Lack of Vitamin D in Diabetics May Triple Risk of Early Death

A recent Austrian study suggests that lack of vitamin D in people diagnosed with diabetes may triple the risk of early death.Lack of Vitamin D in Diabetics May Triple Risk of Early Death

For their study, the researchers analyzed records of 78,581 diabetics of all ages that have been treated at the General Hospital of Vienna in Austria from 1991 to 2011. After that, these data were matched with the Austrian national register of deaths 20 years later.

The analysis showed that patient that were considered deficient (vitamin D levels less than 50 nmol/L) were associated with a double or triple increase of risk of early death from any cause.

The researchers said: “Our survival data… confirm a strong association of vitamin D deficiency (under 50 nmol/L) with increased mortality. This association is most pronounced in the younger and middle-aged groups and for causes of deaths other than cancer and cardiovascular disease, especially diabetes.”

Regular Exercise May Slow Down Alzheimer’s Disease

A new study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease, suggests that regular exercise, 4–5 times per week, may slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in people with buildups of beta-amyloid protein in the brain.Regular Exercise May Slow Down Alzheimer’s Disease

The study included 70 participants aged 55 and over who were diagnosed with amnestic mild cognitive impairment. The researchers monitored the effect of a progressive, moderate to the high-intensity program of aerobic exercise on cognitive and executive function, as well as brain volume and cortical levels of beta-amyloid.

Lead author of the study prof. Rong Zhang says: “If these findings can be replicated in a larger trial, then maybe one day doctors will be telling high-risk patients to start an exercise plan. In fact, there’s no harm in doing so now.”

Ambient Black Carbon Particles Can Cross the Placenta

A new study, published in the Nature Communications, finds that black carbon particles can get into the part of the placenta that feeds the developing fetus.Ambient Black Carbon Particles Can Cross the Placenta

To check the influence of the soot, a team of researchers examined placentas from 5 pre-term and 23 full-term births. With the help of high-resolution imaging, the scientists detected particles of black carbon in the fetal side of every placenta taken for examination.

Of all the participants, 10 mothers who lived in high traffic areas and were exposed to the highest levels of pollution during pregnancy had the highest levels of particles in the placenta.

The scientists write in their paper: “Our results demonstrate that the human placental barrier is not impenetrable for particles. Further research will have to show whether the particles cross the placenta and reach the fetus.”

Virtual Reality Training May Contribute to Employee Safety

Researchers from the Human Factors Research Group, University of Nottingham, suggest that virtual reality (VR) training in Health and Safety can help improve employee safety at the workplace.Virtual Reality Training May Contribute to Employee Safety

For the study, scientists developed a VR system stimulating the perception of temperature, and senses of smell, sight and hearing to find out how participants would behave in health and safety training scenarios.

Dr. Glyn Lawson, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, comments: “Health and safety training can fail to motivate and engage employees and can lack relevance to real-life contexts. Our research, which has been funded by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, suggests that virtual environments can help address these issues, by increasing trainees’ engagement and willingness to participate in further training.”

Physical Fitness Connected to Better Cognitive Performance

According to a recent study, conducted by researchers from University Hospital Muenster in Germany, physical fitness is associated with improved cognitive performance.Physical Fitness Connected to Better Cognitive Performance

For their study, the researchers took data from the Human Connectome Project, which included MRI brain scans taken from 1,206 adults whose average age was 28.8 years.

Also, 1,204 participants underwent some further tests among which were a walking test for 2 minutes where researchers noted the distance. Besides, 1,187 participants also completed cognitive tests where volunteers’ memory, reasoning, sharpness, and judgment, among other parameters were assessed.

The study authors conclude in their paper: “With the present work, we provide evidence for a positive relationship between [physical fitness] and both white matter microstructure as well as cognitive performance in a large sample of healthy young adults.”