Food bacteria may cause abortions

The results of the research conducted in the ICAS Culiacán reveal that at least 10 percent of the fresh cheese, sausages and meats sold in markets and on the street may be contaminated.

Researchers at the Center for Food Research and Development (ICAS) confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in foods of animal origin, in the city of Culiacan, Sinaloa. The organism causing mainly diarrheal infections as a first symptom, but in more aggressive situations generates abortions and meningitis.

Because in Mexico there are no reports of cases of listeriosis by the health system, the ICAS science team, headed by Christopher Quiroz Chaidez, began working on the search for bacteria. “The only reference is a review from 1982 to 2006, a period in which only 14 cases were reported but not diagnosed because they do not associate diarrheas, abortions or meningitis with Listeria monocytogenes, “says the researcher.

Recent international reports relate the emergence of a strong outbreak of listeriosis in the United States due to consumption of Chinese melon from Mexico.

However, research in different markets were visited for sampling dairy products, sausages and meats, which are taken to the laboratory for analysis by culture media and molecular methods.

After the tests, the five serotypes of Listeria monocytogenes, mainly 4B, which is the most aggressive were found. “We found it in greater amounts in the chicken, with a percentage of 23 percent; sausages by 11 percent; cheeses with nine percent and eight percent meat, “says Quiroz Chaidez.

Therefore, these results suggest that “at least 10 percent of the fresh cheese, sausages and meats sold in markets and on the street may be contaminated with the bacteria.”

Human listeriosis is a disease with a high mortality rate (20 to 30 percent) leading to severe diseases such as meningitis, septicemia, and abortions. It usually affects immunocompromised individuals, pregnant women, elderly and children.

While the infection is spread by fecal-oral route of animal to human and from mother to fetus, the main source of infection is by eating contaminated food because of poor hygiene practices. “Upon entering the body, the bacteria travels through the bloodstream, making it easy to reach the meninges, in addition to having the ability to cross the placenta and harm the unborn product,” warns Quiroz Chaidez.

The implementation of a preventive programs is required, define the legal framework to ensure food safety, and enforce the reporting of outbreaks. In the latter case, the participation of the health sector is of great importance, since the presence of clinical symptoms suggesting the involvement of bacteria, such as diarrhea, must apply for the necessary studies leading to confirm or exclude the diagnosis.

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Posted in Listeria, Meningitis, Nutrition: Food Safety, Pregnancy: Complications | Leave a comment

For urology surgeries, deaths rise with shift from in-hospital to outpatient procedures

DETROIT – As hospitals have shifted an array of common urological surgeries from inpatient procedures to outpatient, potentially preventable deaths have increased following complications.

Those were the primary findings of a new study led by Henry Ford Hospital researchers, who initially expected that improved mortality rates recently documented for surgery overall would also translate to commonly performed urologic surgeries.

The opposite turned out to be true.

The research paper has been published online by BJUI, the official journal of the British Association of Urological Surgeons.

The study – which included researchers at Harvard Medical School, the University of Montreal Health Center, Yale University’s Department of Urology and the Harvard School of Public Health – also identified older, sicker, minority patients and those with public insurance as more likely to die after a potentially recognizable or preventable complication.

“These high-risk patients are ideal targets for new health care initiatives aimed at improving process and results,” says Jesse D. Sammon, D.O., a researcher at Henry Ford’s Vattikuti Urology Institute and lead author of the study.

“Urologic surgeons and support staff need a heightened awareness of the early signs of complications to prevent such deaths, particularly as our patient population becomes older and has more chronic medical conditions.”

The study focused on a measure of hospital quality and safety called Failure to Rescue, or FTR, derived from the Institute of Medicine’s landmark 1999 report To Err is Human, which highlighted significant concerns for patient safety in American hospitals.

“Failure to rescue describes the inability of a provider or institution to recognize key complications and intervene before mortality,” Dr. Sammon explains. “While comparison of overall complications and mortality rates penalizes hospitals treating sicker patients and more complex cases, FTR rates may be a more accurate way to assess safety and quality of care.”

