HDL or good cholesterol can be life threatening, says a new study

Contrary to claims that good cholesterol is beneficial to the heart, a new study has showed that very high levels may be associated with an increased risk of heart attack and death.

The findings showed that people with high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good) cholesterol levels of 41-60 mg/dl (milligrams per decilitre) had the lowest risk of heart attack or cardiovascular death.

However, the risk increased in people with low levels (less than 41 mg/dl) as well as very high levels (greater than 60 mg/dl) of HDL cholesterol.

People with HDL cholesterol levels greater than 60 mg/dl had a nearly 50 per cent increased risk of dying from a cardiovascular cause or having a heart attack compared to those with HDL cholesterol levels 41-60 mg/dl.

“It may be time to change the way we view HDL cholesterol. Traditionally, physicians have told their patients that the higher your ‘good’ cholesterol, the better,” said Marc Allard-Ratick, from the Emory University in Atlanta, US.

“However, the results from this study and others suggest that this may no longer be the case,” he added.

The bad effects of very high HDL cholesterol were consistent even after controlling other risk factors for heart disease such as diabetes, smoking, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad) cholesterol, as well as other factors such as alcohol intake, race, and sex.

HDL cholesterol has been considered “good” because the HDL molecule is involved in the transport of cholesterol from the blood and blood vessel walls to the liver and ultimately out of the

body, thereby reducing the risk of clogged arteries and atherosclerosis, the researchers explained.

The study investigated the relationship between HDL cholesterol levels and the risk of heart attack and death in 5,965 individuals, most of whom had heart disease.

The results were presented at the ESC Congress 2018, the annual conference of the European Society of Cardiology in Munich, Germany.


Low muscle strength linked to premature death, says study

Individuals with weaker muscles do not typically live as long as their stronger peers, and are 50 per cent more likely to die earlier, finds a study.

According to researchers, muscle strength may be an even more important predictor of overall health and longevity than muscle mass.

In addition, hand grip strength specifically has been found to be inversely related to mobility limitations and disability.

However, despite being a relatively simple and cost-effective test, grip strength measurement is not currently part of most routine physicals, they said.

“Maintaining muscle strength throughout life-and especially in later life-is extremely important for longevity and ageing independently,” said lead researcher Kate Duchowny, post-doctoral student at the University of California-San Francisco.

The study, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, highlights the importance of integrating grip strength measurements into routine care-not just for older adults but even in midlife.

“Having hand grip strength be an integral part of routine care would allow for earlier interventions, which could lead to increased longevity and independence for individuals,” Duchowny said.

For the study, the team analysed data of 8,326 men and women, aged 65 and older.

After adjusting for socio-demographic factors, chronic health conditions and smoking history, the results showed that people with low muscle strength are 50 per cent more likely to die earlier.


School Teachers Can Help Increase Physical Activity In Kids

School Teachers Can Help Increase Physical Activity In Kids

Involvement of teachers as participants in school recess — leading games, monitoring play and ensuring conflicts — may boost kid’s physical activity, a new study has found.

Recess is seen by educators and policymakers as a valuable part of a child’s school day, in part because physical activity plays an important role in helping to curb high child obesity rates.

The findings, published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports, suggested that students are more likely to be active and engaged during longer recess periods.

“While recess is often perceived as a break for students and teachers alike, it can also be an opportunity for teachers and students to interact in more informal settings, for teachers to model healthy behaviour and appropriate social skills and for students and teachers to develop stronger relationships,” said lead author William Massey, Assistant Professor at the Oregon State University in the US.

For the study, the team outfitted 146 children in grades 4-6 from seven schools with fitness tracking devices to monitor their physical activity during the school day, including recess.

They examined several variables that affect both a child’s engagement in recess activities and the amount of physical activity they netted during recess periods.

The researchers also observed recess activity for 8,340 students at nine schools and analysed the quality of the recess environment and the students’ engagement in activities.

They found that the average recess period was nearly 23 minutes and that students averaged just under 42 steps per minute during recess. The researchers also found that boys averaged about 10 more steps per minute than girls in each recess period.

