Caffeine intake may worsen menopausal hot flashes, night sweats

A new Mayo Clinic study, published online by the journal Menopause, found an association between caffeine intake and more bothersome hot flashes and night sweats in postmenopausal women. The study also showed an association between caffeine intake and fewer problems with mood, memory and concentration in perimenopausal women, possibly because caffeine is known to enhance arousal, mood and attention. The findings of this largest study to date on caffeine and menopausal symptoms are published on the Menopause website and will also be printed in a future issue of the journal.For the study, researchers conducted a survey using the Menopause Health Questionnaire, a comprehensive assessment of menopause-related health information that includes personal habits and ratings of menopausal symptom presence and severity. Questionnaires were completed by 2,507 consecutive women who presented with menopausal concerns at the Women’s Health Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester between July 25, 2005, and July 25, 2011. Data from 1,806 women who met all inclusion criteria were analyzed. Menopausal symptom ratings were compared between caffeine users and nonusers.Approximately 85 percent of the U.S. population consumes some form of caffeine-containing beverage daily. Vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes and night sweats) are the most commonly reported menopausal symptoms, occurring in 79 percent of perimenopausal women and 65 percent of postmenopausal women. Although it has long been believed that caffeine intake exacerbates menopausal vasomotor symptoms, research has challenged this assumption, as caffeine has been both positively and negatively linked to hot flashes.”While these findings are preliminary, our study suggests that limiting caffeine intake may be useful for those postmenopausal women who have bothersome hot flashes and night sweats,” says Stephanie Faubion, M.D., director of the Women’s Health Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. “Menopause symptoms can be challenging but there are many management strategies to try.”Other strategies Dr. …

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The protein profile of restless leg syndrome

June 7, 2013 — A protein profile of people with restless leg syndrome (RLS) identifies factors behind disrupted sleep, cardiovascular dysfunction and pain, finds research in BioMed Central’s open access journal Fluids and Barriers of the CNS. The research gives insights into the disorder, and could be useful in the development of new treatments.It is not completely clear what causes RLS, also known as Willis Ekbom disease (WED), but in some people it is associated with iron deficiency in the brain, kidney failure, or low levels of the ‘pleasure’ neurotransmitter dopamine. It can also occur during pregnancy. It affects between 5 and 10% of the population and symptoms, which can range in severity, including sleep deprivation and decreased ability to work can lead to a reduction in quality of life. It is also a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.Comparing the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) of women with and without RLS, researchers from the US and Korea discovered there was a significantly altered level of six specific proteins with RLS. Dr Stephanie Patton from Penn State University who led this study explained, “Our results reveal a protein profile in the RLS/WED CSF that is consistent with iron deficiency, dopamine dysregulation and inflammation.”These proteins include a protein which transports vitamin D into cells and is involved in the regulation of dopamine levels, cystatin C — a biomarker for pain found in people with sciatica and during labor, and a neuromodulator (PTGDS) known to be involved in sleep disturbances. Levels of apolipoprotein (Apo) A1 were lower with RLS and may be related to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease.The importance of iron’s role in RLS is highlighted by the presence of B-hemoglobin in the CSF of women with RLS, while levels of a glycoprotein (AGP) were reduced. AGP is involved in response to inflammatory damage and requires the presence of iron for it to be protective.Dr Stephanie Patton continued, “Although a small study, this CSF protein profile is consistent with observed neuropathological findings and supports existing hypotheses about the biology behind RLS/WED, which could prove clinically important in developing new treatments.”

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