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Eating Too Much Salt Could Trigger Rheumatoid Arthritis
Eating Too Much Salt Could Trigger Rheumatoid Arthritis
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Article Author : dwells (April 14, 2013)

It has been well documented over recent years that eating too much salt can be very bad for you. Salt has been linked the hardening of arteries and to raising blood pressure which can cause a wide range of problems for your wellness. Most healthy-eating diets and nutrition experts recommend eating as little salt as possible and so public awareness for its negative health impact is quite good. However, new research has uncovered a new reason for us to worry about how much salt we’re sprinkling on our food.

A team of researchers has reported that eating a diet laden with salt actually helps the development of autoimmune diseases, where the body’s immune system erroneously attacks healthy cells believing them to be foreign bodies that need to be gotten rid of. Three studies were examined and it was found that salt could indeed increase the risk of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

This has interesting repercussions for how we view the recent rise in the diagnoses of autoimmune diseases as this research suggests that the increase could be down to environmental factors rather than genetics. This research also shows that salt affects the body in ways that we had not yet recognised. This only adds to the body of knowledge that having an excessively salt-rich diet is very bad for your overall health.

But interestingly it was actually an accidental discovery that triggered the researcher team’s interest in salt. They found out that people who ate at fast food restaurants seemed to have higher levels of inflammatory cells than others. While originally assuming that this was down in increased levels of fat it turned out that salt was in fact the culprit and an increasing risk factor for autoimmune diseases.

Allergies And Asthma

Could Colds During Pregnancy Lead To Child As...
Studies suggest that mothers who catch a cold during pregnancy could be more likely to have children who develop asthma, as the bacteria and viruses affect the in-utero environment. Babies who are exposed to the allergens are more likely to become sensitive to them and this could affect them later in life, according to researchers. The new study, which examined the risk of the common cold to unborn children, shows that women who are pregnant should take extra precautions around people who have colds and are sneezing, as it could lead to problems for their children later in life. The mothers infections and bacterial exposure during the pregnancy leads to the environment in the womb being altered. Allergist Dr Mitch Grayson stated that in addition to this, the same children in the study who had early exposure to allergens, including house dust and pet hair, also had increased odds of becoming sensitive by the age of five. When dust mites from the mother and the child’s mattresses were analysed, children with high dust mite exposure yet low bacteria exposure were more likely to develop allergies to dust mites than those with low dust mite exposure and high bacteria exposure.   Researchers looked at 513 pregnant women in Germany, and their 526 children. The women completed questionnaires during the pregnancy, when the children were 3 and 12 months old, and then every year up until the children reached five years old. Of the families, 61 per cent of them had a parent with asthma, hay fever or atopic dermatitis. According to the ACAAI, asthma and allergies can be hereditary; if both parents have allergies, the child is as much as 75 per cent more likely to be allergic. If just one parent is allergic, or if a close relative has allergies, then the child has a 30 to 40 per cent chance of developing some form of allergy. This drops to just 10 to 15 per cent if neither parent has an allergy. Researchers claim that they now know for certain that allergies and asthma can develop in the womb, as genetics play an important factor in both diseases. However, this study sheds light on how the environment a mother creates during pregnancy can begin to affect the child before it’s even been born. Asthma is the most common potentially serious medical condition to complicate pregnancy, according to the ACAAI.   Asthma affects around 1 in 12 women during their childbearing years, and when women with asthma become pregnant, one third of the patients improve, one third get worse, and one third remain unchanged. Asthma is a serious condition which affects a number of people and has numerous triggers, including house mites, dust, pollen and pollution. As pollution and toxins in the air have increased over the years, the risk of developing respiratory diseases has also increased. There are ways to treat asthma and, depending on the severity of the condition, your child may require medication to maintain it. If you're concerned about the risk colds and asthma have to your baby, or think your child is developing symptoms of asthma, you should seek advice from your GP as soon as possible. As with any pregnancy, it's important to stay as healthy as possible, maintain a balanced diet which includes all the nutrients both you and your baby need, and get enough exercise; you should also avoid alcohol and smoking, to maintain good health for both you and your baby.
