London. Researchers have revealed how a simple blood test could be used to help identify cardiovascular ageing and the risk of heart disease.
The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, reported that higher levels of amyloid-beta in the blood may be a key indicator of cardiovascular disease.
Amyloid-beta is known to be involved in the development of Alzheimer's disease, yet researchers have now concluded that it may have a key role to play in vascular stiffening, thickening of the arteries, heart failure and heart disease progression.
It is hoped that this research will one day lead to the development of a simple blood test that could be used as a clinical biomarker to identify patients who are most at risk, so that preventative measures can be put in place and death rates reduced.
"Our work has created and put all the pieces of the puzzle together. For the first time, we have provided evidence of the involvement of amyloid-beta in early and later stages of cardiovascular disease," said study researcher Konstantinos Stellos from Newcastle University in the UK.
For the findings, the research team analysed blood samples from more than 6,600 patients from multiple cohort studies in nine countries, and found that patients could be divided into high and low risk categories of heart disease based on their amyloid-beta levels.
"What is really exciting is that we were able to reproduce these unexpected, clinically meaningful findings in patients from around the world. In all cases, we observed that amyloid-beta is a biomarker of cardiovascular ageing and of cardiovascular disease prognosis," Stellos added.
The study proposed the existence of a common link between both conditions, which has not been acknowledged before, and could lead to better patient care.
The findings suggest that the higher the level of amyloid-beta in the blood the higher the risk of developing serious heart complications.
In the future, it is hoped that a simple blood test could be added to the current method of patient screening, known as the GRACE score, which assesses heart attack risk and guides patients' treatment plans.
Using the GRACE score, eight factors are used to predict the risk of heart attack, including age, blood pressure, kidney function and elevated biomarkers. (Agency)
New York, Feb 25. Researchers have found that children who have been abused, mistreated or neglected at home are more likely to start smoking cigarettes and other substances.
The study, published in the journal Substance Use & Misuse, showed that physical abuse of children in high-risk homes, especially when they're toddlers or teens, dramatically increases the odds that their adolescent experimentation with cigarettes will lead to a heavy smoking habit.
For the findings, the study examined data on children who were at high risk for abuse and neglect -- either because they had been referred to a child protective service or lived in conditions associated with the likelihood of maltreatment or both.
"I wanted to look at different types of maltreatment and whether they have an impact on cigarette smoking," said study lead author Susan Yoon, Assistant Professor at Ohio State University in the US.
"Adolescent cigarette smoking is a really serious social problem and public health concern. Brain development is not complete until late adolescence or during young adulthood, and cigarette smoking is associated with damage in brain development," Yoon said.
"We also know that those who start smoking cigarettes during adolescence are more likely to continue smoking into adulthood," Yoon added.
For the results, the research team used data on 903 adolescents, who were assessed at age 12, 16 and 18.
A breakdown of different types of abuse and neglect experienced by the sample population during three different time periods (early childhood, school age and adolescence) confirmed how vulnerable these kids were.
The researchers used their responses about smoking between the ages of 12 and 18 to identify three patterns of cigarette use: stable low/no use (61 per cent of respondents), gradually increasing use (30 per cent) and sharply increasing cigarette use (nine per cent).
"It was almost shocking how the pattern of cigarette use over time went up so drastically in the sharply increasing use class," Yoon said.
"They were pretty similar to the others at age 12 -- almost 80 percent didn't smoke. At age 16, we saw that almost 60 per cent had used cigarettes more than 20 days in the past year and by 18, every single kid in this group reported heavy use of cigarettes," Yoon added.
A statistical analysis showed that adolescents who experienced early childhood physical abuse were 2.3 times more likely to be in the sharply increasing cigarette use group compared with the stable no/low group.
Physical abuse during adolescence had an even stronger effect -- this type of mistreatment at that point in life was linked to 3.7 times higher odds for sharply increased cigarette use.
