How to Keep Your Bones Strong and Prevent Fractures

If you’re a young adult, start thinking about your bone health, an expert advises.

Most people reach peak bone mass — the strongest bones they’ll ever have — between 25 and 30 years of age, according to Dr. Philip Bosha, a physician with Penn State Sports Medicine in State College, Pa.

“To some extent, genetics determines the peak, but lifestyle influences, such as diet and exercise, are also factors,” Bosha said in a Penn State news release.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, bone mass starts to slowly decrease after age 40. Taking 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 1,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D a day can help maintain your bones. You should also do weight-bearing exercises such as running and brisk walking, as well as resistance training to maintain bone and muscle strength.

After age 50, the daily recommended calcium intake for men remains 1,000 milligrams per day, but rises to 1,200 milligrams for women, including those who are entering or have gone through menopause.

Declining estrogen levels due to menopause can lead to rapid bone loss. All women 65 and older — and those between 60 and 64 who have an increased risk of fractures — should get a bone density study, according to Bosha.

“If the bone density study shows osteoporosis, it may be reasonable to start taking a medication called a bisphosphonate, which you can get in a variety of forms,” he said. “Some are pills taken on a weekly or monthly basis and other varieties can be taken intravenously.”

Other medications to improve bone density include calcitonin, which can be used as a nasal spray; parathyroid hormone, which is taken by injection; and medications called selective estrogen receptor modulators.

Bosha said men and women who are 70 and older should take 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day and 800 IU of vitamin D. At this age, men become far more likely to have lower bone density, increasing their risk of fractures. Some men should consider a bone density study, Bosha said.

“For people of this age, avoiding falls is crucial,” he said. “Maintaining balance and muscle strength through exercise and maintaining strong bones through adequate calcium and vitamin D intake can help decrease the risk of severe fractures from falls.”

Source: HealthDay


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Advanced MRI Brain Scan May Help Predict Stroke-related Dementia

An advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) brain scan analysis in patients with stroke-related, small vessel disease helped predict problems with thinking, memory and even dementia, according to new research published in Stroke, a journal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association.

When a stroke or other disease damages tiny blood vessels in the brain, the condition is known as small vessel disease. This condition is the most common cause of thinking problems (planning, organizing information and processing speed) and can even lead to dementia. Although early treatment could help patients at risk, no effective test is available to identify them.

This study evaluated the accuracy of a new MRI analysis technique using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), in predicting thinking problems and dementia related to small vessel disease. A single scan measured the brain in fine detail to reveal damaged areas. By comparing these images to a healthy person’s, researchers were able to classify the brain into areas of healthy versus damaged tissue.

Results showed that participants with the most brain damage were much more likely to develop thinking problems. The analysis also helped predict three-fourths of the dementia cases that occurred during the study.

“We have developed a useful tool for monitoring patients at risk of developing dementia and could target those who need early treatment,” said senior author Rebecca A. Charlton, Ph.D., department of psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, in the United Kingdom.

The study included 99 patients with small vessel disease caused by ischemic stroke, a type of stroke that blocks the blood vessels deep within the brain. Slightly more than one-third were female, average age 68, and most were Caucasian. All participants were enrolled in the St George’s Cognition and Neuroimaging in Stroke (SCANS) study from 2007 to 2015 in London.

Participants received the MRI scans annually for three years and thinking tests annually for five years. Eighteen participants developed dementia during the study, with an average time to onset of approximately three years and four months.

This advanced MRI analysis offers a highly accurate and sensitive marker of small vessel disease severity in a single measure that can be used to detect who will and will not go on the develop dementia in a five-year period, noted Charlton.

The healthy brain scans used for comparison were from one individual and may not represent the true range of all healthy brains. In addition, the study’s relatively small number of participants all had small vessel disease resulting from one type of stroke, so the results may not apply to people with different forms of the disease.

Source: American Heart Association

Heartburn Drug May Contain Small Amounts of Known Carcinogen, FDA Says

A substance that could cause cancer has been found in some ranitidine heartburn and ulcer medicines, including the brand-name drug Zantac, and the source of this contamination is being investigated, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

While preliminary tests found low levels of the nitrosamine impurity N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in some ranitidine products, the FDA said this does not mean patients taking the drugs should stop using them now.

