Monday February 18, 2019

Deaths related to Heart Disease go up around Christmas: Here is why!

The average age of cardiac death was 76.2 years during the Christmas period, compared with 77.1 years during other times of the year

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Christmas also marks the birth anniversary of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Pixabay
Christmas also marks the birth anniversary of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Pixabay

Melbourne, Dec 23, 2016: Deaths related to heart disease go up around Christmas and they are not because of the cold winter season when death rates are usually at a seasonal high, says a study.

Debunking the belief that the spike in deaths during Christmas is mainly due to the cold winter season, the study said that people tend to hold back in seeking medical care during the holiday season, a factor that could probably explain the rise in such deaths.
“Spikes in deaths from natural causes during Christmas and New Year’s Day has been previously established in the US,” said study author Josh Knight from the University of Melbourne in Australia.

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“However, the Christmas holiday period (December 25th to January 7th) in the US falls within the coldest period of the year when death rates are already seasonally high due to low temperatures and influenza,” Knight said.

In this study, researchers analysed trends in deaths in New Zealand, where Christmas occurs during the summer season when death rates are usually at a seasonal low — allowing researchers to separate any winter effect from a holiday effect.

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The study — published in JAHA: Journal of the American Heart Association — found a 4.2 per cent increase in heart-related deaths occurring away from a hospital from December 25 – January 7.

During the 25-year study, the average age of cardiac death was 76.2 years during the Christmas period, compared with 77.1 years during other times of the year.

Although more research is needed to explain the spike in deaths, the researchers suggested one possibility may be that patients hold back in seeking medical care during the holiday season.

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“The Christmas holiday period is a common time for travel within New Zealand, with people frequently holidaying away from their main medical facilities. This could contribute to delays in both seeking treatment, due to a lack of familiarity with nearby medical facilities, and due to geographic isolation from appropriate medical care in emergency situations,” Knight said. (IANS)

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Study Finds, Statins Can Prevent Neurological Disorder Development

For the study, the team of researchers searched genetic datasets of around 25 million people to find risk factors for developing ALS.

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Neurological disorder
Statins, if clinically tested, could be used to prevent the development of MND, the researchers said. Pixabay

Besides treating heart disease, cholesterol-lowering drugs statins can also be used to prevent the development of a neurodegenerative disease, finds a study.

According to the study by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) researchers, high cholesterol has been found to be a possible risk factor for the development of motor neurone disease (MND) — a non-curable disease that affects the brain and nerves and is also known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The symptoms include weakness, indistinct speech, difficulty in swallowing food, muscle cramps and more. In some cases, people experienced changes in their thinking and behaviour.

“We saw that higher levels of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) were causally linked with a greater risk of the disease,” said Alastair Noyce from the varsity.

Heart disease, Neurological
For the study, published in journal “Annals of Neurology”, the team of researchers searched genetic datasets of around 25 million people to find risk factors for developing ALS. Pixabay

“We have well-established drugs that can lower cholesterol and we should look into whether they could protect against this terrible disease, which currently has no cure,” Noyce added.

For the study, published in journal “Annals of Neurology”, the team of researchers searched genetic datasets of around 25 million people to find risk factors for developing ALS.

In addition to the causal effect of high cholesterol, they also found genetic associations with smoking behaviour and lower levels of educational achievement, and an increased risk of ALS.

While low levels of exercise were associated with a protective effect, more aggressive exercise was associated with increased risk.

Neurological disorder, statins
Cholesterol-lowering drugs statins can also be used to prevent the development of a neurodegenerative disease. VOA

However, of these findings, only high cholesterol emerged as a clear modifiable factor that could be targeted to reduce the risk of MND.

ALSO READ: Study Claims, There Should Be Treatment Options Given for Miscarriage

Statins, if clinically tested, could be used to prevent the development of MND, the researchers said.

“The next steps will include studying whether lowering levels of cholesterol might have a protective effect against MND, and potentially evaluating the use of cholesterol-modifying drugs in people at risk of MND,” Noyce noted. (IANS)