Posts Tagged "Reality"


Reality check: Can you reverse diabetes by changing your diet? – National

by BBG Hub

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects approximately three million Canadians, according to Statistics Canada.

There are two main kinds of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. If left untreated, the illness can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart problems, neuropathic pain and amputations.

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The causes of diabetes have long been debated. Type 1 is typically considered to be hereditary, while Type 2 has been associated with obesity and inactivity.

Historically, both types have been considered inevitably degenerative — but that may no longer be the case.

Some doctors believe Type 2 — which affects 90 per cent of people living with diabetes, according to Diabetes Canada — can be reversed by a dramatic change in diet and activity levels.

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A 2017 study published in the BMJ found that patients who lost a significant amount of weight (about 33 pounds) were able to send diabetes into remission. Researchers define this as “no longer having diabetes, at least for a period.”

A similar 2019 study conducted at the University of British Columbia found that reducing or eliminating a specific protein in the fat cells of mice not only prevents the onset of Type 2 diabetes, but also appears to reverse the disease as well.

That protein, dubbed CD248, was found to be higher in the fat cells of people with diabetes regardless of their shape and size, but would decrease to normal levels when people with obesity-associated diabetes reversed the disease through weight loss.

A new way to treat Type 2 diabetes

“When we talk about diabetes remission or reversal, we’re almost exclusively talking about Type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist at Scarborough Health Network. He calls Type 2 diabetes a “dietary disease.”

“If you think about Type 2 diabetes, the entire disease is essentially too much sugar in the body,” said Fung.

“Sugar is both glucose, which comes from refined carbohydrates, and fructose. Your body is trying to shove all this glucose into the cell, [but if] you have too much of it, some of this glucose basically spills out into the blood.”

READ MORE: Could Type 2 diabetes be reversed by reducing a protein in fat cells? UBC researchers think so

Fung believes doctors have made a “big mistake” in trying to treat Type 2 diabetes with drugs instead of prescribing a low-carbohydrate diet. He compares a human body to a car to draw an analogy.

“Think of glucose or sugar as fuel — the fuel your body uses as energy, just like you use gas in your car,” said Fung.

Imagine pumping gas into your car so frequently that the gas tank overflows into the backseat of your car and makes you sick.

“Now you know what the problem is. Are you going to keep pumping gas into your car? No,” he explained.

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Jeffrey Johnson, a pharmacist and professor at the University of Alberta, agrees.

Lifestyle changes such as “dietary changes and [increased] physical activity” have been shown to prevent — and even reverse — Type 2 diabetes.

“A healthier diet and physical activity, like getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week… was enough to prevent people at risk of developing diabetes from being diagnosed,” said Johnson.

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Johnson offered his father as an example.

“He was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. He was treated with medication, and with time, he changed his lifestyle,” he continued.

“He lost weight, changed his diet and [added] physical activity. He got his blood sugar under control and he was able to stop medication.”

However, Johnson warns that Type 2 diabetes is not always reversible.

“Some people get Type 2 diabetes just as they get older. They might not be overweight or obese,” he said. “For some people, it might not be reversible but for a large portion of the population, it is.”

Diet vs. losing weight?

While weight loss can be a consequence of a low-carbohydrate diet, Fung emphasizes that it doesn’t need to be the end goal.

“Both are important […] but not all types of body fat are equal,” he said. “We’ve focused mostly on getting people better, whether they’re overweight or not.

“There are a lot of people who have Type 2 diabetes who wouldn’t be classified as overweight.”

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In Fung’s practice, he focuses more on getting people “metabolically healthy” as opposed to setting weight loss goals.

Increasing daily activity can help, but changing your diet will have the most impact.

“Burning an extra 150 calories by exercising is minuscule — it’s like five per cent of the 2,000 calories you eat in one day,” he said.

“If you have an exam and 95 per cent is English and five per cent of the exam is math, you don’t study each [for 50 per cent] of the time.”

Finding the diet that’s right for you

“There are a lot of different dietary recommendations that can help people lose weight,” he said.

If you are interested in trying to treat Type 2 diabetes with a new diet, he suggests consulting a dietitian first.

“The most important things are starting to track and notice what you’re eating… It could even just be reduced portion sizes,” he said. “Simple decisions like that.”

— With files from Sean Boynton


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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Reality check: Can Mercury retrograde really affect your life? – National

by BBG Hub

You’re fighting with your partner, you lost a piece of important paperwork, and an old friend called you out of the blue. A series of odd events? Maybe, but some folks may chalk it up to Mercury retrograde.

