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Where You Live Linked to Respiratory Risks

Posted Mar 01 2013 10:24pm
Posted on Feb. 26, 2013, 6 a.m. in Environment Allergy Respiratory

Worldwide variations in allergy prevalence suggest that geographic factors may contribute to asthma.  Previous ecologic studies have suggested that latitude, a marker of UV-B exposure and allergen exposures, may be related to clinical allergies. Vicka Oktaria, from the University of Melbourne (Australia), and colleagues analyzed data collected in the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study, a population-based study of respiratory disease spanning childhood to adulthood with a most recent follow-up including a postal survey of 5,729 participants and a clinical substudy of 1,396 participants.  The team observed that those living near the equator are at an increased risk of developing allergy and asthma.  Positing that because UV-B ray exposure is higher for people living in areas closer to the equator, this increase may be linked to vitamin D, which is thought to modify the immune system – these modifications could lead to elevated risk of developing allergy risk. 

Vicka Oktaria, Shyamali C. Dharmage, John A. Burgess, Julie A. Simpson, Stephen Morrison, Graham G. Giles, et al.  “Association between latitude and allergic diseases: a longitudinal study from childhood to middle-age.”  Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Volume 110, Issue 2, February 2013, Pages 80-85.e1

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Tip #129 - Carrots Count
Carrots are rich in beta carotene, a free-radical fighting compound shown to protect against ultraviolet damage and help to enhance the immune system.

Harvard Medical School (Massachusetts, USA) researchers reported long-term benefits relating to general cognition and verbal memory, among men taking beta carotene supplements (50 mg every other day) for fifteen or more years. Because beta carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body, the team suggests that beta carotenes exert their protective benefits on cognition by preventing the build-up of plaques associated with beta-amyloid deposits, which are associated with loss of cognitive function and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

As well, carrots may help promote cardiovascular health. In a study involving 559 men followed for fifteen years, a team from Wageningen University (The Netherlands) found that an increased consumption of alpha- and beta-carotene in the diet significantly reduced the risks of heart disease deaths. Specifically, the team found that the increased intake of carrots, rich in alpha- and beta-carotene, corresponded to a 17% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular-related death.

Crunchy and colorful, carrots are a smart choice for a mid-day snack or featured in a salad or side dish for dinner.
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