Medical News Today: How much salt does it really take to harm your heart?

Too much salt is bad for you, particulary because it is associated with an increased risk of heart problems — but how much is too much? A new study suggests that we may not have to worry so much about how salty we like our food to be.
salt shaker
A new international study suggests that we may want to rethink how much salt is actually harmful.

Table salt, which we commonly use to season our food, contains sodium.

Sodium, if often ingested in large quantities, can lead to a range of cardiovascular problems, including hypertension.

The World Health Organization (WHO) say that a person should not consume more than 2 grams of sodium per day, which is about 5 grams of salt per day.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommend no more than 2.5 grams of sodium per day, though they state that the ideal intake is of no more than 1.5 grams per day for an adult.

However, researchers from a range of international institutions — including McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, both in Hamilton, Canada, as well institutions from 21 other countries — suggest that these limits are unnecessarily low.

Researcher Andrew Mente and colleagues conducted a study of 94,000 people aged 35–70, aiming to establish how much sodium really is too much for heart health.

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Current guidelines, the team notes, push for standards that are unrealistic for many, seeing as salt is often an almost invisible ingredient contained by numerous packaged foods.

“The [WHO recommend] consumption of less than 2 grams of sodium — that’s one teaspoon of salt — a day as a preventative measure against cardiovascular disease,” says Mente.

He also adds, however, that “there is little evidence in terms of improved health outcomes that individuals ever achieve at such a low level.”

The new study, whose results are now featured in The Lancet, now suggests that we can be more lenient about our salt consumption without fearing that it will harm our cardiovascular health.

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Slightly higher sodium intake is safe

The study followed the participants — who were based in communities across 18 different countries — for an average period of 8 years.

Mente and his colleagues revealed that a high intake of sodium did lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke — but only in communities where the average intake for an adult was greater than 5 grams per day.

This amounts to about 2.5 teaspoons of table salt, the researchers explain.

Encouragingly, the researchers also noticed that under 5 percent of the participants coming from developed countries exceeded the 5-gram cutoff point for sodium intake.

In most of the countries, the majority of the communities that the researchers observed had an average sodium intake of 3–5 grams of sodium — or 1.5 to 2.5 teaspoons of salt — per day.

In fact, of all the populations in the study, only those from China showed a consistently high intake of sodium. Specifically, 80 percent of the communities from China had a sodium intake that was higher than 5 grams per day.

“Only in the communities with the most sodium intake — those over 5 grams [per] day of sodium — which is mainly in China, did we find a direct link between sodium intake and major cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke,” Mente explains.

On the other hand, he adds, “In communities that consumed less than 5 grams of sodium a day, the opposite was the case. Sodium consumption was inversely associated with myocardial infarction or heart attacks and total mortality, and [there was] no increase in stroke.”

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Community interventions can help

Even in the case of individuals who do consume too much table salt, however, the situation is not unsalvageable, the researchers say.

Mente notes that people can easily redress the balance and protect their heart health by making a few simple adjustments to their diets, such as adding more fruits, vegetables, and foods naturally rich in potassium.

“We found all major cardiovascular problems, including death, decreased in communities and countries where there is an increased consumption of potassium which is found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy foods, potatoes, and nuts and beans,” says the study author.

Another one of the researches involved with the current study, Martin O’Donnell, notes that most of the studies looking at the relationship between sodium intake and cardiovascular risk so far have focused on individual data, rather than information collected from larger cohorts.

This, he suggests, may have skewed the best practice guidelines into a direction that is both unrealistic and perhaps too cautious.

Public health strategies should be based on best evidence. Our findings demonstrate that community-level interventions to reduce sodium intake should target communities with high sodium consumption, and should be embedded within approaches to improve overall dietary quality.”

Martin O’Donnell

“There is no convincing evidence that people with moderate or average sodium intake need to reduce their sodium intake for prevention of heart disease and stroke,” O’Donnell adds.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322745.php

Medical News Today: Poison or cure? Arsenic can help treat cancer, study finds

Arsenic is infamous for its harmful properties. However, some arsenic compounds — in carefully measured doses — can be used in medical treatments. One such compound might even help treat cancer, researchers say.
table of elements focus on arsenic
How can an arsenic oxide help treat cancer? A new study investigates.

Arsenic is often listed as a carcinogen, which is a substance whose presence in a person’s environment can lead to the development of cancer.

However, some arsenic-based compounds have been used throughout history to treat various medical conditions.

One such compound — called arsenic trioxide (ATO) — is still used today, and it actually gained Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval under the marketing name Trisenox in 2001.

