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Thyroid dysfunction linked with heart failure

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New York, April 3: People with higher levels of underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) may be at risk of severe heart failure, an Indian-origin researcher has found.

According to the study, those with an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) may be more likely to have irregular, often rapid heart rate.

A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) blood test is used to check thyroid gland problems.

TSH causes the thyroid gland to make two hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T3 and T4 help to control body’s metabolism and are needed for normal growth of the brain, especially during the initial years of life.

The findings showed that in patients with pre-existing heart failure, higher TSH, higher free T4 and lower T3 concentrations were each associated with more severe heart failure, while only higher free T4 was associated with atrial fibrillation.

“Our results indicate that having subclinical hypothyroidism, a mild decrease in thyroid function, is associated with increased likelihood of needing mechanical assistance to the heart with devices, transplantation or death,” said led author Lakshmi Kannan from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, US.

“We also found that blood tests commonly performed to assess thyroid function, including thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels and two distinct thyroid hormones called thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), are associated with the severity of heart failure,” Kannan said.

The results were presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, ENDO 2017 in Orlando.

To examine the association between thyroid disorders and the risk of adverse outcomes, including ventricular assist device placement, heart transplantation or death, Kannan and her team investigated 1,382 patients with pre-existing moderate to advanced heart failure.

In the participants, subclinical hypothyroidism with TSH 7.0 milli-international units per liter (mIU/L) or higher was linked with worse survival.

IANS

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Health

Maternal blood sugar likely to affect baby’s heart

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baby

New York, Dec 16: Women with high blood sugar early in pregnancy may raise their baby’s risk of developing a congenital heart defect, according to a study.

While it has been long known that diabetes in pregnancy raises the odds for congenital heart defects in babies.

The new findings reveal that risk extends even to women without diabetes in their earliest part of pregnancy, when the foetal heart is forming.

“Most women who have a child with congenital heart disease are not diabetic,” said James Priest, assistant professor at the Stanford University in California.

The results showed that the risk of giving birth to a child with a congenital heart defect was elevated by 8 per cent for every increase of 10 milligrams per deciliter in blood glucose levels in the early stages of pregnancy.

“We found that in women who don’t already have diabetes or develop diabetes during pregnancy, we can still measure risk for having a child with congenital heart disease by looking at their glucose values during the first trimester of pregnancy,” Priest added.

For the study, published in The Journal of Paediatrics, the team examined medical records from 19,107 pairs of mothers and their babies born between 2009 and 2015, which included details of the mothers’ prenatal care, including blood test results and any cardiac diagnoses made for the babies during pregnancy or after birth.

The study may be helpful to measure blood glucose early in pregnancy in all pregnant women to help determine which individuals are at greater risk for having a baby with a heart defect.

“Knowing about defects prenatally improves outcomes because mothers can receive specialised care that increases their babies’ chances of being healthier after birth,” Priest added.

IANS

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Radiation from smartphones may up miscarriage risk: Study

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Pregnant woman, smartphone

New York, Dec 14: Pregnant women’s exposure to non-ionising radiation from smartphones, Bluetooth devices and laptops may more than double the risk of miscarriage, a study has showed.

Non-ionising radiation — radiation that produces enough energy to move around atoms in a molecule, but not enough to remove electrons completely — from magnetic fields is produced when electric devices are in use and electricity is flowing.

It can be generated by a number of environmental sources, including electric appliances, power lines and transformers, wireless devices and wireless networks.

While the health hazards from ionising radiation are well-established and include radiation sickness, cancer and genetic damage, the evidence of health risks to humans from non-ionising radiation remains limited, said De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente — a US-based health care firm.

For the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, the team asked for 913 pregnant women over age 18 to wear a small (a bit larger than a deck of cards) magnetic-field monitoring device for 24 hours.

After controlling for multiple other factors, women who were exposed to higher magnetic fields levels had 2.72 times the risk of miscarriage than those with lower magnetic fields exposure.

The increased risk of miscarriage associated with high magnetic fields was consistently observed regardless of the sources of high magnetic fields. The association was much stronger if magnetic fields was measured on a typical day of participants’ pregnancies.

The finding also demonstrated that accurate measurement of magnetic field exposure is vital for examining magnetic field health effects.

“This study provides evidence from a human population that magnetic field non-ionising radiation could have adverse biological impacts on human health,” Li noted.

“We hope that the finding from this study will stimulate much-needed additional studies into the potential environmental hazards to human health, including the health of pregnant women,” he said.

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Use of Smartphone before sleep may make your kid obese: Study

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New York, Dec 10: Beware if your children have a habit of playing games on smartphones before sleeping, he or she may face an increased risk of becoming obese, warns a study.

It was discovered kids who used digital devices such as watching TV or playing games on smartphones before going to bed got an average of 30 minutes less sleep in comparison to those who did not.

This lack of proper sleep not only caused fatigue and attention problems in school, but also disrupted their eating habits. This leads to higher body mass indexes (BMI), news agency IANS reported.

“We saw technology before bed being associated with less sleep and higher BMIs,”stated Caitlyn Fuller, researcher at the Pennsylvania State University in the US.

“We also saw this technology use being associated with more fatigue in the morning, which circling back, is another risk factor for higher BMIs. So we’re seeing a loop pattern forming,” Fuller further asserted.

The study, published in the journal Global Pediatric Health, examined the sleep and technology habits of 234 children, between the age of eight to 17 years.

As per the suggestions from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents should set some limitations regarding the use of technology, like requiring their kids to put away their devices during meal times and keeping phones out of bedrooms at night.

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