Mercury retrograde is when the planet Mercury appears to be moving backwards (or retrograde) when viewed from the Earth. This is an optical illusion due to differences in orbit, Time notes. But for those who believe in astrology, Mercury retrograde holds great significance.

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Mercury is known as the planet that rules all communication, B.C.-based astrologist Georgia Nicols explains. This means that when Mercury appears retrograde, people may experience communication issues, problems with technology, or even things like lost mail.

“Mercury rules everything that goes from A to B: information, cars, trucks, bikes, transportation, courier services, postal services. It also rules any kind of service, like accounting services,” Nicols told Global News.

What can happen when Mercury is retrograde?

Nicols says Mercury retrograde occurs around three times a year, and when it happens, the things the planet rules tend to be “buggered up.”

This may mean if you’re meeting a friend for coffee, you go to the wrong cafe. Or you experience minor car troubles, like a flat tire. Since technology is also affected by Mercury retrograde, Nicols said, you may have internet problems or issues with your cell phone.

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Mercury retrograde can also bring up things from your past.

“You run into exes and old friends,” Nicols explained.

“It’s [also] easy to be contemplative and to think back during Mercury retrograde, and it’s a very good time to see a shrink because you can more easily pull up stuff from your memory.”

According to Toronto-based astrologist and tarot reader Liz Worth, Mercury retrograde is not an all-or-nothing event.

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“I won’t tell you that all your technology will go haywire or that your summer vacation will be ruined because Mercury is retrograde,” she said.

“Instead, I encourage alignment with this energy. Know that mistakes and misunderstandings have a higher chance of happening now. Focus on improving your communication, be open and honest, and double-check important documents before finalizing them.”

How does Mercury retrograde work?

Worth explains that all planets go retrograde throughout the year, but since Mercury is the fastest moving planet, it has three retrograde periods this year, whereas Jupiter and Neptune only have one.

Nicols says that Mercury moves through different astrological signs throughout the year, like Leo or Taurus, every two to three weeks.

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“But when it goes retrograde, then it is hovering in that sign for about six weeks,” she said.

What sign Mercury is “hovering” in can affect people in different ways. Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo, meaning those with that astrological sign may be more affected by Mercury retrograde.

“Every time Mercury goes retrograde it’s in a different sign, therefore it has a different quality,” Nicols said. “It will hit people in a different way because it falls on their chart in a different area.”

What does science say?

According to Dan Falk, a science journalist and author of The Science of Shakespeare​, the idea that Mercury retrograde can affect people’s lives is nonsense.

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“All of the planets sometimes appear to move in ‘retrograde’; it’s a label that astronomers use to describe a certain kind of apparent planetary motion (‘apparent’ because it’s just how the planet appears to move as seen from Earth),” he told Global News.

“Of course, it has no effect whatsoever on anyone’s lives… astrology is basically bunk.”

Nicols agrees that the planets do not affect our behaviour — only the sun and the moon do, she said — but still maintains that when Mercury appears retrograde, people notice.

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While she cannot explain it, she says some people may be more sensitive to events, or are more firm believers in astrology.

“We all feel Mercury retrograde, there is no question. Some less than others,” she said.

Should you be concerned about Mercury retrograde?

While skeptics may not care when the planet is retrograde, those who do believe may want to take note of certain things. Nicols says Mercury retrograde isn’t a scary thing, but it can affect starting new projects or tasks.

Both Nicols and Worth say Mercury retrograde may not be the best time to buy any new technology, or start a new business venture. You may experience issues or delays, or face continual roadblocks.

“If you have to move ahead with something like a major decision, then by all means do it,” Worth said.

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“Trust that there are always other influences at work; Mercury isn’t the only game in town. Just take extra time to read through any agreements and ask the questions you need to feel totally clear.”

What Mercury retrograde is helpful for, however, is getting old tasks done. Nicols said if you’ve had a home project you’ve been sitting on for months, it’s a great time to finish it once and for all.

And even though Nicols says people shouldn’t be overly worried about Mercury retrograde, she still advises folks to avoid certain things while the planet is doing its thing.

“Never buy a car, a truck or computer,” she said.

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Reality check: Can air conditioning make you sick? – National

by BBG Hub

Summer heat is at its peak, which means you probably have the air conditioner on at full blast.

