Latest information about Gout

Gout May Be Linked to Raised Diabetes Risk: Study

Posted October 6, 2014

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis, appears to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, especially in women, a new study finds.

Researchers followed more than 35,000 gout sufferers in the United Kingdom and found that women with gout were 71 percent more likely to develop diabetes compared with people without gout. For men, the increased risk was 22 percent.

“Gout seems to be contributing to the risk of diabetes independently of other diabetes risk factors, such as obesity,” said lead researcher Dr. Hyon Choi, from the division of rheumatology, allergy, and immunology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Gout causes intense pain and swelling in single joints, most often the feet, especially the joint at the base of the big toe. More than 3 million Americans suffer from the condition, men more often than women, according to the American College of Rheumatology.

People with gout have excess uric acid in the body, which forms needle-like crystals that lodge in the joints.

Diabetes, characterized by high blood sugar levels, can lead to kidney damage, heart disease and limb amputations over time. Clarifying its relationship to gout “is essential,” the study authors said.

However, while the current research suggests gout raises the risk of diabetes, the study can’t prove it. “The association is clearly there, but why that is so isn’t known,” Choi said.

Choi speculates that ongoing, low-level inflammation from gout may increase the risk for diabetes. Other risk factors shared by both diseases — high cholesterol and high blood pressure, for example — might also increase the risk, he said.

The researchers used data from health records on adult patients from January 1995 to May 2010. They zeroed in on about 35,000 people with newly diagnosed gout and compared them with more than 137,000 people without the condition.

To isolate the relationship between gout and diabetes, the investigators took age, sex and especially weight into account, because obesity is a risk factor for both gout and type 2 diabetes.

The study, published online Oct. 2 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, found that almost three-quarters of the new cases of gout were among men with an average age of 61. Among women with new cases of gout, the average age was 68.

The odds of developing diabetes alongside gout was much more likely for women, the researchers found. Choi said the absolute risk of a woman with gout developing diabetes is about 5 percent, and for a man it’s about 3 percent.

People with gout tended to drink more alcohol, saw their doctor more often, had more medical problems, and took steroids and diuretics more often than those who did not have gout, the study authors noted.

Treatments for gout are available and are tailored individually.

Choi said the best way to reduce the risk of developing gout or diabetes is to control risk factors, such as blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.

Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said this study may make doctors more aware of the association between gout and diabetes.

“The question for doctors is whether people with gout should be tested for diabetes and people with diabetes tested for gout,” Mezitis said.

“What this study tells us is that if the patient has gout, you have to be thinking that the patient is at increased risk for diabetes,” he said. This may be independent of other factors normally associated with diabetes, such as obesity and high blood pressure, he added.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Have you had your Blueberries,TODAY?

Blueberries Fight Belly Fat!© Copyright 2012 CorbisCorporation

 

Health experts have always raved about the health benefits of blueberries, but now, a new University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study suggests that blueberries may help reduce belly fat and risk factors for heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

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Blueberries Fight Belly Fat!

A close-up image of fresh blueberries

 

Blueberries are the fruits of a shrub that belong to the heath family, which includes the cranberry and bilberry as well as the azalea, mountain laurel and rhododendron.

Blueberries are the fruits of a shrub that belong to the heath family, which includes the cranberry and bilberry as well as the azalea, mountain laurel and rhododendron.

Blueberries grow in clusters and range in size from that of a small pea to a marble. They are deep in color, ranging from blue to maroon to purple-black, and feature a white-gray waxy “bloom” that covers the surface serving as a protective coat. The skin surrounds a semi-transparent flesh that encases tiny seeds.

According to a study presented at the 2009 Experimental Biology conference in New Orleans, a diet rich in blueberries lowers blood cholesterol levels while improving glucose control and insulin sensitivity, lowering the risk of subsequent heart disease and diabetes.

Just some of the benefits of blueberries include:

They have the highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit: Blue Berries, being very rich in antioxidants like Anthocyanin, vitamin C, B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper (a very effective immune builder and anti-bacterial), selenium, zinc, iron (promotes immunity by raising haemoglobin and oxygen concentration in blood) etc. boost up your immune system and prevent infections. Once your immunity is strong, you won’t catch colds, fever, pox and all such nasty viral and bacterial communicable diseases.

