Too much sleeping and sitting as bad as smoking and drinking

The actress Mae West once said, “Too much of a good thing is wonderful!” Unfortunately, in reality, most of the decadent indulgences we pursue — including alcohol and rich foods — are not at all good for us, especially when taken in large quantities.

Now, a new study suggests that indulging in too much sleep and inactivity are also unhealthy. Researchers found that people who spend most of the day sitting and sleeping too much may be as likely to die early as people who smoke or drink too much.

The Sax Institute’s “45 and Up” study included more than 230,000 people in Australia ages 45 and older. For each participant, the researchers counted how many unhealthy behaviors he or she engaged in, including smoking, drinking alcohol, eating unhealthy foods, being physical inactive, exhibiting sedentary behaviors and sleeping too much (which the researchers defined as more than 9 hours per night)




About 30 percent of the participants reported engaging in two or three of the behaviors. After six years, nearly 16,000 people in the study had died.

The researchers found that people who were not physically active were 1.6 times more likely to die than those who were physically active (defined by the study as “undertaking more than 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every week.”)

But the study also showed that the combination of physical inactivity with sedentary behavior, or physical inactivity with too much sleep, were as strongly linked to mortality among the participants as the combination of smoking with heavy drinking.

“Physical inactivity alone had a strong association with mortality,” Melody Ding, lead author on the study and senior research fellow at the Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, told Live Science in an email.

And when people combined physical inactivity with long sleep times and extended periods of sitting, the negative effects were even more dramatic, with the combined risk for death increasing by up to four times as much as in those who were sedentary and slept too much, but at least got some exercise, Ding explained.

The researchers noted they did not incorporate other long-term lifestyle practices or conditions that might have played a part in increasing some participants’ mortality risks. And the participants’ interpretations of their own behaviors and its health impacts could have been faulty, skewing the study’s results.

While the study’s conclusion that healthier behaviors could reduce mortality risk seems like an obvious one, linking risky behaviors together could present new strategies for prolonging life.

“Physical activity is the one factor to address first,” Ding said. If certain combinations of risk behaviors pose more of a threat than risk behaviors on their own, eliminating even one of them is a good choice for overall health.


Source: Foxnews

Middle-aged drinking ‘impairs memory’

Problem drinking in middle age doubles the risk of memory loss in later life, research suggests. A US study found men and women in their 50s and 60s with a history of alcohol abuse were more likely to have memory problems up to two decades later.

The study, in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, adds to growing evidence that excessive drinking can impair mental processing later. Researchers say it is a public health issue that needs to be addressed.

Middle-aged drinking 'impairs memory'

Scientists questioned 6,500 US middle-aged adults about their past alcohol consumption. They were asked three specific questions:

  • Had people annoyed them by criticising their drinking?
  • Had they ever felt guilty or bad about their drinking?
  • Had they ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady nerves or get over a hangover?

Those who answered yes to one of these questions were considered to have a problem with alcohol. They had more than double the risk of developing severe memory impairment, the study found.

“We know that alcohol is bad for the brain in general, but it’s not just how much you drink but how it affects you,” lead researcher, Dr Iain Lang, from the University of Exeter Medical School.

“The amount that you drink is important – what is also important is if you experience any problems in your drinking or if other people tell you you have a problem.”

He advised drinking within recommended daily and weekly amounts and to cut down if affected by any of the items in the questionnaire, as this could increase dementia risk.

Hidden cost
Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society charity, said there was a hidden cost of alcohol abuse, given mounting evidence that alcohol misuse can impact on cognition later in life.

“This small study shows that people who admitted to alcohol abuse at some point in their lives were twice as likely to have severe memory problems, and as the research relied on self-reporting that number may be even higher.

“This isn’t to say that people need to abstain from alcohol altogether. As well as eating a healthy diet, not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight, the odd glass of red wine could even help reduce your risk of developing dementia.”