Using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the largest all-payer inpatient health care database in the U.S., the researchers identified all patients discharged after urologic surgery between 1998 and 2010.

This pool of more than 7.7 million surgeries was analyzed for overall and FTR mortality as well as changes in mortality rates. The researchers determined that while both admissions for urologic surgery and overall mortality decreased slightly, deaths attributable to FTR increased 5 percent every year during the study period.

The researchers also identified each patient’s age, race and insurance status, including private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and self-pay. In addition, the severity of each patient’s illness was determined based on co-morbidity, or the presence of other chronic diseases or conditions at the time of their urologic procedure.

They found that the number of inpatient urologic surgeries dropped during the study period and surmised this was due to a “major shift” to outpatient procedures.

In addition, older, sicker and minority patients, as well as those with public insurance, were more likely to die after a potentially recognizable or preventable complication of their urologic surgery.

Besides the study’s primary conclusions, Dr. Sammon says the research also suggested that compared to other medical specialties, “these findings also raise the possibility that the care of urologic surgical patients is suffering from inadequate or poorly applied patient safety measures.”

“It’s worrisome,” he continues, “that the odds of FTR-related deaths have risen over time for the most common types of urologic surgeries including ureteral stenting, treatment of enlarged prostate, bladder biopsies, removal of a diseased kidney and others.”

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Posted in Health Care: Medical Errors, Urology | Leave a comment

Daughters Provide as Much Elderly Parent Care as They Can, Sons Do as Little as Possible: Princeton Study

Newswise — SAN FRANCISCO — Parents are better off having daughters if they want to be cared for in their old age suggests a new study, which finds that women appear to provide as much elderly parent care as they can, while men contribute as little as possible.

“Whereas the amount of elderly parent care daughters provide is associated with constraints they face, such as employment or childcare, sons’ caregiving is associated only with the presence or absence of other helpers, such as sisters or a parent’s spouse,” said study author Angelina Grigoryeva, a doctoral candidate in sociology at Princeton University.

According to the study, daughters provide an average of 12.3 hours of elderly parent care per month as compared to sons’ 5.6 hours. “In other words, daughters spend twice as much time, or almost seven more hours each month, providing care to elderly parents than sons,” said Grigoryeva, who will present her research at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

The study also indicates that in the division of elderly parent care among siblings in mixed-sex sibling groups, gender is the single most important factor in the amount of assistance each sibling provides.

“Sons reduce their relative caregiving efforts when they have a sister, while daughters increase theirs when they have a brother,” Grigoryeva said. “This suggests that sons pass on parent caregiving responsibilities to their sisters.”

Grigoryeva’s paper relies on data from the 2004 wave of the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal panel study that surveys a nationally representative sample of more than 26,000 Americans over the age of 50 every two years.

In terms of the implications of her findings, Grigoryeva said the gender inequality in elderly parent care is particularly significant due to the consequences of elder care for caregivers.

“Numerous empirical studies report negative mental and physical health consequences, including a higher mortality rate, for people who provide care for elderly family members,” Grigoryeva said. “In addition, these caregivers often have to balance elder care with employment, potentially resulting in career sacrifices and lower earnings. Providing care for elderly relatives can also impose significant financial burdens on caregivers in the form of direct expenses, as they often pay for goods and services for their care recipients.”

Considering that caregiving for elderly parents is disproportionately the responsibility of daughters, and previous research has shown women suffer from higher negative consequences associated with caregiving than men, the detrimental side-effects of caregiving for elderly parents could have “potentially intensifying effects on a series of gender inequalities pertaining to health and economic well-being,” Grigoryeva said.

Although, “the U.S. has been gradually becoming a more gender egalitarian society since the 1970s, my study shows gender inequality remains acute when it comes to elderly parent care,” Grigoryeva said.

Posted in Elder Care, Human Behavior: Gender Differences | Leave a comment

10 calorie-limit temptations and how to thwart them


Your hunger is a mystery. Some days you eat what’s on your plate and move on, while others it’s like your stomach is an empty pit.

