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Ex-MasterChef judge Matt Preston reveals dramatic weight loss

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Matt Preston has shown his <em>MasterChef</em> sabbatical has done wonders for his figure and has shared on social media his dramatic weight loss.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 58-year-old food critic admitted while chatting with</span><em><a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/sydney-confidential/matt-preston-exmasterchef-judge-reveals-incredible-weight-loss/news-story/85356d0fa7d2d7173d71bc0e25a1d2ab"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Sydney Confidential</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that he had “dropped a bit of weight and put on a bit of muscle”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Preston revealed his transformation included overhauling his diet in a “general lifestyle change”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’ve been eating less, mainly plants but not restricting myself from anything. It is about having time, that moment when there are no more excuses,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While the British-born TV star is a self-proclaimed moderate eater in order to maintain his newfound figure, he admitted he is still going to treat himself to an “occasional” burger or pizza.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While he hasn’t revealed just how much weight he has lost – with no intention to do so in the near future either – Preston says he measures his weight success against different sighs, such as “if people notice and whether your clothes fit”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Logie Award winner is gearing up to begin filming for his new show he will be co-hosting, Channel 7’s </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>Plate of Origin</em>, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">in 2020.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Viewers will see Preston reunite with fellow former </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">MasterChef</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> judge Gary Mehigan.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, Matt and Gary’s old colleague George Calombaris has remained noticeably absent from the program which will see a team of cooks from different cultural backgrounds battle it out for the top prize.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Plate of Origin</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is expected to hit TV screens after the Tokyo Olympics wraps up in early August 2020.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Season 12 of </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">MasterChef Australia</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> will feature a new judging line up that includes Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Scroll through the gallery to see former <em>MasterChef</em> star Matt Preston’s dramatic weight loss. </span></p>

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Why it can be hard to stop eating even when you're full

<p>All foods are not created equal. Most are palatable, or tasty to eat, which is helpful because we need to eat to survive. For example, a fresh apple is palatable to most people and provides vital nutrients and calories.</p> <p>But certain foods, such as pizza, potato chips and chocolate chip cookies, are almost irresistible. They’re always in demand at parties, and they’re easy to keep eating, even when we are full.</p> <p>In these foods, a synergy between key ingredients can create an artificially enhanced palatability experience that is greater than any key ingredient would produce alone. Researchers call this <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.22639">hyperpalatability</a>. Eaters call it delicious.</p> <p>Initial studies suggest that foods with two or more key ingredients linked to palatability – specifically, sugar, salt, fat or carbohydrates – can activate brain-reward neurocircuits similarly to drugs like <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2519">cocaine</a> or <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01031.x">opioids</a>. They may also be able to bypass mechanisms in our bodies that make us feel full and tell us to stop eating.</p> <p>Our research focuses on <a href="https://fazzinolab.drupal.ku.edu/publications">rewarding foods</a>, <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=odLm9LkAAAAJ&amp;hl=en">addictive behaviors and obesity</a>. We recently published a study with nutritional scientist <a href="http://www.kumc.edu/school-of-health-professions/dietetics-and-nutrition/our-people/sullivan.html">Debra Sullivan</a> that identifies <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.22639">three clusters of key ingredients</a> that can make foods hyperpalatable. Using those definitions, we estimated that nearly two-thirds of foods widely consumed in the U.S. fall into at least one of those three groups.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/aCUbvOwwfWM?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span class="caption">Documentaries like “Fed Up’ (2014) have linked obesity to food industry practices and American eating habits.</span></p> <h2>Cracking the codes</h2> <p>Foods that are highly rewarding, easily accessible and cheap are everywhere in our society. Unsurprisingly, eating them has been <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.12.002">associated with obesity</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://fedupmovie.com/#/page/home">Documentaries</a> in the last 15-20 years have reported that food companies have developed formulas to make palatable foods so enticing. However, manufacturers typically guard their recipes as trade secrets, so academic scientists can’t study them.</p> <p>Instead, researchers have used descriptive definitions to capture what makes some foods hyperpalatable. For example, in his 2012 book ”<a href="https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781596438316">Your Food Is Fooling You: How Your Brain Is Hijacked by Sugar, Fat, and Salt</a>,“ <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_A._Kessler">David Kessler</a>, former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), wrote:</p> <blockquote> <p>"What are these foods? …. Some are sweetened drinks, chips, cookies, candy, and other snack foods. Then, of course, there are fast food meals – fried chicken, pizza, burgers, and fries.”</p> </blockquote> <p>But these definitions are not standardized, so it is hard to compare results across studies. And they fail to identify the relevant ingredients. Our study sought to establish a quantitative definition of hyperpalatable foods and then use it to determine how prevalent these foods are in the U.S.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/305478/original/file-20191205-38993-1imt92a.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/305478/original/file-20191205-38993-1imt92a.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">In 2018, 31% of U.S. adults aged 18 and over were obese.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/downloads/2018-overall-obesity-prevalence-map-508.pdf" class="source">CDC</a></span></p> <h2>Three key clusters</h2> <p>We conducted our work in two parts. First we carried out a literature search to identify scientific articles that used descriptive definitions of the full range of palatable foods. We entered these foods into standardized nutrition software to obtain detailed data on the nutrients they contained.</p> <p>Next we used a graphing procedure to determine whether certain foods appeared to cluster together. We then used the clusters to inform our numeric definition. We found that hyperpalatable foods fell into three distinct clusters:</p> <p>– Fat and sodium, with more than 25% of total calories (abbreviated as kcal) from fat and at least 0.30% sodium per gram per serving. Bacon and pizza are examples.</p> <p>– Fat and simple sugars, with more than 20% kcal from fat and more than 20% kcal from simple sugars. Cake is an example.</p> <p>– Carbohydrates and sodium, with over 40% kcal from carbohydrates and at least 0.20% sodium per gram per serving. Buttered popcorn is an example.</p> <p>Then we applied our definition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s <a href="https://data.nal.usda.gov/dataset/food-and-nutrient-database-dietary-studies-fndds">Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies</a>, or FNDDS, which catalogs foods that Americans report eating in a <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/about_nhanes.htm">biennial federal survey on nutrition and health</a>. The database contained 7,757 food items that we used in our analysis.</p> <p>Over 60% of these foods met our criteria for hyperpalatability. Among them, 70% were in the fat/sodium cluster, including many meats, meat-based dishes, omelets and cheese dips. Another 25% fell into the fat/simple sugars cluster, which included sweets and desserts, but also foods such as glazed carrots and other vegetables cooked with fat and sugar.</p> <p>Finally, 16% were in the carbohydrate/sodium cluster, which consisted of carbohydrate-dense meal items like pizza, plus breads, cereals and snack foods. Fewer than 10% of foods fell into multiple clusters.</p> <p>We also looked at which of the USDA’s food categories contained the most hyperpalatable foods. Over 70% of meats, eggs and grain-based foods in the FNDDS met our criteria for hyperpalatability. We were surprised to find that 49% of foods labeled as containing “reduced,” “low”, or zero levels of sugar, fat, salt and/or calories qualified as hyperpalatable.</p> <p>Finally, we considered whether our definition captured what we hypothesized it would capture. It identified more than 85% of foods labeled as fast or fried, as well as sweets and desserts. Conversely, it did not capture foods that we hypothesized were not hyperpalatable, such as raw fruits, meats or fish, or 97% of raw vegetables.</p> <h2>Tackling obesity</h2> <p>If scientific evidence supporting our proposed definition of hyperpalatable foods accumulates, and it shows that our definition is associated with overeating and obesity-related outcomes, our findings could be used in several ways.</p> <p>First, the FDA could require hyperpalatable foods to be labeled – an approach that would alert consumers to what they may be eating while preserving consumer choice. The agency also could regulate or limit specific combinations of ingredients, as a way to reduce the chance of people finding foods that contain them difficult to stop eating.</p> <p>Consumers also could consider the role of hyperpalatable foods in their own lives. Our team needs to do further work validating our definition before we translate it for the public, but as a first step, individuals can examine whether the foods they eat contain multiple ingredients such as fat and sodium, particularly at high levels. Recent surveys show increased interest among U.S. consumers in <a href="https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2019/what-food-related-causes-do-us-consumers-care-about-today/">making informed food choices</a>, although they often <a href="https://foodinsight.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2018-FHS-Report-FINAL.pdf">aren’t sure which sources to trust</a>.</p> <p>One starting point for people concerned about healthy eating is to consume foods that are unlikely to be hyperpalatable – items that occur naturally and have few or no additional ingredients, such as fresh fruit. As food writer Michael Pollan <a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/305288/food-rules-by-michael-pollan/">recommends</a>, “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126729/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tera-fazzino-882302">Tera Fazzino</a>, Assistant Professor of Psychology; Associate Director of the Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research and Treatment, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-kansas-1588">University of Kansas</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kaitlyn-rohde-887872">Kaitlyn Rohde</a>, Research Assistant, Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research and Treatment., <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-kansas-1588">University of Kansas</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-it-can-be-hard-to-stop-eating-even-when-youre-full-some-foods-may-be-designed-that-way-126729">original article</a>.</em></p>

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This is what really happens when you go under the knife

<p>We’ve all seen the TV dramas – <a href="http://abc.go.com/shows/greys-anatomy">Grey’s Anatomy</a>, <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108757/">ER</a>, <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006m8wd">Casualty</a>, <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mhd6">Holby City</a> – and most of us like to think we have a pretty good idea of what happens in an operating theatre. The doctors and nurses will be clad in blue scrubs, <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/music-surgery_n_6310842">operatic music will be playing</a>, with intermittent calls of “scalpel” or “swabs”, right?</p> <p>For those readers, who’ve ever had an operation – whether it was <a href="https://theconversation.com/seven-body-organs-you-can-live-without-84984">planned or an emergency</a> – things in the real world probably felt very different to those familiar TV drama medical emergency scenes. In part, this is because <a href="https://theconversation.com/greys-anatomy-is-unrealistic-but-it-might-make-junior-doctors-more-compassionate-92040">TV programmes often portray the staff</a> who work on the wards also working in the operating theatre – but this isn’t the case.</p> <p>In fact, it’s not just doctors and nurses that make up part of the team involved in an operation, there is also a group of professionals, known as <a href="https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/allied-health-professionals/roles-allied-health-professions/operating-department-practitioner">operating department practitioners</a> (ODPs), who are trained specifically to look after you when you’re under the bright lights of the operating theatre.</p> <h2>What happens when I arrive?</h2> <p>Having an operation can be highly stressful. You might have been told not to eat before. It all feels a bit unknown, and you aren’t exactly sure what will happen. But the staff at the hospital are on hand to try and make things easy for you.</p> <p>As you are arrive on the ward, a whole team of staff are busy preparing for your surgery. You’ll be asked to confirm who you are and what you’re being admitted for. You will also be asked to change into a very fetching hospital gown. Someone will also sit down and talk you through what’s happening and check you have not eaten – this is so you don’t vomit <a href="https://theconversation.com/science-lesson-how-anesthetics-work-and-why-xenons-perfect-83744">during your anaesthetic</a>.</p> <h2>Who looks after me?</h2> <p>The team looking after you has three sub teams working as one. They are the anaesthetic team, the surgical team and the post anaesthetic team. These teams work like cogs and your care and treatment is seamless. As a minimum, this would mean you would have nine health professionals caring for you at any one time.</p> <p>Your operating team on the day will have doctors – who are the anaesthetist, and the surgeon – but the rest of the team could be made up nurses, ODPs and healthcare assistants. ODPs are generally a graduate professional and they train through university in partnership with the hospital operating theatres.</p> <h2>When do I have the anaesthetic?</h2> <p>When the team is ready and it’s time for your surgery, you have your anaesthetic. This will be delivered by an anaesthetist, but there always has to be trained assistance – normally an ODP.</p> <p>On arrival in the <a href="https://theconversation.com/scientists-find-way-to-predict-who-is-likely-to-wake-up-during-surgery-53217">anaesthetic room</a>, it is the ODP that greets you with a big smile and often a cheesy joke. After all, they have minutes to get to know you and for you to trust them with your life. They will attach you to the monitoring equipment and measure your baseline pulse and blood pressure readings.</p> <p>You will need a cannula (a plastic tube) inserting into a vein, so the anaesthetist can give you the drugs. This is the point where you may be asked to start counting back slowly from ten – you won’t even get to seven.</p> <h2>What happens during surgery?</h2> <p>While the anaesthetic team continue to look after you, the surgical team carry out your operation. The surgeon will have at least one assistant – I have known more than ten people to be part of this team for major head and neck cancer surgery. The first assistant and other assistants scrub up with the surgeon and help with the surgery.</p> <p>Adding to this team there is a scrub practitioner and their role is to provide the swabs, needles and equipment to the surgeon and the assistants. They are the ones who also count everything to make sure you don’t leave the operating theatre with any unwanted extras.</p> <h2>When can I go home?</h2> <p>Once your <a href="https://theconversation.com/will-you-feel-better-after-surgery-now-you-can-find-out-using-this-online-tool-72758">surgery is complete</a> your wounds will be dressed by the surgical team. Your anaesthetic will be reversed and you will be taken to the post anaesthetic care unit – which used to be called recovery. Here you will be looked after until you are ready to be discharged back to the ward. Here, you wounds will be inspected, and whoever’s looking after you will make sure your <a href="https://theconversation.com/anthill-19-pain-87538">pain is under control</a> and you are not feeling sick.</p> <p>Once you are awake and comfy, you will be taken back to the ward where your relatives may be waiting and you should be able to have something to eat and drink. Depending on your surgery and who you have at home to look after you, you may even be allowed to go home the same day.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/95719/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/deborah-robinson-469372">Deborah Robinson</a>, Senior Lecturer and Head of Health and Social Work School, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-hull-1191">University of Hull</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/this-is-what-really-happens-when-you-go-under-the-knife-95719">original article</a>.</em></p>

