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More health benefits of Mediterranean diet discovered

18/02/2020

The Mediterranean diet, which features plenty of vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, beans and whole grains, has long been lauded for its heart health benefits. But now a new study shows that it could also improve brain function in elderly people, even when only eaten for a year. According to the research published in the BMJ, following a Mediterranean diet for just 12 months can inhibit production of inflammatory chemicals in elderly individuals that can lead to loss of cognitive function, as well as prevent the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and atherosclerosis. For the study, 612 elderly people from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom has their gut microbiome analysed. Then, 323 of them were put on a special diet, based on Mediterranean principles, for one year, while the rest were asked to eat as they normally would. After 12 months, all of the study participants had their gut microbiome re-analysed. Those who had followed the Mediterranean diet saw beneficial changes to the microbiome in their digestive system. The rate at which bacterial diversity was lost slowed and the production of potentially harmful inflammatory markers was reduced. Furthermore, there was also a growth of beneficial bacteria linked to improved memory and brain function. So-called “keystone” species, critical for a stable “gut ecosystem”, were also boosted, helping to slow signs of frailty, such as walking speed and hand grip strength. “Our findings support the feasibility of changing the habitual diet to modulate the gut microbiota which in turn has the potential to promote healthier aging,” the study authors said.

How much fiber should you be eating to prevent disease?

15/01/2019

The health benefits of eating fiber have long been hailed, but how much fiber should we all be eating to prevent chronic disease and premature death? A new study reveals just that… Commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO), the research is the culmination of a meta-analysis of observational studies and clinical trials that took place over almost 40 years. The results appear in the journal The Lancet. One of the objectives of the research was to help in the development of new guidelines for dietary fiber consumption, as well as discover which carbs protect us the most against noncommunicable diseases. So how much fiber should we be eating? Well, the research found that a daily intake of 25–29 grams of fiber is ideal. People who consumed this amount of fiber each day were 15–30 percent less likely to die prematurely from any cause and had a 16–24 percent lower incidence of stroke, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer. The researchers also say that consuming more than 29 grams of fiber per day could lead to even more health benefits. Speaking about the findings of the study, Professor Jim Mann, of the University of Otago, in New Zealand, said: “The health benefits of fiber are supported by over 100 years of research into its chemistry, physical properties, physiology, and effects on metabolism. “Fiber-rich whole foods that require chewing and retain much of their structure in the gut increase satiety and help weight control and can favorably influence lipid and glucose levels. “The breakdown of fiber in the large bowel by the resident bacteria has additional wide-ranging effects including protection from colorectal cancer.” Fiber-rich foods include vegetables, whole grains, fruit, and pulses, such as beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas. Are you consuming enough fiber?

Drinking alcohol affects the bacteria in a person’s mouth

26/04/2018

Individuals who routinely drink more than one alcoholic beverage every day have an overabundance of bad bacteria and less good bacteria in their mouths, a new study has found. Compared to their non-drinking peers, drinkers have less good, such as Lactobacillales that help protect your gums, and more bad bacteria, such as certain Actinomyces, Bacteroidales, and Neisseria species that can lead to gum disease, heart problems and even some cancers. [Related reading: Regular excess drinking found to shorten life expectancy] Publishing their findings in the science journal Microbiome, the study authors said the acids found in alcoholic drinks could make the oral environment hostile for certain bacteria to grow, hence the lower number of so-called good bacteria. For the study, a group of more than 1,000 individuals had their saliva tested. The group included 270 non-drinkers, 614 moderate drinkers and 160 heavy drinkers. The results show that the drinkers had more Bacteroidales, Actinomyces and Neisseria species of bacteria, all potentially harmful, as well as fewer Lactobacillales, a family of bacteria associated with a reduction of gum inflammation. Talking about the findings of the study, Jiyoung Ahn, the study's senior investigator and an epidemiologist at the NYU School of Medicine, said: "heavy alcohol intake is a known risk factor for multiple chronic diseases, including cancers (head and neck, esophagus, colon and breast), liver disease and cardiovascular diseases."

Risk of chronic disease increases with just 14 days of physical inactivity

23/05/2017

While the association between a lack of exercise and an increased risk of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease, is well-established, new research shows that just 14 days of physical inactivity can increase a person's risk of such conditions. A study by the University of Liverpool found that young, healthy adults who switched from moderate-to-vigorous activity and then to near-sedentary behaviour for just 14 days experienced metabolic changes that could raise their risk of chronic disease and even premature death. Presenting their findings at the European Congress on Obesity 2017 in Portugal, Study leader Dr. Dan Cuthbertson and colleagues said that reducing physical activity for just 14 days led to a loss of skeletal muscle mass in the participants. However, the reduction of physical activity for 14 days also led to an increase in total body fat. Furthermore, said body fat was most likely to accumulate centrally, which the team notes is a significant risk factor for chronic disease. Current guidelines recommend that adults aged 18-64 undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity every week. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that fewer than 50% of adults meet these exercise recommendations. Are you doing enough exercise each week? Even just small lifestyle changes can make a big difference when it comes to your risk of chronic disease.

