Discussing health histories at a family gathering may be a great tool to giving you insight into improving your health. Being aware of certain illnesses or diseases that relatives have suffered in the past can give a doctor the added advantage of a proper diagnosis if a problem arises. Take time to record data from several generations of relatives. There are digital tools available that can guide you through the process. The National Society of Genetic Counseling, The March of Dimes, and The Office of the Surgeon General all offer downloads by which you can organize and print out your family’s history. Knowing can lead to prevention by simply making lifestyle changes.
(Source- Consumer Reports on Health)
Why do some people become jittery after one cup of coffee whereas others are able to drink it continuously without the slightest negative effect? The answer it seems may lie in your genes. A certain enzyme CYPIA2 may be responsible for how quickly our bodies break down caffeine. One variant of this gene causes the liver to metabolize caffeine at a faster rate. If this particular gene is inherited from both parents it can in turn increase the metabolism of caffeine by as much as four times. A study was funded by The National Institute of Health in which there were 4,000 participants. Those that were fast metabolizes were able to clear caffeine from their systems rapidly allowing the antioxidants and polyphenols to kick in without any negative effects of caffeine. There may be multiple genes that are responsible but more research is now underway on how caffeine and the CYPIA2 gene can affect an athlete”s performance.
Is it possible that your mood can affect the potency of a vaccine? British researchers tested older adults ages 65-85. They recorded mood, stress level, negative thoughts, sleep patterns, and diet before administering a vaccine. Afterwards they followed with blood tests from 4 to 16 weeks. Only those who had exhibited a positive mood before the vaccine was administered, had higher levels of the antibodies to resist HINI, a potentially dangerous flu strain. It seems your mood on the day of being vaccinated has the most to do with how effective the outcome will be.
Excessive exposure to artificial light can take a toll on your muscles. People who work on computers or hospital workers can spend long hours under these conditions. Researchers at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands tested rats by placing one group in continuous light. The control group was placed in 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness (normal conditions). The group in continuous artificial light lost muscle strength, showed signs of osteoporosis, gained weight and their immune system suffered. Returning the rats to a normal light schedule however, reversed the symptoms. More testing has to be done but it seems the mind as well as the body need a period of complete darkness to revitalize.
The blood tests known as liquid biopsies may soon be the alternative to invasive tumor biopsies. DNA fragments from mutated cancer cells can be found in the blood of people with cancerous tumors. At present liquid blood tests are used to monitor the progression of a disease and the effect of the drugs being administered. The data is the result of research done at the University of California Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. One such test on the market (Guanant) detects 70 cancer-related genes. The study tested the accuracy of tumors removed from 400 patients against the DNA removed from taking a blood sample. The shortcoming is that 15% of those tested did not show the presence of cancer mutations where their actually was. Hope is that in the future patients may be spared the pain of invasive tumor biopsies.
Most Americans seem to be deficient in Vitamin D. The cure seems to be easy enough. It is a matter of taking in the suns’ rays for at least 20 minutes a day. Here in the northeast it becomes a little difficult for at least six months out of the year. Rich sources of Vitamin D are egg yolks, salmon and liver. Mushrooms are not often mentioned as a high source of this vitamin. In fact it is one of the few vegetarian sources of Vitamin D. It seems a little strange that a fungus that grows in the dark should be a rich source of the so needed vitamin. Interestingly enough, if you were to let mushrooms lie in the sun for a couple of hours before you use them the potency of Vitamin D will greatly increase. Actually, just 5 minutes in the sun increases their potency to more then the recommended daily requirement of vitamin D.
Adding sweeteners is a major concern for people trying to limit sugar consumption and especially for those with medical concerns such as diabetes. Stevia is one option. It is made from a leaf related to popular garden flowers like asters and chrysanthemums and has no effect in raising blood sugar levels. There is however a new option. Since many claim that stevia has a bitter after-taste a new product called “Eversweet” promises to deliver a more pleasant after-taste. “Eversweet” is produced by the fermentation of yeast. When simple sugars are added to Baker’s yeast, the yeast will digest them and in turn will convert them into a calorie free sweetener.
The reduced risk of knee arthritis may be another benefit of fiber rich foods. Two studies with over 6,000 participants were published in the “Annals of Rheumatic Diseases”. With the increase of fiber in the diet there was a noticeable decrease of arthritic pain in the groups by as much as 30%. Some smaller studies produced results by as much as 60%. There was no noticeable difference in results even when age, sex, race, education, caloric intake, physical activity or types of fats were taken into consideration. How fiber reduces inflammation is unclear. Considering how it has been proven to reduce weight, improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of diabetes, it is probable that there are many more benefits that have not yet been discovered.
People who suffer from back pain are discovering the benefits of acupuncture as another option to pain medication. According to the National Institute of Health and an article printed in The Practical Pain Management, studies have suggested that acupuncture works particularly well in addressing back and neck pain, degenerative joint disease, as well as relieving the intensity of tension headaches and migraines. Acupuncture is able to accomplish this by controlling endorphin levels which are key in transporting signals along the central nervous system.
An article in The American Journal of Epidemiology reported that sitting and too little exercise can speed aging by as much as eight years. A group of 1,481 women, average age 79, wore motion sensors for one week, after which a white blood cell count was taken. Those that were more sedentary with little exercise proved to have shorter telomeres. Telemeres are caps at the end of our DNA strands. The shorter and more frayed they are the more susceptible a person may be to to heart disease, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and shorter life expectancy.