You’re not alone. According to the International Energy Agency, the use of cooling fans and air conditioners accounts for around 10 per cent of all global electricity consumption. Nearly 90 per cent of U.S. citizens have a unit in their home.

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Air-conditioning units help protect small children, the elderly and pets from the effects of extreme heat — but some doctors are worried that they can also cause health issues.

“They do have benefits in terms of [protecting us from] air pollution and particularly in times of heat waves, but they’re not without risk,” said Dr. Farah Shroff. Shroff is a public health researcher and professor at the University of British Columbia.

“The main concern with indoor air conditioning systems is that they need to be well maintained to reduce the risk of microbial contamination,” which is defined as the accidental introduction of microbes such as bacteria, yeast, mold and fungi.

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Shroff said AC units should be checked regularly by an expert technician to avoid the buildup of stagnant water, as this can lead to mould and other dangerous microbes.

“It can actually circulate [viruses, bacteria and fungi] more,” she said. “Somebody who already has a respiratory disease or some kind of compromised immune system will experience worse [symptoms].”

Signs and symptoms

Microbes from stagnant water in your air conditioner can cause a wide array of uncomfortable symptoms.

Dry or irritated eyes, as well as a dry mouth, throat or nasal passages, are common.

“Headaches, sore throat or [losing] your voice” is also possible,” according to Shroff.

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Dr. Venu Tadiboyina echoes Shroff’s concerns. He’s an internal medicine specialist at Scarborough General hospital in Toronto.

“If the building’s systems aren’t maintained properly, you can get a buildup of bacterial pathogens which can cause illnesses such as Legionnaires’ disease (a severe form of pneumonia) or Pontiac fever,” said Tadiboyina.

“[Bacterial pathogens] can also cause a runny nose, sore throat and allergic reactions.”

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The problem, said Tadiboyina, is that these symptoms are caused by several different illnesses, making it tricky for doctors to say definitively whether your air conditioner is the issue.

“Oftentimes, when [patients] come in with respiratory symptoms [such as] fever, fatigue, coughing, wheezing… these kinds of things are non-specific symptoms,” he said.

Fortunately, the more severe illnesses — like Legionnaires’ disease — are identifiable with further testing.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor.

‘Sick Building Syndrome’

A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in 2004 found that people who worked in air-conditioned office buildings were more likely to become sick than those who worked in buildings without central air.

Researchers, who compared buildings with air conditioning to buildings with natural ventilation, referred to this phenomenon at “Sick Building Syndrome” (SBS).

Lead researcher Dr. Mark J. Mendell said one possible explanation for the increase in illness is “the moisture in AC and humidification systems.” Mendell feared that moisture can result in “in microbiological exposures that cause health effects through mechanisms that are irritant, toxic or allergic.”

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Little research has been done on SBS, but Shroff — who isn’t an expert on the condition — said a poorly maintained AC unit in a large building could cause issues for the people who live or work there.

“If the air conditioning is not well-maintained… a large number of people in that building could be impacted,” she said. “It’s not just our air conditioning. It’s a syndrome that has been shown to cause health problems related to air quality.”

Shroff clarifies that natural ventilation would only be better than air conditioning if pollution levels were low. “It really depends on what’s going on with outside air,” she said.

In extreme heat, AC offers more benefits than pitfalls

Both Tadiboyina and Shroff believe the benefits of air conditioning outweigh the risks — especially during periods of extreme heat.

“Extreme heat is very dangerous,” said Tadiboyina. “It may not be as dangerous for young, healthy people… but there is a subset of the population that is very susceptible to heat.”

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Tadiboyina said people with cardiovascular disease, physical disability and those who have previously had a stroke are at a higher risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Extreme heat is also more dangerous for people who abuse alcohol, cocaine or other stimulants, as well as anyone who takes beta blockers, diuretics or cold medication on a regular basis. “Air conditioning can offset this risk,” he said.

Another 2011 study from Yale University supported Tadiboyina’s claims. In it, researchers found that the use of air conditioning lowered the risk of hospitalization and death from cardiovascular disease and other issues in people age 65 and older.

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Shroff believes access to air conditioning during extreme heat is a matter of equality.

“When people are dying from heat stroke, the benefits [of air conditioning] outweigh the negative aspects,” she said. “We need to make sure that everyone has access to it.”

You should have your AC unit serviced at least once a year

Craig Goettler is the chief operating officer at Right Time Heating and Air Conditioning. He said that yearly service will ensure there isn’t any stagnant water in the evaporator coil of your air conditioner.

