Thursday, April 04, 2013

Eating oily fish twice a week could help you live two years longer (?)

Not the fish oil religion again!  The result below  is almost certainly just a class effect of some kind if there is anything at all in it.  The results were in the form of extreme quintiles, which means that they threw the majority of their cases away!  I shouldn't laugh!  I try to be respectful of people's religion (sometimes)

The study is:  "Plasma Phospholipid Long-Chain ω-3 Fatty Acids and Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Older Adults: A Cohort Study"

Eating fish could help you live at least two years longer, claim researchers.  Older people who have higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish and seafood cut their risk of dying prematurely by a quarter.

U.S. scientists also found the risk of dying from heart disease was reduced by one third compared with adults who had lower blood levels of fatty acids.

It is the first study to check for levels of fish consumption and link them with death rates.

Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the University of Washington found adults aged 65 and with the highest blood levels of the fatty acids lived, on average, 2.2 years longer than those with the lowest levels.

Lead author Dariush Mozaffarian, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at HSPH, said: ‘Although eating fish has long been considered part of a healthy diet, few studies have assessed blood omega-3 levels and total deaths in older adults.

‘Our findings support the importance of adequate blood omega-3 levels for cardiovascular health, and suggest that later in life these benefits could actually extend the years of remaining life.’

Fish provides omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for brain development and which are also thought to reduce inflammation of the brain, cardiovascular system and other cells.

But surveys suggest nine out of ten children and two-thirds of adults in Britain never eat it.

Previous studies have found that fish reduces the risk of dying from heart disease, and fish oil supplements are sometimes taken for this reason.

But the new research examined biomarkers in the blood of adults not taking supplements, in order to determine the potential benefits of eating fish on multiple causes of death.

The researchers examined 16 years of data from about 2,700 U.S. adults aged 65 or older taking part in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), a long-term study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Volunteers were generally healthy at the start when they had blood drawn, underwent physical examinations and diagnostic testing, and were questioned about their health status, medical history, and lifestyle.

The researchers also analysed the total proportion of blood omega-3 fatty acids, including three specific ones, says a report in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

After adjusting for demographic, cardiovascular, lifestyle, and dietary factors, they found the three fatty acids - both individually and combined - were associated with a significantly lower risk of dying.

One type in particular-docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA-was most strongly related to less likelihood of dying from coronary heart disease - cutting the risk by 40 per cent.

The risk of dying from heart arrhythmias, electrical disturbances of the heart rhythm, was cut even further by 45 per cent.

Of the other blood fatty acids measured - eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) - DPA was most strongly associated with lower risk of stroke death, and EPA most strongly linked with lower risk of non-fatal heart attack.

None of these fatty acids were strongly related to other, non-cardiovascular causes of death.

Overall, study participants with the highest levels of all three types of fatty acids had a 27 per cent lower risk of death from all causes.

When the researchers looked at how dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids related to blood levels, the steepest rise in blood levels occurred when going from very low intake to about 400 mg per day, with blood levels rising much more gradually afterwards.

Prof Mozaffarian said: ‘The findings suggest that the biggest bang-for-your-buck is for going from no intake to modest intake, or about two servings of fatty fish per week.’

Britons are currently advised to eat fish at least twice a week, including one portion of oily fish. A portion is 140g or six ounces.

The human body cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids and the best dietary source is oily fish.  Types of fish that contain high levels include tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and anchovies.


NHS rules say do it immediately, but cutting the umbilical cord too early may be putting babies at risk

Amanda Burleigh is a midwife with a mission. She wants the official NHS clinical guidelines on childbirth to be changed, so that newborns’ umbilical cords are not clamped immediately, but are left attached for at least two to five minutes.

Ms Burleigh, a midwife for 16 years, has been busily lobbying Britain’s professional organisations to achieve this. Now she has launched a mass petition on the internet.

To many people, the precise time at which a baby’s umbilical cord gets clamped may sound like a niggling detail in the great drama of childbirth — or merely the obsessive stuff of hippy-dippy Earth mothers.

The umbilical cord connects the developing baby to the mother’s placenta, supplying it with oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood. The practice of immediately clamping the cord after birth is currently widespread in NHS hospitals.

But, as Ms Burleigh points out in her petition, a growing weight of respected scientific research is linking early clamping with a host of serious developmental problems.

Independently published clinical studies and reports say that these may include anaemia, learning difficulties, ADHD, autism and even sudden death.

The scientific evidence convinced bodies such as the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to change their guidelines last November to recommend delaying clamping for around three minutes after delivery.

The Royal College of Midwives was inspired to make the change by a survey of clinical evidence published by the highly respected Cochrane Review. This came down in favour of delayed clamping — though it did say that doing so may increase the risk of the infants suffering from jaundice.

But the official NHS guidelines still state that the cord should be cut within 30 seconds. That guidance is set to remain unchanged for the time being.

