The Gary Null Show
The Gary Null Show - 07.30.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.30.21

July 30, 2021

Lawsuit at the US Dept Human Health Services over Intentional Misreporting of Covid vaccine deaths and injuries

 

Ana Garner is an attorney who has been practicing law in New Mexico for 40 years.  She holds a degree in biology from the University of New Mexico and received a law JD from the University of Mexico's Law School. Later her experience in medical litigation earned her a position at the university's law school. She is now leading the state's Stand Up mission to challenge the government's overreaching programs that have been depriving Americans of their liberties and contributing to untold physical, mental and economic hardships.  Following graduation Ana pursued a law practice in medical malpractice and injuries. Last December, she and three other attorneys filed a case against New Mexico's governor and state public health officials on the handling of Covid pandemic. She is also a member of a legal team representing America's Frontline Doctors in a lawsuit filed in Alabama against the US Department of Health and Human Services for grossly misreporting and misrepresenting the number of deaths from deaths following vaccination with the Covid vaccines.  Ana's group's website is NMStandsUp.org

The Gary Null Show - 07.29.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.29.21

July 29, 2021

Mediterranean-style diets linked to better brain function in older adults

American Geriatrics Society, July 26, 2021

Eating foods included in two healthy diets--the Mediterranean or the MIND diet--is linked to a lower risk for memory difficulties in older adults, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, potatoes, nuts, olive oil and fish. Processed foods, fried and fast foods, snack foods, red meat, poultry and whole-fat dairy foods are infrequently eaten on the Mediterranean diet.

The MIND diet is a version of the Mediterranean diet that includes 15 types of foods. Ten are considered "brain-healthy:" green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, seafood, poultry, olive oil, and wine. Five are considered unhealthy: red meat, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries, sweets and fried/fast foods.

Researchers examined information from 5,907 older adults who participated in the Health and Retirement Study. The participants filled out questionnaires about their eating habits. Researchers then measured the participants' cognitive abilities--mostly on their memory and attention skills.

The researchers compared the diets of participants to their performance on the cognitive tests. They found that older people who ate Mediterranean and MIND-style diets scored significantly better on the cognitive function tests than those who ate less healthy diets. In fact, older people who ate a Mediterranean-style diet had 35% lower risk of scoring poorly on cognitive tests. Even those who ate a moderate Mediterranean-style diet had 15% lower risk of doing poorly on cognitive tests. The researchers noted similar results for people who ate MIND-style diets.

This study suggests that eating Mediterranean and MIND-style diets is linked to better overall cognitive function in older adults, said the researchers. What's more, older adults who followed these healthy diets had lower risks for having cognitive impairment in later life, noted the researchers.

 

 

Postmenopausal women can dance their way to better health

New study suggests that dancing improves cholesterol levels, physical fitness, self-image, and self-esteem in postmenopausal women

North American Menopause Society, July 28, 2021

Women often struggle with managing their weight and other health risk factors, such as high cholesterol, once they transition through menopause. A new study suggests that dancing may effectively lower cholesterol levels, improve fitness and body composition and in the process, improve self-esteem. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

After menopause, women are more likely to experience weight gain, overall/central body adiposity increases, and metabolic disturbances, such as increases in triglycerides and bad cholesterol. Together, these changes ultimately increase cardiovascular risk. Around this same time, women often are less physically active, which translates into reductions in lean mass and an increased risk of falls and fractures. As a result of all these changes, postmenopausal women often suffer from decreased self-image and self-esteem, which are directly related to overall mental health.

Physical activity has been shown to minimize some of the many health problems associated with menopause. The effect of dancing, specifically, has already been investigated with regard to how it improves body composition and functional fitness. Few studies, however, have investigated the effects of dance on body image, self-esteem, and physical fitness together in postmenopausal women.

This new study was designed to analyze the effects of dance practice on body composition, metabolic profile, functional fitness, and self-image/self-esteem in postmenopausal women. Although the sample size was small, the study suggested some credible benefits of a three-times-weekly dance regimen in improving not only the lipid profile and functional fitness of postmenopausal women but also self-image and self-esteem.

Dance therapy is seen as an attractive option because it is a pleasant activity with low associated costs and low risk of injury for its practitioners. Additional confirmed benefits of regular dancing include improvement in balance, postural control, gait, strength, and overall physical performance. All of these benefits may contribute to a woman’s ability to maintain an independent, high-quality lifestyle throughout her lifespan.

Study results are published in the article “Dance practice modifies functional fitness, lipid profile, and self-image in postmenopausal women.”

“This study highlights the feasibility of a simple intervention, such as a dance class three times weekly, for improving not only fitness and metabolic profile but also self-image and self-esteem in postmenopausal women. In addition to these benefits, women also probably enjoyed a sense of comradery from the shared experience of learning something new,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

 

 

Impact of vitamin D on response to anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha therapy in children with inflammatory bowel disease

Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, July 20, 2021

According to news reporting originating in Boston, Massachusetts, research stated, “Experimental studies have shown that vitamin D has an immunomodulatory effect on the innate and adaptive immune systems. Associations between vitamin D deficiency and development or progression of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are reported, but a cause-and-effect relationship between pretreatment 25 hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels and response to anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha (anti-TNF) therapy is not established.”

The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from MassGeneral Hospital for Children, “This retrospective study evaluated pediatric IBD patients who had 25(OH)D levels drawn within 3 months of initiating infliximab and/or adalimumab treatment. Demographic features, Paris classification, baseline 25(OH)D levels, disease activity, and laboratory results before and after 3 months of anti-TNF therapy were collected. The interaction between vitamin D insufficiency at induction and lack of response to anti-TNF therapy at 3 months was determined. Of the 383 patients, 76 met inclusion criteria. Sixty-five patients (85.5%) had Crohn disease (CD) and 11 (14.5%) had ulcerative colitis. Seven patients had 25(OH)D levels obtained during both infliximab and adalimumab induction; hence 83 subjects were evaluated (infliximab: 70 patients, adalimumab: 13 patients). 25(OH)D <30 ng/mL was found in 55 of 83 (66.3%) subjects. There were no differences in gender, IBD type, disease activity scores between vitamin D-sufficient and vitamin D-insufficient groups. In CD, proximal gastrointestinal tract inflammation was associated with vitamin D insufficiency (P = 0.019), but other Paris classification parameters and laboratory results were similar in 2 groups. Early termination of anti-TNF therapy was significantly higher in patients who had vitamin D insufficiency (14.5% vs 0%, P = 0.034).”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Vitamin D insufficiency before anti-TNF treatment may result in poor response to induction therapy.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

Exploring empathy in everyday life

University of Toronto, July 27, 2021

 

Researchers at the University of Toronto are studying our capacity for empathy, or our ability to sense and understand someone else's emotions, and are debunking some common misconceptions along the way.

Their work, recently published in the journal Psychological Science, is potentially important since empathy is fundamental to maintaining meaningful and healthy relationships, making it a big part of our daily lives.

"We want to get a description of empathy by looking at it in everyday life, across different emotions and social contexts," says Greg Depow, a Ph.D. student who is studying social psychology at U of T Scarborough.

"We want to study empathy more in environments closer to how it is actually experienced in real life."

The study, which was co-authored with Professor Michael Inzlicht, looked at perceptions of empathy in 246 American adults. Depow says one goal of the research is to fill in gaps from previous work to offer a deeper, more authentic view of empathy. This was done by looking at who is more likely to be empathetic and how often we take the opportunity to empathize per day. The research also looked at how empathy impacts subjective well-being, which is the scientific term for happiness and sense of purpose in life.

Opportunities to empathize with others occur when one observes the emotions of another person or stranger. This can be done in person or even on social media—for example, when you notice a friend's emotional status or posts.

The researchers found that people will empathize when they recognize the opportunity to do so, but often notice other people's emotions without flagging them as opportunities to empathize.

"People were seeing these emotional experiences of other people, but weren't flagging them as opportunities to empathize," Depow says. "If you crunch the numbers a bit, it seems as though a third of emotions people see in daily life are not seen as empathy opportunities."

Learning what differentiates missed and flagged opportunities may be key to learning how to recognize and provide opportunities empathy more successfully, Depow says.

"One thing that I'm interested in is differentiating missed opportunities from the ones people are noticing. This is important because people may be missing opportunities to connect with others and promote happiness for both parties."

While previous studies have typically focused on how empathy is measured based on the suffering of strangers and its effects on the empathizer, it turns out people are three times more likely to empathize with positive emotions than negative ones.

"If I look just at negative emotions that people are empathizing with, that's actually associated with reduced subjective well-being," Depow says. "[But] because people are empathizing with positive emotions three times as often, overall empathy is associated with increased subjective well-being."

Who we empathize with is also an important factor. Most studies tend to focus on how people empathize with strangers, but Depow says the evidence shows that people are more likely to support those who are close to them.

He adds that confidence appears to affect our experience with empathy. People who are confident about their experiences seem to experience increased levels of well-being.

"People find empathy difficult more or less in different situations and that seems to change people's experience of empathy and the extent to which they empathize."

The researchers also found that receiving empathy ourselves may make us more receptive to empathizing with others. By contrast, those who empathized with others were no more or less likely to notice another opportunity to empathize with someone else.

 

Lycopene corrects metabolic syndrome and liver injury induced by high fat diet through antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifibrotic pathways

Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University (Saudi Arabia), July 22, 2021

According to news reporting from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, research stated, “Obesity is a global epidemic disease that is closely associated with various health problems as Diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular, and metabolic disorders. Lycopene (LYC), a red-colored carotenoid, has demonstrated various promising therapeutic effects.”

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, “Hence, the potential of LYC was studied against high fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity and metabolic disturbances in rats. Animals fed on HFD and orally supplemented with LYC (25 and 50 mg/kg) or simvastatin (10 mg/kg) every day for 3 months. The results revealed that long-term consumption of HFD significantly increased weight gain, liver weight, cholesterol, triglycerides (TG), apolipoprotein-B (Apo-B), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-c) levels, as well as decreasing the high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-c) levels. Moreover, high blood glucose and insulin levels accompanied by low peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPAR-g) were recorded in HFD group. Further, HFD rats displayed lower levels of antioxidant biomarkers (SOD, CAT, GPx, GR and GSH), in addition to higher levels of MDA, NO and inflammatory mediators (IL-1b, TNF-a, and MPO). Marked increases were observed in atherogenic index, lactate dehydrogenase and creatine kinase together with fibrosis markers (TGF-b1 and a-SMA) in rats fed on HFD. Comparing to model group, LYC was able to effectively reverse HFD-mediated alterations at dose dependent manner. Altogether, dietary supplementation of LYC successfully reversed HFD-induced alterations through its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fibrotic properties.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Hence, LYC displayed a therapeutic potential to manage obesity and its associated pathologies.”

 

 

Olive Oil Improves Metabolic & Cardiovascular Parameters

 

Sapienza University (Italy), July 1, 2021

 

Unrefined and mechanically-extracted from olives, extra virgin olive oil is abundant in monounsaturated fat.   Francesco Violi, from Sapienza University (Italy),, and colleagues enrolled 25 healthy men and women, who consumed meals consisting of a typical Mediterranean diet– abundant in fruits, vegetables and grains, with fish as the protein source.  For one meal, they also consumed an additional 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) of extra virgin olive oil; for the second meal, the subjects consumed an additional 10 grams of corn oil.  Blood tests conducted before and two hours after the meals revealed that blood sugar rose after eating in all the participants (a normal reaction); but blood sugar rose much less post-meal among those who consumed olive oil (as compared corn oil).  Further, the team observed that after meals with corn oil, participants had significantly higher levels of LDL cholesterol (as compared to the extra virgin olive oil meals). The study authors conclude that: “[extra virgin olive oil] improves post-prandial glucose and LDL-C, an effect that may account for the antiatherosclerotic effect of the Mediterranean diet.”

 

 

 

Melatonin May Improve Survival in Late-Stage Lung Cancer Patients After Surgical Resection

Study finds benefits for recurrence prevention and mortality

Seattle Integrative Oncology, June 30, 2021

 

Study Objective

To evaluate the impact of melatonin on lung cancer recurrence and mortality after surgical resection within a 5-year period, as well as to elaborate on impacts of quality of life, symptoms, and immune function

Design

Multicenter, 2-arm, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase 3, randomized, controlled trial with participants receiving 20 mg melatonin versus placebo

Participants

Adults with primary non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) eligible for complete surgical resection participated in the study. Researchers excluded patients if they were already taking melatonin, had an incomplete resection, or were pregnant or breastfeeding. They enrolled and randomized a total of 709 patients (356 melatonin group, 353 placebo group) from across 8 centers. Mean age was 67.2 ± 8.5 years. In the melatonin group, 46.6% of participants were male, and 40.7% of participants in the placebo group were male. Of the participants, 2.2% in the melatonin group received preoperative chemotherapy or radiation versus 3.9% of the placebo group. In the melatonin group, 13.2% were current smokers, and 14.6% of the placebo group were current smokers. The melatonin group had 78.6% who were past smokers, and 73.9% of the placebo group were past smokers.

Study Parameters Assessed

The 2 groups of lung cancer patients, those taking melatonin and those not taking melatonin, were compared using numerous statistical tests to see if melatonin delayed the cancer from progressing or increased how long the patients survived. The primary outcome was 2-year disease-free survival (DFS). DFS up to 5 years post-surgery was also compared to Kaplan-Meier curves.

Practice Implications

Melatonin has long been a favorite substance used within the naturopathic and allopathic medicine world for its notable benefits in addressing insomnia and circadian regulation.1

This study’s relevance goes beyond improvements in sleep, as it speaks to the potential for improvement in survival, specifically for late-stage lung cancer patients.

Lung cancer continues to be the cancer with the second-highest incidence in both sexes, behind prostate cancer for men and breast cancer for women; it also has the highest mortality rate among all cancers for both sexes around the world.2 Additionally, there has been a trend of new cancer diagnoses in nonsmokers who tend to be women with adenocarcinoma, found at a later and more advanced stage.3 All these factors have us looking for more avenues for improved treatment with less impact on quality of life.

Studies looking at the benefit of melatonin in NSCLC patients undergoing chemotherapy show favorable outcomes, specifically in enhancing effectiveness of chemotherapy and reducing toxicity.4 There have been fewer studies looking at outcomes following surgical resection, which makes this current study significant.

Melatonin continues to be studied, with recent articles referencing its multitude of benefits.5 There are many therapeutic potentials for this substance for lung cancer, as well as a variety of other tumor types. Gurunathan et al mention specifically in their review that “The combination of melatonin with conventional drugs improves the drug sensitivity of cancers, including solid and liquid tumors.”

Further studies ideally should also look at the combination of melatonin with some of the more novel oral-targeted medications such as erlotinib and osimertinib, which clinicians are implementing as first-line treatment for late-stage disease.

We as clinicians are eternally searching for methods to improve quality of life and extend survival for our patients. Although the numbers of late-stage patients in this trial were small, the implications are very positive and will likely help to usher in similar studies.

This study will likely encourage more practitioners to supplement their stage III and stage IV NSCLC patients with 20 mg of melatonin, especially after surgical resection. However, given the abundance of data on benefit during chemotherapy as well, there is a greater likelihood that the majority of late-stage patients would benefit from the addition of melatonin.

 

The Gary Null Show - 07.28.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.28.21

July 28, 2021

CoQ10 supplementation associated with improved trauma patient outcomes

Urmia University of Medical Sciences (Iran) July 23 2021. 

 

Findings from a trial reported on July 12, 2021 in the Journal of Nutritional Science revealed benefits for hospitalized traumapatients who were given supplements that contained coenzyme Q10. 

The trial enrolled 40 men and women with traumatic injury and low plasma levels of CoQ10. Participants received a placebo or 400 milligrams CoQ10 daily for seven days. Blood samples collected at the beginning and end of the trial were analyzed for interleukin 6 (IL-6), which may be elevated during inflammation, and the oxidative stress markers malondialdehyde (MDA) and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). Body composition was also assessed at these time points, as well secondary outcomes that included Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) and the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). 

While interleukin-6 levels at the beginning of the study were similar between the CoQ10 and placebo groups at an average of 175.05 pg/mL and 177.82 pg/mL, they were reduced by 76.99 pg/mL in the CoQ10 group and 17.35 pg/mL in the placebo group. MDA values averaged 232.37 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL) and 239.96 pg/mL and were lowered by 88.84 pg/ml among participants who received CoQ10 and by 26.23 pg/mL among those who received a placebo. In comparison with the placebo group, fat free mass, skeletal muscle mass and body cell mass increased among those who received CoQ10. GCS and SOFA scores, and duration of hospital stay, ICU stay and ventilator use also improved among treated patients. 

“To date, no randomized clinical trial study has been conducted to evaluate the effect of CoQ10 supplementation in traumatic mechanical ventilated patients and we hypothesized that CoQ10 administration in these patients could have beneficial effects on biochemical and clinical factors,” the authors wrote. “We have shown that CoQ10 could improve some of the clinical and anthropometric parameters in patients with a traumatic injury.”

 

 

Nigella sativa (black seed) prevents covid-induced vascular damage, scientists conclude 

 Oriental Institute of Science and Technology (India), July 27, 2021

New research published in the journal Vascular Pharmacology shows that Nigella sativa, also known as black seed or black cumin, binds to ACE2 in the lungs, effectively stopping the Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19) from inducing inflammation and vascular damage.

Researchers out of India investigated the effects of nigellidine, an indazole alkaloid of black seed, using molecular docking for binding to different angiotensin-binding proteins, as well as the Chinese Virus spike glycoprotein. They found that nigellidine “strongly binds” to the Chinese Virus spike protein at what is known as the hinge region or active site opening, which may in turn hamper its binding to the nCoV2-ACE2 surface.

“Nigellidine effectively binds in the Angiotensin-II binding site / entry pocket,” the study explains. “Nigellidine showed strong binding to mono / multi-meric ACE1.”

This process of ACE blocking could, the study goes on to suggest, restore angiotensin levels and restrict vasoturbulence in Chinese Virus patients, while the receptor blocking could help to stop resulting inflammation and vascular impairment.

“Nigellidine may slow down the vaso-fluctuations due to Angiotensin deregulations in Covid patients,” the paper further explains.

“Angiotensin II-ACE2 binding (ACE-value -294.81) is more favorable than nigellidine-ACE2. Conversely, nigellidine-ACE1 binding-energy / Ki is lower than nigellidine-ACE2 values indicating a balanced-state between constriction-dilatation.”

Nigellidine also binds to the viral spike proteins, which when taken by Chinese Virus patients, and especially those who fall in the elderly category, could greatly reduce their risk of suffering complications or death.

Nigellidine impairs SARS-CoV-2 infection, “cytokine storm” through numerous mechanisms

In a related study that was published last year in the journal Europe PMC, researchers learned that nigellidine inhibits the Chinese Virus infection in several other ways.

It was discovered early on in the “pandemic” that many of those who tested “positive” for the virus were suffering associated “cytokine storms,” in which their immune systems were over-responding and causing more damage, or even death.

Nigellidine was then studied and discovered to possess certain properties that inhibit cytokine storms, as well as impede the SARS CoV-2 virus from causing infection. It is also hepato- and reno-protective, meaning it protects against liver damage.

Beyond this, nigellidine was determined to possess unique immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory characteristics, as well as antioxidant potential strong enough to inhibit important proteins associated with the Chinese Virus.

In their quest to uncover possible “drug” candidates to protect patients against hyper-inflammation and other associated problems, the researchers learned that nigellidine – and more than likely other black seed constituents – helps tremendously with preventing negative side effects.

Along with nigellicine, nigellidine is found in the seed coat of Nigella sativa. Both of these constituents in their sulfated forms are extremely bioavailable, and along with thymoquinone and dithymoquinone, two other black seed components, they show strong antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects.

Black seed extracts have been shown in other experiments to decrease oxidative stress, effectively lowering the risk of inflammation-related diseases. We now know that this includes the Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19).

Black seed is also recognized as a metabolic protector, helping to improve lipid and blood sugar levels.

“Most importantly, in SARS CoV-2 infection ACE-2 mediated impairment of aldosterone system may be repaired by,” the study further explains, providing relevant information to the current “pandemic.”

“Vasorelaxant and anti-hypertensive function of [black seed] helps in the modulation of renin angiotensin system (RAS) or the diuretic activity, which is one of the major targets of COVID. It might have great protective role during post infective secondary disorder of the peripheral vasculature namely cardiac and renal systems. In most of the instances patients die due to this organ dysfunction/failure in COVID-19 infection.”

By quelling inflammation, black seed could save lives from covid

Laboratory studies have found that intake of Nigella sativa significantly improves the parameters for hyperglycemia and diabetes control, as well as glycated hemoglobin and insulin resistance.

Based on this, experts believe that nigellidine specifically could play an important role in fighting the Chinese Virus by “docking” to the proteins and inflammatory molecules that can cause a cytokine storm – mainly TNF-? receptors such as TNFR1, TNFR2 and IL1R.

“In the experimental rat model the source of this drug Nigella sativa; black cumin seed extracts were tested for its role on antioxidant, hepatic and renal status,” the paper states. “This work will help in the urgent therapeutic intervention against COVID-19 global pandemic.”

“In the current study, we have decisively shown by molecular modeling that nigellidine can bind in the active sites of several important proteins of SARS CoV 2, several host receptors specific for SARS CoV-2 induced inflammatory markers IL1, IL6, TNF-?. Moreover, the extract from black cumin seed has been shown in experimental rat to be highly antioxidative, hepato- and reno-protective. Further studies are necessary to verify the potential effects of nigellidine in in vivo laboratory experimental animal model.”

 

Vitamin D supplementation improves recovery time of children with pneumonia at pediatric hospital

Cairo University (Egypt), July 20, 2021

According to news reporting originating from Cairo, Egypt, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Despite the well-recognized effect of vitamin D in metabolism and homeostasis, there is now growing interest in its probable association with pneumonia. This study aims to supply vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) (100,000 IU) to pneumonic children to minimize the duration of illness and improve their outcome.”

