Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 25th 2017 Contents A24 body & soul
guardian.co.tt Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Popular belief that saturated fats clog
up arteries 'plain wrong' say experts
The widely held belief among doctors and the
public that saturated fats clog up the arteries,
and so cause coronary heart disease, is just
"plain wrong," contend experts in an editorial
published online in the British Journal of Sports
It's time to shift the focus away from lowering blood
fats and cutting out dietary saturated fat, to instead
emphasising the importance of eating "real food,"
taking a brisk daily walk, and minimising stress to
stave off heart disease, they insist.
Coronary artery heart disease is a chronic inflam-
matory condition which responds to a Mediterranean
style diet rich in the anti-inflammatory compounds
found in nuts, extra virgin olive oil, vegetables and
oily fish, they emphasise.
In support of their argument Cardiologists Dr
Aseem Malhotra, of Lister Hospital, Stevenage,
Professor Rita Redberg of UCSF School of Medicine,
San Francisco (editor of JAMA Internal medicine) and
Pascal Meier of University Hospital Geneva and Uni-
versity College London (editor of BMJ Open Heart)
cite evidence reviews showing no association between
consumption of saturated fat and heightened risk of
cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and death.
And the limitations of the current 'plumbing theory'
are writ large in a series of clinical trials showing that
inserting a stent (stainless steel mesh) to widen nar-
rowed arteries fails to reduce the risk of heart attack
or death, they say.
Selective reporting of the data may account for
these misconceptions, they suggest.
A high total cholesterol to high density lipoprotein
(HDL) ratio is the best predictor of cardiovascular
disease risk, rather than low density lipoprotein (LDL).
And this ratio can be rapidly reduced with dietary
changes such as replacing refined carbohydrates
with healthy high fat foods (such as nuts and olive
oil), they say.
A key aspect of coronary heart disease prevention
is exercise, and a little goes a long way, they say. Just
Don't obsess about saturated fats. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress
reduction will not only boost quality of life but will curb the risk of death from
cardiovascular disease and all causes, experts say.
A 'brainwave' to
help fight PTSD
Technology using a patient's own brainwaves
might offer hope against tough-to-treat PTSD,
new research suggests.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can devel-
op as a reaction to a terrifying event, such as war,
natural disasters, sexual assault and other physical
violence or trauma. People with the condition may
have prolonged anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares and
other life-altering symptoms.
The new study was led by researchers at Wake
Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem,
NC. The investigators sought to tackle PTSD from
another angle, through the patients' own brainwaves.
The study involved 18 patients who completed an
average of 16 successive, daily sessions of what the
researchers called "noninvasive closed-loop acous-
tic stimulation brainwave technology." During the
sessions, the patients' brain activity was monitored
and certain brain frequencies were translated into
acoustic tones that were then relayed back to the
patients via earbuds.
"It's as if the brain can look at itself in an acoustic
mirror, recalibrate its patterns towards improved
balance and reduced hyperarousal, and can relax,"
study lead author Dr Charles Tegeler, professor of
neurology, said in a Wake Forest news release.
After the sessions, nearly 90 per cent of the pa-
tients reported clinically meaningful decreases in
PTSD symptoms, Tegeler's team said.
"The effects of chronic stress are killing people and
the medical profession has not yet found an answer
for how best to treat them," Tegeler said. "We believe
there is a need for effective, noninvasive, nondrug
therapies for symptoms of post-traumatic stress,
which is why we conducted this trial."
(Source: BMC Psychiatry)
30 minutes of moderate activity a day three or more
times a week works wonders for reducing biological
risk factors for sedentary adults, they point out.
And the impact of chronic stress should not be
overlooked because it puts the body's inflammatory
response on permanent high alert, they say.
All in all, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress
reduction will not only boost quality of life but will
curb the risk of death from cardiovascular disease
and all causes, they insist. (BMJ)
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