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High meat intake may up liver disease risk

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New York, Sep 10: Meat lovers please take note. Increased consumption of red or processed meat may increase the risk of developing the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), researchers have found.

“NAFLD is considered as the hepatic component of the metabolic syndrome, with insulin resistance and inflammation as key factors in its pathophysiology,” said lead author Shira Zelber-Sagi, Professor at the University of Haifa in Israel.

Researchers noted that high meat eaters were slightly younger, mainly male, had a higher body mass index (BMI), caloric intake and a worse metabolic profile.

In addition, individuals who consumed large quantities of meat cooked using unhealthy methods including, frying or grilling, had increased levels of high heterocyclic amines (HCAs) — pro-inflammatory compounds found in burned meat — and therefore developed insulin resistance.

People who are already diagnosed with NAFLD had similar consequences, along with an increased chance of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and chronic heart diseases, researchers mentioned in the study, published in the Journal of Hepatology.

“Unhealthy Western lifestyle plays a major role in the development and progression of NAFLD, namely, lack of physical activity and high consumption of fructose and saturated fat,” Zelber-Sagi said.

“Our study looked at other common foods in the Western diet, namely red and processed meats, to determine whether they increase the risk for NAFLD,” she added.

In order to test the association of type of meat and cooking method with NAFLD and insulin resistance, the team included 357 participants, between 40 and 70 years of age.

NAFLD and insulin resistance were evaluated by ultrasonography and homeostasis model assessment (HOMA). Meat-type and cooking method were measured by food frequency and detailed meat consumption questionnaires.

Results showed that NAFLD was diagnosed in 38.7 per cent of participants and insulin resistance in 30.5 per cent.

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Father’s exercise can boost kids’ health in adulthood

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New York, Oct 23: For men planning to start a family, hitting the gym can help their children with a healthy metabolism.

While the diet and exercise habits of a pregnant woman can have an impact on the health of her baby, a new study on mice suggests that lifestyle practices of fathers prior to conception too can affect children’s health in adulthood.

The findings explored that paternal exercise had a significant impact on the metabolic health of offspring well into their adulthood.

Offsprings from mice who exercised showed improved glucose metabolism, decreased body weight and a decreased fat mass in adulthood.

On the other hand, the sedentary male mice that fed on a high-fat diet passed along the traits of poor metabolic health and higher glucose intolerance.

However, exercise was found to mitigate the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, the researchers said.

“This work is an important step in learning about metabolic disease and prevention at the cellular level,” said K. Craig Kent, from Ohio State University in the US.

“Offspring from the dads fed a high-fat diet fared worse, so they were more glucose intolerant. But exercise negated that effect. When the dad exercised, even on a high-fat diet, we saw improved metabolic health in their adult offspring,” added Kristin Stanford, a researcher from the varsity.

Importantly, exercise was found to change the genetic expression of the father’s sperm that suppresses poor dietary effects and transfer to the offspring, the researchers noted in the paper published in the journal Diabetes.

Development of Type-2 diabetes and impaired metabolic health have been linked to parents’ poor diet, and there is increasing evidence that fathers play an important role in obesity and metabolic programming of their offspring.

“We’re now determining if both parents exercising has even greater effects to improve metabolism and overall health of offspring. If translated to humans, this would be hugely important for the health of the next generation,” said Laurie Goodyear, postdoctoral student from the Joslin Diabetes Centre in the US.

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Eating spinach, beetroot could help prevent vision loss

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Sydney, Oct 22: Eating vegetable nitrates, found mainly in green leafy vegetables and beetroot, could prevent macular degeneration, a common cause of vision loss in people over age 50, new research has found.

People who ate between 100 to 142 mgs (milligrams) of vegetable nitrates each day had a 35 per cent lower risk of developing early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) than people who ate less than 69 mgs of vegetable nitrates each day, showed the findings published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Spinach has approximately 20mg of nitrate per 100g, while beetroot has nearly 15mg of nitrate per 100g.

“This is the first time the effects of dietary nitrates on macular degeneration risk has been measured,” said lead researcher Bamini Gopinath from Westmead Institute for Medical Research in Australia.

For the study, the researchers interviewed more than 2,000 Australian adults aged over 49 and followed them over a 15-year period.

“If our findings are confirmed, incorporating a range of foods rich in dietary nitrates — like green leafy vegetables and beetroot — could be a simple strategy to reduce the risk of early macular degeneration,” Gopinath said.

The research did not show any additional benefits for people who exceeded 142mgs of dietary nitrate each day.

Age is the strongest known risk factor for AMD and the disease is more likely to occur after the age of 50.

There is currently no cure for the disease.

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Ebola death toll rises to 200 in Congo

The DRC authorities declared the outbreak in North Kivu province on August 1. It was also reported in the northern province of Ituri.

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Ebola Infection

Kinshasa, Oct 21 : The death toll in the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has risen to 200, the Health Ministry has said.

According to statistics released by the Ministry on Saturday, of the 200 cases confirmed in Beni and surrounding areas, 117 have died of the virus while 61 others recovered after treatment, Xinhua news agency reported.

The DRC authorities declared the outbreak in North Kivu province on August 1. It was also reported in the northern province of Ituri.

The World Health Organization said the 10th Ebola outbreak in DRC does not currently constitute a public health emergency of international concern.

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