Showing posts with label Daily-Express-Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Daily-Express-Health. Show all posts

Eye test: Third of adults ADMIT being overdue for an examination

More than half (59 per cent) do not know what the pupil does and 42 per cent have no idea of the purpose of the retina.

The research, by online optical retailer Vision Direct, found two of the most common eye conditions were also a source of confusion.

Almost 1.8 million (4 per cent) believe hyperopia, far-sightedness, was a region in ancient Egypt while a similar number (4 per cent) thought presbyopia, short-sightedness, was a blockbuster sci-fi movie.

Well over 2 million adults (4 per cent) also wrongly claimed that epidexipteryx, a bird-like dinosaur, was an eye condition.

One in 20 (4 per cent) incorrectly believe that taraxacum - the Latin name for a dandelion - was a sight-affecting ailment. 

Our lack of knowledge when it comes to eye health isn't helped by irregular eye tests.

Of the 2,000 people asked, one in seven (14 per cent) haven't had a check-up in the last five years despite NHS guidelines recommending an eye test at least every two years.

The survey, to mark World Glaucoma Week (11-18 March) also found that many are unable to name common eye conditions.

The condition, of which around 480,000 are living with, means the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, has become damaged.

While there are no symptoms to begin with, it can develop over many years affecting peripheral vision first. 

If left undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to loss of vision.

Only 41 per cent could identify astigmatism as an eye-related condition.

While just a third (36 per cent) knew that macular degeneration affected sight.

Brendan O'Brien, of Vision Direct, said “It doesn't surprise us that many people are unable to name the most common eye conditions.

“However, in some cases, this lack of knowledge could be causing them to put off getting their eyes tested regularly.

“Getting your eyes checked is the only way to spot and manage these common conditions and getting to them earlier is vital.”


UK weather WARNING: Freezing conditions and snow could trigger symptoms of deadly illness

Temperatures in Britain have taken a sharp dip this week and officials have warned the elderly and those with health conditions take extra care.

Bone-chilling winds sweep in from the Russian Arctic and snowfall has been almost constant in many parts of the country.

While the wintery weather conditions have sparked excitement among some people, the cold blast could trigger or worsen symptoms of certain illnesses and health conditions.

The NHS lists the illnesses and ailments common during cold weather, including influenza.

Flu can be a major killer of vulnerable people - people aged 65 andover, pregnant women and people with long-term health conditions, including diabetes, kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, are particularly at risk during winter weather.

This year, Aussie flu, the H3N2 strain of the flu virus, has been causing havoc in Britain, causing a number of deaths and hundreds of hospitalisations.

Symptoms are similar to those caused by normal flu but more severe, and include a sudden fever, aching body and loss of appetite.

The NHS says the best way to prevent getting flu is to have the flu jab or flu nasal spray for children aged two to 17.

The health body says: “The flu vaccine gives good protection against flu and lasts for one year.

“If you are over 65 or have a long term health condition, you are also eligible for the pneumococcal vaccine, which provides protection against pneumonia.”

Its top tip is to find out if you’re at risk of getting flu by asking your GP.

If you’re in a high-risk group, you should see your GP to get the vaccination.

The extreme winter weather, nicknamed ‘Beast from the East’, could also trigger symptoms of potentially dangerous condition hypothermia.

What causes hypothermia?

Hypothermia occurs when your body gets too cold and your temperature drops below 35C.

It can be caused by:

Inadequate clothing in cold weather

Falling into cold water

Getting cold in wet clothes

Living in a cold house

Being very tired and cold

How should you treat hypothermia? 


Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms? This 28p supplement could help ease joint pain

Arthritis affects around 10 million people, young and old, in the UK.

Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis, and symptoms include inflammation in and around the joints, warm, red skin over the affected joint, and weakness and muscle wasting.

While there is no cure, there are ways proven to ease pain and other symptoms in the form of supplements.

Scientific evidence has been carried out to suggest borage seed oil can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Borage seed oil, also known as starflower oil, is made from the seeds of the borage plant, a herb native to the Mediterranean region but grown in other countries, including the UK.

But how does it help improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

According to Arthritis Research, borage seed oil contains very high levels of two types of polyunsaturated omega-6 essential fatty acids, 20 to 26 per centgamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linolenic acid (LA, which your body converts to GLA).

The charity explains: “GLA is an essential fatty acid that’s important for maintaining a joint’s cell structure and function. Your body converts it into hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which regulate your immune system and fight joint inflammation.

