Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Eye exam detects signs of Alzheimer's disease

Using an ultrasensitive scanning technique, researchers can detect signs of Alzheimer's disease in the tiny blood vessels at the back of the eye, according to a new report.

Duke University reseachers found that these small retinal blood vessels were altered in patients with Alzheimer's disease, but in not in those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or those with no signs of mental decline.

"Among the folks who had Alzheimer's there was a significant reduction in the density of the blood vessels in the superficial layer of the retina compared to controls and those with mild cognitive impairment," said Dr. Dilrag Grewal, an associate professor of ophthalmology at the Duke Eye Center. "We also found a reduction in the thickness of (of a specific layer of the retina) in Alzheimer's patients compared to controls and those with mild cognitive impairment."

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Prenatal smoking tied to higher risk of infant sleep-related deaths

Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more than twice as likely to have babies die suddenly in their sleep as women who avoid tobacco, a U.S. study suggests.

More than 3,700 U.S. infants up to 12 months old die each year of sleep-related causes like sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed or other unknown causes, researchers report in Pediatrics. Smoking has long been linked to an increased risk of these fatalities, known as sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), but the current study offers fresh evidence of how much cutting back or quitting might help improve babies' survival odds.

"We found that smoking even a single cigarette daily during pregnancy doubled the risk of SUID," said lead study author Tatiana Anderson of the Seattle Children's Research Institute.

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Why are happier babies more likely to be obese children?

Image for illustration only

Happy babies might make obese children, a new study suggests. 

The new research, from the Buffalo-State University of New York, found that the more easily parents could calm and soothe their infants, the more at-risk their children were to become obese by age five.

Obesity's causes are complex, involving genetic and environmental factors alike - and one of those factors might be that mothers and fathers are eagerly rewarding their well-behaved babies with sweet juices from a young age.

A good temperament can hardly be pegged as a cause for childhood obesity, but researchers suspect these sweet treats might introduce a taste for sugar.


What can I do to banish my painful gout with diet?

In answer to your question about the foods you eat, changes to your diet may reduce the frequency of gout attacks, with uric acid levels potentially being lowered by as much as 15% and more than that in those who are overweight.

In the past, we recommended a diet low in purines. But, because purines occur in such a wide variety of foods — from spinach and mushrooms to liver — this can prove restrictive.

Nowadays, the suggested eating plan is the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which involves an increased proportion of protein from low-fat dairy products, reduced red meat, seafood and saturated fat, along with replacing white carbohydrates with wholemeal versions.

There is also evidence that eating cherries — ten, twice daily — is of benefit to patients with gout in preventing recurrence because cherries contain bioflavonoids and anthocyanins, compounds that reduce levels of uric acid and also have an anti-inflammatory effect — though the details of these mechanisms are not yet fully understood.

Drinking four to five cups of coffee each day is also associated with a lower risk of attacks, but further studies on this are awaited.


You may want to read Green papaya tea can control GOUT