The evaporator coil is the part of your AC unit which absorbs the heat and humidity from the air in your house. If your evaporator coil has been collected moisture and then the moisture remains in place, mold will quickly grow.

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“All the air that goes through your home flows over and out your evaporator coil,” Goettler said. “If you have mold buildup, you will have more being spread throughout your home.”

He also cautioned against leaving the same filter in your furnace throughout the summer months.

“We are seeing people not changing their furnace filter [because] the furnace isn’t heating… but it’s still blowing the air through your system,” he said. If you let the filter collect dust, dust will be blown into the air that you breathe.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Reality check: Is it safe to drink collagen powder? – National

by BBG Hub

Search the hashtag #collagenpowder on Instagram and nearly 100,000 posts will come up.

It’s the latest must-have product for health nuts and influencers, who are mixing it into everything from morning coffees to post-gym smoothies.

Proponents of collagen powder claim it helps with everything from bad skin to joint pain, but according to registered dietitian Jacklyn Villeneuve, there’s not enough scientific evidence to suggest it has any impact at all.

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Collagen is a protein which your body naturally produces, and it exists in large quantities in your connective tissue. It’s the main structural protein found in your bones, skin, ligaments and cartilage.

According to Villeneuve, there’s a misconception that consuming more collagen will lead to higher quantities of collagen in our bodies, which will make our bones, skin, ligaments and cartilage stronger. This isn’t the case.

“Proteins are synthesized from amino acids. When we consume collagen, we need to first break it down into those amino acids,” said Villeneuve, who services three Loblaws grocery stores in the Ottawa area.

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“It goes into a bigger amino acid pool, which our body may or may not use to create more collagen… but it could also just use it for other purposes,” like producing other proteins.

“There are some really interesting and potentially promising studies coming out particularly relating to joint health… but I’ve never seen a study that feels solid enough to make a conclusive claim,” she said.

Research from 2009 found that four out of five osteoarthritis sufferers who took a daily 40 mg dose of undenatured type-II collagen saw their pain drop by an average of 26 per cent.

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However, researchers cautioned that they could not directly link this to the collagen specifically. They instead suggest that the reduction in pain may have been due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the supplement.

Lauren McNeill, a Toronto-based registered dietitian, is also skeptical about the impacts of collagen powder. “The evidence on collagen is very limited,” she told Global News.

According to McNeill, most of the studies that do show benefits are actually funded by collagen companies or institutions, which presents a conflict of interest and makes the research unreliable.

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“[For example,] the claims that have been studied the most frequently are utilizing collagen for reducing joint pain in athletes or among individuals with osteoarthritis, however, most of these studies have conflicts of interest or are directly funded by the collagen industry.”

McNeill believes consistent use of collagen powder might even have harmful side effects.

“What many people don’t realize is that collagen supplements are very high in protein, which most people are already getting plenty of,” she said. “Consuming excessive amounts of protein can actually have detrimental effects on our kidneys and may potentially lead to certain chronic diseases.”

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Villeneuve says that the lack of research on collagen powder means little is known about the best way to consume it.

“[We] don’t really have any information about the optimal dosage that’s safe, either,” she said.

She’s concerned because of the widespread availability of these products. Anyone can buy collagen powder off the shelf or online, without any medical guidance.

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“Consult a health professional who knows your medical history,” Villeneuve says to those who still really want to try the supplement.

A doctor who is aware of your pre-existing medical conditions and current medications can monitor you closely to ensure the supplement isn’t interacting negatively.

“It’s not to say that I would be totally against someone taking [a collagen supplement], but I think that we can really focus on first making sure those other pillars are there… making sure there’s enough protein and enough vitamin C in the diet so your body can make all of its own collagen.”

Naturally promote collagen production

As a safer alternative, both dietitians recommend adding foods to your diet which can stimulate the natural production of collagen.

“I always recommend a protein at every meal and with every snack,” said Villeneuve.

“The easy ones are eggs, which make sense at any time of the day… things like Greek yogurt or skyr… and fish, fresh or canned,” Villeneuve said. “If you want to go more plant-based, that could be soy foods [like] tofu, tempeh, beans or lentils.”

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Not only will this provide your body with the ingredients necessary to produce collagen, but it will also ensure that “you’re well-satiated and that your energy level is stable.”

McNeill agrees — with her clients, she focuses on promoting a diet rich with vitamin C, which you can get from foods like leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers and citrus fruits.

