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Fat can build up in obese people's lungs, Study finds

A new study finds that fat can build up in people's airway walls of the lungs. The amount of fat accumulation was higher among people who were overweight or obese, compared with those of normal weight.

According to the study, published Thursday (Oct. 17) in the European Respiratory Journal it was revealed why obesity is also a risk factor for asthma

The link between obesity and asthma has been known for years, but the reason for the link is not completely understood. Some researchers have suggested that excess weight places direct pressure on the lungs, making breathing more difficult. Others have suggested that obesity may increase inflammation throughout the body, which contributes to asthma. 

Dr Peter Noble, an associate professor at the University of Western Australia, in Perth who worked on the study, said: "Being overweight or obese has already been linked to having asthma or having worse asthma symptoms.

"Researchers have suggested that the link might be explained by the direct pressure of excess weight on the lungs or by a general increase in inflammation created by excess weight."

But, he said, their study suggested "another mechanism is also at play".

"We've found that excess fat accumulates in the airway walls, where it takes up space and seems to increase inflammation within the lungs," Dr Noble said.

"We think this is causing a thickening of the airways that limits the flow of air in and out of the lungs and that could at least partly explain an increase in asthma symptoms."

Essential guide to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

Essential guide to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

• CPR is needed for patient whose breathing or heart has stopped
• Ventilations are given to oxygenated blood when breathing is inadequate or has stopped
• If heart has stopped, chest compressions are given to circulate blood to vital organs
• Ventilation combined with chest compressions is called cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
• CPR is commonly given to patients in cardiac arrest as a result of heart attack
Cardiac Arrest
• Heart may stop (cardiac arrest) as a result of heart attack
• Brain damage begins 4 - 6 minutes after cardiac arrest
• Brain damage becomes irreversible in 8 - 10 minutes
• Dysrhythmia, an abnormal heartbeat, may also reduce heart’s pumping effectiveness


There re two causes of cardiac arrest, Cardiac causes and Extracardiac causes.

• Ischemic heart disease (myocardial infarction)
• Arrhythmias of different origin and character
• Cardiac tamponade
• Pulmonary artery thromboembolism
• Ruptured aneurysm of aorta

Extracardiac/Non cardiac
• airway obstruction
• acute respiratory failure
• shock
• embolisms of different origin
• drug overdose
• poisoning

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

• CPR helps keep patient alive by circulating some oxygenated blood to vital organs
• Ventilations move oxygen into lungs where it is picked up by blood
• Compressions on sternum increase pressure inside chest, moving some blood to brain/other tissues
• Blood circulation resulting from chest compressions not as strong as circulation from heartbeat
   –Can help keep brain/other tissues alive until normal heart rhythm restored
• Often electric shock from defibrillation is needed to restore a heartbeat—and CPR can keep patient viable until then
• CPR is effective only for a short time
• CPR should be started as soon as possible
• In some instances, the heart may start again spontaneously with CPR
 When Not to Perform CPR
• Patient obviously dead or clear signs of prolonged death, such as rigor mortis

How long to resuscitate ?
• CPR can be continued for 30 minutes if the time to onset of CPR is less than 6 minutes, but if there is a delay to onset of CPR longer than 6 minutes, CPR should be terminated after 15 minutes.
• 75% of all cardiac arrests happen in people's homes.
• CPR doubles a person's chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest.
• There has never been a case of HIV transmitted by mouth-to-mouth CPR.
• Approximately 15% of patients are discharged neurologically intact
• CPR provides a flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and heart and keeps these organs alive until defibrillation can shock the heart into a normal rhythm.
• If CPR is started within 4 minutes of collapse and defibrillation provided within 10 minutes, a person has a 40% chance of survival.

Main stages of resuscitation

A (Airway) – ensure open airway by preventing the falling back of tongue, tracheal intubation…???.... if possible
B (Breathing) – start artificial ventilation of lungs
C (Circulation) – restore the circulation by external cardiac massage
D (Drugs, Defibrilation) –use different medication and electric defibrillation

  A (Airway)
Ensure an open airway

Open the airway using a head tilt lifting of chin. Do not tilt the head too far back