Now, researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, MA, are investigating the potential of ATO in treating cancer.

Specifically, Drs. Kun Ping Lu, Xiao Zhen Zhou, and colleagues looked at how ATO in combination with another existing drug — all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) — can be used to actually cure promyelocytic leukemia, which is a type of blood cancer.

The mechanisms through which ATO in combination with ATRA can help cure this type of leukemia have been unclear, but this study sheds light on how these substances act at the cellular level, suggesting that their interaction may be useful in treating other kinds of cancer, as well.

Their findings appear in the journal Nature Communications.

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Blocking and destroying a key enzyme

The researchers worked with models of leukemia, breast, and liver cancer, and they were able to find that the ATO-ATRA combination destroyed an enzyme known as Pin1.

Pin1 plays a key role in regulating signaling networks in cancer; it activates over 40 proteins that feed cancer tumors, while also blocking over 20 proteins that would normally suppress tumor growth.

This enzyme is overactive in most types of cancer found in humans — particularly so in cancer stem cells, which drive tumor growth and can often be key to cancers’ resistance to traditional treatments.

In this study, the scientists observed that ATO binds to Pin1, blocking its action and eventually leading to the enzyme’s deterioration. At the same time, ATRA — which also binds to Pin1 and degrades it — facilitates and increases cells’ uptake of ATO.

This leads to the increased expression of a protein specific to cell membranes, which boosts the cells absorption of ATO.

When working with mice engineered not to express Pin1, the researchers also saw that the rodents were actually highly resistant to cancer.

These animals suffered no ill effects as a result of the blocked enzyme expression for about half of their lifespans, which suggests that targeting Pin1 at baseline can be a safe approach.

Our discovery strongly suggests an exciting new possibility of adding [ATO] to existing therapies in treating triple-negative breast cancer and many other cancer types, especially when patients’ cancers are found to be Pin1-positive. This might significantly improve the outcomes of cancer treatment.”

Dr. Xiao Zhen Zhou

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Future work to address shortcomings

Drs. Zhou, Lu, and colleagues emphasize that their new findings may lead to effective strategies for targeting Pin1, for which no inhibitors have so far been developed.

“It’s gratifying to see this combination of [ATRA] and [ATO] that my [laboratory] discovered to be curative in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia translate into possible approaches for the treatment of other cancers,” explains Dr. Pier Paolo Pandolfi, of BIDMC, who first found that a combined ATO-ATRA treatment was able to cure that type of blood cancer.

“Indeed,” he adds, “it is interesting to speculate that this combination may even prove curative in other tumor types yet to be discovered.”

Still, the team notes one shortcoming of the ATO-ATRA combination treatment — namely, that ATRA has a very short half-life in humans.

“We and others have confirmed the ability of [ATRA] to inhibit Pin1 function in breast cancer, liver cancer, and acute myeloid leukemia, as well as in lupus and asthma,” notes Dr. Lu.

To this, he adds the warning, “[H]owever, clinical uses of [ATRA], especially in solid tumors, have been severely limited by its very short half-life of 45 minutes in humans.”

The authors nevertheless hope that the results of the study will provide sufficient motivation for future studies to focus on developing longer-lived, more resilient ATRA.

“Our results stimulate the development of longer half-life [ATRA] to combine with [ATO] or other more potent Pin1 inhibitors because they may offer a promising new approach to fighting a broad range of cancers without general toxicity, as proven in curing [acute promyelocytic leukemia],” says Dr. Lu.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322739.php

Medical News Today: Brain area responsible for pessimism found

Neuroscientists have now found the brain area responsible for pessimism. The new research suggests that both anxiety and depression are caused by an overstimulation of the caudate nucleus.
cross section of the brain
Researchers may have found the brain area that drives negative thinking.

Looking at mice, our fellow mammals, can offer important insights into human behavior.

A new study, published in the journal Neuron, examines the neurological underpinnings of pessimism in mice and also finds clues about anxiety and depression in humans.

The new research was led by senior researcher Ann Graybiel, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

Prof. Graybiel and colleagues focused on a type of decision-making process known as approach-avoidance conflict.

Approach-avoidance conflict describes situations in which people (or mammals) have to decide between two options by weighing the positive and negative aspects of each alternative.

Previous research that Prof. Graybiel conducted with her team found the brain circuits responsible for this kind of decision-making. They then found that having to decide in this scenario can induce significant stress, and that chronic stress makes rodents choose the riskier option that has the highest potential reward.