Overall, recess contributed to 27 per cent of the students’ daily step count average, even though it made up just 5.6 per cent of the children’s school day. The researchers also found that boys were more engaged in recess than girls.

“This study underscores the importance of a high quality recess experience for children, including the need for adults who are actively engaged with the children on the playground,” Massey noted.


Simple Leg Exercises Can Reduce Negative Effects On Heart And Blood Vessels

Simple Leg Exercises Can Reduce Negative Effects On Heart And Blood Vessels

Did you know how beneficial are simple leg exercises while lying down? A sedentary lifestyle can cause an impairment of transportation of blood in the body which in turn may increase the risk of diseases in the heart and blood vessels. Performing simple leg exercises can make a huge change and prevent such problems, a new study reveals. Earlier work has demonstrated that prolonged sitting for up to 6 hours results in a decline in both blood flow to the limbs and in our larger arteries’ ability to widen to accommodate increased blood flow.

This is the first study to show that sitting for just 10 minutes is sufficient to reduce blood flow to the legs and impairs the function of small blood vessels supplying muscles in the leg.

This paper also highlights a reduction in the function of small blood vessels when lying down. However, this study suggests that we might be able to reverse this impairment to some extent by performing some simple leg exercises when lying down in bed or on the sofa.

The effects of sitting on blood circulation have been attributed to blood passing more slowly through arteries while sitting. The researchers aimed to find out whether these reductions were caused by sustained sitting, or whether 10 minutes would be sufficient to have a negative effect.

The researchers used a Doppler ultrasound technique alongside the knee to measure blood flow and examined the extent to which blood vessels widened in 18 healthy, young males. These measurements were made prior to and following a 10 -minute period of sitting or during a period of rest while lying down, with or without leg exercises, which were performed by extending the foot back and forth every two seconds for a third of the time spent lying down.

Results showed that a 10 minute period of sitting reduced participants’ ability to rapidly increase blood flow to the lower legs via small blood vessels, but it did not affect the widening of larger arteries in response to increased blood flow. The results also suggest leg exercises can help maintain rapid increases in the blood supply to the limbs.

The study demonstrates changes in blood vessel function measured at the level of the knee. However, the researchers only tested healthy young males and their findings cannot be extended to females. It remains unknown as to how these responses may vary with age, or with people who have heart problems.

Further study may investigate the impact of sitting and inactivity on blood vessels in other places in the body. Studies designed to investigate the impact of repeated bouts of short-term sitting on blood vessel function are needed.

“These findings further our understanding of the negative impact of inactivity on blood vessel function and demonstrate the positive effects of simple leg exercises whilst lying down providing further insight into how inactivity affects vascular health of the lower legs”, says study author Dr Paul Fadel.

The findings appeared in the journal Experimental Physiology.


Risks Of Epidemics Rise In Kerala As Flood Water Recedes

Risks Of Epidemics Rise In Kerala As Flood Water Recedes

As Kerala continues to battle the worst flood disaster, it faces yet another fear: epidemics.

Health experts say as the flood water recedes, the state may have to cope with waterborne and vectorborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, malaria, hepatitis and other fevers.

“Most houses are submerged and the people are living in relief camps where it is very difficult to maintain hygiene. So, there are chances of getting infected by typhoid, cholera, diarrhea, hepatitis A and E,” said Ashok Grover, Internal Medicine, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Vaishali.

According to the directorate of health services (DHS), Kerala, the state has already recorded 846 cases of dengue fever, 191,945 cases of acute diarrhea disease (ADD), 518 cases of malaria, 34 cases of chikungunya and 225 cases of leptospirosis (infection from animals).

“Stagnant water is the source of mosquitoes and other insects. Diseases like malaria and dengue don’t take much time to spread in relief camps,” said Amitabh Parti, Additional Director, Internal Medicine, Fortis Memorial Research Institute.

The health experts also warn that not just waterborne and vectorborne diseases, other diseases such as skin allergies, ENT problems and conjunctivitis may emerge, too.

