Dr. Brian Hooker is an Associate Professor of Biology at Simpson University in California, and a senior consultant for ARES Corporation, specializing in environmental restoration design. His analysis of the CDCs data about the Measle-Mumps-Rubella vaccine and autism was published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. For years he has been investigating the scientific evidence for a vaccine-autism connection and the flaws in vaccine safety. Brian also has a son with autism and has been active in autism community for increasing public awareness about this epidemic. Over the years Brian has filed many FOIAs with federal health agencies and was in receipt of 1000s of pages of documents from a CDC informant, Dr. William Thompson questioning the efficacy and safety of vaccination. He has been a point independent researcher in the recent whistleblower case with Dr. Thompson from the CDC regarding vaccine dangers. For more information, go to ChildrensHealthDefense.org
Dandelion leaf extract blocks spike proteins from binding to the ACE2 cell surface receptor
University of Freiburg (Germany), June 28, 2021
The engineered spike proteins from SARS-CoV-2 can be STOPPED by a common “weed” that is exterminated from lawns every year. A German university study found that the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) can block spike proteins from binding to the ACE2 cell surface receptors in human lung and kidney cells. The water-based dandelion extract, taken from the plant’s dried leaves, was effective against spike protein D614 and a host of mutant strains, including D614G, N501Y, K417N and E484K.
Dandelion extract blocks SARS CoV-2 spike proteins and their variants
The researchers used high molecular weight compounds taken from a water-based dandelion extract and put them to the test in human HEK293-hACE2 kidney and A549-hACE2-TMPRSS2 lung cells. The dandelion blocked the protein-to-protein interactions between the S1 sub unit of the spike protein and the human ACE2 cell surface receptor. This effect was also true against the spike protein mutations from the predominant variants in circulation, including the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7), South African (B.1.351) and Brazilian (P.1) variant.
The dandelion extract stopped SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudotyped lentivirus particles from attaching to lung cells and stopped an inflammatory process called interleukin-6 secretion. Because the study was conducted in vitro, further clinical studies are needed to understand how the dandelion extract is absorbed and utilized in biological systems of the human body.
As vaccines weaken herd immunity, natural herbs promise true prevention, more substantial immunity
Even though tens of billions of public funds have been poured into experimental vaccine development and propaganda campaigns, the world continues to struggle with new respiratory infections, as SARS-CoV-2 is pressured to mutate into different variants. There is no evidence to suggest that coronaviruses can be eradicated from the Earth, so human adaptation will be essential going forward. Dandelion extract is one of many herbs that will assist in a healthy immune response. Better yet, dandelion extract could prove to prevent infections altogether, by blocking the precise channel by which the spike proteins attach and cause viral replication.
Other natural compounds have been investigated using molecular docking studies. Nobiletin is a flavonoid isolated from citrus peels. Neohesperidin, a derivative of hesperetin, is a flavanone glycoside also found in citrus fruits. Glycyrrhizin is a molecular compound extracted from licorice root. All three of these natural substances also block spike proteins from binding to ACE2 receptors. Hydroalcoholic pomegranate peel extract blocks the spike protein at the ACE2 receptor with 74 percent efficacy. When its principal constituents were tested separately, punicalagin was 64 percent effective, and ellagic acid was 36% percent effective.
These natural compounds (along with dandelion extract) can be readily mass produced, combined and deployed as preventative medicine for all future spike protein variants. These herbs are generally recognized as safe, and there are no known cases of overdose with dandelion leaf extract. According to the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy, the recommended dosage of dandelion leaf is 4–10 grams steeped in hot water, up to three times per day.
The study authors warn that reliance on vaccines is risky and dangerous, not just for individual health but also for herd immunity. Vaccine reliance only focuses on antibody augmentation and is proving to be a high-risk intervention with short term results. Vaccine injuries are frequently reported. Re-infections post vaccination are also common, as the vaccine puts pressure on the original engineered spike protein to mutate.
The authors conclude: “Thus, factors such as low toxicity in humans and effective binding inhibition of five relevant spike mutations to the human ACE2 receptor, as reported here in vitro, encourage for more in-depth analysis of T. officinales’ effectiveness in SARS-CoV-2 prevention and now requires further confirmatory clinical evidence.”
Brigham and Women's Hospital, June 23, 2021
Eating milk chocolate every day may sound like a recipe for weight gain, but a new study of postmenopausal women has found that eating a concentrated amount of chocolate during a narrow window of time in the morning may help the body burn fat and decrease blood sugar levels.
To find out about the effects of eating milk chocolate at different times of day, researchers from the Brigham collaborated with investigators at the University of Murcia in Spain. Together, they conducted a randomized, controlled, cross-over trial of 19 postmenopausal women who consumed either 100g of chocolate in the morning (within one hour after waking time) or at night (within one hour before bedtime). They compared weight gain and many other measures to no chocolate intake.
Researchers report that among the women studied:
- Morning or nighttime chocolate intake did not lead to weight gain;
- Eating chocolate in the morning or in the evening can influence hunger and appetite, microbiota composition, sleep and more;
- A high intake of chocolate during the morning hours could help to burn fat and reduce blood glucose levels.
- Evening/night chocolate altered next-morning resting and exercise metabolism.
"Our findings highlight that not only 'what' but also 'when' we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight," said Scheer.
"Our volunteers did not gain weight despite increasing caloric intake. Our results show that chocolate reduced ad libitum energy intake, consistent with the observed reduction in hunger, appetite and the desire for sweets shown in previous studies," said Garaulet.
Researchers find health benefits of connecticut-grown sugar kelp
University of Connecticut, June 24, 2021
When most Americans think of seaweed, they probably conjure images of a slimy plant they encounter at the beach. But seaweed can be a nutritious food too. A pair of UConn researchers recently discovered Connecticut-grown sugar kelp may help prevent weight gain and the onset of conditions associated with obesity.
In a paper published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry by College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources faculty Young-Ki Park, assistant research professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, and Ji-Young Lee, professor and head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, the researchers reported significant findings supporting the nutritional benefits of Connecticut-grown sugar kelp. They found brown sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) inhibits hepatic inflammation and fibrosis in a mouse model of diet-induced non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, a fatty liver disease.
They studied the differences between three groups of mouse models. They placed two on high-fat diets but incorporated sugar kelp, a kind of seaweed, into the diet of one. The third group was on a low-fat diet as a healthy control. The group that ate sugar kelp had lower body weight and less adipose tissue inflammation - a key factor in a host of obesity-related diseases - than the other high-fat group.
Consuming sugar kelp also helped prevent the development of steatosis, the accumulation of fat in the liver. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a condition often associated with obesity that can cause inflammation and reduced functionality in the liver.
The mice on the sugar kelp diet also had healthier gut microbiomes. The microbiome is a collection of bacteria and other microorganisms in and on our bodies. The diversity and composition of the microbiome are key to maintaining a host of health functions.
"I wasn't surprised to see the data, as we know seaweeds are healthy," Lee says. "But it's still pretty amazing data as this is the first scientific evidence for health benefits of the Connecticut-grown sugar kelp."
This study is the first time researchers have looked at the link between the US-grown sugar kelp and obesity.
"There hadn't been a study about this kind of aspect before," Park says.
Park and Lee saw an opportunity to conduct research on the nutritional science of seaweed, a growing agricultural industry in the United States. They hoped that, by gathering concrete data on the health benefits of sugar kelp, it could encourage people to consume seaweed.
"Consumers these days are getting smarter and smarter," Lee says. "The nutritional aspect is really important for the growth of the seaweed industry in Connecticut."
The researchers specifically used Connecticut-grown sugar kelp, as Connecticut regulates the safety of seaweeds. This is important for monitoring heavy metals that seaweed may absorb from the water.
Most of the seaweed consumed in the US is imported. Park and Lee hope more research on the benefits of locally grown seaweed will prompt consumers to support the industry stateside.
"It's really an ever-growing industry in the world," Lee says.
After completing this pre-clinical study, the researchers now hope to move into clinical studies to investigate the benefits sugar kelp may have for other health concerns. They also want to work on reaching out to people to teach them how to incorporate sugar kelp into their diet.
This work represents a fruitful collaboration between researchers, farmers, and the state.
"Farmers need to know what we're doing is a good thing to help boost their sales," Park says. "We can be a partner."
In collaboration with Anoushka Concepcion, an extension educator with the Connecticut Sea Grant and UConn Extension Program, Park and Lee hope to build stronger partnerships with seaweed growers in Connecticut.
Serving larger portions of veggies may increase young kids' veggie consumption
Penn State University, June 24, 2021
It can be difficult to get young kids to eat enough vegetables, but a new Penn State study found that simply adding more veggies to their plates resulted in children consuming more vegetables at the meal.
The researchers found that when they doubled the amount of corn and broccoli served at a meal -- from 60 to 120 grams -- the children ate 68% more of the veggies, or an additional 21 grams. Seasoning the vegetables with butter and salt, however, did not affect consumption.
The daily recommended amount of vegetables for kids is about 1.5 cups a day, according to the official Dietary Guidelines for Americans as set by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services.
"The increase we observed is equal to about one third of a serving or 12% of the daily recommended intake for young children," said Hanim Diktas, graduate student in nutritional sciences. "Using this strategy may be useful to parents, caregivers and teachers who are trying to encourage kids to eat the recommended amount of vegetables throughout the day."
Barbara Rolls, Helen A. Guthrie Chair and director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State, said the findings -- recently published in the journal Appetite-- support the MyPlate guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which recommends meals high in fruits and vegetables.
"It's important to serve your kids a lot of vegetables, but it's also important to serve them ones they like because they have to compete with the other foods on the plate," Rolls said. "Parents can ease into this by gradually exposing kids to new vegetables, cooking them in a way their child enjoys, and experimenting with different flavors and seasonings as you familiarize them."
According to the researchers, the majority of children in the U.S. don't eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables, which could possibly be explained by children having a low preference for them. And while serving larger portions has been found to increase the amount of food children eat -- called the "portion size effect" -- kids tend to eat smaller amounts of vegetables in response to bigger portions compared to other foods.
For this study, the researchers were curious if increasing just the amount of vegetables while keeping the portions of other foods the same would help increase veggie consumption in kids. They also wanted to experiment with whether adding light butter and salt to the vegetables would increase their palatability and also affect consumption.
For the study, the researchers recruited 67 children between the ages of three and five. Once a week for four weeks, the participants were served lunch with one of four different preparations of vegetables: a regular-sized serving of plain corn and broccoli, a regular-sized serving with added butter and salt, a doubled serving of plain corn and broccoli, and a doubled serving with added butter and salt.
During each meal, the vegetables were served alongside fish sticks, rice, applesauce and milk. Foods were weighed before and after the meal to measure consumption.
"We chose foods that were generally well-liked but also not the kids' favorite foods," Rolls said. "If you offer vegetables alongside, say, chicken nuggets you might be disappointed. Food pairings are something you need to be conscious of, because how palpable the vegetables are compared to the other foods on the plate is going to affect the response to portion size. You need to make sure your vegetables taste pretty good compared to the other foods."
After analyzing the results, the researchers found that while the larger portions of vegetables were associated with greater intake, the addition of butter and salt was not. The children also reported liking both versions -- seasoned and unseasoned -- about the same. About 76% of kids rated the vegetables as "yummy" or "just ok."
"We were surprised that the butter and salt weren't needed to improve intake, but the vegetables we served were corn and broccoli, which may have been already familiar to and well-liked by the kids," Diktas said. "So for less familiar vegetables, it's possible some extra flavoring might help to increase intake."
Diktas said that while serving larger portions may increase vegetable consumption, it also has the potential to increase waste if kids don't eat all of the food that is served.
"We're working on additional research that looks into substituting vegetables for other food instead of just adding more vegetables," Diktas said. "In the future, we may be able to give recommendations about portion size and substituting vegetables for other foods, so we can both limit waste and promote veggie intake in children."
Potato and rice protein shakes may be a viable vegan alternative to whey protein shakes
University of Westminster (UK), June 24, 2021
A study from the Centre for Nutraceuticals at the University of Westminster found that plant-based protein shakes may be potential viable alternatives to milk-based whey protein shakes, particularly in people with need of careful monitoring of glucose levels.
The study, published in the journal Nutrients, is the first to show potato and rice proteins can be just as effective at managing your appetite and can help better manage blood glucose levels and reduce spikes in insulin compared to whey protein.
During the study the blood metabolic response of participants was measured after drinking potato, rice and whey protein shakes. Appetite was also monitored in the following three hours to understand how these drinks may affect the participants' hunger and their desire to eat.
The research observed that vegan protein shakes led to a lower rise in blood insulin compared to whey, while potato protein prevented any rise in insulin. This may explain the better blood glucose control following consumption of the plant-based protein and poses the question of whether vegan protein shakes are more suitable for individuals who need to need control their blood glucose levels such as diabetic and obese individuals.
Interestingly, release of the key appetite regulating hormone GLP-1 was greater after drinking the whey protein shake. However, the greater GLP-1 response did not translate to an increased feeling of fullness as there were no differences observed in appetite perception between the three different protein shakes.
Consumer trends in protein intake are on the rise with milk protein derivatives such as whey extensively used in consumer products such as protein shakes, fortified food and beverage products.
There are alternative protein products available for vegetarians and vegans such as soy, rice, wheat and pea proteins but there is a relative lack of evidence on their health benefits in comparison to milk proteins. Potato protein is a novel plant-based protein product that is obtained from the waste material from potato starch production and is a sustainable economic protein source. This study provides the first evidence to suggest that it may be an alternative to whey protein sources.
Professor M Gulrez Zariwala, corresponding author and Director of the Centre for Nutraceuticals at the University of Westminster, said: "Global concerns on sustainability have led to consumer shifts towards ethical eating and a change in dietary habits with increased adoption of vegetarian and vegan diets.
"However, research in this area is still lacking and it would be interesting to clarify whether proteins from plant sources can provide identical metabolic health benefits as those with traditional sources such as milk.
"Our results shed new light in this area and improves our understanding of how plant source proteins can be a more sustainable yet nutritionally beneficial food source. We plan to conduct follow-up studies further research this exciting area."
Stress really can make young adults feel older
Psychology researchers have found that stress can play a significant role in how old emerging adults feel, with every stressful event above the daily norm making many young people feel at least one year older.
"Emerging adults are at an age where they are no longer kids, but they haven't settled into their adulthood yet," says Shevaun Neupert, an associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University and co-author of a paper on the work. "We wanted to know if stress affected their subjective age – how old they felt – and we found that it could make a big difference."
For the study, researchers tracked 53 men and 53 women between the ages of 18 and 22 years old. Every day for eight days study participants filled out a survey that tracked stressful events and asked questions regarding their subjective age. Participants also completed a questionnaire designed to capture the extent to which they felt they were still in the process of determining who they would be as adults – which is often viewed as a defining characteristic of emerging adulthood.
The researchers found that 58 percent of study participants reported fluctuating senses of age, reporting that they felt at least two of the three options (older, younger, or their real age) at different points during the study.
"Stress was the determining factor," Neupert says. "It could be stress related to school, work or social circumstances, but stressful days led to study participants feeling older."
And there was an additive effect.
"The more stressors someone experienced, over and above their average day, the older they felt. We calculated that each additional stressor made people feel an average of at least one year older. There was also an effect of being generally 'stressed out' such that young adults who were generally more stressed felt an additional five years older."
The response to stress was particularly pronounced for study participants who were "identity explorers," meaning those who were embracing their emerging adulthood as an opportunity to explore who they wanted to be. Participants at the opposite end of the spectrum – those with a fixed identity – reported little or no impact on subjective age in response to stress.
Identity explorers who experienced five additional stressors on a given day reported feeling 11 years older, whereas those with a fixed identity displayed no change at all.
"We know that children often report feeling older than they actually are," Neupert says. "And that adults often report feeling younger. This work helps us understand the role that emerging adulthood plays as a crossover period from one to the other – as well as the importance of stress in influencing fluctuations during that transition."
The paper, "Daily Subjective Age in Emerging Adults: 'Now We're Stressed Out,'" was published June 27 in the journal Emerging Adulthood. Lead author of the paper is Jennifer Bellingtier, a former Ph.D. student at NC State who is now a postdoctoral researcher at Friedrich Schiller University Jena.
The Woke Culture: A Pathology of Post-Modern Tribalism
The Woke Culture: A Pathology of Post-Modern Tribalism
Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD
Progressive Radio Network, June 28, 2021
In a recent article, “Critical Race Theory [CRT] is Worse than Marxism, the social thinker and author, Prof. Paul Gottfried, breaks ranks from his Alt-Right compatriots to argue that CRT “has nothing to do with traditional Marxism.” “The swear words “Marxist” and “revolutionary,” Gottfried writes, “are thrown around by conservatives, such as those at Heritage, the New York Post and Fox News, with the same abandon with which the left speaks about “human rights”…” Rather than being truly revolutionary, based upon the history of past revolutionary movements, CRT “is an instrument of repression brandished by those in power against those whom it is feared might resist them.” Yet most important, to label CRT as Marxist desecrates good ol’ Marx’s tomb.
In fact, at the time Critical Theory emerged from the German Frankfurt School in the 1930s, its most adamant opponents were the traditional card-carrying Marxists and Communists. The School’s intention was to actually re-write classical Marxism and to prolong the internal fallacies launched during the Enlightenment era. Perhaps its most redeeming value is its efforts to define and explain the phenomenology of social power and aggression. Its primary early proponents, such as Max Horkheimer, were also harsh critics of the rise of metaphysical realism and scientific dogmatism that today has turned modern science, especially the biological sciences and medicine, into a fundamentalist ideology or religion. But this is where Critical Theory’s contributions end. Critical theory has more in common with Freudian sexual repression and psychoanalysis than Marx. One of the 20th century’s great philosophers Karl Popper criticized the Frankfurt School for offering no viable and realistic pathway to improve society. Unlike Marx, who reasonably condemned capitalist society’s unfairness, he did offer a vision for a better future. On the other hand, Critical Theory for Popper, was “vacuous and irresponsible” for omitting a promised future altogether. Remarkably, modern Critical Theory’s leading spokespersons, such as Robin DiAngelo, are exemplars of the very manifestation of dysfunctional biases that Critical Theory rebukes. This may be a reason why those who embrace tribal wokeness are simply angry, maladjusted adolescents in adult bodies.
The 21st century woke generations appear to have entered a coma. Its characteristic qualia of ADHD would likely prevent them from getting through 20 pages of Das Capital let alone making any sense from it. The most recent incarnation of wokeness is not an awakening of either conscientiousness or a higher conscious awareness that directly experiences the sacredness of all life, other humans, and the animal and plant kingdoms. It veered from its origins within the Black community in the 20th century when it was used to refer to a social and political awareness for racial and social injustices. In fact its first modern expression might be traced back to a 1962 New York Times article by the Black author William Melvin Kelly in referring to being “well informed, up to date.” To be authentically woke requires critical thought and discernment, and also an intuitive knowing to distinguish the cobra from the rope when groping in the dark. Now the term has been adopted by two entire generations, regardless of race, and politically weaponized with almost an ontological unease to conquer and divide. Hence to be woke is anti-woke.
Througout human history there have been those who have held hierarchical power to control those who are subject and dependent upon that power, such as the rule of kings, emperors and authoritarian tyrants. And for having our daily needs met and securing financial ease there are the landowners, merchants and bankers. In all of these power relationships, equity is always on the side of those who hold power. At this moment our nation has reached an impasse where only a tiny group of individuals control and govern the dictates of the lives of the many.
The Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan wrote, “In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message.” What McLuhan was suggesting is that the masses have the tendency to focus on what is most obvious and consequently miss or ignore the deeper and more subtle changes happening over a period of time. In other words, what may seem to be correct and just on the surface eventually brings forth deleterious or “unintended” consequences. McLuhan was writing long before the internet. Now, presidential campaigns and federal laws, public health policies, the mainstream media and the films and music are the conduits for how we define ourselves and establish the options of dogmatic beliefs that we ultimately identify with. But all of these narratives are controlled by a handful of power players, including the social media platforms such as Google, Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia. Succumbing to the siren’s call of this illusion is being woke with closed eyes.
There is a saying that if you do not know the product being advertised you are the product; and this is certainly true for how millions of Americans are persuaded to purchase junk they have no need for, including the honor of wearing a “woke” badge. Our personal realities thereby are reduced to millions of bits of algorithmic data that know more about us than we know about ourselves. We are sold on the promises of 5G technology despite the media never mentioning its serious dangers to human health and the environment. The risks of genetically modified foods and the lack vaccine science to prove their safety and efficacy are censored from public discourse. Federal agencies that started small and were believed to be temporary, such as Homeland Security, became permanent and unstoppable leviathans that encroach into every corner of our lives.
At this moment, we are being lectured like children to get vaccinated against the SARS-2 virus so life can return to normal. In principle, this sounds reasonable. However, to accomplish this there lurks under this message’s surface the hidden intention to bypass or trash essential regulatory protective measures to assure the safety of these products. If you get vaccinated, you are now “woke.” If you remain cautious or hesitant because nobody has even a vague idea about the Covid-19 vaccine’s long-term adverse effects, you should be hermetically sealed away from the society, branded, canceled and censored.
Conventional medical voices who refuse to be misled by Biden’s, Anthony Fauci’s and Bill Gate’ Ministry of Truth are also being canceled and censored from society by Silicon Valley and social media. So too are professors who have spoken out against student demands for personal entitlement and the anti-woke White Fragility diatribe that condemns genetic whiteness as racist. Students would prefer college to be sanitized of critical thought, a pleasant, non-intrusive and safe environment filled with teddy bears and psychologists next door to drug their episodes of existential angst and purposelessness in life.
As the pandemic hijacks our attention, global warming increases. But federal experts tell us we have time. Biden tells us the economy is recovering and flourishing and a herd of lemmings believe this message despite 20 percent of Americans who will go to sleep hungry tonight. Those with cancer, heart disease, diabetes and dementia are told to just hang on a bit longer; a big pharmaceutical cure is just around the corner. But for decades, this carrot has been dangled before us and has yet to come to fruition.
Everything today is its opposite. The blue and red pills have been pulverized together. Only a purple pill laced with the strychnine of lies and half-truths is offered by an unduly legislative system run by technocrats and their private financial handlers. Woke and anti-woke are indistinguishable since both are born from similarly delusional worldviews isolated from reality. Neither is capable of observing the preciousness and fragility of human life. What should be a condemnation of the class and economic struggle against the elites’ persecution of everyone else has degenerated into hate-filled identity war, both on the Left and the Right. It is only the rare authentic progressive who has transcended this divide and can observe wisely the battlefields orchestrated by politically motivated ideologues, aristocrats and the media.
As the US spins further into a controlled dystopia, it is difficult to imagine that the trajectory towards social decay can be easily reversed. Arthur Miller said, “an era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted.” Therefore, we still have a long way to go and it may require a full system-failure at all economic and social levels before a viable and realistic effort can restore what has been lost from the ethical wasteland left in its wake. It took Rome several centuries to collapse but we are on course to accomplish this feat within a decade. To remain optimistic, therefore, requires a rejection of the dominant Social Darwinism and the specter of what Thomas Huxley called the Church Scientific that now informs both parties and that has shackled us into a fatalist purgatory or worse Dante’s hedonic hells of lust, gluttony and greed. The evangelical Christian Right, as science’s counterrevolutionary reactive response, is equally a major contributor to the dumbing down of the nation’s sanity with fairy tales and superstition.
Our indoctrination into scientific materialism, our surrendering our autonomy and divine freedoms to political and corporate regimes, and the clashes over political correctness, that disempower us from believing we can change our conditions, has resulted in a sense of hopelessness in life and growing existential despair. It is contributing to the unbridled frenzy of anger in the streets, again from both the Left and Right. Ideological beliefs become dogmas founded upon our mental afflictions, which in turn hold rule over our emotions, fears and hatreds and reactions. No wonder that pessimism is on the rise and optimism is in decline.
Only a personal encounter with a deeper purpose and meaning in life, which cuts through the tyranny of our false sense of the self or ego, can ultimately guide us to rise above the turmoil and crises facing us. This does not imply a detached disinterest, an ascetic renunciation, from the plights of our neighbors and humanity. In fact, only by discovering authentic kindness and compassion through a personal introspective inquiry into ourselves and our connection with the others can an authentic sense of well-being and genuine happiness emerge. It is a commitment to finding our interconnection, in fact our interdependence, with others in the spirit of selflessness and service.
Yet to be left alone with only your own mind to keep you company terrifies the vast majority of people, including those who might be characterized as “normal.” This was observed in literally “shocking” experiments. In a University of Virginia study, hundreds of student participants would sit alone in an empty lab room for 15 minutes. No mobile phones, books, paper or anything was permitted. Just themselves and the cacophony of static in their own minds. However, there was a button they could push if they felt so inclined that would give a moderately painful electric shock. The results? Sixty-seven percent of men and 25 percent of women chose to find amusement to occupy their minds by shocking themselves rather than sit quietly and have peaceful time for self-reflection. This was despite all of the participants stating prior to the experiment that they would pay money to avoid being shocked with electricity.
So if modern American society relies solely upon mental and emotional distraction to survive, clearly there is no hope for constructive solutions to emerge to confront climate change, racism, identity politics, inequality, etc. Nor will society evolve beyond that of primates if we can only function from our reptilian and limbic brains. Obviously not everyone will discover the same purpose to his or her life’s meaning. It is an individual quest that is largely entwined with each of our unique gifts, skills, passions and talents that we have brought into this incarnation. Those who disagree that one can discover meaning in life are the dogmatists of materialism and should be shunned as deranged scientific fanatics. Logic and reason alone will not satisfy this discovery, although developing skills in critical thought and discernment is more often than not necessary. It is only the rare person who has immediate intuitive knowledge about herself and the world around her.
For the remainder of us, we need to reeducate ourselves to create a roadmap, develop a discerning eye, and engage in deep introspection into ourselves to find a genuine well-being that transcends power player’s board game to manufacture social strife, division and hatred. It is an individual journey that begins deep within ourselves and ends by embracing others in community despite all differences. However this is not an exercise in reason, but a direct experience within the depths of ourselves. When we touch on that space that can only be reached by subjective introspection new horizons of opportunities and possibilities open up. Then we can understand the words of the great jazz artist John Coltrane, “I know that there are bad forces, forces that bring suffering to others and misery to the world, but I want to be the opposite force. I want to be the force which is truly for good.” In that honoring of our inherent goodness, genuine well-being and happiness is found and only then can our illusions and dogmatic beliefs be broken down.
Of Gross Irregularities and Medical Incompetence in the Early Clinical Trials of AZT
By Lynn Gannett
Please keep in mind that these two write-ups represent only the "tip of the iceberg," and for everything that is recorded here, there are literally dozens of other examples that I could give.
