October 11, 2010
NEW YORK — More than two hours a day spent watching television or playing computer games could put a child at greater risk for psychological problems, suggests a new study.
British researchers found the effect held regardless of how active kids were during the rest of the day.
“We know that physical activity is good for both physical and mental health in children and there is some evidence that screen viewing is associated with negative behaviors,” lead researcher Dr. Angie Page of the University of Bristol told Reuters Health in an e-mail. “But it wasn’t clear whether having high physical activity levels would ‘compensate’ for high levels of screen viewing in children.”
Page and her colleagues studied more than 1,000 kids between the ages of 10 and 11. Over seven days, the children filled out a questionnaire reporting how much time they spent daily in front of a television or computer and answering questions describing their mental state — including emotional, behavioral, and peer-related problems. Meanwhile, an accelerometer measured their physical activity.
The odds of significant psychological difficulties were about 60 percent higher for children spending longer than two hours a day in front of either screen compared with kids exposed to less screen time, the researchers report in the journal Pediatrics. For children with more than two hours of both types of screen time during the day, the odds more than doubled.
The effect was seen regardless of sex, age, stage of puberty, or level of educational or economic deprivation.
Psychological problems further increased if kids fell short of an hour of moderate to rigorous daily exercise in addition to the increased screen time. However, physical activity did not appear to compensate for the psychological consequences of screen time.
Give kids screen-time budget
The researchers also found that sedentary time itself was not related to mental wellbeing. “It seems more like what you are doing in that sedentary time that is important,” said Page, noting the lack of negative effect found for activities such as reading and doing homework.
Page and her team acknowledge several limitations in their study, including the potential for a kid to inaccurately recall his or her activities when filling out the questionnaire.
Dr. Thomas N. Robinson of the Stanford University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, said the new research was not enough to decipher whether the relationship between screen time and psychological wellbeing was truly cause-and-effect.
“They would have needed to do an experiment, a randomized controlled trial, to see whether limiting television or computer time improves psychological difficulties when compared to a control group that does not limit screen time,” he told Reuters Health in an e-mail.
Robinson noted that his own related research, conducted in this way, found that limiting screen time reduced weight gain, aggression and consumer behaviors in kids.
“There are already lots of reasons to reduce kids’ screen time and this is potentially another,” said Robinson. “In our studies we find that giving children a screen-time budget and helping them stick to that budget is the most effective way to reduce their television, video game, computer and other screen time, and to improve their health as a result.”
He usually aims for a budget of about an hour per day, or a reduction of at least 50 percent from a kid’s starting screen time.
“Parents as well as kids tell us that budgeting kids’ screen time has profound positive effects on their families’ lives,” added Robinson.
September 10, 2010
By: Kate Kelland
Daily tablets of large doses of B vitamins can halve the rate of brain shrinkage in elderly people with memory problems and may slow their progression toward dementia, data from a British trial showed on Wednesday,
Scientists from Oxford University said their two-year clinical trial was the largest to date into the effect of B vitamins on so-called “mild cognitive impairment” — a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Experts commenting on the findings said they were important and called for larger, longer full-scale clinical trials to see if the safety and effectiveness of B vitamins in the prevention of neurodegenerative conditions could be confirmed.
“This is a very dramatic and striking result. It’s much more than we could have predicted,” said David Smith of Oxford’s department of pharmacology, who co-led the trial.
“It is our hope that this simple and safe treatment will delay development of Alzheimer’s in many people who suffer from mild memory problems.”
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) affects around 16 percent of people aged over 70 worldwide and is characterized by slight problems with memory loss, language or other mental functions.
MCI does not usually interfere with daily life, but around 50 percent of people diagnosed with it go on to develop the far more severe Alzheimer’s disease within five years. Alzheimer’s is a mind-wasting disease for which there are few treatments and no cure, and which affects 26 million people around the world.
Smith and colleagues conducted a two-year trial with 168 volunteers with MCI who were given either a vitamin pill containing very high doses of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, or a placebo dummy pill.
These B vitamins are known to control levels of an amino acid called homocysteine in the blood, and high blood levels of homocysteine are linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Helga Refsum, who also worked on the trial, stressed that vitamins were given in extremely high doses.
“This is a drug, not a vitamin intervention,” she said.
The pills, called “TrioBe Plus” contained around 300 times the recommended daily intake of B12, four times daily advised folate levels and 15 times the recommended amount of B6.
Brain scans were taken at the beginning and the end of the trial to monitor the rate of brain shrinkage, or atrophy.
The results, published in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) One journal, showed that on average the brains of those taking the vitamin treatment shrank at a rate of 0.76 percent a year, while those taking the dummy pill had an average brain shrinkage of 1.08 percent.
People who had the highest levels of homocysteine at the start of the trial benefited the most from the treatment, with their brains shrinking at half the rate of those on the placebo.
Although the trial was not designed to measure cognitive ability, the researchers found those people who had lowest rates of shrinkage had the highest scores in mental tests.