People are getting fatter, but fewer than ever are trying to lose weight - study

09/03/2017

Despite the fact the number of people who are overweight or obese has risen over the past 30 years, fewer people are actually attempting to shed weight, according to a new study, the findings of which were published in JAMA. Around two thirds of the adult population in the United States are obese or overweight, putting them at increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. However, new research has found that even though there has been a significant rise in the number of people who are overweight or obese since the 1980s, the percentage of U.S. adults who are trying to lose weight has fallen. For their research, study co-author Dr. Jian Zhang and her colleagues from the Georgia Southern University, analysed the data of 27,350 U.S. adults aged between 20 and 59 years. The analyses revealed that the rates of overweight and obesity increased by 13%, from 53% in 1988-1994 to 66% in 2009-2014. Furthermore, the researchers also found that the percentage of people who attempted to lose weight over the same period actually dropped by 7%, from 56% in 1988-1994 to 49% in 2009-2014. At present, people are deemed to be overweight or obese depending on their body mass index (BMI). A BMI of 25 to under 30 is considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 or above is considered obese. A healthy diet and regular physical activity are proven to help curb weight gain, which is why we should all make a conscientious effort to watch what we eat and exercise more. [Recommended read: BMI Wrongly Labelling People Unhealthy, Finds New Research]

Survey: wellbeing improves as people approach 70

01/03/2016

According to a new survey, people are generally happier in their 60s as they approach the end of their seventh decade, despite many of them having at least one chronic disease. Researchers at University College London, on behalf of the Medical Research Council in the UK, followed more than 3,000 Britons since birth and monitored their health and wellbeing over the years. They found that a person's average wellbeing improved as they approached the age of 70, even though many of them were suffering from diseases such as arthritis, diabetes or hypertension. For the study, participants were asked how confident, cheerful, relaxed and useful they felt while still in their early 60s. They were then asked again aged 68 to 69. Dr Mai Stafford, programme leader at the Medical Research Council's unit for lifelong health and ageing, said that people's wellbeing definitely improved as they neared the end of their 60s, but the reasons were still unclear. She said: "We found that one in five experienced a substantial increase in wellbeing in later life, although we also found a smaller group who experienced a substantial decline. "The benefit of using a cohort study like this is that we can look at how individuals change over time. "We hope this will allow us to pinpoint which common experiences may be linked to an improvement in wellbeing in later life." So while many of us will be anxious about growing older, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel as we approach 70.

Gum Disease Found to be Associated with Kidney Disease Deaths

23/02/2016

A new study has uncovered further evidence that a close link exists between oral health and chronic diseases; specifically that patients with chronic kidney disease and severe gum disease have a greater risk of death than those with healthy gums. Led by the University of Birmingham in the UK, the study, the results of which were published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, found that oral health definitely isn’t just about teeth, again highlighting the importance of good oral hygiene. Iain Chapple, senior author of the study and a professor in periodontology, said: "The mouth is the doorway to the body, rather than a separate organ, and is the access point for bacteria to enter the bloodstream via the gums." For the research, Chapple and his colleagues analysed data from some 13,734 individuals in the US, of which 6% were found to have chronic kidney disease. The team then assessed the link between severe gum disease and mortality in people with chronic kidney disease. They found that over 10 years, the risk of death for people with chronic kidney disease was increased by 9% if they also had periodontitis (severe gum disease). Professor Chapple said that the most worrying fact is that people with periodontitis often don’t know they have it. A little bit of blood when they brush their teeth is often dismissed as normal, but if they don’t have it checked out further they could be risking problems in the rest of their bodies.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

09/12/2015

According to the US-based Arthritis Foundation, arthritis affects more than 50 million people in the United States alone, which means that one in five American adults have some form of doctor-diagnosed arthritis today. But while osteoarthritis is the most common form of the disease and, therefore, the one that most people have heard of, rheumatoid arthritis should definitely not be overlooked or underestimated. Estimated to affect around 1.5 million Americans, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease of the joints, which usually strikes after the age of 40 and affects three times more women than men. It’s classified as an autoimmune condition and people with the disease experience pain and inflammation as their bodies mistake the lining of their joints as foreign objects and attack them. While research has shown that smokers and people with a family history of the disease are more prone to developing it, the exact cause remains unknown, as is the case with many autoimmune conditions. The small joints in a person’s hands and feet are usually the first to be hit and the linings become inflamed and eventually the joint is eroded away. This is in contrast to osteoarthritis where the cartilage that covers the end of a bone is worn away due to wear and tear. Common rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include deformed joints and loss of function; numbness and tingling in hands and feet caused by nerve pain and a low red blood cell count. Carpal tunnel syndrome is also one of the complications that can arise from rheumatoid arthritis and surgery is often the only way to cure it.

Bariatric

05/06/2014

What is weight loss surgery about? Obesity is a chronic disease. It can lead to difficulties in everyday life. It may also be affecting your general health and cause diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, sleep apnoea ... Obesity surgery, often referred to as bariatric surgery, has been developed to help you lose weight permanently and control the diseases caused by obesity. However, to have surgery is an important decision and should only be made once all alternatives have been assessed. The Hospitals and clinics that are partners with France SURGERY are all recognised European Centres of Excellence in bariatric surgery by the EAC-BS European Accreditation Council for Bariatric Surgery.

Bariatric (fr)

17/04/2014

What is weight loss surgery about ? Obesity is a chronic disease. It can lead to difficulties in everyday life. It may also be affecting your general health and cause diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, sleep apnoea ... Obesity surgery, often referred to as bariatric surgery, has been developed to help you lose weight permanently and control the diseases caused by obesity. However, to have surgery is an important decision and should only be made once all alternatives have been assessed. The Hospitals and clinics that are partners with France SURGERY are all recognised European Centres of Excellence in bariatric surgery by the EAC-BS European Accreditation Council for Bariatric Surgery.

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