Fever, chills, abdominal pains, vomiting, diarrhea, severe dehydration and fatigue are some of the early symptoms for both waterborne and vectorborne diseases.

“Such illnesses can be controlled before turning into major epidemics by maintaining hygiene in the relief camps. No raw fruit or food should be consumed. It is better to eat only well-cooked food. However, maintaining hygienic conditions in such an atmosphere is difficult,” Parti said.

“Washing hands is a must. Also consuming more fluids is recommended to resist falling prey to the epidemic-prone diseases. One must take ORS and other liquids such as fresh lime and coconut water,” Grover said.

The doctors recommend medicines only after medical tests.

As a preventive step, the Ministry of Health and Welfare is also taking measures to combat communicable disease.

According to the ministry, it has already set up 3,757 medical camps in Kerala and shared health advisories on infectious diseases.

“While no outbreak of any communicable disease has been reported, health experts warn that once floodwater recedes, the environment will become conducive to epidemic diseases,” said the ministry on Sunday.

The Health Ministry said it has also sent the first batch of 90 types of medicines as requested by the state.


Wear OS by Google Redesigned With New Notification Stream, Android Pie-Like Quick Settings, Fresh Assistant Interface

Wear OS by Google Redesigned With New Notification Stream, Android Pie-Like Quick Settings, Fresh Assistant Interface

New Wear OS update will start rolling out next month


  • New Wear OS update brings an improved notification stream
  • Swiping down will open up the Quick Settings
  • Swiping right will open the Google Assistant page

Google has now rolled out an update to Wear OS bringing a completely new design, inspired by Android Pie. The Wear OS by Google update has overhauled how notifications look, how the quick settings interface looks, and brings improved Google Assistant support. This comes right after the Google Fit interface was changed to look more like Apple Watch’s activity goals. The Wear OS software was initially neglected by Google, and didn’t receive regular updates to keep consumers and manufacturers enticed. However, this update brings a lot of nifty improvements making the software an attractive offering once again.

First up, Wear OS notifications are now seen in a stream format, and they open with a simple swipe up. The new notification stream shows notifications from different apps, and differentiates them with colour-tinges for more ease. For example, Hangouts gets a red tinge, while Android Messages notifs have a blue tinge. It also brings along built-in smart reply to enable conversation without leaving the notification stream. These notifications also show the time at which you received it.

Swiping down brings out the Wear OS Quick Settings menu, and it has options like Airport Mode, Find My Phone, battery percentage, Google Pay, and more. To see more settings, there is a dedicated settings button right on top, and the interface looks very similar to the one seen on Android Pie Quick Settings.

ezgif.com resize (2) Wear OS

To bring up Google Assistant on Wear OS, users need to swipe right, and it pulls up the weather, a time-related greeting, and the mic shortcut to launch the voice search option. Furthermore, the interface shows you the commute time to work, flight status, your schedule for the day, your next event, etc. You can press on each of these to see more information.

Finally, swiping left in the new Wear OS version brings up the new redesigned Google Fit app, with its new features called Move Minutes and Heart Points. The former is designed to highlight your physical activity, the other one allows you to detail what activities are impacting your heart. The updated Google Fit uses sensors on your smartphone or smartwatch, such as the accelerometer and GPS, to detect your moves automatically and estimate the number of Heart Points you earn.

Google says that the new Wear OS features will begin rolling out next month (which isn’t far), and some features may vary by phone OS, watch, or country.


Acer at IFA 2018: Acer Swift 5, Aspire Z 24 All-in-One PC, OJO 500 Mixed Reality Headset, and More

Acer at IFA 2018: Acer Swift 5, Aspire Z 24 All-in-One PC, OJO 500 Mixed Reality Headset, and More

Acer launched numerous new hardware products at its pre-IFA 2018 event in Berlin.


