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Intermittent fasting helps to live longer, says study – International Business Times, Singapore Edition

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Time for many to usher in the New Year pledging to adopt new habits as a commitment to personal health. For fitness buffs packing into gyms and grocery stores to try out new diets will be surprised to see a new study findings that has supported ancient claims that fasting often cleanse the body and keeps humans alive and afresh.

In a review article published in the Dec. 26 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine neuroscientist Mark Mattson, concludes that intermittent fasting does help, a technique often followed in Ayurveda therapy.

Ancient medicine?

Mattson, who has studied the health impact of intermittent fasting for 25 years, and adopted it himself about 20 years ago, writes that “intermittent fasting could be part of a healthy lifestyle.” A professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Mattson says his study tries to clarify the science and clinical applications of intermittent fasting in ways that may help physicians guide patients who can bear it.

Intermittent fasting diets fall generally into two categories: daily time-restricted feeding, which narrows eating times to 6-8 hours per day, and so-called 5:2 intermittent fasting, in which people limit themselves to one moderate-sized meal two days each week.

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Johns Hopkins Medicine

An array of animal and some human studies have shown that alternating between times of fasting and eating supports cellular health, probably by triggering an age-old adaptation to periods of food scarcity called metabolic switching. Such a switch occurs when cells use up their stores of rapidly accessible, sugar-based fuel, and begin converting fat into energy in a slower metabolic process.

Benefits galore

Mattson says studies have shown that this switch improves blood sugar regulation, increases resistance to stress and suppresses inflammation. Because most Americans eat three meals plus snacks each day, they do not experience the switch, or the suggested benefits. Mattson notes that four studies in both animals and people found intermittent fasting also decreased blood pressure, blood lipid levels and resting heart rates.

Evidence is also mounting that intermittent fasting can modify risk factors associated with obesity and diabetes, says Mattson. Two studies at the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust of 100 overweight women showed that those on the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet lost the same amount of weight as women who restricted calories, but did better on measures of insulin sensitivity and reduced belly fat than those in the calorie-reduction group.

Other studies

More recently, Mattson says, preliminary studies suggest that intermittent fasting could benefit brain health too. A multicenter clinical trial at the University of Toronto in April found that 220 healthy, nonobese adults who maintained a calorie restricted diet for two years showed signs of improved memory in a battery of cognitive tests. While far more research needs to be done to prove any effects of intermittent fasting on learning and memory, Mattson says if that proof is found, the fasting — or a pharmaceutical equivalent that mimics it — may offer interventions that can stave off neurodegeneration and dementia.

“We are at a transition point where we could soon consider adding information about intermittent fasting to medical school curricula alongside standard advice about healthy diets and exercise,” he says.

Mattson acknowledges that researchers do “not fully understand the specific mechanisms of metabolic switching and that “some people are unable or unwilling to adhere” to the fasting regimens. Patients should be advised that feeling hungry and irritable is common initially and usually passes after two weeks to a month as the body and brain get accustomed to the new habit, he says.

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'Won't be gathering for Thanksgiving:' Trudeau says COVID-19 2nd wave underway – ThoroldNews.com

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TORONTO — A dramatic tripling of daily new cases of COVID-19 in the past month, mostly among young people, has prompted the prime minister to declare the arrival of the second wave of the pandemic and that Canadians likely won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving.

“In our four biggest provinces, the second wave isn’t just starting, it’s already underway,” Justin Trudeau said Wednesday evening in a rare television address to the nation.  

“We’re on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring.”

Trudeau said Canadians can’t do anything to change the numbers now, or even tomorrow.

“But what we can change is where we are in October, and into the winter,” he said. 

“It’s all too likely we won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving, but we still have a shot at Christmas.”

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said the country had seen an average of more than 1,100 new cases of the novel coronavirus a day this past week compared with about 380 a day in mid-August.

“Canada is at a crossroads with the COVID-19 epidemic trajectory,” Tam said before Trudeau’s address. “Unless public health and individual protective measures are strengthened and we work together to slow the spread of the virus, the situation is on track for a big resurgence in a number of provinces.”

While the new cases were primarily among young adults, more than 400 schools in Quebec and another 153 in Ontario reported at least one case of the illness. The figures from the group COVID Ecoles Quebec and the Ontario government came as authorities seek ways to curb the spread of COVID-19 among younger people.

Data from Ontario show cases among those in their 20s have risen sharply in the past month, with one expert attributing the increase in part to the reopening of schools and universities.

In an effort to tackle the problem, several provinces, cities and universities have warned of stiff fines for violating anti-COVID restrictions. However, Quebec said it would not allow police to enter homes without a warrant to break up gatherings that violate the measures.

The worrisome upward trend in new cases came as the federal Liberal government laid out its plan to take on the second wave.

“To prevent small clusters from becoming major outbreaks, communities may need to enact short-term closure orders,” the government said in its throne speech.

Stringent lockdowns in the spring caused unprecedented economic disruption, prompting the government to spend tens of billions of dollars on supports as unemployment skyrocketed.

The throne speech promised, among other things, an extension of the federal wage-subsidy program until next summer, more aid for businesses and help to boost testing capacity. People in various cities have waited for hours or even days for virus testing. Safety concerns led a hospital in Kitchener, Ont., to close its drive-thru testing centre as people arrived in the wee hours.