Could Second-Hand Smoke Be Damaging Your Chil...
A new study has found that the health concerns associated with the wellness and wellbeing of children who live with smokers could be more serious than previously thought. A shocking report shows that children who are exposed to cigarette smoke at home do not respond as well to asthma treatment as those who live with non-smoking parents in a non-smoking household.   Children who are regularly exposed to cigarette smoke had lower levels of an enzyme that helps them to respond to the main asthma treatments. This report was published in a journal called Chest recently.   This is bad news, as the number of children in the UK who have asthma is on the increase. Over a million children in this country are believed to be suffering from asthma, and they are most commonly treated by steroids and inhalers. For some patients, however, these treatments are not totally effective, leaving them unprotected from harm in the event of an attack.   It is now known that passive smoke can not only worsen the symptoms of asthma in children, but can actually impair their response to treatments in the form of inhaled steroids. It is not yet known how or why this effect occurs.   Researchers into the subject have found that children who have severe asthma, and parents who smoke at home, have a lower level of an enzyme called HDAC2, especially when compared like for like with children who do not have smoking parents.   This enzyme – HDAC2 – is required in the human body to help it benefit from steroids, and to allow them to exert their anti-inflammatory type effects over the symptoms of asthma.   To come to this conclusion, researchers looked at a group of 19 children who were suffering from severe asthma. Nine of the children in the group had a parent who smoked whilst ten of the children had parents who were non smokers.


More Information on Asbestos and Mesothelioma...
There was a time, in the mid to late 80s, when everyone was talking about asbestos. There were news stories about asbestos materials in schools and libraries and other public buildings. People were talking about their worries about remodeling old houses for fear of encountering asbestos. For people who discovered asbestos in their buildings, there was debate over the expense and danger of removing it, versus the expense and danger of leaving it be. All of this sudden awareness of asbestos was due to the fact that instances of an asbestos-related cancer called mesothelioma were on the rise.   Today, the news doesn’t cover many stories about the dangers of asbestos; instead we are treated to multiple commercials about mesothelioma lawsuits. You would think that because asbestos doesn’t get as much press that it’s no longer a problem, but that’s not true. Asbestos in homes and public buildings is still an issue, as is the cancer caused by exposure to it.   What is asbestos? Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral made primarily of silicone and oxygen. There are two distinct types: ·  Chrysotile, also known as white asbestos, which is common used in industrial settings. Chrysotile asbestos has tiny curly fibers that wrap around each other; and, ·  Amphibole, which has several different names, including brown asbestos and blue asbestos, and has straight, needle-like fibers. Asbestos is strong, resistant to chemicals and heat, and doesn’t conduct electricity. On the surface it seemed like the perfect insulator so, starting in the 1900s, people were using it in everything from insulation in schools, and factories, to engine parts and automobile brakes, to ceiling and floor tiles. Asbestos was everywhere.   What’s the problem with asbestos? When things made of asbestos remain intact, there’s no problem at all. The problems start when the asbestos breaks up and those tiny fibers become airborne. Asbestos fibers are very “sticky” and when they get into the lungs, instead of being expelled when you cough, they stick.  Asbestos fibers can also contaminate food, making it possible for you to ingest them and end up with tiny fibers stuck to your digestive tract. In places where the asbestos has stuck, tissue grows around the fibers and can eventually form into mesothelioma or other forms of cancer. In the 1980s, when people discovered the danger of asbestos, regulators began taking steps to reduce people’s exposure to it. As a result, many products that were once made with asbestos no longer contain it. However, that doesn’t mean asbestos is no longer a problem. Although there are federal regulations banning the use of asbestos in some instance, there is not a universal ban on the substance. This means that it’s still possible for asbestos to make it into your home. Additionally, older buildings could still contain it within the walls, on the floors, and in the materials used to insulate pipes and ducts. Online resources can provide a list of asbestos containing products that could be potentially dangerous if they become broken or worn, or are exposed through a routine home remodel. If you have an older home, or just have concerns about whether or not there is asbestos in your home, you can consult one of these lists. If you recognize the names of any of these products, you should consider having your home or garage tested for asbestos.   Asbestos and Cancer We have talked a little about asbestos and cancer before, in terms of the increases in mesothelioma cases and efforts in the UK to reduce the manufacture of products that contain it. Today we will talk more about why mesothelioma is such a big deal. The main problem with mesothelioma is that the early symptoms of mesothelioma are so mild that most people ignore them until they get really bad, and by then it’s too late. Another serous issue is that mesothelioma has a latency period from 20 to 50 years, which means that individuals who were exposed on the job in the 70s could be well past retirement age when they start getting sick. An additional troubling issue is that asbestos sticks to clothing, so the spouses and families of individuals who worked with asbestos were also at risk for exposure. Finally, mesothelioma has a very poor survival rate. The median survival time for stage 1 is 21 months, however most people aren’t diagnosed until the advanced stages, when the survival time is significantly lower. If you believe that you have been exposed to asbestos, and you have chest pain, coughing, and shortness of breath, contact your physician.