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from Cairo University, “A double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in a Pediatric Cairo University affiliated hospital. An intervention arm (93 children) and a control arm (98 children), who had pneumonia with an insufficient or deficient level of vitamin D and whose parental permission was obtained, were enrolled in the trial. All children were treated with antibiotics according to WHO guidelines. Children were given a single injection of 1 mL of 100,000 IU of vitamin D3 or placebo. Clinical data were recorded every eight hours for all children. Outcomes were assessed 7 days after vitamin D injection. The primary outcome variable was the change in serum level of 25(OH)D, while the secondary outcomes were the medical state of the assigned cases (improvement or death) and duration between enrollment and hospital discharge for improved cases. In the supplementation group, the percentage of patients who suffered either deficient (38.7%) or insufficient levels (61.3%) of 25 (OH)D at day one had significantly decreased in the seventh day to (11.8%) and (52.7%), respectively. Kaplan--Meier plots highlighted that the median time to recover of the placebo group was significantly longer than that of the supplementation group (Log Rank P value < .001). VDD was detected in pediatric critical care children.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “In pneumonic children with high VDD, it is illustrated that Vitamin D supplementation is accompanied by lowered mortality risk and pSOFA scores, reduced time to recover, and improved PaO2/FiO(2).”

 

Physical activity could combat fatigue, cognitive decline in cancer survivors

University of Illinois, July 26, 2021

A new study indicates that cancer patients and survivors have a ready weapon against fatigue and "chemo brain": a brisk walk.

Researchers at the University of Illinois, along with collaborators at Digital Artefacts in Iowa City, Iowa, and Northeastern University in Boston, looked at the association between physical activity, fatigue and performance on cognitive tasks in nearly 300 breast cancer survivors.

"The data suggest that being more physically active could reduce two of the more commonly reported symptoms in breast cancer survivors: fatigue and cognitive impairment," said study leader Edward McAuley, a professor of kinesiology and community health at Illinois. "Most people think, 'If I exercise, I'll become tired.' In our study, exercise actually was associated with reduced fatigue, which in turn was associated with better cognitive function."

Cognitive impairment, such as memory problems or shortened attention spans, is a common complaint among cancer patients and survivors, and is thought to be similar to decline due to aging. Past Illinois research has explored the effect of physical fitness on age-related cognitive decline, so the researchers wondered whether cancer survivors would respond similarly to exercise.

"Other studies of cancer survivors have relied on small samples of cancer survivors, and used self-reporting measures of physical activity and cognitive function, which can be very biased," said postdoctoral researcher Diane Ehlers, the first author of the study, which is published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. "What makes our study novel is that we had objective measures for both physical activity and cognitive performance, and a nationwide sample of breast cancer survivors."

The researchers worked with Digital Artefacts -- developer of the commercial neuroscience app BrainBaseline - to create an iPad app tailored to this study. The app included questionnaires and activities designed to measure attention, memory and multitasking skills. The researchers also sent each participant an accelerometer to track daily physical activity.

"We found that higher levels of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were associated with better performance on the cognitive tasks measuring attention, memory and multitasking," Ehlers said. "What was notable was that physical activity's effect on cognitive performance was mediated by fatigue. This provides evidence that physical activity interventions targeting fatigue in cancer patients and survivors might provide promising models for improving cognitive function as well."

Next, the researchers plan to conduct further studies to establish causation and further explore the pathways of how physical exercise improves cognitive performance. They are working with Digital Artefacts to conduct an iPhone-based study and focusing on diverse populations of breast cancer survivors.

"The message for cancer patients and survivors is, get active!" Ehlers said. "Even if it's 10-minute bouts of brisk walking. It's not a magical cure-all, but we've seen many benefits of physical activity for cancer patients and survivors."

 

Cannabidiol promotes oral ulcer healing by inactivating CMPK2-mediated NLRP3 inflammasome

Sichuan University (China), July 26, 2021

Xingying Qi, West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China, presented the oral session "Cannabidiol Promotes Oral Ulcer Healing by Inactivating CMPK2-Mediated NLRP3 Inflammasome" at the virtual 99th General Session & Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), held in conjunction with the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) and the 45th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), on July 21-24, 2021.

The oral ulcer is a common oral inflammatory lesion with severe pain but little effective treatment is currently available. Cannabidiol (CBD) is recently emerging as a therapeutic agent for inflammatory diseases. However, the underlying mechanisms are not fully elucidated. Qi and colleagues sought to investigate whether and how CBD could play a therapeutic role in the oral ulcer. Oral ulcer models were performed in the tongue of C57BL/6 mice by acid etching or mechanical trauma, followed by CBD local administration. Samples were harvested for macroscopic and histological evaluation.

CBD oral spray on acid- or trauma-induced oral ulcers on mice tongues inhibited inflammation, relieved pain and accelerated lesions closure in a dose-dependent manner. The results show that CBD accelerates oral ulcer healing by inhibiting CMPK2-mediated NLRP3 inflammasome activation and pyroptosis, which is mediated mostly by PPARγ in nucleus and partially by CB1 in plasma membrane. This data may shed light on the development of new therapeutic strategies for oral ulcers.

 

Algal solution: Could Spirulina modify the microbiome to protect against age-related damage?

Louvain Drug Research Institute (Belgium), July 25 2021

Spirulina might help protect against age-related liver inflammation by modifying pathways in the microbiome, say researchers.

Consumption of spirulina could help protect against hepatic inflammation in the elderly, according to the new animal research published in Nutrients.

Belgian researchers carried out tests on mice, which suggest that the algae Spirulina has an impact on the gut microbiota, which in turn activates the immune system in the gut and improves inflammation in the liver that is associated with ageing.

Led by senior author Professor Nathalie Delzenne from the Louvain Drug Research Institute in Belgium, the team said oral feeding of Spirulina was found to modulates several immunological functions involving, among others, the TLR4 pathway in old mice.

“The fact that its oral consumption can influence both gut immunity and systemic sites, such as the liver, suggests that its immune action is not confined to the gut immune system,” wrote the team – who said the findings open the way to new therapeutic tools “in the management of immune alterations in aging, based on gut microbe-host interactions.”

Furthermore, they suggested that improvement of the homeostasis in the gut ecosystem ‘could be essential’ during the aging process, “and, in this perspective, dietary manipulation of the gut microbiota of the elderly with Spirulina, may represent a tool for preserving a healthy gastrointestinal microbial community in addition to its beneficial effects on immune function.”

Study details

Delzenne and colleagues noted that while the possible cardiovascular and immune support benefits of Spirulina have been fairly widely reported, the new study brings a fresh approach by testing whether the effects could be related to a modulation of gut micrbiota.

In the trial, young mice aged three months were fed a standard diet, while older mice aged 24 months were fed a standard diet either with or without 5% Spirulina for six weeks.

Upton supplementation with Spirulina, the team reported several changes to gut microbiota composition, including an increase in Roseburia and Lactobacillus populations.

“Interestingly, parameters related to the innate immunity are upregulated in the small intestine of Spirulina-treated mice,” said the team. “Furthermore, the supplementation with Spirulina reduces several hepatic inflammatory and oxidative stress markers that are upregulated in old mice versus young mice.”

Expression of several genetic and biochemical markers of inflammation and immunity were altered by supplementation with Spirulina, said the team.

In particular, the transcription factor Foxp3 – involved in the differentiation of T cells into regulatory T cells (Tregs) – and MCP1 were increased due to Spirulina supplementation in old mice.

Old mice that consumed Spirulina also showed activation of several immune parameters including Foxp3 in the ileum – suggesting an improvement of the gut immune function upon Spirulina treatment in this segment, said the Belgian researchers. Furthermore, Spirulina supplementation upregulated both TLR2 and TLR4 expression in the ileum of aged mice.

“In accordance with these results, a solution of Spirulina (5%) exhibited a TLR4 agonist activity similar to the one reached in old-SP mice, suggesting a direct effect of the Spirulina, itself, on the TLR4 pathway,” they added.

Microbiome mechanisms

While the positive effect of Spirulina on the microbiome and liver inflammation is clear, the team noted that the mechanism by which the algae could change the composition of the intestinal microbiota remains unanswered.

One possible mechanism could be the presence of antimicrobial substances produced by Spirulina, they said.

“On the other hand, antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) could be mediators of the nutritional modulation of the gut microbiota.”

“In the present study, RegIIIγ and Pla2g2 were increased by the supplementation with Spirulina, suggesting that the host contributes to the reduction and modification of the microbial community by modulating the production of specific AMPs,” they added.

The Gary Null Show - “Learning to Loath GMOs”: A Critical Response to the New York Times

The Gary Null Show - “Learning to Loath GMOs”: A Critical Response to the New York Times

July 27, 2021

"Learning to Loath GMOs": A Critical Response to the New York Times

 

Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD

Progressive Radio Network, July 27, 2021

 

In its July 19th issue, the New York Times Magazine published a brilliant piece of twisted pseudo-scientific propaganda. The essay, entitled “Learning to Love GMOs,” is truly stunning. Its author, journalist Jennifer Kahn, takes readers who would have little to no understanding of genetic engineering and genetically modified organisms (GMO) through a fictional labyrinth of out-dated and conflated GMO similitudes to an end point where readers might believe GMOs are really cool and there is nothing to be frantically worried about. 

 

Kahn spins the story of Cathie Martin’s research to develop a genetically engineered purple tomato high in the anti-oxidant anthocyacin as the work of a solo humanitarian to improve consumers’ health by providing nutrient-rich GMO produce. What is missing from Kahn’s equation is that the research was conducted at one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious independent centers for plant science, the Johns Innes Centre (JIC) in the UK. The Centre, which is registered as a charity, lists over 500 employees and is funded by some of the largest proponents of genetic-modified plants, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. JIC’s website includes purple tomatoes as one of its projects that combines “transcription factors, biosynthetic genes and iRNA [interference RNA] with the availability of natural tomato mutants.”  iRNA, or Post-Transcriptional Gene Slicing, is a method to silence certain genes the researchers desire to curtail their expression.  

 

The Times article makes an effort to advance the flawed agro-chemical mantra of “substantial equivalence” without citing the term. The early acceptance of GMOs was largely based upon the unproven hypothesis of “substantial equivalence.” The USDA’s adoption of this concept during Bill Clinton’s first term in the White House gave GM seed companies a free pass to avoid submitting trial evidence to prove the environmental and health safety of genetically modified crops. Since the ruling claims that GMOs are fundamentally identical genetically to their natural counterparts, no compliance of safety regulations should necessarily apply. Therefore Big Ag firms did not have to worry over strict regulatory hurdles, which otherwise apply to other products such as pharmaceutical drugs, processed foods, pesticides, cosmetics and chemical additives. 

 

However, during the past decade a flurry of research has shown that the “substantial equivalence” hypothesis is patently false. Alexandria University in Egypt, the Permaculture Research Institute and the Norwegian Center for Biosafety each found genetically modified crops to be fundamentally different. In addition, studies have confirmed that nutrient levels in traditional, organically raised grown crops are substantially higher than GM varieties. New technological methods to create concise profiles of a food’s molecular composition, notably “omics,” were not available in the early 1990s when Clinton wore the mantle as America’s first biotech president. Omic technology destroyed the Big Ag’s industry’s arguments to support the lie about substantial equivalence. For example, Kings College London published a study in Scientific Reports of Nature revealing unquestionable genetic consequences between GMO Roundup and non-GMO corn. The differences include changes in 117 proteins and 91 metabolites.[1]

 

Despite “substantial equivalence” having been debunked, the erroneous hypothesis continues to linger in pro-GMO propaganda. However, in Kahn’s recent essay, she attempts to shift attention away from the early generation of GMOs, which were engineered solely to sell more toxic pesticides, and emphasize GMO’s potential for increasing nutritional health and to advance medicine. In order to add a bit of balance, Kahn quotes James Madison University professor Alan Levinovitz who accurately described one fundamental criticism, among many others, against GMOs. “With genetic engineering there’s a feeling that we’re mucking about with the essential building blocks of reality,” Levinovitz stated. “We may feel OK about rearranging genes, the way nature does, but we’re not comfortable mixing them up between creatures.”  

 

But most disturbing is Kahn’s failure to make any mention o the trail of environmental disasters and disease risks due to consuming genetically modified foods. She completely whitewashes the matter; she prefers we may forget that Monsanto’s soy and corn, which now represent the majority of these crops grown in the US, was developed solely to allow farmers to spray highly toxic pesticides without injuring the crops. These crops contain notable concentrations of the pesticides that then find their way into numerous consumer food products including baby foods. Nor should we forget that Round-Up grown foods may be destroying people’s microbiome.  Last year, researchers at the University of Turku in Finland reported a “conservative estimate that approximately 54% of organisms in our microbiome are “potentially sensitive” to glyphosate. Despite her pro-GMO advocacy, if Kahn’s conscience had led her to take a moral high road, she could have at least apologized on Monsanto’s behalf for the trail of death and disease the company’s glyphosate has left in its wake. The company has yet to atone despite losing three trials with $2.4 billion fines, repeated appeal losses, and being ordered to pay $10.5 billion in settlements. To date Monsanto’s glyphosate poisoning has been identified with the suppression of essential gut enzymes and amino acid synthesis, gluten intolerance, disruption of manganese pathways, neurological disease, cancer, amyloidosis and autoimmune disease. Her New York Times article would have better served the improvement of public health as a warning rather than an applause to appease companies such as Bayer/Monsanto and Syngenta. And shame on the New York Times’ editors for permitting such biased misinformation to find its way into print. 

 

Kahn is eager to cite findings showing GMO benefits without indicating her sources. She tells us that environmental groups have “quietly walked back their opposition as evidence has mounted that GMOs are both safe to eat and not inherently bad for the environment.” Kahn doesn’t mention who these groups might be. She reframes the Philippine story of the destruction of genetically engineered Golden Rice; yet around that time even the pro-industry magazine Forbes published an article questioning Golden Rice’s viability and noting that its benefits are only based upon unfounded hypotheses. As for its risks to health, GM Watch in the UK points out the work conducted by David Schubert at the Salk Institute that the rice might potentially generate Vitamin A derivatives that could “damage human fetuses and cause birth defects.”

 

Kahn, who should be acknowledged as a highly respected science journalist and teaches journalism at the University of California’s Berkeley campus, happens to be a contributing author for the Genetic Literacy Project (GLP) at the University of California at Davis, a public relations operation sponsored by the agro-chemical industry.  Monsanto/Bayer, Syngenta and DuPont are among GLP’s industry partners.  It is one of the most frequently quoted sources of cherry-picked information by pro-GMO advocates and journalists. In our opinion, it is perhaps one of the most financially compromised and scientifically illiterate organizations, founded and funded to disseminate pro-GMO propaganda in order to prop up public support for GMOs and genetic engineering in general. In effect, some universities now act as private industry’s lobbyists. This becomes a greater scandal when the university is a public institution receiving public funding.  GLP and its east coast partner, Cornell University’s Alliance for Science, largely funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, serve as the GMO industry’s clearing houses for public relations to spin science into advertising, propaganda and character assassination of GM opponents.

 

The Genetic Literacy Project is a key collaborator with another food industry front organization, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). ACSH has nothing to do with actual health science. It has been described by the independent corporate financial watchdog organization Sourcewatch as a thinly veiled corporate front that holds “a generally apologetic stance regarding virtually every other health and environmental hazard produced by modern industry, accepting corporate funding from Coca-Cola, Syngenta, Proctor Gamble, Kellogg, General Mills, Pepsico, and the American Beverage Association, among others.” ACSH also favors toxic pesticides, the use of biphenol A in products, cigarettes and hydrofracking.  It is closely aligned with pseudo-medical front organizations that criticize alternative and natural health modalities, such as Quackwatch and the Science Based Medicine network. 

 

GLP sources a couple thousand corporate-friendly studies favoring GMO safety.  One review of over 1,700 studies, known as the Nicolia Review, for a time was the most cited source making the broadest claims for GMO safety.  However subsequent independent and unbiased reviews of Nicolia’s analysis concluded that many of these studies were tangential at best and barely took notice of anything related to crop genetic engineering or GMOs. Many studies are completely irrelevant from a value-added perspective because they have nothing to do with GMO safety. Furthermore, other studies in Nicolia’s collection conclude the exact opposite of their intention and give further credibility to GMOs environmental and animal and human health risks. When Nicolia published his review, he intentionally omitted and ignored scientifically sound research that directly investigated GMO safety and found convincing evidence to issue warnings.  For example, one peer-reviewed publication by over 300 independent scientists declared that there is no scientific consensus that GM crops and food are safe.  Not surprisingly, there is no mention of this study in the Nicolia Review.

 

It is no secret that Monsanto and Big Ag have significant influence over UC-Davis’s agricultural department and divisions.  The bogus economic studies trumped up by the Big Ag cartel to defeat California’s GMO labeling bill Prop 37 were performed at UC-Davis and then publicized through the GLP. Gary Ruskin, who has been filing Freedom of Information Act requests, has publicly expressed deep concerns that UC Davis is acting as a financial conduit for private corporations and interests to develop and launch PR attacks against academics, professors, activists and other institutions who oppose those same corporate interests.  

 

For GMO opponents, the name Mark Lynas, may send shivers down the spine. As soon as any journalist or researcher mentions Lynas’ name approvingly, one can be certain which camp the author represents.  You can be assured you will be reading words on dirty laundry washed in even dirtier water. Therefore when Kahn quotes Lynas as if he were an unbiased authority about GMOs, we know we have boarded the wrong train and will reach a destination of distorted scientific facts and self-righteous corporate praise. 

 

The public watchdog group US Right to Know describes Lynas as “a former journalist turned promotional advocate for genetically engineered foods and pesticides who makes inaccurate claims about those products from his perch at the Gates Foundation-funded Cornell Alliance for Science (CAS).” Lynas has accused those who would inform the public about Round-Up’s carcinogenic properties as conducting a “witch hunt” by “anti-Monsanto activists” who “abused science.”  Lynas has denied his role as a shill for Big Ag. However, a decade ago, The Guardian acquired a private memo from the pro-biotechnology organization EuropaBio about its initiative to recruit “ambassadors” to preach the GMO gospel. Mark Lynas was specifically named in the document alongside then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as a prime candidate to pressure European agencies who were skeptical about GMO claims, promises and health and environmental risks. In short, Lynas has been one of Big Ag’s most invaluable foot soldiers for over a dozen years. 

 

Similar to the Genetic Literacy Project, the Cornell Alliance for Science does not conduct any agricultural research; yet its tentacles to attack GMO opponents are far reaching in the media. CAS was launched in 2014 after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation granted the alliance $5.6 million in start-up monies. The public relations Alliance makes the unfounded claim to represent “balanced” research about genetic engineered products.  One of its missions is to influence the next generation of agricultural scientists to embrace GMO science. For CAS, as for Bill Gates, GMOs are the only food solution for Africa’s future. Five years ago, organic New York farmers mobilized to pressure the Trustees of Cornell University to evict CAS from the campus and halt its influence over the school’s prestigious College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

 

One argument Kahn wants us to buy into is that there were mistakes made during the early roll out of GMOs in the 1990s. But, somehow, mysteriously and without any solid evidence, we are supposed to believe that these same companies now engineering new generations of crops have learned their lessons. All that has really changed has been the genetic technology for altering plant genomes. The same mind-set that only technology and the quest for food dominance remain. After hundreds of thousands of dollars were flushed away during a genetically modified wheat project, a retired professor of plant agriculture at the University of Guelph in Canada remarked:

 

"We – scientists and the public – are so malleable and gullible (or is it because researchers and research administrators are just desperate for money?), that we swallow and become promoters of the mantra that GM is somehow going to feed the world: by resolving the monumental threat of burnt toast? Or browning in cut apples? Or flower color in carnations? Really? For shame. Let's be honest. The one and only reason these people, corporations, and governments are funding this sorry use of [lab] bench space is because it may yield a proprietary product."

 

Following Lynas’ lead, Kahn wants us to believe that genes exchanged between different plants is common in nature and therefore manipulating genes between species with genetic engineering tools, such as CRISPR, should not worry us. Yes, plants have acquired genes from other organisms in the past – the far distant past – according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. However, it is so exceedingly rare that these should be regarded as anomalies without any correlation whatsoever to the millions of different genes available to bio-engineer new plant organisms. This has been one of Lynas’ pet arguments on his bully pulpit since turning traitor on his former Greenpeace activists and joining Monsanto’s legions. 

 

It may also be noted that Jennifer Kahn is an active participant in CRISPRcon, a forum dedicated to “the future of CRISPR and gene editing technology applications in agriculture, health, conservation and more.” Among the organization’s supporters are Bayer, the Innovative Genomics Institute, Cornell Alliance for Science, Corteva Agriscience and the United Soybean Board.  A mission noted on its website is expressed in one of its mottos, “The public doesn’t trust GMOs. Will it trust CRISPR?” This is a public relations pitch that permeates her Times article. 

 

It is important for independent investigators and researchers to identify and publicize the background of cloaked public relations shills posing as unbiased journalists in mainstream news sources. Kahn’s New York Times piece is an example of a propaganda effort without credibility; it is an attempt to disingenuously manipulate the narrative so more Americans will love GMOs. In the wake of the agrichemical industry’s efforts to bolster favorable images of GMOs and more recently CRISPR editing technologies, the mainstream media willingly rolls out a red carpet. No equal publishing space is awarded to the scientific critics of genetic engineering who uncover the flaws in the industry’s public research. Consequently, journalists such as Mark Lynas and Jennifer Kahn are the norm rather than exception. Today the lesson is clear that money, power and influence sustain the lies and deceit of private industry.  Take on any cause critical of GMOs and agro-chemical agriculture, and Big Ag will come after you. Kahn is seemingly just one of many other journalists the GLP and Cornell Alliance can turn towards to advance genetic engineering’s mythologies. 

 

Seven years ago, 70 percent of Americans, according to a Consumer Reports National Research Center survey, did not want genetically modified organisms in their food. In 2018, the Pew Research Center reported that only five percent of Americans said GM foods were better for one’s health – which about makes up the number of people who are in one way or another invested in the agrichemical industry. Still over half believe they endanger health. Yet too much has been invested into agro-biotechnology to expect GMOS to disappear at any time. As the public increasingly turns away from genetically modified organisms in their produce, we will expect new volleys of industry propaganda like that penned by Jennifer Kahn to dangle new carrots. For Kahn, one of these rotten carrots is to improve nutritional content. Yet, similar to the Golden Rice, this will need to be proven beyond being an infomercial. We can also expect to hear ever wilder and more irrational claims about how GMO-based agriculture might reduce CO2 greenhouse pollution and save humanity. And we expect much of this PR campaign to be backed by the World Economic Forum’s full-throttle Great Reset invasion. In other words, out of desperation to reach global food dominance, the agro-chemical industry backed by western governments will be declaring a full food war against the peoples of the world.  It is time for us to unlearn any illusory attachment we might have to Big Agriculture and learn to loath GMOs.

