Can Tea Help Lower Diabetes Risk?

September 28th, 2022

Cup of tea sitting on a saucerResearchers studying the impact of tea found that drinking four or more cups of black, green or oolong tea every day was linked to a 17 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the course of a decade.

Tea Found to Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

The team did a meta-analysis of 19 studies that included more than one million adults from eight countries. 

The research team did a systematic review of all studies investigating tea drinking and the risk of type 2 diabetes in adults up to September 2021. The team looked at three types of tea and the frequency of the cups, including less than one cup per day, one to three cups per day, and four or more cups per day. They also considered gender and whether participants were in Europe, the United States or Asia.

Researchers found that with each cup consumed, tea drinkers reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by one percent. Compared to people who didn’t drink tea, adults who drank one to three cups daily reduced their risk by four percent. Those who consumed at least four cups a day reduced their risk by 17 percent. This happened regardless of location, gender or type of tea.    

Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a life-long disease that keeps your body from using insulin the way it should. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be so mild that you don’t notice them. About eight million people who have it don’t know it. Symptoms include:

  • Being cranky
  • Being very thirsty
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue/feeling worn out
  • Feeling hungry
  • Frequent urination
  • Persistent yeast infections
  • Tingling or numbness in your hands or feet
  • Weight loss without trying
  • Wounds that don’t heal

There are about 29 million people in the U.S. with type 2 diabetes. Another 84 million have prediabetes, meaning their blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be diabetes yet.

What IAA has to Say

Any new research on diabetes is something Insurance Administrator of America likes to hear about. Researchers are finding new information every day, and IAA wants to make sure you are in the know.

New Scientific Method of Putting Baby to Bed

September 21st, 2022

Baby bottle that is filled with milkA new study hands parents a simple technique to help put crying babies to sleep.

The 13 Minute Method

Researchers in Japan found that walking around while carrying infants for five minutes calmed the newborns and another eight minutes of sitting while holding the sleeping babies quietly, made the transfer to the crib smooth.

The team studied the calming process by using a baby ECG machine and video cameras to compare changes in heart rate and behavior as 21 mothers performed some activities that are common for calming infants, including holding baby while sitting.

The researchers were able to record detailed data from babies who were crying, awake and calm or sleeping. The idea was to track changes in both behavior and physiology with great precision.

The team found that walking for five minutes promoted sleep, but only for crying infants. This was absent when the baby was already calm.

Regardless, all the babies in the study had stopped crying by the end of the five-minute walk and had lowered their heart rates. Forty-six percent of the infants were asleep and an additional 18 percent fell asleep within another few minutes, the study found.

The study found that babies were extremely sensitive to all movements by their mothers, their heart rates changing when their mothers stopped walking or just turned. The most significant event that disturbed the sleeping infants happened just when they became separated from their mothers, pin-pointing the problem of having a sleeping baby wake just as the infant is put down. Specifically, babies woke up if they were put down before they got eight minutes of sleep.  

To resolve this, the study suggests caregivers should carry a crying baby steadily for about five minutes with few abrupt movements, followed by about eight minutes of sitting before laying them down for sleep.

The findings were published in “Current Biology.”

Infant Sleep Patterns

Sleep patterns will change over the first year of a baby’s life, including the number of hours of sleep needed and the duration of sleep periods throughout the day and night:

  • 0 to 3 months: It is normal for newborns to spend 14 to 17 hours asleep in a 24 hour period.
  • 3 to 6 months: Starting around three months of age, an infant’s daily sleep needs drop to 12 to 15 hours.
  • 6 to 12 months: From six months onward, babies do the bulk of sleeping at night.

A realistic goal is to help your baby sleep consecutively throughout the night by the time they reach their first birthday.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America knows that crying tired babies are no fun for anyone! IAA hopes that this new study might help new parents in some way.

Can Blood Type Affect Stroke Risk?

September 14th, 2022

Blood cellsThe risk of suffering a stroke at an early age may depend partly on a person's blood type, a large study suggests.

Blood Type and Stroke Risk

A new study suggests that blood type is more strongly tied to the risk of ischemic stroke at a younger age (before age 60) compared to later in life. Type A blood specifically stood out as a risk factor.

Why would blood type make a difference in stroke risk? Ischemic strokes (which account for most strokes) occur when a clot blocks the blood flow to the brain. It is known that non-O blood types have higher levels of certain proteins called von Willebrand factor and factor VIII, that contribute to clot formation.

Furthermore, blood type A was also linked to a heightened risk of venous thromboembolism, where clots form in the veins. Again, blood type made a bigger difference for people younger than 60, versus older adults.

The new research comes from 48 studies across the globe. They include roughly 17,000 people who had suffered an ischemic stroke before age 60, along with a group who suffered a stroke at an older age and a comparison group of healthy individuals. Looking at the participants’ genetic profiles, the researchers searched for gene variants that were linked to the risk of early stroke. The only strong hit they turned up was a chromosome region that includes the ABO gene, which determines blood type.