My information is NOT included in John Lauritsen's book on AZT, simply because neither of us had heard of each other at that time (although I wish we had!). His book documents information related to the Phase II studies of AZT, whereas I was involved with the Phase III studies (ACTG 019). But it was all the same kinds of shocking nonsense, incompetence and fraud.
In addition to ACTG 019 (which was the major study at that time), I also worked on other studies of AZT and ddI (ACTG 002, 016, 020, 081, 116, 117 and 118). Some of these studies included other drugs, such as pentamidine.
I was somewhat young (and naive) at the time, and didn't quite know what to make of what I was witnessing, or what to do with the information that I had documented, having NEVER witnessed anything even remotely similar. In fact, at that point in my life, I didn't even realize that human beings were even CAPABLE of this kind of corrupt, insane, self-motivated behavior. If I had known then what I know now, I would have been much more persistent in my attempts to report this information to the NIH. I don't even have a single letter – my communication with them was done entirely over the phone. Which means they could simply deny that these phone conversations ever took place. All I have to offer as evidence that I DID REPORT THIS TO THE NIH AND THEY DELIBERATELY IGNORED MY INFORMATION is my personal testimony, and some handwritten notes that I took at the time (this was in the Spring of 1990). I may be able to locate at least one witness who could corroborate my story (the NIH site monitor for Syracuse).
But the way that I look at this is that it's never too late to report this to the NIH, AGAIN. And the important thing is that I still have ALL of my original documents (an entire box full of material) which I tried to share with them in 1990. I have precise names, patient numbers, dates, lab values, memos, etc. I KNOW that my information is accurate, because I was so thorough and meticulous (not to mention HONEST) in my record-keeping. That's why they hired me – I'm an extremely detail-oriented, "numbers" person. Thus, all of my information could, in theory, be verified by referring to the original research forms and NIH documents from that time period, which must still exist and (theoretically) could be obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Ideally, my second attempts to report this could lead to a Congressional Investigation. That is certainly what I will be calling for. The seriousness of my allegations certainly warrants such an investigation. For the NIH to knowingly ignore serious and credible DOCUMENTED reports of gross scientific misconduct coming from someone working on the INSIDE of these trials – if that doesn't constitute scientific "fraud," I don't know what does. Especially when we look at the real-life gruesome outcome of this deliberate refusal to even INVESTIGATE my allegations to see if there was any merit to them (along with all of the other glaringly obvious, telltale signs and warnings coming from around the globe, which were also ignored at that time) – all of this intentional "blindness" on the part of the NIH, the FDA, Burroughs Wellcome, etc., led to the unnecessary and unimaginable suffering of countless individuals (of both "HIV+" people and their loved ones), and the unnecessary deaths of (in my view) tens of thousands of people. This dreadful holocaust continues to this day. Parks Mankahlana, couldn't have summed it up better when he said "...the profit takers who are benefiting from the scourge of HIV/AIDS will disappear to the affluent beaches of the world to enjoy wealth accumulated from humankind ravaged by a dreaded disease."
Knowing what I know "first hand" about AZT, and knowing how it should NEVER have received FDA approval under ANY circumstances, this is one of many reasons why I am especially grateful to the members of the Perth group, Peter Duesberg, John Lauritsen, Celia Farber, Anthony Brink and many others for the outstanding work that they have done in documenting the case against AZT.
I was an eyewitness (and later a whistle-blower) to gross negligence and fraud in the Phase III clinical trials of AZT (1987 to 1990). I've been saying to people for years that AZT was NEVER proven to be safe or effective. From the particular studies in which I was involved, it would have been impossible to prove anything. The data was such a mess! I now realize that AZT is a deadly poison. All "AIDS drug" trials since that time have been based on the same flawed model. The big difference is that now there is even LESS meaningful oversight, and even MORE of an economic incentive for physicians to enroll patients. And recent drug trials have also been characterized by an absurdly brief follow-up period (24 or 36 weeks, for example), and effectiveness is often said to be determined by "surrogate markers" which have never been proven to relate to actual clinical health and/or increased survival. But, the early AZT studies were like the big "granddaddy" of all of this ensuing insanity!
I did not know John Lauritsen at the time that he wrote his book, AZT: Poison by Prescription (1990), but I later told him that, if I had known him at that time, I could have given him several additional chapters for his book! In this book he meticulously documents serious fraud which took place at other participating hospitals (I was in Syracuse, NY), particularly at a hospital in Boston. When I first read John's book, it was like reading my own autobiography! Talk about deja vu!
In spite of what I witnessed, I was not aware, however, of the deeper problems within "AIDS science" until many years later. It was in 1997 that I first heard about the views of the "AIDS dissidents." After educating myself regarding the many unexplained and nonscientific paradoxes and absurdities of the orthodox "HIV/AIDS" model, and after studying the alternative views proposed by the various "AIDS dissidents," I started doing public speaking on this topic. I especially want to share my story with as many people as possible about the fraud which I witnessed firsthand in the early AZT trials. I always tell people that if the general public knew what I knew about AZT, this so-called "drug" would be banned immediately.
My name is Lynn Gannett. As the Data Manager for the first two years and seven months of the NIH-sponsored AIDS clinical trials conducted at the Syracuse, New York, clinic (September 1987 to March 1990), my belief is that the data which came from the Syracuse site is ABSOLUTELY WORTHLESS! I would NEVER trust my health or my life to the results of this so-called "research" or in the hands of these so-called "medical professionals." I can only speculate that if these things occurred at this site, that similar things may have and in all likelihood did occur at the other participating sites. The things that I witnessed at this clinic would HORRIFY any reasonable observer. The level of medical incompetence, unprofessionalism, unethical, dishonest, corrupt, illegal and immoral behavior was shocking and inexcusable. The data was so inaccurate and so full of holes that I often compare it to Swiss cheese. I felt like I was trapped in the middle of an awful movie about "mad scientists." If there was a "rule" that could be broken - they broke it! The following examples outline some of the most egregious examples of what I witnessed:
* The Principal Investigator, an MD, and the Study Coordinator, an RN, showed a huge interest in enrolling as many patients as possible on studies (which would entitle them to more money and perceived prestige) and showed little interest in the research itself - specifically in the integrity, accuracy and completeness of the data.
* The Study Coordinator (and other medical staff responsible for study patients) often displayed a significant lack of understanding and unfamiliarity with the study protocols and important memos concerning their implementation - as though she had not even read them, or had totally misunderstood and misinterpreted them, even in instances pertaining to terminology and procedures FUNDAMENTAL to the protocol itself, often months after the study had been underway.
e.g. In what I consider to have been the most serious, disturbing and grossly incompetent situation that I witnessed, which came dangerously close to resulting in death, and unquestionably resulted in extreme unnecessary suffering, PID #110434, a black, obese, diabetic, HIV+ female with a history of serious heart problems, experienced severe hematologic toxicity from the 081 study drug (AZT), which had progressed to a GRADE IV toxicity by week 24 and resulted in her coming into the emergency room with "severe shortness of breath, fatigue and weakness," and required her to be hospitalized for a total of five days. BECAUSE NO ONE, DOCTOR OR NURSE, SHOWED ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR, KNOWLEDGE OF, INTEREST IN OR RECOGNITION OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE EXPLICITLY-DEFINED TOXICITY (ADVERSE REACTION) AND DOSE MANAGEMENT STEPS AND PROCEDURES OUTLINED IN THE PROTOCOL, instead of being taken OFF the AZT due to the Grade IV toxicity, her dose was reduced from 1000 mg/day to 500 mg/day, in complete violation of protocol requirements which explicitly require DISCONTINUATION of study drug. Additionally, early Grade I and Grade II toxicities should have indicated the need for interim lab monitoring of Hemoglobin, especially with this patient's complicated medical history, but instead this patient had NO lab work performed between week 20 (13DEC89) and week 24 (10JAN90), even though she was in for a pentamidine treatment on 20DEC89 and could have easily had a blood sample drawn. At some point during this time interval, her original medical chart was "lost," never to be found again, requiring a new chart to be made up, which subsequently obviously lacked significant information concerning her medical history. I was shocked, outraged and horrified when this whole situation occurred, and documented this gross medical incompetence and blatant violation of protocol requirements as carefully as I could because I wanted everything to be ON RECORD so that no one could later deny it or cover it up. (See attached memo dated 01FEB90 and lab flow chart showing toxicity progression.)
* Patients were ROUTINELY enrolled who failed to meet eligibility requirements, especially when it came to specific required lab values and test ranges (i.e., within the required number of days prior to enrollment). There are many, many examples. Below are a few (also see attached 05OCT89 list of 081 screening lab eligibility failures):
e.g. In the most blatant example, PID #110264C, a female partner of an HIV+ male, was enrolled on study 019 and took study drug for THREE weeks before it was discovered that she was actually HIV NEGATIVE! (The Elisa came back as a false positive but the Western Blot came back negative.) The test results date predated her enrollment on study date. She was also on oral contraceptives at the time, another eligibility violation.
E.g. You might think that this would be the last time a patient would be enrolled without an HIV+ test result "in hand" - not so. PID #110316's HIV+ test results are dated 06JAN89, ONE MONTH AFTER his enrollment date (05DEC88)!
e.g. Other patients had been routinely enrolled without HIV+ test results documentation available, often based simply on referrals from other physicians. An example is PID #110153H, a referral patient from Binghamton who, to my knowledge, has no HIV+ test results in his chart TO THIS DAY! After a year or two of my repeated requests to the Study Coordinator for this information, she finally obtained a LETTER ONLY from the referring physician "verifying" his HIV+ status, who also apparently had no supporting documentation.
* There were COUNTLESS unreported (meaning unreported on the research forms) diagnoses, opportunistic infections, symptoms, concomitant medications, and adverse reactions. Except for "symptoms" (which were asked for at every visit), these significant things (which each REQUIRE reporting) should have been reported on one of several "as needed" or optional case report forms used to track this information - an extra step which was rarely taken. I often observed, as did the RTI (Research Triangle Institute) site monitors, this unreported information recorded or mentioned in the patient's regular medical chart.
E.g. From the 22JUN89 site monitor's report: "Of the six protocol 002 charts which were reviewed for the first critical event verification, four reported death as the first event even though at least one OI [opportunistic infection] has preceded the death. These OI's were not reported. In another instance, it was impossible to determine what had happened to the patient between the time of randomization and death because the records were missing."
* Incorrect lab tests were ROUTINELY ordered (either required labs omitted or unrequired labs ordered by mistake), and the wrong prescriptions were ROUTINELY written (for example, 1200 mg/day instead of 1000 mg/day). When I questioned these and other similar mistakes, I would be chastised by the Principal Investigator and/or Study Coordinator for being too "nit picky" or for inappropriately questioning someone's medical "expertise" since I did not have (nor did my position require) a medical degree.
* Medical lab results were ROUTINELY transcribed incorrectly onto the research forms by the Study Coordinator (who I suspect may have dyslexia - at the very least, she does not have the "detail-oriented" type of mind necessary for this type of research position).
* Syracuse had an unusually high and excessive rate of "no shows" (often meaning "not even scheduled to begin with") and "not dones" compared to the other clinics.
* On a regular basis, I would have to REPEATEDLY request data from the Study Coordinator, and we routinely missed deadlines.
E.g. There was one group of approximately 90 (!) forms which were "missing" for over a year and a half. When these forms were eventually "found," mostly blank, the Study Coordinator filled in much of the information with, in most cases, no supporting documentation or progress notes in the charts. I have always believed that this data was just "fudged" or made up, because there would have been no other written record of these things (such as vital signs).
* Informed consent forms were ROUTINELY backdated, sometimes weeks or even months after enrollment.
E.g. In at least one instance, a patient was asked to sign (and did sign, along with the Principal Investigator and Study Coordinator) an informed consent form for the WRONG study (PID #110076A signed an informed consent for study 116 but was being enrolled on study 117).
* The Principal Investigator and Study Coordinator displayed such open hostility and contempt toward the site monitors that there was a high turnover (4 different site monitors in a 3-year period). These site monitors could have easily uncovered this corruption if they had done their jobs carefully (which the first 3, at least, did NOT do) and over an extended period of time.
* On March 21, 1990, after attempting unsuccessfully for over one year to address and resolve these SERIOUS issues with the Principal Investigator and Study Coordinator, and after watching in horror as the situation worsened severely with the implementation of the DDI studies (see attached memo dated 19MAR90), and after being retaliated against in many vicious and mean-spirited ways by both the Principal Investigator and Study Coordinator merely for repeatedly raising these issues and insisting on some type of corrective action, I felt compelled, in good conscience, to resign my position as Data Manager and immediately report this critical situation to the RTI site monitor.
E.g. After reporting this to the site monitor, she checked with her boss, who in turn checked with her boss, and the decision was made to launch a "special audit and investigation" of the Syracuse site by the program office. I was asked to mail copies of all of my documentation supporting my claims to the site monitor. In a 27MAR90, 1:40 PM, phone call, the site monitor told me that her boss "never heard of anything of this magnitude," and referred to the situation as "uncharted waters."
E.g. In a 27MAR90, 4:00 PM (later that same afternoon), phone call with Carolyn Fassi, who called me from NIH on behalf of Dr. Kantz, she thanked me for bringing these issues to their attention and said it would be unnecessary for me to forward copies of my documentation to the site monitor or to NIH. She also stated that they "can't act directly" based on my claims or supporting documentation, that they would "keep a close eye" on the Syracuse site, that they "won't use my information against the site or me," and ended by saying that he (Dr. Kantz) "may not even need to call me, except to clarify something." In other words, "don't call us, we'll call you." I never received a call from their office or anyone else associated with these studies again.
Public Service -- If you are a New York resident and 18 years and older -- Religious vaccine exemptions still apply
Michael (Mike) Kane has worked as a New York City public school teacher for over 13 years and is a steering committee member of NY TEACHERS FOR CHOICE, a grassroots union caucus of educators and parents that is 100% opposed to all medical mandates to maintain employment. Recently TEACHERS FOR CHOICE sued the NYC Department of Education with their attorney Michael Sussman and won a court-ordered stipulation pertaining to in-school COVID testing and privacy rights. Kane has been a proud union member and active supporter of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) for his entire career. He is a former union delegate, served on union consultation committees, lobbied in Albany on behalf of the union on multiple occasions, and protested with rank-&-file union members against the Bloomberg administration. His website is www.nyteachersforchoice.org
Propolis for Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
Could bees provide a solution to a prevalent and costly problem?
University of Naples (Italy), June 2, 2021
To evaluate the effects of a standardized oral spray of poplar-type propolis extract (M.E.D. Propolis) on the symptoms of mild upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs)
A monocentric, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial performed in an outpatient setting
This study involved 122 subjects (58 in the propolis group and 64 in the placebo group). The age range was from 18 to 77 years; 54 subjects were male, and 68 were female. All subjects had signs and/or symptoms of a URTI. Subjects were examined by a physician and were eligible for inclusion in the study if they suffered from 1 or more of the following common URTI symptoms: sore throat, muffled dysphonia, and swelling and redness of the throat that began on the same day as the baseline visit (t=0).
The subjects were randomly assigned to receive either a propolis oral spray or a placebo spray from t1 to t3 (5 days). Dose was 2 to 4 sprays 3 times daily. Researchers evaluated each participant at 4 time points: baseline=t0, after 3 days=t1, after 5 days=t2, and at 15 days=t3.
The propolis spray was standardized to contain 15 mg/mL of polyphenols. The spray had a reproducible composition of the 6 major flavonoids found in this type of propolis (ie, galangin, chrysin, pinocembrin, apigenin, pinobanksin, quercetin). Each participant used 2 to 4 sprays 3 times daily for 5 days. The placebo spray had an identical appearance and flavor to the propolis spray.
Study Parameters Assessed
Apart from the primary outcome measure, the researchers evaluated the persistence of positive bacterial throat cultures at t3. They performed throat swabs on all subjects at t0 and then again at t2 and t3 on those subjects who had an initially positive throat culture. At t0, 8 people in the treatment group and 7 people in the placebo group were positive for a bacterial URTI. At t3, none of the subjects in either the treatment or placebo group were found to have a positive bacterial throat culture.
Primary Outcome Measures
The primary outcome measure was the resolution of URTI symptoms. Researchers assessed these symptoms at baseline (t0), 3 days (t1), after 5 days (t2), and at the final timepoint (t3) of the study, 15 days.
At t1, 17% of the participants in the treatment group still had 1 symptom of an URTI. In contrast, about 72% of people in the placebo group still displayed 1 symptom (RR: 2.93, CI: 1.95–4.42).
The results of a univariate analysis showed that only treatment with oral propolis spray was related to the disappearance of symptoms (resolution of all symptoms in the treatment group vs the placebo group: X2=35.57, df=1, P<0.001; resolution from sore throat in the propolis vs placebo group: X2=28.38, df=1, P<0.001; resolution of muffled dysphonia in the propolis vs placebo group: X2=4.38, df=1, P=0.036; and resolution of swelling and redness of the throat in the propolis vs placebo group: X2=16.85, df=1, P<0.001).
There was no relationship noted between the resolution of symptoms after 3 days and the type of infection (bacterial or viral) or the age or gender of the subjects.
The disappearance of all URTI symptoms occurred 2 days earlier in the propolis group vs the placebo group. Symptoms were gone within 5 days in the placebo group and within 3 days for the treatment group. This finding held true for both viral and bacterial URTIs. Since there were so few bacterial URTIs noted in this study, the authors were not able to make any conclusions related to the effects of propolis on antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Yoga And Meditation Could Potentially Reverse The Genetic Effects Of Stress
Coventry University (UK), Antwerp University (Belgium), Radboud University (Netherlands), June 21, 2021
Mind-body interventions (MBIs) such as meditation, yoga and Tai Chi don't simply relax us; they can 'reverse' the molecular reactions in our DNA which cause ill-health and depression, according to a study by the universities of Coventry and Radboud.
The research, published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, reviews over a decade of studies analysing how the behaviour of our genes is affected by different MBIs including mindfulness and yoga.
Experts from the universities conclude that, when examined together, the 18 studies -- featuring 846 participants over 11 years -- reveal a pattern in the molecular changes which happen to the body as a result of MBIs, and how those changes benefit our mental and physical health.
The researchers focus on how gene expression is affected; in other words the way that genes activate to produce proteins which influence the biological make-up of the body, the brain and the immune system.
When a person is exposed to a stressful event, their sympathetic nervous system (SNS) -- the system responsible for the 'fight-or-flight' response -- is triggered, in turn increasing production of a molecule called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) which regulates how our genes are expressed.
NF-kB translates stress by activating genes to produce proteins called cytokines that cause inflammation at cellular level -- a reaction that is useful as a short-lived fight-or-flight reaction, but if persistent leads to a higher risk of cancer, accelerated aging and psychiatric disorders like depression.
According to the study, however, people who practise MBIs exhibit the opposite effect -- namely a decrease in production of NF-kB and cytokines, leading to a reversal of the pro-inflammatory gene expression pattern and a reduction in the risk of inflammation-related diseases and conditions.
The study's authors say the inflammatory effect of the fight-or-flight response -- which also serves to temporarily bolster the immune system -- would have played an important role in humankind's hunter-gatherer prehistory, when there was a higher risk of infection from wounds.
In today's society, however, where stress is increasingly psychological and often longer-term, pro-inflammatory gene expression can be persistent and therefore more likely to cause psychiatric and medical problems.
Lead investigator Ivana Buric from the Brain, Belief and Behaviour Lab in Coventry University's Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement said:
"Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don't realise is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business.
"These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing.
"More needs to be done to understand these effects in greater depth, for example how they compare with other healthy interventions like exercise or nutrition. But this is an important foundation to build on to help future researchers explore the benefits of increasingly popular mind-body activities."
The Role of Plant-Based Protein Functional Food in Preventing Acute Respiratory Disease: A Case Study
Exposure to pollutants, increased free-radical damage speeds up aging
West Virginia University, June 22, 2021
Every day, our bodies face a bombardment of UV rays, ozone, cigarette smoke, industrial chemicals and other hazards.
This exposure can lead to free-radical production in our bodies, which damages our DNA and tissues. A new study from West Virginia University researcher Eric E. Kelley--in collaboration with the University of Minnesota--suggests that unrepaired DNA damage can increase the speed of aging.
The study appears in the journal Nature.
Kelley and his team created genetically-modified mice with a crucial DNA-repair protein missing from their hematopoietic stem cells, immature immune cells that develop into white blood cells. Without this repair protein, the mice were unable to fix damaged DNA accrued in their immune cells.
"By the time the genetically-modified mouse is 5 months old, it's like a 2-year-old mouse," said Kelley, associate professor and associate chair of research in the School of Medicine's Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. "It has all the symptoms and physical characteristics. It has hearing loss, osteoporosis, renal dysfunction, visual impairment, hypertension, as well as other age-related issues. It's prematurely aged just because it has lost its ability to repair its DNA."
According to Kelley, a normal 2-year-old mouse is about equivalent in age to a human in their late 70s to early 80s.
Kelley and his colleagues found that markers for cell aging, or senescence, as well as for cell damage and oxidation were significantly greater in the immune cells of genetically-modified mice compared to normal, wild-type mice. But the damage was not limited to the immune system; the modified mice also demonstrated aged, damaged cells in organs such as the liver and kidney.
These results suggest that unrepaired DNA damage may cause the entire body to age prematurely.
When we are exposed to a pollutant, such as radiation for cancer treatment, energy is transferred to the water in our body, breaking the water apart. This creates highly reactive molecules--free radicals--that will quickly interact with another molecule in order to gain electrons. When these free radicals interact with important biomolecules, such as a protein or DNA, it causes damage that can keep that biomolecule from working properly.
Some exposure to pollutants is unavoidable, but there are several lifestyle choices that increase exposure to pollution and thus increase free radicals in the body. Smoking, drinking and exposure to pesticides and other chemicals through occupational hazards all significantly increase free radicals.
"A cigarette has over 10 to the 16th free radicals per puff, just from combusted carbon materials," Kelley said.
In addition to free radicals produced by pollutant exposure, the human body is constantly producing free radicals during a process used to turn food into energy, called oxidative phosphorylation.
"We have mechanisms in the mitochondria that mop free radicals up for us, but if they become overwhelmed--if we have over-nutrition, if we eat too much junk, if we smoke--the defense mechanism absolutely cannot keep up," Kelley said.
As bodies age, the amount of damage caused by free-radical formation becomes greater than the antioxidant defenses. Eventually, the balance between the two tips over to the oxidant side, and damage starts to win out over repair. If we are exposed to a greater amount of pollutants and accumulate more free radicals, this balance will be disrupted even sooner, causing premature aging.
The issue of premature aging due to free-radical damage is especially important in West Virginia. The state has the greatest percentage of obese citizens in the nation and a high rate of smokers and workers in high-pollution-exposure occupations.
"I come from an Appalachian background," Kelley said. "And, you know, I'd go to funerals that were in some old house--an in-the-living-room-with-a-casket kind of deal--and I'd look at people in there, and they'd be 39 or 42 and look like they were 80 because of their occupation and their nutrition."
Many West Virginians also have comorbidities, such as diabetes, enhanced cardiovascular disease, stroke and renal issues, that complicate the situation further.
Although there are drugs, called senolytics, that help to slow the aging process, Kelley believes it is best to prevent premature aging through lifestyle change. He says that focusing on slowing the aging process through preventive measures can improve the outcome for each comorbidity and add more healthy years to people's lives.
"The impact is less on lifespan and more on healthspan," he said. "If you could get people better access to healthcare, better education, easier ways for them to participate in healthier eating and a healthier lifestyle, then you could improve the overall economic burden on the population of West Virginia and have a much better outcome all the way around."
Vitamin B6 status among vegetarians: findings from a population-based survey
University of Heidelberg (Germany), June 21, 2021
According to news reporting out of Heidelberg, Germany, by NewsRx editors, research stated, “Vitamin B6 from plant foods may have lower bioavailability than vitamin B6 from animal foods, but studies on objectively measured vitamin B6 status among vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians are lacking.”
The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from University of Heidelberg: “Thus, the vitamin B6 status among vegetarians, but also pescatarians, and flexitarians, compared to meat-eaters was assessed in the population-based NHANES study (cycles 2007-2008 and 2009-2010). Data on serum pyridoxal-5’-phosphate (PLP) and 4-pyridoxic acid (4-PA) measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) as well as dietary intakes from 24-h recalls were available for 8968 adults aged 20-80 years. Geometric mean (±standard error) PLP concentrations were 58.2 ± 6.0, 52.1 ± 3.7, 49.2 ± 4.6 and 51.0 ± 1.1 nmol/L among vegetarians, pescatarians, flexitarians, and meat-eaters. The 4-PA concentrations were 32.7 ± 4.0, 29.0 ± 2.5, 34.8 ± 5.6 and 33.0 ± 0.7, respectively. There were no statistically significant differences in PLP, 4-PA, and their ratio across the groups in multivariable linear regression models. Overall, the use of vitamin B6 supplements was the strongest predictor of the vitamin B6 status, followed by the dietary vitamin B6 intake.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Interestingly, several other covariates were significantly associated with vitamin B6 biomarker levels, particularly serum albumin, creatinine and alkaline phosphatase, and should be considered when assessing the vitamin B6 status. In summary, our findings suggest that a vegetarian diet does not pose a risk for vitamin B6 deficiency.”
Compound made inside human body stops viruses from replicating
Penn State University & Albert Einstein College of Medicine, June 20, 2021
The newest antiviral drugs could take advantage of a compound made not by humans, but inside them. A team of researchers has identified the mode of action of viperin, a naturally occurring enzyme in humans and other mammals that is known to have antiviral effects on a wide variety of viruses, including West Nile, hepatitis C, rabies, and HIV.
The enzyme facilitates a reaction that produces the molecule ddhCTP, which prevents viruses from copying their genetic material and thus from multiplying. This discovery could allow researchers to develop a drug that induces the human body to produce this molecule and could act as a broad-spectrum therapy for a range of viruses. A paper describing the study appears online in the journal Nature.
"We knew viperin had broad antiviral effects through some sort of enzymatic activity, but other antivirals use a different method to stop viruses," said Craig Cameron, professor and holder of the Eberly Chair in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State and an author of the study. "Our collaborators at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, led by senior authors Tyler Grove and Steven Almo, revealed that viperin catalyzes an important reaction that results in the creation of a molecule called ddhCTP. Our team at Penn State then showed the effects of ddhCTP on a virus's ability to replicate its genetic material. Surprisingly, the molecule acts in a similar manner to drugs that were developed to treat viruses like HIV and hepatitis C. With a better understanding of how viperin prevents viruses from replicating, we hope to be able to design better antivirals."
A virus typically co-opts the host's genetic building blocks to copy its own genetic material, incorporating molecules called nucleotides into new strands of RNA. The molecule ddhCTP mimics these nucleotide building blocks and becomes incorporated into the virus's genome. Once incorporated into a new strand of the virus's RNA, these "nucleotide analogs" prevent an enzyme called RNA polymerase from adding more nucleotides to the strand, thus preventing the virus from making new copies of its genetic material.
