Eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death by 42 percent

Eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death at any point in time by 42% compared to eating less than one portion, reports a new UCL study.Researchers used the Health Survey for England to study the eating habits of 65,226 people representative of the English population between 2001 and 2013, and found that the more fruit and vegetables they ate, the less likely they were to die at any age. Eating seven or more portions reduces the specific risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25% and 31% respectively. The research also showed that vegetables have significantly higher health benefits than fruit.This is the first study to link fruit and vegetable consumption with all-cause, cancer and heart disease deaths in a nationally-representative population, the first to quantify health benefits per-portion, and the first to identify the types of fruit and vegetable with the most benefit.Compared to eating less than one portion of fruit and vegetables, the risk of death by any cause is reduced by 14% by eating one to three portions, 29% for three to five portions, 36% for five to seven portions and 42% for seven or more. These figures are adjusted for sex, age, cigarette smoking, social class, Body Mass Index, education, physical activity and alcohol intake, and exclude deaths within a year of the food survey.The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, found that fresh vegetables had the strongest protective effect, with each daily portion reducing overall risk of death by 16%. Salad contributed to a 13% risk reduction per portion, and each portion of fresh fruit was associated with a smaller but still significant 4% reduction.”We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy, but the size of the effect is staggering,” says Dr Oyinlola Oyebode of UCL’s Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, lead author of the study. “The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. Vegetables have a larger effect than fruit, but fruit still makes a real difference. If you’re happy to snack on carrots or other vegetables, then that is a great choice but if you fancy something sweeter, a banana or any fruit will also do you good.”The findings lend support to the Australian government’s ‘Go for 2 + 5’ guidelines, which recommend eating two portions of fruit and five of vegetables. The UK Department of Health recommends ‘5 a day’, while ‘Fruit and Veggies — More Matters’ is the key message in the USA.”Our study shows that people following Australia’s ‘Go for 2 + 5’ advice will reap huge health benefits,” says Dr Oyebode. “However, people shouldn’t feel daunted by a big target like seven. …

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Learn More about Wrongful Death

A death caused by the negligent or unjust actions of another individual is referred to as a wrongful death. While all deaths are devastating to the family and friends of the deceased, wrongful deaths can be exceptionally traumatic due to the fact that they could have been prevented. A variety of accidents and intentional harms can lead to the wrongful death of others, including car accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, workplace negligence, and even acts of violence or murder. When the numbers are added up, it is clear to see how unfortunately common wrongful deaths can be.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 37,000 prescription drug-related fatalities occurred in 2009. The Department of Transportation reports that for the same year, 33,883 traffic accident fatalities occurred. Workplace accidents also contribute significantly, with over 4,500 accident-related fatalities reported in 2010 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that approximately 225,000 individuals die each year as a result of medical malpractice.When an individual suffers a wrongful death, a personal representative of the deceased’s estate is allowed under law to bring forth a civil case against the individual (or individuals) who were either partially or fully responsible for the death. In order to be successful, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was either negligent, acted with intent to cause harm, or was strictly to blame regardless of any fault attached to their actions (or failure to take action).Each state has its own wrongful death statutes that define time limits within which a wrongful death suit can be filed, and which often place specific regulations on the damages that can be pursued for individual types of accidents. In the aftermath of an unexpected and tragic death, bereaved family and friends are distraught, angry, and often in shock at what has transpired to their loved one. The complexity and individualistic nature of wrongful death laws and lawsuits underscore the importance just how important it is for grieving families to secure the help of a qualified attorney. …

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Concerns raised about using beta agonists in beef cattle

