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A study from the University of California, Berkeley says sleep problems are related to loneliness; sleep deprivation apparently makes people more lonely. In order to arrive at the result, 18 young adults were tested in two different scenarios.

Finding it difficult to sleep is a problem faced by many. But did you know that sleep deprivation might be a reason why you feel more lonely? A study from the University of California, Berkeley as quoted in a report in The Guardian says sleep problems are related to loneliness; sleep deprivation apparently makes people more lonely.

In order to arrive at the result, 18 young adults were tested in two different scenarios after they had an interrupted sleep and after they slept soundly. Then a video clip was recorded where the degree of separation they want from another person was recorded. It was found out that when sleep deprived they kept others at a distance up to 60 percent back.

In another experiment, around 1,000 people were asked to rate photographs— that included some who were sleep deprived— to judge who appeared more socially attractive. Photos of those who did not get enough sleep ranked the lowest. It was deduced by researchers that alienation generated out of sleep-deprivation can “trigger the transmission of loneliness”

“We humans are a social species. Yet sleep deprivation can turn us into social lepers…The less sleep you get, the less you want to socially interact. In turn, other people perceive you as more socially repulsive, further increasing the grave social-isolation impact of sleep loss. That vicious cycle may be a significant contributing factor to the public health crisis that is loneliness,” says Matthew Walker, senior author of the study.

Loneliness is turning out to be a social epidemic and it is about time we deal with it head on.

Courtesy - Indian Express

 

Polypharmacy: It means when a person takes five or more prescription medicines in a day. It may help control various health issues, but taking them together can cause more harm than good.

Popping multiple pills every day to manage a multitude of health conditions is a reality for many people in the country. While the disease itself is a big problem, taking various medicines that may react with each other and cause adverse effects is even more worrisome.

Medically recognised as “Polypharmacy”, it means when a person takes five or more prescription medicines in a day. While the medication may help control various health issues, taking them together can cause more harm than good, says Dr Sushila Kataria, Internal Medicine, Medanta. “It is often ‘doctor driven’ where one single patient ends up seeing multiple physicians and specialists, all of whom prescribe a different medication,” Kataria adds.

It is particularly prominent in the elderly population, who take drugs for long-term conditions like diabetes, arthritis, blood pressure, along with medicines for immediate cures to aches, fever and digestive problems.

“The fact that patients will have to take multiple drugs is inevitable,” says Dr Tarun Sahni, senior consultant, Internal Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals. However, the advantages far outweigh the challenges, if the treatment is structured. “Sometimes the patients take counter drugs for issues like common cold and they have no idea that the drug might interfere with their ongoing medication, leading to adverse reactions.”

Sometimes the medicines can also enhance or reduce the efficacy of each other. One drug might interfere with the functioning of the other and reduce its effective time, and vice versa.

Here are some precautions that patients can take to minimise the risk of Polypharmacy:

Know your health conditions: It is important that every person is aware of their health condition. If there are multiple health issues, keeping a handy notebook might help.

Try and have a central physician: This doctor can oversee all medication, offer comprehensive advice and if necessary even coordinate with specific doctors and specialists.

Keep notes of all medications: Patients need to not just keep track of their drugs but on every visit to the doctor, they must cross check if the medication needs to continue. Whenever a new condition develops, the doctor must be told about all the medication being taken, including supplements.

Ask your doctor everything: Ask the doctor about the drugs being prescribed, the possible side effects and the most adverse reactions that could happen. That will help everyone understand what to expect.

Discuss diets: Often drugs react with certain foods and supplements being consumed. Therefore, the doctor must be told of dietary patterns so that they make the right recommendations and dosages.

Don’t dismiss anything as old-age: A lot of people often dismiss certain reactions by putting them in the “age-related” tag. For example, certain drugs cause drowsiness and fatigue, which more often than not is dismissed as a sign of growing old.

Follow instructions: This is especially important because many people want to stop their medication as soon as they feel better. It is extremely important to follow the doctor’s advice regarding dosage and timings.

Keep track of all reactions: No matter how small it might seem, recording every reaction is important in ensuring the drug is not causing some long-term side effect.

