Archive for ‘Reading for facts’

June 13, 2012

Why having an older father helps you live longer.

telomeres

picture source: http://www.scq.ubc.ca

Older fathers are said to be more tolerant, affectionate and spend more time with their children.

And it seems they give their offspring another benefit – longer lives.

Scientists say children of older fathers and grandfathers are more likely to live longer.

They found those with older fathers had longer telomeres – tiny ‘caps’ on the ends of chromosomes that protect against the ageing process.

The researchers measured the telomere length of DNA in the blood of 1,779 young Filipino adults and their mothers and determined the ages of the children’s fathers and grandfathers.

They found an individual’s telomeres lengthened not only with their father’s age at their birth but also with their paternal grandfather’s age at their father’s birth.

Each year a man delayed reproduction increased the length of the telomeres. The increase roughly equalled the amount of annual shortening observed in middle-age adults.

The findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest delayed paternal reproduction could increase their offsprings’ telomere length over time, which could promote long life.

Telomeres have been called the ‘chromosomal clock’ because they seem to be central to biological ageing, with longer telomeres a sign of being biologically younger and healthier.

Professor Chris Kuzawa, an anthropologist at Northwestern University in the United States, said telomeres shorten with time in most cells – but they lengthen in sperm.

A previous study found those with shorter telomeres were three times as likely to die from heart disease.

Professor Kuwaza said: ‘The effect of the age of paternal ancestors on telomere length could allow increases in life expectancy under demographic conditions of low mortality and delayed reproduction.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

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June 13, 2012

Why sharing a bed is good for your heart.

sharing a bed

picture source: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in the U.S. believe sleeping next to someone helps lower the stress hormone cortisol, perhaps because it encourages feelings of safety and security.

Prolonged periods of elevated cortisol have been linked with an increase in cytokines — proteins involved in inflammation that can trigger heart disease, depression and auto-immune disorders.

Sleeping together has a protective effect by lowering the levels of these proteins.

Sleep is a critically important health behaviour that we know is associated with heart disease and psychiatric wellbeing,’ says lead researcher Wendy Troxel, assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at the university.

‘There is extensive literature showing that married people — happily married people, in particular — live longer, happier, and healthier lives than their unmarried or unhappily married counterparts.

‘We also know sleep is critically important for health and wellbeing, and it happens to be a behaviour couples engage in together, so it stands to reason it may be an important link with their health.’

Sharing a bed is also thought to boost levels of the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin, known to induce bonding feelings.

Recent studies have shown oxytocin’s vital role in health. Scientists at Malmo University Hospital in Sweden found it can affect digestion.

Those with lower levels had poorer gastric motility — the process by which food is moved from the stomach to the intestines, therefore slowing down digestion.

Levels of the hormone have been found to be lower in patients with irritable bowel syndrome, says Dr Hamilton.

‘Oxytocin has also been shown to reduce inflammation. While inflammation is a necessary part of the healing process, too much of it, which can accompany bacterial infections or chronic stress, is damaging to the body.

‘It’s well known, for example, that inflammation plays a role in many types of cancer.

‘Meanwhile, a number of recent studies have shown how oxytocin can affect the heart.’

For example, a study from the University of North Carolina asked 59 women who were married or had partners to keep a diary of the number of hugs they received over a set time.

The scientists then analysed levels of oxytocin in the blood. The women who’d received the most hugs had the highest levels of oxytocin — and the lowest blood pressure and heart rates.

‘Indeed, oxytocin is like a natural angina medication,’ says Dr Hamilton.

‘Angina medication is basically nitric oxide, which expand blood vessels. Oxytocin helps the body produce nitric oxide itself.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

July 14, 2011

Wanna know more specifics about women’s health? The details, details, details? Here it is on imaginis.com

Detailed enough to have you armed before you enter a doctor’s surgery, hospital or examination clinic for when the healthcare professionals have a report to tell you about your own health. Then *you’ll* be able to understand for yourself instead of passing the responsibility onto someone else. Yet Imaginis.com makes the information accessible through providing background information in a very readable and digestible way.

There are a *few* illustrations and photos, but maybe not enough, depending on how you are with these things. However, the few illustrative choices that they do have are clear enough and of such a quality to allow the reader and researcher to visualize the topics being covered. I mean, gosh, how am I supposed to know what the insides of my breasts look like? And there are different diagrams for different needs.

Also the depth of the articles is beyond basic, it really gives you a feel that you could correspond with your doctor in a substantial patient-doctor relationship. It is *not* dry medical grade student knowledge. It feels in context and dynamic enough for people who have a life and that is how they got sick in the first place.

HOWEVER, there is a *lot* of information on there, I do suggest you use the search resource, whether it’s on their site or Google. To pinpoint what you need may be difficult, but then again it means its got resources you can swim in. Yah.

Just remember to use correct keywords for your search if you are being very specific about your needs, or just care to browse in your free time. Don’t be overwhelmed though. Take a deep breath first.

What Imaginis.com has to say about breast health:

[ quoted from imaginis.com ]

The lymphatic system is an essential part of the immune system, which helps the body fight infections or cancers … Lymph nodes are usually present in clusters in the armpits, on either side of the neck, and in the groin … trap foreign materials … fluid absorbed by the lymphatic system passes through at least one lymph node before it returns to circulation … may become enlarged or swollen when they fight an infection … may feel tender or inflamed … Sometimes become visible as thin red lines known as lymphangitis … may also swell from the formation of an abscess (closed pocket filled with pus) in the nodes or if they contain cancer cells …Whether the lymph nodes contain cancer cells is an important factor when staging breast cancer, determining treatment, and predicting survival. Though breast cancer has the potential to spread to other regions of the body first, it most commonly spreads first to the axillary (underarm) lymph nodes. This is known as regional spread. From there, the breast cancer can metastasize (spread) systematically to other areas of the body (such as the bone, liver, lung, or brain).

Axillary lymph nodes-breast health-imaginis

Imaginis.com
isan independent,
award-winning,
comprehensive
resource for
information on
women’s health
and wellness.
Our woman’s health
network web site
contains thousands
of pages of detailed,
physician-edited
health information
”.

Included resources
and topics covered :

  • cancers of the

    • breast
    • cervix
    • ovaries
  • breast cancer in men
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • breast health
  • bone health
  • sports and orthopaedic
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • guide for pro-active patient
  • understanding clinical trials
  • medical advisers
  • resource centre

and more…

—————–

imaginis-3D reconstructed heart showing coronary arteries in red

3D reconstructed heart
showing coronary arteries in red
| Imaginis.com

 

—————–

imaginis-coronary aniograph

Coronary angiograph
| Imaginis.com

 

—————–

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July 12, 2011

Love reading science, but in context and with relevance to your life? I’m liking VirginiaHughes.com

virginia hughes

Quite enthralled by VirginiaHughes.com

She is a “a freelance science writer. That means I: read a lot of journal articles, interview a lot of scientists, visit labs, travel to scientific conferences, and write news and feature stories in my pajamas”.

Most recent posts that struck me:

  • “What do you get when you put a terrorist inside of a brain scanner?”
  • “Autism as alibi”
  • “The stuff of hot” – about chilli peppers

I love reading such articles and snippets inside women’s magazines like MarieClaire, so I’m loving the appearance of such science writers in the blogosphere.

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