Use of certain animal drugs known as beta agonists in cattle production has received considerable national attention.A Texas Tech University veterinary epidemiologist has found that although there are significant societal benefits to the practice, an increase in death loss of cattle raises questions about welfare implications of its use.In a peer-reviewed article published in PLOS ONE, Guy Loneragan, professor of food safety and public health in Texas Tech’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, adds to this ongoing national dialogue.”Beta agonists improve the efficiency of beef production and this improvement provides important societal benefits,” Loneragan said.”The beta agonists approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in cattle increase muscle growth and may reduce the amount of fat the cattle accumulates,” he said. “This means the cattle converts more of the feed it eats into beef, and it does this more efficiently.”The article is co-authored by Daniel Thomson and Morgan Scott of Kansas State University and is titled “Increased mortality in groups of cattle administered the β-adrenergic agonists ractopamine hydrochloride and zilpaterol hydrochloride.”With the use of beta agonists, cattle require less feed and less water to produce the same amount of beef than if no beta agonists were used. Less land would be used to grow the crops used to feed the animals and, therefore, less fuel to produce the same amount of beef. The improvement in the efficiency of production has meaningful societal benefits.”However, through our extensive analysis, we found that the incidence of death among cattle administered beta agonists was 75 to 90 percent greater than cattle not administered the beta agonists,” Loneragan said. “This increase in death loss raises critical animal-welfare questions. We believe an inclusive dialogue is needed to explore the use of animal drugs solely to improve performance, yet have no offsetting health benefits for the animals to which they are administered. This is particularly needed for those drugs that appear to adversely impact animal welfare, such as beta agonists.”At a recent symposium held at Texas Tech, the animal behaviorist and welfare expert Temple Grandin headlined a discussion of beta agonists and animal welfare.In a recent joint NPR interview with Loneragan and Grandin about beta agonists’ affect on animal welfare, Grandin said, “These problems have got to stop. I’ve laid awake at night about it. I’ve worked all my career to improve how animals are handled and these animals are just suffering. …

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Substance naturally found in humans effective in fighting brain damage from stroke

A molecular substance that occurs naturally in humans and rats was found to “substantially reduce” brain damage after an acute stroke and contribute to a better recovery, according to a newly released animal study by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital.The study, published online before print in Stroke, the journal of the American Heart Association, was the first ever to show that the peptide AcSDKP provides neurological protection when administered one to four hours after the onset of an ischemic stroke.This type of stroke occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked by a blood clot, cutting off oxygen and killing brain tissue with crippling or fatal results.”Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide,” said Li Zhang, M.D., a researcher at Henry Ford and lead author of the study. “Our data showed that treatment of acute stroke with AcSDKP alone or in combination with tPA substantially reduced neurovascular damage and improved neurological outcome.”Commonly called a “clot-buster,” tPA, or tissue plasminogen activator, is the only FDA-approved treatment for acute stroke.However, tPA must be given shortly after the onset of stroke to provide the best results. It also has the potential to cause a brain hemorrhage.The Henry Ford study found that this narrow “therapeutic window” is extended for up to four hours after stroke and the therapeutic benefit of tPA is amplified when tPA is combined with AcSDKP. Further, the researchers discovered that AcSDKP alone is an effective treatment if given up to one hour after the brain attack.The researchers tested the actions of both substances on laboratory rats in which acute stroke had been induced. It was already known that the peptide AcSDKP provides anti-inflammatory effects and helps protect the heart when used to treat a variety of cardiovascular diseases. The Henry Ford scientists reasoned that the peptide may have similar neurological benefits.Significantly, they found that AcSDKP can readily cross the so-called “blood brain barrier” that blocks other neuroprotective substances.A battery of behavioral tests was given to the lab rats both before and after stroke was induced to measure the effects of AcSDKP administered alone one hour after onset and combined with tPA four hours after stroke.Besides finding that both methods “robustly” decreased neurological damage associated with stroke, they did so without increasing the incidence of brain hemorrhage or the formation of additional blood clots.”With the increased use of clot-busting therapy in patients with acute stroke, both the safety and effectiveness of the combined treatment shown in our study should encourage the development of clinical trials of AcSDKP with tPA,” Dr. Zhang says.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Henry Ford Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Acupuncture holds promise for treating inflammatory disease

