Vitamin C Treatment During Pregnancy Can Cut Babies’ Risk of Heart Diseases

It turns out that vitamin C is a comparatively weak antioxidant, and while the Cambridge study provides a proof-of-principle, future work will focus on identifying alternative antioxidant therapies that could prove more effective in human clinical practice

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Vitamin C helps treating TB. Pexels

Maternal treatment with vitamin C antioxidant during a complicated pregnancy could protect the baby from developing hypertension and heart disease in adulthood, suggests a study.

Heart disease is the greatest killer in the world today, and it is widely accepted that our genes interact with traditional lifestyle risk factors such as smoking, obesity and/or a sedentary life to promote an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

However, a new study on sheep by a team from Cambridge University, finds that babies born from pregnancies complicated by chronic hypoxia have increased indicators of cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure and stiffer blood vessels.

Chronic hypoxia or lower-than-normal oxygen levels in the developing baby within the womb is one of the most common outcomes of complicated pregnancy in humans. It occurs as a result of problems within the placenta, as can occur in preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or maternal smoking.

“Our discoveries emphasise that when considering strategies to reduce the overall burden of heart disease, much greater attention to prevention rather than treatment is required,” said lead researcher Dino Giussani, Professor from the varsity.

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Maternal vitamin C treatment can cut babies’ risk of heart disease. Pixabay

“Treatment should start as early as possible during the developmental trajectory, rather than waiting until adulthood when the disease process has become irreversible,” Giussani added.

The study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, draws attention to a new way of thinking about heart disease with a much longer term perspective, focusing on prevention rather than treatment.

The team used pregnant sheep to show that maternal treatment with the antioxidant vitamin C during a complicated pregnancy could protect the adult offspring from developing hypertension and heart disease.

Also Read- Remembering Your Partner Can Help You Keep Your BP Down

The study not only provides evidence that a prenatal influence on later heart disease in the offspring is indeed possible, but also shows the potential to protect against it by “bringing preventative medicine back into the womb”, said Kirsty Brain from the varsity.

It turns out that vitamin C is a comparatively weak antioxidant, and while the Cambridge study provides a proof-of-principle, future work will focus on identifying alternative antioxidant therapies that could prove more effective in human clinical practice, the research said. (IANS)

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Women Less Likely To Succumb to Heart Diseases: Study

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Women less likely to die of heart diseases, says study. Pixabay

In a growing list of studies on whether women are less prone to heart disease than men, fresh research of more than 160,000 people in 21 countries that was published in The Lancet has revealed that women are less likely than men to have cardiovascular disease (CVD) and die from it.

According to the study, there have been concerns that women with CVD are managed less aggressively than men which could lead to women having poorer prognoses. Some have attributed this to a treatment bias against women. “In our global study, we observed that while prevention strategies were used more often by women, invasive strategies such as percutaneous coronary intervention and coronary artery bypass surgery was used more often for men,” said study first author Marjan Walli-Attaei from McMaster University in Canada.

“But, overall, outcomes such as death or a new heart attack or stroke in women were lower than in men. This suggests there may be factors other than a treatment bias against women that contribute to the treatment differences,” Walli-Attaei added. It didn’t matter if women had, or didn’t have, a previous heart attack or stroke. It also didn’t matter where they lived around the world and nor their economic status, the study said.

The information came from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study which followed the participants an average of 10 years. It is the first global study to document the risk factors, use of treatment, the incidence of heart attacks and strokes and mortality in people from the community, rather than just hospital patients.

The findings showed that women with no history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) were more likely to use preventative medicines, control hypertension and to have quit smoking, compared to men. According to the researchers, the lower rates of invasive cardiac treatments of women with CVD could be partly explained by the fact that fewer women than men have the type of extensive atherosclerosis that requires medical interventions.

“Other studies have reported that sex differences in invasive cardiac procedures are not seen once we consider the extent and severity of coronary artery disease,” said study co-author Annika Rosengren. “This suggests that the lower rates of coronary interventions in women are appropriate as they have less extensive disease,” she said. There is, however, substantial concern about the differences in treatment between poorer and richer countries.

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Women with CVD have managed less aggressively than men which could lead to women having poorer prognoses. Pixabay

The differences in outcomes in both women and men in low-income countries, where approximately 40 per cent die within 30 days of a heart attack or stroke compared to the less than 10 per cent in high-income countries, is a matter of substantial concern, the researchers noted. Another research, published earlier this month in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that men and women largely suffer the same heart attack symptoms.

Also Read: Multiple Sclerosis Risk in Urbanites High Due To Air Pollution

Investigating why heart disease generally develops later in women than men, another study published in journal Cardiovascular Research in 2017, demonstrated a link among female ovarian hormones, the circadian system which regulates the body’s day-night cycle, and the observation that women enjoy significant protection against heart disease when compared to men. (IANS)

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Time to Increase Vitamin C and Zinc Intake in Your Diet

Boost your diet with Vitamin C and Zinc

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vitamin c and zinc
Vitamin C and Zinc reduces the level of chemicals called cytokines that are harmful to the body. Pixabay

The Coronavirus outbreak has seen a huge spike in people buying vitamin supplements, with Vitamin C and Zinc emerging two of the top supplements in demand.

