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High blood pressure linked to racial segregation

Raghu Kshitiz

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Unhealthy gut bacteria may also hike blood pressure

KATHMANDU — A study led by the researchers of National Institutes of Health has found people living in racially segregated neighborhoods are at a higher risk of high blood pressure.

The researchers, in a study involving more than 2,000 African-Americans, found that black adults living in racially segregated neighborhoods had an increased risk of high blood pressure, but moving away from segregated neighborhoods was linked with a reduction in blood pressure enough to reduce heart attacks and strokes.

“Our study suggests that the stress and the inadequate access to health-promoting resources associated with segregation may play a role in these increases in blood pressure,” said Dr. David Goff, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, or NHLBI, of NIH, in a press release.

For the study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers examined blood pressure readings for 2,280 black adults who participated in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study, focusing on adults age 18 to 30 who were initially screened in 1985 and 1986 who were followed several times over 25 years.

“While stress raises blood pressure, access to health-promoting resources, such as full service grocery stores, recreation centers and health care clinics, is critical to keeping blood pressure at healthier levels.”

The study found that when neighborhoods were more segregated, participants had small but statistically significant increases in systolic blood pressure, while reductions in segregation correlated with a decrease in blood pressure.

The study showed the most significant improvements occurred in individuals who lived in highly segregated neighborhoods and moved to less segregated ones, with systolic blood pressure dropping 3mm to 5mm Hg.

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“This is a powerful effect,” said Kiarri Kershaw, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

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Health

Red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase risk of colon cancer

Raghu Kshitiz

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Heavy diet like red meats, refined grains, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

These foods all increase inflammation in our body, and the inflammation they cause is associated with a higher chance of developing colon cancer, according to pooled data from two major health studies appeared in JAMA Oncology journal.

According to researchers, a diet high in foods with the potential to cause inflammation, including meats, refined grains and high-calorie beverages, was associated with increased risk of developing colorectal cancer for men and women.

Basically, what makes for a healthy diet overall also appears to promote a cancer-free colon, said senior researcher Dr. Edward Giovannucci. He is a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

“It’s consistent with what we already recommend for a healthy diet in general,” Giovannucci said, adding “I see that as good news. We’re supporting the current evidence, and not telling people to do something completely different from what they’ve been told.”

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For the study, conducted by Fred K Tabung from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, the team analysed 1,21,050 male and female health care professionals, who were followed for 26 years in long-term studies. The researchers completed the food questionnaires about what they ate, on the basis of which data analysis was done last year.

The scores were based on 18 food groups characterised for their inflammatory potential and were then calculated from the questionnaires given to participants every four years.

The results indicated that higher scores reflecting inflammation-causing diets were associated with a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer in men and women.

Previous studies have linked diet factors with colon cancer, but there’s been no clear explanation why that might be, he added.

With Agency Inputs

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