Helmets Prevent Severe Head Injuries in Bike Accidents

Helmets Prevent Severe Head Injuries in Bike AccidentsDespite some criticism of bike helmets for not being protective enough, they do cut the risk of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) by half when riders suffer a head injury, a U.S. study suggests.Riders with helmets were also less likely to die from their injuries, and less likely to break facial bones, than those not wearing a helmet, researchers report in American Journal of Surgery. “It’s similar to wearing a seat belt, said Dr. Jerri Rose, a pediatric emergency physician at University Hospitals’ Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, who was not involved in the study. “Wearing one doesn’t ensure that you’re not going to get in a car accident, but it lowers the risk of injury and of dying in a car accident.”

Millions of Americans ride bicycles, but less than half wear bicycle helmets, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the U.S., there were 900 deaths and an estimated 494,000 emergency room visits due to bicycle-related injuries in 2013, the study authors write. Using the American College of Surgeons’ National Trauma Data Bank, the researchers analyzed records of 6,267 people treated in 2012 for bleeding inside the skull after a bicycle accident. One quarter of patients had been wearing a bicycle helmet at the time of their accident. Just over half of the patients had severe traumatic brain injuries and 3 percent died.

Researchers found that people wearing helmets had 52 percent lower risk of severe TBI, compared to unhelmeted riders, and a 44 percent lower risk of death.

Riders with helmets also had 31 percent lower odds of facial fractures. The upper part of the face, particularly around the eyes, was most protected. Helmets offered less protection against fractures to the lower part of the face, such as the nose and jaw. Moreover, people who wore helmets reduced their likelihood of having brain surgery, further confirming a certain level of protection with helmet use, the study team writes. “Using helmets has always been controversial,” said study coauthor Dr. Asad Azim, a research fellow in the department of Surgery at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “Critics argue that due to its incomplete design bicycle helmets are of no use and do not protect riders when it comes to severe injuries.”

But “the results of the study say different,” he told Reuters Health by email.

Helmeted riders were more likely to be white, female and insured compared to non-helmeted riders. Riders aged 10 to 20 were among the least likely to wear a helmet, while those aged 60 to 70 were most likely to wear one.

“About 75 percent of people in this study weren’t wearing helmets so we have a long way to go in terms of making sure that people wear helmets when cycling,” Rose said.

“Especially teens,” she added, “they perceive it as not cool.”

The key is to start them early, Rose said. “Starting early is really important. As soon as they start riding their bikes, they should be taught to wear a helmet. It has to become a routine.”

 

 

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Gallstone Disease May Increase Heart Disease Risk


Gallstone Disease May Increase Heart Disease RiskIndividuals with a history of gallstone disease may increase the risk of coronary heart disease, reveals a research.

Gallstone disease is a hardened deposit within the fluid in the gall bladder — a small organ under the liver.

The findings showed that a history of gallstone disease was linked with a 23 per cent increased risk of developing coronary heart disease. “Our results suggest that patients with gallstone disease should be monitored closely based on a careful assessment of both gallstone and heart disease risk factors,” said Lu Qi, Professor at Tulane University in Louisiana, US.

Coronary heart disease occurred more often with a history of gallstone disease because of the shared risk factors, including diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and poor diet.

Gallstones also affects bile acid secretion, which has been related to heart disease risk factors.

Moreover, the increased risk was similar between women and men.

Participants with a history of gallstone disease who were otherwise healthy — were not obese, diabetic or had high blood pressure — had a greater risk of coronary heart disease than participants who had these conditions.

In addition, gut microbiota has been related to cardiovascular disease.

“Patients with gallstones also have abnormal abundance and metabolism in their gut microbiota”, Qi noted, in the paper published in the jounal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

For the study, the team conducted a meta-analysis of seven studies consisting of a total of 8,42,553 participants and 51,123 cases of coronary heart disease. A separate analysis of 2,69,142 participants from three different studies, was also done to analyse the relationship between history of gallstones and the development of coronary heart disease.

 

 

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Weight Gain During Pregnancy May Lead To Preterm Birth

Weight Gain During Pregnancy May Lead To Preterm BirthAbnormalities in interval between pregnancies, mother’s body mass index (BMI) prior to pregnancy and the amount of weight gain in pregnancy can lead to preterm birth, a new study has found.

