A NEW APP MEASURES BLOOD PRESSURE WITH ACCURACY THAT MAY RIVAL ARM CUFF DEVICES.

The new technology, detailed in a paper in the journal Science Translational Medicine, also includes the discovery of a more convenient measurement point.

“We targeted a different artery, the transverse palmer arch artery at the fingertip, to give us better control of the measurement,” says lead author Anand Chandrasekhar, electrical and computer engineering doctoral student at Michigan State University. “We were excited when we validated this location. Being able to use your fingertip makes our approach much easier and more accessible.”

The approach uses two sensors: an optical sensor on top of a force sensor. The sensor unit and other circuitry are housed in a 1 centimeter-thick case attached to the back of the phone. Users turn on the app and press their fingertip against the sensor unit. With their finger on the unit, they hold their phone at heart level and watch their smartphone screen to make sure they’re applying the correct amount of finger pressure.

“A key point was to see if users could properly apply the finger pressure over time, which lasts as long as an arm cuff measurement,” says senior author Ramakrishna Mukkamala, electrical and computer engineering professor. “We were pleased to see that 90 percent of the people trying it were able to do it easily after just one or two practice tries.”

Internationally, thes device could be a game-changer, researchers say. While high blood pressure is treatable with lifestyle changes and medication, only around 20 percent of people with hypertension have their condition under control.

The new invention gives patients a convenient option, and keeping a log of daily measurements would produce an accurate average, discounting an occasional measurement anomaly, Mukkamala says.

The research team will continue to improve accuracy and hopes to pursue more comprehensive testing based on the standard protocol of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. The scientists are already making inroads to build improved hardware. Future iterations could be as thin as 1 millimeter and be part of a standard protective phone case.

Other researchers from Michigan State and from the University of Maryland contributed to the work. The National Institutes of Health and MSU supported the study.

Source: Michigan State University

Original Study DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aap8674

 

A NEW APP MEASURES BLOOD PRESSURE WITH ACCURACY THAT MAY RIVAL ARM CUFF DEVICES.

DIABETIC DIET: 16 FOODS THAT HELP REGULATE BLOOD SUGAR

BY SBG-TV

Diabetes can be sneaky, with symptoms that are not always obvious but that cause lasting damage.

Prevent problems by incorporating these 16 foods to regulate your blood sugar levels, as recommended by Healthline and WebMD.

Protein

Protein is a great food choice for diabetics because it doesn’t affect blood sugar levels. It also creates a feeling of fullness while it builds and repairs your body. Protein sources to consider for blood sugar control include Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs and lean meats.

Vegetables

Whether you prefer them raw, cooked or roasted, vegetables do more than just add color to your plate. Choose diabetic-friendly, low-carb veggies like mushrooms, onions, eggplant, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts and zucchini.

Low-carb greens

Popeye had it right. Spinach, chard and kale are powerful foods with a low-carb punch. Pack your diet with these time-tested foods, and you will bring real power to the fight against high blood sugar.

Sour cherries

Fruits are sometimes frowned upon in the diabetic community, but there are some with a low glycaemic index. Food with low GI scores won’t raise blood sugar and can prevent a spike. Sour cherries have a low GI and a chemical called anthocyanins. The National Institutes of Health has shown that anthocyanins may reduce your risk of developing diabetes and obesity. Anthocyanins inhibit some digestive enzymes and slow down digestion. They also help reduce blood sugar spikes following starch-rich meals.

Blackberries and blueberries

Sour cherries aren’t the only fruits you can add. Blackberries and blueberries won’t raise blood sugar levels as much as their fruity friends. These berries are high in fibre and have the highest concentrations of anthocyanins.

Low-calorie drinks

While water is your dietitian’s drink of choice, spruce it up by infusing it with nutrients from vegetables and fruits. Add lemons and cucumbers to water for flavor and to slow your reach for sugary drinks.

Apple cider vinegar

Healthline.com recommends drinking 20 grams of apple cider vinegar in 40 grams of water before a meal to prevent blood sugar spikes. The acetic acid in it reduces certain enzymes in the stomach and can improve insulin sensitivity after meals.

Eggs

Eggs get a bad rap because of their link to high cholesterol. However, eggs can provide satiety and curb cravings without raising blood sugar levels. Both prediabetics and diabetics can benefit from the protein and nutrients.

Whole grains and high-fibre

Fasting insulin rates after eating whole grains are 10 percent lower, according to a report by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The high content of fiber, phytochemicals, and nutrients found in whole grains work to regulate blood sugar.