NDMA is the same contaminant found in many brands of blood pressure and heart failure medicines during the past year, leading to recalls.

Patients who are taking prescription ranitidine and want to stop using it should discuss alternatives with their health care provider, the FDA advised. Those taking over-the-counter (OTC) ranitidine could switch to other OTC medicines.

Several drugs are approved for the same or similar uses, the FDA noted.

NDMA is an environmental contaminant found in water and foods, including meats, dairy products and vegetables. It is classified as a probable human carcinogen.

“Drug impurities remain a major national concern,” said Dr. David Robbins, associate chief of endoscopy at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “While Zantac may prove safe in the long run, this latest statement adds confusion and concern, so my interim advice to patients is simple: switch to another drug … and of course, confirm with your doctor the need for an antacid.”

The FDA said it’s evaluating whether the low levels of NDMA in ranitidine pose a risk to patients and that it will post that information when it’s available.

In a statement, pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, which makes Zantac, said that it “takes patient safety seriously, and we are committed to working with the FDA. Zantac OTC (over the counter) has been around for over a decade and meets all the specified safety requirements for use in the OTC market.”

In the meantime, Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said the FDA is working with international regulators and industry partners to find out where the contamination originated.

“The agency is examining levels of NDMA in ranitidine and evaluating any possible risk to patients,” she said in a news release. “The FDA will take appropriate measures based on the results of the ongoing investigation.”

Large amounts of NDMA may pose a risk, but the levels of NDMA in ranitidine found in preliminary tests barely exceed amounts found in common foods, according to the FDA.

Ranitidine decreases the amount of acid created by the stomach. OTC ranitidine is approved to prevent and relieve heartburn, and prescription ranitidine is approved for a number of uses, including treatment and prevention of ulcers of the stomach and intestines, and treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Similar contamination in heart medicines is also under investigation.

“The FDA has been investigating NDMA and other nitrosamine impurities in blood pressure and heart failure medicines called Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs) since last year,” Woodcock said. “In the case of ARBs, the FDA has recommended numerous recalls as it discovered unacceptable levels of nitrosamines.”

Source: HealthDay


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Best Breakfasts for Losing Weight

Zawn Villines wrote . . . . . . . . .

Some people believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that eating breakfast increases weight loss. But is this true? And, if so, which are the best breakfast foods for weight loss?

There is little evidence to support the idea that eating breakfast can increase weight loss. Breakfast is just another meal. That said, eating breakfast can give a person energy for the day. This may reduce the risk of overeating and, in this way, support weight loss efforts.

This article explores the best breakfast foods to eat to aid weight loss. It also discusses breakfast options to suit vegetarian, vegan, and restricted diets. Read on to learn all there is to know about eating breakfast and losing weight.

Breakfast food tips

To get the most out of breakfast, it is best to eat nutrient dense foods. These foods offer more nutritional value per calorie, which may help a person feel fuller longer.

Here are some breakfast food tips that may support weight loss:

Eat fiber-rich foods

People trying to lose weight may benefit from eating fiber-rich foods for breakfast and throughout the day.

A 2015 study found that diets rich in fiber helped people lose more weight and improved symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for diabetes.

Other studies link fiber to better health and more weight loss. For example, a 2012 study found that adolescents who ate more fiber had less visceral fat and less inflammation.

Eat more protein

Eating more protein for breakfast or at any other time of day may support weight loss.

Numerous studies link higher protein diets to more weight loss. A 2014 analysis suggests that protein may help people feel fuller, reducing overeating. People may also burn more calories when they eat protein.

Protein-rich foods are generally rich in other nutrients, allowing a person to get a wide range of nutrients without consuming lots of calories.

Avoid high calorie options

Try to avoid foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients. Reducing calorie intake at breakfast time and throughout the day may help a person lose weight.

To cut down on calories, avoid adding sugar to breakfast foods. A healthy oatmeal breakfast can become a sugar-laden, high calorie meal when a person adds lots of brown sugar. Select cereals that contain less sugar and avoid pancakes and pastries that contain lots of sugar.

Avoid sugary drinks

Be mindful of the role of drinks in calorie content. A glass of orange juice typically contains more than 100 calories but offers little nutritional value. Opt for eating the whole fruit rather than drinking juices.

