The Gary Null Show
The Gary Null Show - 02.26.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.26.21

February 26, 2021

The effects of lycopene supplementation on serum insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels and cardiovascular disease

Ganzhou People’s Hospital (China), February 22, 2021
 

The results of human studies assessing the efficacy of lycopene on insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels are inconsistent. Thus, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the effects of lycopene supplementation on serum IGF-1 levels and cardiovascular disease.

Methods

The literature published up to January 2020 was searched using the electronic databases Scopus, PubMed/Medline, Web of Science, Embase and Google Scholar.

Results

Seven qualified trials were included in the current meta-analysis. IGF-1 levels were non-significantly decreased in lycopene group compared to the control (WMD: −6.74 ng/mL, 95 % CI: −23.01 to 9.52, p = 0.42; I2 = 94.3 %). Subgroup analysis revealed a significantly decrease in IGF-1 levels upon lycopene supplementation at doses ≥15 mg/d (WMD: −6.40 ng/mL), intervention period <12 weeks (WMD: −6.49 ng/mL), and subjects aged ≥60 years (WMD: −24.98 mg/dl). In addition, lycopene intake significantly reduced IGF-1 levels upon healthy conditions (WMD: −25.59 ng/mL) when compared with cancer patients (WMD: 0.35 ng/mL). In addition, the effect of lycopene supplementation was significant in patients diagnosed with cardiac disorders.

Conclusion

Overall, lycopene intake was not associated with reduced serum IGF-1 levels. However, association was significant when lycopene was administrated at doses >15 mg/d, for <12 weeks, as well as for healthy conditions and patients aged ≥60 years. In addition, lycopene supplementation exhibited potential health benefits in the management of patients with cardiac disorders.

 

Vitamin B6 may help keep COVID-19's cytokine storms at bay

Vitamin B6 may help calm cytokine storms and unclog blood clots linked to COVID-19's lethality. 

Hiroshima University (Japan), February 26, 2021

Who would have thought that a small basic compound like vitamin B6 in the banana or fish you had this morning may be key to your body's robust response against COVID-19?

Studies have so far explored the benefits of vitamins D and C and minerals like zinc and magnesium in fortifying immune response against COVID-19. But research on vitamin B6 has been mostly missing. Food scientist Thanutchaporn Kumrungsee hopes their paper published in Frontiers in Nutrition can be the first step in showing vitamin B6's potential in lowering the odds of patients becoming seriously ill with the coronavirus. 

"In addition to washing your hands, food and nutrition are among the first lines of defense against Covid-19 virus infection. Food is our first medicine and kitchen is our first pharmacy," Kumrungsee, an associate professor at Hiroshima University's Graduate School of Integrated Sciences for Life, said.

"Recently, many scientists have published papers regarding the role of diets and nutrients in the protection against COVID-19. However, very few scientists are paying attention to the important role of vitamin B6," she added.

In their paper, she and her fellow researchers pointed out growing evidence showing that vitamin B6 exerts a protective effect against chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes by suppressing inflammation, inflammasomes, oxidative stress, and carbonyl stress.

"Coronaviruses and influenza are among the viruses that can cause lethal lung injuries and death from acute respiratory distress syndrome worldwide. Viral infections evoke a 'cytokine storm,' leading to lung capillary endothelial cell inflammation, neutrophil infiltration, and increased oxidative stress," they said.

Kumrungsee explained that thrombosis (blood clotting) and cytokine storm (hyper inflammation) might be closely linked to the graveness of COVID-19. Cytokine storms happen when the immune system dangerously goes into overdrive and starts attacking even the healthy cells. Meanwhile, blood clots linked to COVID-19 can block capillaries, damaging vital organs like the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. 

Vitamin B6 is a known anti-thrombosis and anti-inflammation nutrient. Deficiency in this vitamin is also associated with lower immune function and higher susceptibility to viral infections.

"Vitamin B6 has a close relationship with the immune system. Its levels always drop in people under chronic inflammation such as obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases. We can see from the news that obese and diabetic people are at high risk for COVID-19," Kumrungsee said.

"Thus, our attempt in this paper is to shed light on the possible involvement of vitamin B6 in decreasing the severity of COVID-19."

The associate professor said she is looking forward to clinical trials that would test their hypothesis.

"It is of great interest to examine if vitamin B6 exerts protection against novel types of virus infection and pneumonia which will be encountered in the future. At present, there is few information regarding the protective role of nutrients against pneumonia and lung diseases," she said.

"After COVID-19, we should develop the area of nutrition for lung diseases such as pneumonia and lung cancer."

 

 

Mushrooms add important nutrients when included in the typical diet

Mushroom Council, February 24, 2021 

The second study published in as many months has identified another reason to add more mushrooms to the recommended American diet. The new research , published in Food & Nutrition Research (February 2021), examined the addition of mushrooms to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Patterns resulting in the increase of several micronutrients including shortfall nutrients, while having a minimal to zero impact on overall calories, sodium or saturated fat. 

Dr. Victor L. Fulgoni III and Dr. Sanjiv Agarwal looked at the nutritional effect of substituting a serving of various foods recommended to be moderated in the diet by the 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines with an 84-gram serving of mushrooms on nutrient profiles in USDA's Healthy US style, Mediterranean-style and Vegetarian Eating Patterns. This is a similar approach that the USDA used for determining its Dietary Guidelines . For the mushroom serving, researchers looked at a composite of white, crimini and portabella mushrooms at a 1:1:1 ratio; one scenario including UV-light exposed mushrooms; and one scenario including oyster mushrooms.

"Simply adding an 84-gram serving, or what would be the equivalent of 5 medium white mushrooms, to USDA Food Patterns increased several shortfall nutrients including potassium as well as other B vitamins and minerals and had minimal to no impact on overall calories, sodium or saturated fat," said Dr. Fulgoni. 

Depending on the pattern type and calorie level, key findings include:

 

  • The addition of a serving (84 g) of mushrooms to the diet resulted in an increase in potassium (8%-12%), copper (16%-26%), selenium (11%-23%), riboflavin (12%-18%) and niacin (11%-26%), but had no impact on calories, carbohydrate, fat or sodium.
  • The addition of a serving (84 g) of oyster mushrooms increased vitamin D (8%-11%) and choline (10%-16%) in USDA Food Patterns. 
  • Mushrooms exposed to UV-light to increase vitamin D levels to 200 IU/serving also increased vitamin D by 67%-90% in USDA Food Patterns. 
  • A composite of white, crimini and portabella mushrooms at a 1:1:1 ratio would be expected to add 2.24 mg ergothioneine and 3.53 mg glutathione, while oyster mushrooms would provide 24.0 mg ergothioneine and 12.3 mg glutathione. (Note: the USDA Food Patterns as well as USDA FoodData Central do not include analytical data either of these antioxidants at this time).

 

Results Mirror Similar Modeling Study

Drs. Fulgoni and Agarwal also modeled the addition of mushrooms to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-2016 dietary data looking at a composite of white, crimini and portabella mushrooms at a 1:1:1 ratio; one scenario including UV-light exposed mushrooms; and one scenario including oyster mushrooms for both 9-18 years and 19+ years of age based on an 84g or ½ cup equivalent serving . Similar to the USDA Food Patterns, the NHANES data found the addition of a serving (84 g) of mushrooms to the diet resulted in an increase in dietary fiber (5%-6%), copper (24%-32%), phosphorus (6%), potassium (12%-14%), selenium (13%-14%), zinc (5%-6%), riboflavin (13%-15%), niacin (13%-14%), and choline (5%-6%) in both adolescents and adults; but had no impact on calories, carbohydrate, fat or sodium.

Looking specifically at vitamin D, the study shows that when commonly consumed mushrooms are exposed to UV-light to provide 5 mcg vitamin D per serving, vitamin D intake could meet and slightly exceed the recommended daily value (98% - 104%) for both the 9 -18 year and 19+ year groups as well as decrease inadequacy of this shortfall nutrient in the population. In addition, a serving of UV-light exposed commonly consumed mushrooms decreased population inadequacy for vitamin D from 95.3% to 52.8% for age group 9-18 years and from 94.9% to 63.6% for age group 19+ years.

Mushrooms Role in the Dietary Guidelines

Mushrooms are fungi - a member of the third food kingdom - biologically distinct from plant and animal-derived foods that comprise the USDA food patterns yet have a unique nutrient profile that provides nutrients common to both plant and animal foods. Although classified into food grouping systems by their use as a vegetable, mushrooms' increasing use in main entrees in plant-based diets is growing, supporting consumers' efforts to follow food-based dietary guidance recommendations to lower intake of calories, saturated fatty acids, and sodium while increasing intake of under-consumed nutrients including fiber, potassium and vitamin D.

When considering mushrooms' role in diet quality and helping consumers achieve healthy eating patterns, a previous analysis of NHANES 2001-2010 data discovered that mushroom intake was associated with higher intakes of several key nutrients and thus better diet quality . However, intake was low - about 21g per day among mushroom consumers. Because of mushrooms' culinary versatility and unique nutrient profile, greater recognition of mushrooms in dietary guidance is an opportunity to improve diet quality, particularly to increase consumption of vegetables. 

"Results from this current research on modeling the nutritional impact of mushrooms on USDA healthy eating patterns are now available for consideration by the 2025-2030 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee," said Mary Jo Feeney, MS, RD, FADA and nutrition research coordinator to the Mushroom Council. 

Mushrooms: A Nutrient Powerhouse

Often grouped with vegetables, mushrooms provide many of the nutrient attributes of produce, as well as attributes more commonly found in meat, beans or grains. According to the USDA's FoodData Central , one serving (5 medium/90g) of white, raw mushrooms contains 20 calories, 0g fat, 3g protein and is very low in sodium (0mg/<1% recommended daily value). Few foods naturally contain vitamin D, and mushrooms are unique in that they are the only food in the produce aisle that contain vitamin D. Specifically, one serving of raw, UV-exposed, white (90g) and crimini (80g) mushrooms contains 23.6mcg (118% RDA) and 25.52mcg (128% RDA) of vitamin D, respectively. 

More Research from the Mushroom Council Still to Come

With mushrooms growing in awareness and consideration among consumers nationwide, in 2019, the Mushroom Council made a $1.5 million multi-year investment in research to help broaden understanding of the food's nutritional qualities and overall health benefits.

In addition to the analysis of mushrooms for bioactives/ergothioneine for inclusion in USDA FoodData Central database, additional research projects approved include:

 

  • Health promoting effects of including mushrooms as part of a healthy eating pattern. 
  • Mushrooms' relationship with cognitive health in older adults.
  • Mushrooms' impact on brain health in an animal model.

 

Since 2002, the Council has conducted research that supports greater mushroom demand by discovering nutrient and health benefits of mushrooms. Published results from these projects form the basis for communicating these benefits to consumers and health influencers.

 

 

Israeli researchers say spirulina algae could reduce COVID mortality rate

Matis Research Institute (Iceland) & IDC Herzliya School of Sustainability (Israel), February 24m 2021

A team of scientists from Israel and Iceland have published research showing that an extract of spirulina algae has the potential to reduce the chances of COVID-19 patients developing a serious case of the disease.

The research, published in the peer-reviewed journal Marine Biotechnology, found that an extract of photosynthetically manipulated Spirulina is 70% effective in inhibiting the release of the cytokine TNF-a, a small signaling protein used by the immune system.

The research was conducted in a MIGAL laboratory in northern Israel with algae grown and cultivated by the Israeli company VAXA, which is located in Iceland. VAXA received funding from the European Union to explore and develop natural treatments for coronavirus.

Iceland’s MATIS Research Institute also participated in the study.

In a small percentage of patients, infection with the coronavirus causes the immune system to release an excessive number of TNF-a cytokines, resulting in what is known as a cytokine storm. The storm causes acute respiratory distress syndrome and damage to other organs, the leading cause of death in COVID-19 patients.

“If you control or are able to mitigate the excessive release of TNF-a, you can eventually reduce mortality,” said Asaf Tzachor, a researcher from the IDC Herzliya School of Sustainability and the lead author of the study.

During cultivation, growth conditions were adjusted to control the algae’s metabolomic profile and bioactive molecules. The result is what Tzachor refers to as “enhanced” algae.

Tzachor said that despite the special growth mechanism, the algae are a completely natural substance and should not produce any side effects. Spirulina is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as a dietary substance. It is administrated orally in liquid drops.

“This is natural, so it is unlikely that we would see an adverse or harmful response in patients as you sometimes see in patients that are treated with chemical or synthetic drugs,” he said.

The algae have been shown to reduce inflammation. Tzachor said that if proven effective, spirulina could also be used against other coronaviruses and influenza.

The flu also induces a cytokine storm.

“If we succeed in the next steps,” said Dr. Dorit Avni, director of the laboratory at MIGAL, “there is a range of diseases that can be treated using this innovative solution – as a preventative treatment or a supportive treatment.”

Moreover, because it is a treatment against the effect of the virus on the body, its impact should not be affected by virus mutations.
“In this study, it was exciting to discover such activity in algae that was grown under controlled conditions, using sustainable aquaculture methods,” said MATIS’s Dr. Sophie Jensen. “Although active ingredients have not yet been identified with absolute certainty, the extract opens a space for clinical trials that offer a variety of anti-inflammatory treatments, for COVID-19 and beyond.”

Tzachor said that the team now hopes to run human clinical trials.

“If clinical trials confirm the efficacy of our suggested therapy at the rates reported, the substance can become available to the general population,” he said.

“We hope this research would urge the communities of regulators and investors and pharma companies to invest more resources and give more attention to natural-based therapies. The potential is unbelievable.”

 

 

 

Fish oil supplements could be 'as good as drugs' for treating ADHD in children with omega-3 deficiency

Kings College London, February 21, 2021

Omega-3 supplements could be just as effective as drugs for some children with ADHD, a study suggests.

Researchers found fish oil helped youngsters with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to focus, if they were deficient in the nutrient. However, it did not help and even had the opposite effect in children who already had healthy or high levels of omega-3, which is most commonly got from fish. Scientists said their trial laid a path for 'nutritional interventions' but that parents should always check with a doctor first. 

Hundreds of thousands of children in the UK and around six million in the US are believed to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and struggle to concentrate as a result.

King's College London researchers trialled omega-3 supplements on 92 children with ADHD between the ages of six and 18 in Taiwan.  

They focused on eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and gave all the children either that or a placebo for 12 weeks. Among the children who had naturally low EPA and got supplements, the scientists noticed 'improvements in focused attention and vigilance'.

There was no improvement, however, for children with normal starting levels of EPA, the academics found. And for those youngsters who naturally had a lot, they became more impulsive which suggested the supplements had an opposite effect to what was intended.

For those children with omega-3 deficiency, fish oil supplements could be a preferable option to standard stimulant treatments,' said Professor Carmine Pariante, a senior psychiatry researcher.

'Our study sets an important precedent for other nutritional interventions, and we can start bringing the benefits of "personalised psychiatry" to children with ADHD.'

In the UK children with ADHD who need medication are usually given drugs known by the brand names Ritalin, Vyvanse, Strattera or Tenex.

Although effective, these medicines can alter children's moods, lead to anxiety or depression, make people drowsy or give them sleep problems.

Signs of omega-3 deficiency include dry and scaly skin, eczema or dry eyes, which may be indicators the treatment could work for a child.

Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids have in the past been linked to higher rates of severe ADHD.

But past studies looking at the relationship between omega-3 supplements and ADHD found they didn't make much difference. 

This could be because only a specific subset of people are likely to find the treatment useful. 

Dr Jane Chang, one of the lead researchers, said: 'Our results suggest that fish oil supplements are at least as effective as conventional pharmacological treatments among those children with ADHD who have omega-3 deficiency.

'On the other hand, it is possible to have too much of a good thing, and parents should always consult with their children's psychiatrists since our study suggests there could be negative effects for some children.'

Omega-3 fatty acids could be useful for improving children's brain health because the body uses them to help construct cells around the body and inside the brain.

Evidence also suggests they can have antioxidant effects and reduce swelling, which may encourage healthier brain cells and reduce the risk of dysfunction.

Professor Kuan-Pin Su, from China Medical University in Taiwan, added: 'High blood-levels of EPA without using supplements can be achieved through a good diet with plenty of fish, which is common in some Asian countries like Taiwan and Japan.

'It is possible that EPA deficiency is more common among children with ADHD in countries with less fish consumption, such as in North America and many countries in Europe, and that fish oil supplementation could therefore have more widespread benefits for treating the condition than in our study.' 

Dr Jessica Agney-Blais, a psychiatry researcher at King's College London, was not involved with the research but didn't agree with Dr Chang's assessment of the study.

She said: 'The findings from this study offer the interesting suggestion that benefits of fish oil supplementation for performance on some neuropsychological measures of attention may be specific to those with lower levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) at baseline.   

'However, these findings remain suggestive given the small number of participants (29) with low baseline EPA levels (so, about 15 people in the fish oil group compared to about 15 in the placebo group).

'It is very important to keep in mind that this study did not find any benefit of fish oil supplementation over placebo on ADHD symptom levels or emotional problems among participants. 

'These are outcomes that many studies find do improve with conventional pharmacological treatments for ADHD. 

'Therefore, these findings do not suggest that fish oil supplementation is better – or as effective – as stimulant medication in treating ADHD symptoms.'

The research was published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, published by Nature.

 

 

Tai Chi and Qi Gong therapies as a complementary treatment in Parkinson’s disease – a systematic review

Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education (Poland)
 
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive and one of the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorders, leading to the loss of motor and non-motor function as well as a reduction in quality of life.123 It is established that physical therapy is the most widely-used form of allied health care for PD, and it is considered as an integral part of PD treatment.4 Moreover, there is evidence that the conventional treatment provides great benefits to people with PD;5 however, its effectiveness in delaying the progression of the disorder is not sufficient. Based on previous studies, physical therapy in PD focuses on the most common motor impairments, including body transfers, posture, reaching and grasping (upper limb function), balance deficits (and falls), gait, and physical capacity.5678 However, the positive effects of exercise increase when mind-body therapies, such as Tai Chi, Qigong, Yoga, and Pilates, are added.9,10 Tai Chi and Qigong, as traditional Chinese mind-body therapies, have become a popular form of complementary and alternative medicine in PD.
 
The initial search retrieved a total of 1,387 articles from the databases. After the removal of duplicate articles, 151 potential articles were identified. After the abstract review, 75 full text articles were assessed for the eligibility criteria. Finally, 26 articles met all of the inclusion criteria and were included in the systematic review. Fig. 1presents a flowchart of the literature search process.
 
The current state of knowledge shows that both Tai Chi and Qigong interventions might offer a promising complementary therapy in PD. Due to their unique approach integrating body, mind, and spirit, these methods can be widely used in health care and in the treatment of specific functional dysfunctions, mainly in early and mild stages of Parkinson’s disease. However, due to methodological bias further large-scale trials are needed. Major questions waiting an answer include estimating the optimal frequency and duration of the Tai Chi or Qigong intervention as well as providing objective measurements of primary and secondary outcomes given the complex nature of PD.
The Gary Null Show - 02.25.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.25.21

February 25, 2021

French maritime pine bark supplementation associated with improvements in diabetes complications

Tabriz University of Medical Sciences (Iran), February 24 2021. 

 

A randomized trial reported on February 18, 2021 in Complementary Therapies in Medicine resulted in improvement of several factors related to type 2 diabetes among men and women who were given supplements containing French maritime pine bark extract.

The trial included 46 diabetics between the ages of 30 and 65 years who were recruited from March 2018 to April 2019. Participants received two capsules that provided 50 milligrams each of French maritime bark extract or a placebo daily for eight weeks. Diet and medication use remained unchanged throughout the trial. Anthropometric factors, glycemic parameters, lipids and factors related to inflammation and kidney function were assessed at the beginning and end of the study. 

At eight weeks, waist circumference, waist to height ratio, hemoglobin A1c, total cholesterol, vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1, an inflammatory cell that contributes to atherosclerosis), and urinary albumin to creatinine ratio (an early indicator of kidney disease) were lower at the end of the study among participants who received French maritime pine bark extract in comparison with the placebo. Serum fasting blood glucose levels were also lower at the end of the study in the group that received the extract; however, the reduction was not considered significant. 

“There is a growing body of evidence that suggests pine bark extract supplementation has some potentially beneficial metabolic properties such as anti-diabetic and hypoglycemic effects,” Elham Navval-Esfahlan and colleagues wrote.

“The present study indicated that daily supplementation with 100 mg of pine bark extract in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and microalbuminuria had favorable effects on glycemic control, serum VCAM-1, and urinary albumin to creatine ratio level, as well as total cholesterol concentrations and abdominal obesity which could be helpful in the control of diabetes complications,” they concluded. 

 

 

 

Study finds association between supplementing with zinc and lower risk of Alzheimer's disease

University of Manchester (UK), February 22 2021

 

An epidemiologic study conducted at the University of Manchester found an association between zinc supplementation and a decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease as well as a reduction in the progression of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease patients. It was additionally determined that zinc deficiency accelerated memory deficits in an Alzheimer's disease mouse model compared to a control group, due to increased inflammation. The findings were reported in an article appearing on February 17, 2021 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

For the epidemiologic study, Jack Rivers-Auty and his associates utilized data from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative database, which included 1,631 men and women who were cognitively normal or diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimer's disease. Subjects were evaluated upon enrollment, at six and 12 months, and yearly thereafter. Data obtained at the beginning of the study provided information concerning the use of nutritional supplements. 

Among those who reported supplementing with zinc, just 6% were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, in contrast with 26% of those who reported no supplement use. Calcium, iron and magnesium also appeared to be protective. Zinc use was additionally associated with a less rapid rate of cognitive decline during up to ten years of follow-up. 

Giving mice zinc deficient diets was associated with increased cognitive decline due to enhanced NLRP3-driven inflammation, which was reversed by giving the animals diets that contained a normal amount of zinc. “These data suggest that zinc deficiency is causally accelerating cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease and that these cognitive deficits are reversible,” Dr Rivers-Auty and colleagues wrote. 

“This research suggests that zinc status is linked to inflammatory reactivity and may be modified in people to reduce the risk and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” they concluded.

 

 

Study finds low folate, vitamin B12 associated with worse cognitive function

University of Massachusetts, February 22, 2021

 

According to news reporting from Lowell, Massachusetts, research stated, “There is evidence that low plasma vitamin B-12 and folate individually, as well as an imbalance of high folic acid and low vitamin B-12 status, may be associated with lower cognitive function. We examined dietary and plasma folate and vitamin B12 status, and their interaction, in relation to cognitive function in a cohort of older Puerto Rican adults.”

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, “The design is cross-sectional, with 1408 participants from the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study (mean SD age: 57.1 +/- 7.9 y). Cognitive function was assessed with a comprehensive test battery and a global composite score was derived. Plasma folate, vitamin B12, and methylmalonic acid (MMA) were assessed in fasting blood samples. After adjusting for covariates, high plasma folate and high plasma vitamin B-12 were each positively associated with global cognitive score (beta: 0.063; 95% CI: -0.0008, 0.127; P = 0.053 and beta: 0.062; 95% CI: 0.009, 0.12; P = 0.023, respectively, for logged values, and beta: 0.002; 95% CI: 0.00005, 0.004; P-trend = 0.044 and beta: 0.00018; 95% CI: 0.00001, 0.0003; P-trend = 0.036, respectively, across tertiles). Nine percent of participants had vitamin B-12 deficiency (plasma vitamin B-12 148 pmol/L or MMA 271 nmol/L), but none were folate deficient (plasma folate < 4.53 nmol/L). Deficient compared with higher vitamin B-12 was significantly associated with lower cognitive score (beta: -0.119; 95% CI: -0.208, -0.029; P = 0.009). We could not examine the interaction for vitamin B-12 deficiency and high plasma folate, because there were too few individuals (<1% of the cohort) in this category to draw conclusions. Low plasma vitamin B-12 and low plasma folate were each associated with worse cognitive function in this population. Vitamin B-12 deficiency was prevalent and clearly associated with poorer cognitive function. More attention should be given to identification and treatment of vitamin B-12 deficiency in this population.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Additional, larger studies are needed to examine the effect of vitamin B-12 deficiency in the presence of high exposure to folic acid.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

Structured exercise program, not testosterone therapy improved men's artery health

University of Western Australia, February 22, 2021 

 

Twelve weeks of exercise training improved artery health and function in middle-aged and older men (ages 50-70 years) with low-to-normal testosterone levels, while testosterone therapy provided no benefits to the arteries, according to new research published today in Hypertension, an American Heart Association journal.

