In the News – Health and Nutrition Research

In this week’s article we provide our usual monthly roundup of some of the most recent health and nutrition related articles to be in the news, four items comprising:

  • Kids with vitamin D deficiency more likely to develop asthma: 10 year study
  • Landmark chronic fatigue trial could treat two-thirds
  • Test cholesterol of one-year-olds to prevent early heart attacks, study suggests
  • High resting heart rate and blood pressure linked to later mental health disorders

Kids with vitamin D deficiency more likely to develop asthma: 10 year study

“Children with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to develop asthma, a 10-year study of children in Perth, Australia, has discovered.

The findings, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, showed repeated bouts of vitamin D deficiency in early childhood were linked to higher rates of asthma at aged 10, as well as allergy and eczema.

The study also found that allergic immune responses were more common in children with low vitamin D in the first few years, while children with vitamin D deficiency at 6 months of age were more likely to experience two conditions previously associated with heightened asthma risk: increased colonisation of the upper airways by harmful bacteria and increased susceptibility to severe lower respiratory infections involving fever.

Lead author Dr Elysia Hollams from the Telethon Kids Institute said the findings shed new light on a contested area of research.

“We know vitamin D plays an important role in regulating the immune system and promoting healthy lung development”, said Dr Hollams.

But while it has been suggested that inadequate vitamin D may be a factor contributing to the surge in asthma rates over recent decades, previous studies investigating the relationship have yielded conflicting results. There has been a lack of research looking at whether vitamin D deficiency is more detrimental at certain periods in childhood.”

She said the study was the first to track vitamin D levels from birth to asthma onset, and it had shown a clear link between prolonged vitamin D deficiency in early childhood and the development of asthma.”

Read the full article here.

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Landmark chronic fatigue trial could treat two-thirds

“A therapy that successfully treats two-thirds of children with chronic fatigue syndrome is being trialled for NHS use.

The disease affects one in 50 children, leading to mental health problems and missing school.

“If anyone has done a cross-country [run] or a marathon – that is how it feels all the time,” said Jessica, 14.

The trial, on 734 children, will use intensive online therapy sessions to adjust sleeping habits and activity levels.

It also uses a form of behavioural therapy to help children with the disease adapt the way they live.

Studies suggest one in 100 children misses at least a day of class a week because of the disease.

Prof Esther Crawley, a children’s doctor and from the University of Bristol, said:

“This illness is devastating. About 50% of teenagers are tired, but these children are different – they stop doing the stuff they want to do. The first thing they drop is socialising and fun things, then they drop school, so this is very different to teenagers just being tired.”

Prof Crawley is leading the FITNET-NHS trial, to see if online consultations work and are cost-effective for the health service.

It is being funded by the research wing of the NHS in England, but when the results are out all the devolved health services would then decide whether they wanted to introduce it.

Trials of the scheme in the Netherlands showed 63% of the patients given therapy had no symptoms after six months, whereas just 8% recovered without it.”

Read the full article here.

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Test cholesterol of one-year-olds to prevent early heart attacks, study suggests

“Screening one-year-olds for high cholesterol during routine vaccination visits could prevent hundreds of heart attacks in young adults each year, researchers in England said on Wednesday.

Their study in the New England Journal of Medicine aimed to uncover a silent killer in young adults known as familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a genetic disorder that often leads to early heart disease.

FH runs in families, and if left untreated can raise the risk of heart disease at a young age as much as 100 times, the report stated.

In the largest screening study to date, more than 10,000 children around a year old were tested for high cholesterol and genetic mutations known to be associated with FH at 92 facilities across England.

Forty children tested positive for FH, at a rate of about one in 270 children.

Their parents were then contacted for screening, revealing an additional FH-positive parent, the report said.

“Overall, one person at high risk of early heart attack was identified for every 125 people tested,” it said.

Such screening throughout Britain could prevent about 600 heart attacks in people under 40, according to the researchers from Queen Mary University of London’s Wolfson institute of preventive medicine.”

Read the full article here.

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High resting heart rate and blood pressure linked to later mental health disorders

“A high resting heart rate and blood pressure in youth predict an increased susceptibility for anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder later in life, reveals an extensive study conducted by the University of Helsinki and the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

The connections between resting heart rate, blood pressure and psychiatric disorders were studied using register data from more than one million Swedish men. The study was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Many mental health disorders have been found to be associated with abnormalities in heart function and blood pressure. Heart rate and blood pressure are regulated by the autonomic nervous system which controls the body’s basic functions. There has previously been no comprehensive research on whether discrepancies in the function of the autonomic nervous system could precede the onset of psychiatric illnesses.

The research used heart rate and blood pressure measurements from conscripts for the Swedish army, linked with information from national patient registers. The results indicate that men whose resting heart rate was higher than 82 beats per minute during their youth were 69% more likely to later be diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder than men whose resting heart rate was lower than 62 bpm. The risk for schizophrenia increased by 21% and for anxiety disorders, 18%.”

Read the full article here.

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If you have any questions regarding the topics that have been raised, or any other health matters please do contact me (Clare) by phone or email at any time., 01684 310099

The Cytoplan editorial team: Joseph Forsyth & Clare Daley


Last updated on 2nd November 2016 by cytoffice


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