The Epigenetic Clock

Epigenetic’s looks at the changes in chromosomes that happen without modifying the DNA sequence itself and changing the position of any of the DNA base pairs.

A team of researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles, wanted to find out whether epigenetic could explain why premature ageing occurs and whether it can be used to work out biological age and predict someones lifespan.

The team found after using data from multiple previous studies that lifespan could be accurately predicted by calculating an individual’s biological age based on age-related changes in their human DNA. In order for this to be done more efficiently, Professor Horvath created an epigenetic clock that tracks methylation of DNA – this is a natural process that alters a persons phenotype (actual physical characteristics) without altering their genotype (genetic identity).

As said by the team…

“We were stunned to see that the epigenetic clock was able to predict the lifespans of Caucasians, Hispanics, and African-Americans.

This rang true even after adjusting for traditional risk factors like age, gender, smoking, body mass index, disease history, and blood cell counts.”

The team used this example: ‘if we compared two 60-year-old men who have stressful jobs and smoke; the first man has a top aging rate, the other is average. The likelihood of the first man dying in the next 10 years is 75 percent, whereas the latter of the two has just a 60 percent chance of dying in the next 10 years.’

Hopefully the results from this study can be used to potentially figure out a way to alter the epigenetic clock and investigate ways of changing the outcome.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you enjoyed the read feel free to comment any opinions or new blog suggestions down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313184.php?sr

What is genotype? What is phenotype?

Epigenetic Clock Destines Some to Age Faster Regardless of Lifestyle

Bioterrorism

Hey guys,

Todays blog is going to be a little bit different, but it is on a topic that is very important to talk about – bioterrorism.

Bioterrorism, or biological warfare, is the name given to the use of toxins or infections agents (bacteria / fungi / viruses) to incapacitate or kill humans, animals or plants as part of a war effort.

Because non-human life to do the actual damage, it is much more unpredictable and difficult to control, and could potentially cause global scale devastation.

Biological warfare has been used for thousands of years. One example of its use is during World War 2, when facilities to mass produce dangerous toxins were built. Luckily, the war came to an end before there toxins could be used.

Modern experts believe that if there were to be a bioterrorism attack in the future, the most likely organism to be used would be Bacillus Anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax.  This is because it is easily found in nature, easily produced in a lab and can survive for a long time in the form of powder, spray, water or food. And whats more, an Anthrax attack has been done in the past – “In 2001, anthrax spores were sent through the United States postal system. In all, 22 people contracted anthrax — five of whom died. And, the guilty party was never caught.”

Another potential bioterrorism agent is, surprisingly, smallpox.Even though it is no longer a disease of concern, there are still two laboratories (one in the US, one in Russia) that keep the smallpox virus. If someone were able to gain access to these, they could use it as an effective weapon till its vaccine is created again.

Cholera also has the potential of being used in bioterrorism due to its easy transport in water. If it could somehow be added to a major water source, millions of people could be affected by it. Cholera has been used as a weapon before, by countries such as the US, Japan, South Africa and Iraq.

Finally, the last potential bioterrorism agent I am going to talk about hasn’t actually been made yet, but very well could be – it is the use of gene editing. The way science and technology is advancing is insane, and if someone were to edit genes in non-harmful compounds or already harmful compounds, a lot of damage could occur, especially as it would take a while to figure out which gene has been taken out before being able to come up with a cure. A fairly cheap gene editing technology known as CRISPR is already easily accessible, so if it were to get into the wrong hands, it could definitely be used for evil intention.

In conclusion, bioterrorism is something people should definitely be aware of, as it can be just as dangerous (if not more) as any other approach to terrorism. Hopefully, more importance will be put on finding ways to reduce the easiness of a bioterrorism attack happening, because as of present, it seems to be far too easy…

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you enjoyed the read feel free to comment any opinions or new blog suggestions down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321030.php

Bioterrorism

Touching a Love One Could Cause Syncing of Brainwaves

“New research shows that holding your loved one’s hand when they’re in pain will comfort them and cause your brain waves to synchronise.” And whats more, if the loved one is someone you are romantically attached with, it is even possible for the heart rate to synchronise too.

