Mar
    01
    2004

    Less Diabetes With Coffee

    A Dutch Study has shown previously that coffee consumption was reducing the risk for developing diabetes. Now Dr. Salazar-Martinez and co-workers have confirmed this in a study involving even larger numbers of both men and women. This was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and the research team is from the Harvard School of Public Health, Channing Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. A total of 41,000 men and 84,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals’ Followup Study were followed between 12 and 18 years. 1,333 men and 4,085 women developed diabetes during the time of observation. All of the data was analyzed carefully by controlling for other factors such as obesity, smoking, high blood pressure etc. to be certain that the only difference in the observed groups was the amount of coffee consumed.

    According to the authors the gender differences are probably unimportant and may have to do with the different sample sizes. However, as the graph shows clearly, with the consumption of around 4-5 cups of coffee per day there is a significant 30 % drop in risk to develop diabetes.

    The Dutch Study showed a 50% drop in risk with 7 cups or more per day and the study here suggests a similar drop with 6 cups or more.

    Less Diabetes With Coffee

    Less Diabetes With Coffee

    Dr. Frank Hu, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, who co-authored this study stated that physicians should still recommend to patients first to exercise and to loose weight to control diabetes. It would be premature to recommend heavy coffee consumption to patients for diabetes control.

    Diabetes risk decreases with coffee consumption (%reduction)
     Less Diabetes With Coffee1

    This beneficial effect was also observed to a lesser extent with decaffeinated coffee, but not with tea. According to Dr. Hu caffeine, chlorogenic acid and magnesium likely play a role in the protective effect with regard to diabetes prevention. Further studies will be done to see whether diabetes patients who drink coffee have a better outcome when they develop a heart attack.

    Reference: Ann Intern Med – 6-JAN-2004; 140(1): 1-8

    Last edited December 8, 2012

    Mar
    01
    2004

    Inflammatory Marker Linked To Blindness

    Up to now age-related blindness or “age-related macular degeneration” (AMD) as it is medically called, has been a mystery. The retina is the light-sensitive area of the eye similar to the film in a camera. The “macula” is that part of the retina that has the highest visual acuity. Several studies have been conducted lately regarding age-related blindness that shed more light on this important health hazard of old age, studies that one day might even lead to a cure or powerful preventative measures to avoid it from ever developing.

    One such study is the one by Dr. Johanna M. Seddon and co-workers published in the Feb. 11, 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Almost 1000 patients with various degrees of age-related degrees of blindness from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) were classified by the degree of their macular degeneration. I have produced the bar graphs below based on these studies.

    Four groups were defined, namely those with no AMD who served as controls, those with mild AMD, those with moderate AMD and those with severe AMD who were legally blind. They suspected that an inflammatory marker in the blood stream of these patients, called C-reactive protein (CRP), might be present in the more severe cases of blindness when compared to the control group who did not have any inflammatory changes in the macula. As can be seen by the bar graph above this is exactly what the test results indicated. They also found that smokers (blue bars) tended to have slightly worse blood tests in terms of CRP (more inflammatory substances circulating in the system) within the same severity category of the age-related eye changes.

    CRP (mg/L) Levels in Various Degrees of Severity of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

    Inflammatory Marker Linked To Blindness

    Inflammatory Marker Linked To Blindness

    When the investigators studied the risk for the highest percentile of the CRP tests within various subgroups to show AMD they found several differences as is shown in the next table. First there was a low probability to develop AMD in a person with a normal looking macula and that risk was set at 1.0 as comparison. In contrast a person with a normal looking macula who smokes has a 1.5-fold risk of developing AMD later. Patients with a moderate degree of AMD have about a 2-fold risk of getting a severe degree of AMD later (smoking or not). It seems that once the inflammatory cycle has started, the process of causing a moderate degree of AMD is so strong that the effect of smoking will not add that much in comparison.

    This is the first study of this kind that has established that CRP can be used as a screening for the risk to develop AMD. CRP has already been established as a test for monitoring progress in rheumatoid arthritis or to monitor for the risk of developing a heart attack or stroke.

    Another study by Dr. Johanna M. Seddon and co-workers was published recently in the Archives of Ophthalmology. 261 people aged 60 years and older with established AMD were followed for 4.6 years and checked for deterioration. 101 patients had deterioration of their AMD.

