Cut salt and smok­ing — recipe for longer life

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health -

LIFESTYLE changes can be dif­fi­cult to make, but cut­ting down on smok­ing and salt in­take could save mil­lions of lives. In TheLancet this week, re­searchers pre­dict that re­duc­ing di­etary salt in­take and im­prov­ing to­bacco con­trol would avert mil­lions of chronic dis­ease-re­lated deaths world­wide, for an av­er­age cost of about 40 cents per per­son per year. The find­ings are based on an anal­y­sis of 23 low-in­come and mid­dle-in­come coun­tries. To­gether, th­ese coun­tries ac­count for 80 per cent of deaths from chronic dis­eases, in­clud­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, can­cer, chronic res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease and di­a­betes. Re­searchers pre­dicted the ef­fect of a 15 per cent re­duc­tion in salt con­sump­tion in the 23 coun­tries, and found that this strat­egy could avert 8.5 mil­lion deaths be­tween 2006 and 2015. To­bacco con­trol mea­sures, in­clud­ing in­creased to­bacco taxes and bans on to­bacco ad­ver­tis­ing were pre­dicted to re­duce smok­ing by 21 per cent, thereby avert­ing 5.5 mil­lion deaths from chronic dis­eases re­lated to smok­ing. Com­bin­ing salt re­duc­tion and to­bacco con­trol in th­ese coun­tries would save 13.8 mil­lion lives be­tween 2006 and 2015. Lancet 2007;doi:10.1016/S01406736(07)61698-5 (Asaria P, et al) FIT­NESS, not fat­ness, pre­dicts whether an older per­son will live a longer life, con­cludes a new study in the Jour­naloftheAmer­i­can Med­i­calAs­so­ci­a­tion . The study showed that adults over the age of 60 with higher lev­els of car­dio-res­pi­ra­tory fit­ness lived longer than un­fit adults, re­gard­less of their lev­els of body fat. Re­searchers re­cruited 2603 men and women aged 60 years or older. Their fit­ness was as­sessed by a tread­mill ex­er­cise test and their body mass in­dex, waist cir­cum­fer­ence and per cent body fat were mea­sured. Over the fol­low­ing 12 years, there were 450 deaths. In both nor­mal-weight and over­weight peo­ple, higher fit­ness was as­so­ci­ated with re­duced risk of death com­pared to the low­est fit­ness level. Sur­pris­ingly, obese peo­ple with high car­diores­pi­ra­tory fit­ness had a lower risk of death than un­fit nor­mal-weight peo­ple. Reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity may there­fore be bet­ter than weight loss alone for in­creas­ing health and longevity. JAMA 2007;298:2507-2516 (Sui X, et al) MALES with a twin sis­ter are more likely to de­velop the eat­ing dis­or­der anorexia ner­vosa than other males, ac­cord­ing to new re­search in the ArchivesofGen­er­alPsy­chi­a­try . Anorexia is 10 times more com­mon in fe­males than males, sug­gest­ing that oe­stro­gen — the fe­male sex hor­mone— may in­crease the risk. Re­searchers stud­ied 24,310 Swedish twins (male-male, fe­male-fe­male and op­po­site-sex pairs) born be­tween 1935 and 1958. Over­all, fe­male twins were more likely than male twins to de­velop anorexia. The one ex­cep­tion was among males who had a twin sis­ter — their risk was the same as that of their twin sis­ter. The re­sults sug­gest that ex­po­sure to oe­stro­gen dur­ing de­vel­op­ment in the uterus in­creases the risk of anorexia later in life — a find­ing that could lead to hor­mone-based ther­a­pies for this dis­ease. ArchGenPsy­chi­a­try 2007;64:1402-1407 (Pro­co­pio M, et al) MED­I­TA­TION may not only re­lax the mind, it could also re­duce high blood pres­sure. In Cur­ren­tHyper­ten­sionRe­ports this week, re­searchers