The study was undertaken by a group of researchers from the University of Colorado, and they found that holding a loved one’s hand can ease pain, raise empathy levels and ‘interpersonal synchronisation’ into order to try and alleviate each others pain.

The researchers doing the study investigated on 22 heterosexual couples – all the couples had been together for at least a year and were aged between 23 and 32. Some couples were asked to sit in the same room without touching, some were asked to sit together and hold hands, and others were asked to sit in different rooms while their brain activity was monitored. Then, the women was subjected to a mild heat-inducing pain on their arm in order to see if ‘brain-coupling’ (the synchronisation of brainwaves) occurs.

“Brain coupling increased even more if the partner held the woman’s hand while she was in pain. Conversely, if the partners didn’t hold hands while the woman was in pain, their brain waves stopped coupling.” This very clearly illustrated the power and importance of human touch.

The researchers next hope to work towards discovering the exact mechanism of how hand holding kills pain in the brain.

Man and woman hold each others hand

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you enjoyed the read feel free to comment any opinions or new blog suggestions down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321121.php

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/hands_on_research

Dorothea Dix

“Dorothea Dix was an educator and social reformer whose devotion to the welfare of the mentally ill led to widespread international reforms.”

Dix campaigned in order for their to be fair treatment of patients with mental health disorder. In a Memorial to the Legislature of Massachusetts in 1843, she said…

“I proceed, Gentlemen, briefly to call your attention to the present state of Insane Persons confined within this Commonwealth, in cages, stalls, pens! Chained, naked, beaten with rods, and lashed into obedience,”

During her campaign, Dix travelled to hundreds of prisons accrues the United States and documented the inhumane and cruel treatment that people with mental illness went through. From this, Dix was able to establish 32 mental health hospitals across the US, but also change the popular stigmatised perception of mental illness.

Although Dix herself went through a traumatising childhood, her caring nature made her fight for the right of others. She herself had an abusive alcoholic father and mentally ill mother, and she even had to run away from her house to live with her rich grandmother in Boston. She became a schoolteacher and, at the age of only 19, she opened a cool in her grandmothers mansion for young girls to be given formal education. And thats not all, once she had collected enough books, she opened a school for unprivileged children and ran it from her own home.

However, Dix suffered from many physical illness including severe cough and fatigue, which caused her to stop her teaching career and become depressed. Becoming inspired by her own mental illness, Dix travelled to Europe to try and find a cure for herself and while she was in England, became motivated to reform the treatment of the mentally ill. Her dedication was driven by the fact that she taught Sunday School at a female jail, where she saw first-hand how the inmates were chained to beds, starved and abused.

Clearly, Dix proved herself to be a huge role model and influencer in medicine, without her motivation and will power, we may have never seen the change in mental health reform we have today. the American Psychological Association State said:

“Today, we need more champions like Dorothea Dix to provide leadership to change attitudes and policies to enable all Americans with mental illness to recover and live full, productive lives in our communities.

Dix is a role model to others who want to reform how people with serious mental illness are treated. She provides an example of how dedicated individuals can help change society for the better.”

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you enjoyed the read feel free to comment any opinions or new blog suggestions down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317321.php?sr

https://www.biography.com/people/dorothea-dix-9275710

Home Remedies for Snoring

  • LOSING WEIGHT as overweight people are more likely to snore
  • SLEEPING ON ONE SIDE as people are more likely to snore if they sleep on their back
  • AVOIDING SMOKING AND ALCOHOL as these irritate the throat airway and cause the throat muscles to vibrate
  • AVOIDING SLEEPING PILLS as these lead to a very deep sleep, thus relaxing throat muscles and causing snoring
  • ELEVATING THE HEAD as this can help to open the airway
  • TREATING ALLERGIES as allergies can cause blocked airways
  • USING NASAL SPRAYS OR STRIPS as these can stop inflammation of the nose and airways
  • CHANGING SLEEP POSITION as this can help stop neck muscles from becoming crimped
  • KEEPING BEDROOM AIR MOIST as dry air can irritate the nose and throat
  • EXERCISING MORE even if it doesn’t lead to weight loss, because toning the throat muscles can lead to less snoring
  • REPEATING EACH VOWEL OUT LOUD FOR THREE MINUTES A FEW TIMES EACH DAY to strengthen the upper respiratory tract
  • SINGING MORE as this can increase muscle control in the throat

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you enjoyed the read feel free to comment any opinions or new blog suggestions down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321174.php

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/snoring-tips-to-help-you-and-your-partner-sleep-better.htm

What is Vitamin A?

