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Miscarriages may be linked to protein blood levels
Date: 2013-01-23 00:00:00

There are a number of biochemical imbalances that can lead to the loss of a pregnancy. Certain protein imbalances, such as cytokine levels, can make it difficult for women to sustain a pregnancy and make them more susceptible to miscarriage, according to a new study University Hospital, Coventry. The ongoing loss of an infant could be misread as a fertility issue, but researchers have found that if doctors detect an elevated amount of the protein cytokine in blood tests, it's possible that there could be a bigger problem.

The Warwick Medical School reported that too much cytokine found in blood testing could produce an irregular or shortened fertility window. In some cases, this may have been misread in the past as a simple issue with timing or under-production of gametes, but scientists have found that cytokine IL-33 can cause a reaction in the uterine lining that makes the environment unfit to maintain an embryo. That means that even if women are receiving fertility treatments, the blastocyst won't be able to embed or remain in the uterine lining, because the enhanced cytokine level will cause too much inflammation. The study showed that patients with a history of recurring miscarriages may be experiencing these kinds of protein imbalances, something that gynecologists could consider checking for in patients at any stage leading up to or after a pregnancy.

Biochemical imbalances create risk... Full Story

A vegetarian diet may reduce cholesterol levels and improve heart health
Date: 2013-02-11 00:00:00

One of the best things that people can do to keep their hearts healthy is to make sure their cholesterol levels are in check. According to the American Heart Association, cholesterol can slowly build up on the inner walls of the arteries that deliver blood to the heart and brain. The buildup can turn into plaque that hardens the arteries and makes them less flexible. This may lead to blood clots, stroke and a number of other serious issues. This is why everyone should regularly get cholesterol tests to make sure they have healthy levels of beneficial high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and low levels of low-density lipoprotein, the type that tends to cause cardiovascular problems.

Cholesterol primarily comes from the food people eat, which is why it's important to maintain a healthy diet. Organ meats, veal and beef are all very high in cholesterol, which is why these foods should only be eaten sparingly. In fact, recent research suggests that one of the best ways to protect the heart and keep cholesterol levels low is to eschew meat altogether.

Consider going veggie... Full Story

Exercise doesn't have to be vigorous to be effective
Date: 2013-02-14 00:00:00

Obese individuals have a higher risk than those with healthier weights to develop heart disease and high cholesterol. This is why people who are obese should regularly get blood tests to help determine if they are on their way to developing any adverse health conditions. While overweight individuals likely know that they need to exercise regularly in order to shed pounds and improve insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels, not everyone has the motivation to workout.

It can particular be difficult for people to participate in a high-intensity workout regimen if it's been a long time since they last hit the gym. However, according to a recent study conducted by researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, a low-intensity exercise program can be even more effective than a strenuous one.

Walk your way to healthier levels... Full Story

Hepatitis C risk low among monogamous couples
Date: 2013-03-21 00:00:00

When a person uses STD testing services and discovers that they have a serious virus like HIV or hepatitis C, they may feel as though their sex lives have been ruined forever. However, that doesn't have to be the case. People should know that as long as they are careful, they may be able to have a normal sex life. For example, a recent study conducted by scientists from the University of California, San Francisco found that people with hepatitis C who are in monogamous, heterosexual relationships shouldn't be that concerned about their risk of transmitting their virus to their partner.

According to the scientists, transmission of HCV from an infected partner during sex is rare.

An unlikely prospect ... Full Story

Flame retardant in office furniture may pose health risk
Date: 2013-03-27 00:00:00

Getting regular lab tests to check for a host of diseases isn't just a good idea for people who already feel sick. Everyone should consider getting blood tests to make sure they are in good health, since people might be surprised to know the number of seemingly harmless things in their life that could pose a risk. For example, researchers from Boston University Medical Center have found a flame retardant that was removed from children's pajamas 30 years ago is present in polyurethane foam found in many office environments. Furthermore, this chemical has been named as a possible carcinogen.

Researchers examined 31 adults to come to their conclusions, and discovered that the chemical found in this flame retardant - known as TDCPP - was found in 99 percent of dust samples taken from the homes, vehicles and offices of the participants.

Potentially dangerous ... Full Story

Study: Heart disease linked to anger, hostility
Date: 2013-07-22 00:00:00

New research from Ohio State University has identified a possible reason as to why high levels of anger and hostility are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. It is one of the first studies to look at the impact of psychological and behavioral factors on a blood chemical that is associated with coronary heart disease.

Homocysteine tests revealed that men and women who experience more feeling of anger and hostility than usual also have higher levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood, too much of which can lead to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

"Many studies have shown hostility and anger expression to be potent risk factors for coronary heart disease, but this study is the first to suggest this potential explanation for why they are linked to CHD," said Catherine Stoney, coauthor of the study.