The natural aging process for men includes decreased testosterone and physical activity levels decline with age, leading to declines in artery health and function. Testosterone replacement therapy is often used to combat the symptoms of decreasing testosterone levels, including low energy, reduced muscle mass and reduced vigor. In the absence of any new clinical indications, testosterone sales have increased 12-fold globally in the past decades.

"The global increase in testosterone use has been very large, particularly among middle-aged and older men who might see it as a restorative hormone to increase energy and vitality," said study author Daniel J. Green, Ph.D., Winthrop Professor and cardiovascular exercise physiology researcher in the School of Human Sciences at The University of Western Australia in Perth, Australia. "However, previous studies are mixed as to whether replacement testosterone is beneficial or not, or whether it provides additional benefit over and above the effects of an exercise program."

Green and colleagues evaluated men ages 50 to 70 years old, with no history of cardiovascular disease, higher than normal waist circumferences and testosterone levels that were in the low to normal range. The researchers also excluded current smokers, men currently on testosterone treatment or men on medications that would alter testosterone concentrations. At the beginning and end of the study, researchers measured artery function using a method that increases blood flow inside an artery. This assesses whether the inner lining of the artery is healthy and can help the artery to increase in size or dilate.

The 12-week study included 78 men randomized into four groups: 21 men received topical testosterone and completed a supervised exercise program including aerobic and strength exercises two to three times a week; 18 men received testosterone with no exercise; 20 men received a placebo and no exercise; and 19 men received a placebo with exercise. The exercise training was supervised in a research gymnasium at Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth, and the program was overseen by an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP).

The researchers found:

Testosterone treatment increased the levels of the hormone to above average levels in 62% of men in the groups that received the treatment.

Exercise training also increased testosterone level; however, the levels were highest among the men in the groups who received the testosterone supplement.

Artery function and health improved in the groups who received exercise training; but no improvement was found in those who received testosterone without exercise training.

Artery function in response to testing improved by 28% in the group who received exercise without testosterone, and by 19% in the group who received a combination of testosterone and exercise.

The researchers did not see changes in other tests that stimulated muscle cells in the middle of the artery wall, following exercise training, testosterone treatment or the combination of the two.

"The results of our study suggest that if you are a healthy but relatively inactive middle-aged or older man with increased abdominal girth, and you are worried about your risk of heart attack, stroke or diabetes, then an exercise program with some support and supervision can help to improve the function and health of your arteries," Green said. "Testosterone therapy may have some benefits, for example in increasing muscle mass in the legs, however, we didn't find any benefits in terms of artery function, which is a determinant of future cardiovascular risk."

Green noted that the study's small size is a limitation, and this research lays the foundation for larger studies that could lead to health recommendations for men.

 

Effects of yoga-based interventions on cognitive functioning in healthy older adults: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials

Karolinska Institute (Sweden), Imperial College London, Victoria University (Australia), February 11, 2021

 

The world's elderly population is growing. Physical activity has positive effects on health and cognition, but is decreasing among the elderly. Interest in yoga-based exercises has increased in this population, especially as an intervention targeting balance, flexibility, strength, and well-being. Recent interest has arisen regarding yoga’s potential benefits for cognition.

Objective

To systematically review evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining the effects of yoga-based interventions on cognitive functioning in healthy adults aged 60 + . A secondary objective was to report the intervention characteristics.

Method

The review was conducted in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. Searches were performed from inception to June 2020 using the following electronic databases: (1) PubMed (NLM); (2) Embase (Elsevier); (3) Cochrane Central (Wiley); (4) PsycINFO (EBSCOhost); and (5) Cinahl (EbscoHost). Inclusion criteria: RCTs of yoga-based interventions assessing cognition in healthy adults ≥60 years. Risk of bias was assessed using the revised Cochrane risk of bias tool.

Results

A total of 1466 records were initially identified; six studies (5 unique trials) were included in the review. Four of the six articles reported significant positive effects of yoga-based interventions on cognition, including gross memory functioning and executive functions. Intervention characteristics and assessment methods varied between studies, with a high overall risk of bias in all studies.

Conclusion

Yoga-based interventions are associated with improvements in cognition in healthy older adults. Adequately powered RCTs with robust study designs and long-term follow-ups are required. Future studies should explicitly report the intervention characteristics associated with changes in cognitive function.

 

Fruit and veg-rich diet linked to much lower risk of chronic lung disease

Karolinksa Institute (Sweden), February 22, 2021

 

A diet rich in fruit and vegetables is linked to a significantly lower risk of developing chronic lung disease (COPD) in former and current smokers, finds research published online in the journal Thorax.

 

Each additional daily serving was associated with a 4-8% lower risk, the findings show. COPD, short for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is an umbrella term for respiratory conditions that narrow the airways, which include bronchitis and emphysema.

 

The primary risk factor for its development is smoking, and the World Health Organization predicts that COPD is set to become the third leading cause of death worldwide. Recent evidence suggests that diet may be an important factor in the development and/or prevention of COPD.

 

To try and find out if fruit and vegetable intake might have a dietary role, the researchers tracked the respiratory health of more than 44,000 men aged between 45 and 79 for 13 years.

 

They were also quizzed about other potentially important factors, such as educational attainment, weight, height, physical activity and inactivity levels and how much, and how often, they drank alcohol. And they were asked how many daily cigarettes they smoked, on average, between the ages of 15 and 20; 21 and 30; 31 and 40; 41 and 50; and 51 and 60.

 

Almost two thirds of the men (nearly 63%) had smoked at some point; around one in four (24%) were current smokers; and nearly four out of 10 (38.5%) had never smoked.

 

During the monitoring period, 1918 new cases of COPD were diagnosed. The number of new cases in current and former smokers was estimated to be 1166 and 506/100,000 people, respectively, among those eating fewer than 2 daily portions of fruit and vegetables; but in those eating more than 5, the equivalent figures were 546 and 255.

 

In all, those eating 5 or more daily servings were 35% less likely to develop lung disease than those eating 2 or fewer daily servings. And when the data were stratified by smoking, current and former smokers eating 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables every day were, respectively, 40% and 34%, less likely to develop COPD.

 

Each additional serving was associated with a 4% lower risk of COPD in former smokers and an 8% lower risk in current smokers. 

 

Compared with those who had never smoked and who ate 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables, current and former smokers eating fewer than 2 daily portions were, respectively, 13.5 times and 6 times more likely to develop COPD.

Those at the high end of the consumption scale were 7.5 times (current smokers), and more than 3.5 times (former smokers), as likely to develop COPD.

 

Apples or pears; green leafy vegetables; and peppers seemed to exert the strongest influence on risk, but no such associations were seen for berry fruits; bananas; citrus fruits; cruciferous and root vegetables; tomatoes; onions; garlic; or green peas.

As oxidative tissue stress and inflammation may be involved in COPD development, and smoking is a potent trigger of these processes, the antioxidants abundant in fruit and vegetables may curb their impact, suggest the researchers, who add that smoking cessation should still continue to be promoted as the mainstay of prevention.

 

But in a linked editorial, Drs Raphaelle Varraso and Seif Shaheen emphasise that as this is an observational study, no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect; a clinical trial would be needed for that.

But they write: "it could be argued that there is nothing to be lost by acting now. We would argue that clinicians should consider the potential benefits of a healthy diet in promoting lung health, and advocate optimising intake of fruits and vegetables, especially in smokers who are unable to stop smoking."

 

 

 

Do gluten-free diets provide a cure-all for celiac disease?

University of Oslo (Norway), February 24, 2021

A new study provides insights into the curative effects of gluten-free diets in celiac patients. Results from the proteomics-based research suggests not.

Celiac disease is a highly prevalent disorder characterized by a harmful immune reaction to dietary gluten proteins in the upper small intestine. The disease is caused when CD4+ T-cells in a patient respond to gluten, mounting an immune reaction that causes intestinal damage.

Tracking celiac disease: intestinal biopsies

Disease diagnosis and monitoring are typically performed via expert analysis of intestinal biopsies by medical professionals. The only current effective treatment for celiac disease is complete and permanent removal of gluten from patients' diets. For the vast majority of patients, biopsies reveal that avoiding gluten in this way is very effective and that the intestine regains its normal architecture after some time.

Treated patients (those who have remained off gluten and have a healthy intestine according to biopsy analysis) are sometimes re-exposed to gluten (gluten challenge) in the clinic to confirm diagnosis or to track drug efficacy in clinical trials.

Varied response to gluten challenge

For reasons that are not completely understood, upon gluten challenge, some treated patients develop strong mucosal inflammation while others do not. This suggests that there are subtle differences between treated patients that are not easy to detect by visual inspection of intestinal biopsies alone, and that a more detailed picture of tissue status is needed to fully understand the connection between gluten exposure and disease severity.

That was the aim of the new study, led by Jorunn Stamnæs at the KG Jebsen Coeliac Disease Research Centre (JCoDiRC) at the University of Oslo.

Collaboration with NAPI

Jorunn collaborated with staff at the NAPI Proteomics Core Facility at Oslo University Hospital to perform mass spectrometry-based proteomics analysis of intestinal samples from a cohort of 19 well-treated celiac disease patients subjected to gluten challenge.

Although the 19 patients all were categorized as well treated prior to gluten challenge, they react very differently to the gluten—with strong mucosal changes in some patients and no observable changes in other patients.

The researchers used biopsies from all patients both before and after short-term gluten exposure, which allowed unbiased global analysis of the protein profiles associated with the different levels of inflammatory response.

Proteomics paints clearer picture

The proteomic approach revealed that patients with a strong inflammatory response had signs of ongoing 'basal' inflammation before re-exposure to gluten. This coincided with increased levels of gluten-specific T cells in the intestine, as well as a low-level presence of inflammatory proteins in the blood.

Although all patients in this cohort were considered well-treated by a standard gluten-free diet, gluten-related inflammation could still be ongoing at low level in the patients that responded strongly to gluten re-exposure. As these patients had a 'head start' they rapidly developed clear mucosal destruction.

Alternative approaches to categorize patients

These findings provide valuable new insights into celiac disease mechanisms, and raise the question as to whether a standard gluten-free diet is sufficient to fully 'cure' all celiac patients.

The research also suggests that, whilst manual inspection of intestinal biopsies is a valuable tool to broadly categorize disease status and response to gluten, alternative approaches such as proteomics could help to better define which patients still demonstrate low-level gluten-specific immune responses. A significant number of patients previously thought to be well-treated by a gluten-free diet may in fact require additional interventions to fully curb their gut inflammation.

Researchers at JCoDiRC are now investigating whether activated gluten-specific CD4+ T cells are present also in some celiac patients on long-term gluten free diet.

The Gary Null Show - 02.24.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.24.21

February 24, 2021

Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy. 

 
L-theanine improves neurophysiologic measures of attention in dose-dependent manner University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka), February 22, 2021 According to news reporting originating from Peradeniya, Sri Lanka,research stated, “L-theanine, a non-proteinic amino acid found in tea, is known to enhance attention particularly in high doses, with no reported adverse effects. We aimed to determine whether oral administration of L-theanine acutely enhances neurophysiological measures of selective attention in a dose-dependent manner.” Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from the University of Peradeniya, “In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, 4-way crossover study in a group of 27 healthy young adults, we compared the effects of 3 doses of L-theanine (100, 200 and 400 mg) with a placebo (distilled water) on latencies of amplitudes of attentive and pre-attentive cognitive event-related potentials (ERPs) recorded in an auditory stimulus discrimination task, before and 50 min after dosing. Compared to the placebo, 400 mg of theanine showed a significant reduction in the latency of the parietal P3b ERP component (p < 0.05), whereas no significant changes were observed with lower doses. A subsequent exploratory regression showed that each 100-mg increase in dose reduces the P3b latency by 4 ms (p < 0.05). No dose-response effect was observed in P3b amplitude, pre-attentive ERP components or reaction time. The findings indicate L-theanine can increase attentional processing of auditory information in a dose-dependent manner.” According to the news editors, the research concluded: “The linear dose-response attentional effects we observed warrant further studies with higher doses of L-theanine.” This research has been peer-reviewed.
 
Lost your appetite? Nutmeg oil can bring it back Kyoto University (Japan), February 21 2021 Loss of appetite is treated by directly addressing its cause. However, depending on the condition it’s associated with, treatment can be expensive. But in a recent study, researchers at Kyoto University investigated a potential treatment for loss of appetite that’s both inexpensive and easy to administer. Myristica fragrans, from which this natural medicine is derived, is an evergreen tree native to the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, of Indonesia. The seeds of this exotic plant are the main source of two popular culinary spices, namely, nutmeg and mace. According to previous studies, the oil derived from the fruits and seeds of the nutmeg tree has appetite-enhancing properties. Nutmeg oil is also traditionally used to treat digestive issues, such as bloating, gastrointestinal distress and decreased appetite. The researchers explored the beneficial properties and active components of nutmeg oil in an article published in the Journal of Natural Medicines. Nutmeg oil shows appetite-enhancing effects in vivo The spice known as nutmeg is popular for its warm, nutty flavor that goes well with sweet and savory dishes. It is widely used today in the culinary world and can be found in almost every kitchen around the world. In Asian countries, nutmeg is not only used as an ingredient, but it also has a long history of use as herbal medicine that can improve a person’s appetite. (Related: Nutmeg exhibits powerful anti-diabetes properties, concludes study.) According to previous studies, nutmeg oil contains two active phytochemicals, myristicin and methyl eugenol. Myristicin is also present in parsley, black pepper, carrots and dill, and is said to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-proliferative, anti-cholinergic and hepatoprotective properties. Methyl eugenol, meanwhile, is a compound present in various essential oils. It has been reported to have antibacterial, antifungal, insecticidal, anesthetic and antioxidant properties. In one animal study, researchers found that inhalation of myristicin and methyl eugenol increased the appetite mice. Because of this, the two compounds have attracted the attention of healthcare professionals who care for older people with dementia. Loss of appetite is not unusual for these patients since they tend to suffer from hypophagia, or a reduction in food intake and feeding behavior. Hypophagia, if left unaddressed, leads to frailty, and patients end up bedridden. Hence, inexpensive appetite-enhancing agents that are easy to administer are particularly desirable. In their study, the Japanese researchers found that inhalation of nutmeg oil, myristicin and methyl eugenol produced appetite-enhancing effects in mice. However, only methyl eugenol exerted both appetite-enhancing and locomotor-reducing effects at the same dose. According to a previous study, benzylacetone, an attractant compound found abundantly in flowers, also exerted the same effects at the same dose, and even increased the bodyweight of mice significantly. Methyl eugenol, however, did not have the same effect on body weight because the mice experienced olfactory habituation — reduced behavioral response due to repeated exposure — after several inhalations. The researchers believe that their study provides crucial information for identifying suitable compounds that can be used for the long-term treatment of appetite loss.
 
Case Study Shows Cannabis Led To Remarkable Improvement In Childhood Autism Symptoms Caleo Health Clinic (Canada) and Alberta Children's Hospital, February 21, 2021 An extremely promising case study was recently published in the Journal of Medical Case Reports illustrating the positive effects of cannabis extract and its association with improved autism related behavioral symptoms. According to the authors, “the pharmacological treatment for autism spectrum disorders is often poorly tolerated and has traditionally targeted associated conditions, with limited benefit for the core social deficits. We describe the novel use of a cannabidiol-based extract that incidentally improved core social deficits and overall functioning in a patient with autism spectrum disorder, at a lower dose than has been previously reported in autism spectrum disorder.” The case study focused on a child with autism who was switching out prescription seizure medicine for his epilepsy with a very low cannabidiol-based extract dose. The study found that not only did the cannabidiol extract help with his seizures, but he also “experienced unanticipated positive effects on behavioral symptoms and core social deficits,” according to the study. Researchers pointed out that to modify disruptive behaviors and improve social communication skills, often times children with autism are prescribed psychopharmacologic medications that target specific ASD core behaviors (for example, repetitive behaviors) and associated behaviors (for example, hyperactivity, aggression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances), but do not treat core social communication deficits. They explain that these medications are known for producing “substantial side effects.” For example, aripiprazole and risperidone, the only two medications approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat irritability and agitation in ASD, frequently cause somnolence, increased appetite, and weight gain. These factors have led to families seeking alternative treatments outside of the psychopharmacologic realm. One of the newest forms of these alternative medicines is cannabidiol-based extract. Researchers reported that the patient’s symptoms improved within six-months of treatment, and that he has maintained “positive effects on his behavioral symptoms, anxiety, sleep, and social deficits” since that time. The results of CBE treatments, according to the case study, were nothing short of remarkable. He became more motivated and energetic, starting his own vegetarian diet and exercise programs, ultimately losing 6.4 kg after starting CBE for a calculated BMI of 21.33 kg/m2. He was able to start his first part-time job helping customers and interacting with them. He was instructed to fill out the self-administered Adult AQ which resulted in a normal score of 10. His mother stated he now also has a girlfriend. “This case report provides evidence that a lower than previously reported dose of a phytocannabinoid in the form of a cannabidiol-based extract may be capable of aiding in autism spectrum disorder-related behavioral symptoms, core social communication abilities, and comorbid anxiety, sleep difficulties, and weight control,” authors concluded. “Further research is needed to elucidate the clinical role and underlying biological mechanisms of action of cannabidiol-based extract in patients with autism spectrum disorder.” According to a report in Norml, these finding back up previous research published last year by investigators at Tufts University in Boston who similarly reported that the oral administration of cannabis-based products is associated with improvements in autistic symptoms in patients with self-injurious behaviors and co-morbid epilepsy, Several small clinical trials – such as those reported here, here, here, and here – have also previously reported that plant-derived cannabis extracts are effective and well-tolerated in mitigating various symptoms in patients with ASD, including hyperactivity, seizures, anxiety, and rage attacks.
 
High Homocysteine Levels May Increase Risk Of Heart Attack, Stroke, & Alzheimer’s Disease Temple University, February 14, 2021 There is a strong need for increased awareness, better prevention, detection, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease with well over 5 million Americans currently suffering from this debilitating brain-wasting disease, and this number is projected to triple over the next few decades Research has found a link between Alzheimer’s disease and elevated levels of homocysteine. A recent study from Temple University has revealed another important connection between specific vitamin deficiencies and high homocysteine. Elevated homocysteine can increase the risk of dementia up to tenfold, and the list of ways this can affect the brain is long and damaging. This can include but is not limited to the formation of plaque in blood vessels that supply blood to the brain, development of chronic inflammation in the brain, and shrinkage of areas in the brain associated with memory. Additionally, excess homocysteine promotes the neurofibrillary tau tangles and harmful beta-amyloid plaques that are associated with AD, and it can interfere with the DNA repair process needed for brain cell maintenance. The harmful effects of elevated levels of homocysteine can all take a toll on brain function. For example, a study published in the Annals of Neuroscience found that elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with a 4.2-10.5 fold increased risk for vascular dementia, and the higher homocysteine rises the more damage it can cause. The study reported elevations in homocysteine were found to correspond closely to the degrees of cognitive impairment experienced by the participants. A report published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease classified elevated homocysteine as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive decline. The researchers noted that the risk from elevated homocysteine was modifiable, meaning that reducing these levels could help to reduce the risk of brain damage. The recent study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry describes the dangers of B-complex vitamin shortfalls in relation to homocysteine which is produced in the body in response to the breakdown of proteins and is normally detoxified by B-complex vitamins. Mice were deprived of vitamins B6, B9, and B12 for eight months, the animals were found to display elevated levels of homocysteine and 50% more tau tangles in the brain. The increased levels also caused increased levels of the pro-inflammatory chemical 5-LOX. The animals also displayed considerable difficulty with learning and remembering a water maze compared to the control group. The brain is not the only thing affected by high levels of homocysteine, this condition can also cause harm to the cardiovascular system including but not limited to damaging the lining of blood vessels, promoting deposits of plaque in the arteries that can cause a clog and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Research has shown that high levels of homocysteine is linked to a 42% increase in the risk of constricted carotid arteries which is a major risk factor for strokes. Elevated levels of homocysteine and poor arterial function can combine to interfere with the ability of the body to counter dangerous clotting inside of the arteries as well as with the ability of the heart to adapt to a blocked vessel by creating a new pathway. Elevated levels of homocysteine are dangerous to those with existing cardiovascular disease. A study involving over 3,000 participants with chronic heart disease found that elevated levels were associated with a 2.5 fold increased risk for coronary events. The researchers discovered a formula for measuring the risk, and suggested that every additional 5 micromoles per liter of homocysteine results in a 25% risk increase. As a product of less efficient detoxification functions levels of homocysteine tends to increase with aging. Genetics, stress, and the use of prescription drugs can also affect homocysteine levels. Experts suggest that a shortage in vitamins B2, B6, B9, and B12 that normally detoxify the amino acid are often the reason behind increasing levels of homocysteine. If you are concerned about your levels of homocysteine, or vitamin levels consult with your physician or certified medical professionals who may be able to address your concerns with a simple blood test. If you have reached or are approaching elderhood, with degenerative chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease on the rise it may be better to err on the side of caution and get checked rather than guess. Experts suggest that B complex vitamins are involved in breaking down homocysteine in the blood. These vitamins can be supplemented, but it is always best to obtain them via natural sources such as is found in eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. For example, vitamin B9 can be obtained in leafy greens and lentils; and B6 can be obtained in potatoes, chickpeas, and bananas; while B12 can be obtained in dairy products and organ meats.
 
