Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why you need to eat less Salt

Excessive amounts of salt and or fat in your diet is a huge cause of chronic illnesses such as stroke, diabetes and heart disease. A high intake of salt causes high blood pressure and increase your chance of heart disease and or stroke by 33%. Foods can usually be salty enough with their marinade and what they are cooked with. No need to add extra salt at the table. If you are going to add salt, pinch a dash and sprinkle it over your dish.

by: Brittany Cascone

Concussion = Alzheimer's

Concussion can lead to damage in the white matter of the brain that resembles abnormalities found in people in the early stages of Alzheimer‘s disease, a new study suggests.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine said their findings should prompt a re-evaluation of the long-term effects of concussion, which affects more than 1.7 million people in the United States annually. About 15 percent of concussion patients suffer persistent neurological symptoms.
"The previous thinking before was you get a concussion, and that causes a certain damage from bopping your head and you get these symptoms," said study author Dr. Saeed Fakhran, an assistant professor of radiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "We found it acts as a kind of trigger, and lights a fuse that causes a neurodegenerative cascade that causes all these symptoms down the line. Once you‘ve hit your head, the injury isn‘t done."
The findings are published online June 18 in the journal Radiology.
The study drew some criticism from concussion and Alzheimer‘s disease experts who said the findings, while provocative, should not be interpreted as drawing a clear link between a concussion suffered early in life with the development of Alzheimer‘s.
"I don‘t want a mom to pick this up and say, ‘Oh my god, my 10-year-old is going to get Alzheimer‘s now,‘ because that is not the case," said Dr. Ken Podell, a neuropsychologist and co-director of the Methodist Concussion Center in Houston. "It‘s very inconclusive at this time, and there‘s no clinical application of this at this point of time."
White matter serves as the tissue through which messages pass between different areas of gray matter within the brain and spinal cord. Think of gray matter as the individual computers in a network, and white matter as the cables that connect the computer.
The researchers reviewed past brain scans of 64 people who had suffered a concussion, focusing on scans that used an advanced MRI technique called diffusion-tensor imaging, which spots microscopic changes in the brain‘s white matter.
The investigators then compared these brain scans to symptoms reported by concussed patients in a post-concussion questionnaire. They focused on symptoms shared with Alzheimer‘s patients, including memory problems, disturbances in sleep cycles and hearing problems.
The results showed a significant correlation between high concussion symptom scores and reduced water movement in the parts of the brain‘s white matter related to auditory processing and sleep-wake disturbances. Further, the researchers said, the distribution of white matter abnormalities in mildly concussed patients resembled the distribution of abnormalities in people with Alzheimer‘s disease.
"Basically, it looks a lot like Alzheimer‘s," said study co-author Dr. Lea Alhilali, an assistant professor of radiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "You get the same distribution of damage in the way that Alzheimer‘s disease affects the brain."
These abnormalities could spark a series of reactions that lead to long-term problems with thinking and memory. "The cascade is what is the important factor," Alhilali said. "It doesn‘t appear what you‘re symptomatic from is the injury itself. What you‘re symptomatic from is how the brain responds to that injury."
However, brain experts believe that researchers may be going too far in trying to draw a link between the concussion damage they found and the chronic damage found in Alzheimer‘s.
"It‘s an interesting observation, but I think they are making a leap that the pattern of changes they see on the scan are indicative of what we see in Alzheimer‘s disease," said Dr. Ron Petersen, director of the Mayo Alzheimer‘s Disease Research Center. "Their correlation between the scores on the concussion instrument and white matter changes, that‘s nice and good and makes sense. But then they go into a rather extensive anatomical explanation of how this might be similar to Alzheimer‘s disease, and I find that a bit tenuous."
Podell listed a number of concerns with the article, including:
  • The researchers‘ reliance on existing brain scans and symptom charts created by other people. "You don‘t know what questions were asked, who asked the questions, how they were asked," he said. "There are a lot of things you can‘t control for."
  • The inclusion of young patients in the pool of subjects, who ranged in age from 10 to 38. "White matter is not fully developed in people until they are adults," he said. "You have 10-year-olds in this study. It is highly, highly unusual to mix young kids with adults, because the brain is so different."
  • The use of sleep disturbance as a comparable symptom between concussion and Alzheimer‘s. "What‘s a common co-injury in concussion? Whiplash. You have neck pain, back pain," he said. "If you go to sleep, you don‘t think that pain wakes you up?"
"The issue is, does a single concussion in an individual mean they are at risk for developing Alzheimer‘s?" Podell said. "There are so many other factors involved, including genetic factors, management of a concussion and the general health and well-being of the individual throughout their life."
The study authors agreed that their findings are tentative.
"This is not a definitive study. This is not the end at all. This is the first step," Alhilali said. "We hope this will lead to more research that will further explore this potential link."
The researchers do believe their findings could lead to better treatments in the future, however.
"The first step in developing a treatment for any disease is understanding what causes it," Fakhran said. "If we can prove a link, or even a common pathway, between mild traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer‘s, this could potentially lead to treatment strategies that would be potentially efficacious in treating both diseases."

Lullaby Medicine for Premature Babies

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Something as old as mankind itself is helping to keep preterm babies alive — the lullaby.

Research finds that music has become an important new ally for babies who are born too soon and struggle to breathe and eat.

The neonatal intensive care unit in a hospital is filled with technology that helps keep the hospital‘s tiniest, most fragile patients alive. At New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell – and others across the country – the relentless beeping of monitors fades when the music takes over. The effect on preemies is dramatic and physical.

Studies conducted by Dr. Jeffery Perlman, chief of newborn medicine at New York-Presbyterian, Komansky Center for Children‘s Health, find that gentle music therapy not only slows down the heart rate of preemies but also helps them feed and sleep better. This helps them gain weight and speeds their recovery.

A study published in May in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, under the aegis of the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, found that the type of music matters. Therapeutically designed "live" music -- and parent-preferred lullabies sung in person -- can influence cardiac and respiratory function. They also found that the melodies improved feeding behaviors and may increase prolonged periods of quiet-alert states among premature babies.

Another study published in February 2011 in the Arts in Psychotherapy by Jayne M. Standley of the National Institute for Infant and Child Medical Music Therapy at Florida State University suggests that babies who receive this kind of therapy leave the hospital sooner.

"When they hear something that is very soothing, they adapt to it," Perlman said.

For these tiny babies, music is medicine.

A pair of twins, Jessica and Joshua, were born three months premature. Their dad has been trained by a professional music therapist at the Komansky Center, and now sings to the babies in their NICU cribs in his native Turkish. And he says he has proof that it‘s working.

"I watched their heart rate," their father said. "You can really watch it go down, 165, 160, 155, 152. It‘s an amazing feeling."

Jessica Fernald‘s daughter Hazel was born eight weeks early. "You know babies like lullabies," Fernald said. "But you don‘t realize how important it is in their healing."

At Komansky, Rebecca Loveszy is the music therapist who sings to preemies such as Jadion, born with a heart defect.

The effects of the music therapy appear to last – lullabies echoing inside the intensive care unit often become the children‘s favorite songs and soothe them even after they leave the hospital.

Rachel Fitzsimons‘ son William – now a year old – spent 12 weeks in intensive care, and has taken a liking to the tune he listened to during his time there.

"I would sing ‘Rock-a-Bye-Baby,‘" said Fitzsimons. "It‘s the one he still responds to the most."

In an intensive care unit bristling with technology, this new field reminds us that medicine doesn‘t always come from a new drug or surgery – sometimes it‘s as simple as parents connecting to their children with an age-old source of comfort: a gentle tune.