Salt blamed for high blood pressure in 4-year-olds

London: Toddlers as young ad four years, are suffering from raised blood pressure because they are eating too many salty processed foods, UK researchers say.

Campaigners claim this puts youngsters at an increased risk of hypertension in later life – potentially leading to heart disease, strokes and an early death.

The study, published in the Journal of Human Hypertension, was conducted by St George’s University Hospital in London, drew a direct correlation between the level of salt in the diet of children aged between four and 18 and higher blood pressure.

The findings will heap pressure on heart attacks and strokes could be prevented if Britons cut salt intake the manufacturers of children’s snacks and ready meals to reduce the salt levels in their recipes.

A single packet of instant noodles can contain more than the recommended daily maximum salt intake for a child aged four to six.

Just one pack of salt and vinegar crisps is likely to have more than a quarter of a child’s salt quota.

The study looked at the salt intake for more than 1,600 children and teenagers over seven days and then measured their blood pressure.

The study found that for each extra gram of salt eaten by the participants, there was a related 0.4mmHg increase in systolic blood pressure.

Children’s increasingly salty diets are also a source of concern because our food tastes are largely set in childhood. Consequently, those who develop a love of salty food when young tend to keep it in adulthood.

The UK Government experts recommend that children aged four to six should not be eating more than 3g of salt a day, while the figure for youngsters aged seven to ten is 5g.

However, many children are thought to be regularly consuming 9-10g of salt a day, which is up to three times the recommended maximum.

This pattern continues into adult life, when the recommended maximum is 6g of salt a day, but the average for men is 10.2g and 7.2g for women.

One of the study’s authors, Professor Graham MacGregor, said: ‘We know that salt acts as a chronic long-term toxin, slowly putting up blood pressure as we grow older.

“The rise in blood pressure is the major cause of death and disability in the UK.”

British scientists invent jab to end high blood pressure

London: A jab to control high blood pressure has been invented by British scientists.

A third of all adults suffer from high blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Now Cheshire-based Protherics has created a vaccine, based on a protein found in limpets, which would require patients to have a three-jab course with a booster every six months.

The jab which has already been trialed successfully on humans is is a viable alternative to the current treatment where pills are given. The limpet protein in the new jab attacks a hormone called angiotensin which raises blood pressure by narrowing arteries.

Protherics is planning trials of an improved version of the jab, which is ten times more effective at stimulating the immune system than its original formula.

People who have tried it have suffered few side-effects, although one in ten did complain of a brief, flu-like illness.

A successful jab would guarantee its manufacturers a healthy share of the $24bn (£12bn)spent around the world annually on blood pressure medicines.

Ideally, patients would be given an initial course of three injections, with a week or fortnight between each jab. A booster shot every six months, or even once a year, would keep blood pressure low. The jabs will be offered privately rather than on the UK’s NHS public health service.

Another company, the Swiss firm Cytos Biotechnology is developing a similar vaccine using an empty virus shell to spur the immune system into action.

Zurich-based Cytos, which is also developing anti-smoking, obesity and flu vaccines, has already shown that its jab is effective at lowering blood pressure.

But the reduction was less than that achieved by tablets already available on prescription. Further trials are due to later this year.

In time, the vaccine may be given to ward off problems in young men and women with a family history of heart disease.

Various blood pressure tablets already on the market work by targeting angiotensin, either by cutting production of the hormone or by stopping it from working properly. But many people stop taking the daily tablets simply because there are no obvious signs that they are boosting their health.

Others give up after suffering side effects. Beta blockers, a major type of blood pressure pill, can cause fatigue, cold hands and feet, nausea, diarrhoea and impotence. They have also been linked to the risk of stroke.

Israeli scientists grow adult stem cells to cure heart disease

Israeli scientists have successfully grown powerful adult stem cells from those circulating in the blood and returned them to revitalise the hearts of ailing patients.

The details of the clinical trial will be announced at the American Heart Association Scientific Meeting in Chicago later this week. The results give new hope to seriously ill heart patients.