What is Vitamin A?

“Vitamin A is an essential vitamin needed for growth and development, cell recognition, vision, immune function, and reproduction.”

Benefits of Vitamin A:

  • lowers risk of cancer
  • helps treatment of type-2 diabetes
  • promotes healthy skin and hair
  • rich in antioxidants

Problems Linked to Deficiency of Vitamin A:

  • night blindness
  • increased risk of infections
  • fertility issues
  • delayed infant growth

Sources of Vitamin A:

  • organ meats (e.g liver)
  • fatty fish (e.g salmon)
  • fish oil
  • butter
  • milk
  • cheese
  • egg
  • pumpkin
  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes
  • papaya
  • mango
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • zucchini
  • pepper

Recommended Intake of Vitamin A

  • “From 1 to 3 years, the requirement is 300 mcg per day
  • From 4 to 8 years, it is 400 mcg per day
  • From 9 to 13 years, it is 600 mcg per day
  • From 14 years, the requirement for males is 900 mcg per day, and for females, 700 mcg per day
  • For women aged 19 to 50 years, the requirement is 770 mcg per day during pregnancy and 1,300 mcg per day while breastfeeding”

Consequences of Overconsumption of Vitamin A

  • cracking or itchy skin
  • double vision
  • brittle nails
  • hair loss
  • weak bones
  • vomiting
  • headaches
  • decreased appetite
  • gum disease
  • fatigue
  • liver disease

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you enjoyed the read feel free to comment any opinions or new blog suggestions down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/219486.php?sr

https://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/vitamins/facts-about-vitamin-a/

What is Vitamin D?

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a pro-hormone that is taken in by the body through set or when sunlight hits the skin. It is also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’.

Role of Vitamin D:

  • maintain healthy bones and teeth
  • boss the immune system, nervous system and brain
  • regulate insulin levels
  • promote good cardiovascular health
  • influence cancer development
  • reduce the risk of the flu
  • reduce risk of diabetes
  • promote good health in infants / pregnancy
  • prevent cancer

Recommended Intake of Vitamin D:

  • “Infants 0-12 months – 400 IU (10 mcg).
  • Children 1-18 years – 600 IU (15 mcg).
  • Adults to age 70 – 600 IU (15 mcg).
  • Adults over 70 – 800 IU (20 mcg).
  • Pregnant or lactating women – 600 IU (15 mcg).”

Consequences of Vitamin D Deficiency:

  • more sickness and infections
  • fatigue
  • weak bones
  • depressed mood
  • hair loss
  • muscle pain
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • osteoporosis
  • neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease

Vitamin D Food Sources:

  • cod liver oil
  • herring
  • swordfish
  • mushrooms
  • salmon
  • sardines
  • milk (skimmed)
  • tuna
  • egg
  • chicken

Potential Health Risks of Vitamin D:

  • loss of appetite
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • diarrhoea

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you enjoyed the read feel free to comment any opinions or new blog suggestions down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318266.php

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php

Health Benefits of Popular Foods

In this blog, I’m only going to mention the top 10 foods that I eat the most and assume most people would to – check out the first link in the ‘sources used’ section to read about over 40 other foods.

