Thursday, June 21, 2007

Fatty foods counter stress

And stress can lead to depression, which is a serious illness, with anxious depression sometimes leading to suicide. The study below was with rats only but it is a warning to look at both sides of the coin

GORGING on fatty comfort food really can make a stressed person feel better, tests on rats have shown. Stressed rodents were able to experience pleasure more easily if they ate high-fat foods, research from the University of NSW found.

This could explain why some people over-eat when under stress, and may even partially explain the obesity epidemic, said researcher Prof Margaret Morris. "If it's true that societal levels of stress are increasing, and if people are turning to food in response to that stress, then it may be a small component of why we're experiencing more obesity," she said.

Prof Morris tested the theory by separating baby rats from their mothers soon after birth. Tests using a sugar drink showed that these stressed rats were less able to sense pleasure than rats who hadn't been separated. These unhappy rats were then placed on either a regular rat diet or an unhealthy Western diet with 30 per cent fat. "It appears that the fatty diet almost counters the traumatic experience of the separation," Prof Morris said.


Blood transfusions may do more harm than good

Contrary to their benign image, blood transfusions are overused and often harm patients, expert say. Jehovah's Witnesses have been laughing ever since blood-borne AIDS and Hepatitis problems surfaced but they have even more reason to laugh now. The Old Testament warnings (e.g. Leviticus 17:11-14) about the forbidden status of blood appear to have had some surprising wisdom in them. No doubt there were blood-borne diseases in ancient times too. It seems likely that on balance JWs have avoided more problems than they incurred by their stand against transfusions

REFUSE at your own risk: for years that's the message doctors have relayed to Jehovah's Witnesses and others who've declined blood transfusions. But transfusions are not the wonder procedure of popular, or even medical profession, imagination. Mounting evidence shows they significantly increase the risk of post-operative complications - including infections, kidney failure, lung injury and death.

Yet instead of being saved as a last resort, they are still being performed when other safer options could be used instead. In fact, more than 25 per cent of blood transfusions currently performed are unnecessary, according to a visiting US expert who spoke at the annual scientific meeting of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) two weeks ago. Internationally renowned emergency medicine and anaesthiology professor Bruce Spiess told the conference that while blood transfusions have long been "believed to be helpful and a pillar of modern medicine'', there was now relatively little evidence to support such claims.

"Drug options are carefully tested and regulated through prospective, randomised double-blind testing, but blood transfusion stands apart,'' Spiess says. "It has never been safety or efficacy tested.'' It's a point that has been echoed by several Australian experts, including anaesthesists associate professor Larry McNicol and doctor Peter McCall at Austin Health in Melbourne.

"From the point of view of the risk of transmitting infections, blood transfusions are safer than they have ever been,'' McCall says. "However, there is an ever-increasing body of research about adverse outcomes in association with them. Still there is a tendency to think that blood transfusions are mystical and lifesaving, and it is better to give them than to withhold them.'' The reasons not to make blood transfusion routine are becoming increasingly apparent: a person who has had a blood transfusion after surgery has up to four times the risk of wound infections. People who have blood transfusions during cancer surgery face up to twice the risk of the cancer recurring.

In his conference presentation, Spiess discussed Swedish research on cardiac patients that compared Jehovah's Witnesses who refused blood transfusions to patients with similar disease progression during open-heart surgery. The research found those who refused transfusions had noticeably better survival rates.

There are a few major reasons complications arise following transfusion. For one thing, immune response is impaired as the body responds to the blood as a foreign body, much in the same way it responds to a transplant, experts say. The properties of red blood cells also become altered when blood is stored, reducing their ability to distribute oxygen through the body. Yet at least 25 per cent of transfusions that are done could be avoided, Spiess says.

A 2005-2006 audit of the use of fresh frozen plasma in hospitals in Tasmania and Victoria found that one-third of the transfusions performed were inappropriate under underguidelines issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council, says associate professor Larry McNicol, who also chairs the Better Safer Transfusion program run by the Victorian Government. "Essentially these patients really perhaps didn't need it and there might not have been therapeutic benefits,'' McNicol says.

But there are still circumstances when blood transfusion is necessary, and the patient would probably die if they did not receive one, says University of Sydney professor James Isbister, a consultant on haemotology and blood transfusion who chairs the Red Cross advisory board. Isbister says blood transfusion can be vital for patients undergoing major surgery after experiencing major trauma or shock when there is major bleeding that is difficult to control quickly. It can also be instrumental in managing hemophilia, where blood does not clot, as well as acute hemorrhages. "A lot of major surgery would never have developed without the possibility for blood transfusion either - for instance, open heart surgery,'' Isbister says.

But many of the cases in the Better Safer Transfusion audit involved transfusions that could have been avoided. For example, it was once thought that blood transfusions should be performed any time a patient's hemoglobin level dipped below 10 grams of hemoglobin per decilitre of blood - but now guidelines in varying countries put that between 6 and 8g. "It used to be that 10g was the acceptable minimum, but now we know that patients are at no detriment by a running a lower count and we can avoid these additional risks,'' McCall says. "When the blood count is lower, the heart is able to beat more strongly - so it can actually pump more efficiently to distribute the blood better.''

