Coconut Oil is not Good for your Cholesterol Level

coconut oil is not good

The AHA has found that coconut oil is not good for your cholesterol level

The American Heart Association has said that coconut oil is not good, because it raises the “bad” cholesterol just like other alimentary items do (butter, beef). The AHA has concluded that coconut oil is 82% richer in saturated fat compared with 63% in the case of butter and 50% for beef fat.

Coconut Oil is not Good for Cholesterol Levels

This is on the account that butter and beef drippings have a smaller level of saturated fat, which, in turn, increases the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). This is the type of cholesterol that builds up in the blood vessels which, then, can lead to clot formation and heart attacks.

As such, coconut oil is not good for cooking, the AHA warns, recommending consumers to switch this type of oil with the polyunsaturated fats, such as corn, soybean, and peanut oils.

In a quote, Dr. Frank Sacks, a researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said that:

“Replacing saturated with polyunsaturated has a two-fold effect because a fat that causes heart disease is lowered and a fat that prevents heart disease is increased”.

Moreover, in 7 out of 7 studies that the AHA has reviewed for its advisory published in the journal Circulation, they have found that coconut oil raises the LDL levels as much as other ingredients (butter, beef, palm oil). They suggest that replacing the saturated fats found coconut oil with vegetable oil reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%.

This is as means to fight against cardiovascular disease, which is one of the leading death causes worldwide. So much so, it leads to 17.3m fatalities per year. Because coconut oil is not good, the AHA recommends either a Mediterranean-style diet or the ‘Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet’.

Dr. Lennert Veerman, of the Cancer Council NSW in Sydney, states that

“(…) a small reduction of risk every day adds up, so replacing coconut oil with olive oil may be an easy way to reduce risk a bit”.

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The Lone Star Tick Bite Triggers Red Meat Allergy

tick bite triggers red meat allergy

The lone star tick bite triggers red meat allergy, immunologists say. They have yet to understand the underlying mechanisms for this situation

Immunologists have found an increased rate of meat allergy induced by the lone star tick. There isn’t much data on how the allergy is triggered or why the immune system triggers it, but there are worrisome reasons that urge healthcare agents to caution people that are bitten by this tick to carefully monitor any sort of joint or muscle pain or other signs of allergy.

This Tick Bite Triggers Red Meat Allergy

In the past 20 years, there have been increasing reports of people that, after a lifetime worth of meat eating, developed sudden meat allergy. And as Summers has set its sails, MDs and other health agents worry that the number of such cases will increase.

The reason for which this particular tick bite triggers red meat allergy is that red meat contains some protein-linked saccharides, among them the galactose-α-1,3-galactose. The alpha-gal is the main ingredient in triggering the meat allergy. This tick bite triggers red meat allergy which poses a life threating danger, as individuals can develop specific symptoms which, if not treated in due under specialized care, can kill them.

All that the researchers know is that the ticks feed on deer. When they bite humans, their victims are exposed to the alpha-gal allergen, which is found in the deer blood still present in the tick.  This is what Andrew Nickels, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and an allergist at ASAP, said.

 “A susceptible human’s immune system then develops molecules called IgE that are specific to the alpha-gal allergen. Once this occurs, they are prone to have allergic reactions”, he further said.

The alpha-gal syndrome is a recent discovery, having less than 10 years of research behind it. The tick bite allergy has been more tested in the recent period to help scientist understand how the tick bite triggers red meat allergy and how it changes the immune system’s reaction to the said protein. For the time being, however, there isn’t a cure that can help patients regain their normal red meat diet. But the symptoms can be controlled through diet, doctors hoping that it passes in time.

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Acupuncture, Helpful For Treating ER Patients With Indefinite Pain?

hand acupuncture

A new study analyzed the benefits of using acupuncture in treating ER patients.

A new research targeted the potentially beneficial effects of acupuncture performed on some patients that come to the emergency room. It looks to determine if this could be an effective treatment method. One that would also not require pain medication.

“Acupuncture” is used as a general term for describing a series of procedures which target the stimulation of specific points on the body. Although it is a key component of the traditional Chinese medicine, many debates still center around this practice and its utility.

Acupuncture to Help in the ER?

The new study was carried out by Australian scientists and is the largest controlled and randomized trial targeting acupuncture’s use in the emergency room. It involved almost 530 patients, which came in with pains at one of four Australian emergency departments. They reported suffering from ankle sprains, migraines, or acute low back pains. Also, the patients were asked to grade their pain on a 1 to 10 scale.

Those who reported feeling at least a 4 received one of three randomly assigned treatment methods. They either received painkiller, the pain medication and acupuncture, or this latter only.

