Herbs and Helpers

Herbal Services and Solutions | Herbalist | Supplier | Herbs

Oct 11

News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest News

News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest NewsFor our clients and customers to keep up to date with current health and herbal medicine research and their conditions

Todays Headlines:

Read More:

  • Small torch costing £12 offers hope for over 40s with poor eyesight Monday June 29th, 2020

    Staring at a small LED flashlight ‘significantly improves vision’ in ageing eyes according to a new study by scientists at UCL

    A small LED torch that emits deep red light and costs just £12 to make could help improve declining eyesight, scientists have said.

    A study by University College London, involving a small sample size of 24 people, has shown that staring at long wavelength light for three minutes every day can “significantly improve vision” in those aged 40 and above.

    Scientists believe the discovery, published in the Journals of Gerontology, could pave the way for new eye therapies that are affordableand can be done by the patient at home.

    Cells in the eye’s retina begin to deteriorate at around 40 years of age.

    According to the researchers, the pace of this ageing is caused partly by a decline in the cell’s mitochondria, whose role is to produce energy and boost cell function.

    Lead author Professor Glen Jeffery, of the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, said: “As you age, your visual system declines significantly, particularly once over 40.

    “Your retinal sensitivity and your colour vision are both gradually undermined, and with an ageing population, this is an increasingly important issue.

    “To try to stem or reverse this decline, we sought to reboot the retina’s ageing cells with short bursts of longwave light.”

    The researchers recruited 24 people, aged between 28 and 72, who had no ocular disease to take part in their study.

    The participants were given special LED torches to take home and were asked to gaze into its deep red 670nm light beam for three minutes a day for two weeks.

    They were then retested for colour vision as well as for vision at low light levels.

    The ability to detect colours improved by up to 20% in some people aged around 40 and over, the researchers said.

    The ability to see in low light also improved significantly within the same age group, they added, although the improvements were not as dramatic as the gains seen in colour vision.

    The effect was not seen in younger individuals who were aged below 40.

    Prof Jeffery said: “Our study shows that it is possible to significantly improve vision that has declined in aged individuals using simple brief exposures to light wavelengths that recharge the energy system that has declined in the retina cells, rather like recharging a battery.

    “The technology is simple and very safe, using a deep red light of a specific wavelength, that is absorbed by mitochondria in the retina that supply energy for cellular function.

    “Our devices cost about £12 to make, so the technology is highly accessible to members of the public.”

    Source: The Telegraph

    Continue reading →

  • Belly fat in older women is linked to a 39% higher risk of dementia within 15 years, study says Wednesday June 24th, 2020

    For older adults, your current belly size could be a key indicator in whether you develop dementia within the next decade or two. For women that risk is particularly high.

    For women in later adulthood, above average belly fat can lead to a 39% increased risk of dementia within 15 years compared with those who have a normal waist circumference, according to a study published Tuesday in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

    For men and women over 50, the dementia risk is 28% when taking body mass index and waist circumference into account together, the study said.

    Researchers measured participants’ height, weight and waist circumference and followed up with them an average of 11 years later to see whether they’d been diagnosed with dementia.

    “As belly size gets larger, the memory center in the brain gets smaller, based on prior studies,” said Dr. Richard Isaacson, who heads the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

    “This new study is important since it supports these findings and relates a larger waist size to increased dementia risk, especially in women,” said Isaacson, who was not involved in the study.

    That study’s findings could help us unravel more about the causal chain between dementia and obesity, the researchers noted. 

    “Dementia is one of the major health challenges of the 21st century that could threaten successful aging of the population,” said Andrew Steptoe, a study co-author and professor of psychology and epidemiology at University College London. 

    “Our findings suggest that rising obesity rates will compound the issue.”

    Obesity and dementia are linked

    To examine the link between obesity and dementia, the researchers delved into a cohort of 6,582 subjects within the English Longitudinal Study who were age 50 or higher. That project, which Steptoe leads, has been monitoring more than 18,000 subjects since 2002, re-interviewing them every other year about topics such as household demographics, social participation, cognitive function and weight.

    The BMI findings were a standard ratio of height and weight measures. And the researchers established a patient’s dementia status through measures such as doctor’s diagnosis or hospital records.