The audit also uncovered a tendency for some doctors to use transfusions as a precaution in patients who were at risk of bleeding, but not yet bleeding - for example, they might have had abnormal test results. In those cases the guidelines recommend doctors wait until bleeding starts. Other studies have also shown that the likelihood of receiving a transfusion during elective orthopaedic surgery or cardiac surgery can vary enormously between hospitals, despite there being little difference between the patients, Isbister says. "There's huge variation between hospitals and surgeons depending on where you have your operation - in one hospital you can have an 80 per cent chance of being transfused, and in another hospital 10 per cent chance.'' "Most patients undergoing hip and knee surgery should only have a 10 to 20 per cent chance of needing a transfusion - but there's evidence it can be much higher.''

There are a number of ways to avoid transfusions, including drugs that minimise blood loss and others that stop clots from being dissolved, as well as anesthetic and surgical techniques to minimise blood loss. "You don't always have to bring a person's blood pressure up to normal - you can keep it low and that minimises bleeding,'' he says.

In surgery where there's a risk of major blood loss, doctors frequently use a technique called "red cells salvage'', which allows them to reuse the patient's own blood rather than transfusing someone else's. The patient's blood is collected in a machine where it is then washed in a saline solution before being given back to the patient.

But the battle to reduce unnecessary transfusions often begins before surgery. "One of the ways to minimise transfusions is to prepare patients better before surgery - for example you can give them supplements to get their blood count up before surgery,'' McCall says. To that end a 2005 South Australian audit found that 18 per cent of people who had been on waiting lists for elective surgery had anemia, which increases the chances of needing a transfusion. If the anemia had been better managed before surgery some of those patients could have avoided blood transfusions, according to Kathryn Robinson, medical adviser of South Australia's BloodSafe.

But for all the bad news, experts say that change is on the horizon. Various states are developing initiatives to help decrease unnecessary transfusions, and at a conference of federal and state health ministers in March the federal Government said it would fund two initiatives expected to improve the safety of the blood supply and improve outcomes for people who do ultimately need transfusions. One of those initiatives is the universal testing of platelets, which carry particularly high risks of complications. Unlike other blood products, platelets can't be refrigerated, so they are susceptible to contamination by bacteria. International guidelines recommend all platelets be universally tested for the bacteria, but currently only about 5 per cent of the supply is tested, McNicol says.

At the same meeting the government announced that by 2010 all blood will be processed to remove white blood cells, known as leuko-reduced blood, which has been shown to dramatically reduce complications and is already in widespread use in Canada, New Zealand, Western Europe and elsewhere. "There are three randomised controlled studies in heart surgery, where patients who were deemed appropriate to be transfused got either leuko-reduced blood or blood with white cells present,'' Spiess says. "The death rate in those with leuko-reduced blood was roughly half that in those with blood with white cells,'' Speiss says. "In the patients that got no blood, there were no deaths at all.'' [Quite amazing testimony to the fragile status of medical "wisdom". And it is this false "wisdom" that has been enforced by law in many places!]


British Food Fascism Hits Egg Advertisement

We read:

"Fifty years after Britons were implored to "Go to work on an egg", an advertising watchdog has banned a revival of the campaign, saying that it breaches health guidelines. Plans to mark the anniversary by broadcasting the original television advertisements featuring Tony Hancock have had to be called off.

The ban by the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre, which vets television advertisements, was condemned as ridiculous yesterday by the novelist Fay Weldon, who used to work in advertising and helped to create the campaign. "I think the ruling is absurd," she said. "We seem to have been tainted by all the health and safety laws. If they are going to ban egg adverts then I think they should ban all car adverts, because cars really are dangerous, and bad for the environment.

The advertising clearance centre, a government-backed watchdog, says that it blocked the campaign because eating an egg for breakfast every day was not a "varied diet". ....

The egg information service offered to add a line to the adverts saying that eggs should be eaten as part of a varied diet. The compromise was rejected.

The egg information servicesaid it was shocked by the ruling. It said eggs were a healthy food recommended by nutritionists and many other advertisers promote their products to be eaten every day, "so we are very surprised eggs have been singled out.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.



Anonymous said...

With the first report, however, it must be remembered that obese people are usually unhappy and stressed due to their weight.

A NY JW said...

Well we are not laughing at all; we have been trying to warn folks for years because it's an important matter!

It is great however to see that all of this added proof and evidence is coming out in more and more medical journals and writings to add credence to the discussion. Folks should make an informed choice with their well-being....

May all strive for Good or Better Health!

A NY JW said...

About Blood Transfusion Dangers:

Well we're not laughing at all for the most part; we have been trying to warn folks for year that it's not a laughing matter...

It's great however to see all of this added proof and evidence is coming out in more medical journals and writings. All should definately make informed choices concerning their well-being!

Don M said...

Whether it is healthier or not doesn't matter to a JW.

Besides, they are allowed to take pretty much every major component of blood as individual components - just not whole blood.

Those components spread AIDS and other STDs just as much as whole blood - so JWs really aren't any "safer" after all.