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Sat, 21 Jan 2017
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Heavy Snoring Linked to Diabetes

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Frequent snorers are reported to be at an increased risk of developing diabetes compared to those who sleep silently at night, a new study finds.

A previous study had reported that expectant mothers who are heavy snorers are more likely to develop gestational diabetes - a condition associated with various health problems in both the mother and baby.

According to the study conducted at Yale University, heavy snorers are 50 percent more likely to develop diabetes and the increased severity of snoring is associated with a raised risk of the condition.

"Sleep apnea is significantly associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes, independently of other risk factors such as age, race, sex or weight," scientists reported.

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Full Moon Brings Out Inner "Werewolf"

Some people are more violent and exhibit ''werewolf'' tendencies during a full moon, a study published in the respected Australia Medical Journal reveals.

The findings of the 11-month research at the Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital could force police and other emergency services to shake-up how and when they deploy staff.

Many in the industry have already claimed for years there is a direct link between a full moon and more violent episodes, however, many police have disregarded anecdotal evidence as only a coincidence.

The hospital's clinical research nurse in toxicology Leonie Calver said the study centred on 91 patients who attended the emergency department, displaying ''violent and acute behavioral disturbance'' between August 2008 and July 2009.

Wolf

Poor Children Likelier to Get Antipsychotics

New federally financed drug research reveals a stark disparity: children covered by Medicaid are given powerful antipsychotic medicines at a rate four times higher than children whose parents have private insurance. And the Medicaid children are more likely to receive the drugs for less severe conditions than their middle-class counterparts, the data shows.

Those findings, by a team from Rutgers and Columbia, are almost certain to add fuel to a long-running debate. Do too many children from poor families receive powerful psychiatric drugs not because they actually need them - but because it is deemed the most efficient and cost-effective way to control problems that may be handled much differently for middle-class children?

The questions go beyond the psychological impact on Medicaid children, serious as that may be. Antipsychotic drugs can also have severe physical side effects, causing drastic weight gain and metabolic changes resulting in lifelong physical problems.

Attention

Study Finds Hundreds of Pollutants in Nation's Tap Water

Tap water in many large metropolitan areas is polluted with a cocktail of chemical contaminants. These pollutants usually don't violate any legal standards, but they often come in potentially toxic combinations that raise serious questions about the long-term safety of drinking the water. Pensacola, Fla.; Riverside, Calif.; and Las Vegas top the list of major cities with the most contaminated tap water.

In an unprecedented analysis of 20 million tap water quality tests performed by water utilities between 2004 and 2009, Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that water suppliers detected a total of 316 contaminants in water delivered to the public. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set enforceable standards for only 114 of these pollutants.

Another 202 chemicals with no mandatory safety standards were found in water supplied to approximately 132 million people in 9,454 communities across the country. These "unregulated" chemicals include the toxic rocket fuel component perchlorate, the industrial solvent acetone, the weed killer metolachlor, the refrigerant Freon and radon, a highly radioactive gas.

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Western Diet Triggers Genes that Cause the Body to Store More Fat

New research published in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has found that the "Western" diet, typically high in sugar and fat, may be responsible for activating genes that signal the body to become fatter. According to scientists, the body's response to high amounts of energy-dense food is to activate the kappa opioid receptor which triggers increased fat storage.

Researchers arrived at this conclusion by conducting an experiment on two groups of mice. One group had its kappa opioid receptors genetically deactivated while the other remained intact. Both groups were fed diets high in fat and sugar for 16 weeks. At the end of 16 weeks, the group with the deactivated receptor remained lean while the control group gained significant weight.

Besides limiting their bodies' ability to store energy-dense food in their fat stores, the mice whose receptors had been deactivated were noted to also have a limited ability to assimilate and store nutrients from the foods they ingested.

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Fructose May Promote Metabolic Syndrome

A research team from the University of Washington (UW) recently published a study in Physiology & Behavior revealing that moderate consumption of fructose- and high fructose corn syrup-sweetened beverages leads to significant alterations of lipid metabolization in the liver. Conducted on rats, the study also noted marked increases in both cholesterol and triglyceride levels in rats that fed on fructose-sweetened beverages.