Members of the AHA will be given an abstract of clinical trial results that conclusively demonstrate the efficacy of adult stem cell treatment for end stage cardiac patients.

TheraVitae, the acknowledged leader in stem cell research and development is to present recently concluded trial results that provide dramatic data revealing the improvement in the lives of seriously ill patients.

The founder of Theravitae, Don Margolis, said that a mere half pint of each patient’s blood was extracted in Bangkok and flown to their laboratory in Israel. There, the few adult stem cells were harvested into millions of such cells. A week later those infinitely more powerful cells were injected non-surgically into the patient’s cardio-vascular system.

Standard cardiac measurements and the patients’ own words give eloquent testimony to the positive outcomes of harvesting stem cells from these seriously ill cardiac patients.

Margolis is upbeat that patients can receive the best hospital care available anywhere in the world and a significant number can then return to a new, more normal and healthy life. These findings give new hope to sufferers via clinically proven mainstream medical methods.

About VesCell – A Natural Treatment for Heart Disease

The body has natural ways of healing itself and the cardiovascular system is no exception. Angiogenic Cell Precursors (ACPs) originate in bone marrow and then circulate in the blood vessels. To manufacture VesCell, TheraVitae expands a small number of ACPs harvested from about 250cc of blood into a therapeutic quantity. VesCell is injected either through a coronary artery via catheter, or during surgery, directly into the heart muscle.

A key aspect of VesCell therapy is the advanced cell isolation and expansion technique that allows for the ACPs to be harvested from blood collected in a procedure similar to a common blood donation. VesCell uses a patient’s own adult stem cells to treat Heart Disease and is a viable therapeutic possibility for heart patients without any other treatment option.

Additional Information on Stem Cell Therapy:

VesCell Website:
Stem Cell Therapy Blog:
About TheraVitae

TheraVitae is a private, multinational company focused on using stem cells from the patient’s own blood in order to treat a variety of disorders, especially cardiovascular diseases. The company has already developed a proprietary stem cell technology ‘VesCell’ that is currently being used by hospitals in Thailand to treat patients with Heart Disease. TheraVitae is based in Bangkok, Thailand, Kiryat Weizmann, Israel, Toronto, Canada, Singapore, Taipei, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

TheraVitae Corporate Website:
TheraVitae Thailand
36/72 PS Tower, 21/Fl., Sukhumvit 21
Klongtoey Nua, Bangkok 10110
Phone: +662-664-4290/3
Fax: +662-664-42-89

TheraVitae Israel
7 Pinhas Sapir Street
P.O. Box 4049, Ness Ziona
74140, Israel
Phone: +972-8-9409170
Fax: +972-8-9409167

Beta blockers raise diabetes risk, says new study

London: The range of drugs known as beta blockers which doctors may use to to treat high blood pressure increase the risk of diabetes, according to new research.

Diabetes increases the risk high risk of heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease. Patients on beta blockers are face a 50 per cent higher risk than with the latest drugs.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence, the UK government body that approves drugs for public use said that doctors should use the newer ace inhibitors and calcium channel blockers should be the first choice treatment for the millions of Britons being treated for high blood pressure.

The results of a new clinical trial show beta blockers may hasten and, in some cases, induce diabetes.

Although many patients are being switched to newer drugs by their doctors when they go for a scheduled check-up, beta-blockers remain in wide use.

They are still considered the best treatment for conditions such as angina, and
doctors have warned patients not to stop taking them without medical advice as
sudden withdrawal may trigger a heart attack.

The trial which was reported at the World Congress of Cardiology in Barcelona which exposed the diabetes risk was led by Professor Neil Poulter,
co-director of the International Centre for Circulatory Health at Imperial
College London.

He said that the chance of a patient with raised blood pressure developing diabetes can be cut by newer treatments, irrespective of the patient’s initial level of risk. Many cases of diabetes could be prevented if doctors avoid prescribing the older treatments to hypertensive patients unless they specifically require them.