They neutralize free radicals which can affect disease and aging in the body: Blue Berries bring you the brightest ray of hope, for they are laden with anti oxidants and rank number 1 in the world of anti oxidants. This is mainly due to presence of Anthocyanin, a pigment responsible for the blue color of the blueberries. The abundance of vitamin-C is also a big factor for this as well.

They aid in reducing belly fat: A new University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study suggests that blueberries may help reduce belly fat and risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. So far, we know that the fruit works on rats, which were the test subjects. A blueberry-enriched powder was mixed into the rats’ diet, which was either low-fat or high-fat rat chow. After 90 days, the rats with the blueberry-enriched diet had less abdominal fat, lower triglycerides, lower cholesterol and improved fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity.

In addition, their health was even better when combined with the low-fat diet. That group had lower body weight, lower total fat mass and reduced liver mass than the rats on the high-fat diet. An enlarged liver is linked to obesity and insulin resistance, a hallmark of diabetes. Although more research is needed to confirm these results in humans, a related study presented at the same conference showed that men with risk factors for heart disease who drank wild blueberry juice for three weeks seemed to experience slight improvements in glucose and insulin control.

They help promote urinary tract health: The building of colonies of certain bacteria like b-coli along the lining of the inner walls of urinary tract is responsible for this infection, resulting in inflammation, burning sensation during in passage of urine and other complications. Here, Blue Berries can be surprisingly beneficial. It has a compound formed of big polymer like heavy molecules which inhibits the growth of such bacteria. It also has some anti biotic properties which adds to this effect. These heavy and big molecules almost wash-off these bacteria along the tract, thereby preventing the infection.

They help preserve vision: Blueberry extract, high in compounds called anthocyanosides, has been found in clinical studies to slow down visual loss. They can prevent or delay all age related ocular problems like macular degeneration, cataract, myopia and hypermetropia, dryness and infections, particularly those pertaining to retina, due to their anti-oxidant properties. Blue Berries contain a special group of anti oxidants called Carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin etc.), Flavonoids (like rutin, resveritrol, quercetin etc.), in addition to others such as vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A, selenium, zinc and phosphorus, which are very beneficial and essential for the ocular health. Data reported in a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.

Brain Health: The anthocyanin, the selenium, the vitamins A, B-complex, C and E, the zinc, sodium, potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese etc., among others, can prevent and heal neurotic disorders by preventing degeneration and death of neurons, brain-cells and also by restoring health of the central nervous system. It is hard to believe that these berries can also cure serious problems like Alzheimer’s disease to a great extent. They even heal damaged brain cells and neuron tissues and keep your memory sharp for a long-long time. Researchers found that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging animals, making them mentally equivalent to much younger ones.

They fight heart disease: The high fiber content, those brilliant anti oxidants and the ability to dissolve the ‘bad cholesterol’ make the Blue Berry an ideal dietary supplement to cure many heart diseases. It also strengthens the cardiac muscles. In this study, published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, researchers found that a moderate drink (about 4 ounces) of white wine contained .47 mmol of free radical absorbing antioxidants, red wine provided 2.04 mmol, and a wine made from highbush blueberries delivered 2.42 mmol of these protective plant compounds.

They relieve constipation & aid in healthy digestion: While roughage (fiber) in Blue Berries keep away constipation (Of course, a single piece alone will not do. You need to eat a big handful of them), the vitamins, sodium, copper, fructose and acids improve digestion.

They may prevent/cure certain cancers: Blue Berries can prove to be bliss for the cancer patients, for they contain certain compounds like Pterostilbene (excellent remedy for colon and liver cancer) and Ellagic Acid which, in harmony with Anthocyanin and other anti oxidants like vitamin-C and copper, can do miracles to prevent and cure cancer. Laboratory studies published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry show that phenolic compounds in blueberries can inhibit colon cancer cell proliferation and induce apoptosis (programmed cell death). A significant 34% reduction in ovarian cancer risk was also seen in women with the highest intake of the flavone luteolin (found in citrus).

Other blueberry benefits: They keep you fresh, active, fit, sharp, close to nature and in a good mood, as they are very good antidepressants. You also need not spend a lot on medicines, neither are there any side effects. Remember, the deeper the color of the Blue Berries, the more they are rich in anti oxidants and other medicinal values.

Which blueberries are the BEST blueberries?

