A Study Reveals a Link Between the Size of Your Belly and the Size of Your Brain 0

Belly fat has long been thought to be particularly bad for your heart, but now, a new study adds more evidence to the idea that it may also be bad for your brain.

The study, from the United Kingdom, found that people who were obese and had a high waist-to-hip ratio (a measure of belly fat) had slightly lower brain volumes, on average, compared with people who were a healthy weight. Specifically, belly fat was linked with lower volumes of gray matter, the brain tissue that contains nerve cells.

“Our research looked at a large group of people and found obesity, specifically around the middle, may be linked with brain shrinkage,” lead study author Mark Hamer, a professor at Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences in Leicestershire, England, said in a statement.

Lower brain volume, or brain shrinkage, has been linked with an increased risk of memory decline and dementia.

The new findings, published today (Jan. 9) in the journal Neurology, suggest that the combination of obesity (as measured by body mass index, or BMI) and a high waist-to-hip ratio may be a risk factor for brain shrinkage, the researchers said.

However, the study found only an association between belly fat and lower brain volume, and cannot prove that carrying more fat around the waist actually causes brain shrinkage. It could be that people with lower volumes of gray matter in certain brain areas are at a higher risk of obesity. Future studies are needed to tease out the reasons for the link.

Belly fat, also called visceral fat, is fat that’s stored deep within the abdominal cavity. It’s tied to greater health risks than subcutaneous fat, or fat that’s stored just under the skin. Previous studies have linked visceral fat with a higher risk of heart disease (including heart attack and stroke), Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and premature death, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Some previous studies have also found a link between visceral fat or a high waist-to-hip ratio and lower brain volume, but these studies tended to be small and did not look at the combined effect of BMI and waist-to-hip ratio.

In the new study, the researchers analyzed information from more than 9,600 people living in the United Kingdom, with an average age of 55. Participants had their BMI and waist-to-hip ratio measured, and underwent an MRI to determine their brain volumes.

The study found that people with both a high BMI and high waist-to-hip ratio had the lowest brain volumes, compared with people who had just a high BMI (but not a high waist-to-hip ratio) and people of a healthy weight.

Specifically, people with both a high BMI and high waist-to-hip ratio had an average gray matter volume of 786 cubic centimeters, compared with 793 cubic centimeters for people with a high BMI but not a high waist-to-hip ratio; and 798 cubic centimeters for people of a healthy weight.

The findings held even after researchers took into account other factors that can affect brain volume, including age, smoking and high blood pressure.

Though the study didn’t look at potential mechanisms linking visceral fat and brain shrinkage, one hypothesis is that this type of fat is thought to produce inflammatory substances that may play a role in brain atrophy, the researchers said.

Dr. Gayatri Devi, a neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, who was not involved with the study, agreed with the findings. “Brain gray matter shrinkage…seems to be associated with obesity and with increased visceral fat,” she said.

“All this goes to show that good general health is very important for good brain health,” Devi told Live Science.

A limitation of the study is that people who agreed to take part in the study tended to be healthier than people who did not want to take part, so the results may not apply to the general population as a whole, the researchers noted.

 

livescience.com

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Girls Iron Folic Acid Tablets Supplementation (GIFT) programme kick starts Eastern Region 0

The Girls Iron Folic Acid Tablets Supplementation (GIFT) targeted at reducing high anaemia prevalence in the young has been launched in Koforidua.

Under the implementation about 54,000 girls between the ages of 10-19 in schools and out of school in the Eastern Region, would receive a folic acid tablet supplementation routinely to be administered under supervision to reduce anaemia.

At an orientation meeting with stakeholders prior to the launching, Dr Mrs Alberta Britwum-Nyarko, the Eastern Regional Director of Health Services, said statistics show that two out of every five women in the country have anaemia or low blood levels resulting in fatigues, headaches and even death in pregnant women.

She said in young adolescents the immediate effect of “this anaemia or low blood level condition results in poor memory and not doing well in school, whiles the long-term effect results in complications in pregnancies such as premature or stillbirths and even death during delivery”.

