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Latest Health Research

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Just when I start really losing weight, this report appears (which is still very good news for me!)

Being overweight associated with lower risk of death

In an analysis of nearly 100 studies that included approximately 3 million adults, relative to normal weight… overweight was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality, according to a study in the January 2, 2013 issue of JAMA…

The researchers add that their findings are consistent with observations of lower mortality among overweight and moderately obese patients. “Possible explanations have included earlier presentation of heavier patients, greater likelihood of receiving optimal medical treatment, cardioprotective metabolic effects of increased body fat, and benefits of higher metabolic reserves.”

I’m glad I take Vitamin D3:

Vitamin D Tied to Women’s Cognitive Performance

Two new studies appearing in the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences show that vitamin D may be a vital component for the cognitive health of women as they age.

Higher vitamin D dietary intake is associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to research conducted by a team led by Cedric Annweiler, MD, PhD, at the Angers University Hospital in France.

Similarly, investigators led by Yelena Slinin, MD, MS, at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis found that low vitamin D levels among older women are associated with higher odds of global cognitive impairment and a higher risk of global cognitive decline.

Here’s a comprehensive review:

Health Benefits of Vitamin D

And two more comprehensive reviews of things I use:

Health Benefits of Aspirin

Health Benefits of Chocolate

Two for one: Information on why I don’t eat hamburgers and do eat avocado:

Avocado Eaten With A Burger May Help Neutralize Interleukin-6

I don’t usually link to or quote outside sources, but this review of recently published health research is too good to ignore: (I’m glad I still take fish oil, and will eat more boiled eggs

Eggs as Bad as Smoking? Vitamins Linked to Mortality? Making Sense Out of Nutritional Studies With Expert Dr. Alan Gaby

Dr. Alan Gaby: Based on the totality of the evidence, it appears that boiled or poached eggs can be an important part of a healthful diet, whereas consumption of scrambled (and possibly fried) eggs should be kept to a minimum.

PF: The benefits of another popular item, fish oil, have been questioned in a study that recently received a lot of attention in the media. Millions of Americans take fish oil daily. Doctors prescribe it. We have read about so many benefits for cardiovascular health, brain health, and anti-inflammatory benefits. Are there benefits to fish oil, specifically for heart health?

AG: The study you mentioned was a meta-analysis (pooled analysis) of 20 randomized controlled trials (including a total of 68,680 patients) that examined whether supplementing with the omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil can decrease heart disease-related mortality or deaths due to any cause. In the pooled analysis, omega-3 fatty acids decreased heart disease-related deaths by 9 percent and deaths due to any cause by 4 percent. Because these decreases were not statistically significant, the researchers concluded (erroneously) that omega-3 fatty acids had no effect on cardiac or all-cause mortality. The correct conclusion is that omega-3 fatty acids decreased cardiac deaths by 9 percent and all-cause mortality by 4 percent, but because the effects were not statistically significant, we are less than 95 percent certain that the benefits were real (as opposed to being due to chance). Failure to demonstrate that an effect was statistically significant is not the same as demonstrating there was no effect.

Furthermore, the potential benefit of taking fish oil might be greater than the results of the meta-analysis suggest. That is because some of the studies that showed a strong positive effect were “diluted” by several flawed studies that found no beneficial effect of fish oil. One of the negative studies enrolled 18,645 Japanese patients (27.2 percent of all the patients in the meta-analysis), and therefore had a relatively strong influence on the results of the pooled analysis. The main weakness of that study is that fish consumption is high in Japan. The protective effect of omega-3 fatty acids against heart disease can be obtained with relatively low doses, and little or no additional benefit can be achieved by increasing the dose. Consequently, one would not expect fish oil supplementation to reduce mortality in this population where fish consumption is high. In another negative study included in the meta-analysis, olive oil was used as the “placebo.” Olive oil is a known cardioprotective agent, so the fact that fish oil was not more effective than olive oil does not mean fish oil was ineffective.

I’m glad I have started to drink coffee but I’m not quite up to “moderate” consumption yet and certainly not than 4!

Moderate coffee consumption may reduce risk of diabetes by up to 25 percent

Drinking three to four cups of coffee per day may help to prevent type 2 diabetes.

More than four cups of caffeinated coffee reduces the risk of oral cancers

A new American Cancer Society study finds a strong inverse association between caffeinated coffee intake and oral/pharyngeal cancer mortality. The authors say people who drank more than four cups of caffeinated coffee per day were at about half the risk of death of these often fatal cancers compared to those who only occasionally or who never drank coffee.

Not good news – my business-related stress is way up this year:

Perceived Stress May Predict Future Risk of Coronary Heart Disease

27% increased risk for newly diagnosed heart disease or death among those with high perceived stress

Are you stressed? Results of a new meta-analysis of six studies involving nearly 120,000 people indicate that the answer to that question may help predict one’s risk of incident coronary heart disease (CHD) or death from CHD.

These reports are encouraging (I scored an eight):

Ability to sit and rise from the floor is closely correlated with all-cause mortality risk

The test was a simple assessment of the subjects’ ability to sit and then rise unaided from the floor. Before starting the test, they were told: “Without worrying about the speed of movement, try to sit and then to rise from the floor, using the minimum support that you believe is needed.”

Each of the two basic movements were assessed and scored out of 5, with one point being subtracted from 5 for each support used (hand or knee, for example). Subjects were thus assessed by a composite score of 0 to 10…

A composite score below 8 (that is, requiring more than one hand or knee support to sit and rise from the floor in a stable way) was associated with 2 fold higher death rates over the 6.3 year study period. By contrast, scores in the range of 8 indicated a particularly low risk of death during the tracking period.


Aerobic exercise boosts brain power in older adults

Studies in older adults reviewed by the authors consistently found that fitter individuals scored better in mental tests than their unfit peers. In addition, intervention studies found scores in mental tests improved in participants who were assigned to an aerobic exercise regimen compared to those assigned to stretch and tone classes.

In older generations, the evidence for improvement in cognitive function is insurmountable. The types of tests of cognitive function reviewed here are important in showing that exercise may attenuate age-related decline for specific tasks. For example, it has been found to positively affect mental tasks relating to activities such as driving, an activity where age is often seen as a limiting factor.

More interesting research:
Healthy lifestyle during menopause may decrease breast cancer risk later on

Yellow and orange pigmented vegetables decrease hip fracture risk

Alli Strongly Alters Other Drug Therapies

Statins = improved survival in inflammatory breast cancer

Aerobic exercise trumps resistance training for weight and fat loss

2 cups of milk a day ideal for children’s health, new research shows

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