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Strawberries Linked To Decreasing Bad Cholesterol

Consuming large amounts of strawberries has been linked with a drop in bad cholesterol, according to a new study from researchers at Italy's Universita Politecnica delle Marche and the Universities of Salamanca, Granada and Seville in Spain.
For the study the researchers examined 23 healthy volunteers and added 500 mg of strawberries to their diet. They tested bad cholesterol levels before and after the study and found an 8.78 percent drop in total cholesterol levels and a 13.72 percent drop in bad cholesterol.

"This is the first time a study has been published that supports the protective role of the bioactive compounds in strawberries in tackling recognized markers and risk factors for cardiovascular diseases," the researchers explained in their study report. 

Diabetes took my teeth but not my life

By Sia Figiel

Editor's note: Sia Figiel is one of six CNN viewers selected to be a part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program. Follow the "Sassy Six" on Twitter and Facebook as they train to race the Nautica Malibu Triathlon with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on September 14.

(CNN) -- I was diagnosed with diabetes 12 years ago.
At the time, I was caring for my mother, who was on dialysis and had had her leg amputated. As a family, we knew very little about diabetes -- only that once you got it, you deteriorated and died.
Like our father, who suffered a stroke and then died years later of a massive heart attack brought on by complications of diabetes.
Both my parents, in fact, died from complications of diabetes. They were strong pillars of our family and community, taken way too soon by a disease that is the leading cause of death among Pacific Islanders.
Before seeing the doctor, I had been experiencing extreme thirst, especially at night. The tips of my toes felt like bees lived there and were desperate to burst out of my skin. My vision became blurred after each meal.
It was 2 p.m. and I hadn't eaten anything when the doctor tested my blood sugar level. It was in the high 200s. Normal is between 110 and 125.
You have diabetes, Ms. Figiel, the doctor said. He prescribed metformin and directed me to a dietitian. She further reiterated what the doctor had told me: how food was related to high blood glucose levels and how consistently high blood glucose levels will eventually lead to amputations, blindness, kidney failure, stroke and other complications.
Fit Nation: Why I gave up soda
I followed the dietician's plan for the next few months. I took up walking and noticed that my vision had become clearer. But it didn't take me long to fall back to my old eating habits. A colleague's birthday celebration, a brother's graduation party, a friend's wedding, a cousin's funeral -- these were all occasions where food was at the center. And in our culture, you show appreciation and respect for those who prepared the food by eating it.
I soon found myself hovering around 400 pounds.
After six years of oral medication, I was switched to insulin injections. My blood sugar levels were too high, and I was not managing them well.
Insulin was scary at first. But then I realized it gave me the freedom to eat all my favorite foods! I would just inject 100 units, and my blood sugar would be normal in a matter of minutes. Soon, I was injecting as much as 300 units of insulin a day.
It was at this time that I began experiencing extreme pain in my teeth and gums. One of my front teeth became longer than the rest, and I found that I couldn't bite into certain foods, such as apples. This front tooth was eventually pulled. The dentist didn't have to do much; it pretty much fell out on its own.
Injecting large amounts of insulin meant I was prone to low blood sugar. I would wake up in a sweat as energy quickly left my body. My 8-year-old son saved my life continuously during this time; he knew exactly what to do and how to inject insulin. The fact that my life was being saved by a child shamed me.
Eighteen months ago, my sister and I moved our family from American Samoa to Utah. I saw the move as an opportunity for me not only to change my own life but, most important, to give my son his childhood.
Fit Nation: Celebrate small victories
The first thing we did as a family was to enroll at a recreation center. We were all exercising together. The kids had fun in the pool, and I found myself walking again.
I also decided to educate myself about diabetes. I had read about people reversing diabetes by eating a plant-based diet. It was an easy plan to follow because I love fruit and vegetables, and they are in abundance here.
Yet I found that I couldn't chew much without feeling extreme pain. I bought a Vitamix blender and started throwing all my vegetables and fruits into it. By Christmas, I had dropped 80 pounds.
Then, three days before Christmas, my dentist told me that I had advanced periodontal disease and all my teeth had to be removed. Not effectively controlling my diabetes had proven too much for my gums.
I was actually relieved. I welcomed anything to remove the pain I was experiencing. I decided to ask my friends to film the surgery. The filmmaker kept asking me, "Girl, are you sure about this? Aren't you afraid people are going to talk about you?"
You can watch the film on YouTube. It's called "Sia at the Dentist."
Since then, my son hasn't had to worry about waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. to revive me. In fact, since I began training for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon three weeks ago, we are all sleeping soundly through the night.
With the demands of training, I realize that my body needs more fuel. While I enjoy green smoothies, I also need protein and carbohydrates. Our choice of animal protein comes from turkey, salmon, chicken, canned tuna and eggs. I buy whole-grain pasta, quinoa and brown rice. We eat only wheat bread and do not eat white flour or sugar.
My boys love saimin, a form of ramen noodles popular on the islands. When I make it now, I add broccoli, peas and green onions and throw out the spice packet, which contains a ton of sodium. They complain and ask, "Then what's the use of eating saimin?"
That's when I show them my dentures, and there's sudden silence.
I still don't know all the answers to diabetes and obesity. All I know is that we have to look hard at our reasons for change. I'll be damned if I lose any other body part to this disease.
Did I mention that I ran my first mile this morning nonstop?