Dr Britwum-Nyarko said in order to reduce the high prevalence of anaemia among women and girls, the Ghana Health Service in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES) has initiated the GIFT programme to help prevent the dire consequences of anaemia in the society.

Mr Bismarck Sarkodie, the regional Nutrition Officer of the GHS, said research shows that it is important for every woman to prepare her nutritious status very well before pregnancy and this can be done by eating food that contains all the minerals, especially iron.

He said the GIFT programme is, therefore, an intervention to prepare adolescent girls adequately as far as their nutritional status was concerned.

Again, he said some girls lose a lot of blood during menstruation and this also means the loss of a lot of iron which needs to be replaced and appealed to all stakeholders to use every opportunity to educate the public especially mothers to embrace the programme.

Later, Ms Golda Asante, Director of the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) on behalf of the Eastern Regional Minister, launched the programme at the Presbyterian Cluster of Schools where folic acid tablets were administered to the school children.

 

 

Source: GNA

Special Education Is What Children with Congenital Heart Defects Needs- NGO 0

A project meant to provide exceptional services for kids with inborn Heart Defects (CHDs) before and after surgery has been launched with an appeal on educational establishments to pay special attention to the wants of such children.

Dubbed “Restore a Child’s Heart Project”, the project additionally seeks to advocate for quality and affordable health care for school going kids with such disabilities.
It is being funded by the Centre of Hope global Missions, United Kingdom in collaboration with Dominion Leaders Foundation (DLF), Ghana as the implementers.
The aim is to forestall CHDs, manage its effects and save the lives of Ghanaian and Jamaican kids with such disabilities globally.
Dr Martha Anang, Chief executive officer (CEO) of DLF and executive director of the project, said it’s incumbent on the education sector to plot ideas to make the classroom lively for such kids because research has proven that children with all types of CHD have poorer academic outcomes compared to their peers.

Even those who have early surgery for CHD are known to have impaired development which eventually turns out to have negative effects on their performances and achievements, Dr Anang said.

She said every child has a unique potential but this could not be fully developed if the child did not have good health.

Dr Anan said it was for this reason that the project is being introduced to help eliminate all forms of illnesses that affect school children and hinder their academic performances.

Reverend Dr Nordine Campbell, Chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of the Centre of Hope for global Missions, said that research conducted in 2016, reported that CHDs represent the second major reason behind cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality among young Africans.
However, she said its management was limited in Africa because of the inadequate socio-economic environments coupled with insufficient technical platforms and human resource to handle the incapacity.

Dr Campbell said the project would specifically identify school children with all types of CHDs and provide them with exceptional services needed to help improve their health conditions for better academic performance.

She said a Heart Restore Centre will eventually be built in the Central Region of Ghana to rehabilitate children with CHDs.

Dr Campbell expressed worry about the absence of reliable data on CHDs which made it difficult to estimate the global burden of these conditions on the African continent.

An estimated one million children and about 1.4 million adults are living with CHDs in the United States (US) alone while the British Heart Foundation, Health Promotion Research Group in 2013, reported that one in every 180 babies in the UK are born with a CHD.

“If developed countries like the US and UK have such high prevalence levels of CHDs then one can imagine the situation in Africa”, she lamented and called on other philanthropic   organisations and individuals to help save humanity, particularly, the poor little children in Africa where access to medical assistance in this direction might be non-existent.

Dr Ernest Asiedu, Head of Quality Management Unit at the Ministry of Health, who chaired the program, pledged the Ministry’s support for the project.

An Electrocardiogram (ECG) was done for about 140 children by doctors from the Doctors In Service (DIS) Clinic in Cape Coast to check their heart condition.

Dr Anang was inducted as a Health and Education Ambassador for the project worldwide by the Centre of Hope for Global missions while Dr Campbell was also made an ambassador by International Independence Interdenominational Christian Churches and Ministries (IFIICCM), a US-based organisation.

 

Source: GNA

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