Saturday, July 25, 2009

High margarine intake ups bowel disease

While many believe adopting a diet rich in polyunsaturated fat is heart tonic, a new study finds it may lead to inflammatory bowel disease.

Ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, causes inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the rectum and colon. The condition is characterized by abdominal pain and diarrhea.

According to the study published in Gut (International Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology), the high intake of linoleic acid -- a common dietary polyunsaturated fatty acid found in many dietary sources such as red meat, various cooking oils (sunflower, safflower, soya, corn seeds and walnut oils) and some types of margarine -- accounts for one-third of ulcerative colitis cases.

The high content of the omega 3 fatty acid known as docosahexanoic acid found in oily fish such as salmon and herring, on the other hand, lowers the risk of the condition by 77 percent. Linoleic acid converts to arachidonic acid and various other inflammatory chemicals, high levels of which are found in the bowel tissue of patients with ulcerative colitis.

"There are no dietary modifications of benefit in patients with ulcerative colitis, although, based on this study's findings, a diet low in linoleic acid may merit investigation," concluded lead researcher Andrew Hart.

Physically-abused moms spank their infants

Mothers who have suffered from physical abuse or other forms of violence during childhood are more likely to spank their infants, a new study finds.

Previous studies had reported that spanking is associated with an increased risk of behavioral problems, low self-esteem, depression, drug abuse and physical abuse.

A new study, however, reported that many mothers still continue to spank their children. According to the study published in Pediatrics, mothers who had suffered childhood abuse spanked their children more than those without such experiences.

The study showed that some 19 percent of mothers consider physical punishment as a disciplinary means and 14 percent actually spank their infants.

One in every ten mother who had no experience of childhood violence also reported infant spanking. Scientists concluded that a mother's childhood experiences influence her behavior toward her children.

They, therefore, urge healthcare professionals to ask pregnant moms about family structure and childhood experiences to prevent such events.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Heavy drinking increases prostate cancer risk

Regular, heavy consumption of alcohol increases the risk of high-grade prostate cancer and reduces the effect of drugs used to tackle the condition.

Previous studies had reported older age, African-American race, family history of prostate malignancies, obesity, smoking and a high intake of animal fat to be the major risk factors contributing to prostate cancer.

A new study, however, reported that heavy drinking is also linked to prostate cancer. According to a study published in Cancer, men who drink four or more drinks per day at least five days a week are twice as likely to developing aggressive prostate tumors.

Finasteride, a medication which lowers the risk of prostate tumors by 43 percent, is believed to increase the risk of the condition by 12% among heavy drinkers.

Scientists therefore urge physicians to assess their patients' alcohol consumption before prescribing the drug finasteride.

They also recommended that individuals not drink more than two or three alcoholic beverages per day while taking finastride.

High-fructose diets impair memory

Adopting a diet rich in fructose, a form of sugar commonly found in processed foods and beverages, may result in impaired spatial memory.

Previous studies had reported various health problems such as insulin insensitivity, type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease following the use fructose, the sweetener commonly found in table sugar, fruit juice concentrates and high fructose corn syrup.

According to a study conducted in Georgia State University, high fructose intake can also impair memory in consumers.

It, however, does not influence an individual's ability to learn. Unlike glucose, high levels of triglycerides are produced during the digestion process of fructose within the liver.

This fat can subsequently interfere with the insulin signaling mechanism of the brain, affecting not only the survival of brain cells but also their ability to change based on new experiences.

Scientists concluded that the high content of fructose can impair memory.