Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Poor diet during pregnancy can give your future grandchildren diabetes, researchers say

This is just theory. All they have shown is that malnourished rats have less healthy offspring

A poor diet during pregnancy may increase the risk of a woman’s children and grandchildren developing type 2 diabetes in later life. The disease mainly affects the middle aged, but a study suggests that susceptibility could be programmed into the cells of an unborn baby if his or her mother eats unhealthily. In theory, this diabetes vulnerability gene could then be passed down to the child’s offspring and future generations.

Cambridge University scientists pinpointed the gene in tests on rats that showed it was reprogrammed in the womb by a protein-deficient diet given to the mother.

Other research suggests a range of unbalanced diets may result in an increased risk of diabetes, not just protein-restricted ones.

The Cambridge team, whose work is published in the journal Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences, focused on a ‘master regulator’ metabolism gene that is important both in the development of the pancreas in the womb and its ability to produce insulin.

Feeding mother rats a low-protein diet reduced the gene’s activity, decreased insulin production and made the offspring prone to developing type 2 diabetes in later life.
The scientists say it is likely humans would be affected in a similar way.


Sucking the jelly out of my eyeballs made my annoying floaters vanish

This sounds pretty horrible but I guess it is not. I thought the idea of a cataract operation was horrible but now that I have had that procedure, I am pleased to say that it was much better than it sounds -- JR

One day I was driving to a lunch appointment when flashing lights started appearing out of nowhere on my right-hand side. I continued driving and met my friend, but then went straight to my optician.

He told me that I had Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD), when the vitreous jelly — which fills the inside of your eye — had come away from the lining at the back of the eyeball. All the flashing lights I saw were the nerves firing off with the trauma. The next day, my son Matthew drove me to the Eye Unit at Southampton Hospital where the diagnosis was confirmed. The doctor there said there was nothing to do except wait for it to settle down.

The lights did stop flashing, but I was left with dozens of floaters of all shapes and sizes in my line of vision, which only got worse. A few months later the flashing lights suddenly appeared in my left eye, too. I felt absolutely furious and desperate because my left eye was my stronger one. I immediately went to see my optician who said it was the same problem.

For the next four years, I had to put up with a large cloudy patch in my left eye. It was hard to watch TV, use the computer or even read a recipe. It wasn’t painful — just annoying.

In 2009, my optician told me about a treatment for PVD called vitrectomy which a surgeon called Andrew Luff was doing with good results. Apparently, he sucked out the jelly from the eyeballs through a needle and then replaced it with salt water.

I was pretty horrified, and put off my decision for six months. But by April 2010 I felt very low and my vision was worsening, so I made an appointment to see Mr Luff privately.

He looked at my eyes and told me he could perform a vitrectomy operation and, at the same time, would give me new artificial lenses; the vitrectomy surgery makes the lens of the eye go cloudy within a few months, and apparently I had early-stage cataracts anyway.

A few weeks later I went to hospital for the operation on my right eye. The anaesthetist gave me a sedative and injected anaesthetic around the eye. That meant I couldn’t feel a thing, and I thought my eye was closed when actually it was clamped open and Mr Luff was inserting the needles.

Half an hour later, it was all done and I was taken back to my room, my right eye covered with a patch. I went home the same day and removed the patch 24 hours later.

My daughter Jo nearly fainted because I had a black eye and my eyeball was red, but the wonderful thing was that I could see clearly. I rested for a couple of weeks and used antibiotic eye drops. Within a fortnight my eye looked normal.

After all those years of living in shadows, I can now see clearly and in full technicolor.


Andrew Luff, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Southampton Eye Unit and at Optegra Solent Eye Hospital, says:

"Many people over the age of 50 will be aware of occasional floaters — these are bits of collagen (the material which holds our skin and bones together) suspended in the vitreous jelly of the eyeball. The jelly is 99 per cent water and one per cent solid, but as we age, the solid bits clump together into visible strands and shapes. Some people experience one large floater, which can be distracting.

People can live with floaters quite easily, but in some cases they become a major irritation and need to be surgically corrected.

They can also become much worse if the vitreous jelly pulls away from the retina, the light-sensitive film lining the inside of the eye. This is called Posterior Vitreous Detachment, and it occurs in around 75 per cent of people over 65. Every time you move or flick your eyeball, such as when you are reading, the jelly containing the collagen clumps sways with the movement.

In a vitrectomy operation, the debris-filled vitreous jelly is removed from the eyeball and replaced by saline. The vitreous never regrows, but the body quickly replaces the saline with clear fluid so the patient can see clearly again.

This procedure has been done for a number of years, but in the past it was offered to a patient only if the alternative was blindness, because there was a risk that the lining at the back of the eye would come away. Now, with better equipment and advanced techniques, the complication rate has dropped dramatically.

We use ultra-fine instruments to make tiny incisions. These are so small they heal without stitches, so there’s less risk of complications.

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