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‘Tomato pill’ improves blood vessel function

A new research from the University of Cambridge has revealed that a daily supplement of an extract found in tomatoes may improve the function of blood vessels in patients with cardiovascular disease.

The incidence of cardiovascular disease varies worldwide, but is notably reduced in southern Europe, where a ‘Mediterranean diet’ consisting of a larger consumption of fruit, vegetables and olive oil predominates. Recent dietary studies suggest that this diet reduces the incidence of events related to the disease, including heart attack and stroke, in patients at high cardiovascular risk, or those who have previously had the disease.

One component of the Mediterranean diet thought to play a role in reducing this risk is lycopene, a powerful antioxidant which is ten times more potent than vitamin E. Lycopene is found in tomatoes and other fruits, and its potency appears to be enhanced when it is consumed pureed, in ketchup or in the presence of olive oil.

In the study, researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Cambridge University Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust demonstrate one mechanism by which they believe lycopene reduces the risk.

The researchers carried out a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled, interventional trial investigating the effects of lycopene a gold standard method of measuring the function of blood vessels called forearm blood flow, which is predictive of future cardiovascular risk.

They found that 7mg of oral lycopene supplementation improved and normalised endothelial function in the patients, but not in healthy volunteers. Lycopene improved the widening of the blood vessels by over a half (53 percent) compared to baseline in those taking the pill after correction for those who took the placebo; constriction of the blood vessels is one of the key factors that can lead to heart attack and stroke.However, the supplement had no effect on blood pressure, arterial stiffness or levels of lipids.
Depression in elderly related to Alzheimer’s risk

A new study has revealed that depression builds up beta-amyloid plaque in the brain that could cause Alzheimer’s in aged people.

Alzheimer’s disease is a currently incurable neurodegenerative disease with marked protein aggregates including beta-amyloid and tau. The disease begins developing years before noticeable cognitive decline and memory loss. On the other hand, depression has been proven to have its own neurodegenerative effects on the brain, but the researchers have found an undeniable connection between beta-amyloid in depressed elderly patients with cognitive deficits and advancement to Alzheimer’s disease.

Axel Rominger, MD said that the results clearly indicate that mild cognitively impaired subjects with depressive symptoms suffer from elevated amyloid-levels when compared with non-depressed individuals. Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent form of dementia. It is estimated that 44.4 million people are living with dementia worldwide and this number is expected to increase to approximately 75.6 million in 2030.
Adequate sleep important in curbing child obesity

A new study has revealed that parents should encourage proper sleeping routines for kids as well as for themselves, as it can help decrease child obesity.

Barbara H Fiese, director of the University of Illinois' Family Resiliency Centre said sleep routines in a family affect all the members of the household and not just children and they go beyond just being tired the next day because results found that moms, dads, and their children are likely to gain weight as they lose sleep.

She further suggested that paying attention to the three pillars of health: good nutrition, enough exercise, and adequate sleep would benefit everyone in the family.

Study suggests limiting your children's exposure to TV and other electronic devices to two hours a day and turning them off a half-hour before bedtime; spending some time in a calming, predictable routine, such as giving the child a bath or reading together; and making sure preschoolers are in bed in time to get the recommended 10 hours of sleep a night and even parents should also follow a calming routine themselves.

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