Yes, it can be confusing.

That’s because you’re grappling with your hunger (a physical need to eat) and your appetite (a desire to eat). Often, one can be mistaken for the other—and that can make all the difference if you lose, gain, or maintain your weight.

To help you decode what your body and brain are really saying, you’ve got to learn the difference between the types of hunger—from real to boredom to stress.

Here’s how.

Real hunger

Real hunger is the most important type of hunger—it tells you when you must eat! Real hunger makes you feel physical signs like shakiness from low blood sugar, a headache, low energy, or a grumbling stomach, said Susan Albers, PysD, author of EatQ. Seems simple enough, but often we wait to eat until a hunger emergency rises and we scarf whatever is in sight. So be prepared: keep snacks in your bag, glove compartment, or in your desk. (Need some ideas? Here are the best snacks for weight loss).

TV hunger

What goes better with The Bachelor than a bag of something to munch on? Too bad you’ll be elbow deep before you realize it.

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Posted in Exercise: Benefits, Human Behavior: Willpower, Nutrition: Appetite | Leave a comment

Facebook ‘a positive, significant predictor of divorce rate’

Because Facebook and other social media may not be harmless time-killers after all. Your love life may be on the line

This post originally appeared on Ozy.com.

Your wife comes to bed late — again — after spending hours on Facebook. Maybe you feel like your husband is more focused on Twitter than you.

Here’s a pro tip:

You’re not imagining it.

Your relationship really could be headed for rocky shores, if not splitsville, according to a new study from Boston University.

Researchers found that, in general, 32 percent of heavy Facebook users consider leaving their spouse. Facebook in particular is “a positive, significant predictor of divorce rate and spousal troubles,” it notes.

Of course, there are some limits to this finding — it’s all about correlation. But the study’s authors feel they’re noticing something that’s genuinely statistically significant.

As usage of the social media site rose across 43 states, they found that a 20 percent bump in Facebook use equated with a greater-than-2 percent bump in divorce rates between 2008 and 2010.

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Posted in Divorce, Human Behavior: Relationships, Human Behavior: Social Media | Leave a comment

Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival

The ultimate resource for experiencing the backcountry!

Written by survivalist expert Dave Canterbury, Bushcraft 101 gets you ready for your next backcountry trip with advice on making the most of your time outdoors.

Based on the 5Cs of Survivability–cutting tools, covering, combustion devices, containers, and cordages–this valuable guide offers only the most important survival skills to help you craft resources from your surroundings and truly experience the beauty and thrill of the wilderness. Inside, you’ll also discover detailed information on:

Choosing the right items for your kit.

Manufacturing needed tools and supplies.

Collecting and cooking food.

Protecting yourself from the elements.

With Canterbury’s guidance, you’ll not only prepare yourself for any climate and situation, you’ll also learn how to use the art of bushcraft to reconnect with nature in ways you’ve never imagined.

Source: Amazon

 

Posted in Environmental Health: Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation | Leave a comment

First expert consensus on ventricular arrhythmias published


Barcelona, Spain – Saturday 30 August 2014: The first expert consensus on ventricular arrhythmias is published today. The novel document compiles current evidence on the diagnosis and management of ventricular arrhythmias and was agreed by international experts from three continents.

The “EHRA/HRS/APHRS Expert Consensus on Ventricular Arrhythmias” is published today on-line in EP Europace (1). It was written jointly by the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) and the Asia Pacific Heart Rhythm Society (APHRS).

Professor Christian Torp-Pedersen (Denmark), EHRA co-chairperson of the writing group, said: “This is the first document to provide guidelines on the management of all ventricular arrhythmias. The recommendations are particularly strong because they have been agreed by experts from three societies in Europe, the US and Asia. This avoids discrepancies and the unnecessary uncertainty that can arise from having different documents.”

He added: “Cardiologists depend on guidelines particularly when the evidence is weak and this is the case for ventricular arrhythmias. Most of our recommendations rely on consensus from international experts because there is a relatively small amount of evidence available. This is because interventions to prevent sudden death and treat ventricular arrhythmias were developed at a time when patient cohorts were small and there were lower standards for demonstrating effectiveness. New treatments have also emerged including ablation.”