    To isolate the link between obesity and dementia, the researchers controlled for potential confounding variables such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking and APOE ε4 gene carrier status, a known genetic risk factor for dementia.

    Those who developed dementia were an average of 71.8 years old at the time of their baseline assessment. Those who were free of dementia had a mean age of 61.9 years old when they entered the study.

    Based on previous research, the UCL researchers pointed to several explanations for the obesity-dementia link. One reason could be that dementia is directly linked to hormones derived from fat cells. Alternatively, body fat could be implicated in metabolic and vascular pathways associated with the buildup of amyloid proteins or brain lesions, known to be associated with dementia.

    “Both BMI and waist circumference status should be monitored to avoid metabolic dysregulations,” said senior author Dr. Dorina Cadar, a senior fellow at UCL’s Institute of Epidemiology & Health.

    She recommended reducing weight to optimal levels by following healthy eating principles such as the Mediterranean diet, reducing alcohol consumption and keeping up a regular exercise routine.

    To avoid dementia, pay attention to your waist size

    “From a practical clinical perspective, people who want to protect their brain health over time should pay attention to their waist size,” Weill Cornell’s Isaacson said.

    He cautioned that simple body mass index scores, which combine height and weight ratios, can’t capture a full picture of weight and obesity. Measures such as muscle mass and waist circumference can tell a more nuanced story.

    “Based on emerging data from studies like this, we are now able to clarify sex differences in dementia risk,” Isaacson said. “Combining these findings with my clinical experience, I have seen greater impact on visceral fat on memory function in women, likely mediated by metabolic pathways.”

    The UCL research “mirrors results” from a study his team published last year, Isaacson said.

    Personalized lifestyle behaviors could help stave off cognitive decline, Isaacson’s group found. From 50 possible recommendations, each participant was given 21 behaviors they could attempt to use as a bulwark against dementia. 

    The results showed that interventions related to nutrition and physical activity came in as the two most important items on their list by far.

    The new UCL insights this week are another point on the map helping to plot out our global struggle against dementia, and prevent as many future cases from emerging as possible.

    “By identifying factors that may raise dementia risk that are influenced by lifestyle factors, we hope that a substantial portion, but admittedly not all, of dementia cases can be prevented through public health interventions,” Steptoe said.

    Source: © 2020 Cable News Network

    Continue reading →

  • Are scientists about to reverse their support for ‘good’ HDL cholesterol? Sunday June 14th, 2020

    For decades we’ve been told there’s ‘good’ cholesterol and there’s ‘bad’ cholesterol.

    The bad type, known as LDL, is responsible for damaging blood vessel walls and contributes to the build-up of inflamed fatty deposits known as plaques, which raises the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

    The good type, called HDL, does the opposite – clearing away cholesterol in plaques and taking it back to the liver where it is processed and removed from the body.

    Early research suggested that having high HDL lowers the risk of a heart attack, while very low levels led to poor health.

    But a growing body of data suggests that after a certain point, very high HDL levels are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks.

    Such is the weight of evidence that guidelines are beginning to change to reflect that very high HDL doesn’t protect the heart.

    Not that you’d know this from a quick internet search. You’ll find numerous articles, many on reputable medical websites, devoted to ways to boost HDL levels.

    On the well-respected WebMD website is says. ‘HDL protects you from getting heart disease. So you want as much as possible.’

    Other articles suggest you raise your levels by consuming lots of ‘healthy fats’ in your diet: olive oil, oily fish and nuts. But while this kind of diet is linked to a lower risk of heart attack, it might not simply be to do with HDL. The picture, as with so much when it comes to the heart, is much more complicated.

    Consultant cardiologist Dr Laura Corr said: ‘It’s true that very low HDL isn’t a good thing, and the risk of a heart attack lowers as HDL rises. But we now know unusually high HDL in some people isn’t protective and is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks. It was a surprise when the research started to show this.

    ‘Of course, simply focusing on a single number – whether that’s overall cholesterol, or HDL, or anything else – won’t tell you your true risk. Heart health relies on a whole range of things, as does lowering heart attack risk.’