When acupuncture first became popular in the western hemisphere it had its doubters. It still does. But over time, through detailed observation, scientists have produced real evidence that ancient Chinese practitioners of the medical arts were onto something.Now new research documents a direct connection between the use of acupuncture and physical processes that could alleviate sepsis, a condition that often develops in hospital intensive care units, springs from infection and inflammation, and takes an estimated 250,000 lives in the United States every year.”Sepsis is the major cause of death in the hospital,” says Luis Ulloa, an immunologist at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School who led the study, which has been published by the journal Nature Medicine. “But in many cases patients don’t die because of the infection. They die because of the inflammatory disorder they develop after the infection. So we hoped to study how to control the inflammatory disorder.”The researchers already knew that stimulation of one of the body’s major nerves, the vagus nerve, triggers processes in the body that reduce inflammation, so they set out to see whether a form of acupuncture that sends a small electric current through that and other nerves could reduce inflammation and organ injury in septic mice. Ulloa explains that increasing the current magnifies the effect of needle placement, and notes that electrification is already FDA-approved for treating pain in human patients.When electroacupuncture was applied to mice with sepsis, molecules called cytokines that help limit inflammation were stimulated as predicted, and half of those mice survived for at least a week. There was zero survival among mice that did not receive acupuncture.Ulloa and his team then probed further, to figure out exactly why the acupuncture treatments had succeeded. And they made a discovery that, on its face, was very disappointing. They found that when they removed adrenal glands — which produce hormones in the body — the electroacpuncture stopped working. …

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Eleven new genes affecting blood pressure discovered

New research from Queen Mary University of London has discovered 11 new DNA sequence variants in genes influencing high blood pressure and heart disease.Identifying the new genes contributes to our growing understanding of the biology of blood pressure and, researchers believe, will eventually influence the development of new treatments. More immediately the study highlights opportunities to investigate the use of existing drugs for cardiovascular diseases.The large international study, published today in the American Journal of Human Genetics, examined the DNA of 87,736 individuals to discover genetic variants associated with blood pressure traits. Validation of these sequence variants was performed in a further 68,368 individuals. This analysis led to the identification of 11 new genes.Worldwide, raised blood pressure is estimated to cause 7.5 million deaths, about 12.8% of the total of all deaths. Genes and lifestyle factors (e.g., salt intake and obesity) are both known to be important risk factors.Patricia Munroe, Professor of Molecular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London, comments: “Discovering these new genetic variants provides vital insight into how the body regulates blood pressure. With further research, we are hopeful it could lead to the development of new treatments for treating blood pressure and heart disease — a leading cause of death worldwide.”Michael Barnes, Director of Bioinformatics, Barts and The London NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, Queen Mary University of London, comments:”By highlighting several existing drugs that target proteins which influence blood pressure regulation, our study creates a very real opportunity to fast-track new therapies for hypertension into the clinic.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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LGB individuals living in anti-gay communities die early, study shows

In the first study to look at the consequences of anti-gay prejudice for mortality, researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals who lived in communities with high levels of anti-gay prejudice have a shorter life expectancy of 12 years on average compared with their peers in the least prejudiced communities. “The results of this study suggest a broadening of the consequences of prejudice to include premature death,” noted the study’s lead author, Mark Hatzenbuehler, PhD, assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences.The study is online in the journal Social Science & Medicine.”Our findings indicate that sexual minorities living in communities with higher levels of prejudice die sooner than sexual minorities living in low-prejudice communities, and that these effects are independent of established risk factors for mortality, including household income, education, gender, ethnicity, and age, as well as the average income and education level of residents in the communities where the respondents lived,” said Dr. Hatzenbuehler. “In fact, our results for prejudice were comparable to life expectancy differences that have been observed between individuals with and without a high school education.”In order to examine the relationship between prejudice and mortality, the researchers constructed a measure capturing the average level of anti-gay prejudice in the communities where LGB individuals lived, beginning in 1988, using data on prejudicial attitudes from the General Social Survey, one of the primary sources of social indicator data in the social sciences. This information on sexual orientation and community-level prejudice was then linked longitudinally to mortality data via the National Death Index, through 2008. Thus, the authors were able to examine whether mortality risk differed for LGB individuals who lived in communities that were characterized by high versus low levels of prejudice. By the end of the study, 92% of LGB respondents living in low-prejudice communities were still alive; in contrast, only 78% of the LGB respondents living in high-prejudice communities were still alive.The authors also found that suicide, homicide/violence, and cardiovascular diseases were all substantially elevated among sexual minorities in high-prejudice communities. LGB respondents living in high-prejudice communities died of suicide on average at age 37.5, compared to age 55.7 for those living in low-prejudice communities, a striking 18-year difference. Homicide and violence-related deaths are one of the most direct links between hostile community attitudes and death, and results indicated that homicide rates were over three times more likely to occur in high-prejudice communities than in low-prejudice communities.Of the deaths in high-prejudice communities, 25% were due to cardiovascular disease, compared to 18.6% of deaths in the low-prejudice communities. “Psychosocial stressors are strongly linked to cardiovascular risk, and this kind of stress may represent an indirect pathway through which prejudice contributes to mortality. …