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What your poo says about your health

<p>Opening your bowels is a basic function of life. But despite the fact we all do it, pooing is not often thought to be a topic suitable for polite conversation. However, recent <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43674270">popular interest in gut health</a> and the composition of poo – as well as the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/26/the-human-microbiome-why-our-microbes-could-be-key-to-our-health">bacterial populations that live within it</a> – have helped to put bodily functions more on the map. And these days, more and more people are wondering how often you should go, what happens if you don’t go enough and how you can influence the composition of what is passed.</p> <p>In the late 1980s, Professor Ken Heaton and colleagues conducted a <a href="http://gut.bmj.com/content/gutjnl/33/6/818.full.pdf">survey of the population</a> in East Bristol, in the UK. They reported the common wisdom that “99% of people defecate between three times per week and three times per day” which was revealed in an earlier study of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1846921/">factory workers and GP patients</a>. In Bristol, they noted that although the most common bowel habit was once daily, it only occurred in 40% of men and a third of women.</p> <p>How often we go for a number two can differ from person to person. We all have what’s known as a “<a href="https://www.gastrojournal.org/article/0016-5085(78)90864-8/abstract">gastro-colic reflex</a>” – which means that each time we eat food, our large bowel responds and we should go to the toilet. Through a range of hormones we will experience a “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12870774">call to stool</a>”. Most of us, however – from the time we can walk – suppress this call, so once a day or less has become the new norm.</p> <p>Urgency, diarrhoea, and constipation can all be features of not going to the toilet enough. And associated with this “relative” constipation are symptoms of bloating, pain and variability of bowel habit. A simple test of how your bowels are working is the “sweetcorn test”. By swallowing a handful of raw sweetcorn – which is not absorbed by the body – the brightly coloured kernels can be easily seen in your motions. This is an easy way to assess your own mouth-to-anus transit time. It should probably be about eight hours.</p> <h2>The composition of poo</h2> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26246784">Poo is made up of 75% water</a>. The rest, which is the solid stuff, is up to 50% microbes plus cells that are shed from the bowel lining and food residue. The collective name for the microbes that live inside us is the microbiome and at one time, it was thought that the bugs outnumbered our cells by ten to one.</p> <p><a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1002533">Recent data</a> suggests this may be closer to a ratio of 1.3 to 1 but this will obviously depend on how often you go. Bacteria, viruses, fungi and single cell microbes make up the microbiome and all <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4181834/">may be critical</a> to our health and well-being.</p> <p>From a positive perspective, the bugs in our guts not only breakdown undigestible foodstuffs, but they also produce critical nutrients, prevent certain infections and contribute to the development of our <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095809917301492">immune defence systems</a>. However, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nature05414">obesity</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23023125">type two diabetes</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25870193">high blood pressure</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17699621">inflammatory bowel disease</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23370376">autoimmune disorders</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22968153">mental health problems</a> have all been linked to dysbiosis – or change of the microbiome.</p> <h2>Gut feelings</h2> <p>Establishment of our <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24503132">microbiome starts at birth</a> and is influenced by the way we are born – either vaginally or by Cesarean – and initially fed. By the time we start eating solid food, we are well on the way to establishing our adult microbiome. What we subsequently <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4303825/">eat can have an impact on the composition</a>, although this effect may be modest.</p> <p>Our diets also may influence the metabolic products of our microbiome – these are the chemicals that the individual organisms produce – which can also have an impact on us as the host. Fibre, fat, sugars, artificial sweeteners have all been shown to modulate the composition of the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4303825/">gastrointestinal microbiota</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21767445">Experimental data</a> suggests that prebiotic fibres change gut microbiota and increase hormones that tell us that we are full. <a href="https://www.newcastle.edu.au/profile/emma-beckett">Current ongoing research</a> has also shown that antibiotic induced microbial imbalance is associated with changes in bitter taste expression – which influences the foods we prefer to eat. All these relationships are complex, and scientists are just beginning to understand their full impact.</p> <p>The ultimate way to alter our microbiome is a <a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1002503">faecal transplant</a>, where you take on board the poo from someone else. Unpleasant as this may sound, encouraging data is emerging on the use of poo in the treatment of gastrointestinal infections such as clostridium difficile, early diabetes, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease. But it may still be a while before you can buy prized poo over the counter in your local supermarket.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/95724/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/martin-veysey-469454">Martin Veysey</a>, Programme Director MBBS at Hull York Medical School, <em><a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-hull-1191">University of Hull</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-your-poo-says-about-your-health-95724">original article</a>.</p>

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Why we shouldn’t all be vegan

<p>After decades in which the number of people choosing to cut out meat from their diet has steadily increased, 2019 is set to be the year the world changes the way that it eats. Or at least, that’s the ambitious aim of a major campaign under the umbrella of an organisation simply called <a href="https://eatforum.org/">EAT</a>. The core message is to discourage meat and dairy, seen as part of an “over-consumption of protein” – and specifically to target consumption of beef.</p> <p>The push comes at a time when consumer behaviour already seems to be shifting. In the three years following 2014, according to research firm GlobalData, there was a <a href="https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/4959853/top-trends-in-prepared-foods-2017-exploring-trends-in-meat-fish-and-seafood-pasta-noodles-and-rice-prepared-meals-savory-deli-food-soup-and-meat-substitutes.html">six-fold increase</a> in people identifying as vegans in the US, a huge rise – albeit from a very low base. It’s a similar story in the UK, where the number of vegans has increased by 350%, compared to a decade ago, at least according to <a href="https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/vegan-society-poll">research</a> commissioned by the Vegan Society.</p> <p>And across Asia, many governments are promoting plant-based diets. New government dietary guidelines in China, for example, call on the nation’s 1.3 billion people to reduce their meat consumption <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/20/chinas-meat-consumption-climate-change">by 50%</a>. Flexitarianism, a mostly plant-based diet with the occasional inclusion of meat, is <a href="https://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Article/2017/08/15/Flexitarianism-almost-a-third-of-Brits-carve-meat-intake">also on the rise</a>.</p> <h2>‘Conquering the world’</h2> <p>Big food companies have noticed the shift and have jumped onto the vegan wagon, the most prominent ones tightly associated with EAT through its <a href="https://eatforum.org/initiatives/fresh/">FReSH program</a>. Unilever, for instance, is a very vocal partner. Recently, the multinational announced it was acquiring a meat-substitute company called “The Vegetarian Butcher”. <a href="https://www.unilever.com/news/press-releases/2018/unilever-acquires-the-vegetarian-butcher.html">It described</a> the acquisition as part of a strategy to expand “into plant-based foods that are healthier and have a lower environmental impact”. Currently, Unilever sells just under 700 products under the “V-label” in Europe.</p> <p>“The Vegetarian Butcher” was conceived in 2007 by farmer Jaap Kortweg, chef Paul Brom and marketer Niko Koffeman, a Dutch Seventh-Day Adventist who is vegetarian for religious and ideological reasons. Koffeman is also at the origin of the <em>Partij voor de Dieren</em>, a political party advocating for animal rights in The Netherlands. Like EAT, the Vegetarian Butcher seeks to “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/dec/19/unilever-joins-meat-free-revolution-after-buying-the-vegetarian-butcher">conquer the world</a>”. Its mission is “to make plant-based ‘meat’ the standard” – and the alliance with Unilever paves the way.</p> <p>The dietary shift would require a remarkable turn around in consumer habits. Of course, there is much that both can and should be done to improve the way that we eat, both in terms of consumer health and environmental impact. And yes, a key plank of the strategy will be shifting consumers away from beef. But the extreme vision of some of the campaign’s backers is somewhat startling. Former UN official Christiana Figueres, for example, thinks that anyone who wants a steak should be banished. “How about restaurants in ten to 15 years start treating carnivores the same way that smokers are treated?”, Figueres <a href="https://www.svt.se/nyheter/utrikes/vill-forbjuda-kott-pa-restauranger-kottatare-ska-behandlas-som-rokare-pa-krogen">suggested</a> during a recent conference. “If they want to eat meat, they can do it outside the restaurant.”</p> <p>This statement is typical of what social scientists call “<a href="https://www.learnliberty.org/videos/bootleggers-and-baptists/">bootlegger and Baptist</a>” coalitions, in which groups with very different ideas – and values – seek to rally under a common banner. And this is what worries us. The campaign to “conquer the world” can be rather simplistic and one-sided, and we think this has some dangerous implications.</p> <h2>A skewed view?</h2> <p>EAT, for example, describes itself as a science-based global platform for <a href="https://eatforum.org/">food system transformation</a>. It has partnered with Oxford and Harvard universities, as well as with the medical journal The Lancet. But we have concerns that some of the science behind the campaign and the policy is partial and misleading.</p> <p>It is long on things that we all know are bad, such as some excesses of factory farming and rainforest clearing to raise beef cattle. But it is mostly silent on such things as the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0309174012003385?via%3Dihub">nutritional assets</a> of animal products, especially for <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/137/4/1119/4664672">children</a> in rural African settings, and the <a href="http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/home/en/news_archive/2017_More_Fuel_for_the_Food_Feed.html">sustainability benefits</a> of livestock in areas as diverse as sub-Saharan Africa to traditional European upland valleys. And, if vegetarian diets show that traditional markers for heart disease, such as “total cholesterol”, are usually improved, this is not the case for the more predictive (and thus valuable) markers such as the triglyceride/HDL (or “good” cholesterol) ratio, which even <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3996202/">tend to deteriorate</a>.</p> <p>More importantly, most nutritional “evidence” originates from epidemiology, which is not able to show causation but only statistical correlations. Not only are the associations <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0309174015300218">weak</a>, the research is generally confounded by <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5574618/">lifestyle</a> and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/ejcn201563">other dietary factors</a>. Not to mention that part of the epidemiological data, such as the <a href="https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2018/08/22/14/15/tues-515am-pure-esc-2018">PURE study</a>, show that the consumption of meat and dairy can be associated with less – rather than more – chronic disease.</p> <h2>Not so simple</h2> <p>In any case, even if plant-based diets can in theory provide the nutrients people need, as long as they are supplemented with critical micronutrients (such as vitamin B12 and certain long-chain fatty acids), that is not to say that in practice shifting people towards them will not result in a great many people following poorly balanced diets and suffering ill health in consequence. And when a vegan diet fails, for instance due to poor supplementation, it may result in serious physical and cognitive impairment and <a href="http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/70/4/582">failure to thrive</a>.</p> <p>The approach seems particularly risky during pregnancy and for the <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10408398.2018.1437024">very young</a>, as also documented by a long list of clinical <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407531/">case reports</a> in medical literature. Animal products are exceptionally nutrient-dense dietary sources – removing them from the diet compromises metabolic robustness. Without sufficient insight in the complexities of nutrition and human metabolism, it is easy to overlook important issues as the proportion of nutrients that can be absorbed from the diet, nutrient interactions and protein quality.</p> <p>The same <a href="https://www.efanews.eu/en/item/6053-the-eat-lancet-commission-will-launch.html/">debate needs to be had</a> when it comes to consideration of the environmental question. Too fast or radical a shift towards “plant-based” diets risks losing realistic and achievable goals, such as increasing the benefits of natural grazing and embracing farming techniques that reduce the wasteful feeding of crops to animals, lower climate impact and enhance biodoversity.</p> <p>A shift towards a radically plant-based planetary diet loses the many benefits of livestock – including its deployment on land that is not suitable for crop production, its contribution to livelihoods, and the many other benefits that animals provide. It mistakenly assumes that land use can be swiftly altered and ignores the potential of farming techniques that <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X17310338">may even have mitigating effects</a>.</p> <p>Sustainable, ecological and harmonious animal production really should be part of the solution of the “world food problem”, considered from both the nutritional and environmental scenarios. The Earth is an extraordinarily complex ecosystem – any one-size-fits-all solution risks wreaking havoc with it.</p> <p><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/martin-cohen-406203">Martin Cohen</a>, Visiting Research Fellow in Philosophy, <em><a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-hertfordshire-799">University of Hertfordshire</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/frederic-leroy-659117">Frédéric Leroy</a>, Professor of Food Science and Biotechnology, <em><a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/vrije-universiteit-brussel-2958">Vrije Universiteit Brussel</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-we-shouldnt-all-be-vegan-109308">original article</a>.</p>