Diabetes in overweight women linked to low level of protein

Stacy Finz, Erin Allday, Victoria Colliver

Overweight women at higher disease risk
Women who are overweight and have low levels of a protein known to bind to sex hormones are five times more likely to develop gestational diabetes, according to a Kaiser Permanente study conducted in Oakland.
The research was published Friday in the journal Diabetes Care and is among the first to discover that the risk for gestational diabetes increased as the protein, a sex hormone binding globulin, decreased, according to Kaiser.
Kaiser's Division of Research looked at more than 4,000 women who volunteered for the study between 1985 and 1996 during routine care. Each woman eventually delivered a baby at one of the health system's Northern California hospitals. Of those who participated, 256 women developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes has become a leading complication of pregnancy and can lead to larger-than-normal babies. Women who suffer from gestational diabetes are seven times more likely to develop type-2 diabetes later in life, and their children are at a higher risk of becoming obese and developing diabetes.

Diabetes boosts stroke risk for women, but not men

(HealthDay News) -- A new study adds to the evidence that diabetes may boost the risk of a stroke in women but not in men.
"All women, especially those over 55 years old, [should] get their risk factors for heart disease screened and aggressively treated," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
She said prior studies have found that women with diabetes are at higher stroke risk compared to men with the disease.
"As women go through menopause, the loss of protective estrogen allows for the risk factors of cardiovascular disease -- such as diabetes -- to wreak havoc on the arteries," explained Steinbaum, who was not involved in the new study.
According to background information in the study, women living in developed countries are more likely to die from a stroke than their male peers. In the United States, women accounted for nearly 60 percent of stroke deaths in 2010, the study authors said.
In the study, a team led by Dr. Gang Hu of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., analyzed data gathered from almost 11,000 men and more than 19,000 women. During an average follow-up of almost seven years, nearly 3,000 cases of stroke occurred among the participants.
Depending on their blood sugar control, women with diabetes were 19 to 42 percent more likely to suffer a stroke than those without diabetes. The researchers also found that risk of stroke among women with diabetes was much higher for those aged 55 and older, compared to younger women.
No association between diabetes and stroke risk was found in men, according to the study published Feb. 24 in the journal Diabetologia.
"Diabetes poses a substantially greater increase in the risk of stroke among women than among men, which merits further investigation," the researchers concluded.
Why wouldn't diabetes raise men's stroke risk, too? According to Steinbaum, treatment may be key.
"Men tend to receive more preventive care and medications to protect the arteries, such as aspirin and statins," she said. "This lack of continuity [in care] between the genders could be the reason for the discrepancy."
Steinbaum also believes that women with diabetes tend to have more concurrent conditions such as high cholesterol levels or high blood pressure, compared to diabetic men.
"The best way to manage stroke is through prevention," she said. "For women, especially, where the link between elevated sugars and stroke is so clearly defined, and worse outcomes are more often seen, the emphasis needs to be on treating the risk factors and certainly implementing lifestyle options" to help wrestle blood sugar under control, she added.
The study authors agreed. "More aggressive blood sugar treatments and better control of other risk factor levels in women with diabetes are likely to substantially reduce stroke in this subgroup," Hu said in a journal news relea

