Monday, November 05, 2012

Two portions of oily fish a week is associated with a slight  reduction in risk of stroke

Just more "correlation is causation" speculation and the effect is vanishingly small anyway.  Wholly ignorable

Scientists have found that eating two helpings of oily fish - such as salmon, trout or mackerel - every week could moderately reduce risk of a stroke.

However, fish oil supplements do not have the same beneficial effect as oily fish such as kippers, sardines, fresh tuna or whitebait, the study found.

An international team of researchers, including Cambridge-based academic Dr Rajiv Chowdhury, examined the association between oily fish, which are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, and the risk of strokes or mini-strokes.

They looked at 38 studies involving almost 800,000 people across 15 countries, and examined participants’ fish and long chain omega 3 fatty acid consumption. During the studies, a total of 34,817 strokes and mini strokes were recorded.

After adjusting for several risk factors, participants eating two to four servings a week had a 6 per cent lower risk of stroke compared with those who consumed one portion or less every week, the study found.

Fish oil supplements were not significantly associated with a similar reduced risk, according to the paper published on

Eating oily fish has already been linked to other health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease.

'From past research we know that eating plenty of fish is good for our general health,' said Dr Peter Coleman, deputy director of research at the Stroke Association.

'This research shows that it could also help to protect us against stroke. However, it’s interesting to see that taking fish oil supplements doesn’t have the same beneficial effect.

'People who eat lots of fish may have healthier diets in general which could go some way to explain the results. However, a lot more research is needed in this area before we decide to eat fish every day of the week.

'You can reduce your risk of stroke by exercising regularly, consuming a healthy, balanced diet and getting your blood pressure checked.'


Everyday drugs 'can help fight dementia' as developing new medicines is too costly and slow

A remarkable bit of optimism.  Good if it turns out,  I guess,  It's a poor substitute for accelerating the approval process, though

Everyday medicines could be used in the battle against dementia as developing new drugs is too costly and slow.

Experts believe antibiotics, acne pills and other routine treatments already in bathroom cabinets could double as dementia drugs.  They said it is time to re-examine medicines already in circulation as cheaper, quicker alternatives to new treatments.

Many have multiple effects on the body, so some could be able to ease the effects of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia which affect 800,000 people in Britain.

There are only four Alzheimer’s drugs in use which can help relieve symptoms but do nothing to stop damage to the brain.

Professor Clive Ballard said: ‘Defeating dementia is one of the biggest challenges facing both  medicine and society as a whole.

‘Developing new drugs is incredibly important but it comes with a huge price tag and, for those affected by dementia, an unimaginable wait.’

Everyday drugs will have passed multiple tiers of expensive safety tests and so could be prescribed for dementia in five to ten years.

It can take up to 20 years and £600million to create a drug from scratch. Hopes of quickly adding to available treatments were recently dashed when several promising new ones failed the final stage of testing.

So Mr Ballard, professor of age-related diseases at King’s College London, and other experts turned to the possibility of using everyday drugs.

They drew up a short-list published in the journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. One of the most promising is liraglutide, a diabetes treatment that also acts on the brain.

Others include minocycline, an antibiotic for acne, and acitretin, which treats the skin condition  psoriasis. There is also a family of blood pressure drugs called calcium channel blockers.  Some of these medicines cost less than 50p a tablet.

Rebecca Wood, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: ‘The idea that drugs for other conditions could fight Alzheimer’s is appealing.  ‘But it’s not yet clear that such a drug exists. Alzheimer’s is a complex disease with many risk factors.’


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