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Double mastectomy halves death risk for women with BRCA-related breast cancer

Women with BRCA-related breast cancer who have a double mastectomy are nearly 50 per cent less likely to die of breast cancer within 20 years of diagnosis compared to women who have a single mastectomy, according to a new study led by Women’s College Hospital’s Kelly Metcalfe.The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, suggest a double mastectomy may be an effective first-line treatment for women with early-stage breast cancer who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation. The BRCA1/2 genes belong to a class of genes that typically act to protect individuals from acquiring cancer, yet women who inherit a mutated form of the genes have a high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers.”Women with a BRCA mutation have a 60 to 70 per cent chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime, and once diagnosed, a further 34 per cent chance of developing breast cancer in the opposite breast within 15 years,” said Kelly Metcalfe, an adjunct scientist at Women’s College Research Institute and professor at the University of Toronto. “For these women, we need to think about treating the first breast cancer, but also about preventing a second breast cancer.”To compare the survival rates of women with BRCA-related breast cancers, researchers assessed the medical records of 390 women with stage one or two breast cancer and a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. The women were required to have been initially treated with a single or double mastectomy. The researchers found:Women who had a double mastectomy had a 48% greater likelihood of surviving compared to women with a single mastectomy For women who developed a new breast cancer in the opposite breast, the risk of dying of breast cancer was doubled At twenty years, the survival rate was 88% for women with a double mastectomy and 66% for women with a single mastectomy “Our study’s results provide evidence that in order to improve survival in women with BRCA-associated breast cancer, we need to prevent new breast cancers from developing after an initial diagnosis,” said Dr. Steven Narod, a co-author of the study and a senior scientist at Women’s College Research Institute. “This study highlights the importance of providing genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 at the time of breast cancer diagnosis if appropriate. This genetic information could help women make decisions that ultimately may increase their chance of surviving breast cancer.”Last year, Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, publicly announced her decision to opt for a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery after discovering she had the BRCA1 gene. The then 37 year-old actress said doctors estimated she had a 50 per cent risk of developing ovarian cancer and an 87 per cent risk of breast cancer.While existing research widely supports the benefit of a double mastectomy in preventing breast cancer in women with the gene mutation, the study’s researchers caution more research is necessary to confirm the benefit of a double mastectomy in reducing the risk of death in women diagnosed with BRCA-related breast cancer.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Women’s College Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman: The Disease of Addiction Doing Pushups

For many recovering addicts, the tragedy of Philip Seymour Hoffman was a humbling reminder that no matter how many years someone has sober, the disease is still there – doing proverbial “pushups” and that relapse is never off the table.The disease of addiction progresses even when addicts are not using, which is hard for addicts and others to wrap their minds around until they hear real life tales of how this happens. Hoffman’s story is a very real life example of this: police reported to several news agencies they found 5 empty bags and 65 additional bags full of heroin in his apartment the night he died. He got sober in his early 20s, remained sober for 23 years and just a few years later overdosed with heroin in …

