Study: Popular heartburn medications may increase dementia risk

Published: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 @ 2:26 PM
Updated: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 @ 2:26 PM

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A preliminary study conducted by German researchers found an association in the use of proton pump inhibitors and an increased risk of dementia.

The researchers stressed that the study’s results only demonstrated an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship, and that clinical trials would be necessary to explore the association further.

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The study, published Monday in JAMA, studied the increased dementia risk for elderly patients using proton pump inhibitors, known as PPIs. The drugs examined in the study included omeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprazole, esomeprazole and rabeprazole, which includes popular brands such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid. A pool of over 73,000 patients, age 75 and over, were analyzed for the study. Germany’s largest health insurer provided the data used in the study.

The researchers found a 44 percent increased risk of dementia in those elderly patients who were regularly taking PPIs versus those who were not taking the heartburn medications.

According to Medical Daily, the use of PPIs has also been linked to an increased risk of kidney disease.

What is Dry January? Taking a break from alcohol can improve sleep and weight, study says

Published: Thursday, January 04, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

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The holiday season is officially over, and many are now looking at their New Year’s resolutions, which may include maintaining a healthier lifestyle.

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To get a head start, some are participating in Dry January, a month-long break from alcohol. But how effective is it?

Researchers from the University of Sussex conducted a study, published in Health Psychology, to find out. 

They examined more than 850 individuals who gave Dry January a try. They then followed up with a questionnaire one month later and another six months later.

>> Related: Just one drink a day can increase your risk of cancer, study warns

After analyzing the results, they found that after six months, participants said they drank less and were not getting drunk as much.

In fact, 72 percent of the subjects had maintained lower levels of harmful drinking and 4 percent were still not drinking after six months.

After just one month, about 62 percent reported having better sleep, 62 percent said they had more energy and 49 percent experienced weight loss.

>> Related: Women who use IUDs may have reduced risk of cervical cancer, study says

The changes were also seen for those who did not make it to the end of the challenge. “Even if participants took part but didn’t successfully complete the 31 days, it generally led to a significant decrease across all the measures of alcohol intake,” Richard de Visser said in a statement.

The scientists believe their findings prove the challenge can be used to help reduce drinking long-term, added Emily Robinson, director of campaigns at Alcohol Concern, a U.K. charity to combat alcohol harm.

“This research,” she said, “is the proof of how, with the help, advice and support we offer throughout the month, our model can really change behaviour and reduce drinking.”

Tips For Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions

This discovery could be a breakthrough for people with Type 1 diabetes

Published: Sunday, December 24, 2017 @ 3:21 PM

Scientists In Texas Closer To Diabetes Cure With Unconventional Treatment

A naturally occurring antioxidant may increase the amount of pancreatic islet cells that survive after being transplanted into patients with Type 1 diabetes — for humans and for dogs.

The antioxidant, bilirubin, is the focus of a study by researchers at N.C. State and Ohio State universities, which was published this week in the journal Cell Transplantation. Bilirubin is believed to help more pancreatic cells survive after a transplant, helping the recipient produce insulin.

Up to 70 percent of transplanted islet cells die within three days in the liver after being injected into patients, according to the study.

Testing by N.C. State College of Veterinary Medicine associate professor Chris Adin and Ohio State biomedical engineering professor Xiaoming He found that small capsules containing a dose of bilirubin improved the cell death rate, to 18 percent.

“Bilirubin is a molecule found in every cell in our body,” Adin said in a press release, “and while too much of it can be harmful, it can be beneficial if we supplement cells with just the right amount of this molecule.”

The next step is to create a treatment program for canines that can serve as a model for potentially improved treatments for humans, Adin said.

Canola oil linked to dementia, study says

Published: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 5:03 PM

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Memory loss and confusion are common symptoms of dementia. Now scientists are linking canola oil to the disease in a new report

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Researchers from Temple University recently conducted an experiment, published in Scientific Reports, to determine how the common cooking oil may have an effect on the brain.

To do so, they examined mice that were six months old, dividing them into two groups. One was fed a normal diet, while the other had “a diet supplemented with the equivalent of about two tablespoons of canola oil,” the authors explained. 

After observing the animals for 12 months, they weighed them. They found that the mice on the canola oil diet weighed significantly more than those on a regular diet. 

They then assessed their working memory, short-term memory and learning ability by administering maze tests. They discovered the mice that had consumed canola oil suffered damage to their working memory. The canola oil-treated mice had reduced levels of amyloid beta 1-40, a protein that serves a beneficial role in the brain. 

“As a result of decreased amyloid beta 1-40, animals on the canola oil diet further showed increased formation of amyloid plaques in the brain, with neurons engulfed in amyloid beta 1-42,” the authors said. “The damage was accompanied by a significant decrease in the number of contacts between neurons, indicative of extensive synapse injury. Synapses, the areas where neurons come into contact with one another, play a central role in memory formation and retrieval.”

Their findings suggest canola oil is not beneficial to the brain, especially when it is consumed over long periods of time. Researchers now hope to further their studies to find out exactly how much canola oil can produce changes in the brain and if it can be linked to Alzheimer’s disease. 

“Even though canola oil is a vegetable oil, we need to be careful before we say that it is healthy,” lead researcher Domenico Pratico said. “Based on the evidence from this study, canola oil should not be thought of as being equivalent to oils with proven health benefits.”


Scientists say glitter is potential environmental hazard

Published: Tuesday, November 28, 2017 @ 6:00 PM

Glitter May Pose Potential Hazard To The Environment

Glitter's sparkly days may be over, if scientists get their way.

Because glitter is a microplastic, it poses a potential ecological hazard, scientists told The Independent. The threat is particularly serious to marine animals, who have suffered fatal consequences from consuming plastic that makes its way into the ocean.

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Glitter is not just found on cards and decorative items, but also in makeup.

Scientists don't necessarily want a complete ban on glitter, but are encouraging the creation of nontoxic, eco-friendly alternatives.