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Healthy lifestyles to end atrial fibrillation

A new study suggests that reducing cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and being overweight could potentially reduce more than half of all cases of atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an irregular heart rhythm that occurs when the heart’s two upper chambers beat erratically, causing the chambers to pump blood rapidly, unevenly and inefficiently. “We now know that a significant proportion of all cases of atrial fibrillation can be avoided,” said Alvaro Alonso, co-author of the study and assistant professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis. “Ideally, if individuals were able to maintain a normal blood pressure and healthy body weight and didn’t smoke, not only would it reduce their risks for other forms of cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease and stroke, but it also would significantly impact the risk of developing atrial fibrillation in later life,” he added.

 In the study, 57 percent of the AF episodes were linked to specific risk factors, including high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, overweight and other heart diseases. Of these risks, high blood pressure was the strongest predictor, accounting for more than one-fifth of all cases.

Alzheimer’s occurrence is evident before first signs

Researchers have found that patients with Alzheimer's disease have lower glucose utilization in the brain than those with normal cognitive function, and that those decreased levels may be detectable approximately 20 years prior to the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.  This new finding could lead to the development of novel therapies to prevent the eventual onset of Alzheimer's.

Using mice modified to develop Alzheimer's disease, the research team found that when Beta amyloid, an abnormal protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease, starts to become detectable in the brain in its soluble toxic form, the mitochondria, or “power plants” of the cell where glucose is converted into energy, became impaired.

Within the equivalent of about 20 human years, mice with decreased energy metabolism developed signs of Alzheimer's disease such as cognitive defects and impairment of the synaptic terminal, the area of brain cells important in memory formation.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s  disease revealed in sleep

Danish researchers have discovered that very early symptoms of Parkinson's disease may be revealed in dream or Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.

Parkinson's disease is a brain disease best known for the trembling it causes. It is an incurable, chronic disease and gradually affects the muscles and mental capacity, seriously afflicting the lives if the patient and his or her immediate relatives.

“In the study we saw that eight years before diagnosis, Parkinson's sufferers exhibited work and health indications that something was wrong,” said Poul Jennum, professor of clinical neurophysiology at the Center for Healthy Ageing, University of Copenhagen.

Among the very early symptoms is the sleep disorder RBD, or REM sleep behaviour disorder. REM is a particular stage of sleep in which we dream, and our eyes flicker rapidly behind our eyelids.

Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Who will win the battle royale of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019


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