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Boosting Vitamin D, treating depression improves heart health: Study

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MIAMI — Taking steps to recover from depression and boost vitamin D levels may improve heart health, according to new research.

The discoveries were contained in two studies presented at the American College of Cardiology conference in Chicago on Saturday (local time).

The first focused on depression, a known risk factor for heart attack, stroke and even death.

Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Centre Heart Institute in Salt Lake City studied a registry of more than 7,500 people, and found when depressed patients got effective treatment, they could lower their risk of heart damage to the same level as a person who never suffered from depression.

“Our study shows that prompt, effective treatment of depression appears to improve the risk of poor heart health,” said Heidi May, a cardiovascular epidemiologist with the Intermountain Medical Centre Heart Institute.

However, those who remained depressed had higher rates of heart problems, at a rate of about 6 per cent, compared to around 4 per cent of people without depression.

“The key conclusion of our study is: If depression isn’t treated, the risk of cardiovascular complications increases significantly,” Ms May said.

A second study, also led by May, focused on two measures of vitamin D, which when too low can predict the likelihood of heart attack, stroke, heart failure or death.

Some 4,200 people aged 52 to 76 were studied. Most already had coronary artery disease (70 percent) and one quarter were diabetic.

For doctors who treat these patients, the most important measures of vitamin D are known as total vitamin D and bioavailable vitamin D, since both were “the most accurate in predicting harmful cardiovascular events,” said the findings.

“Our study found that low levels of both total vitamin D and bioavailable vitamin D appear to be associated with poor cardiovascular outcomes,” said May.

“And evaluating usable vitamin D could mean the difference on the amount of vitamin D prescribed, if it’s prescribed at all.”

May added that more research was needed to examine Caucasian and African-American patients, since these groups are known to be affected differently by vitamin D.

AFP

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2 Nepalis in Lhasa jail for smuggling gold

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RASUWA — Two Nepali youths are reported to be in a jail in Lhasa of China, on the charge of their involvement in gold smuggling.

Gyal Dorje Tamang of Gosaikunda Rural Municipality-5 in Rasuwa and Bikash Waiba of Hakubesi of Aamachhodongmo Rural Municipality were detained in Chinese territory by the customs department informers of the Tibet government around a month ago as they were about to enter Nepal on a truck bearing the Nepali number plate.

The Chinese side confiscated nine pieces of precious yellow metal from the two, Rasuwa District Police Office quoted the Nepal Consulate General Office in Lhasa as saying.

According to Rasuwa DPO’s Inspector of Police Dhruba Silwal, further details regarding the case are awaited.

It may be noted that the Chinese side has already started implementing the proposal floated by the Nepali side during the past border-security meetings to increase its surveillance in such illegal affairs bearing in mind increasing smuggling of gold into Nepali territory via China, as Silwal said.

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