The Gary Null Show -  07.26.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.26.21

July 26, 2021

Red and processed meat linked to increased risk of heart disease, study shows

Oxford University, July 21, 2021

Globally, coronary heart diseases (caused by narrowed arteries that supply the heart with blood) claim nearly nine million lives each year1, the largest of any disease, and present a huge burden to health systems. Until now, it has been unclear whether eating meat increases the risk of heart disease, and if this varies for different kinds of meat.

Researchers at the University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Population Health have conducted the largest systematic review of the prospective evidence to date, including thirteen cohort studies involving over 1.4 million people. The study participants completed detailed dietary assessments, and their health was tracked for up to 30 years. The results are published today in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

Overall, the evidence from the analysis indicated that:

  • Each 50 g/day higher intake of processed meat (e.g. bacon, ham, and sausages) increased the risk of coronary heart disease by 18%.
  • Each 50 g/day higher intake of unprocessed red meat (such as beef, lamb and pork) increased the risk of coronary heart disease by 9%.
  • There was no clear link between eating poultry (such as chicken and turkey) and an increased risk of coronary heart disease.

The findings may be because of the high content of saturated fat in red meat, and of sodium (salt) in processed meat. High intakes of saturated fat increase levels of harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, whilst excess salt consumption raises blood pressure. Both LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure are well-established risk factors for coronary heart disease.

Previous work from the same research team has also indicated that even moderate intakes of red and processed meat are associated with increased risk of bowel cancer2.

Dr. Keren Papier (Nuffield Department of Population Health), co-lead author of the study, said: "Red and processed meat have been consistently linked with bowel cancer and our findings suggest an additional role in heart disease. Therefore, current recommendations to limit red and processed meat consumption may also assist with the prevention of coronary heart disease."

Dr. Anika Knüppel, from the Nuffield Department of Population Health and the other co-lead author of the study, added: "We know that meat production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and we need to reduce meat production and thereby consumption to benefit the environment. Our study shows that a reduction in red and processed meat intake would bring personal health benefits too."

Currently in the UK, about 10 in 100 people would be expected to eventually die from coronary heart disease. Based on the findings from the present study and current red and processed meat intakes in the UK,4 if all these 100 people reduced their unprocessed red meat intake by three-quarters (for example from four times a week to one time a week), or if they stopped consuming processed meat altogether, deaths from coronary heart disease would decrease from 10 in 100 down to 9 in 100.

The studies involved in this analysis were mostly based on white adults living in Europe or the U.S.. The research team say more data are needed to examine these associations in other populations, including East Asia and Africa.

 

C is for Vitamin C -- a key ingredient for immune cell function

Harnessing the combined power of Vitamin C and TET proteins may give scientists a leg up in treating autoimmune diseases

 

La Jolla Institute for Immunology and Emory University, July 22, 2021

You can't make a banana split without bananas. And you can't generate stable regulatory T cells without Vitamin C or enzymes called TET proteins, it appears. 

Regulatory T cells (Tregs) help control inflammation and autoimmunity in the body. Tregs are so important, in fact, that scientists are working to generate stable induced Tregs (iTregs) in vitro for use as treatments for autoimmune diseases as well as rejection to transplanted organs. Unfortunately, it has proven difficult to find the right molecular ingredients to induce stable iTregs.

Now scientists at La Jolla Institute for Immunology and Emory University School of Medicine report that Vitamin C and TET proteins can work together to give Tregs their life-saving power. 

"Vitamin C can be used to stabilize iTregs generated in vitro," says LJI Instructor Xiaojing Yue, Ph.D., who served as co-first author for the EMBO Reports study. "We hope that these kinds of induced Tregs can be used in the future for treatment of autoimmune diseases and organ transplantation."

The recent study, led by LJI Professor Anjana Rao, Ph.D., and Emory Instructor Benjamin G Barwick, Ph.D., builds on the previous discovery that Vitamin C can enhance the enzymatic activity of TET proteins and prompt the generation of stable iTregs under lab conditions.

This finding was encouraging, but the scientists did not want to work toward new autoimmune therapies without first analyzing the gene expression patterns and other key epigenetic features of the induced Tregs. 

"We wanted to study the entire system at a whole genome level using next generation sequencing technology to better understand the molecular features of these cells," says Yue.

Study co-first author Daniela Samaniego-Castruita, a graduate student at LJI, spearheaded the analysis of gene expression and epigenetic changes in the iTregs. A major type of epigenetic modification involves the DNA itself through the addition or removal of molecules called methyl groups from cytosines, one of the four DNA bases. The methyl groups can be further oxidized by TET enzymes. All of these interactions can eventually change how cells "read" the DNA code. 

Another type of epigenetic change involves the alteration of DNA accessibility: whether DNA is loosely or tightly coiled. As the DNA coils unwind, regulatory regions become exposed which subsequently influence gene expression.

In their analysis, the researchers found TET proteins are absolutely required for maintaining the gene expression and epigenetic features that make Tregs as what they are; and adding Vitamin C led to iTregs with similar similar gene expression and epigenetic features as normal "wild type" Tregs found in the body. The study also reveals an intriguing connection between TET enzymatic activity, Vitamin C and IL-2/STAT5 signaling.

"In mice that are deficient for components of IL-2/STAT5 signaling, such as IL-2, IL-2 receptors or STAT5, the Tregs cannot develop properly or they can have impaired function," Yue says.

The researchers demonstrate that on one hand, TET-deficiency in Treg cells leads to impaired IL-2/STAT5 signaling; on the other hand, Vitamin C confers iTregs enhanced IL-2/STAT5 signaling by increasing the expression level of IL-2 receptor and the functional form of STAT5, and STAT5 binding to essential regions in the genome, rendering these cells survive better in tough environments with low IL-2 supplementation.

"We are looking for more small molecules to stabilize TET activity and generate induced Tregs that are even more stable," says Yue. "These induced Tregs could eventually be used to treat patients."

"This research gives us a new way to think about treating autoimmune diseases," says Samaniego-Castruita.

 

 

 

Resveratrol ameliorates high-fat-diet-induced abnormalities in liver glucose metabolism in mice via the AMPK pathway

Hebei Medical Institute (China), July 19, 2021

A new study on high fat diet is now available. According to news originating from the Department of Internal Medicine by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Diabetes mellitus is highly prevalent worldwide.”

Our news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Department of Internal Medicine: “High-fat-diet (HFD) consumption can lead to liver fat accumulation, impair hepatic glycometabolism, and cause insulin resistance and the development of diabetes. Resveratrol has been shown to improve the blood glucose concentration of diabetic mice, but its effect on the abnormal hepatic glycometabolism induced by HFD-feeding and the mechanism involved are unknown. In this study, we determined the effects of resveratrol on the insulin resistance of high-fat-diet-fed mice and a hepatocyte model by measuring serum biochemical indexes, key indicators of glycometabolism, glucose uptake, and glycogen synthesis in hepatocytes. We found that resveratrol treatment significantly ameliorated the HFD-induced abnormalities in glucose metabolism in mice, increased glucose absorption and glycogen synthesis, downregulated protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) and activated Ca2+/CaM-dependent protein kinase kinase b (CaMKKb), and increased the phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). In insulin-resistant HepG2 cells, the administration of a PP2A activator or CaMKKb inhibitor attenuated the effects of resveratrol, but the administration of an AMPK inhibitor abolished the effects of resveratrol. Resveratrol significantly ameliorates abnormalities in glycometabolism induced by HFD-feeding and increases glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis in hepatocytes.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “These effects are mediated through the activation of AMPK by PP2A and CaMKKb.”

 

 

Hundreds of chemicals, many in consumer products, could increase breast cancer risk

List includes potential carcinogens that act by stimulating production of hormones that fuel breast tumors

Silent Spring Institute, July 22, 2021

Every day, people are exposed to a variety of synthetic chemicals through the products they use or the food they eat. For many of these chemicals, the health effects are unknown. Now a new study shows that several hundred common chemicals, including pesticides, ingredients in consumer products, food additives, and drinking water contaminants, could increase the risk of breast cancer by causing cells in breast tissue to produce more of the hormones estrogen or progesterone.

"The connection between estrogen and progesterone and breast cancer is well established," says co-author Ruthann Rudel, a toxicologist and research director at Silent Spring Institute. "So, we should be extremely cautious about chemicals in products that increase levels of these hormones in the body."

For instance, in 2002, when the Women's Health Initiative study found combination hormone replacement therapy to be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, women stopped taking the drugs and incidence rates went down. "Not surprisingly, one of the most common therapies for treating breast cancer is a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors that lower levels of estrogen in the body, depriving breast cancer cells of the hormones they need to grow," adds Rudel.

To identify these chemical risk factors, Rudel and Silent Spring scientist Bethsaida Cardona combed through data on more than 2000 chemicals generated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s ToxCast program. The goal of ToxCast is to improve the ability of scientists to predict whether a chemical will be harmful or not. The program uses automated chemical screening technologies to expose living cells to chemicals and then examine the different biological changes they cause.

Reporting in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, Rudel and Cardona identified 296 chemicals that were found to increase estradiol (a form of estrogen) or progesterone in cells in the laboratory. Seventy-one chemicals were found to increase levels of both hormones. The chemicals included ingredients in personal care products such as hair dye, chemical flame retardants in building materials and furnishings, and a number of pesticides.

The researchers don't yet know how these chemicals are causing cells to produce more hormones. It could be the chemicals are acting as aromatase activators, for instance, which would lead to higher levels of estrogen, says Cardona. "What we do know is that women are exposed to multiple chemicals from multiple sources on a daily basis, and that these exposures add up."

The Silent Spring researchers hope this study will be a wakeup call for regulators and manufacturers in how they test chemicals for safety. For instance, current safety tests in animals fail to look at changes in hormone levels in the animal's mammary glands in response to a chemical exposure. And, although high throughput testing in cells has been used to identify chemicals that activate the estrogen receptor, mimicking estrogen, the testing has not been used to identify chemicals that increase estrogen or progesterone synthesis.

"This study shows that a number of chemicals currently in use have the ability to manipulate hormones known to adversely affect breast cancer risk," says Dr. Sue Fenton, associate editor for the study and an expert in mammary gland development at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. "Especially concerning is the number of chemicals that alter progesterone, the potential bad actor in hormone replacement therapy. Chemicals that elevate progesterone levels in the breast should be minimized."

The researchers outlined a number of recommendations in their study for improving chemical safety testing to help identify potential breast carcinogens before they end up in products, and suggest finding ways to reduce people's exposures, particularly during critical periods of development, such as during puberty or pregnancy when the breast undergoes important changes.

The project is part of Silent Spring Institute's Safer Chemicals Program which is developing new cost-effective ways of screening chemicals for their effects on the breast. Knowledge generated by this effort will help government agencies regulate chemicals more effectively and assist companies in developing safer products.

 

 

Antioxidant activity of limonene counteracts neurotoxicity triggered by amyloid beta 1-42 oligomers in cortical neurons

University of Naples (Italy), July 19, 2021

According to news reporting from Naples, Italy, by NewsRx journalists, research stated, “Many natural-derived compounds, including the essential oils from plants, are investigated to find new potential protective agents in several neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD).”

The news editors obtained a quote from the research from School of Medicine: “In the present study, we tested the neuroprotective effect of limonene, one of the main components of the genus * * Citrus* * , against the neurotoxicity elicited by Ab [ [1-42] ] oligomers, currently considered a triggering factor in AD. To this aim, we assessed the acetylcholinesterase activity by Ellman’s colorimetric method, the mitochondrial dehydrogenase activity by MTT assay, the nuclear morphology by Hoechst 33258, the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by DCFH-DA fluorescent dye, and the electrophysiological activity of K [ [V] ] 3.4 potassium channel subunits by patch-clamp electrophysiology. Interestingly, the monoterpene limonene showed a specific activity against acetylcholinesterase with an IC [ [50] ] almost comparable to that of galantamine, used as positive control. Moreover, at the concentration of 10 g/mL, limonene counteracted the increase of ROS production triggered by Ab [ [1-42] ] oligomers, thus preventing the upregulation of K [ [V] ] 3.4 activity. This, in turn, prevented cell death in primary cortical neurons, showing an interesting neuroprotective profile against Ab [ [1-42] ] -induced toxicity.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Collectively, the present results showed that the antioxidant properties of the main component of the genus * * Citrus* * , limonene, may be useful to prevent neuronal suffering induced by Ab [ [1-42] ] oligomers preventing the hyperactivity of K [ [V] ] 3.4.”

 

 

Meditation And Yoga Change Your DNA To Reverse Effects Of Stress, Study Shows

Coventry University (UK), July 22, 2021

Many people participate in practices such as meditation and yoga because they help us relax. At least those are the immediate effects we feel. But much more is happening on a molecular level, reveal researchers out of Coventry University in England.

Published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, this new research examined 18 studies on mind-body interventions (MBIs). These include practices such as mindfulness meditation and yoga. Comprehensively, these studies encompassed 846 participants over 11 years. The new analysis reveals that MBIs result in molecular changes in the human body. Furthermore, researchers claim that these changes are beneficial to our mental and physical health.

Body’s Response to Stress Causes Damage

To elaborate, consider the effect that stress has on the body. When we are under stress, the body increases the production of proteins that cause cell inflammation. This is the natural effect of the body’s fight-or-flight response.

It is widely believed that inflammation in the body leads to numerous illnesses, including cancer. Moreover, scientists also deduct that a persistent inflammation is more likely to cause psychiatric problems. Unfortunately, many people suffer from persistent stress, therefore they suffer from pro-inflammatory gene expression.

But there is good news! According to this new analysis out of Coventry, people that practice MBIs such as meditation and yoga can reverse pro-inflammatory gene expression. This results in a reduced risk of inflammation-related diseases and mental conditions.

Lead investigator Ivana Buric from Coventry University’s Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement stated:

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Large-scale study finds greater sedentary hours increases risk of obstructive sleep apnea

Study finds that maintaining an active lifestyle can reduce the risk of OSA, encourages physicians to recommend exercise-based interventions for those at risk

Brigham and Women's Hospital, July 22, 2021

A new study by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital examined the relationship between active lifestyles and the risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The study followed around 130,000 men and women in the United States over a follow-up period of 10-to-18 years and found that higher levels of physical activity and lower levels of sedentary behavior were associated with a lower risk of OSA. Their results are published in the European Respiratory Journal

"In our study, higher levels of physical activity and fewer hours of TV watching, and sitting either at work or away from home were associated with lower OSA incidence after accounting for potential confounders," said Tianyi Huang, MSc, ScD, an Associate Epidemiologist at the Brigham. "Our results suggest that promoting an active lifestyle may have substantial benefits for both prevention and treatment of OSA." 

OSA is a type of sleep apnea in which some muscles relax during sleep, causing an airflow blockage. Severe OSA increases the risk of various heart issues, including abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure. 

Using the Nurses' Health Study (NHS), Nurses' Health Study II (NHSII) and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS), the research team used statistical modeling to compare physical activity and sedentary hours with diagnoses of OSA. Both moderate and vigorous physical activity were examined separately and both were strongly correlated with lower risk of OSA, showing no appreciable differences in the intensity of activity. Moreover, stronger associations were found for women, adults over the age of 65 and those with a BMI greater than or equal to 25 kg/m2. 

"Most prior observational studies on the associations of physical activity and sedentary behavior with OSA were cross-sectional, with incomplete exposure assessment and inadequate control for confounding," said Huang. "This is the first prospective study that simultaneously evaluates physical activity and sedentary behavior in relation to OSA risk." 

This study also differs from others because of its large sample size and detailed assessment pf physical activity and sedentary behaviors. The research team was able to take many associated factors into account, making the findings more credible. 

The authors note that all collected data, both of OSA diagnosis and physical activity or sedentary behavior, were self-reported. While all study participants were health professionals, mild OSA is often difficult to detect and can remain clinically unrecognized. Furthermore, only recreational physical activity was taken into consideration, leaving out any physical activity in occupational settings. Sedentary behavior was only counted as sitting while watching TV and sitting away from home or at work. 

According to Huang, the next research steps would be to collect data using actigraphy, home sleep apnea tests and polysomnography, rather than self-reports. 

In light of the findings, investigators encourage physicians to highlight the benefits of physical activity to lower OSA risk. 

"We found that physical activity and sedentary behavior are independently associated with OSA risk," said Huang. "That is, for people who spend long hours sitting every day, increasing physical activity in their leisure time can equally lower OSA risk. Similarly, for those who are not able to participate in a lot of physical activity due to physical restrictions, reducing sedentary hours by standing or doing some mild activities could also lower OSA risk. However, those who can lower sedentary time and increase physical activity would have the lowest risk."

The Gary Null Show - 07.23.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.23.21

July 23, 2021

New study shows transcendental meditation reduces emotional stress and improves academics

Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education and Stanford University, July 22, 2021

Students who participated in a meditation-based Quiet Time program utilizing the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique for four months had significant improvements in overall emotional stress symptoms, quality of sleep, and English Language Arts (ELA) academic achievement according to a new randomized controlled trial published last month in Education. The study was conducted by researchers from the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education and Stanford University. This was the first randomized control trial to investigate the effects of TM on standardized academic tests.

"Students have been experiencing increased levels of stress and it's impacting their academic performance," said Laurent Valosek, lead author of the study and Executive Director of the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education. "This research shows the impact of meditation on the mental and physical health of high school students, and shows that meditation plays a vital role in promoting improved academic outcomes, even when compared to more time spent reading."

Student emotional well-being and its impact on academic outcomes

According to the American Psychological Association, teens report stress well above what they believe to be healthy. 31% of teens report feeling overwhelmed and 36% report feeling fatigued as a result of stress. Over a third of teens report that their stress level has increased in the past year, while around half of teens don't feel they are doing enough to manage their stress.

This increased stress is linked to poor academics, as well as a number of other measures including lower attendance, and unhealthy behaviors around sleep, eating, and substance use. Stress also increases negative affect, resulting in strained relationships with classmates and teachers, as well as rule infractions and suspensions.

Transcendental Meditation improves emotional balance and academic performance 

A new randomized control study published in Education involved 98 ninth grade students at a West Coast public high school. The study found that during a four-month period, the students practicing the TM technique experienced significant improvements in measures of health and academics as compared to students who engaged in sustained silent reading.

These findings are consistent with past research on TM showing benefits related to emotional health and intelligence. This was the first randomized control trial to investigate the effects of a meditation-based school program on standardized tests.

"As a former high school administrator, I have seen first-hand the effects of stress, anxiety, and fatigue on students' mental and physical well-being. High levels of psychological distress not only lead to lower academic performance, but cause serious consequences for the whole child," said Margaret Peterson, co-author of the study and Executive Director of the California World Language Project at Stanford Graduate School of Education. "In my 30 years as an educator, Transcendental Meditation is the single, most effective tool to help reduce stress and improve performance in students."

Within students who were below proficiency at baseline, 69% of the meditation students improved at least one performance level at posttest compared to 33% of the control students. This is particularly noteworthy because the control group was doing sustained silent reading, suggesting that introducing meditation to the school day may be more effective in improving academic outcomes than additional time spent reading.

 

Impact of vitamin D deficiency and autoimmunity on chronic hives

University of Health Sciences (Turkey), July 19, 2021

According to news reporting from Erzurum, Turkey, by NewsRx journalists, research stated, “Background and In this study, we investigated the role of vitamin D deficiency and autoimmunity in chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) etiopathogenesis and their impact on the disease severity. Sixty patients with CSU aged between 18 and 65 years were enrolled to the study.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from University of Health Sciences: “The control group comprised 40 healthy individuals who had no episodes of urticaria or any other chronic diseases. An autologous serum skin test (ASST) was performed in all patients. In addition, 25 hydroxyvitamin D, thyroid autoantibodies (TA), anti-nuclear antibody (ANA), and basophils were evaluated in all groups. Urticaria activity score-7 (UAS7) and dermatological quality of life index (DLQI) of all patients were examined. Angioedema was more frequent and UAS7 was higher in ASST-positive patients than ASST-negative patients (p=0.035, p=0.018, respectively). <10 ng/mL vitamin D levels were more fraquently seen in the patients with CU than in the control group (p=0.002). The frequencies of TA and ANA positivity were higher, and basophil count was lower in all patients compared to the control group (p=0.001, p=0.001, p=0.001, respectively). The quality of life was more impaired in patients with positive ASST (p=0.011). The duration of the disease was longer, and UAS7 was higher in patients with positive-TA (p=0.012, p=0.028, respectively). UAS7 was significantly higher in ANA-positive patients (p=0.042). A significant negative correlation was found between the DLQI and basophil counts (p=0.039).”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Understanding the role of vitamin D deficiency, autoimmunity in CSU etiopathogenesis may help treat severe diseases.”

 

Higher levels of omega-3 acids in the blood increases life expectancy by almost five years

Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (US), July 22, 2021

Levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood are as good a predictor of mortality from any cause as smoking, according to a study involving the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), in collaboration with The Fatty Acid Research Institute in the United States and several universities in the United States and Canada. The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, used data from a long-term study group, the Framingham Offspring Cohort, which has been monitoring residents of this Massachusetts town, in the United States, since 1971.

Researchers have found that omega-3 levels in blood erythrocytes (the so-called red blood cells) are very good mortality risk predictors. The study concludes that "Having higher levels of these acids in the blood, as a result of regularly including oily fish in the diet, increases life expectancy by almost five years", as Dr. Aleix Sala-Vila, a postdoctoral researcher in the IMIM's Cardiovascular Risk and Nutrition Research Group and author of the study, points out. In contrast, "Being a regular smoker takes 4.7 years off your life expectancy, the same as you gain if you have high levels of omega-3 acids in your blood", he adds. 

2,200 people monitored over eleven years

The study analysed data on blood fatty acid levels in 2,240 people over the age of 65, who were monitored for an average of eleven years. The aim was to validate which fatty acids function as good predictors of mortality, beyond the already known factors. The results indicate that four types of fatty acids, including omega-3, fulfil this role. It is interesting that two of them are saturated fatty acids, traditionally associated with cardiovascular risk, but which, in this case, indicate longer life expectancy. "This reaffirms what we have been seeing lately", says Dr Sala-Vila, "not all saturated fatty acids are necessarily bad." Indeed, their levels in the blood cannot be modified by diet, as happens with omega-3 fatty acids. 

These results may contribute to the personalisation of dietary recommendations for food intake, based on the blood concentrations of the different types of fatty acids. "What we have found is not insignificant. It reinforces the idea that small changes in diet in the right direction can have a much more powerful effect than we think, and it is never too late or too early to make these changes", remarks Dr Sala-Vila. 

The researchers will now try to analyse the same indicators in similar population groups, but of European origin, to find out if the results obtained can also be applied outside the United States. The American Heart Association recommends eating oily fish such as salmon, anchovies or sardines twice a week because of the health benefits of omega-3 acids.

