Drinking four cups of coffee daily might be a healthy addiction, especially in older adults, as it can enhance the function of heart cells as well as help recover from heart attacks, say researchers.
The study, conducted on mice showed that coffee promotes movement of a regulatory protein into mitochondria — cell powerhouse — which then enhances their function to protect cardiovascular cells from damage.
The protein called p27, an inhibitor of the cell cycle, was present in mitochondria in the major cell types of the heart.
In these cells, mitochondrial p27 promoted migration of endothelial cells, protected heart muscle cells from cell death and triggered the conversion of fibroblasts into cells containing contractile fibres — all crucial for repair of heart muscle after myocardial infarction or heart attack, and did so at a concentration that is reached in humans by drinking four cups of coffee, the researchers said.
“Our results indicate a new mode of action for caffeine, one that promotes protection and repair of heart muscle through the action of mitochondrial p27,” said Judith Haendeler from Heinrich-Heine-University’s Medical Faculty in Germany.
“…enhancing mitochondrial p27 could serve as a potential therapeutic strategy not only in cardiovascular diseases but also in improving health span,” she added.
In the study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, the team found that caffeine was protective against heart damage in pre-diabetic, obese mice, and in aged mice.
“These results should lead to better strategies for protecting heart muscle from damage, including consideration of coffee consumption or caffeine as an additional dietary factor in the elderly population,” Haendeler said. (IANS)
The Coronavirus pandemic has left human race with feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and a fear what’s coming next. While we do our bit to stay safe, looking after our loved ones, particularly the elderly, is crucial.
In this crisis, just like the little children in the family, our elders also need extra care and attention, especially if they are living alone and are prone to feeling isolated. Coupled with the greater restrictions on the 60+ population stepping out, these feelings can negatively impact physical and mental health, and must be addressed promptly and with care.
In a chat with IANSlife, here are some ways suggested by Dr Ishita Mukerji, a senior psychologist at Kaleidoscope, a mental wellness centre part of Dr. Bakshi’s Healthcare.
Teach them to go digital: Patiently help them learn the use of various video/voice call applications available and encourage them to stay virtually connected with their friends and family. They can also use this time to rediscover their lost art of writing and share short heart felt notes via email, to their loved ones to lift their spirits. Demonstrate to them how to use taxi-hire apps, medical-monitoring apps, emergency call services, and the like. Hand them a copy of all necessary phone numbers and save them on their phones.
Prioritize their nutrition intake and physical activity: Senior citizens need adequate sleep, optimum nutrition and some kind of physical exercise on an everyday basis. Ensure that their sleep cycle is not disturbed due to the changes in the household because of the factors associated with social distancing. Their daily diet must have a combination of essential proteins and minerals, fruits, green vegetables, dairy products and a lot of liquid, as we are in the peak of summer. Elders might find it tough to exercise within the house, as many go to neighbourhood parks and yoga classes. However, you must help them incorporate at-home yoga and breathing exercises into their routine.
Enjoy recreational activities together: A good way to bond and enjoy as a family is watching a movie, listening to music, indulging in some craft activity, looking through photo albums together or playing indoor games like cards, chess, ludo, monopoly, carom etc or some mind stimulating games like Sudoku or puzzles. These activities will in turn make them feel relaxed, rejuvenated and something to look forward to each day.
Keep them engaged indoors: It is important to involve your family’s senior members in the household activities as much as possible. Their help in such basic activities will let them stay occupied and also give a sense of accomplishment to them but do not push them to perform strenuous activities. You may encourage them to pursue hobbies like reading, writing, knitting, singing or painting. Make sure they have enough supplies to last the crisis. Encourage them to teach young kids a skill.
Involvement in decision-making: We must seek advice and suggestions from the elders in our families at all times, especially when making decisions that might directly or indirectly impact them or their lifestyle. Taking their inputs into consideration will make them feel wanted and heard. It is really important to respect their thoughts and feelings that they derive out of their life experiences and wisdom accumulated over the years.
Create a positive environment at home: Getting exposed to the concerning news around worsening situation for longer durations can create anxiety and fear in seniors’ minds. Create a positive atmosphere and help them keeping calm and positive. Speak to them about their happy times. Revisit old memories, reopen photo-albums, listen to their life experiences and spend quality time with them.
Taking care of mental and emotional needs: Pay attention to the thoughts and concerns that the elderly might have as there may be big or small issues where they may need your help to solve them. Look out for mood swings too, as it might mean they are struggling mentally and need extra support and care. Also be aware of any cognitive difficulties they might be facing like being anxious, angry, stressed, agitated or withdrawn. It is very important to provide emotional support to keep them mentally and physically fit.
