The Gary Null Show
The Gary Null Show - 03.31.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.31.21

March 31, 2021

High-fiber diet may play a role in controlling the inflammation associated with COVID-19

In vitro treatment of cells with these molecules reduced the expression of a gene that plays a key role in viral cell entry and a cytokine receptor.

University of Campinas (Brazil), March 30, 2021

A study conducted at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, shows that compounds produced by gut microbiota (bacteria and other microorganisms) during fermentation of insoluble fiber from dietary plant matter do not affect the ability of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 to enter and replicate in cells lining the intestines. However, while in vitro treatment of cells with these molecules did not significantly influence local tissue infection, it reduced the expression of a gene that plays a key role in viral cell entry and a cytokine receptor that favors inflammation.

An article reporting the findings is published in the journal Gut Microbes.

Up to 50% of COVID-19 patients experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Such symptoms are detected in 17.6% of severe cases. They are partly associated with viral entry into intestinal cells resulting in alterations to their normal functions. In addition, recent studies point to major changes in patients’ gut microbiota, including a decrease in levels of bacteria that secrete short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) by fermenting dietary fiber. SCFAs are important to colon health and maintenance of intestinal barrier integrity.

The researchers decided to confirm whether SFCAs directly affected the infection of intestinal cells by SARS-CoV-2. Previous studies had suggested alterations in gut microbiota and its products could modify an infected subject’s immune response.

“In earlier research, we found in animals that compounds produced by gut microbiota help protect the organism against respiratory infection. The model used there was respiratory syncytial virus [RSV], which causes bronchiolitis [inflammation of the small airways in the lung] and frequently infects children. Similar results have been obtained by other research groups in studies of different respiratory diseases,” said Patrícia Brito Rodrigues, who has a doctoral scholarship from FAPESP and is joint first author of the article with postdoctoral fellow Livia Bitencourt Pascoal. Rodrigues conducted the research as part of her doctorate at UNICAMP’s Institute of Biology (IB) with a scholarship from FAPESP. 

In the latest study, healthy colon tissue and epithelial cells were infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the laboratory and subjected to a battery of tests.

“Viral load wasn’t reduced and was the same in cells and tissue treated with SCFAs and in untreated samples. However, treated intestinal biopsy samples displayed a significant decrease in expression of the gene DDX58 [an innate immune system receptor that detects viral nucleic acids and activates a signaling cascade that results in production of pro-inflammatory cytokines] and the interferon-lambda receptor, which mediates anti-viral activity. There was also a decrease in expression of the protein TMPRSS2, which is important to viral cell entry,” said Raquel Franco Leal, a professor at UNICAMP’s School of Medical Sciences (FCM), supported by FAPESP and co-principal investigator for the study with Marco Aurélio Ramirez Vinolo, a professor at IB-UNICAMP, also supported by FAPESP.

Protection against inflammation

The researchers took colon tissue samples from 11 patients without COVID-19. They also tested epithelial cells that line the intestines and are in close contact with gut microbiota. Tissue and cell samples were infected with SARS-CoV-2 in IB-UNICAMP’s Laboratory of Emerging Virus Studies (LEVE), a Biosafety Level III (BSL-3) facility led by José Luiz Proença Módena, a professor at IB-UNICAMP and a co-author of the article.

The tissues and cells were treated with a mixture of acetate, propionate and butyrate, compounds produced by gut microbiota metabolization of SCFAs present in dietary fiber. The treatment did not alter viral load in colon biopsies or cells, nor were there any changes in cell wall permeability and integrity. 

“That doesn’t exclude the possibility of significant action by SCFAs on infection by SARS-CoV-2. The anti-viral effects could depend on interaction with other cells in the organism,” Rodrigues said. “We’ll continue our investigation in animal models since the action of these compounds on the infection could depend on a more complete system than the samples we used in vitro [isolated cells and tissues].”

Other tests involving non-treated infected biopsy samples showed an increase in expression of the gene DDX58, which encodes an important viral receptor, and of interferon-beta (IFN-beta), a pro-inflammatory molecule that participates in the cytokine storm associated with severe cases of COVID-19.

“Alterations in genes associated with virus recognition and response during intestinal infection may be relevant to the onset of the inflammatory chain,” Leal said. “In this context, it will be important to deepen the analysis of the effects of SCFAs with these parameters, as this could be significant in severe stages of the disease.”

 

 

Glycine-NAC combo improves multiple defects in aging to boost strength and cognition in older humans

Baylor School of Medicine, March 29, 2021

A pilot human clinical trial conducted by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine reveals that supplementation with GlyNAC—a combination of glycine and N-acetylcysteine as precursors of the natural antioxidant glutathione—could improve many age-associated defects in older humans to improve muscle strength and cognition, and promote healthy aging.

Published in the journal Clinical and Translational Medicine, the results of this study show that older humans taking GlyNAC for 24 weeks saw improvements in many characteristic defects of aging, including glutathione deficiency, oxidative stressmitochondrial dysfunction, inflammation, insulin resistance, endothelial dysfunction, body fat, genomic toxicity, muscle strength, gait speed, exercise capacity and cognitive function. The benefits declined after stopping supplementation for 12 weeks. GlyNAC supplementation was well tolerated during the study period.

"There is limited understanding as to why these defects occur in older humans, and effective interventions to reverse these defects are currently limited or lacking," said corresponding author endocrinologist Dr. Rajagopal Sekhar, associate professor of medicine in the Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Baylor.

For the last 20 years, Sekhar and his team have been studying natural aging in older humans and aged mice. Their work brings mitochondria, known as the batteries of the cell, as well as free radicals and glutathione to the table in discussions about why we age.

Mitochondrial dysfunction and aging

Mitochondria generate energy needed for supporting cellular functions by burning fat and sugar from foods, therefore mitochondrial health is critically important for life. Sekhar believes that improving the health of malfunctioning mitochondria in aging is the key.

As mitochondria generate energy, they produce waste products such as free radicals. These highly reactive molecules can damage cells, membranes, lipids, proteins and DNA. Cells depend on antioxidants, such as glutathione, the most abundant antioxidant in our cells, to neutralize these toxic free radicals. Failing to neutralize free radicals leads to harmful and damaging oxidative stress that can affect mitochondrial function.

Interestingly, glutathione levels in older people are much lower than those in younger people, and the levels of oxidative stress are much higher.

Animal studies conducted in the Sekhar lab have shown that restoring glutathione levels by providing GlyNAC reverses glutathione deficiency, reduces oxidative stress and fully restores mitochondrial function in aged mice.

"In previous work we showed that supplementing HIV patients with GlyNAC improved multiple deficits associated with premature aging observed in those patients," Sekhar said. "In this study, we wanted to understand the effects of GlyNAC supplementation on many age-associated defects in older adults."

GlyNAC improves several hallmark defects in aging

The world population of older humans is rapidly increasing and with it comes an increase in many age-related illnesses. To understand what causes unhealthy aging, scientific research has identified nine hallmark defects which are believed to contribute to the aging process.

"It is believed that correcting these aging hallmarks could improve or reverse many age-related disorders and help people age in a healthier way," Sekhar said. "However, we do not fully understand why these hallmark defects happen, and there are currently no solutions to fix even a single hallmark defect in aging."

This is where Sekhar's trial results become encouraging, because GlyNAC supplementation for 24 weeks appears to improve four of the nine aging hallmark defects.

To further understand whether GlyNAC holds the keys to mitochondrial recovery and more, Sekhar and his team conducted this pilot clinical trial.

"We worked with eight older adults 70 to 80 years of age, comparing them with gender-matched younger adults between 21 and 30 years old," Sekhar said. "We measured glutathione in red-blood cells, mitochondrial fuel-oxidation, plasma biomarkers of oxidative stress and oxidant damage, inflammation, endothelial function, glucose and insulin, gait-speed, muscle strength, exercise capacity, cognitive tests, gene-damage, glucose-production and muscle-protein breakdown rates and body composition. Before taking GlyNAC, all these measurements were abnormal in older adults when compared with those in younger people."

The older participants took GlyNAC for 24 weeks, and then stopped it for 12 weeks. Sekhar and his colleagues repeated the above measurements at the halfway point at 12 weeks, after 24 weeks of taking GlyNAC, and again after stopping GlyNAC for 12 weeks.

"We are very excited by the results," Sekhar said. "After taking GlyNAC for 24 weeks, all these defects in older adults improved and some reversed to the levels found in young adults." The researchers also determined that older adults tolerated GlyNAC well for 24 weeks. The benefits, however, declined after stopping GlyNAC supplementation for 12 weeks.

"I am particularly encouraged by the improvements in cognition and muscle strength," Sekhar said. "Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are serious medical conditions affecting memory in older people and leading to dementia, and there are no effective solutions for these disorders. We are exploring the possibility that GlyNAC could help with these conditions by conducting two pilot randomized clinical trials to test whether GlyNAC supplementation could improve defects linked to cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease and in MCI, and possibly improve cognitive function."

"The overall findings of the current study are highly encouraging," Sekhar said. "They suggest that GlyNAC supplementation could be a simple and viable method to promote and improve healthy aging in older adults. We call this the 'Power of 3' because we believe that it takes the combined benefits of glycine, NAC and glutathione to reach this far reaching and widespread improvement. We also have completed a randomized clinical trial on supplementing GlyNAC vs. placebo in older adults and those results will be forthcoming soon."

 

Association found between consumption of ultra-processed foods and drinks and colorectal cancer risk

Barcelona Institute for Global Health (Spain), March 23, 2021

Consumption of ultra-processed foods and drink could increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer. This was the conclusion of a large study undertaken by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a centre supported by the "la Caixa" Foundation, based on questionnaires about food behaviours completed by around 8,000 people in Spain. The study, the first of its kind in the country, also analysed the relationship between ultra-processed food and drink products and two other cancers; while no association was observed with prostate cancer, in the case of breast cancer a higher risk was observed in the sub-group of former and current smokers who reported a diet high in ultra-processed products.

Social, economic and industrial changes have driven a rise in ultra-processed food and drink consumption, which currently accounts for between 25% and 50% of the total energy intake in diets in Europe and in high- and middle-income countries. The Nova classification system groups all foods and drinks into four categories according to how much processing they undergo. Ultra-processed foods--those that undergo the most processing--are industrial formulations with more than five ingredients which usually contain additional substances, such as sugar, fats, salt and additives. Examples of products in this category include sugary soft drinks, ready meals and mass-produced industrial baked goods. 

Several studies have linked the consumption of ultra-processed foods and drinks to health risk factors, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and an increased risk of premature death. There are only a few studies on the relationship of these food products with cancer and the results are not entirely conclusive. A French study found an association between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and an increased cancer risk. A Canadian study found an increased risk of developing prostate cancer with a higher intake of processed foods, but not with ultra-processed foods. 

The aim of the present study was to assess whether the consumption of ultra-processed foods and drinks is associated with an increased risk of colorectal, breast or prostate cancer. To this end, the researchers undertook a case-control study of 7,843 adults living in different Spanish provinces: half of the participants had a diagnosis of colorectal (1,852), breast (1,486) or prostate cancer (953); and the other half were people with the same characteristics who did not have cancer. Data were obtained from the multicase-control study MCC-Spain. Dietary data was collected using a validated questionnaire designed to evaluate the frequency of consumption of usual food and drink items over a one-year period. The results were then classified according to the level of processing using the Nova classification. 

The study, published in Clinical Nutrition, concluded that the consumption of ultra-processed foods and beverages is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer: a 10% increment in the consumption of ultra-processed foods and drinks was found to be associated with an 11% increase in the risk of developing colorectal cancer. 

Dora Romaguera, first author of the study and researcher at ISGlobal, the Institut d'Investigació Sanitària Illes Balears (IdISBA) and the CIBEROBN, says that this relationship can be explained, in part, "by the low intake of fibre, fruits and vegetables, which are known to offer protection against colorectal cancer, among people who eat a lot of ultra-processed foods, but also by the additives and other substances with carcinogenic potential typically used in processed food products."

In the case of breast cancer, no strong relationship was found, but an association was observed in the group of current and former smokers. Romaguera explains that "smoking is a risk factor for breast cancer, and smoking and certain dietary factors, such as the consumption of ultra-processed foods and beverages, are known to have synergetic effects on cancer development."

No association was found between prostate cancer and a diet high in ultra-processed products. "This finding is not surprising and is consistent with the results of previous studies of dietary factors and prostate cancer risk, in which no link was found," adds Romaguera.

Colorectal and Breast Cancer Cases: Less Healthy Diets

The results of the study showed that people with breast and colorectal cancer, but not those with prostate cancer, reported less healthy diets than people without cancer in the control group. "We found differences in terms of their intake of energy, fibre, energy density and saturated fatty acids. Consumption of ultra-processed foods and beverages was higher among colorectal and breast cancer cases than in the controls", says ISGlobal researcher Sílvia Fernández, joint first author of the study.

The food groups that accounted for the largest proportion of ultra-processed food consumption were sugary beverages (35%), sugary products (19%), ready-to-eat foods (16%) and processed meats (12%). Processed meats have already been classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). However, according to Pilar Amiano, researcher at the Guipúzcoa Public Health Service, which coordinated the study: "ultra-processed foods and drinks in general are not yet classified as carcinogenic because the aim of the IARC was not to assess the overall risk of an individual's diet, but rather to focus on specific components that might be dangerous, such as processed meats". 

She goes on to say that, in light of the results of the present study and the current scientific evidence on the health risks associated with ultra-processed foods and drinks, in particular with respect to cancer, the authors believe "that food and public health policies and the IARC should already be taking food processing into account and discouraging the consumption of ultra-processed products".

 

 

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy impact on telomere length and immunosenescence

Tel Aviv University (Israel), March 23, 2021

 

In a scientifically verified approach, signalling an important breakthrough in the study of aging,  Tel Aviv University and The Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at Shamir Medical Centerannounced today that, for the first time in humans, two key biological hallmarks of aging, telomere length shortening, and accumulation of senescent cells, can be reversed. The prospective clinical trial, published in peer-reviewed Journal Aging,  utilizes Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy protocols to demonstrate cellular level improvement in healthy aging adults.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy targets aging as a reversible disease

The prospective clinical trial is part of a comprehensive aging research program taking place in Israel. It was conducted by Prof. Shai Efrati, MD, from the Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University, and Amir Hadanny, MD, Chief Medical Research Officer of The Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research and co-author of the study. Using a specific protocol of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), telomere length was significantly increased and senescent cells were reduced in a population of healthy aging subjects. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Aging. Titled: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Increases Telomere Length and Decreases Immunosenescence in Isolated Blood Cells: A Prospective Trial.

A significant breakthrough in the study of aging

The biological deterioration of aging is cited as a major risk factor for cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. At the cellular level, two key hallmarks of the aging process are:

  1. The shortening of telomere length of approximately 20-40 bases per year, which is associated with a variety of serious life-threatening illnesses; and
  2. The accumulation of senescent cells, the so-called “old malfunctioning cells,” inhibit cell proliferation. The accumulation of senescence contributes to many age-associated conditions and illnesses, while the elimination of those cells can reverse them, as shown in previous animal studies.   

The first study to evaluate telomere length and senescence

This is the first study to evaluate whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy can affect telomere length and senescence using a specific HBOT protocol. The trial included 35 healthy independent adults aged 64 and older. They did not undergo any lifestyle, diet, or medication adjustments.

How was the study conducted?

Each patient received 60 daily hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions over the course of 90 days. Whole blood samples were collected prior to treatment, at the 30th and 60th session, and one to two weeks following the last HBOT session, to assess peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PMBCs) telomere length and senescence.

The holy grail of the biology of aging

“After dedicating our HBOT research to exploring its impact on the areas of brain functionality and age-related cognitive decline, we have now uncovered for the first time in humans hyperbaric oxygen therapy’s biological effects at the cellular level in healthy aging adults,” said Prof. Shai Efrati.

“Since telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of aging, many pharmacological and environmental interventions are being extensively explored in the hopes of enabling telomere elongation.”

Significant improvement of telomere length

“The significant improvement of telomere length shown during and after these unique hyperbaric oxygen therapy protocols provides the scientific community with a new foundation of understanding that aging can, indeed, be targeted and reversed at the basic cellular-biological level.”

Improvement in just three months

Results found that the telomere length of T helper, T cytotoxic, natural killer, and B cells increased significantly. They rose by over 20 percent, following HBOT. The most significant change was in B cells, which increased during the 30th session, 60th session, and post HBOT by:

  • 25.68%±40.42 (p=0.007)
  • 29.39%±23.39 (p=0.0001)
  • 37.63%±52.73 (p=0.007)

In addition, there was a significant decrease in the number of senescent T helpers by -37.30%±33.04 post-HBOT (P<0.0001). T-cytotoxic senescent cell percentages decreased significantly by -10.96%±12.59 (p=0.0004) post-HBOT.

“Until now, interventions such as lifestyle modifications and intense exercise were shown to have some inhibition effect on the expected telomere length shortening,”  explained Dr. Hadanny.

 

Midlife loneliness is a risk factor for Dementia and Alzheimer's disease

Recovery from temporary loneliness may provide reduction in dementia risk

Boston University School of Medicine, March 14, 2021

Being persistently lonely during midlife (ages 45-64) appears to make people more likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer's Disease (AD) later in life. However, people who recover from loneliness, appear to be less likely to suffer from dementia, compared to people who have never felt lonely. 

Loneliness is a subjective feeling resulting from a perceived discrepancy between desired and actual social relationships. Although loneliness does not itself have the status of a clinical disease, it is associated with a range of negative health outcomes, including sleep disturbances, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, and stroke. Still, feeling lonely may happen to anyone at some point in life, especially under extreme and unresolved quickly circumstances such as the Covid-19 lockdowns. Yet, people differ in how long--or how "persistent"--they feel lonely for. Thus, it may be that people who recover from loneliness will experience different long-term consequences for their health than people who are lonely for many years.

In an effort to shed light on the relationship between these different forms of loneliness (transient and persistent loneliness) and the incident of AD, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) examined data involving cognitively normal adults from the Framingham Heart Study. Specifically, they investigated whether persistent loneliness more strongly predicted the future development of dementia and AD than transient loneliness. They also wanted to see whether this relationship was independent from depression and established genetic risk factors for AD, such as the Apolipoprotein ε4 (APOE ε4) allele.

After taking effects of age, sex, education, social network, living alone, physical health and genetic risk into account, persistent loneliness was associated with higher risk, whereas transient loneliness was linked to lower risk of dementia and AD onset after 18 years, compared with no loneliness. 

"Whereas persistent loneliness is a threat to brain health, psychological resilience following adverse life experiences may explain why transient loneliness is protective in the context of dementia onset," explained corresponding author Wendy Qiu, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology & experimental therapeutics at BUSM. In light of the current pandemic, these findings raise hope for people who may suffer from loneliness now, but could overcome this feeling after some time, such as by using successful coping techniques or following a policy change in the physical distancing regulations. 

According to the researchers, these results motivate further investigation of the factors that make individuals resilient against adverse life events and urges to tailor interventions to the right person at the right time to avert persistency of loneliness, promote brain health and AD prevention.

 

 

Resveratrol inhibits macrophage infiltration of pancreatic islets in type 1 diabetes

Nahda University (Egypt), March 16, 2021

According to news reporting originating in Beni Suef, Egypt, research stated, “Despite CXC chemokine ligand 16 (CXCL16) contributes to the pathogenesis of many inflammatory disorders, the mechanism by which CXCL16 is involved in T1DM remains unclear. In this study, we examined the role of the CXCL16/NF-kB p65 signaling pathway in the progression of this disease and the possible protective effect of resveratrol (RES) on streptozotocin (STZ)-induced T1DM.”

The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Nahda University, “Mice were classified into four groups of 10 animals each. The control group received citrate buffer. The RES group received 50 mg/kg i.p. RES for 12 days beginning on day 4 of citrate buffer. The STZ group received 55 mg/kg i.p. STZ once a day for 5 consecutive days. The fourth group injected with RES (50 mg/kg) for 12 days starting on day 4 of STZ injection. Biochemical, physical and oxidative stress parameters were measured in all groups. Moreover, expression of CXCL16 and CD45 was measured in pancreatic islets and spleen. Additionally, NF-kB p65 was investigated in isolated islets. Our results showed a significant elevation of CXCL16, NF-kB p65 and CD45 in islets of diabetic (DM) mice. Intriguingly, RES significantly restored distorted biochemical, physical and oxidative stress parameters after STZ treatment as well as inhibited the expression of CXCL16/NF-kB p65 in pancreatic islets. Moreover, RES normalized CXCL16 and CD45 expression in islets and spleen.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “This study demonstrates first evidence that CXCL16/NF-kB p65 signaling pathway is associated with macrophage infiltration to pancreatic islet in T1DM and that RES successfully improved T1DM may be at least via inhibiting this pathway.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

Boosting enzyme with NAD+ may help improve blood flow, fitness in elderly

University of Pennsylvania, March 22, 2018 

 

As people age, their blood-vessel density and blood flow decrease, which is why it's harder to maintain muscle mass after 40 and endurance in the later decades, even with exercise. This vascular decline is also one of the major causes of age-related diseases, such as frailty or hypertension. However, little is known about the underlying cause or how to stop it.

Now, in a new study published this week in Cell, a team of researchers from Penn Medicine and other institutions have shown for the first time how a well-studied enzyme called SIRT1 declines in the blood vessels with age and that restoring it reverses the effects of vascular aging. After receiving a supplement called NAD+ precursor nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), older mice had the number of capillaries and capillary density found in much younger mice, and improved endurance by up to 80 percent. The collaborative study also involves researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"This study tells us that the loss of SIRT1 is a primary reason why our ability to exercise and receive its benefits diminish as we age," said co-senior author Zoltan Pierre Arany, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "We also show that when we bring the enzyme back into the blood vessels, vascular health improves dramatically: The old blood vessel tree [cluster of capillaries] in the older mice is turned into a young vessel tree, one that looks like it's been exercising for a while, just by turning on this enzyme. That's the most powerful aspect of the study."

The preclinical results show for the first time the ability to improve vascular health by increasing SIRT1, but they also have important implications for the prevention of age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, and aging itself. Identifying a target such as an enzyme that could be restored in a person's vessels is an important step that could lead to new or modified existing therapeutics to treat diseases or slow down aging.

SIRT1 is a member of a family of enzymes that mediate the health benefits of diet and can extend lifespan when overexpressed, researchers have shown in past studies. It's known that in young muscle SIRT1 is required for developing new and stronger blood vessels and is implicated in the deterioration of cells that line vessels. It was, however, unknown whether SIRT1 regulates vascular health in skeletal muscle tissue, and if so, whether its breakdown with age was reversible.

To test if SIRT1 was required for vessel creation and maintenance, the researchers knocked out its gene in mice and found that the density and number of capillaries was significantly lower compared to untreated mice, who in a high intensity endurance test ran twice as long as the mice without SIRT1.

Now, knowing that SIRT1 was necessary for vascularization, the researchers administered the NMN supplement to 18-month-old mice for two months and compared their blood vessels to six-month-old mice. NMN restored the number of capillaries and capillary density of the old mice to those typically seen in young mice and also dramatically increased their oxygen consumption. The most striking effect was a 56 to 80 percent improvement in endurance during a high-intensity, treadmill exercise test. Combining hydrogen sulfide, another molecule known to increase SIRT1, with NMN also increased capillary density in mice as old as 32 months compared to younger mice.

To the authors' knowledge, this is the first time small molecules have induced the formation of new blood vessels at an advanced age in an animal model.

Overall, the researchers show in mice that loss of SIRT1 resulted in an early decline in skeletal muscle vascular density and exercise capacity, while overexpression of SIRT1 in older mice had a protective effect, ostensibly by sensitizing these cells to vascular endothelial growth factor coming from muscle fibers, the authors said.

The next step, Arany said, is to look for evidence of this mechanism at play in humans and for a more robust pharmaceutical agent that would be appropriate and effective for use in the clinic. NMN supplements marketed as having anti-aging properties exist today, but very few, if any, have clinical evidence to back up that claim. Researchers also used a larger dosage in the study compared to what's on the market.

"We know that enzymes that regulate the fundamental metabolic program can go awry with age," Arany said. "And we now know that turning that around and fixing it improves the health of aging blood vessels, sufficiently enough so that we can see differences in performance such as exercise capacity. We are still a long way away from testing in humans, but this gives us direction, a target to work with."

The Gary Null Show - 03.30.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.30.21

March 30, 2021

Dr. Lyons Weiler is a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Pittsburgh where he is the Scientific Director of the Bioinformatics Analysis Core. He earned his PhD at University of Nevada Reno in Ecology Evolution and Conservation Biology. He has published numerous papers with advanced novel methods for genomic proteomic and integromic data analysis. He has taught genetics, population genetics, biology, evolutionary biology, bioinformatics and clinical research principles. He served as the founding Editor in Chief of Cancer Informatics. He serves as a reviewer of peerreviewed journals in the areas of genomics proteomics bioinformatics and clinical decision analysis. He has organized regional and national meetings in bioinformatics. He was the recipient of the Sloan/US DOE Postdoctoral Award in Computational Molecular Biology under the tutelage of Dr Masatoshi Nei and Web Miller at the Pennsylvania State University

The Gary Null Show - 03.29.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.29.21

March 29, 2021
 
After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University, Dr. McCullough completed his medical degree as an Alpha Omega Alpha graduate from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He went on to complete his internal medicine residency at the University of Washington in Seattle, cardiology fellowship including service as Chief Fellow at William Beaumont Hospital, and master’s degree in public health at the University of Michigan. Dr. McCullough is a consultant cardiologist and Vice Chief of Medicine at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, TX. He is a Principal Faculty in internal medicine for the Texas A & M University Health Sciences Center. Dr. McCullough is an internationally recognized authority on the role of chronic kidney disease as a cardiovascular risk state with > 1000 publications and > 500 citations in the National Library of Medicine. His works include the “Interface between Renal Disease and Cardiovascular Illness” in Braunwald’s Heart Disease Textbook. Dr. McCullough is a recipient of the Simon Dack Award from the American College of Cardiology and the International Vicenza Award in Critical Care Nephrology for his scholarship and research. Dr. McCullough is a founder and current president of the Cardiorenal Society of America, an organization dedicated to bringing cardiologists and nephrologists together to work on the emerging problem of cardiorenal syndromes. His works have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, Lancet and other top-tier journals worldwide. He is the co-editor of Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine, and associate editor of the American Journal of Cardiology and Cardiorenal Medicine. He serves on the editorial boards of multiple specialty journals. Dr. McCullough has made presentations on the advancement of medicine across the world and has been an invited lecturer at the New York Academy of Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Medicines Agency, and the U.S. Congressional Oversight Panel.
 
The Gary Null Show - 03.26.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.26.21

March 26, 2021

Greater magnesium intake linked with lower risk of liver cancer

Mt Sinai Hospital, March 22 2021. 

 

A study of AARP members revealed a protective effect for increased intake of magnesium against the risk of developing liver cancer. The findings were published in the March 2021 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

For the current study, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashvilleexamined data from 536,359 participants in the National Institutes of Health-American Association of Retired Persons (NIH-AARP) Diet and Health Study cohort, which is which is one of the largest and longest prospective cohorts that collected data concerning diet and cancer outcomes in the United States. Food frequency questionnaire responses provided by the participants during 1995 to 1996 were analyzed for total magnesium and total calcium intake from supplements and food. The subjects were followed up to December 31, 2011, during which 1,067 cases of primary liver cancer were diagnosed. 

Among those whose total magnesium intake was among the top 25% of participants, there was a 35% lower adjusted risk of developing liver cancer in comparison with participants whose intake was among the lowest 25%. Heavy users of alcohol who had a high magnesium intake experienced an even greater protective effect. 

As potential mechanisms for magnesium against liver cancer, authors Shalija C. Shah, MD, and colleagues observed that the mineral is a cofactor for enzymes involved in DNA replication and repair, gene expression, cell proliferation and differentiation, and other factors. 

“Based on a prospective cohort analysis, we demonstrated that magnesium intake is associated with a lower risk of primary liver cancer, which was more pronounced among moderate and heavy alcohol users,” they concluded. “These findings add clinical value to the current expansive body of translational literature defining the mechanisms through which this essential micronutrient mediates inflammatory and antineoplastic pathways, particularly within the liver.”

 

 

Green leafy vegetables essential for muscle strength

Eating just one cup of leafy green vegetables every day could boost muscle function, according to new research.

Edith Cowan University (Australia), March 24, 2021

 

Eating just one cup of leafy green vegetables every day could boost muscle function, according to new Edith Cowan University (ECU) research.

The study, published today in the Journal of Nutrition, found that people who consumed a nitrate-rich diet, predominantly from vegetables, had significantly better muscle function of their lower limb.

Poor muscle function is linked to greater risk of falls and fractures and is considered a key indicator of general health and wellbeing.

Researchers examined data from 3,759 Australians taking part in Melbourne's Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute AusDiab study over a 12-year period. They found those with the highest regular nitrate consumption had 11 per cent stronger lower limb strength than those with the lowest nitrate intake. Up to 4 per cent faster walking speeds were also recorded.

Lead researcher Dr Marc Sim from ECU's Institute for Nutrition Research said the findings reveal important evidence for the role diet plays in overall health. 

"Our study has shown that diets high in nitrate-rich vegetables may bolster your muscle strength independently of any physical activity," he said.

"Nevertheless, to optimise muscle function we propose that a balanced diet rich in green leafy vegetables in combination with regular exercise, including weight training, is ideal."

Muscle function is vital for maintaining good overall health, especially bone strength later in life.

"With around one in three Australians aged over 65 suffering a fall each year, it's important to find ways of preventing these events and their potentially serious consequences," said Dr Sim.

Go for green

While leafy greens may be some of our least favourite vegetables, they could be the most important, according to Dr Sim.

The research found nitrate-rich vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, kale and even beetroot, provided the greatest health benefits.

"Less than one in ten Australians eat the recommended five to six serves of vegetables per day," Dr Sim said.

"We should be eating a variety of vegetables every day, with at least one of those serves being leafy greens to gain a range of positive health benefits for the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular system." 

"It's also better to eat nitrate-rich vegetables as part of a healthy diet rather than taking supplements. Green leafy vegetables provide a whole range of essential vitamins and minerals critical for health."

Building knowledge

The study, a collaboration with Deakin University's Institute of Physical Activity and Nutrition and the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, builds on Dr Sim's previous research into nitrate and muscle function in older women

It also adds to growing evidence linking vegetables with cardiovascular health, including a recent ECU study into cruciferous vegetables and blood vessel health.

Dr Sim said the next step of his research will be exploring strategies to increase leafy green vegetable consumption in the general population. 

"We are currently recruiting for the MODEL Study, which examines how knowledge of disease can be used to prompt people in making long-term improvements to their diet and exercise," said Dr Sim.

 

 

Preservative used in hundreds of popular foods may harm the immune system

New science suggests the FDA should test all food chemicals for safety

Environmental Working Group, March 25, 2021

 

A food preservative used to prolong the shelf life of Pop-Tarts, Rice Krispies Treats, Cheez-Its and almost 1,250 other popular processed foods may harm the immune system, according to a new peer-reviewed study by Environmental Working Group.

For the study, published this week in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, EWG researchers used data from the Environmental Protection Agency's Toxicity Forecaster, or ToxCast, to assess the health hazards of the most common chemicals added to food, as well as the "forever chemicals" known as PFAS, which can migrate to food from packaging. 

EWG's analysis of ToxCast data showed that the preservative tert-butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, has been found to harm the immune system both in both animal tests and in non-animal tests known as high-throughput in vitro toxicology testing. This finding is of particular concern during the coronavirus pandemic.

"The pandemic has focused public and scientific attention on environmental factors that can impact the immune system," said Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., EWG vice president for science investigations and lead author of the new study. "Before the pandemic, chemicals that may harm the immune system's defense against infection or cancer did not receive sufficient attention from public health agencies. To protect public health, this must change."

TBHQ

TBHQ is a preservative that is pervasive in processed foods. It has been used in foods for many decades and serves no function besides increasing a product's shelf life. Using new non-animal test results from ToxCast, EWG found that TBHQ affected immune cell proteins at doses similar to those that cause harm in traditional studies. Earlier studies have found that TBHQ might influence how well flu vaccines work and may be linked to a rise in food allergies. 

PFAS

Using ToxCast, EWG analyzed all publicly available studies that show how PFAS migrate to food from packaging materials or processing equipment. This is the first known compilation of available research on PFAS migration from packaging to food. In 2017, nationwide tests showed that many fast-food chains used food wrappers, bags and boxes coated with highly fluorinated chemicals.

Human epidemiological studies show that PFAS suppresses immune function and decreases vaccine efficacy. Recently published research has also found a link between high levels of PFAS in the blood and the severity of Covid-19. 

Surprisingly, for most PFAS, the ToxCast results did not match previous animal and human test data. This illustrates the limitations of this new chemical testing method. More research is needed to understand how PFAS harm the immune system.

Food Chemicals Regulation

The Food and Drug Administration's approach to the regulation of food additives does not consider the latest science on the health harms of additives that may be legally added to processed foods manufactured in the U.S. Last year, EWG published Food Additives State of the Science, which highlighted additives known to increase the risk of cancer, harm the nervous system and disrupt the body's hormonal balance. 

Chemicals linked to health harms can be legally added to packaged foods because the FDA frequently allows food manufacturers to determine which chemicals are safe. Additives like TBHQ were approved by the FDA decades ago, and the agency does not consider new science to reassess the safety of food chemicals. 

"Food manufacturers have no incentive to change their formulas," said Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at EWG. "Too often, the FDA allows the food and chemical industry to determine which ingredients are safe for consumption. Our research shows how important it is that the FDA take a second look at these ingredients and test all food chemicals for safety."

Less Toxic Food Preservatives

Processed foods can be made without these potentially harmful ingredients, so shoppers should read labels carefully. TBHQ is often, though not always, listed on the ingredient label. It will be listed if it has been added to the product during manufacturing. But it can also be used in food packaging, particularly plastic packaging, in which case it may migrate to food. 

EWG's Food Scores database helps consumers find products made with healthier alternatives, and our Healthy Living app allows shoppers to scan products while in stores to choose a better option. 

EWG recommends that immunotoxicity testing be prioritized for chemicals in food and food contact materials in order to protect public health from their potential harm to the immune system. 

EWG also calls on the FDA to close the regulatory loophole that allows potentially unsafe food additives to remain on the market. The FDA should also promptly review additives like TBHQ to reflect new science.

 

 

Transcendental Meditation effective in reducing PTSD, sleep problems, depression symptoms

Maharishi International University, March 19, 2021

 

Veterans with PTSD who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique showed significant reductions in PTSD symptom severity, according to a new study published today in Journal of Traumatic Stress. Fifty percent of the meditating veterans no longer met criteria for PTSD after three months compared to only 10 percent of controls. The randomized controlled study also showed significant reductions in veterans' symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties. 

"Transcendental Meditation is a non-trauma-focused, easy-to-learn technique that was found in this study to improve PTSD symptoms, likely through the experience of physical rest," said Mayer Bellehsen, Ph.D., director of the Unified Behavioral Health Center for Military Veterans and their Families, Northwell Health, and study principal investigator. "In contrast to commonly administered therapies for PTSD that are trauma-focused and based on a patient's recall of past traumatic experiences, this intervention does not require extensive review of traumatic history, which some individuals find difficult to engage in. This intervention may therefore be more tolerable for some individuals struggling with PTSD."