 

COVID-19: Patients with malnutrition may be more likely to have severe outcomes

Children's Hospital of Orange County, July 22, 2021

Adults and children with COVID-19 who have a history of malnutrition may have an increased likelihood of death and the need for mechanical ventilation, according to a study published in Scientific Reports

Malnutrition hampers the proper functioning of the immune system and is known to increase the risk of severe infections for other viruses, but the potential long-term effects of malnutrition on COVID-19 outcomes are less clear. 

Louis Ehwerhemuepha and colleagues investigated associations between malnutrition diagnoses and subsequent COVID-19 severity, using medical records for 8,604 children and 94,495 adults (older than 18 years) who were hospitalised with COVID-19 in the United States between March and June 2020. Patients with a diagnosis of malnutrition between 2015 and 2019 were compared to patients without. 

Of 520 (6%) children with severe COVID-19, 39 (7.5%) had a previous diagnosis of malnutrition, compared to 125 (1.5%) of 7,959 (98.45%) children with mild COVID-19. Of 11,423 (11%) adults with severe COVID-19, 453 (4%) had a previous diagnosis of malnutrition, compared to 1,557 (1.8%) of 81,515 (98.13%) adults with mild COVID-19. 

Children older than five and adults aged 18 to 78 years with previous diagnoses of malnutrition were found to have higher odds of severe COVID-19 than those with no history of malnutrition in the same age groups. Children younger than five and adults aged 79 or above were found to have higher odds of severe COVID-19 if they were not malnourished compared to those of the same age who were malnourished. In children, this may be due to having less medical data for those under five, according to the authors. The risk of severe COVID-19 in adults with and without malnutrition continued to rise with age above 79 years. 

The authors suggest that public health interventions for those at highest risk of malnutrition may help mitigate the higher likelihood of severe COVID-19 in this group.

 

Awareness without a sense of self

Most comprehensive study to date on the experience of pure awareness during meditation

Johannes Gutenberg University & University of Zurich, July 22, 2021

In the context of meditation practice, meditators can experience a state of "pure awareness" or "pure consciousness", in which they perceive consciousness itself. This state can be experienced in various ways, but evidently incorporates specific sensations as well as non-specific accompanying perceptions, feelings, and thoughts. These are just some of the findings of the most extensive survey of meditators ever conducted on the experience of pure consciousness. The findings of the survey recently have been published in PLOS ONE. The study was conducted by Professor Thomas Metzinger from the Department of Philosophy at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and Dr. Alex Gamma from the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Zurich. They designed an online questionnaire comprising more than a hundred questions and asked thousands of meditators worldwide to answer it. "The goal of our research was not to learn more about meditation. We are interested in human consciousness," said Metzinger. "Our working hypothesis was that pure consciousness is the simplest form of conscious experience. And our goal was to develop a minimal model explanation of human consciousness experience on the basis of this hypothesis." The study is part of the international Minimal Phenomenal Experience (MPE) project led by Metzinger.

The online questionnaire was made available in five languages - German, English, French, Spanish, and Italian - and was completed by approximately 3,600 meditators in 2020. In addition to questions about the participants themselves, such as gender, age, and meditation techniques used, the questionnaire consisted of 92 questions about their experience of pure awareness. Instructing the meditators to select and focus on one particular experience of pure awareness, the questionnaire included questions like: "Did you experience sensations of temperature?", "Were you in a positive mood?", or "Did you experience thoughts?". Each of these could be answered on a scale from "no" to "yes, very intensely" via a slider bar. Of the questionnaires Metzinger and Gamma received back, 1,400 were filled out in full and so could be used for a so-called factor analysis. They employed this type of statistical evaluation to identify groups of questions that were frequently answered in a similar manner. "This led us to identify twelve groups, which in turn allowed us to name twelve factors that characterize pure consciousness," Metzinger explained. "According to this scheme, typical characteristics of pure consciousness seem to be, for example, the perception of silence, clarity, and an alert awareness without egoic self-consciousness. Time, effort, and desire, which can certainly transpire in parallel, are experienced somewhat less explicitly."

"Based on these twelve factors, we can now develop a prototypical minimal model of human consciousness," said Metzinger. In addition, the study opens up numerous avenues for further research. Neuroscientists from the USA, Australia, and Switzerland, for instance, have already inquired whether they can use the questionnaire for their own research. For his own part, Metzinger hopes to discover whether pure consciousness - that is, the quality of consciousness in itself - is also experienced in situations other than meditation: "The responses we received also included personal reports suggesting that pure consciousness is also experienced in other situations, such as during accidents and serious illness, at the threshold between sleep and wakefulness, or when immersed in play as a child."

 

 

Canadian Study Gives More Evidence Cancer Is A Lifestyle Disease Largely Caused By Food

 

 

 

Cancer Control Alberta, Alberta Health Services and University of Calgary, July 22, 2021

The cancer industrial complex is negligent in warning people that chemotherapy is now known to actually make some cancers spread and make some tumors more aggressive. Government and its myriad regulatory agencies work diligently to prevent access to natural or alternative cancer treatments, and doctors and the mainstream media give the impression that the causes of cancer are a mystery.

In reality, one can significantly reduce the likelihood of getting cancer by making lifestyle changes. According to a recently published study out of Canada, the total proportion of cancer rates which can be attributed to lifestyle and environmental factors is quite high, nearing 41%.

Regarding the methods used in the study:

We estimated summary population attributable risk estimates for 24 risk factors (smoking [both passive and active], overweight and obesity, inadequate physical activity, diet [inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, inadequate fibre intake, excess red and processed meat consumption, salt consumption, inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake], alcohol, hormones [oral contraceptives and hormone therapy], infections [Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B and C viruses, human papillomavirus, Helicobacter pylori], air pollution, natural and artificial ultraviolet radiation, radon and water disinfection by-products) by combining population attributable risk estimates for each of the 24 factors that had been previously estimated. [Source]

The list above essentially outlines the wide range of personal choices we know can increase the risk of cancer, mainly pointing out that food causes cancer. Along with exercise, and common avoidable environmental factors, cancer is somewhat preventable.

Overall, we estimated that 40.8% of incident cancer cases were attributable to exposure to the 24 factors included in the analysis (Table 2). Tobacco smoking was responsible for the greatest cancer burden, accounting for an estimated 15.7% of all incident cancer cases (2485 cases), followed by physical inactivity and excess body weight, which were responsible for an estimated 7.2% and 4.3% of incident cancer cases, respectively. All other exposures of interest were estimated to be responsible for less than 4.0% of incident cancer cases each. [Source]

Within this information is the revelation that so much of our food system works against good health. Perhaps the greatest secret here in all of this is the growing awareness of the negative affects that consumption of sugar has on human health. Now, some 80% of all packaged products contain some form of fructose, and sugar has been identified as a top cause of the global cancer epidemic.

Final Thoughts

In the face of such frightening statistical evidence on rising cancer rates, it is imperative to remember that the individual has more control over their health than the mainstream would have us believe.

 

Coffee doesn't raise your risk for heart rhythm problems

University of California at San Francisco, July 20, 2021

In the largest study of its kind, an investigation by UC San Francisco has found no evidence that moderate coffee consumption can cause cardiac arrhythmia. 

In fact, each additional daily cup of coffee consumed among several hundred thousand individuals was associated with a 3 percent lower risk of any arrhythmia occurring, including atrial fibrillation, premature ventricular contractions, or other common heart conditions, the researchers report. The study included a four-year follow up. 

The paper is published July 19, 2021, in JAMA Internal Medicine.

"Coffee is the primary source of caffeine for most people, and it has a reputation for causing or exacerbating arrhythmias," said senior and corresponding author Gregory Marcus, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at UCSF. 

"But we found no evidence that caffeine consumption leads to a greater risk of arrhythmias," said Marcus, who specializes in the treatment of arrhythmias. "Our population-based study provides reassurance that common prohibitions against caffeine to reduce arrhythmia risk are likely unwarranted." 

While some professional societies suggest avoiding caffeinated products to lower the risk for arrhythmia, this connection has not been consistently demonstrated - indeed, coffee consumption may have anti-inflammatory benefits and is associated with reduced risks of some illnesses including cancer, diabetes, and Parkinson disease. 

In the new study, UCSF scientists explored whether habitual coffee intake was associated with a risk of arrhythmia, and whether genetic variants that affect caffeine metabolism could modify that association. Their investigation was conducted via the community-based UK Biobank, a prospective study of participants in England's National Health Services. 

Some 386,258 coffee drinkers took part in the coffee research, with an average mean age of 56 years; slightly more than half were female. It was an unprecedented sample size for this type of inquiry. 

In addition to a conventional analysis examining self-reported coffee consumption as a predictor of future arrhythmias, the investigators employed a technique called "Mendelian Randomization," leveraging genetic data to infer causal relationships. As those with the genetic variants associated with faster caffeine metabolism drank more coffee, this analysis provided a method to test the caffeine-arrhythmia relationship in a way that did not rely on participant self-report and should have been immune to much of the confounding inherent to most observational studies. 

With a mean four-year follow up, data were adjusted for demographic characteristics, health and lifestyle habits. 

Ultimately, approximately 4 percent of the sample developed an arrhythmia. No evidence of a heightened risk of arrhythmias was observed among those genetically predisposed to metabolize caffeine differently. The researchers said that higher amounts of coffee were actually associated with a 3 percent reduced risk of developing an arrhythmia.

The authors noted limitations including the self-reporting nature of the study, and that detailed information on the type of coffee - such as espresso or not - was unavailable. 

"Only a randomized clinical trial can definitively demonstrate clear effects of coffee or caffeine consumption," said Marcus. "But our study found no evidence that consuming caffeinated beverages increased the risk of arrhythmia. Coffee's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may play a role, and some properties of caffeine could be protective against some arrhythmias."

The Gary Null Show -  07.22.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.22.21

July 22, 2021

Traditional Japanese food may hold building blocks of COVID-19 treatments

Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, July 21, 2021

Natto, a fermented soybean dish often served for breakfast in Japan, originated at the turn of the last millennium but may hold an answer to a modern problem: COVID-19, according to a new study based on cell cultures. 

Long thought to contribute to longer, healthier lives across Japan -- the country with the longest life expectancy on Earth and home to more than a quarter of the world's population aged 65 years or older -- natto was previously found to be a diet staple in those who were least likely to die from stroke or cardiac disease. Now, researchers have found that extract made from the sticky, strong smelling natto may inhibit the ability of the virus that causes COVID-19 to infect cells. 

The team published its results on July 13th in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications

"Traditionally, Japanese people have assumed that natto is beneficial for their health," said paper author Tetsuya Mizutani, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Research at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (CEPiR-TUAT). "In recent years, research studies have revealed scientific evidence for this belief. In this study, we investigated natto's antiviral effects on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1), which causes respiratory disease in cattle."

Natto is made by fermenting soybeans with Bacillus subtilis, a bacteria found in plant and in soil. The researchers prepared two natto extracts from the food, one with heat and one without. They applied the extracts to sets of lab-cultured cells from cattle and from humans. One set was infected with SARS-CoV-2, while the other set was infected with BHV-1. 

When treated with the natto extract made without heat, both SARS-CoV-2 and BHV-1 lost the ability to infect cells. However, neither virus appeared to be affected by the heat-treated natto extract. 

"We found what appears to be a protease or proteases -- proteins that metabolize other proteins -- in the natto extract directly digests the receptor binding domain on the spike protein in SARS-CoV-2," Mizutani said, noting that the protease appears to break down in heat, losing the ability to digest proteins and letting the virus remain infectious. 

The spike protein sits on the virus's surface and binds to a receptor on host cells. With an inactive spike protein, SARS-CoV-2 cannot infect healthy cells. The researchers found a similar effect on BHV-1. 

"We also confirmed that the natto extract has the same digestive effects on the receptor binding domain proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 mutated strains, such as the Alpha variant," Mizutani said. 

While the results are promising, Mizutani said, he also cautioned that further studies are needed to identify the exact molecular mechanisms at work. He also stressed that the research does not provide any evidence of reduced viral infection simply by eating natto. Once the components are identified and their functions verified, the researchers plan to advance their work to clinical studies in animal models. 

"Although there are vaccines for COVID-19, we do not know how they effective they may be against every variant," Mizutani said. "It will also take time to vaccinate everyone, and there are still reports of breakthrough cases, so we need to make treatments for those who develop COVID-19. This work may offer a big hint for such pharmaceutical design."

 
 
 

Excess caffeine intake may be linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis

 

University of South Australia, July 19, 2021

University of South Australia researchers have a bone to pick when it comes to drinking too much coffee as new research finds that excess caffeine may be linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis.

Investigating the effects of coffee on how the kidneys regulate calcium in the body, researchers found that high doses of caffeine (800 mg) consumed over a six-hour period almost doubled the amount of calcium lost in the urine.

This is the first study to report the impact of high-dose, short-term caffeine intake on renal clearance of calcium, sodium, and creatinine in healthy adults.

UniSA's Dr. Hayley Schultz says with the emergence of an increasing "coffee culture" it's important for people to understand the impacts of what they are putting into their bodies.

"Caffeine is one of the most widely used recreational drugs in the world, with 80 percent of adults consuming at least one caffeinated beverage per day," Dr. Schultz says.

"It's a common stimulant, consumed by professionals, parents, shift workers, and teenagers alike to start their day and stay alert—even the military use caffeine to help combat sleepiness. 

"But while coffee has its perks, it's also important to acknowledge its fallbacks—one of them being how our kidneys handle calcium.

"Our research found that people who consume 800 mg of caffeine over a typical working day will have a 77 percent increase in calcium in their urine, creating a potential deficiency that could impact their bones."

Osteoporosis is a chronic, painful, and debilitating disease which makes your bones less dense and more susceptible to fracture. More common in women, it occurs when bones lose calcium and other minerals faster than the body can replace them.

In Australia, an estimated 924,000 people have osteoporosis.

The double-blind clinical study saw participants chew caffeine or a placebo gum for five minutes at two-hour intervals over a six-hour treatment period (total caffeine 800 mg). While the primary research objective was to examine the impact of caffeine consumption on wakefulness and other factors, this sub-study aimed to evaluate the impact of caffeine consumption on the renal clearance of calcium.

Co-researcher, UniSA's Dr. Stephanie Reuter Lange says understanding the long-term impacts of high caffeine consumption is especially important for higher risk groups.

"The average daily intake of caffeine is about 200 mg—roughly two cups of coffee. While drinking eight cups of coffee may seem a lot (800 mg of caffeine), there are groups who would fall into this category," Dr. Reuter Lange says.

"People at risk could include teenagers who binge-consume energy drinks are at are at risk because their bones are still developing; professional athletes who use caffeine for performance enhancement; as well as post-menopausal women who often have low blood calcium levels due to hormonal changes and lack sufficient daily dietary calcium intake.

"Increasingly, we are also seeing high levels of caffeine among shiftworkers who need to stay alert over the night-time hours, as well as those in the military who use caffeine to combat sleep deprivation in operational settings.

"Caffeine in moderation certainly has its pros. But understanding how excess consumption could increase the risks of a highly preventable disease such as osteoporosis, is important."

From here, researchers will explore and predict the impact of different levels of caffeine intake on short- and long-term bone health, with the aim to inform dietary guidelines in Australia.

 

 

From heart to diabetes, these are the health benefits of strawberries

University of Nevada, July 16, 2021

Dietary berries, such as strawberries, are rich in bioactive compounds and have been shown to lower cardiometabolic risk. We examined the effects of two dietary achievable doses of strawberries on glycemic control and lipid profiles in obese adults with elevated serum LDL cholesterol (LDL-C). 

Methods: In this 14-week randomized controlled crossover study, participants were assigned to one of the three arms for four weeks separated by a one-week washout period: control powder, one serving (low dose: 13 g strawberry powder/day), or two-and-a -half servings (high dose: 32 g strawberry powder/day). Participants were instructed to follow their usual diet and lifestyle while refraining from consuming other berries and related products throughout the study interval. Blood samples, anthropometric measures, blood pressure, and dietary and physical activity data were collected at baseline and at the end of each four-week phase of intervention. 

Results: In total, 33 participants completed all three phases of the trial [(mean ± SD): Age: 53 ± 13 y; BMI: 33 ± 3.0 kg/m2). Findings revealed significant reductions in fasting insulin (p = 0.0002) and homeostatic model of assessment of insulin resistance (p = 0.0003) following the high dose strawberry phase when compared to the low dose strawberry and control phases. Glucose and conventional lipid profiles did not differ among the phases. Nuclear magnetic resonance-determined particle concentrations of total VLDL and chylomicrons, small VLDL, and total and small LDL were significantly decreased after the high dose strawberry phase, compared to control and low dose phases (all p < 0.0001). Among the biomarkers of inflammation and adipokines measured, only serum PAI-1 showed a decrease after the high dose strawberry phase (p = 0.002). Conclusions: These data suggest that consuming strawberries at two-and-a-half servings for four weeks significantly improves insulin resistance, lipid particle profiles, and serum PAI-1 in obese adults with elevated serum LDL-C.

 

 

Omega 3 has beneficial effects on reducing relapse rate, inflammatory markers in MS patients

Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (Saudi Arabia), July 14, 2021

According to news originating from Dammam, Saudi Arabia, research stated, “Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, resulting in the degradation of the myelin sheath. Diet especially fish oils and omega-3 has been found to play an important role in MS.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, “This work aimed to review the literature systematically for evidence on the effect of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DPA and DHA) on MS progression in adults. The literature search was conducted in PubMed, Oxford, Cochrane, Embase, International pharmaceutical abstract, PsychINFO, and clinical trials government. The inclusions were studies performed on humans both male and female, aged 18 years at minimum, diagnosed with MS according to McDonald 2010 criteria. Otherwise, all studies were excluded. A total of 5554 studies were screened and seven were thoroughly focused on as they typically met the inclusion criteria. These studies showed the beneficial roles of fish oil supplementation and omega-3 fatty acids in improving the quality of life of MS patients. These roles were attributed to their beneficial effects on inflammatory markers, glutathione reductase, reducing the relapsing rate, and achieving balanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratios.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Omega-3 and fish oils supplementations have beneficial effects on reducing the relapsing rate, inflammatory markers, and improving the quality of life for MS patients.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

 

 

 

Championing chrononutrition with protein, the morning elixir for muscle growth

Waseda University (Japan), July 20, 2021

Proteins constitute an essential dietary component that help in the growth and repair of the body. Composed of long chains of amino acids, proteins promote the growth of skeletal muscles, the group of muscles that help us move. Humans have been aware of the benefits of proteins for long. However, recent studies have shown that having the right amount of protein at the right time of the day is essential for proper growth. This is called 'Chrononutrition,' in which when you eat is as important as what and how you eat.

The reason behind this is the body's internal biological clock, called the 'circadian rhythm'. This rhythm is followed by all cells and controls life functions like metabolism and growth. Interestingly, protein digestion and absorption have been found to fluctuate across day and night according to this clock. Moreover, earlier studies have reported that intake of protein at breakfast and lunch promotes skeletal muscle growth in adults. However, details on the effect of the time of protein intake on muscle growth and function have remained elusive till date.

Fortunately, researchers from Waseda University, led by Professor Shigenobu Shibata, recently endeavored to understand the effect of the distribution of protein intake through the day on muscles. They fed laboratory mice two meals per day containing either high (11.5% by proportion) or low (8.5% by proportion) protein concentrations. The researchers noted that protein intake at breakfast induced an increase in muscle growth, determined by assessing induced hypertrophy of the plantaris muscle in the leg, when compared with the effects of protein intake at dinner. Specifically, the ratio of muscle hypertrophy determined against the growth of the control muscle was 17% higher in mice fed 8.5% protein at breakfast, than that in mice fed 11.5% protein at dinner, despite the former group consuming a low proportion of protein overall. They also found that intake of a type of protein called the BCCA, short for branched-chain amino acids, early in the day increased the size of skeletal muscles specifically.

To confirm the association of these effects with the workings of the circadian rhythm, the researchers next engineered whole-body mutant ClockΔ19 or muscle-specific Bmal1 knockout mice lacking the genes that control the biological clock. They repeated diet distribution experiments on these mice but did not observe similar muscle change, which confirmed the involvement of the circadian rhythm in muscle growth in the context of protein intake.

Excited about the findings of their study published in a recent issue of the Cell Reports, Prof. Shibata emphasizes, "Protein-rich diet at an early phase of the daily active period, that is at breakfast, is important to maintain skeletal muscle health and enhance muscle volume and grip strength."

To check if their findings were applicable to humans, the team recruited women in their study and tested if their muscle function, determined by measuring skeletal muscle index (SMI) and grip strength, varied with the timing of the protein-rich diet consumed. Sixty women aged 65 years and above who took protein at breakfast rather than at dinner showed better muscle functions, suggesting the possibility of the findings to be true across species. Additionally, the researchers also found a strong association between SMI and the proportion of protein intake at breakfast relative to total protein intake through the day.

Prof. Shibata is hopeful that the findings of their study will lead to a widespread modification in the current diet regime of most people across the Western and Asian countries, who traditionally consume low amounts of protein at breakfast. He therefore stresses, "For humans, in general, the protein intake at breakfast averages about 15 grams, which is less than what we consume at dinner, which is roughly 28 grams. Our findings strongly support changing this norm and consuming more protein at breakfast or morning snacking time."

 

Ginseng compound exerts neuroprotective effects

Gachon University (South Korea), July 16, 2021

According to news reporting from Gyeonggi Do, South Korea, research stated, “Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the accumulation of b-amyloid plaques and hyperphosphorylated tau proteins in the brain.”

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from Gachon University: “Cell signaling pathways such as PI3K/Akt are known to play an essential role in regulating cell survival, motility, transcription, metabolism, and progression of the cell cycle. Recent studies demonstrated that the disruption of these signaling pathways in neurodegenerative disorders leads to oxidative stress and cell death. Targeting these altered signaling pathways could be considered as the therapeutic approach for neurodegenerative disorders. Ginsenoside Rh1 is known to provide beneficial effects in various diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and inflammation. In this study, human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells were treated with the b-amyloid oligomers alone or in combination with ginsenoside Rh1. We observed that ginsenoside Rh1 was able to attenuate b-amyloid induced oxidative stress and cell death by activating the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Based on these findings, we suggest that ginsenoside Rh1 might be an efficacious therapeutic agent for AD.”

 

 

Many kinds of happiness promote better health, study finds

Weill Cornell University of Medicine, July 21, 2021 

A new study links the capacity to feel a variety of upbeat emotions to better health.

