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Is poor diet behind the teenage mental health crisis?

Young people are eating more saturated fats or trying more fad diets
The extremes are driving physical and mental health issues globally
Leading nutritionist Fiona Hunter breaks down the deficiencies and explains how young people can fight depression or anxiety with diet
By Fiona Hunter For Dailymail.com

 

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Fiona Hunter, one of the UK’s leading nutritionists, takes a look at the possible correlation between the emerging mental health crisis in teenagers and how this could be linked to the lack of vital vitamins and minerals in teenagers.

This week, the research found that young people aged 16 to 25 are the unhappiest generation in a decade, with one in four feeling ‘hopeless’ on a regular basis, and nearly half have experienced a mental health problem.

Eating a healthy balanced diet is not usually high up on the ‘to-do’ list for most teenagers and young adults – one reason is that they feel invincible, things like heart disease and cancer are problems that ‘old’ people need to worry about.

They feel fit and healthy and have plenty of energy so why do they worry about what they eat?

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What they don’t know is that the seeds of many of the diseases that people suffer from later in life are sown early in life.

It’s not common for teens to prioritize vitamins and minerals – but a nutritionist warns it could be crucial for their mental health +1
It’s not common for teens to prioritize vitamins and minerals – but a nutritionist warns it could be crucial for their mental health

Indeed, autopsies carried out on soldiers, fit young men, who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, found that one in 12 showed early signs of heart disease.

Even young wellness warriors aren’t guaranteed to get all the nutrients they need from their diet – in fact many experts warn that they may have an even greater risk of deficiency because of their restrictive diets.

But do they realize what it’s doing to their mental health?

Recently published findings from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) revealed that many teenagers have shockingly low levels of several key vitamins and minerals, which say, experts, may be linked with the rise in mental health problems but it also means they are storing up all sorts of health problems for later in life.

‘As the Princes Trust report highlights, emotional wellbeing is made up of a number of different factors,’ Dr Jen Nash, a clinical psychologist who specializes in food behaviour and founder of Eating Blueprint, says.

‘The decrease in balanced nutrition shown on the NDNS report can only serve to influence the rise in emotional instability, given that the brain, moods and cognition are influenced by dietary factors.

‘Nutritional intake is a factor that parents have little control of outside the home, so if we can do our best to ensure our teenagers are achieving a wide range of vitamins and minerals when they are at home, all the better.

‘Schools and colleges also have an important role to play to ensure choices available are led by nutritional needs of growing bodies and minds.’

Here, I explain the issues driving poor diet and mental health, and how to get around it.

 

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Teenagers simply not getting enough of what they need

One of the most shocking findings from the NDNS was the fact that only eight percent of young people aged between 11-18 ate the recommended five or more portions of fruit and or veg – with the average intake being a meagre 2.8 portions a day.

Given the lack of fruit and veg that young people are eating it’s no surprise that NDNS also found that key nutrients found in fruit and vegs like the B vitamin folate and the minerals magnesium and potassium were also low. Almost in one in three girls (28 percent) aged between 11-18 had levels of folate in their red blood cells which is indicative of a long-term deficiency of folate.

Low levels of folate and omega-3 fats, also known to be lacking in teenagers diet have also been liked with depression and other mental health problems.

Another real cause for concern is the number of young people who fail to get enough calcium in their diet.

Calcium is particularly important for children, teenagers and young adults because their bones are still growing and this is when calcium is laid down in the bones – the more calcium that is deposited in the bones while they are growing the lower the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

Osteoporosis affects one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 in the UK but the window of opportunity of reducing the risk later in life is while the bones are still growing.

We can’t just blame sugar and obesity

The results of the NDNS make scary reading because it suggests that teenagers represent a ticking time bomb for health problems.

The scary thing is that its not simply one or two vitamins that they are missing out on it’s a whole host and this nutrient gap has been largely ignored as we focus on things like sugar, and obesity, which of course are important but we need to remember that they are only part of the picture.

