February 12, 2017

Does Laughing Gas Work For Managing Labor Pain?

Nitrous Oxide, better known as laughing gas, is quickly gaining interest in the United States as an option for expectant mothers to manage labor pains [1]. A recent study discovered that the use of nitrous oxide is not a very beneficial pain reliever when giving birth.

Although this innovative method may serve as an interesting and somewhat helpful method to manage labor pain, an epidural remains the most effective method. A study by Dr. Caitlin Sutton, an obstetric anesthesiology at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, points out that while nitrous oxide is gaining popularity, the majority of patients ended up requesting an epidural as well.

Furthermore, the research justified its claim by reviewing the medical records of 4700 women who delivered vaginally and only 148 of those women used nitrous oxide as their method of a pain reliever. On average, there was no change in the pain scale (0-10) before and after nitrous oxide. However, there is some promise in using nitrous oxide and more research will have to be performed to determine which women would benefit most from using laughing gas during labor.

[1] “‘Laughing Gas’ May not Ease Pain during Childbirth” Preidt, Robert. WebMd. Retrieved From: http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20161024/laughing-gas-may-not-ease-pain-during-childbirth-study

January 18, 2017

There Could Be A Definite Way To Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition in which many important mental functions are inhibited. With the onset of Alzheimer’s, a patient may experience mild confusion and memory loss. However when the condition becomes more severe, patients may suffer dramatic personality changes and severe memory loss. This disease is categorized as a type of dementia, which is a common term used to describe brain disorders that cause the loss of intellectual and social skills. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s accounts for about 60-80% of the cases of dementia; making Alzheimer’s the most common form of dementia [1].

In order to get a better understanding of the disease, researchers have observed how genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors affect the brain. They believe that a combination of these factors have an effect on the brain, which further leads to development of the disease [2]. However in fewer than 5 percent of the cases, Alzheimer’s is caused by a genetic change which almost guarantees that a patient will develop this disease. In order to achieve a better understanding this concept, researchers at the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) attempt to understand the alterations that occur in early stages of the disease. One factor they examined is the alterations on bones, in attempt to offer biomarkers for earlier detection that does not involve examining the brain [3].

By definition, a biomarker can be defined as the presence of a substance which indicates the presence of a disease [4]. In this case, the researchers at NEOMED use the mouse model of Alzheimer’s to link between early bone loss and brain degeneration. Their aim was to move a step closer to determining biomarkers such as bone density loss, which could help in early identification of the development of Alzheimer’s.

In the mouse model, the researchers from NEOMED measured the bone density in htau mice before they developed significant signs of abnormality. They found that bone density was significantly reduced when the mice developed this disease. With a further analysis of the effects on the brains of the mice, researchers were able to conclude that there is a “significant link between early bone loss and brain degeneration” [3].

In lieu of this finding, researchers suggest that more research needs to be conducted to identify the same molecular mechanisms in humans. If these studies yield conclusive results, researchers will be able to act on developing the logistics for using bone density as a biomarker for the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Sources:

[1] What is Alzheimer’s? Alzhiemer’s Association. Retrieved from: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp

[2] Alzheimer’s Disease. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/home/ovc-20167098

[3] Bone Loss May Be Linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Paddock, Catherine. Medical News Today. Retrieved from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314492.php

[4] What are Biomarkers? Strimbu, Kyle and Tavel, Jorge. US National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3078627/

December 8, 2016

Avocados: An Excellent Way to Fight Cholesterol

hass-avocoado-with-slice_zyPwlDO_Lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels are a reality that many adults are challenged with. An abundance of cholesterol causes your blood stream to carry more plaque and cholesterol in your arteries. Excess plaque can create a blockage that causes chest pains and greatly increases the risk of heart attacks and other heart conditions.

The first step to avoid these severe situations is to improve your diet by consuming foods that help lower LDL levels. A recent study that was reviewed by WebMD showed the beneficial effects of avocados on your LDL levels. This comes as a surprise to many people, as avocados are commonly seen as a fatty food, which seems counteractive to combating high cholesterol. However, they are in fact high in monounsaturated fat, vitamins, minerals, fiber, all ingredients that help lower LDL levels. Researchers concluded that “people on a moderate-fat diet who ate an avocado every day had lower [LDL] cholesterol levels than those on a similar diet without an avocado a day or those who were on a lower-fat diet” [1].

Sources:

[1] Avocados Help Lower Cholesterol in some People. WebMd. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/news/20150108/avocado-ldl-bad-cholesterol]

Information provided on this website is for general purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of advice from your practitioner.

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