Choose blueberries that are firm and have a lively, uniform hue colored with a whitish bloom. Shake the container, noticing whether the berries have the tendency to move freely; if they do not, this may indicate that they are soft and damaged or moldy. Avoid berries that appear dull in color or are soft and watery in texture.

They should be free from moisture since the presence of water will cause the berries to decay. When purchasing frozen berries, shake the bag gently to ensure that the berries move freely and are not clumped together, which may suggest that they have been thawed and refrozen.

Final twist to tale of Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cells helped the fight against cancer!

Scientists recant in ethics row over publishing DNA genome of research’s unwitting heroine

Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks, who died of cancer in 1951, but whose tumour cells have been an invaluable resource for medical researchers. Photograph: Courtesy of the Henrietta Lacks Foundation

The astonishing story of Henrietta Lacks, who died of cancer in 1951 but whose still living cells are now the basis for much medical research, has captivated America for the past two years – and there is no sign of the debate, or its controversies, abating.

As revealed in the bestselling 2011 book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, this is a tale of a poor black tobacco farmer who never consented to having her tissues taken but whose cancer cells have proved so important they have formed the foundation for work leading to two Nobel prizes.

Yet Lacks’s family never knew about it – even as the cells were used around the world in research, or when they themselves were asked for blood samples two decades later. The book described the indignity of the family’s ordeal even as giant corporations profited hugely from Lacks’s cells – known as HeLa in medical parlance. Her children, again without their knowledge, had their medical records studied and even published. It was a story of the complex intersection of medicine, race and profit that seemed to have a happy ending as the book, written by Rebecca Skloot, became a bestseller and Lacks’s contribution to medical science was recognised.

But now history seems to have repeated itself. A group of scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg recently published a paper in which they sequenced the entire genome of a HeLa cell – essentially putting Lacks’s DNA sequence up on the internet for all to see. Amazingly, they failed to alert anyone in the Lacks family about their intentions or ask their permission.

Skloot was outraged, arguing that scientists appeared to have learned little. “The publication of the HeLa genome without consent isn’t an example of a few researchers making a mistake. The whole system allowed it. Everyone involved followed standard practices. They presented their research at conferences and in a peer-reviewed journal. No one raised questions about consent,” she wrote in a column in the New York Times.

David Kroll, a science writer and board member of the Henrietta Lacks Foundation, was furious that Lacks and her family had again apparently fallen into a scientific ethics blind spot. “I was pretty appalled. I could not believe this was happening all over again.”

The impact was rapid. Though the scientists at EMBL had insisted that the genome could not be used to make any sensitive medical conclusions about Lacks or her living family members – such as whether they had a predisposition to certain diseases – one researcher told Skloot they had done precisely that by downloading the genome and provided proof of their deductions confidentially to Skloot. Eventually the EMBL revised its publication, removing full details of the genome, and apologised.

The incident has added an unexpected last chapter to what was already a remarkable story. Lacks died quickly, aged 31, after being diagnosed with cervical cancer. The cells taken from her have been used in experiments all over the world and even in space. HeLa cells have helped make hundred of millions of profits for companies all over the world and been used for medical breakthrough after breakthrough. They have been used to develop the polio vaccine and in vitro fertilisation and even cloning.

Yet, before Skloot’s book was published, her story was little known. Now, not only is Lacks honoured – she has had a school named after her – but her case is held up as a prime example of the abuse of medical ethics where getting consent from test subjects is now seen as a primary moral duty. “The scientific community can still be arrogant and have a disregard for people’s feelings,” Kroll said.

That seems to be particularly true of this latest incident involving the publication of the genome of the HeLa cells. As genetic technology and medicine becomes more common it is going to raise key issues of privacy. The human genome is becoming easier and cheaper to map in its entirety and the sort of breaches that just took place with the HeLa cell line are likely to become more frequent. That could open up many people to unscrupulous employers or health insurance companies trying to analyse DNA sequences for confidential information.

“It speaks very widely to genetic privacy,” Kroll said. After all, Kroll argued, if researchers were still blithe enough to publish a genome as well known as a HeLa cell, then they might be even less bothered by people whose identities are – now – less famous. “The whole Henrietta Lacks case has been a blessing in disguise. Often mistakes can lead to advances and correcting behaviour,” said Kroll.

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