“Getting enough copper, zinc and protein are also important to help with collagen production in our body. Copper can be found in foods such as sesame seeds, cocoa powder, cashews and lentils. Zinc is found in oatmeal, tofu, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and high-quality protein can be found in beans, lentils, edamame, tofu and tempeh,” she said.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Reality check: Does drinking coffee really help with weight loss? – National

by BBG Hub

Can coffee affect the body’s fat stores and help boost metabolism? According to new research, it might.

A study out of the University of Nottingham in England found that caffeine may stimulate brown fat reserves, which help determine how fast our bodies burn calories.

The findings, published Monday in the journal Scientific Reports, suggest that caffeine intake may help tackle health issues of obesity and diabetes.

“This is the first study in humans to show that something like a cup of coffee can have a direct effect on our brown fat functions,” Michael Symonds, one of the study’s co-authors and professor at University of Nottingham’s school of medicine, said in a statement.

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“The potential implications of our results are pretty big, as obesity is a major health concern for society and we also have a growing diabetes epidemic and brown fat could potentially be part of the solution in tackling them.”

Brown fat is also known as brown adipose tissue (BAT), which is one of two main types of fat found in humans. Brown fat’s main purpose is to generate body heat by burning calories. White fat cells, on the other hand, store calories.

“Brown fat works in a different way to other fat in your body and produces heat by burning sugar and fat, often in response to cold,” Symonds said.

“Increasing its activity improves blood sugar control as well as improving blood lipid levels and the extra calories burnt help with weight loss.”

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Researchers first conducted a series of stem cell studies to see how coffee affected brown fat. Once they learned it stimulated the fat cells, they tested on humans using a thermal imaging technique “to trace the body’s brown fat reserves.”

Symonds told Global News that he and his research team believe caffeine affects brown fat by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. This, in turn, affects the body’s metabolism.

He said the researchers looked at the effects of one cup of coffee, which was enough to stimulate brown fat within an hour of consumption.

“We used a sachet of Nescafé, which has about two grams of coffee powder in about 200 millilitres of water,” he said.

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While their research only included nine people, Symonds said it was the first study to show brown fat stimulation in all subjects.

“We know that cold exposure stimulates brown fat, and both ourselves and other [researchers] have shown that eating a meal can stimulate brown fat… but this is the first time that anyone’s shown a specific ingredient — coffee — can stimulate brown fat within an hour of having it,” he said.

So does this mean the more coffee you drink the more brown fat is targeted?

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Symonds says more research is needed before making that connection.

“If one coffee works, does two, three, four have a bigger effect? I think it would depend on how long you wait in between coffees, and what other things you do during the day,” he told Global News.

“But potentially, one could make that proposal.”

According to Dr. Donald Hensrud, medical editor of the Mayo Clinic Diet and medical director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program in Rochester, Minn., the research findings sound probable, but coffee drinkers should be cautious.

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“While the study is plausible, we already know through population studies and randomized, controlled trials that the effect of caffeine and coffee on metabolic rate and weight loss is relatively small — this research has already been done,” he told Global News.

“Thus, the practical implications of this study are currently small.”

A recent systematic review on the effects of caffeine on weight loss found that “caffeine intake might promote weight, BMI and body fat reduction.”

When it comes to managing diabetes, Hensrud says there is “good evidence” that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee may be effective in preventing Type 2 diabetes.

READ MORE: Could Type 2 diabetes be reversed by reducing a protein in fat cells? UBC researchers think so

“This suggests that something other than caffeine may be responsible for this effect,” he said.

“Coffee has many different compounds and is abundant in antioxidants. However, the effect of coffee on diabetes risk is much less than is weight, and coffee is not effective in treatment of diabetes.”

So though this new study claims to be a source of hope for those wanting to lose weight, it’s still best viewed cautiously until further research is done.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Reality check: Does wearing a hat cause hair loss? – National

by BBG Hub

With summer around the corner (hopefully), hats will once again be in season.

But some people may avoid covering their head if they believe that wearing a hat can lead to baldness — something experts want to debunk.

According to Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, wearing a hat does not cause hair loss.

“It’s a total myth,” Khetarpal told Global News. “Wearing a hat for a few hours — as long as it’s not tight enough to give someone a headache — is not going to cause hair loss.”

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Some people who experience hair loss feel comfortable wearing hats, which may be why folks associate them with balding, Khetarpal says.

And while casual hat wearing isn’t a major concern, Khetarpal says that sweat trapped under hats can affect hair.