Reports show that, about an hour following the treatment, no more than 40 percent of the patient felt a pain reduction. Over 80 percent still reported at least a 4-level pain. However, in about a couple of days’ time, most of the patient were reportedly satisfied.

A follow-up showed that almost 83 percent of the acupuncture-only treated patients stated they would “definitely” or “probably” chose such a method again. This was higher than the 81 percent that would want a mixed treatment. Or the 78 percent that would go for painkillers alone.

“Emergency nurses and doctors need a variety of pain-relieving options when treating patients, given the concerns around opioids such as morphine,” stated the study lead, Marc Cohen.

Cohen added that such a method could be a useful alternative for treating patients coming into the ER. It would be particularly useful when the patients cannot take painkillers because of other conditions. Still, Cohen also points out the need for more studies on the matter. Especially ones targeting the patients that still felt pain, no matter the treatment.

Research results are available in the Medical Journal of Australia.

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New Sun-Less Suntan Compound Could Be Beneficial For The Skin

suntan compound bottle

Researchers are working on a suntan compound that can help create a tan and possibly prevent skin cancer.

Scientists from the Harvard University and the Massachusetts General Hospital is developing a suntan compound that can create a tan without having to sit in the sun. Besides its potential cosmetic value, the scientists are looking to develop this as a new possible protection method against skin cancer.

The new suntan compound could come to be used in conjunction with sunscreen and revolves around melanin. This is the pigment in both the human skin, hair, and eyes that give them their color.

Suntan Compound Still in the Testing Phase

These latest results are based on a study conducted back in 2006, but almost the same team. At the time, the scientists discovered that forskolin, a plant extract, could lead to cancer-protecting tan in red-haired mice. Still, this compound was proven ineffective in humans, so the group looked in a different direction.

Now, the researchers are working on a new such solution, one created from a different class of compounds. Lab tests on both mice and human skin samples have also shown its potential efficiency. This class of compounds was noted to be capable of boosting the skin pigmentation process. It also proved its efficiency in ‘squeezing’ through the outer layers of the epidermis.

The suntan compound works by twitching Salt Inducible Kinase (SIK) enzymes in the skin. These are the melanin production “master off switch”. Once applied, the compound can generate a large production of melanin, capable of ‘tanning’ even the fairest skin tones.

Initially, the solution was tested on red-haired mice and then on human skin samples. Based on these tests, the team determined that the tanning response could be modified by adjusting the frequency of use and dosage. Nonetheless, its effects could last for days without the need of reapplying.

Once the researchers stopped reapplying the solution, which simply has to be rubbed on, the skin returned to its natural tone within a couple of weeks.

The scientists are hoping that used together with sunscreen, this new suntan compound can help reduce the risks of skin cancer. Further research is needed, as well as clinical trials before the compound can transform into a commercially available product.

The results of the study are available in a paper in the journal Cell Reports.

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Is Cow Milk Better Or Worse Than Its Alternatives?

glass of cow milk

A team of researchers took a look at the effects of drinking cow milk and its possible benefits.

As more and more alternatives to dairy milk appear on grocery store shelves, it can become increasingly harder to chose the best product. So a team of researchers went and took a closer look at the effects of drinking one type or another of milk.

Kids That Drank Cow Milk Noted to be Slightly Taller

Scientists at St. Michael’s Hospital in New Jersey conducted this new study. Data for it was gathered from 5,000 children between the ages of 2 and 6 years old. Researchers found that for every cup of non-cow’s milk these kids drank, they were nearly one-half of a centimeter shorter than other children at the same age.Cow’s milk has long been the drink of choice for growing children due to its protein content with 8 grams per cup. However, soy, almond, and cashew milk are starting to become just as common alternatives. Still, the study believes that cow milk might be better for small children.

It points out that this has a higher protein content when compared to the others. Only soy milk comes close with 7 grams of protein per serving. Cashew and almond milk trail at just 2 and 3 grams.Dr. Jonathon Maguire, the author of the study and pediatrician at St. Michael’s, states that the nutritional content of cow milk is regulated in the U.S. and Canada. There is no regulation for nut and soy kinds of milk, so the nutritional content is variable. He also states that parents should consider the protein and calcium content of the type of milk they are buying. This should also be taken into consideration coupled with the child’s overall diet.

Still, the study itself is not without its shortages. As other researchers pointed out, the team did not take into account the children’s diets. Or the type of non-cow milk they consumed, or why they drank it, to begin with. Nonetheless, all scientists agreed that children, especially as they are still in the early growing phases, should have a stable, nutritious diet.