Check the pulse on carotid artery using fingers of the other hand

B (Breathing)
•Tilt the head back
•Look, listen, & feel  for breathing (5-10 seconds)
• If not breathing normally, pinch nose and cover the mouth with yours and blow until you see the chest rise.
• Artificial breathing can be mouth-mouth, mouth-bag, bag-mask
• Check for carotid pulse by feeling for 5-10 seconds at side of patients’s neck
• If there is a pulse, but patient is not breathing, give Rescue Breathing at rate of 1 breath every 5 seconds
• Check for return of pulse every minute
C. Circulation
Restore the circulation, that is start external cardiac massage if there is no pulse

2 Mechanisms explaining the restoration of circulation by external cardiac massage

General technique of CPR
• Shake victim’s shoulders and shout "are you okay?"
• If unresponsive, not breathing, and no pulse, start chest compressions
• Place victim flat on his/her back on a hard surface.
• Find the correct hand position (at the lower half of the sternum)
   – Two hands for adults
   – One or 2 hands for child
   – Two fingers for infant
• Compress chest hard and fast at a rate of 100 compressions/minute
   – Adult = 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep
   – Infant/child = 1/3 to 1/2 chest depth
• Release completely between compressions
• If alone, alternate 30 chest compressions and 2 ventilations for any age patient
• In two-rescuer CPR for infant/child, alternate 15 compressions and 2 ventilations and 30:2 for adult
• Give each ventilation over 1 second
• Follow local protocol regarding oxygen
Single-Rescuer CPR
1. Check patient’s responsiveness, open airway, and determine that patient is not breathing adequately
2. Give 2 ventilations, each lasting 1 second
3. Determine victim has no pulse

Continue CPR until:
• Patient begins to move
You are too exhausted to continue
• If patient starts moving, check for
  adequate breathing
• If patient is breathing adequately,
  put patient in recovery position and
  monitor breathing

Problems with CPR Technique
• CPR often ineffective because of poor technique
• Compressions not delivered steadily and constantly during resuscitation efforts
• Often compressions are too shallow, resulting in ineffective blood flow
• Compressions may be given at too fast a rate
• Only good-quality CPR improves chances of survival
Chest Compressions
• Infant or child being given rescue breaths or oxygen may have a pulse but still inadequate perfusion
• If pulse < 60 beats/minute and infant or child has signs of poor perfusion, provide CPR
Reasons to Stop CPR
• Patient revives.
• You are so exhausted you can not
Complications of Compressions
  • Fractured ribs
  • Fractured sternum
  • Lacerated lungs
  • Lacerated liver, blood vessels, etc.,,
Drugs used in CPR

• Can be injected bolus
• Plays significant role in some cases of cardiac arrest
• Increases heart rate 
• Large doses have been withdrawn from the algorithm. The recommended dose is 1 mg in each 3-5 min
• Increases heart rate and blood pressure 58
• Low doses as local anesthetics, high dose
  as anti-arrhythmic.

The psychology of healthy eating

Most of us when it comes to 'eating healthy' we consider the nutrients, calories and other nutrition-related information. One important area of healthy eating habits that is often overlooked is the Psychology of eating.
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It takes around 20 minutes for the body and brain to recognise we are full, but in our modern societies most meals are eaten so quickly, they are finished before 20 minutes is up. Clearly, it isn't satiation of hunger which tells us to stop eating. 

Our eyes mislead us and we stop eating by judging whats left on our plate rather than considering whether we're feeling full after each mouthful. We can't see kilojoules in a meal, our eyes aren't good judges of food intake and are easily tempted. If we see food we think of it more,  then our bodies prepare for eating by increasing salvation and hormone production to process food, our hunger increases and consequently we eat more. 

There's a well-known study that demonstrates how psychologically healthy eating is trumped by the irrational "mind in the stomach." In the study 54 adults were recruited to eat as much free soup as they desired for lunch and fill out a questionnaire- at least that's what they thought. In reality, half the participants were given bowls that secretly self-refilled as soup was pumped up from underneath their table into the bowl as they ate. The other half were given bowls that are openly refilled by waiters. 

The participants with self-refilling bowls thought they had eaten the same quantity of soup as the other participants, when in fact, they had eaten a whooping 73% more! Visual cues affected intake. As long as there was soup in the bowl, the participants kept eating, unaware of how much they were truly eating

What role does psychology play in weight management?

Psychology is the science of behavior. It is the study of how and why people do what they do. For people trying to manage their weight, psychology addresses:

Behavior: Treatment involves identifying the person’s eating patterns and finding ways to change eating behaviors.

Cognition (thinking): Therapy focuses on identifying self-defeating thinking patterns that contribute to weight management problems.

What treatments are used for weight management?