Impulse Control Difficulties Linked to Diabetes


New research suggests impulse control disorders such as eating disorders, as well as depression, are risk factors for diabetes.
The research, by Dr Peter de Jonge, University of Groningen, Netherlands, and colleagues has been published in Diabetologia (the journal of The European Association for the Study of Diabetes).
While previous studies have explored the associations between diabetes and depression, most have been conducted in Europe and the U.S. But diabetes and depression vary in prevalence worldwide, and more global studies are needed.
Secondly, and the authors say more importantly, depression often co-occurs with several other mental health disorders — not only with anxiety disorders, but also with alcohol abuse, eating disorders, and the like.
The new study uses the World Mental Health Surveys to examine the associations between a wide range of DSM-IV mental disorders and diabetes diagnosis.
This approach enabled them to investigate the association between first onset of mood, anxiety, impulse control (including eating disorders) and substance use disorders with diabetes diagnosis in a large international sample, with data coming from 19 countries.
More than 50,000 participants were included in the analysis. The authors identified 2,580 cases of adult-onset diabetes (diagnosed in those aged 21 years and over).
Although all 16 DSM-IV disorders were associated with diabetes diagnosis, the same was not true after adjustment for the presence of other mental health conditions.
After this adjustment, only depression, intermittent explosive disorder, binge eating disorder, and bulimia nervosa independently increased the risk of diabetes diagnosis.
While the association between depression and diabetes is within the range reported in other meta-analyses, the authors say the association between impulse control disorders (including eating disorders) and diabetes has not been reported before.
“While the estimates of prevalence for these mental health disorders vary at a population level, effective interventions to prevent these conditions might ultimately,” suggest the authors, “prevent substantial numbers of diabetes diagnoses.”
The authors conclude: “Our findings thus suggest that the focus on depression in the context of diabetes prediction is warranted, but this focus may be extended to impulse control disorders.”

Neanderthal genes linked to host of health problems including diabetes

DNA from Neanderthals has been linked to a host of health problems including diabetes and bowl disease, scientists revealed today.

By: Dion Dassanayake
The remnants of caveman genes have been associated with Type 2 diabetes, digestive problem Crohn's disease and lupus and biliary cirrhosis which are liver issues.

It is also associated with thick hair, tough skin and nails and curiously addiction to cigarettes.

Between two and four per cent of the genetic map of Europeans and Asians is believed to be a legacy of interbreeding between Neanderthals and the ancient Homo sapiens.

The two were separate human subspecies who co-existed on Earth for thousands of years until the Neanderthals became extinct around 30,000 years ago.

The study, published in international journal Nature, compared the genomes of 1,004 people with the toe bone of a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal woman.
Study leader Professor David Reich, from Harvard Medical School, said: "Now that we can estimate the probability that a particular genetic variant arose from Neanderthals, we can begin to understand how that inherited DNA affects us.

"We may also learn more about what Neanderthals themselves were like."

The study found one genetic variant linked to Neanderthals was associated with smoking and was specifically related to Euroepans.

The research also found Neanderthal ancestry could be seen in genes for keratin filaments, a protein that lends toughness to skin, hair and nails.

This may have provided those who migrated out of Africa to the cooler environments of with Eurasia thicker insulation.

Professor Reich added: "It's tempting to think that Neanderthals were already adapted to the non-African environment and provided this genetic benefit to (modern) humans

