People in debt suffer from mental health problems

People in debt are more than three times more likely to suffer from a mental health problem than those who are not in debt, a new study has revealed.

Researchers from the University of Southampton, along with a researcher from Kingston University, carried out a systematic review on all previous research which looked at the relationship between health problems and unsecured debt.

They conducted a ‘meta-analysis’, the first time this has been done on the issue, to statistically combine the results of previous studies involving nearly 34,000 participants.

Less than nine per cent of participants with no mental health problems were in debt, compared to more than a quarter of participants being in debt and with a mental health problem.

The team found that those in debt were also more likely to suffer from depression, drug dependence and psychosis and the results also suggested that those who die by suicide are more likely to be in debt.

Dr Thomas Richardson, Clinical Psychologist from the University of Southampton who led the research, said that the research showed a strong relationship between debt and mental health; however it is hard to say which causes which at this stage. It might be that debt leads to worse mental health due to the stress it causes. It may also be that those with mental health problems are more prone to debt because of other factors, such as erratic employment. Equally it might be that the relationship works both ways.

The study is published online in Clinical Psychology Review.

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Why some people remain lean and others obese

Researchers have said that becoming obese or remaining lean can depend on the dynamics of the mitochondria, the body’s energy-producing “battery.”

Mitochondria are vital cellular organelles that generate and maintain proper energy levels in complex organisms. Using animal models, the Yale research team studied mitochondria in different populations of brain cells known to be involved in the regulation of appetite.

The team found that during the transition from a fasting to an over-fed state, mitochondria in neurons that promote hunger show dynamic changes that are the opposite of those found in neurons that control feelings of fullness.

Lead author Tamas Horvath, the Jean and David W. Wallace Professor of Biomedical Research and chair of comparative medicine at Yale School of Medicine, said that they have found that mitochondrion need to have ongoing dynamic plasticity in order to support neurons, which are necessary for appetite and for the maintenance of life.

Horvath asserted that if these dynamic events – during which the mitochondria fuse to become more effective in generating energy – are disrupted, mitochondria become static, appetite-stimulating neurons become less active, and animals do not develop obesity when exposed to high-fat, high-calorie diets.

Yale co-lead author Marcelo O. Dietrich, M.D., said these same cellular events have different consequences in neurons that promote feelings of fullness. These consequences were described in a separate paper in the same issue of Cell, co-authored by Dietrich, Horvath, and a research team in Spain.

The study showed that similar molecular drivers control mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum interactions and related stress. If the cellular events are disrupted in these mitochondria, animals become morbidly obese.

The study has been published in the journal Cell.

Source: ANI


Simple blood test diagnoses Parkinson’s disease

A new research report appearing in the December issue of the FASEB Journal ( shows how scientists from the United Kingdom have developed a simple blood test to detect Parkinson’s disease even at the earliest stages. The test is possible because scientists found a substance in the blood, called “phosphorylated alpha-synuclein,” which is common in people with Parkinson’s disease, and then developed a way to identify its presence in our blood.

“A blood test for Parkinson’s disease would mean you could find out if a person was in danger of getting the disease, before the symptoms started,” said David Allsop, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences and the School of Health and Medicine at the University of Lancaster, in Lancaster, UK. “This would help the development of medicines that could protect the brain, which would be better for the quality of life and future health of older people.”

To develop the blood test for Parkinson’s disease, Allsop and colleagues studied a group of people diagnosed with the disease and a second group of healthy people of a similar age. Blood samples from each group were analyzed to determine the levels of phosphorylated alpha-synuclein present. They found those with Parkinson’s disease had increased levels of the substance. Based upon these findings, researchers developed a blood test that detects the presence of phosphorylated alpha-synuclein, which could allow for diagnosis of the disease well before symptoms appear but when brain damage has already begun to occur.

“When most people think of Parkinson’s disease, they think of the outward symptoms, such as involuntary movements,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal, “but many people with Parkinson’s also develop neurological problems that may be more difficult to detect right away. Having a blood test not only helps doctors rule out other possible causes of the outward symptoms, but it also allows for early detection which can help patients and their caregivers prepare for the possibility of the mental, emotional, and behavioral problems that the disease can cause.”


Portable devices save lives in sudden cardiac arrests

“An AED, if used during a cardiac arrest within the first 4-6 minutes, can save more than 95 percent of lives

Nimit Ahuja, a 35-year old software professional, was shopping at a mall when he suddenly collapsed. He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. He had suffered from what doctors call a sudden cardiac arrest.

Cardiologists say young lives like these can be saved if there are facilities like Automated External Defibrillators (AED) available at public places in India. An AED is a portable device that can automatically diagnose a sudden cardiac arrest and help save life with the press of a button. It sends an electric shock to the heart to restore its normal rhythm and bring a person back from the verge of death.