Cognitive behavioral treatment is the approach most often used because it deals with both thinking patterns and behavior. Some areas that are addressed through cognitive behavioral treatment include:

Determining the person's "readiness for change": This involves an awareness of what needs to be done to achieve your goals and then making a commitment to do it.

Learning how to self-monitor: Self-monitoring helps you become more aware of what triggers you to eat in the moment, and more mindful of your food choices and portions. It also helps you stay focused on achieving long-term progress.

Breaking linkages: The focus here is on stimulus control, such as not eating in particular settings, and not keeping unhealthy food choices in your home. Cognitive behavioral treatment also teaches distraction--replacing eating with healthier alternatives--as a skill for coping with stress. Positive reinforcement, rehearsal/problem-solving, finding social support, and changing eating habits are specific techniques used to break linkages.

What does cognitive behavioral treatment involve?

Cognitive therapy addresses how you think about food. It helps you recognize self-defeating patterns of thinking that can undermine your success at eating healthier and managing your weight/weight loss. It also helps you learn and practice using positive coping self-statements.

Examples of self-defeating thoughts include:

"This is too hard. I can't do it."

"If I don't make it to my target weight, I've failed."
"Now that I've lost weight, I can go back to eating any way I want."

Examples of positive coping self-statements include:

"I realize that I am overeating. I need to think about how I can stop this pattern of behavior."

"I need to understand what triggered my overeating, so I can create a plan to cope with it if I encounter the trigger again."
"Am I really hungry or is this just a craving? I will wait to see if this feeling passes."

What strategies will help me manage my weight?

To lose weight, it’s helpful to change your thinking. Weight management is about making a lifestyle change. It's not going to happen if you rely on short-term diet after diet to lose weight.

To be successful, be aware of the role that eating plays in your life, and learn how to use positive thinking and behavioral coping strategies to manage your eating and your weight.

Things to “do” for healthy eating

  • Don't skip meals.
  • Do keep track of your eating habits.
  • Do limit night eating.
  • Do drink plenty of water.
  • Do delay/distract yourself.
  • Do exercise instead of eating when you are bored.
  • Do be attentive when you eat. Don’t eat while watching TV, working, driving.
  • Do only eat in certain settings (kitchen table).
  • Do watch your portion sizes.
  • Do allow yourself to eat a range of food without forbidding yourself a particular food.
  • Do give yourself encouragement.
  • Do be gentle with yourself! Try not to beat yourself up when you lapse.
  • Do think of eating as a lifestyle change.
  • Do use the scale mindfully. Weigh yourself no more than once a week.
  • Do make healthy food choices.

7 Important tips before getting pregnant

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Being able to create life is undeniably one of the most beautiful gifts bestowed on women. Deciding to start or grow your family is exciting. Preparing your body and mind is one of the best things to do before getting pregnant. There are things you can do now before you try for a baby that will affect your fertility and the health of your baby. To optimize women's fertility, taking better care of their bodies is a good first step. But what else can women do to improve their odds of having a healthy baby?


Get out of toxic intakes

If you smoke or take drugs, Before pregnancy is the time to stop. Many studies have shown that smoking or taking drugs can lead to miscarriage, premature birth, and low-birth-weight babies. There are others you might not know about, such as vitamin A, found in over-the-counter skin care products. Pesticides and other chemicals can also be dangerous, as well as unpasteurized dairy products. Do your research, and consult with a medical professional if you have concerns.

Start taking prenatal supplements

Make sure your body is in great shape before getting pregnant by eating a healthy diet and taking a prenatal supplement. These supplements contain folic acid and vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy conception, fetal development, and pregnancy. Folic acid needs to build up in your body to provide maximum protection for your baby against neural tube defects. Many women conceive within one month of trying so it is advised to start taking folic acid two months before you stop contraception.

Also check to make sure that your multivitamin does not contain more than the recommended daily allowance of 770 mcg RAE (2,565 IU) of vitamin A, unless most of it's in a form called beta-carotene. Getting too much of a different kind of vitamin A can cause birth defects.
Talk to your health care provider about any supplements that you currently take or if you got any uncertainty about the kind of supplements to take ; some of them may not be suitable for pregnancy, and you may need to switch them out before getting pregnant.

Stop contraception.

