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Employing cardiovascular disease prevention strategies in mid-life may delay or stop the brain alterations that can lead to dementia in later life, a new study suggests. The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that atherosclerosis in mid-life can impact areas of the brain impacted by dementia.
Atherosclerosis, or buildup of fats, cholesterol, and other substances in and on artery walls, is the underlying cause of most cardiovascular diseases, which is the leading cause of death around the world. Dementia is also among the top causes of death and disability around the world, with 50 million people currently living with dementia, according to the researchers from the American College of Cardiology.
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The presence of atherosclerosis has been linked to cognitive impairment in advanced stages of the disease, but little is known about how they influence each other, especially since both can be asymptomatic for long periods of time earlier in life, the team said. For the study, the researchers included 547 participants from an atherosclerosis-based study and scanned them using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography (PET) scans.
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The team sought to determine the association between brain metabolism, subclinical atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular risk factors in asymptomatic, middle-aged adults. They found that cardiovascular risk is associated with brain hypometabolism, including the cerebral areas known to be affected by dementia. Hypertension was the modifiable cardiovascular disease risk factor with the strongest association.
According to the researchers, these results underscore the need to control cardiovascular disease risk factors early in life to potentially reduce the brain’s later vulnerability to cognitive dysfunction. (IANS)
A study that measured the muscular hand grip strength of 776 men and women without a history of diabetes over a 20-year period has found that a simple test such as the strength of hand grip could be used as a quick, low-cost screening tool to help identify patients at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In the 779 study subjects, the risk of type 2 diabetes was reduced by around 50 per cent for every unit increase in hand grip strength value, said scientists at the universities of Bristol and Eastern Finland in a paper published in the journal Annals of Medicine.
Reduced muscular strength, which can be measured by handgrip strength, has consistently been linked to early death, cardiovascular disease and disability.
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Until recently, there was inconsistent evidence on the relationship between hand grip strength and type 2 diabetes.
In a recent literature review of 10 published studies on the topic, the same researchers demonstrated that people with higher values of hand grip strength had a 27 per cent reduced risk of developing diabetes.
However, while findings from this review suggested handgrip strength could potentially be used to predict type 2 diabetes, researchers needed to test this formally using individual patient data.
In the latest study, the researchers from Bristol Medical School and Eastern Finland’s Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition followed 776 men and women aged 60-72 years without a history of diabetes over a 20-year period and measured the power of their hand grip strength using a handgrip dynamometer.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: पैंगॉन्ग झील के पास पहली बार रणनीतिक तौर पर भारत चीन पर हावी
Patients were asked to squeeze the handles of the dynamometer with their dominant hand with maximum isometric effort and maintain this for five seconds.
The results demonstrated that the risk of type 2 diabetes was reduced by about 50 per cent for every unit increase in hand grip strength value.
This association persisted even after taking into account several established factors that can affect type 2 diabetes, such as age, family history of diabetes, physical activity, smoking, hypertension, waist circumference and fasting plasma glucose.
When information on hand grip strength was added to these established factors which are already known to predict type 2 diabetes, the prediction of type 2 diabetes improved further, the researchers noted.
“Assessment of handgrip is simple, inexpensive and does not require very skilled expertise and resources and could potentially be used in the early identification of individuals at high risk of future type 2 diabetes,” said lead study author Setor Kunutsor from Bristol’s Musculoskeletal Research Unit.
Importantly, the findings suggested women are more likely to benefit from the use of this potential screening tool.
“We propose larger studies to replicate these findings in other populations and specifically in men and women,”
said Professor Jari Laukkanen from the University of Eastern Finland.
In April this year, a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine said that hand grip can help doctors perform time-efficient screening tools for diabetes. The study identified the levels of handgrip strength/weakness that correlate with type 2 diabetes in otherwise healthy men and women, according to their body weights and ages. (IANS)
Researchers have found that — bisphosphonates — a class of drugs that prevent the loss of bone density and used to treat osteoporosis and similar diseases, appear to be safe and beneficial for osteoarthritis patients.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and a leading cause of disability worldwide with more than 300 million sufferings with the condition, yet there are no effective treatments to stop the disease or its progression.
