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Breakfast may not help keep pounds off

The idea that skipping breakfast contributes to weight gain doesn’t mean that eating breakfast can help with weight loss, a research review suggests.

Researchers examined data from 13 studies in which some participants ate breakfast and others skipped it. The people who ate breakfast consumed more calories and weighed more than individuals who skipped this morning meal, a research review suggests.

The results may surprise legions of dieters: breakfast eaters consumed an average of 260 calories more a day and weighed an average of 0.44 kilogram (about 1 pound) more than breakfast avoiders.

“There is a belief in the community that breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” said senior study author Flavia Cicuttini of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

“This is not the case,” Cicuttini said by email. “A calorie is a calorie, whatever time you eat it, and people shouldn’t eat if they are not hungry.”

While some previous research suggests that eating breakfast is associated with increased odds of maintaining a healthy weight, many of these studies were not controlled experiments designed to prove whether breakfast directly causes weight loss or prevents weight gain, researchers note in The BMJ.

Much of this research also left open the possibility that people who eat breakfast have a healthier weight because they’re different from those who skip the morning meal, with perhaps healthier overall eating habits or more consistent exercise routines, the study authors note.

In the current analysis, researchers examined data from clinical trials done mainly in the US and the UK over the past three decades that looked at the effect of eating breakfast on weight and calorie intake.

These smaller studies lasted from one day to four months.

There was no meaningful difference in the association between breakfast consumption and weight or calorie intake based on how much individual participants weighed, the analysis found. Results were similar for people at a healthy weight and for individuals who were overweight.

Some studies looked at whether breakfast influenced metabolism, or how many calories people burned. But researchers didn’t find meaningful differences based on whether or not participants had breakfast.

Dieters are sometimes told skipping breakfast will make them hungrier and increase their propensity to overeat later in the day. But the analysis didn’t find a difference in hunger levels based on whether or not participants ate a morning meal.

One limitation of the analysis is that the smaller studies were all too brief to see whether or how eating breakfast might affect long-term weight control or calorie consumption, the study authors note.

Still, the lower total calorie consumption associated with skipping breakfast suggests this approach may work for some dieters, said Tim Spector, a researcher at Kings College London who wrote an accompanying editorial.

“When people skipped breakfast, they ate more later in the day, but not enough to compensate for the extra calories they had not consumed earlier,” Spector said by email. “The studies so far suggest, but don’t prove, that breakfast skipping can help some people lose weight.”

The types of foods people eat may matter at least as much, if not more, than the total calories they consume or exactly when they have their first meal of the day, added Spector, a self-professed habitual breakfast eater.

“Calories are not the key here,” said Spector, who founded a personalized nutrition company. “Everyone is unique and may benefit from different amounts of carbs or fat depending on their genes, microbes and metabolism.”

Courtesy: (Reuters)

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Fasting boosts metabolism and fights aging

Tim Newman 

The latest study to explore the impact of fasting on the human body concludes that it increases metabolic activity more than previously realized and may even impart anti-aging benefits.

A recent study takes a look at how fasting influences metabolism.

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can help certain people lose weight.

Although researchers are still debating exactly how effective fasting can be for weight loss, new research hints at other benefits.

In rats, for instance, studies show that fasting can increase lifespan.

Although exciting, evidence of this in humans has yet to be seen.

The most recent study — which the authors have now published in the journal Scientific Reports — takes a fresh look at fasting in humans and provides new insight.

“Recent aging studies have shown that caloric restriction and fasting have a prolonging effect on lifespan in model animals,” says first study author Dr. Takayuki Teruya, “but the detailed mechanism has remained a mystery.”

In particular, scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University in Japan examined its impact on metabolism.

By understanding the metabolic processes involved, the team hopes to find ways of harnessing the benefits of fasting without the need to go without food for prolonged periods.

To investigate, they fasted four volunteers for 58 hours. Using metabolomics, or the measurement of metabolites, the researchers analyzed whole blood samples at intervals during the fasting period.

What happens during fasting?

As the human body is starved of food, there are a number of distinct metabolic changes that occur.