WHAT TEENS LACK…
In the 11-18 age group intakes of several vitamins and minerals were shockingly low, the NDNS revealed.

Almost one in three (28 percent) of girls and 15 percent of boys had low levels of folate
16 percent of children had low levels of Vitamin A
One in four girls had low levels of riboflavin (vitamin B2)
Nearly one in two girls (48 percent) of girls had low levels of iron
19 percent of girls and 12 percent of boys had low intake of calcium
48 percent of girls and 27 percent of boys had a low intake of magnesium
44 percent of girls and 23 percent of boys had a low intake of selenium
22 percent of girls and 17 percent of boys had a low intake of zinc
33 percent of girls and 15 percent of boys had a low intake of potassium
10 percent of girls and 15 percent of boys had a low intake of iodine
…WHAT THEY NEED
Folate – good sources include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, chicken peas, peas, fortified breakfast cereals

Vitamin B2 – good sources include milk, dairy, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals

Iron – good sources include red meat, beans and pulses, dried fruit fortified, breakfast cereals

Calcium – good sources include milk and dairy products, almonds, broccoli

Magnesium – good sources include green leafy vegetables, nuts, wholemeal bread, brown rice

Selenium – good sources include brazil nuts, fish, meat and eggs

Zinc – good sources include meat, shellfish, cheese, wheat germ

Potassium – good sources include fruit and vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds

Iodine – good sources include sea fish and shellfish

How can young people eat better?

1. Don’t use snacks as substitutes for proper meals

Teenagers and young adults are a generation of grazers but it can be hard to get all the nutrients you need if you’re only eating snacks. Many snacks are high in fat, sugar and salt and short on vitamins, minerals and fibre so if you are going to snack then be snack smart – choose snacks that are fortified with and make a positive contribution to your diet.

2. Plan ahead

Teenagers tend not to be good at thinking ahead and in terms of food this means that they often end up eating on the hoof, grabbing whatever available at the time – this can be expensive and not very healthy, so plan ahead and pack a healthy snack before you leave the house

3. Don’t eat alone

If you have teenagers it important to try and set them down and eat together as a family at least a couple of times a week. Family meal provides an opportunity to talk and studies show that children who regularly eat with their families are more likely to have a healthier diet and have a higher intake of key vitamins and minerals.

4. Don’t eat the same foods every day

Variety may be the spice of life but it’s also the key to a healthy diet but its many young people get stuck a food rut eating the same few foods in a loop.

5. Don’t believe everything you read online

The internet can be a good source for learning about diet and nutrition but there’s also rubbish on line – often written by a well-meaning individual but people don’t have the appropriate qualifications or experience to give advice on nutrition

6. Don’t follow to fads

It’s easy to be lured into the latest diet fad – claims made by the disciples of fads like clean eating, alkaline diets, Paleo diets all sound appealing but there’s no science to support the promised they make and they can increase the risk of deficiencies

7. Do some research

It’s OK to be vegan or vegetarian, in fact, plant-based diets offer a number of health benefits, but you have to make sure you replace the nutrients you would be getting from foods like dairy and meat with other foods rich in these nutrients. Both the Vegetarian Society and the Vegan Society have very good websites which will help you make sure your diet contains everything it should

8. Take a multivitamin and mineral

Think of it as an insurance policy – of course its better to get vitamins and minerals from your food but in certain situations and at certain times of your life it’s not always possible and as we understand more about diet and the nutritional gaps manufacturers have developed a range of products that will support teenagers from vitamins sprays, e.g. Healthspan Vitamin D3/B12 range of sprays to Gummy Multivitamins and fortified foods.

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Having a healthy balance of food

So what does it mean to have a balanced diet? the thing, we need to think of food in groups, with more food from some groups than the others.

We don’t have to give up one group for another completely. The option should be for more healthier diet.