    Risk of Developing Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) in Highest CRP Percentile
     Inflammatory Marker Linked To Blindness1

    The authors analyzed the patients’ diet habits and found that increased fat intake was a high risk factor for deteriorating AMD. Both vegetable and animal fat had a 2-to 3-fold increased risk for deterioration of the AMD to a more severe stage (legal blindness). Fish, omega-3 fatty acid and nuts had a protective effect, but only when omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) intake was low in the same group. The studies showed that the risk of age-related blindness was reduced by 40% when patients ate nuts at least once per week. The authors concluded that a “fat conscious diet” would be good for “maintaining good eye health” and at the same time be beneficial for prevention of heart attacks and strokes.

    The authors will do further studies to investigate potential ways of helping patients with AMD and to understand the mechanisms of the disease process better.

    References: 1. JAMA 2004;291:704-710  2. Arch Ophthalmol – 01-DEC-2003; 121(12): 1728-37

    Last edited December 8, 2012

    Feb
    01
    2004

    Less Multiple Sclerosis (MS) With Vitamin D Supplement

    In multiple sclerosis (MS) the body’s immune system appears to attack the insulation material of nerve cells (called “demyelination”) leading to areas of focal inflammation. These areas can be depicted with MRI scans (see white MS lesions, compared to a normal brain). A new study showed that vitamin D supplementation (as part of a multivitamin supplement) was reducing the risk of developing MS in women when compared to women who did not take supplements. This study was published by Munger et al. from the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston/MA, in the Jan. 13, 2004 edition of Neurology.

    The study is based on data from two large nurses health studies (NHS with 92,253 women followed from 1980 to 2000 and NHSII with 95,310 women followed from 1991 to 2001). The study material was pooled into one database. Among these 187,563 women 173 developed MS during the course of the original studies. When the group of women who took 400 IU or more of Vit.D supplements (as multivitamins) were compared to the group who took less than 400 IU or none, the investigators found that they were 40% less likely to develop MS. Other factors that can lead to higher frequencies of MS such as smoking or latitude at birth had been adjusted for. There has not been a change in the results of the protective effect of Vit.D. With food being the only source for vitamin D (skim milk, fish) the protective effect against MS was not demonstrable. However, when food vitamin D was combined with additional multiple vitamin tablets (with vitamin D) the protective effect against MS was observed.

    Less Multiple Sclerosis (MS) With Vitamin D Supplement

    Less Multiple Sclerosis (MS) With Vitamin D Supplement

    In the introduction the authors pointed out that Vit. D has been shown in other studies to be an immune response modulator weakening autoimmune reactions. This effect has been shown clearly in a mouse model of MS, called experimental autoimmune encephalopathy. There are also data available from human research, which showed that certain cytokines are released in the presence of vitamin D so that the immune cells are less likely to attack the brain tissue. There were also seasonal variations that could be demonstrated in this study, which indicated that MS lesions were progressing at times when vitamin D levels were low and that they were regressing when vitamin D levels were high.

    The authors of this study stressed that this is the first study to suggest a protective effect of vitamin D against MS, which would have to be confirmed in other studies that preferably would also include males. It shows a very strong statistical connection, but cannot conclusively prove causation. The investigators said that further studies will also be needed to confirm the notion that vitamin D may be beneficial as part of the treatment in MS patients.

    Link regarding vitamins and minerals: http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/vitaminsmineralsandsupplements.php#vitaminsandminerals

    Last edited December 8, 2012

    Feb
    01
    2004

    Cinnamon A Natural Insulin Booster For Diabetics

    In a recent edition of the medical journal Diabetes Care an interesting article appeared regarding the healing effects of the spice cinnamon. A medical research team in Pakistan (Dr. Khan et al.) in collaberation with a U.S. research team divided a group of 60 comparable diabetics (males and females) in the age range of 45 to 55 and fed one half different concentrations of cinnamon while the other half served as a placebo control. There were three different concentrations of capsules of cinnamon given: 1g, 3 g and 6 g. The placebo control group got capsules with inert material. Here are the results:

    The placebo control group showed no change in blood values. The effect documented in this table was achieved after 40 days of cinnamon exposure and was “washed out” after 20 days. Other experiments had found that the substance MHCP (methylhydroxychalcone polymer) is the active ingredient in cinnamon that stimulates insulin and also acts on insulin receptors similar to insulin.