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How to wash your hands properly

<p>It’s something most people do everyday, often without really thinking about it, but how you wash your hands can make a real difference to your health and the well-being of those around you.</p> <p>Washing your hands is the one most <a href="https://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(04)00172-9/fulltext">effective method</a> to prevent cross-contamination which can cause the spread of illness and infections. And many research studies have shown how improvements in hand hygiene have resulted in reductions in illness.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004265.pub3/information">A look at research from around the world</a> on the promotion of washing hands with soap, found that such interventions resulted in a <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1365-3156.2006.01568.x">30% reduction</a> in diarrhoea episodes and respiratory illnesses such as colds. <a href="https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(17)30041-X/fulltext">Hand hygiene interventions</a> at elementary schools in the US similarly helped to reduce sick days associated with acute gastrointestinal illness by 31%.</p> <p>The impact of good hand hygiene is even greater among people that have an increased risk of infection. A <a href="https://www.microbiologyresearch.org/content/journal/jmm/10.1099/jmm.0.46867-0#tab2">study</a> from 2007, for example, found that patients with AIDS who washed their hands more frequently got ill less often.</p> <p>But as <a href="https://jfoodprotection.org/doi/abs/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-17-378">our recent research shows</a>, despite awareness of the importance of washing your hands, people often fail to do it properly. In our study, we observed how adults over the age of 60 prepared food in a domestic kitchen set up with CCTV cameras, and found that only 30% of people properly washed and dried their hands before preparing food.</p> <p>We found that 90% of people failed to wash and dry their hands properly immediately after handling raw chicken. And that 62% failed to rub hands, palms and between fingers when washing hands. We also discovered that 47% of people in our study failed to use soap during one or more hand washing attempt.</p> <p>We also swabbed the kitchen and found that those who adequately washed their hands, had significantly lower levels of microbiological contamination levels in the kitchen following food preparation sessions. <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/00070700510606873/full/html">Other studies</a> have also determined that failing to wash hands adequately after handling raw poultry can transfer bacteria to domestic kitchen surfaces – such as the handles of taps and refrigerators. All of which highlights the importance of properly washing your hands.</p> <h2>How to wash your hands</h2> <p>The World Health Organisation <a href="https://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/consumer/manual_keys.pdf">recommends</a> that to wash your hands effectively, it needs to be done with clean water and soap. Hands should be rubbed together for at least 20 seconds, followed by rinsing. Hands must also be dried using either disposable kitchen paper or a clean hand towel.</p> <p>The use of soap is particularly important for hand washing to be effective. Indeed, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3037063/">research</a> has shown that washing with soap significantly reduced the presence of bacteria on hands.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1XVhNEoxtN8?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>The soap doesn’t have to be antibacterial to be effective – though antibacterial soap works on reducing the number of bacteria not just removing them. And research has <a href="https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2007.124610">shown</a> that the use of non-antibacterial soap is successful for preventing both gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses.</p> <p>You should spend 20 seconds washing and drying your hands. Here’s how to do it properly: wet your hands with clean water, use soap, rub palm to palm, rub back of hands, rub between fingers, rub fingernails, rinse your hands. Then dry them using a clean towel or kitchen paper.</p> <h2>Dry them properly too</h2> <p>Hand drying is also very important to prevent contamination from hands to food, surfaces and equipment as the transmission of bacteria is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2809004/">more likely</a> to occur from wet skin than from dry skin. So the proper drying of hands after washing should be an <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3538484/">integral part</a> of hand hygiene.</p> <p>Drying your hands properly also removes a significant number of bacteria following hand washing – drying with a towel removes pathogens by means of friction, on top of the removal of moisture. Though this means that a hand towel can become a site for cross-contamination. Indeed, in <a href="https://jfoodprotection.org/doi/abs/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-17-378">our study</a> we found that 37% of people used the same towel for drying hands and equipment.</p> <p>It is essential to wash hands on occasions when they may be contaminated such as before, during, and after preparing food – particularly after handing raw meat and poultry – after using the toilet, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing and after touching an animal.</p> <p>This is important, because washing our hands properly can mean the difference between sickness and health. And for people with compromised immune systems it can even mean the difference between life and death – so make sure you do it properly. If in doubt follow the tips above and sing “<a href="https://tools.cdc.gov/medialibrary/index.aspx#/media/id/302345">Happy Birthday</a>” twice to allow enough time to remove and rinse away any germs.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/125330/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ellen-w-evans-326143">Ellen W. Evans</a>, Junior Research Fellow, <em><a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/cardiff-metropolitan-university-1585">Cardiff Metropolitan University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/most-people-dont-wash-their-hands-properly-heres-how-it-should-be-done-125330">original article</a>.</p>

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Why exercise is less helpful in losing weight than simply eating less

<p>I tend to be overweight, and for the last few years my blood glucose levels have been putting me on the brink of Type 2 diabetes. I love my food, and it is often part of my social commitments. I’m a Spaniard, so there’s also the occasional tapas and glass of wine, or maybe a martini on Saturdays.</p> <p>As a <a href="https://scientia.eus/team/juan-ignacio-perez-iglesias/">physiologist</a>, I know I need to take steps to control my blood glucose and weight. So early every morning, I spend a considerable amount of time pedaling away on a stationary bike.</p> <p>When I started this morning activity, I lost several pounds in the first two or three weeks. Then I increased my cycling time, from 40 to 60 minutes a day, and lost another few pounds.</p> <p>Now, however, I’ve been following this regimen for nearly two years, and my weight has obstinately refused to go down. No matter how much I exercise, it barely drops. I can’t spend any more time pedaling. The day isn’t long enough. Neither is the night.</p> <p>It is discouraging to get on a bike early in the morning, pedal away madly for over an hour and weigh the same as before. The only thing I manage to do during the work week is knock off the weight I put on over the weekend.</p> <p>The apparent lack of physiological logic in all this irks me.</p> <p>In my lectures at Spain’s <a href="https://www.ehu.eus/en">University of the Basque Country</a>, the syllabus covers energy balance — the difference between your energy input, or calories consumed, and your energy output, or calories burnt. I teach students that <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14692598">when activity increases, the metabolic rate rises</a>.</p> <p>So if the energy absorbed in the form of food is constant, more metabolic activity should bring about a reduction in the energy available for growth, even to the point of negative growth – that is, weight loss. Right?</p> <h2>Why isn’t exercise helping me lose weight?</h2> <p>Science has <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-exercise-still-important-to-weight-loss-absolutely-a-doctor-says-103880">struggled to provide a satisfying and consistent answer</a> to this common frustration.</p> <p>According to anthropologist Herman Pontzer of Duke University, when physical activity is increased in the long term, daily energy expenditure also rises – but <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982215015778">less than one would expect</a>. Even as activity increases, the body’s total daily energy expenditure rises more and more slowly, until the number of calories burnt daily becomes virtually constant.</p> <p>In other words, the body adapts to changing circumstances. If expenditure is more or less constant, then, the body compensates for increased physical activity by reducing the energy it spends on other, nonessential functions.</p> <p><a href="https://www.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/physiol.00027.2018">Pontzer’s hypothesis</a>, which was developed working alongside a team of doctors, would explain why I tend to feel cold – even on very hot days – and why I feel colder on mornings when I’ve exercised intensively. What I make my body pay for in exercise, my metabolism “charges” me for by reducing heat generation.</p> <p>So while moderate physical activity leads to a reduction in <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982215015778?via%3Dihub">nonessential physiological activities</a>, the reduced functionality triggered by high levels of physical activity may actually be <a href="https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00622.2016">harmful to human health</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ajhb.10152">Research shows</a> that heavy physical activity can alter the ovarian cycle in women, diminish sperm production in men, lower levels of sexual hormones in the blood and reduce sex drive.</p> <p>Under conditions of very high activity, the effects on reproductive function become more obvious – consider the <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/90/11/6022/2838411">delayed onset of puberty in young gymnasts</a>, for example. The <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254618301005">immune system suffers</a>, as does the body’s ability <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982215015778#bib5">to repair damaged tissue</a>.</p> <p>So while it is healthy for many reasons to <a href="https://theconversation.com/keeping-fit-how-to-do-the-right-exercise-for-your-age-108851">regularly engage in moderate physical activity</a>, that activity does not have the slimming effects often attributed to it. And increasing the amount you exercise won’t change that.</p> <h2>How to lose weight</h2> <p>You don’t want to hear this any more than I do, but <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-lose-weight-and-keep-it-off-according-to-science-110674">controlling calorie intake</a> – difficult as that is – is a more effective way to control body weight.</p> <p>The body adapts to a lack of food, <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-essr/fulltext/2015/07000/Constrained_Total_Energy_Expenditure_and_the.3.aspx">as it does to increased physical activity</a>. In this case, it saves energy by reducing the speed of various physical processes, including metabolic activity – but not enough to offset the reduction in calories.</p> <p>When you eat less, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1568163710001029">body temperature is also affected</a>: Reducing food intake <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK236229/#_ddd00166_">tends to make people feel colder</a>. Eating less entails a slower physiological life and, to a certain extent, a more efficient one – that’s why, scientists are fairly confident, <a href="https://theconversation.com/comer-menos-alarga-la-vida-111665">eating less is tied to longevity</a>.</p> <p>It’s not my place to advise anyone on their habits. But here’s how I’ve chosen to change my behavior based on this information.</p> <p>First, I eat less than I used to and am more careful about what I eat. But I confess that I still overindulge occasionally. I’ve also moderated my physical activity. These days, I do about 100 miles a week on the stationary bike and walk whenever I get the chance.</p> <p>So far I have not found life unbearable. Type 2 diabetes is still hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles, but I’m confident I’m on the right path.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/125589/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/juan-ignacio-perez-iglesias-529186">Juan Ignacio Pérez Iglesias</a>, Catedrático de Fisiología, <em><a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/universidad-del-pais-vasco-euskal-herriko-unibertsitatea-3422">Universidad del País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-exercise-is-less-helpful-in-losing-weight-than-simply-eating-less-125589">original article</a>.</p>

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How does a piece of bread cause a migraine?