Balance diet means the following;

1.Plenty of fruits and vegetables

2. Wholegrain varieties of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta etc

3.Small amounts of milk & dairy food

4. Some meat, fish, eggs, and beans

5. Only small amounts of foods and drinks high in fat or sugar.

Balance diet need not be right all the time. The right balance over time ensures a right amount of vitamins & minerals.

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Thinking about the positive outcomes of weight loss helps

 


To lose weight, one needs to change things, there is a cost to everything, as the saying goes” there is no such thing as free lunch. We need to think about the benefits arising out of weight loss.

Some of which could be the following:

a) A drop in dress size,

b) The looking-younger effect

c) and most of all the health benefits.

The advantages certainly outweigh the disadvantages.

To begin with, it would be beneficial to keep a food diary. This would help you to make a healthier selection of food and snacks.Your best bet would be to compile a list of food and drinks you have throughout the day.

Some tips to help you.

You need to take in less energy and burn more energy. There is the need to keep a balance.

If you eat more than you burn, then the excess would certainly be stored in the form of fat.

So, 1. getting a healthy balance is crucial

2.Cutting down on portion sizes

3. Keeping a regular eating pattern ( three regular meals a day)

Remember that diets that promise a quick fix are not sustainable, resulting in a return to the old you.

Fab diets could be identified when they promise  for example ;

1.A quick solution

2.When they suggest that certain food ” burn fat faster”

3.When they promote the eating of just one or two foods only.

4. When they have rules about how to eat, such as certain times a day.

5. When  they sound too good to be true

 

 

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A Mediterranean diet is not just good for the heart, it protects the liver too

By Stephen Matthews For Mailonline

The Mediterranean diet is loaded with fruit, veg, whole grains, olive oil and fish
The new trial adds to the body of evidence that shows the diet’s health benefits
They found cirrhosis patients are less likely to be hospitalised following the diet
The deadly condition kills around one million people across the world each year

A Mediterranean diet is not just good for the heart – it may also boost the health of the liver, a study suggests.

Adopting the diet, loaded with fruit and veg, whole grains, olive oil and fish, lower the risk of hospitalisation in patients with cirrhosis.

The deadly condition, scarring of the liver caused by long-term damage, kills one million people across the world each year, figures show.

There is currently no cure and treatment revolves around slowing its progression, before it leads to the need for a liver transplant or even kills.

Adopting the diet, loaded with fruit and veg, whole grains, olive oil and fish, lower the risk of hospitalisation in patients with cirrhosis +1
Adopting the diet, loaded with fruit and veg, whole grains, olive oil and fish, lower the risk of hospitalisation in patients with cirrhosis

But the new research, out of Virginia Commonwealth University, suggests following a Mediterranean diet could boost the outcome of cirrhosis patients.

The trial, branded ‘important’, adds to the growing body of evidence that shows the benefits of the healthy diet.

Scientists found the diet, which contains only a small amount of red meat, improves the gut microbial diversity of cirrhosis patients.

The discovery, derived from nearly 300 adults, adds to a growing body of evidence that highlights a diverse microbiome can halt of the condition.

Some 157 Americans and 139 Turkish adults took part in the study. They were either healthy or had a form of cirrhosis.

The volunteers had their dietary habits analysed and a sample of stool tested to assess how diverse their gut microbiota was.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A MEDITERRANEAN DIET?
Previous research by the Maastricht University in the Netherlands found that adopting a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of developing the most deadly form of breast cancer by 40 percent.

Experts from the University of Barcelona also believe the range of nutrients in the diet makes children less likely to have ADHD.

Cambridge University even found that adopting such a diet would save around 2,000 lives in Britain a year by preventing deaths from heart attacks and stroke.

Researchers from the IRCCS Neuromed Institute in Pozzilli, Italy, even suggest doctors prescribe olive oil, vegetables and nuts before statins to reduce a patient’s heart attack risk.

Scientists followed the patients for three months to assess the risk of hospitalizations, caused by complications such as jaundice and gallstones.