Fructose is a monosaccharide sugar that is found in various fruits. It is a simple sugar that is often promoted as being a healthy "fruit" sugar, however the reality is that fructose is just one component of the complex sugar composition that occurs naturally in fruit. Most granulated fructose available today, called crystalline fructose, is derived from fructose-enriched corn syrup.

Similarly, high fructose corn syrup is a fructose-enriched form of highly-processed corn syrup that is commonly found in soda, ketchup, candy, dressings, and many other processed foods. The biggest concern about fructose is the fact that, unlike sucrose, it passes undigested through the small intestine where it enters the portal vein and heads directly to the liver.

Bad Guys

How a Few Private Health Insurers Are on the Way to Controlling Health Care

The public option is dead, killed by a handful of senators from small states who are mostly bought off by Big Insurance and Big Pharma or intimidated by these industries' deep pockets and power to run political ads against them. Some might say it's no great loss at this point because the Senate bill Harry Reid came up with contained a public option available only to 4 million people, which would have been far too small to exert any competitive pressure on private insurers anyway.

To provide political cover to senators who want to tell their constituents that the intent behind a robust public option lives on, the emerging Senate bill makes Medicare available to younger folk (age 55), and lets people who aren't covered by their employers buy in to a system that's similar to the plan that federal employees now have, where the federal government's Office of Personnel Management selects from among private insurers.

But we still end up with a system that's based on private insurers that have no incentive whatsoever to control their costs or the costs of pharmaceutical companies and medical providers. If you think the federal employee benefit plan is an answer to this, think again. Its premiums increased nearly 9 percent this year. And if you think an expanded Medicare is the answer, you're smoking medical marijuana. The Senate bill allows an independent commission to hold back Medicare costs only if Medicare spending is rising faster than total health spending. So if health spending is soaring because private insurers have no incentive to control it, we're all out of luck. Medicare explodes as well.

Coffee

Odd Remedy Said to Slow Deadly Cancer

Four years years ago, Betty Frizzell, a retired schoolteacher from Cookeville, Tenn., was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest malignancies there is. Normally, people with advanced tumors, like Frizzell's, live only about five months after they are diagnosed. Frizzell, now 64, is thriving on a diet of fruits and vegetables plus a regimen of dietary supplements including pancreatic enzymes and - believe it or not - coffee enemas.

She does get a bit tired of carrot juice, she says, and the coffee enemas - two in the morning, two at night - are ''very time consuming.'' But she's convinced it's worth it: ''I'm sure I wouldn't be alive today if I had not chosen this route.''

''Pancreatic cancer strikes almost as many people as leukemia, yet so far, less progress has been made,'' says Dr. Robert Mayer, director of the center for gastrointestinal cancer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

In fact, pancreatic cancer is so tough to detect that by the time it is discovered, survival is often counted in weeks: 36 to 40 weeks if the cancer hasn't spread to nearby organs, 16 to 20 weeks if it has.

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Memories Mirror Childhood Relationships

Memory recall mirrors relationship changes across childhood. This is the finding of a study published online in the British Journal of Psychology.

Dr Carole Peterson of Memorial University of Newfoundland, along with Dr Alice Bonechi, Dr Andrea Smorti, and Dr Franca Tani of the University of Florence carried out the study which investigated the number and content of memories that people could recall from different periods of childhood, to see whether their memories reflected the people and emotions that were key to their experiences.

One hundred and 94 participants with a mean age of 22 took part in the study at the University of Florence. They were asked to recall as many memories as they could from four specific periods of their early lives: pre-school, primary school, secondary school, and high school or university. Participants were split into two groups, one group was asked to only recall memories involving their parents, and the other group, only memories involving friends. They were also asked to give a short summary of the emotions involved in each memory.

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With Amino Acid Diet, Mice Improve After Brain Injury

Neurology researchers have shown that feeding amino acids to brain-injured animals restores their cognitive abilities and may set the stage for the first effective treatment for cognitive impairments suffered by people with traumatic brain injuries.

"We have shown in an animal model that dietary intervention can restore a proper balance of neurochemicals in the injured part of the brain, and simultaneously improves cognitive performance," said study leader Akiva S. Cohen, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The study appears December 7 in the online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.