    Cinnamon A Natural Insulin Booster For Diabetics

    Cinnamon A Natural Insulin Booster For Diabetics

    Dr. Richard A. Anderson and his colleagues at the Human Nutrition Research Center of the U.S. Department of Agriculture had already published a number of medical papers on the effects of cinnamon. He was the co-author of this study from the Department of Human Nutrition, NWFP Agricultural University of Peshawar, Pakistan.

    Effect of cinnamon on blood values of diabetics
    Blood component
    investigated:
    % Reduction
    of blood test:
    Blood sugar
    level

    18-29%
    Triglycerides (blood
    fat value)
    23-30%
    LDL cholesterol
    (damaging cholesterol)
    7-27%
    Total cholesterol 12-26%
    HDL cholesterol
    (protective cholesterol)
    unchanged

    The interesting observation here is that several cardiovascular risk factors (blood sugar, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol) are simultaneously being reduced with something as simple as cinnamon powder. The authors stated that the cinnamon oil is not effective, only the cinnamon powder or a cinnamon stick dipped into tea (the water soluble component of cinnamon or MHCP). Dr. Anderson also warned not to make the mistake to eat more cinnamon buns or apple pie as there would be unhealthy amounts of sugar, starch and fat added. He suggested that the best to do instead would be to simply sprinkle cinnamon powder over whatever you are presently eating, as this will reduce the risk of getting diabetes or will reduce the risk of a heart attack in diabetics.

    This article based on: “Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes Care – 01-DEC-2003; 26(12): 3215-8.

    Here is a link to diabetes mellitus (type 2 diabetes).

    Last edited December 8, 2012

     

    Feb
    01
    2004

    Kidney Disease, Another Complication Of Metabolic Syndrome

    The metabolic syndrome is a new disease entity that is known to be associated with obesity. In order to make the diagnosis of metabolic syndrome at least 3 of the 5 components listed in the table under this link (hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level or LDL cholesterol, high glucose level, abdominal obesity) have to be present.

    Dr. Jing Chen and colleagues of Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, La., published an analysis of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the Feb.3, 2004 edition of the Annals of Medicine. Patients with chronic kidney disease were identified in this study where 3, 4 or 5 of the metabolic syndrome criteria were positive. Two criteria for chronic kidney disease were measured:

    1. if there was a significant reduction of the filtration capacity of the kidney.

    2. if there was critical leakage of blood protein into the urine.

    Kidney Disease, Another Complication Of Metabolic Syndrome

    Kidney Disease, Another Complication Of Metabolic Syndrome

    Depending on how advanced the metabolic syndrome was (all 5 criteria of metabolic syndrome positive versus only 3 or 4) there was a higher or lower risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

    I have depicted the results of this study in bar graph form here. It shows clearly that chronic kidney damage occurs in a dose-response curve pattern depending on how severe the degree of the metabolic syndrome is.

    Risk of developing kidney disease with various degrees of severity of the metabolic syndrome
     Kidney Disease, Another Complication Of Metabolic Syndrome1

    With 5 factors of the metabolic syndrome present the risk to develop reduction in filtration capacity of the kidneys is almost 6-fold. This is 3-fold higher than in a person with a milder degree of metabolic syndrome where only two factors are present. Such a person would only have a 2-fold risk for developing chronic kidney damage (dark blue shaded bars in graph). A dipstick urine test can measure protein in urine, which is an alternative way to measure kidney damage due to the metabolic syndrome. These values followed a very similar dose-response curve (light blue shaded bars in graph). The authors of this study believe that the kidney damage inflicted by the metabolic syndrome is different from that caused by high blood pressure or by diabetes. Future studies will have to establish whether this type of kidney damage can be repaired by treating the metabolic syndrome with a low glycemic, calorie restricted diet coupled with exercise.

    Based on an article published in: Ann Intern Med 2004:140:167-174.

    Last edited December 8, 2012

    Feb
    01
    2004

    Low Testosterone Linked To Alzheimers

    A recent publication in the medical journal Neurology by Dr. Susan Resnick revealed a surprise link between a lack of testosterone and Alzheimer’s disease.

