Saturday, December 26, 2015

How Does Mobile App Link Less Sleep To More Eating?

Smartphone has become an indispensable tool for many of us because a smartphone has apps for almost everything. One can use these apps to do many things, for instance, to check weather, to communicate with friends or to take and edit pictures. There are many health and fitness apps, too. One such food-related app called myCircaidianclock was created to collect, analyze, and interpret food data so as to aid research about when humans ate.

In a small study conducted by researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, more than 150 volunteers were asked to use the app (myCircaidianclock) to snap pictures of everything they ate and drank over a period of 3 weeks. These volunteers were healthy males and females between the ages of 21 and 55 who were not actively managing their diet and who did not go through any weight loss program in the past 6 months.

Most participants consumed food and drinks over about 15 hours of the day, taking in less than 25 percent of their calories before noon and more than 35 percent after 6 p.m. While most people think they just eat 3 meals and a snack or 2 within a 10-12 hour window, the researchers found the majority eat and drink over a very long time.

Eating or drinking over a longer stretch of waking hours and consuming more calories at night could confuse the body’s biological clock and might cause people to be obese and develop diabetes, fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, and even heart disease and stroke.

Based on the snapshots recorded, the researchers discovered what and when the volunteers ate, and under what circumstances. Their analysis showed that coffee was more common in the morning, while alcohol was more likely to appear at night. Tea was drunk throughout the day, and images of chocolate and candy made regular appearances from about 10 a.m. onward.

The app was also tested to see if it might help people eat less by encouraging them to consume food and drink over a shorter period of the day. 8 overweight people who tended to eat over more than 14 hours of the day were asked to cut back to 10 to 11 hours. After 16 weeks, these people lost about 3.5 percent of their excess body weight and reported sleeping better.

Unfortunately, the study was too small to draw any broad conclusions, acknowledged by researchers in their paper published online September 24, 2015 in ‘Cell Metabolism’. Though the study was not designed to prove if mobile apps or other forms of food tracking can actually help weight loss, the findings did build on a large body of research linking self-monitoring of dietary habits to weight loss.

Compared to paper diaries, smartphones can make self-monitoring easy. Mobile apps might also provide more real-time reminders in reaction to pictures or data supplied by dieters. Nevertheless, these tools still rely on people’s own motivation to interact with the technology.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - How Would Smoking Worsen Diabetes Complications?

Cigarette smoking has been known to be a risk factor of Type-2 diabetes. A study that was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology pointed out that smoking 16 to 25 cigarettes a day raises the risk for Type 2 diabetes to 3 times that of a non-smoker. Moreover, diabetics who also smoke are more likely than nonsmokers to have trouble with insulin dosing and with controlling their disease. More detail can be found at:

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Effect of Smoke-Free Laws On Youth Smoking Behaviors

Almost every organ of the body can be harmed by smoking, which will cause many diseases including heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). More importantly, smoking will not only harm smokers themselves but also people around them.

Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States, as shown in the figures for 2014 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 42,000 of these deaths came from secondhand smoke exposure. That is why governments around the world have tried all means to curb smoking. One way to do this is to implement smoke-free laws.

Smoke-free laws for public spaces initially aimed to prevent secondhand smoke exposure. But a 11-year study indicated that smoke-free laws in workplaces were linked to a lower likelihood that adolescents and young adults would start to smoke, and smoke-free bar laws were associated with fewer days of smoking for youth who had already started. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of California and published online September 8, 2015 in journal ‘JAMA Pediatrics’. The study was funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute and National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth from 1997 to 2007 was used to analyze the effect of smoke-free laws on individual smoking behaviors of 4,098 teens and young adults who aged between 12 and 18.

The youth were asked whether they had ever smoked in 1997, and in later years were asked whether they had smoked since the last interview. Those who were smokers reported on how many of the previous 30 days they had smoked. The answers obtained were compared to the state level cigarette taxes, and smoke-free laws at the state, county and city levels.

It seemed that smoke-free bar laws did not affect whether or not the youth would start smoking, but smoke-free workplace laws lowered the odds of smoking initiation by 34 percent. Taxes were linked to a lower percentage of new smokers but not current smokers among adolescents and young adults. Each 10-cent increase in cigarette taxes would decrease the likelihood that a youth would start smoking by 3.5 percent. Meanwhile, youths living in areas with 100 percent smoke-free bar laws were 20 percent less likely to be smokers and current smokers smoked 15 percent fewer days per month than those not covered by such laws.

There has been conflict between groups pushing for smoke-free laws and those concerned with youth smoking initiation. But the new findings indicated that there is really no conflict: Smoke free policies can be prevention policies too! According to researchers, policymakers should combine smoke-free laws and cigarette taxes so as to have the maximum effect.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Are Diet And Exercise Best For Diabetes Prevention?

Diabetics are at a higher risk of developing many diseases including blindness and kidney failure, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Diabetes can also cause mild to severe nerve damage, and trigger diabetes-related circulation problems that often leads to the loss of a leg or foot. Fortunately, Type-2 diabetes is preventable. More details at:

Friday, December 11, 2015

Why Should Air Pollution Be Controlled?

When the air is physically, biologically or chemically contaminated either indoor or outdoor, the air is said to be polluted. Air pollution occurs when any harmful gases, dust, smoke enters into the atmosphere and makes it hard for plants, animals and humans to survive.

Air pollution can cause depletion of ozone layer, global warming and acid rain as well as many health problems. It is known to create several respiratory and heart conditions along with cancer. Millions of people die because of direct or indirect effects of air pollution. According to a recent study, air pollution currently causes 3.3 million premature deaths a year globally, and it will kill up to 6.6 million a year worldwide by 2050.

Researchers from The Cyprus Institute, Energy, Environment and Water Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Cyprus University of Technology and King Saud University, College of Science published their findings online September 16, 2015 in the journal ‘Nature’.

China has the most air pollution fatalities with 1.4 million deaths a year, followed by India with 645,000 and Pakistan with 110,000. The United States, with 54,905 deaths in 2010 from soot and smog, ranks 7th highest for air pollution deaths.

By combining a global atmospheric chemistry model with population data and health statistics, the researchers estimated the relative contribution of different kinds of outdoor air pollution, mainly from so-called fine particulate matter, to premature deaths.

Their results indicated that in India and China, for example, the emissions from heating and cooking, have the largest number of death, while in much of the United States and a few other countries, emissions from traffic and power generation are crucial. In the eastern United States and in Europe, Russia and East Asia, agricultural emissions are the biggest source of the kind of fine particulate matter that gets into people's lungs, causing illness, disability and death. The study has highlighted a need to have air quality control, particularly in heavily populated parts of Asia.

Heart disease, stroke or a lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are the common causes of death associated with air pollution. Air pollution is also linked to deaths from lung cancer and acute respiratory infections. Research showed that air pollution triggers heart attack even when levels are rated as safe. Exposure to pollutants can raise the risk of heart attack by up to 5 percent, with the effects being felt within a day, according to evidence presented at the European Society for Cardiology Congress 2015 held from August 29 to September 2 in London.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Effect Of Saturated Fats On Heart Disease

Other studies conducted in the past could not find any differences in heart disease risk when saturated fats were replaced by carbohydrates. Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts and other institutes believe this is because the studies did not distinguish between types of carbohydrates. Click the following link for more details: