhagen City Heart Study.

During the 33-year study, 837 men and 837 women had strokes.

Poor predictor

They reported that the cholesterol levels in women were not associated with stroke, while there was only an association in men with levels higher than 9mmol/litre. The average in UK men is 5.5.

The researchers at Copenhagen University Hospital said this was "difficult to explain" as LDL, or bad, cholesterol is known to cause atherosclerosis which can block arteries.

They did notice a link, in both men and women, between the risk of stroke and non-fasting triglycerides.

They believe these fats are a marker for "remnant cholesterol" which is left behind when other forms of cholesterol are made.

Dr Peter Coleman, deputy director of research at The Stroke Association said: "Tests for triglyceride levels aren't routinely carried out in the UK unless there is significant concern."

"We know that high levels of fats, such as cholesterol, increase your risk of having a stroke. However, this research shows the importance of measuring the fat triglyceride, as well as cholesterol.

"This study highlights the importance of measuring triglycerides routinely in order to reduce a person's risk of stroke."

Shoppers Wary of GM Foods Find They're Everywhere

You may not want to eat genetically engineered foods. Chances are, you are eating them anyway.
Genetically modified plants grown from seeds engineered in labs now provide much of the food we eat. Most corn, soybean and cotton crops grown in the United States have been genetically modified to resist pesticides or insects, and corn and soy are common food ingredients.

The Agriculture Department has approved three more genetically engineered crops in the past month, and the Food and Drug Administration could approve fast-growing genetically modified salmon for human consumption this year.

Agribusiness and the seed companies say their products help boost crop production, lower prices at the grocery store and feed the world, particularly in developing countries. The FDA and USDA say the engineered foods they've approved are safe — so safe, they don't even need to be labeled as such — and can't be significantly distinguished from conventional varieties.

Organic food companies, chefs and consumer groups have stepped up their efforts — so far, unsuccessfully — to get the government to exercise more oversight of engineered foods, arguing the seeds are floating from field to field and contaminating pure crops. The groups have been bolstered by a growing network of consumers who are wary of processed and modified foods.

Many of these opponents acknowledge that there isn't much solid evidence showing genetically modified foods are somehow dangerous or unhealthy. It just doesn't seem right, they say. It's an ethical issue.

"If you mess with nature there's a side effect somewhere," says George Siemon, CEO of Organic Valley, the nation's largest organic farming cooperative, which had more than $600 million in sales last year. "There is a growing awareness that our system makes us all guinea pigs of sorts."

The U.S. government has insisted there's not enough difference between the genetically modified seeds its agencies have approved and natural seeds to cause concern. But Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, more so than his predecessors in previous administrations, has acknowledged the debate over the issue and a growing chorus of consumers concerned about what they are eating.