The study, published in the journal Maternal and Child Health Journal, showed that if these factors were modified, it could reduce the risk of premature births.

“The highest risks for premature birth were in women who were underweight, had poor weight gain during pregnancy, or short periods of time between pregnancies. Excessive weight gain in obese women also increased the risk,” said Emily DeFranco, Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati.

DeFranco and her colleagues conducted the study from birth records of nearly 4,00,000 people. Potentially modifiable risk factors for preterm birth were present in more than 90 per cent of women in the study.

Fewer than half of women begin pregnancy with a normal weight, and only 32 per cent achieve the recommended pregnancy weight gain.

“Attention should be paid to educational interventions on the importance of birth spacing, achieving an optimal pre-pregnancy weight, and ensuring adequate nutrition and weight gain during pregnancy. Improvements in these modifiable risk factors could have significant influence on premature birth and infant mortality worldwide,” DeFranco added.

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Kidney Disease Sufferers Doubled In India In 15 Years

Kidney Disease Sufferers Doubled In India In 15 YearsThe number of Indians suffering from chronic kidney ailments has doubled in the past 15 years, and at present 17 in every hundred citizens suffer from some form of kidney disease, health experts have said.

The experts noted that several Indian population-based studies in the past estimated that some 150-230 persons suffer from End-Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD) in every million people, and about 2,20,000-2,75,000 new patients need Renal Replacement Therapy (RRT) every year.

“The number of patients undergoing dialysis in India is also increasing by 10-15 per cent every year, which majorly includes children too. Not much importance is given to kidney disorders as it is still under-the-radar condition,” said Sudeep Singh Sachdev, Consultant for Nephrology at Max Super Speciality Hospital.

According to the Health Ministry, 2,000 new dialysis centres will be set up at district-level hospitals in the country within the next two years, underlining the gravity of the problem.

The exact burden of chronic kidney diseases in India is still undefined, but its approximate prevalence is said to be 800 per million people (pmp).

Elaborating on kidney problems in children, Sachdev said early detection is necessary for a healthy lifestyle in children to combat preventable kidney damage that may include acute kidney injury. “Difficulty in gaining weight for the child and poor growth, frequent body aches, urination difficulty or longer time in urinating, swollen face, legs, ankles while getting up in the morning are a few symptoms of kidney problems,” said Sachdev.

Piyush Rastogi, nephrologist of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, said that change in lifestyle is the major cause of the rising kidney diseases. “Lesser fluid intake, smoking, excess intake of medicines and drugs and salt intake are the reasons contributing to the rising chronic kidney diseases,” said Rastogi. “Too much of sodium can lead to hypertension, so cutting down on salt intake is better. About 1.5 to 2.3 grams daily is the prescribed amount of salt intake. Healthy fluid intake is necessary for children, especially water, to avoid kidney problems,” added Rastogi.

According to doctors, only 300-400 dialysis centres are currently available in India. With 1,500 nephrologists in metro cities treating kidney patients, more than 60 per cent of the patients do not receive any medical attention on time. Only four per cent of the patients get a donor.

That, experts say, is a dismal picture.

 

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Mediterranean Diet, Exercise Can Cut Risk Of Alzheimer’s

Mediterranean Diet, Exercise Can Cut Risk Of Alzheimer's 

 

 

Mediterranean diet, regular physical activity and a normal body mass index can reduce the incidence of protein build-ups that are associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, says a study.

The findings showed that each one of several lifestyle factors – a healthy body mass index, physical activity and a Mediterranean diet – were linked to lower levels of plaques and tangles on the brain scans. Plaque, deposits of a toxic protein called beta-amyloid in the spaces between nerve cells in the brain; and tangles, knotted threads of the tau protein found within brain cells, are considered the key indicators of Alzheimer’s.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereals and fish and low in meat and dairy, and characterised by a high ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fats, and mild to moderate alcohol consumption.

Earlier studies have linked a healthy lifestyle to delays in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

However, the new study is the first to demonstrate how lifestyle factors directly influence abnormal proteins in people with subtle memory loss who have not yet been diagnosed with dementia, the researchers said. “The study reinforces the importance of living a healthy life to prevent Alzheimer’s, even before the development of clinically significant dementia,” said lead author David Merrill, Psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Healthy lifestyle factors have also been shown to be related to reduced shrinking of the brain and lower rates of atrophy in people with Alzheimer’s.

