Monday December 16, 2019

Beware! Tobacco, Poor Diet, and Mental Disorders are Leading Causes of Poor Health and you may be at Risk too!

According to a new study, deaths from noncommunicable, or chronic, diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes have caused 72 percent of all deaths worldwide

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poor health
A heavyset man rests on a bench in Jackson, Miss. (VOA)

London, September 15, 2017 : Heart disease and tobacco ranked with conflict and violence among the world’s leading cause of poor health and the biggest killers in 2016, while poor diets and mental disorders caused people the greatest poor health, a large international study has found.

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, published in The Lancet medical journal, found that while life expectancy is increasing, so too are the years people live in poor health. The proportion of life spent being ill is higher in poor countries than in wealthy ones.

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“Death is a powerful motivator, both for individuals and for countries, to address diseases that have been killing us at high rates. But we’ve been much less motivated to address issues leading to illnesses,” said Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, which led the study.

He said a “triad of troubles” — obesity, conflict and mental illness — is emerging as a “stubborn and persistent barrier to active and vigorous lifestyles.”

Diet critical

The IHME-led study, involving more than 2,500 researchers in about 130 countries, found that in 2016, poor diet was associated with nearly one in five deaths worldwide. Tobacco smoking killed 7.1 million people.

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Diets low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, fish oils and high in salt were the most common risk factors, contributing to cases of obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol.

The study found that deaths from firearms, conflict and terrorism have increased globally, and that noncommunicable, or chronic, diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes caused 72 percent of all deaths worldwide.

Heart disease was the leading cause of premature death in most regions and killed 9.48 million people globally in 2016.

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Mental illness was found to take a heavy toll on individuals and societies, with 1.1 billion people living with psychological or psychiatric disorders and substance abuse problems in 2016.

Major depressive disorders ranked in the top 10 causes of ill health in all but four countries worldwide.

The GBD is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation global health charity and gives data estimates on 330 diseases, causes of death and injuries in 195 countries and territories. (VOA)

 

 

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Obesity Can Lead to Brain Damage: Study

According to researchers, this pattern of damage correlated with some inflammatory markers, like leptin, a hormone made by fat cells that helps regulate energy and fat stores

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Brain
"Brain changes were found in obese adolescents related to regions responsible for control of appetite, emotions and cognitive functions," said study co-author Pamela Bertolazzi from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. Pixabay

While obesity is primarily associated with weight gain, a new study suggests it triggers inflammation in the nervous system that could damage important regions of the brain.

Developments in MRI, like diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a technique that tracks the diffusion of water along the brain’s signal-carrying white matter tracts, have enabled researchers to study this damage directly.

“Brain changes were found in obese adolescents related to regions responsible for control of appetite, emotions and cognitive functions,” said study co-author Pamela Bertolazzi from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) data indicates the number of overweight or obese infants and young children increased from 32 million in 1990 to 41 million in 2016 globally.

For the study, researchers compared DTI results in 59 obese and 61 healthy adolescents, aged 12-16 years.

From DTI, the researchers derived a measure called fractional anisotropy (FA), which correlates with the condition of the brain’s white matter. A reduction in fractional anisotropy is indicative of increasing damage in the white matter.

Brain
While obesity is primarily associated with weight gain, a new study suggests it triggers inflammation in the nervous system that could damage important regions of the brain. Pixabay

The results showed reduction of FA values in the obese adolescents in regions located in the corpus callosum, a bundle of nerve fibre that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

Decrease of fractional anisotropy was also found in the middle orbitofrontal gyrus, a brain region related to emotional control and the reward circuit. None of the brain regions in obese patients had increased fractional anisotropy.

According to researchers, this pattern of damage correlated with some inflammatory markers, like leptin, a hormone made by fat cells that helps regulate energy and fat stores.

In some obese people, the brain doesn’t respond to leptin, causing them to keep eating despite adequate or excessive fat stores. This condition, known as leptin resistance, makes the fat cells produce even more leptin.

Brain
The World Health Organisation (WHO) data indicates the number of overweight or obese infants and young children increased from 32 million in 1990 to 41 million in 2016 globally, having effect on Brain Health. Wikimedia Commons

Worsening condition of the white matter was also associated with levels of insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Obese people often suffer from insulin resistance.

“Our maps showed a positive correlation between brain changes and hormones, such as leptin and insulin,” Bertolazzi said.

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“In the future, we would like to repeat brain MRI in these adolescents after multi-professional treatment for weight loss to assess if the brain changes are reversible,” she said. (IANS)