Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fishing for the Right Words - More on Fish

Words may not trip as lightly off the tongue as we get older, but we can do something about it: Eat salmon. And tuna. And herring. And lake trout. Sounds like a fish tale, but it's true. Here's how eating fish helps give you a silver tongue.

Thank Fat for a Nimble MindMiddle-aged and older adults who have higher blood levels of certain fatty acids -- those found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna -- fare better on verbal fluency tasks compared with their peers who are deficient in fatty acids. It seems to be particularly true for people with artery troubles like hypertension or high levels of unhealthy blood fats. Researchers suspect that people in this group suffer from greater oxidative stress -- which can wreak havoc on memory and other cognitive functions.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Fish Oil Lowers Heart Risk

Fish oil is known to decrease the risk of heart arrhythmias, which are a potential cause of heart disease, stroke and sudden cardiac death. According to a new study, regular intake of fish oil can reduce heart rate and decrease the risk of sudden death by as much as 5% in the overall population.

There is significant evidence that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce arrhythmias, disorders of the regular rhythmic beating of the heart. Arrhythmias can occur in a healthy heart and be of minimal consequence, but they also may indicate a serious problem and lead to heart disease, stroke or sudden cardiac death.

A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Circulation further confirms this association. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health combined statistical analysis of thirty studies published from 1996 to 2005. These studies involved nearly 1,700 individuals treated with fish oil or placebo for up to one year. The median combined dose of EPA and DHA was 3.5 grams/day for an average of 8 weeks. The overall estimated change in heart rate of those treated with fish oil was 1.6 beats per minute. The reduction in heart rate was even greater among trials whose participants had higher baseline heart rates.

In those studies, treatment with fish oil resulted in a decreased heart rate of 2.5 beats per min. There was no evidence of a dose-response effect, and heart rate was not significantly different between higher and lower doses compared with placebo. Although the overall effect of fish oil on heart rate appears small, researchers estimate that on a population basis this could correspond to as much as a 5% reduction in sudden death.

Mozaffarian D, Geelen A, Brouwer IA, Geleijnse JM, Zock PL, Katan MB. Effect of fish oil on heart rate in humans. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Circulation 2005;112:1945-1952.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Folic acid supplements reduce stroke risk

A meta-analysis published in the most recent issue of The Lancet concluded that supplementing with the B vitamin folic acid can reduce stroke risk by at least 18 percent. Researchers analyzed eight randomized trials involving folic acid and stroke. Participants supplementing with folic acid lowered their risk of stroke by an average of 18 percent compared to those who did not use folic acid supplements.
Trials involving folic acid supplementation longer than 3 years showed an even greater reduction in stroke risk (29%). Folic acid supplementation was also more significant in people with reduced homocysteine levels, those with no prior stroke risk, or those who lived in area without folic acid fortification of foods.It is believed that folic acid's ability to reduce homocysteine, an amino acid found in the blood that is toxic in excess, may be the reason for the lower incidence of strokes.
Lancet 2007 Jun 2;369(9576):1876-82

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Health Challenge

The world’s most destructive diseases today are not those caused by viruses and germs. They are degenerative diseases – which result from accumulated damage and degeneration of our cells.

There is yet no effective cure...

In its annual report, the World Health Organisation warns that cancer, heart diseasea nd other chronic conditions, which already killed more than 24 million people a year, will impose increasing burden of suffering and disability in hundreds of millions of others.

…but degenerative diseases can be prevented. Many people still think of chronic diseases as unfortunate, but inevitable results of old age. We now know that “old” does not equal “sick”. Balanced nutrition, physical activity and a healthy lifestyle give us an excellent chance of avoiding degenerative diseases.

These are the public health enemies throughout the modern world.
1: Heart Disease
2: Cancer
3: Stroke
4: Diabetes
5: Osteoporosis
6: Arthritis
7: Alzheimer
8: Obesity
Are You a Likely Victim?