Hypertension is a chronic lifestyle disease and in the wake of COVID-19 situation, it has emerged as serious comorbidity especially among the elderly, say health experts. Lifestyle news always highlights hypertension as a serious co-morbidity.
Hypertension is a condition when a person’s blood pressure is consistently more than 140/90 mmHg. Often considered a ‘silent killer’ because it doesn’t manifest any specific symptoms and therefore goes undetected in many people, hypertension is the cause of many non-communicable diseases such as heart attacks, kidney failure, stroke and damage to the eyes.
According to Dr. P Venkata Krishnan, Internal Medicine, Paras Hospital Gurugram, its prevalence is widespread with different studies concluding anywhere between 33-50 percent of the population suffering from hypertension.
“Every third Indian adult has this disease. Its high prevalence makes all these people vulnerable to Coronavirus which may affect them more severely than those who are not hypertensive and increase the chances of death. Therefore, our aim should be to both check the number of new people who get hypertensive and help the hypertensive to manage their condition better. The disease also increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and blindness significantly,” states Dr. Krishnan.
“All this makes screening a must – anyone over the age of 35 years should get themselves checked for hypertension. Besides, right from childhood, people should be encouraged to live a healthy and active lifestyle with less sugar and fat intake and minimum 30 minutes of activity daily, says Dr. Manjeetha Nath Das, Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital.
Experts warn that hypertension can lead to severe health complications and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke if not taken care at an earlier stage. Once one hits 40, one needs to be extra cautious about one’s lifestyle.
“The age of 40 is a milestone, when our body begins to change internally and if not looked after, can lead to serious health complications. Lifestyle changes can help control high blood pressure. Daily lifestyle changes, such as reduced dietary sodium intake, weight loss, regular physical activity, and limited use of alcohol consumption, benefit not only elderly but also young patients with hypertension. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid dangerous events of life,” Dr. Tarun Sahni, Internal Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi told IANSlife.
People above 40 are at an increased risk for high blood pressure if they are chain smokers, overweight or eat a diet that’s low on produce and fiber and/or high in fat and salt, excessively alcoholic and live with chronic stress or don’t get much physical activity. Some causes of hypertension cannot be controlled — including your genes and your race, he adds.
Our lifestyle determines our levels of hypertension. But sometimes lifestyle changes aren’t enough. In addition to diet and exercise, one must be recommended to take medication to lower blood pressure. (IANS)
Researchers, including one of an Indian-origin, have estimated that 20 per cent of the malaria risk in deforestation hot spots is driven by the international trade of exports including coffee, cocoa, palm oil, tobacco, beef and cotton.
Previous studies have shown deforestation and rainforest disturbances can increase the transmission of malaria by creating conditions where mosquitoes thrive: warmer habitats and fewer predators. “What does this mean for affluent consumers?” asks study senior author Professor Manfred Lenzen, from the University of Sydney in Australia.
“We need to be more mindful of our consumption and procurement, and avoid buying from sources implicated with deforestation, and support sustainable land ownership in developing countries,” Lenzen said.
According to the researchers, directing consumption away from deforestation has benefits beyond the malaria link; it will help reducing biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions as well. For the findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, the research team investigated links between the increasing risk of malaria in developing countries to products demanded by distant consumers.
“This study is the first to assess the role of global consumption in increasing deforestation and, in turn, malaria risk. Unsustainable human consumption is clearly driving this trend,” said Indian-origin researcher and study co-author Dr Arunima Malik from the University of Sydney in Australia.
“We achieved this by quantitatively relating malaria incidence first with deforestation, then to primary commodity production, which we then connected to global supply-chain networks and ultimately to worldwide consumer demand,” Malik said. The final step was accomplished by coupling a highly detailed and large international database with an established and widely used analytical technique – multi-region input-output (MRIO) analysis, the study said.
“This work goes beyond simple incidence mapping and correlations, in that it unveils a global supply-chain network that links malaria occurring in specific locations because of deforestation with globally dispersed consumption,” Malik said. The results of the study can be used for more demand-side approaches to mitigating malaria incidence by focusing on regulating malaria-impacted global supply chains, the researchers said.
Demand-side initiatives such as product labelling and certification, supply-chain dialogue and green procurement standards have been successful in addressing trade-related global problems such as threats to species and child labour. (IANS)