Adolescents who had been neglected during early childhood were 1.89 times more likely to be in the gradually increasing cigarette use group than in the stable no/low use group.
About 40 per cent of these smokers had reported using cigarettes at age 16, and by age 18, more than 80 per cent were smokers, and about 40 per cent had smoked on more than 20 days in the previous year, the study said. (Agency)
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Its time to rekindle your love for each other with a twist of fitness. A partnership in any form, a gym partner or life partner, is always a beautiful aspect of life. It is said that your partner in crime brings out the best in you. Hence, "Couples Who Train and Sweat Together, Stay Together!"
Boost the happiness and health quotient in your relationship. Recent studies have indicated that couples participating together in any physical challenge or activity are more satisfied with their relationships and express love for their partner more often.
Here are some tips on how to work together as a couple towards your fitness goal, shared by Aman Puri, Founder, Steadfast Nutrition.
Set fitness goals together and keep a check on it: Working out together enhances the effectiveness of your workouts giving best of all results. Life partners can be the ultimate fitness buddies as you can set a fitness goal together and keep a check on each others growth cycle. Keep pushing and motivating each other to achieve their respective fitness goals.
Mix some fun: Inspiring one another to extend their limits and stretch beyond the set boundaries. To make it interesting and stay motivated you can take up fun exercises together like - Squat hold & Dips, Side Plank Pass, Bodyweight Squat, etc.
Fitness buddies for life: Spend time together binge-watching videos from your favourite fitness trainer and adapt a fitness routine which suits both the best. The time that you spend together can be utilised to know each other better both emotionally and physically. At times the stress of one partner gets neglected due to the fast pace of life so, fitness is one such element of life that bonds both back together.
Gift fitness gadgets: Stress no more, as gifting your partner gets easier with giving each other wearable fitness gadgets to honour your strong bond of fondness. Also, science has proven that exercise releases Endorphin, a happiness-inducing neurotransmitter and Dopamine, a reward triggered neurotransmitter.
What better time to be with your significant other than when you are happy?
So, get your gears on and tag along with your partner for an amazing fitness inning. (Puja Gupta)
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Sydney. More than half of young women in Australia experience some form of sexually-related personal distress -- feeling guilty, embarrassed, stressed or unhappy about their sex lives.
A study conducted Monash University reported, for the first time, an overall picture of the sexual wellbeing of Australian women between the ages of 18 and 39.
Results showed 50.2 per cent of young Australian women experienced some form of sexually-related personal distress, with one in five women having at least one female sexual dysfunction (FSD).
A concerning 29.6 per cent of women experienced sexually-related personal distress without dysfunction, and 20.6 per cent had at least one FSD.
The most common problem was low sexual self-image, which caused distress for 11 per cent of study participants.
Arousal, desire, orgasm and responsiveness dysfunction affected 9 per cent, 8 per cent, 7.9 per cent and 3.4 per cent of the study cohort, respectively, revealed the findings published in the international journal, Fertility and Sterility.
"It is of great concern that one in five young women have an apparent sexual dysfunction and half of all women within this age group experience sexually-related personal distress," said Susan Davis, senior author and Professor of Women's Health at Monash University.
"This is a wake-up call to the community and signals the importance of health professionals being open and adequately prepared to discuss young women's sexual health concerns."
The study, funded by Grollo Ruzzene Foundation, recruited 6,986 women aged 18-39 years, living in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
All women completed a questionnaire that assessed their sexual wellbeing in terms of desire, arousal, responsiveness, orgasm, and self-image.
Participants also evaluated whether they had sexually-associated personal distress and provided extensive demographic information.
Sexual self-image dysfunction was associated with being overweight, obese, living together with partner, not married, married and breastfeeding.
Professor Davis said if untreated, sexually-related personal distress and FSD could impact relationships and overall quality of life as women aged.