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Eating An Egg Every Day Can Seemingly Help Babies Grow Big And Taller

egg every day

A new study indicates that giving babies an egg every day may improve their chances of growing healthy and tall.

According to a new research, giving weaned babies an egg every day could help them grow bigger, taller, and healthier, especially if they are undernourished.

The new study was carried out in Ecuador, a country confronting a widespread growth stunting problem. Research was conducted in the Ecuadorian Andes and involved around 160 babies aged 6 to 9 months old.

These had all been recently weaned. As part of the study, 80 of them were given an egg every day over six months. The remaining 80 babies continued being fed according to their usual diet. Study results are available in a paper in the journal Pediatrics.

An Egg Every Day Can Help Increase Growth Chances

The study team noted that the babies fed with an egg on a daily basis were twice more likely to growth bigger, taller, and healthier when compared to the other group. Also, researchers point out that this is the first controlled and randomized study to analyze the effects of eggs on stunting.

“It’s no single nutrient in the eggs but rather the whole package of amino acids and fatty acids, and also vitamins like and choline and B12,” states Lora Iannotti.

She is the study’s author and part of Washington University in St. Louis. Stunting is one of the main issues that the World Health Assembly is planning on overcoming by 2025. Babies with a stunted growth tend to develop into smaller children and then rather reduced height adults.

Stunting was also associated with a reduced lifespan and even cognitive development problems. As such, the study team considers that eggs could be both a promising and somewhat cheap way of dealing with stunting. Especially so in countries in which this is a big problem.

Also, the team detected an unexpected other effect of eating an egg a day. Babies with such a dietary plan also consumed less sugar and sugar-sweetened foods. Iannotti states that the study wasn’t looking or expecting such an effect.

They also have yet to establish a cause and effect relation for this finding. Still, they believe that the sensation of being filled decrease the kids’ appetite for other foods.

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Sodium Content Was Noted To Be Falling Across The US

salt sodium content

A new study found that the sodium content of foods purchased across the US is falling.

According to a new study, sodium content levels have been falling across the United States as people are buying less sodium and also fewer packaged foods with high salt levels.

The research team claims that these are the results of combined actions from both the public and food manufacturers. Study results are available online in the JAMA Internal Medicine.

The Sodium Content is Falling, Is It Enough?

These new results are based on a long-term study carried out and involving the Nielsen Homescan Consumer Panel. It targeted the packaged food and beverage purchases from 2000 to 2014 of over 172,000 households. Research also took into account the nutritional label data of almost 1,500,000 products.

According to the research team, sodium content levels have been steadily falling across the targeted period. Overall, the median amount of sodium of the purchased goods accounts to 396 mg/per day/per person nowadays. Also, the salt content of such foods decreased by around 12 percent in the same period.

This new research notes that goods purchased nowadays also contain less salt than foods acquired at the beginning of the study. Food manufacturers have been reducing the sodium content of various products, from sauces and dips to condiments and even salty foods themselves.

Jennifer Poti and her colleagues, who conducted the study, stated that “almost all US households continue to have total packaged food purchases with excessive sodium density,” even if the overall amount is falling.

The research team states that the salt content of purchased foods is significantly lower than even in recent years. However, they also claim that these levels are still ‘higher than the recommended density’.

“Our findings support the need for more concerted nationwide efforts to accelerate the pace of sodium reduction,” states the team.

As it is, the researchers stress the need for further studies on the matter. They also point out the fact that lower sodium contents do not necessarily mean lower salt consumption levels.

This new research targeted the amount of salt in the purchased foods, so they point out the need to determine how this translates into the intake levels.

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Sunscreen And Other Ways Of Protecting The Skin From The Sun

woman protecting skin

Sunscreen and appropriate clothing are among the most useful ways of protecting the skin against the sun.

With summer just around the corner, it’s paramount to be prudent about protecting the skin from the sun. Sun protection is about much more than just avoiding a nasty burn. It’s about protecting oneself from skin cancer as well as premature aging.

According to some statistics, every 1 in 5 Americans could develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime. When protecting the skin against the sun, people also prevent further, more serious problems as well.

Sunscreen is One of the Most Common Ways of Protecting the Skin

When it comes to protecting the skin from the sun, sunscreen is the most commonly used variant. It is also among the most widely available options. However, make sure you aren’t just choosing any sunscreen to slather on. People have to make sure this has an SPF of at least 15. SPF 15 is a safeguard against 93 percent of the sun’s UV rays. Anything less will likely not be enough to get the job done.

