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Eating olive oil once a week lowers risk of blood clots’

A new study has found that drizzling olive oil on your food at least once a week lowers the risk of blood clots.

Olive oil is an important part of Mediterranean diet which has long been known is associated with good heart health.

Researchers at New York University School of Medicine studied the blood of 63 obese, non-smoking adults, and found the olive oil seemed to protect blood platelets from dangerous ‘activation’ which can cause a build-up and blood clots.

The team at the New York University School of Medicine, believe that beyond containing plenty of antioxidants, it has something to do with the structure of olive oil’s molecules.

The lead author Dr Sean Heffron at New York University School of Medicine said “People who are obese are at increased risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event, even if they don’t have diabetes or other obesity-associated conditions. Our study suggests that choosing to eat olive oil may have the potential to help modify that risk, potentially lowering an obese person’s threat of having a heart attack or stroke.”

Platelets are blood cell fragments that stick together and form clumps and clots when they are activated. They contribute to the buildup of artery-clogging plaque, known as atherosclerosis, the condition which underlies most heart attacks and strokes.

The study involved asking 63 obese, nonsmoking, non-diabetic individuals with an average age of 32.2 and where morbidly obese with an average BMI of 44.1.

The study found those who ate olive oil at least once a week had lower platelet activation than participants who ate it less often, and that the lowest levels of platelet aggregation were observed among those who ate olive oil more frequently.

They did not see any of these beneficial effects from red meat, eggs, butter, or margarine.

Mail Online reports that the researchers admit the findings relied on participants completing food survey questionnaires on how often they ate olive oil, but not how much olive oil they ate.

And because it was observational, the study could not prove that eating olive oil will reduce platelet activation in obese adults.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Linda Van Horn of the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, said: “These investigators have taken on the opportunity to compare individuals who were all overweight, but were not smoking or didn’t have diabetes or other factors that could confound these results and instead showed that those who consumed olive oil more frequently had better outcomes related to their platelets.”

Source: Daily Trust Nigeria

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Forgetting uses more brain power than remembering

Choosing to forget something might take more mental effort than trying to remember it, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin discovered through neuroimaging.

These findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, suggest that in order to forget an unwanted experience, more attention should be focused on it. This surprising result extends prior research on intentional forgetting, which focused on reducing attention to the unwanted information through redirecting attention away from unwanted experiences or suppressing the memory’s retrieval.

“We may want to discard memories that trigger maladaptive responses, such as traumatic memories, so that we can respond to new experiences in more adaptive ways,” said Jarrod Lewis-Peacock, the study’s senior author and an assistant professor of psychology at UT Austin. “Decades of research has shown that we have the ability to voluntarily forget something, but how our brains do that is still being questioned. Once we can figure out how memories are weakened and devise ways to control this, we can design treatment to help people rid themselves of unwanted memories.”

Memories are not static. They are dynamic constructions of the brain that regularly get updated, modified and reorganized through experience. The brain is constantly remembering and forgetting information — and much of this happens automatically during sleep.

When it comes to intentional forgetting, prior studies focused on locating “hotspots” of activity in the brain’s control structures, such as the prefrontal cortex, and long-term memory structures, such as the hippocampus. The latest study focuses, instead, on the sensory and perceptual areas of the brain, specifically the ventral temporal cortex, and the patterns of activity there that correspond to memory representations of complex visual stimuli.

“We’re looking not at the source of attention in the brain, but the sight of it,” said Lewis-Peacock, who is also affiliated with the UT Austin Department of Neuroscience and the Dell Medical School.

Using neuroimaging to track patterns of brain activity, the researchers showed a group of healthy adults images of scenes and faces, instructing them to either remember or forget each image.

Their findings not only confirmed that humans have the ability to control what they forget, but that successful intentional forgetting required “moderate levels” of brain activity in these sensory and perceptual areas — more activity than what was required to remember.

“A moderate level of brain activity is critical to this forgetting mechanism. Too strong, and it will strengthen the memory; too weak, and you won’t modify it,” said Tracy Wang, lead author of the study and a psychology postdoctoral fellow at UT Austin. “Importantly, it’s the intention to forget that increases the activation of the memory, and when this activation hits the ‘moderate level’ sweet spot, that’s when it leads to later forgetting of that experience.”

The researchers also found that participants were more likely to forget scenes than faces, which can carry much more emotional information, the researchers said.

“We’re learning how these mechanisms in our brain respond to different types of information, and it will take a lot of further research and replication of this work before we understand how to harness our ability to forget,” said Lewis-Peacock, who has begun a new study using neurofeedback to track how much attention is given to certain types of memories.

