Tag Archive | "cholesterol"

Smoking during Pregnancy Increases Children’s Risk of Heart Problems

A recent study suggests that children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy have lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, also known as the “good” cholesterol. This raises children’s risk of suffering from heart attack and stroke later in their life.

The study, which was carried out by Australian researchers, has 405 participants at the age of 8 and in good physical shape. The researchers discovered that those children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy had good cholesterol levels of about 1.3mmol/L, which is below the normal level of 1.5mmol/L observed in children born to non-smoking mothers.

David Celermajer, a cardiology professor at the University of Sydney and lead author of the study, said in a journal news release that the results of the study suggest that smoking during pregnancy marks a set of unhealthy characteristics on children while they are still developing in the mother’s womb. He said the characteristics last for a minimum of eight years and longer.

Published in the European Heart Journal on June 21, the study reports that the result was independent of whether the kids were exposed to cigarette smoke after birth. It suggested that prenatal exposure still had the greatest impact on subsequent effect.

Celermajer and his colleagues noted that the rates of maternal smoking are still high. In most Western Nations, there are about 15 percent smoking pregnant women. This means the results of their study could be beneficial in the efforts to prevent heart problems.

Children whose mothers have smoked during pregnancy should be observed carefully for other heart risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking and high levels of LDL or “bad” type of cholesterol, Celermajer said.

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Five New Alzheimer’s Genes Discovered

Five new genes linked to the degenerative condition, Alzheimer’s disease, have been identified by a group of scientists in the United States. Researchers say the discovery of these genes will help develop a drug that will be used to treat people affected with the disease.

The scientists came from 44 different universities, as well as research laboratories in the United States. They have identified the genes through an analysis performed on a genetic data derived from about 54,000 people in the Europe and United States.

Gerard Schellenberg, professor of pathology from University of Pennsylvania and lead author of the study, said the identification of the new Alzheimer’s genes will help improve the knowledge on what causes the disease.

The five new genes discovered include ABCA7, CD2AP, CD33, EPHA1 and MS4A. Previously, there were only four variants of Alzheimer’s genes confirmed by the scientists. Until now, there is no available cure for the condition. Treatment involves small symptomatic relief, but most are palliative in nature.

Moreover, the identification of new genes reinforce the latest theories that certain lipids and cholesterol passing around the brain have particular relationship to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The study also suggests that the operation of the immune system in the brain plays a particular role.

Today, there are over 10 genes linked to the disease. Dr. Ausim Azizi, head of neurology department at Temple University School of Medicine, said the genes will not be utilized in predictive tests for patients. Alzheimer’s disease affects people over 65 years old. In America, there are one in eight elderly people affected with the disease.

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Cutting Risks of Colon Cancer with Good Cholesterol

A recent study suggests that increased levels of “good” cholesterol in the body may significantly reduce an individual’s risk to get colon cancer.

People identified with low levels of “good” cholesterol, technically known as high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol, are advised to adapt a healthy lifestyle to lessen their bowel cancer risk.

Dr. Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita, a researcher from National Institute for Public Health and Environment in Netherlands, said this recommendation should be done once the above finding is confirmed by other studies.

Decreasing the in-take of “bad” or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and increasing the “good” cholesterol is a widely known method that can greatly reduce a person’s risk for heart disease. However, this recent study offers individuals another reason to give particular attention on their blood cholesterol levels.

The new study is published in an online journal, Gut, on March 7. Researchers involved in the study compared 1,238 healthy individuals to 1, 238 individuals diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

The researchers analyzed the participants’ blood samples and dietary lifestyle through questionnaires provided.

They found out that individuals with highest levels of “good” cholesterol, as well as a certain body fat called apolipoprotein A had the smallest risk to develop colon cancer. However, it has seen no particular impact on rectal cancer.

The team of Bueno-de-Mesquita found that for every 16.6 mg/dL increase in HDL the risk to develop colon cancer was reduced by 22 percent. Meanwhile, for every 32 mg/dL increase in apolipoprotein A, the risk is reduced by 18 percent.

However, researchers said the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study had a limitation, which is a short follow-up period of only 3.8 years.

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