This might seem obvious, but if you have a hidden form of long-term birth control, you might forget about it during preconception. Hormonal contraception can require a bit more planning. All you have to do to reverse the effects of the Pill, the patch, or the ring is to stop using them a couple of months before you plan to even start trying. This gives you a bit of time to see what your natural menstrual cycle is like (27 days/ 32 days), so you can figure out when you're ovulating, the time of the month when you're most fertile. If you've been taking the pill for a while, your cycle could be different from what it was before you started. It can take a while for hormone levels to get back on track after you ditch the pill, but if your period's still MIA after three months, you should see your doctor.

Schedule a preconception visit.

Many experts recommend booking a pre-pregnancy checkup at your ob-gyn at least three months before you plan to start trying, especially if you don't see the doctor regularly. You'll want to make sure you're up-to-date on vaccinations, checked for STDs, tested for heart-health issues like high blood pressure and cholesterol, and make sure that any chronic conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, or thyroid problems, are in check. 

Male partners too need to visit an internist, most men see doctors far less regularly than women. A regular physical can help ensure he has no chronic conditions or is taking medications that may affect sperm count or cause other fertility problems.

Eat right

When you're thinking about having a baby, it's really important to eat a  right healthy food. Eating a healthy and balanced diet will help you stay well throughout pregnancy and be good for your baby’s health. The best foods include wholegrain, unsaturated fats and vegetable proteins such as lentils and beans.

Seafood are highly nutritious but before pregnancy it is important to understand which types of seafood are healthy to eat and which are not. Some seafoods contain mercury which can cause birth defects, and women can inadvertently consume it through fish during pregnancy. You should avoid species like swordfish and king mackerel during  preconception to make sure your system is clear when you conceive. During pregnancy, you should limit fish like tuna and salmon to a couple of servings of a week, so get into this habit now. Don't eliminate fish altogether — when eaten as recommended, it provides healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Also consuming too much caffeine while you are trying to conceive can increase the risk of miscarriage. The research shows that this applies to both women and men. Too much caffeine in pregnancy has also been shown to be harmful to the developing baby.

If you’re planning to conceive, you and your partner should consider limiting your caffeine intake to 200mg a day.

Do research on your family’s medical history

One of the important things to do before getting pregnant is looking into your family's medical history. Talk to your mom , sisters, aunts, and grandmas, if you can. Did it take them a long time to conceive? Were there any complications, like preterm labor or having a breech delivery? Certain health conditions tend to run in families, and it's a smart idea to brush up on your history and share any relevant information with your doctor. But don't worry too much. Just because it took your sister a year to get pregnant doesn't mean you'll necessarily have a hard time too. Many common fertility problems, like poor egg quality (due to age) or blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, are not hereditary, but some, like fibroids or ovarian cysts, can be. Your doctor can help you understand which, if any, family issues can affect your fertility or pregnancy so you'll be better prepared to deal with them later.

Visit your dentist

It may seem totally unrelated to fertility, but getting your teeth and gums checked out before pregnancy is another wise move.Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase the risk of developing gum disease which, in turn, can affect the health of your developing baby. Women with unchecked gum disease are more prone to miscarriage, preterm birth, and preeclampsia. In fact, brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly can cut your miscarriage risk by up to 70 percent.

5 Wellness benefits of Avocado

Avocados are a fruit belonging to the Genus Persea in the Lauraceae family. They have the highest fiber content of any fruit and contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and folate. Avocados contain four grams of protein, making them the fruit with the highest protein content. 

These days, the avocado has become a popular food among health-conscious individuals. It’s often referred to as a superfood, which is not surprising given its health properties.

Even though they mature on the tree, avocados only ripen after harvesting. The easiest way to ripen avocados at home is by keeping them in a brown paper bag at room temperature for 2-4 days.You can speed up this process even more by adding a banana to the bag. The bananas will release ethylene gas, a natural plant hormone that aids in ripening fruit.

Health Benefits

May prevent against cancer
There is limited evidence that avocado may be beneficial in cancer treatment and prevention.
Avocado extracts have shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells in a laboratory.  A report in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry stated that the carotenoids and tocopherols (chemical compounds which may have vitamin E activity) in avocado were shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cell lines in an artificial environment (in vitro).

Extracts from Hass avocados kill or stop the growth of pre-cancerous cells that lead to oral cancer. Hass avocados are year-round fruits known for their distinctive bumpy skin that turns from green to purplish-black as they ripen.
However, these studies were done in isolated cells and don't necessarily prove what may happen inside people. Human-based research is unavailable.