The randomized controlled trial, conducted at Northwell Health in Bay Shore, New York, assigned 40 veterans with documented PTSD to either the Transcendental Meditation (TM) group or treatment as usual control group. The TM treatment provided 16 sessions over 12 weeks, with twice-a-day daily home practice. PTSD symptom severity was assessed with the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5), and patient self-report with the PTSD Checklist for DSM -5 (PCL-5). 

The results showed large effect sizes, indicating a strong TM treatment impact in reducing trauma symptoms for both PTSD measures. Other factors associated with trauma, such as depression and anxiety symptoms and sleep problems, also showed a strong impact of TM treatment.

"This trial corroborates the findings of a large clinical trial published in The Lancet Psychiatry," said Sanford Nidich, Ed.D., Director of the Center for Social-Emotional Health at Maharishi International University Research Institute, and study co-investigator. "The current study further supports the effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation as a first-line treatment for PTSD in veterans. The availability of an additional evidence-based therapy will benefit veterans, both by offering them a greater range of options and by serving as an alternative treatment strategy for those who don't want to engage in trauma-focused treatment or who aren't responding to a previous PTSD intervention." 

The authors point out in their research paper that TM may positively affect trauma symptom severity through the reduction of hyperarousal symptoms. Previous research has shown that TM practice decreases physiological responses to stressful stimuli. In addition, recent research indicates that TM may improve resilience and positive coping strategies, providing further benefit to both veterans and active military personnel.

 

 

Study: Eating White Bread & Bagels Can Be Worse Than Smoking – 49% Increase In Lung Cancer

University of Texas, March 17, 2021

An alarming study has found eating foods high on the glycemic index (GI), such as bagels, white bread, and rice, increase the risk of developing lung cancer by 49 percent — particularly for non-smokers.

In fact, when researchers studied the diets of 4,320 people, they were shocked to find non-smokers with diets high on the GI had nearly double the risk to develop the disease than those whose eating habits remained on the low end of the GI.

Foods with high GI raise blood glucose and insulin, in turn causing increased insulin growth factors (IGFs), which are associated with greater risk for developing lung cancer.

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center conducted the study of 1,905 people who had cancer diagnoses and 2,415 healthy people, which was published this month in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, RTreported.

“The results from this study suggest that, besides maintaining healthy lifestyles, such as avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol consumption, and being physically active, reducing the consumption of foods and beverages with high glycemic index may serve as a means to lower the risk of lung cancer,” explained Dr. Xifeng Wu, study senior author.

Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in the United States. More the 150,000 people will die from lung cancer in 2016 alone, according to the American Cancer Society.

What’s more, a second study revealed Americans consume more than half their calories via “ultra-processed” foods, which directly contribute to health problems like obesity and heart disease.

“Ultra-processed foods are products that contain several manufactured ingredients that are not generally used when cooking from scratch, including natural and artificial flavors or colors, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and other additives,”CBS News explained.

Obvious examples of ultra-processed foods include soft drinks; chicken and fish nuggets, as well as other reconstituted meat products; packaged snacks, both sweet and savory; packaged baked goods; and instant noodle products.

Lead author of the study, Professor Carlos Augusto Monteiro at the University of São Paulo School of Public Health, Dept. of Nutrition, explained such highly-processed foods are designed to imitate natural foods, but often “disguise undesirable qualities of the final product.”

Where a diet of fresh foods and minimally-processed products — like cheeses and simple breads — are healthiest, Monteiro told CBS News, ultra-processed products “are manufactured and marketed to replace those foods, drinks, dishes, and meals.”

Such ‘foods’ are generally high in sugars, saturated fat, and sodium and contribute to a wide range of health issues, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and many more.

Both studies ultimately suggest the need to cut out highly-processed products and return to a natural diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. In other words, food — not products.

 

Move your body for five minutes every hour to counteract lockdown inactivity

Kings College London, March 23, 2021

A study which looked at activity levels before and during the COVID-19 pandemic has found lockdown restrictions significantly reduced light activity associated with socialising and work.

The study, published recently in BMJ Neurology and led by King's College London, examined how activity levels changed in study participants with muscular dystrophy and other inheritable myopathies. The sample included people with a range of physical abilities, from highly independent to assisted mobility, including 41 wheelchair users, who are often underrepresented in research. However, the authors say the findings are likely to be relevant to adults of various abilities and backgrounds because many people have lost their usual daily routine during lockdown.

The study is unique because it used accelerometers to measure physical activity before and during lockdown as part of an ongoing longitudinal physical activity study from 2019 to 2020. The accelerometers measured activity intensity, frequency and time in vigorous, moderate, light and inactive categories.

Researchers found there was a significant reduction in daily activity intensity during lockdown. Before lockdown, participants did a mean of 84.5 minutes per day of light activity and had a relatively low frequency of hourly movement. During lockdown, light activity reduced by a mean of 25 minutes per day and frequency of hourly movement reduced by a median of 11%. Moderate and vigorous activity did not change significantly during lockdown, but this might be explained by low baseline levels in this group. 

In lockdown, the reduction in light activity time and frequency of movement was explained by restrictions on going to work, leisure pursuits and socialising. This light activity within daily routine is not exercise-focused so it can be difficult for individuals to detect these subtle light activity losses. However, light activity and regular movement throughout the day are associated with improved health outcomes for everyone, regardless of health conditions.

Sarah Roberts-Lewis, the study lead and a Neurological Physiotherapist at King's College London, said; "Even people who don't do much exercise have been impacted by lockdown inactivity. During COVID-19 lockdown, our study detected an extra hour per day of inactivity in disabled and independent adults with neuromuscular diseases. Moving less is detrimental to health. Reduced activity can be especially harmful for those with neuromuscular conditions, disabilities or advanced age." 

"The reduction in light activity measured in this study is likely to be similar for anybody whose daily routine has been restricted by lockdown. Based on our findings, we suggest people move their bodies for 5 minutes each hour during the day. Additionally, spend 30 minutes each day doing some extra light activity, like yoga or chair exercises. The World Health Organisation activity guidelines state 'every move counts'; they provide suggestions about light activites suitable for all abilities. Simple changes can help with reconditioning during and after lockdown."

 

 

Lifestyle program improves fertility for women with obesity, infertility

University of Sherbrooke (Quebec) March 19, 2021

A lifestyle intervention targeting women with obesity and infertility is more effective in increasing the pregnancy rate compared with fertility treatments, according to a study presented virtually at ENDO 2021, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting.

The lifestyle intervention, called the Fit-For-Fertility (FFF) program, is a cost-effective alternative to the usual standard of care for women with obesity seeking fertility treatments, according to lead researcher Matea Belan, Ph.D., of the University of Sherbrooke and the Research Center of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke (RC-CHUS) in Quebec, Canada. "Our study shows that the FFF program can significantly improve the pregnancy rate, especially the spontaneous pregnancy rate when no fertility treatments are required, as well as the live-birth rate," she said.

Obesity is a known risk factor for infertility in women of childbearing age. Lifestyle changes and a moderate weight loss of 5%-10% of a woman's initial weight have been shown to improve the odds of a pregnancy in women with obesity and infertility, Belan noted.

"Lifestyle changes are recommended as the first-line treatment for these women," said study author Jean-Patrice Baillargeon, M.D., M.Sc., professor of the University of Sherbrooke and clinician investigator of the RC-CHUS. The new study tested Fit-For-Fertility, a multidisciplinary lifestyle intervention that includes a nutritionist and a kinesiologist, or human movement specialist.

The researchers recruited 130 women receiving treatment at a fertility clinic, and randomly divided them into two groups. The first group had access to the Fit-For-Fertility program alone for the first six months of their participation, and in combination with fertility treatments if no pregnancy occurred after six months.

The program included individual sessions with a nutritionist and a kinesiologist every six weeks. Women in the FFF group were also asked to follow at least once each one of the 12 group sessions, which included a 45-minute workshop on topics regarding nutrition, lifestyle changes and lifestyle habits, followed by a 45-minute session of initiation to different types of physical activity, including walking, circuit training, step workout and others. In the second group, the control group, women had access to the fertility treatments from the outset but did not take part in the FFF program.

Data was collected for 18 months, or until the end of a pregnancy for women who became pregnant during those 18 months of participation.

Of the 108 women who completed at least six months of the study, or became pregnant during the first six months, the FFF program generated a difference of 14.2 percentage points in the live-birth rate (51% for the FFF group and 36.8% for the control group). The spontaneous pregnancy rate (pregnancy without any fertility treatments) was 33.3% in the treatment group, compared with 12.3% in the control group.

The researchers estimate the cost per additional newborn resulting from the FFF program at $12,633 (in 2019 Canadian dollars), somewhat similar to the willingness-to-pay for a newborn resulting from in vitro fertilization, which can cost up to $15,000.

"We hope this research will give women with obesity and infertility affordable access to a tailored lifestyle intervention adapted to their condition and their specific needs in order to improve their chances of having a pregnancy and building a family," Belan said.

 

 

Vitamin B3 to stay younger? A global increase in antioxidant defenses of the body may delay aging and its diseases

 

Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (Spain), March 15, 2021

 

The gradual accumulation of cell damage plays a very important role in the origin of ageing. There are many sources of cellular damage, however, which ones are really responsible for ageing and which ones are inconsequential for ageing is a question that still lacks an answer.

The Oxidative Hypothesis of Ageing -- also known as the Free Radicals Hypothesis -- was put forward in 1956 by Denham Harman. Since then, the large majority of attempts to prove that oxidative damage is relevant for ageing have failed, including multiple clinical trials in humans with antioxidant compounds. For this reason, although the accumulation of oxidative damage with ageing is undisputed, most scientists believe that it is a minor, almost irrelevant, cause of ageing.

However, this may change in light of the recently published observations. A group of scientists from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) headed by Manuel Serrano, in collaboration with a group from the University of Valencia, directed by José Viña, and researchers at IMDEA Food from Madrid, have tried to increase the global antioxidant capacity of the cells, rather than just one or a few antioxidant enzymes. To achieve this global improvement in the total antioxidant capacity, researches have focused on increasing the levels of NADPH, a relatively simple molecule that is of key importance in antioxidant reactions and that, however, had not been studied to date in relation to ageing.

The researchers used a genetic approach to increase NADPH levels. In particular, they generated transgenic mice with an increased expression throughout their bodies of one of the most important enzymes for the production of NADPH, namely, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (or G6PD).

The results, published today in the journal Nature Communications, indicate that an increase in G6PD and, therefore, in NADPH, increases the natural antioxidant defences of the organism, protecting it from oxidative damage, reducing ageing-related processes, such as insulin resistance, and increasing longevity.

Antioxidants That Delay Ageing

"As anticipated, the cells in these transgenic animals are more resistant to highly toxic artificial oxidative treatments, thus proving that an increase in G6PD really improves antioxidant defences," explains Sandrina Nóbrega-Pereira, first author of the study and currently a researcher at the Institute of Molecular Medicine of the University of Lisbon.

Furthermore, when researchers analysed long-lived transgenic animals, they noted that their levels of oxidative damage were lower than in non-transgenic animals of the same age. They also studied the propensity of these animals to develop cancer and found no difference, suggesting that enhancing G6PD activity does not have an important effect on the development of cancer.

The greatest surprise for the team was when they measured the ageing process in the transgenic mice: the animals with a high G6PD expression and, therefore, high levels of NADPH, delayed their ageing, metabolised sugar better and presented better movement coordination as they aged. In addition, transgenic females lived 14% longer than non-transgenic mice, while no significant effect on the longevity of males was observed.

"This increased longevity, although modest, is striking taking into account that until now attempts to increase longevity by manipulating individual antioxidant enzymes had failed," said Pablo Fernández-Marcos, co-first author of the study and researcher at IMDEA Food.

Overall Increase in the Antioxidant Capacity of Cells

Perhaps the key is that the researchers involved in this paper enhanced all antioxidant enzymes in a comprehensive manner. "Compared to the traditional approach of administering antioxidants that react directly with oxygen, we have stimulated all the cell's natural antioxidant mechanisms by raising G6PD levels, and its by-product, NADPH," emphasizes Mari Carmen Gómez-Cabrera, co-author of the paper and researcher at the University of Valencia.

Based on these results, the authors of the study point to the use of pharmacological agents or nutritional supplements that increase NADPH levels as potential tools for delaying the ageing process in humans and age-related diseases, such as diabetes, among others. More specifically, vitamin B3 and its derivatives are responsible for the synthesis of NADPH precursors and are suitable candidates for future studies.

The Gary Null Show - 03.25.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.25.21

March 25, 2021

why we should be deeply worried about the rush to begin covid vaccine trials in children and infants, and our distorted perceptions about vaccination

Dr. Lawrence Palevsky ("Larry") is a board certified pediatrician who utilizes a holistic approach to children’s wellness and illness. Over the years he has lectured and spoken extensively about vaccine risks and vaccine adverse reactions, including autism spectrum disorders and neurological damage. Dr. Palevsky received his medical degree from the NYU School of Medicine and completed a three-year pediatric residency at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Since 1991, his clinical experience includes working in pediatric emergency and intensive care medicine, in-patient and out-patient pediatric medicine, neonatal intensive care medicine, newborn and delivery room medicine, and conventional, holistic and private practice in integrative pediatric practice. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine, and Past–President of the American Holistic Medical Association.  Dr. Palevsky’s current practice is in Northport Long Island and Manhattan where he specializes in treating acute and chronic pediatric and adult conditions.  For more information about his practice and work, his website is NorthPointWellnessCenter.com
The Gary Null Show - 03.24.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.24.21

March 24, 2021

Lion’s mane mushroom helps reduce depression and anxiety

Tohoku University (Japan), March 21, 2021

Several studies have shown the potential of lion’s mane mushroom to help address several health problems including those that are related to brain function.

Lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus), also known as hedgehog mushroom, is a mushroom native to North America, Asia and Europe. Its fruiting bodies are said to contain polysaccharides that are beneficial to the human body.

This mushroom has a long history of medical uses, especially in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) where it was used to help support brain health. In recent years, its value in supporting cognitive health has been supported by a number of studies.

The mushroom helps Reduce depression and anxiety

In a study published in the journal Biomedical Research, the mushroom was tested on female participants in order to tests its effects on mental health.

After taking lion’s mane mushroom cookies for four weeks, the participants reported reduced depression and anxiety. According to the researchers, this was due to two chemical constituents isolated from lion’s mane’s fruiting body called hericenones and erinacines. These two chemicals stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) biosynthesis.

NGF takes part in a number of activities in the body that are essential in maintaining and organizing neurons. By stimulating NGF biosynthesis, lion’s mane is able to help improve mental health.

Meanwhile, in a study on mice, researchers from Tohoku University  in Japan discovered that lion’s mane mushroom may be used to prevent cognitive dysfunction.

The Japanese researchers administered 10 micrograms of amyloid-beta peptide to the mice on days seven and 14 in their 23-day experimental period. Also, the mice subjects were fed with food containing lion’s mane mushroom over the course of the experimental period.

To measure the results of their study, the team used Y-maze and the novel object recognition tests on the subjects. They discovered that the mushroom prevented the negative effects of amyloid-beta peptide on the spatial short-term and visual recognition memory of the mice. The study suggests that the mushroom might reverse even the effects of amyloid-beta peptide – a protein believed to cause Alzheimer’s disease.

Lion’s mane for cognitive impairment

Moreover, in another study conducted by Japanese scientists, lion’s mane mushroom showed potential in improving symptoms of mild cognitive impairment. This is the stage between aging-related cognitive decline and the development of dementia. Its symptoms include problems with memory, language, thinking or judgment.

The team took 30 patients with mild cognitive impairment and gave them 250mg tablets with 96 percent lion’s mane extract to be taken in four pieces for three times a day for 16 weeks. During weeks eight, 12 and 16, the patients underwent observation wherein they showed improvement in their cognitive function as displayed by the increase of their scores on the cognitive function scale. Moreover, the researchers conducted laboratory tests on the patients and saw that the intake of lion’s mane did not result in any side effect.

In addition, the patients’ scores in the cognitive function scale decreased by the time their intake of lion’s mane mushroom tablets stopped.

 

 

 

Quercetin-3-o-glucuronide alleviates cognitive deficit in mouse model of Alzheimer disease

Hua-zhong University of Science & Technology (China), March 22, 2021

 

According to news reporting from Wuhan, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Scope Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by amyloid-beta (A beta) related imbalance, Tau-hyperphosphorylation, and neuroinflammation, in which A beta and neuroinflammation can induce brain insulin resistance (IR). Gut microbiome disorder is correlated with inflammation in AD.”

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology, “As of yet, there are no effective treatments clinically. Thus, it is focused on the potential benefit of quercetin-3-O-glucuronide (Q3G), a pharmacologically active flavonol glucuronide, on AD treatment by regulating brain IR and the gut microbiome. AD mice model built through intracerebroventricular injection of A beta(1-42) and AD cell model developed through the SH-SY5Y cell line and A beta(1-42) are used to explore the protective effects of Q3G on AD. Neurobehavioral test, brain insulin signaling pathway, and high-throughput pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA are assessed. Data show that Q3G attenuates neuroinflammation and brain IR in A beta(1-42)-injected mice and relieves apoptosis in A beta(1-42)-treated SH-SY5Y cells by interrupting the downstream insulin signaling. Q3G ameliorates A beta accumulation and Tau phosphorylation, restores CREB and BDNF levels in the hippocampus , and reverses A beta(1-42)-induced cognitive impairment. Besides, Q3G restores A beta(1-42)-induced reduction of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and gut microbiota dysbiosis.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Q3G can alleviate brain IR through directly acting on the brain or modulating the gut-brain axis, ultimately to relieve A beta(1-42)-induced cognitive dysfunction.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

Research shows possible link between number of fast-food outlets and heart attacks

Hunter Medical Research Institute & University of Newcastle (UK), March 17, 2021 

Researchers from the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), the University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Health (HNE Health) have found that for each new fast-food outlet the number of heart attacks per 100,000 people went up by four.

Published in the latest edition of the Internal Medicine Journal the study aimed to determine whether the number of fast-foodoutlets in an area could be considered an environmental risk factor for Myocardial Infarction (heart attack).

The team led by Dr. Tarunpreet Saluja from the University of Newcastle, compared all cases of Myocardial Infarction within the Hunter-New England Health District with the Fast-Food Outlet Density (FFD) of each Local Government Area within the district. 

"Heart attack is one of the leading causes of death worldwide" said Dr. Saluja, "However, recent data suggests that an increasing number of heart attacks cannot be explained by known risk factors."

"There is a well-established link between fast food consumption and cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack. This highlights the need to explore the role of food availability in the probability of having a heart attack."

The team found that FFD was positively correlated with an increase of myocardial infarction, even after accounting for other factors such as age, obesity, hyperlipidaemia (high cholesterol), hypertension (high blood pressure), smoking status, diabetes, and socioeconomic status. 

Study co-author and cardiologist at John Hunter Hospital, Professor Andrew Boyle said that while it has been known for some time that consuming fast food was bad for the heart no one had determined whether the number of stores was itself a predicting factor. 

"Until now there has been very little data on the link between fast-food outlet density and heart attacks, so these results should provide an important consideration for future public‐health policy and community development," said Professor Boyle. 

Study co-author and Associate Director of HMRI's Data Science Group, Dr. Christopher Oldmeadow, said that developing a new metric to calculate fast-food outlet density was key to the study and there was scope to expand the data to look at more outlets in the future. 

"For this study, we focused on the 10 most popular fast-food outlets in Australia and used census data to determine the density per 100,000 people in each local government area," Dr. Oldmeadow said. "This worked for the majority of the LGAs, but there is scope to investigate the relationship between smaller, locally operated fast‐food outlets and heart attacks."

 

Vitamin B6 may help calm cytokine storms in COVID-19

University of Hiroshima (Japan), March 14, 2021

Vitamin B6 may help calm cytokine storms and unclog blood clots linked to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) lethality, according to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

In the paper, researchers from Hiroshima University 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, the researchers said.

The researchers said thrombosis or blood clotting and cytokine storm or 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, according to the study.

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.

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. Research on vitamin B6 has been limited, the researchers said. The researchers said they hope the paper will show vitamin B6's potential in lowering the odds of patients becoming seriously ill with the coronavirus, and prompt further research.

"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,” said Thanutchaporn Kumrungsee, PhD, lead author of the paper, in a statement. “At present, there is few information regarding the protective role of nutrients against pneumonia and lung diseases.”

Vitamin B6 has a close relationship with the immune system, she said. 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, said Kumrungsee. “Thus, our attempt in this paper is to shed light on the possible involvement of vitamin B6 in decreasing the severity of COVID-19.

 

 

Green space or light at night: How we can improve health

University of Adelaide (Australia), March 18, 2021

There is a growing body of evidence that exposure to green space is good for our health but a new study from the University of Adelaide has found that this may equally be due to how much light we are exposed to at night.

Spending time in green space can improve depressive symptoms, obesity, and sleep problems, and reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer. Conversely, exposure to light at night, particularly urban light pollution, increases the risk of breast and prostate cancer, and can worsen depression, obesity and sleep problems. 

Researchers identified a negative correlation between green space diversity and outdoor artificial light at night for Australian major cities—in other words, the greener your environment, the less the light pollution, and vice versa. 

This makes intuitive sense, because the more developed an area is, the fewer trees there will be and the more lights there will be. 

Published in Environmental Research, the study questions whether the health benefits of green space exposure may in part be a result of avoiding light at night. 

"There seems to be a pattern here—yet, amazingly, no one has put these two things together—until now,"' said lead author Dr. Jessica Stanhope from the University of Adelaide's School of Allied Health Science and Practice. 

"It is possible that these factors have been confounding each other in epidemiological studies of the associations between residential green spaces and improved health, and urban outdoor artificial light at night exposure and poor health

"We have shown that green space is inversely associated with outdoor artificial light at night, making it unclear whether health outcomes result from the green space, the light at night, or possibly in an interaction of the two." 

Researchers recommend that epidemiological studies focus on resolving this problem as a priority, so that recommendations can be made for interventions that would improve the public health. For example, to improve population health, is it more important to plant green space in urban areas to give people in cities better green space exposure, or is it better to invest that effort in reducing urban light pollution, or both? 

"Some great studies have been done on the association between green space and health, which is a rapidly growing research area; and there are also very neat epidemiological studies of the adverse health effects of exposure to light at night," said Dr. Stanhope. 

"It is now really important that future studies include both factors so that we can better understand their association—only then can we make better public health recommendations about planning health-giving sustainable urban landscapes."

 

Supplements may protect those with low vitamin D levels from severe COVID-19

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, March 20, 2021

Patients with low vitamin D levels who are hospitalized for COVID-19 may have a lower risk of dying or requiring mechanical ventilation if they receive vitamin D supplementation of at least 1,000 units weekly, according to a study presented virtually at ENDO 2021, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting.

"Given how common vitamin D deficiency is in the world and the United States, we believe that this research is highly relevant right now," said co-author Sweta Chekuri, M.D., of Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. 

Research has shown that vitamin D supplementation can prevent inflammation in other respiratory diseases, but there have been limited studies examining the role of vitamin D supplementation in COVID-19. The purpose of the study was to determine whether being supplemented with vitamin D before being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 resulted in less severe COVID-19 disease in patients with a low vitamin D level.

The researchers studied 124 adult patients with low vitamin D that was measured up to 90 days before their admission for COVID-19. They compared the patients who were supplemented with at least 1,000 units of vitamin D weekly to those who had not received vitamin D supplements in terms of whether they were mechanically ventilated or died during admission.

They found that patients who were supplemented were less likely to be mechanically ventilated or to die following admission, though the finding wasn't statistically significant (37.5 percent of patients who were not supplemented vs. 33.3 percent of those who were) They also found that more than half of those who should have been supplemented were not. 

"Though we weren't able to show a definitive link to severe COVID-19, it is clear that patients with low vitamin D should receive supplementation not only for bone health, but also for stronger protection against severe COVID-19," said co-author Corinne Levitus, D.O., of Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "We hope this research will encourage clinicians to discuss adding this supplement with their patients who have low vitamin D, as this may reduce the odds of people developing severe COVID-19."

study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism last fall found over 80 percent of 200 COVID-19 patients in a hospital in Spain had vitamin D deficiency.

 

 

Study finds changes in gut microbiome connected to Alzheimer-like behavior

Oregon Health & Science University, March 19, 2021

New research in mice published in the journal Scientific Reports strengthens the growing scientific consensus regarding the role of the gut microbiome in neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, led by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, found a correlation between the composition of the gut microbiome and the behavioral and cognitive performance of mice carrying genes associated with Alzheimer’s. The mice carried the human amyloid precursor protein gene with dominant Alzheimer’s mutations generated by scientists in Japan.

The study further suggests a relationship between microbes in the digestive tract and the expression of genes that trigger Alzheimer-like symptoms in mice.

“You know the expression, ‘You are what you eat?’” said senior author Jacob Raber, Ph.D., professor of behavioral neuroscience in the OHSU School of Medicine. “This may be part of that. While all mice were fed the same diet, the gut microbiome is affected in a genotype-dependent fashion and this in turn might affect your brain.”

The findings are the first to demonstrate a direct connection between the gut microbiome and cognitive and behavioral changes in an Alzheimer’s disease animal model, and they are consistent with a recently published observational study in people newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In fact, a U.S. clinical trial for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease is currently underway involving a compound that targets microbes in the gut.

The research published breaks new ground.

In addition to the cognitive and behavioral changes that were measured, the study is the first to demonstrate a relationship between changes in the gut microbiome and epigenetic changes in neural tissue in the hippocampus, an area of the brain affected in Alzheimer’s. This type of research is not possible in people.

The microbiome is a complex assemblage of microorganisms such as bacteria that play a critical role in a wide range of functions in the body. In this case, researchers wanted to see if the gut microbiome affected cognitive and behavioral measures in specially bred mice at 6 months of age. So they compared wild-type mice with those genetically engineered to carry the human amyloid precursor protein gene with dominant Alzheimer’s mutations.

They found changes in the gut microbiome - measured in fecal pellets - corresponded with epigenetic regulation of the apolipoprotein E and Tomm40 genes, both associated with Alzheimer’s. They found a clear correlation, but they still can’t say whether one causes the other.

“Microbes may elicit an impact on behavioral and cognitive measures relevant to Alzheimer’s disease via epigenetic changes in the hippocampus,” Raber said. “Or, alternatively, it might be that the epigenetic changes in the hippocampus affect changes in the gut microbiome.”

The next phase of research will determine whether it’s possible to reduce Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in genetically predisposed mice by altering their diet.

“The exciting part of this is that you can manipulate the gut microbiome,” Raber said. “We can use probiotics and see what the effect is.”

The Gary Null Show -  03.23.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.23.21

March 23, 2021

White button mushrooms could slow progression of prostate cancer

Beckman Research Institute, March 19, 2021

The chemicals present in white button mushrooms may slow the progression of prostate cancer, according to a mouse study presented virtually at ENDO 2021, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting.

"Androgens, a type of male sex hormone, promote the growth of prostate cancer cells by binding to and activating the androgen receptor, a protein that is expressed in prostate cells," said lead researcher Xiaoqiang Wang, M.D., Ph.D., M.B. (A.S.C.P.), of the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, a comprehensive cancer center in Duarte, Calif. "White button mushrooms appear to suppress the activity of the androgen receptor."

City of Hope's Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., the principal investigator of this project, previously conducted a phase one clinical trial of white button mushroom powder in patients with recurrent prostate cancer, which indicated that the mushrooms reduced levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood, with minimal side effects. Heightened blood levels of PSA in men may indicate the existence of prostate tumors.

The new study aimed to understand the mechanism behind this finding. The researchers studied the mushroom extract's effect on prostate cancer cells that were sensitive to androgen. They also studied the extract's effect on mice implanted with human prostate tumors, which creates an animal model whose results would be more reliable as the research is translated to human clinical trials.

The researchers found that in prostate cancer cells, white button mushroom extract suppressed androgen receptor activity. They also found that in mice treated with white button mushroom extract for six days, prostate tumor growth was significantly suppressed, and levels of PSA decreased.

"We found that white button mushrooms contain chemicals that can block the activity of the androgen receptor in mouse models, indicating this fungus can reduce PSA levels," Wang said. "While more research is needed, it's possible that white button mushrooms could one day contribute to the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer."

 

 

Study shows stronger brain activity after writing on paper than on tablet or smartphone

University of Tokyo, March 18, 2021

A study of Japanese university students and recent graduates has revealed that writing on physical paper can lead to more brain activity when remembering the information an hour later. Researchers say that the complex, spatial and tactile information associated with writing by hand on physical paper is likely what leads to improved memory.

"Actually, paper is more advanced and useful compared to electronic documents because paper contains more one-of-a-kind information for stronger memory recall," said Professor Kuniyoshi L. Sakai, a neuroscientist at the University of Tokyo and corresponding author of the research recently published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. The research was completed with collaborators from the NTT Data Institute of Management Consulting.

Contrary to the popular belief that digital tools increase efficiency, volunteers who used paper completed the note-taking task about 25% faster than those who used digital tablets or smartphones.

Although volunteers wrote by hand both with pen and paper or stylus and digital tablet, researchers say paper notebooks contain more complex spatial informationthan digital paper. Physical paper allows for tangible permanence, irregular strokes, and uneven shape, like folded corners. In contrast, digital paper is uniform, has no fixed position when scrolling, and disappears when you close the app.

"Our take-home message is to use paper notebooks for information we need to learn or memorize," said Sakai.

In the study, a total of 48 volunteers read a fictional conversation between characters discussing their plans for two months in the near future, including 14 different class times, assignment due dates and personal appointments. Researchers performed pre-test analyses to ensure that the volunteers, all 18-29 years old and recruited from university campuses or NTT offices, were equally sorted into three groups based on memory skills, personal preference for digital or analog methods, gender, age and other aspects.

Volunteers then recorded the fictional schedule using a paper datebook and pen, a calendar app on a digital tablet and a stylus, or a calendar app on a large smartphone and a touch-screen keyboard. There was no time limit and volunteers were asked to record the fictional events in the same way as they would for their real-life schedules, without spending extra time to memorize the schedule.

After one hour, including a break and an interference task to distract them from thinking about the calendar, volunteers answered a range of simple (When is the assignment due?) and complex (Which is the earlier due date for the assignments?) multiple choice questions to test their memory of the schedule. While they completed the test, volunteers were inside a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner, which measures blood flow around the brain. This is a technique called functional MRI (fMRI), and increased blood flow observed in a specific region of the brain is a sign of increased neuronal activity in that area.

Participants who used a paper datebook filled in the calendar within about 11 minutes. Tablet users took 14 minutes and smartphone users took about 16 minutes. Volunteers who used analog methods in their personal life were just as slow at using the devices as volunteers who regularly use digital tools, so researchers are confident that the difference in speed was related to memorization or associated encoding in the brain, not just differences in the habitual use of the tools.

Volunteers who used analog methods scored better than other volunteers only on simple test questions. However, researchers say that the brain activation data revealed significant differences.

Volunteers who used paper had more brain activity in areas associated with language, imaginary visualization, and in the hippocampus—an area known to be important for memory and navigation. Researchers say that the activation of the hippocampus indicates that analog methods contain richer spatial details that can be recalled and navigated in the mind's eye.

"Digital tools have uniform scrolling up and down and standardized arrangement of text and picture size, like on a webpage. But if you remember a physical textbook printed on paper, you can close your eyes and visualize the photo one-third of the way down on the left-side page, as well as the notes you added in the bottom margin," Sakai explained.

Researchers say that personalizing digital documents by highlighting, underlining, circling, drawing arrows, handwriting color-coded notes in the margins, adding virtual sticky notes, or other types of unique mark-ups can mimic analog-style spatial enrichment that may enhance memory.

Although they have no data from younger volunteers, researchers suspect that the difference in brain activation between analog and digital methods is likely to be stronger in younger people.

"High school students' brains are still developing and are so much more sensitive than adult brains," said Sakai.

Although the current research focused on learning and memorization, the researchers encourage using paper for creative pursuits as well.

"It is reasonable that one's creativity will likely become more fruitful if prior knowledge is stored with stronger learning and more precisely retrieved from memory. For art, composing music, or other creative works, I would emphasize the use of paper instead of digital methods," said Sakai.

 

Eating processed meat could increase dementia risk?

University of Leeds (UK), March 22, 2021

Scientists from the University of Leeds's Nutritional Epidemiology Group used data from 500,000 people, discovering that consuming a 25g serving of processed meat a day, the equivalent to one rasher of bacon, is associated with a 44% increased risk of developing the disease. 

But their findings also show eating some unprocessed red meat, such as beef, pork or veal, could be protective, as people who consumed 50g a day were 19% less likely to develop dementia.? 

The researchers were exploring a potential link between consumption of meat and the development of dementia, a health condition that affects 5%-8% of over 60s worldwide. 

Their results, titled Meat consumption and risk of incident dementia: cohort study of 493888 UK Biobank participants, are published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Lead researcher Huifeng Zhang, a PhD student from the University of?Leeds'?School of Food Science and Nutrition, said: "Worldwide, the prevalence of dementia is increasing and diet as a modifiable factor could play a role. Our research adds to the growing body of evidence linking processed meat consumption, to increased risk of a range of non-transmissible diseases."? 

The research was supervised by Professor Janet Cade and Professor Laura Hardie, both at Leeds. 

The team studied?data provided by UK Biobank, a database containing in-depth genetic and health information from half a million UK participants?aged 40 to 69, to investigate associations between consuming different types of meat and risk of developing dementia.?? 

The data included?how often?participants?consumed different kinds of meat, with six options from never to once or more daily, collected in 2006-2010 by the UK Biobank.?The study did not specifically assess the impact of a vegetarian or vegan diet on dementia risk, but it included data from people who said they did not eat red meat.? 

Among the participants, 2,896 cases of dementia emerged over an average of eight years of follow up.?These people were?generally older, more?economically deprived, less educated, more likely to smoke, less physically active, more likely to have stroke history and family dementia history, and more likely to be carriers of a gene which is highly associated with dementia. More men than women were diagnosed with dementia in the study population.?? 

Some people were three to six times more likely to develop dementia due to well established genetic factors, but the findings suggest the risks from eating processed meat were the same?whether or not?a person was genetically predisposed to developing the disease.? 

Those who consumed higher amounts of processed meat were?more likely to be male, less educated, smokers, overweight or obese, had lower intakes of vegetables and fruits, and had higher intakes of energy, protein, and fat (including saturated fat).? 

Meat consumption has previously been associated with dementia risk, but this is believed to be the first large-scale study of participants over time to examine a link between specific meat types and amounts, and the risk of developing the disease.? 

There are around 50 million dementia cases globally, with around 10 million new cases diagnosed every year. Alzheimer's Disease makes up 50% to 70% of cases, and vascular dementia around 25%. Its development and progression are associated with both genetic and environmental factors, including diet and lifestyle.?? 

Ms?Zhang said: "Further confirmation is needed, but the direction of effect is linked to current healthy eating guidelines suggesting lower intakes of unprocessed red meat could be beneficial for health." 

Professor Cade said: 'Anything we can do to explore potential risk factors for dementia may help us to reduce rates of this debilitating condition. This analysis is a first step towards understanding whether what we eat could influence that risk."