Beans

Legumes like dried beans, peas and lentils help you feel full longer while providing a low-glucose alternative. Soft-style beans can be combined as a dip with other vegetables to add variety.

Healthy fat

While the wrong kind of fat can be harmful, good fats are essential. Some good fat choices are olive oil, avocado and fish (salmon, halibut, albacore tuna, mackerel and trout).

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids

Polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids improve insulin sensitivity. These fatty acids trigger feelings of satiety while positively impacting blood pressure and inflammation levels. Avocados, peanut butter, other nuts and seeds are sources of monounsaturated fatty acids.

Garlic

A study shows how garlic can lower blood glucose levels. Garlic supplements, raw or cooked garlic, or aged garlic can all help.

Chia seeds

They may be small, but chia seeds are loaded with healthy fats, omega-3s, calcium, fibre, and antioxidants. They help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Cacao

Cacao is a foundational ingredient for chocolate and cocoa butter. High in antioxidants and a flavanol called epicatechin, cacao seeds help control blood glucose production by activating key proteins. Cacao also balances blood sugar — even in those who already have diabetes.

Almonds

These tasty, protein-rich nuts help control blood sugar levels following meals. Consuming 2 ounces of almonds per day lowers levels of fasting glucose and insulin.

DIABETIC DIET: 16 FOODS THAT HELP REGULATE BLOOD SUGAR

HOW A STROKE CAN CHANGE YOUR PERSONALITY

By Heidi Moawad, MD 

A stroke can produce major life-altering changes, such as vision and diminished physical strength and coordination. In addition to the obvious physical handicaps of a stroke, a stroke can also produce significant personality changes. If you are a stroke survivor, your post-stroke behavioural changes can hit you and your loved ones by surprise if you suddenly do not act like “yourself” anymore.

Once you learn how to identify the most common personality changes after a stroke, you can begin to gain a sense of reassurance, knowing that there is an explanation for why you or your loved one might be acting a little different. Recognizing personality changes can be a huge step in modifying unwanted behavior as you purposefully work towards getting back some of the personality traits that make you feel more like “you.”

Depression

After a stroke, it is very common to experience a sense of unhappiness and sadness. In fact, as many as 60 percent of stroke survivors report prolonged depression, which is depression that is more severe and long lasting than routine sadness.

Post-stroke depression results from a combination of biological and situational factors. First of all, the obvious effects of a stroke, such as weakness, vision loss, and coordination problems may cause a sense of sadness if you feel disempowered by your handicap. Additionally, after a stroke, you might worry about your health or experience anxiety about your own mortality. The resulting feelings of helplessness or hopelessness can contribute to post-stroke depression.

And the stroke-induced damage to the brain can produce changes in the way the brain functions, resulting in altered biological activity that leads to depression.

Despite all of these elements that contribute to the development of post-stroke depression, post-stroke depression is usually treatable with a combination approach that includes medication and counseling.

Many people, however, are reluctant to seek treatment for depression. Some stroke survivors hesitate to take on the label of depression out of concern that it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Others do not trust the medical system to deal with emotional issues, and others view depression as a sign of weakness.

However, if you or your loved one has lingering feelings of sadness or hopelessness, you can get effective help for this problem. The recognition that your depression is not your fault and is not a sign of weakness is an empowering step towards getting the right medical treatment.

Loneliness 

After a stroke, isolation can occur if you are no longer able to do the same things you used to do. If you have to leave your job after a stroke, or if you are no longer a part of your regular social life, this can lead to a sense of loneliness.

Some stroke survivors have severe disabilities that make it difficult to drive, leave the house or even get out of bed. Extreme disability may necessitate moving into a new living environment, in part to obtain more assistance with daily living, and in part to reduce isolation and loneliness. Each stroke survivor can overcome the post-stroke sense of loneliness in his or her own unique way.

Loss of Cognitive Skills

The loss of cognitive skills after a stroke can happen after a stroke in almost any region of the brain, but most often in the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe or the temporal lobes.

Changes in cognitive skills include trouble with problem-solving, reading difficulties, and trouble with simple mathematical calculations. Some stroke survivors become forgetful, forgetting names, or losing things or forgetting to take care of important tasks. Cognitive deficits can also cause confusion or may make it difficult to understand concepts that a stroke survivor would have previously been able to understand.