  • The Acer Swift 7 was previewed at the event
  • The OJO 500 headset comes with a detachable design
  • Several gaming accessories were also unveiled

Taiwanese electronics giant Acer on Wednesday made a lot of major hardware announcements at its pre-IFA 2018 event in Berlin. These include a preview of the Swift 7, pricing and availability details for the Acer Swift 3 and Acer Swift 5, new gaming monitors and accessories in the Predator and Nitro gaming series, refreshes across its Aspire notebook and all-in-one PC portfolio, the new OJO 500 Windows Mixed Reality headset, new commercial laser projectors, the Chromebook 514, and VirZOOM – a VR headset technology focused towards fitness. Let’s get into the details now.

Acer Swift 7, Swift 5, Swift 3 notebooks

Touted to be the ‘world’s thinnest 15-inch notebook’, the Acer Swift 5 was initially launched at the next@acer conference held in New York in late May this year. The laptop weighs just about 990 grams and is powered by the latest 8th generation Intel Core i5-8265U and i7-8565U processors. The Acer Swift 5 has a claimed battery life of 10 hours and runs Windows 10. Bezels on this notebook measure just 5.87mm and give the display an 87.6 percent screen-to-body ratio.

The 14-inch Acer Swift 5 has also been updated this year and the ultra-portable notebook now comes packed with the same processors as its 15-inch counterpart. This variant weighs about 970 grams and is 14.9mm thick.

acer swift 5 Acer

Acer Swift 5

The 15-inch variant of the Acer Swift 5 will be available in North America starting January 2019, starting at $1,099 (roughly Rs. 77,600); in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) in November, starting at EUR 1,099 (approximately Rs. 90,600); and in China, in November, starting at CNY 7,499 (around Rs. 77,600).

The 14-inch Acer Swift 5 will be available in EMEA in September, starting at EUR 999 (roughly Rs. 82,300); and in China, in November, starting at CNY 7,499 (approximately Rs. 77,600).

Apart from the Swift 5 series, the Swift 3 lineup has also been updated by Acer at its pre-IFA event in Berlin. The line now includes new models with options of 13.3-inch and 14-inch panel dimensions. The smaller variant, with a 13.3-inch display, sports a full-HD panel, weighs about 1.3kg, and has a thickness of 15.9mm. It comes with specifications including up to 8GB of RAM, up to 512GB of NVMe PCIe SSDs, 2×2 Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and 4G LTE capabilities.

The Acer Swift 3 with 13-inch display will be available in EMEA in October starting at EUR 799 (roughly Rs. 65,800).

Lastly, two models with 14-inch panels have been unveiled by Acer at the event. Both are powered by the latest 8th generation Intel Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors, and come with up to 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of SSD storage. These two models will be available in North America in November, starting at $799.99 (about Rs. 56,500) and in EMEA in January 2019, starting at EUR 799 (approximately Rs. 65,800).

Acer also teased the Swift 7 laptop at the pre-IFA event with claims of it being ‘the thinnest laptop in the world’ with a 14-inch display. It is said to be less than 1cm thick and weighs less than 1kg. Apart from that, it will run the flagship 8th generation Intel Core processors. Pricing and availability were not announced at the event.

Acer Predator, Nitro gaming portfolio

Acer teased its mammoth Predator X gaming desktop at IFA 2018. The specifications make this a heavy-duty gaming machine: two Intel Xeon processors, 12 slots for RAM with up to 16GB in each, and two Quadro RTX 8000. Pricing details have not been revealed yet.

The interesting new Predator Triton 900 convertible 2-in-1 gaming laptop was also announced with a reversible 4K panel that supports Nvidia’s G-Sync technology. The laptop features Acer’s 4th generation Aeroblade 3D fans and a mechanical keyboard. As is the case with the Predator X, no pricing and availability for the Triton 900 have been revealed.

acer nitro monitor inline Acer

Acer Nitro monitor

Lastly, three new gaming-focused desktops have been refreshed in the Predator Orion range – the Orion 9000, Orion 5000, and Orion 300. These desktops come with up to Intel Core i9 processors, up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, and IceTunnel 2.0 which is exclusive to the 5000 and 9000 series.