Dr Eric Karran, science director at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Although studies such as this one can be very useful for observing health trends, it’s important to note that they are not able to show cause and effect, and it’s not clear whether other factors may also have influenced these results.”

Source: bbc news

Alcohol ‘kills 15 Australians each day’, new report finds

Every day, 15 Australians die and 430 are hospitalised as a result of alcohol misuse, according to the Alcohol’s Burden of Disease in Australia report funded by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and VicHealth.

The study by Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre found 5,554 deaths and 157,132 hospitalisations were caused by alcohol in 2010, amounting to a 62 per cent rise in the number of deaths since the last study was conducted in 2000.

Men were significantly more likely to die or be hospitalised as a result of alcohol misuse than women, accounting for 62.4 per cent of alcohol-related deaths a year, and 64.5 per cent of alcohol-related hospitalisations.

Alcohol ‘kills 15 Australians each day’, new report finds

Injuries also accounted for a much greater proportion of alcohol-related deaths in men, at 36 per cent, while cancer and digestive diseases caused 25 and 16 per cent respectively.

Among women, 34 per cent of alcohol-related deaths were due to heart disease, followed by cancers (31 per cent) and injuries (12 per cent).

The results for the Northern Territory — where residents are three times more likely to die from alcohol use than other Australians — were particularly concerning.

Lead researcher Belinda Lloyd said the study made it clear that alcohol posed both short- and long-term risks to health.

“Increasingly people are aware of the risks of things like drink driving and violence,” Dr Lloyd said. “People tend to be less aware of the long-term risks of chronic alcohol consumption, which is any more than two standard drinks a day.

“These can include cancers, digestive diseases and cardiovascular diseases.”

source: the australian

Alcohol kills millions a year, WHO says


The World Health Organization is calling on governments around the world to take tougher action, in a new report that says alcohol is killing or contributing to the deaths of 3.3 million people a year.

“More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption,” Dr. Oleg Chestnov, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health said in a statement Monday, to coincide with the release of a new report.

In its “Global status report on alcohol and health 2014”, the WHO notes that alcohol can not only lead to violence and injuries, it also increases the risk of more than 200 diseases, including liver cirrhosis and several types of cancers.

The report found that 7.6 per cent of men’s deaths around the world are related to alcohol, as are 4 per cent of women’s deaths. The authors say they are also concerned about the steady increase in alcohol among women.

Alcohol causes death and disability relatively early in life, the report says. Approximately 25 per cent of deaths among those aged age group 20 to 39 can be attributed to alcohol.

The report found that on average, every person in the world over the age of 15 drinks 6.2 litres of pure alcohol per year. But since less than half the world’s population drinks at all — 38.3 per cent — those who do drink consume 17 litres of pure alcohol a year, on average.

“We found that worldwide about 16 per cent of drinkers engage in heavy episodic drinking – often referred to as ‘binge-drinking’ — which is the most harmful to health,” explains Dr Shekhar Saxena, director for Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO.

Globally, Europe has the highest consumption of alcohol per capita. South-East Asia and the Western Pacific are seeing increases in consumption, while in the Americas and Africa, consumption trends are stable.

The report notes that some of the 194 countries it reviewed already have several measures in place to try to protect people from the risks of alcohol. But many don’t have national awareness activities to remind citizens of the risks of drinking. And many more don’t have national policies aimed at reducing the harmful use of alcohol.

The report says all governments have a responsibility to implement and enforce public policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, including:    regulating the sale of alcohol, in particular to younger people enacting drink-driving policies

  •     reducing demand through taxation and pricing
  •     raising awareness of public health problems caused by harmful use of alcohol
  •     providing affordable treatment for people with alcohol-use disorders

Source: ctv news

One bottle wine a day keeps the doctor away!


Scientists have revealed that a bottle of wine a day is not bad for the health and abstaining is worse than drinking.
Former World Health Organisation expert has claimed that alcohol is only harmful when it is consumed 13 units in a day, the Independent reported.