The document covers the entire spectrum of ventricular arrhythmias from those that are benign and asymptomatic to those that produce severe symptoms including sudden cardiac death. The recommendations are based on a thorough review of the medical literature on ventricular arrhythmias.

The writing group recommends that very simple arrhythmias with no signs of underlying structural heart disease or an inherited arrhythmia do not require further evaluation. Professor Torp-Pedersen said: “This recommendation will spare patients unnecessary tests that the doctor may have done primarily to cover his own back and make sure nothing has been missed. Physicians always find it easier to do a lot of examinations but quite often it is more appropriate not to do anything. This recommendation validates what many physicians have been doing for some time and says it is acceptable to send patients home with no further evaluation.”

A series of recommendations are provided on the use of antiarrhythmic drugs to inhibit ventricular arrhythmias and improve symptoms. Professor Torp-Pedersen said: “There is much uncertainty around the use of antiarrhythmic drugs to inhibit ventricular arrhythmias and these recommendations are likely to reassure physicians about which drug to use in which situation.”

A new list is provided on the options for evaluating and treating ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation storm. This includes medication, devices and catheter ablation. New recommendations are also given for the treatment of ventricular arrhythmias in adults with congenital heart disease.

Professor G. Neal Kay (US), HRS co-chairperson of the writing group, said: “Because of the wide range of arrhythmias with different prognoses, clinicians need expert guidance on how best to evaluate and treat each of their patients with these disorders. This expert consensus provides the best knowledge presently available on how clinicians should evaluate and treat patients with the entire spectrum of ventricular arrhythmias.”

Professor Jon Kalman (Australia), APHRS co-chairperson of the writing group, said: “A number of international recommendations overlap with this consensus document but this is the first time that guidance on the management of ventricular arrhythmias has been compiled in one place. Our recommendations provide expert advice on all ventricular arrhythmias and should help clinicians to make decisions in their daily practice.”

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Posted in Heart Health: Arrhythmia | Leave a comment

5 Things That Make You Overeat


We eat solo about half of the time, according to a recent report.

We dine alone 60% of the time at breakfast, 55% of the time at lunch, and up to 70% of the time when eating snacks.

The solitary dining trend is due in part to on-the-go lifestyles, as well as the fact that nearly one third of households consist of just one person.

Whether you live alone or with your significant other or family, you may find yourself eating in a different way when you dine by yourself.

Specifically, if you’re like many of my clients, you’re probably falling into some unhealthy eating traps.

Here are five common dine-alone conundrums, along with practical ways to thwart them.

Relying on processed convenience food

I’ve had numerous clients tell me that they don’t make meals from scratch when they dine alone, because they think, ‘why bother going to the trouble just for one person?’ As a result, they find themselves relying on frozen dinners or packaged products, and that quality difference can negatively affect your waistline. One recent study found that we burn about 50% more calories metabolizing whole foods versus processed foods. In other words, it’s not just about the total calories you consume; some prep and cooking time is a worthy investment, even for a solo meal. To keep it fresh, simple, and relatively fast, consider whipping up breakfast for dinner.

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Posted in Nutrition: Appetite, Nutrition: Calorie Restriction, Nutrition: Satiety | Leave a comment

E-cigarette recommendations from the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association issued new policy recommendations today on the use of e-cigarettes and their impact on tobacco-control efforts. The guidance was published in the association’s journal, Circulation.

Based on the current evidence, the association’s position is that e-cigarettes that contain nicotine are tobacco products and should be subject to all laws that apply to these products. The association also calls for strong new regulations to prevent access, sales and marketing of e-cigarettes to youth, and for more research into the product’s health impact.

“Over the last 50 years, 20 million Americans died because of tobacco. We are fiercely committed to preventing the tobacco industry from addicting another generation of smokers,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “Recent studies raise concerns that e-cigarettes may be a gateway to traditional tobacco products for the nation’s youth, and could renormalize smoking in our society. These disturbing developments have helped convince the association that e-cigarettes need to be strongly regulated, thoroughly researched and closely monitored.”