    574 men from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging who had been followed for about 19 years were analyzed with respect to hormonal factors and their neurological status was also observed. Of these men who ranged in age from 32 to 87 years initially 54 were diagnosed with Alzheimers disease.

    When the researchers looked at the hormone status of the men whose mental functioning stayed stable versus those who developed Alzheimers, it was clear that the height of the free testosterone level in the blood (expressed by dividing testosterone by the sex hormone-binding globulin) was a significant predictor for not getting Alzheimers. In other words, if men could maintain a stable level of free testosterone with aging they were significantly protected from Alzheimers disease. The effect was so marked that the blood test could predict 10-years in advance whether a man would develop Alzheimers in future or not. There was a 26% reduction in the risk of Alzheimers with each 10-unit increase in free testosterone.

    The same edition of Neurology contains a second report by Dr. Gian Benedetto Melis and coworkers (University of Cagliari, Italy) where around 100 patients (males and females) with Alzheimers were compared with a similar number of patients without Alzheimers. All of their body mass index was in the normal range (20 to 22). These researchers found that the Alzheimers group (both male and female) had an extremely high sex hormone-binding globulin.

    Low Testosterone Linked To Alzheimers

    Low Testosterone Linked To Alzheimers

    The testicles in males and the adrenal glands in males and females can produce testosterone. Dr. Resnick remarked that free testosterone can enter the brain tissue (via the blood brain barrier) easily and act directly on the brain or can be converted to estrogen. Estrogen has been shown in other studies to have a protective effect against Alzheimers. Dr. Resnick cautioned that another study where males with low testosterone levels are getting testosterone supplementation has to be done first before a male should be advised to get treated with testosterone for prevention of Alzheimers disease.

    This article is based on a publication by Dr. Resnick et al. in Neurology 2004;62:188-193,301-303.

    Comments: It is interesting to note that the “old fashioned” remedies such as weight loss, exercise (particularly anaerobic exercises such as weight training) and a low glycemic diet will naturally increase testosterone levels and vitality in both sexes. A comprehensive program such as the zone diet (by Dr. Barry Sears) or a similar such low glycemic program when combined with exercise will automatically make you lose weight down to a normal body mass index and allow you to maintain it without hunger pangs. It will also normalize hormones in most people on its own as previously elevated insulin levels normalize and the sex hormone-binding globulin will normalize as well. This will make the necessary hormones available to you whether female or male, will prevent osteoporosis (from exercise) and provide enough hormones before and after menopause or andropause to most people. Only a minority of patients will need to get blood tests from their doctors depending on symptoms and those need to seek medical advice to see whether they might benefit from bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

    Further information can be found here: bioidentical hormone replacement.

    Last edited October 26, 2014

    Feb
    01
    2004

    Worldwide Alert For Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

    There is a new strain of avian influenza that in the beginning was confined to transmission among birds only. However, with 8 deaths in humans reported in Asia by the end of January 2004 (7 children and one adult) there is a fear that the virus is possibly genetically adapting towards transmission between humans, which could cause a worldwide flu epidemic similar to the flu in 1918 where more than 40 million people died.

    Presently the avian flu has killed a high percentage of chickens and ducks in Vietnam, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Pakistan, Cambodia, and Laos. Recently Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have also been added to the countries where the avian flu has arrived in birds. The governments are busy killing chickens off by the millions in an attempt to stop transmission to man.

    All of the human cases were found in people who lived close to chicken farms or who handled diseased chickens.
    The virus strain has been characterized as the type A, H5N1 strain (= the H5N1 flu), of the avian influenza. This strain has surfaced in the past on two occasions. First, it hit 18 persons in Hong Kong in 1997 of which 8 persons died. With the help of strict isolation methods an epidemic was prevented. Secondly, in March of 2003 a father and son from Hong Kong had traveled to southern China and they returned sick with the flu. The father died, the son recovered. Disease investigation showed that the source of infection in all of these cases was contact with diseased birds or with live, infected poultry in open markets.