Biomarker and microenvironmental strategies f...
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The use of noble metal particles to stain tumors and achieve optical contrast for biomedical applications has taken on a clinical dimension,1, 2 with applications that include optical hyperthermia to ablate cells and photoacoustic imaging of cancer. Obtaining plasmonic bands in the near-IR window to penetrate deeply into biological tissue is now possible by tailoring the shape and size of the particles used.3 As an example, gold nanorods exhibit excellent optical absorbance and stability4 and have a surface that can be modified with functional moieties that alter their biological profiles. When grafted with polyethylene glycol (that is, PEGylated), these nanorods are nontoxic to cells (noncytotoxic), have few interactions with blood plasma components and macrophages, and are, therefore, cleared slowly from the blood.5 This feature enables their passive accumulation in tumors that exhibit enhanced permeability and retention because of a ‘leaky’ vascular network and poor lymphatic drainage. In addition, using suitable ligands might strengthen this effect and enable active recognition of certain targets.     Choosing the right targets is critical. A common approach is to identify ‘fingerprints’ of the high metabolic activity of malignant cells, such as the overexpression of growth factor and folate receptors. However, these molecules are also broadly distributed in healthy tissue, making discrimination difficult. Instead, we have focused on antigens that are specific to certain diseases,6 such as CA125, which is a mucin (protein) recurring in ovarian, endometrial, fallopian tube, lung, breast, and gastrointestinal cancers. CA125 is also a standard biomarker for ovarian cancers; patients have an excessive amount of it in their blood serum. We showed that PEGylated gold nanorods modified with anti-CA125 antibodies exhibit high specificity for cells overexpressing CA125: see Figure 1(a,b). In addition, these particles are compatible with intravenous injection owing to their minimal interaction with blood plasma components, erythrocytes (red bood cells), and macrophages. Most of their ability to detect cells overexpressing CA125 is retained even in environments that might saturate the ligand, such as the blood plasma and ascites of mice with ovarian cancers.
Figure 1. (a–e) Cells exposed to different kinds of particles and then treated with silver enhancement to highlight their accumulation. (a) Colorectal carcinoma cells (not overexpressing the antigen CA125). (b) Ovarian cancer cells (overexpressing CA125). Both are exposed to particles conjugated with anti-CA125 antibodies. Breast cancer cells grown in (c) normal and (d) reduced oxygen conditions. These were exposed to particles modified with sulfonamides. (e) Macrophages treated with cationic particles. (f) Number of cationic particles (part.) per macrophage versus dosage of cationic particles. Au: Gold. μM: Micrometers.