 

Tea drinking slashes the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease: Singapore population-based analysis

 

National University of Singapore, March 20, 2021

 

Tea consumption halves the risk of cognitive impairment for people 55 years old and above, and also dramatically reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease among those at greater genetic risk.

 

These were the key findings of a longitudinal study involving 957 seniors led by assistant professor Feng Lei from the Department of Psychological Medicine at National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. It found that regular consumption of tea lowers the risk of cognitive decline in the elderly by 50%, while APOE e4 gene carriers who are genetically at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease may experience a reduction in cognitive impairment risk by as much as 86%.

 

The research team also discovered that the neuroprotective role of tea consumption on cognitive function is not limited to a particular type of tea – so long as the tea is brewed from tea leaves, such as green, black or oolong tea.

 

“While the study was conducted on Chinese elderly, the results could apply to other races as well. Our findings have important implications for dementia prevention. Despite high quality drug trials, effective pharmacological therapy for neurocognitive disorders such as dementia remains elusive and current prevention strategies are far from satisfactory. Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. The data from our study suggests that a simple and inexpensive lifestyle measure such as daily tea drinking can reduce a person’s risk of developing neurocognitive disorders in late life,” said assistant professor Feng.

 

However, he said much more work is needed to fully understand the biological mechanisms responsible for these benefits.

 

Assistant professor Feng added: "Based on current knowledge, this long term benefit of tea consumption is due to the bioactive compounds in tea leaves, such as catechins, theaflavins, thearubigins and L-theanine. These compounds exhibit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential and other bioactive properties that may protect the brain from vascular damage and neurodegeneration. Our understanding of the detailed biological mechanisms is still very limited so we do need more research to find out definitive answers."

 

In this study, tea consumption information was collected from the participants, who were community-living elderly, from 2003 to 2005. At regular intervals of two years, these seniors were assessed on their cognitive function using standardised tools until 2010. Information on lifestyles, medical conditions, physical and social activities were also collected. Those potential confounding factors were controlled in statistical models to ensure the robustness of the findings.

 

The paper, published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, stated: "A total of 72 incidents of neurocognitive disorders (NCD) were identified from the cohort. Tea intake was associated with lower risk of incident NCD, independent of other risk factors. Reduced NCD risk was observed for both green tea (OR=0.43) and black/oolong tea (OR=0.53) and appeared to be influenced by the changing of tea consumption habit at follow-up. Using consistent non-tea consumers as the reference, only consistent tea consumers had reduced risk of NCD (OR=0.39). Stratified analyses indicated that tea consumption was associated with reduced risk of NCD among females (OR=0.32) and APOE e4 carriers (OR=0.14) but not males and non APOE e4 carriers."

 

It concluded that regular tea consumption was associated with lower risk of neurocognitive disorders among Chinese elderly. Gender and genetic factors could possibly modulate this association, it added.

 

 

Exposure to common chemical during pregnancy may reduce protection against breast cancer

Research suggests propylparaben is an endocrine disruptor

University of Massachusetts, March 16, 2021

Low doses of propylparaben - a chemical preservative found in food, drugs and cosmetics - can alter pregnancy-related changes in the breast in ways that may lessen the protection against breast cancer that pregnancy hormones normally convey, according to University of Massachusetts Amherst research.

The findings, published March 16 in the journal Endocrinology, suggest that propylparaben is an endocrine-disrupting chemical that interferes with the actions of hormones, says environmental health scientist Laura Vandenberg, the study's senior author. Endocrine disruptors can affect organs sensitive to hormones, including the mammary gland in the breast that produces milk.

"We found that propylparaben disrupts the mammary gland of mice at exposure levels that have previously been considered safe based on results from industry-sponsored studies. We also saw effects of propylparaben after doses many times lower, which are more reflective of human intake," Vandenberg says. "Although our study did not evaluate breast cancer risk, these changes in the mammary tissue are involved in mitigating cancer risk in women."

Hormones produced during pregnancy not only allow breast tissue to produce milk for the infant, but also are partly responsible for a reduced risk of breast cancer in women who give birth at a younger age.

The researchers, including co-lead author Joshua Mogus, a Ph.D. student in Vandenberg's lab, tested whether propylparaben exposure during the vulnerable period of pregnancy and breastfeeding adversely alters the reorganization of the mammary gland. They examined the mothers' mammary glands five weeks after they exposed the female mice to environmentally doses of propylparaben during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Compared with pregnant mice that had not received propylparaben, the exposed mice had mammary gland changes not typical of pregnancy, the researchers report. These mice had increased rates of cell proliferation, which Vandenberg says is a possible risk factor for breast cancer. They also had less-dense epithelial structures, fewer immune cell types and thinner periductal collagen, the connective tissue in the mammary gland.

"Some of these changes may be consistent with a loss of the protective effects that are typically associated with pregnancy," says Mogus, who was chosen to present the research, deemed "particularly newsworthy" by the Endocrine Society, at the international group's virtual annual meeting, ENDO 2021, beginning March 20. 

Mogus says future studies should address whether pregnant females exposed to propylparaben are actually more susceptible to breast cancer. "Because pregnant women are exposed to propylparaben in many personal care products and foods, it is possible that they are at risk," Mogus says, adding that pregnant and breastfeeding women should try to avoid using products containing propylparaben and other parabens.

"This chemical is so widely used, it may be impossible to avoid entirely," Mogus adds. "It is critical that relevant public health agencies address endocrine-disrupting chemicals as a matter of policy."

 

 

Low magnesium levels associated with depressive symptoms and metabolic disorders in men

Pomeranian Medical University (Poland), March 19, 2021

 

According to news reporting from Szczecin, Poland, research stated, “Background: changes in the concentration of magnesium influence numerous processes in the body, such as hormone and lipid metabolism, nerve conduction, a number of biochemical pathways in the brain, and metabolic cycles. As a result, changes in magnesium concentration may contribute to the emergence of such pathologies as depressive and metabolic disorders, including hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Pomeranian Medical University: “Methods: blood samples were taken from 342 men whose mean age was 61.66 ± 6.38 years. The concentrations of magnesium, lipid parameters, and glucose were determined using the spectrophotometric method. Anthropometric measurements were performed to determine each participant’s body mass index (BMI). Additionally, all participants completed two questionnaires: the Beck Depression Inventory and the author’s questionnaire. Results: abnormal levels of magnesium were found in 78 people. The analysis showed that these subjects more often suffered from metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus (* * p* * < 0.001), hypertension (* * p* * < 0.001), and depressive symptoms (* * p* * = 0.002) than participants with normal magnesium levels.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Conclusion: our research showed that there is a relationship between abnormal levels of magnesium and the presence of self-reported conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and depressive symptoms among aging men. These findings may contribute to the improvement of the diagnosis and treatment of patients with these conditions.”

 

 

Self-compassion can lessen feelings of work-from-home loneliness, finds study

Indiana University, March 19, 2021

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is keeping millions of Americans from their usual offices, as they find themselves still working at home. Even with the vaccine now being distributed, working from home may still be the future for some, and new research suggests the resulting work loneliness negatively impacts employee well-being.

Stephanie Andel, an assistant professor of psychology in the School of Science at IUPUI, along with collaborators at York University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, recently published a study finding that feelings of work loneliness during the pandemic were associated higher depression and fewer voluntary work behaviors. The research appears in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.

"We wanted to understand what factors are driving feelings of work loneliness, and to understand how this work loneliness influenced employees' psychological health and work behaviors," Andel said. "We looked at three different factors that we thought might drive work loneliness: perceptions of job insecurity, telecommuting frequency and insufficient communication from their companies about how they were responding to the pandemic.

"We found each of those factors contributed to feelings of work loneliness, and we also found that work loneliness was associated with depression and fewer voluntary helping behaviors at work."

Participants in the study came from a wide range of industries including manufacturing; technology, such as computer programming; retail; and education. The results are based on weekly surveys of these individuals from mid-March to mid-May 2020.

When people feel lonely, the study found, they experience more depressive symptoms, and they are less likely to go above and beyond in their jobs, such as helping a co-worker—something many organizations may have hoped their employees would do during the pandemic.

But there is hope—in the form of self-compassion. Andel and colleagues found self-compassion, or being kind to yourself during times of suffering, can mitigate some of the negative effects of work loneliness.

"We found that self-compassion helps protect employees from some of the negative effects of work loneliness," Andel said. "We suspect this is because self-compassion leads individuals to be kinder to themselves, makes them more likely to recognize that they are not alone in their feelings and helps them to be aware of—but not consumed by—their negative feelings."

Individuals who reported having higher levels of self-compassion exhibited fewer depressive symptoms following feelings of work loneliness in comparison to those with lower levels of self-compassion. But they also engaged in fewer helping behaviors, which surprised the study's authors.

"We originally thought if you were more self-compassionate, you might have the energy and mental resources to engage in more helping behaviors at work," Andel said. "However, it turns out that the pattern is opposite of what we expected. Instead, those who were higher in self-compassion were more likely to give themselves a necessary break. We suspect that this may ultimately help them to feel better and help more in the future."

Although self-compassion has been studied quite a bit in the field of clinical psychology, it has rarely been examined in the workplace context. Andel is optimistic about its potential to enhance the health and well-being of employees.

"It will be very interesting for future research to continue investigating the power of self-compassion in the workplace," she said. "For instance, it would be great to see if managers who promote self-compassion at work foster a better working experience for their employees. Ultimately, my collaborators and I hope to develop self-compassion interventions that can be utilized by companies to help their employees feel and perform better at work."

For companies that want to help their employees struggling right now with work loneliness, Andel provides the following suggestions:

  • Provide consistent and clear communication regularly to employees regarding the company's response to the pandemic and be transparent about structural or financial changes that may affect employees' job security or income.
  • Host virtual social gatherings for employees. These should not be mandatory, but rather voluntary social activities aimed at enhancing employee morale and promoting a sense of belonging among employees.
  • Create an organizational climate that promotes and encourages employee self-compassion.

For individuals who want to take the initiative themselves to enhance their own self-compassion, Andel suggests that in times of perceived failure or suffering, one should try to avoid negative self-talk and instead, give the same kindness and compassion to oneself that you would give to a good friend.

"This is an exciting and important step in bringing self-compassion to the organizational literature, and my collaborators and I look forward to building on this research," Andel said. 

The Gary Null Show - 03.22.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.22.21

March 22, 2021

Choline supplements may help delay dementia in APOE4 gene carriers

MIT and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, March 18, 2021

 

Researchers found that the APOE4 gene may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other dementias by altering brain cells' lipid metabolism.

Choline supplements reversed these defects in cell studies, supporting further research in people carrying APOE4.

Certain genes can increase the risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. One of the most significant genetic risk factors is a form of the apolipoprotein E gene called APOE4. About 25% of people carry one copy of APOE4, and 2 to 3% carry two copies. ApoE4 is the strongest risk factor gene for Alzheimer's disease, although inheriting ApoE4 does not mean a person will definitely develop the disease.

The APOE gene comes in several different forms, or alleles. APOE3 is the most common and not believed to affect Alzheimer's risk. APOE2 is relatively rare and may provide some protection against Alzheimer's disease.

The reason APOE4 increases Alzheimer's risk isn't not well understood. The APOE protein helps carry cholesterol and other types of fat in the bloodstream. Recent studies suggest that problems with brain cells' ability to process fats, or lipids, may play a key role in Alzheimer's and related diseases.

Lipid imbalances can impair many of a cell's essential processes. This includes creating cell membranes, moving molecules within the cell, and generating energy.

Dr. Li-Huei Tsai and the late Dr. Susan Lindquist of MIT investigated how APOE4 affects lipid metabolism in brain cells. The study was funded by NIH's National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Cancer Institute (NCI), and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Dr. Priyanka Narayan of NIH's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) was a co-first author. Findings were published in Science Translational Medicine on March 3, 2021.

The research team began by creating brain cells called astrocytes using stem cells. They used skin cells from people carrying APOE3 or APOE4 that were reprogrammed into a state where they could develop into any cell. Called induced pluripotent stem cells, these cells were then coaxed into becoming astrocytes, star-shaped cells that produce the most ApoE in the brain.

The researchers found changes in how APOE4 astrocytes were able to process lipids. The astrocytes accumulated droplets containing fats called triglycerides. These triglycerides had many more unsaturated fatty acid chains than normal. Lipid buildup in the APOE4 astrocytes was much greater than in APOE3 astrocytes. The researchers also found disruptions in lipid metabolism when they coaxed the cells into becoming other brain cells called microglia.

The team next tested whether yeast cells with the human version of APOE4 would have the same disruption in lipid metabolism. Lipid metabolism pathways are very similar between yeast and humans. Yeast with a copy of the APOE4 gene accumulated lipids much like the human cells did. Genetic screens in the yeast identified a molecular pathway that could be responsible for the defects. Boosting the activity of a pathway that normally produces phospholipidsan essential building block of the cell membranereversed some of the lipid accumulation.

Further research showed that supplementing the yeast cells' culture with choline restored normal lipid metabolism. Choline is needed to synthesize phospholipids. Similar benefits were seen after treating the human APOE4 astrocyte cells with choline. These findings provide preliminary support for testing choline supplements in people who carry APOE4.

"What we would really like to see is whether in the human population, in those APOE4 carriers, if they take choline supplements to a sufficient amount, whether that would delay or give them some protection against developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease," Tsai says.

However, it is important to keep in mind that results from isolated cells don't often translate into successful approaches when tested in people.

 

 

Acupuncture Tops Usual Care for Pain in Cancer Survivors

Two types of acupuncture proved superior, with one better than the other

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center  March 18, 2021

 

Two types of acupuncture significantly reduced chronic musculoskeletal pain in cancer survivors as compared with usual care, a randomized trial showed.

Electroacupuncture reduced patient-reported pain by 1.9 points versus usual care, and auricular acupuncture reduced patients' mean pain score by 1.6 points as compared with usual care, which consisted of analgesics, physical therapy, and steroid injections.

Auricular acupuncture, developed by the U.S. military and widely used in VA health facilities, failed to achieve noninferiority to electroacupuncture and was associated with more adverse events (AEs), reported Jun J. Mao, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and co-authors in JAMA Oncology.

"The magnitude of effect of electroacupuncture was clinically important and durable," the authors wrote. "This finding is consistent with evidence from other large acupuncture trials for chronic pain in the general population. Electroacupuncture has been shown to influence endogenous opioid release, which provides a mechanistic basis for chronic pain management."

"The present trial includes a large and diverse group of cancer survivors and provides evidence that electroacupuncture provides additional benefits beyond usual care, including not only reduction in pain severity, but also improvements in physical function and quality of life and reductions in analgesic use."

The U.S. has a growing population of cancer survivors, who have a greater pain burden than the general population. Almost half of cancer survivors receive inadequate pain relief, adversely affecting quality of life, physical function, and cancer-related outcomes.

large body of evidence supports the superiority of acupuncture over usual care for relief of chronic noncancer pain, and last year CMS approved coverage of acupuncture for chronic lower back pain. A recent meta-analysis showed that acupuncture reduced cancer-associated pain, but the strength of evidence was considered moderate because of trials' small sample sizes and heterogeneity of acupuncture techniques.

Mao and colleagues reported findings from the largest randomized trial to date of acupuncture for cancer-related pain. The multicenter PEACE study enrolled adults with a history of cancer but no current evidence of disease. Eligible patients had musculoskeletal pain for at least 3 months and at least 15 of the preceding 30 days and a worst pain intensity within the past week of ≥4 (moderate or greater) on the 0-10 scale of the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI).

Patients were randomized 2:2:1 to electroacupuncture, auricular acupuncture, or usual care. Licensed experienced acupuncturists provided both types of acupuncture. During electroacupuncture, needles were placed at four sites near the pain location and four additional sites elsewhere on the body to address comorbid symptoms. The angle and depth of insertion were individualized to each patient's body type and point location. Treatment consisted of 10 once-weekly 30-minute sessions.

The protocol for auricular acupuncture, often called "battlefield acupuncture," was standardized and began with insertion of one needle into the cingulate gyrus of one ear. The patient then walked for 1 minute. If pain remained ≥1 on the BPI, another needle was inserted into the other ear. The process was repeated for the remaining ear points: thalamus, omega 2, point zero, and shen men.

The primary endpoint was change in average BPI score from baseline to week 12, and data analysis included 360 patients. Of 145 patients randomized to electroacupuncture, 136 (93.8%) completed at least eight sessions, as did 117 of 143 (81.8%) patients assigned to auricular acupuncture.

Mean baseline BPI scores ranged from 5.0 to 5.6. The most common sites of pain across all three groups were lower back (27.8% to 36.6%), knee/leg (14.5% to 23.6%), and hip/thigh (11.0% to 12.5%). At week 12, mean BPI score had declined by 0.48 in the usual care group, 2.39 in the electroacupuncture group (P<0.001), and 2.03 in the auricular acupuncture group (P<0.001). The 0.36 difference between the two acupuncture groups exceeded the prespecified noninferiority margin of 0.657 for auricular versus electroacupuncture.

AEs in both acupuncture groups were mild or moderate. Bruising was the most common AE in the electroacupuncture group (10.3%), and ear pain was most common with auricular acupuncture (18.9%). Only one patient (0.7%) discontinued electroacupuncture because of an AE, as compared with 15 (10.5%) in the auricular acupuncture group (P<0.001).

 

 

High vitamin D levels may protect against COVID-19, especially for Black people

In a study of individuals tested for COVID-19, vitamin D levels above those traditionally considered sufficient were associated with a lower risk of COVID-19.

University of Chicago Medicine Center, March 19, 2021

A new research study at the University of Chicago Medicine has found that when it comes to COVID-19, having vitamin D levels above those traditionally considered sufficient may lower the risk of infection, especially for Black people.

The study, published March 19 in JAMA Open Network, retrospectively examined the relationship between vitamin D levels and likelihood of testing positive for COVID-19. While levels of 30 ng/ml or more are usually considered "sufficient," the authors found that Black individuals who had levels of 30 to 40 ng/ml had a 2.64 times higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19 than people with levels of 40 ng/ml or greater. Statistically significant associations of vitamin D levels with COVID-19 risk were not found in white people. The study looked at data from over 3,000 patients at UChicago Medicine who had had their vitamin D levels tested within 14 days before a COVID-19 test. 

The research team is now recruiting participants for two separate clinical trials testing the efficacy of vitamin D supplements for preventing COVID-19. 

This research is an expansion of an earlier study showing that a vitamin D deficiency (less than 20 ng/ml) may raise the risk of testing positive for COVID-19. In the current study, those results were further supported, finding that individuals with a vitamin D deficiency had a 7.2% chance of testing positive for the virus. A separate study recently found that over 80% of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 were vitamin D deficient. 

"These new results tell us that having vitamin D levels above those normally considered sufficient is associated with decreased risk of testing positive for COVID-19, at least in Black individuals," said David Meltzer, MD, PhD, Chief of Hospital Medicine at UChicago Medicine and lead author of the study. "This supports arguments for designing clinical trials that can test whether or not vitamin D may be a viable intervention to lower the risk of the disease, especially in persons of color." 

Meltzer was inspired to investigate this topic after seeing an article in early 2020 that found people with vitamin D deficiency who had randomly been assigned to receive vitamin D supplementation had much lower rates of viral respiratory infections compared to those who did not receive supplementation. He decided to examine data being collected at UChicago Medicine on COVID-19 to determine the role that vitamin D levels might be playing. 

"There's a lot of literature on vitamin D. Most of it has been focused on bone health, which is where the current standards for sufficient vitamin D levels come from," Meltzer explained. "But there's also some evidence that vitamin D might improve immune function and decrease inflammation. So far, the data has been relatively inconclusive. Based on these results, we think that earlier studies may have given doses that were too low to have much of an effect on the immune system, even if they were sufficient for bone health. It may be that different levels of vitamin D are adequate for different functions." 

Vitamin D can be obtained through diet or supplements, or produced by the body in response to exposure of the skin to sunlight. Meltzer noted that most individuals, especially people with darker skin, have lower levels of vitamin D; roughly half of the world's population has levels below 30ng/ml. "Lifeguards, surfers, those are the kinds of folks who tend to have more than sufficient vitamin D levels," he said. "Most folks living in Chicago in the winter are going to have levels that are well below that." 

While vitamin D supplements are relatively safe to take, excessive consumption of vitamin D supplements is associated with hypercalcemia, a condition in which calcium builds up in the blood stream and causes nausea, vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination. If left unchecked, it can further lead to bone pain and kidney stones. 

"Currently, the adult recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D is 600 to 800 international units (IUs) per day," said Meltzer. "The National Academy of Medicine has said that taking up to 4,000 IUs per day is safe for the vast majority of people, and risk of hypercalcemia increases at levels over 10,000 IUs per day." 

One of the challenges of this study is that it is currently difficult to determine exactly how vitamin D may be supporting immune function. "This is an observational study," said Meltzer. "We can see that there's an association between vitamin D levels and likelihood of a COVID-19 diagnosis, but we don't know exactly why that is, or whether these results are due to the vitamin D directly or other related biological factors." 

Prompted by the evidence that people with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to test positive for COVID-19 and experience significant symptoms, a team at the University of Chicago and Rush University is conducting two studies to learn whether taking a daily vitamin D supplement can help prevent COVID-19 or decrease the severity of its symptoms.

 

 

Study: 94% of older adults prescribed drugs that raise risk of falling

From 1999-2017, more than 7.8 billion fall-risk-increasing drugs were prescribed to older adults in the US, and deaths from falls doubled

University of Buffalo, March 2021 

Nearly every older adult was prescribed a prescription drug that increased their risk of falling in 2017, according to new University at Buffalo research.

The study found that the percentage of adults 65 and older who were prescribed a fall- risk-increasing drug climbed to 94% in 2017, a significant leap from 57% in 1999. The research also revealed that the rate of death caused by falls in older adults more than doubled during the same time period.

Even minor falls may be dangerous for older adults. Falls that are not fatal can still result in injuries - such as hip fractures and head traumas - that may drastically lower remaining quality of life. Each year, nearly $50 billion is spent on medical costs related to fall injuries among older adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The alarming results solidify the importance of interventions to de-prescribe potentially inappropriate drugs among older, frailer patients, says Amy Shaver, PharmD, lead investigator and postdoctoral associate in the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions.

"Our study indicates two trends increasing concurrently at a population level that should be examined at the individual level. Our hope is it will start more conversations on health care teams about the pros and cons of medications prescribed for vulnerable populations," says Shaver.

Additional investigators in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences include Collin Clark, PharmD, clinical assistant professor; David Jacobs, PharmD, PhD, assistant professor; Robert Wahler Jr., PharmD, clinical associate professor; and Mary Hejna, PharmD, pharmacy resident at Kaleida Health.

Recently published in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, the study examined data on deaths due to falls and prescription fills among people 65 and older from the National Vital Statistics System and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

Fall-risk-increasing drugs include antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, antihypertensives (for high blood pressure), opioids, sedative hypnotics, and benzodiazepines (tranquilizers such as Valium and Xanax), as well as other nonprescription medications.

From 1999-2017, more than 7.8 billion fall-risk-increasing drug orders were filled by older adults in the United States. The majority of the prescriptions were for antihypertensives. However, there was also a sharp rise in the use of antidepressants, from 12 million prescriptions in 1999 to more than 52 million in 2017.

"The rise in the use of antidepressant medications seen in this study is likely related to the use of these agents as safer alternatives to older medications for conditions such as depression and anxiety," says Shaver. "However, it is important to note that these medications are still associated with increased risks of falls and fractures among older adults."

Women were also found more likely than men to be prescribed fall-risk-increasing drugs, particularly Black women, who received the medications at the highest rate compared to women of other races. White women who were 85 and older experienced the largest increase in deaths from falls, rising 160% between 1999 and 2017.

The investigators are involved in multidisciplinary de-prescribing initiatives conducted through Team Alice and the UB Center for Successful Aging. The efforts encourage and evaluate patient/caregiver-initiated de-prescribing conversations with health care providers, promote interprofessional education on de-prescribing, and advocate for policy and system changes.

 

Probiotic effective in treating gum inflammation: Study

University of Strasbourg (Germany), March 21, 2021

Probiotics can benefit inflammation of the tissue around the teeth, a meta-analysis suggests.

The authors found that periodontitis, which is usually treated with antibiotics, responded positively to the Lactobacillus reuteri probiotic species providing a viable alternative and lowering antibiotic resistance risk.

The antibiotics commonly used in periodontal treatment are penicillin, tetracycline, macrolide and metronidazole and microbiota of the oral cavity can act as a reservoir of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms, some of which are capable of causing disease.

Currently, in Europe , China, and the United States, periodontitis is reported to affect more than half of the adult population.

In ageing populations, the prevalence of periodontitis is even higher, with 70–90% of individuals aged between 60 and 74 suffering from the malady.

Review methodology

Researchers from the University of Strasbourg began by searching electronic databases.

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing scale and root planning (SRP) with probiotic treatment vs SRP were included.

A meta-analysis of these database results showed that the use of the probiotic supplement resulted in reduced values that measured the severity of periodontitis (PPD), improvements in measures of clinical manifestation and determinant of periodontal disease (CAL) and reduced bleeding on probing (BOP) in the short term.

“Certain probiotics could be used in combination with SRP for the management of chronic periodontitis, especially in case of deep pockets, with similar results to other adjunctive methods,” the authors noted.

The use of probiotics to accompany SRP has long been suggested as a better decontamination of the root surfaces alongside more first-line treatments such as antibiotics, antiseptics or photodynamic therapy.

Probiotic species such as Lactobacillius or Bifidobacterium are commonly used to treat diseases related to the gastrointestinal tract, as well as urogenital infections, eczema and oro-pharyngeal infections.

At the periodontal level, the application of probiotics in combination with SRP had been previously studied in animal models and produced evidence of delayed and reduced periodontopathogen recolonisation.  

“The most described probiotic regarding CP treatment is L. reuteri, a bacterium able to produce an antimicrobial compound resistant to proteolytic and liplytic enzymes. L.reuteri has shown in vitro an inhibitory effect against periodontopathogenic bacteria,” the study observed.

Conflicting studies

While the influence of L. reuteri on the reduction of gingival inflammation and plaque accumulation had been evaluated in several studies, there were some discrepancies among the results.

One study concluded that L. reuteri reduced both gingivitis and plaque in patients with moderate to severe ginigivitis in 14 days. However, in another study no significant differences in plaque index (PI) or gingival index (GI) were found at 8 weeks between test and control groups

 

 

Health declining in Gen X and Gen Y, national study shows

Ohio State University, March 20, 2021

Recent generations show a worrying decline in health compared to their parents and grandparents when they were the same age, a new national study reveals.

Researchers found that, compared to previous generations, members of Generation X and Generation Y showed poorer physical health, higher levels of unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol use and smoking, and more depression and anxiety.

The results suggest the likelihood of higher levels of diseases and more deaths in younger generations than we have seen in the past, said Hui Zheng, lead author of the study and professor of sociology at The Ohio State University.

"The worsening health profiles we found in Gen X and Gen Y is alarming," Zheng said.

"If we don't find a way to slow this trend, we are potentially going to see an expansion of morbidity and mortality rates in the United States as these generations get older."

Zheng conducted the study with Paola Echave, a graduate student in sociology at Ohio State. The results were published online yesterday (March 18, 2021) in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

The researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1988-2016 (62,833 respondents) and the National Health Interview Survey 1997-2018 (625,221 respondents), both conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.

To measure physical health, the researchers used eight markers of a condition called metabolic syndrome, a constellation of risk factors for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes. Some of the markers include waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol level and body mass index (BMI). They also used one marker of chronic inflammation, low urinary albumin, and one additional marker of renal function, creatinine clearance.

The researchers found that the measures of physical health have worsened from the baby boomer generation through Gen X (born 1965-80) and Gen Y (born 1981-99). For whites, increases in metabolic syndrome were the main culprit, while increases in chronic inflammation were seen most in Black Americans, particularly men.

"The declining health trends in recent generations is a shocking finding," Zheng said. "It suggests we may have a challenging health prospect in the United State in coming years."

Zheng said it is beyond the scope of the study to comprehensively explain the reasons behind the health decline. But the researchers did check two factors. They found smoking couldn't explain the decline. Obesity could help explain the increase in metabolic syndrome, but not the increases seen in chronic inflammation.

It wasn't just the overall health markers that were concerning for some members of the younger generations, Zheng said.

Results showed that levels of anxiety and depression have increased for each generation of whites from the War Babies generation (born 1943-45) through Gen Y.

While levels of these two mental health indicators did increase for Blacks up through the early baby boomers, the rate has been generally flat since then.

Health behaviors also show worrying trends.

The probability of heavy drinking has continuously increased across generations for whites and Black males, especially after late-Gen X (born 1973-80).

For whites and Blacks, the probability of using street drugs peaked at late boomers (born 1956-64), decreased afterward, then rose again for late-Gen X. For Hispanics, it has continuously increased since early-baby boomers.

Surprisingly, results suggest the probability of having ever smoked has continuously increased across generations for all groups.

How can this be true with other research showing a decline in overall cigarette consumption since the 1970s?

"One possibility is that people in older generations are quitting smoking in larger numbers while younger generations are more likely to start smoking," Zheng said. "But we need further research to see if that is correct."

Zheng said these results may be just an early warning of what is to come.

"People in Gen X and Gen Y are still relatively young, so we may be underestimating their health problems," he said. "When they get older and chronic diseases become more prevalent, we'll have a better view of their health status."

Zheng noted that the United States has already seen recent decreases in life expectancy and increases in disability and morbidity.

"Our results suggest that without effective policy interventions, these disturbing trends won't be temporary, but a battle we'll have to continue to fight."

 

 

Why Black is the New Green Tea

Life Extension, March 19, 2021

We’ve been drinking green tea for years, and with good reason. Not only does it make for a tasty teatime, but study after study has demonstrated the protective effects of the antioxidants that green tea is loaded with, leading many of us to also take it in extract form. But have we been missing out by giving black tea the shrug off? As it turns out, black tea contains theaflavins, which have health benefits in their own right. Here’s how the two tea varieties compare.

What’s so great about green tea?

So why has green tea been a favorite for so many years? Green tea is loaded with antioxidants, which are potent age-fighting nutrients that protect cells and tissues from destruction caused by free radicals. Produced from environmental toxins, free radicals attack healthy cells and increase inflammation throughout your body, causing irreversible damage. Antioxidants in green tea gobble up those free radicals and reduce inflammation, keeping your cells safe and healthy.

Among other benefits, green tea has been shown to:

  • Protect against heart disease
  • Support the immune system
  • Enhance mood and memory
  • Relieve arthritis
  • Help manage blood sugar

But green tea has its limits. It can't stop the production of free radicals or prevent inflammation from starting in the first place. That’s where black tea comes in.

Welcome to the dark side: the benefits of black tea

Might black tea be better for you than green tea? If longevity is your game plan, the answer is: perhaps. By influencing the expression of certain genes, black tea can prevent the production of free radicals and stop inflammation before it even starts, thanks to compounds called theaflavins.

Preclinical evidence shows that theaflavins, which give the tea its reddish hue, may protect against a huge array of different threats to our health, including cancer, atherosclerosis, obesity, osteoporosis, periodontal disease, inflammatory disorders and bacterial and viral infections.

Black tea and inflammation

Much of the misery of age-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic pain and even cancer can be traced to inflammation. Chronic inflammation saturates your body in molecules known as cytokines, which are used by immune system cells to signal each other and react to potential threats. Circulating inflammatory cytokines have been linked to arterial disease, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, stroke and coronary heart disease, among other serious concerns.2,3

These inflammatory molecules are the products of specific genes, and black tea theaflavins can turn those genes off, helping to control inflammation when and where it starts.

Highly purified theaflavin extracts have been shown to reduce damage caused by inflammation-based diseases, such as:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Black or green, tea is a healthy choice

Both black and green tea have health benefits, whether you’re seeking the healthy mood and inflammatory response of green tea or want to address the genes involved in inflammation at their source with theaflavins from black tea. Since inflammation is the common denominator of all chronic age-related diseases, drink up! Or, seek a black tea or green tea based extract to add to your longevity regimen.

The Gary Null Show - 03.19.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.19.21

March 19, 2021

On 10th Anniversary of the U.S.-NATO Attack on Libya: Powerful Perpetrators Have Yet To Face Justice

By Jeremy Kuzmarov on Mar 19, 2021

Three Powerful American WomenHillary Clinton, Samantha Power and Susan RicePushed Obama into Destroying the Wealthiest, Healthiest and Happiest Nation in Africa

On this day ten years ago, the Obama administration launched air strikes over Libya under the banner of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which culminated in the killing of Libya’s long-time […]

The post On 10th Anniversary of the U.S.-NATO Attack on Libya: Powerful Perpetrators Have Yet To Face Justice appeared first on CovertAction Magazine.

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The Gary Null Show - 03.18.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.18.21

March 18, 2021

Merck's History of Crimes and Misdemeanors

 

Richard Gale and Gary Null

Progressive Radio Network, March 18, 2021

 

 

As the Covid-19 pandemic wears on past a full year, several of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies have dominated the world headlines, notably Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, along with the smaller start-ups such Moderna and Novavax. Each is now vying to usurp the coveted Covid-19 vaccine market. Prior to the pandemic, the vaccine market worldwide was only a small slice of the overall $1 trillion pharmaceutical market at about $24 billion annually. Now sales of the new generation of vaccines to fight the pandemic are poised to exceed global vaccine sales exponentially. Ronny Gal at the market analysis firm Bernstein estimates that Covid vaccine sales will reach $40 billion this year. We believe this is a very conservative estimate as newer vaccines come on line and with companies making efforts to outdo each other on its efficacy and safety profile. Moderna and Pfizer together are expected to earn $32 billion this year and we are not taking into account Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccine and now five approved in China. The frenetic race is underway to vaccinate billions of human beings naively standing in line after drinking from the government health agencies’ and the mainstream media’s cattle trowels of vaccine hype and propaganda. What is certain is that a new era of drug discovery has begun and all will be driven by the surge in vaccines’ new celebrity status. The very definition of a vaccine is now being redefined and it is clearly predictable that we will be witnessing prophylactic and therapeutic drugs being reevaluated as vaccines to leap-frog regulatory hurdles and to escape legal actions for product injury and death. 

 

It may be surprising that the world’s second largest vaccine maker Merck is missing from the Covid vaccine cash cow. Along with the other two of the top three global vaccine makers, Glaxo and Sanofi, Merck exited the Covid vaccine arena after its candidates flopped in generating sufficient neutralizing antibodies in Phase 1 trials. Instead the company has shuffled its resources to develop two new novel drugs that will target serious risks of the body’s over-reactive immune response to SARS-CoV2 infection. Although we will not likely see a Merck Covid vaccine any time in the coming years, it has nevertheless lucratively reaped rewards after selling its Moderna stock late last year when the price went out the roof. Merck has also partnered with J&J to increase production of the latter’s vaccine in order to meet demand.

 

Merck's legacy of lawsuits for crimes and misdemeanors goes back at least to the 1960s. In 1975, it was busted by the SEC for illegal payments to foreign government officials from "approximately" 36 nations. The scam was orchestrated through personal bank accounts with the sole purpose of advancing drug approvals through foreign nations' regulatory medical agencies.  