“E-cigarettes have caused a major shift in the tobacco-control landscape,” said Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D. FAHA, lead author and chair of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Louisville. “It’s critical that we rigorously examine the long-term impact of this new technology on public health, cardiovascular disease and stroke, and pay careful attention to the effect of e-cigarettes on adolescents.”

The policy statement recommends a federal ban on e-cigarettes for minors and details concerns that these products may be another entry point for nicotine addiction among young people. The authors cite one JAMA Pediatrics study of 40,000 middle and high school students that indicated adolescents consider e-cigarettes as high-tech, accessible and convenient, especially in places where smoking cigarettes is not allowed.

Echoing its recent comment letter on the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed tobacco oversight rule, the association recommends strict laws that curb the intense marketing and advertising of e-cigarettes, and ban flavorings in these products.

Ads using celebrities and alluring flavors make the products more appealing to children and adolescents. A recent Pediatrics study cited youth exposure to e-cigarettes advertising skyrocketed over 250 percent from 2011 to 2013, effectively reaching 24 million young people.

“In the years since the FDA first announced it would assert its authority over e-cigarettes the market for these products has grown dramatically,” Brown said. “We fear that any additional delay of these new regulations will have real, continuing public health consequences. Hence, we urge the agency to release the tobacco deeming rule by the end of this year.”

In addition to federal oversight of e-cigarettes, the association guidance also examines state smoke-free laws in relation to these products. While the toxic substances in e-cigarettes are lower than those in cigarette smoke, non-smokers could be involuntarily exposed to nicotine in any confined space where e-cigarettes are used. Unregulated e-cigarettes could potentially turn back the clock to the days when smoking in public was normal behavior, undoing years of work on smoke-free laws and hampering current enforcement. Given these concerns, the association supports including e-cigarettes in these state laws, if the change can be made without weakening existing laws.

Another key recommendation examines e-cigarettes in tobacco-cessation counseling. The statement points to the lack of evidence establishing e-cigarettes as a primary smoking-cessation aid. Some studies suggest that the use of e-cigarettes to help smokers quit may be equal or be slightly better than nicotine patches. The association will continue to encourage clinicians to use proven smoking-cessation strategies as the first line of treatment for any patient. But it reiterates in the statement that when repeated efforts with conventional treatment fails, is intolerant, or rejected by a patient who wants to utilize e-cigarettes to help them quit, clinicians should not discourage their use by the patient.

However, the statement stresses that clinicians be educated so they can inform patients that e-cigarettes are unregulated, may contain low levels of toxic chemicals, and have not been FDA-approved as cessation devices. The association also proposes that given the lack of long-term research studies on e-cigarette safety that it’s appropriate for a health care professional to suggest that a patient set a quit date for their e-cigarette use.

Finally in the new statement, the association calls for comprehensive and continuous research on e-cigarettes’ use, their characteristics, their marketing, and their long-term health effects on individual users, the environment, and public health.

“Nicotine is a dangerous and highly addictive chemical no matter what form it takes – conventional cigarettes or some other tobacco product,” said association President Elliott Antman, M.D. “Every life that has been lost to tobacco addiction could have been prevented. We must protect future generations from any potential smokescreens in the tobacco product landscape that will cause us to lose precious ground in the fight to make our nation 100 percent tobacco-free.”

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Methadone Treatment Suppresses Testosterone in Opioid Addicts

Newswise — HAMILTON, ON (Aug. 26, 2014) – Treatment for opioid addiction tampers with the testosterone levels of male but not female opioid users, McMaster University research has shown.

In a paper published today by the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers say addiction treatment may need to change to address the side-effect.

The study found men using methadone, which is used for opioid addiction treatment, have significantly suppressed testosterone levels of about a quarter of the testosterone of men not using opioids. In women using methadone for addiction treatment, testosterone levels were not significantly impacted, even considering the menstrual cycle.