The loss of cognitive skills can be very distressing for stroke survivors, and many stroke survivors may be in denial, making excuses for frequent mistakes, or even lying about errors to avoid embarrassment.

Building up cognitive skills is a challenge, but just as physical disability can improve with physical therapy, cognitive disabilities can improve with dedicated cognitive therapy.

Emotional Instability

Many stroke survivors find themselves becoming very emotional or inappropriately crying or laughing. Some stroke survivors experience a condition called pseudobulbar affect, which is characterized by mood changes and uncontrollable emotional expressions.

Lack of Motivation

A stroke can lead to a lack of motivation, which is called apathy. Apathy occurs after most types of brain injury. There are several reasons for post-stroke apathy.

The decline in cognitive abilities (problem solving and thinking skills) after a stroke can make many tasks seem too challenging and unsolvable. Additionally, the development of post-stroke depression, having less responsibility to deal with after the stroke, and sometimes the feeling that “nobody will notice” what you do, can all lead to apathy.

Lastly, apathy may also occur due to changes in the structure and function of the brain secondary to the stroke itself.

Aggression 

Some stroke survivors become unexpectedly hostile and angry, behaving in ways that are mean or physically aggressive. Aggression, like the other behavioural and personality-related stroke changes, is often a result of both the emotional feelings about the stroke and the stroke-induced brain injury.

Aggression is particularly noticeable in stroke survivors who have a stroke pattern that produces vascular dementia. Vascular dementia occurs when many small strokes happen over time, leading to a buildup of injuries throughout the brain, and resulting in a distinctive type of dementia. Vascular dementia is characterized by a decline in memory and thinking skills, confusion, trouble finding things, trouble with directions, and changes in behavior.

Denial of a Stroke: Anosognosia 

Anosognosia describes a stroke survivor’s inability to recognize that he or she has had a stroke. Anosognosia is manifest by an interesting overconfidence and unawareness that there is anything wrong after a stroke. In fact, a person who has anosognosia may express surprise and bewilderment at the fact that there is any medical care being administered at all.

Stroke survivors who have anosognosia present a challenging problem for loved ones and caregivers, who try to offer assistance and care, often with no cooperation. Sometimes stroke survivors who have anosognosia treat those who are trying to help them with dismissal or rejection.

Lack of Empathy

The lack of empathy after a stroke is caused by brain damage that affects regions of the right side of the brain. A lack of empathy is a behavioural change that is usually upsetting for friends and loved ones, but is typically unnoticed by the stroke survivor.

It is not easy to predict whether a lack of empathy will improve after a stroke, as some stroke survivors can show improvement, while others do not.

Loss of Sense of Humour 

A sense of humour requires insight and the quick thinking. Humour is often based on the recognition that dissimilar ideas do not belong together and that they are funny and amusing when placed together.

Many types of stroke can diminish a stroke survivor’s sense of humour. A stroke survivor who was previously funny might not be able to construct jokes and a stroke survivor who would have been able to recognize and laugh at jokes might not be able to do so anymore.

A loss of sense of humour can be difficult to recover from because this stroke effect is caused by a loss of cognitive skills. However, understanding that the lack of humour is the result of a stroke, and not a personal rejection, can help in preventing hurt feelings and misunderstandings when a stroke survivor does not respond to light-hearted joking as expected.

Loss of Social Inhibitions

Some stroke survivors may behave in ways that are considered socially inappropriate after a stroke of the right or the left frontal lobe. Behaviours such as taking food from a stranger’s plate, insulting people out loud or even undressing or urinating in public, may pose challenges for the caretakers and family members who are primarily responsible for the safety and care of a stroke survivor.

Generally, a stroke survivor who displays socially unacceptable behavior does not have the insight to understand that the actions are not acceptable, and is unlikely to apologize or try to correct the behavior.

The language or insults of a stroke survivor who has suffered from a frontal lobe stroke are not necessarily consistent with a person’s ‘normal’ pre-stroke personality or beliefs. And it is very important to be aware that mean statements are not reflective of what a stroke survivor ‘really feels, deep down inside,’ but are more likely to be phrases that he or she heard in a completely unrelated setting, such as in a book or on a television show.

The loss of social inhibition can be somewhat better controlled when the stroke survivor is comfortable, in a familiar environment, and under as little stress as possible.

Jealousy 

A rare type of stroke causes a syndrome called Othello Syndrome, which is characterized by irrational and illogical jealousy, particularly in the context of romantic relationships. This syndrome can affect stroke survivors as a result of brain injury affecting areas of the right cerebral cortex.