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Hot weather deaths projected to rise 257 percent in UK by 2050s, experts warn

The number of annual excess deaths caused by hot weather in England and Wales is projected to surge by 257% by the middle of the century, as a result of climate change and population growth, concludes research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.The elderly (75+) will be most at risk, particularly in the South and the Midlands, the findings suggest.The research team, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Public Health England, used time-series regression analysis to chart historic (1993-2006) fluctuations in weather patterns and death rates to characterise the associations between temperature and mortality, by region and by age group.They then applied these to projected population increases and local climate to estimate the future number of deaths likely to be caused by temperature — hot and cold — for the 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s.They based their calculations on the projected daily average temperatures for 2000-09, 2020-29, 2050-59 and 2080-89, derived from the British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC), and population growth estimates from the Office of National Statistics.The calculations indicated a significantly increased risk of deaths associated with temperature across all regions of the UK, with the elderly most at risk.The number of hot weather days is projected to rise steeply, tripling in frequency by the mid 2080s, while the number of cold days is expected to fall, but at a less dramatic pace.At the national level, the death rate increases by just over 2% for every 1ᵒC rise in temperature above the heat threshold, with a corresponding 2% increase in the death rate for every 1ᵒC fall in temperature below the cold threshold.In the absence of any adaptive measures, excess deaths related to heat would be expected to rise by 257% by the 2050s, from an annual baseline of 2000, while those related to the cold would be expected to fall by 2% as a result of milder winters, from a current toll of around 41,000, but will still remain significant.Those aged 85 and over will be most at risk, partly as a result of population growth — projected to reach 89 million by the mid 2080s — and the increasing proportion of elderly in the population, say the authors.Regional variations are likely to persist: London and the Midlands are the regions most vulnerable to the impact of heat, while Wales, the North West, Eastern England and the South are most vulnerable to the impact of cold.Rising fuel costs may make it harder to adapt to extremes of temperature, while increased reliance on active cooling systems could simply end up driving up energy consumption and worsening the impact of climate change, say the authors.Better and more sustainable options might instead include shading, thermal insulation, choice of construction materials implemented at the design stage of urban developments, suggest the authors.While the death toll from cold weather temperatures will remain higher than that caused by hot temperatures, the authors warn that health protection from hot weather will become increasingly necessary — and vital for the very old.”As the contribution of population growth and aging on future temperature related health burdens will be large, the health protection of the elderly will be important,” warn the authors, recalling the social changes that have led to many elderly living on their own — a contributory factor to the high death toll in France in the 2003 heatwave.

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Owner of transport firm sentenced for safety failings

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2013 » 10 » Owner of transport firm sentenced for safety failingsOwner of transport firm sentenced for safety failingsThe owner of a Leicestershire-based transport firm has been sentenced for a number of safety failings that led to the death of a mechanic.Mark Wintersgill, 25, of Leicester, was trying to jack up a double-decker lorry trailer at the PPR Transport Services site in Lutterworth on June 25th 2012 when the fatal incident took place.Leicester Crown Court was told by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecutors that the jack the man was using separated from the heavy good vehicle’s axle and struck him – causing what were described as “catastrophic” head injuries.Mr Wintersgill died at the scene and the efforts of his colleagues to save his life were in vain.Upon hearing of the young mechanic’s death, the HSE launched an inspection and found business owner Paul Roberts should have planned the lifting of lorry trailers in a safer manner and implicated him in the 25-year-old’s death.For these failings, Mr Roberts, also of Leicester, was fined £12,000 and told to pay costs of £43,000 after he pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety of Work etc Act 1974 for failing to protect his employees. He was not given a custodial sentence.After the hearing HSE inspector David Lefever commented: “This was a tragic incident that could have been prevented had a few basic precautions been taken.”Mr Roberts should have ensured that this regular work activity was carried out in a safe location on firm, level ground. He should also have ensured his employees were supplied with the correct equipment and that they were trained in how to use that equipment safely.”The fatally injured mechanic’s mother, Jeanine Erasmus spoke after the trial about the love she had for her son, calling it a “privilege and honour” to have seen him grow up over the years until his untimely death.But now, the grieving mother said, she will have to go on living with an “emptiness” inside her left in her son’s absence.By Francesca WitneyOr call us on 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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New antiviral response discovered in mammals