Researchers, led by Dr Jasmohan Bajaj, uncovered a striking difference between the gut microbiota of the Turkish and American adults.

The US population tended to follow a Western diet, while the Turkish cohort often consumed a Mediterranean-style diet.

An analysis of stool samples revealed the Turkish participants had a significantly greater diversity in their gut microbiota.

However, the researchers discovered there was a significantly higher number of hospitalisations in the US population.

Dr Bajaj said: ‘It is the first study to confirm a link between diet, microbial diversity and clinical outcomes in liver cirrhosis.’

The findings were presented at the International Liver Congress in Paris last week.

Professor Annalisa Berlinetta, a board member of The European Association for the Study of the Liver, described the study as ‘important’.

She said: [It] adds to the existing evidence indicating a robust, pleiotropic beneficial effect of following a “Mediterranean-style diet” on human health.’

The new study, she added, shows that an antioxidant-rich Mediterranean diet has a protective effect in the early and advanced phases of the liver disease.

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Why you should NEVER order steak well done! Eating red meat boosts the risk of deadly liver disease… and it’s even higher for those who like it cooked thoroughly

By Stephen Matthews For Mailonline

Evidence links the consumption of meat to cancer, heart disease and diabetes
But scientific trials on its links to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are scarce
A non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can lead to cirrhosis, which can prove deadly

Eating red meat can boost the risk of developing a deadly liver disease, a study suggests.

Israeli scientists have found the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is highest for those who enjoy their steak ‘well done’.

The disease referred to as ‘human foie gras’, can lead to cirrhosis, which can in turn trigger liver cancer or cause the organ to fail.

Evidence already links consumption of meat to cancer, heart disease and diabetes – but scientific trials are scarce on its links to NAFLD.

The new study, which also confirmed eating red meat leads to a higher risk of diabetes, shines a light on the possible cause of the chronic liver disease.

People who ate more processed and red meat were 47 percent more likely to have liver disease, the University of Haifa experts found +1
People who ate more processed and red meat were 47 percent more likely to have liver disease, the University of Haifa experts found

Some 789 adults were quizzed about their eating and cooking habits. They also underwent liver ultrasound scans and tests for insulin resistance.

People who ate more processed and red meat were 47 percent more likely to have liver disease, the University of Haifa experts found.

While they were 55 percent more likely to have insulin resistance, the researchers reported in the Journal of Hepatology.

 

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Cooking meat at high temperatures for longer periods of time, or until it’s well done, was also associated with a higher risk of both.

This was in comparison to those who preferred to eat more ‘rare’ meat, or cooked for less time, the researchers noted.

Lead author Shira Zelber-Sagi said: ‘Evidence is mounting with regard to the harmful effect of over-consumption of red and processed meat.’

WHAT IS NON-ALCOHOLIC FATTY LIVER DISEASE?
Despite its name, a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease isn’t solely caused by eating too much fat.

Instead, it is fed by over-eating in general, with some of the excess calories being stored as fat in the liver.

Doctors say that up to a third of Britons have a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, in which the liver becomes clogged with fat.

It is often referred to as ‘human foie gras’, as it occurs in much the same way as a goose liver is fattened for foie gras production.

‘In order to prevent insulin resistance and NAFLD, [people should consider] choosing fish, turkey or chicken as an animal protein source.

‘In addition, steaming or boiling food [is better than] grilling or frying meat at a high temperature until it is very well done.’

Preparing meat ‘well done’ forms compounds known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that are tied to both liver disease and insulin resistance.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disorder in developed countries, affecting up to one in four adults.

It occurs when fat accumulates within the liver cells in people who do not consume excessive alcohol and is commonly associated with obesity and diabetes.

If left untreated, it can lead to cirrhosis, which can lead to liver failure and cancer of the vital organ. Both of which can be deadly.

Both NAFLD and insulin resistance are among the suite of symptoms and traits that make up so-called metabolic syndrome.

The medical community has warned that the findings mean adults should limit how much red and processed meat they eat.