Normally, when carbohydrates are readily available, the body will use them as fuel. But once they are gone, it looks elsewhere for energy. In a process called gluconeogenesis, the body derives glucose from noncarbohydrate sources, such as amino acids.

Scientists can find evidence of gluconeogenesis by assessing the levels of certain metabolites in the blood, including carnitines, and butyrate.

As expected, after fasting, the levels of these metabolites were present in the participants’ blood. However, the scientists also identified many more metabolic changes, some of which surprised them. For instance, they saw a marked increase in products of the citric acid cycle.

The citric acid cycle happens in mitochondria, and its function is to release stored energy. The hike seen in the metabolites associated with this process means that the mitochondria, the fabled powerhouses of the cell, are thrust into overdrive.

Another surprise finding was an increase in levels of purine and pyrimidine, which scientists had not yet linked to fasting.

These chemicals are a sign of increased protein synthesis and gene expression. This suggests that fasting causes cells to switch up the type and quantity of proteins that they need to function.

Higher levels of purine and pyrimidine are clues that the body might be increasing levels of certain antioxidants. Indeed, the researchers noted substantial increases in certain antioxidants, including ergothioneine and carnosine.

In an earlier study, the same team of researchers showed that, as we age, a number of metabolites decline. These metabolites include leucine, isoleucine, and ophthalmic acid.

In their latest study, they showed that fasting boosted these three metabolites. They explain that this might help explain how fasting extends lifespan in rats.

In all four subjects, the researchers identified 44 metabolites that increased during fasting, some of which increased 60-fold.

Of these 44, scientists had linked just 14 to fasting before. The authors conclude that “[c]ollectively, fasting appears to provoke a much more metabolically active state than previously realized.”

“These are very important metabolites for maintenance of muscle and antioxidant activity […]. This result suggests the possibility of a rejuvenating effect by fasting, which was not known until now.”

The scientists believe that a hike in antioxidants might be a survival response; during starvation, our bodies can experience high levels of oxidative stress. By producing antioxidants, it might help avoid some of the potential damage caused by free radicals.

Next, they want to replicate the results in a larger sample. They also want to identify possible ways of harnessing the beneficial effects of fasting and find out whether they can trigger the effects of caloric restriction without having to restrict caloric intake.

Although it will be some time before we can reap the benefits of fasting without the effort, the current findings provide further evidence of the health benefits of fasting.

Courtesy: (medicalnewstoday.com)

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Obesity-linked cancers on the rise in young adults

PARIS (AFP): A sharp increase in the rate of obesity-linked cancers among young adults in the United States could foreshadow a reversal in the overall decline in cancer mortality, researchers warned on Monday.

In a sweeping study covering two-thirds of the US population, they showed that half a dozen cancers for which obesity is a known risk factor became more frequent from 1995 to 2015 among women and men under 50.

The younger the age bracket, the more quickly these cancers gained ground, they reported in The Lancet, a medical journal.

During the period examined, the incidence of pancreatic cancer, for example, increased by about one per cent per year for adults aged 45 to 49. Among 30 to 34-year-olds, the average annual per cent increase was more than twice that high.

And among 25 to 29-year-olds, the rate jumped by 4.4 per cent per year.

Comparing five-year age brackets from 25 to 80, the annual hike was similarly highest among the 25 to 29 cohort for four other obesity-linked cancers: kidney (6.23 per cent), gallbladder (3.71 per cent), uterine (3.35 per cent), and colon (2.41 per cent).

Experts worry about rising obesity rates

“Our findings expose a recent change that could serve as a warning of an increased burden of obesity-related cancers to come in older adults,” said co-author Ahmedin Jemal of the American Cancer Society, USA.

Obesity has more than doubled in the United States over the last four decades. It has also risen sharply in other rich nations and, more recently, the developing world. Today, some two billion people are overweight or obese.

With few exceptions, cancer has been seen as a disease of ageing. Indeed, the researchers note that the number of new cancer cases reported remains much higher in older age brackets, even if the rate of increase is now highest among young adults.