 

One of the largest scandals in modern medical history was the company's anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx that resulted in fines above $4.8 billion for causing over a minimum 60,000 deathsfrom sudden heart attacks and over 120,000 serious medical injuries. At its height, Vioxx was earning over $2 billion in revenues annually and it is estimated that 25 million patients were prescribed the medication. The securities class action suit against Merck alone reached $1 billion, placing it in the top 15 securities lawsuits in US corporate history. The main criminal charge was Merck's intentional withholding of scientific data about the drug's adverse cardiovascular side effects. 

 

Years after the settlement, Ron Unz, the publisher of The American Conservative, undertook his own investigation to validate Vioxx's death toll. Analyzing the drug's adverse effects over a longer time period, Unz estimated Merck may have been responsible for nearly half a million premature deaths in elderly patients, the drug's primary target group. That is roughly the same number of total civilian, military and terrorist deaths from the US's military escapades in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan combined. 

 

Merck's settlement of 47,000 pending lawsuits for personal injuries and 265 class action cases was a small pittance for the harm Vioxx left in its wake. Merck executives were never properly punished for willingly concealing the drug's dangers in order to assure FDA approval. 

 

In Australia, Merck's efforts to increase Vioxx profits employed other forms of malfeasance. The Australian government launched a class action suit against the drug maker on charges that employees allegedly schemed a fake scientific paper that was ghostwritten for a medical journal in order to put Vioxx into a positive light. Testimonies during the trial stated data was completely based upon "wishful thinking." Merck also founded the peer-reviewed journal Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine. The journal was a fraud; it was not properly peer-reviewed and its primary purpose was to promote Vioxx on the Australian continent. 

 

Moreover, the class action lawsuit contained Merck emails accessed by Australian officials. The company's internal communications allegedly ordered select employees to draft up a hit list of physicians who were critical of Vioxx. According to the documents, these physicians were targeted to be "neutralized" or "discredited." Some, including Dr. James Fries at Sanford University's medical school, were clinical investigators who happened to speak out about the drug's shortcomings. One email stated, "We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live..."  

 

But Merck's troubles with the dangers of its products, falsifying data about drugs' efficacy and safety and exaggeration of medical claims go back sixty years. In the 1960s, the FDA discovered that the drug maker's arthritis medication Indocin had not been properly tested for efficacy and its adverse effects were being completely ignored.  In the 1970s, Merck's drug dietheylstilbestrol (DES) prescribed for the prevention of miscarriages caused a flurry of vaginal cancer cases and other gynecological disorders. Merck had all along known that DES was carcinogenic based upon its own animal clinical trials. In 2007, its cholesterol drug Zetiawas shown to increase liver disease. Again Merck had known about Zetia's liver risks but withheld the clinical trial's damning results. 

 

It would also appear that Merck has managed to hijack US courts. This includes an early 2019 ruling by Trump's corporate-friendly US Supreme Court to side with the drug maker and squash hundreds of lawsuits for failing to issue warnings that its osteoporosis drug Fosamax's may contribute to debilitating bone fractures. A federal court in California found that Merck committed perjury for lying in a patent infringement case against Gilead Sciences over the latter's blockbuster Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi. The judge ruled that Merck carried out a "systematic and outrageous deception in conjunction with unethical business practices and litigation misconduct."  It turned out that Merck's patent claims were a sham and orchestrated by its legal division.

 

Besides pushing through the FDA dangerous medications onto the market, the company has also found itself in the courtroom on many occasions for allegedly price-fixing, routinely defrauding and overbilling states' Medicare and Medicaid programs, and violating the Anti-Kickback Statute. In 2006, the IRS went after Merck for owing almost $2 billion in back taxes. According to the Wall Street Journal, Merck partnered with a British bank to create an offshore subsidiary in tax-friendly Bermuda to divert taxable revenue on its bestselling cholesterol drugs Zocor and Mevacor through a patent scheme. The company ran the operation for ten years before the FDA uncovered the racket. 

 

Merck is America's leading vaccine manufacturer. Despite public perception and the ruse that vaccines are somehow safer and more effective than pharmaceutical drugs in general, it is the same industry and corporate culture that manufactures both. Currently Merck markets vaccines for Haemophilus B, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B (individually and in combination), human papilomavirus (Gardasil), Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), pneumococcal, rotavirus, varicella (chickenpox) and Zoster virus (for shingles). In 2010, Merck obtained exclusive rights to MassBiologics’ vaccine portfolio. The consequence is that Merck's Adult Vaccine Portfolio expanded to include 9 of the 10 vaccines on the CDC's adult immunization schedule. The company now holds almost a full monopoly on the government's recommended vaccines

 

On its website, the FDA assures the public that "Vaccines, as with all products regulated by the FDA, undergo a rigorous review of laboratory and clinical data to ensure the safety, efficacy, purity and potency of these products."  However, not a single one of Merck's vaccines has ever been tested in a scientifically viable double-blinded placebo controlled trial. In each case, the placebo in the control group was not inert, such as the use of sterile saline. Rather Merck only tested its vaccines with the viral component against a faux placebo containing the same ingredients, including aluminum, but minus the virus. Known as a "carrier solution," the standard scientific protocol does not designate it as a proper placebo for measuring the efficacy and disease risks of a drug. And in the case of Gardasil, the trial was statistical trickery to mask Gardasil's adverse effects. One placebo group received the company’s proprietary adjuvant amorphous aluminum hydroxyphospate sulfate (AAHS), a known neurotoxin. The adjuvant has yet to be properly tested for safety. One of the more serious risks of aluminum adjuvants is the triggering of an extreme autoimmune response, what Israeli immunologist Yehuda Schoenfeld has called “autoimmue/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants.”

 

In the Cochrane Database Collaboration’s 2016 analysis of Merck's Gardasil, the investigators were so alarmed they filed a complaint against the European Medical Agency for failing to adequately assess the vaccine's neurological harms. More recently, a meta-analysis published in Systemic Reviews journal concluded “HPV vaccines increased serious nervous system disorders and general harms.”

 

Robert Kennedy Jr is currently taking steps to sue Merck over the Gardasil deception. Kennedy's in-depth investigations through his Children's Health Defense organization has uncovered evidence that the vaccine increases birth defects in children conceived of HPV-vaccinated moms; miscarriages have increased 2000 percent above normal, and girls are experiencing serious reproductive complications, including infertility, at approximately ten-fold above the normal rate. During an interview on the Progressive Radio Network, Kennedy noted that there was 10 times greater risk of dying from cervical cancer among Gardasil trial participants compared to the general public. There is a 10-fold increase for ovarian failure, and 1 in 37 girls who receive the vaccine will experience an autoimmune disease after 6 months of receiving the series of injections. When we consider that 1 in 37,000 women have a chance of dying from cervical cancer, it puts HPV vaccines into a completely different light. Sadly, across the nation, politicians from both sides of the aisle in state legislatures, notably Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York, are seemingly doing Merck's bidding to mandate Gardasil for all girls and boys upon entering school. 

 

Based upon Kennedy's research and documents received from Freedom of Information Act filings, during Merck's own Gardasil clinical trials, 2.3 percent of girls and women between the ages of 9 through 26 developed a serious autoimmune disease and crippling neurological disorders within seven months of vaccination. The most frequent adverse effects were arthritis and anthropathy, autoimmune thyroiditis, celiac disease, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, Raynaud's Phenomenon, rheumatoid arthritis and uveitis. In other words, it was the aluminum adjuvant responsible for this enormous suffering. He stated that according to Merck's own statistics, girls are one hundred times more likely to experience a serious adverse effect from the vaccine than to be protected from cervical cancer. 

 

In a 2012 article published in the Journal of Law and Medical Ethics, researchers at the University of British Columbia wrote that ever since Gardasil was approved in 2006, Merck has engaged in an "overly aggressive marketing strategies and lobbying campaigns aimed at promoting Gardasil as a mandatory vaccine."  One strategy Merck has employed is to take advantage of FDA loopholes to fast track its drugs. In the case of its expanded Gardasil-9 for adults between the ages of 27 to 45, the company applied for fast tracking two days after the Journal of Toxicological and Environmental Health published a study that the HPV vaccine was lowering the probability of pregnancy for women in their 20s.

 

Unfortunately, the media has indiscriminately colluded with Merck. Drug companies, according to Kennedy, pay $4.5 billion to the major media networks and publications to promote their drugs. And none of the media outlets are willing to sacrifice their profits for advertising drugs on moral and ethical grounds. 

 

Another scandal erupted within Merck's vaccine business in 2010 after two whistleblowers gave testimony that the mumps' component in its Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine was based on fraudulent data about it's efficacy, and the company knowingly proceeded in order to corner the mumps vaccine market. Merck had been defrauding the US government, which purchases the MMR, for over a decade. The government and two Merck whistleblowers, virologists Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski, filed a lawsuit against Merck for being in violation of the False Claims Act. According to the charges, Merck had "falsified its mumps vaccine test results to hit an efficacy rate of 95 percent. The company achieved this by adding "animal antibodies to a blood sample to give the impression of increased antibodies." This would certainly explain why mumps outbreaks in summer camps and on college campuses are found to occur among those vaccinated. 

 

Merck has gained enormous political and social influence over the national perception about vaccines.  One example is Merck's behind the scenes aggression against the flim Vaxxed.  When the documentary film was officially selected to screen during the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan, we discovered in an earlier report that Merck left its fingerprints on the film's removal and censorship. The Alfred Sloan Foundation is the festival's largest sponsor; pro-vaccine advocate Bill Gates is also a notable contributor. One of the leading persons on the Foundation's board of trustees was Dr. Peter Kim.  Kim happens to be the former president of Merck's Research Laboratories who was directly responsible for the launch of Gardasil and Merck's other vaccines for the Zoster virus and rotavirus. The film presents a harsh indictment against Dr Julie Gerberding, the former head of the CDC who allegedly coordinated the cover up of data that confirmed thimerosal's role in the onset of autism. After managing the agency's operations to mine sweep the data and generate new studies with public funds to suggest thimerosal's safety, Gerberding accepted her reward from the pharmaceutical industry by becoming the head of Merck's vaccine division. In addition, according to the whistleblowing of a senior CDC scientist, Dr. William Thompson, Gerberding was allegedly responsible for destroying the CDC's research that showed African American boys were at a substantially higher risk of becoming autistic from Merck's MMR vaccine. Fortunately, Dr. Thompson, who was present during the order to shred documents, saved copies which he subsequently turned over to Congressman Bill Posy and an independent biologist Prof. Brian Hooker. Since then, Congress has refused to hold hearings thereby supporting the cover-up. 

 

All told, these examples of Merck's culture of greed, deception, political maneuvering and aggression has collectively injured countless people. Its prime directive is selling drugs; its history of crimes and misdemeanors should indicate the company holds little integrity in its commitment to prevent and treat disease. The full extent of the casualties from Merck's drugs and vaccines may never be properly calculated. For firms such as Merck, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson, injuries and deaths are the necessary collateral damage of getting poorly tested products on the market and as fast as possible. 

 

Can we really trust such a company with such a criminal reputation to be forthright about its product’s safety records? Therefore we recommend people to support the efforts of Bobby Kennedy and the Children's Health Defense in its lawsuit against Merck's Gardasil. A victory may well weaken the entire edifice of vaccine pseudoscience and the public will realize that for decades it has been little more than a house of cards.

The Gary Null Show - 03.17.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.17.21

March 17, 2021

 

Blueberries protect against inflammation

Texas Women's University, March 14, 2021

 

In a recent study, researchers at Texas Woman’s University investigated the usefulness of polyphenols present in blueberries in controlling or reducing inflammation. Induced by oxidative stress, inflammation — especially if it becomes persistent — is closely linked to the development of many chronic diseases, such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The researchers discussed the anti-inflammatory activities of BBPs in an article published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.

Blueberry polyphenols can be used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

RA is an autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disease that destroys joints and causes disability in older adults. The etiology of RA is poorly understood and there is no mainstream cure for this disease.

According to research, the accumulation and proliferation of fibroblast-like synoviocytes — non-immune cells that make up the membranous tissue that lines joint cavities — may be involved in the destruction of cartilage commonly observed in RA. On the other hand, in vivo and in vitro studies suggest that the anti-inflammatory properties of dietary polyphenols derived from fruits and vegetables could help prevent this destruction.

To examine the anti-inflammatory activities of blueberry polyphenols against RA, the researchers first stimulated rabbit synoviocytes with tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a), a cell signaling protein (cytokine) released by immune cells that plays a huge role in systemic inflammation. They then treated the synoviocytes with different doses of blueberry polyphenols.

The researchers found that the pro-inflammatory cytokine, TNF-a, increased synoviocyte proliferation by around 19 percent, but treatment with blueberry polyphenols significantly decreased proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. The polyphenol-treated synoviocytes also showed decreased levels of interleukin (IL)-1B and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB).

IL-1is a cytokine required for activating the innate immune response. Its role is to mediate the release of other pro-inflammatory cytokines, especially in the presence of an infection. NF-kB, on the other hand, is a transcription factor that regulates the expression of genes involved in inflammation. 

The researchers also reported that that the expression of matrix metalloproteinase 3, a key enzyme involved in the pathogenesis of RA, increased fivefold in the control TNF-a-stimulated group but decreased by threefold in the blueberry polyphenol-treated group, clearly showing the anti-RA activities of blueberry’s active components.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that blueberry polyphenols can reduce inflammation associated with RA by downregulating the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and the transcription factor, NF-kB.

 

 

Relationship between vitamin D deficiency and gestational and postpartum depression

Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), March 16, 2021

According to news originating from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, research stated, “Vitamin D deficiency (VDD) has been associated with depressive symptoms in pregnancy and postpartum, which can result in increased adverse outcomes in the maternal-infant segment. A possible explanation in the literature is VDD relationship with genetic and neurological mechanisms.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Federal University Rio de Janeiro, “to evaluate VDD relationship with gestational and postpartum depression. this review followed the recommendations proposed by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis. Research was conducted in electronic databases, PubMed and LILACS, including studies of the analytical type (cross-sectional and longitudinal), systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and controlled clinical trials carried out in humans; inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied. in this systematic review, eight articles were analyzed comprising 8,583 women from seven different countries. Among the selected articles, six found an association between VDD and gestational and postpartum depression. Considering the data collection, it was possible to conclude that there is a probable relationship between VDD and a higher predisposition to gestational and postpartum depression.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Also, we concluded that vitamin D supplementation has proven to be a promising strategy for reducing the risk of depressive symptoms.”

 

 

Lifestyle intervention is beneficial for most people with type 2 diabetes, but not all

Wake Forest Medical Center, March 11, 2021

For people who are overweight or obese and have type 2 diabetes, the first line of treatment is usually lifestyle intervention, including weight loss and increased physical activity. While this approach has cardiovascular benefit for many, it can be detrimental for people who have poor blood sugar control, according to a study conducted by researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

In the study, published in the current issue of the journal Diabetes Care, the researchers re-evaluated the National Institutes of Health Action for Health in Diabetes (Look AHEAD) study that found intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) neither helped nor hurt people with diabetes. 

"Contrary to the initial findings of Look AHEAD, our work found that lifestyle interventions reduced potential cardiovascular harm and optimized benefits for 85% of those in the trial," said the study's lead investigator, Michael P. Bancks, Ph.D., assistant professor of public health sciences at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist Health.

"However, for those who had poor blood sugar control, lifestyle intervention increased the risk of major cardiovascular events. Based on our findings, doctors may want to consider alternative options, such as glucose-lowering drugs, before trying lifestyle modification for those people." 

Look AHEAD randomized 5145 participants with type 2 diabetes (T2D) who were overweight or obese to 10 years of ILI or a control group that received diabetes support and education. ILI focused on weight loss through decreased caloric intake and increased physical activity. 

In the Wake Forest School of Medicine study, the researchers divided the study participants into four subgroups: diabetes onset at older age, poor glycemic control, severe obesity and younger age at onset. These subgroups were determined based on diabetes diagnosis, body mass index, waist circumference, measure of blood sugar value (glycemic control) and the age of diabetes onset. 

Bancks and his team examined each group's response to the intensive lifestyle intervention and its association with major cardiovascular events. In the subgroup with poor glycemic control, the intervention was associated with 85% higher risk of having a cardiovascular event as compared to the control group. Among the three other diabetes subgroups analyzed, ILI was not associated with an increased risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events.

"Although the interest in diabetes subgroups is growing, our study is one of the first to apply it to lifestyle intervention," Bancks said. "So for clinicians, determining which subgroup their patient most closely resembles should help them determine the best treatment option and reduce any potential harm for that individual." 

These results provide support for further investigation into whether these findings apply to other diabetes complications, including cognitive issues, and to assess what interventions would be beneficial for those individuals, Bancks said.

 

Depression doubles risk of death after heart attack, angina

Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, March 8, 2021 

 

Depression is the strongest predictor of death in the first decade following a diagnosis of coronary heart disease, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 66th Annual Scientific Session. The study found people with coronary heart disease who are diagnosed with depression are about twice as likely to die compared with those who are not diagnosed with depression.

 

"This study shows that it doesn't matter if depression emerges in the short term or a few years down the road—it's a risk factor that continually needs to be assessed," said Heidi May, PhD, a cardiovascular epidemiologist at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City and the study's lead author. "I think the take-home message is that patients with coronary disease need to be continuously screened for depression, and if found to be depressed, they need to receive adequate treatment and continued follow-up."

 

The study focused on patients diagnosed with a heart attack, stable angina or unstable angina, all of which are caused by a reduced flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart, typically as a result of plaque buildup in the heart's arteries. These conditions fall under the umbrella term coronary heart disease, which is the most common form of heart disease in the United States .

 

Researchers have long understood heart disease and depression to have a two-way relationship, with depression increasing the likelihood of heart disease and vice versa. Whereas previous studies have investigated depression occurring within a few months of a coronary heart disease diagnosis, the new study is the first to shed light on the effects of depression over the long term.

 

The researchers analyzed health records from almost 25,000 Intermountain Health System patients tracked for an average of nearly 10 years following a diagnosis of coronary heart disease. About 15 percent of patients received a follow-up diagnosis of depression, a substantially larger proportion than the estimated rate of 7.5 to 10 percent in the general population.

 

Out of 3,646 people with a follow-up diagnosis of depression, half died during the study period, compared to 38 percent of the 20,491 people who did not have a depression diagnosis. This means people with depression were twice as likely to die compared to those without depression.

 

After adjusting for age, gender, risk factors, other diseases, heart attack or chest pain, medications and follow-up complications, the results showed depression was the strongest predictor of death in this patient group. These results were consistent regardless of age, gender, the timing of depression onset, past history of depression or whether or not the patient had a heart attack.

 

Given the significant impact of depression on long-term survival, the researchers said clinicians should seek ways to better identify depression in patients with coronary heart disease, either by using patient questionnaires designed to screen for depression or by actively watching for signs of depression during follow-up examinations.

 

"It can be devastating to be diagnosed with coronary artery disease," May said. "Clinicians need to pay attention to the things their patients are expressing, in terms of both physical symptoms as well as emotional and nonverbal factors."

 

Signs of depression include persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness or worthlessness; anxiety, irritability or restlessness; losing interest in hobbies and activities; fatigue or moving slowly; difficulty sleeping or concentrating; aches or pains without a clear physical cause; changes in appetite or weight; and thoughts of death or suicide. Depression is linked with behaviors that can be detrimental to cardiovascular health, such as reduced physical activity, poor diet, increased smoking or alcohol use and reduced compliance with medical treatment.

 

The study did not evaluate the impact of depression treatment on the risk of death.

 

 

Wild mint can prevent blood sugar spikes after meals, reports study

National Chemical Laboratory (India), March 12, 2021

Mentha arvensis, commonly known as wild mint, is a perennial flowering plant. 

Wild mint leaves and essential oil are also traditionally used as natural medicines. The former is said to be a great remedy for liver inflammation, peptic ulcer, diarrhea, bronchitis, jaundice and skin diseases, while the latter is often used as an antiseptic. Because of the reported antioxidant activity of wild mint, Indian researchers decided to investigate if it also has antidiabetic properties.

In a recent study, which appeared in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, the researchers looked at the potential of wild mint leaf extract to stop glycation. Glycation refers to the chemical reaction by which a sugar molecule attaches to a protein or lipid. This event is a consequence of hyperglycemia and is associated with the tissue damage often seen in diabetes. The researchers also explored the effect of wild mint extracts on the activity of two carbohydrate-digesting enzymes, as well as their influence on postprandial hyperglycemia.

Wild mint extract can prevent blood sugar spikes after meals

According to the researchers, interest in the use of alternative medicines to control diabetes, oxidative stress and related disorders has increased in recent years. This is due to the continuous rise in the number of people who develop diabetes around the world. In 2018, this number was estimated to be around 340 million, 70 million of which were from India.

Postprandial hyperglycemia, or the increase in blood glucose after eating, is strongly implicated in the development of Type 2 diabetes and diabetic complications. Researchers believe that reducing the postprandial release of glucose in the blood is a promising therapeutic approach to treat or prevent diabetes. To achieve this, two enzymes involved in the breakdown of carbohydrates into sugar are considered as good antidiabetic targets.

a-Amylase is a digestive enzyme that converts complex carbs like starch to simple sugars. Similarly, a-glucosidase hastens the digestion of oligosaccharides — three to 10 simple sugars linked together — and disaccharides (e.g., sucrose, maltose, lactose) into glucose molecules. Because of their functions, compounds that can inhibit a-amylase and a-glucosidase activity are used to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. 

Wild mint is a medicinal herb with a long history of use in traditional medicine. Ancient healers considered it a promising natural remedy for diabetes. To investigate its ability to inhibit postprandial hyperglycemia, the researchers first derived wild mint extract from its leaves using methanol as solvent. They then tested the extract on male rats and performed various in vitro experiments to evaluate the extract’s antidiabetic activity.

The researchers reported that the wild mint extract showed a remarkable ability to scavenge free radicals, as well as great potential to inhibit glycation. They noted that it successfully inhibited more than 90 percent of advanced glycation end product (AGE) formation. The wild mint extract also showed high inhibitory activity against a-amylase and ?-glucosidase and significantly inhibited postprandial hyperglycemia in rats with starch-induced diabetes.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that wild mint has noninsulin-dependent antidiabetic activity and can be used to treat or prevent postprandial hyperglycemia.

 

Exercise during pregnancy may save kids from health problems as adults

University of Virginia, March 15, 2021

Exercise during pregnancy may let mothers significantly reduce their children's chances of developing diabetes and other metabolic diseases later in life, new research suggests.

A study in lab mice has found that maternal exercise during pregnancy prevented the transmission of metabolic diseases from an obese parent - either mother or father - to child. If the finding holds true in humans, it will have "huge implications" for helping pregnant women ensure their children live the healthiest lives possible, the researchers report in a new scientific paper.

This means that one day soon, a woman's first trip to the doctor after conceiving might include a prescription for an exercise program.

"Most of the chronic diseases that we talk about today are known to have a fetal origin. This is to say that the parents' poor health conditions prior to and during pregnancy have negative consequences to the child, potentially through chemical modification of the genes," said researcher Zhen Yan, PhD, a top exercise expert at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. "We were inspired by our previous mouse research implicating that regular aerobic exercise for an obese mother before and during pregnancy can protect the child from early onset of diabetes. In this study, we asked the questions, what if an obese mother exercises only during pregnancy, and what if the father is obese?"

Exercise and Pregnancy

Scientists have known that exercise during pregnancy helps lead to healthy babies, reducing the risk of pregnancy complications and premature delivery. But Yan, the director of the Center for Skeletal Muscle Research at UVA's Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center, wanted to see if the benefits continued throughout the children's lives. And his work, both previous and new, suggests it does.

To determine that, Yan and his collaborators studied lab mice and their offspring. Some of the adult mice were fed typical mouse chow before and during pregnancy, while other were fed a high-fat, high-calorie diet to simulate obesity. Some receiving the high-fat diet before mating had access to a voluntary running wheel only during pregnancy, where they could run all they liked, while others did not, meaning they remained sedentary. 

The results were striking: Both mothers and fathers in the high-fat group could predispose their offspring to metabolic disorders. In particular, male offspring of the sedentary mothers on high-fat diets were much more likely to develop high blood sugar and other metabolic problems in adulthood.

To better understand what was happening, the researchers looked at the adult offspring's metabolism and chemical (epigenetic) modification of DNA. They found there were significant differences in metabolic health and how active certain genes were among the different groups of offspring, suggesting that the negative effects of parental obesity, although different between the father and the mother, last throughout the life of the offspring.

The good news is that maternal exercise only during pregnancy prevented a host of "epigenetic" changes that affect the workings of the offspring's genes, the researchers found. Maternal exercise, they determined, completely blocked the negative effects of either mother's or father's obesity on the offspring.

The results, they say, provide the first evidence that maternal exercise only during pregnancy can prevent the transmission of metabolic diseases from parent to child.

"The take-home message is that it is not too late to start to exercise if a mother finds herself pregnant. Regular exercise will not only benefit the pregnancy and labor but also the health of the baby for the long run," Yan said. "This is more exciting evidence that regular exercise is probably the most promising intervention that will help us deter the pandemic of chronic diseases in the aging world, as it can disrupt the vicious cycle of parents-to-child transmission of diseases."

 

Some veggies each day keeps the stress blues away

University of Sydney, March 15, 2021

 

Published in the British Medical Journal Open, the longitudinal study of more than 60,000 Australians aged 45 years and above measured participants fruit and vegetable consumption, lifestyle factors and psychological distress at two time points

.

Psychological distress was measured using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, a 10-item questionnaire measuring general anxiety and depression. Usual fruit and vegetable consumption was assessed using short validated questions.

Key findings

 

People who ate 3-4 daily serves of vegetables had a 12 per cent lower risk of stress than those who ate 0-1 serves daily.

People who ate 5-7 daily serves of fruit and vegetables had a 14 per cent lower risk of stress than those who ate 0-4 serves daily.

Women who ate 3-4 daily serves of vegetables had an 18 per cent lower risk of stress than women who ate 0-1 serves daily.

Women who ate 2 daily serves of fruit had a 16 per cent lower risk of stress than women who ate 0-1 serves daily.

Women who ate 5-7 daily serves of fruit and vegetables had a 23 per cent lower risk of stress than women who ate 0-1 serves daily.

 

At the start of the study, characteristics associated with higher stress included: being female, younger, having lower education and income, being overweight/obese, a current smoker and being physically inactive.

 

Fruit consumption alone had no significant association with a lower incidence of stress. There was no significant association between higher levels of fruit and vegetable intake (greater than 7 daily serves) and a lower incidence of stress.

 

"This study shows that moderate daily fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with lower rates of psychological stress," said Dr Melody Ding of the University of Sydney's School of Public Health. "It also reveals that moderate daily vegetable intake alone is linked to a lower incidence of psychological stress. Moderate fruit intake alone appears to confer no significant benefit on people's psychological stress."

 

These new findings are consistent with numerous cross sectional and longitudinal studies showing that fruit and vegetables, together and separately, are linked with a lower risk of depression and higher levels of well-being assessed by several measures of mental health.

 

"We found that fruit and vegetables were more protective for women than men, suggesting that women may benefit more from fruit and vegetables," said first author and University of Sydney PhD student, Binh Nguyen.

 

The investigators say further studies should investigate the possibility of a 'threshold' between medium and higher levels of fruit and vegetable intake and psychological stress.

The Gary Null Show - 03.16.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.16.21

March 16, 2021

Ginger compound shows bone-protective properties

Mie University (Japan), March 15, 2021

According to news originating from Tsu, Japan, research stated, “Osteoporosis is the most common aging-associated bone disease and is caused by hyperactivation of osteoclastic activity. We previously reported that the hexane extract of ginger rhizome [ginger hexane extract (GHE)] could suppress receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL)-induced osteoclastogenesis in RAW264.7 cells.”

Our news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from Mie University: “However, the anti-osteoclastic components in GHE have not yet been identified. In this study, we separated GHE into several fractions using silica gel column chromatography and evaluated their effects on osteoclastogenesis using a RAW264.7 cell osteoclast differentiation assay (in vitro) and the zebrafish scale model of osteoporosis (in vivo). We identified that the fractions containing 10-gingerol suppressed osteoclastogenesis in RAW264.7 cells detected by tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining. In zebrafish, GHE and 10-gingerol suppressed osteoclastogenesis in prednisolone-induced osteoporosis regenerated scales to promote normal regeneration. Gene expression analysis revealed that 10-gingerol suppressed osteoclast markers in RAW264.7 cells [osteoclast-associated immunoglobulin-like receptor, dendrocyte-expressed seven transmembrane protein, and matrix metallopeptidase-9 (Mmp9)] and zebrafish scales [osteoclast-specific cathepsin K (CTSK), mmp2, and mmp9]. Interestingly, nuclear factor of activated T-cells cytoplasmic 1, a master transcription regulator of osteoclast differentiation upstream of the osteoclastic activators, was downregulated in zebrafish scales but showed no alteration in RAW264.7 cells.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “In addition, 10-gingerol inhibited CTSK activity under cell-free conditions. This is the first study, to our knowledge, that has found that 10-gingerol in GHE could suppress osteoclastic activity in both in vitro and in vivo conditions.”

 

 

Mindfulness meditation improves quality of life in heart attack survivors

Hacettepe University (Turkey), March 10, 2021

An eight-week programme of mindfulness meditation improves quality of life and reduces fear of activity in heart attack patients, according to research presented today at ESC Acute CardioVascular Care 2021, an online scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).1

"A heart attack is a serious life-threatening event and survivors can suffer from low quality of life," said study author Dr. Canan Karadas of Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey. "One reason is a fear of movement, called kinesiophobia, which limits daily activity due to concerns of another heart attack."

"Mindfulness refers to the mental state achieved by focusing awareness on the present moment, including thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations," continued Dr. Karadas. "It has drawn increasing attention for treating chronic conditions such as high blood pressure. Our study examined its effect on fatigue, kinesiophobia, and quality of life after an acute myocardial infarction."

The study included 56 patients who had experienced a heart attack. The average age at enrolment was 55 years. Participants were randomly assigned to a mindfulness or control group for eight weeks. Patients in the control group attended one 15-minute individual education session on the structure and function of the heart, the coronary arteries, and diseases of the heart. 

Patients assigned to the mindfulness intervention attended an individual session which included a 15-minute description of the technique. This was followed by 15 minutes of supervised practice: patients were asked to sit comfortably on a chair with their backs straight and eyes closed. They were then instructed to breathe deeply - inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth using the diaphragm - and focus on their breathing and the present moment. Participants received a recording of the instructions via WhatsApp and were asked to repeat the 15-minute session every day at home in a quiet room. Daily reminders (text messages or phone calls) were used to motivate patients to practice the meditation and to evaluate their compliance with the study protocol.

Fatigue, kinesiophobia, and quality of life were assessed at baseline and weeks four, eight and 12 using the Piper Fatigue Scale, Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia Heart questionnaire, and MacNew Heart Disease Health-Related Quality of Life questionnaire which examines patients' feelings about how their heart condition affects daily function overall and in three areas (physically, emotionally, and socially).

At baseline, there were no differences in the three variables between the intervention and control groups. By week four, patients in the mindfulness group had less fear of movement compared to the control group - a benefit that was sustained at weeks eight and 12. Patients in the mindfulness group had better quality of life overall and in all three areas than those in the control group at week eight, while at week 12 they continued to report better emotional function. Measurements of fatigue did not vary between the two groups at any time point.

Dr. Karadas noted that participants only reported mild fatigue at the beginning of the study which may explain why meditation did not have any impact.

She said: "Our study shows that mindfulness can reduce fear of movement and improve quality of life in heart attack survivors, with effects extending beyond the completion of the intervention. One explanation may be that meditation replaces catastrophic thinking with positive thoughts, making patients feel less emotionally and physically vulnerable. The findings suggest that mindfulness may be considered in the rehabilitation of patients after a heart attack. These results are very encouraging but more studies are needed to confirm our findings."

 

 

This TCM formula alters brain pathways to alleviate anxiety-like behavior

Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, March 11, 2021

In a recent study, researchers at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine found that a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) formula known as xiao yao san (XYS) can alleviate anxiety-like behaviors in rats. They reported that XYS exerts its effects by altering the expression of genes involved in the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling pathway. This pathway plays a role in the induction of chronic stress.

The researchers reported their findings in an article published in the journal Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin.

XYS is an effective treatment for anxiety

Xiao yao san means happy, carefree powder in TCM. Its most well-known use is as a treatment for menopausal anxiety and depression. Some reports also suggest that when combined with acupuncture and moxibustion, XYS relieves anxiety and depressionfollowing procedures such as placenta transplantation and test tube fertilization.

According to TCM records, XYS is composed of eight different medicinal herbs, namely, Bupleurum chinense (Chinese thorow wax, chai hu), Angelica sinensis (female ginseng, dang gui), Paeonia lactiflora (white peony, bai shao), Atractylodes macrocephala (white atractylodes, bai zhu), Poria cocos (poria mushroom, fu ling), Zingiber officinale (ginger, sheng jiang), Mentha piperita (Chinese peppermint, bo he) and Glycyrrhiza uralensis(licorice, gan cao). Several clinical trials have found that the combination of these TCM herbs is more powerful than modern antidepressants.

In their previous study, the researchers reported that XYS exerts anxiolytic effects in ratssubjected to two weeks of chronic immobilization stress (CIS). They hypothesized that these effects may be attributed to the influence of XYS on JNK, a stress-activated enzyme. Different types of stressors are known to activate the JNK signaling pathway, which can ultimately lead to cell damage and apoptosis.

To test their hypothesis, the researchers employed 40 rats and divided them into five groups: the control group, which received deionized water; the model group, which also received deionized water; the SP600125 group, which underwent surgery; the per se group, which also underwent surgery; and the XYS group, which received 3.9 g/kg XYS daily.

The researchers injected 1 percent dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) citrate buffer solution and SP600125 separately and bilaterally into the rats (via the brain’s ventricular system) in the two surgery groups. They then subjected all the groups except for the control to 14 days of CIS. 

On Day 15, the researchers measured the bodyweight of the rats and subjected the animals to the elevated plus maze (EPM) and novelty suppressed feeding (NSF) tests. They then examined JNK signaling pathway indices, including phosphorylated JNK (P-JNK), JNK, phosphorylated c-Jun (P-c-Jun) and cytochrome C (cyt-C). The release of cyt-C into the cytosol of cells is said to trigger programmed cell death, or apoptosis.

Based on body weight and behavioral analyses of the model rats, the researchers confirmed the successful induction of anxiety-like behaviors in the animals. They reported that CIS altered the expression of P-JNK, JNK and P-c-Jun in the hippocampus of the model rats. However, treatment with XYS and SP600125, a known JNK inhibitor, for 14 days changed rat body weight and behaviors, along with P-JNK, JNK and P-c-Jun expression levels, for the better. Both XYS and SP600125 had no effect on cyt-C.

These results suggest that XYS reduces anxiety-like behaviors induced by CIS by inhibiting JNK signaling in the hippocampus.

 

 

Electricity could help speed wound healing, new study shows

Electrical impulses may help vessels more quickly get healing agents to injuries

Ohio State University, March 11, 2021

Electric stimulation may be able to help blood vessels carry white blood cells and oxygen to wounds, speeding healing, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Lab on a Chip, found that steady electrical stimulation generates increased permeability across blood vessels, providing new insight into the ways new blood vessels might grow. 

