Monday, 27 February 2017

UTIs could soon be life-threatening without new antibiotics

For the first time, the World Health Organization has named which bacteria we most urgently need new antibiotics to fight, and common gut microbes top the list via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

‘How I regained my health after bikini competitions’

Feature Feb 27, 2017

After getting in the best shape of my life, I didn't know what to do next...

via Healthy Eating Read More..

World's most threatening superbugs ranked in new list

Top of the list to find new, effective antibiotic treatments are bacteria that poison the blood. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Why we are so bad at spotting if our kids are overweight

At least 80 per cent of parents of overweight children think their kids are a healthy weight, and the reasons for this blind spot are complex via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Live Healthy, Live Longer

Regular checkups, exercise, no smoking, better diet and balance between work and play can add years, health expert says
Source: HealthDay via Exercise and Physical Fitness New Links: MedlinePlus RSS Feed Read More Here..

Don't Sweat It: Gender Doesn't Dictate Perspiration Rate

Instead, your size and shape influence how the body releases heat and cools down, study finds

HealthDay news image

Source: HealthDay via Exercise and Physical Fitness New Links: MedlinePlus RSS Feed Read More Here..

Charity says GPs 'failing' patients with eating disorders

But RCGP defends doctors' treatment and referral procedures

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NHS investigating data loss 'scandal'

Mix-up meant some 500,000 documents, including test results, placed in storage

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MPs to debate Capita’s failures to deliver on contract
New measures proposed to bolster security of health and care information
Hospitals in Wales failing to give GPs discharge information
55 million patients set to access GP records online
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Doctors urged to listen more and treat less

Scotland's CMO outlines her vision for 'realistic medicine'

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STP proposals to cut beds not credible without community investment
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MPs raise concerns over STPs

Government must prove changes are 'not just a cover for cuts'

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Try these simple mental tests to see if you’re a good athlete

Your brain’s mental flexibility and capacity to focus could give you the skills to help make you a world class athlete via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Hospitals 'must' become tobacco-free

New campaign urges hospitals to do more to stamp out smoking

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Sunday, 26 February 2017

Friday, 24 February 2017

Sell-By Dates Have You Confused? Not Anymore

Sell-By Dates Have You Confused? Not Anymore Blog Post

We've all been there: you're digging through the fridge to find an ingredient for dinner and you stumble upon a yogurt you bought a few weeks ago. It was buried in the back and you forgot about it (oops!), so you check the expiration date. It was three days ago. What should you do? With more than 10 different types of date labels for food products—including sell by, best by, use by, expires by—it can be confusing. Do we take a whiff, nibble a small bite and hope for the best or just toss it?

via EatingWell Blogs - All Blog Posts More READ

Having a cigarette may make your body crave coffee too

People who smoke may metabolise caffeine differently to non-smokers, leaving them needing to drink more to get the same hit from their coffee via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Fasting diet may help regenerate a diabetic pancreas

"The pancreas can be triggered to regenerate itself through a type of fasting diet, say US researchers," BBC News reports.

Research in mice found a low-calorie diet may help in cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The pancreas is an organ that uses specialised cells known as beta cells to produce the hormone insulin, which the body uses to break down sugars in the blood (glucose).

In type 1 diabetes the pancreas stops producing insulin. In type 2 diabetes either not enough insulin is produced or cells in the body fail to respond to insulin (insulin resistance).

Mice were fed for four days on a low-calorie, low-protein and low-carbohydrate but high-fat diet, receiving half their normal daily calorie intake on day one, followed by three days of 10% of their normal calorie intake.

Researchers repeated this fast on three occasions, with 10 days of refeeding in between. They then examined the pancreas.

They found in mice modelled to have both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, insulin production was restored, insulin resistance was reduced, and beta cells could be regenerated. Early lab study involving human cell samples showed similar potential.

These are promising results, but further studies are needed to validate these findings in humans.

If you have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you shouldn't attempt a fasting diet without first seeking medical advice. A sudden change in your calorie intake could have unpredictable effects and lead to complications.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Southern California and the Koch Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, and the IFOM FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology in Italy.

It was funded by grants from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the US National Institute on Aging (NIA).

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Cell. It's available on an open access basis and is free to read online (PDF, 6.74Mb).