Two pancreatic cancer cases, for example, were diagnosed among every 100,000 24 to 49-year-olds from 2010 to 2014, compared to 37 cases for every 100,000 people aged 50 to 84.

Overall, the number of people in the United States who succumb to cancer has declined.

From 1980 to 2014 — when cancer claimed some 20 million lives — mortality dropped by 20 per cent, from 240 to 192 deaths per 100,000 people, due in part to reduced tobacco use.

“But in the future, obesity could reverse that progress,” Jemal cautioned.

“Obesity is now one of the most preventable causes of cancer in the US and UK — around 1 in 12 cases in the US are caused by excess weight, and more than 1 in 20 in the UK.”

Building on earlier research suggesting a link between obesity and more frequent colon cancers in young adults, Jamel and colleagues analysed all cancer cases from 1995 to 2015 in 25 US states home to 67 per cent of the population.

For five of the 12, the rate of increase for new cases was highest in the youngest age group, and for a sixth — a form of bone marrow cancer called multiple myeloma — the biggest jump was among adults in their early 30s.

Of the other 18 types of cancer, only two showed a similar trend, with the others either stable or — for those related to smoking and infection — in decline.

“The investigators speculate that these findings are driven in part by the obesity epidemic, a hypothesis that is both provocative and plausible,” Catherine Marinac from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard University’s Brenda Birmann commented, also in The Lancet.

Still unexplained, however, is why the six other forms of cancer classified by the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as related to obesity did not also show similar rates of increase among younger adults.

The authors called for more aggressive screening for obesity by front-line doctors, and called on them to warn patients about the cancer risk of being seriously overweight.

Currently, less than half of primary care physicians in the US regularly measure the body-mass index (BMI) of their patients.

“The quality of the American diet has worsened in recent decades,” said lead author Hyuna Sung, also of the American Cancer Society.

More than half of 20 to 49-year-olds eat for too little fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and too much salt, fast food and sugary drinks, she said.

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HMC diagnoses 5,000 Cancer patients

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) has provided free treatment to 5,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients and registering more than 1,000 new patients each year, said Professor Abid Jamil during the observance of World Cancer Day at the hospital on Monday.

Medical Oncology ward at MTI/HMC Peshawar, organized an awareness program in this regard aimed at providing details of its efforts towards proving free treatment to Cancer patients. As 4th February is observed as World Cancer Day every year to show solidarity with patients suffering from this deadly disease.

Secretary Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dr Farooq Jamil who was chief guest on the occasion in his address eulogized HMC for its valuable services to Cancer patients. He assured the continuation of poor cancer patients free treatment of program and along with insurance of functional up-gradation on Oncology services in HMC.

Earlier, Prof Shahzad Akber Medical Director HMC Peshawar in his address gave an overview of latest diagnostic and treatment facilities being provided by the hospital to patients.

Professor Abid Jamil presented the data of patients treated since 2014 at HMC Peshawar. So far more than 5,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients have been provided free treatment. More than 1,000 new patients are registered each year at HMC. This includes patients with blood, Breast, Prostate, Stomach Intestinal and Lung Cancer.

Under the cost sharing program with pharmaceutical company Novartis, he informed that patients are being treated since 2012 at a cost of approximately Rs. 20.00 billion. Provincial government has contributed Rs. 1.86 billion while Novartis has contributed Rs. 17.73 billion so far. As around 80 per cent patients are alive at over five-year from diagnosis, he added.

He stated that over half of the patients diagnosed and treated belong to young age group ranging from 25 to 50 years. Patients coming for free treatment represent all part of KP and 53 per cent are male while 47 percent among them are female. Monthly income of over 80 per cent of patients treated in this project was below Rs. 22000, he said.

Thus this project is helping young patients with very low incomes to regain their lives and be useful members of society. Professor Abid Jamil who is the focal person of the project said for cancer patients this free treatment program is not just a project but it is a matter of life and death to them.

He hoped that the government will extend this project in the coming year in order for patients to continue receiving free cancer treatment.