“An AED, if used during a cardiac arrest within the first 4-6 minutes, can save more than 95 percent of lives,” Bipin Kumar Dubey, director, department of cardiology in the Rockland group of hospitals, told IANS.

“There should be at least one AED available at all public spaces like shopping malls and airports. The government should make it mandatory for builders to set up at least one AED in all public buildings,” he said.

Doctors said Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death and account for greater than 50 percent of cardiovascular deaths in India. More than 660,000 deaths occur every year in India alone as a result of SCA.

The SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

Experts said people who have heart disease are at a higher risk for SCA. SCA can however happen in people who appear healthy and have no known heart disease or other risk factors like hypertension.

Ram E. Rajagopalan in the department of critical care medicine in Sundaram Medical Foundation of Chennai said if an AED is used on a patient suffering with a sudden cardiac arrest his chances of survival will grow by more than 60 percent.

“We definitely need the common man to be aware of what an AED is, as anyone anywhere with access to an AED can save a life,” Rajagopalan told IANS.

Lamenting that very few people know how to respond to emergency situations like SCAs in India, Anil Bansal, chief cardiologist at Columbia Asia Hospital in Gurgaon, said people have to be trained to use an AED.

“The need of the hour is to make AED devices available at all public spaces and to train people on how to use them,” he added.

A recent study in medical journal Lancet said that by 2010, 60 percent of the world’s heart patients would be in India.

As per World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, mortality due to cardiac causes has overtaken mortality due to all cancers put together across the world.

Source : Zee News

Opportunities, risks seen with dermatology apps

Opportunities, risks seen with dermatology apps

Mobile dermatology applications may help people learn about UV rays or keep tabs on their moles, but they are not a substitute for seeing a doctor, researchers said Wednesday.

They searched online stores and found over 200 dermatology apps, half of them made for non-doctors. Those included sunscreen recommendation guides, mole photo storage apps and tools meant to help diagnose melanoma.

“I am very hopeful that these applications will increase access to medical knowledge,” Dr. Robert Dellavalle, a dermatologist at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, said.

However, “The biggest concerns are people getting the wrong information,” Dellavalle, the study’s senior author, told Reuters Health. Only a few of the apps were clearly made by medical professionals, the researchers noted.

The study follows an announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday that it will regulate a subset of medical apps intended for doctors.

Those include apps that can “be used as an accessory to a regulated medical device,” such as one that would allow a doctor to make a diagnosis based on a photo sent via the app.

For their study, Dellavalle and his colleagues searched the Apple, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows app stores for products related to dermatology. They found 209 apps, including 10 with at least 35 reviews at the time.

The most frequently reviewed apps made for the general public included Ultraviolet ~ UV Index (, SPF (, iSore ( and SpotMole (

Of those, Ultraviolet ~ UV Index currently has the highest reviewer ranking at between 4 and 5 on a 5-star scale. The app shows the UV index for the user’s current location.

SPF calculates how much time a user can be in the sun based on skin type and UV index, and iSore has a directory of skin conditions with a “graphic picture” and treatment information. SpotMole is designed to check photos of moles for signs of cancer.

About half of the apps were free. The rest cost an average of $2.99, the researchers reported Wednesday in JAMA Dermatology.

They said both patients and doctors should “maintain a healthy sense of skepticism” when it comes to using dermatology apps. That is especially true for apps that claim to help spot conditions such as skin cancer and could delay a real diagnosis.

For instance, a recent review of smartphone apps that use algorithms to analyze skin lesions found they weren’t always good at predicting which ones were cancerous (see Reuters Health story of January 16, 2013 here:


Some of the most promising apps are ones that connect patients in remote areas to dermatologists, such as through video chats, Dr. Karen Edison, a dermatologist from the University of Missouri in Columbia, said.

The researchers found eight of those so-called tele-dermatology apps.

Dermatologists are in short supply in many parts of the country, Edison, who wasn’t involved in the new research, said.

“I think it’s time to use technology to make us more available,” she told Reuters Health.

“I support the use of technology in getting access to dermatology expertise for patients who would not otherwise have access to that expertise as well as for convenience for patients … if it can be done in a high-quality way that takes patient safety into account.”

She said it’s important for doctors evaluating remote patients to know if they have access to medication or can see a dermatologist in person to do a biopsy, if necessary. That means an app that relies just on sending pictures and diagnoses back and forth, for instance, isn’t likely to be very helpful, Edison said.

Dellavalle said the world of dermatology apps is currently a “buyer-beware atmosphere.”

He recommended patients cross-reference information they get from apps with other resources and talk with their doctor before making any treatment decisions based on apps.


