Eating grilled or fried meat linked to higher dementia risk
Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that grilling or frying meat in the oven or a frying pan produces advanced glycation end (AGE) products, which may affect cognitive function and increase the risk of developing dementia. AGEs are made when proteins or fats respond with sugar in a certain way. This formation can naturally occur in cooking.
For the study, a group of mice were fed a diet high in AGEs by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. These mice developed hazardous proteins in the brain and cognitive impairment. The proteins produced were damaged beta amyloid, which have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The mice also showed diminished physical and thinking capabilities. The mice that ate a low-AGEs diet did not produce the damaged proteins.
A short-term analysis was conducted on people over the age of 60, which suggested a possible connection between increased AGEs in the blood and cognitive impairment. However, one researcher noted these people did not have dementia and that the findings are very preliminary. It is still unclear if AGEs in the diet do lead to dementia or Alzheimer’s.
NEXT: Vegetarian diets linked to lower blood pressure
Sourced from: bbc.co.uk, Cooking meat ‘may be dementia risk’
Obesity down in preschoolers, up in older women
A new report from the CDC has found that obesity rates have declined among children between ages two and five, but have increased significantly among women 60 and older.
Researchers analyzed data of 9,000 people in the U.S. of all ages. Between 2003 and 2013, they found that obesity rates among young children decreased by 43 percent. Obesity rates among older women, meanwhile, increased by approximately 21 percent. Overall, the obesity rate for all ages remained unchanged during the same period.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), was not able to determine reasons for the change in obesity rates among children and older women. Findings suggested that the drop in obesity among children could be due to less consumption of sugary drinks and improvements that have been made in nutrition and physical activity standards. That said, obesity rates for the whole U.S. population remain high. Last year, the CDC released research suggesting that only one in five American adults are getting enough exercise.
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Sourced from: Medical News Today, US Obesity rates down in preschoolers, up in older women
Vegetarian diets linked to lower blood pressure
Various studies have targeted the relationship between a vegetarian diet and its effect on blood pressure. To weed through the reports, Japanese researchers did a meta-analysis of studies and have published their findings in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
Seven clinical trials of 311 total participants and 32 observational studies of 21,604 total individuals were analyzed. Vegetarian diet in this case is defined as excluding meat but including dairy and fish. By measuring the millimeters of mercury, which is the unit blood pressure is measured, the researchers found that vegetarians had lower systolic blood pressure compared to omnivores in clinical trials by 4.8 mm Hg, and 6.9 mm Hg lower in observational studies. For diastolic blood pressure, vegetarians had 2.2 mg Hg lower blood pressure in clinical trials than omnivores, and 4.7 mm Hg lower in observational studies.
Researchers believe the low fat and sodium and high fiber and potassium that normally comprise a vegetarian diet may contribute to why vegetarians have lower blood pressure. However, certain lifestyle factors were not considered in the meta-analysis, such as exercise.
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Sourced from: medicalnewstoday.com, Vegetarian diet could be used to lower blood pressure
Virtual arm reduces phantom limb pain
Researchers in Sweden have developed a virtual arm, which they say may help treat amputees with phantom limb pain—painful sensations associated with the missing limb.
Research has shown that the majority of amputees experience some sensation that their limb is still there. When the sensation is painful, it is referred to as phantom limb pain and can feel like an insatiable itch or a stabbing pain.
The virtual arm method works by hooking up what remains of a person’s amputated limb to a computer. Electronic signals are sent from the muscles to the computer and the person is able to see and move a virtual arm on the screen in real time.
Amputees who have tested the virtual arm have reported a decrease in pain. Others reported that using the virtual arm has helped with controlled movements even when not hooked up to the computer. While the exact cause for phantom limb pain remains unknown, researchers believe it has something to do with how nerves in the severed limb communicate with the brain. Researchers behind this study said that the virtual arm may be an effective therapy because it reactivates the motor areas in the brain that are needed for movement of the amputated limb. They believe the method may also prove beneficial for people who have spinal cord injuries or have had a stroke.
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Sourced from: BBC, Virtual arm eases phantom limb pain