<p>Migraine is the <a href="http://doi.org/10.1186/1129-2377-14-1">third most prevalent illness</a> in the world and causes suffering for tens of millions of people. In fact, nearly <a href="http://doi.org/10.1212/wnl.58.6.885">1 in 4 U.S. household</a> <a href="http://doi.org/10.1111/head.12878">includes someone with migraines</a>.</p> <p>Migraine is not just a headache but also includes a collection of associated symptoms that can be debilitating. These include nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity and dizziness. Often people struggle to determine what triggers their migraines. It can be environmental, hormonal, genetic, secondary to an underlying illness, or <a href="https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/migraine-and-diet/">triggered by certain foods</a>, such as cheese, red wine or chocolate. One food that has received a lot of <a href="http://doi.org/10.3988/jcn.2017.13.3.215">attention in recent years is gluten </a> - a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.</p> <p>As a registered dietitian and board-certified neurologist who specializes in headache management, I often will have my patients try a gluten-free diet.</p> <h2>Celiac disease vs. gluten sensitivity</h2> <p>When someone suffers from <a href="https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/celiac-disease">celiac disease</a> – a digestive disorder caused by an autoimmune response to gluten – there is a clear link between <a href="http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1526-4610.2012.02260.x">migraine headaches and gluten</a>. <a href="https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/screening-and-diagnosis/screening/">Gluten triggers immune cells to release antibodies</a> to attack substances the body sees as foreign.</p> <p>When someone without celiac disease eats gluten, it goes into the gastrointestinal tract where food is broken down and the nutrients are absorbed. In the case of celiac disease, that person’s immune system sees the gluten as a foreign substance (like a virus or bacteria that shouldn’t be there) and attacks it with a specific antibody – called transglutaminase (TG) 2 serum autoantibodies – to destroy the gluten.</p> <p>The problem is the person’s own healthy tissues gets destroyed in the process. In other words, when people who are sensitive to gluten consume it, the immune system sees this protein as an invader and creates antibodies to capture and destroy the protein. If the protein is sitting in the GI tract or has been absorbed by other organs, the antibodies go looking for it and attack whatever <a href="http://doi.org/10.1038/cmi.2010.65">tissue is harboring the gluten protein</a>.</p> <p>This triggers an inflammatory reaction that puts the body in high alert that injures various healthy organs. Organs then release molecules that cause blood vessels to become leaky and release water, electrolytes and protein into the tissues and cause swelling.</p> <p>This is an inflammatory response that affects the whole body, not just the brain. In addition to headaches, it can cause broader symptoms including gastrointestinal problems, fatigue and learning difficulties, just to name a few.</p> <h2>Step by step, how gluten leads to migraines</h2> <p>But just looking at a gluten-intolerant person’s inflammatory response doesn’t provide the whole picture on gluten’s link to migraine.</p> <p>In recent years scientists have gained a better understanding of how and why migraines occur. Migraine is now considered <a href="https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/migraine#inheritance">a genetic condition</a> that is found commonly within families.</p> <p>Early theories suggested migraines occurred because of enlargement or dilation of the blood vessels. But now neurologists realize this isn’t the whole story. We now know the cascade that leads to a migraine involves the nerves in the trigeminovascular pathway (TVP) – the collection of nerves that control sensation in the face as well as biting and chewing.</p> <p>When TVP is activated by the presence of gluten, for example, it causes the release of many chemicals including histamine, a substance that immune cells produce when responding to injury, allergic and inflammatory events. The TVP nerves also produce a recently discovered trigger for migraines; a protein called <a href="http://doi.org/10.1111/head.13081">calcitonin gene-related peptide</a> (CGRP).</p> <p>When CGRP is released it causes the dilation of blood vessels in the meninges – the layer of tissue protecting the brain. As the blood vessels dilate they leak water and proteins into the <a href="http://doi.org/10.1038/s41582-018-0003-1">meninges which causes swelling and irritation</a>. The swelling activates the trigenimial nerves which relay messages to other regions of the brain, including the thalamus which creates the perception of pain that is associated with a migraine.</p> <p>Within the past year a new class of medications has gained FDA approval for migraine prevention. These medications are called <a href="http://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.1215">CGRP monoclonal antibodies</a> and have proven to be an effective preventative treatment. They stop the protein CGRP from getting into its receptor.</p> <h2>What to do about food triggers</h2> <p>In both gluten sensitivity, or celiac disease, and migraine, there is an inflammatory process occurring within the body. I hypothesize that the inflammatory response to gluten makes it easier to activate the trigeminovascular pathway, thus triggering a migraine. There has never been a large study of how exactly gluten triggers migraines, and this is something I hope to explore in future studies.</p> <p>Typically, a food trigger will cause a migraine to start within 15 minutes of exposure to that substance.</p> <p>If someone tests positive for celiac, or wheat allergy, then the answer is simple: remove gluten from the diet. So the question arises when someone tests negative should we still eliminate gluten? It is often worth a try, because there is a condition called non-celiac gluten sensitivity.</p> <p>If someone does not have celiac disease but suffers from symptoms of gluten sensitivity, an elimination trial of gluten is often helpful for reducing migraine frequency or severity. The reason I suspect is that removing gluten will reduce chances of an inflammatory response that will activate the trigeminal nerves and trigger pain. Gluten elimination for migraines is still experimental.</p> <p>We need to treat the whole person in medicine. This includes looking at potential triggers for headache and doing an elimination diet can be of benefit. There are so many gluten-free products currently on the market, it makes removing gluten from the diet easier.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Lauren Green, Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology, University of Southern California</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/how-does-a-piece-of-bread-cause-a-migraine-126421" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Why do I get a headache when I haven’t had my coffee?

<p>Caffeine is our favourite drug. But if we miss out on our fix, it can be a real headache, in more ways than one.</p> <p>Caffeine is a stimulant. It quickly enters our brain and blocks the (adenosine) receptors that are responsible for dulling brain activity. By blocking the dulling of our brain, we feel a sense of invigoration, focus and subtle euphoria. These feelings can also enhance our performance of certain focused tasks, like driving or staying awake through the whole lecture.</p> <p>This is the upside of caffeine. The downside is how we feel when we are not getting our usual dose. Because of the anticipated highs of brain activity after our cup, the lows without it seem longer and deeper.</p> <p>The other problem is that caffeine is addictive. When we aren’t getting what we’re used to, we can feel tired, inattentive, irritable and moody. This is known as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18625110">withdrawal</a>. Many people regularly drink caffeinated beverages just to avoid feeling this way.</p> <p>By far the most common symptom of caffeine withdrawal is headaches. These are typically mild and short-lived, usually only lasting for a day or two, although they can sometimes last for up to week. They usually feel a bit like a tense band wrapped across your head and are sometimes called <a href="http://headacheaustralia.org.au/headachetypes/tension-type-headache/">tension-type headaches</a> as a result. However, caffeine withdrawal can also trigger a full-on <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4975726/">migraine</a> in some sufferers.</p> <p>Why we get headaches with withdrawal (as well as many other causes) is mostly because our face and head is the most active as well as the most sensitive part of our body. For our brain to accurately know what’s happening, the signals it receives from the senses have to be spot on.</p> <p>Any distortion of the signal and the message can become lost in translation, or even result in the wrong message being received. One theory for headaches is our fuzzy brain misinterprets some of the innocuous signals it gets from our head, and calls them a headache.</p> <p>Some level of caffeine withdrawal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=15448977">would be experienced by maybe half</a> of all regular tea or coffee drinkers, if their regular drug supply would be completely cut off. The more we drink and the more regularly we drink caffeine, the more likely we’d experience withdrawal symptoms if we were to go without.</p> <p>However, withdrawal can happen even in people who usually drink just a single cup every day who then forego caffeine. Equally, only <a href="http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/289/1/285.long">three days</a> of continuous coffee drinking is enough to make you feel bad when the coffee runs out.</p> <p>Caffeine withdrawal only occurs with abstinence. Small amounts of caffeine (just a quarter of a cup) will keep the headaches at bay. Even if the espresso machine is broken and you have to have a (half-less caffeinated) latte, you won’t go into withdrawal.</p> <p>But if you’re going cold turkey, withdrawal headaches typically peak <a href="http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.395.79&amp;rep=rep1&amp;type=pdf">a day or two</a> after removing all caffeine from the menu. Withdrawal does not happen within a few hours of the last cup, despite the protestation of the habitual coffee drinker.</p> <p>Of course, if withdrawal is really the problem, the remedy is simple. Any headache caused by lack of caffeine is rapidly and often completely <a href="http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.395.79&amp;rep=rep1&amp;type=pdf">relieved</a> within 30 minutes to an hour of drinking a cup of tea or coffee.</p> <p>Some of this is the fix and the anticipation of it. In fact, Australian <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26933153">researchers</a> have found giving someone experiencing caffeine withdrawal a de-caf, but telling them it’s caffeinated, is enough to make them feel better. Of course this trick won’t work if you buy the coffee yourself.</p> <p>Surprisingly though, caffeine also has some painkiller properties. Simple pain-killers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, aspirin or paracetamol <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5655397/">can be more effective</a> when formulated with some caffeine (in each dose about two to three times that in a regular cup of coffee).</p> <p>For <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5018099/#A33193R29">hypnic “alarm clock” headaches</a> that wake sufferers at night, hangover-headaches and some migraine-sufferers, a cup of tea or coffee can be an effective pain-killer on its own.</p> <p>This analgesia is not just because we feel less stressed or less distracted by pain after a cup of tea or coffee. It turns out the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5366829">same adenosine receptors</a> blocked by caffeine are also implicated in the origin of headache as well as other kinds of pain.</p> <p>More than 90% of all adults drink coffee or tea, rousing us from our slumber and providing the revitalising energy to do the things that need to be done. It’s not hard to imagine the headaches without it.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/100163/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Merlin Thomas, Professor of Medicine, Monash University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/health-check-why-do-i-get-a-headache-when-i-havent-had-my-coffee-100163" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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What is sodium lauryl sulfate and is it safe to use?