For breakthroughs in slowing aging, scientists must look beyond biology University of Southern California, February 22, 2021 A trio of recent studies highlight the need to incorporate behavioral and social science alongside the study of biological mechanisms in order to slow aging. The three papers, published in concert in Ageing Research Reviews, emphasized how behavioral and social factors are intrinsic to aging. This means they are causal drivers of biological aging. In fact, the influence of behavioral and social factors on how fast people age are large and meaningful. However, geroscience--the study of how to slow biological aging to extend healthspan and longevity--has traditionally not incorporated behavioral or social science research. These papers are by three pioneers in aging research and members of the National Academy of Medicine who study different aspects of the intersection of biology and social factors in shaping healthy aging through the lifespan. Improving translation of aging research from mice to humans Exciting biological discoveries about rate of aging in non-human species are sometimes not applicable or lost when we apply them to humans. Including behavioral and social research can support translation of geroscience findings from animal models to benefit humans, said Terrie Moffitt, the Nannerl O. Keohane University Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. "The move from slowing fundamental processes of aging in laboratory animals to slowing aging in humans will not be as simple as prescribing a pill and watching it work," Moffitt said. "Compared to aging in laboratory animals, human aging has many behavioral/social in addition to cellular origins and influences. These influences include potential intervention targets that are uniquely human, and therefore are not easily investigated in animal research." Several of these human factors have big impacts on health and mortality: stress and early life adversity, psychiatric history, personality traits, intelligence, loneliness and social connection, and purpose in life are connected to a variety of late-life health outcomes, she explained. These important factors need to be taken into account to get a meaningful prediction of human biological aging. "Geroscience can be augmented through collaboration with behavioral and social science to accomplish translation from animal models to humans, and improve the design of clinical trials of anti-aging therapies," Moffitt said. "It's vital that geroscience advances be delivered to everyone, not just the well-to-do, because individuals who experience low education, low incomes, adverse early-life experiences, and prejudice are the people who age fastest and die youngest." Social factors associated with poor aging outcomes "Social hallmarks of aging" can be strongly predictive of age-related health outcomes - in many cases, even more so than biological factors, said USC University Professor and AARP Chair in Gerontology Eileen Crimmins. While the aging field commonly discusses the biological hallmarks of aging, we don't tend to include the social and behavioral factors that lead to premature aging. Crimmins has called the main five factors below "the Social Hallmarks of aging" and poses that these should not be ignored in any sample of humans and the concepts should be incorporated where possible into non-human studies. Crimmins examined data that was collected in 2016 from the Health and Retirement Study, a large, nationally representative study of Americans over the age of 56 that incorporates both surveys regarding social factors and biological measurements, including a blood sample for genetic analysis. For the study, she focused the five social hallmarks for poor health outcomes: low lifetime socioeconomic status, including lower levels of education adversity in childhood and adulthood, including trauma and other hardships being a member of a minority group adverse health behaviors, including smoking, obesity and problem drinking adverse psychological states, such as depression, negative psychological outlook and chronic stress The presence of these five factors were strongly associated with older adults having difficulty with activities of daily living, experiencing problems with cognition, and multimorbidity (having five or more diseases). Even when controlling for biological measurements - including blood pressure, genetic risk factors, mitochondrial DNA copy number and more - the social differences, as well as demographic factors such as age and gender, explained most of the differences in aging outcomes between study subjects, she said. However, biological and social factors aren't completely independent from one another, Crimmins added, which is why she advocates for further incorporation of social and behavioral factors in aging biology research. "Variability in human aging is strongly related to the social determinants of aging; and it remains so when extensive biology is introduced as mediating factors. This means that the social variability in the aging process is only partly explained by the biological measures researchers currently use," she said. "Our hypothesis is that if we could fully capture the basic biological mechanisms of aging, they would even more strongly explain the social variability in the process of aging, as social factors need to 'get under the skin' through biology." Understanding stress and stress resilience Elissa Epel, professor and vice chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UC San Francisco, detailed how research on stress and resilience needs to incorporate psychosocial factors in order to understand how different kinds of stress affect aging. Not all types of stress are equal and in fact some are salutary. The social hallmarks of aging can shape the rate of aging in part through toxic stress responses, she said. While acute responses to minor or moderate stressors, including infection or injury, is critical to survival, chronic exposure to high amounts of stress--including long-term psychological stressors such as abuse--can prove toxic and result in poor health outcomes. "Brief, intermittent, low-dose stressors can lead to positive biological responses, improving resistance to damage, which is called hormesis," Epel explained. For example, physiological hormetic stressors include short term exposure to cold, heat, exercise, or hypoxia. Hormetic stress turns on mechanisms of cell repair and rejuvenation. "In contrast, a high dose of a chronic exposure can override these mechanisms, resulting in damage or death," she added. Thus, toxic stress can accelerate biological aging processes, whereas hormetic stress can slow aging. However, the types, timing, and frequency of hormetic stress need to be better delineated in order to be useful to human aging research and interventions, Epel said. "Stress resilience, an umbrella term including hormetic stress, can be measured across cellular, physiological, and psychosocial functioning," she said. "Developing a deeper understanding of stress resilience will lead to more targeted innovative interventions." Stress resilience can also include social interventions that protect from the malleable social hallmarks of aging, including safe neighborhoods to reduce trauma and violence, and social support programs to combat loneliness and depression. Geroscience is now more important than ever, both to our aging global demography but also to the health challenges we face going forward, and stress resilience is an especially important topic at the moment, Epel added. "In our new era, we have dramatically increasing temperature extremes, wildfires and small particle pollution, and new zoonotic viruses to contend with intermittently," she said. "Reducing social disparities, improving stress resilience and bolstering immune function have become critical public health goals." In sum, the three papers together point to a promising decade ahead for aging research. Humans, as complex social mammals, age together in response to social conditions and behavioral factors that are partly malleable. Epel explains "As we discover and test biological processes of aging that we can manipulate, we can do this in tandem with capitalizing on the natural levers of healthy aging that are powerful, interactive, and cannot be ignored. In this way, the fountain of youth becomes more attainable."
 
Up to 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day may prevent 7.8 million premature deaths Imperial College London, February 22, 2021 A fruit and vegetable intake above five-a-day shows major benefit in reducing the chance of heart attack, stroke, cancer and early death. This is the finding of new research, led by scientists from Imperial College London, which analysed 95 studies on fruit and vegetable intake. The team found that although even the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduced disease risk, the greatest benefit came from eating 800g a day (roughly equivalent to ten portions - one portion of fruit or vegetables if defined as 80g). The study, which was a meta-analysis of all available research in populations worldwide, included up to 2 million people, and assessed up to 43,000 cases of heart disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease, 112,000 cancer cases and 94,000 deaths. In the research, which is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the team estimate approximately 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide could be potentially prevented every year if people ate 10 portions, or 800 g, of fruit and vegetables a day. The team also analysed which types of fruit and vegetables provided the greatest protection against disease. Dr Dagfinn Aune, lead author of the research from the School of Public Health at Imperial explained: "We wanted to investigate how much fruit and vegetables you need to eat to gain the maximum protection against disease, and premature death. Our results suggest that although five portions of fruit and vegetables is good, ten a day is even better." The results revealed that even a daily intake of 200g was associated with a 16 per cent reduced risk of heart disease, an 18 per cent reduced risk of stroke, and a 13 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. This amount, which is equivalent to two and a half portions, was also associated with 4 per cent reduced risk in cancer risk, and 15 per cent reduction in the risk of premature death. Further benefits were observed with higher intakes. Eating up to 800g fruit and vegetables a day - or 10 portions - was associated with a 24 per cent reduced risk of heart disease, a 33 per cent reduced risk of stroke, a 28 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a 13 per cent reduced risk of total cancer, and a 31 per cent reduction in dying prematurely. This risk was calculated in comparison to not eating any fruit and vegetables. The team were not able to investigate intakes greater than 800 g a day, as this was the high end of the range across studies. An 80g portion of fruit and vegetables equals approximately one small banana, apple, pear or large mandarin. Three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables such as spinach, peas, broccoli or cauliflower count as a portion. The researchers also examined the types of fruit and vegetables that may reduce the risk of specific diseases. They found the following fruits and vegetables may help prevent heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and early death: apples and pears, citrus fruits, salads and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and chicory, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. They also found the following may reduce cancer risk: green vegetables, such as spinach or green beans, yellow vegetables, such as peppers and carrots, and cruciferous vegetables. Similar associations were observed for raw and cooked vegetables in relation to early death, however, additional studies are needed on specific types of fruits and vegetables and preparation methods. The team say the number of studies was more limited for these analyses, and the possibility that other specific fruits and vegetables may also reduce risk cannot be excluded. Dr Aune said that several potential mechanisms could explain why fruit and vegetables have such profound health benefits: "Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system. This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold. For instance they contain many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage, and lead to a reduction in cancer risk." He added that compounds called glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, activate enzymes that may help prevent cancer. Furthermore fruit and vegetables may also have a beneficial effect on the naturally-occurring bacteria in our gut. The vast array of beneficial compounds cannot be easily replicated in a pill, he said: "Most likely it is the whole package of beneficial nutrients you obtain by eating fruits and vegetables that is crucial is health. This is why it is important to eat whole plant foods to get the benefit, instead of taking antioxidant or vitamin supplements (which have not been shown to reduce disease risk)." In the analysis, the team took into account other factors, such as a person's weight, smoking, physical activity levels, and overall diet, but still found that fruit and vegetables were beneficial. Dr Aune added: "We need further research into the effects of specific types of fruits and vegetables and preparation methods of fruit and vegetables. We also need more research on the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake with causes of death other than cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, it is clear from this work that a high intake of fruit and vegetables hold tremendous healthbenefits, and we should try to increase their intake in our diet."
 
Alpha-lipoic acid an effective antioxidant for healthy adult dogs Hills Pet Nutrition Research, February 19, 2021 According to news reporting originating from the Hill’s Pet Nutrition research stated, “This study was designed to determine the effect of alpha-lipoic acid on the glutathione status in healthy adult dogs.” Our news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Hill’s Pet Nutrition: “Following a 15 month baseline period during which dogs were fed a food containing no alpha-lipoic acid, dogs were randomly allocated into four groups. Groups were then fed a nutritionally complete and balanced food with either 0, 75, 150 or 300 ppm of alpha-lipoic acid added for 6 months. Evaluations included physical examination, body weight, food intake, hematology, serum biochemistry profile and measurements of glutathione in plasma and erythrocyte lysates. Throughout, blood parameters remained within reference ranges, dogs were healthy and body weight did not change significantly. A significant increase of 0.05 ng/mL of total glutathione in red blood cell (RBC) lysate for each 1 mg/kg bodyweight/day increase in a-LA intake was observed. In addition, a significant increase was observed for GSH, GSSG and total glutathione in RBC lysate at Month 6.” According to the news editors, the research concluded: “We conclude that alpha-lipoic acid, as part of a complete and balanced food, was associated with increasing glutathione activity in healthy adult dogs.”
The Gary Null Show - 02.23.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.23.21

February 23, 2021

Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy. 

The Gary Null Show - 02.22.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.22.21

February 22, 2021

Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy. 

Study: Ashwagandha extract can be used to improve sleep quality and relieve stress Patil University School of Medicine (India), February 19, 2021 Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera or Indian ginseng, is a medicinal herb native to India and North Africa. It has been used for over 3,000 years to relieve stress, as well as to increase energy levels and improve concentration. A recent study published in the journal Cureus suggests it may hold the key to treating insomnia. A team of researchers from Patil University School of Medicine, Vedantaa Institute of Medical Sciences and Prakruti Hospital conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to determine the effects of ashwagandha root extract in patients with insomnia and anxiety. A total of 60 participants were randomly divided into two groups: 40 were placed in the test group and given a capsule containing 300 mg of high-concentration ashwagandha root extract, while the remaining 20 formed the placebo group. Those in the placebo group received capsules containing starch twice a day over a period of ten weeks. The researchers used Sleep Actigraphy to assess sleep onset latency (SOL), total sleep time (TST), sleep efficiency (SE) and wake after sleep onset (WASO). Other factors that the research team looked at were total time in bed, mental alertness on rising, sleep quality, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale. According to the researchers, SOL, SE and sleep quality were visibly improved after ashwagandha treatment, along with other sleep parameters. (Related: Ashwagandha: Discover the health benefits of this popular ancient adaptogen.) Their findings suggest that ashwagandha can be used to improve sleep in patients with insomnia and anxiety, although further large-scale studies are needed. Omega-3 supplements may reduce muscle soreness after exercise, study finds University of Westminster (UK), February 18, 2021 Researchers at the University of Westminster have found that taking omega-3 supplements may help to reduce muscle soreness after exercise. The findings may be important for people who avoid exercise because of the soreness associated with it. Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that play important roles in our bodies and may provide a number of health benefits. These are essential fats as our bodies cannot produce them and we must get them from our diet, primarily from oily fish. They have anti-inflammatory functions, can help maintain a healthy heart, reduce the risk of heart disease and may have incredible effects on brain and mental health. Previous studies have looked at the effect of omega-3 fish oils on muscle damage recovery and muscle inflammation following exercise. Whilst evidence is mixed, it has been shown that sustained omega-3 intake in your diet may lead to small gains in recovery for athletes following intense exercise and possibly small gains in exercise performance too. In this study, the researchers gave people omega-3 capsules three times a day for four weeks, or a matching placebo, to build up their levels. They then took part in a very intense exercise program aimed at causing severe muscle pain and physiologically safe muscle damage. The researchers then measured blood levels of inflammation and muscle damage markers, physical pain and the ability of the participants to do forceful muscle contractions every day for the next three days. They found a lower inflammatory response and decreased muscle damage after exercise in the fish oil group. However, the omega-3 did not seem to change the amount of force reduction in future muscle contractions, suggesting that omega-3 supplementation had limited impact on muscle function, recovery and subsequent performance, but it did reduce the pain participants experienced. Talking about the study, Ph.D. researcher and lead author Yvoni Kyriakidou, from the University of Westminster's School of Life Sciences, said: "Whilst the omega-3 supplementation didn't seem to enhance performance, it did reduce the pain participants experienced which we suggest is useful in itself as people don't like exercise because it hurts. If it doesn't hurt as much, maybe more people will keep doing it?" Higher intake of carotenoid beta cryptoxanthin associated with lower risk of osteoporosis Seoul National University (South Korea), February 12, 2021 According to news reporting out of Seoul, South Korea, research stated, “Many studies have analyzed the effects of * * b* * -cryptoxanthin (BCX) on osteoporosis and bone health. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed at providing quantitative evidence for the effects of BCX on osteoporosis.” The news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Seoul National University: “Publications were selected and retrieved from three databases and carefully screened to evaluate their eligibility. Data from the final 15 eligible studies were extracted and uniformly summarized. Among the 15 studies, seven including 100,496 individuals provided information for the meta-analysis. A random effects model was applied to integrate the odds ratio (OR) to compare the risk of osteoporosis and osteoporosis-related complications between the groups with high and low intake of BCX. A high intake of BCX was significantly correlated with a reduced risk of osteoporosis (OR = 0.79, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.70-0.90, * * p* * = 0.0002). The results remained significant when patients were stratified into male and female subgroups as well as Western and Asian cohorts. A high intake of BCX was also negatively associated with the incidence of hip fracture (OR = 0.71, 95% CI 0.54-0.94, * * p* * = 0.02).” According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “The results indicate that BCX intake potentially reduces the risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture. Further longitudinal studies are needed to validate the causality of current findings.” Being male, having overweight and depression can influence aging Vrije University (Netherlands) and Virginia Commonwealth University, February 15, 2021 Scientists are using biology to more accurately measure how quickly humans age. One factor is the length of an individual’s telomeres, stretches of DNA and proteins at the ends of our chromosomes that shorten as we age. An epigenetic clock, meanwhile, looks at the changes in gene function that do not make alterations to the genetic code, or genome. Another aging clock is based on transcriptomes, a collection of all the gene readouts in a cell. Scientists also measure age with metabolomics, the study of the chemical processes that involve metabolites, small molecules produced by and during metabolic processes. In addition, scientists use what they call a proteomic clock, which measures levels of proteins in the blood. For a new study, now published in the journal eLife, researchersset out to learn whether a composite biological clock outperforms individual biological clocks in predicting health. “To develop a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying biological aging, we wanted to examine how indicators of biological aging relate to each other, how they link to determinants of physical and mental health, and whether a combined biological clock, made up of all age indicators, is a better predictor of health,” says co-lead author Dr. Rick Jansen, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at Amsterdam UMC, in the Netherlands. Examining biological aging indicators The researchers used blood samples from 2,981 individuals aged 18–65 years who took part in the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety. Of the participants, 74% had a diagnosis of a depressive disorder, an anxiety disorder, or both, while 26% were healthy control participants. The participants were recruited from medical facilities and the general population between September 2004 and February 2007. The team used computer modeling to examine whether five measures of biological aging — telomere length and the epigenetic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic clocks — were interrelated and associated with mental and physical health. The researchers then took the five indicators and incorporated them into an analysis that also included sex, lifestyle factors, physical ability, and known health conditions. What makes people age faster? The scientists found that being male was associated with more advanced biological aging according to four of the five biological clock measurements. This is consistent with the understanding that in most places, women outlive men. Other factors associated with more advanced biological aging according to at least four of the five measures were: having a high body mass index, smoking, and having metabolic syndrome. The researchers also discovered that depression is linked to more advanced biological aging. In addition, they noted associations between medication use and this aging. However, they could not determine whether this was due to the medication itself or the underlying physical or mental illness requiring treatment. Meanwhile, the study allowed the researchers to infer that some biological clocks show overlap, but most seem to be tracking different aspects of the aging process. They write: “This provides further support for the hypothesis that not one biological clock sufficiently captures the biological aging process and that not all clocks are under the control of one unitary aging process.” Vitamin B3 prevents glaucoma in laboratory mice Jackson Laboratory, February 16, 2021 In mice genetically predisposed to glaucoma, vitamin B3 added to drinking water is effective at preventing the disease, a research team led by Jackson Laboratory Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Investigator Simon W.M. John reports in the journal Science. The vitamin administration was surprisingly effective, eliminating the vast majority of age-related molecular changes and providing a remarkably robust protection against glaucoma. It offers promise for developing inexpensive and safe treatments for glaucoma patients. Glaucoma is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, affecting an estimated 80 million people worldwide. In most glaucoma patients, harmfully high pressure inside the eye or intraocular pressure leads to the progressive dysfunction and loss of retinal ganglion cells. Retinal ganglion cells are the neuronal cells that connect the eye to the brain via the optic nerve. Increasing age is a key risk factor for glaucoma, contributing to both harmful elevation of intraocular pressure and increased neuronal vulnerability to pressure-induced damage. "We wanted to identify key age-related susceptibility factors that change with age in the eye," John says, "and that therefore increase vulnerability to disease and in particular neuronal disease." By understanding general age-related mechanism, there is the potential to develop new interventions to generally protect from common age-related disease processes in many people. Conducting a variety of genomic, metabolic, neurobiological and other tests in mice susceptible to inherited glaucoma, compared to control mice, the researchers discovered that NAD, a molecule vital to energy metabolism in neurons and other cells, declines with age. "There's an analogy with an old motorbike," John says. "It runs just fine, but little things get less reliable with age. One day you stress it: you drive it up a steep hill or you go on really long journey and you get in trouble. It's less reliable than a new bike and it's going to fail with a higher frequency than that new bike." The decrease in NAD levels reduces the reliability of neurons' energy metabolism, especially under stress such as increased intraocular pressure. "Like taking that big hill on your old bike, some things are going to fail more often," John says. "The amount of failure will increase over time, resulting in more damage and disease progression." In essence, the treatments of vitamin B3 (nicotinamide, an amide form of vitamin B3, also called niacinamide) boosted the metabolic reliability of aging retinal ganglion cells, keeping them healthier for longer. "Because these cells are still healthy, and still metabolically robust," says JAX Postdoctoral Associate Pete Williams, first author of the study, "even when high intraocular pressure turns on, they better resist damaging processes." The researchers also found that a single gene-therapy application of Nmnat1 (the gene for an enzyme that makes NAD from nicotinamide) prevented glaucoma from developing in this mouse model. "It can be a problem for patients, especially the elderly, to take their drugs every day and in the correct dose," Williams says. "So gene therapy could be a one-shot, protective treatment." He notes that gene therapies, through injections into the eye, have been approved for a handful of very rare, human genetic eye disorders, and their demonstration of an important age-dependent factor may enable gene therapy for more common eye disease. John says that the team is pursuing clinical partnerships to begin the process of testing the effectiveness of vitamin B3 treatment in glaucoma patients. They are also exploring potential applications for the treatment in other diseases involving neurodegeneration. Even short periods of being sedentary is bad for your heart, caution researchers University of Liverpool, February 18, 2021 Researchers from the University of Liverpool in the U.K. found that short periods of being sedentary can worsen cardiometabolic health. In a study published in the journal Diabetologia, the researchers revealed that reducing physical activity for at least two weeks can lead to a rise in blood sugar levels, disrupt cholesterol levels and impair cardiorespiratory fitness. Increased sedentary behavior worsens cardiometabolic health It’s no secret that physical inactivity is bad for health. Research shows that physical inactivity and sedentary behavior are major risk factors for obesity, insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. But little is known about the consequences of short-term physical inactivity. For their study, the researchers examined the metabolic consequences of short-term increased sedentary behavior in 45 healthy adults with a mean age of 36 years. All of the participants have a mean daily step count of more than 10,000 steps and were asked to reduce their daily step count to around 1,500 steps for two weeks. The researchers measured the participants’ cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition and multi-organ insulin sensitivity at baseline, after the two-week step reduction and two weeks after the participants resumed their normal physical activity. The team found that the participants developed “metabolic derangements” after two weeks of increased sedentary behavior. Their blood sugar and bad cholesterol levels rose, and their insulin sensitivity declined. In addition, the participants lost a little muscle mass in their legs and gained fat around their liver and abdomen. (Related: Twice as many deaths are caused by physical inactivity compared to obesity, stunning study finds.) Fortunately, these changes were reversed after the participants resumed their normal routine. For some reason, however, some participants failed to return to quite the same level of exercise they had engaged in prior to the study. These participants now completed fewer minutes of vigorous activity each week and exhibited slight but lasting symptoms of insulin resistance. While this lasting effect might be due to the participants’ lower levels of vigorous activity, the researchers are also open to the possibility that this stemmed from genetic factors.
The Gary Null Show - 02.19.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.19.21

February 19, 2021

Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy. 

Gut microbiome implicated in healthy aging and longevity

Data from over 9,000 people reveal a distinct gut microbiome signature that is associated with healthy aging and survival in the latest decades of life

Institute for Systems Biology (Seattle), February 18, 2021

The gut microbiome is an integral component of the body, but its importance in the human aging process is unclear. ISB researchers and their collaborators have identified distinct signatures in the gut microbiome that are associated with either healthy or unhealthy aging trajectories, which in turn predict survival in a population of older individuals. The work is set to be published in the journal Nature Metabolism.

The research team analyzed gut microbiome, phenotypic and clinical data from over 9,000 people - between the ages of 18 and 101 years old - across three independent cohorts. The team focused, in particular, on longitudinal data from a cohort of over 900 community-dwelling older individuals (78-98 years old), allowing them to track health and survival outcomes. 

The data showed that gut microbiomes became increasingly unique (i.e. increasingly divergent from others) as individuals aged, starting in mid-to-late adulthood, which corresponded with a steady decline in the abundance of core bacterial genera (e.g. Bacteroides) that tend to be shared across humans.

Strikingly, while microbiomes became increasingly unique to each individual in healthy aging, the metabolic functions the microbiomes were carrying out shared common traits. This gut uniqueness signature was highly correlated with several microbially-derived metabolites in blood plasma, including one - tryptophan-derived indole - that has previously been shown to extend lifespan in mice. Blood levels of another metabolite - phenylacetylglutamine - showed the strongest association with uniqueness, and prior work has shown that this metabolite is indeed highly elevated in the blood of centenarians.

"This uniqueness signature can predict patient survival in the latest decades of life," said ISB Research Scientist Dr. Tomasz Wilmanski, who led the study. Healthy individuals around 80 years of age showed continued microbial drift toward a unique compositional state, but this drift was absent in less healthy individuals. 

"Interestingly, this uniqueness pattern appears to start in mid-life - 40-50 years old - and is associated with a clear blood metabolomic signature, suggesting that these microbiome changes may not simply be diagnostic of healthy aging, but that they may also contribute directly to health as we age," Wilmanski said. For example, indoles are known to reduce inflammation in the gut, and chronic inflammation is thought to be a major driver in the progression of aging-related morbidities.

"Prior results in microbiome-aging research appear inconsistent, with some reports showing a decline in core gut genera in centenarian populations, while others show relative stability of the microbiome up until the onset of aging-related declines in health," said microbiome specialist Dr. Sean Gibbons, co-corresponding author of the paper. "Our work, which is the first to incorporate a detailed analysis of health and survival, may resolve these inconsistencies. Specifically, we show two distinct aging trajectories: 1) a decline in core microbes and an accompanying rise in uniqueness in healthier individuals, consistent with prior results in community-dwelling centenarians, and 2) the maintenance of core microbes in less healthy individuals."

This analysis highlights the fact that the adult gut microbiome continues to develop with advanced age in healthy individuals, but not in unhealthy ones, and that microbiome compositions associated with health in early-to-mid adulthood may not be compatible with health in late adulthood.

"This is exciting work that we think will have major clinical implications for monitoring and modifying gut microbiome health throughout a person's life," said ISB Professor Dr. Nathan Price, co-corresponding author of the paper. 

 

 

Rosmarinic acid suppresses cognitive decline in Alzheimer disease mouse model

University of Tokyo (Japan), February 15, 2021

 

According to news originating from the University of Tokyo , research stated, “Rosmarinic acid (RA), a polyphenol found in Lamiaceae herbs, is a candidate of preventive ingredients against Alzheimer’s disease (AD) as it potently suppresses the aggregation of amyloid b (Ab); however, the effect of RA on tau phosphorylation and cognitive dysfunction remains unclear.”

Financial supporters for this research include Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development; Cross-Ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program.

The news editors obtained a quote from the research from University of Tokyo: “The present study revealed that RA intake inhibited the pathological hallmarks of AD, including Ab and phosphorylated tau accumulation, and improved cognitive function in the 3 x Tg-AD mouse model. Additionally, RA intake suppressed hippocampal inflammation and led to the downregulation of the JNK signaling pathway that induces tau phosphorylation. Feeding with RA exerted an anti-inflammatory effect not only in the central nervous system but also in the periphery.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Downregulation of the JNK signaling pathway in hippocampus may be a potential mechanism underlying the inhibition of progression of pathology and cognitive deficit by RA feeding.”

 

 

 

Excess fatty tissue accumulated in the neck increases the chances of suffering heart problems, according to a new study

University of Granada (Spain), February 15, 2021

Researchers from the University of Granada warn that an accumulation of fatty tissue in the neck (both the double chin and the deeper deposits, located between muscles and around the cervical vertebrae) is a predictor of central and overall adiposity, cardiometabolic risk, and a pro-inflammatory profile in sedentary young adults.