“In the hot summer months, wearing a hat is going to make you sweat [in] it. And when you sweat more, you can get more dandruff and overgrowth of yeast and bacteria, which can cause some shedding,” she said.

“That’s not going to happen unless you’re wearing a hat all day, every day, throughout the hot months.”

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Khetarpal highlights that this type of shedding is reversible and will resolve on its own. It’s not the same as male and female pattern hair loss, she adds.

Causes of hair loss

If hats aren’t a culprit, what causes hair loss? Genetics are one of the key determining factors.

A 2017 study out of the University of Edinburgh found more than 200 genetic regions tied to male baldness. Researchers found that many of these genes came from the X chromosome, which men inherit from their mother.

If you inherit hair loss genes from one or both of your parents, there’s a higher chance you may experience balding or hair thinning, Khetarpal says.

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“Women are typically protected from hair loss until after menopause… but with men, it can start as early as their teens,” Khetarpal said. “Genetics play the biggest role of when it starts and how rapidly it progresses.”

Apart from genetics, lifestyle factors can contribute to hair loss.

Khetarpal says that smoking is associated with hair thinning as is a protein-deficient diet.

She also says that infants and people who are bedridden may experience hair loss around the back of their head.

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“When they’re on their back and there’s a lot of pressure on an area of the scalp, that could restrict some blood flow and can cause some thinning in that area,” she explained.

Types of hair loss and things to remember

Khetarpal says medical experts typically divide hair loss into two main categories: scarring hair loss, also known as cicatricial alopecia, and non-scarring alopecia. She says about 90 per cent of hair loss falls into the non-scarring category.

“And then, within that non-scarring realm, the most common type of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern hair loss,” she said.

“What that typically looks like with men is they lose hair at the top of the scalp — they get some recession along the hairline and then in the crown — and hair also starts to thin on top. Women actually maintain their frontal hairline, but their part gets wider.”

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While Khetarpal says hair loss is very common, it still carries stigma. It can be hard for men and women when their hair starts to thin or fall out.

“Because of the social stigma … the cultural kind attitude towards hair loss, I do notice a lot of my male patients especially wear a hat,” she said.

“Recent statistics show that 50 per cent of men, by the age of 50, have signs of androgenetic alopecia. For women, by the age of 70, around 40 per cent have clinical signs of hair loss.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Reality check: Do you really need that metal wire in your mouth? – National

by BBG Hub

If you’ve had braces in the last decade, chances are you’ve also been recommended a permanent retainer.

The slim metal bar is placed behind the front of one’s teeth, typically glued to the canine teeth on either side of the mouth.

It’s usually intended for years of use. In some cases, a patient can have a permanent retainer for decades.

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This can be frustrating for someone who has just completed many long — and expensive — years of orthodontic work.

But, according to Dr. Jay Philippson, a permanent retainer is the best way to maintain your newly straightened smile.

Philippson works as an orthodontist in Duncan, B.C., and is the president of the Canadian Association of Orthodontists.

Most of his patients are given a permanent retainer on their bottom set of teeth.

“The bottom teeth are the teeth that tend to shift more than any others following treatment,” Philippson told Global News.

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“If the bottom teeth stay straight, and the occlusion (known as the contact between the upper and lower teeth) is where it’s supposed to be, they actually act as a bit of a foundation to help keep the top teeth straight.”

Permanent retainers are typically given to patients after they’ve had braces — including clear aligners like Invisalign.

If a permanent retainer is in your future, here’s what you need to know.

Why do I need one?

According to Dr. Brian Laski of Laski OrthoSmiles, teeth are susceptible to moving at any age.

“Retention is, unfortunately, something that we have to deal with for our entire lives,” he said. “If we don’t retain the teeth, they will move.”

A number of factors can contribute to your teeth shifting over time.

“Some people believe it’s because there are fibres in the gums connecting the teeth that want to shift them back to their original position,” said Laski. “There’s also pressures on the teeth from our bite, especially if a patient is grinding their teeth at night. Even just normal chewing exerts pressure on the teeth.”

Our facial structure is also constantly changing, which can further move our teeth.

How much does it cost?

Orthodontic work doesn’t come cheap, and a permanent retainer is no exception.

The metal bar can cost anywhere from $300 to $500, but in Dr. Laski’s view, this is a small price to pay if it means maintaining the results of earlier orthodontic work.

“Think of it as an insurance policy,” said Laski.

“I think people would much rather invest a little bit extra for retainers at the end (of treatment) in hopes that they don’t need treatment again during their lifetime.”