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The caudate nucleus and decision-making

In the new study, to recreate the scenario in which rodents have to choose by weighing positives and negatives, the scientists offered mice a squirt of juice as a reward but coupled it with an aversive stimulus: a puff of air in the face.

Over several trials, the researchers varied the ratio of reward to unpleasant stimuli and gave the rodents the ability to choose whether to accept the reward with the aversive stimulus or not.

As the researchers explain, this model requires that the rodents perform a cost-benefit analysis. If the reward of juice weighs more than the unpleasant sensation, the rodents will choose it, but if one squirt of juice comes with too many puffs of air, they won’t.

They also gave a small electric shock to the rodents’ caudate nucleus to see how it affected their decision-making. When this area was stimulated, the rodents did not make the same decisions as they had before receiving a stimulus.

Specifically, the rodents focused much more on the cost of the unpleasant stimulus than they did on the value of the reward. “This state we’ve mimicked has an overestimation of cost relative to benefit,” explains Prof. Graybiel.

Also, the scientists found that stimulation of the caudate nucleus led to a change in the rodents’ brainwave activity.

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Anxiety, depression, and a ‘delicate balance’

The researchers explain the implications of the findings. They say that they could help clinicians better understand the magnitude of depression and anxiety symptoms, as well as point to new treatments.

“We feel we were seeing a proxy for anxiety, or depression, or some mix of the two,” explains Prof. Graybiel. “These psychiatric problems are still so very difficult to treat for many individuals suffering from them.”

Next, the team is looking to examine whether people who live with depression and anxiety display similar overactivity in the brain’s caudate nucleus. The researchers suspect that stimulating this brain area causes a disruption in dopamine, the so-called sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll hormone.

“There must be many circuits involved,” concludes Prof. Graybiel. “But apparently we are so delicately balanced that just throwing the system off a little bit can rapidly change behavior.”

In the United States, over 16 million people live with major depressive disorder, and almost 7 million have generalized anxiety disorder.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322741.php

Medical News Today: Treatment and home remedies for pinworms

Pinworms are tiny, thin worms that can infect the colon and intestines of humans. People of all ages can get pinworm infections, but they tend to affect children or those who live in close quarters.

Pinworm infection is the most common worm infection in the United States. It is highly contagious and spreads quickly from person to person through ingestion or inhalation of the eggs.

Pinworm infections occur when a female pinworm lays eggs in the folds of skin around the anus. This causes intense itching, particularly at nighttime.

When the infected person scratches the anal area, eggs can get on the fingers and under the fingernails and contaminate items such as bedding and clothing. People living in the same household as the infected person may come into contact with the eggs and also get an infection.

It is possible to have a pinworm infection with no symptoms at all, so it is essential that all members of the household receive treatment.

Home remedies for pinworms

Mug of tea in front of wormwood plant or flower on wooden table.
Wormwood tea may help to treat pinworms.

Some people may be interested in natural home remedies to get rid of pinworms.

While there are some popular home remedies for pinworms, there is little scientific evidence to support their use.

People who believe that they have a pinworm infection should seek medical attention first. They can then use the home remedies below as complementary treatments.

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Wormwood

Early studies suggest that the herb wormwood may be effective as a treatment for some parasitic infections.

People can use wormwood by making it into a tea or tincture. It is best to speak to a doctor before trying it and to limit its use to a maximum of 4 weeks.

People have used wormwood for centuries to treat pinworm, and it has also featured in veterinary medicine too. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove that wormwood is effective for pinworm infections in humans.

Garlic

Garlic is known for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects. Some people use it as a complementary remedy for pinworm, hookworm, and roundworm infections.

To use garlic, people can eat the cloves raw or use chopped garlic in a variety of dishes. Alternatively, they can mix finely minced garlic with petroleum jelly to form a paste, which they can apply directly to the skin in the anal area.

However, it is vital not to apply the paste to hemorrhoids, areas of skin breakdown, or irritated skin.

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Carrots

Carrots being washed in sink.
Carrots provide fiber and can support regular bowel movements.

Raw carrots are rich in fiber, which can help keep the digestive system healthy and promote regular bowel movements.

Researchers do not know whether carrots fight against pinworms directly, but they may help push the pinworms out of the intestines.

Unless a person has an allergy to carrots, eating them raw is a safe home remedy. It is best to wash carrots first to eliminate bacteria and pesticides.