Traditionally, the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue has been considered one of the factors most strongly related to cardiometabolic risk and chronic (low-grade) inflammation in humans. However, this well-established association has led researchers to neglect, to some degree, the study of other fatty deposits and their clinical/biological relevance.

"Curiously, several studies have demonstrated that the accumulation of fat in the neck (both superficial deposits such as the double chin or jowls and the deeper deposits, located between the muscles and around the cervical vertebrae) increases in direct proportion to the weight or adiposity of the individual and that it follows specific accumulation patterns, according to gender," explains María José Arias Téllez, a researcher at the UGR and one of the main authors of this work. 

In fact, a greater accumulation of fat in certain neck tissue compartments, particularly the deeper ones, is linked to a greater likelihood of cardiometabolic risk. Arias Téllez says, "However, the evidence accumulated to date has been based on experiments performed on patients with benign/malignant tumors or other chronic conditions, and it remains to be seen whether it can be generalized to relatively healthy adults."

The study carried out at the UGR is part of the ACTIBATE project (Activating Brown Adipose Tissue through Exercise—seeprofith.ugr.es/actibate). The research was led by Jonatan Ruiz Ruiz and its results have been published in the International Journal of Obesity.

The study shows that the accumulation of fat in the neck—measured with computed tomography scanning—as well as its distribution in different compartments, is associated with greater overall and central adiposity, greater cardiometabolic risk, and a greater inflammatory status among healthy young adults, regardless of the amount of total and visceral fat. In addition, among the most relevant findings, the researchers observed that this accumulation of fat in the neck was as powerful a factor (in terms of direction and magnitude) as the accumulation of visceral fat in the prediction of cardiometabolic risk and inflammatory status, especially in men.

"Therefore, these results underline the need for further research in this new direction, to better understand the effect of fat accumulation in the upper part of the trunk (including the neck) and its clinical repercussions, especially in cardiometabolic riskand inflammation," explains Francisco Miguel Acosta Manzano, one of the main authors of the research.

"We still have much work to do. We need to investigate the adipose tissue of the neck in greater depth, to understand its pathogenic role in obesity and associated comorbidities, as well as its biological importance. Furthermore, we only have scant knowledge about the morphological or molecular characteristics of the adipocytes in these deposits, and here basic studies are required. As we increase our knowledge of this deposit, we can also determine whether specific interventions (for example, physical exercise and/or restricted calorie intake) could help reduce the accumulation of fat in the neck (as well as total fat) and implement them clinically," explain Arias Téllez and Francisco Miguel Acosta Manzano, both Ph.D.s students on the Biomedicine program of the UGR's International School for Postgraduate Studies 

 

Effects of saffron extract supplementation on mood, well-being and response to a psychosocial stressor in healthy adults

Northumbria University (UK), February 16, 2021

According to news reporting originating from Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, research stated, “Anxiety, stress, and low mood are closely related and may contribute to depressive symptoms. Among non-pharmacological solutions to improve subclinical mood symptoms and resilience to stress, natural products such as saffron-identified as promising following preliminary beneficial effects in major depressive disorder-represent a relevant strategy.”

Our news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Northumbria University: “This study aimed to assess the efficacy of 8 weeks’ supplementation with 30 mg standardized saffron extract on emotional well-being in healthy adults with subclinical feelings of low mood and anxiety and/or stress and evaluate the acute effect of saffron in response to a lab-based psychosocial stressor. The study adopted a double-blind, randomized, parallel groups design in which 56 healthy male and female individuals (18-54 years) received either a saffron extract or a placebo for 8 weeks. Chronic effects of saffron on subjective anxiety, stress, and depressive feelings were assessed using a questionnaire battery [including Profile of Mood State-2, (POMS)] and acute effects in response to a lab-based psychosocial stressor were measured through psychological and physiological parameters. Urinary crocetin levels were quantified. Participants who received the saffron extract reported reduced depression scores and improved social relationships at the end of the study. Urinary crocetin levels increased significantly with saffron supplementation and were correlated with change in depression scores. The typical stress-induced decrease in heart rate variability (HRV) during exposure to the stressor was attenuated following acute saffron intake.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Saffron extract appears to improve subclinical depressive symptoms in healthy individuals and may contribute to increased resilience against the development of stress-related psychiatric disorders. Clinical trials number: NCT03639831.”

 

 

The science of siestas: New research reveals the genetic basis for daytime napping

Massachusetts General Hospital and University of Murcia (Spain), February 13, 2021

 

How often a person takes daytime naps, if at all, is partly regulated by their genes, according to new research led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and published in Nature Communications. In this study, the largest of its kind ever conducted, the MGH team collaborated with colleagues at the University of Murcia in Spain and several other institutions to identify dozens of gene regions that govern the tendency to take naps during the day. They also uncovered preliminary evidence linking napping habits to cardiometabolic health

Napping is somewhat controversial,” says Hassan Saeed Dashti, Ph.D., RD, of the MGH Center for Genomic Medicine, co-lead author of the report with Iyas Daghlas, a medical student at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Dashti notes that some countries where daytime naps have long been part of the culture (such as Spain) now discourage the habit. Meanwhile, some companies in the United States now promote napping as a way to boost productivity. “It was important to try to disentangle the biological pathways that contribute to why we nap,” says Dashti. 

 

Previously, co-senior author Richa Saxena, Ph.D., principal investigator at the Saxena Lab at MGH, and her colleagues used massive databases of genetic and lifestyle information to study other aspects of sleep. Notably, the team has identified genes associated with sleep duration, insomnia, and the tendency to be an early riser or “night owl.” To gain a better understanding of the genetics of napping, Saxena’s team and co-senior author Marta Garaulet, Ph.D., of the Department of Physiology at the University of Murcia, performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS), which involves rapid scanning of complete sets of DNA, or genomes, of a large number of people. The goal of a GWAS is to identify genetic variations that are associated with a specific disease or, in this case, habit.

 

For this study, the MGH researchers and their colleagues used data from the UK Biobank, which includes genetic information from 452,633 people. All participants were asked whether they nap during the day “never/rarely,” “sometimes” or “usually.” The GWAS identified 123 regions in the human genome that are associated with daytime napping. A subset of participants wore activity monitors called accelerometers, which provide data about daytime sedentary behavior, which can be an indicator of napping. This objective data indicated that the self-reports about napping were accurate. “That gave an extra layer of confidence that what we found is real and not an artifact,” says Dashti.

 

Several other features of the study bolster its results. For example, the researchers independently replicated their findings in an analysis of the genomes of 541,333 people collected by 23andMe, the consumer genetic-testing company. Also, a significant number of the genes near or at regions identified by the GWAS are already known to play a role in sleep. One example is KSR2, a gene that the MGH team and collaborators had previously found plays a role in sleep regulation.

 

Digging deeper into the data, the team identified at least three potential mechanisms that promote napping:

  • Sleep propensity: Some people need more shut-eye than others.
  • Disrupted sleep: A daytime nap can help make up for poor quality slumber the night before.
  • Early morning awakening: People who rise early may “catch up” on sleep with a nap.

 

“This tells us that daytime napping is biologically driven and not just an environmental or behavioral choice,” says Dashti. Some of these subtypes were linked to cardiometabolic health concerns, such as large waist circumference and elevated blood pressure, though more research on those associations is needed. “Future work may help to develop personalized recommendations for siesta,” says Garaulet. 

Furthermore, several gene variants linked to napping were already associated with signaling by a neuropeptide called orexin, which plays a role in wakefulness. “This pathway is known to be involved in rare sleep disorders like narcolepsy, but our findings show that smaller perturbations in the pathway can explain why some people nap more than others,” says Daghlas.

 

One or more soda a day could decrease chances of getting pregnant

Boston University School of Public Health,  February 13, 2021

The amount of added sugar in the American diet has increased dramatically over the last 50 years. Much of that increase comes from higher intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, which constitute approximately one-third of the total added sugar consumption in the American diet. While consumption of these beverages has been linked to weight gain, type 2diabetes, early menstruation, and poor semen quality, few studies have directly investigated the relationship between sugary drinks and fertility.

Now, a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers has found that the intake of one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day—by either partner—is associated with a decreased chance of getting pregnant.

The study was published in Epidemiology.

"We found positive associations between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and lower fertility, which were consistent after controlling for many other factors, including obesity, caffeine intake, alcohol, smoking, and overall diet quality," says lead author Elizabeth Hatch, professor of epidemiology. "Couples planning a pregnancy might consider limiting their consumption of these beverages, especially because they are also related to other adverse health effects."

About 15 percent of couples in North America experience infertility. Identifying modifiable risk factors for infertility, including diet, could help couples conceive more quickly and reduce the psychological stress and financial hardship related to fertility treatments, which are associated with more than $5 billion in annual US healthcare costs.

Through the Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO), an ongoing web-based prospective cohort study of North American couples, the researchers surveyed 3,828 women aged 21 to 45 living in the United States or Canada and 1,045 of their male partners. Participants completed a comprehensive baseline survey on medical history, lifestyle factors, and diet, including their intake of sugar-sweetened beverages. Female participants then completed a follow-up questionnaire every two months for up to 12 months or until pregnancy occurred.

Both female and male intake of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with 20 percent reduced fecundability, the average monthly probability of conception. Females who consumed at least one soda per day had 25 percent lower fecundability; male consumption was associated with 33 percent lower fecundability. Intake of energy drinks was related to even larger reductions in fertility, although the results were based on small numbers of consumers. Little association was found between intake of fruit juices or diet sodas and fertility.

"Given the high levels of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed by reproductive-aged couples in North America, these findings could have important public healthimplications," the authors concluded.

The Gary Null Show - 02.18.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.18.21

February 18, 2021

Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy. 

Becoming an Essentialist

Prevent memory loss with a powerful nutrient in cucumbers

Salk Institute for Biological Studies, February 16, 2021

The results of a recent study are offering new hope that avoiding memory loss related to aging as well as Alzheimer’s disease could be as simple as eating more cucumbers.

Many older adults resign themselves to memory loss as part of the aging process. However, a study out of the the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has shown that this doesn’t have to be the case. The health benefits of cucumbers are many, and one of them seems to be better memory and even the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers working with mice that normally developed the symptoms of Alzheimer’s (including memory loss) discovered that a daily dose of a flavonol called fisetin prevented these and other related impairments. This improvement occurred despite the continued formation of amyloid plaques, the brain proteins commonly blamed for Alzheimer’s.

A natural food cure for memory loss

The compound fisetin is found in numerous vegetables and fruits but is especially concentrated in strawberries and cucumbers. This flavonol is quite effective in stopping memory loss in mice and holds hope for humans as well.

In the past, the main approach to treating Alzheimer’s symptoms was to target amyloid plaques in the brain. The findings of this study call into question the assumption that these proteins are largely responsible for the effects of Alzheimer’s.

Even in animals with no signs of Alzheimer’s and otherwise normal functioning, fisetin has been shown to improve memory. However, its ability to prevent memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease could have profound implications for humans.

Cucumbers protect the brain from inflammation

Fisetin works by switching on a cellular pathway associated with the process of retrieving memories in the brain. Over a decade ago, other researchers discovered the compound fisetin assists in protecting the neurons of the brain from agingand its associated effects. It was found that this potent compound has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on brain cells.

The list of health benefits of cucumbers, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables containing fisetin now include brain and memory improvements. By extension, fisetin has properties that can be highly beneficial for those at risk for Alzheimer’s.

Other health benefits of cucumbers

In addition to improving memory and potentially protecting against Alzheimer’s, the cucumber fruit has a range of additional nutritional and health benefits. They are low in calories (a cup of cucumbers contains just 16 calories) and assist in hydration (they are comprised of 95 percent water). They also provide flavonoids, triterpenes and lignans which offer anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cancer-preventing benefits.

The peel and seeds in cucumbers contain beta-carotene for eye health and are the most nutrient-dense portions of the fruit. Cucumber seeds contain calcium and the skin and seeds are also excellent sources of fiber. Other vitamins include potassium, vitamin C, magnesium and manganese.

 

 

Testosterone levels increased significantly after DHEA administration among older women

Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, February 14, 2021

According to news originating from Jiangxi, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Despite the fact that numerous clinical studies have evaluated the positive effects of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation on testosterone concentrations and on the body mass index (BMI), more evidence is needed to certify that DHEA is a BMI-reducing agent in the elderly. This meta-analysis aims to clarify the various incompatible results and investigate the impact of DHEA supplementation on serum testosterone levels and lean body mass in elderly women.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from the Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, “Four scientific databases (EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus and Web of Science) were searched from inception until 20 August 2020 for trials comparing DHEA with placebo. Results were presented as weighted mean differences (WMDs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) based on the random effects model (DerSimonian-Laird approach). Nine arms with 793 subjects reported testosterone as an outcome measure. The overall results demonstrated that testosterone levels increased significantly after DHEA administration in elderly women (WMD: 17.52 ng/dL, 95 % CI: 6.61, 28.43, P = 0.002). In addition, DHEA administration significantly decreased the BMI (WMD:-0.39 kg/m(2), I-2 = 0.0 %).”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “The results of the current meta-analysis support the use of DHEA supplementation for increasing testosterone concentrations in elderly women.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

How healthy lifestyle behaviours can improve cholesterol profiles

Harvard School of Public Health, February 15, 2021

Combining healthy lifestyle interventions reduces heart disease through beneficial effects on different lipoproteins and associated cholesterols, according to a study published February 9 in eLife.

Having a healthy lifestyle has long been associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease. The new study provides more detailed information on how healthy lifestyles improve cholesterol, and suggests that combining cholesterol-lowering medications and lifestyle interventions may yield the greatest benefits to heart health.

Cholesterol-lowering medications such as statins help reduce heart risks by lowering levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the so-called "bad" cholesterol. Healthy lifestyle interventions, including exercising regularly, having a healthy diet, lowering alcohol consumption and maintaining a healthy weight, have also been shown to lower LDL as well as increase "healthy" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

"Until now, no studies have compared the lipid-lowering effects of cholesterol-lowering medications and healthy lifestyle interventions side by side," says lead author Jiahui Si, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, US.

To address this gap, Si and colleagues used a technique called targeted nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to measure 61 different lipid markers in blood samples from 4,681 participants in the China Kadoorie Biobank, including cases of stroke, coronary heart disease and healthy individuals. They studied lipid markers in the blood of participants who had multiple healthy lifestyle habits and compared them to those of participants with less healthy habits. They found 50 lipid markers associated with a healthy lifestyle.

When the team looked at a subset of 927 individuals who had coronary heart disease in the next 10 years and 1,513 healthy individuals, they found 35 lipid markers that showed statistically significant mediation effects in the pathway from healthy lifestyles to the reduction of heart disease. Together, the combined beneficial effects of the lipid changes associated with healthy lifestyle practices were linked to a 14% reduced risk of heart disease. Specifically, very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and HDL levels in the blood were linked to the heart-protecting benefits of healthy lifestyles.

"Using a genetic scoring technique, we could compare the effect of cholesterol-lowering drugs with that of lifestyle side by side in the study participants," says co-senior author Liming Liang, Associate Professor of Statistical Genetics in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "Our analysis confirmed that cholesterol-lowering drugs would have the expected effect in lowering LDL cholesterol, but this is much weaker compared to the effect of healthy behaviours on VLDL cholesterol which also increases the risk of heart disease."

Overall, they found that taking cholesterol-lowering medications and engaging in multiple healthy lifestyles would likely help individuals to achieve the greatest heart-protecting benefits because of the complementary effects of the drugs and healthy behaviours.

"Lifestyle interventions and lipid-lowering medications may affect different components of the lipid profile, suggesting they are not redundant strategies but could be combined for improved benefits," concludes co-senior author Jun Lv, Professor at the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics at the School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China.

 

Role of Diet in Colorectal Cancer IncidenceUmbrella Review of Meta-analyses of Prospective Observational Studies

University of Utah, February 16

Question  How credible is the evidence behind the association of dietary factors with colorectal cancer (CRC) risk in published meta-analyses of prospective observational studies?

Findings  This umbrella review of 45 meta-analyses describing 109 associations found convincing evidence for an association between lower CRC risk and higher intakes of dietary fiber, dietary calcium, and yogurt and lower intakes of alcohol and red meat.

Meaning  This study suggests that dietary factors may have a role in the development and prevention of CRC, but more research is needed on specific foods for which the evidence remains suggestive.

Abstract

Importance  Several meta-analyses have summarized evidence for the association between dietary factors and the incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, to date, there has been little synthesis of the strength, precision, and quality of this evidence in aggregate.

Objective  To grade the evidence from published meta-analyses of prospective observational studies that assessed the association of dietary patterns, specific foods, food groups, beverages (including alcohol), macronutrients, and micronutrients with the incidence of CRC.

Data Sources  MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane Library were searched from database inception to September 2019.

Evidence Review  Only meta-analyses of prospective observational studies with a cohort study design were eligible. Evidence of association was graded according to established criteria as follows: convincing, highly suggestive, suggestive, weak, or not significant.

Results  From 9954 publications, 222 full-text articles (2.2%) were evaluated for eligibility, and 45 meta-analyses (20.3%) that described 109 associations between dietary factors and CRC incidence were selected. Overall, 35 of the 109 associations (32.1%) were nominally statistically significant using random-effects meta-analysis models; 17 associations (15.6%) demonstrated large heterogeneity between studies (I2 > 50%), whereas small-study effects were found for 11 associations (10.1%). Excess significance bias was not detected for any association between diet and CRC. The primary analysis identified 5 (4.6%) convincing, 2 (1.8%) highly suggestive, 10 (9.2%) suggestive, and 18 (16.5%) weak associations between diet and CRC, while there was no evidence for 74 (67.9%) associations. There was convincing evidence of an association of intake of red meat (high vs low) and alcohol (≥4 drinks/d vs 0 or occasional drinks) with the incidence of CRC and an inverse association of higher vs lower intakes of dietary fiber, calcium, and yogurt with CRC risk. The evidence for convincing associations remained robust following sensitivity analyses.

Conclusions and Relevance  This umbrella review found convincing evidence of an association between lower CRC risk and higher intakes of dietary fiber, dietary calcium, and yogurt and lower intakes of alcohol and red meat. More research is needed on specific foods for which evidence remains suggestive, including other dairy products, whole grains, processed meat, and specific dietary patterns.

 

 

Pizza, burgers and the like: A single high-fat meal can damage  metabolism

Deutsches Diabetes-Zentrum (Germany), February 16, 2021

 

The global proliferation of overweight and obese people and people with type 2 diabetes is often associated with the consumption of saturated fats. Scientists at the German Diabetes Center (Deutsches Diabetes-Zentrum, DDZ) and the Helmholtz Center in Munich (HMGU) have found that even the one-off consumption of a greater amount of palm oil reduces the body's sensitivity to insulin and causes increased fat deposits as well as changes in the energy metabolism of the liver. The results of the study provide information on the earliest changes in the metabolism of the liver that in the long term lead to fatty liver disease in overweight persons as well as in those with type 2 diabetes.

 

In the current issue of the "Journal of Clinical Investigation", DZD researchers working at the German Diabetes Center, in conjunction with the Helmholtz Center in Munich and colleagues from Portugal, published a scientific investigation conducted on healthy, slim men, who were given at random a flavored palm oil drink or a glass of clear water in a control experiment. The palm oil drink contained a similar amount of saturated fat as two cheeseburgers with bacon and a large portion of French fries or two salami pizzas. The scientists showed that this single high-fat meal sufficed to reduce the insulin action, e.g. cause insulin resistance and increase the fat content of the liver. In addition, changes in the energy balance of the liver were proven. The observed metabolic changes were similar to changes observed in persons with type 2diabetes or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is the most common liver disease in the industrial nations and associated with obesity, the so-called "metabolic syndrome," and is associated with an increased risk in developing type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, NAFLD in advanced stages can result in severe liver damage.

 

"The surprise was that a single dosage of palm oil has such a rapid and direct impact on the liver of a healthy person and that the amount of fat administered already triggered insulin resistance", explained Prof. Dr. Michael Roden, scientist, Managing Director and Chairman at the DDZ and the German Center for Diabetes Research (Deutsches Zentrum für Diabetesforschung, DZD). "A special feature of our study is that we monitored the liver metabolism of people with a predominantly non-invasive technology, e.g. by magnetic resonance spectroscopy. This allows us to track the storage of sugar and fat as well as the energy metabolism of the mitochondria (power plants of the cell)." Thanks to the new methods of investigation, the scientists were able to verify that the intake of palm oil affects the metabolic activity of muscles, liver and fatty tissue. The induced insulin resistance leads to an increased new formation of sugar in the liver with a concomitant decreased sugar absorption in the skeletal muscles - a mechanism that makes the glucose level rise in persons afflicted with type 2 diabetes and its pre-stages. In addition, the insulin resistance of the fatty tissue causes an increased release of fats into the blood stream, which in turn continues to foster the insulin resistance. The increased availability of fat leads to an increased workload for the mitochondria, which can in the long term overtax these cellular power plants and contribute to the emergence of a liver disease.

 

The team of Prof. Roden suspects that healthy people, depending on genetic predisposition, can easily manage this direct impact of fatty food on the metabolism. The long-term consequences for regular eaters of such high-fat meals can be far more problematic, however.

 

 
The Gary Null Show - 02.17.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.17.21

February 17, 2021

Public Service -- update on Covid actions in New York and DNA collection

 

Michael (Mike) Kane has worked as a New York City public school teacher for over 13 years and is a steering committee member of NY TEACHERS FOR CHOICE, a grassroots union caucus of educators and parents that is 100% opposed to all medical mandates to maintain employment. Recently TEACHERS FOR CHOICE sued the NYC Department of Education with their attorney Michael Sussman and won a court-ordered stipulation pertaining to in-school COVID testing and privacy rights. Kane has been a proud union member and active supporter of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) for his entire career. He is a former union delegate, served on union consultation committees, lobbied in Albany on behalf of the union on multiple occasions, and protested with rank-&-file union members against the Bloomberg administration. His website is www.nyteachersforchoice.org

The Gary Null Show - 02.16.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.16.21

February 16, 2021

Against the Misuse of Science in the So-called “Pandemic”. The RT-PCR Test

Prof. Dr. Reiner Anderl, Declaring His Resignation from the Academy of Sciences

By Prof. Dr. Thomas Aigner

Global Research, February 14, 2021

Letter to the President of the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz, 

Dear colleagues, 

With greatest astonishment, with deepest concern, even bewilderment, I have taken note of the “7th ad hoc statement” of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina of 8.12.2020. In my opinion, this paper is not worthy of an honest, critical-balancing science oriented towards the service and welfare of human beings. I do not have medical expertise. However, as a scientist committed to nothing but the pure truth, I take the liberty of speaking out.

I feel very strongly alarmed by several points:

  1. on 11/27/2020, a group of 22 internationally renowned experts submitted the following expert opinion on the PCR test, the linchpin of the “pandemic”, for the journal Eurosurveillance:

“External peer review of the RT-PCR test to detect SARS-CoV-2 reveals 10 major scientific flaws at the molecular and methodological level: consequences for false positive results”.

Quote: “This highly questions the scientific validity of the test”. Furthermore, the serious remark: “serious conflicts of interest of the authors are not mentioned” (1).

  1. The PCR test is the basis of the justification for declaring a “pandemic”, and RKI, politicians and the media announce the positive test results daily as so-called “new infections”. According to the 22 independent experts, the test contains “several scientific inadequacies, errors and flaws”. It is clearly stated:

“the test (is) unsuitable as a specific diagnostic tool to identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus and make inferences about the presence of an infection”. 

Is it not obvious that there is an extremely serious problem here, which should actually shake the whole “pandemic”? I cannot understand why neither the Leopoldina nor other academies include this well-founded expert opinion and demand or initiate a further, thorough and scientifically clean clarification.