Similar drugs: Senior citizens need to be extra alert to drugs that look or sound alike. Very often, similar sounding drugs are consumed and can cause stress in the body.

 

Courtesy - Indian Express

 

Intestinal stem cells are responsible for maintaining the lining of the intestine, which typically renews itself every five days. When an injury or infection occurs, stem cells are key to repairing any damage.

The US biologists found that a 24-hour fast can reverse the age-related loss of intestinal stem cell function that can regenerate new intestinal cells. The study, published on Thursday in the journal Cell Stem Cell, revealed that fasting dramatically improves stem cells’ ability to regenerate, in both aged and young mice, Xinhua reported. In fasting mice, cells begin breaking down fatty acids instead of glucose, a change that stimulates the stem cells to become more regenerative. The researchers found that they could also boost regeneration with a molecule that activates the same metabolic switch and such an intervention could potentially help older people recovering from gastrointestinal infections or cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

“Fasting has many effects in the intestine, which include boosting regeneration as well as potential uses in any type of ailment that impinges on the intestine, such as infections or cancers,” said Omer Yilmaz, an assistant professor of biology in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and one of the senior authors of the study. “This study provided evidence that fasting induces a metabolic switch in the intestinal stem cells, from utilizing carbohydrates to burning fat,” said David Sabatini, an MIT professor of biology and the paper’s another senior author. “Interestingly, switching these cells to fatty acid oxidation enhanced their function significantly. Pharmacological targeting of this pathway may provide a therapeutic opportunity to improve tissue homeostasis in age-associated pathologies.”

Intestinal stem cells are responsible for maintaining the lining of the intestine, which typically renews itself every five days. When an injury or infection occurs, stem cells are key to repairing any damage. However as people age, the regenerative abilities of these intestinal stem cells decline, so it takes longer for the intestine to recover. After mice fasted for 24 hours, the researchers removed intestinal stem cells and grew them in a culture dish, allowing them to determine whether the cells can give rise to “mini-intestines” known as organoids. The researchers found that stem cells from the fasting mice doubled their regenerative capacity.

The researchers sequenced the messenger RNA of stem cells from the mice that fasted, and revealed that fasting induces cells to switch from their usual metabolism, which burns carbohydrates such as sugars, to metabolizing fatty acids. This switch occurs through the activation of transcription factors called PPARs, which turn on many genes that are involved in metabolizing fatty acids, according to the researchers. The researchers found that if they turned off this pathway, fasting could no longer boost regeneration and they could reproduce the beneficial effects of fasting by treating mice with a molecule that mimics the effects of PPARs. The findings suggest that drug treatment could stimulate regeneration without requiring patients to fast, which is difficult for most people.

One group that could benefit from such treatment is cancer patients who are receiving chemotherapy, which often harms intestinal cells. It could also benefit older people who experience intestinal infections or other gastrointestinal disorders that can damage the lining of the intestine.

Courtesy - Indian Express

 

Middle-age and older adults often display a blunted thirst perception, which places them at risk for dehydration and subsequently may reduce the cognitive health-related benefits of exercise.

Older people who indulge in physical activity should increase their amount of water intake, to reap the full cognitive benefits of exercise, researchers suggest.

Dehydration has been shown to impair exercise performance and brain function in young people, but less is known about its impact on older populations.

The findings showed that hydration boosts performance on test of executive function that includes the skills needed to plan, focus, remember and multitask following exercise.

Exercise has been shown to improve intellectual health, including executive function.

“Middle-age and older adults often display a blunted thirst perception, which places them at risk for dehydration and subsequently may reduce the cognitive health-related benefits of exercise,” said researchers including Brandon Yates, of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, US.

The study, presented at the American Physiological Society (APS) annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2018 in San Diego, explored the association between hydration status before exercising and exercise-enhanced cognition in older adults.

The team recruited recreational cyclists (average age 55) who participated in a large cycling event on a warm day (78-86 degrees F).

The cyclists performed a “trail-making” executive function test–quickly and accurately connecting numbered dots using paper and pencil — before and after the event.

The team tested the volunteers’ urine before they exercised and divided them into two groups — normal hydration and dehydrated — based on their hydration status.