Oct. 10, 2013 — Many viral infections are nipped in the bud by the innate immune response. This involves specific proteins within the infected cell that recognize the virus and trigger a signalling cascade — the so-called interferon response. This activates a protective mechanism in neighbouring cells and often results in the death of the primarily infected cell.In plants and invertebrates another mechanism is known to function in antiviral immune response: the so-called RNA interference (RNAi) pathway. RNAi uses an intermediate of the viral proliferation process to build a weapon against the virus. Although RNAi also exists in mammals, researchers have until now thought it to be involved in other cellular processes required for gene regulation but not in antiviral immunity. Evidence that RNAi does indeed contribute to mammalian antiviral defence is now published in Science by Olivier Voinnet, professor for RNA biology at ETH Zurich, and his colleagues.Small interfering RNAs as specific antiviral weaponsThe researchers infected mouse embryonic stem cells with two viruses, the encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) and the Nodamura virus (NoV). Subsequently, they were able to detect short RNA molecules of about 22 nucleotides in length within the cells. The sequence of these RNA clearly corresponded to the viral genome and they displayed all the characteristics of the main effector molecules of RNAi called the small interfering or siRNAs. This provided evidence that the virus infection had activated the RNAi machinery of mammalian cells.The trigger for RNAi is an unusual RNA molecule that arises when the viral genome is copied: a long, double-stranded RNA molecule. …

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Can you predict complications with back surgery? Preoperative factors increase risk

Sep. 3, 2013 — For older adults undergoing surgery for spinal stenosis, some simple indicators of poor preoperative health predict a high risk of major medical complications, reports a study in the September 1 issue of Spine. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.In combination, these risk factors may help in identifying patients at increased risk of heart attack and other serious events after spinal stenosis surgery, according to the report by Dr Richard A. Deyo and colleagues of Oregon Health and Science University, Portland. They write, “These factors may help in selecting patients and planning procedures, improving patient safety.”Information on Risk Factors for Major Medical ComplicationsThe researchers analyzed data on more than 12,000 patients undergoing surgery for spinal stenosis in the lower (lumbar) spine at Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers between 1998 and 2009. Patients with spinal stenosis have narrowing of the spinal canal, causing back pain, leg pain, and other symptoms. It is the most common reason for spine surgery in older adults.The analysis focused on identifying risk factors for major medical complications such as myocardial infarction, stroke, pneumonia, and sepsis. The overall rate of such major medical complications was 2.1 percent, along with a 0.6 percent risk of death within 90 days. By comparison, the rate of surgical wound-related complications was 3.2 percent.Risk of major medical complications increased steadily with age: from less than one percent for patients under 50 to four percent for those aged 80 or older. In contrast, the risk of wound complications was similar across age groups.A key risk factor for was the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class — a standard score for assessing patients’ fitness for surgery. …

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Stressful life events significantly raise the risk of falls in older men

Sep. 3, 2013 — A study of around 5,000 older men has shown that stressful life events such as death of a loved one, or serious financial problems, significantly raised the risk of falls in the year following the incident. The research is published online today in the journal Age and Ageing.Dr Howard A. Fink of the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis and colleagues conducted a study of 5,994 community-dwelling men over the age of 65 who were enrolled in the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) study in six locations across the United States. 5,125 participated in a second study visit and answered questions on stressful life events in the prior year. A further subset of 4,981 men reported complete data on falls for one year after the second visit.During the second visit, participants were asked their marital status, and if widowed, their spouse’s date of death. They were also asked to report occurrence of any of the following stressful life events: serious illness or accident of wife/partner; death of other close relative or close friend; separation from child, close friend, or other relative on whom the participant depended on for help; loss of pet; given up important hobby or interest; serious financial trouble; move or change in residence. Following the second visit, the participants were contacted every four months for one year regarding falls or fractures. Any fractures were confirmed by central review of radiography reports. Overall response rates exceeded 99%.Among the 4,981 men with complete stressful life event and falls data, 27.7% fell and 14.7% fell multiple times during the year after visit two. …