“GLA might also suppress inflammatory responses by directly acting on some inflammatory cells.”

Borage seed oil, or starflower oil, is available to buy over the counter from pharmacies and health food shops in the from of capsules or bottled oil.

Starflower oil is available from Holland & Barrett - 50 capsules are £13.99.

Eating certain foods has also been proven to help ease joint pain.


Cough - 10p a day supplements could relieve dry and chesty symptoms

Coughs usually go away by themselves within three weeks, according to the NHS.

The best way to get rid of a cough is to get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, and drink hot lemon with honey, it said.

A pharmacist can usually give you advice for treating a cough.

But, marshmallow root supplements could help to relieve signs of the condition, studies have claimed.

“For anyone suffering from a sore throat, cough or cold, marshmallow root can be taken orally to reduce pain, swelling and congestion,” said nutritionist Dr Josh Axe.

“Its antitussive properties and mucilage abilities allow it to decrease irritation of the throat, reduce swelling in the lymph nodes, speed up healing time and reduce aggravating dry coughing.

“This is exactly the reason that marshmallow extract is added to many cough syrups and throat lozenges.

“It’s one of the most effective natural cough remedies.”

Marshmallow root supplements could also suppress the urge to cough, studies revealed.

Try combining the supplements with other anti-inflammatory and antibacterial herbs for the best effect, said the nutritionist.

You could also treat a cough by taking some cough syrups and lozenges.

While they don’t work to get rid of the cough, they may help to suppress some of the symptoms.

See a GP if your cough has lasted longer than three weeks, the NHS advised.

Chest pain or unexplained weight loss are also signs that you should see a doctor about your cough.

Most coughs are caused by a cold or the flu virus.

You’re more at risk of developing a cough if you suffer from heartburn, allergies, or infections like bronchitis


The magic vitamin that'll give you back your glow

AT THIS time of year getting enough vitamin C in your diet is essential for good health and boosting the immune system to help fight winter colds and flu. Getting enough vitamin C in your diet is essential for good health and boosting the immune system

The magic vitamin that'll give you back your glow

Dementia diet - avoid these five foods to PREVENT Alzheimer’s disease

Dementia is the name given to a group of symptoms linked to a loss of brain function, according to the NHS.

The condition affects the way a patient speaks, thinks, feels and behaves.

Symptoms of dementia include memory loss, difficulty concentrating, mood changes, and difficulty finding the right words.

You could lower your risk of dementia by avoiding certain foods. The MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) could help to prevent the condition, studies have claimed.

“The MIND diet is designed to prevent dementia and loss of brain function as you age,” said medical website Healthline.

“It combines the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet to create a dietary pattern that focuses specifically on brain health.

“Research has shown that following the MIND diet even a moderate amount is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

“The MIND diet encourages limiting your consumption of butter and margarine, cheese, red meat, fried food, pastries and sweets because they contain large amounts of saturated fat and trans fat.”

You should eat less than one tablespoon of butter or margarine a day, the diet suggests.

Limit your cheese consumption to less than once a week, and no more than three servings of red meat per week. That includes all beef, pork and lamb, as well as any products made from the meats.

Fried food should be avoided, with less than one serving per week.

Also, cut back on pastries and sweets, including most of the “processed junk food”. Eat these foods no more than four times a week.

There’s no certain way to prevent dementia, but some lifestyle changes can help to lower your risk of the condition.

Those most at risk of dementia are the elderly, and those with lower levels of education, the NHS said.

A diet high in saturated fat, salt and sugar can increase your risk of dementia.

Regular exercise may help to prevent a neurodegenerative condition, it added.


Type 2 diabetes: Supplements containing this enzyme could help manage condition's symptoms

Supplementation with the co-enzyme Ubiquinone Q10 can “significantly improve” blood sugar control in Type 2 diabetics, as well as helping sufferers who take statins or have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to an article in The British Journal of Diabetes.

The study comes in the wake of figures showing diabetes as the fastest growing health crisis in the UK with the number of sufferers doubling to 3.7 million in the last 20 years with a further 12.3 million at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The co-enzyme Ubiquinone Q10 is a vitamin-like substance which plays a vital role in the body’s energy supply mechanism, acting alongside enzymes converting fats and sugars into energy.

Heart and skeletal muscles have the highest energy requirements of all tissues and are particularly reliant on adequate supplies of Q10 as a result.