The UK media coverage of the research is generally accurate. BBC News provided useful advice from one of the authors, Dr Longo, who cautioned: "Do not try this [fasting] at home. This is so much more sophisticated than people realise". 

What kind of research was this?

This animal study examined whether a diet mimicking fasting cycles is able to promote the generation of new pancreatic beta cells in a mouse model of diabetes.

Beta cells are found in the pancreas. The cells' primary function is to store and release insulin in response to changes in blood glucose concentration.

In people with diabetes, the beta cells are either destroyed by the person's own immune system (type 1) or are unable to produce a sufficient amount of insulin (type 2).

Beta cells are reported to be highly sensitive to the availability of nutrients. The researchers wanted to see whether prolonged fasting and refeeding could regenerate pancreatic cells.

Animal studies like this one are useful early-stage research to help better our understanding of cellular mechanisms.

However, the human body has complex biology and we're not identical to mice, so further studies would be needed to see whether the same effects are observed in humans.

What did the research involve?

The first phase of the study involved male mice aged 10-16 weeks, some of whom had injections of a chemical to destroy their beta cells to mimic type 1 diabetes. Others were genetically bred to have type 2 diabetes, and normal mice acted as controls.

The researchers put the mice on a four-day fasting regimen consisting of a low-calorie, low-protein, low-carbohydrate and high-fat (FMD) diet.

They were fed 50% of their standard calorie intake on day one, followed by 10% of their normal calorie intake on days two to four.

At the end of the four days, the mice were fed regularly for up to 10 days to ensure they regained their body weight before the next fasting cycle. They underwent three dietary intervention cycles.

Blood glucose measurements were taken regularly. Pancreatic cell samples were taken to look at gene activity and investigate whether there were any changes.

The second phase of the study involved analysing human pancreatic cell samples collected from people with type 1 diabetes. 

Researchers also recruited healthy human adult volunteers without a history of diabetes, who underwent three cycles of a similar five-day fasting regimen. The blood samples from these people were applied to the cultured pancreatic human cells.

What were the basic results?

In the mouse model of type 2 diabetes, after the FMD cycles insulin secretion was restored and insulin resistance was reduced. The FMD cycles seemed to induce beta cell regeneration.

In the mouse model of type 1 diabetes, FMD cycles were able to reduce inflammation and promote changes in the levels of cytokine proteins, which may indicate the restoration of insulin secretion. There was an increase in the proliferation and number of beta cells generating insulin.

The results in the human cell samples suggested similar findings to those seen in mice. FMD cycles – that is, in blood samples from fasted individuals applied to human pancreatic cells in the laboratory – may be able to promote reprogramming of cell lineages and generate insulin in pancreatic islet cells.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers concluded that, "These results indicate that an FMD promotes the reprogramming of pancreatic cells to restore insulin generation in islets from T1D [type 1 diabetes] patients and reverse both T1D and T2D [type 2 diabetes] phenotypes in mouse models." 

Conclusion

This animal study examined whether a diet mimicking fasting cycles would be able to promote the generation of new insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells in a mouse model of diabetes.

Overall, researchers found in mice models of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, insulin secretion was restored and insulin resistance and beta cells could be regenerated or have their function restored. Very early laboratory study on human cell samples suggested similar potential.

These results show promise, but further research is needed to validate these findings in humans.

Professor Anne Cooke, professor of immunology at the University of Cambridge, commented: "This is good science and does give promise for the future treatment of diabetes, but we need further studies to see whether this works in people as well as it has in mice."

Don't suddenly try fasting, or any other radical change to your diet, without first consulting the doctor in charge of your care. Sudden changes to your diet could cause complications.

Links To The Headlines

Fasting diet 'regenerates diabetic pancreas'. BBC News, February 24 2017

Hope for millions of diabetics as condition could be reversed with yo-yo starvation diet. Daily Mirror, February 23 2017

Fasting diet could prove the cure for type 2 diabetes. The Times, February 24 2017 (subscription required)

Links To Science

Cheng C, Villani V, Buono R, et al. Fasting-Mimicking Diet Promotes Ngn3-Driven β-Cell Regeneration to Reverse Diabetes. Cell. Published online February 23 2017

via NHS Choices: Behind the headlines More READ

Was Kim Jong-nam killed by VX nerve gas? Doesn’t look like it

Malaysia says murdered Kim Jong Nam - half-brother of North Korea's Kim Jong Un - had VX nerve gas on his face and hands. Chemical weapons experts are not convinced via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Fasting diet 'regenerates diabetic pancreas'