Despite the warning experts point out that for the remaining beta-blocker patients, the benefits of the drugs in lowering blood pressure still massively outweigh the diabetes risk, so they should not suddenly stop taking them.

The study looked at 14,000 patients in the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia, half of
whom were taking the old combination of the betablocker Atenolol and a diuretic.
The others were prescribed a calcium channel blocker called amlodipine and the
ace-inhibitor perindopril, and in this group 34 per cent fewer patients
developed diabetes over three years.

The study suggests the aceinhibitor protects against the condition, while the
other drug is neutral. But the beta-blocker and diuretic combination actually
encourages diabetes.

BETA-BLOCKERS were introduced in the 1960s and were a mainstay of treatment
until the 1990s, when side effects such as reduced energy levels meant many
patients were switched to newer drugs.

Clinical trials over the last three years have suggested they are less effective
than newer versions. But they remain useful against angina and some other
conditions. Patients with these who also have high blood pressure may still get

They work by blocking the action of a chemical called noradrenaline, which helps
prepare the body for emergencies.
Noradrenaline speeds up the heart, making it pump more forcibly and pushing up
blood pressure as a result. The drugs block the binding of the chemical on
receptors on the heart, slowing down its action.

New ace-inhibitor drugs work by blocking a process which narrows blood vessels
and so increases pressure. Calcium channel blockers also avoid narrowing of the
arteries by stopping muscle cells contracting.

Top doctors urge UK government to stop wasting money on alternative therapies

London: The UK Government has been urged not to waste money on complementary medicine.

A body of top doctors say that spending on these “unproven or disproved treatments” should stop and the money spent on life-saving drugs instead.

Their campaign is launched to coincide with a speech being made by the Prince of Wales in support of such therapies in Geneva today.

The 13 scientists, who include some of the most eminent names in British medicine, have written to the chief executives of all 476 acute and primary care trusts to demand that only evidence-based therapies are provided free to patients.

Their letter, which was sent to The Times newspaper, has been sent as the Prince today steps up his efforts for increased provision of alternative treatments with a controversial speech to the World Health Organisation assembly in Geneva.

The letter criticises two of his flagship initiatives on complementary medicine: a government-funded patient guide prepared by his Foundation for Integrated Medicine, and the Smallwood report last year, which he commissioned to make a financial case for increasing NHS provision.

Both documents, it is claimed, give misleading information about scientific support for therapies such as homoeo-pathy, described as “an implausible treatment for which over a dozen systematic reviews have failed to produce convincing evidence of effectiveness”.

The letter’s signatories include Sir James Black, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988, and Sir Keith Peters, president of the Academy of Medical Science, which represents Britain’s leading clinical researchers.

It was organised by Michael Baum, Emeritus Professor of Surgery at University College London, and other supporters include six Fellows of the Royal Society, Britain’s national academy of science, and Professor Edzard Ernst, of the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, who holds the UK’s first chair in complementary medicine.

The doctors ask trust chief executives to review their policies so that patients are given accurate information, and not to waste scarce resources on therapies that have not been shown to work by rigorous clinical trials.

They conclude: “At a time when the NHS is under intense pressure, patients, the public and the NHS are best served by using the available funds for treatments that are based on solid evidence.”

Professor Baum, a cancer specialist, said that he had organised the letter because of his “utter despair” at growing NHS acceptance of alternative treatments while drugs of proven effectiveness are being withheld. “At a time when we are struggling to gain access for our patients to Herceptin, which is absolutely proven to extend survival in breast cancer, I find it appalling that the NHS should be funding a therapy like homoeopathy that is utterly bogus,” he said.

He said that he was happy for the NHS to offer the treatments once research has proven them effective, such as acupuncture for pain relief, but that very few had reached the required standards.

“If people want to spend their own money on it, fine, but it shouldn’t be NHS money.”

The Department of Health does not keep figures on the total NHS spending on alternative medicine, but Britain’s total market is estimated at Pounds 1.6 billion.