The research suggests people who experience a range of positive emotions in their daily lives – from enthusiasm to cheerfulness and calm – have lower levels of inflammation, compared to those who experience a narrower range of emotions. Lower levels of inflammation are linked to a lower risk of premature death and chronic diseases like diabetes. The researchers drew on analytic approaches used to measure the biodiversity of ecosystems. Their study was published June 22 in the journal Emotion.

"There are many kinds of happiness, and experiencing a diversity of emotional states might reduce a person's vulnerability to psychopathology by preventing any one emotion from dominating their emotional life," said lead author Anthony Ong, professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology and professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Little is known about the biological processes through which emotional experiences influence health outcomes. This study sought to fill a bit of that gap.

Specifically, the study sheds light on one potential biological pathway – systemic inflammation – through which diversity in everyday positive emotional experiences might "get under the skin" to influence long-term health.

Ong and his colleagues analyzed the connection between "emodiversity" – the breadth and abundance of different emotions people experience – and markers of inflammation in the body. A person with low emodiversity feels about the same through most of the day, with emotions concentrated in just a few categories. In contrast, a person with high emodiversity feels a range of emotions throughout the day, distributed evenly across the spectrum of feelings.

The researchers analyzed data from 175 people ages 40 to 65 who reported on their negative and positive emotions for 30 days. Each evening, they rated the extent to which they had experienced 16 positive emotions that day, from interested and determined to happy, excited, amused, inspired, alert, active and strong. They were also asked to rate their experience of 16 negative emotions, including scared, afraid, upset, distressed, jittery, nervous and ashamed. Their blood was drawn six months later and was tested for three inflammation markers that circulate in the blood.

Their range of negative emotions – regardless of whether it was narrow or wide – had no effect on inflammation.

But people in the study who reported a wide range of positive emotions had lower levels of inflammation than those who said they felt a narrower range.

"Emotions serve functional roles for individuals, helping them prioritize and regulate behavior in ways that optimize adjustment to situational demands," Ong said. "Our findings suggest that depletion or overabundance of positive emotions, in particular, has consequences for the functioning and health of one's emotional ecosystem."

Growing evidence from other research has linked emotional processes with systemic inflammation, which has been shown to contribute to poor health, such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, rheumatoid disease and osteoporosis, and leads to a number of processes that play a major role in premature death.

How can these findings help one achieve better health?

Label your good feelings as you experience them, Ong said.

"The simple daily practice of labeling and categorizing good feelings in specific terms may help us experience more differentiated emotions in different contexts," Ong said.

The Gary Null Show -  07.21.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.21.21

July 21, 2021

Greater adherence to Mediterranean diet associated with better cognitive performance in older individuals

University of South Australia, July 13, 2021

According to news originating from Adelaide, Australia, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with higher cognitive function and reduced risk of dementia in Mediterranean populations. However, few studies have investigated the association between Mediterranean diet adherence and cognition in populations outside of the Mediterranean basin.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from the University of South Australia, “Furthermore, it is currently unknown whether the association between Mediterranean diet adherence and cognitive function differs between middle-aged and older individuals. Cross-sectional (n = 894) and longitudinal (n = 530) multivariable analyses were undertaken using data from community-dwelling adults from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS). Mediterranean diet adherence was measured by applying a literature-based Mediterranean diet score to food frequency questionnaire data. Cognitive function was assessed with a battery of tests and composites scores were computed for global cognitive function, Visual-Spatial Organisation and Memory, verbal memory, working memory, scanning and tracking and abstract reasoning. No cross-sectional associations between Mediterranean diet adherence and cognitive function were detected. Over a period of five years, higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with improvements in Global Cognitive Function, Visual-Spatial Organisation and Memory and scanning and tracking in participants >= 70 years.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “No significant longitudinal associations were observed for participants Conclusion: Our findings suggest that higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with better cognitive performance, and therefore less cognitive decline, in older but not middle-aged individuals.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

Coffee and veggies may protect against COVID-19

Northwestern University, July 20, 2021

Sip a venti dark roast and eat a salad. A new Northwestern Medicine study shows coffee consumption and eating lots of vegetables may offer some protection against COVID-19.

The authors believe this is the first study using population data to examine the role of specific dietary intake in prevention of COVID-19.

"A person's nutrition impacts immunity," said senior author Marilyn Cornelis, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "And the immune system plays a key role in an individual's susceptibility and response to infectious diseases, including COVID-19."

Being breastfed may also offer protection as well as eating less processed meats, the study found.

"Besides following guidelines currently in place to slow the spread of the virus, we provide support for other relatively simple ways in which individuals can reduce their risk and that is through diet and nutrition," Cornelis said. 

The paper on nutrition and COVID-19 protection was published recently in the journal Nutrients.

One or more cups of coffee per day was associated with about a 10% decrease in risk of COVID-19 compared to less than one cup per day. Consumption of at least 0.67 servings per day of vegetables (cooked or raw, excluding potatoes) was associated with a lower risk of COVID-19 infection. Processed meat consumption of as little as 0.43 servings per day was associated with a higher risk of COVID-19. Having been breastfed as a baby reduced the risk 10% compared to not having been breastfed. 

While the study shows diet appears to modestly reduce disease risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccines as the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death. COVID-19 vaccines also reduce the risk of people spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.

Thus far, most COVID-19 research has focused on individual factors assessed after a positive COVID-19 test. Individuals with suppressed immune systems such as the elderly and those with existing comorbidities including cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes and obesity, are more likely to experience severe outcomes of COVID-19. 

But other than weight management, less attention has focused on other modifiable risk factors preceding COVID-19 infection, said Cornelis, who studies how diet and nutrition contribute to chronic disease. 

Dr. Thanh-Huyen Vu, the study's first author and a research associate professor of medicine at Northwestern, is now leading analyses to determine whether these protective diet behaviors are specific to COVID or respiratory infections more broadly. 

Exact mechanisms linking these diet factors to COVID are unknown. 

"Coffee is a major source of caffeine, but there are also dozens of other compounds that may potentially underlie the protective associations we observed," Cornelius said. "Associations with processed meat, but not red meat, point to non-meat factors."

Using data from the UK Biobank, researchers examined the associations between dietary behaviors measured in 2006-2010 and COVID-19 infections in March to December 2020, before vaccines were available. They focused on 1) diet factors for which data were available and previously implicated in immunity based on human and animal studies; 2) self-reported intakes of coffee, tea, vegetables, fruit, fatty fish, processed meat and red meat. An early-life exposure to breastmilk also was analyzed. 

Among the 37,988 participants tested for COVID-19 and included in the study, 17% tested positive. 

The observational nature of the UK Biobank research limits the extent to which mechanisms of protection can be tested, Cornelis said. However, much of her nutrition research uses genetics, and with all UK Biobank participants currently genotyped, she hopes to use this information to gain better insight into how diet and nutrition offer protection from the disease.

 

Biologic age reversed with lifestyle improvement plus supplements

Institute for Functional Medicine (Seattle), July 14 2021. 

The April 15, 2021 issue of Aging published the results of an eight-week randomized trial which resulted in a reduction in biologic age among men who participated in lifestyle changes and consumed nutritional supplements.

"The combined intervention program was designed to target a specific biological mechanism called DNA methylation, and in particular the DNA methylation patterns that have been identified as highly predictive of biological age,” explained lead author Kara Fitzgerald, ND. “We suspect that this focus was the reason for its remarkable impact.” 

The trial included 38 men between the ages of 50 and 72 years. Eighteen participants consumed a plant-based, low carbohydrate diet that included limited nutrient-dense animal proteins. The diet was supplemented with a vegetable and fruit powder and the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum 299v. The group was advised to participate in a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise daily and to perform breathing exercises twice per day for stress reduction. 

According to the Horvath DNAmAge clock, which evaluates DNA methylation patterns as a marker of biologic age, men who participated in the lifestyle program had scores that averaged 1.96 younger at the end of the program in comparison with the beginning, while control participants scored 1.27 years older. Additionally, triglycerides were reduced in the lifestyle program group.

“To our knowledge, this is the first randomized controlled study to suggest that specific diet and lifestyle interventions may reverse Horvath DNAmAge epigenetic aging in healthy adult males,” the authors announced. 

“These early results appear to be consistent with, and greatly extend, the very few existing studies that have so far examined the potential for biological age reversal,” Dr Fitzgerald commented. “And it is unique in its use of a safe, non-pharmaceutical dietary and lifestyle program, control group, and the extent of the age reduction."

 

 

 

Research suggests L-carnitine could aid burn recovery

Anhui Medical University (China), July 12, 2021

According to news reporting from First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University research stated, “Impaired hepatic fatty acid metabolism and persistent mitochondrial dysfunction are phenomena commonly associated with liver failure. Decreased serum levels of L-carnitine, a amino acid derivative involved in fatty-acid and energy metabolism, have been reported in severe burn patients.”

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University: “The current study aimed to evaluate the effects of L-carnitine supplementation on mitochondrial damage and other hepatocyte injuries following severe burns and the related mechanisms. Serum carnitine and other indicators of hepatocytic injury, including AST, ALT, LDH, TG, and OCT, were analyzed in severe burn patients and healthy controls. A burn model was established on the back skin of rats; thereafter, carnitine was administered, and serum levels of the above indicators were evaluated along with Oil Red O and TUNEL staining, transmission electron microscopy, and assessment of mitochondrial membrane potential and carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1) activity and expression levels in the liver. HepG2 cells pretreated with the CPT1 inhibitor etomoxir were treated with or without carnitine for 24 h. Next, the above indicators were examined, and apoptotic cells were analyzed via flow cytometry. High-throughput sequencing of rat liver tissues identified several differentially expressed genes (Fabp4, Acacb, Acsm5, and Pnpla3) were confirmed using RT-qPCR. Substantially decreased serum levels of carnitine and increased levels of AST, ALT, LDH, and OCT were detected in severe burn patients and the burn model rats. Accumulation of TG, evident mitochondrial shrinkage, altered mitochondrial membrane potential, decreased ketogenesis, and reduced CPT1 activity were detected in the liver tissue of the burned rats. Carnitine administration recovered CPT1 activity and improved all indicators related to cellular and fatty acid metabolism and mitochondrial injury. Inhibition of CPT1 activity with etomoxir induced hepatocyte injuries similar to those in burn patients and burned rats; carnitine supplementation restored CPT1 activity and ameliorated these injuries. The expression levels of the differentially expressed genes Fabp4, Acacb, Acsm5, and Pnpla3 in the liver tissue from burned rats and etomoxir-treated hepatocytes were also restored by treatment with exogenous carnitine.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Exogenous carnitine exerts protective effects against severe burn-induced cellular, fatty-acid metabolism, and mitochondrial dysfunction of hepatocytes by restoring CPT1 activity.”

 
 

Red blood cell ‘traffic’ contributes to changes in brain oxygenation

 

Penn State University, July 19, 2021

Adequate blood flow supplies the brain with oxygen and nutrients, but the oxygenation tends to fluctuate in a distinct, consistent manner. The root of this varied activity, though, is poorly understood.

Now, Penn State researchers have identified one cause of the fluctuations: inherent randomness in the flow rate of red blood cells through tiny blood vessels called capillaries. According to the researchers, this randomness could have potential implications for understanding the biological build-up mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. They published their findings in PLOS Biology today.

“These oxygenation fluctuations also occur in other tissues, like muscle,” said Patrick Drew, Huck Distinguished Associate Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Neurosurgery and Biomedical Engineering. “The question we had was: Are these fluctuations caused by neural activity or something else?”

The fluctuations resemble 1/f-like noise, a statistical pattern showing large fluctuations made up of many small fluctuations and naturally occurring in a variety of phenomena, from stock-market prices to river heights. The researchers investigated the fluctuations in mice due to their brains’ similarities to those of humans, according to Drew, who also serves as associate director of the Penn State Neuroscience Institute.

First, the researchers monitored the blood flow, oxygenation and electrical signals produced by brain activity—the first time the latter two had been tracked simultaneously, according to Drew—in awake mice. They collected the data as mice moved on a spherical treadmill for up to 40 minutes at a time.

Next, to investigate the relationship between brain activity and oxygenation fluctuations, the researchers used pharmacological compounds to temporarily and reversibly silence neural signals in the mice’s brains. Despite the silencing, the fluctuations continued, showing little correlation between neural activity and oxygenation.

The passage of red blood cells, however, told a different story. Using two-photon laser scanning microscopy, an imaging technique used to visualize cells deep inside living tissue, the researchers could visualize the passage of individual red blood cells through capillaries.

“It’s like traffic,” Drew said. “Sometimes there are a lot of cars going by, and the traffic gets plugged up, and sometimes there aren’t. And red blood cells go either way when they approach a junction, so this random flow can lead to bottlenecks and stalls in the vessel.”

Importing experimental data into a statistical model allowed the researchers to run further simulations and make inferences based on massive amounts of data produced by the model. The researchers discovered that these random red blood cell stoppages contributed to the fluctuations in oxygenation, further supporting a relationship between the flow of red blood cells through capillaries and the tiny changes in oxygenation that formed larger trends.

Better understanding the regulation of blood flow and subsequent transport of oxygen can help researchers improve medical technology and explore causes of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, according to Drew. While the researchers identified the link between red blood cell transport and oxygenation, further research is needed to investigate additional contributors to oxygenation fluctuations that could play a role in neurodegenerative diseases.

Kyle Gheres, a graduate student in the intercollege Graduate Program in Molecular Cellular and Integrative Biosciences, also contributed to this paper. Qingguang Zhang, assistant research professor of engineering science and mechanics, served as first author on the paper. This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

 

 

EGCG in Green Tea inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells

Chonbuk National University School of Medicine (S Korea), July 21, 2021

 

Findings on Breast Cancer Reported by Researchers at Chonbuk National University School of Medicine(Epigallocatechin gallate inhibits the growth of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells via inactivation of the b-catenin signaling pathway)

According to news reporting originating in Chonbuk, South Korea, research stated, "Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a major constituent of green tea, has potential as a treatment for a variety of diseases, including cancer. EGCG induces apoptosis and inhibits tumorigenesis through multiple signaling pathways in breast cancer cells. b-catenin signaling modulators could be useful in the prevention and therapy of breast cancer."

The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from the Chonbuk National University School of Medicine, "However, the precise anticancer effect of EGCG through the b-catenin signaling pathway in breast cancer is unclear. The present study investigated the association between b-catenin expression and clinicopathological factors of breast cancer patients, and the effect of EGCG on b-catenin expression in breast cancer cells. b-catenin expression was analyzed according to the clinicopathological factors of 74 patients with breast cancer. All patients were females diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. Western blot analysis revealed that b-catenin was expressed at higher levels in breast cancer tissue than in normal tissue. b-catenin expression was associated with lymph node metastasis (p=0.04), tumor-node-metastasis stage (p=0.03) and estrogen receptor status (p <0.01). EGCG decreased MDA-MB-231 cell viability and significantly downregulated the expression of b-catenin, phosphorylated Akt and cyclin D1. Remarkably, additive effects of LY294002 and wortmannin, two phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase inhibitors, were observed. The present results suggest that EGCG inhibits the growth of MDA-MB-231 cells through the inactivation of the b-catenin signaling pathway."

 

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: "Based on these promising results, EGCG may be a potential treatment for triple negative breast cancer patients."

 

Living near woodlands is good for children and young people's mental health

University College London, July 20, 2021

Analysis of children and young people's proximity to woodlands has shown links with better cognitive development and a lower risk of emotional and behavioural problems, in research led by UCL and Imperial College London scientists that could influence planning decisions in urban areas.

In what is believed to be one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers used longitudinal data relating to 3,568 children and teenagers, aged nine to 15 years, from 31 schools across London. This period is a key time in the development of adolescents' thinking, reasoning and understanding of the world.

The study, published in Nature Sustainability, looked at the links between different types of natural urban environments and the pupils' cognitive development, mental health and overall well-being.

The environments were divided into what planners call green space (woods, meadows and parks) and blue space (rivers, lakes and the sea), with green space separated further into grassland and woodland. Researchers used satellite data to help calculate each adolescent's daily exposure rate to each of these environments within 50m, 100m, 250m and 500m of their home and school.

After adjusting for other variables, the results showed that higher daily exposure to woodland (but not grassland) was associated with higher scores for cognitive development, and a 16% lower risk of emotional and behavioural problems two years later.

A similar but smaller effect was seen for green space, with higher scores for cognitive development, but this was not seen for blue space. The researchers note though that access to blue space in the cohort studied was generally low. 

Examples of other explanatory variables considered included the young person's age, ethnic background, gender, parental occupation and type of school, e.g., state or independent. The level of air pollution might have influenced adolescents' cognitive development, but researchers did not feel these observations were reliable or conclusive, and these require further investigations.

It is already estimated that one in 10 of London's children and adolescents between the ages of five and 16 suffer from a clinical mental health illness and excess costs are estimated between £11,030 and £59,130 annually for each person. As with adults, there is also evidence that natural environments play an important role in children and adolescents' cognitive development and mental health into adulthood, but less is known about why this is.

The results of this study suggest that urban planning decisions to optimise ecosystem benefits linked to cognitive development and mental health should carefully consider the type of natural environment included. Natural environments further away from an adolescent's residence and school may play an important role too, not just their immediate environment.

Lead author, PhD student Mikaël Maes (UCL Geography, UCL Biosciences and Imperial College London School of Public Health) said: "Previous studies have revealed positive associations between exposure to nature in urban environments, cognitive development and mental health. Why these health benefits are received remains unclear, especially in adolescents. 

"These findings contribute to our understanding of natural environment types as an important protective factor for an adolescent's cognitive development and mental health and suggest that not every environment type may contribute equally to these health benefits.

"Forest bathing, for example (being immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of a forest), is a relaxation therapy that has been associated with physiological benefits, supporting the human immune function, reducing heart rate variability and salivary cortisol, and various psychological benefits. However, the reasons why we experience these psychological benefits from woodland remain unknown." 

Joint senior author Professor Mireille Toledano (Director, Mohn Centre for Children's Health and Wellbeing and Investigator, MRC Centre for Environment and Health and Principal Investigator of the SCAMP study, Imperial College London) said: "It's been suggested previously that the benefits of natural environments to mental health are comparable in magnitude to family history, parental age and even more significant than factors like the degree of urbanisation around you, but lower than your parents' socio-economic status. Sensory and non-sensory pathways have been suggested as potentially important for delivering cognition and mental health benefits received from exposure to nature.

"It's critical for us to tease out why natural environments are so important to our mental health throughout the life course - does the benefit derive from the physical exercise we do in these environments, from the social interactions we often have in them, or from the fauna and flora we get to enjoy in these environments or a combination of all of these?"

Joint senior author Professor Kate Jones (UCL Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research, UCL Biosciences) said: "One possible explanation for our findings may be that audio-visual exposure through vegetation and animal abundance provides psychological benefits, of which both features are expected in higher abundance in woodland. Even though our results show that urban woodland is associated with adolescent's cognitive development and mental health, the cause of this association remains unknown. Further research is fundamental to our understanding of the links between nature and health."

To arrive at the findings, researchers analysed a longitudinal dataset of 3,568 adolescents between 2014 and 2018, whose residence was known, from the Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones (SCAMP) across the London metropolitan area. They assessed adolescents' mental health and overall well-being from a self-reported Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) - covering areas such as emotional problems, conduct, hyperactivity and peer problems - and the KIDSCREEN-10 Questionnaire taken by each adolescent for SCAMP. 

Limitations of the study include an assumption that living or going to school near natural environments means more exposure to them, which may not always be the case due to how easily they can be accessed by a child or young person or how usable they are.

Also, a considerable proportion of the participants (52.21%) were in the group whose parents had a managerial/professional occupation, so adolescents in less favourable socio-economic groups may be underrepresented and pupils requiring special needs may be differently affected compared with their peers. Crime rates, which may have influenced the results too, were not taken into account.

The Gary Null Show - 07.20.21
The Gary Null Show - 07.19.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.19.21

July 19, 2021

Why everyone was wrong

The coronavirus is slowly retreating. What actually happened in the past few weeks? The experts have missed basic connections. The immune response against the virus is much stronger than we thought.

By Beda M Stadler

This is not an accusation, but a ruthless taking stock [of the current situation]. I could slap myself, because I looked at Sars-CoV2- way too long with panic. I am also somewhat annoyed with many of my immunology colleagues who so far have left the discussion about Covid-19 to virologist and epidemiologist. I feel it is time to criticise some of the main and completely wrong public statements about this virus.

Firstly, it was wrong to claim that this virus was novel. Secondly, It was even more wrong to claim that the population would not already have some immunity against this virus. Thirdly, it was the crowning of stupidity to claim that someone could have Covid-19 without any symptoms at all or even to pass the disease along without showing any symptoms whatsoever.

But let’s look at this one by one.

1. A new virus?

At the end of 2019 a coronavirus, which was considered novel, was detected in China. When the gene sequence, i.e. the blueprint of this virus, was identified and was given a similar name to the 2002 identified Sars, i.e. Sars-CoV-2, we should have already asked ourselves then how far [this virus] is related to other coronaviruses, which can make human beings sick. But no, instead we discussed from which animal as part of a Chinese menu the virus might have sprung. In the meantime, however, many more people believe the Chinese were so stupid as to release this virus upon themselves in their own country. Now that we’re talking about developing a vaccine against the virus, we suddenly see studies which show that this so-called novel virus is very strongly related to Sars-1 as well as other beta-coronaviruses which make us suffer every year in the form of colds. Apart from the pure homologies in the sequence between the various coronaviruses which can make people sick, [scientists] currently work on identifying a number of areas on the virus in the same way as human immune cells identify them. This is no longer about the genetic relationship, but about how our immune system sees this virus, i.e. which parts of other coronaviruses could potentially be used in a vaccine.

So: Sars-Cov-2 isn’t all that new, but merely a seasonal cold virus that mutated and disappears in summer, as all cold viruses do — which is what we’re observing globally right now. Flu viruses mutate significantly more, by the way, and nobody would ever claim that a new flu virus strain was completely novel. Many veterinary doctors were therefore annoyed by this claim of novelty, as they have been vaccinating cats, dogs, pigs, and cows for years against coronaviruses.