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds contain a compound called cucurbitacin. Very early studies suggested that this compound might make pumpkin seeds effective against internal parasites. In fact, the United States Pharmacopoeia listed pumpkin seeds as a treatment for intestinal parasites in the years 1863–1936.

It is possible to eat pumpkin seeds or blend them with water to form a paste to eat. However, there is no recent evidence to suggest that pumpkin seeds can help get rid of pinworms.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has a range of different household and health uses. It is a popular home remedy for pinworms, as many people believe that applying the oil around the anal area can prevent the female from laying eggs there.

Some people also ingest a teaspoon of pure coconut oil each morning. As long as people are not allergic to the oil, it is safe for them to try this. However, there is no scientific evidence that coconut oil is an effective remedy for pinworms.

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Papaya seeds

A 2012 study in rats demonstrated that papaya seeds could treat worm infections. However, no studies in humans show that they are effective. To use this treatment, a person can eat papaya seeds, either on their own or with honey to sweeten them.


Medical treatment

Linen and clothes in laundry basket being hung out to dry.
Washing linen and towels may help during treatment.

The standard medical treatment for pinworm infections is medication, but people must also remove all traces of the worms from the household by cleaning and adopting good hygiene practices.

As pinworms pass easily from one person to another, doctors recommend that everyone in the household receives treatment to help prevent reinfection.

The most common and effective prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications for pinworm infections include:

  • mebendazole (Vermox)
  • albendazole (Albenza)
  • pyrantel pamoate (Reese’s Pinworm Medicine)

A typical course of medication will consist of an initial dose and then a second dose a couple of weeks later.

It is also essential to keep the house clean and practice good hygiene during treatment. Hygiene practices and household cleaning strategies should include:

  • washing all bed linen, pajamas, and towels in hot water
  • vacuuming carpets and mopping floors frequently
  • washing the hands regularly, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before eating
  • cleaning all surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom thoroughly on a daily basis
  • keeping fingernails clean and short and not biting them
  • bathing daily
  • changing underwear every day
  • not sharing towels and washcloths
  • not shaking items that may contain pinworm eggs, such as bed linens, clothing, and towels


Outlook

Pinworm infections do not usually cause severe complications, but they can disrupt sleep and reduce a person’s quality of life.

Some people may wish to try using home remedies for pinworms. However, if symptoms persist, it is best to see a doctor to obtain the proper treatment and eradicate the infection.

Pinworm infections are straightforward to treat with medication and good hygiene practices.

It is essential to treat everyone in the household to prevent reinfection from pinworm eggs.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322714.php

Medical News Today: ‘Monster’ radish might help fight heart disease

Discovering ways of reducing cardiovascular risk is an ongoing challenge for medical science. A recent study asks whether “monster” radishes might provide some assistance.
Radish heart shape
The Sakurajima radish dwarfs the regular radishes pictured here.

The official name for the so-called monster radish is the Sakurajima daikon.

Originally cultivated on the island of Sakurajima, Japan, centuries ago, it is an impressive beast.

The largest Sakurajima on record weighed almost 69 pounds, measuring well over 1 meter in circumference.

Radishes in general are known to contain high levels of antioxidants. Also, according to earlier studies, they may influence factors associated with heart attack and stroke — namely, increased blood pressure and the risk of blood clots.

Roughly 1 in 4 deaths are due to cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke, so discovering a natural chemical that can reduce the risks would be a big win.

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Dissecting the monster radish

To date, no studies have investigated the potential cardiovascular benefits of the monster radish. So, recently, researchers from Kagoshima University in Japan set up a trial to see whether the radishes’ health benefits are as sizable as its girth. The results were published recently in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The team of scientists, led by Katsuko Kajiya, was particularly interested in the Sakurajima’s influence over nitric oxide production, an important regulator of blood vessel function.

The cells that line blood vessels — vascular endothelial cells — produce nitric oxide; when this gas is released into the bloodstream, it causes blood vessels to relax, which reduces blood pressure.

Nitric oxide helps reduce cardiovascular risk in more than one way: white and red blood cells sometimes attach to blood vessel walls, which increases the risk of clots forming. Nitric oxide release prevents this from happening so freely.

Antioxidants are thought to damage endothelial cells, which reduces their ability to produce nitric oxide and therefore increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Uncovering interventions that can induce nitric oxide release from these cells would, therefore, have a protective effect on vascular health.

The team used vascular endothelial cells from both humans and pigs to pit Sakurajima daikon against other, less impressive types of radish. Using a range of tests, including fluorescence microscopy, the scientists demonstrated that the monster radish “induced more nitric oxide production” than its diminutive cousins.

