November 2007 Health-E-News.
Empowering you to optimal health
Blood pressure on the rise in US youths
Blood pressure levels are rocketing among children in the US, say scholars who looked at blood pressure trends in youths ages 8 to 17 between 1963 and 2002.
According to a new analysis, a downward trend was seen 1963 and 1988-1994. However, then the trend reversed through the end of the study period. Each 0.4 inch boost in waist circumference upped the risk of high blood pressure by 10%, and the risk of pre-high blood pressure by 5%. "These new findings have implications for the cardiovascular disease public health burden, particularly the risk of a new cardiovascular disease transition," warn the researchers.
Circulation – September 13, 2007;Epub.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.6 million elementary school-aged children have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Many parents of hyperactive children have long suspected that artificial ingredients in foods worsen their children's behavior.
Now there's evidence to back up those suspicions. A recent study in The Lancet is the first to show a link between various common food dyes, such as "sunset yellow" and "allura red," and sodium benzoate (a preservative used in many soft drinks, fruit juices, salad dressings and other foods) and hyperactivity in some children.
The research tracked 300 children in two age groups, 3-year-olds and 8- and 9-year-olds, who were put on a diet free from additives and given one drink per day containing either fruit juice or a mixture of benzoate preservative and food coloring. After two weeks, children in both age groups were significantly more hyperactive when drinking the beverages containing additives.
Researchers advise parents that hyperactivity has complex causes and cannot be cured by simply avoiding food colorings. But by limiting preservatives and artificial flavorings in your child's diet and replacing them with natural, whole foods, you can be sure you're giving your child a sound foundation for health and wellness.
Pine Bark Extract Prevents ADHD
Another report indicates that pine-bark extract (Pycnogenol) may offer health benefits. The new report suggests that the extract may prevent Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in youngsters.
"Pycnogenol's ability to naturally treat symptoms of ADHD is what makes this extract exceptionally pleasing to parents who may be uneasy about medicating their children with stimulant medications," explains Dr. Peter Rohdewald, one of the authors of the study.
The study sampled 57 outpatients with ADHD with an average age of 9 years. Forty-one patients received Pycnogenol and 16 received placebo. Patients were not supplemented with any other drugs or with vitamins E or C during the study. Participants in the Pycnogenol group received 1 milligram of Pycnogenol or placebo for every kilogram of body weight, on a daily basis each morning, for one month. Stress hormones were quantified from urine samples of the children taken before and after the intervention. After a one-month discontinuation of treatment, a third urine sample was taken that revealed that ADHD symptoms had recurred. The stress hormone levels had increased again during the period when children had stopped taking Pycnogenol, suggesting the effect of Pycnogenol on stress hormones accounts for the improvement of inattention and hyperactivity of the children. The results reveal Pycnogenol lowers stress hormones by 26.2% in the case of adrenaline and decreases neurostimulant dopamine by 10.8%.
"The findings acknowledge that children with ADHD have dramatically elevated levels of stress hormones known to increase heart rate and blood pressure, causing excitement, arousal and irritability, as compared to children without ADHD symptoms," concludes Dr. Rohdewald. "The findings of this study demonstrate a significant stress hormone lowering effect for a nutritional supplement for the first time."
European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – September 2007.
Air Fresheners Link with Adult Asthma
Using household cleaning sprays and air fresheners as little as once a week can raise the risk of developing asthma in adults, say researchers in Europe. Such products have been associated with increased asthma rates in cleaning professionals, but a similar effect in nonprofessional users has never before been shown.
"Frequent use of household cleaning sprays may be an important risk factor for adult asthma," wrote lead author Jan-Paul Zock, PhD.
Altogether, the study included more than 3,500 subjects across 22 centers in 10 European countries. Subjects were assessed for current asthma, current wheeze, physician-diagnosed asthma and allergy at follow-up, which took place an average of nine years after their first assessment. They were also asked to report the number of times per week they used cleaning products.
Two-thirds of the study population who reported doing the bulk of cleaning were women, about six percent of whom had asthma at the time of follow-up. Fewer than ten percent of them were full-time homemakers.
The risk of developing asthma increased with frequency of cleaning and number of different sprays used, but on average was about 30% to 50% higher in people regularly exposed to cleaning sprays than in others. The researchers found that cleaning sprays, especially air fresheners, furniture cleaners and glass-cleaners, had a particularly strong effect.
"Our findings are consistent with occupational epidemiological studies in which increased asthma risk was related to professional use of sprays among both domestic and non-domestic cleaning women," wrote Dr. Zock. "This indicates a relevant contribution of spray use to the burden of asthma in adults who do the cleaning in their homes."
"The relative risk rates of developing adult asthma in relation to exposure to cleaning products could account for as much as 15 percent, or one in seven of adult asthma cases," wrote Dr. Zock.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine – October 2007;176:735-41.
Low-Carb Diet May Speed Cognitive Function
"Low-carbohydrate diets are often used to promote weight loss, but their effects on psychological function are largely unknown," explain the authors of a new study.
To learn more, the researchers "compared the effects of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet with a conventional high-carbohydrate, low-fat (HCLF) diet on mood and cognitive function." Both diets had similar caloric and macronutrient content.
A total of 93 overweight or obese individuals completed the study, which involved adhering to one of the diet types for eight weeks.
Findings showed that, both diets significantly reduced body weight and were associated with improvements in mood." In addition, "there was some evidence for a smaller improvement in cognitive functioning with the LCHF diet with respect to speed of processing, but further studies are required to determine the replicability of this finding."
AJCN – September 2007;86:580-87.
What are you doing today to be healthier?
Studies show that between 40,000 and 100,000 Americans die every year from improper medications to errors on the operating table. ABC News. That's as low as 109 people a day, to as high as 274 people a day die each day from medical errors!
Dr. Robert Wachter, author of "Understanding Patient Safety," said, "That would be the equivalent of a large jet crashing every single day in the United States."
Don't want side effects from medication and surgeries? Then ensure you are seeking and focusing on ways to improve your health. Create an extremely full 'health account' with yourself. Simple things like drinking lots of water, eating fruits and vegetables (ideally 7-10 servings a day), exercise and getting regular Chiropractic adjustments can all have amazing, long standing benefits. Great health is not a passive event, so congrats on taking action and doing something each day to improve your health.
Seniors and Chiropractic
The general population is going to chiropractors in record numbers. Seniors, the fastest segment of the population is no exception. According to a recent August 24th 1999 article in USA Today, more than 80% of seniors age 65 or greater are aware of what the article termed alternative medicine. This awareness has lead to a fairly fast growing utilization of these services. The breakdown for usage of chiropractic and other non-medical health care is as follows:
Chiropractic lead the way with a utilization of 32%, second was massage therapy at 16%, followed by acupuncture 9%, homeopathy at 4%, naturopathy 3% and Chinese medicine 3%.
A recent study published in Topics in Clinical Chiropractic of a randomized clinical trial showed data that found chiropractic geriatric patients were "less likely to have been hospitalized, less likely to have used a nursing home, more likely to report a better health status, more likely to exercise vigorously, and more likely to be mobile in the community."