  1. Based on this “pandemic”, which is based on at least a very questionable test, a worldwide vaccination campaign is now to be started on an unprecedented scale;and this with vaccines that have never been tested before and that have been developed at an unprecedented speed. In light of the first reported serious side effects and after warnings from renowned experts, it is clear that the completely novel RNA vaccines have been far from adequately tested, especially with regard to long-term effects. Why are the academies silent on such existential issues?
  2. Problematic aspects of the Leopoldina statement are even named by Die Welt [German Newspaper]in a scathing analysis (2). Quote:“The damage done by the science functionaries is immense.“

Incidentally, there are currently several statements by medical practitioners that are diametrically opposed to the Leopoldina paper. For example, the Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Prof. Gassen, expects that the hard lockdown now ordered will fail (3). The infectiologist Prof. Schrappe declares the entire lockdown policy a definite failure (4).

I had hoped that the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz, as an important sister organization of the National Academy of Sciences, would make a critical statement on the Leopoldina statement. Regrettably, this has not happened so far. Are not the academies the guardians of pure science and also of the freedom of the sciences ? Aren’t the venerable academies particularly challenged in a scientific landscape that is increasingly characterized by third-party funding and the massive influence of powerful lobby interests (e.g. the pharmaceutical industry)? Is it really the task of an academy such as the Leopoldina to fuel the scaremongering of the media and politics?

  1. Where is the broad discourse that used to be customary, with a balanced assessment of the sometimes very contradictory statements by scientists and physicians from various disciplines, lawyers, psychologists, sociologists, economists and philosophers? Why is there no reaction from the academies when, in recent months, the voices of proven experts (often of international standing) who articulate an assessment that deviates from the one-size-fits-all narrative, indeed in some cases diametrically contradicts it, are repeatedly ignored, marginalized, even defamed, censored, and deleted from social media? Why no reaction of the academies, if the right to freedom of science and freedom of expression, which is guaranteed in the Basic Law, as well as other fundamental rights are trampled ? Has Germany learned nothing from history?

After the governments refer to this, from my point of view disastrous paper of the National Academy of Sciences when imposing a renewed “hard lockdown”, as well as because of the points listed above, I have decided, after careful consideration, to take the certainly unusual step of resigning from the Academy of Sciences in Mainz as an expression of my personal protest.

I cannot reconcile it with my conscience to be a part of this kind of science. I want to serve a science that is committed to fact-based honesty, balanced transparency, and comprehensive humanity.

For the attention of Prof. Dr. Burkhard Hillebrands (Vice President, Mathematical and Natural Sciences Class),

members of the Mathematical and Natural Sciences Class of the Mainz Academy of Sciences,

and Prof. Dr. Gerald Haug (President of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina).

 

 

Positive PCR tests drop after WHO instructs vendors to lower cycle thresholds. We have been played like a fiddle

Positive PCR tests drop after WHO instructs vendors to lower cycle thresholds. We have been played like a fiddle

 

Meryl Nass, February 12, 2021

 

Shameless manipulation: Positive PCR tests drop after WHO instructs vendors to lower cycle thresholds. We have been played like a fiddle

Hospitalization rates associated with Covid have dropped from a high of 132,500 Americans on January 6 to 71,500 on February 12.  The US had 920,000 staffed hospital beds in 2019, of which 14.4% harbored a Covid case last month, and 7.8% do now.

This tremendous drop was predicted. Every hospitalized patient is tested for Covid, often repeatedly, using PCR tests with high false positive rates. False positives are due in considerable part to exhorbitant cycle thresholds. This refers to the maximum number of doublings that are allowed during the test. The problem caused by excessive cycle thresholds was well described in a NY Times article last August, but has otherwise been ignored by the mass media. Dr. Sin Hang Lee challenged the FDA’s reliance on exhorbitant cycle thresholds in its acceptance of efficacy claims for Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine in early December. He and FDA remain engaged in this debate.

The WHO instructed PCR test users and manufacturers on December 14 and again on January 20 that PCR cycle thresholds needed to come down. The December 14 guidance stated WHO’s concern regarding “an elevated risk for false SARS-CoV-2 results” and pointed to “background noise which may lead to a specimen with a high cycle threshold value result being [incorrectly] interpreted as a positive result.

The first instruction has been superceded by the second, which additionally advises on clinical use of the test:  If the “test results do not correspond with the clinical presentation, a new specimen should be taken and retested…” While this implies that the test should only be performed in those with symptoms, and its results should be interpreted with the clinical context in mind, most PCR tests in the US are used very differently: to screen asymptomatics at work, at colleges and universities, to permit border crossings, etc.  No caution is applied to the results. One single positive test defines someone as a Covid case. Yet it is well known, and was acknowledged in WHO’s January guidance, that screening in low Covid prevalence situations, such as in the screening of asymptomatics, increases the risk of false positives. And the risk increases as the prevalence of disease drops, such that in situations of low disease prevalence, it is common to find that most positives are actually false positives.  For example, see this BMJ chart and then the real-life example in the comment below it.

Everyone in the field knew that the PCR test results were bogus.  Even Tony Fauci admitted last July that cycle thresholds above 35 were not measuring virus, and furthermore that virus could not be cultured from samples that required a high number of cycles to show positivity.

But the drumbeat from the Coronavirus Task Force and some academics and others was “Test all, test often”–despite the inordinate numbers of false positives and negatives. Congress repeatedly allocated many billions of dollars for testing (often free for the person being tested) and so testing quickly mushroomed. Nearly two million Covid tests a day were recorded in the US over the last 3 months. Most of these have been PCR tests which, despite their problems, are still considered the most accurate. Most of the remaining tests performed were rapid antigen tests. These tests too suffer from high false positive rates, as the FDA warned last November.

While daily deaths have only dropped about 15% since January 12, there have been dramatic drops during the month in new cases (down 60% from 250,000 new cases/day to 100,000) and, as noted, in hospitalizations (down 46%). Reports claim a total of 475,000 Americans have died from Covid.

However, none of these numbers are reliable.  In addition to inaccurate PCR results, a variety of other measures have skewed the reported number of deaths from Covid.

While CDC electronically codes other causes of death, it has chosen to hand code every Covid death, and explains:

 

“It takes extra time to code COVID-19 deaths. While 80% of deaths are electronically processed and coded by NCHS within minutes, most deaths from COVID-19 must be coded by a person, which takes an average of 7 days.”

I am waiting for CDC to answer my Freedom of Information Act query, which requested the protocol CDC’s coders use for coding Covid-19 as a cause of death. Why is CDC treating Covid deaths differently from deaths due to other conditions?

CDC changed the way it coded death certificates for a Covid-caused death last March, to include everyone for whom Covid is in any way contributory to the death. By placing different parts of the instructions about coding on different web pages, CDC successfully hid what it was doing. On one page, the guidance states, “If COVID-19 is determined to be a cause of death, it should be reported on the death certificate.” On a different webpage, CDC states: When COVID-19 is reported as cause of death on the death certificate, it is coded and counted as a death due to COVID-19.” 

CDC has encouraged providers to be generous with Covid designations. And the Covid death definition appears to be a moving target, variable across states. CDC attempts to explain why its mortality numbers do not add up, and includes this excuse: “Other reporting systems use different definitions or methods for counting deaths.” But it is CDC that chose not to issue uniform guidelines.

 

“We consider COVID-19 deaths to be: 

Deaths in which a patient hospitalized for any reason within 14 days of a positive COVID-19 test result dies in the hospital or within the 60 days following discharge.

Deaths in which COVID-19 is listed as a primary or contributing cause of death on a death certificate.”

Weekly mortality surveillance data include a combination of machine coded and manually coded causes of death collected from death certificates. Prior to week 4 (the week ending January 30, 2021), the percentages of deaths due to PIC were higher among manually coded records than more rapidly available machine coded records. Improvements have been made to the machine coding process that allow for more COVID-19 related deaths to be machine coded, and going forward, the percentage of PIC deaths among machine coded and manually coded data are expected to be more similar. The data presented are preliminary and expected to change as more data are received and processed, but the amount of change in the percentage of deaths due to PIC should be lower going forward. Weeks for which the largest changes in the percentage of deaths due to PIC may occur are highlighted in gray in the figure below and should be interpreted with caution.

 

  • CDC applies several statistical techniques to deal with anomalous data before publishing its cause of death results. The raw death data are not made available to the public.
  • If Covid is listed as one contributor to a death on the death certificate, even if the death is caused by a cancer or heart attack, CDC relabels it a death caused by Covid.
  • Because hospitals are paid several times more by Medicare for patients who have been given a Covid diagnosis, and a positive Covid test is not required, it is assumed that the diagnosis of Covid is applied generously in hospitalized patients.
  • By changing the methods by which it performs its calculations, CDC has made it impossible to compare prior year statistics with the period since the onset of Covid.

By accepting excessive cycle thresholds for Covid PCR tests, CDC considerably expanded the numbers of Covid-positive cases and hospitalizations, as well as deaths.

 

I do not mean to imply that the tests, whose manufacturers may have recently reduced their cycle thresholds, are now accurate. Over 200 different PCR tests have been “authorized” under emergency rules by the FDA, which so far has not standardized or formally approved them. The public is in the dark as to whether and how each individual test may have changed in response to WHO’s instruction, and we remain uninformed about the accuracy of each test. In fact, it has been established by the American College of Pathology that PCR test results are not reproducible.
By hand-coding each death due to Covid, CDC gave itself the power to determine how many Covid deaths would be counted at any particular time.
And by creating excessively loose case definitions for Covid, several of which did not require a single sign of illness, just a positive test, CDC was able to calibrate the number of Covid-positive cases by the rate at which it rolled out tests to the nation.

 

Today, the media are telling us to rejoice.  Maryland has just gotten its percentage of positive Covid tests below 5%, when a month ago the rate was 8.76%.  In my state of Maine, a reduction in the pecentage of test results that are positive has turned all counties ‘green,’ allowing schools to be open.

————–

Things are worse, things are better.  Wear no mask–no, wear a mask–hey, wear two masks. New variants with even more infectivity are coming! But they are no more lethal, and SARS-CoV-2 is quite infectious already, so will the new strains make an appreciable difference?

It seems that despite having recovered from Covid, we can be reinfected with the new viral strains. But how common is that? Does it simply mean you can have a positive PCR test, but be otherwise asymptomatic?

I found only a single case report of a person becoming severely ill from a new strain after having recovered from original Covid.

 

  • The point is to keep us begging for the latest vaccine as soon as we have received the last but no-longer-effective vaccine.
  • The point is to keep coming up with narratives to justify locking us up and reducing productivity.
  • The point is to keep us frightened and confused and unable to use our wits.
  • The point is to stop us looking deeply and clearly into what is happening, while the media blares Covid hysteria nonstop.

 

Our families are being torn up. Our small businesses are going bankrupt.  Our countries, and probably we ourselves, are being scooped up by the banks, as borrowing on an unheard-of scale persists at a dizzying pace.

Who will pay these debts?  What will be the price? Can you see that the crashing of our economies is intentional, buttressed by lie after lie?

We are being lied into the abyss. Our so-called leaders are tossing us and especially our children and grandchildren over a cliff.  They threw away our Constitution long ago. Now, they have stolen and sold our future.

Please calm down.  Turn off all the “news” and ponder what has been happening. We can fix this mess, once enough of us understand it. Give it the time and focus it deserves.  Our leaders won’t save us.  Only WE can.

The Gary Null Show - 02.15.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.15.21

February 15, 2021

Broccoli compound extends lifespan in worm model

University of Heidelberg (Germany), February 5 2021. 

 

An article published on January 20, 2021 in Aging reported the findings of a team from the University of Heidelberg in Germany of an association between the intake of the compound sulforaphane derived from broccoli and other Brassicaceae family vegetables and longer survival of the roundworm Caenorhabditiselegans. 

“Several studies have described the isolation of natural substances from food plants and characterized them as suitable anti-aging agents; such substances include the phenol resveratrol from grapes and berries, the phenol curcumin from turmeric, the alkaloid berberine found in plants used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the polyphenol chlorogenic acid from coffee and tea, and chlorophyll from green vegetables, among others,” wrote Zhimin Qi and colleagues. “We asked whether sulforaphane may influence the lifespan and health span of C. elegans.”

Adding sulforaphane to the worms’ diets increased the lifespan of various strains of C. elegans by an average of 17%. The mechanism of action was attributed to inhibition of abnormal dauer formation protein 2 (DAF-2)-mediated insulin and insulin-like growth factor signaling and its downstream targets, which positively affected other factors. (DAF-2 is part of a metabolic pathway that regulates the rate of aging.)

Sulforaphane also increased health span, resulting in a delay in aging-associated physiologic decline. Mobility, appetite and food intake were greater in worms that received sulforaphane, while the accumulation of the aging-associated pigment lipofuscin was reduced. Other experiments revealed that sulforaphane enhanced oxidative stress resistance.

"We are the first to report that sulforaphane prolongs the lifespan and increases the health span of C. elegans through the inhibition of DAF- 2/insulin/IGF-1 signaling and the activation of DAF- 16/FOXO nuclear transcription in C. elegans,” the authors announced. “Our study provides a promising hint regarding the suitability of sulforaphane as a new anti-aging drug.”

 

 

Oral N-acetylglucosamine may be neuroprotective in demyelinating diseases like MS

University of California at Irvine, January 31, 2021

 

According to news reporting originating in Irvine, California, research stated, “Myelination plays an important role in cognitive development and in demyelinating diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS), where failure of remyelination promotes permanent neuro-axonal damage. Modification of cell surface receptors with branched N-glycans coordinates cell growth and differentiation by controlling glycoprotein clustering, signaling, and endocytosis.”

The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from the University of California Irvine, “GlcNAc is a rate-limiting metabolite for N-glycan branching. Here we report that GlcNAc and N-glycan branching trigger oligodendrogenesis from precursor cells by inhibiting platelet-derived growth factor receptor-alpha cell endocytosis. Supplying oral GlcNAc to lactating mice drives primary myelination in newborn pups via secretion in breast milk, whereas genetically blocking N-glycan branching markedly inhibits primary myelination. In adult mice with toxin (cuprizone)-induced demyelination, oral GlcNAc prevents neuro-axonal damage by driving myelin repair. In MS patients, endogenous serum GlcNAc levels inversely correlated with imaging measures of demyelination and microstructural damage.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Our data identify N-glycan branching and GlcNAc as critical regulators of primary myelination and myelin repair and suggest that oral GlcNAc may be neuroprotective in demyelinating diseases like MS.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

Happiness really does come for free: study

McGill University (Quebec), February 9, 2021

Economic growth is often prescribed as a sure way of increasing the well-being of people in low-income countries, but a study led by McGill and the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technologies at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) suggests that there may be good reason to question this assumption. The researchers set out to find out how people rate their subjective well-being in societies where money plays a minimal role, and which are not usually included in global happiness surveys. They found that the majority of people reported remarkably high levels of happiness. This was especially true in the communities with the lowest levels of monetization, where citizens reported a degree of happiness comparable to that found in Scandinavian countries which typically rate highest in the world. The results suggest that high levels of subjective well-being can be achieved with minimal monetization, challenging the perception that economic growth will automatically raise life satisfaction among low-income populations.

Measuring happiness

To explore how monetization affects people's sense of well-being, the researchers spent time in several small fishing communities, with varying degrees of monetization, in the Solomon Islands and Bangladesh, two very low-income countries. Over a period of a few months, with the help of local translators, they interviewed citizens in both rural and urban areas a number of times. The interviews, which took place both in person and through phone calls at unexpected moments, were designed to elicit information about what constituted happiness for the study subjects, as well as to get a sense of their passing moods, their lifestyle, fishing activities, household income, and level of market integration.

In all, the researchers interviewed 678 people, ranging in age between their mid-twenties and early fifties, with an average age of about 37. Almost 85 % of the study participants were male. The disproportionate number of men in the study was due to the fact that cultural norms in Bangladesh made it difficult to interview women. In the Solomon Islands, responses to the study questions from men and women were not significantly different. However, this is not necessarily applicable to the situation in Bangladesh, as men and women's social realities and lifestyles differ so much. Further research will need to address whether gender-related societal norms impact the association found in this study.

Early stages of monetization may be detrimental to happiness

The researchers found that in the communities where money was in greater use, such as in urban Bangladesh, residents reported lower levels of happiness.

"Our study hints at possible ways of achieving happiness that are unrelated to high incomes and material wealth," says Eric Galbraith, a professor in McGill's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the senior author on the study, which was recently published in PLOS One. "This is important, because if we replicate these results elsewhere and can pinpoint the factors that contribute to subjective well-being, it may help us circumvent some of the environmental costs associated with achieving social well-being in the least developed nations."

"In less monetized sites, we found that people reported a greater proportion of time spent with family and contact with nature as being responsible for making them happy," explains Sara Miñarro, the lead author on the study who is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at (ICTA-UAB). "But with increasing monetization, we found that the social and economic factors commonly recognized in industrialized countries played a bigger role. Overall, our findings suggest that monetization, especially in its early stages, may actually be detrimental to happiness."

Interestingly, while other research has found that technology and access to information from faraway cultures with different lifestyles may affect people's sense of their own well-being by offering standards to which people compare their own lives, this did not appear to be the case in these communities.

"This work adds to a growing realization that important supports for happiness are not in principle related to economic output," adds Chris Barrington-Leigh, a professor in McGill's Bieler School of the Environment. "When people are comfortable, safe, and free to enjoy life within a strong community, they are happy—regardless of whether or not they are making any money."

 

Depressed moms who breastfeed boost babies' mood, neuroprotection and mutual touch

Study first to show EEG patterns shift as a result of feeding method and affectionate touch in depressed and non-depressed moms and babies

Florida Atlantic University, February 10, 2021

About 1 in 9 mothers suffers from maternal depression, which can affect the mother-infant bond as well as infant development. Touch plays an important role in an infant's socio-emotional development. Mothers who are depressed are less likely to provide their babies with soothing touch, less able to detect changes in facial expressions, and more likely to have trouble regulating their own emotions. In addition, infants of depressed mothers exhibit similar brain functioning patterns as their depressed mothers, which also are linked to temperament characteristics. Infants of depressed mothers are at a high risk of atypical and potentially dysregulated social interaction.

A first-of-its-kind study by researchers at Florida Atlantic University's Charles E. Schmidt College of Science examined the developing mother-infant relationship by studying feeding method (breastfeeding and/or bottle-feeding) and affectionate touch patterns in depressed and non-depressed mother-infant dyads as well examining the infant's electroencephalogram activity (EEG) during development. Affectionate touch was coded during the mother-infant feeding context and included stroking, massaging and caressing initiated by either mother or infant. 

For the study, researchers evaluated 113 mothers and their infants and assessed maternal depressive symptoms, feeding and temperament or mood. They collected EEG patterns (asymmetry and left and right activity) from infants at 1 and 3 months old and videotaped mother-infant dyads during feeding to assess affectionate touch patterns in both mother and baby. They specifically focused on alterations in EEG activation patterns in infants across development to determine whether feeding and maternal depression are interactively related to changes in resting frontal EEG asymmetry and power. 

Data from EEG activity, published in the journal Neuropsychobiology, revealed that mother-infant affectionate touch differed as a function of mood and feeding method (breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding), affecting outcomes for infants of depressed mothers compared to non-depressed mothers. Researchers observed a reduction in infant touch toward their mothers only with the infants in the depressed and bottle-fed group. Affectionate touch of mothers and infants varied by depression interacting with feeding type, with breastfeeding having a positive effect on both maternal and infant affectionate touch. Infants of depressed and breastfeeding mothers showed neither behavioral nor brain development dysregulation previously found in infants of depressed mothers. 

"We focused on mother-infant affectionate touch patterns during feeding in our study because touch is a form of mutual interaction established in early infancy, used to communicate needs, soothe, and downregulate stress responses, and because mothers and infants spend a significant amount of time feeding across the first three months postpartum," said Nancy Aaron Jones, Ph.D., lead author, an associate professor, and director of the FAU WAVES Emotion Laboratory in the Department of Psychology in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, and a member of the FAU Brain Institute. "As experience with maternal mood and feeding pervade the infant's early environment, we chose to examine how these factors interact to affect mother-infant affectionate touch, focusing fastidiously on the key roles of individual variation in temperament and EEG activation patterns." 

Asymmetry patterns in certain infant populations, such as those of depressed mothers differ from the asymmetry patterns of typically developing infants and children. While EEG asymmetry measures the balance of the right and left hemisphere activity, infants of depressed mothers exhibit patterns of right frontal asymmetry, due in part to hypoactivation of the left hemisphere within the frontal region. This pattern of brain activation (greater right asymmetry) is similar to the pattern observed in depressed adults and is thought to represent heightened negative affect as well as motor tendencies for withdrawal and inhibited approach behaviors. 

In addition to the tactile behavior changes, the infants in this study displayed differential brain activation patterns as a function of maternal depression and feeding group status. Not only were the infants' EEG patterns affected by their mother's depression status, stable breastfeeding experience also interacted with the depression group to impact EEG patterns across early development. Left frontal asymmetry in infants was associated with having a non-depressed mother and infant care experiences in the form of stable breastfeeding. Left frontal activity has been associated with advancing maturation, positive emotions, as well as higher order processing skills. Notably, EEG patterns of infants of depressed mothers showed right frontal asymmetry; however, shifts to greater left frontal activation (left frontal hyperactivation change) were found in those infants with stable breastfeeding experiences. 

Analysis from the study also revealed that infant breastfeeding duration and positive temperamental characteristics predicted infant affectionate touch patterns, suggesting that early infant experiences, and more broadly, their underlying neurochemical regulatory processes during feeding could influence the development of infant physiology and behavior, even for infants of depressed mothers. 

"Ultimately, our study provides evidence that the sensitive caretaking that occurs, even for mothers with postnatal depression in the context of more predominant breastfeeding, may redirect neurophysiological, temperamental, and socio-emotional risk through dyadic tactile experiences across early development," said Aaron Jones.

 

Vitamin D supplementation: possible gain in life years combined with cost savings

German Cancer Research Center, February 11, 2021

In recent years, three meta-analyses of clinical studies have come to the conclusion that vitamin D supplementation was associated with a reduction in the mortality rate from cancer of around 13 percent. Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have now transferred these results to the situation in Germany and calculated: If all Germans over the age of 50 were to take vitamin D supplements, up to 30,000 cancer deaths per year could possibly be avoided and more than 300,000 years of life could be gained - in addition, health care costs could be saved.

For several years now, scientists have been investigating the influence of an adequate supply of vitamin D on the prognosis of numerous diseases. The focus is particularly on inflammatory diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases and cancer. 

Three meta-analyses of large clinical studies have been published in recent years on the question of how vitamin D supply affects cancer mortality rates. The studies* came to the same conclusion: cancer mortality is reduced by around 13 percent with vitamin D supplementation - across all cancers. Only methodologically high-quality randomized trials from all parts of the world were included in the meta-analyses. Exactly what biological mechanisms might underlie this is not yet clear.

"In many countries around the world, the age-adjusted rate of cancer mortality has fortunately declined over the past decade," says Hermann Brenner, an epidemiologist at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). "However, given the often considerable costs of many new cancer drugs, this success has often come at a high price. Vitamin D, on the other hand, is comparatively inexpensive in the usual daily doses."

Vitamin D deficiency is common in the elderly population and especially among cancer patients. Brenner and colleagues now calculated what costs would be incurred by vitamin D supplementation of the entire population of Germany from the age of 50. They contrasted this sum with the potential savings for cancer therapies, which are often associated with costs in the range of several 10,000 euros, particularly in the case of advanced cancers during the last months of patients' lives. 

The scientists based this calculation on a daily administration of 1,000 international units of vitamin D at a cost of 25 euros per person per year. In 2016, approximately 36 million people over the age of 50 lived in Germany, resulting in annual supplementation costs of 900 million euros.

The researchers took the cost of cancer treatment from the scientific literature, assuming mean additional treatment costs of €40,000 for the last year of life. A 13 percent reduction in cancer mortality in Germany corresponded to approximately 30,000 fewer cancer-related deaths per year, the treatment costs of which amounted to €1.154 billion in the model calculation. Compared with the costs of vitamin supplementation, this model calculates an annual saving of €254 million.

The researchers determined the number of years of life lost at the time of cancer death using data from the German Federal Statistical Office. Brenner considers the costs and effort of a routine determination of the individual vitamin D level to be dispensable, since an overdose is not to be feared with a supplementation of 1000 international units. Such a prior testing had not been made in the clinical trials either.

"In view of the potentially significant positive effects on cancer mortality - additionally combined with a possible cost saving - we should look for new ways to reduce the widespread vitamin D deficiency in the elderly population in Germany. In some countries, foods have even been enriched with vitamin D for many years - for example, in Finland, where cancer mortality rates are about 20 percent lower than in Germany. Not to mention that there is mounting evidence of other positive health effects of adequate vitamin D supply, such as in lung disease mortality rates," says Brenner, adding, "Finally, we consider vitamin D supplementation so safe that we even recommend it for newborn babies to develop healthy bones."

To improve one's vitamin D levels at absolutely no cost, DKFZ's Cancer Information Service recommends spending time outdoors in the sunshine, two to three times a week for about twelve minutes. Face, hands and parts of arms and legs should be uncovered and without sunscreen for this period of time.

 

 

Poor fitness linked to weaker brain fiber, higher dementia risk

University of Texas Medical Center, February 14, 2021

Scientists have more evidence that exercise improves brain health and could be a lifesaving ingredient that prevents Alzheimer's disease.

In particular, a new study from UT Southwestern's O'Donnell Brain Institute suggests that the lower the fitness level, the faster the deterioration of vital nerve fibers in the brain. This deterioration results in cognitive decline, including memory issues characteristic of dementia patients.

"This research supports the hypothesis that improving people's fitness may improve their brain health and slow down the aging process," said Dr. Kan Ding, a neurologist from the Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute who authored the study.

White matter

The study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease focused on a type of brain tissue called white matter, which is comprised of millions of bundles of nerve fibers used by neurons to communicate across the brain.

Dr. Ding's team enrolled older patients at high risk to develop Alzheimer's disease who have early signs of memory loss, or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The researchers determined that lower fitness levels were associated with weaker white matter, which in turn correlated with lower brain function.

Distinctive tactics

Unlike previous studies that relied on study participants to assess their own fitness, the new research objectively measured cardiorespiratory fitness with a scientific formula called maximal oxygen uptake. Scientists also used brain imaging to measure the functionality of each patient's white matter.

Patients were then given memory and other cognitive tests to measure brain function, allowing scientists to establish strong correlations between exercise, brain health, and cognition.

Lingering mysteries

The study adds to a growing body of evidence pointing to a simple yet crucial mandate for human health: Exercise regularly.

However, the study leaves plenty of unanswered questions about how fitness and Alzheimer's disease are intertwined. For instance, what fitness level is needed to notably reduce the risk of dementia? Is it too late to intervene when patients begin showing symptoms?

Some of these topics are already being researched through a five-year national clinical trial led by the O'Donnell Brain Institute.

The trial, which includes six medical centers across the country, aims to determine whether regular aerobic exercise and taking specific medications to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels can help preserve brain function. It involves more than 600 older adults at high risk to develop Alzheimer's disease.

"Evidence suggests that what is bad for your heart is bad for your brain. We need studies like this to find out how the two are intertwined and hopefully find the right formula to help prevent Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Rong Zhang of UT Southwestern, who oversees the clinical trial and is Director of the Cerebrovascular Laboratory in the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where the Dallas arm of the study is being carried out.

Prior findings

The research builds upon prior investigations linking healthy lifestyles to better brain function, including a 2013 study from Dr. Zhang's team that found neuronal messages are more efficiently relayed in the brains of older adults who exercise.

In addition, other teams at the O'Donnell Brain Institute are designing tests for the early detection of patients who will develop dementia, and seeking methods to slow or stop the spread of toxic proteins associated with the disease such as beta-amyloid and tau, which are blamed for destroying certain groups of neurons in the brain.

"A lot of work remains to better understand and treat dementia," said Dr. Ding, Assistant Professor of Neurology & Neurotherapeutics. "But, eventually, the hope is that our studies will convince people to exercise more."


 

 

A systematic review and meta-analysis of impact of red wine polyphenols on vascular health

University of Birmingham (UK), February 4, 2021

 

According to news reporting originating from Birmingham, United Kingdom, research stated, “Red wine polyphenols (RWP) are plant-based molecules that have been extensively studied in relation to their protective effects on vascular health in both animals and humans. The aim of this review was to quantify and compare the efficacy of RWP and pure resveratrol on outcomes measures of vascular health and function in both animals and humans.”

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from the University of Birmingham, “Comprehensive database searches were carried out through PubMed, Web of Science and OVID for randomised, placebo-controlled studies in both animals and humans. Meta-analyses were carried out on acute and chronic studies of RWP in humans, alongside sub-group analysis where possible. Risk-of-bias assessment was carried out for all included studies based on randomisation, allocation, blinding, outcome data reporting, and other biases. Results 48 animal and 37 human studies were included in data extraction following screening. Significant improvements in measures of blood pressure and vascular function following RWP were seen in 84% and 100% of animal studies, respectively. Human studies indicated significant improvements in systolic blood pressure overall (- 2.6 mmHg, 95% CI: [- 4.8, - 0.4]), with a greater improvement in pure-resveratrol studies alone (- 3.7 mmHg, 95% CI: [- 7.3, - 0.0]). No significant effects of RWP were seen in diastolic blood pressure or flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “RWP have the potential to improve vascular health in at risk human populations, particularly in regard to lowering systolic blood pressure; however, such benefits are not as prevalent as those observed in animal models.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

The Gary Null Show - 02.12.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.12.21

February 12, 2021

Prof. Mickey Huff is the director of Project Censored and the president of the nonprofit Media Freedom Foundation.  He is a professor of sociology at Diablo Valley College in the San Francisco Bay area, where he is co-chair  and chair of its history and journalism departments respectively.  He is also on the Advisory Committee for the History of Conflict programs at John F. Kennedy University.  He lectures across the country on issues of censorship, propaganda and media literacy, with a special focus on suppressed historical narratives, and has appeared on numerous media outlets around the world.  In 2019 he was recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists and received its James Madison Freedom of Information award. He has been a co-editor, editor, and contributor to the award-winning Project Censored annual book series since 2008 and appears in the documentary Project Censored: The Movie.  The Project's most recent publication is "State of the Free Press 2021". You can also watch their new film "United States of Distraction: Fighting the Fake News Invasion" that is narrated by Abby Martin -- which is also the title of one of his most recent books along with "Lets Agree to Disagree".  Mickey is also the executive producer and host  of the broadcast Project Censored, heard every Tuesday at 5 pm Eastern time on the Progressive Radio Network.  The website is ProjectCensored.org

The Gary Null Show - 02.11.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.11.21

February 11, 2021

Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy.

 

 

 

Samara Polytech scientists proved the anti-cancer properties of a number of plant extracts

Extracts from black chokeberry, raspberry and fireweed have a special anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant effect

Samara Polytech University (Russia), February 9, 2021

Samara Polytech chemists investigated the potential anticarcinogenic effects of extracts obtained from plant materials of lingonberry, raspberry, black chokeberry, grapes, Krasnodar green tea, ginseng, fireweed and coffee, and also evaluated their effect on the growth and viability of colon cancer cells. The research was carried out within the framework of the state assignment for fundamental research No. 0778-2020-0005, its results were published Dec. 29, 2020 in the journal Proceedings of Universities. Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology 

Prevention is the most cost-effective and long-term strategy for controlling this disease. It is now well known that almost 50% of all malignant tumors can be prevented with proper nutrition based on natural products with a preventive effect.

"Polyphenols are the largest variety of plant components. It is this class of chemical compounds that have shown powerful antioxidant properties. They actively fight against cellular damage caused by free radicals, slowing down the aging and preventing oxidation. In addition, they protect the body from inflammatory, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative diseases, and some forms of cancer", one of the authors of this study, associate professor of the Department of Technology and Organization of Public Catering of Samara Polytech Natalya Eremeeva explains. "We studied in detail the beneficial properties of lingonberry, raspberry, black chokeberry, grapes, Krasnodar green tea, ginseng, fireweed and coffee.

When conducting the MTT cytotoxicity test, the scientists found that the ginseng extract was the most cytotoxic, and the coffee extract was the least cytotoxic. It has been proven that all the studied extracts are able to reduce the expression of pro-inflammatory genes. The most pronounced inhibitory effect on the expression of these genes is possessed by the extracts of chokeberry and fireweed.

The research team supposes that this study may serve as a basis for conducting in vivo experiments to determine anticarcinogenic activity.

 

Diet rich in tomatoes cuts skin cancer in half in mice

Ohio State University, February 5, 2021

Daily tomato consumption appeared to cut the development of skin cancer tumors by half in a mouse study at The Ohio State University.

The new study of how nutritional interventions can alter the risk for skin cancers appeared online in the journal Scientific Reports.

It found that male mice fed a diet of 10 percent tomato powder daily for 35 weeks, then exposed to ultraviolet light, experienced, on average, a 50 percent decrease in skin cancer tumors compared to mice that ate no dehydrated tomato.

The theory behind the relationship between tomatoes and cancer is that dietary carotenoids, the pigmenting compounds that give tomatoes their color, may protect skin against UV light damage, said Jessica Cooperstone, co-author of the study and a research scientist in the Department of Food Science and Technology in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State.

There were no significant differences in tumor number for the female mice in the study. Previous research has shown that male mice develop tumors earlier after UV exposure and that their tumors are more numerous, larger and more aggressive.

"This study showed us that we do need to consider sex when exploring different preventive strategies," said the study's senior author, Tatiana Oberyszyn, a professor of pathology and member of Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"What works in men may not always work equally well in women and vice versa."   

Previous human clinical trials suggest that eating tomato paste over time can dampen sunburns, perhaps thanks to carotenoids from the plants that are deposited in the skin of humans after eating, and may be able to protect against UV light damage, Cooperstone said.

"Lycopene, the primary carotenoid in tomatoes, has been shown to be the most effective antioxidant of these pigments," she said.

"However, when comparing lycopene administered from a whole food (tomato) or a synthesized supplement, tomatoes appear more effective in preventing redness after UV exposure, suggesting other compounds in tomatoes may also be at play."

In the new study, the Ohio State researchers found that only male mice fed dehydrated red tomatoes had reductions in tumor growth. Those fed diets with tangerine tomatoes, which have been shown to be higher in bioavailable lycopene in previous research, had fewer tumors than the control group, but the difference was not statistically significant.

Cooperstone is currently researching tomato compounds other than lycopene that may impart health benefits.

Non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common of all cancers, with more new cases—5.4 million in 2012—each year than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined, according to the American Cancer Society.

Despite a low mortality rate, these cancers are costly, disfiguring, and their rates are increasing, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Alternative methods for systemic protection, possibly through nutritional interventions to modulate risk for skin-related diseases, could provide a significant benefit," Cooperstone said.

"Foods are not drugs, but they can possibly, over the lifetime of consumption, alter the development of certain diseases," she said.

 

Cannabis reduces blood pressure in older adults, according to Ben-Gurion University researchers

Ben Gurion University (Israel), February 8, 2021 

 

A new discovery by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and its affiliated Soroka University Medical Center shows that medical cannabis may reduce blood pressure in older adults. 

The study, published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, is the first of its kind to focus on the effect of cannabis on blood pressure, heart rate and metabolic parameters in adults 60 and above with hypertension. 

"Older adults are the fastest growing group of medical cannabis users, yet evidence on cardiovascular safety for this population is scarce," says Dr. Ran Abuhasira of the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences, one of Israel's leading medical faculties, and the BGU-Soroka Cannabis Clinical Research Institute. "This study is part of our ongoing effort to provide clinical research on the actual physiological effects of cannabis over time."

Patients were evaluated using 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, ECG, blood tests, and body measurements -- both before and three months after initiating cannabis therapy. 

In the study, researchers found a significant reduction in 24-hour systolic and diastolic blood pressure values, with the lowest point occurring three hours after ingesting cannabis either orally via oil extracts or by smoking. Patients showed reductions in blood pressure in both daytime and nighttime, with more significant changes at night. 

The BGU researchers theorize that the relief from pain, the indication for prescription cannabis in most patients, may also have contributed to a reduction in blood pressure. 

"Cannabis research is in its early stages and BGU is at the forefront of evaluating clinical use based on scientific studies," says Doug Seserman, chief executive officer of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "This new study is one of several that has been published recently by BGU on the medicinal benefits of cannabis."

 

Study links exposure to nighttime artificial lights with elevated thyroid cancer risk

University of Texas Health Science Center, February 8, 2021

People living in regions with high levels of outdoor artificial light at night may face a higher risk of developing thyroid cancer. The finding comes from a study published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Over the past century, nightscapes--especially in cities--have drastically changed due to the rapid growth of electric lighting. Also, epidemiological studies have reported an association between higher satellite-measured levels of nighttime light and elevated breast cancer risk. Because some breast cancers may share a common hormone-dependent basis with thyroid cancer, a team led by Qian Xiao, PhD, of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, looked for an association between light at night and later development of thyroid cancer among participants in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, which recruited American adults aged 50 to 71 years in 1995-1996. The investigators analyzed satellite imagery data to estimate levels of light at night at participants' residential addresses, and they examined state cancer registry databases to identify thyroid cancer diagnoses through 2011.

Among 464,371 participants who were followed for an average of 12.8 years, 856 cases of thyroid cancer were diagnosed (384 in men and 472 in women). When compared with the lowest quintile of light at night, the highest quintile was associated with a 55 percent higher risk of developing thyroid cancer. The association was primarily driven by the most common form of thyroid cancer, called papillary thyroid cancer, and it was stronger in women than in men. In women, the association was stronger for localized cancer with no sign of spread to other parts of the body, while in men the association was stronger for more advanced stages of cancer. The association appeared to be similar for different tumor sizes and across participants with different sociodemographic characteristics and body mass index. 

The researchers noted that additional epidemiologic studies are needed to confirm their findings. If confirmed, it will be important to understand the mechanisms underlying the relationship between light at night and thyroid cancer. The scientists noted that light at night suppresses melatonin, a modulator of estrogen activity that may have important anti-tumor effects. Also, light at night may lead to disruption of the body's internal clock (or circadian rhythms), which is a risk factor for various types of cancer.

"As an observational study, our study is not designed to establish causality. Therefore, we don't know if higher levels of outdoor light at night lead to an elevated risk for thyroid cancer; however, given the well-established evidence supporting a role of light exposure at night and circadian disruption, we hope our study will motivate researchers to further examine the relationship between light at night and cancer, and other diseases," said Dr. Xiao. "Recently, there have been efforts in some cities to reduce light pollution, and we believe future studies should evaluate if and to what degree such efforts impact human health."

 

 

Nobiletin in Citrus: targeting the circadian network to promote bioenergetics and healthy aging

University of Texas Health Science Center, February 5, 2021

 

According to news reporting originating from Houston, Texas, research stated, “The circadian clock is the biological mastermind governing orderly execution of bodily processes throughout the day. In recent years, an emerging topic of broad interest is clock-modulatory agents, including small molecules both of synthetic and natural origins, and their potential applications in disease models.”

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston, “Nobiletin is a naturally occurring flavonoid with the greatest abundance found in citrus peels. Extensive research has shown that Nobiletin is endowed with a wide range of biological activities, yet its mechanism of action remains unclear. We recently found through unbiased chemical screening that Nobiletin impinges on the clock machinery to activate temporal control of downstream processes within the cell and throughout the body. Using animal models of diseases and aging, we and others illustrate potent beneficial effects of Nobiletin on cellular energetics in both periphery and brain to promote healthy aging.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Given its excellent safety profile, Nobiletin may represent a promising candidate molecule for development of nutraceutical and chronotherapeutic agents against chronic and age-related neurodegenerative diseases.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

Brain changed by caffeine in utero, study finds

University of Rochester Medical Center, February 9, 2021

New research finds caffeine consumed during pregnancy can change important brain pathways that could lead to behavioral problems later in life. Researchers in the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) analyzed thousands of brain scans of nine and ten-year-olds, and revealed changes in the brain structure in children who were exposed to caffeine in utero.

"These are sort of small effects and it's not causing horrendous psychiatric conditions, but it is causing minimal but noticeable behavioral issues that should make us consider long term effects of caffeine intake during pregnancy," said John Foxe, Ph.D., director of the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience, and principal investigator of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development or ABCD Study at the University of Rochester. "I suppose the outcome of this study will be a recommendation that any caffeine during pregnancy is probably not such a good idea."

Elevated behavioral issues, attention difficulties, and hyperactivity are all symptoms that researchers observed in these children. "What makes this unique is that we have a biological pathway that looks different when you consume caffeine through pregnancy," said Zachary Christensen, a M.D/Ph.D. candidate in the Medical Science Training Program and first author on the paper published in the journal Neuropharmacology. "Previous studies have shown that children perform differently on IQ tests, or they have different psychopathology, but that could also be related to demographics, so it's hard to parse that out until you have something like a biomarker. This gives us a place to start future research to try to learn exactly when the change is occurring in the brain."

Investigators analyzed brain scans of more than 9,000 nine and ten-year-old participants in the ABCD study. They found clear changes in how the white matter tracks—which form connections between brain regions—were organized in children whose mothers reported they consumed caffeine during pregnancy.

URMC is one of 21-sites across the country collecting data for the ABCD study, the largest long-term study of brain development and child health. The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Ed Freedman, Ph.D., is the principal investigator of the ABCD study in Rochester and a co-author of the study.

"It is important to point out this is a retrospective study," said Foxe. "We are relying on mothers to remember how much caffeine they took in while they were pregnant."

Previous studies have found caffeine can have a negative effect on pregnancy. It is also known that a fetus does not have the enzyme necessary to breakdown caffeine when it crosses the placenta. This new study reveals that caffeine could also leave a lasting impact on neurodevelopment.

The researchers point out that it is unclear if the impact of the caffeine on the fetal brain varies from one trimester to the next, or when during gestation these structural changes occur.

"Current clinical guidelines already suggest limiting caffeine intake during pregnancy—no more than two normal cups of coffee a day," Christensen said. "In the long term, we hope to develop better guidance for mothers, but in the meantime, they should ask their doctor as concerns arise."

 

Here's how stress, illness and even sunburn trigger herpes cold sore flareups

University of Virginia School of Medicine, February 11, 2021

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have shed light on what causes herpes simplex virus to flare up, explaining how stress, illness and even sunburn can trigger unwanted outbreaks.

The discovery could lead to new ways to prevent cold sores and recurrent herpes-related eye disease from reoccurring, the researchers report.

"Herpes simplex recurrence has long been associated with stress, fever and sunburn," said researcher Anna R. Cliffe, of UVA's Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology. "This study sheds light on how all these triggers can lead to herpes simplex-associated disease."

About Herpes Simplex Recurrence 

Once you're infected with herpes simplex virus, or HSV—and more than half of Americans are—the virus never really goes away. Instead, it lurks inside neurons, waiting for the right moment to strike again, a process known as reactivation. 

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are one of the most common symptoms of HSV reactivation. Recurrent reactivation in the eye leads to herpes keratitis, which, if left untreated, can result in blindness. HSV infection has also been linked to the progression of Alzheimer's disease. 

Recurrences of HSV are typically associated with stress, illness or sunburn, but doctors have been uncertain exactly what causes the virus to reactivate.

Cliffe and her collaborators found that when neurons harboring the virus were exposed to stimuli that induce "neuronal hyperexcitation," the virus senses this particular change and seizes its opportunity to reactivate.

Working in a model developed by the Cliffe lab using mouse neurons infected with HSV, the researchers determined that the virus hijacks an important immune response within the body. In response to prolonged periods of inflammation or stress, the immune system releases a particular cytokine, Interleukin 1 beta. This cytokine is also present in epithelial cells in the skin and eye and is released when these cells are damaged by ultraviolet light. 

Interleukin 1 beta then increases the excitability in the affected neurons, setting the stage for HSV to flare up, the UVA researchers discovered.

"It is really remarkable that the virus has hijacked this pathway that is part of our body's immune response," Cliffe said. "It highlights how some viruses have evolved to take advantage of what should be part of our infection-fighting machinery."

The scientists say that more research will need to be done to fully understand the potential factors which play into herpes simplex disease. It may vary depending on the virus strain or the type of neuron infected, even. And it is still unknown if the virus alters how neurons respond to cytokines such as Interleukin 1 beta. But the new insights help doctors better understand what is happening in neurons and the immune system, and that could lead to ways to prevent unwanted outbreaks, the researchers hope.

"A better understanding of what causes HSV to reactivate in response to a stimulus is needed to develop novel therapeutics," Cliffe said. "Ultimately, what we hope to do is target the latent virus itself and make it unresponsive to stimuli such as Interleukin 1 beta."

The researchers have published their findings in the scientific journal eLife.

 

 

Prebiotics may help to cope with stress

Recent study shows prebiotic fibers can help to protect beneficial gut bacteria and restore healthy sleep patterns after a stressful event

University of Colorado, February 9, 2021

 

What are some ways you cope with stresses in your life? Do you do yoga? Meditate? Exercise? Perhaps you should add taking prebiotics to that list.

 

Probiotics are well known to benefit digestive health, but prebiotics are less well understood. Prebiotics are certain types of non-digestible fibers that probiotic bacteria feed on, such as the fibers found in many plant sources like asparagus, oatmeal, and legumes. Certain bacteria also feed on non-fibers such as the protein lactoferrin, which also acts like a prebiotic and is found in breast milk.

 

According to a new study published in the online journal, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience by Professor Monika Fleshner, PhD, and her team from the University of Colorado, Boulder, regular intake of prebiotics may promote beneficial gut bacteria and recovery of normal sleep patterns after a stressful episode.

 

"Acute stress can disrupt the gut microbiome," explained Dr. Agnieszka Mika, a postdoctoral fellow and one of the authors of the study, "and we wanted to test if a diet rich in prebiotics would increase beneficial bacteria as well as protect gut microbes from stress-induced disruptions. We also wanted to look at the effects of prebiotics on the recovery of normal sleep patterns, since they tend to be disrupted after stressful events."

 

In this experiment, test rats received prebiotic diets for several weeks prior to a stressful test condition and compared with control rats that did not receive the prebiotic-enriched diet. Interestingly, rats that ate prebiotics prior to the stressful event did not experience stress-induced disruption in their gut microbiota, and also recovered healthier sleep patterns sooner than controls.

 

Given that these experiments were done in rats, are these results relevant for humans? "The stressor the rats received was the equivalent of a single intense acute stressful episode for humans, such as a car accident or the death of a loved one," said Dr. Robert S. Thompson, the lead author of the study. "A next set of studies will be looking exactly at that question - can prebiotics help humans to protect and restore their gut microflora and recover normal sleep patterns after a traumatic event?"

 

In the mean time, should we start including prebiotics in our diets to help cope with stress? "So far no adverse effects from prebiotics have been reported," said Dr. Mika, "and they are found widely in many plants, even present in breast milk, and are already commercially available." Healthy gut bacteria and restful sleep could be your benefits.

 

 

The Gary Null Show -  02.10.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.10.21

February 10, 2021

Duty to Warn

 

A Plea from a World Expert on Electromagnetic Radiation About the Serious Dangers of 5G

 

By Dr Olle Johansson (Introduction by Gary G. Kohls, MD) – February 10, 2021 (2613 words)

 

The following article was written by a scientist friend of mine from Sweden, Dr Olle Johansson. The article represents an urgent call for people to both start understanding 5G and also begin resisting – before it’s too late – the unethical roll-out of 5G installations that is currently going on without our consent. For me as a physician, the most meaningful part of Olle’s article is the revelation that 5G’s Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) is known to increase the risk of 5G-exposed people and other living things – including animals, birds and insects - to become sickened with neurological, neuropsychiatric, neurodegenerative, infectious, cardiovascular, immunotoxic, DNA-damaging and carcinogenic disorders.

 

This impending – but totally preventable - health crisis is happening right under our noses thanks to 5G corporations like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile and their billionaire investors, many of whom are also involved in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “4th Industrial Revolution/New World Order/Great Reset” agenda. The WEF’s nefarious plan requires the widespread implementation of 5G and the technocratic “Internet of Things” that will result in realities like slightly faster cellphone connectivity, slightly faster downloads of computer games and the robotization of everything, including driverless cars, driverless trucks and massive unemployment.