5 Exercises You Should Never Do

Think Twice Before Trying These 5 Moves

1. Behind-the-Head Lat Pulldowns
In the “old days,” people were actually taught to pull the bar behind their heads when doing a lat pulldown exercise—and many people still do that today. Bad idea. The problem? Only people with extremely flexible shoulder joints can do this behind-the-head movement safely, and even they have to be very careful about not hitting the back of their necks with the bar. In addition, almost anyone who spends their days deskbound is likely to have rounded shoulders or poor posture—a symptom of poor shoulder flexibility (among other things), making this exercise a no-no.

The Alternative: You can still work your lats without the risk of behind-the-head pulldowns by pulling the bar down in front of you. Sit with your spine straight, abs pulled in, and then lean your torso back slightly, keeping your spine straight. Pull the bar down towards your chest, but not below your collar bone.

2. Squats or Leg Presses with Deep Knee Bends
Whether you’re doing basic squats on your own or using a leg press machine, it can be very dangerous to bend your knees too deeply. The Problem? When your knees bend too deeply, your spine cannot maintain proper alignment. When that happens, the pelvis tilts and the lower back begins to take over, increasing the risk of strain to your lower back muscles or damage to spinal discs. In addition, bending your knees too deeply can injure or damage your knees, especially if you have knee problems.

The Alternatives: Squats and leg presses are generally safe and effective when done properly. But you should never bend your knees or hips more than 90 degrees during these exercises. Here’s an example of proper form when doing a leg press machine, but this can apply to squats with a barbell, and the sled machine, too.

3. Seated Leg Extensions
This is a very popular exercise for targeting the muscles on the front of your thighs (quadriceps). The Problem? This exercise poses major risks to the knees. Lifting heavy weights in this position (with all the resistance focused at your ankles), is not what the knee was designed to do. If you have any kind of knee problem, or use a too much resistance during this exercise, you can easily run into big trouble.

The Alternatives: Simple squats and lunges, with or without added weight, will work your thigh muscles naturally, safely and effectively. If you want to expand on these exercises (to develop explosive force for sports like soccer, basketball, or volleyball, for example), try sport-specific plyometrics. If you can’t do lunges and squats because you lack the leg strength, start with simple ball squats or modified “mini” lunges, and only lower yourself part way, gradually increasing your range of motion as you get stronger.

4. Inner and Outer Thigh Machine Exercises
These machines are pretty popular in most gyms. Both involve sitting with your knees bent in front of you. The adduction machine is designed to target the muscles of the inner thighs, and the abduction machine helps target the outer thigh muscles. The Problem? Using your inner and outer thighs to lift weight while in a seated position puts you at risk of straining these relatively small muscles and aggravating lower back and hip problems. In addition, your inner and outer thigh muscles are designed to support movement, not to be prime movers like they are in these types of exercises.

The Alternatives: The best way to target these muscles safely is with body weight exercises, such as standing adduction, standing abduction, lying adduction and abduction exercises, Pilates exercises, or similar movements that use resistance bands or the cable cross machines. Always start with a weight you know you can handle, and add resistance gradually.

5. Upright Rows
In this exercise, you stand holding a barbell or weight in the center, with hands close together, and bring your hands up under your chin. The Problem? Upright rows are controversial because the movement can compress the nerves in the shoulder area, impinging the shoulder.

The Alternatives: Instead of standing to perform an upright row, try bent-over rows, bending forward 90 degrees at the hip, holding weight down beneath your shoulders with hands slightly more than shoulder width apart, then lift weight straight up towards your chest until elbows and shoulders form a straight line. You can also try front or lateral shoulder raises, using a modest weight, so that you don’t need to lean back or use momentum for assistance.


5 Cooking Mistakes That Pack on Pounds

It’s no tip that grill dishes are installed with dark mixture and calories. That’s because home-cooked dishes are a good thought for anyone examination their weight. Conquering a kitchen is a good initial step, though if we haven’t eaten out in months and a scale still won’t budge, it competence be time to take a closer demeanour during your cooking habits. Below a few mistakes that could be derailing your weight-loss plans.

Using too most oil
yes, olive oil is a ‘good’ fat. But a kitchen tack is also crazy-dense calorie correct – a singular tablespoon clocks in during 120 calories. That might not sound like a lot, though if you’re not profitable attention, it’s easy to use as most as 3 times that amount. Sticking to that singular tablespoon stipend can be generally tough with vegetables, given they tend to catch oil quickly. A useful trick, lightly steam your veggies (or protein) to prepare them by before adding them to a stir-fry.

Estimating portion sizes
We all know a significance of portion control, though during a finish of a prolonged day, holding a time to magnitude any part out can seem painfully time consuming. Instead, we eyeball portion sizes – a use that could potentially supplement hundreds of dark calories to an differently healthy meal. Avoid profitable a cost for weeknight indolence by holding a time to unequivocally learn what healthy portions of grains, fish and produce demeanour like.