Ubiquinone Q10 is also an antioxidant, protecting cells from the potentially damaging effects of toxic free radicals, but production of Ubiquinone Q10 in the body declines with age and Type 2 diabetics are often found to have lower levels of the substance.

The British Journal of Diabetes piece on Ubiquinone Q10 and diabetes pointed to a number of different clinical studies which showed how Type 2 diabetes sufferers who took Ubiquinone Q10 supplements of between 100mg and 200mg a day over a two to three-month period saw their conditions improve.

The results included:

  • Significantly improved long-term blood sugar and blood pressure control 1
  • Significantly reduced glycated haemoglobon (HbA1c) levels, thereby reducing the risk of developing diabetes-related complications 2
  • Significantly improved fasting plasma glucose levels (a blood sugar level several hours after eating)

Dr David Mantle, author of the study in The British Journal of Diabetes, said: “The body of evidence pointing to the potentially beneficial effects of Ubiquinone Q10 supplements for Type 2 diabetes sufferers is substantial.

“As the article outlines, controlled clinical trials have shown significant benefits in blood sugar control and vascular function for Type 2 diabetics who have taken Ubiquinone Q10 on a regular basis.

“Ubiquinone Q10 is also generally well tolerated with no serious adverse effects reported in long-term use and its safety has also been documented in over 200 randomised controlled trials in a wide range of disorders.

“Taken together, these results are certainly something worth considering by Type 2 diabetes sufferers and healthcare professionals involved in treating and managing the condition.”

Dr Mantle, who is also a medical adviser at Pharma Nord UK, said for Q10 supplementation to be effective, it needs to be absorbed by the body – what is known as bioavailability.

For this he recommends Pharma Nord’s Bio-Quinone Q10.

The NHS recommends that if you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes you should eat healthily, take regular exercise and carry out regular blood test to ensure your blood glucose levels stay balanced.

As type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, medication may eventually be required, usually in the form of tablets.

If you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes you should avoid eating this snack with your breakfast.


Piles: This common cold symptom increases your chances of haemorrhoids - are you at risk?

Piles, also known as haemorrhoids, are swollen blood vessels that are found inside or around the anus, according to the NHS.

Symptoms of piles include bleeding after passing a stool, and having an itchy bottom.

Having a mucus discharge after passing a stool may also be a sign of piles.

You could be more likely to develop haemorrhoids if you’re suffering a cough.

“There are certain situations that increase the chance of piles developing,” said medical website

“Possible causes of piles include heavy lifting or a persistent [chronic] cough.

“Some people may inherit a weakness of the wall of the veins in the anal region.

“The tissues in the lining of the anus may become less supportive as we become older.”

Most coughs are caused by a cold or flu virus.

The risk of becoming infected by a virus increases during cold weather.

That means coughs are more likely during freezing temperatures, and therefore haemorrhoids.

You could also be more likely to develop piles if you’re constipated, overweight or are pregnant.

See your GP if you have persistent symptoms of haemorrhoids, the NHS said.

The symptoms usually clear up by themselves. Alternatively, see a pharmacist for simple treatments that are available over-the-counter.

Some people with haemorrhoids are embarrassed to see their GP about piles.

But, doctors are very used to diagnosing and treating haemorrhoids, the NHS advised.


Diabetes diet - AVOID eating this snack with your breakfast or risk high blood sugar

Diabetes type 2 affects about 4.6 million people in the UK.

The condition is caused by the pancreas not producing enough of the hormone insulin.

Without insulin, sugar in the blood isn’t converted into energy, causing high blood sugar.

Eating fruit-flavoured yogurts could spike your blood sugar, and should be avoided.

“Plain yogurt can be a good option for people with diabetes,” said nutritionist Franziska Spritzler.

“However, fruit-flavoured varieties are a very different story.

“Flavoured yogurts are typically made from non-fat or low-fat milk and loaded with carbs and sugar.

“In fact, a one-cup [245-gram] serving of fruit-flavoured yogurt may contain 47 grams of sugar, meaning nearly 81 per cent of its calories come from sugar.”

White bread, pasta and rice should also be avoided by diabetes patients.

They’re carbohydrate-rich, processed foods that could significantly raise blood sugar levels in type 1 and 2 diabetes patients.

Some fruit juices are packed full of sugar, and can have a similar effect on blood sugar as soft drinks, said Spritzler.

Other foods to avoid include honey, dried fruit, chips, and packaged snack foods.

