Could a 'renegade' doctor save your life?

Ten years ago Jane Lively was a happy and successful mother of two young children. “I was a bit of a super mum,” she says, laughing, “always happy, always on the go with my children, always busy.” Then, almost overnight, something started to go drastically – and very mysteriously – wrong with her health.
“I was suddenly absolutely exhausted all of the time,” she says. “But I couldn’t sleep because of these huge adrenalin rushes that afterwards would leave me collapsed on the floor unable to get up. My children were two and three at the time and it was very scary, I felt like I was dying.”
Jane, 46, a former wardrobe mistress from Hereford, asked her GP to do some blood tests, but they all came back as normal. Her symptoms worsened but, apart from offering her beta blockers and antidepressants, her doctor said there was nothing he could do.
As the years slipped by Jane became convinced that there was something wrong with her thyroid, the gland in the neck that regulates metabolism. Her blood tests said not but, through internet research, Jane heard about a maverick doctor called Gordon Skinner, who was apparently successfully treating people for thyroid conditions in Moseley, Birmingham, even though their blood results said their thyroid hormone levels were within the “normal” range.

Vitamin D – could it stop 'modern’ diseases?

Scientists often liken the process of discovery to doing a jigsaw. At first, few pieces fit and the picture is a mystery. Then suddenly two or three pieces lock together and an image starts to take shape.
This is what is happening in the study of apparently unrelated, chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, diabetes and asthma. These conditions are increasingly common both in the UK and elsewhere; their causes have puzzled doctors and scientists for decades. Now pieces of the jigsaw are starting to fit together – and they focus on vitamin D which is produced naturally in the skin when exposed to sunlight.
A deficiency in this crucial vitamin, thanks to our increasingly indoor lifestyles, is already blamed for the reappearance of rickets, the painful and deforming bone disease in children, in the UK. But gradually, evidence is emerging that links low vitamin D levels to a rise in a whole host of “modern” diseases, some of which were virtually unheard of in the pre-industrial era.
As a scientist and writer, I first realised the significance of vitamin D for prevention of ill-health some 12 years ago, at a time when it was only recognised as important for bone growth. 

Almonds boost male fertility

Eating seven nuts a day could improve a man's sperm count and quality, say  Italian doctors. 
They are testing the theory in a trial of 100 men being treated for infertility at a hospital in Turin. 
One group will add seven nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or peanuts) to their normal diet; another group will reduce their intake of saturated fat by cutting down on processed meat and dairy products, and increase the amount of polyunsaturated fats, from foods such as oily fish and seeds.
The team at Azienda Ospedaliera Citta della Salute e della Scienza di Torino believe both strategies may improve fertility, as  polyunsaturated fatty acids have been  shown to have a number of effects that help, including reducing inflammation.

Source  - Daily Mail

Pistachios 'can protect the hearts of diabetics'

A handful of pistachio nuts twice a day protects the heart and arteries from harm caused by stress in diabetics, scientists found.
Just 150 of the nuts or three ounces a day resulted in people with Type 2 diabetes having more 'relaxed' and less narrower blood vessels, lower blood pressure especially when asleep and less strain on the heart after just four weeks.
The study by Pennsylvania State University said the nuts could reduce risk of heart disease but warned the nuts were not a cure for daily stress.

Professor of biobehavioural health and nutritional sciences Sheila West said: 'In adults with diabetes, two servings of pistachios per day lowered vascular constriction during stress and improved neural control of the heart. Although nuts are high in fat, they contain good fats, fibre, potassium and antioxidants. Given the high risk of heart disease in people with diabetes, nuts are an important component of a heart healthy diet in this population.'
The study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association involved two diets with the same number of calories.

Source  - Daily Mail

Low vitamin D 'boosts dementia risk'

Older people who have a severe vitamin D deficiency have an increased risk of developing dementia, a study has suggested.
UK researchers, writing in Neurology, looked at about 1,650 people aged over 65. This is not the first study to suggest a link - but its authors say it is the largest and most robust. However, experts say it is still too early to say elderly people should take vitamin D as a preventative treatment.
There are 800,000 people with dementia in the UK with numbers set to rise to more than one million by 2021.
Vitamin D comes from foods - such as oily fish, supplements and exposing skin to sunlight. However older people's skin can be less efficient at converting sunlight into Vitamin D, making them more likely to be deficient and reliant on other sources.
The international team of researchers, led by Dr David Llewellyn at the University of Exeter Medical School, followed people for six years. All were free from dementia, cardiovascular disease and stroke at the start of the study. At the end of the study they found the 1,169 with good levels of vitamin D had a one in 10 chance of developing dementia. Seventy were severely deficient - and they had around a one in five risk of dementia.