<p>If you’ve ever Googled the causes of a skin complaint or damaged hair, chances are someone on the internet has pointed the finger at SLS, or sodium lauryl (or laureth) sulfate, a common ingredient in beauty products, washes, toothpastes and even cleaning products.</p> <p>So what does this ingredient do, why is it in everything, and what does the evidence say about how safe it is?</p> <h2>Why SLS?</h2> <p>When we use a wash or beauty product on our skin, it’s probably a liquid made of a water phase and an oily phase. As we know, oil and water don’t mix, so something is required to keep the ingredients together.</p> <p>That something is called a surfactant. A surfactant allows the oil and water molecules to bind together – it’s what’s found in soaps and detergents so we can wash our oily faces or dishes with water and get the grime to disappear.</p> <p>Sodium lauryl sulfate is a surfactant, and its efficacy, low cost, abundance and simplicity mean it’s used in a variety of cosmetic, dermatological and consumer products.</p> <h2>Is it harmful?</h2> <p>Our skin’s outermost layer is specially designed to keep harmful stuff out, and this is where a surfactant can cause problems. Using a chemical that weakens this defence mechanism can <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/302244511_Sodium_Lauryl_Sulfate_Water_Soluble_Irritant_Dermatitis_Model">potentially cause our skin harm</a>.</p> <p>And some surfactants are more irritating to our skin than others. For something to be harmful, irritant or allergenic, it has to fulfil <a href="https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:719752">two criteria</a>.</p> <p>It has to have been found in studies to irritate human skin, and it has to have the ability to penetrate the skin. SLS ticks both of these boxes.</p> <p><a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1034/j.1600-0536.2003.480209.x">Researchers from Germany tested</a> 1,600 patients for SLS irritancy and found 42% of the patients tested had an irritant reaction.</p> <p>Another <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16283906">study</a>, on seven volunteers over a three and a half month period, found regular contact caused irritation, and the irritation subsided once the skin was no longer exposed to SLS.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7758326">Another study found</a> the warmer the water used with SLS, the more irritating it will be.</p> <p>In fact, SLS is so known to cause irritation, it’s used as a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X9091287L">positive control in dermatological testing</a>. That is, new products being tested to see how irritating they might be to human skin are compared to SLS - something we know definitely to be irritating.</p> <p>If a person is sensitive to SLS, they might find the area that has been in contact is red, dry, scaly, itchy or sore.</p> <p>It’s also important to note there’s <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4651417/">no scientific evidence</a> SLS causes cancer, despite what you may read on the internet.</p> <h2>So why is it allowed?</h2> <p>So if it’s known to be irritating to human skin, why don’t the regulatory authorities ban its use?</p> <p>For SLS to be considered dangerous, it would have to be in contact with the skin for a long period of time. Generally, with consumer products such as washes that contain SLS, it’s assumed they won’t be on the skin for very long, meaning the chance of your skin being affected is pretty low. So authorities don’t ban its use, but instead cap the maximum percentage at which it can be used in products.</p> <p>This cap varies based on how long the product is likely to be in contact with the skin. So products that will be on the skin for a prolonged time can contain no more than <a href="https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/iig/index.cfm?event=BasicSearch.page">0.05-2.5% SLS</a> in most countries.</p> <p>All consumer and cosmetic product manufacturers are required to conduct thorough testing and include any adverse findings in the form of warnings on their labels. So on products containing SLS, you should see something like “if this product causes any skin redness or irritation, discontinue use and consult a medical practitioner”.</p> <h2>Who should avoid SLS?</h2> <p>People with a history of sensitive skin, hyperirritable skin and patients suffering from skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis (eczema), rosacea and psoriasis are best to avoid products containing SLS.</p> <p>There are many safer alternatives available (look for fatty alcohol ethoxylate, alkyl phenol ethoxylate or fatty acid alkoxylate on the label). If you think it might be SLS causing a skin irritation, stop the use of the product and ask your pharmacist or GP for advice. Skin care products also have hotline numbers on the packaging that can be contacted to report adverse effects.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/125129/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Yousuf Mohammed, Dermatology researcher, The University of Queensland</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-sodium-lauryl-sulfate-and-is-it-safe-to-use-125129" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Why it's never too late to explore alternative and holistic medicine

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the growing popularity of alternative and holistic medicine, you may be wondering if it’s something you should try. Science is showing that alternative medicine is a great way to maintain your health and relieve chronic pain. Many types of alternative treatments can also help to keep relieve certain medical conditions and they can often be used in conjunction with your current treatment plan. Here’s why it’s never too late to explore alternative and holistic medicine, no matter what stage of life you’re in.</span></p> <h2>Reasons to consider alternative and holistic medicine</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are many reasons to consider making the switch to alternative and holistic medicine. First, it may help you manage your medical expenses by reducing your need for expensive prescription medications. With alternative therapies, you may even be able to reduce the frequency of your visits to your conventional doctor.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Generally, alternative care focuses on one-on-one appointments that are much more personal than seeing a conventional doctor. Alternative practitioners usually treat the patient holistically, which means they work to improve physical symptoms, their underlying causes, and your mental health.</span></p> <h2>Types of alternative medicine to try</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are several forms of alternative and holistic medicine that can be very helpful at any stage of life. Here are some you may want to consider:</span></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"> <h3><span style="font-weight: 400;">Herbal and Nutritional Supplements</span></h3> </li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many people are familiar with herbal and nutritional supplements and they can be very helpful for a variety of conditions. Herbs can often be used in conjunction with or in place of certain prescription medications. Nutritional supplements may also help to prevent diseases that become more prevalent as you get older, including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. In fact, </span><a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/cholesterol-lowering-supplements/art-20050980"><span style="font-weight: 400;">experts at the Mayo Clinic</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> report that dietary supplements can even be used to lower your cholesterol levels.</span></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"> <h3><span style="font-weight: 400;">Chiropractic Care</span></h3> </li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Chronic back and neck pain are a major issue for people of all ages. Conventional treatments often involve medications that have harmful side effects or even invasive surgery. As you age, the risk of surgery and anesthesia increases, especially if you have kidney or liver problems, so trying alternative treatments first only makes sense. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Chiropractic care is a hands-on therapy that involves manipulating the spine and joints to realign the body. It can be a safe and non-invasive way to get relief for neck and back pain, headaches and chronic pain issues.</span></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"> <h3><span style="font-weight: 400;">Acupuncture</span></h3> </li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Acupuncture has been used to treat maintain health, treat a variety of diseases, and treat chronic pain for centuries. </span><a href="https://www.yinovacenter.com/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Yinova Center acupuncture in New York City</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> recommends acupuncture treatments for people of all ages who want to relieve pain or treat medical conditions without pharmaceuticals or invasive treatment. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The treatment works by encouraging the release of certain chemicals into the bloodstream by inserting ultra-fine needles into the skin. Acupuncture is also great for relieving stress, anxiety, and depression.</span></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"> <h3><span style="font-weight: 400;">Massage Therapy</span></h3> </li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Massage therapy, much like acupuncture and chiropractic care, is a type of hands-on, safe, and non-invasive alternative medicine. Massage is great for improving circulation and relieving pain. It’s especially beneficial for people who can’t be active due to certain medical conditions. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Massage can also be extremely beneficial for reducing stress. It’s a very relaxing experience and the health benefits can be boosted by the addition of certain essential oils. For example, peppermint and lavender essential oils are extremely helpful for relieving headaches, relaxing muscles, and reducing stress.</span></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"> <h3><span style="font-weight: 400;">Naturopathy</span></h3> </li> </ul> <p><a href="https://www.lifestylephysicians.com/six-incredible-benefits-of-naturopathic-medicine"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Naturopathy</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is a form of lifestyle medicine that focuses on restoring the physical, psychological, and structural balance of the patient. They focus on using the healing powers of nature, such as sunshine and fresh air, to improve the health of the patient. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Naturopathic physicians utilize a variety of therapies depending on the patient’s needs, which may include nutrition, herbs, acupuncture, massage and much more. Although naturopathy isn’t as mainstream as some other forms of alternative medicine, it has been successfully used to reduce the symptoms of fatigue, stress, headaches, chronic back pain and more.</span></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"> <h3><span style="font-weight: 400;">Yoga</span></h3> </li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While it’s true that yoga isn’t technically a form of medicine, it is an alternative therapy that has significant benefits as you age. If you struggle with joint pain, arthritis, balance issues, or stress, yoga can be especially beneficial. Practicing yoga regularly will improve your balance and stability by strengthening your muscles and improving your flexibility. It can also lower your blood pressure and improve your heart healthy by </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25177555"><span style="font-weight: 400;">reducing oxidative stress</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which is one of the leading risk factors of heart attacks.</span></p> <h2>Choosing an alternative healthcare provider</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you decide to give alternative medicine a try, be sure to talk with your doctor first. Certain nutritional or herbal supplements can interfere with prescription medications and there may be other things to consider as well. Your doctor will know what’s safe and what isn’t, depending on your current health condition.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When choosing an alternative healthcare provider, be sure they are properly licensed to work in your state. Ask for recommendations from friends and family to see if they have any recommendations. It’s very important that you’re comfortable talking to the practitioner that you choose because alternative medicine is very personalized.</span></p> <h2>Final thoughts</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Alternative and holistic medicine can be a safe and effective way to complement your current healthcare regimen at any age. As acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic care all become more mainstream, they are more likely to be covered by your health insurance as well. If you want to improve your health without pharmaceuticals or invasive treatments, these therapies are certainly worth trying.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Donna Maurer is a content creator and a former writer for an alternative medicine clinic.</span></em></p>

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How stress speeds up your chromosomes’ ageing clock

<p>Ageing is an inevitability for all living organisms, and although we still don’t know exactly why our bodies gradually grow ever more decrepit, we are starting to grasp how it happens.</p> <p>Our new research, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ele.13426">published in <em>Ecology Letters</em></a>, pinpoints factors that influence one of the most important aspects of the ageing process, at the fundamental level of our DNA. It suggests how stress can cause the biochemical body clock built into our chromosomes to tick faster.</p> <p>DNA - the genetic material in our cells - does not float freely in cells’ nuclei, but is organised into clumps called chromosomes. When a cell divides and produces a replica of itself, it has to make a copy of its DNA, and because of the way this process works, a tiny portion is always lost at one end of each DNA molecule.</p> <p>To protect vital portions of DNA from being lost in the process, the ends of chromosomes are capped with special sequences called <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/telomere">telomeres</a>. These are gradually whittled away during successive cell divisions.</p> <p>This gradual loss of telomeres acts like a cellular clock: with each replication they get shorter, and at a certain point they become too short, forcing the cell into a programmed death process. The key question is what this process, which plays out on a cellular level, actually means for our mortality. Does the fate of individual cells really matter so much? Does the ticking telomere clock really count down the remaining time our bodies have to live?</p> <p>Cellular ageing is just one of many components of ageing - but it’s one of the most important. Gradual deterioration of our body’s tissues, and the irreversible death of our cells, are responsible for the most conspicuous effects of ageing such as loss of physical fitness, deterioration of connective tissues leading to skin wrinkles, or neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.</p> <h2>What makes us tick?</h2> <p>Another crucial question is: are there factors that speed up or slow down the loss of our ticking telomeres?</p> <p>So far, our answers to this question have been incomplete. Studies have provided glimpses of possible mechanisms, suggesting that things like <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6220/436/tab-figures-data">infections</a> or even <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jeb.12479">dedicating extra energy to reproduction</a> might accelerate telomere shortening and speed up cellular ageing.</p> <p>This evidence is piecemeal, but these factors all seem to have one thing in common: they cause “physiological stress”. Broadly speaking, our cells are stressed when their biochemical processes are disrupted, either by a lack of resources or for some other reason. If cells lose too much water, for example, we might say they are in “dehydration stress”.</p> <p>More familiar types of stress also count. Tiredness and overwork put us under chronic stress, as does feeling anxious for prolonged periods. <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180712141715.htm">Lack of sleep</a> or <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763246/">emotional stress</a> can alter internal cellular pathways, including telomere functioning.</p> <p>With this in mind, we asked ourselves one simple question. Can various types of stress experienced by an individual actually accelerate their rate of ageing?</p> <h2>Stress and strain</h2> <p>In our research, led by my colleague Marion Chatelain of the University of Warsaw (currently University of Innsbruck), we chose to look at this question as broadly as possible. Many studies have looked at this problem in specific species, such as mice, rats, and various fish and bird species (both wild and in the lab). We compiled the available evidence into a summary of the existing knowledge, across all vertebrate organisms studied so far.</p> <p>The emerging picture clearly suggests that telomere loss is profoundly impacted by stress. All else being equal, stress does indeed hasten telomere loss and accelerate the internal cellular clock.</p> <p>Importantly, the type of stress matters: by far the strongest negative impact is caused by pathogen infections, competition for resources, and intensive investment in reproduction.</p> <p>Other stressors, such as poor diet, human disturbance or urban living, also hastened cellular ageing, although to a lesser extent.</p> <h2>Getting radical</h2> <p>A natural question arises: what makes stress exert such a powerful influence on cellular clocks? Is there a single mechanism, or many? Our analysis may have identified one possible candidate: “oxidative stress”.</p> <p>When cells are stressed, this often manifests itself through an accumulation of oxidising molecules, such as <a href="https://theconversation.com/health-check-the-untrue-story-of-antioxidants-vs-free-radicals-15920">free radicals</a>. Residing at the exposed ends of our chromosomes, telomeres are perfect targets for attack by these chemically reactive molecules.</p> <p>Our analysis suggests that, regardless of the type of stress experienced, this oxidative stress might be the actual biochemical process that links stress and telomere loss. As to whether this means that we should eat more <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/antioxidant">antioxidants</a> to guard our telomeres, this certainly requires more research.</p> <p>I know what you’re wondering: does this mean we have discovered the secret of ageing? Can we use this knowledge to slow the ageing process or stop it in its tracks? The short answer is: no.</p> <p>Ageing is too fundamental to our biology to get rid of it completely. But our study does underline an important truth: by reducing stress, we can do our bodies a big favour.</p> <p>In the modern world, it is hard to escape stress completely, but we can make everyday decisions to reduce it. Get enough sleep, drink enough water, eat healthily and don’t push yourself too hard. It won’t buy you eternal life, but it should keep your cells ticking along nicely.</p> <hr /> <p><em>The author thanks his colleagues <a href="https://www.uibk.ac.at/ecology/staff/persons/chatelain.html.en">Marion Chatelain</a> and <a href="https://cent.uw.edu.pl/en/person/prof-marta-szulkin/">Marta Szulkin</a> for their contributions to this article and the research on which it is based.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/127728/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Szymek Drobniak, DECRA Fellow, UNSW</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/tick-tock-how-stress-speeds-up-your-chromosomes-ageing-clock-127728" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Michael Schumacher’s former teammate spills on what the F1 legend is really like