Dr Jeffrey Schwimmer, director of the Fatty Liver Clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, called for red meat to be eaten just once a week.

‘There is not a need for red meat, so one could choose to avoid it all together,’ said Dr Schwimmer, who wasn’t involved in the study.

‘For those that do eat meat, it would be reasonable to limit red meat to once a week and to limit processed meat to occasional use only.’

The study follows a Leeds University trial earlier this month that revealed cutting out red meat significantly cuts the risk of developing bowel cancer.

 

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Millions suffering from lower back pain are being given the WRONG treatment: Patients are needlessly handed painkillers when simple stretches would be more effective

 

Courtesy of Kate Pickles Health Reporter For The Daily Mail


Millions are being given the wrong treatment for back pain, a review has found
Patients needlessly prescribed painkillers or even surgery for lower back pain
This is despite mounting evidence simple exercises and stretches are effective
Lower back pain is now the leading cause of disability in the UK: 1 in 10 of complaints
It’s estimated to cost NHS £2.1 billion annual and UK economy around £10 billion

Millions of people with back pain are being given the wrong treatment, a major review has found.

Many patients are needlessly being prescribed strong painkillers, wrongly told to rest or even undergoing unnecessary surgery in a bid to treat lower back pain.

This is despite mounting evidence showing that simple exercises and stretches are more effective for easing symptoms.

Lower back pain is now the leading cause of disability in the UK, responsible for more than one in 10 of all serious health complaints.

It costs the NHS £2.1 billion annually and is estimated to cost the UK economy around £10 billion in lost working days and informal care.

Many victims of the agonising pain are told to stop work and exercise, prescribed painkillers or undergo surgery +1
Many victims of the agonising pain are told to stop work and exercise, prescribed painkillers or undergo surgery

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Unnecessary and aggressive interventions

But a series of international studies published in The Lancet medical journal found treatments often go against international guidelines.

Rather than being encouraged to stay active and at work, many NHS patients are being prescribed powerful opioid painkillers, treated in hospital A&Es and referred for scans or surgery.

Professor Martin Underwood, from the University of Warwick, who was part of the international team, warned this was costly to both patients and the health service.

‘Our current treatment approaches are failing to reduce the burden of back pain disability,’ he said.

‘We need to change the way we approach back pain treatment in the UK and help low and middle-income countries to avoid developing high-cost services of limited effectiveness.’ The researchers reviewed evidence from both high and low-income countries around the world to build up a global picture of the size of the back pain problem and how it was being managed.

Our current treatment approaches are failing to reduce the burden of back pain disability
Professor Martin Underwood, from the University of Warwick
They concluded that low back pain was the world’s leading cause of disability but was often treated using aggressive approaches that had been shown not to work.

In Britain NHS watchdog NICE advises that people with back pain are prescribed exercise, drugs such as ibuprofen, or both at the same time.

But growing evidence shows painkillers are largely ineffective and can do more harm than good, with massage, exercise and yoga preferable.

Previous studies have shown opioid painkillers – prescription drugs that include morphine, tramadol and oxycodone – provide only ‘minimal benefit’ for lower back pain.

Yet, recent figures estimate they are still prescribed to around 40 percent of back pain patients.

Steve Tolan, head of practice at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said doctors were too quick to medicalise treatments.

‘That so many people start out with minor back pain and go on to suffer life-changing consequences is bad enough,’ he said. ‘That healthcare professionals contribute to that journey is unconscionable.’ Official data shows around one in seven GP appointments are taken by patients with musculoskeletal complaints, with back pain topping the list.

‘We really need to redress the balance’

The lower back pain was the leading cause of years lived with disability in the UK in both 1990 and 2010, with the burden rising by 12 percent just 20 years.

Each year, one million years of productive life was lost in the UK as a result of the condition.

It is most prevalent in people of working age and is often short-lived with exercise recommended to both ease symptoms and prevent the pain coming back.