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Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival just 7 percent

Sep. 1, 2013 — Survival for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is just 7%, according to research presented at ESC Congress 2013 by Professor Xavier Jouven and Dr Wulfran Bougouin from France.Professor Jouven said: “Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is an important public health problem, accounting for more than 400,000 deaths every year. The main cause is ventricular tachyarrhythmias which are often triggered by acute ischaemic events that can occur in persons with or without known heart disease. The survival rate from cardiac arrest has remained low over the last 40 years despite major investment and the epidemiology of SCD in Western Europe is unclear.” The Paris Sudden Death Expertise Centre (SDEC) Registry is a population based registry using multiple sources to collect every case of cardiac arrest in Greater Paris (population 6.6 million) according to the Utstein Style.1 Cases are continuously recorded (within hours of occurrence) and standardised follow-up is initiated on admission to the intensive care unit. Incidence, prognostic factors and outcomes are recorded.The results reported today reveal the 2 year experience of the SDEC Registry. From May 2011 to December 2012, 3,670 sudden cardiac arrests, with resuscitation attempted, occurred. Most cases occurred at home (72%) with bystanders in 81% of cases, performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in only 42% of cases. Among those cases only 34% of patients were admitted alive at hospital and 7% were discharged alive.Professor Jouven said: “The majority of sudden cardiac deaths occur outside hospital so specific programmes are needed in the community. Friends and relatives of people at risk of SCD should learn CPR and attend regular training to keep their skills up-to-date.” Therapeutic hypothermia and early coronary reperfusion were both significantly associated with survival (p<0.001) but these procedures were used in just 58% of patients admitted to hospital. Professor Jouven said: “These interventions markedly improve survival yet are given to just over half of patients. …

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Metabolically healthy women have same CVD risk regardless of BMI

Sep. 2, 2013 — Metabolically healthy women have the same cardiovascular disease risk regardless of their BMI, according to research presented at the ESC Congress today by Dr Søren Skøtt Andersen and Dr Michelle Schmiegelow from Denmark. The findings in more than 260,000 subjects suggest that obese women have a window of opportunity to lose weight and avoid developing a metabolic disorder, which would increase their CVD risk.Dr Schmiegelow said: “Obesity and/or metabolic disorders (hypertensive disorders [hypertension, gestational hypertension or pre-eclampsia], disorders in glucose-metabolism [diabetes, gestational diabetes] and elevated cholesterol levels [dyslipidemia]) are well known cardiovascular risk factors. Studies in middle aged men have found that obese and normal weight men have the same cardiovascular risk if they are metabolically healthy. Our study aimed to find out if the same was true for young fertile women.”The study used Danish national health databases and followed 261,489 women who had given birth during 2004-2009 with no prior history of cardiovascular disease. The women were divided into four categories according to their pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and presence of metabolic disorders (present/not present) (see figure). The women’s mean age was 31 years.The women were followed for an average of 5 years following childbirth. Discharge diagnoses and data on cause of death were used to determine if the women had a heart attack, a stroke, or died. Metabolic disorders were defined using claimed prescription data related to hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidemia; thus, only disorders being treated were taken into account. The pregnancy-associated metabolic disorders were defined using diagnosis codes.The researchers found that being overweight (BMI≥25 kg/m2) but metabolically healthy was not associated with an increased risk of a heart attack, stroke or a combination of heart attack/stroke/death in comparison with normal weight, metabolically healthy women.Dr Schmiegelow said: “Being overweight but free of metabolic disorders does not seem to be associated with an increased risk in young women in the short term. …

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Smokers who survive to 70 still lose four years of life