You can prevent developing diabetes by eating a healthy, balanced diet, according to the NHS.

If you’re overweight, losing weight could help to lower your risk of the condition.

Diabetes patients are up to five times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

The condition is also responsible for most cases of kidney failure and lower limb amputation, other than accidents.


Daily dose of aspirin ‘beats diabetes and heart disease’

High blood pressure WARNING: Dr Hilary claims cold weather increases risk of heart attacks

This week’s freezing temperatures could cause high blood pressure, Dr Hilary Jones said on Lorraine, this morning.

Doctors have issued health warnings over the cold weather, and heart attacks are more common in snowy conditions.

Blood becomes thicker in cold conditions, which increases the blood pressure, Dr Hilary said.

The public must take care and look after themselves during the cold weather, he added.

“There are health hazards at the moment,” said Dr Hilary.

“Heart attacks are more common in cold weather. You see more people shovelling snow from their driveways.

“The blood becomes thicker, blood pressure becomes higher.”

“People with asthma, when they exercise in cold air, it can trigger an attack.

“They need to be very careful about wrapping up warm and putting a scarf over their mouth to warm the air.”

The cold weather can trigger certain health conditions, according to the NHS.

Colds, sore throats and norovirus are all more common during freezing temperatures.

The best way to prevent heart attacks in cold weather is to stay warm in your home.

Heat the main rooms you sue to at least 18 degrees Celsius, and use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed, the NHS added.

High blood pressure affects more than 25 per cent of all UK adults.

The condition increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes.

The only way to find out if your blood pressure is too high is to have it checked.

All adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every five years.


Nuts may hold key to beating colon cancer

Tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews and pecans. Peanuts are legumes.

The study followed 826 participants in a clinical trial for six-and-a-half years after they were treated with surgery and chemotherapy.

Those who regularly consumed at least two one-ounce servings of nuts each week showed a 42 per cent improvement in disease-free survival and a 57 per cent improvement in overall survival.

Senior author Professor Charles Fuchs, director of Yale Cancer Centre in the US, said: “Further analysis revealed that disease-free survival increased by 46 per cent among the sub-group of nut consumers who ate tree nuts rather than peanuts.”

Healthy Lead author Dr Temidayo Fadelu, a postdoctoral fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the US, said: “These findings are in keeping with several other observational studies that indicate that a slew of healthy behaviours, including increased physical activity, keeping a healthy weight, and lower intake of sugar and sweetened beverages – improve colon cancer outcomes.

“The results highlight the importance of emphasising dietary and lifestyle factors in colon cancer survival.”

The researchers said the study also highlighted connections between biological mechanisms that worsen disease – not just in colon cancer, but in certain chronic illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes.

Many previous studies have reported that nuts, among other health benefits, may help to reduce insulin resistance, a condition in which the body has difficulty processing the hormone.

Insulin resistance leads to unhealthy levels of sugar in the blood and is often a predecessor to Type 2 diabetes and related illnesses.

Earlier research among patients with colon cancer has revealed worse outcomes among those with lifestyle factors that heighten insulin resistance, such as obesity, lack of exercise, and a diet with high levels of carbohydrates that quickly raise levels of blood sugar.

Prof Fuchs said: “These studies support the hypothesis that behaviours that make you less insulin resistant – including eating nuts – seem to improve outcomes in colon cancer.

“However, we don’t know yet what exactly about nuts is beneficial.”

He said nuts also might play a positive role by satisfying hunger with less intake of carbohydrates or other foods associated with poor outcomes.

Dr Fuchs acknowledged patients may not be eating nuts owing to concerns about high fat content.

For example, a one-ounce serving of 24 almonds holds about 200 calories, including half a ounce of fat.

But he said: “People ask me if increasing nut consumption will lead to obesity. But what’s really interesting is that in our studies, and across scientific literature in general, regular consumers of nuts tend to be leaner.”

The study findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.


High blood pressure – FIVE cooking tips to slash your hypertension risk

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects more than a quarter of all UK adults, according to the NHS.

Having high blood pressure puts extra strain on your blood vessels and vital organs.

The condition increases your risk of heart attacks, strokes and vascular dementia.

But, you could lower your risk of hypertension by eating more fruit and vegetables.

“Eating more fruit and vegetables has been proven to help lower blood pressure,” said Blood Pressure UK.

“Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and fibre to keep your body in good condition.