The electrical stimulation provided a constant voltage with an accompanying electric current in the presence of fluid flow. The findings indicate that stimulation increases permeability of the blood vessel - an important characteristic that can help wound-healing substances in the blood reach injuries more efficiently.

"There was this speculation that blood vessels could grow better if you stimulated them electrically," said Shaurya Prakash, senior author of the study and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at The Ohio State University. "And we found that the response of the cells in our blood vessel models shows significant promise towards changing the permeability of the vessels that can have positive outcomes for our ongoing work in wound healing." 

Blood vessels are crucial for wound healing: They thread throughout your body, carrying nutrients, cells and chemicals that can help control inflammation caused by an injury. Oxygen and white blood cells - which protect the body from foreign invaders - are two key components delivered by blood vessels.

But when there is an injury - for example, a cut on your finger - the architecture of the blood vessels at the wound site are disrupted. That also interrupts the vessels' ability to help the wound heal. Blood vessels regrow on their own, almost like the branches of trees, without external sources of electricity, as part of the healing process.

"And as the blood vessels begin to grow, they replenish the skin and cells and establish a healing barrier again," Prakash said. "But our question was: How do you make this process better and faster, and is there any benefit to doing that?"

What they found, in laboratory tests performed using human cells, is that stimulating blood vessels with electricity showed a marked increase in blood vessel permeability, which is a physical marker suggestive of possible new vessel growth. 

"These initial findings are exciting, and the next phase of the work will require us to study if and how we can actually grow new vessels," Prakash said.

Jon Song, co-author of the paper and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Ohio State, said the results imply that one of the primary ways blood vessels work to heal injuries is by allowing molecules and cells to move across the vessels' walls.

"And now we have better understanding for how electric stimulation can change the permeability across the vessel walls," Song said. "Let's say you have a cutaneous wound, like a paper cut, and your blood vessels are severed and that's why you have blood leaking out. What you need is a bunch of bloodborne cells to come to that place and exit out the blood vessel to initiate the wound repair."

The study suggested that changes in blood vessel permeability could get those bloodborne cells to a wound site more quickly, though it did not explain the reasons why that happened. The study seemed to indicate that electricity affected the proteins that hold blood vessel cells together, but those results were not conclusive.

The study is an extension of work by a broader team, led by Prakash, that previously showed electric bandages could help stimulate healing in wounded dogs. That work indicated that electrical stimulation might also help manage infections at wound sites - a phenomenon the researchers also hope to research further.

 

 

Lower risk of brain injury for at-risk infants whose mothers consumed pomegranate juice

Preliminary findings from a randomized controlled trial suggest pomegranate juice may provide neuroprotection in pregnancies with intrauterine growth restriction

Brigham and Women's Hospital, March 11, 2021

Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is common and concerning, but few therapeutic options exist for pregnant mothers who receive this diagnosis. IUGR is a condition in which a baby in the womb is measuring small for its gestational age, often because of issues with the placenta, resulting in compromised or insufficient transfer of oxygen and nutrients to the growing fetus. The developing fetal brain is particularly vulnerable to these effects. One out of every 10 babies is diagnosed with IUGR, and infants with IUGR are at increased risk of death and neurodevelopmental impairment. Recent research on polyphenol-rich pomegranate juice has suggested that it may help protect the brain from injury. In an exploratory, randomized, controlled clinical trial, supported by philanthropic funding and a gift from POM Wonderful, the largest grower and producer of fresh pomegranates and pomegranate juice in the United States, investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital enrolled pregnant mothers whose infants were diagnosed with IUGR. The team found evidence that drinking pomegranate juice daily may reduce risk of brain injury in IUGR infants, especially during the third trimester when the infant brain may be particularly vulnerable. Findings are published in Scientific Reports.

"There are dietary factors that may influence neuroprotection, especially in high-risk settings such as during labor and delivery," said co-author Terrie Inder, MBCHB, chair of the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine at the Brigham. "We were intrigued by findings from preclinical research suggesting that polyphenols, which are found at high concentrations in pomegranate juice, might be highly protective. Our clinical trial provides the most promising evidence to date that polyphenols may provide protection from risk of brain injury in IUGR infants."

"While exploratory, our results are promising and suggest that being able to intervene before birth may aid in protecting the newborn brain from the devastating effects of brain injury," said corresponding author Lillian G. Matthews, PhD, a neuroscientist at Monash Biomedical Imaging and Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health in Australia. Prior to joining Monash, Matthews was at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham in the Department of Pediatric and Newborn Medicine, where she maintains a current affiliation.

Polyphenols are part of a class of antioxidants found in certain foods and beverages, including almonds, berries, red wine and teas. Pomegranate juice is a particularly rich source of these molecules. Polyphenols are known to cross the blood-brain barrier, and studies in animal models have demonstrated protective effects against neurodegenerative diseases.

For their clinical trial, Inder and colleagues recruited 99 pregnant mothers at the Brigham. The participants were randomly assigned to consume either 8 ounces of pomegranate juice or a polyphenol-free beverage matched for color, taste and calorie-count. Participants drank the juice daily from the time of enrollment until delivery. 

The team performed fetal MRI measurements on approximately half of the participants prior to mothers starting the juice regimen and found no evidence of fetal brain injury at that time. After delivery, neonatal MRI measurements showed that infants whose mothers consumed pomegranate juice were less likely to have brain injury compared to those randomized to placebo. Infants had lower risk of cortical grey matter injury and white matter injury. The team also found no evidence of ductal constriction, a potential safety concern. 

Given the exploratory nature of the study and its limited size, the authors caution that larger controlled trials are needed. The team also plans to continue studying infants enrolled in their study over the next 2-3 years to assess the infants' neurodevelopmental outcome. 

"Our neurodevelopmental follow-up studies are ongoing, and we encourage other investigators studying high-risk infant populations to consider the influence of polyphenols for neuroprotection," said Inder. "My dream is that we will one day be able to offer women a way to help shield their infant's brain from potential injury. In the meantime, we'll continue to follow participants to provide further insight into the potential clinical implications of prenatal pomegranate juice."

 

Topical curcumin gel effective in treating burns and scalds

David Geffen School of Medicine, March 14, 2021

 

What is the effect of Topical Curcumin Gel for treating burns and scalds? In a recent research paper, published in the open access journal BioDiscovery, Dr. Madalene Heng, Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, stresses that use of topical curcumin gel for treating skin problems, like burns and scalds, is very different, and appears to work more effectively, when compared to taking curcumin tablets by mouth for other conditions.

 

"Curcumin gel appears to work much better when used on the skin because the gel preparation allows curcumin to penetrate the skin, inhibit phosphorylase kinase and reduce inflammation," explains Dr Heng.

 

In this report, use of curcumin after burns and scalds were found to reduce the severity of the injury, lessen pain and inflammation, and improve healing with less than expected scarring, or even no scarring, of the affected skin. Dr. Heng reports her experience using curcumin gel on such injuries using three examples of patients treated after burns and scalds, and provides a detailed explanation why topical curcumin may work on such injuries.

 

Curcumin is an ingredient found in the common spice turmeric. Turmeric has been used as a spice for centuries in many Eastern countries and gives well known dishes, such as curry, their typical yellow-gold color. The spice has also been used for cosmetic and medical purposes for just as long in these countries.

 

In recent years, the medicinal value of curcumin has been the subject of intense scientific studies, with publication numbering in the thousands, looking into the possible beneficial effects of this natural product on many kinds of affliction in humans.

 

This study published reports that topical curcumin gel applied soon after mild to moderate burns and scalds appears to be remarkably effective in relieving symptoms and improved healing of the affected skin.

 

"When taken by mouth, curcumin is very poorly absorbed into the body, and may not work as well," notes Dr. Heng. "Nonetheless, our tests have shown that when the substance is used in a topical gel, the effect is notable."

 

The author of the study believes that the effectiveness of curcumin gel on the skin - or topical curcumin - is related to its potent anti-inflammatory activity. Based on studies that she has done both in the laboratory and in patients over 25 years, the key to curcumin's effectiveness on burns and scalds is that it is a natural inhibitor of an enzyme called phosphorylase kinase.

 

This enzyme in humans has many important functions, including its involvement in wound healing. Wound healing is the vital process that enables healing of tissues after injury. The process goes through a sequence of acute and chronic inflammatory events, during which there is redness, swelling, pain and then healing, often with scarring in the case of burns and scalds of the skin. The sequence is started by the release of phosphorylase kinase about 5 mins after injury, which activates over 200 genes that are involved in wound healing.

 

Dr. Heng uses curcumin gel for burns, scalds and other skin conditions as complementary treatment, in addition to standard treatment usually recommended for such conditions.

 

 

Psychedelic science holds promise for mainstream medicine

University of Nevada, March 10, 2021

Psychedelic healing may sound like a fad from the Woodstock era, but it's a field of study that's gaining traction in the medical community as an effective treatment option for a growing number of mental health conditions.

While the study of psychedelics as medicine is inching toward the mainstream, it still remains somewhat controversial. Psychedelics have struggled to shake a 'counterculture' perception that was born in the 1960s, a view that had stymied scientific study of them for more than 50 years. 

But that perception is slowly changing.

Mounting research suggests that controlled treatment with psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, and MDMA—better known as ecstasy—may be effective options for people suffering from PTSD, anxiety disorders, and depression. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration recently granted 'breakthrough therapy' status to study the medical benefits of psychedelics. And two years ago this month, the FDA approved a psychedelic drug—esketamine—to treat depression. 

An increasing number of states and municipalities are also grappling with calls to decriminalize psychedelic drugs, a move that UNLV neuroscientist Dustin Hines says could further the recent renaissance in psychedelic science. 

"The resurgence in interest in psychedelic medicine is likely related to multiple factors, including decreasing societal stigma regarding drugs like hallucinogens and cannabis, increasing awareness of the potential therapeutic compounds found naturally occurring in plants and fungi, and the growing mental health crisis our nation faces," says Hines. "Because of the intersection between the great need for innovation and wider social acceptance, researchers have started to explore psychedelics as novel treatments for depressive disorders, including work with compounds that have been used for millennia." 

In the Hines lab at UNLV, husband and wife researchers Dustin and Rochelle Hines are uncovering how psychedelics affect brain activity. Their work, published recently in Nature: Scientific Reports, shows a strong connection in rodent models between brain activity and behaviors resulting from psychedelic treatment, a step forward in the quest to better understand their potential therapeutic effects. 

We caught up with the Hineses to learn more about the evolution of psychedelic science—which actually dates back thousands of years—their research (which doesn't date back as long), misconceptions about this emerging field of study, and what to expect next.

The scientific study of psychedelics holds great promise for people suffering with mental illness. Where do we stand?

Dustin Hines: It's estimated that 1 in 5 American adults suffer from some type of mental illness. And while not all require pharmacological treatment, unfortunately there's been limited progress in advancing novel therapies for depressive disorders in 50 or more years. 

Rochelle Hines: It's also worth noting that available therapies for major depression are only effective in specific segments of the depressed population. That's what makes the study of psychedelic compounds so fascinating. Recent clinical studies have empirically demonstrated that these compounds can exert rapid antidepressant effects—essentially bringing into the clinic a practice that Mesoamerican and other cultures have used for thousands of years. But there are still quite a few regulatory barriers that limit even research use of psychedelics. We're hopeful that as the public view of psychedelic compounds changes, so too will the federal regulations that currently govern their study.

Current therapies for mental health disorders can take weeks to become effective. Recent research, including your own, shows the potential for psychedelic compounds to work much more quickly. What do we know about how this happens?

Rochelle: Clinical research on the use of psychedelics as therapeutics suggests that they work by altering the connectivity, or communication, between brain regions. Multiple studies suggest that the connectivity of cortical sensory regions and other brain areas is strengthened. Studies have also reported alterations in the patterns of brain activity during psychedelic treatment in patients with depression. 

Dustin: Our recent studies support the evidence for changes in patterns of brain activity, and provide additional detail into specific patterns of brain activity that are generated during psychedelic treatment. The brain activity patterns that we've characterized are related to specific behaviors known to occur following treatment with psychedelic hallucinogens. These findings support the idea that generation of specific brain activity patterns may be a key aspect of the beneficial effects that psychedelic compounds exert.

In your research, you discuss the long history of hallucinogens for ritualistic practices. What did these cultures know that we don't, and how does your work draw upon this ancient evidence?

Rochelle: Modern medicine—which includes our research team—is reinvestigating psychedelic practices with a 5,000-plus year history. Mesoamerican practitioners are known to engage in specific processes that were honed over millennia of skilled use, often including the addition of nicotine to their ritualistic and therapeutic practices with psychedelics. At present, very little research has investigated the synergistic effects of psychedelics and nicotine. 

Dustin: Despite this long history and recent clinical promise, we still really don't know just how these drugs actually work on the brain to influence mood. This knowledge is essential to optimize their therapeutic potential. In our study of brain activity in a rodent model, we found that nicotine enhanced both the brain's slow waveform as well as behavioral arrest, both hallmark aspects of the response to psychedelic hallucinogens. We're now working on studies examining the synergy between psychedelics and nicotine, and whether nicotine enhances the anti-depressant effects of psychedelics. 

Rochelle: We're also investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the specific changes in brain activity following treatment with psychedelics. With this understanding, we may be able to further refine the clinical utility, applicability, and efficacy of psychedelic hallucinogens as medicines.

As researchers who study the possible therapeutic benefits of psychedelics, what are some of the biggest misconceptions you've encountered? How can further scientific study combat them? 

Dustin: Microdosing of psychedelics—where users gain benefit, though not the prototypical "high" from small amounts the drugs is a practice that's been in the news a lot lately. While there are some data suggesting that low doses can exert beneficial effects, the idea that a person can purchase controlled substances without clarity on the content of psychoactive ingredients and regulate their own dosing with precision is in my opinion misguided. By conducting research to examine both purified and synthetic compounds, we can more accurately establish dosing. 

Rochelle: There's a long-standing belief that these drugs are addictive. However, much of the research suggests that these drugs don't result in maladaptive patterns of substance use behavior. To the contrary, some research actually suggests that these compounds may be effective in treating substance use disorders. More research on the effects of these compounds in models may provide better clarity on not only the acute effects, but the effects of repeated dosing. 

Dustin: An important point to drive home with all of this is that psychedelics are powerful psychoactive drugs, and they should not be used for therapeutic purposes without an experienced practitioner. 

The context surrounding the use of psychedelics as a therapy is emerging, but further research into the clinical use of psychedelics is needed to establish procedures and protocols that we hope will ultimately support positive outcomes for patients.

The Gary Null Show - 03.15.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.15.21

March 15, 2021

Study reveals vitamin C is key to preventing stroke and promoting heart health

University of Rennes (France), March 12, 2021

 

Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient that plays a crucial role in regulating immune function and supporting overall immune health. But recent studies suggest that it may also hold the key to stroke prevention and better heart health in the long run.

In one such study, scientists from the Rennes University Hospital in France compared the vitamin C levels of 65 hemorrhagic stroke patients to those of healthy participants. They found that vitamin C levels were greatly lower in stroke patients. They also identified high blood pressure as a leading risk factor for stroke.

Lead researcher and neurologist Stephane Vannier said that the link between vitamin C depletion and a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke could be associated with the role of vitamin C in blood pressure regulation.

In the future, these findings could aid scientists when studying the effects of vitamin C supplementation on the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, added Vannier. The study appeared online in the journal Neurology.

Low vitamin C levels linked to increased stroke risk

Vannier and his colleagues studied the vitamin C levels of 65 participants who had experienced a spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) or hemorrhagic stroke. This life-threatening type of stroke occurs when there is bleeding within the brain tissue itself. High blood pressure and head trauma are common causes of ICH.

The study also included 65 healthy controls. When the researchers studied both groups’ vitamin C levels, they found that only 41 percent had a normal vitamin C status of more than 38 micromoles per liter (umol/L).

On the other hand, 45 percent of all participants had depleted vitamin C levels (11–38 umol/L), while another 14 percent were deficient in the nutrient (less than 11 umol/L).

The researchers identified high blood pressure, alcohol consumption and being overweight as some of the top risk factors for ICH. Interestingly, participants who had high blood pressure had depleted vitamin C levels.

Furthermore, the researchers discovered that stroke patients with normal vitamin C status spent significantly less time (9.8 days) in the neurology care unit than stroke patients with depleted vitamin C levels (18.2 days).

Vannier suggested that the longer hospital stay could be the consequence of complication-related infections or delayed healing due to vitamin C deficiency. However, further studies are needed to confirm this theory.

Overall, the findings expose a link between vitamin C depletion and increased stroke risk. To maintain healthy vitamin C levels, Vannier recommends taking 120 milligrams (mg) of the vitamin daily. Vitamin C itself can be found in several plant-based foods, including citrus fruits, black currants and parsley. Simply eating vitamin C-rich foods as part of a balanced diet should keep one’s vitamin C levels within the normal range.

 

 

Red meat consumption linked to earlier onset of girls' menstrual cycles

University of Michigan, March 10, 2021 

Girls who eat red meat often start their periods on average five months earlier than those who don't.

Conversely, girls who consume fatty fish like tuna and sardines more than once a week have their first menstrual cycle, or menarche, significantly later than those who eat it once a month or less, according to research by the University of Michigan.

The investigators from the U-M School of Public Health measured the usual diet of 456 girls 5-to-12 years old in Bogota, Colombia, before they had started menstruating. The girls were then followed for just under six years. During this time, they were asked whether they had had their first period. The girls were part of the Bogota School Children Cohort, a longitudinal research project that has examined many issues of nutrition and health.

Red meat consumed by the girls ranged from less than four times a week to twice a day. The girls who ate the most red meat started their periods at a median age of 12 years 3 months, whereas those who ate it less frequently started at 12 years 8 months. Those who ate fatty fish most frequently began at 12 years 6 months.

Five months may not sound like a lot but it is a significant number when talking about a population study, the researchers said.

"It is an important difference because it is associated with the risk of disease later in life," said first author Erica Jansen, a doctoral candidate in the U-M School of Public Health. "It is significant because few dietary factors are known to affect the timing of puberty. This finding may also contribute to explain why red meat intake early in life is related to increased risk of breast cancer later in life."

In addition to breast cancer, early onset of puberty has been associated with heart disease, obesity and type II diabetes.

"We cannot conclude that there is necessarily a causal role of red meat on onset of puberty from this study. However, there is a mounting body of evidence suggesting that excessive intake of red meat at different stages of life is related to a number of adverse health outcomes, especially to getting some types of cancer," said senior author Dr. Eduardo Villamor, professor of epidemiology at the U-M School of Public Health.

Villamor noted that earlier puberty also often results in other public health concerns such as earlier sexual activity, teen pregnancy, and alcohol and tobacco use.

Other studies have shown a link between consuming animal protein and advanced puberty, and examined the role of red meat on disease, but this is the first to specifically look at red meat intake in childhood and early menarche.

"Although animal protein intake during childhood is important for growth and development, some sources of animal protein may be healthier than others," Villamor said.

"We don't know what specific components of red meat could cause early menarche. It could be the protein or some micronutrients naturally present in red meat, byproducts that are created during manufacturing or packaging of cured meats or during cooking, or substances that are fed to cattle."

 

Mindfulness program in campus dorms, groups improved students' mental health

University of Washington, March 11, 2021

As experts nationwide point to a mental health crisis among teens and young adults, a pilot program teaching mindfulness and coping techniques to students at the University of Washington has helped lower stress and improve emotional well-being.

New studies by the psychology researchers who created the program find that the strategies, offered first in residence halls and later through classes and other organized campus groups, have provided participants with successful methods for coping with stress, managing their emotions and learning self-compassion.

Researchers say the results show the potential for preventive mental health services offered in an accessible, peer-group environment.

"This program is not a substitute for campus mental health services for students. But with a preventive program, our goal is to reduce general distress in college students and hopefully prevent need for increased or more intensive services," said Liliana Lengua, psychology professor and director of the Center for Child and Family Well-Being at the UW.

Recent studies of the program's rollout point to its success. Results from the program's first year, when it was offered in 2017-2018 in residence halls on the UW's Seattle campus, were published March 10 in Anxiety, Stress & Coping. Results of its second year, provided during the 2019-2020 academic year by trained university staff in campus settings such as classes and student organizations, were published Feb. 12 in Frontiers in Psychiatry. Student participants reported significant improvements in their psychological well-being that lasted three months after the sessions ended.

During the pandemic -- with millions of young people studying remotely -- the importance of teen and college student mental health has grown. According to the CDC, 1 in 4 young adultsbetween the ages of 18 and 24 has considered suicide in the past year, while separate studies of college students in recent months have found more than 70% report serious distress.

But even before the pandemic, campuses nationwide were reporting high levels of student stress and anxiety, with college mental health directors noting need for services that far outpaced availability. Academic demands, financial pressures, social tumult and, especially among first-year students, the transition to campus life all affect student mental health.

Against this backdrop, the authors decided to come up with a short intervention at the UW that would provide real-world coping strategies in an environment that students could access easily -- without an appointment or any fee, in the casual atmosphere of a group, and where they already live, study or socialize. The program, called Be REAL, or Resilient Attitudes and Living, combined traditional cognitive behavioral coping strategies -- such as planning, positive reframing and acceptance -- with mindfulness practices focused on regulating breathing, meditation and accessing feelings of compassion, tolerance and gratitude toward oneself and others. By having staff who are already working with student in various settings offer the program, it can potentially reach more students.

"The idea behind Be REAL was to have a new model to promote student well-being and mental health. Traditional counseling systems are unlikely to keep pace with demand, so we wanted to think of a program that could be delivered more broadly by nonclinical staff members," said Robyn Long, director of community programs and training for the Center for Child and Family Well-Being.

The first year, 208 students signed up for the program across three academic quarters. Facilitators trained in mindfulness techniques led six evening sessions at four residence halls. Among the more than 80% of students who attended the majority of the sessions, results from pre- and post-surveys showed significant improvements in mindfulness and self-compassion, greater resilience and lower stress. These findings held steady in a three-month follow-up survey of participants.

Those results led to the expansion of the program to other campus settings, with associated university staff -- from the recreation department, for example, as well as those connected to student organizations -- voluntarily trained in the Be REAL program. This approach aimed to reach additional students, particularly those from underrepresented groups, in spaces they already frequent. Of the 271 students who enrolled in Be REAL programming, 116 agreed to participate in the study; more than half were students of color.

Researchers found results that were similar to the residence hall study, especially regarding stress and emotional regulation. In their comments on post-study surveys, students reported using meditation and breathing techniques to help focus or calm down, and developing habits to handle stress.

The results raised other issues that researchers are exploring further, such as whether providing the lessons in a class that students take for credit creates more of a perceived burden -- and thus, leaves less of an impact -- than sessions in which students simply choose to participate.

A new, ongoing study is examining how about 100 university staff from all three UW campuses, trained in offering the program remotely, along with still more students, respond to the techniques for improving mental health. Those results may suggest opportunities for students and staff alike to benefit from the strategies in a range of environments, on any college campus, and to possibly change a campus culture around supporting student well-being. The Center for Child and Family Well-Being is collaborating with the UW Resilience Lab to expand the program and facilitator training to staff.

"Expanding Be REAL to promote staff well-being and training is important because their work, especially with the pandemic, can be stressful," Long said. "They've even shared how the practices are shifting their interactions with children and loved ones at home. Our expansion of the program goes beyond individual well-being -- it's also about strengthening our community on campus."

 

Vitamin B12 reduces amyloid beta proteotoxicity

University of Delaware, March 11, 2021

 

According to news reporting based on a preprint abstract, our journalists obtained the following quote sourced from biorxiv.org:

“Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder with no effective treatment. Diet, as a modifiable risk factor for AD, could potentially be targeted to slow disease onset and progression.

“However, complexity of the human diet and indirect effects of the microbiome make it challenging to identify protective nutrients. Multiple factors contribute to AD pathogenesis including amyloid beta (A{beta}) deposition, mitochondrial dysfunction, and oxidative stress.

“Here we used Caenorhabditis elegans to define the impact of diet on A{beta} proteotoxicity.

“We discovered that dietary vitamin B12 alleviated mitochondrial fragmentation, bioenergetic defects, and oxidative stress, delaying A{beta}-induced paralysis without affecting A{beta} accumulation. Vitamin B12 had this protective effect by acting as a cofactor for methionine synthase rather than as an antioxidant. Vitamin supplementation of B12 deficient adult A{beta} animals was beneficial, demonstrating potential for vitamin B12 as a therapy to target pathogenic features of AD triggered by both aging and proteotoxic stress.”

This preprint has not been peer-reviewed.

 

 

Study shows that inhaling a common manufacturing material – carbon nanotubules -- could inadvertently injure the brain

 

Virginia Commonwealth University, March 8, 2021 

 

Virginia Commonwealth University researchers in a multi-institutional collaboration are uncovering the degree to which inhalation of carbon nanotubes—a novel manufacturing material used to make anything from tennis rackets to spacecraft parts—could unintentionally cause neurological disease.

 

Carbon nanotubes are smaller than a human hair, but they are stronger than steel and are shown to effectively conduct electricity and heat. While these fibers have many practical applications, they should be handled with care by workers in the manufacturing sector, according to recent findings by Andrew Ottens, Ph.D., an associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology in the VCU School of Medicine; the Ottens Group research lab; investigators from the University of New Mexico; and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

 

With assistance from a $1.9 million four-year grant from NIOSH divided between VCU and UNM, researchers from both institutions have found that inhalation of carbon nanotubes causes inflammation in the brain. Previous research has shown that chronic neuroinflammation is linked to neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, dementia and hemorrhagic strokes.

 

"Inhalation-induced neuroinflammation is presently a hot area of study as a causal factor in the development of neurodegenerative disease, leaving open the possibility that working with these compounds and inhaling them may contribute to later neurological ailment," Ottens said.

 

The study's most recent findings were published in a paper this winter by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

The neuroinflammatory effects of inhaled carbon nanotubes show close links between the respiratory and vascular systems, and the brain. Ottens and his partners concluded carbon nanotubes indirectly cause neuroinflammation by negatively impacting the lungs and blood. When carbon nanotubes enter the lung, the smallest fibers bury deep into the tissue. Researchers saw that similar to other irritants, the embedded fibers cause lung inflammation. What is novel about the study is that it expands knowledge of how lung inflammation caused by small particulates leads to neuroinflammation.

 

"There are many studies out there that conclude that you can get lung inflammation from breathing in particulate. It could be from the smoke of burning wood or consuming cigarette smoke," Ottens said. "The mystery was how this affects other organ systems such as the brain. That's what wasn't clear."

 

Ottens said other researchers proposed the particulate escapes from the inflamed lungs into the blood. It was thought this would damage blood vessels, leading to a break in the blood-brain barrier (a blood vessel lining that protects the brain from outside substances), allowing particulates into the brain. But this isn't completely the case.

 

Ottens and his partners demonstrated the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier in animal test cases, but it wasn't caused by the particulate directly invading the brain. The researchers found the lung inflammation triggered a biochemical change in the blood, which caused the blood-brain barrier to open.

 

"The lung serves as a barrier, with our NIOSH colleagues showing that only 0.001 percent of inhaled nanotubes make it to the brain." Ottens said. "This raised the hypothesis that inflammation in the lung alternatively causes the release of bioactive factors into the blood, which then impact the blood-brain barrier."

 

Normally, very few substances apart from sugar and oxygen permeate the blood-brain barrier. When the barrier broke during the test cases, substances inherent in blood leaked into the brain, such as albumin—the most common protein found in blood. With the barrier disrupted, the brain's immune responses kicked into overdrive. Glial cells, which make up the brain's primary defense against biological threats, gathered around the leaky blood vessels to neutralize the threat.

 

While clean-up by immune cells is necessary, the associated neuroinflammation may become detrimental, Ottens said. Investigators have shown that such inflammation can prime the brain's immune cells to be more easily activated in the future, possibly leading to chronic neurodegeneration. It is this substantial inflammation that has researchers questioning the degree to which exposure to carbon nanotubes may lead to neurological disease.

 

To get a better idea about how carbon nanotubes impact workers, investigators are working to determine airborne levels of the particulate in manufacturing facilities. The team is also developing blood-based biomarkers that would gauge the biological response that an individual may have after inhaling the particulate matter.

 

"We hope that this study can contribute to thresholds and guidelines for the safe use of carbon nanotubes in the industry, and provide diagnostics to assess worker's health, for example, in case of an accident," Ottens said. "As a neuroscientist whose particular interest is toxicity pathways, it is very exciting to see the potential impact in terms of the safe commercialization of these materials and understanding the risk factors associated with different levels of exposure."

 

 

Diet high in healthful plant-based food may reduce risk of stroke by 10%

Harvard School of Public Health, March 11, 2021

Eating a healthy, plant-based diet that includes foods like vegetables, whole grains and beans, and decreasing intakes of less healthy foods like refined grains or added sugars may reduce your risk of having a stroke by up to 10%, according to a study published in the March 10, 2021, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study found a diet high in quality plant-based foods may reduce your risk of having an ischemic stroke.

An ischemic stroke is associated with a blockage of blood flow to the brain and is the most common type of stroke. The study found no link between the diet and hemorrhagic stroke, which happens when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures. 

"Many studies already show that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of all kinds of diseases, from heart disease to diabetes," said study author Megu Baden, M.D., Ph.D., of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston, Mass. "We wanted to find out if there is an association between this kind of healthy diet and stroke risk."

The study involved 209,508 people who did not have cardiovascular disease or cancer at the start of the study. Researchers followed the participants for more than 25 years. Every two to four years, participants completed a questionnaire that asked how often, on average, they ate more than 110 foods over the previous year.

Researchers divided the participants into five groups based on the quality of their diet, specifically, higher amounts of plant-based foods, without excluding all animal foods. 

For example, people with the highest healthy plant-based diets had, on average, 12 servings of healthy plant-based foods like leafy greens, fruits, whole grains, beans and vegetable oils per day, compared to those with the lowest quality diets, who averaged seven and a half servings per day. When it came to less healthy plant-based foods, such as refined grains and vegetables with high glycemic indexes like corn and potatoes, the people with the healthiest diet had, on average, three servings per day compared to six and a half servings for those with the lowest quality diets. As for meat and dairy, the group with the healthiest diet averaged three and a half servings per day, compared to six servings per day for those with the lowest quality diets.

During the study, 6,241 people had strokes, including 3,015 who had ischemic strokes and 853 who had hemorrhagic strokes. The type of stroke was not known for the rest of the people.

Compared to people who ate the fewest healthful plant-based foods, people who ate the most had a 10% lower risk of having a stroke.

When looking at type of stroke, compared to people who ate the fewest healthful plant-based foods, people in the group who ate the most showed about an 8% lower risk for ischemic stroke.

Researchers found no difference in risk for hemorrhagic stroke.

Also of note, researchers found no association between a vegetarian diet and risk of stroke, although the number of cases was small.

"We believe those differences may be because of the differences in the quality of plant-based foods that people consumed," Baden said. "A vegetarian diet high in less healthy plant-based foods, such as refined grains, added sugars and fats, is one example of how the quality of some so-called 'healthy' diets differ. Our findings have important public health implications as future nutrition policies to lower stroke risk should take the quality of food into consideration."

A limitation of the study is that all the participants were health professionals and were predominantly white people, which means the results may not apply to the general population.

"Although the stroke type was not known in more than a third of the people with stroke, the consistency of the findings for lower risk of ischemic stroke and the lower risk of total stroke in those eating a plant-based diet--and since previous research shows that ischemic stroke accounts for about 85% of all strokes--these results are reassuring," Baden said.

 

 

Invasive weed may help treat some human diseases, researchers find

Hiroshima University (Japan), March 8, 2021

Native to the southeastern United States, a weedy grass has spread northward to Canada and also made its way to Australia and Japan. Andropogon virginicus grows densely packed and up to seven feet tall, disrupting growth patterns of other plants and competing for resources. When burned, it grows back stronger. There is no way to effectively remove the weed once it has invaded. But there might be a way to use it to human advantage. 

An international team of researchers has found that A. virginicus extracts appear to be effective against several human diseases, including diabetes and cancer. The results were published on Dec. 31, 2020, in a special issue of Plants, titled "Biological Activities of Plant Extracts." 

"A. virginicus is an invasive weed that seriously threatens agricultural production and economics worldwide," said paper author Tran Dang Xuan, associate professor in the Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering Program in the Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering at Hiroshima University. "However, no solution efficiently utilizing and tackling this plant has been found yet. In this paper, we highlight the potential application of A. virginicus extracts in future medicinal production and therapeutics of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and blood cancer, which can deal with both crop protection and human health concerns."

Researchers found high levels of flavonoids in the samples they extracted from the weed. These plant chemicals have significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, according to Xuan. When tested against a variety of cell lines, the extracted plant chemicals bonded to free radicals, preventing damage to the cells. At skin level, this helps prevent age spots by inhibiting a protein called tyrosinase. Among other, deeper healthful actions, this bonding also helps prevent knock-on cellular actions that can lead to type 2 diabetes. 

The team also specifically applied the extracted chemicals to a line of chronic myelogenous leukemia, a rare blood cancer. The extract appeared to kill off the cancer cells. 

Xuan said the researchers plan to establish a comprehensive process to isolate and purify the compounds responsible for known biological properties, as well as work to identify new uses. They will further test the therapeutical effects of the compounds, with the eventual goal of preparing functional pharmaceuticals for human use. 

"Although A. virginicus has been considered a harmful invasive species without economic value, its extracts are promising sources of antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-tyrosinase, and antitumor agents," Xuan said.

The Gary Null Show -  03.12.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.12.21

March 12, 2021

Urgent Open Letter from Doctors and Scientists to the European Medicines Agency regarding COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Concerns

 

Dear Sirs/Mesdames,

FOR THE URGENT PERSONAL ATTENTION OF: EMER COOKE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE EUROPEAN MEDICINES AGENCY

As physicians and scientists, we are supportive in principle of the use of new medical interventions which are appropriately developed and deployed, having obtained informed consent from the patient. This stance encompasses vaccines in the same way as therapeutics.

We note that a wide range of side effects is being reported following vaccination of previously healthy younger individuals with the gene-based COVID-19 vaccines. Moreover, there have been numerous media reports from around the world of care homes being struck by COVID-19 within days of vaccination of residents. While we recognise that these occurrences might, every one of them, have been unfortunate coincidences, we are concerned that there has been and there continues to be inadequate scrutiny of the possible causes of illness or death under these circumstances, and especially so in the absence of post-mortems examinations.

In particular, we question whether cardinal issues regarding the safety of the vaccines were adequately addressed prior to their approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

As a matter of great urgency, we herewith request that the EMA provide us with responses to the following issues:

1. Following intramuscular injection, it must be expected that the gene-based vaccines will reach the bloodstream and disseminate throughout the body [1]. We request evidence that this possibility was excluded in pre-clinical animal models with all three vaccines prior to their approval for use in humans by the EMA.

2. If such evidence is not available, it must be expected that the vaccines will remain entrapped in the circulation and be taken up by endothelial cells. There is reason to assume that this will happen particularly at sites of slow blood flow, i.e. in small vessels and capillaries [2]. We request evidence that this probability was excluded in pre-clinical animal models with all three vaccines prior to their approval for use in humans by the EMA.