May Improve heart health
Avocados are a source of “good” fats, technically called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They are also cholesterol-free making them a great replacement for spreads such as butter or mayonnaise. 
Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats, when consumed in moderation and eaten in place of saturated or trans fats, can help reduce blood cholesterol levels and decrease risk for heart disease. Avocados are one of the few fruits that provide heart-healthy "good" fats. 
If you’re aiming to promote heart health, consuming one Avocado a day would be a great start.

May Improve Vision.
Avocados are rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals which can help protect and maintain healthy cells in your eyes. Lutein is a natural antioxidant that is said to help maintain eye health as you age. According to The American Optometric Associate  lutein is a carotenoid that filters harmful blue light from the sun and other light sources, this helps to maintain healthy cells within your eye.

May Improve Digestion.
Avocado's beneficial fiber helps promote healthy digestion. Fiber doesn't break down into energy as it passes through your digestive tract, but instead absorbs water to soften and loosen your stool. This helps combat constipation. 
Avocados also are packed with essential nutrients, such as potassium, which helps promote healthy digestive function. It’s also a low-fructose food, so it’s less likely to cause gas.

May help depression
Avocado is rich in tryptophan which may help with serotonin(feel-good chemical) production in your brain.
Consuming monounsaturated fats have been shown to reduce depression. (And balancing fat intake may help control depression).

Moyamoya Disease: Meaning, Symptoms, Prognosis and treatments

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Moyamoya disease (MMD) is a rare, progressive cerebrovascular disorder caused by blocked carotid arteries at the base of the brain in an area called the basal ganglia,reducing blood flow to your brain. 

Tiny blood vessels then open up at the basal ganglia in an attempt to supply the brain with blood. The word "moyamoya" means "puff of smoke" in Japanese, a term describing the appearance of this cluster of tiny blood vessels.

These tiny clusters of blood vessels cannot supply the necessary blood and oxygen to the brain, resulting in temporary or permanent brain injury.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare of Japan has defined 4 types of moyamoya disease: ischemic, hemorrhagic, epileptic, and “other.” The ischemic type has been shown to predominate in childhood, while the hemorrhagic type is more often observed in the adult population. 

The highest prevalence of MMD is found in Korea and Japan, with a higher female to male ratio. Some individuals with Moyamoya disease have a close relative who is also affected; in these cases researchers think that Moyamoya disease is the result of inherited genetic abnormalities. Studies that look for the abnormal gene(s) may help reveal the biomechanisms that cause the disorder.


In children, the first symptom of Moyamoya disease is often stroke, or recurrent transient ischemic attacks (TIA, commonly referred to as “mini-strokes”), frequently accompanied by muscular weakness or paralysis affecting one side of the body. 

Adults may also experience these symptoms that arise from blocked arteries, but more often experience a hemorrhagic stroke due to bleeding into the brain.  Other symptoms may include:

  • seizures
  • headaches
  • disturbed consciousness
  • involuntary movements
  • Difficulties with speaking or understanding others (aphasia)
  • vision problems
  • cognitive and/or sensory impairment.

These symptoms can be triggered by exercise, crying, coughing, straining or fever.


The exact cause of moyamoya disease is unknown. Moyamoya disease is more common in Japan, Korea and China, but it also occurs in other parts of the world.

Researchers believe the higher concentration of moyamoya disease in these Asian countries strongly suggests the disease may have genetic causes.

Changes in the RNF213 gene have been associated with the condition. There are other gene changes involved in moyamoya disease, that remain to be found. 

Moyamoya is also associated with certain conditions, such as Down syndrome, sickle cell anemia, neurofibromatosis type 1 and hyperthyroidism.


Moyamoya disease is progressive and without treatment can be fatal due to intracerebral hemorrhage(bleeding withing the brain). 

Without surgery, the majority of individuals with Moyamoya disease will experience mental decline and multiple strokes because of the progressive narrowing of arteries. 

In studies with long-term follow-up of untreated patients, progressive neurologic deficits and poor outcome were reported in 50 to 66 percent.The overall mortality rate from Moyamoya disease is about 10% in adults, and 4.3% in children.


Treatment for Moyamoya disease does not reverse primary disease process, but protects againsts further strokes by improving hemispheric blood flow. 

Medications may be prescribed to reduce the risk of stroke or to aid in seizure control. 

Several types of surgery can restore blood flow (revascularization) to the brain by opening narrowed blood vessels or by bypassing blocked arteries. 