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Philippson agrees.

“I think we realized, as a specialty, that the teeth can and do move at any time… but people were going through a time-consuming and relatively expensive procedure to get their teeth straight,” Philippson said.

“It’s incumbent on us to provide them with the ability to keep those teeth straight.”

There’s no guarantee that the teeth will move, but the permanent retainer is an easy way to ensure they don’t.

“If I could tell a person, ‘your teeth aren’t going to move,’ it would be great! I just can’t do that,” said Philippson.

Is it forever?

While the glue that binds a permanent retainer to your teeth isn’t magic, the hope is that it lasts for a while.

In Philippson’s practice, he prefers that his patients keep the retainer until they are at least 20 years old.

At that age… if they want me to take it out, I will (but) I’ll caution them that those teeth can and do shift,” he said.

The main reason Philippson sees patients request to have the retainer removed is tartar retention.

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You likely suffer from this if your dental hygienist has to spend a fair amount of time cleaning the tartar off the area behind your front teeth where the retainer is.

“I monitor my patients for three to four visits after the braces come off, every six months or so,” said Philippson.

“If my patients come in… and the tartar is building up, I’m not going to want to risk the gum disease that can go along with that.”

However, in this instance, Philippson would still recommend a removable retainer to replace the permanent retainer.

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Laski, on the other hand, recommends a lifetime retainer.

“These retainers need to stay in for life,” he said.

Laski treats several adults, many of whom are returning to an orthodontist after two or three rounds of treatment.

“That proves that it doesn’t matter if you’ve always had straight teeth or if you’ve had orthodontic treatment… teeth are susceptible to move at any age,” Laski said.

“It’s most frustrating for people who have had orthodontic treatment because they invest a lot of time and money. Certainly, they don’t want to have to go through it again.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Reality check: Can flossing actually help prevent Alzheimer’s disease? – National

by BBG Hub

Bleeding gums and sensitive teeth may be painful, but new research has linked gum disease to something bigger: Alzheimer’s disease.

A new study, published in the journal Science Advances, found that the bacteria that causes gum disease was present in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

Unlike past studies, the research is asserting that Porphyromonas gingivalis — the key bacteria in chronic gum disease — may contribute to a person developing the condition.

The research, conducted by private pharmaceutical company Cortexyme, Inc., looked at over 50 brains of people who had the disease, and those who did not. They found that 90 per cent of folks with Alzheimer’s also had toxic enzymes produced by P. gingivalis called gingipains.

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The brains with more gingipains had higher levels of tau and ubiquitin, which are proteins linked to Alzheimer’s. In brain samples of dementia-free adults, researchers found lower levels of gingipains.

Dr. Steve Dominy, the study’s lead author and co-founder of Cortexyme, went so far as to tell Newsweek that the bacteria related to gum disease is the “main cause of Alzheimer’s disease, and the gingipains are the main drivers of Alzheimer’s disease pathology.”

Based on their findings, Cortexyme researchers said a drug targeting gingipain inhibitors could be valuable for treating the degenerative condition.

While Dominy and his team are confident in the connection between gum disease and dementia, others are less certain.

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According to Dr. David Stevenson, the president of the Ontario Dental Association, the new research shows “there’s a relationship [between gum disease and Alzheimer’s], but the relationship does not necessarily mean cause and effect.”

“With most diseases of any kind, including gum disease, there are multiple different factors involved and multiple different organisms,” he said to Global News.

“The fact that they have isolated a specific bacteria that’s quite common in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, I think that’s cause for hope. It’s not necessarily cause for skepticism, but it’s cause for hope and caution, and for further studies to try to confirm just what that relationship is.”

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Previous studies that looked at the relationship between oral health and brain health drew mixed results.

A 2016 study conducted by researchers from the U.K.’s University of Southampton found that having gum disease is tied to faster cognitive decline in adults with Alzheimer’s. While the research found a link, it wasn’t clear if gum disease causes cognitive decline.

According to one theory based on those findings, cognitive impairment leads to adverse oral health due to inattention to routine oral hygiene and care, said Dr. James M. Noble of the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain at Colombia University Medical Center in New York City, who was not part of the study.

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“The second, and the one I’m most intrigued by, is whether or not periodontal disease has an influence on cognitive outcomes of aging, either as an independent risk factor for [new-onset] cognitive impairment including Alzheimer’s disease, or more rapid decline once [Alzheimer’s disease] has been diagnosed, as was suggested by this study,” Noble told Reuters Health by email.

