Isnin, 28 April 2014

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

You are what your mum ate: A baby's tastes starts in the womb

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Tests have shown that what mums eat during pregnancy is easily detectable in her amniotic fluid, and that is what flavours a baby's taste for food.

It may be a survival mechanism that's come back to bite us on the bum, but human beings are born to love sweets. We love them even when we're in the womb. Some 15 to 16 weeks after conception, foetuses will show their sugar appreciation by swallowing more amniotic fluid when it's sweet, and less when bitter.

Penchants for salt and umami tastes are also innate. Most of our food preferences, however, are learned, and a growing body of research shows that this learning begins before birth.

It's reckoned that at 21 weeks, foetuses can discern full-on flavours using their senses of smell and taste – amazingly, a study recently found that humans can distinguish a trillion different smells, and smell is the dominant sense in flavour perception.

Julie Mennella of the Monell Chemical Senses Centre in Philadelphia says, "amniotic fluid is a complex 'first food' that contains chemicals that have both tastes and smells".

Developing flavour awareness five months before most babies start ingesting their calories makes good sense, because when it comes to taste, familiarity breeds fondness. You can train yourself to enjoy most foods through repeated exposure – the younger you are, the easier it is to mould neural pathways.

So, the thinking goes, if a foetus gets used to tasting vegetables in the womb, then weaning the baby on to nutritious grown-up foods will be a relative doddle.

The Amniotic Fluid Sniffers

Pity the poor participants in this experiment carried out by Mennella. They had to sniff a bunch of amniotic fluid samples, and apparently had no trouble identifying the womb juice that had been extracted from women who had taken a garlic capsule 45 minutes before. All flavours tested so far, says Mennella, have been detectable in the fluid, including mint, aniseed, carrot and vanilla.

Another experiment by Mennella involved one group of mothers drinking 300ml of carrot juice four days a week for three weeks during the last trimester of pregnancy, a second group doing the same during the first two months of breastfeeding, and a control group giving carrot juice a wide berth altogether. The babies who tasted high concentrations of carrot in utero and in their mother's milk went on to happily eat more carrot during weaning.

According to Peter Hepper, director of the Fetal Research Centre at Queen's University in Belfast, "Foetuses exposed to garlic in the womb are more likely to prefer garlic in later life. Indeed, studies show up to the age of eight at least."

Junk Food Guzzling

A depressing research paper published last year sought to understand the mechanics of why babies whose mothers ate a lot of junk food while pregnant, went on to have an increased preference for junk food themselves. Junk food, in this study, is defined as highly palatable, energy-dense and nutrient-poor. It's likely that children will like the taste of this food even if it's unfamiliar because it appeals to our innate predilections.

But what researchers at the University of Adelaide found was that after exposure to junk food in the womb, and through breast milk, brain-reward pathways become desensitised to them – in the same way that drug addicts need increasing doses of drugs to get the desired hit, the theory goes that these kids will need more Kit Kats or crisps.

(Note: The study was looking at rats, not humans, so this line of inquiry is still a work in progress.)

Not All Is Lost

If you're now feeling bad that you could only hold down dry crackers and Pringles your entire pregnancy, don't. There are plenty of other factors that shape a child's appetite for different foods as they grow up, from peer pressure and advertising to individual taste sensitivity.

Scientists may have looked into the effects of foetal flavour learning on infancy and early childhood, but as Alison Ventura, assistant professor in nutritional sciences at Drexel University in Philadelphia, points out "not into adolescence and adulthood".

"That's a good question: how strong is this effect? How long does it last? What are the other possible factors that might mediate the effect over time? You can imagine it's pretty complex – that having broccoli when you're a foetus doesn't mean you're going to love it when you're an adult."

Have you seen any correlation between what you ate while pregnant and your children's tastes? Or did yours disprove the rule? – Guardian News & Media

Chinese herb dubbed 'Thor's vine' could ease rheumatoid arthritis

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

China's lei gong teng or "Thunder God vine" has apparently beaten conventional scientific medicine at treating a potentially crippling autoimmune disease.

A Chinese herb called "thunder god vine" works better than a widely-prescribed pharmaceutical drug at easing rheumatoid arthritis, a study published recently reported. The herb has long been used in China to treat this potentially crippling autoimmune disease, which typically strikes hand and foot joints.

It is known in Mandarin as lei gong teng, and to botanists as Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F. Extracts of the herb have already fired the interest of drug laboratories as they contain hundreds of compounds, including intriguing molecules called diterpenoids, which are believed to ease inflammation and immune response.