APPLES

  • contain 14% of daily vital C, B-complex vitamins, fibre, phytonutrients and minerals
  • help prevent dementia
  • reduce the risk of stroke
  • reduce risk of diabetes
  • promote weight loss

ALMONDS

  • contain great amounts of vitamin E, copper, magnesium, protein and unsaturated fatty acids
  • rescue risk of cancer
  • prevent cardiovascular disease
  • prolong life

BANANAS

  • rich in potassium
  • free of fat, cholesterol and sodium
  • lower blood pressure
  • promote good cardiovascular health
  • reduce risk of leukaemia

CARROTS

  • rich source of vitamin A
  • destroy leukaemia cells
  • prevent lung cancer
  • help with vision

CHICKPEAS

  • improve glucose, lipid and insulin levels
  • reduce risk of diabetes
  • maintain bone strength
  • promote good cardiovascular health

CHOCOLATE

  • rich in antioxidants
  • lowers cholesterol levels
  • prevent cognitive decline
  • reduce risk of cardiovascular disease

MILK ALTERNATIVES (seeing as these as becoming more and more popular)

  • prevents cardiovascular disease
  • beneficial in menopausal women
  • decrease risk of breast cancer
  • help with acne

ORANGES

  • many anti-inflammatory properties
  • strong antioxidant effects
  • high vitamin C content
  • boost the immune system
  • contain many vitamins and minerals

POTATOES

  • maintain bone strength
  • promote good cardiovascular health
  • prevent constipation
  • reduce chronic inflammation

TOMATOES

  • prevents chronic disease
  • rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid
  • rich in nutrients and antioxidants
  • decreases risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you enjoyed the read feel free to comment any opinions or new blog suggestions down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/269143.php

http://www.menshealth.co.uk/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/6-ways-to-enjoy-healthy-food-more

The Link Between Anxiety And Waist Size

A study from Latin America has shown that, in addition to factors such as genes and stress, waist size is a factor that affects anxiety.

So, even though most people will have an idea of what anxiety is, a proper definition would be: “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.” It is a disorder that affects everyone, but women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety than men, meaning they are more at risk of developing things like coronary heart disease and diabetes.

Women in general tend to be a lot more body conscious, so it only makes sense that waist size affects their levels of anxiety. With social media becoming more and more popular, it is very easy for girls to get sad or angry at their own bodies as they aren’t ‘model standard’.

The study consisted of examine data based on 5580 women’s waist-to-height ratio (dividing waist circumference by hight measurements) and comparing this to the women’s risks of having anxiety. From this, it was found that women who were overweight, or had a much higher waist size to height size were more likely to exhibit signs of anxiety. This basically means that ‘the larger a woman’s waistline, the more likely she is to experience anxiety.’

The executive director of the study, Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, said…

“This study provides valuable insights for healthcare providers treating middle-aged women, because it implies that waist-to-height ratio could be a good marker for evaluating patients for anxiety.”

Hopefully these results can be used to come up with new ways of increasing body confidence in women an thus reduce anxiety levels.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you enjoyed the read feel free to comment any opinions or new blog suggestions down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321145.php

https://themighty.com/anxiety/

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/anxiety

The Truth About Antidepressants

Today I will be writing my blog on whether antidepressants actually work, and whether their increased popularity nowadays is worth the hype.

So first of all, i think its most important to put this little fact out there: researchers and scientists don’t actually know how antidepressants work. Yes, a lot of information about them is known and the way research is going, we will probably find out their working method soon, but as of now that is still a mystery. This means that for us to say that antidepressants are good for us or cause health benefits isn’t really a truthful or well backed up statement.

In addition, recent studies have shown that people taking antidepressants have a 33 percent higher risk of premature death compared with people who aren’t.’ However, this has not been proven through causation, researchers have just seen a sportive correlation between the two.

Another point to consider is that the long-term effects of using antidepressants has not been looked into as much as short-term or temporary effects. This means that even though these drugs seem to cause modest benefits, they could contribute to high health risks in fate future.

Overall, antidepressants are not as useful and beneficial as they seem to be – its important to make sure you understand the potential benefits and risks of any antidepressants you take, and consult a doctor or professional immediately if you have any doubts. As said by Professor Carmine Pariante, spokesperson for the Royal College of Psychiatrists…

“This meta-analysis finally puts to bed the controversy on antidepressants, clearly showing that these drugs do work in lifting mood and helping most people with depression.”

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, if you enjoyed the read feel free to comment any opinions or new blog suggestions down below!

Thanks,

Rohini

Sources used:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321140.php

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/03/16/study-outlines-why-antidepressant-drugs-could-be-completely-useless-harmful/