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Radish compound identified

Kajiya also wanted to understand exactly how the Sakurajima daikon influences nitric oxide. After ruling out other potential compounds, including the neurotransmitter GABA, the team concluded that a plant hormone called trigonelline could be the main player.

Trigonelline seems to trigger a molecular cascade that boosts nitric oxide production. Interestingly, trigonelline is not a stranger to medical research, as the authors explain:

The compound is found in coffee and some agricultural and marine products. […] Trigonelline has been reported to reduce brain aging and Alzheimer-type dementias, and it has inhibitory effects on the invasion of cancer cells.”

The compound may also be useful in the prevention of diabetes. It is present in a number of plants, including garden peas, hemp seed, oats, and potatoes. It might be that, over the coming years, we hear more about the potential uses of this chemical.

The authors of the new study hope that their results will be useful to scientists looking for active components in other vegetables.

Once the mechanism is understood in more detail, it could lead to much improved pharmaceutical interventions that slow the progression of cardiovascular disease or prevent it from developing in the first place.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322729.php

Medical News Today: Epilepsy: New findings ‘could change textbooks’

New research finds that two key brain proteins are involved in the neuronal misfiring that characterizes epilepsy. The findings “could potentially change textbooks” on epilepsy, according to the researchers, as well as pave the way for new therapies.
illustration of brain with firing neurons
Mapping the patterns of neuronal activity in the brain could change therapies for epilepsy.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, making it one of the most widespread neurological conditions in the world.

In the United States, 3.4 million people — or 1.2 percent of the population — live with the condition.

In epilepsy, parts of the brain get an abnormally high level of electrical signals, which disrupts its normal neurological function.

A healthy-functioning brain relies on electrical signals that nerve cells send to one another.

Gaining a better understanding of the dynamic between nerve cells could lead to better treatments for epilepsy. New research brings us closer to achieving this goal.

Neuroscientists led by Rochelle Hines, a researcher at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, set out to investigate how brain proteins interact to regulate the electrical signaling of neurons.

According to Hines, the findings — which she and team have now published in the journal Nature Communications — “could potentially change textbooks” on epilepsy, as they revolutionize the researchers’ understanding of what controls the firing of neurons in the disorder.

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How two proteins can change brain waves

As Hines and colleagues explain in their paper, the brain functions based on the dynamic between excitatory cells and inhibitory neurons; this regulates the “global cell firing rates” and controls the excitability of neurons locally.

In this dynamic, type-A GABA (GABAA) receptors play a vital role. GABAA receptors are “the major inhibitory neurotransmitter receptors in [the] mammalian brain.” These receptors have multiple subunits, ranging from alpha to theta.

In epilepsy, previous research has suggested that alpha subunits of GABAA receptors mediate the selective targeting of brain receptors. However, the mechanisms behind this were unclear.

In their new study, Hines and team narrowed down the receptors to two vital proteins: alpha-2 subunit (of the GABAA family), and collybistin.

When they disrupted communication between these two proteins in mice, electroencephalogram tests revealed that the brain waves of the rodents were irregular and out of control, showing patterns similar to those observed in people with epilepsy and anxiety.

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‘Textbook-changing results’ and new drugs

Referring to the findings above, Hines explains, “That’s the piece that could potentially change textbooks: Previously, we had questions about how these pieces fit together and thought that maybe a group of three or more proteins interacted.”

But our team’s research strongly suggests that there’s a very specific interaction between two of them, and this has implications for how neuroscientists might be able to regulate this area.”

Rochelle Hines

Regulating this “compartment” of proteins in the brain that controls cell signaling may lead to better therapies for stopping or preventing seizures.

“If we can better understand how the brain patterns activity, we can understand how it might go wrong in a disorder like epilepsy, where brain activity becomes uncontrolled,” Hines continues.

“And if we can understand what is important for this control, we can come up with better strategies for treating and improving the quality of life for people with epileptic seizures and maybe other types of disorders as well, such as anxiety or sleep disorders.”

Study co-author Stephen Moss, a professor of neuroscience at Tufts University in Medford, MA, says that these findings should prompt researchers to come up with new drugs that target alpha-2 GABAA receptors.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322738.php

Medical News Today: Epilepsy: New findings ‘could change textbooks’

New research finds that two key brain proteins are involved in the neuronal misfiring that characterizes epilepsy. The findings “could potentially change textbooks” on epilepsy, according to the researchers, as well as pave the way for new therapies.
illustration of brain with firing neurons
Mapping the patterns of neuronal activity in the brain could change therapies for epilepsy.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, making it one of the most widespread neurological conditions in the world.