“They also contain potassium, which helps to balance out the negative effects of salt. This has a direct effect on your blood pressure, helping to lower it.”

Get the most from your fruit and vegetables by following these tips.


Even just by boiling your vegetables before dinner, you could help to lower your blood pressure.

“If you boil vegetables, use as little water as possible to help keep the vitamins and minerals in them,” said Blood Pressure UK.

The best way to cook your vegetables to lower blood pressure is to steam or bake them.

More vitamins and minerals are locked into the vegetables by cooking them this way, as opposed to boiling or frying them.


When you’re at the supermarket buying your weekly vegetables, it’s best to avoid certain types.

“Don’t buy fruit and vegetable dishes that come with sauces.

“They often contain a lot of fat, salt and sugar.”


It’s best to mix up the types of vegetables you eat with your dinner.

“Vary the types of fruit and vegetables you eat.

“Each has different health benefits and it will keep your meals interesting.

“By eating a range of different vegetables, you’ll make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.”


The longer you leave vegetables before eating them, the more nutrients they lose.

“Try to eat fresh fruit and vegetables as soon as possible.

“They will lose their nutrients over time, so if you want to store your ingredients for a while, it is best to freeze them or buy frozen packets.”


If you’re preparing dinner, but need one and a half onions, what should you do with the remaining half?

“Avoid leaving vegetables open to the air, light or heat if they have been cut.

“Always cover and chill them, but don't soak them because the vitamins and minerals can dissolve away.”


Arthritis symptoms - FIVE ways to prevent and reverse joint pain

Arthritis can affect anyone of any age - including children, according to the NHS.

Symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, inflammation, restricted movement, and having warm, red skin over affected joints.

If left untreated, the condition can become debilitating.

While there’s currently no cure for arthritis, symptoms could be reduced by raising awareness of healthy habits, said Aetna International’s Director of Population Health, Dr Sneh Khemka.

“Arthritis is a tricky condition – it is difficult to predict the onset and severity of disease,” Khemka told

“There are over 100 forms of arthritis; some are genetic, for example rheumatoid arthritis; whereas others are related to age [degenerative], such as osteoarthritis.

“By improving management of arthritis in the community, we can empower patients and give them some of their independence back.”

Engaging with exercise could help to reduce symptoms, said Khemka.

Participating in aerobic activities, such as swimming and hiking, helps to keep joints mobile and strengthens the muscles around the joints.

Certain foods could help to fight inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids - found in oily fish and soybeans - can reduce swelling.

Cherries should be added to your diet, as well as citrus fruits, nuts, dairy products and garlic.

Also, losing weight could help to relieve some arthritis pain, Khemka said.

“Your spine, hip, knees and ankles support your bodyweight. By being overweight you put more pressure on these joints, and are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis.”

Sitting in the same position for long periods of time could increase your risk of joint pain.

If you work in an office, or just enjoy sitting on the sofa watching the television, it’s a good idea to stand up every 30 minutes, to prevent your body from locking up.

It’s also important to prevent excess strain on your joints, said Khemka.

If you’re lifting heavy objects, carry them close to your body, which will lower the strain on wrists and smaller joints.

“It is crucial we identify those at risk and intervene early on,” said the doctor. “If you do develop symptoms, make sure you see your doctor immediately.

“Arthritis is progressive. The longer you leave it, the more damage is done to your joints. Your doctor will help recommend treatments and exercises to preserve your mobility. Early detection is key.”


Pancreatic cancer: THIS number of patients will not receive surgery, chemo or radiotherapy

Just a third will get the treatment that is most likely to keep them alive.

The crisis in caring for sufferers is laid bare today by Pancreatic Cancer UK which reveals those with more common types of the killer disease are twice as likely to receive life-extending or potentially life-saving treatments.

Analysis by the charity shows less than ten per cent of people with pancreatic cancer have surgery compared with almost half of patients with all common cancers.

They will today demand action to address the injustice.

TV and radio presenter Nicholas Owen, 71, who lost his father to pancreatic cancer, said: “I know only too well how much change is needed for all of us affected by this disease.

“My father died in 1981 and since then, there have been very few new treatments introduced and precious little progress in the way that people with the disease are cared for.

“That must urgently change, and I am very proud to be a part of a movement paving the way towards that.”

Pancreatic cancer claims the lives of almost 9,000 people in the UK each year. The charity is fighting to ensure more people struck down by the disease receive life-extending or life-saving treatments and more trials are performed to improve survival rates.