    In most cases, identification of the correct targets is complicated both by the dissimilarities among malignant lesions and similarities between normal and malignant cells. Rather than consider individual cells, we looked at the differences between healthy and tumor microenvironments. The incoherent vascularization and high oxygen consumption of solid tumors often generates hypoxia (an environment of reduced oxygen levels). Hypoxic cells operate a metabolic switch to anaerobic glycolysis, which requires the expression of specific enzymes such as transmembrane isoforms of carbonic anhydrases.6 To recognize these enzymes, we terminated PEGylated gold nanorods with carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, including sulfonamide moieties.7 We found that these particles localized to carbonic anhydrase-expressing cells and delivered the sulfonamide treatment effectively, treating hypoxic cells both by alkalinization of their extracellular environment and by making the cells sensitive to optical excitation: see Figure 1(c,d). Moreover, we speculate that it might be possible to exploit heat diffusion to extend the hyperthermic effect from hypoxic to normoxic areas (those with normal oxygen levels) in a solid tumor.     With hyperthermic treatment potentially going beyond the lengthscale of the individual cells, it is possible to suggest alternatives for the delivery of contrast agents. One example is to transfer the pursuit of specificity from a molecular ligand to a cellular vehicle.7 A broad pool of growth factors, cytokines, and chemokines in the tumor microenvironment attract so-called tumor-associated macrophages that are often conditioned to support the malignant cells. We can recruit these macrophages to carry the particles to the tumor as a Trojan horse, which can infiltrate compartments normally protected from the bloodstream, such as the brain. To achieve this, we modified PEGylated gold nanorods with quaternary amines—producing a cationic profile—that imparted high affinity for plasmatic membranes and efficiency of cellular uptake. We found that these particles underwent massive accumulation in macrophages by endocytic pathways—see Figure 1(e,f)—without immediate effects on their viability and function. At present, we are investigating the preservation of the macrophages' motility and readiness to infiltrate malignant lesions.     In summary, we are exploring complementary pathways to deliver particles to tumors by the interplay of passive and active strategies. In pursuit of ideal targets and ligands, we have drawn biological inspiration, moving from the individual cells with their intrinsic anomalies to the cellular response, and finally the bodily response to the tumor microenvironment. At present, all these strategies show promise and the preference for one or the other might require a case-by-case decision. Our future work will focus on comparing all these opportunities in vivo and addressing ways to combine them.     This work is supported in part by the Project of the Health Board of the Tuscan Region NANOTREAT.


Properly Caring for Your Feet when You Have D...
On the face of it, diabetes doesn’t sound like such a serious condition — elevated levels of sugar in the blood wouldn’t seem like it would do too much damage. But, nothing could be further from the truth. Poorly controlled blood sugar damages the body on several fronts, and increases your risk of developing a host of issues from heart disease to kidney failure. If you have suffered from nerve damage, you must pay careful attention to your feet, as you are less likely to feel various sorts of damage that can cause serious complications, such as infection or even amputation of toes, or the whole foot.   Here are some tips for properly caring for your feet if you have diabetes:   Daily Foot Check Catching foot problems early is crucial to minimize complications of the disease, and a daily check is the first line of defense. If you find any scrapes or cuts, you must begin treating them right away. Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, and apply antibiotic creams and bandages. Failure to treat can lead to more serious problems, such as open sores and infection. If you experience any oozing, redness, foul-smelling discharge, warmth or swelling, contact your doctor as an infection has already taken root. Contact your doctor immediately if you see any blue or black skin as this indicates blood flow blockage — this is an emergency and requires immediate attention.   Keep skin moisturized, but don’t put lotion between the toes as moisture in this area can trigger fungus growth. Don't break blisters open — clean it and cover with a bandage. About once a week, you want to cut toenails –straight across — to prevent ingrown toenails, which can lead to infection.   If you notice any slow-healing wounds, make an appointment with your doctor.   Considerations for Socks and Footwear Choose your shoes carefully if you have diabetes. First off, to ensure a good fit, you should always wear the socks you normally wear, when trying on shoes. Look for ones with more depth in the toe box to avoid squashing your toes; avoid shoes with seams on the inside — they can rub on your foot and cause discomfort. Wool or cotton socks are a good choice. You might even look into buying diabetic socks, which are specially made to control moisture, and reduce friction and pressure that can irritate feet suffering from complications of diabetes.   