Saturday January 18, 2020

Iodised Salt Not Necessarily be Good for Health: Study

More importantly, non-iodised salt must also be made available in the market, which has been missing from the shelves for past two decades and more

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Experts: Regulating Salt Intake Key to Prevent Hypertension

By Brij Khandelwal

While universal iodisation of salt helped control iodine deficiency disorders, it could be increasing the risk of high blood pressure — a leading cause of heart ailments — especially in the elderly, says retired Col Rajesh Chauhan, in his latest book.

The book, titled “Could universal iodisation of salt be the chief cause of hypertension assuming epidemic proportion?”, has been published by Lap Lambert Berlin, Germany.

The book is based on a recent study on nearly 100 elderly patients in Agra, UP.

The study included patients who were consuming iodised salt regularly, and were compared with another group who were not using iodised salt but pebble salt, which is also iodised but the iodine content gets washed off, thereby minimising or avoiding iodine in the salt.

“The results indicated the people consuming iodised salt were more at risk of suffering high blood pressure than the ones who were using pebble salt, washed before use,” Chauhan told IANS.

Excess consumption of iodine can also cause various forms of rhythm disturbances in heart, and lead to precipitating angina and heart failure.

To control iodine deficiency disorders around the world, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in a statement in August 1994 stressed universal salt iodisation as the principal public health measure for eliminating Iodine Deficient Disorders.

Salt absorbs negative energy: Vastu tips
Salt. Pixabay

Since 1992, India has been using iodised salt, irrespective of the fact whether the region is actually deficient of iodine or not.

While iodine deficiency in children can raise a condition called cretinism, usually characterised with laziness, crying, pot belly, and low intellect; excess iodine intake as a result of universal salt iodisation could be causing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children, the findings showed.

Though the WHO stated “monitoring of sodium (salt) intake and iodine intake at country level is needed to adjust salt iodisation over time”, India failed to monitor it, Chauhan said.

“In my book, and from the references that I have used therein taken from the domain of the British Medical Journal, we have raised the possibility of a global rise in the incidence and prevalence of hypertension, possibly due to regular consumption of iodised salt,” he noted.

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He stressed the need for more research, which must include the overarching necessity of continuing with enforcing consumption of iodised salt even in regions that are not deficient in iodine.

Immediate corrective steps are needed at national and global levels, and supplemental iodine is to be used only in areas that are deficient in iodine.

More importantly, non-iodised salt must also be made available in the market, which has been missing from the shelves for past two decades and more, Chauhan suggested. (IANS)

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Here’s How Fitbit Smartwatch May Help You Predict Flu in Real-Time

The authors identify several limitations in their study

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Fitbit
Resting heart rate tends to spike during infectious episodes and this is captured by wearable devices such as Fitbit smartwatches and fitness trackers that track heart rate. Pixabay

In a first-ever study on wearable devices to improve surveillance of infectious disease, researchers in the US have achieved real-time flu prediction in five states, using resting heart rate and sleep tracking data from Fitbit users.

Resting heart rate tends to spike during infectious episodes and this is captured by wearable devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers that track heart rate.

Influenza results in 650,000 deaths worldwide annually. And approximately 7 per cent of working adults and 20 per cent of children aged under five years get flu each year.

“Responding more quickly to influenza outbreaks can prevent further spread and infection, and we were curious to see if sensor data could improve real-time surveillance at the state level,” said study author Dr Jennifer Radin from Scripps Research Translational Institute.

The researchers reviewed de-identified data from 200,000 users who wore a Fitbit wearable device that tracks users’ activity, heart rate and sleep for at least 60 days during the study time.

fitbit
In a first-ever study on wearable devices to improve surveillance of infectious disease, researchers in the US have achieved real-time flu prediction in five states, using resting heart rate and sleep tracking data from Fitbit users. Pixabay

From the 200,000, 47,248 users from California, Texas, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania wore a Fitbit device consistently during the study period, resulting in a total of 13,342,651 daily measurements evaluated.

The average user was 43 years old and 60 per cent were female.

De-identified data from the users retrospectively identified weeks with elevated resting heart rate and changes to routine sleep, said the research published in The Lancet Digital Health journal.

“In the future as these devices improve, and with access to 24/7 real-time data, it may be possible to identify rates of influenza on a daily instead of weekly basis,” said Radin.

This data was compared to weekly estimates for influenza-like illness rates reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

This is the first time heart rate trackers and sleep data have been used to predict flu, or any infectious disease, in real-time.

With greater volumes of data it may be possible to apply the method to more geographically refined areas, such as county or city-level.

The authors identify several limitations in their study.

Weekly resting heart rate averages may include days when an individual is both sick and not sick, and this may result in underestimation of illness by lowering the weekly averages.

Fitbit
This is the first time heart rate trackers and sleep data have been used to predict flu, or any infectious disease, in real-time. Pixabay

Other factors may also increase resting heart rate, including stress or other infections.

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Lastly, the authors noted that previous studies of sleep measuring devices have been found to have low accuracy, though they said that accuracy will continue to improve as technology evolves. (IANS)