3. If such evidence is not available, it must be expected that during expression of the vaccines’ nucleic acids, peptides derived from the spike protein will be presented via the MHC I — pathway at the luminal surface of the cells. Many healthy individuals have CD8-lymphocytes that recognize such peptides, which may be due to prior COVID infection, but also to cross-reactions with other types of Coronavirus [3; 4] [5]. We must assume that these lymphocytes will mount an attack on the respective cells. We request evidence that this probability was excluded in pre-clinical animal models with all three vaccines prior to their approval for use in humans by the EMA.

4. If such evidence is not available, it must be expected that endothelial damage with subsequent triggering of blood coagulation via platelet activation will ensue at countless sites throughout the body. We request evidence that this probability was excluded in pre-clinical animal models with all three vaccines prior to their approval for use in humans by the EMA.

5. If such evidence is not available, it must be expected that this will lead to a drop in platelet counts, appearance of D-dimers in the blood, and to myriad ischaemic lesions throughout the body including in the brain, spinal cord and heart. Bleeding disorders might occur in the wake of this novel type of DIC-syndrome including, amongst other possibilities, profuse bleedings and haemorrhagic stroke. We request evidence that all these possibilities were excluded in pre-clinical animal models with all three vaccines prior to their approval for use in humans by the EMA.

6. The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binds to the ACE2 receptor on platelets, which results in their activation [6]. Thrombocytopenia has been reported in severe cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection [7]. Thrombocytopenia has also been reported in vaccinated individuals [8]. We request evidence that the potential danger of platelet activation that would also lead to disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) was excluded with all three vaccines prior to their approval for use in humans by the EMA.

7. The sweeping across the globe of SARS-CoV-2 created a pandemic of illness associated with many deaths. However, by the time of consideration for approval of the vaccines, the health systems of most countries were no longer under imminent threat of being overwhelmed because a growing proportion of the world had already been infected and the worst of the pandemic had already abated. Consequently, we demand conclusive evidence that an actual emergency existed at the time of the EMA granting Conditional Marketing Authorisation to the manufacturers of all three vaccines, to justify their approval for use in humans by the EMA, purportedly because of such an emergency.

Should all such evidence not be available, we demand that approval for use of the gene-based vaccines be withdrawn until all the above issues have been properly addressed by the exercise of due diligence by the EMA.

There are serious concerns, including but not confined to those outlined above, that the approval of the COVID-19 vaccines by the EMA was premature and reckless, and that the administration of the vaccines constituted and still does constitute “human experimentation”, which was and still is in violation of the Nuremberg Code.

In view of the urgency of the situation, we request that you reply to this email within seven days and address all our concerns substantively. Should you choose not to comply with this reasonable request, we will make this letter public.

This email is copied to:

Charles Michel, President of the Council of Europe

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

Doctors and scientists can sign the open letter by emailing their name, qualifications, areas of expertise, country and any affiliations they would like to cite, to Doctors4CovidEthics@protonmail.com

Yours faithfully,

Professsor Sucharit Bhakdi MD, Professor Emeritus of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Former Chair, Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz (Medical Doctor and Scientist) (Germany and Thailand)

Dr Marco Chiesa MD FRCPsych, Consultant Psychiatrist and Visiting Professor, University College London (Medical Doctor) (United Kingdom and Italy)

Dr C Stephen Frost BSc MBChB Specialist in Diagnostic Radiology, Stockholm, Sweden (Medical Doctor) (United Kingdom and Sweden)

Dr Margareta Griesz-Brisson MD PhD, Consultant Neurologist and Neurophysiologist (studied Medicine in Freiburg, Germany, speciality training for Neurology at New York University, Fellowship in Neurophysiology at Mount Sinai Medical Centre, New York City; PhD in Pharmacology with special interest in chronic low level neurotoxicology and effects of environmental factors on brain health), Medical Director, The London Neurology and Pain Clinic (Medical Doctor and Scientist) (Germany and United Kingdom)

Professor Martin Haditsch MD PhD, Specialist (Austria) in Hygiene and Microbiology, Specialist (Germany) in Microbiology, Virology, Epidemiology/Infectious Diseases, Specialist (Austria) in Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, Medical Director, TravelMedCenter, Leonding, Austria, Medical Director, Labor Hannover MVZ GmbH (Medical Doctor and Scientist) (Austria and Germany)

Professor Stefan Hockertz, Professor of Toxicology and Pharmacologym, European registered Toxicologist, Specialist in Immunology and Immunotoxicology, CEO tpi consult GmbH. (Scientist) (Germany)

Dr Lissa Johnson, BSc BA(Media) MPsych(Clin) PhD, Clinical Psychologist and Behavioural Psychologist, Expertise in the social psychology of torture, atrocity, collective violence and fear propaganda, Former member Australian Psychological Society Public Interest Advisory Group (Clinical Psychologist and Behavioural Scientist) (Australia)

Professor Ulrike Kämmerer PhD, Associate Professor of Experimental Reproductive Immunology and Tumor Biology at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Hospital of Würzburg, Germany, Trained molecular virologist (Diploma, PhD-Thesis) and Immunologist (Habilitation), Remains engaged in active laboratory research (Molecular Biology, Cell Biology (Scientist) (Germany)

Associate Professor Michael Palmer MD, Department of Chemistry (studied Medicine and Medical Microbiology in Germany, has taught Biochemistry since 2001 in present university in Canada; focus on Pharmacology, metabolism, biological membranes, computer programming; experimental research focus on bacterial toxins and antibiotics (Daptomycin); has written a textbook on Biochemical Pharmacology, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (Medical Doctor and Scientist) (Canada and Germany)

Professor Karina Reiss PhD, Professor of Biochemistry, Christian Albrecht University of Kiel, Expertise in Cell Biology, Biochemistry (Scientist) (Germany)

Professor Andreas Sönnichsen MD, Professor of General Practice and Family Medicine, Department of General Practice and Family Medicine, Center of Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna (Medical Doctor) (Austria)

Dr Michael Yeadon BSc (Joint Honours in Biochemistry and Toxicology) PhD (Pharmacology), Formerly Vice President & Chief Scientific Officer Allergy & Respiratory, Pfizer Global R&D; Co-founder & CEO, Ziarco Pharma Ltd.; Independent Consultant (Scientist) (United Kingdom)

References

[1] Hassett, K. J.; Benenato, K. E.; Jacquinet, E.; Lee, A.; Woods, A.; Yuzhakov, O.; Himansu, S.; Deterling, J.; Geilich, B. M.; Ketova, T.; Mihai, C.; Lynn, A.; McFadyen, I.; Moore, M. J.; Senn, J. J.; Stanton, M. G.; Almarsson, Ö.; Ciaramella, G. and Brito, L. A.(2019).Optimization of Lipid Nanoparticles for Intramuscular Administration of mRNA Vaccines, Molecular therapy. Nucleic acids 15 : 1–11.

[2] Chen, Y. Y.; Syed, A. M.; MacMillan, P.; Rocheleau, J. V. and Chan, W. C. W.(2020). Flow Rate Affects Nanoparticle Uptake into Endothelial Cells, Advanced materials 32 : 1906274.

[3] Grifoni, A.; Weiskopf, D.; Ramirez, S. I.; Mateus, J.; Dan, J. M.; Moderbacher, C. R.; Rawlings, S. A.; Sutherland, A.; Premkumar, L.; Jadi, R. S. and et al.(2020). Targets of T Cell Responses to SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus in Humans with COVID-19 Disease and Unexposed Individuals, Cell 181 : 1489–1501.e15.

[4] Nelde, A.; Bilich, T.; Heitmann, J. S.; Maringer, Y.; Salih, H. R.; Roerden, M.; Lübke, M.; Bauer, J.; Rieth, J.; Wacker, M.; Peter, A.; Hörber, S.; Traenkle, B.; Kaiser, P. D.; Rothbauer, U.; Becker, M.; Junker, D.; Krause, G.; Strengert, M.; Schneiderhan-Marra, N.; Templin, M. F.; Joos, T. O.; Kowalewski, D. J.; Stos-Zweifel, V.; Fehr, M.; Rabsteyn, A.; Mirakaj, V.; Karbach, J.; Jäger, E.; Graf, M.; Gruber, L.-C.; Rachfalski, D.; Preuß, B.; Hagelstein, I.; Märklin, M.; Bakchoul, T.; Gouttefangeas, C.; Kohlbacher, O.; Klein, R.; Stevanović, S.; Rammensee, H.-G. and Walz, J. S.(2020). SARS-CoV-2-derived peptides define heterologous and COVID-19-induced T cell recognition, Nature immunology.

[5] Sekine, T.; Perez-Potti, A.; Rivera-Ballesteros, O.; Strålin, K.; Gorin, J.-B.; Olsson, A.; Llewellyn-Lacey, S.; Kamal, H.; Bogdanovic, G.; Muschiol, S. and et al.(2020). Robust T Cell Immunity in Convalescent Individuals with Asymptomatic or Mild COVID-19, Cell 183 : 158–168.e14.

[6] Zhang, S.; Liu, Y.; Wang, X.; Yang, L.; Li, H.; Wang, Y.; Liu, M.; Zhao, X.; Xie, Y.; Yang, Y.; Zhang, S.; Fan, Z.; Dong, J.; Yuan, Z.; Ding, Z.; Zhang, Y. and Hu, L.(2020). SARS-CoV-2 binds platelet ACE2 to enhance thrombosis in COVID-19, Journal of hematology & oncology 13 : 120.

[7] Lippi, G.; Plebani, M. and Henry, B. M.(2020).Thrombocytopenia is associated with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections: A meta-analysis, Clin. Chim. Acta 506 : 145–148.

[8] Grady, D. (2021). A Few Covid Vaccine Recipients Developed a Rare Blood Disorder, The New York Times, Feb. 8, 2021.

The Gary Null Show - 03.11.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.11.21

March 11, 2021

The benefits of the Mediterranean diet pass on to the families of patients who follow it

Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (Italy), March 9, 2021

People living with a patient undergoing an intensive weight loss treatment also benefit from this therapy. This has been demonstrated by a team of researchers from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM-Hospital del Mar) along with doctors from Hospital del Mar and the CIBER on the Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERObn), in collaboration with IDIAPJGol, the Pere Virgili Health Research Institute (IISPV), IDIBELL, IDIBAPS and the Sant Joan de Reus University Hospital. The study has been published in the journal International Journal of Obesity.

The study analysed data from 148 family members of patients included in the weight loss and lifestyle programme PREDIMED-Plus (PREVencióDIetaMEDiterranea Plus) over a two-year period. The researchers analysed whether these people also indirectly benefited from the programme, as they were not enrolled in the study and did not receive any direct treatment. PREDIMED-Plus is a multicentre study in which a group of patients follow an intensive weight reduction programme based on the Mediterranean diet and a plan promoting physical activity.

Weight loss despite not being included in the programme

The relatives (three out of four were the patient's partner and the rest were children, parents, siblings or had some other degree of kinship), lost an average of 1.25 kg of weight during the first year of the programme, compared to the relatives of the patients in the control group (those who did not follow the intensive treatment proposed by PREDIMED-Plus). This rose to almost 4 kg in the second year. These figures were better in cases where the family member ate with the patient and, above all, when it was the patient themselves who cooked.

The treatment, aimed at achieving weight loss in people with obesity and high cardiovascular risk by following the Mediterranean diet, "Achieved effects beyond just weight loss in the patient, and this extended to their family environment", explains Dr. Albert Goday, the principal investigator on the project, head of section in the Department of Endocrinology and Nutrition at Hospital del Mar, researcher in the Cardiovascular Risk and Nutrition Research Group at the IMIM-Hospital del Mar and a CIBERobn researcher. "The effect was contagious, in this context it was, fortunately, a beneficial 'contagion', resulting in weight loss and improved dietary habits." Dr. Goday points out that "among the many possible dietary approaches to weight loss, the one based on the Mediterranean diet is the most easilt shared within a family environment."

According to Dr. Olga Castañer, the final author of the study and a researcher in the Cardiovascular Risk and Nutrition Research Group at the IMIM-Hospital del Mar and CIBERobn, the good results can be explained "By an improved diet, since the same contagious effect was not observed in terms of physical activity among the patients and their relatives."

Family members also showed increased commitment to the Mediterranean diet, according to a questionnaire assessing adherence to the dietary patterns of this regimen. But the same was not true in terms of physical activity. As Dr Castañer points out, "In addition to weight loss, there was greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet, which has intrinsic health benefits, such as protection against cardiovascular and neurodegenerative risks."

The results of the study "Demonstrate the contagion effect, the halo effect, of a treatment programme in the relatives of participants involved in an intensive weight loss procedure, as well as increased adherence to the Mediterranean diet", stresses Dr. Albert Goday. "The beneficial effect of the programme on one member of the family unit can be extended to its other members, which is extremely significant in terms of reducing the burden of obesity on the public health system", he explains. The family members not only lost weight but also improved the quality of their diet.

Effect of the programme on patients

The study also analysed the results of the PREDIMED-Plus programme in 117 patients. Compared to participants in the control group, they lost 5.10 kg in the first year of intervention rising to 6.79 kg in the second year. They also significantly increased their physical activity levels, as well as their adherence to the Mediterranean diet.

 

 

CBD reduces plaque, improves cognition in model of familial Alzheimer's

Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, March 9, 2021

A two-week course of high doses of CBD helps restore the function of two proteins key to reducing the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, and improves cognition in an experimental model of early onset familial Alzheimer's, investigators report. 

The proteins TREM2 and IL-33 are important to the ability of the brain's immune cells to literally consume dead cells and other debris like the beta-amyloid plaque that piles up in patients' brains, and levels of both are decreased in Alzheimer's. 

The investigators report for the first time that CBD normalizes levels and function, improving cognition as it also reduces levels of the immune protein IL-6, which is associated with the high inflammation levels found in Alzheimer's, says Dr. Babak Baban, immunologist and associate dean for research in the Dental College of Georgia and the study's corresponding author. 

There is a dire need for novel therapies to improve outcomes for patients with this condition, which is considered one of the fastest-growing health threats in the United States, DCG and Medical College of Georgia investigators write in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

"Right now we have two classes of drugs to treat Alzheimer's," says Dr. John Morgan, neurologist and director of the Movement and Memory Disorder Programs in the MCG Department of Neurology. One class increases levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which also are decreased in Alzheimer's, and another works through the NMDA receptors involved in communication between neurons and important to memory. "But we have nothing that gets to the pathophysiology of the disease," says Morgan, a study coauthor. 

The DCG and MCG investigators decided to look at CBD's ability to address some of the key brain systems that go awry in Alzheimer's. 

They found CBD appears to normalize levels of IL-33, a protein whose highest expression in humans is normally in the brain, where it helps sound the alarm that there is an invader like the beta-amyloid accumulation. There is emerging evidence of its role as a regulatory protein as well, whose function of either turning up or down the immune response depends on the environment, Baban says. In Alzheimer's, that includes turning down inflammation and trying to restore balance to the immune system, he says.

That up and down expression in health and disease could make IL-33 both a good biomarker and treatment target for disease, the investigators say. 

CBD also improved expression of triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2, or TREM2, which is found on the cell surface where it combines with another protein to transmit signals that activate cells, including immune cells. In the brain, its expression is on the microglial cells, a special population of immune cells found only in the brain where they are key to eliminating invaders like a virus and irrevocably damaged neurons.

Low levels of TREM2 and rare variations in TREM2 are associated with Alzheimer's, and in their mouse model TREM2 and IL-33 were both low. 

Both are essential to a natural, ongoing housekeeping process in the brain called phagocytosis, in which microglial cells regularly consume beta amyloid, which is regularly produced in the brain, the result of the breakdown of amyloid-beta precursor protein, which is important to the synapses, or connection points, between neurons, and which the plaque interrupts. 

They found CBD treatment increased levels of IL-33 and TREM2 -- sevenfold and tenfold respectively. 

CBD's impact on brain function in the mouse model of early onset Alzheimer's was assessed by methods like the ability to differentiate between a familiar item and a new one, as well as observing the rodents' movement. 

People with Alzheimer's may experience movement problems like stiffness and an impaired gait, says Dr. Hesam Khodadadi, a graduate student working in Baban's lab. Mice with the disease run in an endless tight circle, behavior which stopped with CBD treatment, says Khodadadi, the study's first author. 

Next steps include determining optimal doses and giving CBD earlier in the disease process. The compound was given in the late stages for the published study, and now the investigators are using it at the first signs of cognitive decline, Khodadadi says. They also are exploring delivery systems including the use of an inhaler that should help deliver the CBD more directly to the brain. For the published studies, CBD was put into the belly of the mice every other day for two weeks.

A company has developed both animal and human inhalers for the investigators who also have been exploring CBD's effect on adult respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, a buildup of fluid in the lungs that is a major and deadly complication of COVID-19, as well as other serious illnesses like sepsis and major trauma. The CBD doses used for the Alzheimer's study were the same the investigators successfully used to reduce the "cytokine storm" of ARDS, which can irrevocably damage the lungs. 

Familial disease is an inherited version of Alzheimer's in which symptoms typically surface in the 30s and 40s and occurs in about 10-15% of patients. 

CBD should be at least equally effective in the more common, nonfamilial type Alzheimer's, which likely have more targets for CBD, Baban notes. They already are looking at its potential in a model of this more common type and moving forward to establish a clinical trial. 

Plaques as well as neurofibrillary tangles, a collection of the protein tau inside neurons, are the main components of Alzheimer's, Morgan says. Beta-amyloid generally appears in the brain 15-20 years or more before dementia, he says, and the appearance of tau tangles, which can occur up to 10 years afterward, correlates with the onset of dementia. There is some interplay between beta amyloid and tau that decrease the dysfunction of each, Morgan notes. 

The Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to make a ruling by early June on a new drug aducanumab, which would be the first to attack and help clear beta amyloid, Morgan says.

 

 

1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D supports bone marrow stem cell proliferation

Cang-zhou Central Hospital (China), March 1, 2021

According to news originating from Hebei, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Osteoporosis (OP) is a common clinical geriatric disease. Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) are widely applied in bone engineering. 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25-(OH) 2D) deficiency involves in geriatric disease.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Cangzhou Central Hospital, “However, its effects on BMSCs differentiation and osteoporosis have not yet been elucidated. An OVX-induced OP rat model was constructed and treated with 10 mu M 1,25-(OH) 2D followed by analysis of bone mineral density and ALP activity. Rat BMSCs were isolated and divided into control group, OP group, OP rat BMSCs, and VD group (OP rats were injected with 1 mu M 1,25-(OH) 2D) followed by analysis of cell survival by MTT assay, Caspase 3 activity, type I collagen and Osterix expression by Real time PCR, Wnt5 expression by Western blot and TGF-beta secretion by ELISA. The bone density and ALP activity was significantly decreased in OP rats (P < 0.05). 1,25 (OH) 20 injected into OP rats significantly increased bone density and ALP activity (P < 0.05). The survival rate of BMSCs in OP group was significantly decreased and Caspase 3 activity was increased along with downregulated type I collagen and Osterix, TGF-beta secretion and Wnt5 expression (P < 0.05).”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Adding 1,25-(OH) 2D to BMSCs cells in OP group could significantly reverse the above changes (P < 0.05). 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D promotes BMSCs proliferation by regulating Wnt5/TGF-beta signaling, promotes differentiation into osteogenesis, increases bone density, and then improves osteoporosis.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

High-fat diets can cause normal liver tissue to behave like tumor tissue

Flanders Institute of Biotechnology (Belgium), March 10, 2021

Normal, non-cancerous liver tissue can act like tumor tissue when exposed to a diet high in fat, linking diet and obesity to the development of liver cancer. The Laboratory of Cellular Metabolism and Metabolic Regulation headed by Prof. Sarah-Maria Fendt (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology), shows how the livers of mice on a high-fat diet used glucose in a way similar to aggressive cancer cells. This suggests that when the liver is exposed to excess fat, normal tissue could be primed to become cancerous. The study appeared in the journal Cancer Research.

Cancer and obesity

With global rates of obesity and liver cancerincreasing each year, understanding how excess fat availability can drive liver cancerdevelopment is important to understand how the disease starts and how it can be treated. To explore this, Prof. Fendt and her team tested the metabolic changes in liver tissue from mice fed a high-fat diet at an early time point when no tumors were present, and late time point when tumors had formed. They found that before there were any clues that cancer was developing, the liver tissue used glucose the same way that tumors would. This high use of glucose is one of the well-known hallmarks of cancer and is known as the Warburg effect.

After finding these early changes to liver tissue, they investigated what happens when tumors have fully formed. One way they measured this was to test sensitivity to glucose, which is usually cleared away quickly by the body but is impaired in obesity-induced diabetic animals.

Prof. Fendt describes what they found: "Strikingly, mice fed a high-fat diet who had a large tumor burden could remove glucose from their blood as easily as healthy mice despite being diabetic. Using state-of-the-art 13C6-glucose tracing technology, we could observe how glucose molecules are used in cells and tissues, and we found that that tumor tissue breaks down glucose in a consistent way, regardless of whether the mice were fed high-fat or normal diets."

Alternative pathways

These findings suggest that when cancer cells develop from normal liver cells, their metabolism consistently increases glucose use. Since a high-fat diet causes these changes before cancer is present, this may mean that—in a high-fat diet—non-cancer liver tissue could be more likely to become cancerous.

The team also looked into deeper mechanisms for this effect.

Dr. Lindsay Broadfield, one of the lead authors of the study, says: "We discovered that, before any cancer development, liver tissue exposed to high fat seemed to use an alternative pathway for fat breakdown in a cellular compartment called the peroxisome. Using cancer liver cells, we then confirmed that peroxisome metabolism increased cellular stress and glucose uptake."

Fat can be used by cells in several ways—for energy, to stimulate growth pathways, or to be stored for later use. The scientists used the Lipometrix lipidomics platform at KU Leuven to see if there was anything unique about the fate of fat in tumor cells and found that the fat species and content in tumor cells were indeed different from non-cancerous liver tissue close to the tumors.

 

 

For teens, outdoor recreation during the pandemic linked to improved well-being

North Carolina State University, March 9, 2021

A study from North Carolina State University found outdoor play and nature-based activities helped buffer some of the negative mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for adolescents. 

Researchers said the findings, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, point to outdoor play and nature-based activities as a tool to help teenagers cope with major stressors like the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as future natural disasters and other global stressors. Researchers also underscore the mental health implications of restricting outdoor recreation opportunities for adolescents, and the need to increase access to the outdoors.

"Families should be encouraged that building patterns in outdoor recreation can give kids tools to weather the storms to come," said Kathryn Stevenson, a study co-author and assistant professor of parks, recreation and tourism management at NC State. "Things happen in life, and getting kids outside regularly is an easy way to build some mental resilience."

In the survey, conducted from April 30 to June 15, 2020, researchers asked 624 adolescents between the ages of 10 to 18 years to report their participation in outdoor recreation both before the pandemic and after social distancing measures were in effect across the United States. They also asked adolescents about their subjective well-being, a measure of happiness, and mental health.

The findings revealed the pandemic had an impact on the well-being of many teens in the survey, with nearly 52 percent of adolescents reporting declines in subjective well-being. They also saw declines in teens' ability to get outside, with 64 percent of adolescents reporting their outdoor activity participation fell during the early months of the pandemic. Despite these declines in outdoor activity participation, nearly 77 percent of teens surveyed believed that spending time outside helped them deal with stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We know that a lot of outdoor activities that kids engage in happen during school, in youth sports leagues or clubs, and those things got put on hold during the pandemic," said the study's lead author Brent Jackson, a graduate student in the Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology Program at NC State. "Based on our study, they were getting outside less - we think not being in school and having those activities really contributed to that."

When they broke down recreation by type, they saw participation in outdoor play activities such as sports, biking, going for walks, runs or skating declined by 41.6 percent, nature-based activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and paddling dropped by 39.7 percent, and outdoor family activities declined by 28.6 percent. In those early months of the pandemic, about 60 percent of teens said they were able to get outside once a week or less.

"We saw declines in all three types of outdoor recreation participation," Jackson said. "Nature-based activities had the lowest participation before and during the pandemic, which may point to the need for more access to natural spaces in general."

Results showed that well-being and outdoor recreation trends were linked, and the negative trends they saw during the pandemic for well-being and participation in outdoor recreation were seen regardless of teens' race, gender, age, income community type or geographic region. Kids who did not get outside as much saw declines in well-being, but those who got outside both before and during the pandemic were able to maintain higher levels of well-being. 

"This tells us that outdoor recreation can promote well-being for kids when it happens, and can potentially take away from well-being when it doesn't," Stevenson said.

Teens who had high rates of outdoor play before the pandemic were more resistant to negative changes in social well-being. Those who got outside frequently before the pandemic were more likely to experience a lesser decline in well-being, regardless of participation during the pandemic. And, for teens who were able to play outside or get involved in nature-based activities during the pandemic, their well-being was on par with pre-pandemic levels.

"Kids who were able to continue participating in outdoor play and nature-based activities had subjective well-being levels that were similar to what they were before the pandemic, but kids who weren't able to participate saw much greater declines," Jackson said.

The study's findings also point to strategies to help kids navigate future global stressor events, as well as the importance of ensuring access to outdoor recreation. They help define the risks associated with policies that reduce kids' ability get outside.

"Going outside and participating in activities that provide exposure to nature, physical activity and safe social interaction during the pandemic were really powerful in terms of improving kids' resilience," Jackson said.

 

 

Study finds two servings of fish per week can help prevent recurrent heart disease

McMaster University (Ontario), March 8, 2021

An analysis of several large studies involving participants from more than 60 countries, spearheaded by researchers from McMaster University, has found that eating oily fish regularly can help prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) in high-risk individuals, such as those who already have heart disease or stroke.

The critical ingredient is omega-3 fatty acids, which researchers found was associated with a lower risk of major CVD events such as heart attacks and strokes by about a sixth in high-risk people who ate two servings of fish rich in omega-3 each week.

"There is a significant protective benefit of fish consumption in people with cardiovascular disease," said lead co-author Andrew Mente, associate professor of research methods, evidence, and impact at McMaster and a principal investigator at the Population Health Research Institute. 

No benefit was observed with consumption of fish in those without heart disease or stroke.

"This study has important implications for guidelines on fish intake globally. It indicates that increasing fish consumption and particularly oily fish in vascular patients may produce a modest cardiovascular benefit." 

Mente said people at low risk for cardiovascular disease can still enjoy modest protection from CVD by eating fish rich in omega-3, but the health benefits were less pronounced than those high-risk individuals. 

The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine on March 8. 

The findings were based on data from nearly 192,000 people in four studies, including about 52,000 with CVD, and is the only study conducted on all five continents. Previous studies focused mainly on North America, Europe, China and Japan, with little information from other regions.

"This is by far the most diverse study of fish intake and health outcomes in the world and the only one with sufficient numbers with representation from high, middle and low income countries from all inhabited continents of the world," said study co-lead Dr. Salim Yusuf, professor of medicine at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and executive director of the PHRI. 

This analysis is based in data from several studies conducted by the PHRI over the last 25 years. These studies were funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, several different pharmaceutical companies, charities, the Population Health Research Institute and the Hamilton Health Sciences Research Institute.

 

 

COVID-19 or something else?

Learn how COVID-19 symptoms compare to other illnesses, and when you should call the doctor.

Harvard University, March 10, 2021

 

Before 2020, you might not have worried much about a tickle in your throat or a little tightness in your chest. But that's changed.

Now even slight signs of a respiratory bug might make you wonder if it's the start of COVID-19, the illness that has become a pandemic.

How do you distinguish one illness from another? It's complicated.

"Many of the symptoms overlap. For example, it's very hard for me clinically, as a physician, to be able to look at someone and say it's COVID-19 or it's influenza," says Dr. Ashish Jha, former director of the Harvard Global Health Institute and now dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.

Don't jump to conclusions if you start to feel sick. Learn the hallmarks of common illnesses and how they differ from COVID-19, so you can take the appropriate action.

COVID-19

COVID-19 is an extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by a type of virus (a coronavirus) called SARS-CoV-2. It's a cousin of the common cold, but its potential consequences are far more serious: hospitalization, lasting complications, and death.

Hallmarks: Loss of taste and smell (in the absence of nasal congestion), fever, cough, shortness of breath, and muscle aches.

Other potential symptoms: Sore throat, diarrhea, congestion, runny nose, chills, shivering, headache, fatigue, and loss of appetite.

Note: Some infected people don't have any symptoms of COVID-19, but they're still contagious.

Influenza

Influenza (flu) is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the influenza A, B, or C virus. The U.S. flu season typically lasts from October to March, but flu is present year-round.

Hallmarks: Fever, muscle aches, and cough.

Other potential symptoms: Sore throat, diarrhea, congestion, runny nose, chills, shivering, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite.

Different from COVID-19: Flu usually does not cause shortness of breath.

Common cold

The common cold (viral rhinitis) is an upper respiratory infection that can be caused by any of hundreds of different viruses (including coronaviruses or rhinoviruses). It's usually mild and resolves within a week.

Hallmarks: Congestion, runny nose, cough, and sore throat.

Other potential symptoms: Fever, muscle aches, and fatigue.

Different from COVID-19: A cold does not cause shortness of breath, body aches, chills, or loss of appetite, and it usually doesn't cause fever.

Seasonal allergies

A seasonal allergy isn't a virus; it's caused when the immune system responds to a harmless non-human substance, like tree pollen, as if it were a dangerous threat. Allergies are typically seasonal, lasting for weeks or months, depending on the allergen in the air (mold is the common allergen in the fall and winter).

Hallmarks: Runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, congestion.

Other potential symptoms: Loss of smell from congestion.

Different from COVID-19: Allergies do not cause fevers, coughing, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, diarrhea, chills, headaches, fatigue, or loss of appetite.

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic lung condition caused by inflammation in the air passages. Airways narrow and make it harder to breathe, which can cause concern that it might be COVID-19. "Asthma can be triggered by a cold or influenza, but it's a separate condition," Dr. Jha says.

Hallmarks: Wheezing (a whistling sound as air is forcibly expelled), difficulty breathing, chest tightness, and a persistent cough.

Other potential symptoms: A severe asthma attack can cause sudden, extreme shortness of breath; chest tightness; a rapid pulse; sweating; and bluish discoloration of the lips and fingernails.

Different from COVID-19: Asthma does not cause a fever, muscle aches, sore throat, diarrhea, congestion, loss of taste or smell, runny nose, chills, shivering, headache, fatigue, or loss of appetite.

The Gary Null Show - 03.10.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.10.21

March 10, 2021

Pfizer's History of Crimes and Misdemeanors

 

Richard Gale and Gary Null

Progressive Radio Network, March 10, 2021

 

 

Whenever it is necessary to make an evaluation of the efficacy and safety of conventional drug-based medicine, it is imperative to include the rising rate of iatraogenic injuries and deaths – medical errors – that has become the third leading cause of death in the US after cardiovascular disease and cancer. The majority of these deaths are caused by FDA approved drugs' adverse effects and when patients are prescribed multiple medications in the absence of thorough clinical research to determine the safety of their synergistic effects.  Consequently our health agencies' oversight and monitoring of drugs on the market is dismal and deadly. 

 

Among the top pharmaceutical companies whose drugs and products have most contributed to the nation’s iatrogenic epidemic is the $51 billion multinational behemoth Pfizer Inc, the world’s third most profitable drug maker. Pfizer is one of America’s oldest pharma firms, founded by Charles Pfizer and Charles Erhart in a Brooklyn red brick building in 1849. The chemical company began to boom in the 1880s after becoming the leading manufacturer of the chelating, flavoring and preservative agent citric acid. With its expertise in fermentation chemistry, Pfizer later became a leader in the production of penicillin and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Today its 300-plus drugs are commonplace in American doctors’ tool kits: Zoloft, Zantac, Viagra, Enbrel, Flagyl, Lipitor, and several antibiotics. It is also a major player in the generic drug market and is rapidly becoming a leading vaccine maker with its pneumococcus vaccine (Prevnar) and more recently with its controversial mRNA vaccine against the SARS-CoV2 virus. In the irrational panic to quickly get a vaccine against the SARS virus to market, its Covid-19 vaccine was the first to receive emergency use authorization

 

Pfizer's legacy of lawsuits goes back to the late 1950s. According to the Corporate Research Project, it “has been at the center of controversies over its drug pricing for more than 50 years.” Back in 1958 it was charged by the Federal Trade Commission for price fixing and making false statements to dubiously acquire a patent for tetracycline. Two years later the Justice Department filed criminal antitrust charges against Pfizer’s board chairman and president John McKeen on the matter. Again in 1996, the drug company paid out $408 million to settle another lawsuit for price fixing and gouging pharmacies. In 2002, Pfizer was caught defrauding the federal Medicaid program for over-charging its flagship cholesterol drug Lipitor. Other similar charges include a $784 million settlement for underpaid rebates to Medicaid and $107 million fine for overcharging its epilepsy drug phenytoin sodium.

 

The company has even stooped so low as to engage in bogus advertising. Shortly after the Second World War, Pfizer created snazzy ads for the Journal of the American Medical Association for its antibiotic line. The ads included named physicians endorsing its drugs. However, according to a Saturday Review investigation, the doctors turned out to be completely fictitious.

 

As the company is positioned to earn $19 billon from its Covid-19 vaccine, at the same time it is legally battling against hundreds of lawsuits due to its popular heartburn drug, Zantac, being contaminated with the carcinogen N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), an “extremely hazardous” toxin used in rocket fuel and industrial lubricants. Although the FDA erroneously claims that Zantac’s NDMA levels are low, they have still been measured to be between 3,000 and 26,000 times higher than the FDA’s safety cut-off point. Another adverse effect of NDMA is hepatotoxicity leading to liver fibrosis and scarring.

 

According to the law firm Matthews and Associates, since “the history of Pfizer is rife with so much subterfuge and under-the-table dealing that the company will need all the help it can get to promote confidence in its hastily assembled Covid vaccine.” If the mainstream media were to honestly cover the NDMA trial underway and other Pfizer confrontations with the law, perhaps its vaccine would not be receiving such uncritical fanfare. There would be more scrutiny and warranted suspicion to question how Pfizer could have developed a truly safe and effective vaccine in such a short period of time.

 

In our earlier reviews of the criminal records of Merck and Johnson and Johnson, we did not find evidence of the depths of demented ethical behavior solely to manipulate its market control as we do with Pfizer. In fact, Pfizer seemingly is in competition to outdo notorious hedge fund vulture capitalist and underworld strategies to bully governments in return for securing supplies of its Covid-19 vaccine. For example, Pfizer demanded that Argentina pay the company compensation for any civil lawsuits filed against it. The government compromised and ruled that Pfizer would only pay fines for any negligence on the company’s behalf with respect to supply and distribution. But that was not agreeable to the vaccine maker. Instead it then demanded that Argentina provide its sovereign assets –bank reserves, military bases and embassy buildings – as collateral to secure vaccine supplies. 

 

In Brazil, Pfizer’s aggressive and malignant efforts failed. It demanded that the Brazilian government turn over a guaranteed fund deposited in a foreign bank account and that the government would waive its sovereign assets abroad. Pfizer also demanded that it not be held legally liable for any injuries or deaths due to its vaccine. Correctly, President Bolsonaro called Pfizer’s demands “abuse” and rejected the deal. 