Aug. 31, 2013 — Smokers who survive to 70 still lose an average of 4 years of life, according to findings from the Whitehall study.Dr Emberson said: “Despite recent declines in the numbers of people smoking and tar yields of cigarettes, smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in Europe.”He added: “Previous studies had demonstrated that prolonged cigarette smoking from early adult life was associated with about 10 years loss of life expectancy, with about one quarter of smokers killed by their habit before the age of 70. Stopping at ages 60, 50, 40 or 30 years gained back about 3, 6, 9 or the full 10 years. However, the hazards of continuing to smoke and the benefits of stopping in older people had not been widely studied.”In the current study, scientists tracked the health of 7,000 older men (mean age 77 years, range 66 to 97) from 1997 to 2012 who took part in the Whitehall study of London civil servants. Hazard ratios (HRs) for overall mortality and various causes of death in relation to smoking habits were calculated after adjustment for age, last known employment grade and previous diagnoses of vascular disease or cancer.During the 15-year study 5,000 of the 7,000 men died. Deaths in current smokers were about 50% higher than in never smokers (HR=1.50), due chiefly to vascular disease (HR=1.34), cancer (HR=1.74) and respiratory disease (HR=2.39).Deaths in former smokers were 15% higher than in never smokers (HR=1.15), due chiefly to cancer (HR=1.24) and respiratory disease (HR=1.58). Compared with never smokers, men who had quit smoking within the previous 25 years (median 14 years) had a 28% higher mortality rate (HR=1.28) while men who quit >25 years ago (median 35 years) had no significant excess risk (HR=1.05).Dr Emberson said: “Our results clearly show that active smoking continues to increase the risk of death in old age. Risk in former smokers decreases as the time since quitting gets longer and, if one survives long enough, eventually reaches levels of never smokers.”Average life expectancy from age 70 was about 18 years in men who had never regularly smoked, 16 years for men who gave up smoking before age 70 but only about 14 years in men still smoking at age 70. Two-thirds of never smokers (65%), but only half of current smokers (48%), survived from age 70 to age 85.Dr Emberson said: “This study shows that even if you were to ignore all the deaths caused by smoking before the age of 70, older smokers still do considerably worse than older non-smokers, losing a considerable amount of subsequent lifespan.”Dr Robert Clarke (UK), coordinator of the study, concluded: “We have shown that even if a smoker is fortunate enough to survive to age 70 they still lose, on average, about 4 years of subsequent lifespan compared with men who do not smoke. Quitting is beneficial at any age and it really is never too late to stop.”

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Stroke systems of care essential to reducing deaths, disabilities

Aug. 29, 2013 — The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has identified several key elements needed for systems of care to effectively reduce stroke-related deaths and disability.Share This:The systems should quickly and appropriately address patients’ needs from when stroke symptoms appear and EMS is called, during transport to and treatment in the hospital and through rehabilitation.Several key elements in systems of care can reduce stroke deaths and disabilities, according to a new American Heart Association/American Stroke Association policy statement published in its journal Stroke.Stroke is the number four cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, every 4 minutes someone dies of a stroke.The policy statement addresses patients’ care from the time stroke symptoms are identified, to the emergency medical services’ (EMS) response, to the transport and treatment in the hospital and rehabilitation.Recommendations include:Develop public education programs to improve awareness of stroke symptoms and the need to call 9-1-1 to get to the hospital quickly for treatment. Ensure EMS personnel can quickly assess stroke patients and get them to the hospital with appropriate care within 15-20 minutes. Establish protocols to optimize the transfer of patients between hospitals offering different levels of care and within the different departments of a hospital. Support the certification of stroke centers that follow treatment guidelines designed to improve patient care and outcomes. Use telemedicine, especially in rural areas, to ensure patients have 24/7 access to consultation and care. The association also calls for patients to have access to post-stroke care, including rehabilitation and nursing services, regardless of their financial status or socio-economic background.Authors of the statement also address issues related to adequate reimbursement for stroke treatment and care and the need for quality improvement and public reporting initiatives.Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:|Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above. …

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