<p>A former Ferrari teammate has lifted the lid on what it was like to work alongside Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher.</p> <p>Rubens Barrichello was Schumacher’s right-hand man for six seasons and explained what it was like working alongside him.</p> <p>Drivers know there’s a hierarchy within teams and despite being on the same team, drivers can sometimes be competitive with the men they call teammates.</p> <p>Barrichello says that Schumacher wasn’t always a supportive and open teammate.</p> <p>“I’ve always made friends and had a great relationship between my teammates. I do (include Michael), but he was never supportive … it’s not the right word. He would never be there to offer help so I never asked because there are teammates to go and ask,” Barrichello said on F1’s <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://youtu.be/3MvXyr7p4_E" target="_blank">Beyond the Grid</a></em> podcast.</p> <p>“For example Eddie Irvine, you ask him and he says ‘I don’t know which gear I take that corner’. I got p****d one day because I couldn’t understand how the hell he doesn’t know what gear and he doesn’t really know, he just doesn’t think, he did it naturally.</p> <p>“So you have to learn people with Michael it was different, he was a bit naive in a way that he worked his way.”</p> <p>He also spoke about meetings with just Schumacher, even though they were a part of the same team.</p> <p>“So many times I grabbed my chair because the meeting was already finished and then they started another meeting with just Michael there and I said hmm this is funny.</p> <p>“I took my chair and I just would sit there, say nothing and just stay there.”</p> <p>Eventually, Barrichello said that figuring out that the team was essentially Schumacher’s didn’t change his own ambitions towards the championships.</p> <p>“Eventually I felt that (it was Schumacher’s team), eventually I felt that the team was his,” he said.</p> <p>“It never dropped my emotions, seeing as I had to overcome my emotions to get better and to race against the best it wasn’t that ‘oh ok this engine was for him and this engine is for Rubens’.</p> <p>“I think they’d done such a good job on the year 2000 already that the engines had the same amount of power, but one is special and would have a choice to go to Michael but I think at the end of the day it was not a problem for me to race the same car as him.”</p> <p>Barrichello said that the thing that set Schumacher from the rest was his courage at high speeds.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5a4aIyFGYk/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5a4aIyFGYk/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">#tbtFerrari Badoer era magrin magrin 😂 /// #tbtFerraridays. 50kg for Badoer.... #forzaschumi @michaelschumacher</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/rubarrichello/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Rubens Barrichello 1️⃣1️⃣1️⃣</a> (@rubarrichello) on Nov 28, 2019 at 10:58am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“He was super, super on high speed like very courageous. The way I drove on the low speed was actually I was taking more speed out of it than him,” he explained.</p> <p>“I remember so many times Ross (Brawn) telling him that he had too do something different. I became so much better on the high speed because of him.</p> <p>“I think we both went to another level of pushing each other so it was good.</p> <p>“It’s not that easy to make Michael Schumacher go to another level.</p> <p>“Mine had to be mental. How do you go to a racetrack knowing that you have a B option of a pit stop and this and that and still be ready to win?”</p> <p>Barrichello said that he would have walked away with “at least one” championship had the time been split equally between Schumacher and himself.</p> <p>“If you put myself against Michael, I think it was a 70-30 split, lets put it this way he was better than me.</p> <p>“He was more complete, and Michael didn’t have bad days, whenever he had a bad day or he was vulnerable the team around him prepared him to be back up. They knew how to affect him positively.</p> <p>“But if it was run straight, just the same strategy for everyone I might have won at least one championship … at least one.</p> <p>“It doesn’t make a difference now, it’s part of the past. I didn’t and I’m happy with that because I tried.”</p>

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The finger trick that could help detect lung cancer

<p><span>An expert has revealed a simple “finger trick” that could help uncover respiratory tumours.</span></p> <p><span>According to <a href="https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/finger-trick-that-could-diagnose-lung-cancer-201753189.html"><em>Bupa UK</em></a>’s oncology nurse advisor Emma Norton, people can do this by bringing the nails of their index fingers together as if making the top of the heart.</span></p> <p><span>A diamond-shaped gap should be visible between the nails, Norton said. If this is missing, it could be a sign of finger clubbing or a deformity of the fingers and fingernails, which may indicate serious diseases such as lung cancer.</span></p> <p><span>The symptom occurs in 35 percent of people with lung cancer, according to <a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/mesothelioma/symptoms/finger-clubbing"><em>Cancer Research UK</em></a><em>.</em></span></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fphoto.php%3Ffbid%3D10160673422260207%26set%3Dp.10160673422260207%26type%3D3%26theater&amp;width=500&amp;show_text=true&amp;height=741&amp;appId" width="500" height="741" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p><span>“The test is used by medical professionals as a partial method of confirming conditions, but you can also do the test yourself, and it only takes a few seconds,” Norton said.</span></p> <p><span>“If you can’t see any kind of gap beneath your nail beds, this means your fingers are clubbed.”</span></p> <p><span>A <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080529163120.htm">study by researchers at the University of Leeds</a> found that tumour in the lungs may lead to the overproduction of a fatty compound called PGE2, which results in clubbing.</span></p> <p><span>“There are benign cases of clubbing, where it isn’t associated with other illnesses, but particularly because of the link to lung cancer, it is generally regarded as rather sinister,” said Professor David Bonthron of the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine.</span></p> <p><span>Norton recommends that people who do the test and uncover clubbing need to see their GP as soon as possible.</span></p>

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Deborah Hutton shines at 57: Here’s how you can keep vibrant skin too

<p>Deborah Hutton has proven that she is still shining and glowing at 57. </p> <p>The former editor of Women’s Weekly has even divulged her fanciful secret that helps keep her skin in check without all the fancy facials and pricey products - and it is a milk thistle. </p> <p>“I take milk thistle, because I love my wine!” Deborah wrote in a re-surfaced post on her website,<em> <strong><a rel="noopener" href="https://balancebydeborahhutton.com.au/my-beauty-secrets/" target="_blank">Balance by Deborah Hutton</a>.</strong></em></p> <p>“A naturopath told me recently that this magic flower (also known as St Mary's Thistle) is brilliant for supporting the regeneration of liver cells.”</p> <p>The product is renowned for working wonders on a hangover, when you might have lacklustre and dull skin. </p> <p>When it comes to her skincare, Deborah said she has learned throughout the years that staying with the same routine religiously has been the key to keeping the vitality and youthfulness of her skin.</p> <p>“Stick to a daily skincare regime - cleanse, hydrate and protect,” she said.</p> <p>Deborah added that a daily broad spectrum sunscreen to protect her from the harmful UVA and UVB rays is also thrown into her daily regime, as well as regular exfoliating.</p> <p>The 57-year-old magazine cover model said with skincare, everything starts from within so what you’re eating and drinking has a major impact. </p> <p>Hutton noted she drinks between 1.5 and two litres of water each day, while avoiding fatty foods and sugar where possible.</p> <p>“I’m far from perfect and love my indulgences, but I generally have a fairly healthy diet - chicken, fish, salads etc - and steer clear of deep-fried food, soft drinks and too many sweets,” she explained. </p> <p>Deborah supplements her daily diet with magnesium, Vitamin C, Omega 3, Vitamin B, Anthogenol and Silica.</p> <p>“I’m a hopeless sleeper. I have to turn all the gadgets off, the phone off and the TV off, at least an hour before I go to bed,” she said to the<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/health/deborah-hutton-reveals-her-agedefying-health-and-fitness-secrets/news-story/ea9e6cb2ec3ca7e271810e9e8a235c81" target="_blank">Sunday Telegraph</a>. </em></p> <p>“Camomile tea is a thing that I do every night, and I use a sleeping mask, I take melatonin - a natural hormone - which helps, but I really am a dreadful sleeper.”</p> <p>The only upside to this, she said, is that she's regularly up by 5am, when she catches up on her meditation. </p> <p>Deborah typically goes to the gym twice a week, and includes regular cardio and daily walks.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see Deborah Hutton's glowing skin. </p>

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What happens to your body when you're dehydrated?