"Long ago, the paradigm was that in order to kill a virus, you had to kill the infected cell," said Cameron. "Such a paradigm is of no use when the virus infects an essential cell type with limited capacity for replenishment. The development of nucleotide analogs that function without actually killing the infected cell changed everything."
Most nucleotide analogs on the market are manmade, but there are often complications with using these synthetic drugs. Because nucleotides are used by many proteins and enzymes of the cell, numerous opportunities exist for analogs to interfere with normal cellular function.
"The major obstacle to developing therapeutically useful antiviral nucleotides is unintended targets," said Jamie Arnold, associate research professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State and an author of the paper. "For example, a few years ago we discovered that a nucleotide analog under development for treatment of hepatitis C could interfere with the production of RNA in mitochondria, subcellular organelles important for energy production in the patient's own cells. That meant people with mitochondrial dysfunction are predisposed to any negative effects of this unintended interference."
The molecule ddhCTP, however, does not appear to have any unintended targets. The research team suspects that the natural origin of the compound within the human body necessitates that it be nontoxic.
"Unlike many of our current drugs, ddhCTP is encoded by the cells of humans and other mammals," said Cameron. "We have been synthesizing nucleotide analogs for years, but here we see that nature beat us to the punch and created a nucleotide analog that can deal with a virus in living cells and does not exhibit any toxicity to date. If there's something out there that's going to work, nature has probably thought of it first. We just have to find it."
To verify the effectiveness of ddhCTP, the research team showed that the molecule inhibited the RNA polymerases of dengue virus, West Nile virus and Zika virus, which are all in a group of viruses called flaviviruses. Then they investigated whether the molecule halted replication of Zika virus in living cells.
"The molecule directly inhibited replication of three different strains of Zika virus," said Joyce Jose, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State and an author of the paper. "It was equally effective against the original strain from 1947 as it was against two strains from the recent 2016 outbreak. This is particularly exciting because there are no known treatments for Zika. This study highlights a new avenue of research into natural compounds like ddhCTP that could be used in future treatments."
Together, these results demonstrate promising antiviral effects of ddhCTP on a variety of flaviviruses. However, the RNA polymerases of human rhinovirus and poliovirus, which are in a group called picornaviruses, were not sensitive to the molecule. The researchers plan to investigate the polymerase structures of these viruses to better understand why flaviviruses are sensitive to ddhCTP while the picornaviruses tested in this study are not. This investigation may also offer insights into how flaviviruses might develop resistance to the molecule.
"Development of resistance to an antiviral agent is always an issue," said Cameron, "Having some idea of how resistance happens, or being able to prevent it from happening, will be critical if this is to be used as a broad-spectrum therapy."
Clinical Significance of Micronutrient Supplementation in Critically Ill COVID-19 Patients with Severe ARDS
University Hospital Wuerzburg (Germany), June 12, 2021
The interplay between inflammation and oxidative stress is a vicious circle, potentially resulting in organ damage. Essential micronutrients such as selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn) support anti-oxidative defense systems and are commonly depleted in severe disease. This single-center retrospective study investigated micronutrient levels under Se and Zn supplementation in critically ill patients with COVID-19 induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and explored potential relationships with immunological and clinical parameters. According to intensive care unit (ICU) standard operating procedures, patients received 1.0 mg of intravenous Se daily on top of artificial nutrition, which contained various amounts of Se and Zn. Micronutrients, inflammatory cytokines, lymphocyte subsets and clinical data were extracted from the patient data management system on admission and after 10 to 14 days of treatment. Forty-six patients were screened for eligibility and 22 patients were included in the study. Twenty-one patients (95%) suffered from severe ARDS and 14 patients (64%) survived to ICU discharge. On admission, the majority of patients had low Se status biomarkers and Zn levels, along with elevated inflammatory parameters. Se supplementation significantly elevated Se (p = 0.027) and selenoprotein P levels (SELENOP; p = 0.016) to normal range. Accordingly, glutathione peroxidase 3 (GPx3) activity increased over time (p = 0.021). Se biomarkers, most notably SELENOP, were inversely correlated with CRP (rs = −0.495), PCT (rs = −0.413), IL-6 (rs = −0.429), IL-1β (rs = −0.440) and IL-10 (rs = −0.461). Positive associations were found for CD8+ T cells (rs = 0.636), NK cells (rs = 0.772), total IgG (rs = 0.493) and PaO2/FiO2ratios (rs = 0.504). In addition, survivors tended to have higher Se levels after 10 to 14 days compared to non-survivors (p = 0.075). Sufficient Se and Zn levels may potentially be of clinical significance for an adequate immune response in critically ill patients with severe COVID-19 ARDS.
Pilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms
Louisiana State University, June 20, 2021
Insomnia is common in the elderly and is associated with chronic disease, but use of hypnotics increases the incidence of falls. Montmorency tart cherry juice has improved insomnia by self-report questionnaire.
Is insomnia confirmed by polysomnography and is tryptophan availability a potential mechanism for treating insomnia?
A placebo-controlled balanced crossover study with subjects older than 50 years and insomnia were randomized to placebo (2 weeks) or cherry juice (2 weeks) (240 mL 2 times/d) separated by a 2-week washout.
Measures and Outcomes:
Sleep was evaluated by polysomnography and 5 validated questionnaires. Serum indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), the kynurenine-to-tryptophan ratio, and prostaglandin E2 were measured. In vitro, Caco-2 cells were stimulated with interferon-gamma, and the ability of cherry juice procyanidin to inhibit IDO which degrades tryptophan and stimulates inflammation was measured. The content of procyanidin B-2 and other major anthocyanins in cherry juice were determined.
Eleven subjects were randomized; 3 with sleep apnea were excluded and referred. The 8 completers with insomnia increased sleep time by 84 minutes on polysomnography (P = 0.0182) and sleep efficiency increased on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (P = 0.03). Other questionnaires showed no significant differences. The serum kynurenine-to-tryptophan ratio decreased, as did the level of prostaglandin E2 (both P < 0.05). In vitro, cherry juice procyanidin B-2 dose-dependently inhibited IDO.
Cherry juice increased sleep time and sleep efficiency. Cherry juice procyanidin B-2 inhibited IDO, increased tryptophan availability, reduced inflammation, and may be partially responsible for improvement in insomnia.
Many with migraines have vitamin deficiencies, says study
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, June 10, 2021
A high percentage of children, teens and young adults with migraines appear to have mild deficiencies in vitamin D, riboflavin and coenzyme Q10—a vitamin-like substance found in every cell of the body that is used to produce energy for cell growth and maintenance.
These deficiencies may be involved in patients who experience migraines, but that is unclear based on existing studies.
"Further studies are needed to elucidate whether vitamin supplementation is effective in migraine patients in general, and whether patients with mild deficiency are more likely to benefit from supplementation," says Suzanne Hagler, MD, a Headache Medicine fellow in the division of Neurology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and lead author of the study.
Dr. Hagler and colleagues at Cincinnati Children's conducted the study among patients at the Cincinnati Children's Headache Center. She will present her findings at 9:55 am Pacific time Friday, June 10, 2016 at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in San Diego.
Dr. Hagler's study drew from a database that included patients with migraines who, according to Headache Center practice, had baseline blood levels checked for vitamin D, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10 and folate, all of which were implicated in migraines, to some degree, by previous and sometimes conflicting studies. Many were put on preventive migraine medications and received vitamin supplementation, if levels were low. Because few received vitamins alone, the researchers were unable to determine vitamin effectiveness in preventing migraines.
She found that girls and young woman were more likely than boys and young men to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies at baseline. Boys and young men were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency. It was unclear whether there were folate deficiencies. Patients with chronic migraines were more likely to have coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin deficiencies than those with episodic migraines.
Previous studies have indicated that certain vitamins and vitamin deficiencies may be important in the migraine process. Studies using vitamins to prevent migraines, however, have had conflicting success.
Research suggests mask-wearing can increase struggles with social anxiety
University of Waterloo (Canada), June 21, 2021
People who struggle with social anxiety might experience increased distress related to mask-wearing during and even after the COVID-19 pandemic.
A paper authored by researchers from the University of Waterloo's Department of Psychology and Centre for Mental Health Research and Treatment also has implications for those who haven't necessarily suffered from social anxiety in the past.
"The adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health outcomes, including anxiety and depression, have been well-documented," said David Moscovitch, professor of clinical psychology and co-author of the paper. "However, little is known about effects of increased mask-wearing on social interactions, social anxiety, or overall mental health.
"It is also possible that many people who didn't struggle with social anxiety before the pandemic may find themselves feeling more anxious than usual as we emerge out of the pandemic and into a more uncertain future -- especially within social situations where our social skills are rusty and the new rules for social engagement are yet to be written."
Social anxiety is characterized by negative self-perception and fear that one's appearance or behaviour will fail to conform with social expectations and norms. Social anxiety disorder is an extreme manifestation that affects up to 13 per cent of the population.
The researchers reviewed existing literature addressing three factors that they hypothesized might contribute to social anxiety associated with mask-wearing: hypersensitivity to social norms, bias in the detection of social and emotional facial cues, and propensity for self-concealment as a form of safety behaviour.
"We found that mask-wearing by people with social anxiety is likely to be influenced by their perception of social norms and expectations, which may or may not be consistent with public-health guidelines and can vary widely by region and context," said Sidney Saint, an undergraduate psychology student at Waterloo and lead author of the paper.
The paper also highlights that people with social anxiety have difficulty detecting ambiguous social cues and are likely to interpret them negatively. These individuals also tend to worry about sounding incomprehensible or awkward. "We believe that both issues are likely to be magnified during interactions with masks," Saint said.
Another highlighted impact is that masks can function as a type of self-concealment strategy that enables people with social anxiety to hide their self-perceived flaws. Therefore, the desire for self-concealment may motivate their use of masks over and above their desire to protect themselves from contagion. "Due to their self-concealing function, masks may be difficult for some people to discard even when mask-wearing is no longer required by public health mandates," Saint said.
In addition to contributing insights to guide clinicians toward effective assessment and treatment, the paper shows that people with social anxiety may be particularly vulnerable to periods of norm transitions where expectations for mask-wearing are in flux or become a matter of personal choice.
Going with your gut can result in better decision-making than using detailed data methods, study shows
City University London, June 21, 2021
Managers who use their gut instinct together with simple decision-making strategies may make equally good, but faster, decisions as those who use data to reach an outcome, a new study has found.
The report, co-authored by academics at the Business School (formerly Cass), King's Business School, and the University of Malta, finds that the reliance on data analysis in decision-making might be counterproductive as this reduces decision-making speed without ensuring more accuracy.
The research, based on information from 122 advertising, digital, publishing, and software companies, finds that using data to inform decision making under high uncertainty is often not optimal. This may explain why 12 different publishers initially rejected the opportunity to publish "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' – because it had no data to inform its potential.
A recent survey revealed that 92 percent of Fortune 1000 companies were reporting increased investment in data initiatives, although it appears this may not always be necessary.
The authors asked managers how they made decisions on their most recent innovation project, including the extent to which they used data, instinct, and other simple heuristics (mental strategies). The findings outlined that among those decision-making methods were:
- Majority—choosing what the most people wanted
- Tallying—picking the choice with the greatest quantity of positive points
- Experience—selecting the option that the most experienced individual on the team wanted.
Managers were asked whether they think they made the right decision and how fast they were in reaching that decision. Results showed that managers relied on their own instinct as much as data, using 'tallying' more than any other metric.
Dr. Oguz A. Acar, Reader in Marketing at the Business School and co-author of the report, said: "This research shows that data-driven decision-making is not the panacea in all situations and may not result in increased accuracy when facing uncertainty.
"Under extreme uncertainty, managers, particularly those with more experience, should trust the expertise and instincts that have propelled them to such a position. The nous developed over years as a leader can be a more effective than an analytical tool which, in situations of extreme uncertainty, could act as a hindrance rather than a driver of success."
"Choosing among alternative new product development projects: The role of heuristics" is published in Psychology and Marketing.
Pretreatment by rosemary extract or cell transplantation improves memory deficits of Parkinson disease
Damghan University (Iran) June 21 2021
According to news originating from Damghan, Iran, research stated, “The therapeutic effect of adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ADSCs) or RE on hippocampal neurogenesis and memory in Parkinsonian rats were investigated. Male rats were lesioned by bilateral intra-nigral injections of 6-OHDA and divided into six groups: 1. Lesion 2 and 3: RE and water groups were lesioned rats pretreated with RE or water, from 2weeks before neurotoxin injection and treated once a day for 8weeks post lesion. 4&5: Cell and alpha-MEM (alpha-minimal essential medium) received intravenous injection of BrdU-labeled ADSCs or medium, respectively from 10days post lesion until 8weeks later. 6: Sham was injected by saline instead of neurotoxin.”
Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Damghan University, “Memory was assessed using Morris water Maze (MWM), one week before and at 1, 4 and 8weeks post 6-OHDA lesion. After the last probe, the animals were sacrificed and brain tissue obtained. Paraffin sections were stained using cresyl violet, anti-BrdU (Bromodeoxyuridine / 5-bromo-2’-deoxyuridine), anti-GFAP (Glial fibrillary acidic protein) and anti-TH antibodies. There was a significant difference of time spent in the target quadrant between groups during probe trial at 4 and 8 weeks’ post-lesion. Cell and RE groups spent a significantly longer period in the target quadrant and had lower latency as compared with lesion. Treated groups have a significantly higher neuronal density in hippocampus compared to water, alpha-MEM and lesion groups. BrdU positive cells were presented in lesioned sites. The GFAP (Glial fibrillary acidic protein) positive cells were reduced in treated and sham groups compared to the water, alpha-MEM and lesion groups.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Oral administration of RE (Rosemary extract) or ADSCs injection could improve memory deficit in the Parkinsonian rat by neuroprotection.”
Inadequate vitamin D levels associated with interstitial lung disease
Johns Hopkins University, June 20 2021.
An article appearing in the Journal of Nutrition documents a link between decreased vitamin D levels and a greater risk of early signs of interstitial lung disease (ILD), a group of disorders characterized by inflammation and scarring that can lead to lung damage. Although ILD can be caused by environmental and other factors, some cases have unknown causes.
The investigation included 6,302 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis who had information available concerning their initial serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations and computed tomography (CT) imaging that included partial views of the lungs. Ten years after enrollment, 2,668 participants had full lung CT scans that were evaluated for presence of scar tissue and other abnormalities.
Subjects who had deficient vitamin D levels of less than 20 ng/mL had more spots on their lungs that were suggestive of damage in comparison with subjects whose vitamin D was adequate. Among those who had full lung CT scans, deficient or intermediate (between 20-30 ng/mL) vitamin D levels were associated with a 50-60% greater risk of abnormalities suggestive of ILD.
"We knew that the activated vitamin D hormone has anti-inflammatory properties and helps regulate the immune system, which goes awry in ILD," commented senior author Erin Michos, MD, MHS. “There was also evidence in the literature that vitamin D plays a role in obstructive lung diseases such as asthma and COPD, and we now found that the association exists with this scarring form of lung disease too."
"Our study suggests that adequate levels of vitamin D may be important for lung health,” she concluded. “We might now consider adding vitamin D deficiency to the list of factors involved in disease processes, along with the known ILD risk factors such as environmental toxins and smoking.”
CoQ10 supplementation associated with lower pro-inflammatory factors in randomized trial
Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences (Iran), June 8 2021
A double-blind trial reported in the International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research found a reduction in markers ofinflammation in mildly hypertensive patients given coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) for twelve weeks. Participants who received CoQ10 also experienced an increase in adiponectin: a protein secreted by adipose tissue that has an anti-inflammatory effect and which has been found to be reduced in high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
"Considering that coenzyme Q10 has attracted noticeable attention in recent years for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension in regard to its effect on inflammatory factors such as cytokines, it is therefore hypothesized that supplementation with coenzyme Q10 reduces the proinflammatory factors," write Nasim Bagheri Nesami of Iran's Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences and colleagues. "This study was conducted in order to determine the effects of coenzyme Q10 on proinflammatory factors as well as on adiponectin in patients with mild hypertension."
Sixty men and women were randomized to receive 100 milligrams CoQ10 or a placebo for a twelve week period. Plasma adiponectin, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP, a marker of inflammation) and the cytokines interleukin 2, interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha were measured before and after treatment.
At the end of the study, participants who received CoQ10 had significant declines in interleukin-6 and hs-CRP compared with levels measured upon enrollment. They also experienced an increase in adiponectin, while levels in the placebo group slightly declined.
The authors suggest that CoQ10 could be prescribed as a supplement along with antihypertensive medication for patients with mildly elevated blood pressure, and recommend that further research be conducted to validate the current findings.
Exposure to nature during COVID-19 lockdown was beneficial for mental health
A study by the ICTA-UAB and the University of Porto analyses the effects of exposure to green spaces during the first months of the COVID19 pandemic in Spain and Portugal
Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona (Spain), June 18, 2021
A study carried out by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) and the Instituto de Saúde Pública of the University of Porto (ISPUP), concludes that exposure to natural spaces during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 was beneficial for the mental health of Spanish and Portuguese citizens.
The research shows that, in Portugal, during the first confinement, people who maintained or increased contact with natural public spaces, such as parks and coastal areas, or who could contemplate these spaces from their homes, presented lower levels of stress, psychological distress and psychosomatic symptoms.
In Spain, those who maintained or increased contact with private natural spaces, such as indoor plants or community green areas, presented lower levels of stress and psychosomatic symptoms. This could be due to the fact that Spain adopted more restrictive measures for foreign circulation during the period analysed.
The research Exposure to nature and mental health outcomes during COVID-19 lockdown. A comparison between Portugal and Spain, published in the journal Environment International, was conducted between March and May 2020.
Dr Ana Isabel Ribeiro, researcher at the ISPUP and first author of the work together with Margarita Triguero-Mas from the ICTA-UAB says that "we decided to study whether natural, public and private spaces had a beneficial effect on the mental health of Portuguese and Spanish citizens, helping them to better cope with the negative effects of lockdown". For her part, Margarita Triguero-Mas adds that "people around us and ourselves talked about how we missed the park we crossed when we went to the office or the walk on the beach with our dogs, so we wanted to check to what extent contact with natural spaces was an important factor during confinement".
Several previous articles have also shown the positive impact of exposure to natural spaces on mental health, that is, in reducing stress, anxiety and improving psychological well-being as a whole. "Taking into account what is described in the literature, we wanted to evaluate whether people who enjoyed greater exposure to natural spaces during the first COVID-19 lockdown had better mental health indicators than those who had no contact with natural areas", explains Dr Ribeiro. At the same time, they wanted to investigate whether exposure to private natural spaces, such as gardens, orchards or plants, was more beneficial among Spanish citizens than among Portuguese, given that Spain applied stricter measures to restrict mobility than Portugal.
To carry out the research, the authors applied an online questionnaire, between March 27 and May 6, 2020, aimed at all citizens aged 18 years old or older, residing in Spain or Portugal. The survey covered aspects related to the frequency and type of exposure people had to natural spaces (public and private), before and during the first confinement; mental health questions to assess levels of stress, mental disorders and somatization symptoms, and sociodemographic issues. Of the more than 3,000 citizens (n = 3,157) who answered the questionnaire, 1,638 were Portuguese and 1,519 Spanish.
In both countries, during the confinement, there was a significant reduction in the use of public natural spaces, such as beaches, parks and gardens, and an increase in contact with private natural spaces, such as community gardens, urban gardens and plants, especially in Spain. People living in single-family houses (detached house) and flats located in cities were the ones who least maintained or increased their exposure to public natural spaces in both countries.
In Spain, where the measures during the period analysed were much more restrictive and it was forbidden to leave the house and public outdoor spaces were closed, the benefits of exposure to public natural spaces were not as relevant as in Portugal, but it was clear the importance of private natural elements. Among the Spanish citizens who participated in the study, 66% decreased the frequency of exposure to public natural spaces (compared to 54% in Portugal).
In Spain, people who had the opportunity to continue dedicating or increasing the time dedicated to caring for their plants had lower stress levels, while those who were able to continue enjoying or increasing the time of use of community green spaces had lower rates of somatization.
In Spain, it is remarkable that the people who least maintained or increased the care of indoor plants were people over 65 years of age, those who lived with several people at home or those who were in a second residence during confinement. In contrast, the people who maintained or increased the care of indoor plants the most were those with children, but without dependent adults.
In Portugal, those who were confined the longest and those who commuted to work were those who least maintained or increased their contact with the natural public spaces. In turn, those who practiced physical exercise indicated greater exposure to these places. Portuguese citizens who managed to maintain or increase their exposure to natural public spaces showed lower levels of stress compared to those who did not. Likewise, those who contemplated natural spaces from their homes obtained improvements in all the mental health outcomes analysed: stress, mental disorders and somatization.
"This study clearly demonstrates the benefit of natural spaces for the mental health of the population in a context of public health crisis," says Ana Isabel Ribeiro. "Public authorities and decision-makers could implement measures that facilitate access to natural public spaces, in a safe and controlled manner, in the context of a pandemic. This is particularly important for the most socially and economically vulnerable population groups, and for those who have little access to these spaces in their private context", she emphasizes.
In addition, Dr Triguero-Mas adds that "our study is especially important for cities like Barcelona, where new buildings rarely have balconies or community spaces with vegetation. It is important to revalue how building remodelling or new homes can be healthier spaces that promote and prevent deterioration in the health of the people who inhabit them".
Flame retardants and pesticides overtake heavy metals as biggest contributors to IQ loss
New York University, June 2, 2021
Adverse outcomes from childhood exposures to lead and mercury are on the decline in the United States, likely due to decades of restrictions on the use of heavy metals, a new study finds.
Despite decreasing levels, exposure to these and other toxic chemicals, especially flame retardants and pesticides, still resulted in more than a million cases of intellectual disability in the United States between 2001 and 2016. Furthermore, as the target of significantly fewer restrictions, experts say, flame retardants and pesticides now represent the bulk of that cognitive loss.
NYU Grossman School of Medicine researchers found that IQ loss from the toxic chemicals analyzed in their study dropped from 27 million IQ points in 2001 and 2002 to 9 million IQ points in 2015 and 2016.
While this overall decline is promising, the researchers say, their findings also identify a concerning shift in which chemicals represent the greatest risk. Among toxin-exposed children, the researchers found that the proportion of cognitive loss that results from exposure to chemicals used in flame retardants, called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PDBEs), and organophosphate pesticides increased from 67 percent to 81 percent during the same study period.
"Our findings suggest that our efforts to reduce exposure to heavy metals are paying off, but that toxic exposures in general continue to represent a formidable risk to Americans' physical, mental, and economic health," says lead study investigator Abigail Gaylord, MPH, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone. "Unfortunately, the minimal policies in place to eliminate pesticides and flame retardants are clearly not enough."
The substances analyzed are found in household products from furniture upholstery to tuna fish, and can build up in the body to damage organs, researchers say. Heavy metals, lead and mercury in particular, are known to disrupt brain and kidney function. In addition, they, along with flame retardants and pesticides, can interfere with the thyroid, which secretes brain-developing hormones. Experts say exposure at a young age to any of these toxins can cause learning disabilities, autism, and behavioral issues.
In their investigation, the researchers found that everyday contact with these substances during the 16-year study period resulted in roughly 1,190,230 children affected with some form of intellectual disability. Overall childhood exposures cost the nation $7.5 trillion in lost economic productivity and other societal costs.
"Although people argue against costly regulations, unrestricted use of these chemicals is far more expensive in the long run, with American children bearing the largest burden," says senior study author Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, the Jim G. Hendrick, MD Professor at NYU Langone Health.
Publishing online Jan. 14 in the journal Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, the new study is the only long-term neurological and economic investigation of its kind, the authors say. The investigators analyzed PBDE, organophosphate, lead, and methylmercury exposures in blood samples from women of childbearing age and 5-year-olds. Data on women and children was obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The researchers used results from several previous environmental health studies to estimate the annual number of IQ points lost per unit of exposure to each of the four main chemicals in the study. Then, they estimated the lost productivity and medical costs over the course of the children's lives linked to long-term intellectual disability using a second algorithm, which valued each lost IQ point at $22,268 and each case of intellectual disability at $1,272,470.
While exposure to these chemicals persists despite tightened regulations, experts say Americans can help limit some of the effects by avoiding the use of household products or foods that contain them.
"Frequently opening windows to let persistent chemicals found in furniture, electronics, and carpeting escape, and eating certified organic produce can reduce exposure to these toxins," says Trasande, who also serves as chief of environmental pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics at NYU Langone.
Trasande notes that the impact of these chemicals may be worse than their study can capture since there are far more hazards that affect brain development than the four highlighted in the investigation, and other potential consequences beyond IQ loss. "All the more reason we need closer federal monitoring of these substances," she says.
The study authors say they plan to explore the cost of exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in other countries.
Red meat consumption may promote DNA damage-assoc. mutation in colorectal cancer patients
Study provides mechanistic link between red meat consumption and colorectal cancer development
Harvard Medical School, June 17, 2021
Bottom Line: Genetic mutations indicative of DNA damage were associated with high red meat consumption and increased cancer-related mortality in patients with colorectal cancer.
Journal in Which the Study was Published: Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research
Author: Marios Giannakis, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a physician at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Background: "We have known for some time that consumption of processed meat and red meat is a risk factor for colorectal cancer," said Giannakis. The International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that processed meat was carcinogenic and that red meat was probably carcinogenic to humans in 2015.
Experiments in preclinical models have suggested that red meat consumption may promote the formation of carcinogenic compounds in the colon, but a direct molecular link to colorectal cancer development in patients has not been shown, Giannakis explained. "What is missing is a demonstration that colorectal cancers from patients have a specific pattern of mutations that can be attributed to red meat," he said. "Identifying these molecular changes in colon cells that can cause cancer would not only support the role of red meat in colorectal cancer development but would also provide novel avenues for cancer prevention and treatment."
How the Study was Conducted: To identify genetic changes associated with red meat intake, Giannakis and colleagues sequenced DNA from matched normal and colorectal tumor tissues from 900 patients with colorectal cancer who had participated in one of three nationwide prospective cohort studies, namely the Nurses' Health Studies and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. All patients had previously provided information on their diets, lifestyles, and other factors over the course of several years prior to their colorectal cancer diagnoses.
Results: Analysis of DNA sequencing data revealed the presence of several mutational signatures in normal and cancerous colon tissue, including a signature indicative of alkylation, a form of DNA damage. The alkylating signature was significantly associated with pre-diagnosis intake of processed or unprocessed red meat, but not with pre-diagnosis intake of poultry or fish or with other lifestyle factors. Red meat consumption was not associated with any of the other mutational signatures identified in this study. In line with prior studies linking red meat consumption with cancer incidence in the distal colon, Giannakis and colleagues found that normal and cancerous tissue from the distal colon had significantly higher alkylating damage than tissue from the proximal colon.
