Astrocytes help in keeping the brain healthy, reveals a study

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New York: Scientists reported in a study that star-shaped brain cells appear to help in keeping blood pressure and blood flow inside the brain on a healthy tone.

The finger-like appendages of astrocytes, called end-feet, quite literally wrap around the countless, fragile blood vessels in the brain, constantly monitoring what is going on inside and around them.

“This is the first evidence of the astrocytes’ role in pressure-induced myogenic (muscle) tone, which is keeping things regular,” said Dr Jessica A Filosa, neurovascular physiologist at Georgia Regents University.

Filosa terms astrocytes as “housekeepers”. When they sense a change in blood pressure inside the brain, one of their duties is releasing signals that help dilate or constrict the blood vessels, whichever it takes to maintain the healthy status quo.

In fact, astrocytes keep their fingers on the pulse of blood vessels and neurons simultaneously, apparently playing an important role in balancing their needs.

“They are perfect bridges between what is going on with neuronal activity and blood flow changes to the brain.”

Astrocytes relentlessly monitor and respond to changes in blood pressure to help keep the brain from getting too much blood.

The team is now looking into what effect activating astrocytes has on neuronal activity.

The paper appeared in The Journal of Neuroscience. (IANS)

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This Healthy Diet Can Help Reduce Blood Pressure

High blood pressure means the heart has to put in more effort to pump blood save yourself from it with these simple tips from an expert

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Bloodpressure
Bloodpressure is a slow killer and can be kept in control with some simple steps. Pixabay

High blood pressure means the heart has to put in more effort to pump blood. This force can cause damage to blood vessels which can lead to heart attack, brain stroke, kidney damage or nerve damage.

Daljit Kaur, Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Fortis Escorts, Okhla Road, Delhi, suggests a healthy diet to reduce the blood pressure:

Maintain ideal body weight, avoid too much sugary foods

Exercise 30 minutes brisk walking every day is recommended to reduce the blood pressure

Reduce sodium chloride intake up to 2 to 5 grams per day.

Read the food labels. Salt preserved foods like meat, ham, sausages, and smoked fish should be avoided.

Food containing more salt like chips, papadh, salted nuts, and saltedpopcorns should be avoided.

Food preserved with sodium like ketchup, sauce, pickle, chutney, processed food like cheese and salted butter food enhancers MSG should not be included in the diet.

Blood-Pressure
High BP can cause damage to blood vessels which can lead to heart attack, brain stroke, kidney damage, or nerve damage. Pixabay

To make the food more palatable a variety of condiments herbs and spices, lemon, vinegar, tamarind, onion, garlic, ginger can be used.

Choose whole grains, whole pulses and lean proteins such a fish and poultry.

Cooking method should be baking, broiling, roasting, steaming to avoid frying.

Avoid saturated fats, Trans fats, and cholesterol rich foods. Include omega 3 fatty acids like walnut, flax seeds.

Use skimmed milk and products.

Take plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Also Read: A Blend of Spices May Help in Lowering Inflammation in the Body: Researchers

Limit alcohol intake. (IANS)

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Here’s Why Coronavirus is More Dangerous For People With Blood Sugar, Diabetes

Once infected, patients with diabetes should have their blood glucose level controlled to maintain it in the right range, in addition to any other needed treatments

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Diabetes
While it was clear that people with this condition fare worse with COVID-19, the researchers wondered what role a person's blood glucose control might have on those outcomes. Pixabay

People with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) are at greater risk of a poor outcome if they become infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) — and in such situations, controlling blood sugar levels can lead to favourable outcomes, say researchers.

More than 500 million people around the world have T2D. While it was clear that people with this condition fare worse with COVID-19, the researchers wondered what role a person’s blood glucose control might have on those outcomes.

“We were surprised to see such favourable outcomes in well-controlled blood glucose group among patients with COVID-19 and pre-existing type 2 diabetes,” said study senior author Hongliang Li of Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University in China.

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“Considering that people with diabetes had a much higher risk for death and various complications, and there are no specific drugs for COVID-19, our findings indicate that controlling blood glucose well may act as an effective auxiliary approach to improve the prognosis of patients with COVID-19 and pre-existing diabetes,” Li added.

For the results, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, the research team conducted a retrospective longitudinal multi-centre study including 7,337 confirmed COVID-19 cases enrolled among 19 hospitals in Hubei Province, China. Of those, 952 people had T2D and the other 6,385 did not. Among those with diabetes, 282 had well-controlled blood glucose; the other 528 did not.

Blood Pressure
People with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) are at greater risk of a poor outcome if they become infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) — and in such situations, controlling blood sugar levels can lead to favourable outcomes, say researchers. Pixabay

The data showed that people admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 and T2D required more medical interventions. Despite those interventions, they also had significantly higher mortality (7.8 per cent vs. 2.7 per cent) as well as a greater incidence of multiple organ injury. However, those with well-controlled blood sugar and COVID-19 were less likely to die than those whose blood glucose was poorly controlled, the researchers said.

Meanwhile, those with well-managed T2D also received less of other medical interventions including supplemental oxygen and/or ventilation and had fewer health complications. The researchers said the new findings offer three main messages for people with diabetes: People with diabetes should take extra precautions to avoid becoming infected, they take extra care to keep their blood sugar under good control during the pandemic.

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Once infected, patients with diabetes should have their blood glucose level controlled to maintain it in the right range, in addition to any other needed treatments. The researchers said they will continue to study the relationship between T2D and COVID-19 outcomes. The hope is to learn more about the underlying biology that is leading to poorer outcomes for people with T2D and high blood sugar. (IANS)

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Inadequate Sleep Affects Emotional Processing Negatively: Study

Sleep loss for 5 consecutive nights fosters negativity

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emotional sleep
Researchers have found that an inadequate amount of sleep for five consecutive nights can negatively affect emotional processing, causing behavioural and neurofunctional changes. Pixabay

Not getting enough sleep? Read this health and lifestyle carefully. Researchers have found that an inadequate amount of sleep for five consecutive nights can negatively affect emotional processing, causing behavioural and neurofunctional changes.

For the findings, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, the research team evaluated the effects of five nights of sleep restriction (5 hour a night) on emotional reactivity in healthy people.

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“Insufficient sleep may impose a negative emotional bias, leading to an increased tendency to evaluate emotional stimuli as negative,” said study lead author Daniela Tempesta from University of L’Aquila in Italy.

According to the researchers, 42 participants were selected and were tested the morning after five nights of regular sleep and after five consecutive nights of sleep restriction.

emotional sleep
For the findings, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, the research team evaluated the effects of five nights of sleep restriction (5 hour a night) on emotional reactivity in healthy people. Pixabay

During the test, participants evaluated valence and arousal of 90 images selected from the ‘International Affective Picture System’.

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The participants perceived pleasant and neutral pictures in a more negative way when their sleep was restricted for several nights in a row.

The results provide the evidence that an inadequate amount of sleep for five consecutive nights determines an alteration of the evaluation of pleasant and neutral stimuli, imposing a negative emotional bias.

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The researchers noted that the findings are especially pertinent because chronic sleep restriction is a common and underestimated health problem in the general population.

“Considering the pervasiveness of insufficient sleep in modern society, our results have potential implications for daily life, as well as in clinical settings,” Tempesta noted. (IANS)