In fact, immediate clamping of the umbilical cord is only a comparatively recent practice. In the 19th century, it was thought that it was better to delay clamping.

Charles Darwin’s grandfather, the physician Erasmus Darwin, wrote in 1801: ‘Very injurious to the child is the tying of the navel string too soon. It should be left till all pulsation in the cord ceases. Otherwise the child is much weaker than it ought to be, a portion of the blood being left in the placenta, which ought to have been in the child.’

And even when the first commercial cord-clamping devices were advertised in the Lancet in the 1890s, the instructions directed that they should be applied only after the cord ceased to pulsate.

However, immediate cord clamping became widely adopted in the Fifties.

A theory emerged that it would help to minimise the amount of anaesthetic a baby might get from its mother’s blood.  This theory has since been disproved, but in the highly medicalised world of modern healthcare, the practice continued to spread because it sped up the birthing process, and speed was considered to be key to efficiency.

Furthermore, no one actually challenged immediate clamping as dangerous. Ms Burleigh, a mother of two boys aged 16 and 19, began questioning the practice seven years ago.

‘I started thinking about the number of children I was encountering who had special educational needs including ADHD and health conditions such as asthma, allergies and hearing problems.’ When she looked into it, there seemed to be no good reason for cutting the cord immediately — and plenty of reasons against it.

In recent years expert reports have begun to link it to serious risks in childbirth and possibly in later life. Just over a year ago, a study in the British Medical Journal found that babies clamped early were significantly more likely to be anaemic at four months old than those whose clamping was delayed.

The lead researcher, Dr Ola Andersson, the chief physician at Halland Hospital in Sweden, says: ‘Iron deficiency in infants, even without anaemia, has been associated with impaired development, by altering the chemical preconditions in the brain. For instance, a recent study showed a link between iron deficiency and ADHD.’

Dr Andersson is now testing the children he studied to see if immediate clamping has indeed affected their development.

Back in 2007, the World Health Organisation was moved by emerging health worries about anaemia to reverse its guidance on early cord clamping and recommend a delay of up to three minutes instead.

That same year, an editorial in the British Medical Journal advised that the NHS should follow suit and change its official guidelines. These are written by the care watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

In 2010, this call for change was repeated in the same journal by Dr David Hutchon, a consultant obstetrician at Darlington Memorial Hospital. He warned that professionals and their leaders in the UK were being resistant to change, not least because of the NICE guidelines.

More recently, Dr Hutchon suggested early cord cutting may be linked to a child’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

He believes the sudden impact of immediate clamping may cause a shock wave in the baby’s natural blood supply that could then harm the baby’s brain — and in particular the part of the brain that controls their breathing. Such breathing problems have frequently been associated with SIDS.

That idea remains moot but certainly the latest Swedish evidence was sufficient to persuade the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to change its own guidelines.  It now says delaying cord clamping by more than 30 seconds may help newborn babies by ‘reducing anaemia’, while premature babies may benefit because it allows ‘time for transfusion of placental blood’.

This was the reason Dr Andrew Gallagher, a consultant paediatrician at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, changed his unit’s policy on cord clamping. Two premature babies died on the unit in 2009 after they had to have blood transfusions.

‘It became clear to me that delayed cord clamping could have helped them,’ he says. ‘The blood contained in the placental cord comprises between a quarter to a third of a premature baby’s blood volume. If you clamp the cord immediately, the babies are effectively losing it. That blood belongs to them, but they are not given the opportunity to get it if the cord is immediately clamped after birth.’ Dr Gallagher is now a vocal supporter of changing the practice.

While some pioneering NHS maternity units such as Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust have changed their protocols so they don’t cut the cord for two minutes or more, nationally ‘early cord clamping is still routine among maternity staff’, according to an article published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine last August.

For even though the midwives’ own professional organisation has reversed its position, this is not in itself sufficient to reverse national practice, says Jane Munro, a professional advisor at the Royal College of Midwives.

‘A change in the NICE guidelines is very important in ensuring widespread change of practice,’ she says. ‘Their guidance is a cornerstone of NHS practice.’

In fact, following years of pressure from leading health professionals and journals, NICE has agreed there is enough evidence for it to review the current guidelines. But this will not happen until October next year at the earliest.

However, Ms Burleigh, who works at St James’s Hospital in Leeds, says there’s no reason why action could not be taken now — and every day of delay may imperil some of the 2,000 or so babies who are born in Britain every day. Her campaign is backed by the Fertility and Birth Network, a collective of pregnancy and birth specialists, and the National Childbirth Trust.

In her latest move, she’s launched a petition to get NICE to make an immediate change.

‘Any delay from NICE is an unnecessary delay,’ Ms Burleigh says. ‘There is strong clinical evidence that, by changing practice now, we could make a difference to the those children who will be born in the UK between now and the review date.’


1 comment:

Wireless.Phil said...

Fish is a lie!
My parents both ate fish several times a week and the both died in their mid 60s.

I seldom eat fish because there was so much of it as a kid.