Researchers stress that blood type is not a strong influence: on average, they found, people with type A blood had a 16 percent higher risk of having a stroke before age 60, versus people with other blood types.

Many things affect a person’s stroke risk, including factors (unlike blood type) that can be changed. People can:

  • Avoid smoking
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Gain control over high blood pressure, diabetes and other health conditions that raise stroke risk
  • Get regular exercise

The findings were published in the journal “Neurology.”

Different Blood Types

There are multiple blood types:

  • A-: Only 1 in 16 people have A- blood.
  • A+: One in three people are A+, which is why it is one of the most common blood types.
  • B-: Less than two percent of the population have B- blood.
  • B+: About nine percent of the population have B+ blood.
  • O-: O- is the most common blood type for transfusions when the blood type is unknown. O-  is the universal blood type.
  • O+: 38 percent of the population has O+ blood, making it the most common blood type.
  • AB-: Less than one percent of the U.S. population have AB- blood, making it the least common blood type among Americans.
  • AB+: Less than four percent of the U.S. population have AB+ blood.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to be kept up to date on the world of health. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

Sound in the News

September 7th, 2022

Woman looking like she has a headacheNew research on the topic of sound has made headlines. See below for what scientists have found out about sounds and our health.

Misophonia and the Brain

Misophonia is a disorder in which certain sounds cause extreme feelings of anger and disgust.

Up to now, it has been thought that misophonia was triggered by sounds related to the mouth and nose –chewing, sniffling, lip-smacking, and breathing. But new research shows that other common sounds and noises might trigger misophonia: finger tapping, the click of high-heeled shoes, and the whir of an electric fan.

Misophonia can cause such a visceral reaction that it prompts a primal fight or flight response.

Previous studies have suggested that misophonia is caused by overly sensitive connections between the brain center that processes sound and the motor control areas of the mouth and face. But the new study shows that even though sound triggers misophonia; the brain’s auditory center might have nothing to do with it. Misophonia instead appears to be linked to the insula, a part of the brain associated with strong emotions that include disgust, according to the findings.

In the study, 19 adults underwent MRI brain scans as they performed various tasks—saying certain nonsense syllables like “ba ga ra da” out loud or tapping their fingers on their leg.

People more powerfully beset by symptoms of misophonia had stronger connections between the insula and the brain regions associated with motor movements, the study showed. At the same time, researchers found no connection at all to the brain’s auditory center.

Why Sound Helps with Pain

While doctors and researchers have long known about a connection between sound and how it helps the body with pain, the “why” isn’t well understood. New research suggests something deeper is at work.

It is not only music that has a pain reducing effect. Many types of sounds or noises can help researchers found, if they’re played at the right volume that is.

Noises played at low volume appear to blunt activity in parts of the brain responsible for signaling pain.

In the study, scientists injected mice with a solution that caused discomfort in their paws. They then put on a variety of sounds at different intensities, ranging from pleasant music to white noise and watched for any changes in the rodents’ behavior. What they saw is that sound appeared to help reduce the pain.

The ideal volume for pain relief was just five decibels above room noise, researchers found.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to be up to date with what’s going on in the world of health. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

Scientists Find Safer Method for Destroying “Forever Chemicals”

September 2nd, 2022

Bio Hazard SignScientists may have a safer way to destroy PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals.”

Destroying PFAS

PFAS, which stands for polyfluoroalkyl substances, is a class of synthetic chemicals used in the manufacture of consumer products. PFAS can linger permanently in the air, water and soil, which is why they are often referred to as “forever chemicals.”

For years scientists have tried to find ways to break down PFAS. A new study shows that PFAS can be destroyed using two relatively harmless chemicals: sodium hydroxide (lye) and dimethyl sulfoxide (medication for bladder pain).

The scientists added PFAS molecules to a solution of lye and dimethyl sulfoxide and exposed them to temperatures of up to 248 degrees Fahrenheit. The chemicals degraded into fluoride ions and other harmless byproducts.

Previously, the only way to break down PFAS was to expose the particles to extremely high temperatures in an incinerator. But that process can still release harmful chemicals into the environment. The new method appears to be safer and more energy efficient.

Dangers of PFAS

PFAS were invented in the 1930s and used in nonstick and waterproof coatings for consumer goods starting in the 1940s and 50s. Since then, the chemicals have been found in all types of household items, including carpets, cookware and personal care products.

The chemicals are associated with:

  • High cholesterol
  • Increased risk of certain cancers
  • Low birthweight
  • Thyroid disease

Currently, PFAS can be filtered out of water but then need to be destroyed somehow. If the chemicals are dumped in a landfill or tossed in an incinerator, they can still pollute the environment.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to be aware of what is going on in the world of health. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

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