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Swine flu outbreak kills 9 in Morocco

MOROCCO (AFP): An outbreak of swine flu in Morocco has left nine people dead in the past week, the kingdom’s health minister said Saturday.

The spread of the H1N1 virus was “normal” for the time of the year, said Anas Doukkali, quoted by Morocco’s official MAP news agency.

The first death in Morocco from the influenza-type virus was reported by local media on Wednesday, since when anxious rumours have spread on social media.

“Vigilant efforts continue to detect possible cases in different hospitals across the kingdom,” said government spokesman Mustapha Khalfi.

H1N1 is a respiratory disease contracted through contact between humans and pigs and transmitted between people through inhalation.

A major H1N1 outbreak sparked a World Health Organization pandemic alert in June 2009. It killed around 18,500 people in 214 countries before the alert was lifted in August 2010.

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Mindfulness likely to be an effective treatment for chronic pain and improving physical functioning

Kelly Gonsalves

The mind-body connection is real. Just look at this new study out of the journal Evidence-Based Mental Health: Researchers found that practicing mindfulness may actually be an effective means of relieving physical pain and improving physical functioning.

The medical community has relied on psychological treatments for physical pain for decades. One of the most prominent psychological methods for treating people suffering from chronic pain is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps people learn adaptive behaviors and thought patterns that help them mentally deal with challenges and ideally lessen their experience of pain. In this study, the researchers wanted to compare how well mindfulness-based interventions helped accomplish this same pain reduction, in comparison to CBT or no such psychological interventions. Mindfulness generally refers to the ability to be aware of your present-moment experience, including bodily sensations, emotions, and thoughts, without trying to judge or respond to them.

The researchers culled almost 200 relevant clinical trials and then closely analyzed 21 of the ones that specifically studied the effects of mindfulness and CBT on patients dealing with chronic pain. Their analysis included data on almost 2,000 such people, many of whom were dealing with musculoskeletal pain specifically. Their findings showed people who used mindfulness to deal with their pain had improved physical functioning, experienced less intense pain, and dealt with less pain-related depression or distress compared to people who didn’t use any psychological treatment. In fact, mindfulness-based interventions seemed to be just as effective in treating chronic pain as CBT.

“Although a number of recommendations have been proposed to improve CBT for patients with chronic pain, an additional solution may be to offer patients mindfulness-based stress reduction since it shows promise in improving pain severity and reducing pain interference and psychological distress,” the researchers said in a news release.

This analysis focused on group-based mindfulness programs that met regularly for a period of months, but past research has also suggested having a more mindful position in general can actually make people feel less pain. One study last year found that people who were naturally more mindful in their day-to-day lives reported experiencing less pain when stung with a hot probe in a lab setting. When scientists looked at their MRI scans, they found the part of the brain that deals with processing feelings about oneself (called the posterior cingulate cortex) was more deactivated during the pain experience for more mindful people. It seemed that mindfulness may have been allowing people to observe pain without attaching an emotional response to it, which manifested as feeling less intense pain overall.

Together, these studies suggest building a meaningful, sustained mindfulness practice, and developing our ability to be more mindful in our daily lives may be an effective way for us to manage painful experiences, whether you’re suffering from chronic pain or simply going through a particular period of ache and illness.

Courtesy: (mindbodygreen.com)

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Weight loss and spot reduction: Does it works?

Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD: The majority of people who are trying to lose weight have some areas of their body from where they specifically want to lose some inches. When we are trying to lose weight, we do everything possible to speed up the process of weight loss.

From following a popular diet to working out really hard in the gym, we do it all just to reach the desired weight quickly! Belly fat is one common problem which almost every overweight person faces. It is not just bad to look at but, it is very dangerous for overall health as it is often linked with various types of health issues including heart diseases and diabetes.

What is spot reduction?

Are you trying to lose weight from one particular area like thighs, stomach or arms? Then, you must have heard about spot reduction in weight loss! Spot reduction refers to the claim that says that fats from some specific area can be targeted for reduction through a particular type of exercise which focuses on the desired areas. But, is it possible?

Does spot reduction work?