A simple blood test can save millions from diabetes

MILLIONS of people could be given a simple blood test to detect diabetes before it develops.
The test checks for the risk of prediabetes, which affects seven million Britons and almost always develops into Type 2 diabetes.
Experts say the findings, published in the European Journal of General Practice, could help doctors provide earlier diagnosis and treatment.
Type 2 diabetes blights the lives of millions of patients across the world. It is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in the UK and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.
After analysing the medical history of more than 10,000 patients who were given the test, a spokesman for researchers at Tel Aviv University said the check was a key step towards “nipping diabetes in the bud”.
In some cases, lifestyle changes or medication can head off the disease, which is difficult or impossible to cure once developed.
In healthy people, glucose is absorbed from the blood for use by various tissues.
But the cells of people with Type 2 diabetes are resistant to insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. These individuals have higher than normal blood glucose levels.
People with prediabetes have blood glucose levels somewhere between normal and diabetic.
Blood glucose can be directly tested in several ways, but these tests only provide a snapshot. To get a picture of blood glucose levels over time, doctors test for levels of glycated haemoglobin, or A1c, in the blood. When blood glucose levels are high, more A1c is formed.
Research author Dr Nataly Lerner said: “Our study supports the idea that the A1c test, used to diagnose Type 2 diabetes, can also be used at a much earlier stage to screen for the disease in the high-risk population, like overweight patients.”
Dr Nick Oliver, diabetes consultant at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “There is a race on, that’s why what we are doing is incredibly exciting.
“There are lots of avenues that will lead to potential cures for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and if I could see it in my career that would be incredibly exciting.
“Diabetes can’t be cured at the moment. The race is on to get effective treatments for people. Their quality of life is important.”

What's the connection between diabetes and depression? How can I cope if I have both?

Answers from Maria Collazo-Clavell, M.D.

If you have diabetes, you have an increased risk of developing depression. And if you have depression, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes. The good news is that diabetes and depression can be treated together. And effectively managing one can have a positive outcome on the other.
How they're related
Though the relationship between diabetes and depression isn't fully understood:
•           The rigors of managing diabetes can be stressful and lead to symptoms of depression.
•           Diabetes can cause complications and health problems that may worsen symptoms of depression.
•           Depression can lead to poor lifestyle decisions, such as unhealthy eating, less exercise, smoking and weight gain — all of which are risk factors for diabetes.
•           Depression affects your ability to perform tasks, communicate and think clearly. This can interfere with your ability to successfully manage diabetes.
Managing the two conditions together
•           Diabetes self-management programs. Diabetes programs that focus on behavior have been successful in helping people improve their metabolic control, increase fitness levels, and manage weight loss and other cardiovascular disease risk factors. They can also help improve your sense of well-being and quality of life.
•           Psychotherapy. Similarly, participants in psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy, have reported improvements in depression, which has resulted in better diabetes management.
•           Medications and lifestyle changes. Medications — for both diabetes and depression — and lifestyle changes, including different types of therapy coupled with regular exercise, can improve both conditions.
If you have diabetes, watch for signs and symptoms of depression, such as loss of interest in normal activities, feelings of sadness or hopelessness, and unexplained physical problems like back pain or headaches.
If you think you might be depressed, seek help right away. Your doctor or diabetes educator can refer you to a mental health professional.

Caffeine or Not, Coffee May Cut Diabetes Risk

Drinking six cups of coffee a day may seem extreme to some, but it could cut the risk of getting diabetes. For those worried about caffeine intake, decaf may work just as well.
Video Overview: Caffeine or Not, Coffee May Cut Diabetes Risk
Studies have found that a combination of chemicals in coffee beans may affect metabolism — the chemical processes in the body that converts or uses energy. One chemical, chlorogenic acid, may lower blood sugar levels. Caffeine, however, might not make a difference.
Researchers recently discovered that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee are tied to reducing diabetes risk, and the more people drink, the lower their risk appears to be.
"Ask your doctor about adding more coffee to your diet."
Frank Hu, MD, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, and his team conducted detailed analysis of 28 studies, representing 1.1 million total participants and 45,335 cases of type 2 diabetes. Patients were followed for durations of 10 months to 20 years.
Compared to those who rarely or never drank coffee, coffee drinkers had a lower diabetes risk, which was inversely related to how much they drank.
One cup a day translated to about an 8 percent lower risk on average. Two cups cut the risk by 15 percent. Three cups dropped the risk by 21 percent. Four cups equaled a 25 percent risk cut, five cups reduced the risk by 29 percent, and six cups lowered the risk by a third.
The scientists discovered that those who drank one cup a day of caffeinated coffee were 9 percent less likely to get diabetes while those who had one cup of decaffeinated a day were 6 percent less likely.
Dr. Hu and his team noted that several chemicals in coffee may improve glucose metabolism, and they highlighted chlorogenic acid. “Chlorogenic acid may reduce glucose absorption in the intestines,” the authors wrote. “Coffee is also a good source of magnesium, which has been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.”
With diabetes, the body is not properly using blood sugar because of problems with insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone made by beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin helps cells use and store glucose for energy. Without insulin, the glucose stays in the bloodstream.
The authors wrote that, compared to those without diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes were two to five times more likely to have a heart attack and two to three times more likely to have a stroke.
They concluded that higher consumption of coffee is associated with a significantly lower risk of diabetes, and both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee cut the chances of getting the disease.