Using a predictive model, the researchers identified the KRAS and PIK3CA genes as potential targets of alkylation-induced mutation. Consistent with this prediction, they found that colorectal tumors harboring KRAS G12D, KRAS G13D, or PIK3CA E545K driver mutations, which are commonly observed in colorectal cancer, had greater enrichment of the alkylating signature compared to tumors without these mutations. The alkylating signature was also associated with patient survival: Patients whose tumors had the highest levels of alkylating damage had a 47 percent greater risk of colorectal cancer-specific death compared to patients with lower levels of damage.
Author's Comments: "Our study identified for the first time an alkylating mutational signature in colon cells and linked it to red meat consumption and cancer driver mutations," said Giannakis. "These findings suggest that red meat consumption may cause alkylating damage that leads to cancer-causing mutations in KRAS and PIK3CA, thereby promoting colorectal cancer development. Our data further support red meat intake as a risk factor for colorectal cancer and also provide opportunities to prevent, detect, and treat this disease."
Giannakis explained that if physicians could identify individuals who are genetically predisposed to accumulating alkylating damage, these individuals could be counseled to limit red meat intake as a form of precision prevention. In addition, the alkylating mutational signature could be used as a biomarker to identify patients at greater risk of developing colorectal cancer or to detect cancer at an early stage. Because of its association with patient survival, the alkylating signature may also have potential as a prognostic biomarker. However, future studies are needed to explore these possibilities, Giannakis noted.
Study Limitations: A limitation of the study is the potential selection bias of study participants, as tissue specimens could not be retrieved from all incident colorectal cancer cases in the cohort studies. Current studies from Giannakis and his colleagues are exploring the potential role of red meat intake and alkylating damage in diverse groups of patients.
Funding & Disclosures: The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Stand Up To Cancer Colorectal Cancer Dream Team Translational Research Grant (co-administered by the AACR), the Project P Fund, the Cancer Research UK Grand Challenge Award, the Nodal Award from the Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Center, the Friends of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Bennett Family Fund, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation through the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance and Stand Up To Cancer.
Giannakis has received research funding from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Servier, and Janssen unrelated to this study.
Association of higher average daily polyphenol intake with Mediterranean diet adherence and decreased waist to hip circumference
University of the Aegean (Greece), June 14, 2021
According to news reporting originating from the University of the Aegean research stated, “Research data indicate the possible effect of both polyphenols consumption and Mediterranean diet adherence on metabolic diseases’ prevalence. The present retrospective study investigated the possible association of polyphenols mean daily intake with Mediterranean diet adherence and anthropometric indices in a sample of the Greek population.”
Our news reporters obtained a quote from the research from University of the Aegean: “A total of 250 healthy volunteers, aged between 18 and 65 years, were randomly recruited from central and northern Greece. Total daily polyphenols intake was estimated using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) based on the NHANES study, while Med Diet Score was used for the degree of Mediterranean diet adoption. Daily polyphenols intake was identified by the Phenol Explorer database, and anthropometric measurements (BMI, waist-to-hip circumference, and body composition) were performed. The mean daily polyphenols intake was determined to be 1905 mg, while most of the participants had moderate or high mean consumption last year (67.5% of the sample were consuming more than 1000 mg/d). Moderate adherence to the Mediterranean diet (higher Med Diet Score) was associated with increased mean daily polyphenols intake (* * p* * = 0.016). Increased polyphenols intake and higher Med Diet Score were associated with decreased waist-to-hip circumference (* * p* * = 0.027, 0.004, respectively).”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Specific functional foods rich in polyphenols, such as sour cherry, tomatoes, black tea, and cocoa were associated with improved body composition indices. Larger epidemiological studies need to be performed for safer conclusions about whole population polyphenols intake and its association with metabolic disease biomarkers.”
Whole, natural fiber works best to protect gut mucosal layer, researcher says
University of Michigan, June 12, 2021
Dietary fiber plays an important role in protecting the gut’s mucosal layer, according to research presented at the recent Probiota Americas event.
It has long been known that the gut stays healthier and performs better with adequate fiber. But why? This is one of the questions that informed the research conducted by Dr Eric Martens, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan. Martens presented his research at the IPA World Congress + Probiota Americas event, which was hosted by William Reed in Chicago last week. The event brought together 280 regulators, probiotics and prebiotics researchers and product developers.
Protecting the mucosal layer
Martens said that his research showed that without adequate fiber in the gut, some organisms that might be nourished by that food source will look to alternative sources, one of which is the gut’s mucosal layer. That layer is a critical component of the gut wall, and when it is eroded or absent harmful bacteria have an opportunity to latch onto the cells of the wall itself.
“The core of our research is we are interested in the physiology of the many bacteria that live in the gut and defining at the functional and mechanistic level how they work with goal of understanding how the community works,” Martens said.
The study he presented used 14 different bacteria with defined characteristics in a mouse model. The study had three groups, a group fed a fiber free diet, one with a whole grain diet rich in natural fibers, and a third that had fiber added back in in the form of purified, prebiotic fibers. His research found that the whole grain, natural fibers fostered a microbial community in which the muscosa-eroding organisms were suppressed the best. He postulated that this could be because the large, whole food particles typical of the natural fiber diet were best able to reach the distal regions of the gut and affect the microbial community makeup there, whereas the purified fibers may have been mostly digested by that point.
What Is the Liver Powerhouse Silymarin?
Here's what science has found most beneficial about silymarin, extracted from milk thistle and known to be a friend of your liver mainly through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
When it comes to treating liver and gallbladder disorders, there is one name that stands out: silymarin. As a group of flavonolignans extracted from milk thistle, silymarin has been traditionally used for various protective benefits, from reinvigorating liver function to promoting breast milk production.
The milk thistle plant, scientifically known as Silybum marianum, is a prickly plant with purple flowers and milky white veins present on the leaves, thus its name. Silymarin is the group of plant compounds that act as its active ingredient.[i]
Silymarin is the main bioactive component of this medicinal plant. It is a mix of various flavonolignans, includings silybinin A and B, isosilybinin A and B, silychristin and silydianin.[ii] Milk thistle extract has a high silymarin content of approximately 65% to 80%.
Silymarin is famed for its antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory components,[iii] as well as its traditional use or treating the liver and restoring its health. In addition, milk thistle itself is generally considered safe to take. Side effects are rare, and in an oral form standardized to contain 70% to 80% silymarin, it appears to be safe for up to 41 months of use.[iv]
Silymarin's Liver-Protective Effects
- Fights liver inflammation and liver damage. Mounting evidence shows improvements in liver function among people with liver diseases who have taken a milk thistle supplement.[v] This suggests protection against flavanone silibinin liver inflammation and liver damage through use of the natural -- silymarin's primary active component -- which was combined with phosphatidylcholine in a specific study to enhance its solubility and bioavailability.
- Protects from toxins such as amatoxin, produced by Amanita mushroom, which can cause death if ingested. Two cases in the U.S. were treated with N-acetylcysteine, high-dose penicillin, cimetidine and silibinin.[vi]
Uncontrolled trials and case reports cited successful treatment with intravenous silibinin, a flavonolignan isolated from milk thistle extracts, in nearly 1,500 cases.[vii] Overall mortality in those treated with the formula was less than 10%, compared to more than 20%when using penicillin, or a mix of silibinin and penicillin.
- Reduces liver fibrosis. In a randomized trial of 99 patients, the team administered silymarin in 700-milligram (mg) doses, or a placebo, given three times daily for 48 weeks.[viii] Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) activity score was reduced by 32.7% in the silymarin group compared to 26% in the placebo group.
Among the secondary outcomes were reductions in inflammation and fibrosis score in the silymarin group, leading the researchers to conclude that silymarin may decrease liver fibrosis, to be confirmed in larger trials. Fibrosis is the formation of abnormally large amounts of scar tissue in the liver.
- Helps prevent liver cancer. Studies have concluded that the long-term use of silymarin significantly increases survival time among patients with alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis, a risk factor for liver cancer. Silymarin can also significantly reduce tumor cell proliferation, angiogenesis or new blood vessel formation, as well as insulin resistance.[ix]
The chemopreventive effects "have been established in several studies using in vitro and in vivo methods," according to the researchers, and combine well with anti-inflammatory and inhibitory effects on the metastasis or spread of cancer.
- Contributes to liver regeneration. An animal study suggested that silymarin played a crucial role in accelerating liver regeneration after liver resection, a kind of surgery designed to remove cancerous tumors from the liver.[x] Liver regeneration is thought to evolve to protect animals from loss of liver due to toxins or tissue injury.
Silymarin for Breastfeeding, Neurological Support
Not to be ignored is silymarin's formidable list of other health benefits, such as boosting milk production in lactating mothers. A randomized trial found that mothers taking 420 mg of silymarin for 63 days produced more breast milk than subjects who took a placebo.[xi] Silymarin combined with phosphatidylserine and galega also increased milk production in moms of preterm infants, without any significant side effects.[xii]
Milk thistle is also a traditional remedy for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer'sand Parkinson's diseases. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action mean it may be neuroprotective and help prevent the brain decline experienced with aging.
Dr. Elizabeth Mumper is pediatrician, and the president and CEO of Rimland Center in Virginia that mentors medical practitioners and clinicians working with children with neurodevelopmental problems. She also runs a general pediatric practice -- Advocates for Children, and her Advocates for Families practice is devoted to caring for autistic children and those with learning disabilities. Liz has received many awards for her work with children including a public service award from the National Press Club and being named Woman of the Year by the YWCA. Earlier she was the medical director of the Autism research Center. Dr Mumper received her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia and did her residency at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Virginia. Later she served as chief resident of pediatrics at the University of Virginia. She has traveled worldwide lecturing on children with autism and mentoring physicians internationally. Her website is RimlandCenter.com
The Gary Null Show Notes – 06.16.21
1. RIGHT NOW – Robert Malone, Steve Kirsch, and Bret Weinstein! 2:17:34-2:42:00
Dr. Robert Malone is the inventor of mRNA Vaccine technology.
Mr. Steve Kirsch is a serial entrepreneur who has been researching adverse reactions to
Dr. Bret Weinstein is an evolutionary biologist.
U.S. College COVID Vaccine Mandates Don’t Consider Immunity or Pregnancy, and May Run Foul of the LawBrown Seaweed as an Intervention for Diet-Induced Obesity
University of New South Wales (Australia), May 21, 2021
The therapeutic potential of grown in Australian tropical waters was tested in a rat model of metabolic syndrome. Forty-eight male Wistar rats were divided into four groups of 12 rats and each group was fed a different diet for 16 weeks: corn starch diet (C); high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (H) containing fructose, sucrose, saturated andfats; and C or H diets with 5%mixed into the food from weeks 9 to 16 (CS and HS). Obesity, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, impaired glucose tolerance, fatty liver and left ventricular fibrosis developed in H rats. In HS rats,decreased body weight (H, 547± 14; HS, 490 ± 16 g), fat mass (H, 248 ± 27; HS, 193 ± 19 g), abdominal fat deposition and liver fat vacuole size but did not reverse cardiovascular and liver effects. H rats showed marked changes in gut microbiota compared to C rats, whilesupplementation increased gut microbiota belonging to the family. This selective increase in gut microbiota likely complements the prebiotic actions of the alginates. Thus,may be a useful dietary additive to decrease abdominal and liver fat deposition.
New health benefits of red seaweeds unveiled
Institute for Genomic Biology at University of Illinois, June 15, 2021
Red seaweeds have been prevalent in the diets of Asian communities for thousands of years. In a new study, published in Marine Drugs, researchers have shown how these algae confer health benefits.
“In the past, people have wondered why the number of colon cancer patients in Japan is the lowest in the world,” said Yong-Su Jin (CABBI/BSD/MME), a professor of food microbiology. “Many assumed that it was due to some aspect of the Japanese diet or lifestyle. We wanted to ask whether their seaweed diet was connected to the lower frequency of colon cancer.”
Although several studies have shown that Asians who eat seaweed regularly have lower risk of colon, colorectal, and breast cancer, it was unclear which component was responsible for the anti-cancer effects.
In the study, the researchers broke down the structure of different types of red seaweed using enzymes and tested the sugars that were produced to see which one of them caused health benefits. Among the six different sugars produced, agarotriose and 3,6-anhydro-L-galactose, or AHG, showed the most promise.
“After we produced these sugars, we tested their prebiotic activity using the bacteria Bifidobacterium longum ssp. infantis,” said Eun Ju Yun, a former postdoctoral researcher at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. B. infantis is a probiotic bacterium; it colonizes the gut of infants and provides health benefits. Among the seaweed-derived sugars, the bacteria could only consume agarotriose, indicating that it works as a prebiotic i.e., it improves the growth of probiotic bacteria.
“We also tested another strain, B. kashiwanohense, and found that it also consumed agarotriose,” Jin said. “These results show us that when we eat red seaweed, it gets broken down in the gut and releases these sugars which serve as food for the probiotic bacteria. It could help explain why Japanese populations are healthier compared to others.”
The researchers also tested the sugars to see if they had any anti-cancer activity. “We found that AHG specifically inhibits the growth of human colon cancer cells and does not affect the growth of normal cells,” Yun said. The anti-cancer activity of AHG is due to its ability to trigger apoptosis or cell death.
“There is a lot of information on how red seaweeds are degraded by microorganisms in the ocean and in the human body,” said Kyoung Heon Kim, a professor of biotechnology and the co-advisor on the paper. “Our work explains why red seaweeds are beneficial by providing the molecular mechanism. We will continue studying their function in animal models and hopefully we will be able to use them as a therapeutic agent in the future.”
Hiking Workouts Aren’t Just Good For Your Body – They’re Good For Your Mind Too
University of Hertfordshire (UK), June 11, 2021
Before COVID-19, the popularity of hiking was on a downward slope in both adultsand children. But its popularity has spiked during the pandemic, seeing many more people taking to trails than usual. Hiking is not only a great way to get outside in nature, it also has plenty of physical and mental health benefits for those who take part.
Hiking differs in many way from taking a regular stroll around your neighbourhood. Not only is the terrain on many hiking routes uneven or rocky, there’s also typically some change in elevation, such as going up or down hills. People also tend to wear different footwear – such as hiking boots – which can be heavier than what they’re used to wearing.
These differences in terrain and footwear mean hiking has a higher energy expenditure (more calories burned) than walking on flat ground does. This is due to the fact that we need to use more muscles to stabilise ourselves when walking on uneven terrain.
While brisk walking at a speed of around 5km/h uses up to four times as much energy as sitting down and resting, hiking through fields and hills uses over five times. This means you can achieve the recommended 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity without even needing to go for a run or head to the gym.
The benefits of getting enough exercise are clear. Not only will it improve your physical health, sleep and stress management, exercise also reduces your chances of developing certain chronic diseases, such as dementia, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression and certain cancers. In older adults, some research suggests hiking may be able to improve hypertension.
Hiking is also beneficial even for those with pre-existing health conditions. Research shows hiking leads to weight loss and improves cardiovascular health in pre-diabetic adults, likely reducing their risk of getting type 2 diabetes. It’s also been shown to improve other aspects of health, including muscle strength, balance and flexibility in older adults with obesity. Even those who suffer with balance issues or joint problems can hike – as trekking poles may be able to reduce the load on the legs.
The popular form of hiking called Nordic walking – where participants use trekking poles to help them along – is also shown to engage the upper body and increase the intensity of the walking. Research shows this form of hiking increases cardiovascular health, weight loss, and muscle strength in people without any pre-existing health conditions, as well as those with chronic conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease.
A further health benefit of hiking is that it’s classed as “green exercise”. This refers to the added health benefit that doing physical activity in nature has on us. Research shows that not only can green exercise decrease blood pressure, it also benefits mental wellbeing by improving mood and reducing depression to a greater extent than exercising indoors c
This is why some research suggests healthcare professionals should recommend hiking to patients as a low-cost way of improving health where possible. In England, there’s even an initiative being piloted by the National Health Service to assess the health impacts of green prescribing – where patients are being prescribed outdoor activities – such as hiking or gardening – to improve their mental and physical health.
Even if you’ve never hiked before, it’s easy to get started. There are plenty of apps you can download on your phone to help you navigate and find routes. These usually work with your GPS and are even easy to follow for those who have a poor sense of direction.You can also try the 1,000 mile challenge if you want to start hiking. This encourages people to walk 1,000 miles in a year. This has helped many people – including my own parents – to be more active, especially during COVID-19.
If you have a young family (or simply want to make hiking more interesting), a more interactive way of getting out into nature is geocaching. This is where you following a GPS route to a location where someone has hidden a box or trinket of some kind. You can also record what you’ve found using an app. Geocaching is a worldwide phenomenon, so can be done almost anywhere in the world.
Hiking is a great way to get active and improve mental and physical wellbeing. And with many of us still likely to be vacationing locally this year, it can be a great way to get away from home and explore new sights.
Trial finds improvement in metabolic syndrome components, fatty liver, insulin resistance in garlic-intake participants
Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences (Iran) June 10, 2921
A randomized trial reported in Phytotherapy Research found an association between intake of garlic and improvement in several components of metabolic syndrome—a cluster of factors that increase the risk of developing diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease. The trial also revealed a reduction in insulin resistance and fatty liver—conditions that are common among metabolic syndrome patients.
Metabolic syndrome is defined as the presence of three of the following five disorders: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, elevated blood sugar and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
The trial included 90 men and women with metabolic syndrome who received tablets containing 1,600 milligrams garlic powder (which provided 6 milligrams per day of the garlic compound allicin) or a placebo daily for three months. Blood pressure, fasting glucose, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT, an enzyme that is elevated in liver disease and also is associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk), appetite (including hunger, fullness, desire to eat and ability to eat), height, weight, waist circumference, food intake and physical activity were evaluated upon enrollment and at six and twelve weeks.[1, 2] Serum insulin levels were measured at the beginning and end of the study.
At the trial’s conclusion, participants who received garlic had levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol that were significantly higher than the beginning of the study as well as higher in comparison with the placebo group, whose levels declined. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure, triglyceride levels, waist circumference, insulin and insulin resistance, GGT and fatty liver index (calculated by a standard formula using other measured parameters) were all reduced in the garlic-intake group compared to the placebo. All parameters related to appetite were also improved compared to placebo.
“To the best of our knowledge, there is no clinical trial evaluating the effects of garlic consumption on insulin resistance, appetite, and fatty liver index (FLI) as an accurate predictor of hepatic steatosis among subjects with metabolic syndrome,” authors Abbas Ali Sangouni and colleagues announced.
“Our study demonstrated a significant decrease in the mean intake of calories after 3-month garlic powder [intake],” they also noted. “There is no clinical trial evaluating the effect of garlic on appetite.”
The current findings reveal a benefit for garlic intake against metabolic syndrome components and related factors. Considering garlic’s low cost and wide availability, as well as its prebiotic action and cardiovascular benefits, adding garlic to a healthy diet and exercise regimen could be an easy and effective measure to help protect against metabolic syndrome and its associated disease risks.
Evaluation of the effect of curcumin on pneumonia: A systematic review of preclinical studies
Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (Iran), May 3, 2021
Pneumonia is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and causes a significant burden on the healthcare systems. Curcumin is a natural phytochemical with anti-inflammatory and anti-neoplastic characteristics. The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review of published studies on the effect of curcumin on preclinical models of pneumonia. A comprehensive search was conducted in PubMed/Medline, Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar from inception up to March 1, 2020 to recognize experimental or clinical trials assessing the effects of curcumin on pneumonia. We identified 17 primary citations that evaluated the effects of curcumin on pneumonia. Ten (58.8%) studies evaluated the effect of curcumin on mouse models of pneumonia, generated by intranasal inoculation of viruses or bacteria. Seven (41.2%) studies evaluated the inhibitory effects of curcumin on the pneumonia-inducing bacteria. Our results demonstrated that curcumin ameliorated the pneumonia-induced lung injury, mainly through a reduction of the activity and infiltration of neutrophils and the inhibition of inflammatory response in mouse models. Curcumin ameliorates the severity of pneumonia through a reduction in neutrophil infiltration and by amelioration of the exaggerated immune response in preclinical pneumonia models.
Healthy levels of vitamin D may boost breast cancer outcomes
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, June 10, 2021
Breast cancer patients who have adequate levels of vitamin D—the “sunshine vitamin”—at the time of their diagnosis have better long-term outcomes, a new study finds.
Combined with the results of prior research, the new findings suggest “an ongoing benefit for patients who maintain sufficient levels [of vitamin D] through and beyond breast cancer treatment,” said study lead author Song Yao. He’s a professor of oncology in the department of cancer prevention and control at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, N.Y.
The findings were presented at the recent virtual annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
One oncologist unconnected to the research said the findings could offer women a simple new way to fight breast cancer.
Vitamin D “can be found in some foods and is made when sunlight strikes human skin,” explained Dr. Alice Police, a breast cancer researcher at Northwell Health’s Katz Institute for Women’s Health, in Westchester, N.Y.
“This may be an opportunity for an important intervention in breast cancer outcomes for all women, but particularly in the Black population,” she said.
The study involved nearly 4,000 patients who had their vitamin D levels checked and were followed for a median of almost 10 years.
The patients were divided into three levels: vitamin D deficient (less than 20 nanograms per milliliter in blood tests); insufficient (20 to 29 ng/ml); or sufficient (30 or more ng/ml).
The study wasn’t designed to prove cause and effect. However, it found that—compared to women deficient in the nutrient—women with sufficient levels of vitamin D had 27% lower odds of dying of any cause during the 10 years of follow-up, and 22% lower odds for death from breast cancer specifically.
The team also found that the association between vitamin D levels and breast cancer outcomes was similar regardless of the tumor’s estrogen receptor (ER) status. The association appeared somewhat stronger among lower-weight patients and those diagnosed with more advanced breast cancers.
“Our findings from this large, observational cohort of breast cancer survivors with long follow-up provide the strongest evidence to date for maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels in breast cancer patients, particularly among Black women and patients with more advanced-stage disease,” Yao said in a Roswell Park news release.
Dr. Paul Baron is chief of breast surgery and director of the Breast Cancer Program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He wasn’t involved in the new research, but called it “an important study, as it shows the significance of sufficient vitamin D levels towards improving long-term survival for breast cancer patients.”
For her part, Police said the findings highlight the importance for women of adequate vitamin D.
The difference in outcomes between Black and white breast cancer patients“narrowed with higher vitamin D levels at the time of diagnosis,” she noted. “This could be an important step in efforts to level the playing field for this disease: Let the sunshine in!”
Because these findings were presented at a medical meeting, they should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal
Researchers Say This One Tiny Life Adjustment Can Reduce Depression Risk
Harvard, MIT, and the University of Colorado, June 11, 2021
Research continues to pour in showing an increase in mental health problems from the COVID-19 pandemic (and government policies resulting from it). One medical study found that depression symptoms were three times higher than before the pandemic. A separate survey published by the Washington Post found one third of Americans now show symptoms of anxiety, depression, or both.
Fortunately, new research shows there’s an easy step we can all take to help prevent depression. Wake up an hour earlier.
That’s right, just one hour of sleep reduces a person’s risk of major depression by a whopping 23 percent.
The study, conducted by researchers from Harvard, MIT, and the University of Colorado Boulder, studied 840,000 individuals, and its findings are some of the strongest evidence that a person’s sleep schedule influences depression risk.
“We have known for some time that there is a relationship between sleep timing and mood, but a question we often hear from clinicians is: How much earlier do we need to shift people to see a benefit?” said Celine Vetter, assistant professor of integrative physiology at CU Boulder. “We found that even one-hour earlier sleep timing is associated with significantly lower risk of depression.”
The discovery is especially important as the increase in remote-working schedules has led many to sleep in later, which could have important implications on their mental health.
It’s also important because it’s a cheap and readily accessible option for treatment.
Americans face many barriers to mental healthcare. First and foremost, it is expensive. An hour-long therapy session costs between $65 – $250 per session without insurance. And thanks to bad government policies meddling in the insurance market, many therapists do not accept insurance at all. Furthermore, a more severe mental health diagnosis can be even more costly. Patients with severe depression who receive medical care spend nearly $11,000 a year on average, according to a report by CNBC.
The expense, coupled with a shortage in providers and medical deserts throughout large parts of the US, lead many to forgo treatment altogether. According to the National Council on Behavioral Health, 56 percent of patients want to access a mental health provider but face barriers.
Those barriers were of course increased during COVID as facilities were shut down and non-COVID patients were denied care. The numbers have already begun trickling in showing lockdowns led to greater drug use, youth suicides, and increases in depression and anxiety.
When one is struggling with depression, it is especially hard to overcome external barriers to care. Making a phone call can feel like climbing a mountain, and if you are rejected it can be all but impossible to summon the energy to keep looking and asking for help. But this new research shows individuals have the ability to take charge of their own circumstances by making small, daily changes that can help them fight their disease.Alice Walker, the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple,famously said, “People give up their power by thinking they don’t have any.” People often forget that they have power within themselves to confront their problems and in turn, seek protection from other external, earthly things—namely the government or their leaders. But this cycle produces dependency, not empowerment, which is not the life we as individuals were intended for.
In The Law by Frederic Bastiat he says, “Life, faculties, production—in other words, individuality, liberty, property—this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it.”
When dealing with mental health issues—as full disclosure, I do—an important guiding principle is self-responsibility. Yes, you may face additional burdens that others do not in your daily life. But it is still your responsibility to confront them, work through them, and move forward. Ultimately, your mental health is your responsibility and no one can do that work for you.
This same principle can be applied more broadly to those without mental health issues too. Yes, there may be circumstances that are unjust or unpleasant, yes we may have barriers placed on our paths that are outside of our control (especially by the government). But we can control how we face (and hopefully overcome) those circumstances.
We can’t turn back the clocks on all that has happened over the past year and a half, but if we turn the alarm clock one hour back we just might be a step closer to regaining control of our health.
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 Covid-19 Pandemic and the Corruption of Genuine Science
Richard Gale & Gary Null PhD
Progressive Radio Network, June 10, 2021
Medical science has made such tremendous progress that there is hardly a healthy human left. — Aldous Huxley
For half a century, the pharmaceutical industry has shown near zero tolerance towards criticism against its unequivocal failures and medical catastrophes. Permanent disabilities and deaths due to unsafe drugs, such as Merck’s anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx, Pizer’s Bextra, synthetic hormone replacement therapy, thalidomide, and the earlier cellular pertussis and the 1976 influenza vaccines, are regarded as the collateral damage of getting unsafe medical products on the market. During the past two decades a tightly-knit and collaborative relationship has evolved between the pharmaceutical industry, federal health agencies, Congress, Silicon Valley, and the new culture of billionaire philanthropists such as Bill Gates. Due to the large web of funders favoring corporate financial interests and CDC-sponsored educational programs, the mainstream media is now the successful advertiser for pharmaceutical ambitions. As a consequence, modern medicine’s dire risks to public health are undermined. The broader picture and the darker players operating behind the tragic legacy of medical iatrogenic failures remain largely hidden from the public. In recent years those physicians, researchers and health advocates who dissent from the pharmaceutical narrative often face a formidable blowback resulting in censorship and destroyed reputations.