    The initial thinking, that all HDL was ‘good’, comes from studies carried out in the 1990s. These revealed that patients with higher HDL had a lower heart attack risk. This led to a series of large trials that attempted to find drug treatments that would artificially raise HDL and harness this benefit. But they were unsuccessful.

    Professor Peter Sever, an expert in drug treatments for the heart at Imperial College London, said: ‘The drugs failed to reduce numbers of heart attacks, and one, niacin, had nasty side effects, including severe skin flushing and itching, heart problems, nausea and other digestive discomfort, and liver damage.’

    In 2018, a major analysis specifically examined the relationship between HDL and risk of heart attack and death. For four years, researchers from the Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, followed almost 6,000 patients, most with heart disease and with an average age of 63. During the study, 13 per cent had a heart attack or died from cardiovascular disease. But something quite unexpected was seen.

    There were more heart attacks in those with very low HDL, of less than 1, which wasn’t a surprise. But a similarly high number were seen in those with very high HDL levels, of more than 1.4. Only those with HDL levels between this range saw a lower heart attack risk.

    The pattern remained the same regardless of the patients’ ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels, whether or not they smoked or had diabetes.

    Cardiologist Dr Marc Allard- Ratick, who led the study, said: ‘Traditionally, doctors have told their patients that the higher your “good” cholesterol, the better. However, the results from this study and others suggest this may no longer be the case.’

    It’s unclear why, but women are more likely to have unusually high HDL. A second analysis, also published in 2018, which looked specifically at the link between HDL and heart attacks in postmenopausal women, came to a similar conclusion: very high HDL raised the risk.

    Professor Kausik Ray, an expert in cholesterol at Imperial College London, said: ‘At present, all we can say is that very high HDL shouldn’t be a reassurance. We don’t know if it is a consequence of something else, or a cause of problems, but it is associated with a raised heart attack risk.’

    So just what counts as very high HDL level?

    When you have a cholesterol test, you’re given a few different numbers – including an overall cholesterol number and your HDL and LDL levels.

    A total cholesterol level of five or more is considered a risk, but current guidelines do not set a limit for HDL. Based on the new evidence, however, once it rises beyond 1.4 it stops being protective. There are no treatments that specifically reduce HDL – cholesterol-lowering statins target LDL. However, lifestyle changes may help reduce other risk factors.

    However, Dr Corr says: ‘An HDL of over 1.4 is uncommon, but if you do have a level that’s more than this, don’t panic – it’s not the only factor. It’s important to look at the bigger picture.

    ‘Could areas of your diet improve? Could you lose a bit more weight and drink a bit less alcohol?

    ‘If a patient isn’t on statins, then perhaps they might be needed.

    ‘Statins, while lowering LDL, may slightly raise HDL – but we know they lower the risk of heart attacks. So if this is the case, and you have raised HDL, you shouldn’t stop the statin. If you’re concerned, speak to your doctor.’

    So why, given the early data showing that higher HDL levels were healthier, are we now seeing those with the highest levels are at increased risk?

    The answer is not yet clear, and research is ongoing.

    HDL and LDL are lipoproteins – compounds which contain cholesterol, which is a kind of fat, and proteins – made by the liver. Cholesterol is vital for a range of cell functions and lipoproteins transport it round the body. While we generally make just what we require, if there is an excess, it can be laid down in blood vessel walls, ultimately leading to a heart attack or stroke.

    There are, in fact, different types of HDL, which vary in size and structure. Some may be beneficial while others are less so, or even harmful. There may also be different ages at which different types of HDL are more or less beneficial – such as during the menopause, with all the hormonal changes that occur.

    And genetics also play a role. Our individual sensitivity and personal cholesterol threshold means that high HDL for one person might be totally normal for another.

    Prof Ray says: ‘One thing is clear. We need to stop telling patients “the more the better” when it comes to HDL, because there is a limit.’

    Source: Daily Mail

    Continue reading →

News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest News

– Most days (not Sundays/Holidays)

Donate: If reading Herbs and Helpers Latest News and using the Knowledge Base is part of your essential daily routine then please donate (Any amount will do!):

HERBS AND HELPERS | Lorraine Hodgkinson AHG MRCHM | 6, Butts Fold, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9HY. UK. | Tel: +44 01900 826392 | Text: 07761 489838 | Email: info@herbalmedicineuk.com