Break in new shoes gradually to reduce blisters, pain and other discomfort. Don't walk around barefoot — always wear shoes and socks. The nerve damage makes it less likely you will feel injury, so it is prudent to always keep your feet protected.   There are special shoes that are made for diabetics — this might be something covered by Medicare or your private insurance. Inquire about this to see if you are able to get at least partial insurance coverage.   Keep Your Feet Dry One of the most important aspects of proper foot care for diabetics is drying your feet thoroughly after bathing or swimming or any other time they get wet. The space between the toes is highly susceptible to skin-breakdown when moist, increasing the risk of infection. Preventing infection is one of the primary goals of diabetics with foot problems. This condition makes wounds more slow to heal, which can lead to serious complications. Prevention is the name of the game.   Go Easy with Exercise Regular exercise is a cornerstone treatment of this disease — it keeps weight under control and blood sugar in check. But, if you have foot problems, you must choose your activities carefully. Opt for non-impact aerobic exercise, such as walking or swimming. You don't want any excessive leaping, bouncing, and jumping.   Check Water Temperature Nerve damage in the extremities makes it difficult to tell how hot or cold water is. You run the risk of serious burns and infection if you don't check water temperature beforehand. If your hands have damage as well, use your elbow to check water temperature before getting into the shower or bath.   Diabetes can be a scary condition because of the serious problems it can lead to. But, fortunately, the most powerful treatments are in the realm of lifestyle, meaning you have a great deal of control in managing it. Complications like nerve damage in the feet can be kept in check with proper self-care.
Can Yoghurt Be Connected To Lower Diabetes Ri...
The media is always claiming that certain ingredients can help us to maintain a healthy lifestyle and improve our wellbeing. The latest headlines state that yoghurt is key to beating diabetes; a claim based on a study which associates dairy with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study found that the risk of diabetes was significantly lowered by as much as 28 per cent in people who ate large amounts of low-fat yoghurt, compared to people who ate none at all. The results were similar in people who ate more of all low-fat fermented products, including cottage cheese and fromage frais. The study was based on people using food diaries to report their dairy intake around the time of eating, which is one of the best ways to gauge the success of a trial rather than asking people to recall what they’ve eaten throughout the day - it tends to be more accurate. The diaries were only used over a seven-day period (which isn’t a long enough to provide an accurate assessment of whether yoghurt can help with diabetes risks). It’s not currently clear whether fermented low-fat dairy products can help to prevent diabetes, but it is a theory researchers are keen to investigate. There are a number of steps you can take to lower your risk of developing diabetes though, such as regular exercise, eating a balanced healthy diet, quitting smoking and lowering your alcohol intake. It’s also important to note the sugar levels in the foods you eat, as these can contribute towards developing not just diabetes but also obesity. If you're concerned about your diet or weight, it's important to seek advice as this can contribute to a number of health concerns, in addition to diabetes, such as heart problems and certain cancers.   The study was carried out by the University of Cambridge, as part of a larger study funded by the Medical Research Council and Cancer Research UK. Researchers discovered that people who ate the most low-fat fermented products were 24 per cent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who ate the least. The total dairy, high fat dairy, milk and cheese were not associated to the development of diabetes, nor was low-fat dairy. There are several limitations to this study which have led researchers to question whether or not yoghurt can actually help lower the risk of diabetes. Firstly, people’s reported dairy intake was only collected once, at baseline, over a seven-day period, so it’s possible that people’s diets didn’t stay the same during the 11 year follow-up period. Furthermore, the information was self-reported which could affect the reliability. Lastly, researchers didn’t take into account the dairy products included in cooking composite dishes. While there were attempts to take account of other factors, it is always possible that measured and unmeasured factors had an influence on the results. Further studies need to take place in order to know for certain whether fermented products can help to lower the risk of diabetes. The results do suggest that switching sugary snacks and meals for low-fat dairy products could help your overall health, as well as improving your diabetes prospects. Just be sure to choose low sugar varieties and to balance your diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, grains and lean protein to ensure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.