Professor Nadine Foster, from Keele University, said the number of patients suffering from the disability will continue to rise with the population.

‘We know a lot about what to do for back pain – and a lot of what not to do – the problem is that healthcare systems around the world are doing things differently.

‘In many countries, painkillers that have limited positive effect are routinely prescribed for low back pain, with very little emphasis on interventions that are evidence-based such as exercises.

‘We really need to redress the balance. Doing more of the same that we’ve been trying to do for the last few decades, is not going to reduce back pain disability.’ Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said low back pain was a cause of misery for a ‘huge and growing number of patients’ across the UK.

‘What is clear is that one size does not fit all in terms of managing the pain,’ she said.

‘It’s important that any treatment plan is developed in conversation with the patient, tailored to their needs, taking into account the many different factors that might be impacting on their health.’

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON MYTHS ABOUT BACK PAIN?
You should always rest a bad back: Moderate exercise is essential to build and maintain strength and flexibility in the spine, improving posture and protecting you from any further pain. While total rest may seem like a good way to recover often continuing moderate physical activity will help in the long run. Your local chiropractor will be able to advise on what is right for you.

Back or neck pain is simply part of the ageing process: While ageing can have an impact on your back health, back or neck pain can occur at any age. Maintaining good health into later years and being aware of how to preserve one of our body’s most important assets, the back, is important in allowing us to maintain activity levels. The BCA has advice on how to protect your back at any age.

Back or neck pain is not common: Back and neck pain is very common, and statistics have shown that 80 percent of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

The spine can be injured easily: The spine is actually one of the strongest parts of your body and is designed to be strong. Like any other part of your body though, taking good care of it is essential to allow it to do its job effectively for as long as possible.

A slipped disc means a disc has slipped out of your spine: The discs are circular pads of connective tissue – cartilage – in between each vertebra in your back. These discs have an inner gel-like substance and a tough outer case. They help maintain your back’s flexibility and a wide range of movement. A slipped disc means that one of the discs of cartilage in the spine is damaged and possibly extruding, irritating or pressing on the nerves. It can also be known as a prolapsed or herniated disc.

Painkillers can cure back pain: Most back pain is ‘mechanical’ in nature so, even though painkillers can be helpful, some sort of mechanical, hands-on treatment involving movement/exercise is more likely to help manage the problem and reduce recurrence.

 

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A new way to measure alcohol in the blood? Scientists create tiny device that sits beneath your skin and can tell if you’ve had too much booze within 3 seconds

Courtesy of The Daily Mail

 

The device is injected beneath the skin and can be linked up to a smartphone
Alcohol levels in the blood can be displayed within three seconds, experts say
Engineers who created the gadget hope it will be used to monitor alcoholics
The tiny gadget has received support from the US Government and Samsung
By STEPHEN MATTHEWS FOR MAILONLINE

Scientists have now created a tiny new sensor that can continuously monitor levels of alcohol in the blood.

The device, which measures roughly one cubic millimeter, is injected beneath the skin and can be linked up to a smartphone.

Alcohol levels in the blood can be displayed within three seconds, according to scientists at the University of California, San Diego.

The device is in stark contrast to a breathalyzer, which requires people to breathe into it for at least seven seconds.

For scientists have now created a tiny new sensor that can continuously monitor levels of alcohol in the blood +4
For scientists have now created a tiny new sensor that can continuously monitor levels of alcohol in the blood

Engineers who created the gadget hope it will be used to monitor alcoholics, and help therapists keep an eye on their progress.

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They claim current tools used for routine monitoring, which involve breathalyzers, are not as accurate as the new chip.

A blood test is the most accurate method, but it needs to be performed by a trained technician – unlike the gadget.

 

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And tattoo-based alcohol sensors, considered a promising new alternative, can be easily removed and are only single-use.

Drew Hall, an electrical engineering professor at the university’s Jacobs School of Engineering, led the project into the device.

He said: ‘A tiny injectable sensor could make it easier for patients to follow a prescribed course of monitoring for extended periods of time.’