Acer, at its pre-IFA 2018 event, also unveiled four new gaming monitors, a gaming-focused chair, and other gaming accessories including a mouse, keyboard, backpack, headset, and mousepad in the Predator and Nitro series. New monitors include one variant of the Predator XB273K and three variants of the Nitro XV273K. All of the monitors offer 27-inch panels with ultra high definition resolution, with two in the Nitro series offering a WQHD resolution. They also arrive with Acer-specific features such as VisionCare with Flickerless, BlueLightShield, ComfyView, and low-dimming technologies.

acer predator triton 900 Acer

Acer Predator Triton 900

The Predator XB273K gaming monitor will be available in Q4 2018 in North America, starting at $1,299 (roughly Rs. 91,800); in EMEA, starting at EUR 1499 (around Rs. 1,23,500); and in China for CNY 9,999 (roughly Rs. 1,03,400).

The Acer Nitro XV273K will be available in Q4 2018 in North America, starting at $899 (about Rs. 63,500); in EMEA starting at EUR 1049 (about Rs. 86,400); and in China for CNY 6,999 (roughly Rs. 72,400). The Acer Nitro XV272U will be available in Q4 2018 in North America, starting at $499 (approximately Rs. 35,200); and in EMEA starting at EUR 599 (around Rs. 42,300). The Acer Nitro XF272U will be available in Q4 2018 in North America, starting at $449 (roughly Rs. 31,700); in EMEA starting at EUR 529 (about Rs. 43,600); and in China for CNY 3,999 (roughly Rs. 41,300).

“Our battle-tested Predator gaming monitors have proven their quality and reliability as a top choice of pro-gamers and tournaments around the world,” said Victor Chien, President, Digital Display Business. “We’re now waterfalling our experience and technology to our Nitro series to make premium gaming experiences more accessible to users.”

The Acer Nitro optical sensor mouse was also unveiled with seven buttons including a burst fire button. It comes with up to 4,000 dpi which is six-level adjustable. It will be available in North America in Q4 2018, for $29.99 (about Rs. 2,100); in EMEA in Q4 2018 for EUR 34.99 (around Rs. 2,900); and in China in Q4 2018 for CNY 199.99 (about Rs. 2,100).

The Acer Nitro keyboard will be available in the market in the fourth quarter of 2018. Pricing is as follows: $29.99 for the US (about Rs. 2,100), EUR 59.99 (roughly Rs. 4,900) for EMEA, and CNY 249.99 (around Rs. 2,600) in China. The Acer Nitro Headset will be available in Q4 this year in North America for $39.99 (about Rs. 2,800), in EMEA starting at EUR 49.99 (roughly Rs. 4,100), and in China for CNY 249.99 (about Rs. 2,600). The Acer Nitro Backpack will be available in North America in Q4 2018, for $29.99 (approximately Rs. 2,100); and in EMEA in Q4 2018 starting at EUR 39.99 (about Rs. 3,400); and in China in Q4 2018 for CNY 199.99 (about Rs. 2,200).

Lastly, the Acer Nitro Mousepad will be available in North America in Q4 2018, for $14.99 (around Rs. 1,100), in EMEA starting at EUR 19.99 (about Rs. 1,600); and in China in Q4 2018 for CNY 79.99 (or about Rs. 800).

Acer Aspire range
Next up is the company’s affordable Aspire range of notebooks and all-in-ones PCs. First off is the new Acer Aspire Z 24 all-in-one PC that includes features such as a thickness of 11mm, a glossy V-shaped metal stand, a far-field microphone array with four digital microphones, the latest 8th generation Intel Core i7+ processors, and up to 32GB of Intel Optane memory. It has a 23.8-inch full-HD IPS panel with a 178-degree viewing angle.

The all-in-one PC will be available in North America in October, starting at $899 (roughly Rs. 63,500); and in EMEA in October, starting at EUR 899.99 (about Rs. 73,100).

acer aspire 5 inline Acer

Acer Aspire 5

For the portable PC market, Acer has unveiled the new Aspire 3, Aspire 5, and Aspire 7 laptops across different price segments. Most premium of the lot, the Acer Aspire 7 features options of 8th-gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors and sports up to an Ultra HD display.