Eight in 10 sufferers are diagnosed at an advanced stage where life-saving treatment is not an option.

The call for action comes as the charity hosts a summit today showcasing innovative pancreatic cancer care from around the UK.

Chief executive Diana Jupp said: “Having a diagnosis is devastating for all patients, but seven in ten are then completely shattered by the news there is no way of treating their cancer.

“All they are offered is some relief for their symptoms, and they face an awful prognosis. We must now bring about a new dawn for people affected by the disease.

“More patients must receive treatment which will give them the best chance of living for longer, or surviving – and everyone diagnosed must receive the best possible treatment and care for them.

“To achieve this step change for people affected, we need patients to be diagnosed earlier and more treatment options for those who are diagnosed.”


Dementia news: Your EYES could predict if you will develop symptoms

Researchers found people whose eyes show signs of small changes in blood vessels at the age of 60 may be more likely to develop thinking and memory problems by the time they are 80 than people with healthy eyes.

The study involved 12,317 people who took tests of memory and thinking skills at the beginning of the study, again about six years later and for a third time about 20 years after the first test.

A special retinal camera was used to take photos of the back of the participants' eyes about three years after the start of the study, when the participants were an average age of 60.

A total of 11,692 people had no signs of retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the retina, 365 people had mild retinopathy and 256 people had moderate to severe damage.

The researchers found that people who had moderate to severe retinopathy were more likely to have bigger drops in their scores on the memory and thinking tests over time than the people who had healthy eyes.

Study author Doctor Jennifer Deal, of Johns Hopkins University in the US, said: “Problems with the small blood vessels in the brain are likely as important a factor in cognitive decline as problems with larger arteries, but we don't have the ability to take pictures of these small vessels with brain imaging.

“Because the blood vessels in the eye and the brain are so similar anatomically, we hypothesised that looking at the blood vessels in the eye would help us understand what was happening in the brain.“

For the people with moderate to severe damage, their average scores on the tests declined by 1.22 standard deviation units over 20 years, compared to a decline of 0.91 standard deviation units for people with healthy eyes.

When the researchers adjusted to take into account people who had missed some of the thinking tests, they found that the difference between the two groups was equal to 0.57 standard deviation units.

Dr Deal added: “To put this in perspective, a previous study using the same methods found that the effect of diabetes on cognitive decline was equal to 0.21 standard deviation units.

“If our study results can be confirmed, differences in retinal integrity could provide reasonable estimates of how much small blood vessel damage in the brain is contributing to cognitive decline.”

Shel said one limitation of the study, published online by the journal Neurology, was that photos were taken in only one eye.


What is psoriatic arthritis? FOUR signs that you have the painful joint condition

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that develops in some psoriasis patients, according to the NHS.

It’s a long-term condition that gets worse over time.

It’s believed to be caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy tissue, just like in psoriasis.

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are similar to both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

“See your GP if you experience persistent pain, swelling or stiffness in your joints – even if you haven't been diagnosed with psoriasis,” said the NHS.

“If you've been diagnosed with psoriasis, you should have check-ups at least once a year to monitor your condition.

“Make sure you let your doctor know if you're experiencing any problems with your joints.”

Signs of psoriatic arthritis can include painful joints or swelling.

Inflammation and restricted movement could also be symptoms of the painful condition.

Some patients experience more extreme symptoms than others, the NHS said.

There may also be times when symptoms improve - known as remission.

Similarly, they could also get worse during certain periods, known as flare-ups.

There’s currently no cure for psoriatic arthritis.

But, certain treatments may help to relieve symptoms and slow down the condition’s progress.

Psoriatic arthritis patients are more likely to develop some other conditions, including cardiovascular disease.

You can lower your risk of these conditions - and reduce your arthritis symptoms - by maintaining a good balance between rest and exercise, and by losing weight if you’re overweight.


Should you take fish oil while pregnant? What is the benefit of fish oil capsules?

Eczema risk was reduced by 22 per cent in children whose mothers took a probiotic supplement between 36 and 38 weeks of pregnancy.

Adding beneficial bacteria to the diet during the first three to six months of breastfeeding had the same effect.

The findings come from one of the biggest investigations of maternal diet and childhood allergy ever undertaken.

Scientists pooled data from more than 400 studies involving 1.5 million mothers and their children.