In the United States, 3.4 million people — or 1.2 percent of the population — live with the condition.

In epilepsy, parts of the brain get an abnormally high level of electrical signals, which disrupts its normal neurological function.

A healthy-functioning brain relies on electrical signals that nerve cells send to one another.

Gaining a better understanding of the dynamic between nerve cells could lead to better treatments for epilepsy. New research brings us closer to achieving this goal.

Neuroscientists led by Rochelle Hines, a researcher at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, set out to investigate how brain proteins interact to regulate the electrical signaling of neurons.

According to Hines, the findings — which she and team have now published in the journal Nature Communications — “could potentially change textbooks” on epilepsy, as they revolutionize the researchers’ understanding of what controls the firing of neurons in the disorder.

Thank you for supporting Medical News Today

How two proteins can change brain waves

As Hines and colleagues explain in their paper, the brain functions based on the dynamic between excitatory cells and inhibitory neurons; this regulates the “global cell firing rates” and controls the excitability of neurons locally.

In this dynamic, type-A GABA (GABAA) receptors play a vital role. GABAA receptors are “the major inhibitory neurotransmitter receptors in [the] mammalian brain.” These receptors have multiple subunits, ranging from alpha to theta.

In epilepsy, previous research has suggested that alpha subunits of GABAA receptors mediate the selective targeting of brain receptors. However, the mechanisms behind this were unclear.

In their new study, Hines and team narrowed down the receptors to two vital proteins: alpha-2 subunit (of the GABAA family), and collybistin.

When they disrupted communication between these two proteins in mice, electroencephalogram tests revealed that the brain waves of the rodents were irregular and out of control, showing patterns similar to those observed in people with epilepsy and anxiety.

Thank you for supporting Medical News Today

‘Textbook-changing results’ and new drugs

Referring to the findings above, Hines explains, “That’s the piece that could potentially change textbooks: Previously, we had questions about how these pieces fit together and thought that maybe a group of three or more proteins interacted.”

But our team’s research strongly suggests that there’s a very specific interaction between two of them, and this has implications for how neuroscientists might be able to regulate this area.”

Rochelle Hines

Regulating this “compartment” of proteins in the brain that controls cell signaling may lead to better therapies for stopping or preventing seizures.

“If we can better understand how the brain patterns activity, we can understand how it might go wrong in a disorder like epilepsy, where brain activity becomes uncontrolled,” Hines continues.

“And if we can understand what is important for this control, we can come up with better strategies for treating and improving the quality of life for people with epileptic seizures and maybe other types of disorders as well, such as anxiety or sleep disorders.”

Study co-author Stephen Moss, a professor of neuroscience at Tufts University in Medford, MA, says that these findings should prompt researchers to come up with new drugs that target alpha-2 GABAA receptors.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322738.php

Medical News Today: Foods to avoid with a sesame allergy

Sesame is a popular ingredient across the world. People can use it in oils, salads, baking, and sushi. But, for some people, sesame seeds and oil cause an allergic reaction.

Sesame reactions can range from mild sensitivity to severe allergy. A severe allergy includes anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening situation.

Nobody knows precisely how many people have a sesame allergy or sensitivity. But, it might affect hundreds of thousands of people in the United States.

Food manufacturers in the U.S. do not have to list sesame as a specific ingredient in foods, though some do.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, only 14 out of 22 major food companies clearly label sesame ingredients on their product labels. This makes it difficult for people with allergies to buy foods safely.

Sesame is in a variety of food products, as well as cosmetics, supplements, medication, and pet food.

It is vital for a person with a sesame allergy to make sure they know what ingredients are in the food they eat. This is especially true for those who have a history of severe reactions.

This article looks at some of the symptoms of a sesame allergy, what foods to avoid, and how to treat a reaction.


Symptoms

Sesame allergy
A person with a sesame allergy may experience coughing and an itchy throat.

People with a sesame allergy may experience a variety of symptoms that can range from mild to severe.

Possible symptoms of a sesame allergy include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • hives
  • pain in the abdomen
  • coughing
  • hoarse voice
  • itchiness in the throat or mouth
  • redness in the face
  • swelling

A person with a severe reaction to sesame may experience anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction that requires immediate medical attention.

People who may experience anaphylaxis due to sesame should carry an epinephrine injector, such as an EpiPen, with them at all times.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • trouble breathing
  • fainting
  • rapid heartbeat
  • cardiac arrest
  • fainting
  • dizziness

People who experience mild symptoms should still speak to a doctor about the reaction. Some people will experience a worse reaction when they come into contact with the allergen again.