Over forty years ago, sociologist and philosopher Ivan Illich prophetically observed a conspicuous unfolding of modern medicine becoming divorced from itself and the ethical basis for treating illnesses. He wrote, “the medical establishment has become a major threat to health.” Illich was among the first poignant critics of the corporatization of medicine to address the problems of “medicalization,” the process by which very human non-medical conditions are redefined as medical diseases and then diagnosed and pharmaceutically treated as such. This has been a result of hardened scientific materialism’s ascendency as the final judge over national healthcare. Increasingly researchers, more often than not funded by private drug companies and backed by an army of lobbyists, are discovering ways to reevaluate health conditions with only flimsy clinical evidence into the actual etiology of disease — even infectious pandemics. Psychiatric practice, which today relies almost exclusively on a drug-based model, is the greatest serial offender. Yet systemic corruption throughout our national healthcare has been a boon for drug makers who can then develop novel medications for illnesses that could otherwise be treated by less expensive and safer drugless therapies “Modern medicine is a negation of health,” Illich wrote in his acclaimed book Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health. “It isn’t organized to serve human health, but only itself, as an institution. It makes more people sick than it heals.” It is a system that today depends upon volumes of flawed medical clinical trials, financial incentives, institutional bureaucracy, revolving doors between government and private industry, rampant conflicts of interests, and an aggressive propaganda machine that has had enormous success in marginalizing and ridiculing critics both within and outside the medical complex. Our medical edifice has violated every defining principle of scientific inquiry that should place uncompromising value on objective, unbiased inquiry and open conversation and debate over conflicting views. To invoke the precautionary principle is a personal confession of heresy. Over the years, the steady rise in the number of class action and criminal lawsuits against pharmaceutical firms, Freedom of Information Act submissions, and false testimonies by federal health officials before Congressional subcommittees have confirmed Illich’s warnings.
For Illich the dangerous consequence is that conventional medicine has become depersonalized. Whereas in the past malpractice was treated as a serious ethical issue – and iatrogenic death, or fatalities due to medical error, is now the US’s third leading cause of mortality – it is simply perceived as a technical glitch that can be corrected by further technical solutions. As a result of persistent self-denial over conventional medicine’s inherent failures, the dominant medical paradigm that now governs the nation’s health has succeeded in barricading itself behind a monolithic propaganda machine and a compliant media with the ability to marginalize criticism and to hermetically seal itself from being called to legal account. Even worse, it has usurped the sovereignty we have over our bodies and transferred this power to a technocracy that deeply believes it is upholding the integrity of science. However it is a science solely molded in the image of medical bureaucrats and their powerful allies who have been christened as experts.
And all of these past medical failures, the estimated 90 percent of junk pharmaceutical clinical trials published in junk medical journals, institutionalized hubris, and the drug makers’ capture of our health agencies is being openly staged in the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global theater.
When we are being lectured to recite the pandemic mantra in unison by Joe Biden, Governor Andrew Cuomo, the UK’s Boris Johnson, and one of the church of Scientism’s head priests Neil DeGrasse Tyson — “Follow the Science” – whose science is being referred to? Is it the 19th century mechanistic science, which continues to be the foundation for modern evolutionary biology, neuroscience, psychiatry and vaccinology? Is it the pseudo-science promulgated by the cult of Skepticism that pollutes hundreds of Wikipedia’s health entries? Is it corporate, pharmaceutical-based science; medical research and discovery motivated by astronomical commercial incentives to appease the hedonic financial appetites of shareholders? For Anthony Fauci, he has imagined himself as the incarnation of science. Replying to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, Fauci made his self-proclamation, “what you’re seeing as attacks on me quite frankly are attacks on science.”
Or is it science that is meticulously vetted by a range of independent professionals who aspire to arrive at the truth of a medical problem or to find a medical solution? It is this latter group who are most inclined to impartially review the pros and cons of scientific papers, the clinical trials of a drug, vaccine, medical device and diagnostic tool; then, based upon the empirical evidence, a medical intervention’s value, efficacy and safety is properly determined. Sadly this latter group is rarely if ever invited to sit at the regulatory table or to advise national health policy. Rather, the pursuit of medical facts about disease and pandemics has ceased to be a evidence-based methodology of objective inquiry and has become a means to institute authority and control over a population. “You can’t really follow the science,” states the philosopher of science Matthew Crawford, “because science doesn’t lead anywhere. It can illuminate various courses of action; for example by quantifying the risks that attend each. It can help to specify the trade offs… but it can’t make the choices for us.” Modern medicine’s failure to recognize this has, in Crawford’s opinion, led to a “victimology joining hands with scientism.” That is, medicine as an ideology and not a science. The consequence is that those who question or challenge the dominant medical ideology are censored, cancelled and have their reputations destroyed
We must come to the conclusion that modern conventional medicine has lacked the enthusiasm to uncover scientific truths for many decades. The pandemic’s mantra, “follow the science,” has been waxed into a meaningless banality. It is an empty amoral platitude for bureaucrats and media pundits with MD and PHD decorating their names. Unlike the “hard sciences,” such as mathematics and physics, medical practice is “soft.” Medical certainty, as in the serious hard sciences, should have as its objective “value-neutral truth.” Medicine and medical discovery is equally an art form. It is supposed to be grounded upon scientific evidence in order to make reasonable decisions. The debate over whether the practice of medicine is an art or an empirically based science has raged for decades. Over two decades ago, the British Medical Journal published an article, “The Practice of Clinical Medicine as an Art and as a Science.” The authors spread out on the table the prime principle to govern medical research as a determining factor for publication.
“… scientific thinking should, must, be insulated from all kinds of psychological, sociological, economic, political, moral and ideological factors which tend to influence thought in life and society. Without those proscriptions, objective knowledge of truth will degenerate into prejudice and ideology.”
Unfortunately, none of the self-anointed captains now steering our global and governmental health agencies to confront the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the deeply worrisome escalation of Covid-19 vaccine injuries and deaths, has ever bothered to give this fundamental scientific axiom a moment’s worth of reflection. Reported Covid-19 vaccine injuries and deaths in the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System now dwarf those from all other vaccines during the past two decades combined. The “experts,” such as Anthony Fauci and the FDA’s new Commissioner Janet Woodcock – a 35-year careerist at one of our most discredited regulatory agencies, hold their high rank within the medical hierarchy because they were seduced to sacrifice “objective knowledge of truth” in return for prestige, power and wealth. They serve as the prejudiced and ideological protectors of authentic science’s antithesis: the pharmaceutical industrial complex
We do not need to stretch too deep into Western medicine’s history — back to the era of leeches, blood-letting and exorcizing neurological disorders — to find examples of medical consensus and treatments displaying humanity’s sheer stupidity. We have continued to inherit this madness up into the 21st century, and during the pandemic it blazes before our eyes.
Unfortunately, too many Americans and citizens in other nations are blindly willing to surrender their faith and trust to medical experts, the latest drug or vaccine on the market, and the federal regulators who are mandated to assure that these medications and vaccines have been scrupulously reviewed to evaluate their safety and efficacy profiles. We assume that medical interventions are evidence-based. We believe they are founded upon scientifically sound and reliable observation, data collection and analysis. Yet we only need to look at modern history to find many examples of Western medicine being categorically wrong.
In the 1940s and throughout the 1970s, millions of Americans smoked. In some households every adult smoked. Even physicians, who were viewed as the exemplars of health and knowledge, smoked regularly. Doctors would be featured on advisements endorsing different cigarette brands. After a smoker reached 40, being diabetic, overweight, or having a cardiovascular illness and emphysema was considered as normal aging. Medical leaders assured us that this could not possibly be associated with smoking. They were believed because they were of course the “experts.” To speak out against cigarettes as the culprit behind these preventable conditions was taboo. Consequently several generations of Americans suffered and died prematurely and needlessly because the science accepted by the nation’s health officials was unconditionally false.
California State University bioethicist and author of The Illusion of Evidence Based Medicine, Prof. Leemon McHenry views the epidemic of bad medical research as similar to dirty money laundering. After reviewing thousands of clinical trial documents, he observed the means by which pharmaceutical companies intentionally design flawed clinical trials favoring their drugs and vaccines, generate dubious data and then wash it through a corrupt methodology to make the product look clean at the other end. During an interview, Prof McHenry said it was like throwing darts at a door and then later drawing a target on the door so the darts appear to have hit a bull’s-eye. Drug makers have mastered these tricks and our regulatory officials are consistently fooled and left none the wiser.
For those who grew up in the Great and Baby Boom generations, stress reduction was virtually unknown. Exercise was perceived as unnecessary after high school and college. A plant-based or vegetarian diet was viewed as extreme. The different iterations of the American food pyramid, starting with the Food for Young Children guide in 1916 and leading up to the 1979 Daily Food Guide, suffered from a serious lack of knowledge and a misunderstanding about nutrition. There was little bimolecular understanding about the dangers of sugar and excessive salt. Processed foods, preservatives and chemical dyes were being completely ignored. The only dietary supplement that was widely recommended was iron and to a lesser degree Vitamin C. Today we can look back upon these national dietary standards as medieval; yet the horrendous lack of science that supported our unhealthy American lifestyle was part of a scheme to indoctrinate people. And private corporations profited exorbitantly by sustaining these illusions. In the 20th century alone, leading medical journals and government agencies would promote electroshock therapy, bariatric surgery, mercury amalgams and dental fluoride, diethylstilbestrol, synthetic hormone replacement, artificial sweeteners such as saccharine and Monsanto’s aspartame and vaccine ethylmercury. However, today researchers frequently publish research papers identifying the very serious health risks for these products, which earlier were supported by reams of fraudulent corporate-sponsored research to court regulators.
But despite all of the reliable scientific data, it has failed to rein in national health policies and the conduct of the CDC, NIAID and FDA to lessen the health risks Americans are exposed to daily.
It is now 15 months since the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11th of last year. The mainstream media has followed in lockstep with the government’s public relations narrative. It has lied about the reliability of PCR testing as a gold standard; injuries and deaths from the J&J, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are either rejected or reframed as unfortunate anomalies. We may hear about the rare non-promising study against the use of inexpensive Covid-19 treatments such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin; but the many dozens of studies recommending these drugs are flatly ignored. Nor are our health officials telling us the truth about the adverse effects of prolonged mask-wearing, social isolation and quarantines, the vaccines’ safety profiles, the inflated numbers of Covid-19 cases and mortalities, and approving expensive novel drugs shown to be questionably effective.
While many criticize Big Pharma’s abuse of public relations firms to whitewash their noxious public image, in 2015, The Hill reported that the federal government spent over $4 billion on public relations services and over half of that went to the world’s largest firms. Last September, Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded the PR firm Fors Marsh Group $250 million to twist the handling of the pandemic in his favor. In 2012, Obama’s HHS gave $20 million to the Porter Novelli PR firm and $26 million to Ogilvy Public Relations for publicity damage control over controversies in his Affordable Care Act. Surely large PR firms have an enormous role within the cartel of governments’ health ministries, the World Health organization, the drug and vaccine industry, and billionaire donors who are now directing the pandemic.
Fortunately the faux scientific artifice upon which the authoritarians in power have defined the pandemic is crumbling. For the first time in medical history, tens of thousands of physicians and medical professionals are calling out our officials and the drug companies for vagrant acts of corruption and deception. Anthony Fauci’s control over the pandemic narrative is in jeopardy. The theory behind a natural origin of the virus is likely a sham; laboratory “gain of function” research to engineer pathogenic coronaviruses has been covered up with lies. We are discovering that health officials intentionally exaggerated SARS-CoV-2’s severity and sabotaged viable medical alternatives to curtail the progression of infection in a way that is scientifically sound, compassionate, and not jeopardized by pharmaceutical interests. ‘The deepest sin against the human mind,” Huxley warned, “is to believe things without evidence.” In the face of millions of unnecessary and preventable Covid-19 deaths due to the irresponsible authority handed to the Fauci-s, Gates-s, Tedros-s, and Matt Handcock-s of the world, a grave moral sin has been committed by allowing technocratic scientism to override medical evidence.
What does the FDA's recent meeting of the Vaccine and Related Biological Advisory Committee tell us about the government's handling of stopping the pandemic only by vaccination
Dr. Meryl Nass is an internal medicine physician in Maine and activist who specializes in treating patients with Gulf War syndrome, adverse reactions from the anthrax vaccine and vaccine safety and efficacy in general. In the past she has testified on six separate occasions before Congress on behalf of veterans suffering from the causes of Gulf War syndrome. Meryl is also active in opposing vaccine mandates and critiquing the false claims and fear mongering about infectious disease epidemics and corruption within the medical industrial military complex. She serves on the Board of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, a non profit organization run by Vera Sharav that advances medical ethics that uphold human rights and protect humans from wrongful medical interventions. Her work is cited in many professional articles and publications. She holds degrees from MIT and her medical degree from the Mississippi School of Medicine. Dr Nass' website where she blogs is AnthraxVaccine.blogspot.com
Plant-based and/or fish diets may help lessen severity of COVID-19 infection
Johns Hopkins University, June 8, 2021
Plant-based and/or fish (pescatarian) diets may help lower the odds of developing moderate to severe COVID-19 infection, suggest the findings of a six-country study, published in the online journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health.
They were associated with 73% and 59% lower odds, respectively, of severe disease, the findings indicate.
Several studies have suggested that dietmight have an important role in symptom severity and illness duration of COVID-19 infection. But, as yet, there's little evidence to confirm or refute this theory.
To explore this further, the researchers drew on the survey responses of 2884 frontline doctors and nurses with extensive exposure to SARS-CO-v2, the virus responsible for COVID-19 infection, working in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US.
The participants were all part of a global network of healthcare professionals registered with the Survey Healthcare Globus network for healthcare market research. The researchers used this network to identify clinicians at high risk of COVID-19 infection as a result of their jobs.
The online survey, which ran between July and September 2020, was designed to elicit detailed information about respondents' dietary patterns, based on a 47-item food frequency questionnaire, over the previous year, and the severity of any COVID-19 infections they had had, using objective criteria.
The survey also gathered information on personal background, medical history, medication use, and lifestyle.
The various diets were combined into plant-based (higher in vegetables, legumes, and nuts, and lower in poultry and red and processed meats); pescatarian/plant-based (as above, but with added fish/seafood); and low carb-high protein diets.
Some 568 respondents (cases) said they had had symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection or no symptoms but a positive swab test for the infection; 2316 said they hadn't had any symptoms/tested positive (comparison group).
Among the 568 cases, 138 clinicians said they had had moderate to severe COVID-19 infection; the remaining 430 said they had had very mild to mild COVID-19 infection.
After factoring in several potentially influential variables, including age, ethnicity, medical specialty, and lifestyle (smoking, physical activity), respondents who said they ate plant-based diets' or plant-based/pescatarian diets had, respectively, 73% and 59% lower odds of moderate to severe COVID-19 infection, compared with those who didn't have these dietary patterns.
And compared with those who said they ate a plant-based diet, those who said they ate a low carb-high protein diet had nearly 4 times the odds of moderate to severe COVID-19 infection.
These associations held true when weight (BMI) and co-existing medical conditions were also factored in.
But no association was observed between any type of diet and the risk of contracting COVID-19 infection or length of the subsequent illness.
This is an observational study, and so can't establish cause, only correlation. It also relied on individual recall rather than on objective assessments, and the definition of certain dietary patterns may vary by country, point out the researchers.
Men outnumbered women in the study, so the findings may not be applicable to women, they add.
But plant-based diets are rich in nutrients, especially phytochemicals (polyphenols, carotenoids), vitamins and minerals, all of which are important for a healthy immune system, say the researchers.
And fish is an important source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties, they add.
"Our results suggest that a healthy diet rich in nutrient dense foods may be considered for protection against severe COVID-19," they conclude.
"The trends in this study are limited by study size (small numbers with a confirmed positive test) and design (self-reporting on diet and symptoms) so caution is needed in the interpretation of the findings," comments Deputy Chair of the NNEdPro Nutrition and COVID-19 Taskforce, Shane McAuliffe.
"However, a high quality diet is important for mounting an adequate immune response, which in turn can influence susceptibility to infection and its severity."
He adds:"This study highlights the need for better designed prospective studies on the association between diet, nutritional status and COVID-19 outcomes."
Greater magnesium intake associated with reduced hostility among young adults
Columbia University, June 4, 2021
According to news originating from New York City, New York, research stated, “Hostility is a complex personality trait associated with many cardiovascular risk factor phenotypes. Although magnesium intake has been related to mood and cardio-metabolic disease, its relation with hostility remains unclear.”
Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Columbia University, “We hypothesize that high total magnesium intake is associated with lower levels of hostility because of its putative antidepressant mechanisms. To test the hypothesis, we prospectively analyzed data in 4,716 young adults aged 18-30 years at baseline (1985-1986) from four U.S.cities over five years of follow-up using data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. Magnesium intake was estimated from a dietary history questionnaire plus supplements at baseline. Levels of hostility were assessed using the Cook-Medley scale at baseline and year 5 (1990-1991). Generalized estimating equations were applied to estimate the association of magnesium intake with hostility as repeated measures at the two time-points (baseline and year 5). General linear model was used to determine the association between magnesium intake and change in hostility over 5 years. After adjustment for socio-demographic and major lifestyle factors, a significant inverse association was observed between magnesium intake and hostility level over 5 years of follow-up. Beta coefficients (95% CI) across higher quintiles of magnesium intake were 0 (reference),-1.28 (-1.92,-0.65),-1.45 (-2.09,-0.81),-1.41 (-2.08,-0.75) and-2.16 (-2.85,-1.47), respectively (Plinear-trend < .01).”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “The inverse association was inde-pendent of socio-demographic and major lifestyle factors, supplement use, and depression status at year 5. This prospective study provides evidence that in young adults, high magne-sium intake was inversely associated with hostility level independent of socio-demographic and major lifestyle factors.”
Study compares heart benefits of low-fat and plant-centered diets
New findings suggest that a plant-centered diet could help lower heart disease risk
University of Minnesota, June 7, 2021
There has been a long-standing debate as to whether a low-fat or a plant-centered diet is better at lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. A new study that followed more than 4,700 people over 30 years, found that a plant-centered diet was associated with a lower long-term risk for cardiovascular disease. However, both diets were linked with lower LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels.
"Since 1980, dietary guidelines in the United States and in Europe have recommended eating low amounts of saturated fat because of the high rates of heart disease in these regions," said research team leader David Jacobs, PhD, from the University of Minnesota. "This is not necessarily wrong, but our study shows that plant-centered diets can also lower bad cholesterol and may be even better at addressing heart disease risk."
The plant-centered diet emphasizes fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy, and fish. It also limits high-fat red and processed meats, salty snacks, sweets, and sugar-sweetened soft drinks. The low-fat diet is based on the Keys Score, a good formulation of the "low saturated fat" message, driven by saturated fat, but also including polyunsaturated fat and dietary cholesterol.
Yuni Choi, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Jacobs' lab will present the research as part of NUTRITION 2021 LIVE ONLINE, a virtual conference hosted by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN).
"Our findings show that it is important to view diet quality from a holistic perspective," said Choi. "Targeting just single nutrients such as total or saturated fat doesn't take into account the fats that are also found in healthy plant-based foods such as avocado, extra virgin olive oil, walnuts and dark chocolate -- foods that also have cardioprotective properties and complex nutrient profiles."
The new research is based on participants in the four U.S. clinics of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study (CARDIA), which enrolled 5115 Black and white men and women in 1985-1986. During more than 30 years of follow up, there were 280 cases of cardiovascular disease, 135 cases of coronary heart disease, and 92 cases of stroke among the study participants.
To assess eating patterns, the researchers conducted three detailed diet history interviews over the follow-up period. These diet history questionnaires determined what participants ate and then asked them to list everything consumed in that category. For example, participants who reported eating meat in the past 30 days would be asked what meat items and how much they consumed. This was repeated for around 100 areas of the diet. Based on this information, the researchers calculated scores for all participants based on both the Keys Score of the A Priori Diet Quality Score (APDQS), which captures the plant-centered diet.
After accounting for various factors including socioeconomic status, educational level, energy intake, history of cardiovascular disease, smoking and body mass index, the researchers found that having a more plant-centered diet (higher APDQS Scores) and consuming less saturated fat (lower Keys Scores) were both associated with lower LDL levels. However, lower LDL levels did not necessarily correlate with lower future risk of stroke. Higher APDQS scores, but not lower Keys Scores, were strongly associated with a lower risk for coronary heart disease and stroke.
"Based on our study, we suggest that people incorporate more nutritionally-rich plant foods into their diets," said Choi. "One way to do this is to fill 70 percent of your grocery bag with foods that include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes, coffee and tea."
The researchers are carrying out a variety of studies looking at how the APDQS diet score relates to various health outcomes. They are also interested in studying how different diets affect gut bacteria, which is known to influence many aspects of health and disease.
High caffeine consumption may be associated with increased risk of blinding eye disease
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, June 7, 2021
Consuming large amounts of daily caffeine may increase the risk of glaucoma more than three-fold for those with a genetic predisposition to higher eye pressure according to an international, multi-center study. The research led by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is the first to demonstrate a dietary - genetic interaction in glaucoma. The study results published in the June print issue of Ophthalmology may suggest patients with a strong family history of glaucoma should cut down on caffeine intake.
The study is important because glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. It looks at the impact of caffeine intake on glaucoma, and intraocular pressure (IOP) which is pressure inside the eye. Elevated IOP is an integral risk factor for glaucoma, although other factors do contribute to this condition. With glaucoma, patients typically experience few or no symptoms until the disease progresses and they have vision loss.
"We previously published work suggesting that high caffeine intake increased the risk of the high-tension open angle glaucoma among people with a family history of disease. In this study we show that an adverse relation between high caffeine intake and glaucoma was evident only among those with the highest genetic risk score for elevated eye pressure," says lead/corresponding author Louis R. Pasquale, MD, FARVO, Deputy Chair for Ophthalmology Research for the Mount Sinai Health System.
A team of researchers used the UK Biobank, a large-scale population-based biomedical database supported by various health and governmental agencies. They analyzed records of more than 120,000 participants between 2006 and 2010. Participants were between 39 and 73 years old and provided their health records along with DNA samples, collected to generate data. They answered repeated dietary questionnaires focusing on how many caffeinated beverages they drink daily, how much caffeine-containing food they eat, the specific types, and portion size. They also answered questions about their vision, including specifics on if they have glaucoma or a family history of glaucoma. Three years into the study later they had their IOP checked and eye measurements.
Researchers first looked at the relationship looked between caffeine intake, IOP and self-reported glaucoma by running multivariable analyses. Then they assessed if accounting for genetic data modified these relationships. They assigned each subject an IOP genetic risk score and performed interaction analyses.
The investigators found high caffeine intake was not associated with increased risk for higher IOP or glaucoma overall; however, among participants with the strongest genetic predisposition to elevated IOP - in the top 25 percentile - greater caffeine consumption was associated with higher IOP and higher glaucoma prevalence. More specifically, those who consumed the highest amount of daily caffeine- more than 480 milligrams which is roughly four cups of coffee - had a 0.35 mmHg higher IOP. Additionally, those in the highest genetic risk score category who consumed more than 321 milligrams of daily caffeine - roughly three cups of coffee - had a 3.9-fold higher glaucoma prevalence when compared to those who drink no or minimal caffeine and in lowest genetic risk score group.
"Glaucoma patients often ask if they can help to protect their sight through lifestyle changes, however this has been a relatively understudied area until now. This study suggested that those with the highest genetic risk for glaucoma may benefit from moderating their caffeine intake. It should be noted that the link between caffeine and glaucoma risk was only seen with a large amount of caffeine and in those with the highest genetic risk," says co-author Anthony Khawaja, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology University College London (UCL) Institute of Ophthalmology and ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital. "The UK Biobank study is helping us to learn more than ever before about how our genes affect our glaucoma risk and the role that our behaviors and environment could play. We look forward to continuing to expand our knowledge in this area."
Red onions pack a cancer-fighting punch, study reveals
University of Guelph (Ontario), June 7, 2021
The next time you walk down the produce aisle of your grocery store, you may want to reach for red onions if you are looking to fight off cancer.
In the first study to examine how effective Ontario-grown onions are at killing cancer cells, U of G researchers have found that not all onions are created equal.
Engineering professor Suresh Neethirajan and PhD student Abdulmonem Murayyan tested five onion types grown in Ontario and discovered the Ruby Ring onion variety came out on top.
Onions as a superfood are still not well known. But they contain one of the highest concentrations of quercetin, a type of flavonoid, and Ontario onions boasts particularly high levels of the compound compared to some parts of the world.
The Guelph study revealed that the red onion not only has high levels of quercetin, but also high amounts of anthocyanin, which enriches the scavenging properties of quercetin molecules, said Murayyan, study's lead author.
"Anthocyanin is instrumental in providing colour to fruits and vegetables so it makes sense that the red onions, which are darkest in colour, would have the most cancer-fighting power."
Published recently in Food Research International, the study involved placing colon cancer cells in direct contact with quercetin extracted from the five different onion varieties.
"We found onions are excellent at killing cancer cells," said Murayyan. "Onions activate pathways that encourage cancer cells to undergo cell death. They promote an unfavourable environment for cancer cells and they disrupt communication between cancer cells, which inhibits growth."
The researchers have also recently determined onions are effective at killing breast cancer cells.
"The next step will be to test the vegetable's cancer-fighting powers in human trials," said Murayyan.
These findings follow a recent study by the researchers on new extraction technique that eliminates the use of chemicals, making the quercetin found in onions more suitable for consumption.
Other extraction methods use solvents that can leave a toxic residue which is then ingested in food, said Neethirajan.
"This new method that we tested to be effective only uses super-heated water in a pressurized container," he said. "Developing a chemical-free extraction method is important because it means we can use onion's cancer-fighting properties in nutraceuticals and in pill form."
While we can currently include this superfood in salads and on burgers as a preventative measure, the researchers expect onion extract will eventually be added to food products such as juice or baked goods and be sold in pill form as a type of natural cancer treatment.
Exercise likely to be best treatment for depression in coronary heart disease
RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences (Ireland), June 8, 2021
A study by RCSI indicates that exercise is probably the most effective short-term treatment for depression in people with coronary heart disease, when compared to antidepressants and psychotherapy or more complex care.
The study, led by researchers at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, is published in the June edition of Psychosomatic Medicine.
This is the first systematic review to compare treatments for depression in those with coronary disease and the findings provides valuable clinical information to help doctors determine the best treatment plan for patients.
The researchers reviewed treatment trials which investigated antidepressants, psychotherapy, exercise, combined psychotherapy and antidepressants, and collaborative care (i.e. treatments devised by a multidisciplinary team of clinicians with input from the patient).
To measure effectiveness, the researchers looked at factors including patient adherence to the treatment (dropout rate) and change in depressive symptoms eight weeks after commencing treatment.
The strongest treatment effects were found to be exercise and combination treatments (antidepressants and psychotherapy). However, as the combination study results have a high risk of bias, the findings of the review suggest that exercise is probably the most effective treatment. Antidepressants had the most research support, while psychotherapy and collaborative care did not perform very well.
"Depression is common in patients with coronary artery disease. Having both conditions can have a significant impact on the quality of life for patients so it is vital that they access to the most effective treatments," commented Dr Frank Doyle, Senior Lecturer Division of Population Health Sciences, RCSI and the study's first author.
"Our study indicates that exercise is likely to be the best treatment for depression following coronary artery disease. Our findings further highlight the clinical importance of exercise as a treatment as we see that it improves not only depression, but also other important aspects of heart disease, such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, in these patients."
"We continue to see emerging evidence of the importance of lifestyle to treat disease - in comparison to other treatments - but further high-quality research is needed. People with coronary heart disease who have symptoms of depression should talk to their doctor about treatments that are most suitable for their personal needs, and clinicians can be confident of recommending exercise to their patients."
Dr Frank Doyle and the study's senior authors, Prof. Jan Sorensen (Health Outcomes Research Centre, RCSI) and Prof. Martin Dempster (School of Psychology, Queen's University Belfast), conducted the study in collaboration with researchers in the USA, The Netherlands, the UK and Denmark.
This study was also the first of its kind to establish a new method to conduct systematic reviews known as a hybrid review, which is a combination of umbrella reviews and systematic reviews.
Study examines link between obesity, food container chemical substitutes
University of Iowa, June 9, 2021
A new study from the University of Iowa shows that a pair of common chemicals that manufacturers use to make plastic food containers, water bottles, and other consumer products do not contribute to obesity to the extent of the chemical it's replacing.
The chemicals -- bisphenol F and bisphenol S (known as BPF and BPS) -- are being used increasingly by food packaging manufacturers as substitutes for bisphenol A (BPA), which studies have found disrupts endocrine systems and causes numerous health problems. BPA is used in many kinds of packaging for snacks and drinks, canned foods, and water bottles. The chemical is absorbed into the body mainly through the food or water it contacts in the container.
But concern was raised several years ago when numerous studies found BPA increases the risk of various health issues, in particular obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. A consumer backlash erupted after the studies received media attention so manufacturers started reducing the use of BPA in some consumer products or even eliminating it in so-called "BPA-free" products by replacing it with such alternatives as BPF and BPS.
However, little is known on the potential impact of BPF and BPS exposure in humans. The new University of Iowa College of Public Health study is the first to determine the health impacts of BPF and BPS exposure on obesity in humans. Using data from a nationwide population-based study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the researchers confirm that BPA is associated with increased obesity in humans. But the study found no links between obesity and either BPF or BPS at the current exposure levels.
However, the researchers warn that fewer products currently use BPF and BPS--BPA still has more than half the global market share for the chemicals, and the average concentration of BPF and BPS is about one-fourth that of BPA in the US population. Whether BPF and BPS pose an increased risk of obesity at the same population exposure levels as BPA remains unknown. Future studies will be needed to confirm the results, as BPF and BPS are likely to replace BPA in more consumer products.
Growing evidence fruit may lower type 2 diabetes risk
Research has found eating at least two serves of fruit daily has been linked with 36% lower odds of developing type 2 diabetes
Edith Cowan University (Australia), June 2, 2021
Eating at least two serves of fruit daily has been linked with 36 percent lower odds of developing type 2 diabetes, a new Edith Cowan University (ECU) study has found.
The study, published today in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, revealed that people who ate at least two serves of fruit per day had higher measures of insulin sensitivity than those who ate less than half a serve.
Type 2 diabetes is a growing public health concern with an estimated 451 million people worldwide living with the condition. A further 374 million people are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The study's lead author, Dr Nicola Bondonno from ECU's Institute for Nutrition Research, said the findings offer fresh evidence for the health benefits of fruit.
"We found an association between fruit intake and markers of insulin sensitivity, suggesting that people who consumed more fruit had to produce less insulin to lower their blood glucose levels," said Dr Bondonno.
"This is important because high levels of circulating insulin (hyperinsulinemia) can damage blood vessels and are related not only to diabetes, but also to high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease.
"A healthy diet and lifestyle, which includes the consumption of whole fruits, is a great strategy to lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes."
Fresh is best
The study examined data from 7,675 Australians participating in the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute's AusDiab Study and assessed fruit and fruit juice intake and the prevalence of diabetes after five years.
Dr Bondonno said they did not observe the same beneficial relationship for fruit juice.
"Higher insulin sensitivity and a lower risk of diabetes was only observed for people who consumed whole fruit, not fruit juice," she said.
"This is likely because juice tends to be much higher in sugar and lower in fibre."
Dr Bondonno said that it's still unclear exactly how fruit contributes to insulin sensitivity, but it is likely to be multifaceted.
"As well as being high in vitamins and minerals, fruits are a great source of phytochemicals which may increase insulin sensitivity, and fibre which helps regulate the release of sugar into the blood and also helps people feel fuller for longer," she said.
"Furthermore, most fruits typically have a low glycaemic index, which means the fruit's sugar is digested and absorbed into the body more slowly."
The study builds on Dr Bondonno's research into the health benefits of fruit and vegetables, particularly those that contain a key nutrient known as flavonoids. The research is part of ECU's Institute of Nutrition Research.
Ginkgo biloba leaves have multicomponent and multitarget synergistic effects on treatment of neurodegenerative diseases
Jiangsu Kanion Pharmaceutical Co (China), June 1, 2021
According to news reporting out of Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Ginkgo biloba L. leaves (GBLs), as widely used plant extract sources, significantly improve cognitive, learning and memory function in patients with dementia. However, few studies have been conducted on the specific mechanism of Neurodegenerative diseases (NDs).”
Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Jiangsu Kanion Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., “In this study, network pharmacology was employed to elucidate potential mechanism of GBLs in the treatment of NDs. Traditional Chinese Medicine Systems Pharmacology Database and Analysis Platform (TCMSP) was used to obtain the chemical components in accordance with the screening principles of oral availability and drug-like property. Potential targets of GBLs were integrated with disease targets, and intersection targets were exactly the potential action targets of GBLs for treating NDs; these key targets were enriched and analyzed by the protein protein interaction (PPI) analysis and molecular docking verification. Key genes were ultimately used to find the biological pathway and explain the therapeutic mechanism by Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis. Twenty-seven active components of GBLs may affect biological processes such as oxidative reactions and activate transcription factor activities. These components may also affect 120 metabolic pathways, such as the PI3K/AKT pathway, by regulating 147 targets, including AKT1, ALB, HSP90AA1, PTGS2, MMP9, EGFR and APP. By using the software iGEMDOCK, the main target proteins were found to bind well to the main active components of GBLs.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “GBLs have the characteristics of multi-component and multi-target synergistic effect on the treatment of NDs, which preliminarily predicted its possible molecular mechanism of action, and provided the basis for the follow-up study.”
This research has been peer-reviewed.
Diets that promote inflammation could increase breast cancer risk
Analysis of dietary patterns for over 350,000 women suggests eating more anti-inflammatory foods helps lower risk
Catalan Institute of Oncology and Biomedical Research Institute (Spain) June 7, 2021
A new study of more than 350,000 women found that women with diets incorporating more foods that increase inflammation in the body had a 12% increase in their risk of breast cancer compared to women who consume more anti-inflammatory diets. The new findings are being presented at NUTRITION 2021 LIVE ONLINE.
The study authors found that moving from a more anti-inflammatory diet toward one that increases inflammation upped breast cancer risk in an almost linear manner. Foods that increase inflammation include red and processed meat; high-fat foods such as butter, margarines and frying fats; and sweets including sugar, honey and foods high in sugar. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, tea and coffee all have potentially anti-inflammatory properties.
"Most studies examining diet and breast cancer risk have focused on single nutrients or foods rather than the whole diet," said the study's first author Carlota Castro-Espin, a predoctoral fellow at the Catalan Institute of Oncology and Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain. "People consume food not nutrients, thus examining overall dietary patterns, rather than single components of diets can lead to more accurate conclusions when analysing associations with a health outcome such as breast cancer."
The new results are based on data from the European Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, a prospective study that recruited more than 500,000 participants across 10 European countries starting in the mid-1990s. The study included more than 13,000 breast cancer diagnoses during approximately 15 years of follow-up.
The typical diet for EPIC participants was measured for a year using food frequency or diet history questionnaires. The researchers used this information to calculate an inflammatory score for each study participant based on their intake of 27 foods.
The researchers examined dietary patterns linked with inflammation because long-term, low grade inflammation has been linked with the development of breast cancer. The large number of women in the study allowed the researchers to take a more nuanced look at the relationship between dietary patterns and breast cancer risk.
Their analysis showed that the increase in breast cancer risk due to pro-inflammatory diets appears to be more pronounced among premenopausal women. They also found that the association did not vary by breast cancer hormone receptor subtypes.
"Our results add more evidence of the role that dietary patterns play in the prevention of breast cancer," said Castro-Espin. "With further confirmation, these findings could help inform dietary recommendations aimed at lowering cancer risk."
As a next step, the researchers plan to evaluate the association of the inflammatory potential of diet and other dietary patterns with breast cancer survival using participants in the EPIC study.
Emerging impact of quercetin in the treatment of prostate cancer
Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences (Iran), June 3, 2021
According to news originating from Tehran, Iran, research stated, “Quercetin is a flavonoid agent detected in fruits and vegetables with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer effects. This flavonoid can suppress cell cycle transition and induce apoptosis in neoplastic cells.”
Our news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences: “Therapeutic effects of quercetin have been assessed in diverse cancers including prostate cancer through the establishment of in vitro and in vivo experiments. Moreover, this agent might prevent the initiation of this type of cancer as it indirectly blocks the activity of promoters of two important genes in the pathogenesis of prostate cancer i.e. androgen receptor (AR) and prostate specific antigen (PSA). Several in vitro investigations have identified the differential influence of quercetin on normal prostate cells versus neoplastic cells, emphasizing its specific cytotoxic effects on cancerous cells. The most appreciated route of quercetin effect on prostate cancer cells is the detachment of Bax from Bcl-xL and the stimulation of caspase families. Besides, quercetin might enhance the effects of other therapeutic options against prostate cancer. For instance, a combination of TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and quercetin has been recommended as a novel modality for the treatment of prostate cancer.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “These kinds of strategies might overcome resistance to apoptosis in cancer cells. In the current paper, we summarize the recent data about the preventive and therapeutic influences of quercetin in prostate cancer.”
Breast microbiome modified by diet, fish oil
Wake Forest School of Medicine, June 4 2021.
Findings reported on June 3, 2021 in Cancer Research add evidence to the effects of diet on the breast’s microbiome, the community of microorganisms that exists in breast tissue.
“We have recently demonstrated that dietary patterns modulate mammary microbiota populations,” wrote David R. Soto-Pantoja and colleagues. “An important and largely open question is whether the microbiome of the gut and mammary gland mediates the dietary effects on breast cancer.”
To help answer this question, the researchers fed a high fat or a control diet to mice that are susceptible to developing breast cancer. Animals that received the high fat diet had a greater number of tumors, more rapid tumor growth and larger tumor size than those that received the control diet.
Next, mice that were given high fat diets received fecal transplants from mice that received control diets, and control diet-fed animals received transplants from high fat diet-fed animals. The team found that animals that received the control diet developed as many tumors as mice that received the high fat diet.
In a double-blind trial, breast cancer patients were given fish oil supplements or a placebo for two to four weeks prior to surgical removal of their tumors. The researchers observed a change in the microbiota of tumor and normal breast tissue in participants who received fish oil, including an increase in Lactobacilli (which has been associated with reduce breast cancer tumor growth in animals) in normal tumor-adjacent breast tissue of participants who received fish oil for four weeks.
"Obesity, typically associated with a high-fat diet consumption, is a well-known risk factor in postmenopausal breast cancer," commented coauthor Katherine L. Cook, PhD, of Wake Forest University. "This study provides additional evidence that diet plays a critical role in shaping the gut and breast microbiome."
Self-administered aroma foot massage may reduce symptoms of anxiety
Okayama University (Japan), June 8, 2021
Researchers at Okayama University conduct the first community-based study on the effects of self-administered aromatherapy foot massage on stress and anxiety symptoms. The results suggest aromatherapy massages might provide an inexpensive, simple way of managing anxiety.
The continuing popularity of complementary therapies, such as aromatherapy and massage, has prompted scientists to investigate the effects of such therapies on the body in more detail. Complementary therapies are said to reduce the symptoms associated with stress and anxiety, and therefore may reduce the chances of severe illness, such as hypertension and heart disease. The precise effects on the body following such therapies is unclear, however.
Previous studies have focused on the effects of massage and aromatherapy treatments on blood pressure and mental state in hospitalized patients in Japan, but none have been conducted on individuals living in the community. Now, Eri Eguchi and co-workers at Okayama University, together with researchers across Japan, have conducted the first study into the effect of aromatherapy-based foot massage on blood pressure, anxiety and health-related quality of life in people living in the community.
57 participants took part in the study; 52 women and 5 men. Baseline blood pressure and heart rate values were taken at the start and end of the four-week trial period, as well as at a follow-up session 8 weeks later. Participants also completed questionnaires on anxiety status and health-related quality of life at each stage of the trial. The participants were divided into two groups, and one group were taught to perform a 45-minute aromatherapy-based foot massage on themselves three times a week for four weeks.
The results suggest that aroma foot massage decreased the participants' average blood pressure readings, and state of anxiety, and tended to increased mental health-related quality of life score. However the effect of massages was not significant with changes in other factors such as physical health-related quality of life scores and heart rate.
In their paper published in March 2016 in PLOS One, Eguchi's team are cautiously optimistic about the potential for self-administered massage to reduce anxiety in the population: "[although] it was difficult to differentiate the effects of the aromatherapy from the effects of the massage therapy... [the combination] may be an effective way to increase mental health and improve blood pressure."
Aromatherapy and massage
Aromatherapy has long been used to relieve stress and anxiety in populations across the globe. Different aroma essential oils are said to have different properties, and are used to induce relaxation and promote well-being. Trials have indicated that certain essential oils, when inhaled, can reduce blood pressure levels and alleviate depression by stimulating the olfactory system.
Massage (in its many forms) also has a long history in therapeutic medicine, and the practice of manipulating key pressure points in the body to induce relaxation has been shown to improve mental and physical health. However, detailed scientific studies of the effects of aromatherapy foot massage – an increasingly popular treatment in Japan – on blood pressure and perceived quality of life are limited.
Significance and further work
While the trial carried out by Eguchi and her team is limited in some respects, their results provide an initial starting point from which to extend studies into the benefits of aroma foot massage for the general population. Their findings that massage, or the aromatherapy, or a combination of both, reduce blood pressurereadings (at least in the short term) warrants further investigation.
Eguchi and her team acknowledge that their decision to advertise for participants may have encouraged more health-conscious and pro-active people to apply. They also received far more applications from women than men, although their age-range (from 27 to 72) was diverse. Further work is needed to determine the effect of aroma foot massage on specific age and sex categories, for example, before such interventions are encouraged in the wider population.
Proteomics reveals how exercise increases the efficiency of muscle energy production
University of Copenhagen (Denmark), May 27, 2021
Mitochondria are the cell's power plants and produce the majority of a cell's energy needs through an electrochemical process called electron transport chain coupled to another process known as oxidative phosphorylation. A number of different proteins in mitochondria facilitate these processes, but it's not fully understood how these proteins are arranged inside mitochondria and the factors that can influence their arrangement.
Now, scientists at the University of Copenhagen have used state-of-the-art proteomics technology to shine new light on how mitochondrial proteins gather into electron transport chain complexes, and further into so-called supercomplexes. The research, which is published in Cell Reports, also examined how this process is influenced by exercise training.
"This study has allowed for a comprehensive quantification of electron transport chain proteins within supercomplexes and how they respond to exercise training. These data have implications for how exercise improves the efficiency of energy production in muscle," says Associate Professor Atul S. Deshmukh from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR) at the University of Copenhagen.
Traditional methods provide too little detail
It is already well established that exercise training stimulates mitochondrial mass and affects the formation of supercomplexes, which allows mitochondria in skeletal muscle to produce energy more efficiently. But questions remain about which complexes cluster into supercomplexes and how.
To better understand supercomplex formation, particularly in response to exercise, the team of scientists studied two groups of mice. One group was active, and given an exercise wheel for 25 days, and the second group was sedentary, and was not provided the exercise wheel. After 25 days, they measured the mitochondrial proteins in skeletal muscle from both groups to see how the supercomplexes had changed over time.
When scientists typically analyze how supercomplexes form, they use antibodies to measure one or two proteins per electron transport chain complex. But as there can be up to 44 proteins in a complex, this method is both time consuming and provides limited information about what happens to the remainder of the proteins in each complex.
As a result, there is a lack of detailed knowledge in the field.
Proteomics helps supercomplexes give up their secrets
To generate much more detailed data, the team applied a proteomic technology called mass spectrometry to measure the mitochondrial proteins. By applying proteomics instead of antibodies, the scientists were able to measure nearly all of the proteins in each complex. This provided unprecedented detail of mitochondrial supercomplexes in skeletal muscle and how exercise training influences their formation. Their approach demonstrated that not all of the proteins in each complex or a supercomplex respond to exercise in the same manner.
"Mitochondrial protein content is known to increase with exercise, thus understanding how these proteins assemble into supercomplexes is crucial to decipher how they work. Our research represents a valuable and precious resource for the scientific community, especially for those studying how the mitochondrial proteins organize to be better at what they do best: produce energy under demand,", explains Postdoc Alba Gonzalez-Franquesa.
The interdisciplinary project was a collaboration between the Deshmukh, Treebak and Zierath Groups at CBMR, and the Mann Group at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research.
New study into green tea's potential to help tackle COVID-19
Swansea University, June 4, 2021
As India continues to be ravaged by the pandemic, a Swansea University academic is investigating how green tea could give rise to a drug capable of tackling Covid-19.
Dr Suresh Mohankumar carried out the research with colleagues in India during his time at JSS College of Pharmacy, JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research in Ooty prior to taking up his current role at Swansea University Medical School.
He said: "Nature's oldest pharmacy has always been a treasure of potential novel drugs and we questioned if any of these compounds could assist us in battling the Covid-19 pandemic?
"We screened and sorted a library of natural compounds already know to be active against other coronaviruses using an artificial intelligence-aided computer programme.
"Our findings suggested that one of the compounds in green tea could combat the coronavirus behind Covid-19."
The researchers' work has now been highlighted by online journal RSC Advances and has been included in its prestigious hot articles collection chosen by editors and reviewers.
Associate Professor Dr Mohankumar emphasised that the research was still in its early days and a long way from any kind of clinical application.
"The compound that our model predicts to be most active is gallocatechin, which is present in green tea and could be readily available, accessible, and affordable. There now needs to be further investigation to show if it can be proven clinically effective and safe for preventing or treating Covid-19.
"This is still a preliminary step, but it could be a potential lead to tackling the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Mohankumar has worked in pharmacy education, research and administration around the world for more than 18 years and recently moved to Swansea to join its new MPharm programme.
Head of Pharmacy Professor Andrew Morris said: "This is fascinating research and demonstrates that natural products remain an important source of lead compounds in the fight against infectious diseases. I'm also really pleased to see this international research collaboration continuing now that Dr Mohankumar has joined the Pharmacy team."
Dr Mohankumar added he is now looking forward to seeing how the work can be developed: "There now needs to be appropriate pre-clinical and clinical studies and we would welcome potential collaborators and partners to help carry this work forward."
Turkish study finds high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in breast cancer patients
Ankara Numune Research Hospital (Turkey), June 1, 2021
According to news reporting from Ankara, Turkey, research stated, “We aimed to reveal vitamin D levels in women with breast cancer. 561 women with primary breast cancer were included in the study.”
The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from Ankara Numune Training and Research Hospital, “The median age was 55.86 years (between 20 - 78 years). All of the patients were treated with curative intend. None of the patients had metastatic disease. The median 25(OH)D level was 11.92ng/ml and the mean 25(OH)D level was 13.91ng/ml. Deficiency was detected in 456 patients (81.28%) and insufficiency was detected in 61 patients (10.87 %).”
According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “This study points out that vitamin D levels in breast cancer patients should be measured and be corrected whenever diagnosed.”
This research has been peer-reviewed.
Low levels of omega-3 associated with higher risk of psychosis, says study
RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences (Ireland), June 1, 2021
New research has found that adolescents with higher levels of an omega-3 fatty acid in their blood were less likely to develop psychotic disorder in early adulthood, suggesting that it may have a potential preventative effect of reducing the risk of psychosis.
The study, led by researchers from RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, is published in Translational Psychiatry.
During these assessments, blood samples were collected, and the researchers measured the levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which generally increase inflammation in the body, and omega-3 fatty acids, which generally reduce inflammation.
While there was little evidence that fatty acids were associated with mental disorders at age 17, the researchers found that 24-year-olds with psychotic disorder, depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder had higher levels of omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids compared to those without these disorders.
The researchers also found that 24-year-olds with psychotic disorder had lower levels of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid typically found in oily fish or dietary supplements, than 24-year-olds without psychotic disorder. In a group of over 2,700 individuals who were tracked over time, adolescents with higher levels of DHA at age 17 were 56% less likely to develop psychotic disorder seven years later at age 24. This suggests that DHA in adolescence may have a potential preventative effect of reducing the risk of psychosis in early adulthood.
These results remained consistent when accounting for other factors such as sex, body mass index, tobacco smoking and socio-economic status.
"The study needs to be replicated, but if the findings are consistent, these results would suggest that enhanced dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids among adolescents, such as through oily fish like mackerel, could prevent some people from developing psychosis in their early twenties," said Professor David Cotter, senior author of the study and professor molecular psychiatry at RCSI.
"The results could also raise questions about the relationship between the development of mental health disorders and omega-6 fatty acids, which are typically found in vegetable oils."
David Mongan, RCSI Ph.D. student and Irish Clinical Academic Training (ICAT) Fellow, analyzed the data with the supervision of Professor David Cotter and Professor Mary Cannon from the RCSI Department of Psychiatry. The ICAT program is supported by the Wellcome Trust and the Health Research Board, the Health Service Executive National Doctors Training and Planning and the Health and Social Care, Research and Development Division, Northern Ireland.
"We need to do more research to learn about the mechanisms behind this effect, but it could possibly be related to reducing inflammation or decreasing inappropriate pruning of brain connections during adolescence," said Dr. David Mongan, the study's first author, who is a psychiatry trainee and Ph.D. student at RCSI.
Foods that can help protect against sun damage
Blount Memorial Weight Management Center, May 31, 2021
As the summer season approaches and we all hopefully get a chance to spend more time outside, we mustn’t forget how critical it is that we take steps to protect our skin.
Whether you’re going on a beach trip or just doing outdoor chores, it’s important to remember to wear sunscreen and reapply it often. Just because you didn’t get sunburned last year or last week, that doesn’t mean you are immune to the sun’s harmful rays.
In fact, most experts recommend sunscreen use year-round, not just in the summer. The American Academy of Dermatologyrecommends using a waterproof sunscreen with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of at least 30, and that protects against UVA and UVB rays. But, did you know there also are certain foods that can help protect your skin from the sun’s rays, as well?
“A diet rich in certain foods actually can help protect your skin from harmful UV rays,” said Heather Pierce from the Blount Memorial Weight Management Center. “They, in no way, should serve as a replacement for traditional sunscreen, but they can act as additional ways to protect your skin this spring and summer. A few foods, in particular, are high in certain minerals and nutrients that support healthy skin and can give us a little extra protection from the sun,” she said.
First up, Pierce says, are tomatoes, which you may already be consuming on your burgers or salads at those backyard cookouts.
“Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is a phytochemical that has been shown in research to help protect the skin against sunburns, particularly with concentrated sources such as tomato paste and carrot juice. And the good news is that they just happen to be in season. Watermelons also are good sources of lycopene, and, fortunately, they’re pretty popular this time of year, too.”
Pierce says you also should look to avocados and pomegranates for a little extra sun protection.
“When the sun is damaging our skin, it’s typically the result of oxidative stress and inflammation, so a lot of the foods we would eat for anti-inflammatory diet for a condition, such as heart disease, actually are protecting our skin, too.
“Avocados contain healthy oils that work to keep your skin protected, so throw a little avocado on your sandwiches this summer, and you can easily get that added bit of protection. Pomegranates, too, contain ellagic acid, which supports glutathione production that can fight skin damage caused by free radicals. Citrus fruits, of course, contain vitamin C, but the skins of citrus fruits also contain an essential oil called limonene that offers skin protection, too. You can easily add this to your diet by putting a little lemon or orange zest in your drinks or foods.”
Two more sun-protecting foods, Pierce says, are green tea and those all-important Omega 3 fats.
“Green tea is, of course, high in antioxidants, which can help guard against UV radiation,” Pierce said. “It also promotes DNA repair and has anti-inflammatory compounds that are helpful for repair, as well. Omega 3 fats always are important, particularly if you’re eating a heart healthy diet, but Omega 3 also has been shown to reduce the risk of a particular type of skin cancer by nearly 20%. With that in mind, look for ways to add Omega 3 sources such as salmon, chia seeds or flaxseed to your meals. If you can, try getting fish in your diet at least once per week,” she explained. “It’ll taste great and your skin will get a little sun protection boost, as well.”
Seaweed could potentially help fight food allergies
Mount Sinai Hospital, June 2, 2021
Seaweed has long been a staple food in many Asian countries and has recently caught on as a snack food in America as a healthful alternative to chips. The edible algae that fall in the category of seaweed are low-calorie and packed with nutrients. In addition, now scientists have found that a type of commercial red algae could help counteract food allergies. They report their findings in mice in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Food allergies are a major global health issue that can be life threatening in some cases. One study by researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital estimates that the condition affects about 8 percent of children and 5 percent of adults worldwide. In people who are allergic, certain compounds in food trigger a cascade of immune system reactions that lead to symptoms such as hives, wheezing and dizziness -- and in the worst cases, anaphylactic shock. Previous research has suggested that certain seaweed varieties contain polysaccharides with anti-asthmatic and anti-allergy effects. But no one had investigated whether similar molecules in Gracilaria lemaneiformis, a commercial variety of red algae, might have similar properties. Guang-Ming Liu and colleagues wanted to find out.
The researchers isolated polysaccharides from G. lemaneiformis and fed them to a group of mice sensitive to tropomyosin, a protein that is a major shellfish allergen. Another group of mice, also sensitive to tropomyosin, did not get the polysaccharides. After both groups were given the allergen, allergy symptoms in the treated mice were reduced compared to the untreated animals. Further studying polysaccharides from G. lemaneiformis could help lead to a better understanding of food allergies and their prevention, the researchers say.