The Gary Null Show -  02.09.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.09.21

February 9, 2021

Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy. The Loneliness Epidemic. The grand illusion of the 'great reset'

The Gary Null Show - 02.08.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.08.21

February 8, 2021

Gary Null Show Notes 02/08/21

  1. CDC: Over 500 Deaths Now Following mRNA Experimental Injections – “Vaccine Hesitancy” Increasing

  2. Invasive Insects and Diseases Are Killing Our Forests

  3. How ExxonMobil Uses Divide and Rule to Get Its Way in South America

  4. How the Pandemic Left the $25 Billion Hudson Yards Eerily Deserted

  5. Bayer makes new $2 billion plan to head off future Roundup cancer claims

  6. Billionaire capitalists are designing humanity’s future. Don’t let them

  7. Citizen scientists are filling research gaps created by the pandemic

  8. After COVID, Davos Moves to The “Great Reset”

  9. COVID-19: Here’s why global travel is unlikely to resume ‘till 2024

 

 

The Acute and Chronic Cognitive Effects of a Sage Extract: A Randomized, Placebo Controlled Study in Healthy Humans

Northumbria University (UK), January 31, 2021

The sage (Salvia) plant contains a host of terpenes and phenolics which interact with mechanisms pertinent to brain function and improve aspects of cognitive performance. However, previous studies in humans have looked at these phytochemicals in isolation and following acute consumption only. A preclinical in vivo study in rodents, however, has demonstrated improved cognitive outcomes following 2-week consumption of CogniviaTM, a proprietary extract of both Salvia officinalis polyphenols and Salvia lavandulaefolia terpenoids, suggesting that a combination of phytochemicals from sage might be more efficacious over a longer period of time. The current study investigated the impact of this sage combination on cognitive functions in humans with acute and chronic outcomes. Participants (n = 94, 25 M, 69 F, 30–60 years old) took part in this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel groups design where a comprehensive array of cognitions were assessed 120- and 240-min post-dose acutely and following 29-day supplementation with either 600 mg of the sage combination or placebo. A consistent, significant benefit of the sage combination was observed throughout working memory and accuracy task outcome measures (specifically on the Corsi Blocks, Numeric Working Memory, and Name to Face Recall tasks) both acutely (i.e., changes within day 1 and day 29) and chronically (i.e., changes between day 1 to day 29). These results fall slightly outside of those reported previously with single Salvia administration, and therefore, a follow-up study with the single and combined extracts is required to confirm how these effects differ within the same cohort.

In conclusion, we have observed a consistent significant benefit of a sage combination intervention  in healthy adult humans on working memory and accuracy of performance cognitive domains. This significant activity was observed both acutely (after just 2 h following consumption) and chronically (after 29 days of administration). The pattern and magnitude of significance points towards an increase in product efficacy over the administration period and, taken together, suggests that future trials should focus on disentangling the working and spatial memory effects of this intervention in humans with an extended timeframe of perhaps several months. Validating the CaMKII mechanism in humans would also be advantageous.

Blink! The link between aerobic fitness and cognition

University of Tsukuba (Japan), February 3, 2021

Although exercise is known to enhance cognitive function and improve mental health, the neurological mechanisms of this link are unknown. Now, researchers from Japan have found evidence of the missing link between aerobic fitness and cognitive function.

In a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers from the University of Tsukuba revealed that spontaneous eye blink rate (sEBR), which reflects activity of the dopamine system, could be used to understand the connection between cognitive function and aerobic fitness.

The dopaminergic system is known to be involved in physical activity and exercise, and previous researchers have proposed that exercise-induced changes in cognitive function might be mediated by activity in the dopaminergic system. However, a marker of activity in this system was needed to test this hypothesis, something the researchers at the University of Tsukuba aimed to address.

“The dopaminergic system is associated with both executive function and motivated behavior, including physical activity,” says first author of the study Ryuta Kuwamizu. “We used sEBR as a non-invasive measure of dopaminergic system function to test whether it could be the missing link between aerobic fitness and cognitive function.”

To do this, the researchers asked healthy participants to undergo a measure of sEBR, a test of cognitive function, and an aerobic fitness test. They also measured brain activity during the cognitive task using functional near-infrared spectroscopy.

“As expected, we found significant correlations between aerobic fitness, cognitive function, and sEBR,” explains Professor Hideaki Soya, senior author. “When we examined these relationships further, we found that the connection between higher aerobic fitness and enhanced cognitive function was mediated in part by dopaminergic regulation.”

Furthermore, activity in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (l-DLPFC) during the cognitive task was the same or lower in participants with higher sEBR compared with lower sEBR, even though those with higher sEBR appeared to have greater executive function, and thus higher neural efficiency.

“Although previous studies have indicated that aerobic fitness and cognitive function are correlated, this is the first to provide a neuromodulatory basis for this connection in humans. Our data indicate that dopamine has an essential role in linking aerobic fitness and cognition,” says first author Kuwamizu.

Given that neural efficiency in the l-DLPFC is a known characteristic of the dopaminergic system that has been observed in individuals with higher fitness and executive function, it is possible that neural efficiency in this region partially mediates the association between aerobic fitness and executive function. Furthermore, physical inactivity may be related to dopaminergic dysfunction. This information provides new directions for research regarding how fitness affects the brain, which may lead to improved exercise regimens. For instance, exercise that specifically focuses on improving dopaminergic function may particularly boost motivation, mood, and mental function.

Vegan diet better for weight loss and cholesterol control than Mediterranean diet

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, February 5, 2021

A vegan diet is more effective for weight loss than a Mediterranean diet, according to a groundbreaking new study that compared the diets head to head. The randomized crossover trial, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, found that a low-fat vegan diet has better outcomes for weight, body composition, insulin sensitivity, and cholesterol levels, compared with a Mediterranean diet.

The study randomly assigned participants–who were overweight and had no history of diabetes–to a vegan diet or a Mediterranean diet in a 1:1 ratio. For 16 weeks, half of the participants started with a low-fat vegan diet that eliminated animal products and focused on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. The other half started with the Mediterranean diet, which followed the PREDIMED protocol, which focuses on fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, low-fat dairy, and extra virgin olive oil, while limiting or avoiding red meat and saturated fats. Neither group had a calorie limit, and participants did not change exercise or medication routines, unless directed by their personal doctors. As part of the crossover design, participants then went back to their baseline diets for a four-week washout period before switching to the opposite group for an additional 16 weeks.

The study found that within 16 weeks on each diet:

  • Participants lost an average of 6 kilograms (or about 13 pounds) on the vegan diet, compared with no mean change on the Mediterranean diet.
  • Participants lost 3.4 kg (about 7.5 pounds) more fat mass on the vegan diet.
  • Participants saw a greater reduction in visceral fat by 315 cm3 on the vegan diet.
  • The vegan diet decreased total and LDL cholesterol levels by 18.7 mg/dL and 15.3 mg/dL, respectively, while there were no significant cholesterol changes on the Mediterranean diet.
  • Blood pressure decreased on both diets, but more on the Mediterranean diet (6.0 mm Hg, compared to 3.2 mmHg on the vegan diet).

“Previous studies have suggested that both Mediterranean and vegan diets improve body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors, but until now, their relative efficacy had not been compared in a randomized trial,” says study author Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, director of clinical research for the Physicians Committee. “We decided to test the diets head to head and found that a vegan diet is more effective for both improving health markers and boosting weight loss.”

The authors note that the vegan diet likely led to weight loss, because it was associated with a reduction in calorie intake, increase in fiber intake, decrease in fat consumption, and decrease in saturated fat consumption.

“While many people think of the Mediterranean diet as one of the best ways to lose weight, the diet actually crashed and burned when we put it to the test,” says study author Neal Barnard, MD, president of the Physicians Committee. “In a randomized, controlled trial, the Mediterranean diet caused no weight loss at all. The problem seems to be the inclusion of fatty fish, dairy products, and oils. In contrast, a low-fat vegan diet caused significant and consistent weight loss.”

“If your goal is to lose weight or get healthy in 2021, choosing a plant-based diet is a great way to achieve your resolution,” adds Dr. Kahleova.

Study finds childhood diet has lifelong impact

University of California at Riverside, February 3, 2021

Eating too much fat and sugar as a child can alter your microbiome for life, even if you later learn to eat healthier, a new study in mice suggests.

The study by UC Riverside researchers is one of the first to show a significant decrease in the total number and diversity of gut bacteria in mature mice fed an unhealthy diet as juveniles.

“We studied mice, but the effect we observed is equivalent to kids having a Western diet, high in fat and sugar and their gut microbiome still being affected up to six years after puberty,” explained UCR evolutionary physiologist Theodore Garland.

A paper describing the study has recently been published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

The microbiome refers to all the bacteria as well as fungi, parasites, and viruses that live on and inside a human or animal. Most of these microorganisms are found in the intestines, and most of them are helpful, stimulating the immune system, breaking down food and helping synthesize key vitamins.

In a healthy body, there is a balance of pathogenic and beneficial organisms. However, if the balance is disturbed, either through the use of antibiotics, illness, or unhealthy diet, the body could become susceptible to disease.

In this study, Garland’s team looked for impacts on the microbiome after dividing their mice into four groups: half fed the standard, ‘healthy’ diet, half fed the less healthy ‘Western’ diet, half with access to a running wheel for exercise, and half without.

After three weeks spent on these diets, all mice were returned to a standard diet and no exercise, which is normally how mice are kept in a laboratory. At the 14-week mark, the team examined the diversity and abundance of bacteria in the animals.

They found that the quantity of bacteria such as Muribaculum intestinale was significantly reduced in the Western diet group. This type of bacteria is involved in carbohydrate metabolism.

Analysis also showed that the gut bacteria are sensitive to the amount of exercise the mice got. Muribaculum bacteria increased in mice fed a standard diet who had access to a running wheel and decreased in mice on a high-fat diet whether they had exercise or not.

Researchers believe this species of bacteria, and the family of bacteria that it belongs to, might influence the amount of energy available to its host. Research continues into other functions that this type of bacteria may have.

One other effect of note was the increase in a highly similar bacteria species that were enriched after five weeks of treadmill training in a study by other researchers, suggesting that exercise alone may increase its presence.

Overall, the UCR researchers found that early-life Western diet had more long-lasting effects on the microbiome than did early-life exercise.

Garland’s team would like to repeat this experiment and take samples at additional points in time, to better understand when the changes in mouse microbiomes first appear, and whether they extend into even later phases of life.

Regardless of when the effects first appear, however, the researchers say it’s significant that they were observed so long after changing the diet, and then changing it back.

The takeaway, Garland said, is essentially, “You are not only what you eat, but what you ate as a child!”

Turns Out Maple Syrup Is Anticarcinogenic

Kindai University (Japan), February 2, 2021

Darker coloured syrup is suggested as healthier than lightly coloured syrup.

Maple syrup is a classic natural sweetener that has been making a comeback recently as an alternative to refined sugar. The syrup is tapped from different species of maple trees, with the Canadian province of Quebec being a top producer. Along with a rich and complex flavor, maple syrup offers an abundance of amino acids, manganese and zinc, as well as phenolic compounds, including lignans and coumarin.

A new study called “Inhibitory effect of maple syrup on the cell growth and invasion of human colorectal cancer cells” was guided by Dr. Tetsushi Yamamoto, a molecular and cell biologist from the Faculty of Pharmacy at Kindai University in Osaka, Japan. The research evaluated the effect of three different types of maple syrup. The main objective was to identify if maple syrup could be used as a phytomedicine within cancer treatment.

Dr. Yamamoto and his research team classified the different types of maple syrup according to colour, as well as cell proliferation, and migration and invasion capability for colorectal cell cancer (CRC). Results showed that CRC cells administered maple syrup showed lower rates of carcinogenic cells when compared with cells administered only sucrose.

Additionally, the study suggests that maple syrup should not only be classified by its sugar content, but also according to its nutritional and physiochemical components. This study showed that maple syrup, particularly when coloured darker, might be suitable as a phytomedicine, which may offer a more gentle alternative to traditional chemotherapy.

This outstanding revelation is in contrast to other studies, which support the idea that sugar perpetuates cancer and other chronic diseases. However, this disparity might concern diverse types of sugar, including sucrose, fructose and glucose. Also, sugar behaves differently when consumed in diverse nutritional contexts.

In this context, researchers experimented with different sucrose concentrations, ranging from 0.1% to 10%. Results showed that only maple syrup with a 10% concentration of sucrose inhibited colorectal cancer cell growth. The study explained that this is because higher concentrations might have cytotoxic effects due to high osmotic pressure.

Brains are more plastic than we thought

McGill University, January 31, 2021

Practice might not always make perfect, but it’s essential for learning a sport or a musical instrument. It’s also the basis of brain training, an approach that holds potential as a non-invasive therapy to overcome disabilities caused by neurological disease or trauma.

Research at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University (The Neuro) has shown just how adaptive the brain can be, knowledge that could one day be applied to recovery from conditions such as stroke.

Researchers Dave Liu and Christopher Pack have demonstrated that practice can change the way that the brain uses sensory information. In particular, they showed that, depending on the type of training done beforehand, a part of the brain called the area middle temporal (MT) can be either critical for visual perception, or not important at all.

Previous research has shown the area MT is involved in visual motion perception. Damage to area MT causes “motion blindness”, in which patients have clear vision for stationary objects but are unable to see motion. Such deficits are somewhat mysterious, because it is well known that area MT is just one of many brain regions involved in visual motion perception. This suggests that other pathways might be able to compensate in the absence of area MT.

Most studies have examined the function of area MT using a task in which subjects view small dots moving across a screen and indicate how they see the dots moving, because this has been proven to activate area MT. To determine how crucial MT really was for this task, Liu and Pack used a simple trick: They replaced the moving dots with moving lines, which are known to stimulate areas outside area MT more effectively. Surprisingly, subjects who practiced this task were able to perceive visual motion perfectly even when area MT was temporarily inactivated.

On the other hand, subjects who practiced with moving dots exhibited motion blindness when MT was temporarily deactivated. The motion blindness persisted even when the stimulus was switched back to the moving lines, indicating that the effects of practice were very difficult to undo. Indeed, the effects of practice with the moving dot stimuli were detectable for weeks afterwards. The key lesson for brain training is that small differences in the training regimen can lead to profoundly different changes in the brain.

This has potential for future clinical use. Stroke patients, for example, often lose their vision as a result of brain damage caused by lack of blood flow to brain cells. With the correct training stimulus, one day these patients could retrain their brains to use different regions for vision that were not damaged by the stroke.

“Years of basic research have given us a fairly detailed picture of the parts of the brain responsible for vision,” says Christopher Pack, the paper’s senior author. “Individual parts of the cortex are exquisitely sensitive to specific visual features – colors, lines, shapes, motion – so it’s exciting that we might be able to build this knowledge into protocols that aim to increase or decrease the involvement of different brain regions in conscious visual perception, according to the needs of the subject. This is something we’re starting to work on now.”

Higher Fiber Intake May Improve Lung Function

 

University of Nebraska, January 28, 2021

Eating a fiber-rich diet may help protect you against lung disease, a new study suggests.

“Lung disease is an important public health problem, so it’s important to identify modifiable risk factors for prevention,” study author Corrine Hanson, an associate professor of medical nutrition at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said in a journal news release.

“However, beyond smoking very few preventative strategies have been identified. Increasing fiber intake may be a practical and effective way for people to have an impact on their risk of lung disease,” she added.

The findings were published recently in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Researchers looked at federal government data from almost 2,000 American adults. They were between 40 and 79 years old.

The researchers found that 68 percent of those who had the highest fiber consumption (about 18 grams or more daily) had normal lung function compared to 50 percent for those with the lowest fiber intake. And, only 15 percent of those who ate a lot of fiber had airway restriction, but 30 percent of those with the lowest fiber intake did, the study showed.

People with the highest fiber consumption also did better on two important breathing tests. They had larger lung capacity and could exhale more air in one second, the study said.

Although the study found a link between fiber consumption and better lung health, it wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

But, if the findings are confirmed in future studies, public health campaigns may one day “target diet and fiber as safe and inexpensive ways of preventing lung disease,” Hanson said.

Previous research has suggested a diet high in fiber protects against heart disease and diabetes, and that fiber reduces inflammation in the body, the researchers said.

The Gary Null Show -  02.05.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.05.21

February 5, 2021

Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy.

 
The Gary Null Show -  02.04.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.04.21

February 4, 2021

Grapes could protect against sun damage, say dermatologists

University of Alabama, February 3, 2021

Grapes may help protect against damage to the skin caused by the sun's ultraviolet radiation in healthy adults, according to a new study by researchers in the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Department of Dermatology.

In research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, a 74.8 percent increase in natural protection of the skin was shown when 19 healthy human subjects orally ingested a powder of freeze-dried grapes for 14 days.

The study found that a group of natural compounds—polyphenols, found in grapes as well as other fruits and vegetables—can reduce acute UV radiation damage in healthy adults, which was previously demonstrated in mouse models. Additionally, it can decrease proteins in the body that promote inflammation. This is the first study showing that oral ingestion of table grapes has a photoprotective effect on the sunburn response in humans.

"Study results indicate that oral consumption of grapes has systemic beneficial effects in healthy adults," said Allen Oak, M.D., a dermatologist in the UAB School of Medicine and a lead author of the study. "These benefits include inhibition of inflammation and repair of DNA damage." 

In addition to consumption of the powder, the study also showed that the application of a topical extract made from a grape seed polyphenol, proanthocyanidin, can reduce sunburn cell formation.

Furthermore, preliminary results suggest that grapes may help to prevent skin cancers as well, although more studies need to be conducted in this area before drawing conclusions.

"Grape consumption may act as an 'edible sunscreen,'" Oak said. "This does not mean that grapes should be used in lieu of sunscreen, but they may offer additional protection which we are eager to continue learning more about. This research is exciting because our current findings provide building blocks for additional studies that may eventuate in an oral photoprotective product from a natural source."

 

Meta-analysis links higher magnesium levels with lower risk of premature mortality from all causes among kidney disease patients

Vrije University (Netherlands), January 26, 2021

A systematic review and meta-analysis published on December 26, 2020 in Clinical Nutrition found an association between higher plasma or serum magnesium levels and a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality and events and all-cause mortality during follow-up among men and women with chronic kidney disease.

Researchers at Vrije University in Amsterdam selected 33 studies that included 348,059 patients for the analysis. Subjects’ plasma or serum magnesium concentrations were obtained at the beginning of the studies and all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality and cardiovascular events, and/or other outcomes were documented during follow-up periods that varied from an average of 11.7 months to 278 months.

Each 0.1 millimole per liter increase in magnesium was associated with a 15% lower risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event or dying from cardiovascular disease, and a 10% lower risk of dying from any cause during follow-up. “This review and meta-analysis demonstrate that plasma magnesium concentration is inversely associated with all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality and events in patients with CKD including those on dialysis,” Nicoline J. J. Leenders and colleagues wrote. “The inverse association between magnesium and all-cause mortality not only exists for normal compared to low magnesium, but also for magnesium above the reference range compared to normal magnesium.”

The authors suggest the initiation of clinical trials to determine if plasma magnesium concentrations can be safely increased and to confirm the mineral’s effect on cardiovascular events and mortality and all-cause mortality. “In these trials, the intervention should ideally consist of an increase of dialysate magnesium in patients on dialysis, and dietary intervention or oral magnesium…in patients with CKD not on dialysis,” they recommended.

 

 

Bleeding gums may be a sign you need more vitamin C in your diet

University of Washington, February 1, 2021

Current advice from the America Dental Association tells you that if your gums bleed, make sure you are brushing and flossing twice a day because it could be a sign of gingivitis, an early stage of periodontal disease. And that might be true. So if you are concerned, see your dentist. However, a new University of Washington study suggests you should also check your intake of vitamin C. 

"When you see your gums bleed, the first thing you should think about is not, I should brush more. You should try to figure out why your gums are bleeding. And vitamin C deficiency is one possible reason," said the study's lead author Philippe Hujoel, a practicing dentist and professor of oral health sciences in the UW School of Dentistry.

Hujoel's study, published Feb. 1 in Nutrition Reviews, analyzed published studies of 15 clinical trials in six countries, involving 1,140 predominantly healthy participants, and data from 8,210 U.S. residents surveyed in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The results showed that bleeding of the gums on gentle probing, or gingival bleeding tendency, and also bleeding in the eye, or retinal hemorrhaging, were associated with low vitamin C levels in the bloodstream. And, the researchers found that increasing daily intake of vitamin C in those people with low vitamin C plasma levels helped to reverse these bleeding issues.

Of potential relevance, says Hujoel, who is also an adjunct professor of epidemiology in the UW School of Public Health, both a gum bleeding tendency and retinal bleeding could be a sign of general trouble in one's microvascular system, of a microvascular bleeding tendency in the brain, heart and kidneys.

The study does not imply that successful reversing of an increased gingival bleeding tendency with vitamin C will prevent strokes or other serious health outcomes, Hujoel stresses. However, the results do suggest that vitamin C recommendations designed primarily to protect against scurvy -- a deadly disease caused by extremely low vitamin C levels -- are too low, and that such a low vitamin C intake can lead to a bleeding tendency, which should not be treated with dental floss.

Consequently, Hujoel does recommend people attempt to keep an eye on their vitamin C intake through incorporation of non-processed foods such as kale, peppers or kiwis into your diet, and if you can't find palatable foods rich in vitamin C to consider a supplement of about 100 to 200 milligrams a day. 

If someone is on a specialized diet, such as a paleo diet, it's important that they take a look at their vitamin C intake, Hujoel said. "Vitamin C-rich fruits such as kiwis or oranges are rich in sugar and thus typically eliminated from a low-carb diet." 

This avoidance may lead to a vitamin C intake that is too low and is associated with an increased bleeding tendency. People who exclusively eat lean meats and avoid offal, the vitamin-rich organ meats, may be at a particularly high risk for a low vitamin C intake.

The association between gum bleeding and vitamin C levels was recognized more than 30 years ago. In fact, two studies co-authored by former dean of the UW School of Dentistry Paul Robertson (published in 1986 and 1991) identified gum bleeding as a biological marker for vitamin C levels. 

However, this connection somehow got lost in dental conversations around bleeding gums.

"There was a time in the past when gingival bleeding was more generally considered to be a potential marker for a lack of vitamin C. But over time, that's been drowned out or marginalized by this overattention to treating the symptom of bleeding with brushing or flossing, rather than treating the cause," Hujoel said. 

Hujoel's literature review also determined that "retinal hemorrhaging and cerebral strokes are associated with increased gingival bleeding tendency, and that (vitamin C) supplementation reverses the retinal bleeding associated with low (vitamin C) plasma levels."

So, missing the possible connection between gum bleeding and low levels of vitamin C has the potential to have serious health consequences.

The study authors write: "A default prescription of oral hygiene and other periodontal interventions to 'treat' microvascular pathologies, even if partially effective in reversing gingival bleeding as suggested in this meta-analysis, is risky because it does not address any potential morbidity and mortality associated with the systemic microvascular-related pathologies."

 

 

Neonatal antibiotic use associated with reduced growth in boys

Bar-Illan University (Israel), January 26, 2021

Exposure to antibiotics in the first days of life is thought to affect various physiological aspects of neonatal development. A new study, led by Bar-Ilan University's Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, reveals that antibiotic treatment within 14 days of birth is associated with reduced weight and height in boys - but not girls -- up to the age of six. 

By contrast, the study showed significantly higher body mass index (BMI) in both boys and girls following antibiotic use after the neonatal period, and within the first six years of life. 

The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications on January 26, 2021, may be the result of changes in the development of the gut microbiome.

The impact of neonatal antibiotic exposure was investigated in a cohort of 12,422 children born between 2008-2010 at the Turku University Hospital in Turku, Finland. The babies had no genetic abnormalities or significant chronic disorders affecting growth and did not need long-term antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics had been administered within the first 14 days of life to 1,151 (9.3%) of the neonates in the study.

The authors found that boys exposed to antibiotic treatment exhibited significantly lower weight as compared to non-exposed children throughout the first six years. They also exhibited significantly lower height and BMI between the ages of two and six. This observation was replicated in a German cohort.

Further, antibiotic exposure during the first days of life was found to be associated with disturbances in the gut microbiome up until the age of two. Infants exposed to neonatal antibiotics exhibited significantly lower gut microbiome richness as compared to non-exposed infants at the age of one month. Interestingly, at the age of six months, the infants treated with antibiotics reached the bacterial richness level of a control group of infants, and at the ages of 12 and 24 months, the antibiotic-treated subjects gained significantly higher levels of bacterial richness as compared to the control subjects.

