Sunday, December 25, 2011

Food in Scotland should be laced with vitamin D to stave off MS, experts say

I am surprised that this is not done already. Vitamin D supplementation in butter etc. practically eradicated rickets in the 1940s. Any supplementation should however be clearly identified on the label so that those wishing to avoid the supplement can do so. There are some dangers in high doses of vitamin D

Scotland's food supply should be laced with vitamin D in a bid to cut the high rate of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the sun-deprived region, experts have said. Scotland has some of the highest MS levels in the world and many experts believe vitamin D deficiency is a contributing factor.

Vitamin D deficiency is caused by a lack of sunlight and for half of the year no one living in Scotland gets enough UBV rays from the the sun on their skin to make adequate levels of the vitamin D, it has been reported.

In addition, many do not eat enough of the foods that contain it, such as oily fish, which has led to international health experts calling for the food supply in the Scotland to be fortified with the vitamin.

Oxford academic Professor George Ebers says the evidence of the link between MS and vitamin D deficiency is so strong it warrants fortifying food with it, the Guardian reported.

Professor Ebers, from the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, and his team this month published their findings of a genetic link between MS and an uncommon inability for the body to produce vitamin D.

He told The Guardian: 'Now the question is, can we finally persuade the public health authorities that they should supplement the population?'

There have long been theories that high numbers of people with MS live in areas deprived of sunshine - while low levels of those in countries with year-round sunshine. However, the authors of this new report claim it offers strong scientific evidence. About 10,000 people in Scotland have MS.

Scotland's chief medical officer said this sort of change would only be considered after 'broader scientific consensus'.

Sir Harry Burns told The Guardian: 'It is important to remember that dietary supplements can have harmful as well as positive consequences and recommendations need to be made on the basis of evidential benefit in well conducted randomised studies in large populations. 'Mass medication of the Scottish population without such evidence would be considered irresponsible by the public health community.'

The MS Society in Scotland is championing a campaign launched by a 13-year-old boy whose mother had the disease diagnosed. Shine on Scotland is teenager Ryan McLaughlin's response to vitamin D deficiency. His mother, Kirsten McLaughlin, is very ill in hospital with MS. The campaign has seen Ryan meet with Government officials to appeal for vitamin D-fortified food.

The youngsters father, Alan, revealed that the campaign had persuaded Kellogg's to add the vitamin to cereals.


Viagra touted as life-saving heart treatment - after scientists find it makes heart muscles LESS stiff

Viagra helps ailing hearts to recover in a surprising way - by making them less stiff, scientists have learned.

The drug was first developed as a heart disease treatment - it's more well-known use was simply a lucky side-effect. But now it seems that it might help heart patients after all.

The impotency drug causes too-rigid heart chamber walls to become more elastic.

The drug was initially developed as a heart treatment - but was thought not to work. Now it's surprising 'relaxing' effect might say lives, say scientists

The research explains how Viagra might benefit patients with diastolic heart failure. People with the condition have abnormally inflexible ventricles, the heart's major pumping chambers, that do not fill sufficiently with blood.

This leads to blood ‘backing up’ in the lungs and breathing difficulties. Scientists found that Viagra activates an enzyme that causes a protein in heart muscle cells to relax. The effect was seen in dogs with diastolic heart failure within minutes of the drug being administered.

Study leader Professor Wolfgang Linke, from the Ruhr Universitat Bochum in Germany, said: ‘We have developed a therapy in an animal model that, for the first time, also raises hopes for the successful treatment of patients.’

Viagra has a similar effect on blood vessels, which is why it was originally developed as a treatment for high blood pressure and heart disease. The drug's active ingredient, sildenafil, inhibits an enzyme involved in the mechanism that regulates blood flow. However, the enzyme is slightly different in different parts of the body.

The British scientists behind Viagra found to their initial disappointment that it was not a great help to patients with high blood pressure. But it had a miraculous effect on men with erectile dysfunction.

The drug successfully suppressed the enzyme phosphodiesterase in the penis, increasing blood flow to the organ.

Prof Linke's team found that it worked on the same enzyme in heart cells. This had the effect of causing a cardiac muscle protein called titin to become more elastic. ‘The titin molecules are similar to rubber bands,’ said the professor. ‘They contribute decisively to the stiffness of cardiac walls.’

The research is published today in the journal Circulation.

Almost half of emergency patients admitted to hospital with heart failure have a diastolic condition. Diastolic heart failure affects the ‘diastole’ half of the cardiac cycle, when the heart's chambers have finished contracting and are re-filling with blood.


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