Low testosterone in men has been associated with poor quality of life as well as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and mood disturbances.

“We expect that treating testosterone deficiency will improve outcomes of methadone treatment for patients, including treatment response and retention,” said Dr. Zena Samaan, principal investigator of the study.

“Doctors should also ensure the patients are being prescribed the lowest dose of opioids including methadone for effective treatment to minimize testosterone suppression.”

She added that this is a particular issue in Canada, the second largest consumer of opioids in the world.

Dr. Samaan is an associate professor of the psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences department of McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

The study involved information from 231 patients with opioid dependence receiving methadone in Ontario, as well as 783 Ontarians not using opioids. It was funded by the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the McMaster Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences. The study was conducted by the Population Genomics Program of McMaster’s Chanchlani Research Centre, and Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres.

Posted in Drug Addiction, Methadone, Testosterone | Leave a comment

Knee Surgery Not Needed for Mild Osteoarthritis

Newswise — Hamilton, ON (August 25, 2014) – A common knee surgery may not be beneficial and should be done less often, say McMaster University researchers.

Their study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) today, says middle-aged or older patients with mild or no osteoarthritis of the knee may not benefit from the procedure of arthroscopic knee surgery. Each year more than four million such keyhole surgeries are performed worldwide for degenerative meniscus tears.

Doctors need to be carefully weighing the costs and benefits when deciding who should undergo such surgery, says Dr. Moin Khan, principal investigator for the study and research fellow in orthopedic surgery in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

“This study shows that surgery should not be the initial option for middle-aged or older patients, as there is limited evidence supporting partial meniscectomy surgery for meniscus tears,” he said. “Other treatments should be used first.”

The meta-analysis review evaluated seven published randomized control trials between 1946 and 2014 on the success of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy in patients with no to mild osteoarthritis compared to non-operative treatments. The sample total was 811 knees in 805 patients with a mean age of 56 years. In four trials, there was no short-term pain relief in the first six months after surgery for patients with some osteoarthritis; nor was there improvement in long-term function up to two years later in five trials.

The operation had become popular because as people age, the meniscus in the knee thins and becomes less flexible and more susceptible to tearing, causing pain and mechanical issues. This surgical procedure involves making small incisions to remove the torn fragments from the damaged meniscus. Although the surgery is minimally invasive, there may still be complications.

Previous studies showed that for patients with severe knee arthritis, arthroscopic knee surgery is not effective for long-term symptom relief.

Dr. Mohit Bhandari, professor and associate chair of research for McMaster’s surgery department, and study co-investigator confirmed the study’s conclusions.

“Arthroscopic debridement or washout of knee osteoarthritis has come under lots of scrutiny based upon trials that suggest patients get no benefit from the procedure. We’re concerned that many surgeons worldwide may still be doing this procedure.”

Posted in Arthritis: Osteoarthritis, Knee Replacement | Leave a comment

Disabled people’s health issues fall on deaf ears

At least forty per cent of UK people with learning disabilities are suffering from hearing loss, but new research shows they are unlikely to be diagnosed.

The research hearing loss in people with learning disabilities, by Lynzee McShea, who is studying a professional doctorate at the University of Sunderland, focuses on the current issues people with learning disabilities (PWLD) are facing and why they are left undiagnosed in the long-term.

The report, published in the British Journal of Healthcare Assistants, says PWLD are more likely to have hearing loss than the general population but are less likely to have this diagnosed and managed with hearing aids. This is mainly because hearing loss diagnosis relies on self-referral, which is an initial barrier for PWLD, who may not have the awareness that they have a hearing loss, or the communication skills to alert others to this.

However, initial referral is just one small part of the process. Barriers can also be found during the hearing assessment and in after care, following hearing aid fitting.

Carers and support workers also need to receive a better education because those with learning disabilities often rely on them for detection and management of hearing loss, the report urges.