The device, which measures roughly one cubic millimeter, is injected beneath the skin and can be linked up to a smartphone +4
The device, which measures roughly one cubic millimeter, is injected beneath the skin and can be linked up to a smartphone

Engineers who created the gadget hope it will be used to monitor alcoholics, and help therapists keep an eye on their progress +4
Engineers who created the gadget hope it will be used to monitor alcoholics, and help therapists keep an eye on their progress

HOW DOES THE DEVICE MEASURE LEVELS OF ALCOHOL IN THE BLOOD?
The new device to measure alcohol levels in the blood can be injected under the skin in interstitial fluid – the fluid that surrounds the body’s cells.

It contains a sensor coated with alcohol oxidase, an enzyme that can interact with alcohol to generate a byproduct that can be detected.

The electrical signals are transmitted wirelessly to a nearby wearable device, such as a smartwatch, which also wirelessly powers the chip.

Two additional sensors on the chip measure background signals and pH levels, to make the alcohol reading more accurate.

The device was created by engineers at the University of California, San Diego, and has received support from tech giant Samsung and the US Government.

The device was unveiled at the 2018 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Custom Integrated Circuits Conference in San Diego this week.

Engineers have filed for a provisional on the technology, which received support from the US Government and tech giant Samsung.

Laboratory trials on animal cells proved the chip worked – but the team hope to test the chip in live animals in the future, which would then allow for human trials, if proven to work.

It was found to read blood levels of alcohol accurately when placed under layers of pig skin that had mixtures of ethanol and human blood in.

The device generates 970 nanowatts, roughly one million times less power than a smartphone consumes when making a phone call.

Professor Hall said: ‘We don’t want the chip to have a significant impact on the battery life of the wearable device.

‘And since we’re implanting this, we don’t want a lot of heat being locally generated inside the body or a battery that is potentially toxic.’

The device, which contains three sensors, can operate on such low power because it uses a technique called backscattering.

This occurs when a nearby device sends radio frequency signals to the chip, and the chip sends data by reflecting those signals back.

Professor Hall and colleagues hope the pioneering chip could one day be used to detect other substances in the blood.

He said: ‘This is a proof-of-concept platform technology.

‘We’ve shown that this chip can work for alcohol, but we envision creating others that can detect different substances of abuse.’

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Watch how much you are drinking

1 Try having alcohol free days weekly, at least two days when you don’t touch alcohol. Avoid binge drinking, as large amounts of alcohol in one go, can damage your body.

Drinking more than the recommended limits can have a harmful effect on your heart.

  1. It can cause abnormal heart rhythms
  2. Cause high blood pressure
  3. Damage your heart muscles

Alcohol is packed with high energy (calorie) content so it is important to consider your intake if you are on a weight loss programme.

SO WHAT IS 1 UNIT OF ALCOHOL

  1. One single pub measure of spirit
  2. 1/2 a pint of lager, cider, or beer (3.5% ABV)
  3. 1 small glass of wine 10% ABV
  4. 1 small glass of liqueur, sherry, or fortified wine.

MEN  should not regularly drink more than 3 -4 units of alcohol in a day

   WOMEN   should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units of alcohol in a day

 

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Tips to reduce your portion sizes

  1. Try putting snacks away where you wouldn’t see them
  2.  Eat from a smaller plate
  3. Check if you need to share  some, look for the number of servings
  4. You don’t have to finish everything off on your plate. Leftovers could be put away in the fridge
  5. Eat slowly, do not rush
  6. Think about how much you have had in the day. If you have had a big lunch, balance things up by having a smaller dinner.
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Why 1/3 of the food you eat should be fruit and vegetables


Research has shown that those who eat more than five portions of fruit and vegetables a day have a lower risk of developing heart diseases.


Fruit and veg contain a variety of vitamins and minerals which is required by the body to keep healthy.
Choose a variety of fruit and veg, because each one of them has their exclusive nutrients.