    Worldwide Alert For Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

    Worldwide Alert For Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

    Unfortunately the present flu vaccines will not give protection against this strain. WHO officials had an emergency meeting at the end of January 2004 to discuss the strategy for preventing a worldwide epidemic with
    this new influenza strain. Production of a new vaccine will take several months (up to 6 to 8 months), if it is done in the conventional way. The cheaper antiviral antibiotics such as amantadine and rimantadine that normally would cover an A type influenza are ineffective against this new flu strain. There are newer antiviral antibiotics, which are effective, but they are more expensive. With mass production they could become more affordable and this could interfere with the spread between humans, if the virus should adapt to this transmission behavior.

    At the present time migratory birds that are infected with the flu virus are spreading the avian flu to birds in other neighboring countries. In the meantime farmers who are not satisfied with only a 10% reimbursement by their governments for forcefully killed chickens are selling chickens on open meat markets, some of which harbor the avian flu, and this is another possible mode of transmission. David A. Halvorson, a veterinary medicine doctor from the University of Minnesota in Saint Paul stated that the risk for avian flu in the US at the present time is low as the US is not importing any live poultry from Asia.

    In an interview between Doug Kaufman from MD Consult and the CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding on Jan. 29, 2004 it was learnt that 10 patients had died so far in Vietnam and Thailand. Six WHO scientist in Vietnam are working with officials to contain the avian flu in Asia so that it won’t migrate similar to another outbreak of the same type of avian flu strain in Hong Kong in 1997. It appears that the killing of chickens has made some difference. On the other hand the spreading of the disease among wild ducks is of some concern.

    The CDC and WHO are working together on this and are pushing for accelerated production of live and of inactivated vaccines against avian flu. This is a type of vaccine, which would make it impossible for future avian flu strains to cross into human hosts. The mass production of antiviral drugs is also being pursued. Dr. Gerberding stated that oseltamivir (brand name: Tamiflu), one of the newer antiviral drugs, would be effective in treating this type of avian flu (cited in Medscape Medical News Jan. 29, 2004).

    Dr. Neill, an infection specialist and professor of medicine at the Brown University School of Medicine in Providence, Rhode Island, said that in case of a future human breakout of an epidemic with this flu the following instructions should be followed: 1. cover your mouth and nose with paper tissue when you sneeze or cough 2. frequently wash your hands with soap and water 3. use designated containers for disposal of the used paper tissues 4. symptomatic patients should use face masks to prevent the spread of the flu.

    This article is based on the Lancet (The Journal) Vol. 363, Vol. 9406 (Jan. 31, 2004), on news stories from MD Consult and on Medscape news stories.

    More info about the Flu: http://nethealthbook.com/infectious-disease/respiratory-infections/flu/

    Link to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on avian (bird) flu

    Last edited October 26, 2014

    Jan
    03
    2004

    Any Diet A Winner Research Says

     

    Dr. Michael Dansinger reported at a recent annual meeting of the American Heart Association about a study where he compared the effect of 4 major diet plans on the lowering of risk factors for heart disease.

    Dr. Dansinger is the director of obesity research at the Tufts New England Medical Centre’s Atherosclerosis Research Lab in Boston. Originally, the objective was to see whether any of the following four diets investigated would be superior: the Atkins diet, the Ornish diet, the Zone diet and the Weight Watchers diet. In the table below there are links for each of these diet plans. Briefly, the Atkins diet is a high protein/low carbohydrate diet; the Ornish diet is a vegetarian/low-fat diet; the zone diet is a low-glycemic load/balanced protein/low fat diet; weight watchers is a calorie restricted diet.

    160 obese patients were divided into 4 groups and assigend to one of these four diet plans. They were instructed in the type of diet plan they were to follow in 4 couselling sessions in the beginning of the weight loss program. The participants ranged in age from 22 to 72 years of age (average age 50) and had on average starting weight of 220 lbs.

    Any Diet A Winner Research Says

    Any Diet A Winner Research Says

    They were to follow the diet plan for 2 months strictly and were allowed to follow less supervised for another 10 months. To the surprise of the research team under Dr. Dansinger they all lost about the same amount of weight (average of weight loss 10 lbs or 5% of body weight), in other words they were all successful with any of these programs and none was superior. Below are the results in modified tabular form.