2. The fairy tale of no immunity

From the World Health Organisation (WHO) to every Facebook-virologist, everyone claimed this virus was particularly dangerous, because there was no immunity against it, because it was a novel virus. Even Anthony Fauci, the most important advisor to the Trump administration noted at the beginning at every public appearance that the danger of the virus lay in the fact that there was no immunity against it. Tony and I often sat next to each other at immunology seminars at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda in the US, because we worked in related fields back then. So for a while I was pretty uncritical of his statements, since he was a respectable colleague of mine. The penny dropped only when I realised that the first commercially available antibody test [for Sars-CoV-2] was put together from an old antibody test that was meant to detect Sars-1. This kind of test evaluates if there are antibodies in someone’s blood and if they came about through an early fight against the virus. [Scientists] even extracted antibodies from a llama that would detect Sars-1, Sars-CoV-2, and even the Mers virus. It also became known that Sars-CoV-2 had a less significant impact in areas in China where Sars-1 had previously raged. This is clear evidence urgently suggesting that our immune system considers Sars-1 and Sars-Cov-2 at least partially identical and that one virus could probably protect us from the other.

That’s when I realised that the entire world simply claimed that there was no immunity, but in reality, nobody had a test ready to prove such a statement. That wasn’t science, but pure speculation based on a gut feeling that was then parroted by everyone. To this day there isn’t a single antibody test that can describe all possible immunological situations, such as: if someone is immune, since when, what the neutralising antibodies are targeting and how many structures exist on other coronaviruses that can equally lead to immunity.

In mid-April, work was published by the group of Andreas Thiel at the Charité Berlin. A paper with 30 authors, amongst them the virologist Christian Drosten. It showed that in 34 % of people in Berlin who had never been in contact with the Sars-CoV-2 virus showed nonetheless T-cell immunity against it (T-cell immunity is a different kind of immune reaction, see below). This means that our T-cells, i.e. white blood cells, detect common structures appearing on Sars-CoV-2 and regular cold viruses and therefore combat both of them.

A study by John P A Ioannidis of Stanford University — according to the Einstein Foundation in Berlin one of the world’s ten most cited scientists — showed that immunity against Sars-Cov-2, measured in the form of antibodies, is much higher than previously thought. Ioannidis is certainly not a conspiracy theorist who just wants to swim against the stream; nontheless he is now being criticised, because the antibody tests used were not extremely precise. With that, his critics admit that they do not have such tests yet. And aside, John P A Ioannidis is such a scientific heavy-weight that all German virologists combined are a light-weight in comparison.

3. The failure of modellers

Epidemiologist also fell for the myth that there was no immunity in the population. They also didn’t want to believe that coronaviruses were seasonal cold viruses that would disappear in summer. Otherwise their curve models would have looked differently. When the initial worst case scenarios didn’t come true anywhere, some now still cling to models predicting a second wave. Let’s leave them their hopes — I’ve never seen a scientific branch that manoeuvred itself so much into the offside. I have also not yet understood why epidemiologists were so much more interested in the number of deaths, rather than in the numbers that could be saved.

4. Immunology of common sense

As an immunologist I trust a biological model, namely that of the human organism, which has built a tried and tested, adaptive immune system. At the end of February, driving home from the recording of [a Swiss political TV debate show], I mentioned to Daniel Koch [former head of the Swiss federal section “Communicable Diseases” of the Federal Office of Public Health] that I suspected there was a general immunity in the population against Sars-Cov-2. He argued against my view. I later defended him anyway, when he said that children were not a driving factor in the spread of the pandemic. He suspected that children didn’t have a receptor for the virus, which is of course nonsense. Still, we had to admit that his observations were correct. But the fact that every scientist attacked him afterwards and asked for studies to prove his point, was somewhat ironic. Nobody asked for studies to prove that people in certain at-risk groups were dying. When the first statistics from China and later worldwide data showed the same trend, that is to say that almost no children under ten years old got sick, everyone should have made the argument that children clearly have to be immune. For every other disease that doesn’t afflict a certain group of people, we would come to the conclusion that that group is immune. When people are sadly dying in a retirement home, but in the same place other pensioners with the same risk factors are left entirely unharmed, we should also conclude that they were presumably immune.

But this common sense seems to have eluded many, let’s call them “immunity deniers” just for fun. This new breed of deniers had to observe that the majority of people who tested positive for this virus, i.e. the virus was present in their throats, did not get sick. The term “silent carriers” was conjured out of a hat and it was claimed that one could be sick without having symptoms. Wouldn’t that be something! If this principle from now on gets naturalised into the realm of medicine, health insurers would really have a problem, but also teachers whose students could now claim to have whatever disease to skip school, if at the end of the day one didn’t need symptoms anymore to be sick.

The next joke that some virologists shared was the claim that those who were sick without symptoms could still spread the virus to other people. The “healthy” sick would have so much of the virus in their throats that a normal conversation between two people would be enough for the “healthy one” to infect the other healthy one. At this point we have to dissect what is happening here: If a virus is growing anywhere in the body, also in the throat, it means that human cells decease. When [human] cells decease, the immune system is alerted immediately and an infection is caused. One of five cardinal symptoms of an infection is pain. It is understandable that those afflicted by Covid-19 might not remember that initial scratchy throat and then go on to claim that they didn’t have any symptoms just a few days ago. But for doctors and virologists to twist this into a story of “healthy” sick people, which stokes panic and was often given as a reason for stricter lockdown measures, just shows how bad the joke really is. At least the WHO didn’t accept the claim of asymptomatic infections and even challenges this claim on its website.

Here a succinct and brief summary, especially for the immunity deniers, of how humans are attacked by germs and how we react to them: If there are pathogenic viruses in our environment, then all humans — whether immune or not — are attacked by this virus. If someone is immune, the battle with the virus begins. First we try to prevent the virus from binding to our own cells with the help of antibodies. This normally works only partially, not all are blocked and some viruses will attach to the appropriate cells. That doesn’t need to lead to symptoms, but it’s also not a disease. Because the second guard of the immune system is now called into action. That’s the above mentioned T-cells, white blood cells, which can determine from the outside in which other cells the virus is now hiding to multiply. These cells, which are now incubating the virus, are searched throughout the entire body and killed by the T-cells until the last virus is dead.

So if we do a PCR corona test on an immune person, it is not a virus that is detected, but a small shattered part of the viral genome. The test comes back positive for as long as there are tiny shattered parts of the virus left. Correct: Even if the infectious viruses are long dead, a corona test can come back positive, because the PCR method multiplies even a tiny fraction of the viral genetic material enough [to be detected]. That’s exactly what happened, when there was the global news, even shared by the WHO, that 200 Koreans who already went through Covid-19 were infected a second time and that there was therefore probably no immunity against this virus. The explanation of what really happened and an apology came only later, when it was clear that the immune Koreans were perfectly healthy and only had a short battle with the virus. The crux was that the virus debris registered with the overly sensitive test and therefore came back as “positive”. It is likely that a large number of the daily reported infection numbers are purely due to viral debris.

The PCR test with its extreme sensitivity was initially perfect to find out where the virus could be. But this test can not identify whether the virus is still alive, i.e. still infectous. Unfortunately, this also led some virologists to equate the strength of a test result with viral load, i.e. the amount of virus someone can breathe out. Luckily, our day care centres stayed open nontheless. Since German virologist missed that part, because, out of principle, they do not look at what other countries are doing, even if other countries’ case numbers are falling more rapidly.

5. The problem with corona immunity

What does this all mean in real life? The extremely long incubation time of two to 14 days — and reports of 22 to 27 days — should wake up any immunologist. As well as the claim that most patients would no longer secrete the virus after five days. Both [claims] in turn actually lead to the conclusion that there is — sort of in the background — a base immunity that contorts the events, compared to an expected cycle [of a viral infection] — i.e. leads to a long incubation period and quick immunity. This immunity also seems to be the problem for patients with a severe course of the disease. Our antibody titre, i.e. the accuracy of our defence system, is reduced the older we get. But also people with a bad diet or who are malnourished may have a weakened immune system, which is why this virus does not only reveal the medical problems of a country, but also social issues.

If an infected person does not have enough antibodies, i.e. a weak immune response, the virus slowly spreads out across the entire body. Now that there are not enough antibodies, there is only the second, supporting leg of our immune response left: The T-cells beginn to attack the virus-infested cells all over the body. This can lead to an exaggerated immune response, basically to a massive slaughter; this is called a Cytokine Storm. Very rarely this can also happen in small children, in that case called Kawasaki Syndrome. This very rare occurrence in children was also used in our country to stoke panic. It’s interesting, however, that this syndrome is very easily cured. The [affected] children get antibodies from healthy blood donors, i.e. people who went through coronavirus colds. This means that the hushed-up [supposedly non-existent] immunity in the population is in fact used therapeutically.

What now?

The virus is gone for now. It will probably come back in winter, but it won’t be a second wave, but just a cold. Those young and healthy people who currently walk around with a mask on their faces would be better off wearing a helmet instead, because the risk of something falling on their head is greater than that of getting a serious case of Covid-19.

If we observe a significant rise in infections in 14 days [after the Swiss relaxed the lockdown], we’d at least know that one of the measures was useful. Other than that I recommend reading John P A Ioannidis’ latest work in which he describes the global situation based on data on May 1st 2020: People below 65 years old make up only 0.6 to 2.6 % of all fatal Covid cases. To get on top of the pandemic, we need a strategy merely concentrating on the protection of at-risk people over 65. If that’s the opinion of a top expert, a second lockdown is simply a no-go.

On our way back to normal, it would be good for us citizens if a few scaremongers apologised. Such as doctors who wanted a triage of over 80 year old Covid patients in order to stop ventilating them. Also media that kept showing alarmist videos of Italian hospitals to illustrate a situation that as such didn’t exist. All politicians calling for “testing, testing, testing” without even knowing what the test actually measures. And the federal government for an app they’ll never get to work and will warn me if someone near me is positive, even if they’re not infectious.

In winter, when the flu and other colds make the rounds again, we can then go back to kissing each other a little less, and we should wash our hands even without a virus present. And people who’ll get sick nonetheless can then don their masks to show others what they have learned from this pandemic. And if we still haven’t learned to protect our at-risk groups, we’ll have to wait for a vaccine that will hopefully also be effective in at-risk people.

The Gary Null Show - 07.16.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.16.21

July 16, 2021

A fermented-food diet increases microbiome diversity and lowers inflammation, study finds

Stanford University, July 13, 2021

A diet rich in fermented foods enhances the diversity of gut microbes and decreases molecular signs of inflammation, according to researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine. 

In a clinical trial, 36 healthy adults were randomly assigned to a 10-week diet that included either fermented or high-fiber foods. The two diets resulted in different effects on the gut microbiome and the immune system.

Eating foods such as yogurt, kefir, fermented cottage cheese, kimchi and other fermented vegetables, vegetable brine drinks, and kombucha tea led to an increase in overall microbial diversity, with stronger effects from larger servings. "This is a stunning finding," said Justin Sonnenburg, PhD, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology. "It provides one of the first examples of how a simple change in diet can reproducibly remodel the microbiota across a cohort of healthy adults."

In addition, four types of immune cells showed less activation in the fermented-food group. The levels of 19 inflammatory proteins measured in blood samples also decreased. One of these proteins, interleukin 6, has been linked to conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Type 2 diabetes and chronic stress. 

"Microbiota-targeted diets can change immune status, providing a promising avenue for decreasing inflammation in healthy adults," said Christopher Gardner, PhD, the Rehnborg Farquhar Professor and director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. "This finding was consistent across all participants in the study who were assigned to the higher fermented food group."

Microbe diversity stable in fiber-rich diet

By contrast, none of these 19 inflammatory proteins decreased in participants assigned to a high-fiber diet rich in legumes, seeds, whole grains, nuts, vegetables and fruits. On average, the diversity of their gut microbes also remained stable. "We expected high fiber to have a more universally beneficial effect and increase microbiota diversity," said Erica Sonnenburg, PhD, a senior research scientist in basic life sciences, microbiology and immunology. "The data suggest that increased fiber intake alone over a short time period is insufficient to increase microbiota diversity." 

The study will be published online July 12 in Cell. Justin and Erica Sonnenburg and Christopher Gardner are co-senior authors. The lead authors are Hannah Wastyk, a PhD student in bioengineering, and former postdoctoral scholar Gabriela Fragiadakis, PhD, who is now an assistant professor of medicine at UC-San Francisco.

A wide body of evidence has demonstrated that diet shapes the gut microbiome, which can affect the immune system and overall health. According to Gardner, low microbiome diversity has been linked to obesity and diabetes. 

"We wanted to conduct a proof-of-concept study that could test whether microbiota-targeted food could be an avenue for combatting the overwhelming rise in chronic inflammatory diseases," Gardner said. 

The researchers focused on fiber and fermented foods due to previous reports of their potential health benefits. While high-fiber diets have been associated with lower rates of mortality, the consumption of fermented foods can help with weight maintenance and may decrease the risk of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The researchers analyzed blood and stool samples collected during a three-week pre-trial period, the 10 weeks of the diet, and a four-week period after the diet when the participants ate as they chose. 

The findings paint a nuanced picture of the influence of diet on gut microbes and immune status. On one hand, those who increased their consumption of fermented foods showed similar effects on their microbiome diversity and inflammatory markers, consistent with prior research showing that short-term changes in diet can rapidly alter the gut microbiome. On the other hand, the limited change in the microbiome within the high-fiber group dovetails with the researchers' previous reports of a general resilience of the human microbiome over short time periods. 

Designing a suite of dietary and microbial strategies

The results also showed that greater fiber intake led to more carbohydrates in stool samples, pointing to incomplete fiber degradation by gut microbes. These findings are consistent with other research suggesting that the microbiome of people living in the industrialized world is depleted of fiber-degrading microbes. 

"It is possible that a longer intervention would have allowed for the microbiota to adequately adapt to the increase in fiber consumption," Erica Sonnenburg said. "Alternatively, the deliberate introduction of fiber-consuming microbes may be required to increase the microbiota's capacity to break down the carbohydrates."

In addition to exploring these possibilities, the researchers plan to conduct studies in mice to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which diets alter the microbiome and reduce inflammatory proteins. They also aim to test whether high-fiber and fermented foods synergize to influence the microbiome and immune system of humans. Another goal is to examine whether the consumption of fermented food decreases inflammation or improves other health markers in patients with immunological and metabolic diseases, and in pregnant women and older individuals. 

"There are many more ways to target the microbiome with food and supplements, and we hope to continue to investigate how different diets, probiotics and prebiotics impact the microbiome and health in different groups," Justin Sonnenburg said.

 

Effect of resveratrol intervention on renal pathological injury in type 2 diabetes

Capital Medical University (China), July 11, 2021

According to news reporting from Beijing, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a clinically common cardiovascular disease that can lead to kidney damage and adversely affect male fertility and sperm quality. Resveratrol (Res) is a natural product that has a wide range of effects in animals and cell models.”

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from Capital Medical University, “This research is designed to observe the effect of resveratrol (Res) intervention on renal pathologic injury and spermatogenesis in mice with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Sixty healthy male SD mice without specific pathogens (SPF grade) were selected, and numbered by statistical software to randomize into control group (CG; n=20), model group (MG; n=20) and research group (RG; n=20). Mice in CG were given regular diet, while those in MG and RG were fed with high fat diet. Subsequently, RG was given Res intervention while MG received no treatment. Biochemical indexes [triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), fasting blood glucose (FBG), 24-hour urinary albumin excretion rate (24h-UAER)] of mice in the three groups before and after intervention were observed and recorded. The effect of Res on oxidative stress, kidney histopathological structure, spermatogenic function, sperm density and viability of mice, as well as spermatogenic cell cycle of testis were determined. Res reduced hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia in T2D mice. By reducing malondialdehyde (MDA) and increasing superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), Res relieved oxidative stress and alleviated kidney tissue damage. In addition, Res improved the spermatogenic function of T2D mice by increasing the sperm density and survival rate and restoring the percentage of spermatogenic cells at all levels.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Res intervention in T2D mice can reduce kidney tissue damage, lower blood glucose (BG), and improve spermatogenic function by increasing sperm density and restoring the percentage of spermatogenic cells at all levels.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

Eating whole grains linked to smaller increases in waist size, blood pressure, blood sugar

Study in middle- to older-aged adults suggests whole grains may protect against heart disease

Tufts University, July 13, 2021

Middle- to older-aged adults who ate at least three servings of whole grains daily had smaller increases in waist size, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels over time compared to those who ate less than one-half serving per day, according to new research.

Published July 13, 2021, in the Journal of Nutrition, the study by researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University examined how whole- and refined-grain intake over time impacted five risk factors of heart disease: Waist size, blood pressure, blood sugar, triglyceride, and HDL ("good") cholesterol.

Using data from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort, which began in the 1970s to assess long-term risk factors of heart disease, the new research examined health outcomes associated with whole- and refined-grain consumption over a median of 18 years. The 3,100 participants from the cohort were mostly white and, on average, in their mid-50s at the start of data collection.

The research team compared changes in the five risk factors, over four-year intervals, across four categories of reported whole grain intake, ranging from less than a half serving per day to three or more servings per day. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, the recommended amount of whole grains is three or more servings daily. An example of a serving is one slice of whole-grain bread, a half cup of rolled oats cereal, or a half cup of brown rice.

The results showed that for each four-year interval:

 

Waist size increased by an average of over 1 inch in the low intake participants, versus about ½ inch in the high intake participants.

Even after accounting for changes in waist size, average increases in blood sugar levels and systolic blood pressure were greater in low intake participants compared to high intake participants.

The researchers also studied the five risk factors across four categories of refined-grain intake, ranging from less than two servings per day to more than four servings per day. Lower refined-grain intake led to a lower average increase in waist size and a greater mean decline in triglyceride levels for each four-year period.

"Our findings suggest that eating whole-grain foods as part of a healthy diet delivers health benefits beyond just helping us lose or maintain weight as we age. In fact, these data suggest that people who eat more whole grains are better able to maintain their blood sugar and blood pressure over time. Managing these risk factors as we age may help to protect against heart disease," said Nicola McKeown, senior and corresponding author and a scientist on the Nutritional Epidemiology Team at the USDA HNRCA.

"There are several reasons that whole grains may work to help people maintain waist size and reduce increases in the other risk factors. The presence of dietary fiber in whole grains can have a satiating effect, and the magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants may contribute to lowering blood pressure. Soluble fiber in particular may have a beneficial effect on post-meal blood sugar spikes," said Caleigh Sawicki. Sawicki did this work as part of her doctoral dissertation while a student at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and while working with the Nutritional Epidemiology Team at the USDA HNRCA.

The greatest contributor to whole-grain intake among participants was whole-wheat breads and ready-to-eat whole-grain breakfast cereals. The refined grains came mostly from pasta and white bread. The difference in health benefits between whole and refined grains may stem from the fact that whole grains are less processed than refined grains. Whole grains have a fiber-rich outer layer and an inner germ layer packed with B vitamins, antioxidants, and small amounts of healthy fats. Milling whole grains removes these nutrient-dense components, leaving only the starch-packed refined grain behind.

"The average American consumes about five servings of refined grains daily, much more than is recommended, so it's important to think about ways to replace refined grains with whole grains throughout your day. For example, you might consider a bowl of whole-grain cereal instead of a white flour bagel for breakfast and replacing refined-grain snacks, entrees, and side dishes with whole-grain options. Small incremental changes in your diet to increase whole-grain intake will make a difference over time," McKeown said.

Methodology

To measure daily grain intake, the researchers used diet questionnaires that participants completed every four years from 1991 to 2014, resulting in a median of 18 years of data.

Dietary assessment data came from five study examinations, and observations were only included if participants attended at least two consecutive examinations with accurate dietary data. Participants with diabetes at baseline were excluded.

The statistical analysis was adjusted for factors that might influence the results, including other aspects of a healthy diet. Limitations of the study include the fact that food consumption is self-reported, and participants may over- or under-estimate intake of certain foods based on perceived social desirability. Due to its observational design, the study does not reflect a causal relationship.

 

Antibiotics in early life could affect brain development

Exposure to antibiotics in utero or after birth could lead to brain disorders in later childhood

Rutgers University, July 14, 2021

Antibiotic exposure early in life could alter human brain development in areas responsible for cognitive and emotional functions, according to a Rutgers researcher.

The laboratory study, published in the journal iScience, suggests that penicillin changes the microbiome - the trillions of beneficial microorganisms that live in and on our bodies - as well as gene expression, which allows cells to respond to its changing environment, in key areas of the developing brain. The findings suggest reducing widespread antibiotic use or using alternatives when possible to prevent neurodevelopment problems. 

Penicillin and related medicines (like ampicillin and amoxicillin) are the most widely used antibiotics in children worldwide. In the United States, the average child receives nearly three courses of antibiotics before the age of 2. Similar or greater exposure rates occur in many other countries. 

"Our previous work has shown that exposing young animals to antibiotics changes their metabolism and immunity. The third important development in early life involves the brain. This study is preliminary but shows a correlation between altering the microbiome and changes in the brain that should be further explored," said lead author Martin Blaser, director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine at Rutgers.

The study compared mice that were exposed to low-dose penicillin in utero or immediately after birth to those that were not exposed. They found that mice given penicillin experienced substantial changes in their intestinal microbiota and had altered gene expression in the frontal cortex and amygdala, two key areas in the brain responsible for the development of memory as well as fear and stress responses. 

A growing body of evidence links phenomena in the intestinal tract with signaling to the brain, a field of study known as the "gut-brain-axis." If this pathway is disturbed, it can lead to permanent altering of the brain's structure and function and possibly lead to neuropsychiatric or neurodegenerative disorders in later childhood or adulthood.

"Early life is a critical period for neurodevelopment," Blaser said. "In recent decades, there has been a rise in the incidence of childhood neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and learning disabilities. Although increased awareness and diagnosis are likely contributing factors, disruptions in cerebral gene expression early in development also could be responsible."

Future studies are needed to determine whether antibiotics directly effect brain development or if molecules from the microbiome that travel to the brain disturb gene activity and cause cognitive deficits. 

The study was conducted along with Zhan Gao at Rutgers and Blaser's former graduate student Anjelique Schulfer, as well as Angelina Volkova, Kelly Ruggles, and Stephen Ginsberg at New York University, who all played important roles in this joint Rutgers-New York University project.

 

Taking the brain out for a walk

A recent study shows that spending time outdoors has a positive effect on our brains

Max Planck Institute for Human Development, July 15, 2021

If you're regularly out in the fresh air, you're doing something good for both your brain and your well-being. This is the conclusion reached by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). The longitudinal study recently appeared in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry.

During the Corona pandemic, walks became a popular and regular pastime. A neuroscientific study suggests that this habit has a good effect not only on our general well-being but also on our brain structure. It shows that the human brain benefits from even short stays outdoors. Until now, it was assumed that environments affect us only over longer periods of time.