In terms of pricing, the Aspire 5 will be available in EMEA in December 2018 starting at EUR 549 (approximately Rs. 45,200). The Aspire 3 series will also be available in EMEA starting December this year starting at EUR 399 (around Rs. 32,900). Pricing of the Aspire 7 was not revealed.

Acer Chromebook 514
Acer has also unveiled its brand new Chromebook 514 targeted at college students as well as young professionals. The Chromebook comes with an aluminium chassis and sports a 14-inch full-HD IPS display that has an optional touch screen. Thanks to the minimal Chrome OS, Acer claims a 12-hour battery life on the Chromebook 514. The touchpad on the notebook is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass.

acer chromebook 514 Acer

Acer Chromebook 514

The Acer Chromebook 514 will be available in North America in October, starting at $349.99 (roughly Rs. 24,700); and in EMEA in the approved Chrome OS territories starting at EUR 349 (about Rs. 28,800).

Acer OJO 500 Windows Mixed Reality headset
The latest OJO 500 Windows Mixed Reality headset comes with a detachable design, patented built-in sound pipe technology, and software-assisted interpupillary distance (IPD) adjustment technology. The headset sports two front-hinged 2.89-inch LCD panels with a resolution of 2880×1440 pixels, refresh rate of up to 90Hz, and 100-degree FoV.

Acer OJO 500 Acer

Acer OJO 500 Windows Mixed Reality headset

With the help of inside-out tracking the Acer OJO 500 Windows Mixed Reality headset requires no external hardware and can be set up within 10 minutes. It comes in an optional configuration with two Bluetooth enabled motion controllers, a Windows 10 button, touchpad, and grab button. The Acer OJO 500 will be available in North America in November, starting at $399 (around Rs. 29,000), and in EMEA in November starting at EUR 499 (about Rs. 41,000).

At Acer’s pre-IFA event in Berlin on Wednesday, the Taiwanese corporation announced the availability of VZFit, the company’s second-gen commercial VR fitness system. VZFit makes use of the OJO 500 mixed reality headset. “VirZOOM’s new 2nd generation commercial product VZfit is a turnkey package of Sensors, VZfit Console, and Acer Windows Mixed Reality that anyone can set up in five minutes to turn a commercial stationary bike into a VR Fitness System,” said VirZOOM Co-Founder and CTO, Eric Malafeew.

virzoom acer Virzoom

VZfit is immediately available direct from VirZOOM, through its global partner Life Fitness, and Gym Source in the United States. Pricing has not been detailed.

Laser projectors
Acer at the event also announced four new laser projectors of which two (PL6610 and PL6510) are from the PL series while the other two (SL6610 and SL6510) are part of the SL range. The former is targeted at heavy usage commercial customers while SL series laser projectors are designed for projection in tight spaces such as classrooms.

acer pl projector Acer

Acer PL projector

Both categories of laser projectors offer 1.6X zoom and the optional setups enhance installation flexibility along with diversifying placement avenues. The projectors come with inbuilt 10W speakers for audio. Pricing and availability for none of the markets has been revealed yet.


Chemotherapy may lead to early menopause in women with lung cancer

Chemotherapy,Chemotherapy study,Study on Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy may cause acute amenorrhea leading to early menopause in women with lung cancer, according to a new study.

The study is the first to comment on amenorrhea rates in women below 50. It concludes that women with lung cancer, who desire future fertility, should be educated about risks and options before starting treatment.

Premenopausal women with lung cancer may want children and should consult their healthcare providers about options for embryo and oocyte cryopreservation, the gold standard for fertility preservation.

The study included 182 premenopausal women (average age at diagnosis, 43 years). The Mayo Clinic Epidemiology and Genetics of Lung Cancer Research Program surveyed women between 1999 and 2016 at diagnosis and annually thereafter about their menstrual status. Types of lung cancer treatments were recorded, and frequencies of self-reported menopause at each survey were calculated.