Barley lowers not one but two types of 'bad cholesterol', review suggests
St Michael’s Hospital (Toronto), June 8, 2021
Eating barley or foods containing barley significantly reduced levels of two types of "bad cholesterol" associated with cardiovascular risk, a St. Michael's Hospital research paper has found. Barley reduced both low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, and non-high-density lipoprotein, or non-HDL, by seven per cent.
The review also indicated that barley had similar cholesterol-lowering effects as oats, which is often the go-to grain for health benefits.
The research review, published in The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, included 14 studies on clinical trials conducted in seven countries, including Canada.
It is the first study to look at the effects of barley and barley products on both LDL and non-HDL cholesterol in addition to apolipoprotein B, or apoB, a lipoprotein that carries bad cholesterol through the blood. Measuring non-HDL and apoB provides a more accurate assessment for cardiovascular risk, as they account for the total 'bad cholesterol' found in the blood.
"The findings are most important for populations at high risk for cardiovascular disease, such as Type 2 diabetics, who have normal levels of LDL cholesterol, but elevated levels of non-HDL or apo B," said Dr. Vladimir Vuksan, research scientist and associate director of the Risk Factor Modification Centre of St. Michael's. "Barley has a lowering effect on the total bad cholesterol in these high-risk individuals, but can also benefit people without high cholesterol."
High cholesterol and diabetes are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke, historically treated with medications. However, Dr. Vuksan's research and work focuses on how dietary and lifestyle changes can reduce these risk factors.
"Barley's positive effect on lowering cholesterol is well-documented and has been included in the Canadian strategy for reducing cardiovascular risk," said Dr. Vuksan. "Health Canada, the FDA and several health authorities worldwide have already approved health claims that barley lowers LDL cholesterol, but this is the first review showing the effects on other harmful lipids."
Despite its benefits Dr. Vuksan said barley is not as well-established as some other health-recommended foods—such as oats. Barley consumption by humans has fallen by 35 per cent in the last 10 years. Canada is one of the top five world producers of barley—almost 10 megatonnes per year—but human consumption accounts for only two per cent of the crop yield, with livestock making up the other 98 per cent.
"After looking at the evidence, we can also say that barley is comparably effective as oats in reducing overall risk of cardiovascular disease" said Dr. Vuksan.
Barley is higher in fibre, has twice the protein and almost half the calories of oats, which are important considerations for those with weight or dietary concerns. Dr. Vuksan said barley can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. He recommends trying to incorporate barley into existing recipes, using it as a substitute for rice or even on its own—just like oatmeal.
Vitamin B6 deficiency enhances the noradrenergic system, leading to behavioral deficits
Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, May 27, 2021
Schizophrenia is a heterogeneous psychiatric disorder characterized by positive symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, negative symptoms such as apathy and lack of emotion, and cognitive impairment. We have reported that VB6 (pyridoxal) levels in peripheral blood of a subpopulation of patients with schizophrenia is significantly lower than that of healthy controls. More than 35% of patients with schizophrenia have low levels of VB6 (clinically defined as male: < 6 ng/ml, female: < 4 ng/ml). VB6 level is inversely proportional to severity score on the positive and negative symptom scale (PANSS), suggesting that VB6 deficiency might contribute to the development of schizophrenia symptoms. In fact, a recent review has shown the decreased VB6 in patients with schizophrenia as the most convincing evidence in peripheral biomarkers for major mental disorders. Additionally, we recently reported that high-dose VB6 (pyridoxamine) was effective in alleviating psychotic symptoms, particularly the PANSS negative and general subscales, in a subset of patients with schizophrenia. Although a link between lower VB6 level and schizophrenia is widely hypothesized, the mechanism behind this remains poorly understood.
VB6 is not synthesized de novo in humans, but is primarily obtained from foods. In the present study, to clarify the relationship between VB6 deficiency and schizophrenia, we generated VB6-deficient (VB6(-)) mice through feeding with a VB6-lacking diet as a mouse model for the subpopulation of schizophrenia patients with VB6 deficiency. After feeding for 4 weeks, plasma VB6 level in VB6(-) mice decreased to 3% of that in control mice. The VB6(-) mice showed social deficits and cognitive impairment. Furthermore, the VB6(-) mice showed a marked increase in 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG) in the brain, suggesting enhanced NA metabolism in VB6(-) mice. We confirmed the increased NA release in the prefrontal cortex and the striatum of VB6(-) mice through in vivo microdialysis. These findings suggest that the activities of NAergic neuronal systems are enhanced in VB6(-) mice.
Furthermore, VB6 supplementation directly into the brain using an osmotic pump ameliorated the hyperactivation of the NAergic system and behavioral abnormalities. indicating that the enhanced NA turnover and the behavioral deficits shown in the VB6(-) mice are attributed to VB6 deficiency in the central nervous system. In addition, the ?2A adrenergic receptor agonist guanfacine also improved the hyperactivated NAergic system in the frontal cortex and behavioral disorders. These results show that the behavioral deficits in VB6(-) mice may be caused by an enhancement of NAergic signaling.
Schizophrenic patients with VB6 deficiency, who account for more than 35% of all patients, present with relatively severe clinical symptoms and treatment resistance. Our findings suggest that a new therapeutic strategy targeting the NAergic system might be effective for these patients. They will also provide evidence based on pathophysiology for a new therapeutic strategy called "VB6 treatment for schizophrenia," which we are currently conducting clinical research on.
Families with a child with ADHD can benefit from mindfulness training
Radboud University Medical Center (Netherlands), May 27, 2021
Children with ADHD are generally treated with medication and/or behavioral treatments. However, medication-alone is insufficient in a quarter to a third of the children. For that reason, the scientists investigated whether a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) would have a positive effect on children who did not respond sufficiently to other ADHD treatments. MBIs can elicit positive effects on psychological symptoms and behavior of children and parents.
In the study, two groups of children between the ages of eight and sixteen were compared. One group received only regular care (CAU, care-as-usual), and the other group also received MYmind, the mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) with at least one parent. They did this training for a period of eight weeks.
A striking result was that parents especially benefited from this training. There was an increase in mindful parenting, self-compassion and an improvement in mental health among the parents. These effects were still visible six months after the end of the training. In the children, there were some effects on ADHD symptoms, anxiety, and autistic traits, but effects were small. Yet, a subgroup appeared to benefit: One in three children reliably improved on self-control following MYmind, whereas only one in ten improved when following only regular care.
Professor of Environmental Sensitivity in Health and psychologist Corina Greven of Radboudumc, the Donders Institute and Karakter says that usual interventions for children with ADHD typically do not target mental health of parents, although they often struggle with parenting stress, anxiety or own ADHD symptoms. "While effects in children were small, we still found effects in the parents. Interviewing families , our team also discovered that many families reported important improvements in family relationships and insight in and acceptance of ADHD. We need to go broader than just looking at whether an intervention reduces symptoms, and include additional outcomes that families find important." The study was conducted in collaboration with the Radboud Center for Mindfulness.
Sweet cherry anthocyanins support liver health
Zhei-Jang University (China), June 1, 2021
Anthocyanins from sweet cherries may protect against diet-induced liver steatosis, or excessive amounts of fat in the liver’s tissue, says a new study with rats.
The study , published in the journal Nutrition, built upon the abundant existing literature on the beneficial role anthocyanins have as an antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hyperlipidemic component.
Specifically, the cyanidin-3-glucoside variant “[has] been reported to ameliorate hepatic steatosis and adipose inflammation,” the researchers wrote. The condition known as liver steatosis is a common non-alcoholic fatty liver disease usually treated with drugs, but according to the researchers, some drug used for treatment “are usually accompanied by some adverse effect.”
For 15 weeks, the researchers investigated the effects of sweet cherry anthocyanin supplementation have on alleviating high-fat diet-induced liver steatosis in rodents to explore the possibility of a none-drug treatment for the liver condition.
Preparing the mice and the sweet cherry anthocyanins
The sweet cherry anthocyanin was extracted and pulverized, with one mg of the anthocyanin measured to contain amounts of cyanidine-3-rutinoside and pelargonidin-3-rutinoside, among other things.
Thirty male rodents were used for the study. The animals were housed five per cage and randomly divided into three groups: 10 rodents fed a low-fat diet, 10 rodents fed a high-fat diet, and 10 rodents fed a high-fat diet supplemented with sweet cherry anthocyanins.
The supplementation was given in liquid form at 200 mg/kg orally at the same time daily for 15 weeks, and the body weights and food intakes were monitored weekly.
The mice were sacrificed at week 15 after a half-day fast. Blood samples were collected and livers collected, rinsed with cold saline, and then weighed.
An automatic biochemistry analyser was used to measure total cholesterol, triacylglycerol, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
They found that at week 15, mice fed a high-fat diet supplemented with sweet cherry anthocyanins “displayed a significant reduction in body weight, liver weight, and liver index” compared to the mice that were only given a high-fat diet without supplementation.
They also found the serum levels for tricylglycerol, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in high-fat diet mice to be substantially higher than those fed a low-fat diet, but the group supplemented with the anthocyanin resulted in a significant reduction in these serum parameters.”
According to the researchers, the results demonstrated how sweet cherry anthocyanins may be developed into a supplement to “protect from high-fat diet-induced hepatic steatosis in mice,”leading to a suggested potential for the anthocyanin’s application in the “treatment of hepatic steatosis and other obesity related metabolic disorders.”
Healthy lifestyle linked to better cognition for oldest adults -- regardless of genetic risk
New study suggests importance of maintaining healthy lifestyle even after age 80
Duke University & Kunshan University (China), June 1, 2021
A new analysis of adults aged 80 years and older shows that a healthier lifestyle is associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment, and that this link does not depend on whether a person carries a particular form of the gene APOE. Xurui Jin of Duke Kunshan University in Jiangsu, China, and colleagues present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine.
The APOE gene comes in several different forms, and people with a form known as APOE ε4 have an increased risk of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. Previous research has also linked cognitive function to lifestyle factors, such as smoking, exercise, and diet. However, it has been unclear whether the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are affected by APOE ε4, particularly for adults over 80 years of age.
To clarify the relationship between APOE ε4 and lifestyle, Jin and colleagues examined data from 6,160 adults aged 80 or older who had participated in a larger, ongoing study known as the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey. The researchers statistically analyzed the data to investigate links between APOE ε4, lifestyle, and cognition. They also accounted for sociodemographics and other factors that could impact cognition.
The analysis confirmed that participants with healthy lifestyles or intermediately healthy lifestyles were significantly less likely to have cognitive impairment than those with an unhealthy lifestyle, by 55 and 28 percent, respectively. In addition, participants with APOE ε4 were 17 percent more likely to have cognitive impairment than those with other forms of APOE.
A previous study suggested that in individuals at low and intermediate genetic risk, favorable lifestyle profiles are related to a lower risk of dementia compared to unfavorable profiles. But these protective associations were not found in those at high genetic risk. However, the investigation showed the link between lifestyle and cognitive impairment did not vary significantly based on APOE ε4 status which represented the genetic dementia risk. This suggests that maintaining a healthier lifestyle could be important for maintaining cognitive function in adults over 80 years of age, regardless of genetic risk.
This cross-sectional study emphasized the importance of a healthy lifestyle on cognitive health. While further research will be needed to validate these findings among different population, this study could help inform efforts to boost cognitive function for the oldest of adults.
In the next step, the team will explore this association using the AD polygenetic risk score (AD-PRS) and explore the interactive relationship between AD-PRS and lifestyle on cognition with the longitudinal data.
Study shows BPA exposure below regulatory levels can impact brain development
University of Calgary (Canada) June 1, 2021
BPA disrupts development of the mouse brain sleep centre (outlined), image on right. The change can impact behaviour. The control image on the left ("CON") shows sleep centre without BPA. Credit: Kurrasch lab, published in Science Advances
Humans are exposed to a bath of chemicals every day. They are in the beds where we sleep, the cars that we drive and the kitchens we use to feed our families. With thousands of chemicals floating around in our environment, exposure to any number is practically unavoidable. Through the work of researchers like Dr. Deborah Kurrasch, Ph.D., the implications of many of these chemicals are being thoroughly explored.
"Manufacturers follow standards set by regulatory bodies, it's not up to the manufacturers to prove the chemicals in consumer products are safe," says Kurrasch, a researcher in the University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) and Alberta Children's Research Institute at the Cumming School of Medicine. "Scientists play a critical role and do the meticulous work of determining where the risks lie."
Kurrasch's research over the past decade has focused on a chemical that is broadly recognizable: Bisphenol A, also known as BPA. This chemical is commonly found in plastics, canned food linings, and even thermal receipts. Studies from Kurrasch's lab contribute to the collective research that shows the harms of exposure to this industrial compound.
The latest study out of Kurrasch's lab, published in Science Advances, suggests that continued vigilance is needed. A postdoctoral researcher in her lab, Dr. Dinu Nesan, Ph.D., examined the impact of low levels of BPA exposure to pregnant mice and the brain development of their offspring.
"Our goal was to model BPA levels equivalent to what pregnant women and developing babies are typically exposed to," says Kurrasch. "We purposefully did not use a high dose. In fact, our doses were 11-times and nearly 25-times lower than those deemed safe by Health Canada and the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), respectively. Even at these low levels, we saw effects on prenatal brain development in the mice."
Using this BPA exposure model, Nesan found striking changes to the brain region responsible for driving circadian rhythms, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, located in the hypothalamus. When prenatally exposed to these low levels of BPA, the suprachiasmatic nucleus failed to develop properly. This change can have implications for sleep, activity levels, and other behaviors.
"Previously we showed embryonic exposure to low-dose BPA can affect the timing of when neurons develop in zebrafish, but it was unclear whether a similar effect would be observed in a mammalian model with more similarities to humans," says Nesan, first author on the study. When neurons develop, they rely on proper signals to guide them. If neurons develop too early, the cues they experience are different, which can lead to developmental errors such as migrating to the wrong location, becoming the wrong type of neuron, or forming inappropriate connections. These errors can lead to altered behaviors later in life.
"Our study shows that in pregnant mice, prenatal exposure to BPA affects the timing of neuron development in the fetal brain, which has lasting effects on behaviors. Offspring that are exposed to BPA during gestation are awake longer and exhibit hyperactivity. The prenatal BPA exposure seems to change the brain's circadian cues, causing the animals to have elevated energy levels and spend less time resting," says Nesan.
The researchers are hopeful their findings will add continued pressure on regulatory bodies to keep revisiting their determinations around safe levels of BPA.
"We think there's an incredible abundance of data showing BPA exposure guidelines are not yet at the appropriate level, which includes even the EU (European Union) who is leading on this front, but their 'safe' levels are still twice the dose we used in our study" says Kurrasch, "We hope our research serves as a reminder that low dose BPA is still capable of causing changes that are measurable and significant."
Her message of how to interpret this research is simple:
- Limit your exposure to BPA the best you can.
- Maintain smart practices with plastics in your kitchen, for example not heating them, and using glass or stainless steel when possible.
This research was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Michael Antle, Ph.D., professor of psychology and member of the HBI.
Selenium plus CoQ10 intake associated with reductions in D-dimer and cardiovascular mortality
Linköping University (Sweden), June 2, 2021
Findings from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, published on April 17, 2021 in the journal Nutrients,revealed a reduction in D-dimer levels among older Swedish men and women who received selenium and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), as well as a lower risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease in individuals having higher D-dimer levels at baseline.
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant involved in the mitochondria’s production of energy. It has been estimated that the body’s production of CoQ10 at the age of 80 years is approximately half that of someone who is 20 years old.
Selenium is a trace element necessary for normal function of human cells. Dietary intake of this mineral may be insufficient in areas of the world that have low soil selenium levels. Selenium also is necessary for the function of many antioxidant enzymes, including one which recycles CoQ10, and has anti-inflammatory activity.
D-dimer is a fragment of degraded fibrin and is commonly used to assess for the presence or degradation of potentially dangerous blood clots (venous thromboembolism or pulmonary embolism). It also reflects the activity of peripheral artery disease and has been shown to be associated with endothelial dysfunction and inflammation even in the absence of thromboembolism.
The current investigation included 213 men and women aged 70 to 88 years who did not have conditions known to influence D-dimer concentrations (e.g., atrial fibrillation, malignancies). Participants received a placebo or 200 micrograms selenium plus 200 milligrams CoQ10 daily for four years.
Blood samples collected from the subjects upon enrollment in the trial and at 48 months were analyzed for levels of D-dimer. Although D-dimer levels were not significantly different between groups at the beginning of the trial, it was noted to be significantly associated with age. At 48 months, a significantly lower level of D-dimer was found among those who received selenium and CoQ10 in comparison with the placebo, which was maintained after adjustment for co-variates that might influence D-dimer (such as C-reactive protein).
When participants with D-dimer levels that were above the median of all participants at baseline were analyzed, an association was found between intake of selenium and CoQ10 and a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality. Among those whose D-dimer levels were higher than 0.21 mg/L at the beginning of the study, one person among 53 who received selenium and CoQ10 died during a median 4.9-year follow-up period compared to 8 of the 52 who received a placebo. Mortality from all causes was also lower in the selenium and CoQ10 group; however, the reduction failed to reach statistical significance.
This group also reported a larger study, which didn’t exclude individuals having conditions known to increase D-dimer, finding that in the older Swedish citizens the combination of selenium and CoQ10 significantly increased heart systolic function, lowered NT-proBNP (which is elevated during heart failure) and decreased risk of cardiovascular mortality, defined as death from myocardial infarctions, cerebrovascular lesions, cardiac arrythmias, heart failure or aortic aneurysms.1
“[Intake of] selenium and coenzyme Q10 in a group of elderly low in selenium and coenzyme Q10 prevented an increase in D-dimer and reduced the risk of cardiovascular mortality in comparison with the placebo group,” concluded first author Urban Alehagen and his colleagues. “The obtained results also illustrate important associations between inflammation, endothelial function and cardiovascular risk.”
Effect of Korean Red Ginseng on Cognitive Function and Quantitative EEG in Alzheimer Patients
Seoul Medical Center (Korea) June 1, 2021
Researchers detail new data in Neurodegenerative Diseases. According to news reporting originating in Seoul, South Korea research stated, "Korean red ginseng (KRG) has a nootropic effect. This study assessed the efficacy of KRG on cognitive function and quantitative electroencephalography (EEG) in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD)."
The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Seoul Medical Center, "Fourteen patients with AD (mean age, 74.93 years; 11 women and 3 men) were recruited and treated with KRG (4.5 g per day) for 12 weeks. Cognitive function was assessed by the Korean Mini-Mental State Examination (K-MMSE) and the Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB). EEG performed before and after treatment were analyzed with quantitative spectral analysis. The FAB score improved significantly after 12 weeks of treatment. In the relative power spectrum analysis performed according to responsiveness, alpha power increased significantly in the right temporal area of the responders. The increments of relative alpha power in the right temporal, parietal, and occipital areas were significantly higher in the responders than the nonresponders."
According to the news reporters, the research concluded: "This study indicates the efficacy of KRG on frontal lobe function in AD, related to increasing relative alpha power."
Amazon indigenous group's lifestyle may hold a key to slowing down aging
Tsimane people are unique for their healthy brains that age more slowly
University of Southern California, May 27, 2021
A team of international researchers has found that the Tsimane indigenous people of the Bolivian Amazon experience less brain atrophy than their American and European peers. The decrease in their brain volumes with age is 70% slower than in Western populations. Accelerated brain volume loss can be a sign of dementia.
The study was published May 26, 2021 in the Journal of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.
Although people in industrialized nations have access to modern medical care, they are more sedentary and eat a diet high in saturated fats. In contrast, the Tsimane have little or no access to health care but are extremely physically active and consume a high-fiber diet that includes vegetables, fish and lean meat.
"The Tsimane have provided us with an amazing natural experiment on the potentially detrimental effects of modern lifestyles on our health," said study author Andrei Irimia, an assistant professor of gerontology, neuroscience and biomedical engineering at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. "These findings suggest that brain atrophy may be slowed substantially by the same lifestyle factors associated with very low risk of heart disease."
The researchers enrolled 746 Tsimane adults, ages 40 to 94, in their study. To acquire brain scans, they provided transportation for the participants from their remote villages to Trinidad, Bolivia, the closest town with CT scanning equipment. That journey could last as long as two full days with travel by river and road.
The team used the scans to calculate brain volumes and then examined their association with age for Tsimane. Next, they compared these results to those in three industrialized populations in the U.S. and Europe.
The scientists found that the difference in brain volumes between middle age and old age is 70% smaller in Tsimane than in Western populations. This suggests that the Tsimane's brains likely experience far less brain atrophy than Westerners as they age; atrophy is correlated with risk of cognitive impairment, functional decline and dementia.
The researchers note that the Tsimane have high levels of inflammation, which is typically associated with brain atrophy in Westerners. But their study suggests that high inflammation does not have a pronounced effect upon Tsimane brains.
According to the study authors, the Tsimane's low cardiovascular risks may outweigh their infection-driven inflammatory risk, raising new questions about the causes of dementia. One possible reason is that, in Westerners, inflammation is associated with obesity and metabolic causes whereas, in the Tsimane, it is driven by respiratory, gastrointestinal, and parasitic infections. Infectious diseases are the most prominent cause of death among the Tsimane.
"Our sedentary lifestyle and diet rich in sugars and fats may be accelerating the loss of brain tissue with age and making us more vulnerable to diseases such as Alzheimer's," said study author Hillard Kaplan, a professor of health economics and anthropology at Chapman University who has studied the Tsimane for nearly two decades. "The Tsimane can serve as a baseline for healthy brain aging."
Healthier hearts and -- new research shows -- healthier brains
The indigenous Tsimane people captured scientists' -- and the world's -- attention when an earlier study found them to have extraordinarily healthy hearts in older age. That prior study, published by the Lancet in 2017, showed that Tsimane have the lowest prevalence of coronary atherosclerosis of any population known to science and that they have few cardiovascular disease risk factors. The very low rate of heart disease among the roughly 16,000 Tsimane is very likely related to their pre-industrial subsistence lifestyle of hunting, gathering, fishing, and farming.
"This study demonstrates that the Tsimane stand out not only in terms of heart health, but brain health as well," Kaplan said. "The findings suggest ample opportunities for interventions to improve brain health, even in populations with high levels of inflammation."
Tai chi about equal to conventional exercise for reducing belly fat in middle aged and older adults
University of Hong Kong, May 31, 2021
A randomized controlled trial found that tai chi is about as effective as conventional exercise for reducing waist circumference in middle-aged and older adults with central obesity. Central obesity, or weight carried around the midsection, is a major manifestation of metabolic syndrome and a common health problem in this cohort. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Tai chi is a form of mind-body exercise often described as "meditation in motion." It is practiced in many Asian communities and is becoming increasingly popular in Western countries, with more than 2 million people practicing it in the United States. While it is known to be a suitable activity for older people including those who are not active, there previously has been little evidence on tai chi's health benefits.
Researchers from the University of Hong Kong randomly assigned more than 500 adults over 50 with central obesity to a regimen of tai chi, conventional exercise, or no exercise over 3 months. Participants in the tai chi and exercise groups met for instructor-led workouts for 1 hour 3 times a week for 12 weeks. The tai chi program consisted of the Yang style of tai chi, the most common style adopted in the literature, and the conventional exercise program consisted of brisk walking and strength training activities. Waist circumference and other indicators of metabolic health were measured at baseline, 12 weeks, and 38 weeks. The researchers found that both the tai chi intervention and conventional exercise intervention group had reductions in waist circumference, relative to control. The reduction in waist circumference had a favorable impact on HDL cholesterol, or so-called good cholesterol, but did not translate into detectable differences in fasting glucose or blood pressure.
According to the study authors, their findings are good news for middle-aged and older adults who have central obesity but may be averse to conventional exercise due to preference or limited mobility.
Prenatal exposure to paracetamol associated with ADHD and autism symptoms in childhood
Study of more than 70,000 European children bolsters the findings of previous research
Barcelona Institute for Global Health (Spain), May 31, 2021
An epidemiological study of more than 70,000 children in six European cohorts has linked symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum conditions (ASC) to the mothers' use of paracetamol (acetaminophen) during pregnancy. The study, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, was led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a centre supported by the "la Caixa" Foundation.
In total, the researchers analysed 73,881 children for whom data were available on prenatal or postnatal exposure to paracetamol, at least one symptom of ASC or ADHD, and main covariates. Depending on the cohort, 14% to 56% of the mothers reported taking paracetamol while pregnant.
The study found that children exposed to paracetamol before birth were 19% more likely to develop ASC symptoms and 21% more likely to develop ADHD symptoms than children who were not exposed.
"Our findings are consistent with previous research," explained ISGlobal researcher Sílvia Alemany, lead author of the study. "We also found that prenatal exposure to paracetamol affects boys and girls in a similar way, as we observed practically no differences."
"Our results address some of the weaknesses of previous meta-analyses," commented Jordi Sunyer, researcher at ISGlobal and last author of the study. "Considering all the evidence on the use of paracetamol and neurological development, we agree with previous recommendations indicating that while paracetamol should not be suppressed in pregnant women or children, it should be used only when necessary."
At some point during pregnancy, an estimated 46%-56% of pregnant women in developed countries use paracetamol, which is considered the safest analgesic/antipyretic for pregnant women and children. However, mounting evidence has linked prenatal paracetamol exposure to poorer cognitive performance, more behavioural problems, and ASC and ADHD symptoms.
Those previous studies have been criticised for their heterogeneity. In the new study, therefore, "an effort was made to harmonise the assessment of ADHD and ASC symptoms and the definition of paracetamol exposure," explained Alemany. "The sample is large," she added, "and it includes cohorts from multiple European countries: the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece and Spain. We also used the same criteria for all of the cohorts, thereby reducing the heterogeneity of criteria that has hampered previous studies."
The study also analysed postnatal exposure to paracetamol and found no association between paracetamol use during childhood and ASC symptoms. Nevertheless, the research team concluded that further studies are needed, given the heterogeneity of postnatal paracetamol exposure among the various cohorts, which ranged from 6% to 92.8%.
The six cohorts included the study were as follows:
1. Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)
2. Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC)
3. Gene and Environment: Prospective Study on Infancy in Italy (GASPII)
4. Generation R Study
5. INMA (including four subcohorts)
6. Mother-Child Cohort in Crete (RHEA)
Waking just one hour earlier cuts depression risk by double digits
University of Colorado, May 28, 2021
Waking up just one hour earlier could reduce a person's risk of major depression by 23%, suggests a sweeping new genetic study published May 26 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
The study of 840,000 people, by researchers at University of Colorado Boulder and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, represents some of the strongest evidence yet that chronotype--a person's propensity to sleep at a certain time --influences depression risk.