    Dr. Dansinger indicated that the focus would now have to shift from “which is the best diet plan” to “which is the best diet plan for a particular patient”. The doctor should attempt to fit the weight loss programs that fit patients’ food preferences best and that patients can easiest fit into their lifestyle. This will hopefully lead to the lowest dropout rate. This trial showed that the Zone diet and the Weight Watchers diet had the least dropout rates. But those who stayed on the Atkins or Ornish diet were successful with their weight loss program also, as these may have been fitting these patients best.

    Comparison of various diets with regard to weight loss effectiveness
    Diets that
    were compared:
    Reduction of
    heart risk (Framingham score):
    Dropout rates
    over 1 year:
    Atkins diet
    12.3% 48%
    Ornish diet 6.6% 50%
    Zone diet 10.5% 35%
    Weight Watchers
    diet
    14.7% 35%

    In other words, if the one diet plan does not work satisfactorily, try another one. The common denominator with all food plans was some form of calorie restriction despite all of the differences.

    Based on The Medical Post, Dec. 16, 2003 (p. 15).

    Here is a link to the Net Health Book’s weight loss and diet chapter.

    Last edited December 8, 2012

    Jan
    03
    2004

    Poverty Still A Threat To Mothers’ Lives

    Adrienne Germain from the International Women’s Health Coalition, New York, wrote a review in the Lancet (Lancet 363: 65-66, 2004) about the state of health and mortality of pregnant women (maternal death rate) around the world. 500,000 pregnant girls and women die around the globe every year from conditions that are preventable or treatable. 99% of these live in developing countries. At the same time 3.9 million newborns die every year in their first 4 weeks of life!

    2004 is the 10-year anniversary of the recommendation for reproductive health from the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The maternal death rate in Europe is about 1 in 4000 pregnancies; in many African countries (sub-Saharan Africa) it is 1 in 16! Despite some progress that has occurred, still 70% of all deaths associated with pregnancy occur in only 13 countries. In another article in the Lancet (Lancet 2004; 363: 23-27) Prof. Wendy Graham and co-workers used a new familial technique to determine whether there is a statistical association between poverty and the maternal death rate. The answer is not only a clear “yes” for the maternal death rate within one country, but there is a clear association between poverty and maternal death rate in countries all around the world!
    A high mortality rate in babies and children in addition to the maternal death rate has traditionally been a grave concern in poor countries. Research in development countries has shown that 70% of the poorest 1.3 billion people in the world are women. The study also shows that these mothers have a high mortality rate. Maternal death can occur during pregnancy or birth, and the poorer the population group, the higher the maternal death rates will be. The reasons are varied: for the poorest of the poor, medical treatment is often unaffordable.

    Poverty Still A Threat To Mothers' Lives

    Poverty Still A Threat To Mothers’ Lives

    Also seemingly simple measures such as clean drinking water, toilets and whether floors are present in dwellings do have an impact on health. At the same time the level of education determines whether death rates are higher or lower. These results are not only true for one specific country. Even though most of the alarming numbers come from the African countries such as Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, and Tanzania, other countries like Indonesia and the Philippines show the same troubling picture.
    The main causes of maternal deaths were due to the following conditions: bleeding after delivery, early pregnancy bleeding; infections that would lead to sepsis and death; complications surrounding abortions; blood pressure problems such as eclampsia with seizures and kidney damage; and prolonged labor when the baby’s head is too large. This latter condition requires an Cesarean section on an emergency basis, which is not always readily available in rural areas.

    As we know from other studies, even closer to home, poverty and rural isolation remain a risk to health and life.
    Adrienne Germain in her editorial review pointed out that some poor countries such as Bangladesh have taken the recommendations for reproductive health from the 1994 ICPD-conference seriously and have instituted a nationally sponsored program.

    The result has been that between 1988 and 2002 the percentage of women receiving antenatal care has improved from 26% to 47% while the maternal death rates have declined from 410 to 320 per 100,000 women during and after the pregnancy. Childhood mortality also improved significantly as did the mothers life expectancy (from 58 to 60 years). There are success stories in other countries as well.
    What is needed is political will around the globe, co-operation between the appropriate agencies such as the WHO, the UNICEF, the International Women’s Health Coalition, and others. Locally in every country it is vital to have an interdisciplinary co-operation to fight poverty and to provide shelter with a certain minimum living standard.

    Link to UNICEF. Link to WHO. Link to International Women’s Health Coalition.