Commenting on the study, Paul Matthews, a professor of clinical neurology at Imperial College London said that although the vitamins used are generally safe and inexpensive, the study “should not drive an immediate change in clinical practice”
“Instead, it sets out important questions for further study and gives new confidence that effective treatments modifying the course of some dementias may be in sight,” he said.
August 2nd, 2010
By: Robin Pomeroy
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday to face him in a televised one-on-one debate to see who has the best solutions for the world’s problems.
The provocative proposal comes as Iran deals with a new wave of international sanctions — driven by Washington — aimed at putting pressure on the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program.
“Toward the end of summer we will hopefully be there for the (U.N.) General Assembly and I will be ready for one-on-one talks with Mr. Obama, in front of the media of course,” Ahmadinejad told a conference of Iranian expatriates in Tehran.
“We will offer our solutions for world issues to see whose solutions are better.”
Ahmadinejad suggested such a debate last September, which was not taken up by Washington. He said Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, had declined similar invitations because he was “scared”.
Iran, the world’s fifth-largest oil producer, says its nuclear program is a peaceful bid to produce electricity.
But its uranium enrichment activities, a process which can have both civilian and military uses, has fed fears in some countries that it is trying to build a nuclear weapon.
In his speech, the president mocked the sanctions and the potential for a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, an option that the United States and Israel say they do not rule out.
“Who do you think is going to attack us? The Israeli regime? … We don’t consider the regime in our equations, let alone attacking us,” he said.
“They say we’ll issue sanctions? Okay, do it. How many resolutions have you issued so far? Four? Make it 4,000,” he said to loud applause from the conference.
Both Iran and the United States have indicated willingness to return to nuclear talks which stalled last October, leading to the new sanctions.
Amid the anti-American rhetoric in which he said U.S. policy was based on colonialism and the “law of the jungle”, Ahmadinejad said he was ready for talks “based on justice and respect”.
“We are ready to hold talks at the highest level,” he said. “We have always favored talks, Iranians have never, ever favored war.”
August 2nd, 2010
By: Hugh Collins
Striving for the perfect body may have cost one woman in California her life. Mayra Lissette Contreras, 22, died after receiving injections of silicone to the buttocks, CBS reports. Autopsy results are still pending, but she is thought to have died from respiratory problems after the operation.
“Stories like this are all too common,” cosmetic surgeon Michael Kane told CBS. “I don’t know any licensed professional who would inject large amounts of silicone into the body.”
When silicone is used for breast implants, it is medical-grade and placed in the body in a capsule.
Underground cosmetic surgeons are not always so careful, using industrial silicone and injecting large quantities of the substance, rather than implanting it.
Silicone injected into the body can have serious medical consequences. These range from heavy scarring to death from breathing problems – as appears to be what happened in Contreras’s case.
“It’s easy for an injector to hit a vein, the silicon hits the bloodstream and goes to the lungs,” Colin Stewart, a columnist for The Orange County Register, told CNN.
Police are now hunting for the two sisters, Alejandra Viveros and Guadalupe Viveros, who are believed to have performed the operation.
The two women were taken into custody on June 21 for practicing medicine without a license, according to The Los Angeles Times. Authorities held the sisters on bail of $20,000, then released them.
The women have gone on the run and may have fled to Mexico.
July 1, 2010
By David Gutierrez
(NaturalNews) The controversial chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), already linked to a wide array of health problems, may also increase the risk of asthma in children, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
BPA is an industrial chemical widely used in the manufacture of hard, clear plastics like those used in water and baby bottles, as well as in resins used to line cans of food, beverages and infant formula. Exposure has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, birth defects, and hormonal and reproductive problems. Its use in products for young children has been banned in a number of countries and in three U.S. states.
After years of insisting that the chemical was safe, the FDA recently changed its position and called for more research.
June 8, 2010
By Kate Devlin
Studies suggest that some products can exacerbate existing conditions and even trigger breathing problems in people who have never previously suffered from the illness.
If proven, the link could make some cases of the disease preventable, according to Dr Jan-Paul Zock, an expert in occupational asthma. Around five million people in Britain suffer from asthma.
Rates of the condition are thought to have doubled in the two decades to the mid 1990s, but plateaued since then.
A range of studies have shown a link between asthma and exposure to some cleaning products, Dr Zock, from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, said.
June 8, 2010
By Stephen Bernard and Tim Paradis
NEW YORK — Stocks fell to their lowest level in seven months Monday after traders couldn’t shake fears that Europe’s economic problems will derail a global recovery.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 115 points, or 1.2 percent, to its lowest close since November. The Dow lost 323 Friday after the government’s May jobs report fell short of expectations.
Broader indexes logged steeper percentage drops Monday. The technology-focused Nasdaq composite index fell 2 percent.
