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Antidepressants Linked to Bone Loss December 9, 2007

Posted by gaiaagul in Science, Uncategorized.
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June 26 (HealthDay News) — Older men and women who take the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may have an increased rate of bone loss.

But the studies documenting this finding are preliminary and shouldn’t be seen as a reason to change medications, the authors stressed.

“People currently on SSRIs should not stop their medicines based on these findings,” said Dr. Susan Diem, lead author of the study looking at women, and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. “These findings are preliminary, and further research is needed before any firm conclusions can be drawn.”

The results of both studies are published in the June 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are widely prescribed to treat depression and other disorders and account for almost two-thirds of antidepressant prescriptions in the United States. The drugs work by inhibiting the protein that transports serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in both depression and sleep. The medications include such brand names drugs as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft.

Receptors for serotonin have recently been discovered in bone.

“This led to the question of whether the drugs could have an effect on bone,” Diem said.

Diem’s study involved 2,722 older women, average age 78.5 years. Total hip bone density and that of two hip sub-regions were measured at the beginning of study and again almost five years later. At each visit, participants were asked to bring all the medications they had used within the past two weeks.

Bone mineral density is an indicator of whether or not you have osteoporosis.

After adjusting for other factors, the researchers found that bone mineral density at the hip decreased 0.82 percent in women using SSRIs and 0.47 percent among those using the older tricyclic antidepressants and in those not using any antidepressants. SSRI users also had higher rates of bone loss at the two hip sub-regions.

Based on the results of this study alone, it’s impossible to know why the difference between the two groups exists, Diem said.

“We found that use of the SSRIs was associated with increased rates of bone loss in this group of older women, but this research cannot definitively determine whether the drugs themselves are responsible for the increased rates of bone loss or whether other differences between SSRI users and those who don’t use SSRIs are responsible,” Diem said. “For instance, depression itself has been linked to increased rates of bone loss, and people on SSRIs are more likely to have been depressed.”

“This work needs to be confirmed in other populations, and the real question is whether the drugs have an effect on rates of fracture, and that we could not address,” Diem continued.

A study by Canadian researchers published in January, also in Archives of Internal Medicine, however, did indicate a risk of fracture among people in their 50s taking SSRIs.

The second study published in the new issue of Archives involved 5,995 men aged 65 and older, and found that men using SSRIs also had lower bone mineral density at the hip and at the base of the spine.

Total hip bone mineral density was 3.9 percent lower among SSRI users than among men not using any antidepressants. Spine bone mineral density was 5.9 percent lower among SSRI users compared with non-users.

As in the study involving women, there was no significant difference in bone mineral density between men taking tricyclic antidepressants and those not taking any antidepressants. Men taking the antidepressant trazodone had the same bone mineral density as those taking no antidepressants.
SOURCES: Susan J. Diem, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis; June 25, 2007, Archives of Internal Medicine
Publish Date: June 26, 2007

Simple Facial at Home July 10, 2007

Posted by gaiaagul in Science, Uncategorized.
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The garbanzo flour is mildly scratchy, gently exfoliating the skin, and helps to draw out fluids and debris from the pores. Turmeric has antibacterial properties.

By the way, it stains, so don’t use your good towels. Use this cleanser, combine it with a few easy steps, and you’ve got a mini-facial you can do for yourself or a friend.

Supplies needed:
1 – 2 tsp simple cleanser (mixture of three parts garbanzo flour to one part turmeric – you can make a larger quantity and keep it in a zip-lock bag, or an empty vitamin bottle)

  • Pot of boiling water
  • Tea towel
  • Rose water in a spray bottle
  • Five drops oil (sesame for Vata, coconut for Pitta, safflower or sunflower for Kapha)
  • Optional: a drop of essential oil for your steam (lavender, eucalyptus, rose geranium); a drop of Tea Tree oil for oily skin

Directions:
Put a small pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. You only need a cup or two of water. While it heats, begin the facial by cleansing your face.

Put one to two teaspoons of the simple cleanser in the palm of your hand. Add a couple drops of water and mix with your finger to make a paste. Apply the paste to your face and throat, and using your fingertips, gently cleanse and exfoliate the skin with small circular strokes. Rinse with warm water.

Sit at a table or desk with the pot of boiling water on a pot holder or trivet right in front of you. Drape the tea towel over your head to make a steam tent. Lean over the hot water and allow the steam to envelop your face. This will help to open up your pores and relax your facial muscles.

Close your eyes and breathe long and deep. Sit and steam for two or three minutes, or as long as it feels comfortable. This is a great opportunity to indulge in some aromatherapy, so as an option, consider adding a drop of your favorite essential oil to the boiling water.

