Category Archives: Health

They say: “Energy drinks linked to hepatitis in new case study.” 1 5/5 (1)

Most of us have consumed energy drinks at one point or another, either because of a looming deadline or during a fun night out. Although energy drinks are often perceived as harmless, a new case report links the beverages to liver damage, after a previously healthy man developed hepatitis from consuming too many.

In the United States, most energy drinks are consumed by young males between 18-34 years of age. Almost one third of teenagers between 12-17 years old consume energy drinks regularly, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

Between 2007-2011, the number of energy drink-related emergency department visits in the U.S. doubled. Main concerns regard the combined use of energy drinks with alcohol, which leads to excessive binge drinking.

As for the contents of an energy drink, it is believed that caffeine and sugar pose the greatest threat to consumers’ health.

According to a new case report, however, there may be something in energy drinks that can cause liver damage.

The report details a 50-year-old man who was admitted to the hospital for acute hepatitis. The patient had reportedly consumed four to five energy drinks per day for more than 3 weeks.

This is a very rare occurrence; there is only one other case, in which a 22-year-old woman developed acute hepatitis from consuming energy drinks in excess.
Man consumed four to five energy drinks daily for 3 weeks

This latest case – reported by Dr. Jennifer Nicole Harb of the University of Florida College of Medicine and colleagues – was published in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

(Info from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313849.php)

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“Food preferences altered by specific brain pathways” Like No ratings yet.

Scientists reveal how particular brain pathways can influence food choices through a study of individuals that carry defects in a gene that is associated with obesity. The study – led by the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom – provides insight into what guides our preference for certain foods and identifies a direct link between food selection and specific gene variants.

Understanding the science behind food choice may increase knowledge of obesity and consequently assist with strategies to decrease the global obesity burden that affects more than 600 million people worldwide.

The development of food preferences begins early in humans, even before birth, and what people like and dislike changes into adulthood. Many determinants affect food choice. While hunger is a key element, what individuals choose to eat is not determined just by physiological and nutritional needs.

Factors that may influence food choice include aspects that tantalize the senses, such as taste, appearance, smell, and texture, as well as more subtle economic, physical, social, and psychological elements. New research published in the journal Nature Communications indicates that biology may also play a role.

Previous research has shown that a defect in the melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) gene causes obesity. Research suggests that 1 in 100 obese people have the defect, which makes them more likely to gain weight. In mouse studies, the MC4R gene variant has been shown to induce obesity as a result of disrupting a particular pathway in the brain that leads to mice eating considerably more fat.

While the mice with the gene defect were found to eat more fat, they ate significantly less sugar. The University of Cambridge study adds to these findings by revealing the relevance of this high-fat, low-sugar eating behavior.

Assessing how MC4R gene variant affects food preferences

The new research observed people’s preference for high-fat and high-sugar foods by providing participants with an all-you-can-eat buffet of chicken korma curry with a dessert of Eton mess (a mixture of strawberries, whipped cream, and crushed meringue).

Three korma curry options were provided that were manipulated to look and taste the same; however, the fat content in each varied. Fat content across the choices provided 20 percent (low), 40 percent (medium), and 60 percent (high) of the calories.

(Read more at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313278.php)

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“Hypertension in children, teens linked to poorer cognitive skills:” 1 5/5 (1)

Children and adolescents who have high blood pressure may be at risk of poorer cognitive skills, finds a new study published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

While high blood pressure, or hypertension, is perceived by some people to be a condition that only affects adults, studies have shown that it affects around 3-4 percent of children and adolescents aged 8-17 years.

A child’s blood pressure is calculated differently to that of adults; in general, a child is considered to have hypertension if their blood pressure is the same as or higher than 95 percent of children of the same age, sex, and height.

Similar to adults, children who are overweight or obese, have a poor diet and lack of exercise, a family history of hypertension, or who have certain medical conditions – such as heart and kidney disease – are at increased risk of high blood pressure.

