0800 040 7526
As of this week we are posting witty quotes, latest news and also top exercise recommendations on Tumblr.
This is a micro-blogging website used for blogs, photos, news and much more. With over 180 million blogs there is sure to be something that tickles your fancy. Have a look at our page here.
A lack of sleep through night time iPad fiddling could contribute to obesity and the adult onset of diabetes , says a new report. The researchers say that asking patients about sleep should be just as important to GPs as questions about smoking, alcohol and eating habits. German and Swiss scientists, writing in The Lancet, noted a connection between lack of sleep (and also poor quality sleep) and the likelihood of many metabolic disorders.
Getting less than 5-6 hours of sleep a night increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol by around 50%. Poor sleep also impairs glucose tolerance and insulin resistance, the first steps to diabetes. It disturbs the HPT hormonal axis which is responsible for controlling appetite, sex drive and mood, amongst others. So increased hunger for fatty, sweet “survival foods” are also a by product of restless nights.
The main author of the paper, Sebastian Schmid, said “I think that sleep loss is something we need to consider in our clinics, especially in young people who are faced by all the new technology and a modern, 24/7 lifestyle”.
Studies in the US have shown that our transatlantic cousins are getting less sleep too. A third of people do not get enough and the amount of sleep has fallen by 2 hours over the last few decades. Although the German/Swiss study admitted that the amount of sleep needed by individuals varies, overall 7-8 hours is the amount needed to stay healthy and alert.
Simple steps can help – keep your bedroom dark, keep the temperature right, have a quiet environment and don’t use iPads or phones before sleep, as this increases time needed to drop off. Some studies have even found that glowing screens decrease levels of melatonin, which is a sleep trigger.
By Robert A Atkinson
Many of us will have a relative or know someone who is taking beta blockers to control their blood pressure. However there is growing evidence that the side effects of taking these drugs may outweigh the benefits. The side effects of taking beta blockers can include dizziness, blurred vision, tiredness and loss of balance; in a new study by the University of Yale, scientists have discovered that the risk of dying from a fall increases by 40% among older people taking beta blockers compared to those abstaining. The study followed 5,000 people aged 70 or over for 3 years, most of whom were taking blood pressure medication. During the study period, 446 of those followed (or 9%) suffered serious injuries when falling, of these 111 (or 25%) died as a result of their injuries.
This number correlates almost exactly with the number that would have statistically been likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke through not taking the medicine.
The authors of the study noted that “the morbidity and mortality associated with series injuries were comparable to those associated with cardiovascular events”.
It should also be noted that there is a high prevalence in the UK of GPs prescribing beta blockers while ignoring other forms of treatment – i.e. exercise and healthy eating. Just a single session a week on the DDW 50+ program can lower blood pressure as much or even more than doctor prescribed drugs.
By Adam Atkinson
A person’s risk of dying from a coronary heart attack or a stroke is doubled when they have a broken heart (or broken heart syndrome), new research shows. The risk is greatest in the first month of heartbreak, and then declines after that. A study by St George’s Hospital in London looked at GP data for 30,000 bereaved people aged 60 to 89 to the records of 84,000 people in the same age bracket whose partners were still alive. They found that 0.16 of those with a broken heart suffered actual heart attack or stroke in the first 30 days after their loved one’s death. This was found to be higher that the rate for those with their loved ones still present – just 0.08%.
Previous research into “broken heart syndrome” has shown that grief can lead to a range of health problems including increases in blood pressure, adverse effects on blood clotting and loss of heart rate control. It has also been shown that it causes loss of sleep and depression of the immune system. There is also evidence that after bereavement people also suffer from self-neglect, ceasing exercise and neglecting to take medicines.
By Adam Atkinson
Hitting the fridge and going to town is one of the well known effects of taking cannabis. But up until now scientists have been unable to explain the relationship; how does the active ingredient of cannabis (tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) cause such a surge in appetite?
But a new study by researchers at the University of Bordeaux has found that THC binds to cannabinol receptors in the brain dramatically increasing the sense of taste and smell which in turn stimulates the appetite. Although the tests were done on mice, if the findings are the same for humans, says The New Scientist, then doctors might one day be able to treat common conditions like obesity and anorexia with a simple nasal spray that either suppress or increases appetite through manipulation of the cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
It has been widely accepted that doing brain teasers like sudoku or crosswords can protect against the onset of degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. However there is now a growing amount of evidence that physical exercise is just as important. In a new study by the University of Pittsburgh, on subjects aged between 60 to 80 years, it has been discovered that two crucial parts of the brain (the Hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex) can be regenerated through exercise.
The subjects simply walked briskly for 30-45 minutes a day. The reversal was the equivalent to turning back their biological clock by 1-2 years, but only for those that stuck to the exercise programme for a whole year.
“The results suggest that the brain and cognitive function of older adults remains..highly malleable” said the leader of the study, Professor Kirk Erickson. “There is not this inevitable decline that we thought there was”.
So for those of you with aged relatives or as e all approach older age, let’s get moving!
By Adam Atkinson
In a survey by Imperial College London parents were found to be just a little blind to the state of their children’s health. 77% of parents of overweight children refuse to accept that their child is fat. Even among those who do accept it, only 41% of them think that they are putting their child’s health at risk.
Concern grew over the past 2 weeks for the state of Britain’s health and the obesity crisis with the publication of a report showing that in some English towns nearly 75% of the population is overweight. The fattest county was named as Cumbria with 68% of residents being overweight or obese. Next on the list was Linconshire closely followed by North Yorkshire and Staffordshire. All of these three showed a whopping 67% of inhabitants as being overweight.
Most of the fattest districts are North of the Wash; in the Cumbrian area of Copeland, 75% of people are classed as overweight; in Doncaster, South Yorkshire 74%; East Lindsey in Linconshire showed a 74% rate of obesity.
Some southern counties also showed similar rates of obesity with both Essex and Somerset having high rates.
However London was found to have a much lower ratio of fat people; Kensington and Chelsea has 45% with a smiler percentage throughout the city. In the UK as a whole the percentage of the population classed as being overweight currently stands at 63%, reports BBC online.
Every year, many of us decide to go dry for the month of January, not drinking alcohol to make up for the debauchery of the festive season. Some reports are sceptical about the benefits of this one month “fad”, so a ten of staff at the New Scientist magazine decided to go dry and study the results properly.
On October the 5th of last year, 14 members of the magazine’s staff (all of whom regarded themselves as “normal” drinkers) were given various tests and questionnaires to asses the state of their livers and overall health. For the next 5 weeks, 10 drank no alcohol, while the remaining four carried on as normal. They then returned to the laboratory to repeat the tests. For the four drinkers, there were no notable changes.
But for those who had gone dry, the effects were significant. Their levels of liver fat (an indicator of possible future liver damage) had fallen by an average of 15%. Their blood glucose levels (connected to the onset of diabetes) had taken a huge plunge by 23%, from 5.1 to 4.3 mmols per litre. The normal range is 3.9-5.6.
They also lost weight. This is without a specific effort to do so, and they lost an average of 1.5kg. Their blood cholesterol (an early indicator for heart disease) had also dropped by 5% from 4.6 to 4.4mmol. 5.2 or below is considered healthy.
The dry group also reported have better concentration levels as well as sleeping more soundly, rating their sleep as improved by 10%.
Kevin Moore, a consultant in liver sciences for University College London declared that he was amazed by the results.
“What you have is a pretty average group of people who would not consider themselves heavy drinkers, yet stopping drinking for a month alters liver fat, cholesterol and blood sugar, and helped them to lose weight”. “If someone had a product that did that they would be raking it in”.