Archive for December, 2010

EATING HEALTHIER MEANS LIVING LONGER

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

St. Louis, MO - December 22, 2010
According to new study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The leading causes of death have shifted from infectious diseases to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. These illnesses may be affected by diet. In a study published in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers investigated empirical data regarding the associations of dietary patterns with mortality through analysis of the eating patterns of over 2500 adults between the ages of 70 and 79 over a ten year period. They found that diets favoring certain foods were associated with reduced mortality.

By 2030, an estimated 973 million adults will be aged 65 or older worldwide. The objective of this study was to determine the dietary patterns of a large and diverse group of older adults, and to explore associations of these dietary patterns with survival over a 10 year period. A secondary goal was to evaluate participants’ quality of life and nutritional status according to their dietary patterns.

By determining the consumption frequency of 108 different food items, researchers were able to group the participants into six different clusters according to predominant food choices:

* “Healthy foods” (374 participants)
* “High-fat dairy products” (332)
* “Meat, fried foods, and alcohol” (693)
* “Breakfast cereal” (386)
* “Refined grains” (458)
* “Sweets and desserts” (339)

The “Healthy foods” cluster was characterized by relatively higher intake of low fat dairy products, fruit, whole grains, poultry, fish, and vegetables, and lower consumption of meat, fried foods, sweets, high calorie drinks, and added fat. The “High fat dairy products” cluster had higher intake of foods such as ice cream, cheese, and 2% and whole milk and yogurt, and lower intake of poultry, low fat dairy products, rice, and pasta.

The study was unique in that it evaluated participants’ quality of life and nutritional status, through detailed biochemical measures, according to their dietary patterns. After controlling for gender, age, race, clinical site, education, physical activity, smoking, and total calorie intake, the “High fat dairy products” cluster had a 40% higher risk of mortality than the “Healthy foods” cluster. The “Sweets and desserts” cluster had a 37% higher risk. No significant differences in risk of mortality were seen between the “Healthy foods” cluster and the “Breakfast cereal” or “Refined grains” clusters.

According to lead author Amy L. Anderson, Ph.D., Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, the “results of this study suggest that older adults who follow a dietary pattern consistent with current guidelines to consume relatively high amounts of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, low fat dairy products, poultry and fish, may have a lower risk of mortality. Because a substantial percentage of older adults in this study followed the “Healthy foods” dietary pattern, adherence to such a diet appears a feasible and realistic recommendation for potentially improved survival and quality of life in the growing older adult population.”

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ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES COULD POSE HEALTH RISKS

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Riverside, Calif. - December 3, 2010
Safety evaluation of e-cigarettes is urgently needed, researchers say.

Prudence Talbot
Prudence Talbot
Professor of Cell Biology
Director, UCR Stem Cell
Center and Stem Cell Core Facility
Photo: ucr.com

Electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes), also called “electronic nicotine delivery systems,” are increasingly used worldwide even though only sparse information is available on their health effects. In the United States, e-cigarettes are readily available in shopping malls in most states and on the Internet. But how safe are e-cigarettes?

To address this question, researchers at the University of California, Riverside evaluated five e-cigarette brands and found design flaws, lack of adequate labeling, and several concerns about quality control and health issues. They conclude that e-cigarettes are potentially harmful and urge regulators to consider removing e-cigarettes from the market until their safety is adequately evaluated.

Unlike conventional cigarettes, which burn tobacco, e-cigarettes vaporize nicotine, along with other compounds present in the cartridge, in the form of aerosol created by heating, but do not produce the thousands of chemicals and toxicants created by tobacco combustion. Nothing is known, however, about the chemicals present in the aerosolized vapors emanating from e-cigarettes.

“As a result, some people believe that e-cigarettes are a safe substitute for conventional cigarettes,” said Prue Talbot, the director of UC Riverside’s Stem Cell Center, whose lab led the research. “However, there are virtually no scientific studies on e-cigarettes and their safety. Our study - one of the first studies to evaluate e-cigarettes - shows that this product has many flaws, which could cause serious public health problems in the future if the flaws go uncorrected.”

Study results appear in this month’s issue of Tobacco Control.

Talbot, a professor of cell biology and neuroscience, was joined in the study by Anna Trtchounian, the first author of the research paper. Together, they examined the design, accuracy and clarity of labeling, nicotine content, leakiness, defective parts, disposal, errors in filling orders, instruction manual quality and advertizing for the following brands of e-cigarettes: NJOY, Liberty Stix, Crown Seven (Hydro), Smoking Everywhere (Gold and Platinum) and VapCigs.

Their main observations are that:

- Batteries, atomizers, cartridges, cartridge wrappers, packs and instruction manuals lack important information regarding e-cigarette content, use and essential warnings.

- E-cigarette cartridges leak, which could expose nicotine, an addictive and dangerous chemical, to children, adults, pets and the environment.

- Currently, there are no methods for proper disposal of e-cigarettes products and accessories, including cartridges, which could result in nicotine contamination from discarded cartridges entering water sources and soil, and adversely impacting the environment.

- The manufacture, quality control, sales, and advertisement of e-cigarettes are unregulated.

Electronic cigarette
e-cigarette fluid leaking
out of a cartridge,
making it difficult to
handle without touching
the nicotine solution.
Photo: ucr.com

The study was funded by a grant to Talbot from the University of California Tobacco Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP).

“More research on e-cigarettes is crucially needed to protect the health of e-cigarette users and even those who do not use e-cigarettes,” said Kamlesh Asotra, a research administrator at UC TRDRP. “Contrary to the claims of the manufacturers and marketers of e-cigarettes being ’safe,’ in fact, virtually nothing is known about the toxicity of the vapors generated by these e-cigarettes. Until we know any thing about the potential health risks of the toxins generated upon heating the nicotine-containing content of the e-cigarette cartridges, the ’safety’ claims of the manufactureres are dubious at best.

“Justifiably, more information about the potential toxic and health effects of e-cigarette vapors is necessary before the public can have a definitive answer about the touted safety of e-cigarettes. Hopefully, in the near future, scientists can provide firm evidence for or against the claimed ’safety’ of e-cigarettes as a nicotine-delivery tool.”

UC TRDRP supports research that focuses on the prevention, causes, and treatment of tobacco related disease and the reduction of the human and economic costs of tobacco use in California.

______________________ ABOUT ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES

E-cigarettes consist of a battery, a charger, a power cord, an atomizer, and a cartridge containing nicotine and propylene glycol. When a smoker draws air through an e-cigarette, an airflow sensor activates the battery that turns the tip of the cigarette red to simulate smoking and heats the atomizer to vaporize the propylene glycol and nicotine. Upon inhalation, the aerosol vapor delivers a dose of nicotine into the lungs of the smoker, after which, residual aerosol is exhaled into the environment.

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