Being a worker to a recipe
If we miss certainty in a kitchen, it’s tantalizing to follow recipes to a T. But by blindly adhering to a part list, you’re blank out on profitable opportunities to make healthy tweaks. For example, if a recipe calls for one crater of cream, try substituting half of that with greek yogurt, or even pureed avocado. This simple swap cuts calories and fat but sacrificing on hardness or taste.

Snacking while we prep
Resisting a titillate to taste-test while prepping your food can seem impossible, generally when you’re starving. And while a small snacking never killed anyone, a handful of walnuts here and a cut of avocado there can unequivocally supplement up. To equivocate ruining your ardour (and your meal) try nipping resin or sipping a potion of  sparkling H2O while we cook. Still munching? Time for some tough love: for each punch we take, put a small reduction on your plate.

Leaving leftovers adult for grabs
Picture this: cooking was delicious, you’re absolutely full and we know we should be satisfied. That is, until we go to do a dishes, and a pot of pasta on a stove starts job your name. Preempt a incentive to go in for a second assisting by putting leftovers divided as shortly as possible. In this case, that aged proverb binds loyal – out of sight, out of mind.


NY 5 year old girl, saves mom’s life

A 5-year-old Long Island girl is credited with saving her mother’s life.

Authority’s say Jillian Given was “calm and collected” when she dialed 911 and told a dispatcher her mother was diabetic and had passed out.

Jillian told the dispatcher she was 5 years old and had tried to call her father but didn’t get him.

The incident occurred on Sept. 16.

She said her mother, Elisabeth Given, was breathing but not awake.

Nesconset fire department assistant chief John Martins tells Newsday he’s never seen a 5 year old “as well-versed and as calm as she was.”

Given is a registered nurse and diabetes educator. She says she had coached Jillian on emergencies.

The family on Wednesday thanked officials who responded to Jillian’s call.


Bionic Man: Controls Artificial Leg with his Thoughts

For the first time ever, doctors have developed an artificial leg that is controlled by the person’s thoughts. And it happened here at the Rehabilitation Institute Of Chicago (RIC).

“So I move my leg out, push the toes down and bring my toes back up,” said Zac Vawter, the first man in the nation to have a so-called bionic leg.

He is able to make these movements just like people with a fully functioning leg do: With his thoughts.

In 2009, Vawter lost his right leg from above the knee down in a motorcycle accident. His bionic leg allows him to bend his knee and move his ankle. “It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s neat. It’s intuitive. It puts energy into me walking and moving around.” With a regular prosthetic leg, movement like this isn’t possible.

So how does this all work?

Two nerves in Vawter’s leg were rewired to his hamstring muscle.  Those nerves communicate with the sensors inside the prosthetic leg socket. The sensors send a message to a computer. “So when he thinks about straightening or bending his knee, this computer can detect that and tell the knee to bend or to straighten,” Dr. Annie Simon, Biomedical Engineer at the RIC.

A team, headed by Dr. Levi Hargrove, spent four years perfecting the technology Vawter is using. “He’s giving back so much,” Hargrove said. “He’s taken a less than ideal situation and made the most of it and he’s helping potentially, millions of people.”

Vawter, a software engineer, knew about RIC’s bionic research. He never thought one day, that technology would be used to help him walk.

“RIC is really pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with prosthetics and it’s exciting to contribute to that and to help them push forward into new areas of research,” Vawter said.

RIC research is funded through an $8 million grant from the U.S. Army with a goal of creating better prosthetic limbs.

More than 1,200 soldiers have had lower limb amputations from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Baby Sunscreen Recall: Revealed Microbial Contamination

The number one selling sunscreen in the U.S. natural markets, W.S. Badger Company, has voluntarily recalled 30,000 of its baby and kids’ sunscreen lotions because of potential disease-causing bacteria.

On Monday, the New Hampshire company announced in a press release that it is recalling all lots of its 4-oz. SPF 30 Baby Sunscreen Lotion and one lot of its 4-oz. SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Lotion (lot # 3164A) due to three types of microbial contamination: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida parapsilosis, and Acremonium fungi.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Pseudomonas is one of the most common pathogens that typically develops in people in the hospital and/or with weakened immune systems. Healthy people can be exposed to Pseudomonas aeruginosa, especially after exposure to water. In children, ear infections and skin rashes may occur.

A Candida parapsilosis infection is typically caused by a yeast and mainly affects children, infants, and those with a weak immune system. Acremonium fungus is a slow-growing mold that may lead to opportunistic infections, such as herpes simplex, lymphoma, and pneumonia.

Badger Founder and CEO Bill Whyte explained that the voluntarily recall came after doing a routine re-testing of the organic children’s products. “All of these lots passed the required microbiological and comprehensive challenge testing prior to sale. It was during routine re-testing that we discovered that the preservative system in several lots had been compromised,” Whyte said in the press release.

Source: Medical