<p>Water is essential for human life. It <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?id=yNVYZopJWlkC&amp;pg=PA215&amp;lpg=PA215&amp;dq=water+50-70%25+of+body+weight&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=CBnXnAeebN&amp;sig=dKK09BVRvNJwwtYknQhoGqpeqIs&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwir_biXmM7KAhWD3KYKHXLuAbwQ6AEIIDAB#v=onepage&amp;q=water%2050-70%25%20of%20body%20weight&amp;f=false">accounts for</a> for 50-70% of our body weight and is crucial for <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16028570">most bodily functions</a>.</p> <p>Any deficit in normal body water – through dehydration, sickness, exercise or heat stress – can make us feel rotten. First we feel thirsty and fatigued, and may develop a mild headache. This eventually gives way to grumpiness, and mental and physical decline.</p> <p>We continually lose water via our breath, urine, faeces and skin. Most healthy people regulate their body’s water level remarkably well via eating and drinking, and are guided by appetite and thirst. But this is <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2007.10719661?journalCode=uacn20#.VnHh1JN95Bw">more difficult</a> for infants, the sick, the elderly, athletes, and those with strenuous physical occupations, especially in the heat.</p> <h2>What happens when you dehydrate?</h2> <p>By the time you feel thirsty your body is already dehydrated; our thirst mechanism lags behind our actual level of hydration.</p> <p>Research shows that as little as 1% dehydration <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17921465">negatively affects</a> your mood, attention, memory and motor coordination. Data in humans is lacking and contradictory, but it appears that <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26381562">brain tissue fluid decreases</a> with dehydration, thus reducing brain volume and temporarily affecting cell function.</p> <p>As you “lose” body water <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cphy.c130017/pdf">without replacing it</a>, your blood becomes more concentrated and, at a point, this triggers your kidneys to retain water. The result: you urinate less.</p> <p>The thicker and more concentrated your blood becomes, the harder it is for your cardiovascular system to compensate by increasing heart rate to maintain blood pressure.</p> <p>When your dehydrated body is “pushed” – such as when exercising or faced with heat stress – the risk of exhaustion or collapse increases. This can <a href="http://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/0901/p527.pdf">cause you to faint</a>, for instance, when you stand up too quickly.</p> <p>Less water also hampers the body’s attempts at regulating temperature, which can cause <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperthermia">hyperthermia</a> (a body temperature greatly above normal).</p> <p>At a cellular level, “shrinkage” occurs as water is effectively borrowed to maintain other stores, such as the blood. The brain senses this and triggers an increased sensation of thirst.</p> <h2>How much should I drink?</h2> <p>Normal water needs range drastically due to a <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16028570">number of factors</a>, such as body composition, metabolism, diet, climate and clothing.</p> <p>Surprisingly, the <a href="http://iom.nationalacademies.org/reports/2004/dietary-reference-intakes-water-potassium-sodium-chloride-and-sulfate.aspx">first official recommendation</a> about water intake was made as recently as 2004. According to the Institute of Medicine, the <a href="http://iom.nationalacademies.org/%7E/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Nutrition/DRIs/DRI_Electrolytes_Water.pdf">adequate water intake</a> for adult men and women is 3.7 and 2.7 litres per day, respectively.</p> <p>Around 80% of total daily water should be obtained from any beverage (including water, caffeinated drinks and alcohol!) and the remaining 20% from food.</p> <p>But of course, this is just a rough guide. Here’s how to <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2007.10719661?journalCode=uacn20#.VnHh1JN95Bw">monitor your own hydration</a>:</p> <ol> <li> <p>Track your body weight and stay within 1% of your normal baseline. You can work out your baseline by averaging your weight (just out of bed, before breakfast) on three consecutive mornings.</p> </li> <li> <p>Monitor your urine. You should be urinating regularly (more than three to four times per day) and it should be a pale straw or light yellow colour without strong odour. If less frequent, darker colour or too pungent, then drink more fluids.</p> </li> <li> <p>Be conscious about drinking enough fluids. Your fluid consumption should prevent the perception of thirst.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/50462/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> </li> </ol> <p><em>Written by <span>Toby Mündel, Senior Lecturer, School of Sport and Exercise, Massey University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/health-check-what-happens-to-your-body-when-youre-dehydrated-50462" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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5 must have foods for your shopping trolley

<p>If you eat to improve your health, here are five foods to put in your supermarket trolley every week. All pack a proven punch in terms of health gains if you have them regularly.</p> <h2>1. Oats</h2> <p>Oats are a wholegrain cereal usually eaten for breakfast as porridge or in muesli. They have more soluble fibre than other grains.</p> <p>A soluble fibre found in the outer endosperm cell wall of this cereal known as beta-glucan <a href="http://www.uncletobys.com.au/oats/the-benefits-of-oats/the-importance-of-a-high-fibre-diet/">reduces absorption of cholesterol</a> in the small intestine. Eating enough oats so you get around three grams of beta-glucan daily <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21631511">reduces your total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol</a> in both people with high and normal cholesterol.</p> <p>Half a cup of raw rolled oats (50 grams) contains about two grams of beta-glucan and four grams of fibre. Oat bran is a bit higher with eight to 12 grams of beta-glucan in every 100 grams.</p> <p>Put another way, three bowls of porridge a day gives you enough soluble fibre and decreases your total cholesterol so much that if everyone started eating rolled oats, then the incidence of heart disease would drop by about 4%.</p> <p>Clearly, oats for breakfast are a must. And there’s an added bonus – they’re cheap, at $4 to $5 a kilogram.</p> <h2>2. Salmon</h2> <p>Salmon is an unusual fish because it’s so high in fat; at about 13 grams of fat per 100 grams, it has double the fat content of lean steak. But put it on your menu every week anyway because it contains highly specific polyunsaturated fatty acids called omega-3s (1.7 grams per 100 grams fish), which are components of every cell membrane in your body.</p> <p>Omega-3s, and another group of polyunsaturated fatty acids known as omega-6, get converted into a host of powerful compounds that <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20500789">regulate important body functions,</a> including blood pressure, blood clotting, the brain and nervous system, and the production of molecules that regulate the inflammatory response.</p> <p>A systematic review of <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=casula+m+and+soranna">11 placebo-controlled, double-blind randomised trials</a>, with 15,348 patients who had heart disease, measured the impact of taking one gram of omega-3s daily for at least one year. It found significant protective effects on cardiac death rates, sudden death and heart attacks, even though there was no protective effect for all-cause mortality or stroke.</p> <p>We need to get the major omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from food because our bodies cannot manufacture them. To keep inflammatory processes under control you need a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids of about four to one.</p> <p>Unfortunately, typical Western diets have a ratio of 15 to one due to use of vegetable oils high in omega-6s. So reduce these and increase the good sources of omega 3s, such as oily fish, soybean and canola oils, flaxseed, walnuts and omega-3 fortified foods, such as eggs.</p> <h2>3. Tea</h2> <p>We all know that sharing a cuppa is a great way to feel better. A <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24172303">2013 review</a> published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found drinking tea regularly improves your attention and self-reported alertness, while population studies suggest it’s associated with <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22237999">better cognitive function in the elderly</a>.</p> <p>Tea constituents thought to have neuro-protective effects include L-theanine, caffeine and catechins.</p> <p>The most powerful data dictating that green and black teas should definitely be in your shopping trolley comes from a <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23780706">Cochrane systematic review of tea</a> and prevention of heart disease. Across 11 randomised controlled trials and a total of 821 healthy adults, including people at high risk of heart disease, drinking black and green teas led to significant reductions in LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.</p> <p>So, put the kettle on and drink up.</p> <h2>4. Soy foods</h2> <p>A range of health benefits have been attributed to soy foods, although not all the promises hold up to scientific scrutiny.</p> <p>A review of soy products containing a compound called isoflavones, evaluated the impact of soy protein on heart disease risk. One risk factor is how easily blood flows though your arteries.</p> <p>In a <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20709515">meta-analysis of 17 randomised trials</a> researchers found a small but significant improvement in blood flow of 0.72% in studies using soy foods, such as soy milk, pasta, soya beans or flour for four to 24 weeks.</p> <p>The biggest nutritional pay off from eating soy beans or other soy foods regularly is their fibre and protein content. They are low in saturated fat, contain some omega 3s and are a good source of folate, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, zinc and magnesium.</p> <p>Supermarkets carry a range of soy foods from soy milk, cheese and yoghurt to canned or dried soy beans, tofu, fresh beans, soy “meats” and textured vegetable protein. Experiment until you find the products you like best.</p> <h2>5. A variety vegetables and fruit</h2> <p>Vegetables and fruit can help ward off type 2 diabetes. A 2012 <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3652306/">meta-analysis of five studies</a> involving over 179,000 people found a 7% lower risk ratio of developing type 2 diabetes in those with the highest fruit and vegetable intakes compared to the lowest.</p> <p>A closer look at specific types of fruit and vegetables, found the relationship was strongest for green leafy vegetables (bok choy, spinach, cabbage, choy sum, all lettuce varieties, rocket, broccoli, silverbeet, watercress). And the longer the studies ran, the stronger the protective relationship.</p> <p>While a <a href="http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5001">meta-analysis of three studies on fruit intake</a> found that for every three pieces eaten weekly, the hazard ratio for developing type 2 diabetes was 0.98, meaning a small risk reduction.</p> <p>Some fruits were better than others. The most protective, in descending order were blueberries, prunes, grapes and raisins, apples and pears, bananas and grapefruit.</p> <p>Add a vegetable and fruit you have not had for a while to your shopping trolley every week. This variety will boost your fibre, vitamin and mineral intakes. The more colour the better, as it maximises your intake of plant phytonutrients that contribute to good health.</p> <p>If you fall short of getting 2+5 serves a day, then a target of three fruit and four veg may be easier to start with. Learning to prepare meals that include lots of vegetables or fruit and how to hide them in your favourite recipes will be worth the effort.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/25265/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Clare Collins, Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/health-check-five-must-have-foods-for-your-shopping-trolley-25265" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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“Why aren’t I allowed to play?”: 11-year-old’s heartbreak as he’s told he’s too big to play minutes before match

<p>An 11-year-old boy was left devastated after being told that he was too big to play in a rugby union competition with his friends.</p> <p>Leonidas Hinekiteao was taken from the field in the fifth match of an eight-week Spring Sevens rugby tournament in Sydney earlier this month.</p> <p>He played with his teammates in earlier rounds of the competition but was removed from the field by an NSW Rugby Union official.</p> <p>Leonidas is twice of the size of the children he plays against and was taken off the field due to the<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.rugbycoachweekly.net/rugby-coaching/blog/australia-age-grade-size-for-age-guidelines-official-document/" target="_blank">Rugby Australia size for age policy</a>.</p> <p>The policy states that players in under-10 to under-15 age groups must be assessed if they’re taller than a certain height and heavier than a certain weight.</p> <p>An under-11 player, which was the category Leonidas was trying to play in, must be assessed if they are more than 164cms tall and weigh more than 65kgs.</p> <p>While unclear as to what Leonidas measurements are, he was above these measurements.</p> <p>His mother Ayla took to Facebook to share her outrage.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Foceania88%2Fposts%2F2499142673515131&amp;width=500" width="500" height="985" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>“Just before the whistle blew an official from Waratahs approached us to say the ''big kid'' can't play anymore,” the boy's mother, from Christchurch, New Zealand said.</p> <p>“If there was an issue with him playing in his own age group, don't go and accept his registration and take my money,” she said.</p> <p>“Call me to discuss this during the week, don't go and tell my kids can't play when he's already tied his boots and is ready to kick off.”</p> <p>Leonidas attempted to take to the field with his team, but the referee refused to blow the whistle until he was off the field in tears.</p> <p>Leonidas’ teammates left the field with him and forfeited the game.</p> <p>“Sorry for posting this Leo, but at the end of the day you are still a kid and crying because you don't fully understand what is going on and why you cannot play is allowed,” Ms Hinekiteao's post continued.</p> <p>Rugby NSW issued a statement to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7730169/Why-arent-allowed-play-11-year-old-breaks-told-hes-BIG-play-rugby.html" target="_blank">The Daily Mail</a><span> </span>about the incident.</p> <p>“While it is not NSWRU or SJRU intention to prevent any player from participating in rugby, the player involved had been previously assessed in accordance with the policy and it was deemed he was required to compete in an older age division,” the statement read.</p> <p>“We recognise that perhaps further attempts could have been taken to speak to all those involved; family, players and club; to minimise impact to the player, his team mates and the wider competition.</p> <p>“While the matter had tried to be addressed since the opening round of the competition, the miscommunication between all parties meant the matter had not been fully addressed.</p> <p>“We want to see the player involved stay part of our competition and we are continuing to work with the club to ensure he and his family can stay involved.”</p>

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Menopausal hormone therapy: What are the risks and benefits?