Children usually respond better to revascularization surgery than adults. Some individuals have no further strokes or related problems after surgery. 

Drinking red wine improves your Gut health, says study

Red wine drinkers have better stomach health and are less likely to suffer from obesity and bad ­cholesterol than those who choose a different tipple.

Scientists at King’s College London analysed more than 900 twins to look at the effects of beer, cider, white wine, red wine, and spirits on the gut microbiome – the millions of bacteria that live in the intestinal tract and help you digest and process food. 

They found that the gut microbiome was more diverse among red wine drinkers than in those who had other drinks. Researchers reckon this could be due to a higher amount of defence chemicals called polyphenol in wine, which could act as an antioxidant.

Polyphenols are defence chemicals naturally present in many fruits, ­vegetables, nuts and legumes such as beans.

They have many ­beneficial properties – including antioxidants – and act as a fuel for the microbes present in 
our system.

Dog Ownership Could Boost Heart Health, Research Suggests

Dog lovers know how much warmth and comfort their canine companions add to their lives. But they might not know that a growing body of evidence suggests that having a dog may help improve heart health.

The research published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings involved 1,769 people aged between 25 to 64-year-old living in the city of Brno in the Czech Republic. The participants had healthy hearts, and provided information including their BMI, diet, physical activity levels, whether they smoked, blood pressure, cholesterol and fasting blood sugar level. Of the total, around 42 percent owned a pet: 24 percent owned a dog, while 17.9 percent another type of animal.

Compared with owners of other pets, dog owners were more likely to report physical activity and diet at ideal level. The comparison of dog owners with non-dog owners yielded similar results

Dr Andrea Maugeri, a researcher with the International Clinical Research Centre at St Anne’s University Hospital in Brno, said: “In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal level.

“The greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who owned a dog, independent of their age, sex and education level.”

He added that the study findings supported the idea that people could adopt, rescue or purchase a pet as a potential strategy to improve their cardiovascular health as long as pet ownership led them to a more physically active lifestyle.

Dogs' calming effect on humans also appears to help people handle stress. For example, some research suggests that people with dogs experience less cardiovascular reactivity during times of stress. That means that their heart rate and blood pressure go up less and return to normal more quickly, dampening the effects of stress on the body.

If you own a dog or are thinking about it, the potential benefits for your heart health are a nice plus. However, pets should not be adopted for the primary purpose of reducing heart disease risk. And definitely don't add a dog to your life if you're not ready or able to take care of one, including making sure it gets enough exercise.

British Packaged Food Sold in Supermarkets Crowned the Healthiest in the World, New Study Reveals

A global survey has found that when it comes to having the healthiest packaged foods and drinks, the UK tops the charts, with the USA in 2nd place and Australia coming in at 3rd.

The study, conducted by the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford, analysed more than 400,000 food and drink products from 12 countries using Australia’s Health Star Rating system – which measures the levels of the nutrients such as energy, salt, sugar, saturated fat as well as protein, calcium and fibre and assigns a star rating from ½ (least healthy) to 5 (the most healthy).

It found that the UK had the highest average Health Star Rating of 2.83, followed by the US at 2.82 and Australia at 2.81. India got the lowest rating of just 2.27 followed by China at 2.43 with Chile coming third from bottom at 2.44. 

The results were published in Obesity Reviews.

Lead author Dr Elizabeth Dunford said: “Globally we’re all eating more and more processed foods and that’s a concern because our supermarkets’ shelves are full of products that are high in bad fats, sugar and salt and are potentially making us sick. Our results show that some countries are doing a much better job than others.”

Co-author professor Bruce Neal, acting executive director of The George Institute, agreed, adding that the rise in packaged foods is a real cause for concern.

“Billions of people are now exposed to very unhealthy foods on a daily basis,” Neal said.

“We have to find a way that the food industry can profit from selling rational quantities of quality food, rather than deluging us with unhealthy junk. There are few greater priorities for human health.''

The report notes that many of the world’s major food and drink manufacturers have signed up to the International Food and Beverage Alliance and made pledges to reduce levels of salt, sugar and harmful fat and that these findings could provide an impetus for companies to improve the healthiness of their product ranges.