While clear benefits were seen from fish oil and probiotics, there was no evidence that avoiding potentially allergy-triggering foods such as nuts, dairy produce and eggs during pregnancy had any effect.

Lead researcher Dr Robert Boyle, from Imperial College London, said: "Food allergies and eczema in children are a growing problem across the world.

"Although there has been a suggestion that what a woman eats during pregnancy may affect her baby's risk of developing allergies or eczema, until now there has never been such a comprehensive analysis of the data.

"Our research suggests probiotic and fish oil supplements may reduce a child's risk of developing an allergic condition, and these findings need to be considered when guidelines for pregnant women are updated."

Allergies to foods such as nuts, egg, milk or wheat affect around one in 20 children in the UK.

They are the result of the immune system overreacting to harmless substances, leading to symptoms such as rashes, swelling, vomiting and wheezing.

Eczema, also thought to involve an overactive immune response, affects around one in five children in the UK and causes dry, cracked and itchy skin.

People who suffer from eczema are also more likely to have allergies.

More work is needed to understand how fish oils and probiotics may protect against allergies and eczema, according to study co-author Dr Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, also from Imperial College.

She said: "Despite allergies and eczema being on the rise, and affecting millions of children, we are still hunting for the root causes of these conditions, and how to prevent them.

"This study has provided clues, which we now need to follow with further research."

The new findings appear in the latest issue of the online journal Public Library of Science Medicine.

Previous studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil may help to dampen down an overactive immune system.

Probiotics, taken in the form of capsules, a powder or a health drink, contain live bacteria that may influence the natural balance of microbes in the gut.

Scientists have linked the disruption of naturally occurring gut "flora" to allergy risk.

Commenting on the research, Seif Shaheen, professor of respiratory epidemiology at Queen Mary University of London, said: "More definitive answers on the possible role of maternal probiotic and fish oil supplementation in the prevention of childhood allergic disease can only come from further large trials, which follow up the children to school age.

"If such trials are big enough they may be able to identify particular subgroups of mothers and children who would benefit most from these interventions."


Heart attack WARNING: Women of THIS shape 'are more at risk'

Researchers found that while general obesity and obesity specifically around the abdomen each have 'profound' harmful effects on heart attack risk in both sexes, women were more negatively impacted by higher waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio than men.

The researchers said the findings suggest that the differences in the quantity and distribution of fat tissue not only results in differences in body shape between women and men, but may also have implications for the risk of a heart attack in later life.

The study involved nearly 500,000 British adults aged 40 to 69.

Study lead author Doctor Sanne Peters, Research Fellow in Epidemiology at the George Institute for Global Health at Oxford University, said: "Our findings support the notion that having proportionally more fat around the abdomen - a characteristic of the apple shape - appears to be more hazardous than more visceral fat which is generally stored around the hips, i.e. the pear shape."

She said further research on sex differences in obesity may yield insights into the biological mechanisms and could lead to sex-specific interventions to treat and halt the obesity epidemic.

One in four British adults is obese, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

The UK has the highest level of obesity in Western Europe, ahead of countries such as France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

Obesity levels in the UK have more than trebled in the last 30 years and, on current estimates, more than half the population could be obese by 2050.

Being obese puts people at a higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain cancers.


Brain cancer warning - why you should never ignore feeling sleepy

Brain cancer is caused by cells multiplying in an abnormal way, according to the NHS.

Symptoms of the condition are caused as the tumour takes up space inside the skull.

The signs can develop over a period of time, and patients may not show any symptoms to begin with.

But, you should see a GP if you’re feeling persistently drowsy.

“Some symptoms of a brain tumour are very general and lots of other medical conditions can cause them,” said Cancer Research UK.

“It's unlikely to be a brain tumour, but always get your symptoms checked out.

“You might find you feel drowsy or you are sleeping more. You might be falling asleep during the day.”

The NHS added: “See your GP if you have the above symptoms, particularly if you have a severe and persistent headache.”

Other signs of brain cancer include persistent headaches and seizures.

You should also see a GP if you have progressive weakness, vision and speech problems, and paralysis on one side of the body.

Persistent nausea and vomiting may be signs of the deadly disease.

If your GP can’t identify a cause of the symptoms, they may refer you to a neurologist for further tests.

More than 9,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumours in the UK every year.

About half of all primary brain tumours are cancerous, the NHS said.

You’re more likely to develop the disease is you’re exposed to high levels of radiation.

Losing weight could help to prevent brain cancer, said Cancer Research UK.