have com­bined the re­sults of 23 pub­lished stud­ies on stress re­duc­tion pro­grams and high blood pres­sure. In each of the stud­ies, par­tic­i­pants were ran­domly as­signed to ei­ther a stress re­duc­tion tech­nique or placebo-type con­trol for at least eight weeks. The tran­scen­den­tal med­i­ta­tion tech­nique, which in­volves sit­ting com­fort­ably with your eyes closed for 15 to 20 min­utes twice a day, sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced high blood pres­sure. This ef­fect was not seen with any of the other forms of re­lax­ation tested, in­clud­ing other types of med­i­ta­tion and stress man­age­ment. On av­er­age, tran­scen­den­tal med­i­ta­tion re­duced sys­tolic blood pres­sure (the peak pres­sure in the ar­ter­ies, re­ported first in a blood pres­sure read­ing) by 5.0 points and di­as­tolic blood pres­sure (the low­est pres­sure in the ar­ter­ies, re­ported sec­ond) by 2.8 points com­pared to no treat­ment. This form of med­i­ta­tion could be used along­side pre­scribed med­i­ca­tions to lower blood pres­sure, say the au­thors. Cur­rHyper­ten­sRep 2007;9 (An­der­son J, et al) REL­A­TIVES of pa­tients with Parkin­son’s Dis­ease face an in­creased risk of de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety disor­ders, claims new re­search in the ArchivesofGen­er­alPsy­chi­a­try . The risk is par­tic­u­larly in­creased in rel­a­tives (brother, sis­ter, mother, fa­ther, son or daugh­ter) of pa­tients who de­velop Parkin­son’s be­fore the age of 75. The re­search team stud­ied 1000 rel­a­tives of 162 Parkin­son’s pa­tients and 850 rel­a­tives of 147 healthy peo­ple with­out Parkin­son’s. Rel­a­tives of Parkin­son’s pa­tients were 45 per cent more likely to suf­fer from de­pres­sion and 55 per cent more likely to have an anx­i­ety dis­or­der com­pared to rel­a­tives of the healthy con­trols. Ac­cord­ing to the au­thors, there may be a com­mon ge­netic link be­tween Parkin­son’s, de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety disor­ders, which may pro­vide a tar­get for new ther­a­pies. ArchGenPsy­chi­a­try 2007;64:1385-1392 (Ara­bia G, et al) PEO­PLE who have trou­ble read­ing quickly may have an ab­nor­mal brain struc­ture, ac­cord­ing to a study in the latest is­sue of Neu­rol­ogy . De­tect­ing th­ese ab­nor­mal­i­ties could al­low doc­tors to bet­ter di­ag­nose such learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties, say the au­thors. Re­searchers tested the read­ing abil­i­ties of 30 adults with nor­mal intelligence, and per­formed brain scans. Ten of the par­tic­i­pants had a rare ge­netic brain dis­ease called ‘‘ periven­tric­u­lar nodu­lar het­ero­topia’’ (PNH) that causes seizures and read­ing dis­abil­i­ties. An­other 10 peo­ple had dyslexia — one of the most com­mon learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties in the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion — and 10 more were healthy with no read­ing prob­lems. Dif­fi­culty read­ing was as­so­ci­ated with greater dis­rup­tion in the ‘‘ white mat­ter’’ of the brain, where con­nec­tions are made be­tween dif­fer­ent brain re­gions. Neu­rol­ogy 2007;69:2146-2154 (Chang BS, et al) Want to know more? Items are ref­er­enced where pos­si­ble. A ref­er­ence such as ‘‘ 2007;35:18-25’’ means the source ar­ti­cle was pub­lished on pages 18-25 in vol­ume num­ber 35 of the pub­li­ca­tion, in 2007. A doi num­ber or web­site ad­dress is used for re­search pub­lished on a jour­nal’s web­site.

Longevity: Dic­tated by fit­ness, not fat­ness

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.