Sunscreen should be applied and used at least 30 minutes before going outside, so it has time to soak in. Also, use anytime after you get in the water or sweat heavily. It should also be reapplied every couple of hours.

Wearing protective clothing is also another way of avoiding sunburn. Although people tend to wear fewer clothes because of the heat, this is counter protective. They should wear long-sleeved but light shirts, hats, and sunglasses to protect themselves. If the heat gets to be too much in warm clothes, people should seek shaded areas where it’s easier to cool down.

Going outside is essential for the health and well-being. However, people should try avoiding the outdoors between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm, when the sun is at its strongest. If you do spend time outside during these hours, make sure to apply the suncream very liberally and seek shaded areas whenever possible.

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Opioid Crisis: More Accidental Overdoses and Overdose Deaths

overdose deaths

A new report shows that there were more than 4,000 overdose deaths in Ohio.

The opioid crisis is one of the biggest problems the United States is currently facing. In the last few years, thousands of lives have been taken by opioids. A new report shows that there were more than 4,000 overdose deaths in Ohio. This state is one of the most affected by the opioid crisis.

Overdose Deaths

The number of overdose deaths seems to increase every year, despite considerable efforts made by state officials. Ohio saw a 36% increase in overdose deaths since 2015. Two years ago, more than 3,000 cases were reported. In 2016, more than 4,149 overdose deaths were linked with opioid overdose or consumption. This year, authorities are concerned that the number of deaths caused by opioids will only be higher.

Another report, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, shows that Ohio had the biggest incidence of overdose deaths in the US in the last 2 years. Synthetic opioids like carfentanil and fentanyl were the more likely culprits. These drugs are more powerful than heroin and morphine, and significantly cheaper. Nevertheless, just a small amount can kill a person.

Police officers and investigators observed that many drug dealers are presently selling fentanyl-laced heroin. Unsuspecting buyers get more than they bargain for when preparing and injecting the substance which, in normal conditions, if 50 to 100 times more potent than what they were accustomed to.

Accidental Overdoses

Cops have a hard time protecting themselves from the opioid crisis. Since fentanyl and carfentanil hit the market, officers are also at risk. Carfentanil, for instance, is actually an elephant tranquilizer. When it comes into contact with the skin, a very small amount can prove fatal, especially since the epiderm absorbs the substance. Several police officers overdosed at the scenes after touching objects laced with carfentanil.

An Ohio officer accidentally overdosed after he brushed off some white powder from his shirt. The white powder was fentanyl-laced heroin belonging to a man that was arrested earlier that night. Several doses of Narcan were used to revive the officer.

Another policeman overdosed on 19 May, after he was at the scene of a suspected opioid overdose. The man started feeling sick seconds after he started searching for drugs at the scene. To revive him, the paramedics used several doses of Narcan. Even the paramedic that helped the police officer needed treatment for exposure to drugs.

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Fitness Trackers: Accurate For Heart Rates, Not So Much For Calories

fitness trackers

Fitness trackers were noted to be very good in estimating heart rates, but not so accurate with calories.

A team of scientists from Stanford University decided to test the efficiency of fitness trackers in monitoring heart rates and energy expenditures or calories. According to their results, while the devices were quite accurate and useful in determining the heart rate, they were still far off for the other.

The researchers tested the efficiency of seven of the most common and used fitness trackers on the market. These were analyzed with help from 60 volunteers. The participants were asked to wear the devices while running, walking, and cycling, all at different levels.

The Fitness Trackers Offered Either Really Good or Very Off Estimates

According to the study team, they were quite surprised by the research results. The researchers set 10 percent as the acceptable error rate. After collecting the data from the fitness devices, they compared it to information collected from EKGs.

“Most devices most of the time were ‘off’ by only about 5 percent,” said Euan Ashley, a study co-author and cardiologist at the Stanford University Medical Center.

These were the results obtained after comparing heart rates. Six out of the seven tested devices were below the error point and seemingly quite useful.

But for the energy expenditure, the results were quite the opposite. Out of the seven devices, only one fitness tracker was somewhat closer to the margin. It had an inaccuracy rate of 27 percent. The least accurate reading was 93 percent off of the actual calories value, according to the team.

As it is, the study team did not establish a cause for this significant difference in the calories values of the fitness trackers. However, they do argue that it is quite hard to develop a device that could accurately fit each and every wearer. The accuracy of the results can depend on the height, weight, activity levels, and several other factors as well.

Some of the makers of the tested fitness trackers issued statements on the matter expressing their confidence in their products. Another questioned if the study team set up the proper parameters for the users of its device.

Study results were released earlier this week in the Journal of Personalized Medicine.

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