It's also among the first studies to quantify just how much, or little, change is required to influence mental health.
As people emerge, post-pandemic, from working and attending school remotely-- a trend that has led many to shift to a later sleep schedule--the findings could have important implications.
"We have known for some time that there is a relationship between sleep timing and mood, but a question we often hear from clinicians is: How much earlier do we need to shift people to see a benefit?" said senior author Celine Vetter, assistant professor of integrative physiology at CU Boulder. "We found that even one-hour earlier sleep timing is associated with significantly lower risk of depression."
Previous observational studies have shown that night owls are as much as twice as likely to suffer from depression as early risers, regardless of how long they sleep. But because mood disorders themselves can disrupt sleep patterns, researchers have had a hard time deciphering what causes what.
Other studies have had small sample sizes, relied on questionnaires from a single time point, or didn't account for environmental factors which can influence both sleep timing and mood, potentially confounding results.
In 2018, Vetter published a large, long term study of 32,000 nurses showing that "early risers" were up to 27% less likely to develop depression over the course of four years, but that begged the question: What does it mean to be an early riser?
To get a clearer sense of whether shifting sleep time earlier is truly protective, and how much shift is required, lead author Iyas Daghlas, M.D., turned to data from the DNA testing company 23 and Me and the biomedical database UK Biobank. Daghlas then used a method called "Mendelian randomization" that leverages genetic associations to help decipher cause and effect.
"Our genetics are set at birth so some of the biases that affect other kinds of epidemiological research tend not to affect genetic studies," said Daghlas, who graduated in May from Harvard Medical School.
More than 340 common genetic variants, including variants in the so-called "clock gene" PER2, are known to influence a person's chronotype, and genetics collectively explains 12-42% of our sleep timing preference.
The researchers assessed deidentified genetic data on these variants from up to 850,000 individuals, including data from 85,000 who had worn wearable sleep trackers for 7 days and 250,000 who had filled out sleep-preference questionnaires. This gave them a more granular picture, down to the hour, of how variants in genes influence when we sleep and wake up.
In the largest of these samples, about a third of surveyed subjects self-identified as morning larks, 9% were night owls and the rest were in the middle. Overall, the average sleep mid-point was 3 a.m., meaning they went to bed at 11 p.m. and got up at 6 a.m.
With this information in hand, the researchers turned to a different sample which included genetic information along with anonymized medical and prescription records and surveys about diagnoses of major depressive disorder.
Using novel statistical techniques, they asked: Do those with genetic variants which predispose them to be early risers also have lower risk of depression?
The answer is a firm yes.
Each one-hour earlier sleep midpoint (halfway between bedtime and wake time) corresponded with a 23% lower risk of major depressive disorder.
This suggests that if someone who normally goes to bed at 1 a.m. goes to bed at midnight instead and sleeps the same duration, they could cut their risk by 23%; if they go to bed at 11 p.m., they could cut it by about 40%.
It's unclear from the study whether those who are already early risers could benefit from getting up even earlier. But for those in the intermediate range or evening range, shifting to an earlier bedtime would likely be helpful.
What could explain this effect?
Some research suggests that getting greater light exposure during the day, which early-risers tend to get, results in a cascade of hormonal impacts that can influence mood.
Others note that having a biological clock, or circadian rhythm, that trends differently than most peoples' can in itself be depressing.
"We live in a society that is designed for morning people, and evening people often feel as if they are in a constant state of misalignment with that societal clock," said Daghlas.
He stresses that a large randomized clinical trial is necessary to determine definitively whether going to bed early can reduce depression. "But this study definitely shifts the weight of evidence toward supporting a causal effect of sleep timing on depression."
For those wanting to shift themselves to an earlier sleep schedule, Vetter offers this advice:
"Keep your days bright and your nights dark," she says. "Have your morning coffee on the porch. Walk or ride your bike to work if you can, and dim those electronics in the evening."
Olive oil nutrient may help prevent brain cancer
University of Edinburgh, June 2, 2021
A compound found in olive oil may help to prevent cancer developing in the brain, a study shows.
The oily substance – one of a group of nutrients known as fatty acids – stimulates the production of a cell molecule whose function is to prevent cancer-causing proteins from forming.
The study team says it is too soon to say whether dietary consumption of olive oil may help prevent brain cancer.
Their findings, however, point towards possible therapies based on the oil to prevent brain cancer from occurring.
Scientists from the University analysed the effect of oleic acid on a cell molecule, known as miR-7, which is active in the brain and is known to suppress the formation of tumours.
They found that oleic acid prevents a cell protein, known as MSI2, from stopping production of miR-7.
In this way, the olive oil component supports the production of miR-7, which helps prevent tumours from forming.
Researchers made their discoveries in tests on human cell extracts and in living cells in the lab.
The study, published in the Journal of Molecular Biology, was funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.
"While we cannot yet say that olive oil in the diet helps prevent brain cancer, our findings do suggest that oleic acid can support the production of tumour-suppressing molecules in cells grown in the lab. Further studies could help determine the role that olive oil might have in brain health," says Dr Gracjan Michlewski.
Study: Boosting selenium intake can help reduce osteoporosis risk
Central South University (China), May 29, 2021
Researchers from China have found that increased selenium intake may reduce a person’s risk for osteoporosis. In their report, experts from Central South University in Changsha recruited over 6,200 participants and measured the bone mineral density in the middle phalanges of the second to fourth fingers of their non-dominant hand. The team then assessed the participants’ dietary patterns, particularly their selenium intake, through a validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire which the subjects answered twice within three weeks.
After analyzing the participants’ bone mineral density using a compact radiographic absorptiometry system, the team discovered that 9.6 percent of the subjects have osteoporosis. The majority of the cases were reported among women, with 19.7 percent having been diagnosed with the disease. Among men, only 2.3 percent were diagnosed with osteoporosis.
The researchers also compared the dietary data of those diagnosed with osteoporosis to those who were not. They found that there are significant differences between the participants in terms of age, gender, smoking and drinking habits, BMI, blood pressure levels, physical activity levels, nutrient supplementation, dietary calcium intake, dietary fiber intake and dietary energy intake. The factors above were measured as they are considered to be vital for the development and prevention of osteoporosis.
But most of all, the team observed a significant difference between the subjects with osteoporosis and those who don’t have the disease in terms of dietary selenium intake. The researchers found that those who have osteoporosis also have lower levels of dietary selenium consumption.
A person can increase his selenium intake by eating Brazil nuts, fish, shellfish, beef, turkey, chicken, fortified cereals, whole-wheat bread, beans, lentils and eggs. The recommended dietary allowance for selenium is 55 micrograms per day for adult men and women above 19 years old. For pregnant and lactating women, the recommended intake is between 60 to 70 micrograms per day.
However, in the study, which involved Chinese citizens, the participants’ selenium intake averaged only 43.5 micrograms per day. This is comparable to the average daily selenium intake of Europeans, which is 40 micrograms per day. The low selenium intake of both populations could be due to the low-selenium content of the soil in both areas.
Selenium and thyroid hormones
Selenium primarily functions in the body as an essential component of selenoproteins, composed of various enzymes and proteins that help protect the cells from damage and infections. Selenoproteins are also needed in producing DNA and in the metabolism of thyroid hormones. The thyroid glands have the highest concentration of selenium in the body.
In connection to thyroid hormones, the researchers postulated that low selenium levels might have increased the level of thyroid hormones in the blood, which may have caused an accelerated bone loss and osteoporosis in the subjects with low dietary selenium intake. Thyroid problems have indirect correlations with osteoporosis and are considered as secondary causes. This means that elevated thyroid hormone levels don’t directly cause osteoporosis, but they can influence how the body maintains a healthy mineral bone density.
In addition, hyperthyroidism, a thyroid disorder characterized by too much production of a thyroid hormone thyroxine, is considered as having a close link to the development of osteoporosis. This is because elevated levels of thyroxine accelerate the process of bone degradation, which is conducted by the osteoclasts. Osteoclasts are the cells that dissolvethe bones, initiating new bone production, which is conducted by another cell — the osteoblasts. Excessive thyroxine levels make the osteoclasts work faster than the osteoblasts, causing the bones to be fragile or brittle.
However, the researchers in the study did not confirm a causal relationship between dietary selenium intake and osteoporosis, but future studies are underway to provide support to their findings.
Juvenile selenium deficiency impairs cognition and energy homeostasis
University of Hawaii, May 26, 2021
According to news originating from Honolulu, Hawaii, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Selenium (Se) is an essential micronutrient of critical importance to mammalian life.”
The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from University of Hawaii: “Its biological effects are primarily mediated via co-translational incorporation into selenoproteins, as the unique amino acid, selenocysteine. These proteins play fundamental roles in redox signaling and includes the glutathione peroxidases and thioredoxin reductases. Environmental distribution of Se varies considerably worldwide, with concomitant effects on Se status in humans and animals. Dietary Se intake within a narrow range optimizes the activity of Se-dependent antioxidant enzymes, whereas both Se-deficiency and Se-excess can adversely impact health. Se-deficiency affects a significant proportion of the world’s population, with hypothyroidism, cardiomyopathy, reduced immunity, and impaired cognition being common symptoms. Although relatively less prevalent, Se-excess can also have detrimental consequences and has been implicated in promoting both metabolic and neurodegenerative disease in humans.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Herein, we sought to comprehensively assess the developmental effects of both Se-deficiency and Se-excess on a battery of neurobehavioral and metabolic tests in mice. Se-deficiency elicited deficits in cognition, altered sensorimotor gating, and increased adiposity, while Se-excess was surprisingly beneficial.”
Dr. Byram Bridle, Viral Immunologist, U of Guelph - Viral immunologist from the University of Guelph discussing latest discoveries about Covid vaccines and spike protein. An exclusive investigation separating rumor from fact in the origin of Covid-19.
***Numerous scientific insiders are signing onto the “lab origin” theory for Covid-19 and a link to controversial research funded by your tax dollars.
***High profile health figures who have attempted to “debunk” the lab origin theory are linked to funding and vaccine research partnerships with China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.
***The U.S.- Chinese research genetically engineered bat coronavirus so that it infected human airway cells in mice, in order to invent vaccines and other therapeutics.
***U.S. taxpayer money supported the controversial vaccine research with Chinese scientists through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Some support came from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), led by Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Go to SharylAttkisson.com for more.
Researchers study preventing cancer and diabetes with the maqui berry
NOVA Southeastern University of Florida, May 27, 2021
Aristotelia chilensis, also known as maqui berry, is a fruit-bearing shrub native to South America.
According to a study published in the journal Phytochemical Analysis, maqui berries are rich in anthocyanins, which give the fruits their dark purple color. Anthocyanins are plant pigments that possess many remarkable biological properties, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-cancer activities.
In a recent study, researchers at NOVA Southeastern University in Florida discussed the potential of Chilean maqui berry for use as a nutritional supplement that can help treat hyperinsulinemia and related diseases. Hyperinsulinemia, or higher-than-normal insulin levels, is often caused by insulin resistance, which is said to be the precursor to diabetes. Chronic hyperinsulinemia also promotes cancer growth by allowing insulin to exert its oncogenic effects, which include enhancing growth factor-dependent cell proliferation, among others.
The researchers discussed how Chilean maqui berry can help with insulin resistance and reduce cancer risk in an article published in the journal Food Science and Human Wellness.
The medicinal benefits of Chilean maqui berry
Researchers have long considered nutritional supplementation to be a possible alternative or adjunct treatment to conventional therapies for common ailments and diseases. According to recent studies, maqui berries can reduce postprandial insulin levels by as much as 50 percent and are just as effective as metformin at increasing insulin sensitivity and stabilizing blood glucose levels.
Maqui berries’ mechanism of action involves inhibiting sodium-dependent glucosetransporters in the small intestine and slowing the rate of entry of glucose in the bloodstream. Thanks to these actions, maqui berries can effectively reduce the likelihood of blood sugar spikes and prevent the corresponding rise in insulin levels that follows.
At the same time, maqui berries contribute to cancer prevention since chronically high blood glucose levels — besides chronic hyperinsulinemia — are also linked to the development of cancer. In fact, numerous studies have shown that diabetics and prediabetics have an elevated risk of developing cancerous growths.
Based on the findings of previous studies, the researchers believe that consistent supplementation with Chilean maqui berries could indirectly reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases that are promoted by hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hyperinsulinemia.
Studies reveal that social isolation and quarantine throughout the COVID-19 pandemic may have a detrimental impact on physical and mental health of people living with pre-existing conditions
University of Naples (Italy) and Teva Pharmaceuticals, May 30, 2021
Abstract 803: Impact of social isolation and quarantine on the course of diabetes mellitus and its complications during Covid 19 pandemic in Adjara Region Country of Georgia
Abstract 1337: Psychological distress in patients with hypocortisolism during mass quarantine for Covid-19 epidemic in Italy
Studies reveal that social isolation and quarantine throughout the COVID-19 pandemic may have a detrimental impact on people living with pre-existing conditions.
Social isolation and quarantine can have a detrimental impact on physical and mental health of people living with pre-existing conditions, according to two studies being presented at the 23rd European Congress of Endocrinology (e-ECE 2021)
The studies bring together research on the impact of social isolation and quarantine for people living with diabetes in the Adjara Region of Georgia, and on patients with hypocortisolism in Italy. Both studies reported that social isolation during the pandemic caused significant psychological and/or physical distress on the observed individuals.
Data from the first study revealed that the impact of quarantine on people living with diabetes in the Adjara Region caused blood pressure (BP) levels to increase in 88.2% of patients with 50% of these cases resulting in high BP hospitalisation. In addition to these physical factors, increased feelings of anxiety and fear were observed on 82% of patients. In the second study, patients with hypocortisolism experienced increased anxiety and depression, associated with a dissatisfaction feeling of self and a reduced resiliency, when compared with Italian healthy controls. As these are all contributing factors to overall health deterioration, these findings suggest further research is required to allow patients with pre-existing conditions to remain fit and healthy during the current pandemic.
In the Adjara Region study, Dr Liana Jashi and the research team disseminated an online questionnaire and collected answers from 16 endocrinologists and 22 family and general practice doctors. The study confirmed the negative, indirect effects social isolation and quarantine had on people living with diabetes. It reported a list of negative effects such as the reduced access to medical care, weight gain and increased cigarette and alcohol consumption. Physical activity decreased by 29.8%, a vital preventative to further physical and psychological problems.
"This study highlights that people living with diabetes require greater support during pandemics to maintain exercise and protect their physical and mental health. National health services should use these data and future studies to implement better social care around supporting people with pre-existing conditions," commented Dr Jashi.
In the second study, Dr Chiara Simeoli at the University of Naples reported data collected during the last three weeks of the mass quarantine lasted 2 months in Italy, in a web-survey-based, multicenter, case- control research involving 12 different Italian centres. The study confirmed that a large cohort of 478 patients with hypocortisolism, and particularly, 363 with adrenal insufficiency and 115 with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, adequately treated with glucocorticoids, showed higher anxiety and depression, associated with a dissatisfaction feeling of self and a reduced resiliency, when compared with Italian healthy controls, suggesting the detrimental impact of social isolation on mental health of these patients, particularly frail and vulnerable to infections and stress. Moreover, patients with adrenal insufficiency reported a worse quality of life than patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
"These findings confirmed that beyond the huge impact on physical health, COVID-19 epidemic, social isolation and mass quarantine represent significant psychological stressors, causing severe effects on mental health, even more on people with pre-existing conditions. An empowerment of psychological counselling for these vulnerable patients during COVID-19 should be considered by national health-care services," adds Dr Simeoli.
Both studies indicate that additional larger studies over a longer period of time are needed for further investigation.
Researchers discover link between local oxygen depletion in the brain and Alzheimer's disease
University of Seville (Spain), May 24, 2021
The study, published in the journal Nature Aging and led by the laboratories of Dr. Alberto Pascual (CSIC), from the Neuronal Maintenance Mechanisms Group, and Prof. Javier Vitorica (University of Seville/CIBERNED) of the Physiopathology of Alzheimer's Disease Group at IBiS, demonstrates for the first time that low oxygen levels in the so-called senile plaques in the brain reduces the immune system's defensive capacity against the disease.
The study also suggests that this lack of oxygen in the brain enhances the action of disorders associated with Alzheimer's disease that are characterized by low systemic oxygen levels, such as atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases.
What happens in the brain?
A characteristic feature of Alzheimer's patients is the accumulation of highly toxic substances in their brains, known as senile plaques. The brain has an immune system whose main component are the microglial cells, which were first described and named 100 years ago by Pío del Río Hortega, a disciple of Ramón y Cajal. In the absence of damage, these cells facilitate the neurons' function. In response to Alzheimer's disease, microglia defend neurons by surrounding senile plaques, preventing their spread in the brain and decreasing damage.
Alzheimer's disease is aggravated by other pathologies, such as cardiovascular diseases, which cause a decrease in oxygen levels in the body. This study has revealed reduced oxygen levels around senile plaques, compromising microglial activity (Image, center). When this is compounded by reduced oxygen supply to the brain due to other systemic pathologies, the microglia are unable to provide protection and there is an increase in the pathology associated with the disease.
Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia in Spain and around the world. In Spain, its incidence is increasing dramatically as the population ages. Unfortunately, the origin of the disease remains unknown.
The mechanism proposed in this study is mediated by the expression of the HIF1 molecule, whose discoverers received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2019. Increased HIF1 levels compromise the mitochondrial activity of microglial cells and limit their protective capacity against disease.
This study opens new lines of research to improve the metabolic capacity of microglia, which would enable a sustained response over time against the disease. Indirectly, the study supports previous work highlighting the importance of maintaining good cardiovascular health for healthy aging.
Effect of different doses of melatonin on learning and memory deficit in Alzheimer model
Guilan University of Medical Sciences (Iran), May 21, 2021
According to news reporting out of Rasht, Iran, research stated, “Alzheimer Disease (AD) is an age-related neurodegenerative disorder with a progressive impairment of cognitive function. The pineal gland hormone melatonin (MEL) has been known as a protection agent against AD.”
Our news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Guilan University of Medical Sciences: “However, the effect of melatonin in various doses is inconsistent. In this study, we aimed to investigate two doses of MEL on learning and memory in the amyloid-beta (Ab)-induced AD in the rats. Forty-eight male Wistar rats were used in the experiment and randomly divided control, sham, vehicle, AD, AD+MEL10 mg/kg, and AD+MEL 20 mg/kg groups. Intracerebroventricular injection of Ab1-42 was used to develop the animal model of AD. Also, MEL-treated groups received an intraperitoneal injection of MEL for 4 next weeks. The Morris Water Maze (MWM) and Passive Avoidance Learning (PAL) tests were used to examine animals’ learning and memory. The brain of animals was removed for immunohistochemistry for anti- Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP). Intra-peritoneal injection of MEL significantly improve learning and memory in MWM (P=0.000) and PAL test (P=0.000), but there were no significant changes in the two groups that received the melatonin (P>0.05). Histopathological analysis revealed that the clearance of APP deposition in the AD+MEL20 group was considerable compared with the AD+MEL10 group (P=0.000).”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Our findings indicate that 10 and 20 mg/kg doses of melatonin have similar results on learning and memory in the AD model. But 20 mg/kg of melatonin has significantly more effect on the clearance of APP deposition.”
Effects of flaxseed on blood pressure, body mass index, and total cholesterol in hypertensive patients: A randomized clinical trial
Lorestan University of Medical Sciences (Iran), May 25, 2021
Given the antioxidant properties of flaxseed and its biologically active ingredients, this study was conducted to determine the effects of flaxseed supplementation on body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, and total cholesterol levels in patients with hypertension.
In this triple-blind clinical trial, 112 patients, with an age range of 35 to 70 years, were randomized to 2 groups receiving 10 g (n=45) and 30 g (n=45) of flaxseed supplementation and 1 group receiving placebo (n=45) for 12 weeks by stratified block randomization. They were evaluated in terms of systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), BMI, and total serum cholesterol. Physical activity was measured using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire–Short Form (IPAQ–SF) and food intake was assessed using the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). The data were analyzed with SPSS, version 22, using the chi-square, Kruskal–Wallis, repeated measures analysis, ANOVA, and ANCOVA tests.
The interaction effects among the study groups and time on the mean SBP (p = 0.001), DBP (p = 0.001), total cholesterol level (p = 0.032), and BMI (p < 0.001) were significant. During the study, the 30-g group achieved the best results, so that a 13.38-unit decrease in SBP was observed compared to a 1.72 unit increase in the placebo group and a 5.6-unit decrease in DBP was measured compared to a 2.39 unit increase in the placebo group. BMI decreased by 0.86 units compared to 0.06 units in the placebo group. Total cholesterol also decreased by 20.4 units compared to 11.86 units in the placebo group.
The results of this study showed that flaxseed can be effective in reducing blood pressure, total cholesterol, and body mass index in hypertensive patients in a twelve-week period.
Study: Don't count on caffeine to fight sleep deprivation
Michigan State University, May 27, 2021
Rough night of sleep? Relying on caffeine to get you through the day isn't always the answer, says a new study from Michigan State University.
Researchers from MSU's Sleep and Learning Lab, led by psychology associate professor Kimberly Fenn, assessed how effective caffeine was in counteracting the negative effects of sleep deprivation on cognition. As it turns out, caffeine can only get you so far.
The study -- published in the most recent edition of Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition -- assessed the impact of caffeine after a night of sleep deprivation. More than 275 participants were asked to complete a simple attention task as well as a more challenging "placekeeping" task that required completion of tasks in a specific order without skipping or repeating steps.
Fenn's study is the first to investigate the effect of caffeine on placekeeping after a period of sleep deprivation.
"We found that sleep deprivation impaired performance on both types of tasks and that having caffeine helped people successfully achieve the easier task. However, it had little effect on performance on the placekeeping task for most participants," Fenn said.
She added: "Caffeine may improve the ability to stay awake and attend to a task, but it doesn't do much to prevent the sort of procedural errors that can cause things like medical mistakes and car accidents."
Insufficient sleep is pervasive in the United States, a problem that has intensified during the pandemic, Fenn said. Consistently lacking adequate sleep not only affects cognition and alters mood, but can eventually take a toll on immunity.
"Caffeine increases energy, reduces sleepiness and can even improve mood, but it absolutely does not replace a full night of sleep, Fenn said. "Although people may feel as if they can combat sleep deprivation with caffeine, their performance on higher-level tasks will likely still be impaired. This is one of the reasons why sleep deprivation can be so dangerous."
Fenn said that the study has the potential to inform both theory and practice.
"If we had found that caffeine significantly reduced procedural errors under conditions of sleep deprivation, this would have broad implications for individuals who must perform high stakes procedures with insufficient sleep, like surgeons, pilots and police officers," Fenn said. "Instead, our findings underscore the importance of prioritizing sleep."
Parkinson's disease more likely in people with depression, study suggests
Umea University (Sweden), May 21 2021
People with depression may be more likely to develop the movement disorder Parkinson's disease, according to new research published in Neurology.
According to the authors of the study, depression is more common in people with Parkinson's disease than those without the movement disorder.
"We saw this link between depression and Parkinson's disease over a timespan of more than 2 decades, so depression may be a very early symptom of Parkinson's disease or a risk factor for the disease," says study co-author Prof. Peter Nordström, at Umeå University in Sweden.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects how a person moves, including how they speak and write. As well as problems with movement, Parkinson's disease can also cause cognitive problems, neurobehavioral problems and sensory difficulties.
The authors of the study state that depression is more common in patients with Parkinson's disease than in members of the general population. The mood disorder has a major influence on health-related quality of life and could also be involved in more rapid deterioration of cognitive and motor functions.
However, few studies have investigated this association for periods of longer than 10 years, with any long-term findings so far inconclusive.
For the study, the researchers used a cohort consisting of all Swedish citizens aged 50 years and above as of December 31st, 2005. From this group, they then took the 140,688 people diagnosed with depression .
These individuals were each matched with three control participants (a total of 421,718 controls) of the same age and sex who had not been diagnosed with depression.
The participants were then followed for up to 26 years. A total of 1,485 people with depression (1.1%) developed Parkinson's disease during this time, compared with 1,775 of those who did not have depression (0.4%).
On average, Parkinson's disease was diagnosed 4.5 years after the beginning of the study, with the likelihood of the disorder developing decreasing over time.
No sibling link found for depression and Parkinson's disease
The researchers calculated that participants with depression were 3.2 times more likely than those without depression to develop Parkinson's disease within a year of the study beginning. After 15-25 years, the researchers found participants with depression were almost 50% more likely to develop the condition.
If a participant's depression was severe, their likelihood of developing Parkinson's disease was also higher. For example, those who had been hospitalized for depression five or more times were 40% more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than participants who had been hospitalized for depression just once.
In addition to these observations, the researchers examined siblings. No link was found between one sibling having Parkinson's disease and the other having depression.
"This finding gives us more evidence that these two diseases are linked," says Prof. Nordström. "If the diseases were independent of each other but caused by the same genetic or early environmental factors, then we would expect to see the two diseases group together in siblings, but that didn't happen."
The authors suggest there are a number of mechanisms that could explain their findings. Depression or antidepressive treatment could increase the risk of Parkinson's disease, depression could be an early symptom of Parkinson's disease, or that the two conditions could share environmental causative factors.
In the paper, the authors acknowledge that they are unable to evaluate the potential role of substances used in antidepressive treatment as risk factors for Parkinson's disease. The study is an observational one and cannot determine causation.
"Our findings suggest a direct association between depression and subsequent [Parkinson's disease], supported by a time-dependent hazard ratio, a dose-response pattern for recurrent depression, and a lack of evidence for coaggregation among siblings," the authors conclude.
"Given that the association was significant over more than two decades of follow-up, depression may be a very early prodromal symptom of or a causal risk factor for [Parkinson's disease]."
Elsewhere, a study published in December previously suggested that users of methamphetamine are at three times more risk of getting Parkinson's disease than people who do not use illegal drugs.
Exposing the lies behind the Covid-19 pandemic and the motivations behind it
Ronnie Cummins is the co-founder and International Director of the Organic Consumers Association and its Mexican affiliate Via Organica, the largest non-profit organization serving over 2 million consumers to safeguard organic standards and promote healthy sustainable agriculture and commerce. In the 1990s, he was a director of the Foundation for Economic Trends in Washington DC. With almost a million members, the Association is a non profit public interest organization campaigning for sustainable health and justice on critical issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, Fair Trade and environmental sustainability. Ronnie has been a life-long activist in the human rights, anti-nuclear, labor and agricultural movements. His writings appear on numerous alternative, independent news including Commondreams, Truthout, and Huffington Post. He is the author of “Genetically Engineered Foods: A Self Defense Guide for Consumers” and has just released a new book co-authored with Dr. Joseph Mercola, "The Truth About Covid-19: Exposing the Great Reset, Lockdowns, Vaccine Passports and the New Normal" which exquisitely goes into each of these topics. His organization’s website is www.OrganicConsumers.org