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CNM pioneers online natural health diploma courses

Responding to the current worldwide health challenges, the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) is now offering online its internationally recognised diploma and short courses to overwhelming positive response from the public.

CNM graduates and students know:

  • that a healthy and robust body can resist infections better and return to health faster
  • that a strong immune system is important
  • how to boost the immune system naturally

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Cycling to work reduces risk of death, study finds

People who walk and cycle to work have a lower risk of death or serious illness compared with those who commute by car. Researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge analysed census data from over 300,000 commuters in England and Wales to examine the impact that walking, cycling, getting public transport or driving to work has on our health. Data was gathered in 1991, 2001 and 2011.

The researchers found that, compared to the motorists, those who cycled to work had a 20 per cent lower risk of death overall. The cyclists also had a 24 per cent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and a 16 per cent lower risk of dying from cancer. Those who walked to work had a 7 per cent lower risk of cancer diagnosis compared with those who drove. People who commuted by train had a reduced risk of dying (10 per cent lower), of dying from cardiovascular disease (21 per cent lower) and of being diagnosed with cancer (12 per cent lower).

Following these results, the researchers suggest that providing safe, convenient access to cycle infrastructure could reduce deaths from cancer and cardiovascular disease. The findings were published in The Lancet.

Men’s mental health scheme proves a success

A project aimed at tackling the stigma associated with men’s mental health has proved to be a great success. The Team Talk project uses football fandom as a way of engaging with men about their mental health. In its first year, it ran across four locations before switching to a virtual format throughout lockdown.

Research conducted by the University of Derby shows that in just 12 months, 98 per cent of men said attending Team Talk had both improved their mental health and that they were proud to be part of the group. There was also a huge increase in the level of physical activity undertaken by men involved in the group – with a quadrupling in the activity rate among the men.

Last year, a report entitled Tackling the Stigma revealed that in the UK over 4 million working-class men are suffering in silence with their mental health – more likely than other groups but also less likely to be aware of symptoms and to seek help.

Revealed: the nutrients that could help in the fight against Covid-19

Nutrients such as selenium, vitamin D and zinc, along with a healthy gut microbiota have all been highlighted as potential contributors to the fight against the effects of Covid-19. The findings were revealed during the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF)’s virtual conference: Nutrition and Covid-19.

Prof Philip Calder from the University of Southampton highlighted vitamin D, zinc and selenium as being particularly important for anti-viral immunity. He emphasised the various roles zinc plays in the immune system, particularly its specific function in preventing multiplication of single-strand RNA viruses, like the Coronavirus, by inhibiting the enzymes they need to spread. Prof Calder also highlighted that a selenium deficiency can impair immune responses, increase susceptibility to viral infection, permit viruses to mutate, and allow weak viruses to become stronger. Prof Calder presented data suggesting that low levels of vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of Covid-19 infection, as well as hospitalisation, although he stressed that this is an association and so does not provide evidence of causation and that there is currently not enough data available to recommend vitamin D for prevention of Covid-19.

Prof Glenn Gibson from the University of Reading spoke about the potential role of probiotics and prebiotics in supporting the gut microbiome to fight Covid-19. He explained that the gut microbiome is a harbouring site for Covid-19 and clinical outcomes can be governed by the type of gut microbiome the patient has. For example, if the numbers of ‘good bacteria’ in the gut are low it might be more difficult for that individual to fight off the virus.

Prof Gibson also shared promising results from a recent Italian study into the effect of probiotics on the recovery of patients with Covid-19.

Study reveals effect of lockdown on kids’ mental health

A study which is tracking children and young people’s mental health throughout the Covid-19 crisis has found that returning to school has improved children’s mental health.

The Co-SPACE study reported that participating primary school-aged children experienced an increase in mental health difficulties as well as behavioural and restless/attentional difficulties during the first national lockdown (between March and June 2020). However, these problems generally decreased from July throughout the summer holidays, and as children returned to school in September.

Professor Cathy Creswell, Professor of Developmental Clinical Psychology, University of Oxford, and co-lead of the study, said: “Our findings highlight the challenges that children and families faced during the first lockdown when most children were not able to attend school. We are pleased to see that things have generally improved for study families since the pressures of home learning have reduced, but our findings raise concerns about the impact of the ongoing disruption to schooling that many children are dealing with. We don’t yet know the impact of this second lockdown, although children being able to attend school could make all the difference.”

More than 12,300 parents have now taken part in the Co-SPACE (Covid-19 Supporting Parents, Adolescents, and Children in Epidemics) survey led by experts at the University of Oxford. Survey results are helping researchers identify what protects children and young people from deteriorating mental health, over time, and at particular stress points, and how this may vary according to child and family characteristics.

Antibiotics linked to health conditions in children

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic have discovered that antibiotics given to children below the age of two are linked with a number of health conditions.

The researchers analysed data from over 14,500 children based on information from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, a population-based research collaboration. About 70 per cent of the children had received at least one antibiotic treatment for illness before the age of two. Children who had multiple antibiotic treatments had a greater chance of having multiple conditions or illnesses later in childhood. Type and frequency of illness varied depending on age, type of medication, dose and number of doses. Conditions linked with early use of antibiotics included asthma, allergic rhinitis, food allergies, obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, coeliac disease and atopic dermatitis.

Lead author Nathan LeBrasseur, PhD, said: “We want to emphasise that this study shows association – not causation – of these conditions. These findings offer the opportunity to target future research to determine more reliable and safer approaches to timing, dosing and types of antibiotics for children in this age group.”

The true cost of Christmas dinner

A traditional Christmas dinner causes the same climate impact as travelling for three hours in a typical car, claims University of Manchester scientist and author of Food and Climate Change – Without the Hot Air, Sarah Bridle.

According to Sarah, taking into account each family member eating a portion of turkey, three pigs in blankets, some stuffing and roast vegetables, a typical Christmas dinner for six people causes the equivalent of nearly 30kg of carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere.

That’s the equivalent of driving a car for three hours. Nearly half of this comes from producing and cooking the turkey, and almost the same amount comes from producing the stuffing and pigs in blankets.

Sarah Bridle says there are various ways we can reduce the climate impact of Christmas dinner. The simplest tweak is to change the quantities. Halving the amount of meat and doubling the amount of vegetables would reduce the climate impact by 30 per cent. Alternatively, keeping the same portion sizes and switching pigs to veggie sausages and pork to veggie stuffing would reduce the climate impact by one third. Swapping turkey for a nut roast could reduce climate impacts of the main item by five times, whereas going all-out vegan brings down the total emissions of the Christmas dinner by three times, compared to the traditional version, down to less than 9kg of carbon dioxide per family. That’s equivalent to driving a car for less than an hour.

‘Modest’ weight loss nearly halves the risk of diabetes

Losing a few kilograms in weight almost halves people’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, new research has revealed.

The findings, which were published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, come from the Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study (NDPS) which ran over eight years and involved more than 1,000 people with prediabetes at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The study found that helping participants to make modest lifestyle changes, including losing 2 to 3 kg of weight and increased physical activity over two years, reduced the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 40 to 47 per cent for those categorised as having prediabetes. Importantly these changes were sustained for at least two years and the weight lost was not put back on.

Prof Mike Sampson, NDPS Chief Investigator, said: “We have now shown a significant effect in Type 2 diabetes prevention, and we can be very optimistic that even a modest weight loss, and an increase in physical activity, in real world programmes like this have a big effect on the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. This is really great news for the eight million people in the UK with a prediabetes diagnosis.”

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