Women who habitually monitored their appearance, and for whom appearance determined their level of physical self-worth, reported being less sexually assertive and more self-conscious during intimacy, and experienced lower sexual satisfaction. (IANS)
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Tokyo, Feb 25. Japan's Chitetsu Watanabe, recognized at 112 years as the oldest man in the world, has passed away 11 days after he received the Guinness World Record certificate, his family said on Tuesday.
Watanabe died on Sunday night, Efe news reported.
He received the official certificate on February 12 at a nursing home in Joetsu in Niigata prefecture, where he resided.
Soon after being certified as the oldest man, he began to experience a lack of appetite and respiratory problems, the wife of his eldest son told public broadcaster NHK.
Born on March 5, 1907 in a family of farmers, Watanabe moved at the age of 20 to Taiwan, where he worked at a sugar refinery for 18 years before returning to Japan after the end of World War II.
A fan of calligraphy, custard and ice cream, Watanabe told the Guinness team that the key to his long life was laughter.
He was recognized as the oldest male in the world following the deaths in 2019 of German Gustav Gerneth (in October), aged 114 years, and Japan's Masazo Nonaka (in January), at the age of 113, three months older than the German.
It remains to be seen who will be recognized after the death of Watanabe, the only male on the list drawn up by the Gerontology Research Group of the 30 oldest people in the world.
Japan has among the highest life expectancy in the world and the number of centenarians in the country has crossed 71,000, according to the latest government figures.
Since 2000, the number of centenarians censored has quintupled, raising concern for the economic outlook and future workforce of the country - where the birthrate is on a downward trend.
Out of these, 88 per cent are women.(IANS)
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New York. E-cigarette users are exposed to increased concentrations of potentially harmful levels of metals that are linked to elevated oxidative DNA damage, a new study has found.
For the study, published in the journal BMJ Open Respiratory Research, researchers found that the biomarkers, which reflect exposure, effect, and potential harm, are both elevated in e-cigarette users compared to the other groups and linked to metal exposure and oxidative DNA damage.
"Our study found e-cigarette users are exposed to increased concentrations of potentially harmful levels of metals -- especially zinc -- that are correlated to elevated oxidative DNA damage," said the study's lead researcher Prue Talbot from University of California in the US.
Zinc, a dietary nutrient, plays key roles in growth, immune function, and wound healing. Too little of this essential trace element can cause death; too much of it can cause disease. Its deficiency, as well as its excess, cause cellular oxidative stress, which, if unchecked, can lead to diseases such as atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, pulmonary fibrosis, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and lung cancer.
Electronic cigarettes consist of a battery, atomizing unit, and refill fluid. Metals in e-cigarette aerosols come mainly from the metal components in the atomizer-- nichrome wire, tin solder joints, brass clamps, insulating sheaths, and wicks -- as well as the e-fluids that the atomizers heat.
For the study, researchers have examined and quantified urinary biomarkers of effect and potential harm in relation to metals in e-cigarette users.
According to the study, a biomarker is a quantifiable characteristic of a biological process. Biomarkers allow researchers and physicians to measure a biological or chemical substance that is indicative of a person's physiological state.
Previous e-cigarette studies with humans have examined biomarkers of exposure -- for example, nicotine or nicotine metabolites -- but none have studied biomarkers of potential harm or shown how this harm correlates with metal exposure.
The biomarkers studied by the researchers were 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), a biomarker of oxidative DNA damage; 8-isoprostane, an indicator of the oxidative degradation of lipids; and metallothionein, a metal response protein.
All three biomarkers were significantly elevated in e-cigarette users compared to the concentrations in cigarette smokers, the researchers said.
"Pregnant women, especially, should not be encouraged to use e-cigarettes," Talbot said.
"Excess of zinc in their bodies can lead to nausea and diarrhea. Given the recent deaths and pulmonary illnesses related to e-cigarette usage, everyone should be made aware of the potential health risks linked to e-cigarette usage," Talbot added. (IANS)
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