The study was published in the February 2014 issue of Diabetes Care. Funding was provided by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

How low-fat dairy food can help to cut your diabetes risk

EATING a pot of yoghurt each day could ward off diabetes. Low-fat dairy products cut the risk of developing the disease, new research claims.
Regularly eating one pot of yoghurt can slash the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes by 28 per cent.
And other low-fat, fermented dairy foods such as fromage frais and cottage cheese reduce the risks of becoming diabetic by 24 per cent, found scientists from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at Cambridge University.
People could help protect themselves from the condition by taking the simple step of adding a small but regular amount of these products to their diet.
Lead researcher Dr Nita Forouhi said: “This research highlights that specific foods may have an important role in the  prevention of Type 2 diabetes.”
Dairy products are significant sources of protein, vitamins and minerals. But they also contain saturated fat which can raise cholesterol levels and damage the heart and arteries.
The association between dairy consumption and Type 2 diabetes has been unclear after inconclusive results from previous studies.
This new research involved participants in the large Epic- Norfolk study looking at links between diet and cancer in more than 25,000 people living in Norfolk.
Researchers compiled a detailed daily record of all the food and drink consumed in the course of a week by 4,255 participants, including 753 who developed Type 2 diabetes over 11 years.

Diabetes Symptoms & Treatment: Sugar Also Horrible for the Heart?

New research suggests that not only is sugar generally bad for our health, added dietary sugar increases the risk of death due to heart disease, reports Forbes.
The study sought to examine time trends of added sugar consumption as percentage of daily calories in the United States and investigate the association of this consumption with CVD mortality.
Individuals who consume too much sugar run a higher risk of becoming obese as well as suffering from high blood pressure, dementia, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, cirrhosis of the liver and other forms of cardiovascular disease.
The study looked at the sugar intake and health of 31,000 people over 15 years. The participants were those who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, comparing a multitude of different lifestyle and physical variables to health outcomes.
The paper concludes that people, specifically Americans, consume more sugar that the daily dietary requirements; about 10% of adults consumed more than 25% of their calories from sugar. This practice [high sugar consumption] has been observed to increase one's risk for CVD mortality.
The core conclusion of the study confirms that added sugar appears to bring about risks beyond weight gain. It is up to the public and individuals to moderate their intake because the FDA has sugar on its "generally recognized as safe" list meaning there is no maximum about that producers need to take note of.
The WHO recommends that added sugar is pegged at 10% or below of one's daily caloric intake with the Institute of Medicine pegging it at 25%.
According to the experts, modest weight reduction, dieting, and a 30-minute exercise routine five days a week can reduce the development of cardiovascular disease. Aside from this, other important lifestyle measures include weight control and smoking cessation have an impact on preventing heart disease. Studies show that even in overweight people, regular physical activity has major cardiovascular benefits.

Diabetes cooking school planned

Diabetes cooking school planned 

FLORENCE — The "Right Bite Diabetes Cooking School" will be offered Thursdays during February at the Lauderdale Extension Office at 802 Veterans Drive.
The school has four, two-hour sessions that will teach participants how to choose and prepare food to prevent and control diabetes and other chronic diseases. Participants will learn how to choose healthier food at the store, prepare recipes lower in fat, cholesterol, sugar and sodium, and control portions.
Each session will feature healthy recipes that participants may taste. Each person will receive copies of the recipes and handouts that will help them continue the healthy choices at home.
Cost for the school is $10 for the entire four weeks. Sessions begin Thursday and continue Feb. 13, Feb. 20 and Feb. 27 from 5-7 p.m. each night.
To register, call 256-766-4846. Pre-registration is required. Space is limited. The cooking school is offered by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in partnership with the University of Georgia Extension.