What's the buzz

What's the buzz

High BP raises ‘silent’ stroke risk

‘Silent’ strokes are strokes that don’t result in any noticeable symptoms but cause brain damage.

“These strokes are not truly silent, because they have been linked to memory and thinking problems and are a possible cause of a type of dementia,” said author Perminder Sachdev, University of New South Wales in Sydney.

“High blood pressure is very treatable, so this may be a strong target for preventing vascular disease,” he added.

The study involved 477 people age 60 to 64 who were followed for four years. At the beginning of the study 7.8 per cent of them had the silent lacunar infarctions, small areas of damage to the brain seen on MRI that never caused obvious symptoms. They occur when blood flow is blocked in one of the arteries leading to areas deep within the brain, such as the putamen or the thalamus.

Weight loss improves mood

A new study shows that a weight loss programme not only counteracts depressed mood but also reduces risk factors for heart disease and stroke in obese patients.

The researchers found that after a six-month behavioural weight loss programme, depressed patients not only lost eight per cent of their initial weight but also reported significant improvements in their symptoms of depression, as well as reductions in triglycerides, which are a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

“This research is novel because clinically depressed individuals are not usually included in weight loss trials due to concerns that weight loss could worsen their depression,” said Dr Lucy Faulconbridge.

Blue candy dye for spine injury

A new study has revealed that a common food dye that gives M&Ms and Gatorade their blue tint might help in treating spinal cord injury.

It has shown promise for preventing the additional — and serious — secondary damage that immediately follows a traumatic injury to the spine.

Researchers found that compound called Brilliant Blue G (BBG) stops the cascade of molecular events that cause secondary damage to the spinal cord in the hours following a spinal cord injury.

In ‘Nature Medicine’, scientists detailed how ATP, the vital energy source that keeps our body’s cells alive, quickly pours into the area surrounding a spinal cord injury shortly after it occurs, and paradoxically kills off what are otherwise healthy and uninjured cells.

Misleading cigarette package

Experts from Oxford University have revealed that despite stringent efforts cigarette packaging styles are still misleading consumers over health hazards.

Most of the smokers believe that cigarettes are less hazardous when the packs display words such as ‘silver’ or ‘smooth’, have lower numbers incorporated into the brand name or have lighter colours or pictures of filters on the pack.

Researchers call for the list of words banned from cigarette packaging to be expanded beyond the current prohibition of ‘light’, ‘mild’ and ‘low-tar’ and suggest that other pack design elements may need to be eliminated to prevent consumers erroneously believing that one brand is less harmful than another.

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