Previously, many studies have been held to find out if spot reduction is really a thing or not and it was found out that people who were trying to reduce belly fat by performing some special type of exercises which targeted the stomach area for six weeks have seen no change in their body! So, we can say that spot reduction doesn’t work!

What is the best way to lose belly fat?

Spot reduction exercises

While exercising is very important for your overall health, it is also very beneficial in weight loss. However, physical activities alone can’t help you reach your weight goals and you need to also have a healthy diet for it. The most effective way to lose more fats is making healthier food choices. Your diet must include plenty of protein, fibre and healthy fats and you must work out every day to lose weight effectively!

The bottom line

The concept of spot reduction is nothing but a myth! While popular workout methods claim that you can target your ‘trouble areas’ and lose fats from them, the reality is that nothing works that way! Of course, you can lose weight by exercising and having a good diet but, you just can’t burn fats from a single area without losing fats from your overall body!

Courtesy: (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)

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Special anti-polio drive to be conducted in Dir

F.P. Report

TIMERGARA: The Lower Dir administration announced to launch a four day special anti-polio campaign from Feb, 11. The decision was made during a meeting of the district polio eradication committee (DPEC) held at Balambat with deputy commissioner Lower Dir Shaukat Ali Yousafzai in the chair. The meeting was attended by health officials, WHO and UNISECO representatives.

Speaking on the occasion the DC Shaukat Ali said that detection of polio case in the adjacent Bajaur had irked masses in Lower Dir. He said the administration had announced an emergency in the district as it was at risk. The chair said that all arrangements for the special drive commencing from Feb, 11 had been finalized. The DC also directed the health officials to reach to each child in the district. He said that parents refusing vaccinating their children would be dealt with accordingly. The DHO Dr Shaukat said that a total of 3, 09, 079 children would be revaccinated during the drive for which 1890 polio workers had been tasked.

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Swine flu leaves 5 dead in Morocco

RABAT (AA): At least five people have died in Morocco after contracting H1N1, otherwise known as “swine flu”, the state-run Moroccan Press Agency reported Thursday.

“Five deaths have been reported so far from H1N1 at both public and private clinics,” the news agency quoted Health Minister Anas Doukkali as saying. “H1N1 is the dominant flu subtype this year,” Doukkali added, going on to assert that his ministry was “closely monitoring” the situation. The “swine flu” made international headlines in 2009 when the World Health Organization described its sudden appearance as a “pandemic”.

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Israeli researchers discover ‘complete cure for Cancer ‘

Monitoring Desk

TORONTO: Cancer could no longer be the dreaded disease that it today is as a group of Israeli scientists say they have found the cure for cancer. “We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” said Dan Aridor, chairman of the board of AEBi, the firm developing the new treatment.

AEBi which stands for Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd promises to offer a cure that will be effective from day one with minimal side effects as compared to the harrowing weeks suffered by those undergoing chemotherapy today. Aridor while speaking to the Jerusalem Post also promises that the treatment being developed by AEBi will be “at much lower cost than most other treatments on the market,” adding that AEBi’s “solution will be both generic and personal.” Read: Cervical Cancer Early Symptoms Can Now Be Detected With New Test Considered ‘Better’ Than Pap Smear And HPV Test

The treatment being touted by AEBi uses peptides, a chain of amino acids, to target and kill cancer cells. The treatment is being called MuTaTo as it uses a combination of several cancer-targeting peptides for each cancer cell while it is combined with a strong peptide toxin that would kill cancer cells specifically. AEBi explains that, “By using at least three targeting peptides on the same structure with a strong toxin, we made sure that the treatment will not be affected by mutations; cancer cells can mutate in such a way that targeted receptors are dropped by the cancer.”

“Instead of attacking receptors one at a time, we attack receptors three at a time – not even cancer can mutate three receptors at the same time.”

The company, however, has only tested the treatment in mice so far. Which means it could be years before the treatment reaches the markets across the world. The treatment has been tried on lung cancer cells but Aridor says it works on other types of cancer cells as well.

Courtesy: (latestly.com)