Lavender and rose geranium are great for the skin as well as relaxing and uplifting. Eucalyptus is great for clearing the mind (and the sinuses) – particularly beneficial if you’ve had a recent cold or sinus condition.

After steaming, rinse your face with lukewarm water, and pat dry with a towel.

Put three to five drops of oil in the palm of your hand. (If you have oily skin and are worried about applying oil to your face, add one drop of tea tree oil to the facial oil in your hand.) Before applying it to your face, spray your face with rose water.

While your face is still damp, apply a light layer of oil, and spend a minute or two massaging and rubbing it into the face and neck. The extra minute of massage will help bring oxygenated blood to the facial tissues, keeping your face looking vital and fresh.

8 Steps to Smaller Pores July 10, 2007

Posted by gaiaagul in Science, Uncategorized.
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What causes large pores? With age and frequent stretching from being clogged with dead skin cells and oil, the pores start to sag. When they fill up with sebum (oil), the sebum oxidizes and turns dark which makes the pores more obvious.

. The first step is to use skin care products that increase levels of collagen and elastin which will prevent the pores from stretching. Look for ingredients such as Vitamin C, retinol that increase collagen production and products that increase elastin levels.

2. It is also important to keep skin clear of oil and dead skin cells, which will only stretch your pores and make them appear larger. Use products with alpha hydroxy acids (like glycolic acid and phytic acid) and chestnut extract which will exfoliate your skin, thus improving its texture.

3. Salicylic acid is another good bet, particularly for oily or acne-prone types, as it’s the best ingredient out there for targeting and clearing out oil in the pores. (When oil, or sebum, clogs pores, blackheads appear – making pores that much more prominent.) Salicylic acid can penetrate the fats in sebum much better than glycolic acid, which makes it an ideal treatment to improve the appearance of pores.

4. Decreasing sebum production is also a way to prevent clogged and stretched pores. One ingredient that is said to have the to ability to reduce sebum production is NDGA (Nordihydraguaiaretic Acid).

5. Prescription-strength retinoids and over-the-counter products with retinol will decrease oil production, increase collagen and elastin production, and hasten your skin’s cell-turnover – giving dead skin cells even fewer opportunities to clog and stretch your pores, while strengthening pore walls.

6. Another trick to minimizing the appearance of your pores is to cause the skin around them to swell slightly; as it does, the pores will appear to contract. Apply topical vitamin C to your skin (you can find it in a variety of facial serums) or try a professional light procedure like IPL (Intense pulsed Light). IPL provides an immediate benefit and is worth every penny!

7. The final steps to smaller pores simply require good skin care habits. First and foremost: Wash makeup and sunscreen off every night.

8. And if you do develop pimples, avoid popping or picking at them. That will only stretch your pores further and can lead to scarring.

Wishing you great skin!

Antidepressants Linked to Bone Loss July 6, 2007

Posted by gaiaagul in Science, Uncategorized.
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//’); //]]>  

June 26 (HealthDay News) — Older men and women who take the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may have an increased rate of bone loss.

But the studies documenting this finding are preliminary and shouldn’t be seen as a reason to change medications, the authors stressed.

“People currently on SSRIs should not stop their medicines based on these findings,” said Dr. Susan Diem, lead author of the study looking at women, and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. “These findings are preliminary, and further research is needed before any firm conclusions can be drawn.”

The results of both studies are published in the June 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are widely prescribed to treat depression and other disorders and account for almost two-thirds of antidepressant prescriptions in the United States. The drugs work by inhibiting the protein that transports serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in both depression and sleep. The medications include such brand names drugs as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft.

Receptors for serotonin have recently been discovered in bone.

“This led to the question of whether the drugs could have an effect on bone,” Diem said.

Diem’s study involved 2,722 older women, average age 78.5 years. Total hip bone density and that of two hip sub-regions were measured at the beginning of study and again almost five years later. At each visit, participants were asked to bring all the medications they had used within the past two weeks.

Bone mineral density is an indicator of whether or not you have osteoporosis.

After adjusting for other factors, the researchers found that bone mineral density at the hip decreased 0.82 percent in women using SSRIs and 0.47 percent among those using the older tricyclic antidepressants and in those not using any antidepressants. SSRI users also had higher rates of bone loss at the two hip sub-regions.

Based on the results of this study alone, it’s impossible to know why the difference between the two groups exists, Diem said.

“We found that use of the SSRIs was associated with increased rates of bone loss in this group of older women, but this research cannot definitively determine whether the drugs themselves are responsible for the increased rates of bone loss or whether other differences between SSRI users and those who don’t use SSRIs are responsible,” Diem said. “For instance, depression itself has been linked to increased rates of bone loss, and people on SSRIs are more likely to have been depressed.”