According to the study, published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, one of the lesions in OA that causes pain and progression of the structural pathology of the disease is bone marrow lesions.
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“The results suggest that bisphosphonates do not appear to be harmful, at least over one year, and perhaps may even help decrease bone marrow lesions in those that have them,” said study researcher Tuhina Neogi from the Boston University in the US.
Researchers believe bisphosphonates may alter bone marrow lesions, and thereby could improve pain in OA and halt its progression. Alternatively, they could also alter the mechanical properties of bone, thereby potentially contributing to detrimental effects.
Using data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a longitudinal cohort of people with or at risk for knee OA, the researchers identified women who started bisphosphonates and matched them to women who weren’t on the drug. Measurements in bone marrow lesion volume were taken when they first started on bisphosphonate and then a year later.
Changes in bone marrow lesion volume between the two groups were then compared.”When we looked at those who had bone marrow lesions at baseline, we found that the women who started bisphosphonates had had more bone marrow lesions that decreased in size than the women who did not start bisphosphonates,” Neogi explained.
According to the researchers, effective treatments for osteoarthritis are desperately needed.
“By examining existing data for potential signals of efficacy and safety, we can identify potentially promising therapies that should be further tested in trials with the aim to ameliorate the pain of osteoarthritis and improve the quality of life for the millions of people worldwide that have this disease,” Neogi noted. (IANS)
Often reliant on a robust caregiving and support network, people with disabilities (PwDs) are a community hit hard during the lockdown and resulting operational slowdown – impacting jobs, businesses, and livelihood.
Dr. Jitender Aggarwal, a practicing dentist who turned disability rights activist when he gradually lost vision to macular degeneration of retina in 2004, says that for PwDs, challenges are aplenty during the pandemic.
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Dr. Aggarwal, who is the founder of Sarthak Educational Trust, says distancing is not an option for many as they rely on others including personal support workers and caregivers to support their needs including movement, bathing, and feeding. He feels information on COVID-19 infection prevention strategies focused on the needs of people with disabilities are not being disseminated through media or other sources.
“Due to COVID-19 restriction, many people with disabilities who operated small businesses or other informal livelihood ventures (i.e. home cell phone repair or machine repair shops, selling goods etc) are unable to work and there is a significant loss of income, which is not compensated by government programs.
“Country-wide lockdown which places restrictions on movement within the community (including bus travel) and lack of income prevent them from acquiring needed protective material including face masks, hand sanitizers, and hand wash. Acquiring these materials is particularly important for people with disabilities as many are in direct physical contact with caregivers and support workers. In addition, COVID-19 rules surrounding the restriction of movement within the community affects people with mobility issues, even more, creating another barrier to obtaining these materials. Government programs provide basic needs including rice and grains, but not protective material,” Dr. Aggarwal told IANSlife over email.
Dr. Aggarwal, whose NGO focuses on making PwDs self-reliant by skilling them and helping them get jobs, says job loss affects not just the individual, but also family income.
Speaking about the viability of telemedicine for people with disabilities, he said that it is a substitute but not the solution as early intervention therapies need manual intervention but social distancing restricts this. “Telemedicine is more dependent on parental/caretaker support, supervision followed by sensitivity among the individual.”
Dr. Aggarwal’s initiative, Sarthak, imparted training via the online medium to around 1200 people with disabilities, and provided job opportunities to 300 PwDs under the work-from-home model, along with online counseling of individuals and families on multiple themes. It also connected people with disabilities with available community resources which are difficult to access during this period of lockdown including pharmacies, medical clinics, and assistive equipment providers.
“Sarthak always advocates for the business model – hire a PwD on the basis of his talent and not on his disability,” he said.
The activist highlights initiatives that must be taken at the policy and community level to better-enable the community in these hard times. Among those, are providing accessible information to people with disabilities, diverting a percentage of PM Cares fund towards disability empowerment, redirecting CSR funds towards healthcare and skill-building, and promoting digitization and e-learning. (IANS)