Monday’s drop was a smaller-scale repeat of Friday as traders again dumped stocks in the final hour. That signals traders would rather sell than be hit by surprises, especially because Europe’s business day begins before trading opens in the U.S. Some traders say the slide has been overdone but that the market isn’t likely to find much stability until there is a better sense about how Europe’s economies will hold up under heavy cost-cutting.
With only a sprinkling of economic and corporate news to go on, traders again tracked the moves of the euro. The 16-nation currency hit another four-year low and hurt European markets. The euro fell as low as $1.1878 before rising to $1.1915. A drop in the currency is seen as a sign of flagging confidence in Europe’s ability to rein in its debt without falling back into recession.
May 21, 2010
Some doses and types of statins are linked with a greater risk of adverse effects, including liver problems and kidney failure, the UK research showed.
Doctors will have access to a computer program based on the findings to help spot those most at risk.
Millions of UK adults take the drugs to reduce heart attack and stroke risk.
The researchers, from the University of Nottingham, stressed that for many people the benefits of statins outweighed any adverse effects, but the findings would help weigh up the pros and cons in each patient. There are plans to prescribe statins on the NHS in around one in four adults aged over 40.
The Department of Health had predicted prescriptions for the drugs would rise by 30% a year, as GPs find more and more people eligible.
At the moment, anyone judged to have a one in five or greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease over 10 years is advised to take a statin.
But there has been much debate over side effects and the latest research set out to confirm where the problems may lie in a “real life” population.
May 7, 2010
By David Gutierrez
Widely used diabetes drugs appear to increase patients’ risk of potentially fatal heart problems, according to a study conducted by researchers from Imperial College London and published in the British Medical Journal.
Researchers examined patient and prescription records to examine rates of heart failure, heart attack and death from any cause among 900,000 patients taking all different kinds of diabetes drugs. Patients were followed for an average of seven years each.
Diabetes drugs fall into three classes: sulphonyureas, glitazones and biguanides. The sulphonyureas include chlorpropamide, glibenclamide (marketed as Daonil and Euglucon), gliclazide (marketed as Diamicron), glimepiride (marketed as Amaryl), glipizide (marketed as Glibenese and Minodiab) and tolbutamide. The glitazones, also called thiazolidinediones, include rosiglitazone (marketed as Avandia) and pioglitazone (marketed as Actos). Metformin is the only anti-diabetes biguanide on the market.
Last winter was one of the worst winters I have ever experienced. A lot of things happened at one time and it was very overwhelming for me. My dog died, I got laid off from my job, I had family issues, self esteem issues, health issues, financial issues and it seemed like I was getting nowhere in life. I would spend my days going to the Wendy’s down the street from me and eat myself numb. I would have bags of candy throughout the day and watch House for hours. After a while, my friends noticed that I had gained quite a bit of weight and that I became a little “slow,” with my thinking process, in other more blatant words, that I was getting more stupid. Back then I weighed 230 pounds and I could not construct a proper sentence because of all the TV I was watching.
Today, I am a healthy 212 (I am currently on the McCombs Plan, it is my 7th week) and I expect it to go down even further. My relationship with my step-mom, who I once hated, is now flourishing. I have the greatest friends, who support me and grow with me, and SO much more.
But all that’s irrelevant. What is relevant is the way I feel and my outlook on life, and the person I am becoming. I am in the same predicament I was last winter, but not really! This time I am a different person and I’m constantly getting better. I do not have any money right now and I am still unemployed, but you know what, life to me is bigger than that and I FEEL fantastic and I know BIG things are in store for me.
I am enrolled in the lazy man’s way to a fortune program; I have no idea how I’m going to find the money, BUT I WILL GET THE MONEY. I go through the day sometimes getting very emotional at all the beauty and good around me. I feel so lucky to be alive! There is so much I can share with you, but it would honestly take 50 pages to write about it!
Kevin, I understand that I create my life, and I alone have the say in everything that happens. I can’t help myself, but to give you most of the credit. Kevin, without your radio show and without your mission, I would be overweight, illiterate, UNHAPPY, kept in the dark, and wasting a life that I believe is going to make a difference on this earth.
Your radio show woke me up. And I KNOW it is going to be waking up a lot more people around the world. Kevin, I thank you, my family thanks you, my friends thank you, and planet earth thanks you. You are truly one of the only people who dare expose what really is going on in this country, and most importantly, making it better, by empowering people and stirring things up.
Kevin, I don’t like your radio show, I LOVE your radio show!! It is truly a way of life. My friends and I were driving to Chicago for the G.I.N. meeting from New Jersey because we were absolutely committed to going, no excuses. It was 13 hours each way and we had to drive through the night to be at the seminar on time. The whole 13 hours we were playing podcasts from your radio show! That’s 13 hours each way! It was absolutely hysterical because I only had 4 of your radio shows and I just kept listening to the same ones over and over again! It never got old!!!! May seem a little extreme, but what can I say, I love hearing what you have to say.
One of your biggest supporters,
South Orange, NJ