Schizophrenia: Meaning, Symptoms, Causes and Available Treatments

Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects how the brain works.  People with schizophrenia may experience some of the following symptoms:
. hallucinations
. a lack of interest in things
. feeling disconnected from your feelings
. hearing voices
. delusions
. feeling like you need to be protected.
. difficulty concentrating
. wanting to avoid people
A person with schizophrenia typically experiences changes in behaviour and perception, and disordered thinking that can distort their sense of reality. This is referred to as psychosis. Delusions, hearing voices and hallucinations are all types of psychosis.

What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?

The major symptoms of schizophrenia include:

Delusions - false beliefs of persecution, guilt or grandeur, or being under outside control. People with schizophrenia may describe plots against them or think they have special gifts and powers. Sometimes they withdraw from people or hide to avoid imagined persecution.

Hallucinations - most commonly involve hearing voices. Other less common experiences can include seeing, feeling, tasting or smelling things that to the person are very real, but that are not actually there.

Thought disorder - where speech may be difficult to follow with no logical connection. Thoughts and speech may be jumbled and disjointed.

Related postMoyamoya Disease: Meaning, Symptoms, Prognosis and treatments

Other symptoms of schizophrenia include:

Lack of drive - where the ability to engage in everyday activities, such as washing and cooking, is lost. This lack of drive, motivation and initiative is part of the illness, and is not laziness.

Thinking difficulties - a person’s concentration, memory, and ability to plan and organise maybe affected. This makes it more difficult to reason, communicate,and complete daily tasks.

Blunted expression of emotions - where the ability to express emotion is greatly reduced. This is often accompanied by an inappropriate response to happy or sad occasions.

Social withdrawal - this may be caused by a number of factors including the fear that someone is going to harm them, or a fear of interacting with other people because of a loss of social skills.

Lack of insight - because some experiences, such as delusions and hallucinations, are so real, it is common for people with schizophrenia to be unaware that they are ill.This can be very distressing for family and carers. Lack of awareness can be a reason that people with schizophrenia refuse to accept treatment that could be helpful. The unwanted side-effects of some medications can also contribute to treatment refusal.

What causes schizophrenia?

It is generally agreed that schizophrenia is caused by a combination of factors rather than a single one.


Dopamine is one of the chemicals that carries messages between brain cells. There is evidence that too much dopamine may be involved in the development of schizophrenia, but it’s still not clear how, or whether everyone diagnosed with schizophrenia has too much dopamine.
Neuroleptic drugs (antipsychotics), which are sometimes used to treat schizophrenia, target the dopamine system.

Stressful life events.

Highly stressful or life-changing events may trigger schizophrenia. These include:

• social isolation
• being out of work
• living in poverty
• being homeless
• losing someone close to you
• being physically or verbally abused, or harassed.

Drug abuse

Some people may develop symptoms of schizophrenia as a result of using cannabis or other street drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines. If you already have schizophrenia, using street drugs can make the symptoms worse. Drinking alcohol and smoking may also limit how effectively medicines treat the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Genetic factors

Some families seem to be prone to schizophrenia, which suggests a genetic link. Rather than there being a specific gene for schizophrenia however, it is thought that certain genes might make some people more vulnerable to the condition.

Other causes

Research is happening all the time into what might cause schizophrenia. For example there is evidence that physical differences in, or injury to the brain may be linked to schizophrenia, and that some of this process might happen before someone is born. Research into other possible causes, including viruses, hormonal activity (particularly in women), diet, allergic reaction or infection is ongoing.

What treatments are available?

The most effective treatment for schizophrenia involves medication, psychological therapy and support with managing its impact on everyday life. 

Doctors usually prescribe antipsychotic drugs (also known as neuroleptic drugs or major tranquillisers) to control the ‘positive’ symptoms of schizophrenia.These Medications work by correcting the chemical imbalance in the brain associated with the illness. Newer, but well-tested, medications promote a more complete recovery and have fewer side effects.

Lifestyle changes, such as reducing harmful alcohol and other drug use and other triggers of episodes, can assist people to recover. Although there is no known cure for schizophrenia, regular contact with a doctor or psychiatrist and possibly a multidisciplinary team (that might comprise mental health nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and psychologists) can help people to manage their symptoms and live full and productive lives.

Peer support can also be a valuable source of support, useful information and hope. Sometimes, specific therapies directed towards symptoms, such as delusions, can be helpful. Physical health problems also need to be attended to.

Psychiatric disability rehabilitation services and support can help with problems related to work, finances, accommodation, social relationships and loneliness.

The family and friends of people with schizophrenia can often feel confused and distressed. Support and education, as well as better community understanding, are an important part of treatment

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