 

If this gives the impression that Pfizer is a serial predator on poorer foreign nations, Argentina and Brazil are only the most recent examples. In 1996, the company conducted illegal experimental trials with an unapproved experimental antibiotic, Trovan, on Nigerian children without parental knowledge or consent. The case was not raised in a US federal court until 2001 after thirty Nigerian families sued. After 100 children were given the drug as guinea pigs, “eleven children in the trial died, others suffered brain damage, were partly paralyzed or became deaf.”  Nigerian medical experts ruled that Pfizer violated international law and the US federal case was eventually settled a decade later for an undisclosed amount. 

 

Pfizer’s dirty politics and mafia-like activity in the Nigeria scandal, reminding us of Monsanto’s sleazy schemes, goes beyond the dangers of an experimental antibiotic. Wikileaks made available State Department cables showing that Pfizer had hired spies to dig up dirt to frame a former Nigerian attorney general in order to get the lawsuit dropped. It also tried to shift the blame of the scandal on Doctors Without Borders by making a false claim that the non-profit charitable group was responsible for dispensing the antibiotic. 

 

Already in the US, thanks to Reagan’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Act, vaccine makers are off the hook for being held legally accountable for vaccine adverse effects. Now the company is demanding that other nations change their laws solely for Pfizer to secure maximum profits from its Covid vaccine. Pfizer’s actions are utterly parasitical. Nor should we forget that the development of its vaccine has largely been publicly funded. Its Covid vaccine partner Biontech received $445 million from the German government, and Pfizer has received almost $2 billion from US taxpayers as pre-payment for a vaccine. 

 

Pfizer’s leech-like behavior goes back even further. In 2003, after it appeared that Congress might pass a bill to permit cheaper prescription drugs in Canada for sale in the US, Pfizer attempted to change the rules of the game and demand Canadian pharmacies to order directly from Pfizer rather than wholesalers in order to dominate the market and interrupt the supply chain. 

 

Pfizer’s track record for fines and lawsuits for violation of its drug safety profiles and ethical marketing are equally damning. In 2009, it was fined $2.3 billion for what was then the largest healthcare felony settlement in US pharmaceutical history for illegally promoting its drugs, including its painkiller Bextra. $1.2 billion was just for the criminal fine; at the time, this was the largest ever imposed in the US for any issue. In 2011, it was found guilty of racketeering charges for illegally marketing its anticonvulsant drug Neurontin and paid $142 million. Three years later Pfizer was fined $430 million to settle criminal charges for bribing doctors to promote and prescribe the same drug.  

 

Nor should we ignore Pfizer’s dreadful environmental record:

1971 - Long time illegal dumping of a million gallons of industrial waste annually from its Groton plant into the Long Island Sound; 

1991 - A $3.1 million fine for refusing to install pollution control equipment in its Delaware River plant

1994 – A $1.5 million fine for illegal dumping at a toxic waste site in Rhode Island

2003 – Paid a $700 million settlement for dumping PCBs in Anniston, Alabama.

 

Now, we are facing the widespread distribution of Pfizer’s experimental mRNA Covid-19 vaccine wherein the trials to determine its level of safety and efficacy are still underway. It is still too early to make any determination of Pfizer having been engaged in any nefarious activities to get its vaccine rushed to the public. Impropriety and medical negligence so far lies on our government’s shoulders and our bought-off corporate media. Federal health agencies simply ignored their regulatory obligations and gave the vaccine a green light prematurely. Nevertheless, reports of injuries and deaths continue to mount and we will not have any sense of the full cost to human life and suffering from vaccine injuries for a while. In the meantime, China has suspended the mRNA vaccine after a flurry of deaths among Norwegian elderly. The Gibraltar Chronicle reported the deaths of 13 people within two days of receiving Pfizer’s vaccine and that number has risen to over 50 on the tiny island. Hundreds of vaccinated Israelis are still coming down with SARS-CoV2 infections after vaccination. The highly prestigious journal Science reported the growing concerns over the Pfizer vaccine’s polyethylene glycol nanoparticle and its relationship to the growing number of rare but serious allergic reactions and cases of anaphylaxis. And in a briefing document released by the CDC’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee gave warning that the Pfizer vaccine trials give indication of unusual and unexpected antibody responses, cytokine storms and pathogenic priming that give rise to critical illness and death. 

 

Therefore there is no evidence whatsoever that Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine can scientifically and consensually be ruled as safe. But as we have observed from Pfizer’s litany of criminal activities above, safety and effectiveness of a drug or product has never been a priority in the company’s executive office. 

 

All told, these examples of Pfizer's culture of greed, deception, political maneuvering and mafia-like tactics has collectively injured countless people. Pfizer is a global corporation. Its drugs, and now its Covid-19 vaccine are marketed globally. To better understand Pfizer, the company should be perceived foremost as a cash cow for Wall Street. Its prime directive is selling drugs; its history of misdemeanors and crimes should indicate the company holds no integrity or medical ethics with a sincere commitment to prevent and treat disease. For firms such as Pfizer, injuries and deaths are the necessary collateral damage of getting poorly tested products on the market and as fast as possible. In our opinion, a black box warning should be slapped on the Pfizer logo. And should we trust such a company with the potential to vaccinate an enormous percent of the world population with an experimental vaccine?

 

The Gary Null Show - 03.09.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.09.21

March 9, 2021

All Of Humanity’s Problems Are Caused By A Lack Of Awareness

Caitlin Johnstone

 

 

I write about humanity’s problems as a species in all sorts of ways in this space, but really if you want to get straightforward about things all we’re ever actually talking about here is a lack of awareness of what’s true and the need to eliminate that lack.

A lack of awareness is the source of all our major problems, whether we’re talking about war, poverty, ecocide, corruption, exploitation, authoritarianism, prejudice, or even much smaller-scale problems like abusive family dynamics or the psychological suffering of the individual.

If there were sufficiently widespread and penetrating awareness of the contributing factors in any of these problems, these problems would cease to exist. All you’d have left would be the odd natural disaster and the inevitability of sickness and death, which would also become far less problematic with the introduction of more awareness.

Yes, from a certain point of view it is true and accurate to say that many of our large-scale problems are due to the fact that humans whose brains lack functioning empathy centers are most well-equipped to manipulate their way into positions of power and influence, and that the amoral nature of capitalism ensures that it will be dominated by those willing to do whatever it takes to climb to the top. From a certain point of view it is true and accurate to say that our problems are caused by the fact that things like war, oppression, ecocide and exploitation will necessarily continue as long as our world is dominated by a system where those things are profitable and human behavior is driven by profit.

But it is also true that underlying every single part of the dynamics I just listed is a fundamental lack of human awareness.

Why are psychopaths allowed to manipulate their way into power and influence? Because people aren’t sufficiently aware that it is happening. Manipulation only works if its target isn’t aware that they’re being manipulated, whether you’re talking about individual manipulation or collective manipulation via propaganda. If people were able to clearly perceive abusive power dynamics, their awareness of what’s going on would render manipulation ineffective, and they would use the power of their numbers to dissolve those abusive power dynamics.

If people were sufficiently aware of what their government is doing, what oligarchs are doing, what banks are doing, what the military is doing, those power structures would be unable to operate in the way that they do, because a sufficient number of people would rise up collectively to stop them. This is why so much energy goes into protecting government secrecy, circulating mass media propaganda, promoting internet censorship and jailing journalists who reveal too much: they are preventing awareness of the truth from spreading so that they can continue operating in the darkness.

If people were sufficiently aware of the horrors of imperialist aggression and of how much military expansionism is costing them personally, they would never stand for it, and they would force it to end.

If people were sufficiently aware of the insanity of stockpiling armageddon weapons on our planet, nuclear weapons would be eliminated everywhere.

If people were sufficiently aware of how aggressively and unjustly they are being robbed by the ruling class, they would use the power of their numbers to take back what was stolen from them and create a more equitable system.

If people were sufficiently aware of what we are doing to our environment and what will happen to us in the near term if we don’t stop, ecocide for profit would cease to be an option.

If people were sufficiently aware of how much wealth, information and freedom is being taken from them every day for no other reason than to benefit the powerful, existing power structures would not be permitted to exist any longer.

If people were sufficiently aware of the way mass-scale narrative control is being used to manipulate the thoughts they think about their nation and their world, those narratives would no longer be imbued with the power of belief.

If people were sufficiently aware of how completely artificial our system of money and economics actually is, they would change it to a system that doesn’t let human beings starve and die for not having enough imaginary numbers in their bank account.

If people were sufficiently aware of the injustices caused by racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice, and sufficiently aware of the humanity possessed by those who are different from them, all the injustices and inequalities caused by those prejudices would dissipate.

If people were sufficiently aware of the cruelty and unsustainability of factory farming, new food systems would quickly replace it.

If people were sufficiently aware of the abusive power dynamics in their nation, in their community, in their family, in their interpersonal relationships, those abusive power dynamics would not be permitted to continue.

If people were sufficiently aware of their early childhood trauma and the inner conditioning patterns which were set in place within them to cope with it, they would heal that trauma and begin moving harmoniously in the world.

If people were sufficiently aware of the way their personal suffering is caused by harmful mental habits arising from false identity constructs, their personal suffering would cease.

All our major problems are caused by a lack of awareness and can be solved by an increase in awareness. This is why fighting propaganda, opposing censorship, protecting press freedoms and exposing the truth of what’s really going on in our world is so important. It’s also why inner work on bringing consciousness to our inner processes is so important. Expanding awareness, both inwardly and outwardly, is the most important thing that a human being can do in this life.

If we had such awareness collectively, our few remaining problems would be easy to address. Without a system where all the resources are sucked away from the most needful for the benefit of the most powerful, the sick could be far more effectively cared for, and natural disasters far more efficaciously responded to.

If we had sufficient awareness of what’s true, in ourselves and in our world, we would have paradise on earth. Psychopathic manipulators would be no more capable of operating in such a world than a predator covered in glowing neon signs and clanging bells would be capable of hunting. All dysfunction would be seen as clearly as a black smudge on a white tile, and addressed just as easily. From there, our potential as a species would be limitless.

The Gary Null Show - 2021International Women’s Day

The Gary Null Show - 2021International Women’s Day

March 8, 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. Today is a special report on how the future is female. 

The Gary Null Show - Why Should We Trust a Vaccine from a Condom Maker?

The Gary Null Show - Why Should We Trust a Vaccine from a Condom Maker?

March 5, 2021

Why Should We Trust a Vaccine from a Condom Maker?

 

Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD

Progressive Radio Network, March 5, 2021

 

 

For decades, according to a Guardian article, “consumers worldwide have named the $347 billion pharmaceutical behemoth Johnson and Johnson (J&J) as one of its most trusted brands.” From its humble beginnings in the 1880s, making cotton gauze dressings and eventually band aids, baby powder and shampoo, J&J  has expanded into one of the most powerful multinational pharmaceutical and medical device companies in the world.  In 1959, it entered the world of Big Pharma as a leading player after succeeding in getting Tylenol approved as an over-the-counter drug.  Shortly thereafter J&J commenced with a flurry of acquisitions to increase its product line, which included Neutrogena, Cordis, DePuy, Janssen Pharmaceutica and Centocor.  Today, in most American home medicine cabinets one will find a popular J&J product:  Listerine, Tylenol and Benadryl, Neutrogena skin cream, Rogaine, Neosporin antibacterial ointment, or Destin to treat diaper rashes.

 

Now, people are eager for J&J’s “one shot and you’re done” Covid-19 vaccine despite health officials’ fears it may be less effective than Moderna’s and Pfizer’s mRNA competitors. Nevertheless, vaccination centers and pharmacies are racing to get their hands on the new adenovirus-based vaccine.  And as we will further note below, this is from a company that has absolutely no past experience in vaccine development and manufacturing. 

 

However, we need to seriously challenge J&J’s reputation. A 2019 report by the British intelligence firm Alva has noted that J&J’s reputation has sunk dramatically during the past years, from 9th place among 58 major pharmaceutical firms to 57th. Certainly, this is not a company with a clean ethical record.

 

A review of J&J’s rap sheet over the past three decades presents a dire and contrary image that should lead us to question the company’s claims about its Covid-19 vaccine given the lucrative market the pandemic has created for the most aggressive medical corporations. 

 

Similar to its equally over-sized competitors Glaxo, Merck and Pfizer, J&J too has had to pay out billions of dollars over the decades for civil settlements and criminal activities.  As the pharmaceutical giant receives applause across the mainstream media for the release and FDA emergency approval for its Covid-19 vaccine, Brazil’s Public Prosecution Service started an investigation into J&J’s antitrust activities under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for “possible improper payments in its medical device industry.” This was part of an FBI bribery scheme investigation that included Seimens, General Electric and Philips acting as a larger cartel to illegally payoff government officials in return for securing contracts with Brail’s national health programs.  The charges also include price gouging, inflating prices up to 800 percent the market price to cover bribes. 

 

This is not the first time J&J has violated FCPA laws. In 2011, J&J was charged by the Department of Justice with conspiracy for paying off Greek doctors to advance its product sales.  The SEC also charged civil complaints. The company had to pay out a $70 million penalty for buying off officials in Greece, Poland and Romania. In 2010, an executive for J&J’s subsidiary DePuy was sentenced to a year in prison for corrupt payments to physicians within the Greek national healthcare system.  

 

As one of the world’s leading medical device companies, J&J has had its share of recalls for faulty products including contact lenses and hip implants  In 2013, it paid nearly $2.5 billion to compensate 8,000 recipients for its flawed hip implants  Again in 2016, another $1 billion was awarded to plaintiffs injured from this device.

 

One particular dubious activity the company became involved with in 2008 was to launch a “phantom recall.” When its Motrin IB caplets were discovered to not properly dissolve, it hired outside contractors to buy up store supplies in order to avoid making public declaration. No one would have known of this activity and it would have gotten past the eyes of FDA inspectors had the deception not been exposed during a Congressional investigation.

 

Other major J&J lawsuits and recalls for faulty products include:

 

1995 - $7.5 million fine for destroying documents to cover up an investigation into wrongful marketing of its Retin-A acne cream to remove wrinkles

 

1996 – An undisclosed settlement on false claims over condom protection claims to protect against HIV and other STDs.

 

2000 – J&J’s subsidiary LifeScan was found guilty for selling defective blood glucose monitors and failed to inform the FDA.  All total, $105 million was paid out. 

 

2001 – Paid out $860 million in a class action lawsuit for misleading customers about prematurely discarding its 1-Day Acuvue soft contact lens.  J&J recommended they should only be worn once although it was discovered the lenses were no different than the regular Acuvue lens that would last for two weeks

 

2010 - $81 million settlement for misbranding its anti-epileptic drug Topamax to treat psychiatric disorders and hiring outside physicians to join its sales force to promote the drug for unapproved conditions.  The following year, J&J paid $85 million for similar charges against its heart drug Natrecor

 

2011 – Several of its baby products were discovered to contain carcinogenic ingredients

 

2013 – The US Justice Department charged the company $2.2 billion in criminal fines for marking its autism and anti-psychotic drug Risperdal for unapproved uses. Forty-five states had filed civil lawsuits against J&J in the scandal

 

Risperdal is  horrendous drug that contributes to rapid weight gain and a condition known as gynescomastia, irregular enlarged breasts in men. Semmelweis reports that J&J’s subsidiary Janssen also had an aggressive campaign to market its use in children with behavioral challenges.  Other serious adverse effects from Risperdal reported by the FDA include diabetes mellitus, hyperprolactinaemia, somnolence, depression, anxiety, psychotic behavior, suicide and death. 

 

The company’s legal problems over Risperdal do not appear to have ended. In October 2019, a Philadelphia jury awarded a man $8 billion in punitive damages for failing to warn that the drug could cause young men to grow breasts. Other recent suits include litigation over its blood thinner Xarelto risks of internal bleeding, and a $775 million settlement to 25,000 plaintiffs. 

 

2016 -  Two women were awarded $127 million in damages for the talc in its J&J Baby Powder causing ovarian cancer.  Later, over 1,000 similar cases came forward. During the trial it was discovered that J&J suspected a link between talcum and ovarian cancer back in the 1970s.  A Missouri verdict fined the company over $4 billion but it was later reduced to $2.1 billion.  A New York Times investigation into internal J&J memos uncovered evidence that the talcum powder may have contained asbestos. These cases continue. In July 2019, J&J made efforts to dismiss 14,000 lawsuits over the talcum-cancer risk.

 

More recently, J&J has been in the spotlight for its role in contributing to the deadly opioid crisis.  The company holds the patent for a unique strain of opium poppy commonly named Norman. It is the leading provider of the opioid for Purdue Pharma’s painkiller OxyContin. An Oklahoma court ordered a $465 million fine. This opened the door for other states to follow suit.  To fully realize how insane the system is, the half a billion dollar civil fine was good news on Wall Street, which anticipated the verdict would be in the billions of dollars. Consequently, J&J’s stock rose 2 percent after the judge’s ruling.  And despite J&J being Purdue’s major supplier, and a major contributor in the US’s opioid epidemic, the latter was forced to file for bankruptcy due to mounting lawsuits for overdose deaths.

 

Finally, we might ask why a 140 year old company, with no history whatsoever in vaccine development, has now become among the heroes in the immunological war against Covid-19?  J&J is not a household name in the vaccine industry. It is utterly absent, let alone ranks among the world’s 20 major vaccine makers. Among the 53 vaccines for other infections approved and licensed by the CDC, not one is manufactured by the nation’s leader in mouthwash and baby powder.  It is therefore no surprise that the company had to partner with Merck to manufacture its Covid vaccine to meet demand. It has no history or expertise in this medical field. 

 

However, the Covid pandemic is a cash cow for the drug industry’s taking. Bernstein market analyst Ronny Gal predicts Covid-19 vaccine sales will reach $40 billion this year.  A more realistic figure is likely higher since together Moderna and Pfizer project their revenues at $32 billion. Then there are the other major vaccines by AstraZeneca, J&J and Novavax entering the competition.  According to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s vaccine research tracker, over 200 vaccines against Covid-19 are in development worldwide. It is an enormous pumpkin pie and everyone in the medical universe wants a slice from it.  So why shouldn’t we expect a non-vaccine player such as J&J to be eager to leap into the frenzy?  

 

Finally, there is a disturbing question that we have no certain answer for.  How is it that a drug and household health product company, with no prior history in vaccine development, can develop and rush to market its first vaccine against a viral strain that was only identified 14 months ago?  Developing a vaccine requires many years and necessitates the establishment of an R&D infrastructure vastly different than conventional drug development.  The other major companies developing Covid-19 vaccines have been in the business for decades. But not J&J. There is something more to this story that demands investigation.  And if the company’s long rap sheet offers any warning, it is that we must be wary of any claims J&J publicly states about the efficacy and safety of its products.  Especially when the pandemic promise to increase the profits of numerous shareholders. 

The Gary Null Show - 03.04.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.04.21

March 4, 2021

A new effect of red ginseng: suppression of lung cancer metastasis

KIST Gangneung Institute (South Korea), March 3, 2021

Red ginseng, which has long been used as an ingredient in traditional Korean medicine, has recently drawn increased attention as a functional material for its health-promoting effects. The composition and activities of red ginseng vary depending on the processing method, and this has become an active area of research. Recently, a research team in Korea has entered the spotlight as they discovered that red ginseng has inhibitory effects against lung cancer metastasis.

The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) reported that a joint study conducted by Dr. Jungyeob Ham from the Natural Product Research Center at the KIST Gangneung Institute of Natural Products and Dr. Hyeonseok Ko of Seoul Asan Medical Center revealed that two components of red ginseng, Rk1 and Rg5, can significantly suppress lung cancer metastasis.

Dr. Ham of KIST developed a new microwave processing method for red ginseng that is based on the same principle as a microwave oven, which when compared to existing processing methods, such as repetitive steaming and drying, increases the concentration of the three main active components, Rg3, Rk1, and Rg5, more than 20 times. The research team previously demonstrated that red ginseng produced by this microwave processing method, which they have called KMxG, is effective against prostate, cervical, and skin cancers, and has protective effects against by drug-induced kidney damage. This technology was transferred to Ponin Bio Co., Ltd. in 2020 for a technology fee of KRW 800 million and is currently being developed for commercialization.

Unlike normal cells, which die when separated from their original tissue, cancer cells can spread to other tissues where they invade and grow, in a process called metastasis. TGF-β1, a cytokine protein that functions as a signaling substance in the body, induces lung cancer metastasis and promotes the development of stem cell-like properties in cancer cells. The KIST research team treated lung cancer cells with Rk1 and Rg5, the main components of KMxG red ginseng and showed that both components effectively inhibited various processes related to cancer metastasis induced by TGF-β1.

"Although components of red ginseng previously have been shown to kill cancer cells, this study proved that these components of red ginseng have other anti-cancer effects and can inhibit lung cancer metastasis. This provides scientific evidence that may lead to the future development of anti-cancer drugs derived from natural products," remarked Dr. Ham. He added, "Because we can control the active ingredient contents of red ginseng by using microwave processing methods like the one that produced KMxG, it may be possible to develop customized functional materials for various diseases."

 

Intermittent fasting promotes anti-anxiety effects

Federal University of Porto Alegre (Brazil), February 28, 2021

According to news reporting originating from Porto Alegre, Brazil, research stated, “Anxiety disorders are linked to mitochondrial dysfunction and decreased neurotrophic support. Since anxiolytic drugs target mitochondria, non-pharmacological approaches to improve mitochondrial metabolism such as intermittent fasting (IF) may cause parallel behavioral benefits against anxiety disorders.”

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from Federal University, “Here, we investigated whether a chronic IF regimen could induce anxiolytic-like effects concomitantly to modulation in mitochondrial bioenergetics and trophic signaling in mice brain. A total of 44 Male C57BL/6 J mice (180 days old) were assigned to two dietary regimens: a normal, ad libitum diet (AL group) and an alternate-day fasting (IF group), where animals underwent 10 cycles of 24 h food restriction followed by 24 h ad libitum access. Animals underwent the open field test, dark/light box and elevated plus maze tasks. Isolated nerve terminals were obtained from mice brain and used for mitochondrial respirometry, hydrogen peroxide production and assessment of membrane potential dynamics, calcium handling and western blotting. We showed that IF significantly alters total daily food intake and food consumption patterns but not body weight. There were no differences in the exploratory and locomotory parameters. Remarkably, animals from IF showed decreased anxiety-like behavior. Mitochondrial metabolic responses in different coupling states and parameters linked with HO production, Ca buffering and electric gradient were not different between groups. Finally, no alterations in molecular indicators of apoptotic death (Bax/Bcl-2 ratio) and neuroplasticity (proBDNF/BDNF and synaptophysin were observed).”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “IF exerts anxiolytic-like effect not associated with modulation in synaptic neuronergetics or expression of neurotrophic proteins. These results highlight a potential benefit of intermittent fasting as a nutritional intervention in anxiety-related disorders.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and less sitting reduce the risk of diabetes in older adults

University of Oulu (Finland), February 26, 2021

According to a recent study, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and less sedentary time improve glucose metabolism and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in older adults. Based on the results, it is important to encourage older adults to avoid sedentary time and increase moderate-to-vigorous physical activity to improve their glucose metabolism.

The study is part of the population-based Oulu1945 survey conducted in 2013–2015 by the University of Oulu and Oulu Deaconess Institute's Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Finland. The survey involved a total of 660 Oulu residents born in 1945 and between the ages of 67 and 69, at that time. Physical activity and sedentary time were measured with a wrist-worn accelerometer for a period of two weeks, and the glucose metabolism was examined using an oral glucose tolerance test. The subjects were divided into the following four profiles based on the amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and sedentary time: "couch potatoes," "light movers," "sedentary actives" and "actives."

"Active" older adults had a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes than older adults in the 'couch potatoes' profile, one in two of whom were found to have a glucose metabolism disorder. The blood glucose and insulin concentrations in the 'active' profile were lower throughout the glucose tolerance test compared to those in the less physically active groups. Older adults in the 'active' profile had a better glucose tolerance and muscle insulin sensitivity than those in the 'couch potatoes' profile, both clear signs of a reduced risk of diabetes.

"Previous surveys have suggested a link between older adults' physical activity and glucose metabolism, but the use of the accelerometer in studies involving older adults has been negligible. In this study, we were able to make a distinction between moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and sedentary time through accelerometry and to then profile the subjects on that basis in different activity profiles. We analyzed the association between the physical activity profile and glucose metabolism, which is a new perspective. By the activity profiles, we can see that, from the point of view of glucose metabolism, physical activity alone is not enough: you should be active and potter about throughout the day," says researcher Miia Länsitie.

The risk of glucose metabolism disorders increases significantly in older age, making it essential to find ways to prevent diabetes in older adults. Based on this study, an active lifestyle, including moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and limited sedentary time, also promotes older adults' glucose metabolism and can play a significant role in preventing diabetes in older people.

"Older adults with long-term illnesses or functional limitations, who may find it impossible to achieve the recommended level of physical activity, should spend less time sitting down and more pottering about every day to enhance their glucose metabolism," Länsitie says.

 

The right '5-a-day' mix is 2 fruit and 3 vegetable servings for longer life

Harvard Medical School, March 1, 2021

 Studies representing nearly 2 million adults worldwide show that eating about five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, in which 2 are fruits and 3 are vegetables, is likely the optimal amount for a longer life, according to new research published today in the American Heart Association’s flagship journal Circulation.

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables help reduce risk for numerous chronic health conditions that are leading causes of death, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Yet, only about one in 10 adults eat enough fruits or vegetables, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“While groups like the American Heart Association recommend four to five servings each of fruits and vegetables daily, consumers likely get inconsistent messages about what defines optimal daily intake of fruits and vegetables such as the recommended amount, and which foods to include and avoid,” said lead study author Dong D. Wang, M.D., Sc.D., an epidemiologist, nutritionist and a member of the medical faculty at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Wang and colleagues analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, two studies including more than 100,000 adults who were followed for up to 30 years. Both datasets included detailed dietary information repeatedly collected every two to four years. For this analysis, researchers also pooled data on fruit and vegetable intake and death from 26 studies that included about 1.9 million participants from 29 countries and territories in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

Analysis of all studies, with a composite of more than 2 million participants, revealed:

  • Intake of about five servings of fruits and vegetables daily was associated with the lowest risk of death. Eating more than five servings was not associated with additional benefit. 
  • Eating about two servings daily of fruits and three servings daily of vegetables was associated with the greatest longevity.
  • Compared to those who consumed two servings of fruit and vegetables per day, participants who consumed five servings a day of fruits and vegetable had a 13% lower risk of death from all causes; a 12% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke; a 10% lower risk of death from cancer; and a 35% lower risk of death from respiratory disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Not all foods that one might consider to be fruits and vegetables offered the same benefits. For example: Starchy vegetables, such as peas and corn, fruit juices and potatoes were not associated with reduced risk of death from all causes or specific chronic diseases.
  • On the other hand, green leafy vegetables, including spinach, lettuce and kale, and fruit and vegetables rich in beta carotene and vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, berries and carrots, showed benefits.

“Our analysis in the two cohorts of U.S. men and women yielded results similar to those from 26 cohorts around the world, which supports the biological plausibility of our findings and suggests these findings can be applied to broader populations,” Wang said.

Wang said this study identifies an optimal intake level of fruits and vegetables and supports the evidence-based, succinct public health message of ‘5-a-day,’ meaning people should ideally consume five servings of fruit and vegetable each day. “This amount likely offers the most benefit in terms of prevention of major chronic disease and is a relatively achievable intake for the general public,” he said. “We also found that not all fruits and vegetables offer the same degree of benefit, even though current dietary recommendations generally treat all types of fruits and vegetables, including starchy vegetables, fruit juices and potatoes, the same.”

A limitation of the research is that it is observational, showing an association between fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of death; it does not confer a direct cause-and-effect relationship.

“The American Heart Association recommends filling at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal,” said Anne Thorndike, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “This research provides strong evidence for the lifelong benefits of eating fruits and vegetables and suggests a goal amount to consume daily for ideal health. Fruits and vegetables are naturally packaged sources of nutrients that can be included in most meals and snacks, and they are essential for keeping our hearts and bodies healthy.”

 

Mechanisms through which melatonin prevents osteoporosis explore

Natural Science Foundation of Liaoning Province (China), February 26, 2021

According to news reporting from Liaoning, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Melatonin, secreted in a typical diurnal rhythm pattern, has been reported to prevent osteoporosis; however, its role in osteoclastogenesis remains unclear. In the present study, the ability of melatonin to inhibit receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B ligand (RANKL)-induced osteoclastogenesis and the associated mechanism were investigated.”

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from China Medical University, “Raw264.7 cells were cultured with RANKL (100 ng/ml) and macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF; 30 ng/ml) for 7 days, and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining was used to detect osteoclastogenesis following treatment with melatonin. In addition, the effect of melatonin on cathepsin K and microRNA (miR)-882 expression was investigated via western blotting and reverse transcription-quantitative PCR. Melatonin significantly inhibited RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis in Raw264.7 cells. From bioinformatics analysis, it was inferred that nuclear receptor subfamily 1 group D member 1 (NR1D1/Rev-erb alpha) may be a target of miR-882. In vitro, melatonin upregulated Rev-erb alpha expression and downregulated miR-882 expression in the osteoclastogenesis model. Rev-erb alpha overexpression boosted the anti-osteoclastogenesis effects of melatonin, whereas miR-882 partially diminished these effects.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “The present results indicated that the miR-882/Rev-erb alpha axis may serve a vital role in inhibiting osteoclastogenesis following RANKL and M-CSF treatment, indicating that Rev-erb alpha agonism or miR-882 inhibition may represent mechanisms through which melatonin prevents osteoporosis.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

Rhythm Of Breathing Key To Controlling Fear And Emotional Behavior

Northwestern University, March 2, 2021 

 

We live in a fearful world with exposure to a deluge of stressors every day. As much as fear is a result of reacting to the actual or perceived events in our lives, it is also a biological function of the human body, and when equipped with an understanding of how the body manages the emotional system, we can easily outsmart it, tricking ourselves into emotional balance.

This perspective is scientifically validated by new research from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago Illinois, which discovered how the various rhythmic patterns of breath profoundly impact memory recall and the emotional body, specifically the fear response.

 

The brain creates electrical impulses which link physical functions to emotional reactions, and the electrical activity of the brain is deeply affected by our breathing patterns. The outcome of this balance is determined by whether or not we are inhaling or exhaling, as well as if we are  breathing through the nose or the mouth, as each variable creates a different electrical response within the brain.

 

In the Northwestern study, participants were shown images of human expressions, some frightful, while engaging in various patterns of breathing. Researchers observed that people more easily process fear, and more readily recall images, while inhaling through the nose.

 

One of the major findings in this study is that there is a dramatic difference in brain activity in the amygdala and hippocampus during inhalation compared with exhalation. When you breathe in, we discovered you are stimulating neurons in the olfactory cortex, amygdala and hippocampus, all across the limbic system. ~Christina Zelano, assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and lead author of the study

 

The amygdala is decisively liked to the processing of emotions, especially those related to fear, while the hippocampus is strongly linked to memory recall, and the breath, which originates with the diaphragm, plays the critical role of regulating their function.

 

Breathing is modulated at the diaphragm, and it is also the location where many physical symptoms associated with fear and anxiety manifest. ~Brett Wilbanks

The differences in brain activity which occur during unique breathing rhythms were recognized by looking at brain activity during the introduction of fearful or surprising human faces, finding distinctively heightened activity during inhaling. Knowing this can be highly advantageous when you realize that your fear reaction is working overtime.

 

 

We can potentially use this fact to our advantage. For example if you’re in a dangerous environment with fearful stimuli, our date indicate that you can respond more quickly if you are inhaling through your nose. ~Christina Zelano

 

Furthermore, this further validates the importance of meditation, which commonly centers of developing control of the breath in order to quiet the mind and normalize physiological function in the body. The long-term results of a dedicated meditation practice include more stable and optimal emotional reactions to the world around us, indicating again that breathing is a critical component of living a fearless life.

 

 

 

Study: Diet high in poor quality carbohydrates increases heart disease and death

McMaster University (Ontario), February 28, 2021

A global study of people living on five continents has found a diet high in poor quality carbohydrates leads to a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death.

The higher risks of a diet high in poor quality carbohydrates, called a high glycemic diet, were similar whether people had previous cardiovascular disease or not.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine today, is the largest of a geographically and dietary diverse population on this issue, as previous studies have chiefly focused on high income Western countries.

A total of 137,851 people aged 35 to 70 years old were followed for a median of 9.5 years through the Population Urban and Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study run by the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.

The research team used food questionnaires to measure long term dietary intake of participants and estimate the glycemic index (the ranking of food based on their effect on blood-sugar levels) and glycemic load (the amount of carbohydrates in a food times its glycemic index) of diets. There were 8,780 deaths and 8,252 major cardiovascular events recorded among the participants during the follow-up period.

The investigators categorized dietary intake of carbohydrates depending on whether specific types of carbohydrates increased blood sugars more than others (high glycemic index) and compared this index to the occurrence of cardiovascular disease or death.

Those people consuming a diet in the highest 20 percent of glycemic index were 50 percent more likely to have a cardiovascular attack, stroke, or death if they had a pre-existing heart condition, or 20 percent more likely to have an event if they did not have a pre-existing condition.

These risks were also higher among those people who were obese.

"I have been studying the impact of high glycemic diets for many decades, and this study ratifies that the consumption of high amounts of poor quality carbohydrates is an issue worldwide," said first author David Jenkins, professor of nutritional sciences and medicine at the University of Toronto's Temerty Faculty of Medicine, who is also a scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital, Unity Health Toronto.

"PURE study papers have already indicated that not all carbohydrates foods are the same. Diets high in poor quality carbohydrates are associated with reduced longevity, while diets rich in high quality carbohydrates such as fruit, vegetables and legumes have beneficial effects," he said.

PHRI research investigator Mahshid Dehghan added: "This study also makes it clear that among a diverse population, a diet low in both its glycemic index and load has a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death."

Most fruits, vegetables, beans, and intact whole grains have a low glycemic index, while white bread, rice, and potatoes have a high glycemic index.

"The present data, along with prior publications from the PURE and several other studies, emphasize that consumption of poor quality of carbohydrates are likely to be more adverse than the consumption of most fats in the diet," said Salim Yusuf, senior author of the study.

"This calls for a fundamental shift in our thinking of what types of diet are likely to be harmful and what types neutral or beneficial."

Yusuf is also the principal investigator of the PURE study, executive director of the PHRI, and a professor of medicine at McMaster.

The Gary Null Show - 03.03.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.03.21

March 3, 2021

Chaga mushrooms, a natural way to regrow hair? 

Tokushima University (Japan), February 28 2021

Alopecia areata is a condition characterized by hair falling out in patches. Research suggests it is caused by the immune system attacking the hair follicles, causing them to shrink and slow down hair production. Because of this, alopecia is called an autoimmune disorder.

According to statistics, alopecia is a common autoimmune disorder that affects about 6.8 million people in the U.S. alone. One in five people who suffer from alopecia has a family member with the same condition. Hair loss, however, can vary from nothing more than a few patches to complete loss of hair on the scalp or the entire body.