In a study published in the British journal BMJ Open, Chinese researchers recruited 207 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and gave them either the herb; the drug methotrexate; or a combination of the two. After six months, the patients were given a doctor's assessment, and were asked if they felt any change.

The benchmark for improvement is called the ACR 50 – named after the American College of Rheumatology – which indicates a 50% improvement in the tally of tender or swollen joints, and other criteria such as pain and disability.

Of the 174 who completed the trial, 55% of those on the herb attained ACR 50, compared to 46% among those treated with methotrexate alone. But the biggest gain was among the group which took the herb-methotrexate combination: nearly 77% of them achieved the ACR 50 measure of improvement.

Previous – but small-scale – trials involving thunder god vine have found it scored well against a harmless lookalike placebo, and an anti-inflammatory called sulfasalazine. But some of that research also flagged potential side effects from the herb.

The new study said that side effects this time were roughly similar among the herb and methodrexate users, being mainly gastrointestinal upsets. Among the herb group, some of the women experienced irregular menstruation.

The investigation, led by Xuan Zhang, a rheumatologist at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital in Beijing, acknowledged several limitations. One was that the doctors who treated the patients, and the patients themselves, knew what medication was being taken, although outside assessors were brought in to verify the results.

Another was that the trial was too short to see if the herb arrested progression of the disease, rather than eased the symptoms. A third was that the dose of methotrexate was limited to 12.5 milligrams a week. "This is standard in Asia, although it is common in the West to use higher doses," the paper said. – AFP Relaxnews

Gift of life: One baby's heart saves the life of another child

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

People are saved every day through organ transplants. One donor alone can save eight lives. This is the story of one boy, who lived for one hour, whose heart now beats in a little girl.

Simon Alexander Garcia lived only one brief hour. But somewhere, a little girl's heart is beating today because of him. Kim Whitworth and her husband, Michael Garcia, were devastated to learn at their 20-week ultrasound examination last year that their first child's lungs and bladder were developing abnormally. Though they knew he wouldn't survive, the Fort Worth, Texas couple chose to continue the pregnancy.

Simon was born just before midnight on June 28 at the Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, Fort Worth two weeks ahead of his expected due date. "He had so much hair it was hard to believe," says Whitworth, 21. "Everyone was amazed at how beautiful he was."

Not long after Simon took his final breath, his parents were asked whether they would consider donating his heart valves to possibly help other children in need. "My husband and I said yes. We didn't hesitate," Whitworth says.

It wasn't until last week that Whitworth and Garcia learned that one of Simon's heart valves went to a little girl at a Dallas hospital in February. "When I found out, I was overjoyed. I broke down in tears," says Garcia, 22. "He died for a purpose. I knew he was going to help someone out. I was overwhelmed by the love God has."

Simon's family shared their story this week during a ceremony at the hospital aimed at raising awareness of the critical need across the United States for organ and tissue donors. April is National Donate Life Month in the US. Since 2010, the hospital has annually recognised donors such as Simon and recipients by adding their names to the Wall of Life.

"There are a lot of people who have lost a loved one tragically. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it," says Whitworth, who encourages people to consider organ donation. "But I think if you can do it, do it. It gives you hope that maybe your loved one can live on in someone else."

Kim Whitworth places her hand near the name of her baby, Simon, at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth n Fort Worth, Texas, Tuesday April 15, 2014. Simon's name has been added to the hospital's Wall of Life. (Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)

Whitworth places her hand near the name of her baby, Simon, at the Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital's Wall of Life. - MCT

Across the state of Texas alone, nearly 12,000 men, women and children await a potentially lifesaving organ transplant, says Laura Frnka-Davis, spokeswoman for the Houston-based LifeGift, a non-profit organ procurement group. That doesn't count the thousands of others whose lives could be improved through transplants of tissue, including skin, tendons, bone and corneas. "Across the country every day, 75 people are saved through the gift of life, through transplantation," she says.

Though 5.26 million people have already signed up for the Donate Life Texas Registry, just 1-2% of them will go on to become organ donors because of either how they die or the organ match for someone in need, she adds. "We continue to push people to become registered donors."

Donors can help as many as eight people through organ donation, and can help improve the lives of 50 people or more through tissue donation, according to LifeGift. Donor families are never billed for expenses related to organ or tissue donations, says Dr Tariq Khan, the medical director of Harris Methodist Hospital's kidney transplant programme.

About 1,800 children in the US are among the 120,000 people waiting for an organ transplant, according to Donate Life America. Last year, 139 organ donors across the US were younger than one, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

Whitworth says she hopes that one day she can meet the little girl whose life Simon touched. "I would absolutely love that," she says. – Fort Worth Star-Telegram/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services


0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan


The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved