HEALTH & WELLNESS – November/December 2022

THE BENEFITS OF TEA… AND SMART KNEE MONITORING

MEDICAL MINUTES BY JOHN SCHIESZER

Tea Drinking Associated with a Long Life Tea is one of the most consumed beverages worldwide. Previous research has suggested an association between tea consumption and lower mortali ty risk in populations where green tea is the most common type of tea. In contrast, published studies in populations where black tea drinking is more common are limited with inconsistent findings. Now, a new prospective study found that drinking black tea may be associated with a lower mortality risk. The risk was lowest among persons drinking two or more cups of tea per day. The findings, which were published in Annals of Internal Medicine, are highly relevant because the study also looked at whether the associations differ by use of common tea additives (milk and sugar), tea temperature, and genetic variants affecting the rate at which people metabolise caffeine. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health conducted the study to evaluate the associations of tea drinking with death rates using data from the U.K. Biobank, where black tea drinking is common. The U.K. Biobank in cludes data on half a million men and women, aged 40 to 69 years, who completed a baseline questionnaire between 2006 and 2010. Among these participants, 85 per cent reported regularly drinking tea and 89 per cent reported drinking black tea. Relative to non-tea drinkers, partici pants who reported drinking two or more cups each day had a nine to 13 per cent lower risk for mortality. The associations were observed regardless of whether participants also drank coffee, or added milk or sugar to their tea, and irrespective of their preferred tea temperature, or genetic variants related to caffeine metabo lism. According to the authors, their findings suggest that tea, even at higher levels of intake, can be part of a healthy diet.

Hold On – I am Getting a Message from My Knee It is now possible to receive data from your knee about how it is healing. Knee replacements are getting smarter and may improve outcomes thanks to a new joint component that securely tracks and transmits knee motion data. Physicians are using the data to optimise patient monitoring and recovery. The new component, developed by American scientists, is called The Perso na IQ implantable knee. It includes a 10-year battery and sensors that con stantly capture long-term postoperative data on cadence (steps per min ute) and average walking speed. It also transmits data on a person’s stride length, range of motion, distance travelled and step count. The data collected by the sensors is transmitted daily to the patient’s Home Base Station and analysed overnight. The information is made available to an individual in a phone app, which organises and displays the data. In ad dition to graphs and charts that display collected data over time, the app includes patient education materials, pre-operative and post-operative ex ercises, and messaging capabilities. “Physicians can use the collected data to monitor how patients are doing after their knee replacement, as well as for research that will improve future knee replacement procedures,” said orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Yair Kissin, who is with Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. “Patients can also use the app to track their progress since their surgery.” John Schieszer is an award-winning national journalist and radio and podcast broadcaster of The Medical Minute. He can be reached at medicalminutes@gmail.com.

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