The normal hydration group showed noticeable improvement in the completion time of the trail-making test after cycling when compared to their pre-cycling test.

The dehydration group also completed their post-cycling test more quickly, but the time reduction was not significant.

“This suggests that older adults should adopt adequate drinking behaviours to reduce cognitive fatigue and potentially enhance the cognitive benefits of regular exercise participation,” the researchers said.

Courtesy - Indian Express

The findings, reported in the BMJ, show that artificial pancreas treatment provides almost two-and-a-half extra hours of normal blood glucose levels (normoglycaemia) a day, while reducing time in both high (hyperglycaemia) and low (hypoglycaemia) blood glucose levels.

Mimicking the way a dialysis machine works for kidney disease patients, an artificial pancreas can lead to better blood sugar control in diabetics, researchers from Oxford and Cambridge along with their Greek counterparts have reported.

The findings, reported in the BMJ, show that artificial pancreas treatment provides almost two-and-a-half extra hours of normal blood glucose levels (normoglycaemia) a day, while reducing time in both high (hyperglycaemia) and low (hypoglycaemia) blood glucose levels.

The researchers concluded: “Artificial pancreas systems are an efficacious and safe approach for treating outpatients with type 1 diabetes. The main limitations of current research evidence on artificial pancreas systems are related to inconsistency in outcome reporting, small sample size, and short follow-up duration of individual trials.”

Endocrinologists in India, however, expressed apprehensions that such a setup may be too expensive for a common patient.

Artificial pancreas is a system that measures blood sugar levels using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and transmits this information to an insulin pump that calculates and releases the required amount of insulin into the body, just as the pancreas does in people without diabetes. It is also possible to release glucagon, yet another pancreatic hormone, through a similar contraption; both insulin and glucagon can be delivered too. The system works only in those people whose diabetes is a result of deficiencies in their pancreas function, that is type I diabetes, in which the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels within the normal range.

Said Dr Anoop Misra, Chairman, Fortis-C-DOC Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology, “Artificial pancreas is an exciting approach to better management of patients with type 1 diabetes, who often struggle with blood sugar control and multiple injections. However, most patients in India cannot even afford insulin pump (available in India), and artificial pancreas will cost more, putting it out of reach.”

Courtesy - Indian Express

 

Patients may not be eating nuts due to concerns about the high-fat content and that increasing nut consumption will lead to obesity, which leads to worse outcomes says a study. "The results highlight the importance of emphasising dietary and lifestyle factors in colon cancer survivorship," added a researcher.

People with colon cancer who regularly eat nuts such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews and peanuts may be at significantly lower risk of cancer recurrence and mortality, researchers say. The findings showed that those who regularly consumed at least two, one-ounce servings of nuts each week showed a 42 per cent improvement in disease-free survival and a 57 per cent improvement in overall survival. In patients with stage III colon cancer, recurrence was reduced by nearly half. “These findings are in keeping with several other observational studies that indicate that a slew of healthy behaviours, including increased physical activity, keeping a healthy weight, and lower intake of sugar and sweetened beverages, improve colon cancer outcomes,” said lead author Temidayo Fadelu, postdoctoral student at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

“The results highlight the importance of emphasising dietary and lifestyle factors in colon cancer survivorship,” Fadelu added. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, followed 826 participants in a clinical trial for a median of 6.5 years after they were treated with surgery and chemotherapy. Patients may not be eating nuts due to concerns about the high-fat content and that increasing nut consumption will lead to obesity, which leads to worse outcomes. On the contrary, “our studies, and across the scientific literature in general, have found regular consumers of nuts tend to be leaner”, explained Charles S. Fuchs, Director at Yale Cancer Centre in the US.

Many previous studies have reported that nuts also help to reduce insulin resistance. “These studies support the hypothesis that behaviours that make you less insulin resistant, including eating nuts, seem to improve outcomes in colon cancer,” Fuchs said. Nuts also might play a positive role by satisfying hunger with less intake of carbohydrates or other foods associated with poor outcomes, Fuchs noted.

 

Courtesy - Indian Express