“This work needs to be confirmed in other populations, and the real question is whether the drugs have an effect on rates of fracture, and that we could not address,” Diem continued.

A study by Canadian researchers published in January, also in Archives of Internal Medicine, however, did indicate a risk of fracture among people in their 50s taking SSRIs.

The second study published in the new issue of Archives involved 5,995 men aged 65 and older, and found that men using SSRIs also had lower bone mineral density at the hip and at the base of the spine.

Total hip bone mineral density was 3.9 percent lower among SSRI users than among men not using any antidepressants. Spine bone mineral density was 5.9 percent lower among SSRI users compared with non-users.

As in the study involving women, there was no significant difference in bone mineral density between men taking tricyclic antidepressants and those not taking any antidepressants. Men taking the antidepressant trazodone had the same bone mineral density as those taking no antidepressants.
SOURCES: Susan J. Diem, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis; June 25, 2007, Archives of Internal Medicine
Publish Date: June 26, 2007

A Bite of Chocolate a Day May Keep Blood Pressure at Bay July 5, 2007

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 By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) — Chocolate lovers can rejoice again: More research has found that the antioxidants in dark chocolate can help slightly lower blood pressure.

But the good news comes with a caveat — the chocolate portions have to be limited to 30 calories a day, which works out to slightly more than one Hershey’s Kiss.

Such small amounts of the flavanol-rich cocoa found in dark chocolate “may be a promising behavioral approach to lower blood pressure in individuals with above-optimal blood pressure,” the German researchers reported in their study.

Unlimited quantities of chocolate won’t work, they added, because “the potential blood pressure reduction contributed by the flavanols could be offset by the high sugar, fat and calorie intake with the cocoa products.”

The current study, published in the July 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, included 44 adults between the ages of 56 and 73 who either had blood pressure levels in the upper range of normal (considered prehypertension) or they had stage 1 high blood pressure.

None of the study volunteers had other risk factors for heart disease, which means they weren’t overweight, didn’t smoke, didn’t have diabetes or high cholesterol or kidney disease. Additionally, the study participants didn’t take additional vitamins or supplements, and the only cocoa-containing products they consumed during the study period were those provided by the researchers.

For 18 weeks, half of the group was asked to consume 30 calories a day of dark chocolate containing polyphenols (a type of antioxidant), while the other half was given 30 calories a day of white chocolate, which has nearly all of the same ingredients as the dark chocolate but no polyphenols.

By the end of the study, the average systolic blood pressure (the top number, which measures the force of blood coming from the heart) dropped by 2.9 mm Hg and the average diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number, which measures the force of blood returning to the heart) dropped by 1.9 mm Hg in the dark chocolate group. There was no change in blood pressure for the white chocolate group.

“Although the magnitude of the BP reduction was small, the effects are clinically noteworthy. On a population basis, it has been estimated that a 3-mm/Hg reduction in systolic BP would reduce the relative risk of stroke mortality by 8 percent, of coronary artery disease mortality by 5 percent, and of all-cause mortality by 4 percent,” the authors reported in a prepared statement.

The research was led by Dr. Dirk Taubert, of University Hospital of Cologne, who has done previous research on the effects of cocoa on high blood pressure.

The authors suspect that dark chocolate may increase levels of nitric oxide, a compound that helps to relax and open the blood vessels.

An American nutrition expert found the results promising.

“If you’re someone with marginal high blood pressure, and if you eat chocolate anyway, switching to a small piece of dark chocolate daily may give you some benefit. It lowered the upper number about 3 points,” said Jo Ann Carson, a professor of clinical nutrition at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Carson recommended looking for dark chocolate that has cocoa content higher than 50 percent. She also pointed out that people who are sensitive to caffeine’s effects should be careful about consuming dark chocolate, because the caffeine content is higher than in milk chocolate.

“Dark chocolate doesn’t give you as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, but if you start eating it in the evening, you might notice the caffeine,” she said.

Additionally, if you have underlying health problems, this study’s results probably don’t apply to you, according to nutritionist Angela Kurtz, from New York University Medical Center.

“This study was designed to look at the effects of chocolate in individuals who didn’t have severe hypertension or other medical problems, and they weren’t overweight. If you’re diabetic or you have kidney disease, you cannot add chocolate to your diet,” she said.

“Moderation is the key. As long as you can have good control of your eating habits, and you can balance chocolate consumption with physical activity to offset the calories, then you can enjoy it,” Kurtz added.

But she also cautioned that “chocolate is not a magic bullet but is one little tool for people who are relatively healthy.”

More information

The American Heart Association details a previous study on the benefits of dark chocolate for blood pressure.