Kari Poikolainen, who has analysed decades of research into the effects of alcohol on the human body, revealed that drinking more than the current recommended daily intake may in fact be healthier than being a teetotaler.

Poikolainen added that the weight of the evidence shows moderate drinking is better than abstaining and heavy drinking is worse than abstaining, but moderate amounts can be higher than the guidelines say

Source: Yahoo news


Anti-Seizure Drug Ezogabine may Help Reduce Alcohol Consumption


Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine have found that the anti-seizure drug ezogabine could potentially help in the road to recovery from alcoholism.

This is the latest study to first show that alcoholism can be effectively treated by this newly discovered mechanism that assists in regulating brain activity known as the Kv7 channel modulation.

“This finding is of importance because ezogabine acts by opening a particular type of potassium channel in the brain, called the Kv7 channel, which regulates activity in areas of the brain that are believed to regulate the rewarding effects of alcohol,” said lead study author Clifford Knapp, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at university, via a press release. “This research indicates that drugs that open Kv7 channels might be of value in the treatment of alcoholism.”

Researchers said that with more studies, they can better understand the effects of the drug and just how it influences actions of Kv7 channels.
“Because of the close proximity of the doses at which ezogabine reduces drinking and those at which it is reported to produce motor impairment, it is still important to continue to investigate how selective the actions of ezogabine are on the neuronal mechanisms that control alcohol consumption,” Knapp concluded.

Source: Science world report

Alcohol-Related Brain Damage


It’s hardly a secret that alcohol affects the brain — its initial effects include wobbly walking, blurred vision, and slurred speech. But although drinking in moderation isn’t necessarily harmful, and can even help with creativity, researchers in the UK are warning that the long-term effects of drinking may go further than the liver, affecting the brain in more permanent ways.

The report, “All in the Mind,” from Alcohol Concern Cymru, a charity based in London, is a supposed “wake up call” for both the public and health care providers. It highlights the dangers of alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD), an umbrella term for a range of conditions resulting from long-term drinking. These include confusion, poor concentration, memory loss, and depression, as well as other issues that may arise from drinking, like traumatic brain injuries (from falling while drunk) and ophthalmoplegia — a weakness or paralysis of the eye.

Many of these problems are also characteristics of a disease known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS), a debilitating and long-lasting syndrome that actually consists of two separate conditions, according to the National Institutes of Health. One of them, known as Wernicke’s encephalopathy, is defined by mental confusion, eye paralysis, and problems with muscle coordination — oftentimes not altogether. Korsakoff’s psychosis is the other condition, characterized by persistent learning and memory problems.

“Most of us know that alcohol can damage our liver, but the fact that it could undermine our long-term brain function is much less well-known,” said Andrew Misell, director of Alcohol Concern Cymru, in a statement. “And when alcohol-related brain damage is on the radar, the focus is often on older street drinkers. But staff on the frontline have been seeing younger people, and other people who don’t fit the stereotype of a homeless dependent drinker, coming in with ARBD. … We hope this paper will be a wake-up call for all of us who drink.”

Alcohol Concern says that while moderation is key, many people instead go through periods during which they drink heavily, then abstain. The charity notes that vitamin deficiency is a major contributor to ARBD — 80 percent of alcoholics are vitamin deficient — and suggests increasing intake of vitamin B1, also called thiamine, which can be given through injections or pills

Source: medical daily

Shun snacks that affect a good night’s sleep

Do some bedtime snacks help you sleep better? Perhaps not.

Several studies suggest that eating a small snack a few hours before bedtime may help you sleep by preventing hunger from waking you.

But are there snacks that guarantee you sleep?

Some people say that cereal with milk, peanut butter on toast, and cheese with crackers are good bedtime snacks because they combine carbohydrates with protein.

The theory is based on the fact that tryptophan, an amino acid, makes you sleepy.

A new research done on the sedating effects of tryptophan needed up to 15 grams of tryptophan to create an effect.

And you would need to eat more than a pound of turkey to get just one gram of tryptophan!