A Word from Verywell

A stroke can cause major personality changes that can make you feel as if you have lost yourself or that you’ve lost the loved one you used to know so well. Personality changes after a stroke can be emotionally draining for everyone involved.

However, if a stroke survivor and loved ones understand that the source of the behavior comes from stroke-induced brain damage, it can reassure everyone in knowing that the unpleasant behavior is not premeditated or intended to be personally insulting. High functioning stroke survivors who learn about the typical post-stroke behavioural changes can gain enough insight to be able to make some changes, which can result in more satisfying interpersonal relationships.

HOW A STROKE CAN CHANGE YOUR PERSONALITY

URINARY TRACT INFECTION: WHAT YOU SHOULD AND SHOULD NOT EAT

By Pamela Fernandes, MD

50% of women experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) in their lifetime. It costs over 1 billion USD and results in 1 million hospitalizations. It’s common among women compared to men. UTI’s are an infection of the urinary tract involving the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Left untreated the infection can escalate and damage the kidney and ureters, permanently leading to scarring and renal failure.

The most common cause is due to bacteria from the gastrointestinal system. The anus is usually quite close to the urethra in women. Bacteria like E. coli travel from the digestive system. These bacteria can also be introduced during sex like Chlamydia and Mycoplasma.

Symptoms of UTI

Some of the common symptoms of a urinary tract infection are painful urination, burning sensation on urinating, an intense urge to urinate, pressure or fullness on the bladder, discharge, nausea, vomiting, cloudy or strange smelling urine, fever and back pain. If severe then you may also see blood in the urine.

Risk Factors

There are certain risk factors that increase the chances of getting a urinary tract infection. These include unprotected sex, intake of antibiotics, not urinating frequently, choosing baths over showers, lack of water in the diet, bacterial entry from the anus and pregnancy. Old age and gender do play a role since immunity is lower in the elderly and the urethra is shorter in women.

Foods You Should Eat When You Have a Urinary Tract Infection: Certain foods are known to help relieve symptoms of UTI.

Water

Water keeps your system hydrated and helps your body flush out toxins. Most people don’t drink enough water. Infections are caused by a buildup of bacteria and with decreased water consumption. The bacteria can be flushed out of the system with hydration.  Studies have shown that increased water intake can help in the prophylaxis and treatment of UTI’s.

Cranberry juice

Everyone’s heard of cranberry juice as a cure for UTI’s. And the science proves it. Two randomized controlled studies prove that cranberry juice does reduce the number of symptomatic UTI’s over a twelve-month period. Unsweetened cranberry juice is best as sugar tends to worsen the infection. You can dilute 1 ounce of juice with 7 ounces of water. Cranberries have proanthocyanidins. This is a compound that prevents E.coli from multiplying within the urethra.

Pineapple

Pineapple contains bromelain. It’s a protease mixture or enzyme mixture that has been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties. It also increases wound healing and immunomodulatory effects. It’s also being studied as an anticancer agent.

Probiotics

Among pregnant and breastfeeding women, probiotics are often recommended. Probiotics contain healthy bacteria which help your immune system and staves off infection. Probiotics like fermented yogurt and live cultures can give you a dose of “good” bacteria.

Vitamin C

If you want to prevent a UTI infection you can take Vitamin C. It makes the urine acidic. This prevents bacteria from multiplying. With the bacteria controlled, the chances of a UTI are less.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice also contains ascorbic acid. It makes the urine acidic and controls the bacteria. You can drink lemon juice or can be used prophylactically in those who have frequent UTI’s.

Baking soda

Urine alkalinization has been studied in female patients with lower UTI’s. In fact, in chronic patients, this alkalinization is done with sodium bicarbonate. You can use ½ tsp of baking soda in warm water and drink this in the morning. This wouldn’t be suitable for people with hypertension as it contains sodium which increases blood pressure.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Dilute two tbsps. of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. You can add honey to this mixture. Drink this in the morning till your infection clears. Apple cider vinegar hasantimicrobial activity against E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans.

Garlic

Garlic has been studied for its effects against dyslipidemia and its antithrombotic effects. It has numerous benefits that now clinicians are considering garlic tablets as part of therapy. However, in uncomplicated urinary tract infections, it also plays a role due to its antifungal and antimicrobial properties. There is very limited scientific evidence about the usage of garlic for non-E. coli UTI.

Blueberries

A few blueberries in your diet either whole or juiced would be great till your infection clears.