Lynzee McShea, a senior clinical scientist in audiology at Sunderland Royal Hospital, claims more than 90 per cent of people with learning disabilities she has assessed have been diagnosed with hearing loss, despite fewer than 10 per cent of carers having any concerns regarding hearing prior to the consultation.

Lynzee, said: “Healthcare professionals rely on family carers and paid support workers to detect hearing problems, support the individual to attend an assessment and to then ensure consistent hearing aid use and aftercare. This is a big ask and our research suggests most carers and support workers do not yet have the necessary skills to do this optimally.”

The University of Sunderland and Lynzee are now working with support workers to design training programmes to increase their knowledge of hearing loss and raise awareness of the benefit hearing aids can bring.

Lynzee added: “Better hearing can improve the quality of life significantly and we have powerful evidence of the difference hearing aids can make in the lives of individuals with learning disabilities. The next phase of the research involves working in collaboration with support workers, using their ideas and feedback, to design a training programme that enhances their knowledge and allows them to make a difference in their working practice.”

However, even if a carer does suspect the possibility of hearing loss, barriers remain because hearing loss is not seen as a priority by GPs compared to other health problems. The report also says there are often misconceptions that people with learning disabilities cannot have their hearing tested or will not tolerate hearing aids. With at least 40 per cent of PWLD thought to have a hearing loss, this equates to hundreds of thousands of individuals in the UK with unmet needs.

Source

Posted in Disabilities, Health Care: Disparities, Learning Disabilities | Leave a comment

You can train your heart to protect your mind


Exercising to improve our cardiovascular strength may protect us from cognitive impairment as we age, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Montreal and its affiliated Institut universitaire de gératrie de Montréal Research Centre.

“Our body’s arteries stiffen with age, and the vessel hardening is believed to begin in the aorta, the main vessel coming out of the heart, before reaching the brain. Indeed, the hardening may contribute to cognitive changes that occur during a similar time frame,” explained Claudine Gauthier, first author of the study.

“We found that older adults whose aortas were in a better condition and who had greater aerobic fitness performed better on a cognitive test. We therefore think that the preservation of vessel elasticity may be one of the mechanisms that enables exercise to slow cognitive aging.”

The researchers worked with 31 young people between the ages of 18 and 30 and 54 older participants aged between 55 and 75. This enabled the team to compare the older participants within their peer group and against the younger group who obviously have not begun the aging processes in question. None of the participants had physical or mental health issues that might influence the study outcome. Their fitness was tested by exhausting the participants on a workout machine and determining their maximum oxygen intake over a 30 second period. Their cognitive abilities were assessed with the Stroop task. The Stroop task is a scientifically validated test that involves asking someone to identify the ink colour of a colour word that is printed in a different colour (e.g. the word red could be printed in blue ink and the correct answer would be blue). A person who is able to correctly name the colour of the word without being distracted by the reflex to read it has greater cognitive agility.

The participants undertook three MRI scans: one to evaluate the blood flow to the brain, one to measure their brain activity as they performed the Stroop task, and one to actually look at the physical state of their aorta. The researchers were interested in the brain’s blood flow, as poorer cardiovascular health is associated with a faster pulse wave,at each heartbeat which in turn could cause damage to the brain’s smaller blood vessels. “This is first study to use MRI to examine participants in this way,” Gauthier said. “It enabled us to find even subtle effects in this healthy population, which suggests that other researchers could adapt our test to study vascular-cognitive associations within less healthy and clinical populations.”

The results demonstrated age-related declines in executive function, aortic elasticity and cardiorespiratory fitness, a link between vascular health and brain function, and a positive association between aerobic fitness and brain function. “The link between fitness and brain function may be mediated through preserved cerebrovascular reactivity in periventricular watershed areas that are also associated with cardiorespiratory fitness,” Gauthier said. “Although the impact of fitness on cerebral vasculature may however involve other, more complex mechanisms, overall these results support the hypothesis that lifestyle helps maintain the elasticity of arteries, thereby preventing downstream cerebrovascular damage and resulting in preserved cognitive abilities in later life.”

Source

Posted in Brain Fitness, Exercise: Benefits | Leave a comment