The results suggested that chemotherapy for patients with lung cancer increases the risk of the early loss of menses in survivors.

Executive director of NAMS, Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton said, “Although more definitive research is needed, premenopausal women who need chemotherapy for lung cancer appear to have a similar risk of amenorrhea, early menopause, and loss of fertility as premenopausal women receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer and lymphoma.”

“I agree that premenopausal patients with lung cancer need to be educated about the risk for chemotherapy-related amenorrhea, menopause issues (hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and bone loss), and the potential loss of fertility before chemotherapy is initiated,” he added.

The full findings are present in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society.


Cardiovascular diseases, here’s how exposure to toxic metals can affect your heart health

Cardiovascular Health,Toxic Metals,Lead

Exposure to environmental toxic metals such as arsenic, lead, copper, and mercury has become a major global health concern. The metals like arsenic, lead, copper and cadmium are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.

Arsenic and cadmium, for example, are known carcinogens, but there are increasing suggestions that exposure to toxic metals may be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

To investigate further, an international research team, led by Rajiv Chowdhury at the University of Cambridge, reviewed and analysed the results of epidemiological studies that had looked at the association of arsenic, lead, copper, cadmium, and mercury with coronary heart disease, stroke and composite cardiovascular disease.

They identified 37 separate studies published before December 2017 involving almost 350,000 participants. A total of 13,033 coronary heart disease, 4,205 stroke and 15,274 cardiovascular outcomes were reported across the studies.

The studies were designed differently and were of varying quality, but the researchers were able to allow for that in their analysis. Exposure to arsenic was found to be significantly associated with a 23% greater relative risk of coronary heart disease and a 30% greater relative risk of composite cardiovascular disease, but there was no evidence of an association with risk of stroke.

Exposure to cadmium and copper was also associated with increased relative risks of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease, while lead and cadmium were associated with an increased relative risk of stroke (63% and 72% respectively).

In contrast, mercury was not found to be associated with cardiovascular risk. The researchers point out that their review was solely based on observational data, which might be affected by unmeasured factors, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions about cause and effect.

Nevertheless, they say their findings “reinforce the (often under-recognised) importance of environmental toxic metals in enhancing global cardiovascular risk, beyond the roles of conventional behavioural risk factors, such as smoking, poor diet and inactivity.”

Furthermore, they say their study highlights the potential need for additional worldwide efforts and strategies “to reduce human exposures even in settings where there is a relatively lower average level of exposure (such as many Western countries).”


Non-addictive painkiller discovered for fighting opioid crisis

Painkillers,Non addictive painkillers,New painkillers

Scientists have found a non-addictive painkiller to help fight the current opioid crisis, though in an animal model.

Known as AT-121, the new chemical compound has a dual therapeutic action that suppressed the addictive effects of opioids and produced morphine-like analgesic effects in non-human primates.

“In our study, we found AT-121 to be safe and non-addictive, as well as an effective pain medication,” said Mei-Chuan Ko, Ph.D., professor of physiology and pharmacology at the School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

The main objective of this study was to design and test a chemical compound that would work on both the mu opioid receptor, the main component in the most effective prescription painkillers, and the nociceptin receptor, which opposes or blocks the abuse and dependence-related side effects of mu-targeted opioids.

In the study, the researchers observed that AT-121 showed the same level of pain relief as an opioid, but at a 100-times lower dose than morphine. At that dose, it also blunted the addictive effects of oxycodone, a commonly abused prescription drug.

The bifunctional profile of AT-121 not only gave effective pain relief without abuse potential, it also lacked other opioid side-effects that patients typically struggle with, such as itch, respiratory depression, tolerance and dependence.

Next steps include conducting additional preclinical studies to collect more safety data, and then if all goes well, applying to the Food and Drug Administration for approval to begin clinical trials in people, Ko said.

The full findings are present in the journal- Science Translational Medicine.