According to study co-author Dr. Marc B. Lande, of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, and colleagues, previous research has shown that high blood pressure can interfere with adult’s cognitive functioning, but there has been little research on whether this association rings true for children.
Hypertension linked to poorer performance on cognitive tests

For their study, the research assessed the cognitive test results of 150 children aged 10-18 years. Of these, 75 had newly diagnosed hypertension, while 75 had normal blood pressure.

The team excluded subjects from the analysis if they had other conditions known to impact cognitive skills, such as learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and sleep disorders.

“We wanted to make sure that if we found differences between children with and without hypertension, it was likely associated with the hypertension itself, not any of these other factors,” explains Dr. Lande.

Compared with children and adolescents who had normal blood pressure, those with high blood pressure performed worse on tests of visual skills, visual and verbal memory, and processing speed, the team reports.

What is more, the researchers found that high blood pressure was more common among children with sleep problems, supporting previous research suggesting poor sleep can impair cognitive functioning.
(From: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313189.php)

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“Hunger may motivate us more than thirst, fear, or anxiety.” Like No ratings yet.

Human motivation has been studied for decades, primarily in an attempt to answer one question: what drives us to take one action over another? Researchers shed some light in a new study, after finding hunger is a stronger motivational force than thirst, fear, anxiety, and social needs.

Senior author Michael J. Krashes, of the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and colleagues recently published their findings in the journal Neuron.

Put simply, motivation is the reason for acting in a particular way or making a certain choice over another.

In the 1940s, American psychologist Abraham H. Maslow created the “hierarchy of needs” – a set of five “needs” that he believed explained human motivation.

These range from physiological needs – such as food, water, and other requirements for human survival – to self-actualization, the desire for personal growth and success.

Over the years, researchers have either acknowledged, criticized, or amplified Maslow’s theory. With regard to the latter, neurologists have increasingly investigated the role of the human brain in motivation.
Hungry and thirsty mice opted for food over water

According to Krashes and team, most neurological studies of motivation are conducted in tightly controlled conditions and have focused on investigating one motivational state at a time, which has made it difficult to determine if some states are stronger drivers than others and what brain circuits are involved.

With a view to addressing this knowledge gap, the researchers conducted a series of mouse experiments in which they assessed a variety of motivational states, including hunger, fear, anxiety, and social needs.

For the study, the team used optogenetics – a technique that uses light to control cells – to govern nerve cells in the brain known as agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons.

AgRP neurons are situated in the brain’s hypothalamus. They are known to regulate appetite and are crucial for survival.

For one experiment, the researchers either deprived mice of food for 24 hours or activated their AgRP neurons in order to make them hungry. These mice were also deprived of water, making them thirsty. A control group was deprived of water but not food.

(Share Info from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313178.php)

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“Curiosity about cigarettes, cigars falling among students” 1 No ratings yet.

Fewer middle and high school students in the United States have ever used or are curious about using cigarettes or cigars, according to new research published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

However, the study – conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – identified no change in the percentage of American students who have ever used or are curious about smokeless tobacco.

According to the CDC, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., accounting for more than 480,000 deaths each year.

There is no doubt that great strides have been made in reducing smoking rates in the U.S.; the number of adults who currently smoke has fallen from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 16.8 percent in 2014.

Still, more needs to be done, and researchers are focused on curbing cigarette use among youth as a way of ending the tobacco epidemic.

In order to do so, investigators first need to get a good idea of the scale of tobacco use among youth and what is driving them to use tobacco products.

Study co-author Alexander Persoskie, of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, and colleagues aimed to address these factors with their new study.
Four percent fall in ever-use of cigarettes

The team analyzed information from the 2012 and 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey, which provides national data on tobacco use among American students in grades 6-12.

Using this data, the researchers calculated the percentage of students who had ever used or had been curious about using cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco. For 2014 only, the team assessed ever-use of and curiosity about e-cigarettes.

(Info from and continues at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313045.php)

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