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US GUIDELINES REDEFINE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AS 130/80, NOT 140/90
New Delhi: The first comprehensive high blood pressure guidelines in the US in more than a decade have suggested that hypertension should be treated earlier when it reaches 130/80 mm Hg rather than 140/90.
The guidelines are being published by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) for detection, prevention, management and treatment of high blood pressure. Earlier guidelines released by the AHA stated that a normal systolic blood pressure is less than 120 while high blood pressure is categorised as above 140.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the most common lifestyle diseases prevalent today and is a major contributor to health problems like strokes and heart attacks. Considered to be a “silent killer” by medical professionals across the globe, hypertension is a cardiovascular disease whose detection is a bit complex, due to its subtle signs and symptoms. Rather than one in three US adults having high blood pressure (32 percent) with the previous definition, the new guidelines will result in nearly half of the US adult population (46 percent) having high BP, or hypertension, AHA said in a statement.
However, there will only be a small increase in the number of US adults who will require anti-hypertensive medication, it said. High blood pressure is now defined as readings of 130 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) and higher for the systolic BP measurement, or readings of 80 and higher for the diastolic measurement. That is a change from the old definition of 140/90 and higher, reflecting complications that can occur at those lower numbers. The new guidelines stress the importance of using proper technique to measure blood pressure. Blood pressure levels should be based on an average of two to three readings on at least two different occasions, AHA said.
High blood pressure accounts for the second largest number of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths, second only to smoking, it said. It is known as the “silent killer” because often there are no symptoms, despite its role in significantly increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke. Paul K Whelton, lead author of the guidelines published in the journal Hypertension and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, noted the dangers of blood pressure levels between 130-139/80-89 mm Hg. “You have already doubled your risk of cardiovascular complications compared to those with a normal level of blood pressure,” Whelton said.
“We want to be straight with people – if you already have a doubling of risk, you need to know about it. It does not mean you need medication, but it is a yellow light that you need to be lowering your blood pressure, mainly with non-drug approaches,” he said.
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A GLASS OF RED WINE EVERY WEEK MAY IMPROVE CHANCES OF PREGNANCY
New Delhi: Trying to conceive? Drink a glass of red wine every week to imporve your chances of pregnancy, suggests a study. While women are strictly advised against drinking during and for some time after pregnancy. But, drinking wine to boost your chances of conception is something you can definitely do, according to the research.
Researchers from Washington University in the US found that hopeful mothers who regularly drank red wine had better ovarian reserve – the quantity of eggs present in the ovaries at any one time. The team asked 135 women aged between 18 and 44 years to keep a diary detailing how much beer, spirits and red and white wine they drank each month.
They also used ultrasound scanners to count each woman’s antral follicles, a proxy for the number of eggs she had left for the future. Researchers found that those who consumed more than five servings of red wine a month enjoyed a higher ovarian reserve – a measure of a woman’s reproductive health, The Times reported. However, researchers also noted that white wine, beer and spirits were not linked to higher fertility. The molecule involved could be resveratrol, an antioxidant that protects cells against biological stress and is abundant in red grapes, blueberries and cocoa, researchers said.
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EXERCISE DURING CHILDHOOD MAY REDUCE RISK OF OBESITY AND CANCER!
Wellington: A new study has found that exercise during childhood and adolescence may reduce the risk of developing obesity and cancer.
Researchers have claimed that physical activities may thwart some of the damaging effects of a high-fat diet such as obesity, heart disease and cancer. The findings which was based on the mouse study, revealed that the bone has the capacity to retain "memory" of its effects long even after the exercise has stopped. This bone memory then continues to change the way the body metabolises a high-fat diet.
Justin O'Sullivan, a molecular geneticist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand said,"What was remarkable was that these changes lasted long after the rats stopped doing that extra exercise -- into their mid-life." He added,"The bone marrow carried a 'memory' of the effects of exercise. The rats still got fat, but that early extra exercise basically set them up so that even though they put on weight, they didn't have the same profile of negative effects that is common with a high fat diet."
Further, the study emphasised that childhood and adolescence are periods of rapid bone growth and exercise during this period may ensure a healthy adulthood. Elwyn Firth, Professor from the university's Liggins Institute explained,"If you reach optimal bone mass early in life, you're less likely to suffer from broken bones or other bone-related problems as an adult." For the study, the team compared the bone health and metabolism of rats across different diet and exercise conditions, zeroing in on messenger molecules that signal the activity of genes in bone marrow.
The results showed that in the rats with high-fat diet and an exercise wheel the early extra physical activity caused inflammation-linked genes to be turned down. In addition, exercise was also found to alter the way the rats' bones metabolised energy from food, changing energy pathways that disrupt the body's response to a high-calorie diet, the researchers said. The finding was published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology.
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NEW TECHNOLOGY CAN REVERSE AGEING IN HUMAN CELLS
Houston: Scientists have developed a new technology that can reverse ageing and rejuvenate human cells, an advance that may help treat progeria - a disorder that causes children to age too quickly.
While advances have been made to slow down ageing in humans, true age-reversal at a cellular level remains difficult to achieve. Researchers at Houston Methodist Research Institute in the US studied cells from children with progeria, a rare condition marked by rapid ageing that usually robs them of the chance to live beyond their early teens.
"We wanted to do something that would improve the children's quality of life and potentially allow them to live longer, so we set about studying their cells and seeing if we could improve the cell function," said John P Cooke from Houston Methodist. Researchers focused on telomeres, which are found at the tip of each chromosome, like the tip of a shoelace, holding the chromosome together. As we get older, the telomere gets shorter, ticking off the time we have left.
They found that the telomeres were shorter in children with progeria. "When we reverse the process of the telomere shortening in the cells from these children and lengthen them, it can reverse a lot of the problems associated with ageing," Cooke said. Researchers used a technology called RNA therapeutics. They got cells to produce a protein called telomerase that can extend and lengthen the telomere. Having that protein expressed in a cell for just a few days was led to a substantial physiologically relevant and meaningful effect on the lifespan and function of the cells.
"What was most unexpected about our work was the dramatic effect the telomere-extending technology had on the cells," Cooke said. "We were not expecting to see such a dramatic effect on the ability of the cells to proliferate. They could function and divide more normally, and we gave them extra lifespan, as well as better function," he said. "We markedly improved the ability of cells to multiply and reversed the production of inflammatory proteins. Those markers of cell ageing we looked at were all reversed with the treatment in our study," Cooke said. The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
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