Eat whole foods

Eating whole foods instead of processed foods may help a person lose weight. Try replacing white bread, pasta, and bagels with whole grain options.

Whole grain offers more nutritional value and may reduce the risk of some types of heart disease. Because whole grains are rich in fiber, they may support weight loss and reduce constipation.

Should you eat breakfast?

With interest in intermittent fasting increasing, some people are now opting to skip breakfast altogether. But does skipping breakfast support weight loss?

Not eating breakfast may support weight loss because it means a person goes longer without consuming calories, which may lead to a lower total calorie intake throughout the day.

However, skipping breakfast may not support weight loss for everyone. For some people, skipping breakfast leads to overeating at lunchtime. In this way, skipping breakfast may lead to higher overall calorie consumption, undermining weight loss.

Research around breakfast and weight loss is inconclusive. A 2019 BMJ meta-analysis and systematic review suggests that skipping breakfast may support weight loss. Examining 13 trials, researchers found that not eating breakfast offered modest decreases in weight.

However, the study’s authors also note that the data is not strong. Other factors might account for the difference. Scientists need to do more research to fully understand whether avoiding breakfast is an effective weight loss strategy.

Breakfast foods for vegans

As for all people, it is essential for people who follow a vegan diet to consume sufficient protein. Consuming protein helps people to feel full, which may support weight loss.

Vegan breakfast foods may be a healthful option for anyone wanting to limit meat consumption or add variety to their diet. Also, eating more vegetables increases a person’s fiber and nutrient intake.

Many vegan breakfast options are rich in protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Here are some vegan breakfast foods to try:

  • vegan scramble (using tofu instead of eggs) and kale, broccoli, or spinach
  • peanut or almond butter on whole grain toast
  • oatmeal with blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries and an optional teaspoon of honey
  • whole grain cereal with soy or almond milk
  • avocado toast on whole wheat bread, seasoned with lemon juice and sea salt
  • tofu omelet
  • vegan BLT made from soy bacon, lettuce, tomato, and whole grain buns
  • mixed nuts
  • rolled oats with peanut butter
  • smoothie with avocado, banana, frozen berries, and a teaspoon of honey

Breakfast foods for vegetarians

Vegetarians can choose from a wide variety of delicious breakfast foods. Adding dairy products makes it easy to get plenty of protein to support weight loss.

A 2011 study compared the diet of vegetarians to nonvegetarians. Researchers found that vegetarian diets were more nutritionally dense. This may be because vegetarians eat more fruits and vegetables than meat eaters. The study’s authors also suggest that a vegetarian diet may support weight loss.

Here are some vegetarian breakfast ideas:

  • whole grain cereal with 1% milk
  • Greek yogurt with berries
  • plain vanilla yogurt with bananas
  • two slices of white cheddar cheese with a handful of mixed nuts
  • hard boiled egg sprinkled with salt
  • avocado with cottage cheese and hot sauce
  • poached eggs on whole grain toast
  • scrambled eggs with hot sauce instead of cheese or salt

Breakfast foods for meat eaters

While meat is high in many nutrients, it is also a high calorie food due to its fat content. Lean meats and poultry contain less fat and calories than red meats, so choosing these types of meat is a good option for meat eaters hoping to lose weight.

Reducing the amount of meat in each meal and replacing it with nutrient-rich, high fiber vegetables may also help.

The following meals can support healthy weight loss:

  • grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce on whole grain bread
  • Canadian bacon with yogurt or eggs
  • turkey sausage scramble with lots of vegetables

Breakfast for people with dietary restrictions

Having allergies or an underlying health condition need not affect a person’s enjoyment of breakfast. There are plenty of alternatives available.

Here are some breakfast options for people with dietary restrictions:

Food allergies

Many people have food allergies or sensitivities to lactose, nuts, and eggs, which many breakfast foods contain. Fortunately, there are many substitute options available:

  • Lactose intolerance: Lactose free milk and milk substitutes, such as almond milk, can be good options for people with lactose intolerance.
  • Nut allergies: Lentils, chia seeds, and quinoa can be healthful options for people with nut allergies.
  • Egg allergies: People who cannot eat eggs should consider lean meats, nut butter, and nuts instead.