In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada, while the cumulative case count has been edging toward the 150,000 mark.

Quebec, with more than 69,000 cases, accounts for about 48 per cent of the total cases but 63 per cent of the deaths. Ontario’s more than 48,000 reported cases account for 33 per cent nationally, and 31 per cent of fatalities

On Wednesday, Quebec reported 471 new cases. Another four reported deaths from the novel coronavirus brought the province’s total fatalities to 5,809.

Ontario, which has shown a steady increase in new cases since mid-August, after months of declines, reported 335 new cases Wednesday and another three deaths. Almost 70 per cent of new infections were in people under the age of 40.

Concern is also mounting as more long-term care homes in Ontario, brutally hit by the virus earlier in the year, report outbreaks. Almost 70 per cent of fatalities have been among those aged 80 and older and another 27 per cent were 60 to 79 years of age.

While older people and those with underlying health conditions are more susceptible to severe illnesses from SARS-CoV-2, younger people can spread the disease — often before showing any symptoms.

“When there’s so much in the community, it can escalate into the populations with more vulnerability,” Dr. Vera Etches, medical officer of health in Ottawa, one of the harder hit cities, said.

Ontario data indicates new cases among people in their 20s have reached similar levels to those seen among people in their 80s in mid-April. Along with school reopenings, Dr. Brian Ward, a professor of medicine at McGill University, cited bars and parties as key factors, along with a “general sense of invulnerability” among younger people.

“COVID fatigue also clearly plays a role,” Ward said.

Winnipeg, for example, accounted for 30 of Manitoba’s 42 new cases reported Wednesday, with possible exposures at restaurants, bars and a pub trivia night, the province said.

Trudeau sympathized with Canadians feeling the stress of a second wave, but urged people to be strong.

“‘Can’t’ will not define us,” he said. 

“We can bend the curve. We can build a stronger future. We can define the change.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2020.

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

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COVID-19: 91 new cases reported in B.C. with no deaths – The Kingston Whig-Standard

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Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there were now 1,376 active cases of the disease, of which 62 were being treated in hospital including 18 in intensive care.

There were 91 new cases of COVID-19 reported in B.C. between noon Tuesday and noon Wednesday and no deaths.

The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said there were now 1,376 active cases of the disease, with 62 people being treated in hospital including 18 in intensive care.

The number of active COVID-19 cases peaked at 1,987 on Sept. 21, but dropped the following day to 1,465.

According to the Ministry of Health, this was because Vancouver Coastal Health had not been passing on recovery data to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control over the past month as they were transitioning to a new data collection system.

Fraser Health has the most active cases, at 781, with Vancouver Coastal Health next with 517 cases. Island Health has only eight active cases.

Henry said there were 3,368 people in quarantine under public health monitoring after being potentially exposed to the disease. Of the 8,395 cases that have been reported in B.C., 6,769 have recovered and 227 have died.

“There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks, and outbreaks at Bear Creek Villa independent-living facility and Normanna long-term care facility have been declared over,” Henry said, adding there were still outbreaks in nine long-term care or assisted-living homes and five acute-care facilities.

Of the 91 cases reported between on Wednesday, two were in health-care facilities.

“There have been no new community outbreaks, although there continue to be community exposure events. The outbreak at the Loblaws warehouse has been declared over,” Henry said.

“Public alerts and school notifications are posted on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s (BCCDC) website, as well as on health authorities’ websites, providing details on where the potential exposure occurred and what actions to take – whether to self-isolate or monitor for symptoms.”

On Wednesday afternoon, parents at Ecole Riverside School in Port Coquitlam were told that there had been a COVID-19 positive person at the school on Sept. 18. They were told that if their child had been exposed they would be notified by Fraser Health.

In Vancouver, parents at Xpey’ Elementary School were told there had been a COVID-sick person at the school on Sept. 10, 14, 15 and 21.

Surrey, the largest school district in B.C., has reported 15 school exposures so far.

dcarrigg@postmedia.com


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B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19 – Abbotsford News

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B.C. is reporting 91 new cases of COVID-19 but no new deaths as of Wednesday (Sept. 23), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Deputy Health Minister Stephen Brown said in a joint statement.

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began. The death toll remains at 227.

This is the second day in a row that new infections have remained under 100 per day. The number of patients in hospital grew by one to 62, although the number in ICU dropped from 22 to 18.

Health officials said there have been no new health-care facility outbreaks, and that the outbreaks at Bear Creek Villa independent-living facility and Normanna long-term care facility are now over. There are a total of 14 health-care facilities with outbreaks of the virus; nine are long-term care or assisted living facilities, while five are acute care centres. There have also been no new community exposure events and the outbreak at a Loblaws warehouse is now over.

However, health officials said they were still concerned about how many new COVID-19 infections there were in the province.

“New cases and clusters of COVID-19 remain higher than where we would like them to be,” Henry and Brown said.

“The impact of this means that thousands of people in B.C. are now under active public health monitoring and care, with many forced to deal with the stress and anxiety that comes with having to self-isolate away from work, friends and family.”

In total, there are 3,368 people under public health monitoring and 1,376 active cases, a drop of 89 in the latter figure.

READ MORE: Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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