<p>At menopause, a woman’s ovaries lose their reproductive function. Eggs are no longer released and the production of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone falls. It’s the lowered levels of oestrogen after menopause that gives rise to troublesome postmenopausal symptoms.</p> <p>Most women experience menopause between the <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrdp20154">ages of 45 and 55</a>. It’s a natural event, but for many women it has significant health consequences.</p> <p>The fortunate few have minimal symptoms, but at least <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25706184">three-quarters</a> of women will have some symptoms. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25706184">One-third of all menopausal women</a> are moderately to severely affected.</p> <p>Typical symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, low mood, disturbed sleep, joint pain and vaginal dryness. These symptoms <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26115590">can be debilitating</a>.</p> <p>The fall in oestrogen also leads to bone loss and an increased risk of fragility fractures. And women going through menopause have increased central abdominal fat, even without an increase in weight. This contributes to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrdp20154">a heightened risk</a> of diabetes and heart disease.</p> <p>An absence of symptoms doesn’t mean bone loss and other metabolic changes aren’t occurring, as these develop silently.</p> <p>Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) – which used to be known as hormone replacement therapy, or HRT – is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26444994">the most effective treatment</a> we have for menopausal symptoms. Yet many women and health-care providers remain confused about the benefits and risks of MHT.</p> <h2>What is menopausal hormone therapy?</h2> <p>MHT replenishes oestrogen supplies in the body to treat the symptoms of menopause. Taking oestrogen causes thickening of the lining of the uterus, so progestogen (which acts like progesterone) is added to MHT to stop this.</p> <p>This is important because a thickened uterus lining may undergo <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8569016">cellular changes</a> that have the potential to develop into uterine cancer. For a woman who has had a hysterectomy (surgery where the uterus is removed) MHT will be oestrogen-only.</p> <p>Oestrogen is usually taken in tablet form, but can be applied as a skin patch or skin gel, or as a vaginal pessary. Progesterone is taken as a capsule. There are a range of single formulations and combinations, so the dose and formulation of MHT should be tailored to each woman’s health profile and personal preferences.</p> <p>Women shouldn’t take MHT if they have a malignancy sensitive to oestrogen, like breast cancer, or have undiagnosed vaginal bleeding.</p> <p>Unless there’s a specific reason they can’t, it’s especially important women with early menopause take MHT to optimise their health. This is true regardless of how severe their symptoms are.</p> <p>Menopause before age 45 is classified as early menopause. Prematurely menopausal women are at <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27627190">significantly greater risk</a> of osteoporosis and fracture, heart disease and premature death.</p> <p>For women going through menopause at the usual time, the choice may be less clear-cut.</p> <p>Importantly, MHT cannot be seen in one dimension; that is, as only having one benefit or one risk. To make an informed choice, it’s essential to evaluate the total effects of MHT, including how it influences the risk of premature death, heart disease, fracture, other cancers, and of course, well-being and quality of life.</p> <h2>Balancing the risks and the benefits</h2> <p>Clinical trials have found specific formulations of oral oestrogen with progesterone result in a small increase in breast cancer risk. One study reported roughly a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/195120">1.25-fold increase in risk</a>. This is equivalent to about four extra cases of breast cancer per 1,000 women per year in women who were taking this specific MHT formulation before and during the study period.</p> <p>However, this risk estimate may be incorrect as the women in this study who had never used MHT prior to starting the study had no increased breast cancer risk compared with the placebo group. So some degree of uncertainty as to the risk remains.</p> <p>There was <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/198540">no increase in risk</a> for oestrogen-only therapy, and whether these risks apply to non-oral therapies is not yet known.</p> <p>These risks should be balanced with the benefits. Women who take MHT gain less abdominal fat and are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16440209">less likely to develop diabetes</a>. MHT prevents bone loss and therefore the risk of fragility fracture, an effect that continues <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20711081">after treatment is stopped</a>. Oestrogen alone is associated with <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24084921">reduced heart disease risk</a>, while oestrogen plus progestogen also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24084921">lowers the risk</a> of colon and uterine cancer.</p> <p>The most comprehensive summary of the safety of MHT is from the Women’s Health Initiative study in which 27,347 participants were randomised to receive MHT or a placebo for five to seven years. The researchers followed up to see <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28898378">if death rates differed</a> between women who had taken MHT compared with the placebo.</p> <p>After 18 years, cancer mortality and death overall from any cause did not differ between the groups, irrespective of whether the MHT was oral oestrogen-only or oral oestrogen plus progestogen.</p> <p>So if we add symptom relief to the equation, the benefits of MHT will outweigh the potential risks for most symptomatic women who start MHT within ten years of menopause (the time frame measured in this study).</p> <p>Some women using MHT will continue on the treatment for five or ten years to manage their symptoms. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25706184">More than 40%</a> of women aged 60 to 65 still have hot flushes and night sweats, and one in seven of these women describe their symptoms as “severe”.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13697137.2015.1129166?journalCode=icmt20">length of time</a> a woman uses MHT for will depend on her symptom severity and individual needs, which should be re-evaluated alongside her risk profile every year with a health professional.</p> <h2>The alternatives aren’t evidence-based</h2> <p>Claims over-the-counter or internet-purchased nutritional supplements or herbal tablets will “balance your hormones” and relieve symptoms <a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001395.pub4/full">cannot be substantiated</a>.</p> <p>Studies have consistently <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6419242/">failed to show meaningful benefits</a> of nutritional supplements or herbal tablets over placebo for hot flushes. And these treatments do not prevent bone loss or protect against heart disease.</p> <p>Further, unproven therapies can also have side effects. Women considering herbal or naturopathic remedies should have a face-to-face consultation with a qualified therapist (as opposed to internet-based communication) to ensure their full symptom and health profile, as well as medication use, are documented to minimise adverse effects.</p> <p><em>For more information about treatment options visit the <a href="https://www.menopause.org.au/">Australasian Menopause Society</a> website and view the International Menopause Society <a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAjwoYuItHS-4jvjL6gJgM7o-vpr0PVk6">YouTube videos</a>.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/124084/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-davis-10376">Susan Davis</a>, Chair of Women's Health, <em><a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/making-sense-of-menopausal-hormone-therapy-means-understanding-the-benefits-as-well-as-the-risks-124084">original article</a>.</p>

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What are parasites and how do they make us sick?

<p>A <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/about.html">parasite</a> is an organism that lives in or on an organism of another species.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/about.html">Three main classes</a> of parasites can cause disease in humans: protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites. Protozoa and helminths largely affect the gut, while ectoparasites include lice and mites that can attach to or burrow into the skin, staying there for long periods of time.</p> <p>The majority of protozoa and helminths tend to be non-pathogenic (meaning they don’t cause disease) or result in very mild illness. Some, however, can cause severe disease in humans.</p> <p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fecal%E2%80%93oral_route">Faecal-oral transmission</a>, where parasites found in the stool of one person end up being swallowed by another person, is the most common mode of transmission of parasitic protozoa and helminths.</p> <p>The initial symptoms tend to be gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhoea. When parasites invade the red blood cells or organs, the consequences can become more serious.</p> <h2>Protozoa</h2> <p>Protozoa are tiny single-celled organisms that multiply inside the human body.</p> <p>The protozoa giardia, for example, has a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC88984/">classic two-stage life cycle</a>. In the first stage, called trophozoite, the parasite swims around and consumes nutrients from the small bowel. In the second stage it develops into a non-moving cyst.</p> <p>Cysts excreted in faeces can contaminate the water supply, and ingesting contaminated food or water results in transmission. Close human to human contact and unsanitary living conditions can promote transmission.</p> <p>Symptoms of <a href="https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-enhealth-manual-atsi-cnt-l%7Eohp-enhealth-manual-atsi-cnt-l-ch1%7Eohp-enhealth-manual-atsi-cnt-l-ch1.5">giardia</a> can include severe or chronic diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, fatigue, weakness and weight loss.</p> <p>Other important protozoa are the plasmodium species. Plasmodium develop in mosquitoes, and infected mosquitoes transmit the parasite to humans by biting them. Plasmodium destroys red blood cells which impacts organ function and causes a disease in humans known as malaria.</p> <p>Malaria causes the most deaths of all parasitic diseases. In 2017 it was estimated malaria resulted in <a href="https://www.who.int/gho/malaria/epidemic/deaths/en/">435,000 deaths globally</a>, most of them young children in sub-Saharan Africa.</p> <h2>Helminths</h2> <p>Helminths, often called worms, are large multicellular organisms usually visible to the naked eye in their adult stages. As a general rule, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/about.html">helminths cannot multiply</a> inside the human body.</p> <p>One major group of helminths are flatworms. Flatworms literally have <a href="https://www.britannica.com/animal/flatworm">flattened soft bodies</a>. Their digestive cavity has only one opening for both the ingestion and removal of food. It’s thought <a href="https://www.britannica.com/animal/flatworm">80% of flatworms</a> are parasitic.</p> <p>Tapeworms are one type of flatworm. The <a href="https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-enhealth-manual-atsi-cnt-l%7Eohp-enhealth-manual-atsi-cnt-l-ch1%7Eohp-enhealth-manual-atsi-cnt-l-ch1.5">most common human tapeworm</a> in Australia is the dwarf tapeworm. The prevalence of dwarf tapeworm in isolated communities in northwest Australia is estimated to be <a href="https://irjponline.com/admin/php/uploads/1625_pdf.pdf">around 55%</a>.</p> <p>Infestation in humans comes from ingesting dwarf tapeworm eggs. Transmission from <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/hymenolepis/faqs.html">person to person</a> occurs via the faecal-oral route. As with other parasites, the major risk factors are poor sanitation and shared living quarters. Symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, weight loss and weakness.</p> <p>Another major group of helminths are nematodes, commonly known as roundworms. Nematodes are the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nematode">most numerous</a> multicellular animals on earth and can be found in almost every environment. Unlike flatworms, they do have a digestive system that extends from the mouth to the anus.</p> <p>More than <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1471492203002447">50% of the world’s population</a> are thought to be affected at one point during their life by at least <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2517378/">one of six main classes</a> of nematodes.</p> <p>The eggs or larvae of these nematodes usually develop in soil before being transmitted to the human host. For this reason these nematodes are often called soil-transmitted helminths. A good example are hookworms which <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2517378/">infest humans</a> by penetrating the skin from contaminated soil. So wearing <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0003285">appropriate footwear</a> is an important way to prevent hookworm transmission.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2517378/">pinworm</a> Enterobius vermicularis has a different life cycle to the other nematodes. Pinworm larvae develop in eggs on the skin near the anus or under the fingernails.</p> <p>Pinworm, also known as threadworm, is the <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/threadworms-pinworms">most common helminth parasite</a> in Australia. Itching around the anus is a major symptom of pinworm. Pinworms are easily passed from one person to another and it’s common for entire families to be infested.</p> <h2>Ectoparasites</h2> <p>The term <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/about.html">ectoparasites</a> generally refers to organisms such as ticks, fleas, lice and mites that can attach or burrow into the skin and remain there for long periods of time.</p> <p><a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/scabies">Scabies</a>, for example, a contagious skin disease marked by itching and small raised red spots, is caused by the human itch mite. Scabies usually is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact.</p> <p><a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/head-lice">Head lice</a> are small, wingless insects that live and breed in human hair and feed by sucking blood from the scalp.</p> <h2>Prevention and treatment</h2> <p>Some parasites can lie dormant for extended periods of time. This can make the diagnosis of parasitic infestation challenging as there may be no symptoms, or symptoms can be vague and non-specific.</p> <p>The good news is we have very good medications to treat many different kinds of parasites once they’ve been diagnosed. These medications do have side effects but on the whole are <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(11)60055-4/fulltext">very effective</a>.</p> <p>Treatment of parasites should be accompanied by preventative strategies such as improving sanitation and ensuring the availability of appropriate clothing and footwear in affected areas.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/soil-transmitted-helminth-infections">World Health Organisation</a> has recommended periodic medical treatment (deworming) to all at-risk people living in endemic areas, but widespread implementation remains challenging.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/121489/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Vincent Ho, Senior Lecturer and clinical academic gastroenterologist, Western Sydney University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/what-are-parasites-and-how-do-they-make-us-sick-121489" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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