Like cranberries, they also contain proanthocyanidins which help stave off E Coli.

Foods to avoid

When you have a UTI there are some foods that can worsen your condition.

Sugar

Sugars can contribute to the growth of yeast which can aggravate your UTI. Any refined flour, white bread, pasta and sweet stuff can be responsible for increasing your sugar levels. Increase sugar levels also affect the immunity and hence can encourage the growth of bacteria and slows down the resolution of your infection.

Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic. It is known to be a bladder irritant as it produces early urgency and increases the frequency of urination. If you have symptoms if UTI you should avoid, coffee, tea, and alcohol.

Spicy food

Lay off the spice and other foods that can irritate the bladder. You don’t want a very active bladder when you have a UTI.

Red meat

Red meat also tends to add more acid to your gut and lowers pH levels in the body. Try and avoid red meat if you have an active urinary tract infection. Eat a high fibre diet instead.

Diagnosis and Treatment

After asking about your symptoms, and making a tentative diagnosis your doctor may want to physically examine you and order a routine urine test and a bacterial culture of your urine. This is to confirm if you have an infection. And also to determine the causative bacteria or microorganism responsible for the infection.

Usually, doctors will instruct you to submit a clean catch sample of urine. This is done by washing the area and then collecting a sample midstream. The sample is collected in a sterile container to prevent cross contamination.

Treatments are usually targeted towards the offending bacteria. And these are usually antibiotics. Bacteria that are sensitive to the antibiotics will be killed. However, with every urinary tract infection and subsequent treatment, the bacteria may develop resistance and so it’s essential that you prevent recurrent urinary tract infections.

 

URINARY TRACT INFECTION: WHAT YOU SHOULD AND SHOULD NOT EAT

5 FOODS THAT CAN CAUSE CANCER

By Yasmine Ali, MD

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of the World Health Organization (WHO), came out definitively with a report on cancer-causing processed meats, stating that such meats definitely can cause colorectal cancer. They have also stated that red meat in general “probably” causes cancers such as colon, pancreatic, and prostate cancer.

Given that obesity is a risk factor for a number of different cancers, it is helpful to do all you can to decrease your risk.

Below are five foods to avoid, based on the report.

  1. Hot Dogs

According to the IARC press release, “Processed meat refers to meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation.”

Hot dogs are listed as one example of processed meat that can cause cancer. Specifically, the IARC classified processed meat as “carcinogenic [cancer-causing] to humans, based on sufficient evidence in humans that consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer.”

According to the IARC, a little over the equivalent of one hot dog per day is enough to increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.

  1. Beef Jerky

Beef jerky also falls into processed meat group and was listed as a specific example in the IARC press release as a processed meat that can cause cancer.

The IARC press release regarding the recent findings stated that IARC experts “considered more than 800 studies that investigated associations of more than a dozen types of cancer with the consumption of red meat or processed meat in many countries and populations with diverse diets.”

The IARC Working Group found that “the most influential evidence came from large prospective cohort studies conducted over the past 20 years.”

  1. Sausage

Sausage is another kind of processed meat that was given as an example in the IARC press release as being cancer-causing.

The IARC has stated that “each 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.”

The IARC further noted that “the consumption of meat varies greatly between countries, with from a few percent up to 100% of people eating red meat, depending on the country, and somewhat lower proportions eating processed meat.”

  1. Ham

Ham is a processed meat that is not only carcinogenic due to its processed nature but has also been linked to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases because of its very high sodium content.

Other processed deli meats, such as pastrami, salami, pepperoni, and the like, present the same cancer-causing risk.

  1. Corned Beef

Corned beef was also one of the examples listed by the IARC as a processed meat linked to colorectal cancer.

The IARC further noted that “most processed meats contain pork or beef, but processed meats may also contain other red meats, poultry … or meat by-products such as blood.”

Other examples of processed meat listed in the IARC press release included canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces.

Article Sources :

Nagle CM, Wilson LF, Hughes MC, et al. Cancers in Australia in 2010 Attributable to the Consumption of Red and Processed Meat. Aust N Z J Public Health. 2015; 39:429-33.

Amiano P, Chamosa S, Etxezarreta N, et al. Unprocessed Red Meat and Processed Meat Consumption and Risk of Stroke in the Spanish Cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Eur J Clin Nutr 2015 Sep 30. [Epub ahead of print]

5 FOODS THAT CAN CAUSE CANCER

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