    Last edited December 8, 2012

    Jan
    03
    2004

    Old-Fashioned Fish Oil Boosts Heart Health

    You do not need to spoil your appetite with the thought of swallowing cod liver oil, but see yourself enjoy a piece of salmon instead. Dr. Jehangir N Din and collegues published an article entitled “Omega 3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease—fishing for a natural treatment” in the first January edition of the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2004;328:30-35,January 3, 2004). These cardiology researchers from the University of Edinburgh/England have reviewed all of the recent medical literature regarding the beneficial effects of omega-3-fatty acids on heart disease. The following are some facts they found.

    The interesting story regarding the omega-3-fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory qualities, is that they balance the detrimental effects of the omega-6-fatty acids, which lead to inflammation not only in joints, but also in blood vessels. In the standard North American and European foods the omega-6-fatty acids are overconsumed. To counter the bad effects of the omega-6-fatty acids, more omega-3-fatty acids need to be ingested.

    Old-Fashioned Fish Oil Boosts Heart Health

    Old-Fashioned Fish Oil Boosts Heart Health

    So, what should we consume in terms of omega-3-fatty acids? The American Heart Association made the recommendations in the second table below.

    Current consumption of omega-3-fatty acids in North America and Europe is low. Recently an expert US panel of nutritionists determined that the US consumption per day is about 0.1 to 0.2 grams per day and should be 0.65 grams per day as a minimum according to the recommendations by the American Heart Association.

    Facts regarding omega-3-fatty acids:
    Omega-3-fatty acids from fish and fish oils protect against heart disease
    Following heart attacks fish oil is helpful in preventing more heart attacks
    Hardening of arteries stops when fish oil or fish is eaten regularly
    Rapid response critics pointed out that exercise is as important as fish oil
    Trials with fish oil showed reduction in death rates from strokes and heart attacks from between 15% and 29% over 2 to 3.5 years (several studies)
    The beneficial effects are due to a combination of stabilizing irregular heart beats, preventing clots, countering hardening of arteries, countering inflammation, improving function of lining of arteries, lowering of triglycerides (bad fatty acids) and lowering of blood pressure

    The authors of this paper from England disagree and state that at least 1 gram per day would be needed to lower the heart attack risk to the low levels in Asia. The British Nutrition Foundation has recommended to use 1.2 grams of omega-3-fatty acids per day.

    Fish or fish oil capsules as a protective effect on blood vessels*
    Patients without documented coronary heart disease: Eat a variety of (preferably oily) fish at least twice weekly. Include oils and foods rich in inolenic acid
    Patients with documented coronary heart disease: Consume 1 g of eicosapentanoic and docosahexanoic acid daily, preferably from oily fish. Supplements could be considered in consultation with a doctor
    Patients with hypertriglyceridemia: Take 2-4 g of eicosapentanoic acid and docosahexanoic acid daily, provided as capsules under a doctor’s care
    *As recommended by American Heart Association 

    How does that translate into how much fish you would have to eat to get about 1 gram of omega-3-fatty acids per day? To make things simpler I have categorized fish and seafood in the table below based on the data from this article into low, medium and high marine derived omega-3-acid foods. You obviously need to eat more of the low category seafood to achieve 1 gram of omega-3-fatty acid than of the high category seafood.

    How much fish and seafood you need to eat to get 1 gram of omega-3-fatty acids…
    Concentration of omega-3-fatty acids in seafood: Type of fish and seafood consumed:
    Low (eat 1 lbs) Catfish, Haddock
    Medium (eat 1/3 -1/2 lbs) Tuna, Halibut, Oyster, Cod, Flounder, Sole
    High (eat 2 or 3oz.) Atlantic salmon, Sardines, Rainbow trout, Atlantic herring, Mackerel

    Before you overindulge in seafood from the low and medium category, check with your doctor first whether you are allowed so much protein. Some people have protein restrictions due to poor kidney function or because of gout. The authors of this study stated that you should eat a seafood meal with 1 gram of omega-3-fatty acid twice per week. Other sources of omega-3-fatty acids (=alpha-linolenic acid) are plant products such as soy beans,flaxseed, walnuts and rapeseed oil. In Asia fish and soy bean products are consumed in much bigger quantities than in the US.

    Last edited December 8, 2012