Friday November 24, 2017

Good Cholesterol may Fail to Protect You against Heart Disease, also increases Inflammatory response of Immune Cells called Macrophages

Lung macrophages ingested disease-causing bacteria upon exposure to high-density lipoprotein (HDL)

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Representational image. Flickr

London, November 18, 2016: Although well associated with lowering cardiovascular disease risk high-density lipoprotein (HDL) — known as good cholesterol — may not always be able to protect against heart disease.

A new study has suggested that it increases the inflammatory response of certain immune cells called macrophages.

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This can potentially counteract its well-established anti-inflammatory effect in various other cell types, the study said.

“Good cholesterol’s functions are not as simple as initially thought, and appear to critically depend on the target tissue and cell type,” said Marjo Donners of Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

“In the end, it is the balance between its pro- and anti-inflammatory effects that determines clinical outcome,” Donners added.

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In the study, the researchers found that HDL treatment enhanced inflammation in macrophages, in contrast to its effects in other cell types. Similarly, macrophages taken from mice with elevated HDL levels showed clear signs of inflammation.

This pro-inflammatory effect induced by HDL showed enhanced pathogen protection, the researchers said.

Lung macrophages ingested disease-causing bacteria upon exposure to HDL. On the other hand, mice with low HDL levels were impaired at clearing these bacteria from the lungs.

The results demonstrate that HDL’s pro-inflammatory activity supports the proper functioning of macrophage immune responses.

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According to Donners, these findings suggest that patients with persistent infections or specific immune disorders might benefit from HDL-raising therapies.

The research could also lead to the development of cell-specific therapies that exploit the benefits of HDL-targeted therapies while avoiding the side effects, the researchers noted.

The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism. (IANS)

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Women can Boost their Working Memory with Hormone Therapy

Benefits of oestrogen therapy in women.

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oestrogen therapy can increase working memory under stress
oestrogen therapy can increase working memory under stress. wikimedia commons

New York, Nov 5: Undergoing a type of hormone replacement therapy — used for menopausal treatment — may help protect as well as improve working memory for some women as they age, according to a new study.

Hormone replacement therapy uses female hormones – oestrogen and progesterone – to treat common symptoms of menopause and ageing.

The findings showed that women taking oestrogen-only therapy had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and performed better on tests of “working memory” following exposure to stress compared to women taking a placebo.

“Our study suggests that oestrogen treatment after menopause protects the memory that is needed for short-term cognitive tasks from the effects of stress,” said lead author Alexandra Ycaza Herrera, a researcher at the University of Southern California – Davis.

To measure the effect of oestrogen therapy on working memory under stress, the team recruited 42 women with an average age of 66.

Half of the postmenopausal women had been on estradiol — a type of oestrogen therapy — for approximately five years, while the others had received a placebo.

The researchers, in the paper published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, collected saliva to measure the women’s levels of cortisol, oestrogen, and progesterone.

They also ran a test of working memory called a “sentence span task”, in which the women were each given a series and then asked whether each sentence made sense. They also were asked to recall the last word of each one.

While women receiving oestrogen therapy had a smaller increase in cortisol and showed no decrease in working memory function, even after being exposed to stressful situation, those taking the placebo experienced a spike in cortisol levels as well as demonstrated a decrease in working memory function.

Previous studies have pointed to potential health risks — the Ahigher risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots — of the treatment.

Thus, Herrera noted that “hormone replacement therapy may not be right for every woman, but women need to be able to have the conversation with their doctors”.(IANS)

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Health Benefits of eating more Whole Grains

Having a whole grain diet helps lose weight, as compared to refined grains -- rich in starch, gluten and devoid of natural fiber.

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Whole grains
Whole grains.Pixabay
  • Regularly consuming whole grain foods such as barley, brown rice, millet, oatmeal and rye may help lose weight
  • It also decreases the risk of heart disease and diabetes, a study has claimed.

Why should you eat more whole grains? Here is all you need to know

The findings showed that study participants who ate whole grains had less inflammation, particularly in overweight people, which increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Further, participants were also found to eat less when whole grain products were on the menu because whole grain consumption causes satiety.

Importantly, having a whole grain diet helps lose weight, as compared to refined grains — rich in starch, gluten and devoid of natural fiber.

“Our analysis confirmed that there is a sound scientific basis for the dietary recommendation to eat whole grains. This may particularly apply to people who are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease or Type 2 diabetes,” said Tine Rask Licht, professor at the Technical University of Denmark.

Additionally, the researchers used DNA sequencing to analyze stool samples from the participants in order to examine whether the different diet types affected the participants’ gut bacteria composition.

Overall, the analysis did not show major effects of the dietary grain products on the composition of the lose weight.

“However, even though the analysis did not reveal significant changes in the average gut microbiota after whole grain consumption, it may well be that the individual components of our gut microbes has an impact on the individual reaction of our body to dietary whole grains,” Licht explained.

For the study, described in the journal Gut, the team included adults at risk of developing cardiovascular disease or Type 2 diabetes. The participants were divided randomly into two groups, with whole grain diet and refined varieties for eight weeks.(IANS)

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Teenaged mothers at high risk for heart diseases later

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Teenaged mothers at high risk for heart diseases later(Pixabay)

New York, November 2,2017: Women who became first-time mothers during their teenage years may be significantly more likely than older mothers to have greater risks for heart and blood vessel diseases later in life, according to new research.

The findings showed that women reporting a first birth before the age of 20 scored significantly higher on “Framingham Risk Score” — a measure commonly used to estimate the 10-year cardiovascular risk.

Conversely, women whose first births occurred at older ages had lower average risk scores. The lowest cardiovascular risk, however, was among women who had never given birth, the researchers said.

“Adolescent mothers may need to be more careful about lifestyle factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including maintaining a healthy body weight and sufficient physical activity,” said lead author Catherine Pirkle, assistant professor at the University of Hawaii.

“Clinicians may need to pay more careful attention to women’s reproductive characteristics, and more intensive screening of cardiovascular-disease risk may be required of women reporting early childbirths.”

For the study, detailed in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the team examined 1,047 women between the ages of 65 and 74 and were from Canada, Albania, Colombia and Brazil.

However, the findings must be confirmed because this study relied on self-reports of childbirth history which could be affected by memory loss in this older population even though participants were screened for dementia.

In addition, many young mothers from the poorer countries may not have survived to the ages of 64-75 years represented in the study, limiting the strength of the results, the researchers said.

“If adolescent childbirth increases the risk of cardiovascular disease risk, then our findings reinforce the need to assure that girls and adolescents have sufficient sexual education and access to contraception to avoid adolescent childbearing in the first place,” Pirkle said.(IANS)