A condition that commonly increases with age, small vessel disease occurs due to microangiopathy of arterioles in the brain, making these arteries less flexible, thereby potentially interfering with blood flow. As a result, loss of motor coordination, including balance, as well as cognitive impairment may occur. Yasuharu Tabara, from Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine (Japan), and colleagues assessed 841 women and 546 men, average age of 67 years, for the ability to stand on one leg (eyes open). Subjects performed this examination twice and the better of the two times was used in the study analysis. Cerebral small vessel disease – small infarctions without symptoms such as lacunar infarction and microbleeds, was evaluated using brain magnetic resonance imaging. Researchers found that the inability to balance on one leg for longer than 20 seconds was associated with cerebral small vessel disease.
As well, the team observed that 34.5% of those with more than two lacunar infarction lesions had trouble balancing; 16% of those with one lacunar infarction lesion had trouble balancing; 30% of those with more than two microbleed lesions had trouble balancing; and 15.3^ with one microbleed lesion had trouble balancing. The study authors conclude that: “Postural instability was found to be associated with early pathological changes in the brain and functional decline, even in apparently healthy subjects.”
Tabara Y, Okada Y, Ohara M, Uetani E, Kido T, Ochi N, Nagai T, Igase M, Miki T, Matsuda F, Kohara K. “Association of postural instability with asymptomatic cerebrovascular damage and cognitive decline: the Japan shimanami health promoting program study.” Stroke. 2015 Jan;46(1):16-22.
An estimated one-third of all cancers may be attributable to excess body fat – including cancers of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, reproductive organs, urinary tract, blood, bone, and thyroid. Nour Makarem, from New York University (New York, USA), and colleagues analyzed medical and dietary data collected on 2,983 men and women enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study. To ascertain the relationship between the cancer prevention recommendations and cancer incidence, the researchers created a seven-point score based on the recommendations for body fat, physical activity, foods that promote weight gain, plant foods, animal foods, alcohol consumption, and food preparation and processing. Whereas the overall score did not associate with obesity-related cancer risk, the team did observe that when score components were evaluated separately, two different measures emerged as strong predictors of cancer risk.
Specifically, the adherence to alcohol recommendations – limiting alcoholic drinks to two for men and one for women a day — was protective against obesity-related cancers combined and against breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers.
In addition, among participants who consume starchy vegetables, eating sufficient non-starchy plant foods (fruits, vegetables, and legumes) was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
The study authors conclude that: “Lower alcohol consumption and a plant-based diet consistent with the cancer prevention guidelines were associated with reduced risk of obesity-related cancers in this population.”
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Source: Nour Makarem, Yong Lin, Elisa V. Bandera, Paul F. Jacques, Niyati Parekh. “Concordance with World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) guidelines for cancer prevention and obesity-related cancer risk in the Framingham Offspring cohort (1991–2008).” Cancer Causes & Control, 6 Jan. 2015.