In additional experiments led by PhD student Atara Uzan, the researchers demonstrated that germ-free male mice who were given the gut microbiome of antibiotic-exposed infants also displayed growth failure. These findings suggest a potential link between neonatal antibiotic exposure and impaired childhood growth, which may be a result of alterations caused by antibiotics in the composition of the gut microbiome. 

"Antibiotics are vitally important and life-saving medications in newborn infants. Our results suggest that their use may also have unwanted long-term consequences which need to be considered," said Prof. Omry Koren, of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University, who led the study together with Prof. Samuli Rautava, of the University of Turku and University of Helsinki. 

Follow up research will aim to investigate other potential adverse outcomes related to neonatal antibiotic exposure.

 

 

Ten Days of Curcumin Supplementation Attenuates Subjective Soreness and Maintains Muscular Power Following Plyometric Exercise

Ohio University, February 1, 2021

 

Curcumin has become a popular product used to decrease inflammation and enhance recovery from exercise. Purpose: To determine the effects of curcumin supplementation on delayed onset muscle soreness and muscle power following plyometric exercise. Methods: Participants (n = 22; five females, 17 males) consumed either curcumin (500 mg) or placebo twice daily for 10 days (6 days pre, day of and 3 days post exercise). Participants completed 5 x 20 drop jumps on day 7. Blood sampling and recovery tests were assessed at pre-supplementation, 24-hours and immediately pre-exercise, and immediately post-, 24, 48 and 72-hours post-exercise. Blood markers included serum creatine kinase (CK) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), while soreness was measured during a squat and post vertical jump. Results: Both groups experienced muscle damage post-exercise with elevated CK (403 ± 390 ul; p < 0.01), soreness with squatting (38 ± 29 mm; p < 0.01), and vertical jump (36 ± 30 mm; p < 0.01). Soreness was greater in placebo vs. curcumin 48 h and 72 h post-exercise (p < 0.01); however, CK was not significantly different between groups (p = 0.28) despite being >200 IU·L −1 greater 24 hr post exercise in placebo vs. curcumin. ESR was significantly greater immediately post-exercise (6.3 ± 5.6 vs. 3.4 ± 2.6 mm/hr; p = 0.03), however these were within the normal range for this test and not significantly different between groups (p = 0.25). Vertical jump decreased over time in the placebo, but not curcumin group (19.8 ± 4.8 vs. 21.4 ± 3.2 in; p = 0.01). Conclusion: These data suggest curcumin reduces soreness and maintains muscular power following plyometric exercise.

 

 

Vitamin C and vitamin C plus E improve immune function in study of older men and women

Complutense University (Spain), February 1, 2021

According to news reporting out of Madrid, Spain, research stated, “With aging the immune response is impaired. This immunosenescence, in which an alteration of the redox state of the immune cells appears, is involved in the rate of aging.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Complutense University Madrid, “Since leukocyte function is a good marker of health and predictor of longevity, the effects of daily oral administration of the antioxidant vitamin C (500 mg), or both vitamin C (500 mg) and vitamin E (200 mg) on several blood neutrophil (adherence, chemotaxis, phagocytosis, and superoxide anion levels) and lymphocyte (adherence, chemotaxis, proliferation, interleukin-2 secretion and natural killer activity) functions were studied in healthy elderly men and women. These parameters were analysed before supplementation, after 3 months of supplementation, and 6 months after the end of supplementation. The results showed that vitamin C, in elderly participants, improved the immune functions studied which achieved values close to those of young adults. These effects were maintained in several functions after 6 months without supplementation.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Similar effects were found in the elderly supplemented with both vitamin C and E. Thus, a short period of vitamin C or vitamin C and E ingestion, with the doses used, improves the immune function in elderly men and women and could contribute to a healthy longevity.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

Cruciferous vegetables help the immune system to fight intestinal pathogens

 

Francis Crick Institute, February 2, 2021 

 

A study in mice shows that eating cruciferous vegetables—including broccoli, kale and cauliflower - helps the immune system to fight intestinal pathogens. The research might have implications for people with inflammatory bowel diseases.

 

A protein called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) plays a crucial role in protecting us from external pollutants, toxins and pathogens at barrier sites in our body such as the skin, lungs and gut.

 

Studying the role of AhR in the gut, scientists at the Francis Crick Institute have discovered that another protein, known as Cyp1a1, regulates immunity in the gut by providing feedback on AhR signalling by degrading the molecules that activate AhR—known as AhR ligands. However, too much Cyp1a1 can deplete AhR ligands altogether. This could result in susceptibility to bacteria like pathogenic E. Coli and might play a role in conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease.

 

Dr Stockinger, who led the work, says: "We already knew that AhR deficiency causes many problems for the intestinal barrier. This is because the immune cells that protect us from our trillions of intestinal bacteria as well as from incoming intestinal pathogens require signals through AhR for their survival.

 

"Molecules that activate AhR can come from our diet, but also from our intestinal bacteria. Activation of AhR turns on enzymes such as Cyp1a1. Normally the function of these enzymes is to degrade the molecules that originally activated AhR and turn it back off."

 

The researchers created mice with overactive Cyp1a1—this depleted their AhR ligands and resulted in less of the immune cells that depend on AhR ligands. Unlike normal healthy mice, these mice were unable to fight off an infection with Citrobacter bacteria—the mouse version of human pathogenic E. Coli bacteria

 

Importantly, the increased activity of Cyp1a1 could be controlled by adding nutrients found in cruciferous vegetables to the food the mice were fed. This worked in two ways—by inhibiting Cyp1a1 and by providing extra AhR-activating molecules.

 

Dr Stockinger says: "Previous work has mostly focused on the consequences of complete absence of AhR itself in various cell types, but this is not a scenario that will apply to humans as AhR deficiency would not be compatible with life.

 

"However, as indicated in our study it is entirely conceivable that some people have mutant Cyp1a1 enzymes that have abnormally high activity. In humans, this could play a role in inflammatory intestinal diseases where people with genetically determined overactive Cyp1a1 would be particularly sensitive to infections. Such people could potentially improve their intestinal immune function by eating cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale and cauliflower, which are high in such Cyp1a1 inhibitors and molecules that activate AhR."

 

The paper, Feedback control of AHR signalling regulates intestinal immunity, is published in Nature.

The Gary Null Show - 02.03.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.03.21

February 3, 2021

Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy. Chris Hedges talks to Professor Noam Chomsky, the pioneering linguist, prolific author of numerous seminal political works, about the state of the American Empire.

 
The Gary Null Show - 02.02.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.02.21

February 2, 2021

Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy.

George Orwell and 1984: How Freedom Dies

Orwell's final warning - Picture of the future

The Efficacy of Olive Leaf Extract on Healing Herpes Simplex Virus: A Randomized Double-blind Study

Lorestan University of Medical Sciences (Iran), January 29, 2021

 

Herpes simplex virus (HSV), as a common infection in healthy individuals, is treated symptomatically, but drug resistance and the side effects of drugs have drawn the attention of researchers to complementary medicine. Olive Leaf Extract (OLE) has antiviral effects that may treat HSV. The current study aimed to compare the clinical effects of OLE and Acyclovir on HSV-1.

Methods

This randomized double-blind clinical trial was conducted on 66 patients who had already been diagnosed with HSV-1. The participants were randomized into two groups, receiving 2% OLE cream or 5% acyclovir cream five times a day for six days. The symptoms were evaluated before, and three and six days after the interventions. Data were analyzed using the SPSS software through the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, chi-squared, t-test, and repeated measures ANOVA.

Results

The results showed clinical symptoms decreased in both groups during the study and both medications were effective in the treatment of HSV-1. However, the OLE group experienced less bleeding (P=0.038), itching (P=0.002), and pain (P=0.001) on the third day as well as less irritation (P=0.012), itching (P=0.003) and color change (P=0.001) on the sixth day compared to the acyclovir group. The treatment course for participants in the OLE group was shorter than in the acyclovir group (P = 0.001).

Conclusion

The evidence from these trials suggests the OLE cream is superior in the healing of episodes of HSV-1 over the acyclovir cream. Future studies are recommended to investigate if OLE could be an adjunct to acyclovir treatment.

 

How vitamins, steroids and potential antivirals might affect SARS-CoV-2

Study indicates that some vitamins, steroids and antivirals could bind to the Spike protein, and may inhibit virus infectivity, whereas high cholesterol may enable the virus

University of Bristol (UK), January 29, 2021

 

Evidence is emerging that vitamin D - and possibly vitamins K and A - might help combat COVID-19. A new study from the University of Bristol published in the journal of the German Chemical Society Angewandte Chemie has shown how they - and other antiviral drugs - might work. The research indicates that these dietary supplements and compounds could bind to the viral spike protein and so might reduce SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. In contrast, cholesterol may increase infectivity, which could explain why having high cholesterol is considered a risk factor for serious disease.

Recently, Bristol researchers showed that linoleic acid binds to a specific site in the viral spike protein, and that by doing so, it locks the spike into a closed, less infective form. Now, a research team has used computational methods to search for other compounds that might have the same effect, as potential treatments. They hope to prevent human cells becoming infected by preventing the viral spike protein from opening enough to interact with a human protein (ACE2). New anti-viral drugs can take years to design, develop and test, so the researchers looked through a library of approved drugs and vitamins to identify those which might bind to this recently discovered 'druggable pocket' inside the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. 

The team first studied the effects of linoleic acid on the spike, using computational simulations to show that it stabilizes the closed form. Further simulations showed that dexamethasone - which is an effective treatment for COVID-19 - might also bind to this site and help reduce viral infectivity in addition to its effects on the human immune system. 

The team then conducted simulations to see which other compounds bind to the fatty acid site. This identified some drugs that have been found by experiments to be active against the virus, suggesting that this may be one mechanism by which they prevent viral replication such as, by locking the spike structure in the same way as linoleic acid.

The findings suggested several drug candidates among available pharmaceuticals and dietary components, including some that have been found to slow SARS-CoV-2 reproduction in the laboratory. These have the potential to bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and may help to prevent cell entry. 

The simulations also predicted that the fat-soluble vitamins D, K and A bind to the spike in the same way making the spike less able to infect cells. 

Dr Deborah Shoemark, Senior Research Associate (Biomolecular Modelling) in the School of Biochemistry, who modelled the spike, explained: "Our findings help explain how some vitamins may play a more direct role in combatting COVID than their conventional support of the human immune system. 

"Obesity is a major risk factor for severe COVID. Vitamin D is fat soluble and tends to accumulate in fatty tissue. This can lower the amount of vitamin D available to obese individuals. Countries in which some of these vitamin deficiencies are more common have also suffered badly during the course of the pandemic. Our research suggests that some essential vitamins and fatty acids including linoleic acid may contribute to impeding the spike/ACE2 interaction. Deficiency in any one of them may make it easier for the virus to infect."

Pre-existing high cholesterol levels have been associated with increased risk for severe COVID-19. Reports that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binds cholesterol led the team to investigate whether it could bind at the fatty acid binding site. Their simulations indicate that it could bind, but that it may have a destabilising effect on the spike's locked conformation, and favour the open, more infective conformation.

Dr Shoemark continued: "We know that the use of cholesterol lowering statins reduces the risk of developing severe COVID and shortens recovery time in less severe cases. Whether cholesterol de-stabilises the "benign", closed conformation or not, our results suggest that by directly interacting with the spike, the virus could sequester cholesterol to achieve the local concentrations required to facilitate cell entry and this may also account for the observed loss of circulating cholesterol post infection."

Professor Adrian Mulholland, of Bristol's School of Chemistry, added: "Our simulations show how some molecules binding at the linoleic acid site affect the spike's dynamics and lock it closed. They also show that drugs and vitamins active against the virus may work in the same way. Targeting this site may be a route to new anti-viral drugs. A next step would be to look at effects of dietary supplements and test viral replication in cells."

Alison Derbenwick Miller, Vice President, Oracle for Research, said: "It's incredibly exciting that researchers are gaining new insights into how SARS-CoV-2 interacts with human cells, which ultimately will lead to new ways to fight COVID-19. We are delighted that Oracle's high-performance cloud infrastructure is helping to advance this kind of world-changing research. Growing a globally-connected community of cloud-powered researchers is exactly what Oracle for Research is designed to do."

 

 

Researchers find melatonin is effective against polycystic kidney disease

Concordia University (Canada), January 26, 2021

A hormone commonly associated with sleep-wake regulation has been found to reduce cysts in fruit flies, according to Concordia researchers. It's a finding that may affect the way we treat some kidney diseases and reduce the need for kidney transplants.

In a new paper published in the journal Molecules, alum Cassandra Millet-Boureima(MSc 19) and Chiara Gamberi, affiliate assistant professor of biology, write that melatonin was found to reduce cysts in the renal tubules of fruit flies. These tubules are also found in more complex mammals, including humans, where they are called nephrons. This study, which builds on previous studies by Millet-Boureima and Gamberi, was co-authored by Roman Rozencwaig and Felix Polyak of BH Bioscience in Montreal.

The researchers hope that their findings can be applied to treating people suffering from autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. ADPKD is a genetic chronic and progressive disease characterized by the growth of dozens of cysts in the nephrons. It is incurable and affects approximately 12.5 million worldwide.

Similarities big and small

Because nephrons in vertebrates are embedded in other tissue, the researchers experimented on Drosophila -- the common fruit fly.

"Drosophila conserves many of the renal pathway components found in vertebrates and have anatomically isolated renal tubes," Gamberi explains. "With microdissection, we can isolate the tubules and conduct biochemical and molecular analysis."

The researchers bred fruit flies bearing the Bicaudal C gene mutation. It is known to cause kidney cysts in all manner of living beings, from flies to frogs to mice to humans.

Over 18 days, Millet-Boureima administered melatonin to 50 Drosophila and ethanol to a control group. She then dissected the flies and scored their cysts, a process yielding a cystic index. She found that the melatonin-treated flies had much fewer and smaller cysts than the control. Because Millet-Boureima was skilled at dissecting the insects and evaluating the recovered renal tubules, she was able to avoid bias in the count.

She was also able to distinguish three separate sections of the Drosophila tubule, each with its own unique function, and assign the cysts to a particular section. After testing several compounds on the same family of cells, she observed different activities along the length of the tubule. The researchers realized that they could potentially develop targeted treatment depending on the location of the cysts in a patient's nephrons.

"Biologically speaking, this has a lot of potential that we will obviously develop," Gamberi says.

Helping without harming

Though Gamberi says melatonin has not been previously used to treat PKD, she does think it holds some promise. PKD is a chronic disease, so treatment cannot include any toxic components. This rules out chemotherapy and tumour-killing antineoplastics used in oncology, for instance. However, melatonin is entirely non-toxic and shares certain properties with antineoplastics and anti-inflammatory agents.

"We know from oncology that melatonin has two effects when it is administered with chemotherapy," Gamberi explains. "First, it acts as a drug adjuvant to the chemotherapy, making it work more effectively against cancer cells. Second, it appears to protect healthy cells from the toxicity of the chemotherapy. Basically, melatonin increases the specificity of the chemotherapy. We hope that it can have a similar positive effect when used with an anti-ADPKD drug like tolvaptan, which can damage the liver."

The researchers are keen to share their findings as quickly as possible.

"I hope there will be more research on the drugs we tested and that we get more results that will help the PKD community," Millet-Boureima says.

 

 

Gallic acid is a dual alpha/beta-secretase modulator that reverses cognitive impairment and remediates pathology in Alzheimer 

Saitama Medical Center (Japan), January 20, 2021

 

According to news reporting from Saitama, Japan, research stated, “Several plant-derived compounds have demonstrated efficacy in pre-clinical Alzheimer’s disease (AD) rodent models. Each of these compounds share a gallic acid (GA) moiety, and initial assays on this isolated molecule indicated that it might be responsible for the therapeutic benefits observed.”  Higher concentrations of GA are found in blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, plums, grapes, mango, cashew nut, hazelnut, walnut and tea.

 

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from Saitama Medical Center, “To test this hypothesis in a more physiologically relevant setting, we investigated the effect of GA in the mutant human amyloid beta-protein precursor/presenilin 1 (APP/PS1) transgenic AD mouse model. Beginning at 12 months, we orally administered GA (20 mg/kg) or vehicle once daily for 6 months to APP/PS1 mice that have accelerated Alzheimer-like pathology. At 18 months of age, GA therapy reversed impaired learning and memory as compared with vehicle, and did not alter behavior in nontransgenic littermates. GA-treated APP/PS1 mice had mitigated cerebral amyloidosis, including brain parenchymal and cerebral vascular beta-amyloid deposits, and decreased cerebral amyloid beta-proteins. Beneficial effects co-occurred with reduced amyloidogenic and elevated nonamyloidogenic APP processing. Furthermore, brain inflammation, gliosis, and oxidative stress were alleviated. We show that GA simultaneously elevates alpha- and reduces beta-secretase activity, inhibits neuroinflammation, and stabilizes brain oxidative stress in a pre-clinical mouse model of AD. We further demonstrate that GA increases abundance of a disintegrin and metalloproteinase domain-containing protein 10 (ADAM10, Adam10) proprotein convertase furin and activates ADAM10, directly inhibits beta-site APP cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1, Bace1) activity but does not alter Adam10 or Bace1 transcription. Thus, our data reveal novel post-translational mechanisms for GA.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “We suggest further examination of GA supplementation in humans will shed light on the exciting therapeutic potential of this molecule.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

Black cumin’s anti-inflammatory potential may have airways/asthma benefits: RCT

 

University College London, January 27, 2021

 

Supplements containing oil from black cumin (Nigella sativa) may improve asthma control and lung function, says a new study.

 

The seed and oil of Nigella sativa have been used extensively in traditional medicine in many Middle Eastern and Asian countries for the treatment of a range of conditions, including some immune and inflammatory disorders.

 

The new study, published in Phytotherapy Research , found that one gram per day of the oil for four weeks led to significant improvements in scores of asthma control and a “remarkable reduction of peripheral blood eosinophil count,” wrote the authors

 

“Eosinophil cell plays a major role in asthma inflammation, and blood eosinophil count is considered to be a vital biomarker in asthma trials. To our knowledge, this is the first [randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial] that showed a significant reduction of blood eosinophilia by [Nigella sativa oil (NSO)] among asthmatic patients.”

 

Scientists from University College London (UK) and King Abdulaziz University (Saudi Arabia) recruited 80 asthmatics and randomly assigned them to one of two equal groups. The participants received either capsules containing 500 mg of NSO twice per day or placebo for four weeks.

 

Data from the 60 people who completed the study (10 dropouts in each group) indicated that the black cumin supplement was associated with significant improvements in mean score on the Asthma Control Test, compared to placebo.

 

Black cumin oil products are commercially available through brands such as Life Extension. Structure-function claims made on the products include: “Modulates key regulators of inflammation”

In addition, the black cumin group also experienced a significant decrease in blood eosinophils: −50 versus 15 cells/microliter.

 

A non-statistically significant improvement in lung function, measured as forced expiratory volume in 1 second, was also associated with the black cumin supplements.

 

“The NSO supplementation appeared to be effective in enhancing the control of asthma symptoms with a trend in pulmonary function improvement,” wrote the researchers. “These findings may provide an evidence for the potential benefits of NSO supplementation in the clinical management of asthma. “Future studies should follow patients for a longer period and use additional outcomes to validate the benefits of NSO in asthma.”

 

LSD may offer viable treatment for certain mental disorders

McGill University (Quebec), January 26, 2021

Researchers from McGill University have discovered, for the first time, one of the possible mechanisms that contributes to the ability of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to increase social interaction. The findings, which could help unlock potential therapeutic applications in treating certain psychiatric diseases, including anxiety and alcohol use disorders, are published in the journal PNAS.

Psychedelic drugs, including LSD, were popular in the 1970s and have been gaining popularity over the past decade, with reports of young professionals claiming to regularly take small non-hallucinogenic micro-doses of LSD to boost their productivity and creativity and to increase their empathy. The mechanism of action of LSD on the brain, however, has remained a mystery.

Studies in mice provide clues

To conduct their study, the researchers administered a low dose of LSD to mice over a period of seven days, resulting in an observable increase in the sociability of the mice. "This increased sociability occurs because the LSD activates the serotonin 5-HT2A receptors and the AMPA receptors -- which is a glutamate receptor, the main brain excitatory neurotransmitters -- in the prefrontal cortex and also activates a cellular protein called mTORC 1," explains Danilo De Gregorio, PharmD, PhD, who is a postdoctoral fellow in the Neurobiological Psychiatry Unit at McGill and the study's first author. "These three factors, taken together, promote social interaction in mice, which is the equivalent of empathy and social behaviour in humans." 

The researchers note that the main outcome of their study is the ability to describe, at least in rodents, the underlying mechanism for the behavioural effect that results in LSD increasing feelings of empathy, including a greater connection to the world and sense of being part of a large community. "The fact that LSD binds the 5-HT2A receptor was previously known. The novelty of this research is to have identified that the prosocial effects of LSD activate the 5-HT2 receptors, which in-turn activate the excitatory synapses of the AMPA receptor as well as the protein complex mTORC1, which has been demonstrated to be dysregulated in diseases with social deficits such as autism spectrum disorder," as specified by Prof. Nahum Sonenberg, Professor at the Department of Biochemistry of McGill University, world renowned expert in the molecular biology of diseases and co-lead author of the study.

Using the cutting-edge technique of optogenetics, a technique where genes for light-sensitive proteins are introduced into specific types of brain cells in order to monitor and control their activity precisely using light signals, the researchers observed that when the excitatory transmission in the prefrontal cortex is de-activated, the prosocial effect of LSD was nullified, highlighting the importance of this brain region on the modulation of the behavioural effects of LSD.

Moving forward to apply the findings to humans

Having found that LSD increases social interaction in mice, the researchers are hoping to continue their work and to test the ability of LSD to treat mutant mice displaying the behavioural deficits similar to those seen in human pathologies including autism spectrum disorders and social anxiety disorders. The hope is to eventually explore whether micro-doses of LSD or some novel derivates might have a similar effect in humans and whether it could also be a viable and safe therapeutic option. 

"Social interaction is a fundamental characteristic of human behaviour," notes the co-lead author Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill and psychiatrist at the McGill University Health Centre. "These hallucinogenic compounds, which, at low doses, are able to increase sociability may help to better understand the pharmacology and neurobiology of social behavior and, ultimately, to develop and discover novel and safer drugs for mental disorders."

 

Polyphenol-rich virgin olive oil reduces insulin resistance and liver inflammation and improves mitochondrial dysfunction

 

University of Naples (Italy), January 28, 2021

 

Studies from University of Naples Federico II Describe New Findings in Insulin Resistance (Polyphenol-rich virgin olive oil reduces insulin resistance and liver inflammation and improves mitochondrial dysfunction in high-fat diet fed rats)

 

A new study on Endocrine System Diseases and Conditions - Insulin Resistance is now available. According to news reporting originating in Naples, Italy, research stated, "Virgin olive oil is an essential component of the Mediterranean diet. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are mainly linked to phenolic contents."

 

The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from the University of Naples Federico II, "This study aims to evaluate the beneficial effects of a polyphenol-rich virgin olive oil (HPCOO) or olive oil without polyphenols (WPOO) in rats fed high-fat diet (HFD). Male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups based on the different types of diet: (I) standard diet (STD); (II) HFD; (III) HFD containing WPOO, and (IV) HFD containing HPCOO. HPCOO and WPOO induced a significant improvement of HFD-induced impaired glucose homeostasis (by hyperglycemia, altered oral glucose tolerance, and HOMA-IR) and inflammatory status modulating pro-and anti-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-a, IL-1, and IL-10) and adipokines. Moreover, HPCOO and less extensively WPOO, limited HFD-induced liver oxidative and nitrosative stress and increased hepatic fatty acid oxidation. To study mitochondrial performance, oxidative capacity and energy efficiency were also evaluated in isolated liver mitochondria. HPCOO, but not WPOO, reduced H O release and aconitase activity by decreasing degree of coupling, which plays a major role in the control of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species emission."

 

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: "HPCOO limits HFD-induced insulin resistance, inflammation, and hepatic oxidative stress, preventing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease progression."

 

For more information on this research see: Polyphenol-rich virgin olive oil reduces insulin resistance and liver inflammation and improves mitochondrial dysfunction in high-fat diet fed rats. 

 

The Gary Null Show -  02.01.21

The Gary Null Show - 02.01.21

February 1, 2021

Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy.

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