Older age is the leading non-modifiable risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

“The fact that we could detect this influence of lifestyle at a molecular level before the beginning of serious memory problems surprised us,” Merrill added.

In the study, 44 adults ranging in age from 40 to 85 with mild memory changes but no dementia underwent an experimental type of positron emission tomography (PET) scan to measure the level of plaque and tangles in the brain.

Researchers also collected information on participants’ body mass index, levels of physical activity, diet and other lifestyle factors.

“The work lends key insight not only into the ability of patients to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but also physicians’ ability to detect and image these changes,” Merrill noted in the paper appearing in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

 

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You May Be Able to Lower Risk of Diabetic Vision-Loss By Eating Oily Fish

You May Be Able to Lower Risk of Diabetic Vision-Loss By Eating Oily FishEating oily fish twice in a week is equivalent to 500 mg per day of dietary omega-3, polyunsaturated fatty acids can decrease the risk of sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy in middle-aged and older individuals with Type 2 diabetes, finds a study.

Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes complication that affects eyes and has become a leading global cause of vision loss. It is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina).

The increasing prevalence of Type 2 diabetes mellitus, coupled with an increased lifespan, has resulted in a steady rise of disability in older individuals with diabetes.

The retina is rich in long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Many experimental models have supported dietary long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids’ protection against diabetic retinopathy, however, clinical data is lacking, the researchers said, in the paper published online by JAMA Ophthalmology.

The team conducted a prospective study within the randomised clinical trial Prevencion con Dieta Mediterranea (PREDIMED).

From 2003 to 2009, 3,614 individuals aged 55 to 80 years with a previous diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes were recruited in Spain. Participants meeting the long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids recommendation at baseline (500 mg/d or greater) showed a 48 per cent reduced risk of sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy, than those with lower levels of the fatty acids. “Our findings, which are consistent with the current model of the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy and data from experimental models, add to the notion of fish-derived long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids as a healthy fat,” said Aleix Sala-Vila from the Lipid Clinic in Barcelona.

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Most Fatal Type of Stroke Declining Along With Smoking Rates

Most Fatal Type of Stroke Declining Along With Smoking RatesThe type of brain bleeding that causes the most lethal kind of stroke has declined substantially since 1998, possibly as a result of falling smoking rates, according to researchers in Finland.

Bleeding in the space between the brain and the thin tissue covering it, known as subarachnoid hemorrhage, affects fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. each year and represents about 10 percent of all strokes.

About 50 percent of all cases die within a year, the study authors note in the journal Neurology.

In Finland, however, a decline since the 1990s in rates of subarachnoid hemorrhage, along with an increase in the average age of victims, tracks with a 30 percent drop in national smoking rates during the same period, especially among younger people, researchers found. “During recent years, we have noticed that less and less people are admitted with subarachnoid hemorrhage to the Helsinki University Hospital,” said lead author Dr. Miikka Korja of the neurosurgery department there and the University of Helsinki.

Since Finland has a publicly funded healthcare system, it was unlikely that changing hospital admissions explained the trend, Korja told Reuters Health by email.

It’s not certain why the decrease has happened, but smoking is the number one risk factor for subarachnoid hemorrhage, he said. “When smoking rates plummet rapidly together with plummeting incidence rates of subarachnoid hemorrhage, it is conceivable that smoking contributes to the decreased number of people suffering from this subtype of stroke,” he said.

The researchers used Finnish national databases of deaths and hospital discharges to identify 6,885 people who experienced subarachnoid hemorrhage between 1998 and 2012, which included 1,771 sudden deaths from a brain hemorrhage away from the hospital.

In 1998 there were 510 subarachnoid hemorrhages in Finland, half affecting people younger than 54 years old. In 2012 there were 337 subarachnoid hemorrhages, half affecting people younger than age 60. The overall rates of subarachnoid hemorrhage were almost 12 per 100,000 people per year in 1998-2000, but fell to less than 9 per 100,000 in 2010-2012.

Stroke events had decreased gradually over time, especially considering that the population of Europe increased over the same period, but each year around 60 percent of cases were in women, according to the analysis.