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Foods to avoid

Sesame allergy bread roll
Avoid any baked goods that contain sesame seeds.

A wide variety of foods contain sesame. Foods from the Middle East or Asia frequently contain sesame oil.

Many bakeries sell bagels with sesame seed toppings, which can lead to cross-contamination.

A person with a sesame allergy should always ask about food preparation. It is essential to know whether their dish may have come into contact with sesame.

It is essential that people with a sesame allergy avoid:

  • sesame seeds
  • sesame oil
  • tahini

A person should be cautious of the following foods and ensure they are free of sesame before trying them:

  • baked goods, including bread, breadsticks, hamburger buns, rolls, and bagels
  • Asian dishes containing sesame oil
  • cereals, such as muesli and granola
  • breadcrumbs
  • tempeh
  • processed meats, such as sausage
  • Turkish cake or baklava
  • margarine
  • sushi
  • sauces and dips, such as hummus and baba ghanoush
  • sesame snap bars
  • melba toast
  • tortilla, pita, and bagel chips
  • gravies, marinades, dressings, and sauces
  • falafel
  • some soups
  • vegetarian burgers
  • herbs, including herbal teas
  • flavored rice, noodles, risotto, shish kebabs, stews, and stir fry
  • goma doff, a Japanese dessert
  • energy and protein bars
  • pasteli, a type of Greek dessert
  • snack foods, such as pretzels, Halvah, Japanese snack mix, candy, and rice cakes

A person should also be wary of the following products, as they may contain sesame:

  • cosmetics
  • medications
  • supplements
  • pet food

Finally, people must know how manufacturers might list sesame in an ingredients list.

Always read labels on all foods and other items and look for other names such as:

  • benne, benne seed, or benniseed
  • gingelly or gingelly oil
  • seeds​
  • sesamol or sesamolina
  • sesamum indicum
  • sim sim

Some manufacturers might list sesame under descriptions, such as “other flavors.” This is because food labeling laws do not require them to list sesame specifically.

Treatment

A person can treat minor symptoms with over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines.

If a person is unaware of the cause of their allergic reaction, they should see a doctor. A doctor can help with a diagnosis, which may involve allergy testing.

If a person is showing signs of an anaphylactic reaction, they or a person with them should:

  • call 911 or seek immediate medical attention
  • administer epinephrine if possible (EpiPen)
  • remain calm until help arrives
  • help the person lie down
  • assist the person if they vomit by turning their head to the side, so they do not choke
  • not give the person anything to eat or drink

When help arrives, paramedics will continue to monitor a person’s condition as they take them to the nearest emergency center. If this is the first time a person has had an allergic reaction, they should arrange an allergy test as soon as possible.


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Sesame allergies in children

Child sesame allergy
If a child has an allergic reaction to sesame, they need to see a doctor.

Many allergies develop during childhood. Parents and caregivers should take precautions to help the child avoid contact with sesame. Be sure to inform family members, teachers, and daycare staff about the allergy.

A doctor will treat a child with a sesame allergy in the same way as an adult. The child will need to learn how to identify and avoid contact with the allergen.

A parent or caregiver might also need to teach the child how to handle epinephrine.

When to see a doctor

A person should seek medical attention if they:

  • experience an allergic reaction (even a mild one) for the first time
  • cannot identify the cause of the reaction
  • have a severe reaction that causes anaphylaxis

A doctor will need to identify the cause of the allergic reaction. If a person thinks it was sesame, the doctor can help confirm this.

Once a doctor knows what caused the allergic reaction, they can suggest treatment. Options may include antihistamines and epinephrine.


Outlook

A person with a sesame allergy must be vigilant about the foods and products they use. Anyone who is not sure whether a product contains sesame should ask the store or the manufacturer.

It is best to know the other names for sesame seeds and oil, as not all ingredient lists are consistent.

If a person is at risk of anaphylaxis, they should carry an epinephrine injector.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322743.php

Medical News Today: Can you have hypoglycemia without diabetes?

Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels fall dangerously low. It is more common in people with diabetes, but it can affect others.

In this article, we explore the health conditions beyond diabetes that can cause hypoglycemia. We also look at treatment options and the dietary changes that can help prevent low blood sugar.

What is hypoglycemia?

Blood sugar
Hypoglycemia is when blood sugar levels are very low.

Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels drop below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). Severe hypoglycemia can be life-threatening if a person does not receive treatment. Treatments focus on returning blood sugar to safe levels.

Blood sugar, or glucose, is the body’s primary source of energy. When levels fall too low, the body does not have enough energy to function fully. This is called hypoglycemia.

Insulin helps the body’s cells to absorb sugar from the bloodstream. A person with diabetes may take insulin shots because their body is resistant to insulin or because it does not produce enough.

In people with diabetes, taking too much insulin can cause blood sugar levels to drop too low. Not eating enough or exercising too much after taking insulin can have the same effect.

However, people who do not have diabetes can also experience hypoglycemia.


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Causes of hypoglycemia without diabetes

In people without diabetes, hypoglycemia can result from the body producing too much insulin after a meal, causing blood sugar levels to drop. This is called reactive hypoglycemia.

Reactive hypoglycemia can be an early sign of diabetes.

Other health issues can also cause hypoglycemia, including:

Drinking too much alcohol

When a person’s blood sugar levels are low, the pancreas releases a hormone called glucagon.

Glucagon tells the liver to break down stored energy. The liver then releases glucose back into the bloodstream to normalize blood sugar levels.

Drinking too much alcohol can make it difficult for the liver to function. It may no longer be able to release glucose back into the bloodstream, which can cause temporary hypoglycemia.

Medication

Taking another person’s diabetes medication can cause hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia can also be a side effect of:

Some groups have an increased risk of medication-induced hypoglycemia, including children and people with kidney failure.

Anorexia

A person with the eating disorder anorexia may not be consuming enough food for their body to produce sufficient glucose.

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the liver. Having hepatitis can prevent the liver from working properly.

If the liver cannot produce or release enough glucose, this can cause problems with blood sugar levels and lead to hypoglycemia.

Adrenal or pituitary gland disorders

Problems with the pituitary gland or adrenal glands can cause hypoglycemia because these parts of the body affect the hormones that control glucose production.

Kidney problems

The kidneys help the body process medication and excrete waste.

If a person has a problem with their kidneys, medication can build up in their bloodstream. This type of buildup can change blood sugar levels and lead to hypoglycemia.

Pancreatic tumor

Pancreatic tumors are rare, but having one can lead to hypoglycemia.

Tumors in the pancreas can cause the organ to produce too much insulin. If insulin levels are too high, blood sugar levels will drop.

Symptoms

Dizzy and confused senior woman outdoors.
Dizziness and confusion can be symptoms of hypoglycemia.

When a person has hypoglycemia, they may feel:

  • shaky
  • dizzy
  • unable to concentrate
  • unable to focus their eyes
  • confused
  • moody
  • hungry

A person with hypoglycemia may develop a headache or pass out (lose consciousness).

If a person has hypoglycemia often, they may stop experiencing symptoms. This is called hypoglycemia unawareness.


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Diagnosis

To diagnose hypoglycemia, a doctor first asks a person about their symptoms. If the doctor suspects hypoglycemia, they may perform a blood test.

Blood sugar levels below 70 mg/dl can indicate hypoglycemia.

However, everyone has a different base blood sugar level, and the measurement that determines hypoglycemia can vary.

The doctor may use other tests to determine the underlying cause of low blood sugar.

Treatment

Pink round tablet supplements
Glucose tablets can help to raise blood sugar levels.

Treating the underlying cause is the best way to prevent hypoglycemia in the long term.

In the short term, receiving glucose helps blood sugar levels return to normal.

According to research from 2014, the best way to treat mild hypoglycemia is to:

  • take 15 grams of glucose
  • wait for 15 minutes
  • measure blood glucose levels again
  • repeat this treatment if hypoglycemia persists

There are many ways to receive glucose, including:

  • taking a glucose tablet
  • injecting glucose
  • drinking fruit juice
  • eating carbohydrates

Eating slow-release carbohydrates may help sustain blood sugar levels.


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Non-diabetic hypoglycemia diet

A non-diabetic hypoglycemia diet can help keep blood sugar levels balanced. The following tips can help to prevent hypoglycemia:

  • eating small meals regularly, rather than three large meals
  • eating every 3 hours
  • eating a variety of foods, including protein, healthful fats, and fiber
  • avoiding sugary foods

Carrying a snack to eat at the first sign of hypoglycemia can prevent blood sugar levels from dipping too low.

Ultimately, the best way to prevent hypoglycemia is to identify and treat the underlying cause.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322744.php

Medical News Today: Ten ways to relieve stomach ulcers at home

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322740.php