Restoring the pancreas through diet could be "immensely" beneficial, doctors say. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Straight women have fewest orgasms

US study explores "orgasm gap" between genders and different sexual orientations. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Patient access to GPs in Wales has soared

Welsh health secretary praises GPs but asks other professionals to help relieve pressure

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NHS 111 redirects callers from A&E to general practice

Advises 60% of callers to go to GP not A&E; a third would have done so without advice

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Prescribing daily step count benefits patients’ health

People prescribed steps moved 20% more and had lower HbA1c and insulin resistance
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Schizophrenia risk higher with poor maternal nutrition

Inadequate weight gain during pregnancy linked to higher risk of schizophrenia in children

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Depression raises risk of developing psoriatic arthritis

Psoriasis patients over a third more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis if depressed

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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Cheshire woman pregnant with late husband's baby

Sarah Beattie lost her husband to cancer but is now expecting his child after IVF treatment success. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Ten portions of fruit and veg key to longer life

But doctors warn upping the five-a-day recommendation 'creates unrealistic expectations'

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Plain packets help smokers quit by killing brand identities

Smokers no longer derive a sense of identity from cigarette brands after plain packaging rule was introduced in Australia, helping them to kick the habit via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Effective altruism is re-inventing how we do good – can it work?

Philanthropy is full of fuzzy uncertainties. A new approach promises a scientific revolution in the art of giving. Are there hidden dangers? via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Four in ten European doctors consider leaving the UK

BMA survey reveals perilous state of UK healthcare post Brexit

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WEBSITE MAINTENANCE

www.onmedica.com will be offline this afternoon between 4pm and 5pm
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Adopted Romanian orphans suffering decades later

Unique study reveals problems faced by children who came to the UK in the 1990s

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Care of the dying compromised by NHS pressures

Nurses say they do not have enough time to provide quality care

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Older people miss out on psychological therapies

Dementia Tsar says more must be done to help old people with depression

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Fruit and veg: For a longer life eat 10 a day

More fruit and veg might prevent nearly eight million premature deaths each year, researchers say. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Adopted Romanian orphans 'still suffering in adulthood'

Despite being adopted by caring UK families in the early 90s, the mental scars are often visible. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Canadian researchers set to study cannabis oil

A Canadian hospital will study the effects cannabis oil on a severe form of epilepsy via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

You should be eating 10 pieces of fruit or veg every day, not 5

A review of 95 studies suggests we should be eating 10 portions of fruit and veg a day to reduce our chances of dying from a heart attack or cancer via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Desert people evolve to drink water poisoned with deadly arsenic

People living in the Atacama desert of Chile evolved specific gene mutations over the past 7000 years that make them better at detoxifying the heavy metal via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Global alliance now needed to drive down obesity, argue experts

UK government has failed to tackle issue properly; and voluntary measures won’t cut it

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Exercise a Powerful Ally for Breast Cancer Survivors

Those who worked out were about 40 percent less likely to die from disease, review suggests

HealthDay news image

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UK women expected to live until 85 and men to 82 by 2030

But South Korean women will live longest, potentially surpassing 90 years of age

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Plague! How to prepare for the next pandemic

Globalisation makes the spread of a worldwide killer disease inevitable. The last Ebola outbreak nearly got out of control, but it showed what we need to do via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

European cancer death rates falling faster in men

Trends largely explained by decline in cancers associated with tobacco use

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GPs poorly informed about degenerative eye disease, survey suggests

Timely information and support vital to help stave off progression, say researchers

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Large shortfall in mental health care for new mums, UK survey reveals

Only a handful of referrals made, and long waits for treatment common

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Brain scans 'may spot teen drug problems'

Brain scans may help predict which teenagers go on to develop drug problems, a study suggests. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Life expectancy to break 90 barrier by 2030

Women in South Korea will be the first in the world to live an average of 90 years. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Putting cancer patients in hibernation could help tackle tumours

Tumour growth would slow right down or cease while healthy cells in the body become more resistant to radiation via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Is this snail the next medical breakthrough?

The Conus regius is a species of cone snail that paralyses its prey with venom. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..