Smoking among Finns ages 15 to 64 decreased by 30 percent from 1998 to 2012.

Over that 15-year period, the number of hemorrhagic strokes decreased particularly among people younger than 50 years old, Korja said. “Long-term smokers are less likely to quit smoking and probably therefore the number of these strokes did not decline so dramatically among 50-year-old and older people.”

But in most countries the true incidence of subarachnoid hemorrhage is unclear, he said, since a quarter of people who experience it die away from a hospital and the specific cause may not be investigated.

Smoking has decreased substantially in Western Europe during the last 20 to 30 years, but increased in the Middle East and Africa, he said.

“We must understand that in many African and Middle East countries there are much more important life-threatening dangers and hazards than this subtype of stroke,” Korja said. “In future, however, stroke can become an epidemic disease in these countries, not least because of a high prevalence of smoking.”

Though decreased smoking may be driving the decrease in subarachnoid hemorrhage, high blood pressure also decreased over the same period, said Dr. Marie Softeland Sandvei of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, coauthor of an editorial accompanying the new study. Nevertheless, “former smokers should be happy that they managed to quit, and should refrain from starting again,” Sandvei told Reuters Health by email.

“People start smoking almost invariably in their teens and early twenties,” Korja said. “If anti-smoking campaigns and policies are effective, as they have been in Finland, youngsters do not start smoking during their ‘wild years,’ and basically never after reaching perhaps a bit more mature state of adulthood.”

 

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Anemia Tied to Worse Survival Odds After Stroke

Anemia Tied to Worse Survival Odds After Stroke

Some older adults with anemia may fare worse after a stroke, a study suggests, although the reason and the right treatment are still unclear.

Anemia is common in older adults and has various causes, including a lack of red blood cells or low levels of hemoglobin, the proteins in red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body.

When researchers analyzed data on almost 30,000 stroke patients, they found anemia associated with almost twice the risk of dying in the first year after an ischemic stroke – the most common type that results from an obstruction in a blood vessel supplying the brain.

In the first year after a hemorrhagic stroke, the rarer type that occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, anemia was associated with a 50 percent greater risk of dying. “Anemia can affect the oxygen carrying capacity of blood and can cause tissues not having enough oxygen,” said senior study author Dr. Phyo Myint of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. “We may be able to reduce the high mortality risk after stroke by identification and appropriately managing anemia in stroke patients,” Myint added by email.

To assess the role of anemia in stroke survival odds, Myint and colleagues first examined data on about 8,000 elderly patients hospitalized after a stroke in the U.K. from 2003 to 2015.

On average, the patients were about 77 years old and when they were admitted to the hospital. One in four of them had anemia.

Over the next year, patients who had anemia at admission had worse survival odds after both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, researchers report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers also found higher than normal hemoglobin levels were associated with poorer outcomes and worse survival odds, mainly within the first month following stroke.

To see if additional data could confirm what they found in these U.K. patients, researchers next analyzed findings from 20 previously published studies of stroke patients from a wide range of countries. Combined with the UK data, the pooled analysis included almost 30,000 patients. They found more evidence suggesting anemia is associated with worse survival odds after a stroke. In addition, they found both unusually high and low hemoglobin levels associated with worse stroke outcomes.

One limitation of the study is that the relatively small proportion of hemorrhagic strokes makes it harder to draw firm conclusions from the findings for those rarer events, the authors note. It’s also possible that the research review may have overestimated the link between anemia and reduced survival odds if selective reporting skewed the patient populations toward worse cases, the authors also note.

Even so, the findings are important because many patients don’t realize there may be a connection between anemia and stroke outcomes, said Dr. Philip Gorelick, a spokesman for the American Heart Association who wasn’t involved in the study. “A key take-home message from the study is that patients in the general population with anemia, especially those with cardiovascular disease risks or disease, may be at risk for stroke and should be considered for appropriate guideline-based interventions to prevent stroke,” Gorelick said by email.

Patients might need antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs to stop clots from forming or at least slow down this process, and they might also need therapy to address anemia.

“Whether or not correction of anemia will prevent stroke remains uncertain,” Gorelick added.