“This will make way for future studies on how we process, and hopefully get rid of, those really strong, sticky emotional memories, which can have a powerful impact on our health and well-being,” Lewis-Peacock said.

Source: Science Daily

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Migraine sufferers at 20% risk of dry eyes – Study

Migraine sufferers at 20% risk of dry eyes – Study

People with migraine may be at higher odds of also having chronic dry eye disease, a new research has revealed.

Findings from the study revealed that people with migraine had a 20 percent higher risk of having dry eye disease.

It showed that the relationship seemed to strengthen with age, especially for women, adding that for men aged 65 or over, having migraines nearly doubled the odds of also having dry eye disease, and women of the same age had almost 2.5 times the risk, the researchers said.

According to the study team lead, an ophthalmologist at the University of North Carolina, Dr Richard Davis, physicians caring for patients with a history of migraine headaches should be aware that these patients may be at risk for (concurrent) dry eye disease.

An optometrist who runs a clinic treating dry eye disease in Tucson, Ariz, Angela Bevels, stated that findings resonated both personally and professionally .

She said: “I suffered from migraine headaches for many years, when I also happened to have undiagnosed dry eye. I didn’t connect the two conditions at the time, but this new research makes me believe they may have been related after all.

“Reinforcing my impression is the fact that my migraines have drastically improved over the past two years, the exact amount of time since I’ve been successfully treated for dry eye.”

Background information in the new study stated that, anywhere from 8 percent to 34 percent of adults may be affected by dry eye. It’s a disorder of the tear film on the eye’s surface that “results in symptoms of discomfort, visual disturbance” and other ocular issues that can really lessen a person’s quality of life, the study authors explained.

The new study couldn’t prove that one condition causes the other, but links between dry eye and migraine have been noticed for years, the researchers said.

“Underlying inflammatory processes” at the cellular level are known to play key roles in both dry eye disease and migraine,” the report said.

The authors said inflammatory changes in dry eye diseases might trigger similar events in neuromuscular tissue, leading to the development and propagation of migraine headaches, or excessive dryness of the eye’s surface might work on key nerve pathways to help trigger migraines.

Dr Davis and his colleagues concluded that, whatever the connection, doctors need to be on the lookout that a patient with one of these conditions is at higher risk for the other.

Source: Daily Trust Nigeria

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Exercise intensities benefit older

A new research has revealed that older adults who engage in short bursts of physical activity can experience a boost in brain health even if the activity is carried out at a reasonably low intensity.

According to researchers from the School of Kinesiology and Graduate Program in Neuroscience, bouts of aerobic exercise, as brief as 10 minutes, enhance cognitive function of older adults.

They also found that these benefits could be realised by those previously encouraged not to exercise.

The study, which included 17 older adults with an average age of 73, put participants through aerobic tests at moderate, heavy and very heavy levels of exercise intensity, and had them complete a pre- and post-exercise task to measure executive function.

The key finding of the study was that the boost in executive function was experienced by subjects at a variety of levels of exercise intensity.

The study’s senior author, Matthew Heath, said the results of their findings suggest that people limited to moderate levels of exercise intensity may experience similar cognitive benefits by simply being active for as little as 10 minutes.

The study also identified that the post-exercise boost to cognitive function was not limited to participants with high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness.

“Discovering that the executive benefit of exercise can be experienced across the spectrum of exercise intensity, and also by people of all fitness levels, showcases how impactful exercise can be and the fact that the cognitive benefits of exercise can be realised almost immediately could increase the likelihood of people engaging in physical activity,” said Heath, a member of Western’s Brain and Mind Institute.

Source: Daily Trust Nigeria




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Global Fund for Health

Global Fund for Health – How seven African countries squandered millions of foreign Aid

Map of AFrica used to illustrate the story

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Africa’s foremost diplomat, Kofi Annan, was one of the biggest human export from the continent.

Aside from being the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations for nine years (1997 to 2006), the late Ghanaian was one of the founders of the Global Fund. The funding mechanism is now the world’s largest financier of AIDS, Tuberculosis, and malaria prevention, treatment, and care programmes.

Having just won the Nobel Peace laurel, Mr Annan at a summit of African leaders in April 2001 in Abuja, Nigeria made the first contribution by donating his $100,000 award prize to the Fund.

This prompted the UN General Assembly a month later to endorse the creation of a Global Fund (GF) to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The fund was formally created in 2002. Between then and 2016, more than 51 donor governments pledged $38.5 billion and paid $37.3 billion.

Mr Annan had a vision of creating a pool of funds to reach some of the world’s poorest with heavy disease burdens, especially, Africans.

Source: www.premiumtimesng.com

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