There are currently no mainstream cures for alopecia, and the reason why the immune system attacks hair follicles is still unknown. But in a recent study, researchers at Tokushima University in Japan reported a natural medicine that can potentially reverse the effects of alopecia. Inonotus obliquuscommonly known as chaga, is a parasitic fungus that grows on birch and other trees. It is traditionally used to treat gastrointestinal diseases as well as to maintain healthy hair in many countries in Asia.

The researchers screened chaga mushrooms for useful phytochemicals and found that it contains plenty of potential anti-alopecia agents. They discussed their findings in detail in an article published in the Journal of Natural Medicines.

Compounds in chaga mushroom promote proliferation of hair follicles

Chaga mushrooms refer to the resting body, or sclerotium, of I. obliquus. In countries like China, Korea, Japan and Russia, these mushrooms are known for their favorable effects on lipid metabolism and cardiac function. Research has also found that they possess antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-tumor properties, and even exhibit antiviral properties against the hepatitis C virus and the human immunodeficiency virus.

On the other hand, phytochemical analysis of chaga mushrooms reveal that they are rich in polysaccharides, triterpenes and polyphenols. They also contain two components commonly derived from birch trees, namely, betulin (or betulinol) and betulinic acid. Studies show that betulin can help lower cholesterol levels and increase insulin sensitivityin mice, while betulinic acid can activate signaling pathways that lead to cancer cell death.

According to Japanese researchers, chaga mushrooms are used in Mongolia to make shampoo that helps with the maintenance of strong, healthy hair. This prompted them to investigate whether chaga mushrooms can be used for the treatment of alopecia. Bioassay-guided fractionation of chaga mushroom extracts allowed them to identify five lanostane-type triterpenes whose structures they confirmed using spectroscopy.

The researchers then conducted proliferation assays using human follicle dermal papilla cells (HFDPCs) and found that four of the five triterpenes can promote the proliferation of HFDPCs. The compounds were identified as lanosterol, inotodiol, lanost-8,24-diene-3B,21-diol and trametenolic acid. The researchers also reported that these lanostane-type triterpenes were more potent than minoxidil, a conventional treatment for male-pattern baldness that’s used to promote hair growth.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that the lanostane-type triterpenes in chaga mushrooms are potent anti-alopecia agents that can be used to stimulate hair growth naturally. 

 

 

Association of serum folate, vitamin A and vitamin C levels with greater bone mineral density

Tiajin Fifth Central Hospital (China), February 22, 20221

According to news originating from the Tianjin Fifth Central Hospital research stated, “The conclusions on the associations of specific vitamin levels with bone mineral density (BMD) were controversial. Therefore, the aims of this study were to examine the associations of serum vitamins levels with BMD and the modified effect of race/ ethnicity on these associations in the US adults.”

The news editors obtained a quote from the research from Tianjin Fifth Central Hospital: “This study was from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. All participants aged 18 years with complete data were eligible. Serum vitamins A, B9, B12, C, and E levels were assayed using the Quantaphase II Radioassay Kit (Bio-Rad). Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry was employed to measure BMD, including femur neck and the total hip. There were 6023 participants included in the final analysis. Serum folate, vitamins A and C levels were positively associated with BMD. No significant associations of serum vitamins B12 and E levels with BMD were observed. There were positive associations of serum folate level (b = 0.00027 and 0.00032; and 95% CI: 0.00002-0.00057 and 0.00002-0.00063, respectively), vitamin A level (b = 0.01132 and 0.01115; and 95% CI: 0.00478-0.01787 and 0.00430-0.01799, respectively), and vitamin C level (b = 0.00027 and 0.00029; and 95% CI: 0.00012-0.00042 and 0.00013-0.00045, respectively) with BMD at femur neck and the total hip only in the Not Hispanic participants.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Elevated serum folate, vitamins A and C levels were associated with a higher BMD. Furthermore, sex and race/ ethnicity modified the associations of serum vitamins levels with BMD.”

 

 

Study shows mother's diet may boost immune systems of premature infants

Johns Hopkins University, February 25, 2021

Medical researchers have long understood that a pregnant mother's diet has a profound impact on her developing fetus's immune system and that babies -- especially those born prematurely -- who are fed breast milk have a more robust ability to fight disease, suggesting that even after childbirth, a mother's diet matters. However, the biological mechanisms underlying these connections have remained unclear.

Now, in a study published Feb. 15, 2021, in the journal Nature Communications, a Johns Hopkins Medicine research team reports that pregnant mice fed a diet rich in a molecule found abundantly in cruciferous vegetables -- such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower -- gave birth to pups with stronger protection against necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). NEC is a dangerous inflammatory condition that destroys a newborn's intestinal lining, making it one of the leading causes of mortality in premature infants.

The team also found that breast milk from these mothers continued to confer immunity against NEC in their offspring. 

Seen in as many as 12% of newborn babies weighing less than 3.5 pounds at birth, NEC is a rapidly progressing gastrointestinal emergency in which normally harmless gut bacteria invade the underdeveloped wall of the premature infant's colon, causing inflammation that can ultimately destroy healthy tissue at the site. If enough cells become necrotic (die) so that a hole is created in the intestinal wall, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause life-threatening sepsis.

In earlier mouse studies, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine showed that NEC results when the underdeveloped intestinal lining in premature infants produces higher-than-normal amounts of a protein called toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). TLR4 in full-term babies binds with bacteria in the gut and helps keep the microbes in check. However, in premature infants, TLR4 can act like an immune system switch, with excess amounts of the protein mistakenly directing the body's defense mechanism against disease to attack the intestinal wall instead.

"Based on this understanding, we designed our latest study to see if indole-3-carbinole, or I3C for short, a chemical compound common in green leafy vegetables and known to switch off the production of TLR4, could be fed to pregnant mice, get passed to their unborn children and then protect them against NEC after birth," says study senior author David Hackam, M.D., Ph.D., surgeon-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Children's Center and professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "We also wanted to determine if I3C in breast milk could maintain that protection as the infants grow." 

In the first of three experiments, Hackam and his colleagues sought to induce NEC in 7-day old mice, half of which were born from mothers fed I3C derived from broccoli during their pregnancies and half from mothers fed a diet without I3C. They found that those born from mothers given I3C throughout gestation were 50% less likely to develop NEC, even with their immune systems still immature at one week after birth.

The second experiment examined whether breast milk with I3C could continue to provide infant mice with protection against NEC. To do this, the researchers used mice genetically bred without the binding site on intestinal cells for I3C known as the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR).

When AHR-lacking pups were given breast milk from mice fed a diet containing I3C, they could not process the compound. Therefore, they developed severe NEC 50% more frequently than infant mice that had the I3C receptor. 

The researchers say this shows in mice -- and suggests in humans -- that AHR must be activated to protect babies from NEC and that what a mother eats during breastfeeding -- in this case, I3C -- can impact the ability of her milk to bolster an infant's developing immune system. 

In confirmatory studies, Hackam and his colleagues looked at the amounts of AHR in human tissue obtained from infants undergoing surgery for severe NEC. They found significantly lower than normal levels of the receptor, suggesting that reduced AHR predisposes infants to the disease.

Finally, the researchers searched for a novel drug that could be given to pregnant women to optimize AHR's positive effect and reduce the risk of NEC in the event of premature birth. After screening in pregnant mice a variety of compounds already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for other clinical uses, the researchers observed that one, which they called A18 (clinically known as lansoprazole, a drug approved for the treatment of gastrointestinal hyperacidity), activates the I3C receptor, limits TLR4 signaling and prevents gut bacteria from infiltrating the intestinal wall. 

To show the relevance of what they saw in mice, the researchers tested A18 in the laboratory on human intestinal tissue removed from patients with NEC and found the drug produced similar protective results.

"These findings enable us to imagine the possibility of developing a maternal diet that can not only boost an infant's overall growth, but also enhance the immune system of a developing fetus and, in turn, reduce the risk of NEC if the baby is born prematurely," says Hackam.

 

Plant-based diets improve cardiac function, cognitive health

Boston University Medical School, February 25, 2021

What if you could improve your heart health and brain function by changing your diet? Boston University School of Medicine researchers have found that by eating more plant-based food such as berries and green leafy vegetables while limiting consumption of foods high in saturated fat and animal products, you can slow down heart failure (HF) and ultimately lower your risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

Heart failure (HF) affects over 6.5 million adults in the U.S. In addition to its detrimental effects on several organ systems, presence of HF is associated with higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Similarly, changes in cardiac structure and function (cardiac remodeling) that precede the appearance of HF are associated with poor cognitive function and cerebral health. 

The adoption of diets, such as the Mediterranean diet (MIND) and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), which are characterized by high intakes of plant-based foods are among lifestyle recommendations for the prevention of HF. However, whether a dietary pattern that emphasizes foods thought to promote the maintenance of neurocognitive health also mitigates changes in cardiac structure and function (cardiac remodeling) has been unclear until now.

The researchers found the MIND diet, which emphasizes consumption of berries and green leafy vegetables while limiting intakes of foods high in saturated fat and animal products, positively benefited the hearts' left ventricular function which is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood throughout the body.

The researchers evaluated the dietary and echocardiographic data of 2,512 participants of the Framingham Heart Study (Offspring Cohort), compared their MIND diet score to measures of cardiac structure and function and observed that a dietary pattern that emphasizes foods thought to promote the maintenance of neurocognitive health also mitigates cardiac remodeling.

According to the researchers previous studies have highlighted the importance of diet as a modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia. "Our findings highlight the importance of adherence to the MIND diet for a better cardiovascular health and further reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in the community," explained corresponding author Vanessa Xanthakis, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and biostatistics at BUSM and an Investigator for the Framingham Heart Study.

Although Xanthakis acknowledges that following a healthy diet may not always be easy or fit with today's busy schedules, people should make a concerted effort to adhere to healthy eating to help lower risk of disease and achieve better quality of life.

 

 

 

 

Fear of memory loss impacts well-being and quality of life

Trinity College Dublin, February 23, 2021

Research from the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) at Trinity College suggests that experiencing high levels of fear about dementia can have harmful effects on older adults' beliefs about their memory and general well-being.

To date, few studies have measured the impact of dementia-related fear on daily functioning, despite its clinical relevance. In this new study, published in the journal Aging and Mental Health, researchers investigated if fear of memory decline predicted increased memory failures and poorer quality of life in older adults.

Dr. Francesca Farina, Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at GBHI, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Cambridge, University of Maastricht and Northwestern University developed a novel scale—known as the Fear of Memory Loss (FAM) scale—to capture different components of fear related to memory loss.

Using the scale, healthy older adults aged 55+ were assessed with respect to the different dimensions of fear. Questions probed specific fears like becoming dependent on others, being treated differently by friends or colleagues, and loss of identity, as well as coping strategies like avoiding social situations for fear of embarrassment.

Findings from the study showed that having higher levels of fear about dementia was associated with reporting more memory lapses and a lower quality of life. Notably, these results were independent of performance on memory tests and the level of reported anxiety. That is, fears about dementia had a negative influence on peoples' beliefs regardless of how they performed on an objective lab-based memory test, or how they rated their anxiety levels.

Key findings:

  • Heightened fear of memory loss significantly predicted lower quality of life and increased self-reported memory failures, after controlling for objective memory performance and general anxiety.
  • There was no difference in the level of fear expressed between those with and without a family history of dementia. Though surprising, this result is consistent with evidence of widespread fear of dementia among the general population.
  • Over half of respondents (57%) said they worried about losing their memory and feared how people would treat them if this happened.
  • The novel FAM scale highlights the important role played by avoidance behaviors in maintaining fear, along with subjective experiences and cognitions.
  • Findings also have important healthcare implications. Fear of dementia is a psychological process that can be modified using interventions such as psycho-education and psychotherapy.

The researchers propose a preliminary fear-avoidance model, where perceived changes in memory result in fear, which over time, creates avoidance and social withdrawal. This combination of fear and avoidance has a negative impact on everyday functioning, which then impairs mood and sense of self.

Identifying effective ways to challenge fears about dementia could prove beneficial to individuals and society. On the individual level, reducing fear could lead to improvements in how people view their memory function and quality of life. At the societal level, acknowledging and addressing fears about dementia would help to eliminate stigma associated with the condition.

Dr. Francesca Farina, Atlantic Fellow at GBHI, and lead author said: "Almost 80% of the general public are concerned about developing dementia, according to the World Alzheimer Report 2019. Evidence also suggests that these fears increase with age. Given global population aging and the increased visibility of dementia, it is crucial that we find ways to address peoples' fears. Understanding and tackling these fears will serve to promote brain health and well-being, and reduce societal stigma for people living with disease and their carers."

Tackling Fear and Stigma Through Art

Data from the study inspired "Remembering What I Have Forgotten': a fictional diary written from the perspective of someone experiencing symptoms of dementia. Created by Irish artist Aoibheann Brady, student at the National College of Art and Design, the diary aims to capture the feelings and perspectives of people experiencing memory loss. Through the medium of a diary, "Remembering What I Have Forgotten' offers a realistic insight into the experience of dementia, with entries such as "I feel more withdrawn and am not going out or connecting" and "I am anxious that I will make mistakes."

This diary, however, was not written by a person—but by a software application known as a chatbot, which had been trained on anonymous interviews with healthcare professionals and carers of people living with dementia.

Aoibheann Brady, creator of "Remembering What I Have Forgotten' said: "With this project, I aimed to create work that is a crossover between art and science. I hope it helps demonstrate, to younger generations and members of the art world, that dementia is something that should be considered more in artistic practices."

 


 

Diet of fish and olive oils beneficially modifies membrane properties in striatal rat synaptosomes

National Institute of Neurology & Neurosurgery (Mexico), February 25, 2021

According to news reporting originating in Mexico City, Mexico, research stated, “Essential fatty acids (EFAs) and non-essential fatty acids (nEFAs) exert experimental and clinical neuroprotection in neurodegenerative diseases. The main EFAs, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), nEFAs, and oleic acid (OA) contained in olive and fish oils are inserted into the cell membranes, but the exact mechanism through which they exert neuroprotection is still unknown.”

The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from the National Institute of Neurology & Neurosurgery, “In this study, we assessed the fatty acids content and membrane fluidity in striatal rat synaptosomes after fatty acid-rich diets (olive- or a fish-oil diet, 15% w/w). Then, we evaluated the effect of enriching striatum synaptosomes with fatty acids on the oxidative damage produced by the prooxidants ferrous sulfate (FeSO4) or quinolinic acid (QUIN). Lipid profile analysis in striatal synaptosomes showed that EPA content increased in the fish oil group in comparison with control and olive groups. Furthermore, we found that synaptosomes enriched with fatty acids and incubated with QUIN or FeSO4 showed a significant oxidative damage reduction.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Results suggest that EFAs, particularly EPA, improve membrane fluidity and confer antioxidant effect.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

Soy intake is associated with lowering blood pressure in adults: A meta-analysis of randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials

Shiraz University of Medical Sciences (Iran), February 24, 2021

Soy has several beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease (CVD); however, results of clinical trial studies are equivocal. Thus, the present study sought to discern the efficacy of soy intake on blood pressure.

Methods

The search process was conducted in PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library, to ascertain studies investigating the efficacy of soy intake on blood pressure in adults, published up to June 2020. A random-effects model was applied to pool mean difference and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Meta-regression analysis was performed to discern potential sources of heterogeneity. Begg’s and Egger’s methods were conducted to assess publication bias.

Results

Pooled effects from 17 studies revealed a significant improvement in systolic blood pressure (SBP) (-1.64; -3.25 to -0.04 mmHg; I2 = 50.5 %) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) (-1.21; -2.29 to -0.12 mmHg, I2 = 50.7 %) following soy consumption, in comparison with controls. Subgroup analysis demonstrated a reduction in both SBP and DBP in younger participants with lower baseline blood pressure and intervention durations of <16 weeks.

Conclusion

In the present study, pooled effect sizes from 17 studies revealed a significant improvement in SBP and DBP in adults following soy consumption, in comparison with controls. In addition, subgroup analysis indicated a further reduction in both SBP and DBP in younger participants with lower baseline blood pressure and intervention durations < 16 weeks. Thus, increases to soy consumption could be considered as an alternative or complementary approach to improving BP outcomes among adults, and particularly among younger adults.

The Gary Null Show - 03.02.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.02.21

March 2, 2021

the covi-19 pandemic and legal questions against its orchestrators. 

Dr. Reiner Fuellmich is a German-American attorney and the founding chairman of the Investigative Corona Committee that is proceeding with class action lawsuits against some of the architects of the coronavirus panic. In the past Dr. Fuellmich was a faculty member o the Georg August University in Gottingen where he received his doctorate, and worked in the legal aspects of corporate banking at Deutsche Bank in Germany and Japan.  He also has a background in medical law and in the 1980s was a research assistant at the Research Center for Medical and Pharmaceutical Law. For many years he has been practicing and has published papers on patient rights adn civil responsibility in the pharmaceutical industry.

The Gary Null Show - 03.01.21

The Gary Null Show - 03.01.21

March 1, 2021

Curcumin for amyloidosis and lipid metabolism -- a novel insight

Shinshu University (Japan), February 26, 2021

Curcumin is a polyphenol compound produced by plants of the Curcuma longa species and has been reported to have many physiological activities, which include anti-oxidation, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-amyloid properties. However, the mechanism and network of action are not completely clear. Amyloidosis is a group of diseases characterized by abnormal aggregates of proteins, known as amyloid fibrils, and subsequent deposition in various tissues and organs, such as Alzheimer's disease, immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis.

In previous studies, curcumin has been shown to suppress the aggregation and cytotoxicity of many amyloid proteins in vitro, such as amyloid ß (Aß), α-synuclein, transthyretin, and prion protein, and has also been reported to inhibit the deposition of Aß fibrils in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. The group investigated amyloid deposition and molecular changes in a mouse model of amyloid apolipoprotein A-II (AApoAII) amyloidosis, in which mice were fed a curcumin-supplemented diet. In this research, it was found that curcumin intake elevated ApoA-II and HDL-cholesterol concentration in plasma by activating the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα) signaling pathway, resulting in increased AApoAII amyloid deposition and peroxisome proliferation. These findings demonstrate the novel agonistic effect of curcumin on PPARα, which is an important transcription factor for lipid metabolism, and may have far-reaching significance for the treatment of amyloidosis and other metabolic disorders.

It was reported that high-fat diet supplement aggravates a variety of amyloid deposition including Aß in Alzheimer's disease model mice, but a link between lipid metabolism and the development of amyloidosis has not been completely established. These results provide a promising molecular target to understand the molecular mechanism of amyloidogenesis, which the activation state of PPARα pathway may be a bridge to connect the change of lipid metabolism level and the degree of amyloid deposition. In addition, it has been regarded that curcumin, as an agonist of PPARγ, exerts anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant activities in the past. However, this study demonstrates that curcumin is a PPARα/γ dual activator and may affect expression levels of proteins involved in amyloid deposition and other metabolism functions in a complex manner. By focusing on the PPARα pathway, the group hope to provide an opportunity to reconsider the mechanism of the physiological effects of curcumin.

In the next stage, the group would like to clarify how curcumin activates the PPARα signaling pathway in vitro and confirm whether the activation of PPARα can affect amyloid deposition on other types of amyloidosis in vivo (Alzheimer's disease, ATTR amyloidosis etc.). The goal in this research is to elucidate the molecular pathways involved in the pathogenesis of amyloidosis in vivo and to develop effective therapeutic or preventive methods against the development of amyloidosis. As a future study, the group hopes to fully understand the molecular fluctuations of PPARα-activated cells and verify the effectiveness of interventions in these pathways for various metabolic diseases.

 

 

Older women who ate more plant protein had lower risk of premature, dementia-related death

University of Iowa, February 24, 2021 

Postmenopausal women who ate high levels of plant protein had lower risks of premature death, cardiovascular disease and dementia-related death compared with women who ate less plant proteins, according to new research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open access journal of the American Heart Association.

Previous research has shown an association between diets high in red meat and cardiovascular disease risk, yet the data is sparse and inconclusive about specific types of proteins, the study authors say.

In this study, researchers analyzed data from more than 100,000 postmenopausal women (ages 50 to 79) who participated in the national Women's Health Initiative study between 1993 and 1998; they were followed through February 2017. At the time they enrolled in the study, participants completed questionnaires about their diet detailing how often they ate eggs, dairy, poultry, red meat, fish/shellfish and plant proteins such as tofu, nuts, beans and peas. During the study period, a total of 25,976 deaths occurred (6,993 deaths from cardiovascular disease; 7,516 deaths from cancer; and 2,734 deaths from dementia).

Researchers noted the levels and types of protein women reported consuming, divided them into groups to compare who ate the least and who ate the most of each protein. The median percent intake of total energy from animal protein in this population was 7.5% in the lowest quintile and 16.0% in the highest quintile. The median percent intake of total energy from plant protein in this population was 3.5% in the lowest quintile and 6.8% in the highest quintile.

Among the key findings:

  • Compared to postmenopausal women who had the least amount of plant protein intake, those with the highest amount of plant protein intake had a 9% lower risk of death from all causes, a 12% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of dementia-related death.
  • Higher consumption of processed red meat was associated with a 20% higher risk of dying from dementia.
  • Higher consumption of unprocessed meat, eggs and dairy products was associated with a 12%, 24% and 11% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, respectively.
  • Higher consumption of eggs was associated with a 10% higher risk of death due to cancer.
  • However, higher consumption of eggs was associated with a 14% lower risk of dying from dementia, while higher poultry consumption was associated with a 15% lower risk.

"It is unclear in our study why eggs were associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular and cancer death," said lead study author Wei Bao, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. "It might be related to the way people cook and eat eggs. Eggs can be boiled, scrambled, poached, baked, basted, fried, shirred, coddled or pickled or in combinations with other foods. In the United States, people usually eat eggs in the form of fried eggs and often with other foods such as bacon. Although we have carefully accounted for many potential confounding factors in the analysis, it is still difficult to completely tease out whether eggs, other foods usually consumed with eggs, or even non-dietary factors related to egg consumption, may lead to the increased risk of cardiovascular and cancer death."

Researchers noted that substitution of total red meat, eggs or dairy products with nuts was associated with a 12% to 47% lower risk of death from all causes depending on the type of protein replaced with nuts.

"It is important to note that dietary proteins are not consumed in isolation, so the interpretation of these findings could be challenging and should be based on consideration of the overall diet including different cooking methods," said Yangbo Sun, M.D., Ph.D., co-author of the study, a postdoctoral research scholar at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and currently an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

The analysis also revealed that women who ate the highest amount of animal protein such as meat and dairy were more likely to be white and have a higher education and income, and they were more likely to be past smokers, drink more alcohol and be less physically active. Moreover, these women were more likely to have Type 2 diabetes at the start of the study, a family history of heart attacks and a higher body mass index -- all risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

"Our findings support the need to consider dietary protein sources in future dietary guidelines," said Bao. "Current dietary guidelines mainly focus on the total amount of protein, and our findings show that there may be different health influences associated with different types of protein foods."

2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, jointly published by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS), recommend eating a variety of protein foods: low-fat meat, low-fat poultry, eggs, seafood, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds and soy products including at least 8 ounces of cooked seafood per week.

The AHA's 2020 Dietary Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Risk advisory notes that given the relatively high content of cholesterol in egg yolks, it remains advisable to limit intake. Healthy individuals can include up to one whole egg or the equivalent daily.

The study had several limitations including that it was observational, based on self-reported data at the beginning of the study and lacked data on how the proteins were cooked. In addition, the findings may not apply to younger women or men.

 

 

Citrus Flavonoid May Help to Improve Metabolic and Inflammatory Markers

Sao Paulo State University (Brazil), February 20, 2021

The researchers from Sao Paulo State University and the US Horticultural Research Laboratory associated the citrus flavonoid with a significant reduction in levels of cholesterols and triglycerides which are markers of insulin resistance at low (10 and 25 mg/kg BW) and high ( 100 mg/kg BW) doses, with the best results being observed at 25 mg per kg of body weight. 

The study authors wrote, “Therefore, our results showed that low doses of dietary eriocitrin are able to counteract the deleterious effects of high-fat diet and prevent risk factors of metabolic syndrome and chronic disease related to obesity.” 

“Further, the use of lower doses may help to prevent unintended complications possibly occurring at much higher doses of potent antioxidant supplements such as eriocitrin.”

“As a leading supplier of citrus flavonoids, we put great importance into the continual development of research into these powerful ingredients,” said Rob Brewster who is the President of Ingredients by Nature (IBN). “Eriocitrin is not as commonly recognized as other fruit-derived flavonoids, but the science shows that it is a potent source of health support for a variety of health complications. We look forward to seeing what future research will continue to reveal about it.”

During this study 40 male mice were fed a high-fat diet for 4 weeks to induce obesity, then they were divided at random into four different groups for an additional 4 weeks and given doses of eriocitrin at 0, 10, 25, or 100 mg per kg of body weight, while a control group was fed a standard diet for the 8 weeks. 

The researchers reported the best results being observed in the eriocitrin group taking 25 mg/kg with reductions in triglycerides of 31%, total cholesterol of 6%, and liver triacylglycerols of 28% compared to the control group. Eriocitrin at 25 mg/kg was associated with a reduction in lipid peroxidation of 19%, and markers of insulin resistance including resistin and the insulin resistance index also significantly decreased. Additionally, serum glucose levels also significantly decreased by 25%, insulin levels by 35% in this same group. 

“Most studies on eriocitrin haven’t explored its effect on obesity induces metabolic disturbances and, because the global rate of obesity continues to increase, we felt that it was important to examine the topic further,” said the corresponding author Dr. Thais Cesar who is also an associate professor of nutrition at Sao Paulo State University. “Eriocitrin significantly improved metabolic, inflammatory, and oxidative stress parameters across multiple biomarkers, showing potential to delay the development of inflammatory complications. We look forward to performing additional research on eriocitrin in the future.”

This study was sponsored by IBM, and also showed that eriocitrin was effective in terms of glucose and lipid metabolism, especially with blood glucose reduction, along with delivering a strong antioxidant defense by directly helping the uptake of oxygen radicals and promoting the activation of endogenous defense mechanisms. This effect has been reported in previous studies including with the lemon flavonoid blend Eriomin, which is made up primarily of eriocitrin. Last year, the company also received patent approval from the USPTO for IBN’s use of eriocitrin as a method of reducing blood glucose levels

 

Resveratrol may be an effective intervention for lung aging

The Saban Research Institute (Los Angeles), February 22, 2021

 

In a study led by Barbara Driscoll, PhD, of The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, researchers demonstrate, for the first time that inhaled resveratrol treatments slow aging-related degenerative changes in mouse lung. Lung aging, characterized by airspace enlargement and decreasing lung function, is a significant risk factor for chronic human lung diseases. The study is published online in the journal Thorax.

 

"We believe that ours is the first study to demonstrate a beneficial effect of lung-directed resveratrol treatments on aging lung function," said Driscoll.

 

Resveratrol (RSL), a chemical found in red wine, is an antimicrobial chemical substance produced by plants to protect against infection and stress-related changes. It has previously been shown to support muscle metabolism when delivered orally.

 

RSL prophylaxis by inhalation was a novel measure taken by the research team as a potential approach for slowing age-related deterioration of lung function and structure by preserving alveolar epithelial type 2 cells (AEC2) which line alveoli (the tiny air sacs in the lungs through which the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place) and produce surfactant which is vital for efficient breathing.

 

In healthy young adults, breathing is an essential, efficient process, but natural aging of the lung occurs at a steady and irreversible rate, as measured by a decline in lung function. This natural deterioration leads to a significantly reduced quality of life, over a time frame dependent on genetic and environmental factors. Although some available therapies can ameliorate symptoms, aging-related lung failure is generally irreversible and is accompanied by high rates of morbidity and mortality due to increased disease risk, including development of COPD, with accompanying emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

 

Using a rapidly aging mouse model, the research team investigated whether the accumulation of age-related degenerative changes in the lung could be slowed by inhaled RSL. Treatment cohorts received either RSL or vehicle by intratracheal (IT) instillation monthly for three months. One month following the final treatment, whole lung function and injury-related gene expression in AEC2 were assessed.

 

The research team found that inhaled, prophylactic resveratrol treatments can slow the rate of lung function decline, alveolar enlargement and alveolar epithelial type 2 cell DNA damage that occurs in the early stages of lung aging. They concluded that administration of resveratrol directly to the lungs may be an effective intervention for lung aging, which is a significant risk factor for development of chronic lung disease.

 

"While the natural deterioration of the human lung generally occurs over decades, the injury to lung cells is analogous to the lung cell damage that occurs in premature infants who experience respiratory distress before their lungs have fully developed," added Driscoll. "Identifying a way to protect and strengthen young lungs before significant damage occurs is the goal of our research."

 

 

Deficient magnesium levels prevalent in an older population

Kathmandu Medical College (Nepal), February 19, 2021

According to news reporting out of Kathmandu Medical College research stated, “Magnesium deficiency is common in the elderly and critically ill population and has been associated with a prolonged ICU stay. The knowledge of hypomagnesemia is essential as it could have prognostic and therapeutic implications in the elderly population.”

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from Kathmandu Medical College: “This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of hypomagnesemic in the elderly population visiting a tertiary care center. This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in a tertiary care hospital from March 21, 2020 to September 21, 2020. After obtaining ethical clearance from the institutional review committee (Ref. 2003202008), convenience sampling was done. Data were collected and entered in Microsoft Excel version 2007. Point estimate at 95% Confidence Interval was calculated along with frequency and proportion for binary data. Out of 384 participants, 174 (45%) participants were found to have deranged magnesium levels, in which 111 (29%) (31.3-26.7 at 95% Confidence Interval) were found to be hypomagnesemia. Among them, 62 (29.4%) males and 49 (28.5%) females were hypomagnesemia. The average level of serum magnesium was 2.02±0.76 mg/dl ranging from 0.03 to 4.71. The mean age of participants was 70.31±8.13 years, among which the participants between the age group of 71-80 years presented with a maximum percentage of hypomagnesemia.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “The present study has shown that an apparently-healthy elderly population may have a magnesium deficiency that may need to be identified and treated for optimizing clinical care. Further multicentric studies with a greater sample size should be done in this field, which will benefit the elderly population.”

 

 

Researchers identify mechanism by which exercise strengthens bones and immunity

University of Texas Medical Center, February 24, 2021

Scientists at the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) have identified the specialized environment, known as a niche, in the bone marrow where new bone and immune cells are produced. The study, published in Nature, also shows that movement-induced stimulation is required for the maintenance of this niche, as well as the bone and immune-forming cells that it contains. Together, these findings identify a new way that exercise strengthens bones and immune function.

Researchers from the Morrison laboratorydiscovered that forces created from walking or running are transmitted from bone surfaces along arteriolar blood vessels into the marrow inside bones. Bone-forming cells that line the outside of the arterioles sense these forces and are induced to proliferate. This not only allows the formation of new bone cells, which helps to thicken bones, but the bone-forming cells also secrete a growth factor that increases the frequency of cells that form lymphocytes around the arterioles. Lymphocytes are the B and T cells that allow the immune system to fight infections.

When the ability of the bone-forming cells to sense pressure caused by movement, also known as mechanical forces, was inactivated, it reduced the formation of new bone cells and lymphocytes, causing bones to become thinner and reducing the ability of mice to clear a bacterial infection. 

"As we age, the environment in our bone marrow changes and the cells responsible for maintaining skeletal bone mass and immune function become depleted. We know very little about how this environment changes or why these cells decrease with age," says Sean Morrison, Ph.D., the director of CRI and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. "Past research has shown exercise can improve bone strength and immune function, and our study discovered a new mechanism by which this occurs."

Previous work from the Morrison laboratory discovered the skeletal stem cells that give rise to most of the new bone cells that form during adulthood in the bone marrow. They are Leptin Receptor+ (LepR+) cells. They line the outside of blood vessels in the bone marrow and form critical growth factors for the maintenance of blood-forming cells. The Morrison lab also found that a subset of LepR+ cells synthesize a previously undiscovered bone-forming growth factor called Osteolectin. Osteolectin promotes the maintenance of the adult skeleton by causing LepR+ to form new bone cells.

In the current study, Bo Shen, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Morrison laboratory, looked more carefully at the subset of LepR+ cells that make Osteolectin. He discovered that these cells reside exclusively around arteriolar blood vessels in the bone marrow and that they maintain nearby lymphoid progenitors by synthesizing stem cell factor (SCF) - a growth factor on which those cells depend. Deleting SCF from Osteolectin-positive cells depleted lymphoid progenitors and undermined the ability of mice to mount an immune response to bacterial infection.

"Together with our previous work, the findings in this study show Osteolectin-positive cells create a specialized niche for bone-forming and lymphoid progenitors around the arterioles. Therapeutic interventions that expand the number of Osteolectin-positive cells could increase bone formation and immune responses, particularly in the elderly," says Shen.

Shen found that the number of Osteolectin-positive cells and lymphoid progenitors decreased with age. Curious if he could reverse this trend, Shen put running wheels in the cages so that the mice could exercise. He found the bones of these mice became stronger with exercise, while the number of Osteolectin-positive cells and lymphoid progenitors around the arterioles increased. This was the first indication that mechanical stimulation regulates a niche in the bone marrow. 

Shen found that Osteolectin-positive cells expressed a receptor on their surfaces - known as Piezo1 - that signals inside the cell in response to mechanical forces. When Piezo1 was deleted from Osteolectin-positive cells of mice, these cells and the lymphoid progenitors they support became depleted, weakening bones and impairing immune responses.

"We think we've found an important mechanism by which exercise promotes immunity and strengthens bones, on top of other mechanisms previously identified by others," says Morrison.

 

Long-term iodine nutrition associated with longevity in older adults: a 20 year follow-up of the Randers-Skagen Study

Aalborg University (Denmark), February 23, 2021

According to news reporting originating in Aalborg, Denmark, research stated, “Iodine intake affects the occurrence of thyroid disorders. However, the association of iodine intake with longevity remains to be described.”

The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Aalborg University Hospital, “This led us to perform a 20 years’ follow-up on participants from the Randers-Skagen (RaSk) study. Residents in Randers born in 1920 (n 210) and Skagen born in 1918-1923 (n 218) were included in a clinical study in 1997-1998. Mean iodine content in drinking water was 2 mu g/l in Randers and 139 mu g/l in Skagen. We collected baseline data through questionnaires, performed physical examinations and measured iodine concentrations in spot urine samples. Income data were retrieved from Danish registries. We performed follow-up on mortality until 31 December 2017 using Danish registries. Complete follow-up data were available on 428 out of 430 of participants (99 center dot 5 %). At baseline, the median urinary iodine concentration was 55 mu g/l in Randers and 160 mu g/l in Skagen residents. Participants were long-term residents with 72.8 and 92.7 % residing for more than 25 years in Randers and Skagen, respectively. Cox regression showed that living in Skagen compared with Randers was associated with a lower hazard ratio (HR) of death in both age- and sex-adjusted analyses (HR 0.60, 95 % CI 0.41, 0.87, P = 0.006), but also after adjustment for age, sex, number of drugs, Charlson co-morbidity index, smoking, alcohol and income (HR 0.60, 95 % CI 0.41, 0.87, P = 0.008). Residing in iodine-replete Skagen was associated with increased longevity.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “This indicates that long-term residency in an iodine-replete environment may be associated with increased longevity compared with residency in an iodine-deficient environment.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

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