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12 Amazing Home Remedies for Acidity

12 Amazing Home Remedies for AcidityAcidity occurs when there is excess secretion of acids in the gastric glands of the stomach, producing gas, bad breath, stomach ache and other symptoms. According to Delhi-based Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat, “Acidity can be caused due to a long gap between meals, empty stomach or excessive intake of tea, coffee, smoking or alcohol”. When the secretion of acids is more than usual – we experience heartburn or acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), which is normally triggered when we eat a heavy meal or spicy foods.

Here are 12 simple ingredients available in your kitchen or refrigerator that can be used to get rid of stomach acidity.

1. Basil Leaves

The soothing and carminative properties of basil leaves can give you instant relief from acidity. At the first sign of gas, eat a few basil leaves or boil 3-4 basil leaves in a cup of water and let it simmer for a few minutes. Sip on it frequently.

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2. Fennel

You can also “chew sauf after meals, to prevent acidity”, advises Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat. “For its multitude of gastrointestinal benefits, fennel tea is sure to help the digestive tract be healthy and happy. The tea is considered very useful to help indigestion and bloating because of the oils found in these seeds”, according to Shilpa Arora ND, a renowned Health Practitioner, Nutritionist and certified Macrobiotic Health Coach.

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3. Cinnamon

This humble spice works as a natural antacid and can settle your stomach, by improving digestion and absorption. For relief, drink cinnamon tea to heal infections in the gastrointestinal tract.

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4. Buttermilk

Did you know that buttermilk is categorised as a sattvic food in Ayurveda? So, the next time you get acidity after eating a heavy or spicy meal, skip the antacid and drink a glass of chaas instead. Buttermilk contains lactic acid that normalizes acidity in the stomach. Sprinkle a dash of black pepper or 1 teaspoon of ground coriander leaves for best results.

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5. Jaggery

Ever wondered why our elders finish a meal with gur? “Due to its high magnesium content, jaggery helps boost intestinal strength”, says Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja, Fortis Hospital, New Delhi. It aids digestion and makes your digestive system more alkaline in nature, thus reducing stomach acidity. Suck on a small piece of gur after a meal, and reap the benefits. Since jaggery also helps maintain normal body temperature, cooling the stomach – experts recommend drinking Gur Sharbat (jaggery soaked in ice cold water) during the summer.

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6. Cloves

Over the years, cloves have grabbed a prominent place in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda to treat digestive disorders. Cloves are carminative in nature, thus preventing the formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract. Add cloves while cooking foods like kidney beans or black gram that tend to cause flatulence. You can even eat crushed cloves and cardamom (mixed in equal amounts) to treat acidity, and get rid of bad breath (which often accompanies this problem).

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7. Cumin Seeds

Cumin seeds work as a great acid neutralizer, aid digestion and relieve stomach pain. Slightly crush some roasted cumin seeds, stir it into a glass of water or steep one teaspoon of cumin seeds in a cup of boiled water and drink it after every meal.

8. Ginger

Beneath its knobbly exterior, ginger hides many health benefits. “Ginger has excellent digestive and anti-inflammatory properties”, says Dr. Ahuja, Fortis Hospital. To help neutralize stomach acids, you can chew a slice of fresh ginger, or have a spoonful of ginger juice two-three times a day, or steep fresh ginger in a cup of boiling water and drink up.

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9. Cold Milk

For those who are not lactose intolerant, milk can help stabilize gastric acids in the stomach. It is rich in calcium, which prevents the buildup of acid in the stomach. “All you need to do is drink a glass of cold milk the next time you suffer from acidity”, suggests Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat.

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10. Apple Cider Vinegar

Very often, your acid reflux is in fact the result of too little stomach acid. That’s where apple cider vinegar steps in. Simply mix 1-2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and drink it once or twice a day. You can also take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and chase it with a glass of water.

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11. Coconut Water 

“When you drink coconut water, your body’s pH acidic level turns alkaline”, adds Dr. Ahuja, Fortis Hospital. It also helps produce mucous in your stomach, which protects the stomach from harmful effects of excessive acid production. Since it is rich in fibre, it aids digestion and prevents the re-occurrence of acidity.

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12. Banana

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Bananas contain natural antacids that can act as a buffer against acid reflux. This is the simplest home remedy for getting rid of acidity. Eat one banana every day to prevent discomfort.

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