Researchers examined blood samples from 31 unmedicated, healthy men and 33 women. The subjects were given a survey to assess their levels of hostility and anger and how they expressed each. Subjects who experienced above average hostility also had levels of homocysteine that were higher than those of their peers.

The report also examined the difference that gender made on the results of homocysteine tests. As with other studies, men were shown to have higher levels of the chemical than women. Stoney theorized that this is because men hold in their anger more than women do.

Stoney had previously found that psychological stress can have a significant impact on homocysteine levels, causing them to spike temporarily. She noted that homocysteine levels could be linked mostly to stress, since particularly hostile individuals report more life stress.

How to combat high homocysteine levels... Full Story

Iron supplements may benefit those with anemia
Date: 2013-10-24 00:00:00

Giving iron supplements to children with anemia may be able to significantly boost their health, according to researchers from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Children who received these supplements had higher cognitive scores on tests as well as improved bodyweight.

Tracking iron and anemia... Full Story

Vitamin D deficiencies linked to anemia
Date: 2013-10-27 00:00:00

A lack of vitamin D may contribute to anemia, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Children's Center. Vitamin D, found in drinks like milk and orange juice as well as sunlight exposure, is linked to a variety of health benefits, so those who suspect low levels of the nutrient may want to consider a blood test to find out more.

Vitamin D and anemia... Full Story

New drug approach could lead to cures for multiple diseases
Date: 2013-12-09 00:00:00

Following research conducted by the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, a new approach to treating misfolded proteins could lead to cures for a wide range of diseases. Lab tests carried out on mice may bring about revolutionary changes in treatment for ailments such as cystic fibrosis and cataracts.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was led by Michael Conn, Ph.D., former professor of physiology and pharmacology at OHSU. His team looked to discover a new method to fix misfolded proteins and restore them to make cells function correctly. Using male mice incapable of fathering offspring, the researchers were able to cure the mice and perfect the process through lab testing. They believe the same treatment could be used on humans.

"The opportunity here is going to be enormous because so many human diseases are caused by misfolded proteins. The ability of these drugs - called 'pharmacoperones' - to rescue misfolded proteins and return them to normalcy could someday be an underlying cure to a number of diseases," affirmed Conn.

Previously, scientists believed inactive proteins were naturally non functional. But Conn and his team of researchers showed that when the proteins were misfolded, their purpose was rerouted and caused a malfunction. The pharmacoperones are used to correct the routing problem and correctly fold proteins for functioning.

"We expect that these studies will change the way drug companies look for drugs, since current screening procedures would have missed many useful pharmacoperone drugs."

According to Conn, the next step in the process will be clinical trials on humans.

What are misfolded proteins?... Full Story

Link found between blood cancer in women and airborne allergens
Date: 2013-12-17 00:00:00

A research team looking into the interaction between cancer and the immune system has discovered a link between blood cancer risk in women and a history of airborne allergies. The lack of an association with men suggested that a possible gender-specific function in chronic stimulation of the immune system might lead to the development of blood-related cancers.

Published in the American Journal of Hematology, the study showed the immune system's probable role in causing cancer and is a central point of scientific interest. Materials for the study were gathered from previous lab tests on voluntary participants.

To get their results, Mazyar Shadman, Ph.D., and his team from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center drew on a large sample of men and women who were part of the VITamins and Lifestyle study, which examined the association between cancer risk and supplement use. The participants, aged 50 to 76 years old, answered a questionnaire that centered on three major factors: diet, health history and cancer risk factors, and medication and supplement use. They also provided personal information such as age, race/ethnicity, diet, medical history and family history of lymphoma.

Finding the link... Full Story

New guidelines for blood pressure could mean less pill taking
Date: 2013-12-18 00:00:00

More than 10 years ago, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute published guidelines regarding blood pressure treatment targets and recommendations for drug prescriptions. After initially stating it would not be updating new guidelines, the NIH has released an updated report and it could change how hypertension is treated across the board.

The previous guideline stated that all adults should aim to have a systolic blood pressure below 140 millimeters of mercury, or mm Hg. Individuals with diabetes had an even lower target number, sitting at less than 130 mm Hg. Although the NIH still recommends those numbers for adults under the age of 60, it states that those 60 years of age and older should strive for an easier target of 150 mm Hg or lower. Despite these changes, the definition of hypertension still remains the same.

One significant difference between the NIH guidelines and the cardiovascular guidelines released by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association last month is in risk assessment. According to Eric Peterson, M.D., in an editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the NIH's hypertension guidelines for assessing patient risk will result in less treatment for the elderly, while the ACC/AHA guidelines will lead to increased treatment in those individuals.

It is important to note that although the recommendations in the new guidelines are based on evidence from extensive research, they should not be used to replace clinical judgment from a medical professional.

Treating high blood pressure... Full Story

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