Typically, in any viral infection, the body’s defence mechanism is to produce white blood cells (WBCs) to fight against the infection.

Vitamin C and Zinc reduces the level of chemicals called cytokines that are harmful to the body and are produced in the body during infections. Zinc helps increase the production of these infection-fighting WBCs and T cells.

Vitamin C, while providing overall immunity, is the most effective against respiratory based illnesses. Lack of Vitamin C is also the most common nutritional deficiency.

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“It has been seen that older people are more at risk from the Coronavirus. Ensuring adequate intake of vitamin C via supplements, especially among elderly or individuals with risk factors owing to insufficient vitamin C, is important for the immune system to function properly and resist infections. With age, the body loses its strength to fight viruses, and when combined with existing medical conditions, it places elderly people at risk. But immunity is important at all ages and it can be increased at any stage by keeping oneself fit,” says Dr Karthik Anantharaman, Director e-pharmacy, Medlife.

vitamin c and zinc
The Coronavirus outbreak has seen a huge spike in people buying vitamin supplements, with Vitamin C and Zinc emerging two of the top supplements in demand. Pixabay

“There have been reports of people believing in Vitamin C to be a cure for Coronavirus, which is certainly not true. While Vitamin C helps boost immunity, it is basic hygiene, good food habits and physical activities that help build immunity, rather than just the supplements. Pre-existing medical conditions like uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled High BP, uncontrolled cholesterol, etc too result in low immunity and these supplements should be seen as agents that help the body withstand or fight infections and not Coronavirus itself,” notes Dr Anantharaman.

The natural sources of Zinc are legumes like chickpeas, lentils and beans along with seeds, nuts, and whole grains. Citrus fruits like orange, kiwi, lemon, guava and grapefruit are high in Vitamin C, along with vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, capsicums and Brussel sprouts.

The over-the-counter zinc supplements are available as Zinc acetate and Zinc gluconate, with the former being more readily available and accessible. The quantity of Zinc needed by the human body to achieve optimal immunity is between 8 -11 mg and for Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) it is 500 mg. These two immunity supplements are available individually for consumption but there are supplements available that combine these two into one, which can also be considered by people, adds Dr Anantharaman.

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Traditionally, natural foods are the best source of vitamins and nutrients, it is advisable to combine these natural foods along with supplements. But in case of unavailability or other reasons, supplements are quite effective and it is critical to combine them with physical activities and exercises. Supplements, apart from giving the desired immunity, come with the benefit of reducing risk of heart diseases, due to certain other important components present in them. (IANS)

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This AI Model may Predict Heart Diseases

AI may predict long-term risks of heart attack, cardiac death

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Researchers have found that Artificial Intelligence can be used to predict heart attacks and cardiac deaths. Pixabay

Researchers have found that machine learning, patterns and inferences computers use to learn to perform tasks, can predict the long-term risk of heart attack and cardiac death.

According to the study, published in the journal Cardiovascular Research, machine learning appears to be better at predicting heart attacks and cardiac deaths than the standard clinical risk assessment used by cardiologists.

“Our study showed that machine learning integration of clinical risk factors and imaging measures can accurately personalise the patient’s risk of suffering an adverse event such as heart attack or cardiac death,” said the study researchers from the Biomedical Imaging Research Institute in US

For the findings, the research team studied subjects from the imaging arm of a prospective, randomised research trial, who underwent coronary artery calcium scoring with available cardiac CT scans and long-term follow-up.

Participants here were asymptomatic, middle-aged subjects, with cardiovascular risk factors, but no known coronary artery disease.

Researchers used machine learning to assess the risk of myocardial infarction and cardiac death in the subjects, and then compared the predictions with the actual experiences of the subjects over fifteen years.

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Diet, exercise and marital status are some of the factors that can affect the heart health. Pixabay

Subjects here answered a questionnaire to identify cardiovascular risk factors and to describe their diets, exercise and marital status. The final study consisted of 1,912 subjects, fifteen years after they were first studied.

76 subjects presented an event of myocardial infarction and/or cardiac death during this follow-up time. The subjects’ predicted machine learning scores aligned accurately with the actual distribution of observed events.

The atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk score, the standard clinical risk assessment used by cardiologists, overestimated the risk of events in the higher risk categories. Machine learning did not.

In unadjusted analysis, high predicted machine learning risk was significantly associated with a higher risk of a cardiac event.

Also Read- Find out Why Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Binge-Eat After 7 PM

“While machine learning models are sometimes regarded as “black boxes”, we have also tried to demystify machine learning; in this manuscript, we describe individual predictions for two patients as examples,” said researchers

“When applied after the scan, such individualised predictions can help guide recommendations for the patient, to decrease their risk of suffering an adverse cardiac event,” they added. (IANS)