Celiac disease

For people with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, finding breakfast options that do not contain gluten is essential.

Many food stores sell gluten free versions of common breakfast items, including:

  • bagels
  • pancakes
  • cereals

Another gluten free breakfast idea involves serving high protein foods, such as eggs or lean meats, with wilted spinach and cooked tomatoes.

Diabetes

People with diabetes must keep their blood sugar levels consistent. Skipping breakfast may not be healthful for people with diabetes, particularly if they take medication for their condition. People who take medication for their diabetes typically need to consume some carbohydrate to manage their blood sugar levels.

Here are some breakfast options for people with diabetes:

  • scrambled eggs with wilted spinach
  • hard boiled eggs
  • a handful of nuts
  • lean meats with spinach or kale

Summary

Breakfast habits can support weight loss but how this works varies from person to person. Eating breakfast may aid weight loss for some people as they stay fuller for longer, which prevents snacking during the day. For others, skipping breakfast supports weight loss because it leads them to consume fewer calories overall.

Losing weight requires a person to burn fewer calories than they eat. To sustain weight loss, a person must stick to a reduced calorie diet and pair this diet with more activity. To make sustainable dietary changes, it is vital that a person finds healthful foods they enjoy eating.

Highly restrictive diets are often difficult to follow. Instead, incorporate a few treats and find nourishing, low calorie foods that taste good. A dietitian or doctor can help a person develop the right meal plan for their needs.

Source: Medical News Today

Commonly Used Antibiotics May Lead to Heart Problems

wrote . . . . . . . . .

Scientists have shown for the first time a link between two types of heart problems and one of the most commonly prescribed classes of antibiotics.

In a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in partnership with the Provincial Health Services Authority’s (PHSA) Therapeutic Evaluation Unit found that current users of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as Ciprofloxacin or Cipro, face a 2.4 times greater risk of developing aortic and mitral regurgitation, where the blood backflows into the heart, compared to patients who take amoxicillin, a different type of antibiotic. The greatest risk is within 30 days of use.

Recent studies have also linked the same class of antibiotics to other heart problems.

Some physicians favour fluoroquinolones over other antibiotics for their broad spectrum of antibacterial activity and high oral absorption, which is as effective as intravenous, or IV, treatment.

“You can send patients home with a once-a-day pill,” said Mahyar Etminan, lead author and associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences in the faculty of medicine at UBC. “This class of antibiotics is very convenient, but for the majority of cases, especially community-related infections, they’re not really needed. The inappropriate prescribing may cause both antibiotic resistance as well as serious heart problems.”

The researchers hope their study helps inform the public and physicians that if patients present with cardiac issues, where no other cause has been discovered, fluoroquinolone antibiotics could potentially be a cause.

“One of the key objectives of the Therapeutic Evaluation Unit is to evaluate different drugs and health technologies to determine whether they enhance the quality of care delivered by our programs or improve patient outcomes,” said Dr. Bruce Carleton, director of the unit and research investigator at BC Children’s Hospital, a program of PHSA. “This study highlights the need to be thoughtful when prescribing antibiotics, which can sometimes cause harm. As a result of this work, we will continue working with the BC Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee to ensure the appropriate prescribing of this class of antibiotics to patients across British Columbia, and reduce inappropriate prescribing.”

For the study, scientists analyzed data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s adverse reporting system. They also analyzed a massive private insurance health claims database in the U.S. that captures demographics, drug identification, dose prescribed and treatment duration. Researchers identified 12,505 cases of valvular regurgitation with 125,020 case-control subjects in a random sample of more than nine million patients. They defined current fluoroquinolone exposure as an active prescription or 30 days prior to the adverse event, recent exposure as within days 31 to 60, and past exposure as within 61 to 365 days prior to an incident. Scientists compared fluoroquinolone use with amoxicillin and azithromycin.

The results showed that the risk of aortic and mitral regurgitation, blood backflow into the heart, is highest with current use, followed by recent use. They saw no increased risk aortic and mitral regurgitation with past use.

Etminan hopes that if other studies confirm these findings, regulatory agencies would add the risk of aortic and mitral regurgitation to their alerts as potential side effects and that the results would prompt physicians to use other classes of antibiotics as the first line of defense for uncomplicated infections.

Source: University of British Columbia


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