Another study also raised some questions about these findings.

Researchers out of Duke University’s School of Nursing looked at over 50 studies that looked at the relationship between oral health and cognitive problems in older adults.

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Some studies found that markers of oral health, like the number of teeth and presence of gum disease, were tied to the rate of cognitive decline or dementia risk. But the links weren’t stable in every study, as some studies found no link between oral and brain health.

A 2017 study out of Taiwan found that chronic gum inflammation, known as periodontitis, is associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

While they found no overall link between periodontitis and Alzheimer’s, researchers did conclude that people who had the chronic gum inflammation for 10 or more years were 70 per cent more likely than people without periodontitis to develop Alzheimer’s.

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So what does this all mean? Stevenson said what dentists know for certain is that good oral health contributes to better overall health, period.

“We’ve certainly been having conversations in the dental community around gum disease and periodontal disease… and how they can relate to other diseases in the body, in particular, cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” he said.

“We use our teeth for so many different reasons: to chew, to nourish ourselves, to smile, to speak properly. There are so many different benefits to keeping our teeth as long as we can — and keeping our teeth healthy.”

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With files from Reuters 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Reality check: Is eating dessert every day really that bad for you? – National

by BBG Hub

Supermodel Gisele Bündchen says she eats dessert every day. Yes you read that right: every single day.

In a recent interview with Vogue, the 38-year-old said she never goes a day without a treat because “it makes [her] happy.” She also revealed she eats dark chocolate daily, too.

“My thing is I have dessert with lunch,” she said. “Most of my desserts are avocado- and coconut-based because those are the best fats for the brain.”

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Bündchen then detailed a recent dessert she ate: a pie made out of avocado, coconut and bananas.

“The crust is made out of dates and nuts, and these little coconut nibs on the top and then coconut yogurt on top, then the top part is 70 per cent dark chocolate — my favourite ever — with little pecans and things on top, because it’s the best thing for your brain and for your heart, and for your happiness.”

So is there something behind Bündchen’s daily dessert habit? According to registered dietitian Abby Langer, it depends on what you’re eating.

All dessert is not created equal

“Dessert means different things to different people,” Langer told Global News. “One person may consider dessert a piece of layer cake, while another may consider dessert to be two squares of dark chocolate.”

Langer said you can eat dessert every day without it affecting your weight or health, but you have to be really careful about what you’re eating and how much of it. Having a couple of squares of dark chocolate a day won’t hurt you, but eating an entire bar might.

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On top of keeping your portion size in check, Langer said people need to consider their regular eating patterns, too. If you eat a healthy diet filled with whole foods, it’s fine to have a little dessert.

“You can have a couple of cookies, or a small scoop of ice cream, and it really won’t make that big of a difference,” she said. “The overall dietary pattern of a person really is the deciding factor.”

Does when you eat dessert matter?

Bündchen said she eats her sweets with lunch instead of after dinner. While experts caution against eating meals late at night, Langer says if you want a small treat in the evening, it won’t do serious harm.

“People think if you eat [dessert] earlier in the day, you burn it off and it’s not going to affect your weight,” Langer explained. “Yes, the metabolism does slow when you go to sleep, but not so much that you shouldn’t be eating something after dinner.”

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“You can have [dessert] after dinner if that’s the time you’re normally hungry for it.”

But, Langer cautioned, it’s important to think about if you’re really hungry for dessert after dinner, or if you’re just bored and want some sugar. If you don’t really need something sweet, don’t eat it.

“There’s no physiological need for sweet, so it may just be a habit,” she said. “If you feel like it, have it, and… keep it small. But if you don’t feel like it, don’t feel like you’re entitled to it.”

Be cautious of celebrity health advice

Celebrities like Bündchen live in a way most of us don’t, with access to personal trainers and private chefs. Most stars also follow strict or unrealistic diets, so people should consider the source when it comes to health advice, Langer said.

“When you see a headline that says, ‘Gisele eats dessert every day,’ make sure you read past the headline, and consider what these celebrities eat on a regular basis aside from that dessert — and what they’re eating for that dessert,” Langer said.

Like Bündchen pointed out, her desserts are often fruit- and nut-based. This is an important distinction from cake and whole chocolate bars.

“A lot of people will say, ‘Oh well Gisele eats dessert every day, so let’s have a brownie,’” Langer said.

“There’s a lot more to the story.”

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© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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