The researchers regularly examined six healthy, middle-aged city dwellers for six months. In total, more than 280 scans were taken of their brains using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The focus of the study was on self-reported behavior during the last 24 hours and in particular on the hours that participants spent outdoors prior to imaging. In addition, they were asked about their fluid intake, consumption of caffeinated beverages, the amount of time spent outside, and physical activity, in order to see if these factors altered the association between time spent outside and the brain. In order to be able to include seasonal differences, the duration of sunshine in the study period was also taken into account.

Brain scans show that the time spent outdoors by the participants was positively related to gray matter in the right dorsolateral-prefrontal cortex, which is the superior (dorsal) and lateral part of the frontal lobe in the cerebral cortex. This part of the cortex is involved in the planning and regulation of actions as well as what is referred to as cognitive control. In addition, many psychiatric disorders are known to be associated with a reduction in gray matter in the prefrontal area of the brain.

The results persisted even when the other factors that could also explain the relationship between time spent outdoors and brain structure were kept constant. The researchers performed statistical calculations in order to examine the influence of sunshine duration, number of hours of free time, physical activity, and fluid intake on the results. The calculations revealed that time spent outdoors had a positive effect on the brain regardless of the other influencing factors.

"Our results show that our brain structure and mood improve when we spend time outdoors. This most likely also affects concentration, working memory, and the psyche as a whole. We are investigating this in an ongoing study. The subjects are asked to also solve cognitively challenging tasks and wear numerous sensors that measure the amount of light they are exposed to during the day, among other environmental indicators," says Simone Kühn, head of the Lise Meitner Group for Environmental Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and lead author of the study.

The results therefore, support the previously assumed positive effects of walking on health and extend them by the concrete positive effects on the brain. Because most psychiatric disorders are associated with deficits in the prefrontal cortex, this is of particular importance to the field of psychiatry.

"These findings provide neuroscientific support for the treatment of mental disorders. Doctors could prescribe a walk in the fresh air as part of the therapy - similar to what is customary for health cures," says Anna Mascherek, post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) and co-author of the study.

In the ongoing studies, the researchers also want to directly compare the effects of green environments vs urban spaces on the brain. In order to understand where exactly the study participants spend their time outdoors, the researchers plan to use GPS (Global Positioning System) data and include other factors that may play a role such as traffic noise and air pollution.

 

 

Vitamin C found to block growth of cancer stem cells, says peer reviewed study

University of Salford (UK),  July 8, 2021

 

Increasingly, researchers are discovering the role played by cancer stem cells in the growth and spread of the disease. In groundbreaking new researchvitamin C showed its ability to target cancer stem cells and stop their growth – preventing the recurrence of tumors.

Although mainstream medicine has been slow to accept the cancer-fighting properties of vitamin C, the exciting results of this study could help to change that.

It’s official: Vitamin C interferes with cancer stem cell metabolism

In a newly-published study conducted at the University of Salford in Manchester, vitamin C demonstrated its power to stop tumors in their tracks by interfering with cancer stem cell metabolism – suppressing their ability to process energy for survival and growth.

Cancer stem cells are responsible for triggering tumor recurrence, and promoting their growth and metastasis. Researchers believe that cancer stem cells give cancer its ability to resist chemotherapy and radiation – the reason for treatment failure in advanced cancer patients.

The study, helmed by researchers Michael P. Lisanti and Gloria Bonucelli, was published last month in Oncotarget, a peer-reviewed journal. Peer-reviewed studies are considered the gold standard of scientific research.

The study was the first to explore the effects of vitamin C on cancer stem cells – and provided the first evidence that vitamin C, in the form of ascorbic acid, can target and kill them.

In a side-by-side comparison of seven different substances, vitamin C even outperformed an experimental cancer drug.

Vitamin C works ten times better than the experimental cancer drug 2-DG

The team investigated the impact on cancer stem cells of seven different substances. Three were natural substances, three were experimental drugs, and one was an FDA-approved clinical drug that is widely used.

The natural products studied, along with vitamin C, were silibinin – derived from milk thistle seeds – and caffeic acid phenyl ester – or CAPE – derived from honeybee propolis. The experimental drugs were actinonin, FK866 and 2-DG, and the clinical drug was stiripentol.

Researchers noted that vitamin C destroyed cancer stem cells by inducing oxidative stress. And, the vitamin performed this process ten times more effectively than 2-DG.

Vitamin C used two different mechanisms of action to attack cancer stem cells. It worked as a pro-oxidant in cancer cells, depleting them of the antioxidant glutathione and causing oxidative stress and apoptosis – or cell death. It also inhibited glycolysis, which is the process that creates energy production in cell mitochondria.

By inhibiting glycolysis, vitamin C inhibited mitrochondrial protein synthesis in cancer stem cells – while leaving healthy cells unaffected.

Non-toxic vitamin C lacks the serious side effects of many pharmaceutical drugs

Both experimental and approved cancer drugs can feature serious adverse effects, including thrombocytopenia – a deficiency of platelets in the blood that can cause bruising and slow blood clotting. They can also induce lymphopenia – a decrease in the body’s infection-fighting white blood cells – and anemia, or low red blood cells.

And the clinically-approved drug used in the study, stiripentol, can cause severe nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
On the other hand, the National Cancer Center reports that high-dose vitamin C has caused very few side effects when used in clinical studies.

Scientifically speaking, the future looks bright for vitamin C

All seven of the substances tested inhibited the growth of cancer cells to varying degrees – including the non-toxic natural substances. But researchers said the most “exciting” results were with vitamin C.

The research team concluded that vitamin C was a “promising new agent,” and called for more study to explore its use as an adjunct to conventional cancer therapies to prevent tumor recurrence and growth.

“Vitamin C is cheap, natural, non-toxic and readily available, so to have it as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer would be a significant step,” observed Dr. Lisanti.

As in most of the successful studies showing vitamin C’s cancer-fighting properties, researchers used high doses of vitamin C, administered intravenously. IV vitamin C therapy is available in some alternative and holistic cancer treatment clinics worldwide.

The real reason why vitamin C is ignored by conventional medicine and the mainstream media

Again, vitamin C was 1,000 percent more effective than 2-DG, an experimental pharmaceutical drug – in targeting cancer stem cells. If vitamin C were developed by big pharma, these results would be shouted from the rooftops and featured in newspaper headlines.

Yet, as always, “the powers that be” in mainstream medicine respond with…crickets.

The reason; say natural health experts, is all too obvious. As a natural nutrient and vitamin, vitamin C can’t be patented, and is inexpensive and easy to obtain. Therefore, there is no incentive for cancer clinics to promote it – when they can instead rake in the profits from chemotherapy.

The indifference of conventional medicine to vitamin C is all the more frustrating because the nutrient has been shown to be an effective and non-toxic anti-cancer agent in previous studies, including many conducted by Nobel prize-winning scientist Linus Pauling. Vitamin C has been shown in a Japanese study to cut mortality in cancer patients by 25 percent. In addition, it has inhibited tumors in animal studies, and been shown to kill cancer cells in a wide variety of cancer cell lines.

How much longer will the potential of this safe and powerful cancer-fighting nutrient be overlooked?

 

 

Mothers' high-fat diet affects clotting response in sons, mice study finds

University of Reading (UK), July 13, 2021

Mothers who follow a high fat diet may be affecting the cardiovascular health of their sons, according to a new study in mice.

In a paper published in Scientific Reports, a team of scientists found that the male children of mice mothers who were fed on a high fat diet during pregnancy had unhealthy platelets, which are responsible for clotting, when fed on a high fat diet themselves.

Although both male and female children of the mothers fed on a high fat diet showed a variety of risks associated with cardiovascular disease, it was only the platelets of male mice which were considered hyperactive. These platelets were larger, more volatile and showed signs of stress compared to offspring fed on a normal diet.

Dr. Dyan Sellayah, lecturer in cellular and organismal metabolism at the University of Reading said:

"Heart disease is one of the UK's biggest killers and mounting evidence suggests that the risk of developing it may be increased during early development, particularly during the gestation period where mothers have a high-fat diet/are obese. The underlying mechanisms by which an unhealthy maternal diet may impact heart disease risk remains largely unknown.

"This study used a mouse model of maternal obesity to understand how specialist blood cells known as platelets may be programmed during pregnancy. Platelets are important for blood clotting but are also the cause of heart attacks and strokes if they are activated at the wrong time and place."

Children of the mothers fed on a high fat diet who followed a control diet however did not show the same concerning heart disease risks.

The offspring from the group given a control diet had very similar levels of fat mass, cholesterol and other markets of cardiovascular health as the children of mothers fed a standard diet.

In addition, where mothers had been fed a standard diet and their offspring fed a high fat diet, those children had higher levels of fat mass and other cardiovascular markers, but their platelets were statistically similar to the other groups apart from where both mum and child were fed high fat diet. 

Dr. Craig Hughes, lecturer in cardiovascular biology at the University of Reading said:

"This study revealed that maternal obesity during pregnancy causes offspring platelets to become hyperactive in response to a high-fat diet in adulthood. These results raise the possibility that the risk of unwanted blood clotting (aka thrombosis) in adulthood could be altered during pregnancy by diet of the mother.

"The specific mechanisms for why high fat diets affect male offspring are still being investigated but we can see that there's likely to be a double-hit where both mums and sons diets together were required to see these bigger, more hyperactive platelets."

The Gary Null Show -  07.15.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.15.21

July 15, 2021

Short chain fatty acids: An 'ace in the hole' against SARS-CoV-2 infection

Scientists find that short chain fatty acids can be used to reduce susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and mortality from COVID-19

University of Fukui (Japan), July 14, 2021

Humans are no stranger to coronavirus (CoV) pandemics. Just like SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), another member of the coronavirus family--SARS-CoV--caused the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic across parts of Asia in 2003. But, its spread was contained way faster than COVID-19. So, what makes SARS-CoV-2 so contagious?

Both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 viruses bear "spike proteins" which get inside our cells by binding to a protein called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) that is found in our cells. However, the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein has been found to have a higher binding affinity (10 to 20 times that of SARS-CoV) to ACE2, thus establishing a link between the pathogen and the protein.

Interestingly, recent studies have shown that patients with COVID-19 who have rhinosinusitis (i.e., inflammation of the nose) have a low risk of hospitalization. Moreover, the expression of ACE2 was reduced in patients with rhinosinusitis. Coincidentally, another study has shown that short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), produced by bacteria in the gut have beneficial effects in allergy and viral infections. These separate findings prompted an investigation of the effect that SCFAs in the nasal cavity against SARS-CoV-2 infection by scientists from the University of Fukui, Japan, led by Dr. Tetsuji Takabayashi.

In a new study published in the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy, the scientists attempted to understand the effect of SCFAs on ACE2 expression in the nasal passage, and the potential impact on COVID-19 infection. "This is the first report that short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) effectively reduce the ACE2 levels in human airway epithelial cells," remarks Dr. Takabayashi.

To understand the status of ACE2 expression in patients with allergies, the researchers studied the levels of ACE2 in the inner lining of the nose in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis induced by Japanese cedar pollen (SAR-JCP) and chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). Using techniques like real time-PCR to quantify the expression of ACE2, the researchers found that there was no increase in ACE2 expression in in patients with SAR-JCP, whereas it was decreased in patients with CRS.

To better understand the effect of SCFAs on ACE2 expression, the researchers cultured nasal epithelial cells and exposed them to either SFCA and double-stranded RNA (similar to the nuclear material found in some viruses and known to enhance ACE2 expression). Upon examining the expression of ACE2, the researchers saw that the SFCAs had suppressed ACE2 expression in the presence of the RNA as well.

These results suggest that SFCAs has potential therapeutic applications against COVID-19. Dr. Takabayashi explains, "The nasal mucosa exhibits the highest ACE2 expression among human organs and hence is a prominent target of original infection. Therefore, the development of strategies to downregulate ACE2 expression in nasal epithelial cells could reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission and be useful as a novel therapeutic approach."

The team's timely findings will certainly aid in our fight against COVID-19.

 

Flavonoids may slow Alzheimer onset

Tufts University Human Nutrition Center, July 13, 2021

The following information was released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 5.8 million Americans aged 65 or older live with Alzheimer's disease, and that number is projected to nearly triple by 2160. Fortunately, USDA-funded research may have found a tasty way to slow disease onset.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that diets high in flavonoids may protect cognitive health. Flavonoids are plant nutrients known for their antioxidant, antiviral, and anticancer properties and are found in berries, tea, dark chocolate, and other foods.

"Alzheimer's disease is a significant public health challenge," said Paul Jacques, nutritional epidemiologist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. "Given the absence of drug treatments, preventing Alzheimer's disease through a healthy diet is an important consideration."

Jacques's study, which followed 2,809 people for nearly 20 years, revealed that diets high in fruits and vegetables showed significant promise to quell the onset of Alzheimer's.

"Our study showed that individuals with the highest intakes of flavonoids were more than 50% less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, relative to those with the lowest intakes," he said. "Plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds are good sources of flavonoids."

According to Jacques, flavonoid-rich diets help more than just Alzheimer's disease and related dementia.

"The bottom line is that there are many reasons to consume a healthy diet, including lower risks of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. We can now add protection of cognitive health and prevention of Alzheimer's disease to that list."

 

 

Mitochondria malfunction shown to be the major cause of Parkinson's

University of Copenhagen (Denmark), July 9, 2021

12,000 people in Denmark and 7 to 10 million people worldwide suffer from Parkinson's Disease (PD). It is the second most common neurogenerative disorder of aging and the most common movement disorder, but the cause of the disease is largely unknown.

In a new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen show that the most common form of the disease, encompassing 90 to 95 percent of all Parkinson's Disease cases known as sporadic PD, is caused by a blockage of a pathway that regulates the nerve cell's powerhouse, the mitochondria.

"Just like when people eat, cells take what they need and get rid of the rest waste products. But if our brain cells have this specific kind of signaling blockage, it means that the powerhouse of the cell—mitochondria—cannot get cleaned up after being damaged," explains corresponding author and group leader Professor Shohreh Issazadeh-Navikas at the Biotech Research & Innovation Centre.

The blockage leads to an accumulation of high amounts of damaged mitochondria, while not being able to produce enough energy for the cells. It causes neurons to gradually die, which is the reason for the development of Parkinson's Disease symptoms, and why it leads to dementia.

The blockage is caused by a dysregulation of the immune genes, more specifically a pathway called type 1 interferon, which is normally important for fight against viruses, but now we show that it is also responsible for regulating the energy supply of the nerve cells.

"Every part of our body needs to be regulated. We get a signal to stop eating, when we are full, and the same thing happens everywhere else in our body. If we get an infection, parts of our body need to fight it and stop it from replicating. But when the infection is cleaned up, the signal should subside. This is the job of a protein called PIAS2. That causes the blockage of the type 1 interferon-pathway, and when the infection is over, the blockage should stop and go back to normal. But that does not seem to be the case in patients with Parkinson's Disease. We further demonstrate that this dysregulation leads to a defect in the mitochondrial energy supply, as mentioned before," says Issazadeh-Navikas.

These pathways are very important for brain functions, but they are also associated with microbial and virus recognition. For example, they are very important for fighting COVID-19, and a mutation in the related gene has been shown to be linked to a deadly outcome after contracting COVID-19.

The researchers combined and analyzed four data sets, which studied neurons from brains with Parkinson's Disease and looked at what type of genes they express.

They then looked at which gene patterns were disturbed in patients with Parkinson's Disease and especially those who had also developed PD with dementia.

In order to test the results, the major findings of the combined data was tried in three different mouse models using a negative regulator of the type I interferon pathway, PIAS2, which had been identified from the patients study as one of the key proteins linked to the progression of Parkinson's Disease and dementia.

"We show that a high accumulation of the PIAS2-protein is what is causing the blockage in the pathway, which should have activated the processes responsible for removing damaged protein and mitochondrial garbage," says Issazadeh-Navikas.

"The accumulation of damaged mitochondrial mass further leads to increase of other toxic proteins. So when we compare patients to same-aged healthy patients without Parkinson's Disease, we see that this PIAS2-protein is highly expressed in the neurons, which is why this pathway should be evaluated for potential roles in the other forms of familial Parkinson's Disease that we have not studied here."

The researchers hope the study will encourage research to counteract the pathway blockage, which could have a beneficial impact on the disease and towards preventing dementia.

In the next stages, the Issazadeh-Navikas group will study how the pathwaycontributes to neuronal homeostasis and survival, as well as how its dysregulation causes neuronal cell death.

 

Combining plant-based diet and a healthy microbiome may protect against multiple sclerosis

Metabolism of isoflavone by gut bacteria protects mice from MS-like inflammation

University of Iowa, July 13, 2021

A new University of Iowa study suggests that metabolism of plant-based dietary substances by specific gut bacteria, which are lacking in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), may provide protection against the disease. 

The study led by Ashutosh Mangalam, PhD, UI associate professor of pathology, shows that a diet rich in isoflavone, a phytoestrogen or plant-based compound that resembles estrogen, protects against multiple sclerosis-like symptoms in a mouse model of the disease. Importantly, the isoflavone diet was only protective when the mice had gut microbes capable of breaking down the isoflavones. The findings were published July 9 in Science Advances.

"Interestingly, previous human studies have demonstrated that patients with multiple sclerosis lack these bacteria compared to individuals without MS," Mangalam says. "Our new study provides evidence that the combination of dietary isoflavones and these isoflavone metabolizing gut bacteria may serve as a potential treatment for MS."

Isoflavones are found in soybeans, peanuts, chickpeas and other legumes. The study also found that mice fed the isoflavone diet have a microbiome that is similar to the microbiome found in healthy people and includes the bacteria which can metabolize isoflavones. Conversely, a diet lacking isoflavones promotes a microbiome in mice which is similar to one observed in patients with MS and lacks beneficial bacteria that can metabolize isoflavone.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease of the brain and spinal cord where the immune system attacks the protective coating surrounding nerve fibers. The symptoms of this disease include muscles weakness, balance issues, and problems with vision and thinking. While there are treatments that slow down the disease, there is currently no cure for MS. 

Although the exact cause of MS is unknown, a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors are thought to initiate the disease. Recently, the gut microbiome--the trillions of gut bacteria the live inside human intestines--has emerged as a potential environmental factor that contributes to MS. In prior work, Mangalam and colleagues demonstrated that there are significant differences between the gut microbes of patients with MS and people without MS. Specifically, patients with MS lacked bacteria that are able to metabolize isoflavones. Although role of gut microbiome in human diseases such as MS is being appreciated, the mechanism through which these gut bacteria might influence the disease is poorly understood.

In the current study, Mangalam's team, including first author Samantha Jensen, a UI graduate student in immunology, found that the bacteria that are lacking in patients with MS are able to suppress inflammation in a mouse model of MS. The team compared the effects of an isoflavone diet and an isoflavone-free diet on disease in the mouse model of MS. They found that the isoflavone diet led to disease protection. However, when the team placed the mice on the isoflavone diet but removed the isoflavone-metabolizing gut bacteria, the isoflavone diet was no longer able to protect against MS-like symptoms. When the bacteria were reintroduced, the protective effect of the isoflavone diet was restored. Furthermore, the team was able to show that a specific isoflavone metabolite called equol, which is produced by the gut bacteria from isoflavone, is also able to provide protection against disease. 

"This study suggests that an isoflavone diet may be protective so long as the isoflavone metabolizing gut bacteria are present in the intestines," say Mangalam, who also is a member of the Iowa Neuroscience institute and Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.

 

How a Mediterranean diet could reduce osteoporosis

University of East Anglia (UK), July 12, 2021

Eating a Mediterranean-type diet could reduce bone loss in people with osteoporosis - according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

New findings published today show that sticking to a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, unrefined cereals, olive oil, and fish can reduce hip bone loss within just 12 months.

The study is the first long-term, pan-European clinical trial looking at the impact of a Mediterranean diet on bone health in older adults.

More than 1,000 people aged between 65 and 79 took part in the trial, and volunteers were randomised into two groups - one which followed a Mediterranean diet and a control group which did not.

Bone density was measured at the start and after 12 months. The diet had no discernible impact on participants with normal bone density, but it did have an effect on those with osteoporosis.

People in the control group continued to see the usual age-related decrease in bone density, but those following the diet saw an equivalent increase in bone density in one part of the body - the femoral neck. This is the area which connects the shaft of the thigh bone to its rounded head, which fits in the hip joint.

UK study lead Prof Susan Fairweather-Tait, from UEA's Norwich Medical School, said: "This is a particularly sensitive area for osteoporosis as loss of bone in the femoral neck is often the cause of hip fracture, which is common in elderly people with osteoporosis.

"Bone takes a long time to form, so the 12-month trial, although one of the longest to date, was still a relatively short time frame to show an impact. So the fact we were able to see a marked difference between the groups even in just this one area is significant."

The EU-funded trial, led by the University of Bologna, was completed by 1142 participants recruited across five centres in Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, Poland and France. Those following the Mediterranean diet increased their intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, unrefined cereals, olive oil, and fish, consumed small quantities of dairy products and meat and had a moderate alcohol intake.

People in the intervention group were provided with foods such as olive oil and wholemeal pasta, to encourage them to stick to the diet, and were also given a small vitamin D supplement, to even out the effects of different levels of sunlight on vitamin D status between the participating countries.

At the start and end of the trial, blood samples were taken to check for circulating biomarkers. Bone density was measured in over 600 participants across both groups at the lumbar spine and femoral neck. Of these participants, just under 10% were found to have osteoporosis at the start of the study.

Co-researcher from UEA, Dr Amy Jennings said: "Although this is a small number it is sufficient for the changes in femoral neck bone density between the two groups to be statistically significant.

"Those with osteoporosis are losing bone at a much faster rate than others, so you are more likely to pick up changes in these volunteers than those losing bone more slowly, as everyone does with age.

"With a longer trial, it's possible we could have picked up changes in the volunteers with normal bone density. However, we already found it quite challenging to encourage our volunteers to change their diet for a year, and a longer trial would have made recruitment more difficult and resulted in a higher drop-out."

The researchers would now like to see a similar, or ideally longer, trial in patients with osteoporosis, to confirm the findings across a larger group and see if the impact can be seen in other areas of the body. If the condition could be mitigated through diet, this would be a welcome addition to current drug treatments for osteoporosis, which can have severe side effects.

But in the meantime, say the researchers, there is no reason for those concerned about the condition not to consider adapting their diet.

"A Mediterranean diet is already proven to have other health benefits, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and cancer," said Prof Fairweather-Tait. "So there's no downside to adopting such a diet, whether you have osteoporosis or not."

