Vaping may boost pneumonia risk: study

Updated 08 February 2018
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Vaping may boost pneumonia risk: study

PARIS: Vaping may help pneumonia-causing bacteria stick to cells lining the airways, likely boosting disease risk, researchers said Thursday.
A study published in the European Respiratory Journal did not directly compare vaping’s effect to that of smoking tobacco cigarettes.
But the findings did suggest that users of electronic cigarettes may be at higher risk of lung infection than people who do not vape, the research team reported.
“If you choose to take up e-cigarettes... this indicates a red flag that there may be an increased susceptibility” to pneumococcal bacteria, study co-author Jonathan Grigg of the Queen Mary University of London told AFP.
Grigg and a team conducted three types of experiment. One exposed human nose lining cells to e-cigarette vapor in the lab, another involved mice inhaling vapor and then being exposed to pneumococcal bacteria, the main cause of pneumonia.
A third trial studied the nose lining of 11 e-cigarette users compared to six non-vapers.
The team noticed a sharp increase in the amount of bacteria sticking to airway cells after e-cigarette exposure. Such adhesion has previously been shown to increase susceptibility to disease.
“Some people may be vaping because they think it is totally safe, or in an attempt to quit smoking, but this study adds to growing evidence that inhaling vapor has the potential to cause adverse health effects,” said Grigg.
“By contrast, other aids to quitting such as (nicotine) patches or gum do not result in airway cells being exposed to high concentrations of potentially toxic compounds.”


Last month, a US study said vaping may increase cancer risk because it leads to DNA damage, despite containing fewer carcinogens than tobacco smoke.
That study, too, did not compare the effects of cigarette smoking directly to vaping.
Research in the journal Tobacco Control last October said a large-scale switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes would prevent millions of premature deaths by the year 2100, even assuming the gadgets are themselves not risk-free.
E-cigarettes, said to contain no tar and fewer toxins than tobacco cigarettes, were developed as a safer alternative to tobacco smoking.
But many people fear that a harmless veneer may make e-cigarettes a “gateway” for young people to lifelong nicotine addiction.
Commenting on the latest study, Peter Openshaw, an experimental medicine professor at Imperial College London, said any evidence that vaping raised lung infection risk was “only indirect.”
“Although it is possible that vaping might increase susceptibility to pneumonia, the effect is likely to be lower than from smoking itself,” he said via the Science Media Center.
“This study should not be used as a reason to continue to smoke rather than vape — the evidence to date is that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking.”


Low-carb diet linked to elevated mortality risk: study

Updated 17 August 2018
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Low-carb diet linked to elevated mortality risk: study

  • Rapid shift 10,000 years ago to grains, dairy and legumes has not allowed the human body enough time to adapt to these high-carb foods, say researchers
  • Replacing meat with plant-based fats (such as avocados and nuts) and proteins (such as soy products and lentils) reduces the risk of mortality

PARIS: Middle-aged people who get roughly half their daily calories from carbohydrates live several years longer on average than those with low-carb diets, researchers reported Friday.
The findings, published in The Lancet, challenge a trend in Europe and North America toward so-called Paleo diets that shun carbohydrates in favor of animal protein and fat.
Proponents of these “Stone Age” diets argue that the rapid shift 10,000 years ago — with the advent of agriculture — to grains, dairy and legumes has not allowed the human body enough time to adapt to these high-carb foods.
For the study, under 40 percent of energy intake from carbohydrates qualifies as a low-carb regimen, though many such diets reduce the share to 20 percent or less.
At the other extreme, a 70 percent or higher share of carbohydrates — such as pasta, rice, cakes, sugary drinks — can also reduce longevity, but by far less, the scientists found.
“Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with protein or fat are gaining widespread popularity as a health and weight loss strategy,” said lead author Sara Seidelmann, a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“However, our data suggests that animal-based low carbohydrate diets might be associated with shorter overall lifespan and should be discouraged.”
Replacing meat with plant-based fats (such as avocados and nuts) and proteins (such as soy products and lentils) reduces the risk of mortality, Seidelmann and her team found.
The optimal balance of food groups for longevity remains hotly debated.
Many studies have concluded that eating carbohydrates in moderation — 45 to 55 percent calories — is best, but others report improved short-term, cardio-metabolic health with high-protein, high-fat diets.
Measures of metabolic health include blood pressure, good and bad cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
Seidelmann and colleagues poured over the medical histories of nearly 15,500 men and women who were 45-64 when they enrolled — between 1987 and 1889 — in a health survey spread across four locations in the United States.
Participants filled out detailed questionnaires about their dietary habits — what foods, how much, how often, etc.
Over a 25-year follow up period, more than 6,000 of the men and women died.
People who got 50-55 percent of their calories from carbohydrates outlived those with very low-carb diets, on average, by four years, and those with high-carb diets by one year.
A review of medical records for an additional 432,000 people from earlier studies yield confirmed the results, which are also in line with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.
“There is nothing to be gained from long-term adherence to low-carbohydrate diets rich in fats and proteins from animal origins,” said Ian Johnson, a nutrition researcher at Quadram Institute Bioscience in Norwich, England, commenting on the research, in which he did not take part.
But carb quality, not just quantity, is crucial he added.
“Most should come from plant foods rich in dietary fiber and intact grains, rather than from sugary beverages or manufactured foods high in added sugar.”
Fibers also help maintain a healthy gut flora, now considered to be a major player in health and disease.