To get a good night’s sleep, it is more important to avoid foods like high-fat foods, garlic-flavoured and highly spiced foods, alcohol, caffeine and any beverages before bed, reported.

Other than foods, sticking to a regular bedtime and wake time schedule helps keep you in sync with your body’s circadian clock, a 24-hour internal rhythm affected by sunlight.

Try not to nap too much during the day – you might be less sleepy at night.

Exercise at regular times each day. Try to finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime, said the report.

Source: DNA India

Vodka to blame for early deaths of Russian men: study

Russians may toast with the words “Na zdorovie” — “to your health” — but a new study finds that many Russian men are often literally drinking themselves to death.

Russian men who drink three bottles of vodka a week double their risk of dying over the next 20 years, the study shows. It helps explain why Russian men have one of the lowest life expectancies in the world — 64 compared to 76 for U.S. men.

“Vodka (or other strong alcoholic drink) is a major cause of death in Russia,” the team of Russian and British researchers report in the Lancet medical journal.

But controls meant to limit drinking seem to be helping, they added. “Russian death rates have fluctuated wildly over the past 30 years as alcohol restrictions and social stability varied under Presidents Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and Putin, and the main thing driving these wild fluctuations in death was vodka,” British cancer expert Richard Peto of the University of Oxford, who worked on the study, said in a statement.

David Zaridze of the Russian Cancer Research Center in Moscow and colleagues interviewed 200,000 people in three Siberian cities, Barnaul, Byisk, and Tomsk, over 10 years from 1999 to 2008. These cities reflect the average Russian population, they said. They asked them about drinking habits and health, and then looked to see who died and when.

The clearest pattern was among male smokers, who also happened to be the heaviest drinkers. They cleared out anyone who already had some disease when interviewed, and came up with 57,000 men. Men aged 35 to 54 who drank less than a bottle of vodka a week had a 16 percent percent chance of dying of anything over the next 20 years. But this rose to 20 percent for men who drank one to three bottles a week and to 35 percent for those who admitted drinking three or more bottles a week.

Most men did drink a bottle or less a week, but 2,842 said they drank three or more bottles every week. “Since 2005, Russian consumption of spirits and male mortality before age 55 years both decreased by about a third but are still substantial,” the researchers noted.

Heavy drinking can cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, liver failure and other diseases, and drinkers are more likely to die in acccidents or to be murdered. And people who drink and smoke together raise their disease risk even more.

The researchers checked to see if maybe drinking just a little was good for health — other studies in other countries show a few drinks a week can be good for you — but there wasn’t enough data to say if this was true in Russia.

Binge-drinking is a problem in the United States, also, although not as bad.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 38 million Americans binge drink, defined as quaffing four or more alcoholic beverages in a single bout.

Source: NBC news

Heavy drinking may ‘increase skin cancer risk by more than half

Heavy drinking can increase the risk of developing the deadliest form of skin cancer by more than half, researchers have warned.

Downing three or four drinks a day does more than make us careless about getting sunburnt, it causes biological changes which make the body more sensitive to sun, they say.

Even one drink a day can raise the chance of getting melanoma by 20 per cent; for heavier drinkers the risk is raised by 55 per cent.

Researcher Dr Eva Negri said the mix of UV rays and alcohol damaged the body’s immune responses.

She added: ‘This can lead to far greater cellular damage and subsequently cause skin cancers to form.

‘This study aimed to quantify the extent to which the melanoma risk is increased with alcohol intake and we hope that, armed with this knowledge, people can better protect themselves.’

The warnings, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, are based on a review of 16 other studies and 6,251 cases of melanoma.

The researchers admit they do not know exactly how drinking increases the cancer risk. But they found alcohol is turned into a chemical called acetaldehyde soon after it is consumed and that makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight.

Leading dermatologist Prof Chris Bunker said: ‘Brits haven’t always been known for their moderation when it comes to either alcohol or the sun but this research provides people with further information to make informed choices about their health.’

Source: Metro news