'A Mediterranean-like dietary pattern with vitamin D3 (10 μg/day) supplements reduced rate of bone loss in older Europeans with osteoporosis at baseline: results of a one year randomised controlled trial' is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition .

 

Rishi mushroom promotes sleep through a gut microbiota-dependent and serotonin-involved pathway 

Hang-zhou Medical College (China), July 10, 2021

According to news reporting out of Zhejiang, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Ganoderma lucidum is a medicinal mushroom used in traditional Chinese medicine with putative tranquilizing effects. However, the component of G. lucidum that promotes sleep has not been clearly identified.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Hangzhou Medical College, “Here, the effect and mechanism of the acidic part of the alcohol extract of G. lucidum mycelia (GLAA) on sleep were studied in mice. Administration of 25, 50 and 100 mg/kg GLAA for 28 days promoted sleep in pentobarbital-treated mice by shortening sleep latency and prolonging sleeping time. GLAA administration increased the levels of the sleep-promoting neurotransmitter 5-hydroxytryptamine and the Tph2, Iptr3 and Gng13 transcripts in the sleep-regulating serotonergic synapse pathway in the hypothalamus during this process. Moreover, GLAA administration reduced lipopolysaccharide and raised peptidoglycan levels in serum. GLAA-enriched gut bacteria and metabolites, including Bifidobacterium, Bifidobacterium animalis, indole-3-carboxylic acid and acetylphosphate were negatively correlated with sleep latency and positively correlated with sleeping time and the hypothalamus 5-hydroxytryptamine concentration. Both the GLAA sleep promotion effect and the altered faecal metabolites correlated with sleep behaviours disappeared after gut microbiota depletion with antibiotics.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Our results showed that GLAA promotes sleep through a gut microbiota-dependent and serotonin-associated pathway in mice.”

 


 

Vitamin C found to block growth of cancer stem cells, says peer reviewed study

University of Salford (UK),  July 8, 2021

 

Increasingly, researchers are discovering the role played by cancer stem cells in the growth and spread of the disease. In groundbreaking new researchvitamin C showed its ability to target cancer stem cells and stop their growth – preventing the recurrence of tumors.

Although mainstream medicine has been slow to accept the cancer-fighting properties of vitamin C, the exciting results of this study could help to change that.

In a newly-published study conducted at the University of Salford in Manchester, vitamin C demonstrated its power to stop tumors in their tracks by interfering with cancer stem cell metabolism – suppressing their ability to process energy for survival and growth.

Cancer stem cells are responsible for triggering tumor recurrence, and promoting their growth and metastasis. Researchers believe that cancer stem cells give cancer its ability to resist chemotherapy and radiation – the reason for treatment failure in advanced cancer patients.

The study, helmed by researchers Michael P. Lisanti and Gloria Bonucelli, was published last month in Oncotarget, a peer-reviewed journal. Peer-reviewed studies are considered the gold standard of scientific research.

The study was the first to explore the effects of vitamin C on cancer stem cells – and provided the first evidence that vitamin C, in the form of ascorbic acid, can target and kill them.

In a side-by-side comparison of seven different substances, vitamin C even outperformed an experimental cancer drug.

The team investigated the impact on cancer stem cells of seven different substances. Three were natural substances, three were experimental drugs, and one was an FDA-approved clinical drug that is widely used.

The natural products studied, along with vitamin C, were silibinin – derived from milk thistle seeds – and caffeic acid phenyl ester – or CAPE – derived from honeybee propolis. The experimental drugs were actinonin, FK866 and 2-DG, and the clinical drug was stiripentol.

Researchers noted that vitamin C destroyed cancer stem cells by inducing oxidative stress. And, the vitamin performed this process ten times more effectively than 2-DG.

Vitamin C used two different mechanisms of action to attack cancer stem cells. It worked as a pro-oxidant in cancer cells, depleting them of the antioxidant glutathione and causing oxidative stress and apoptosis – or cell death. It also inhibited glycolysis, which is the process that creates energy production in cell mitochondria.

By inhibiting glycolysis, vitamin C inhibited mitrochondrial protein synthesis in cancer stem cells – while leaving healthy cells unaffected.

Both experimental and approved cancer drugs can feature serious adverse effects, including thrombocytopenia – a deficiency of platelets in the blood that can cause bruising and slow blood clotting. They can also induce lymphopenia – a decrease in the body’s infection-fighting white blood cells – and anemia, or low red blood cells.

And the clinically-approved drug used in the study, stiripentol, can cause severe nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
On the other hand, the National Cancer Center reports that high-dose vitamin C has caused very few side effects when used in clinical studies.

All seven of the substances tested inhibited the growth of cancer cells to varying degrees – including the non-toxic natural substances. But researchers said the most “exciting” results were with vitamin C.

The research team concluded that vitamin C was a “promising new agent,” and called for more study to explore its use as an adjunct to conventional cancer therapies to prevent tumor recurrence and growth.

“Vitamin C is cheap, natural, non-toxic and readily available, so to have it as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer would be a significant step,” observed Dr. Lisanti.

As in most of the successful studies showing vitamin C’s cancer-fighting properties, researchers used high doses of vitamin C, administered intravenously. IV vitamin C therapy is available in some alternative and holistic cancer treatment clinics worldwide.

Again, vitamin C was 1,000 percent more effective than 2-DG, an experimental pharmaceutical drug – in targeting cancer stem cells. If vitamin C were developed by big pharma, these results would be shouted from the rooftops and featured in newspaper headlines.

Yet, as always, “the powers that be” in mainstream medicine respond with…crickets.

The reason; say natural health experts, is all too obvious. As a natural nutrient and vitamin, vitamin C can’t be patented, and is inexpensive and easy to obtain. Therefore, there is no incentive for cancer clinics to promote it – when they can instead rake in the profits from chemotherapy.

The indifference of conventional medicine to vitamin C is all the more frustrating because the nutrient has been shown to be an effective and non-toxic anti-cancer agent in previous studies, including many conducted by Nobel prize-winning scientist Linus Pauling. Vitamin C has been shown in a Japanese study to cut mortality in cancer patients by 25 percent. In addition, it has inhibited tumors in animal studies, and been shown to kill cancer cells in a wide variety of cancer cell lines.

How much longer will the potential of this safe and powerful cancer-fighting nutrient be overlooked?

The Gary Null Show -  07.14.21
The Gary Null Show - 07.13.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.13.21

July 13, 2021

DR. CHARLES HOFFE EXPLAINS WHY AND HOW BLOOD CLOTS WILL HAPPEN AFTER THE MRNA VACCINES

The Gary Null Show - 07.12.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.12.21

July 12, 2021

Whitney Webb of UnlimitedHangout.com joins us once again, this time to discuss her latest article, "A “Leap” toward Humanity’s Destruction." Even if you're familiar with the transhumanist agenda, what the ex-DARPA, ex-Silicon Valley old hands at the newly created Wellcome Leap are planning to do in their quest to transform the human species in the coming decade will blow your mind.

The Gary Null Show -  07.09.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.09.21

July 9, 2021

Randy Credico, host of Live on the Fly: Assange Countdown to Freedom, is a political satirist, civil rights activist and former director of The William Moses Kunstler Fund For Racial Justice. Randy has an uncanny knack for circumventing mainstream media disinformation and official stonewalling to bring you live-audio debriefings and analysis from lawyers, journalists, whistle blowers, organizers and activists who are fighting to protect Assange from a lifetime sentence behind the bars of a U.S. maximum security penitentiary.Randy visited Julian at the Ecuadoran embassy in London and is actively coordinating public support for him in the U.S. and abroad. Because Randy is adept at evading news blackouts and cutting through official stonewalling, Live on the Fly delivers gripping live-audio debriefings and analyses from the defense attorneys, witnesses, journalists, activists and many more.

The Gary Null Show - 07.08.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.08.21

July 8, 2021

One year of aerobic exercise training may reduce risk of Alzheimer's in older adults

 

University of Texas Southwestern, July 6, 2021

New research suggests one year of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise training improved cardiorespiratory fitness, cerebral blood flow regulation, memory and executive function in people with mild cognitive impairment. The data suggest improvement in cerebrovascular function from exercise training also has the potential to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease in older adults, according to the research team at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The research paper is published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60–80% of dementia cases, according to the Alzheimer's Association. The group estimates more than 6 million people living in the U.S. with Alzheimer's.

More facts from the Alzheimer's Association:

  • Alzheimer's kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
  • Alzheimer's deaths have increased by 16% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In 2021, Alzheimer's is projected to cost the nation $355 billion.
 

Credit: American Physiological Society

In this new study, the research team observed 37 people with mild cognitive impairment, which is a precursor stage of Alzheimer's disease. At the beginning of the study, the subjects participated in three exercise sessions per week that consisted of brisk walking for 25–30 minutes. By week 11, they exercised four times a week, walking briskly uphill for 30–35 minutes per session. After week 26, exercise sessions increased to four to five times per week for 30–40 minutes.

Using these findings as a building block, a new two-year study is underway to determine the long-term impact of aerobic exercise on Alzheimer's disease, according to Tsubasa Tomoto, Ph.D., a member of the research team. The researchers' goal is to turn the findings of both studies into more practical ways to mitigate the risk of the disease.

 

Review finds intake of probiotics improves numerous factors in people with colorectal cancer

University of Malaya (Malaysia), June 30, 2021

A systematic review of randomized trials that appeared on May 24, 2021 in Nutrition Reviews concluded that probiotic intake is associated with a number of beneficial effects in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients with any stage of the disease.

Probiotics are living microorganisms (typically bacteria, but also yeasts such as Saccharomyces spp.) that when consumed in adequate amounts have been shown to benefit the health of the body. Consuming probiotics may benefit gut health, nutritional status, immune function and even brain health. Prebiotics are foods (often non-digestible oligosaccharides such as xylooligosaccharides) that nourish probiotics and the healthy bacteria in the gut and support their maintenance within the body. 

For their review, researchers at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia screened numerous databases, finding 23 randomized, controlled trials that met the criteria for their review. The studies included a total of 2,457 participants who had undergone surgery for various stages of CRC. A total of 1,403 participants received probiotics and 1,054 participants served as controls. 

Of the included studies, 12 trials evaluated the effects of a mixture of probiotics, 7 trials used synbiotics (which combine prebiotics with probiotics), 3 trials used single strains of probiotics and 1 trial used the fermented milk beverage kefir. The probiotics most commonly administered included Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus varieties. Six of the included trials analyzed the effects of probiotics on gut microbiota, 4 trials studied their effects on the immune system and inflammatory biomarkers, 18 examined postoperative complications, 7 evaluated length of hospital stay, 4 measured quality of life improvement, 2 assessed tumor growth and tumor stage development, and mortality was assessed in two trials. 

The researchers found probiotics improved gut microbiota diversity, and in one study also reduced amounts of a bacteria shown to be present at higher levels in patients with CRC. In multiple studies, there were fewer postoperative infection complications, less proinflammatory cytokine production and better quality of life occurred among participants who took probiotics compared to the control groups. Probiotic intake was also found to decrease chemotherapy side effects, decrease tumor growth, improve surgery outcomes, shorten hospital stay and lower risk of mortality.  

“The use of probiotics and synbiotics provides numerous health benefits, as seen in this systematic review,” the authors wrote. “The findings in this systematic review also highlight the importance of preoperative administration of probiotics or synbiotics as well as postoperative administration of probiotics, especially for patients with colorectal cancer who have invasive surgeries and are on a chemotherapy regimen.”

In closing, they note “In the future, the use of probiotics against colorectal cancer should be able to broaden and become more personalized in treatment of patients with colorectal cancer. Dietitians, nutritionists, and general practitioners should also recommend intake of probiotic[s]…more frequently to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer development, and the administration of probiotics should commence at the first diagnosis of colon polyps.”

 

 

 

 

Study finds time-restricted eating may reduce diabetes-related hypertension

 

University of Kentucky College of Medicine, July 2, 2021

A new University of Kentucky College of Medicine study suggests that time-restricted eating may be able to help people with Type 2 diabetes reduce nocturnal hypertension, which is characterized by elevated blood pressure at night.

The study published in PNAS June 22 found that time-restricted eating, a routine in which eating is restricted to a specific window of time during each day, helped prevent and improve diabetes-related nocturnal hypertension in mice.

Study authors Ming Gong, Ph.D., M.D., professor in the Department of Physiology, and Zhenheng Guo, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, are hopeful their findings will mean time-restricted eating could offer similar benefits for people.

"We are excited about these findings and the implications they could have in future clinical studies," said Guo. "In addition to lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, time-restricted eating could have a healthy impact on people with Type 2 diabetes."

Normally, blood pressure falls at night and increases upon awakening, in line with the body's circadian rhythm. In some hypertensive patients, the typical nighttime decrease does not occur. This "nondipping" blood pressure is prevalent in patients with Type 2 diabetes and is associated with increased events of cardiovascular disease.

The study found that imposing time-restricted feeding prevented diabetic mice from developing nondipping blood pressure. The practice also effectively restored the disrupted blood pressure circadian rhythm in mice that already had nondipping blood pressure.

Researchers restricted the mice's access to food to eight hours during their typical active awake times every day. When food availability was increased to 12 hours, the practice was still effective in preventing and treating nondipping blood pressure. Guo says this is evidence that the effects were caused by the timing of feeding and not calorie restriction.

In addition to the study's significance for future clinical research in people, Gong says it's adding to scientists' understanding of the causes and mechanisms of nondipping blood pressure in diabetes, which is currently not fully understood.

"There are already many studies that show the health benefits of time-restricted eating, particularly for metabolic issues," Gong said. "This is the first basic science research focused on how it impacts nondipping blood pressure related to diabetes and it reveals that the daily timing of food intake could play a critical role."

 

Vitamin D deficiency associated with higher blood pressure and impaired serum lipid profiles

Urmia University of Medical Sciences (Iran), July 1, 2021

According to news reporting out of Urmia University of Medical Sciences by NewsRx editors, research stated, “Hypertension is one of the leading causes of mortality in the world. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship of plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels with markers of metabolic syndrome and ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Urmia University of Medical Sciences: “This was a cross-sectional study on 171 adults (79 men) with primary hypertension and mean age of 50.70 ± 10.88 years, who did not take vitamin D supplement for the past 6 months. Subjects were divided into two groups as deficient (30 ng/ml ) and normal levels of vitamin D (30 ng/ml <) and compared for metabolic syndrome indices and 24-hour blood pressure monitoring parameters. Hypertension was defined based on Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC8) scale, and measured by an ambulatory blood pressure monitoring device. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring parameters were defined as 24-hour blood pressure (mean during 24 hours), daytime (6-23 hours), and nighttime (23-6 hours) measurements. The mean vitamin D level was 30.43 ± 4.70 ng/ml, and 65.5% of patients had vitamin D deficiency. Serum vitamin D levels had an inverse and significant relationship with office systolic blood pressure (P = 0.001), and 24-hour, daytime, and nighttime systolic blood pressures (P < 0.001). Vitamin D deficiency was significantly associated with higher levels of triglycerides (P < 0.001) and cholesterol (P = 0.016).”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Vitamin D deficiency was associated with higher systolic blood pressure, nighttime diastolic blood pressure, and impaired serum lipid profiles.”

 

 

Mindfulness training helps kids sleep better, Stanford Medicine study finds

Stanford University, July 6, 2021

At-risk children gained more than an hour of sleep per night after participating in a mindfulness curriculum at their elementary schools, a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine found.

The research will be published online July 6 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. The study is the first to use polysomnography techniques, which measure brain activity, to assess how school-based mindfulness training changes children's sleep. The curriculum taught children how to relax and manage stress by focusing their attention on the present, but it did not instruct them on how to get more sleep.

"The children who received the curriculum slept, on average, 74 minutes more per night than they had before the intervention," said the study's senior author, Ruth O'Hara, PhD, a sleep expert and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford. "That's a huge change." 

Rapid eye movement sleep, which includes dreaming and helps consolidate memories, also lengthened in children who learned the techniques.

"They gained almost a half an hour of REM sleep," said O'Hara, the Lowell W. and Josephine Q. Berry Professor. "That's really quite striking. There is theoretical, animal and human evidence to suggest it's a very important phase of sleep for neuronal development and for the development of cognitive and emotional function."

Helping at-risk kids sleep better

Children in the study lived in two low-income, primarily Hispanic communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. One community received the intervention; the other served as the control. Both had high rates of crime and violence, and families faced such stressors as food insecurity and crowded, unstable housing. These conditions are a recipe for poor sleep, said the study's principal investigator, Victor Carrion, MD, the John A. Turner, MD, Endowed Professor for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Carrion, who directs the Stanford Early Life Stress and Resilience Program, launched the study to help youngsters manage the effects of living in a stressful environment. 

Enabling at-risk kids to sleep better isn't just a matter of telling them to sleep more or keep regular bedtimes, however.

"To fall asleep you have to relax, but they have a hard time letting their experiences go," Carrion said. "They don't feel safe and may have nightmares and fears at night."

The study curriculum consisted of training in bringing one's attention to the present; exercises featuring slow, deep breathing; and yoga-based movement. Yoga instructors and the children's classroom teachers taught the curriculum twice a week, for two years, in all elementary and middle schools in the community that received the intervention. Instructors taught children what stress was and encouraged them to use the techniques to help them rest and relax, but they did not give any instruction on sleep-improvement techniques such as maintaining consistent bedtimes. 

The instructors used the Pure Power Curriculum, developed by a nonprofit called PureEdge; it is available to schools for free in both Spanish and English.

From the more than 1,000 third- and fifth-graders taking part in the study, the researchers recruited 58 children who received the curriculum and 57 children from the control group for three in-home sleep assessments, conducted before the curriculum began, after one year and after two years. These assessments measured brain activity during sleep, via a cap of electrodes placed on the child's head, as well as breathing and heart rates and blood oxygen levels.

More sleep instead of less

At the start of the study, researchers found that children in the control group slept 54 minutes more, on average, and had 15 minutes more REM sleep per night than children in the group that later received the training: Children in the control group were sleeping about 7.5 hours per night, and those in the curriculum group about 6.6 hours per night. The researchers don't know why children in the two communities, despite similarities in income level and other demographics, had different average sleep times.

But the two group's sleep patterns evolved differently. Over the two-year study period, among the children in the control group, total sleep declined by 63 minutes per night while the minutes of REM sleep remained steady, in line with sleep reductions typically seen in later childhood and early adolescence. In contrast, the children who participated in the curriculum gained 74 minutes of total sleep and 24 minutes of REM sleep.

"It makes intuitive sense that children who didn't participate in the curriculum decreased their sleep, based on what we know about what it's like to be a kid this age," said the study's lead author, Christina Chick, PhD, postdoctoral scholar in psychiatry and behavioral sciences. "Older children are possibly staying up to do homework or talk or text with friends. I interpret our findings to mean that the curriculum was protective, in that it taught skills that helped protect against those sleep losses." Hormonal changes and brain development also contribute to changes in sleep at this age, Chick noted.

Still, the average amount of sleep that study participants in both groups received was low, Chick said, noting that at least nine hours of sleep per night is recommended for healthy children.

The researchers hypothesized that children might experience improvements in sleep via reductions in stress. However, the children who gained the most sleep during the study also reported increases in stress, perhaps because the curriculum helped them understand what stress was. Nevertheless, they slept better.

The researchers plan to disseminate the findings more broadly, such as by helping schoolteachers deliver a similar curriculum. They also plan further studies to understand how various elements of the curriculum, such as exercises that promote deep, slow breathing, may change body functioning to enable better sleep. 

"We think the breath work changes the physiological environment, perhaps increasing parasympathetic nervous system activity, and that actually results in improved sleep," Chick said.

 

Food based carotenoids may lower lung cancer risk: Study

Montreal University, July 4, 2021

People consuming the highest intakes of carotenoids and vitamin C from fruit and vegetable sources may reduce their risk of lung cancer by 25%-35%, suggests a study in Frontiers in Oncology.

The research team from Montreal University also found that smokers, particularly males, who consume high quantities of fruit and vegetables, also reduce their risk.

“In our study, high dietary intakes of β-carotene, α-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, and vitamin C were associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer,” wrote Martine Shareck, lead author.

The risk reductions of 25-35% were irrespective of age, gender or smoking status.

Gender effect in smokers

When results were analysed by different levels of smoking history, the protective effects were more gender specific.  

“Odds ratios (OR) suggestive of a protective effect were found for elevated intakes of β-carotene, α-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, and lycopene in male heavy smokers,” noted the team.

By contrast, only vitamin C provided a significant benefit in female heavy smokers.  

Nevertheless, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin and lycopene indicated protection in female moderate smokers.

For the two latter carotenoids, statistical significance was only reached for the middle tertile of carotenoid intake, rather than the highest.

Study details

Using data from a case control study of lung cancer, scientists examined the relationship between intakes of dietary carotenoids and vitamin C with lung cancer risk.

They calculated carotenoid intakes using food frequency questionnaires of participants’ fruit and vegetable consumption during the previous two years.

Intakes were divided into tertiles, and the risk reductions of 25%-35% compare upper versus lower tertile intakes.

The study also found a link between higher carotenoid intake and decreased cell development in different subtypes of cancer.  

Beta-carotene, α-carotene, ß-cryptoxanthin, lycopene and vitamin C were inversely related to progression of squamous cell carcinoma.

Alpha-carotene and ß-carotene slowed adenocarcinoma cell growth, while ß-cryptoxanthin and lycopene show inverse associations with small cell carcinoma development.

Contrasting findings

The findings contrasted with two previous large randomised controlled trials, the Beta-Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET) , and the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) Study.

Both concluded that β-carotene supplementation increased lung cancer risk in smokers, particularly females, with the latter recommending, “Smokers should avoid β-carotene supplementation.”

The researchers suggested that contrasting results could be because carotenoids in this study were from dietary fruit and vegetable consumption whereas in the CARET and ATBC trials they were supplement based.

“Fruits and vegetables containing carotenoids and vitamin C are also rich in other nutrients and phytochemicals which could be responsible for their observed protective role against lung cancer.”

In conclusion, they added, “even though smoking remains the strongest predictor of lung cancer risk, it appears desirable, in light of these findings, to further promote consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids and vitamin C to reduce the lung cancer burden among both smokers and non-smokers.”

Source: Frontiers in Oncology

 

 

 

Low choline intake associated with risk of osteoporosis In elderly individuals

Southeast University (China), July 1, 2021

According to news reporting originating in Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Currently, little is known regarding the association between dietary choline intake and osteoporosis in elderly individuals, as well as if such intakes affect bone health and result in fractures. This study was aimed to examine associations between daily dietary choline intake and osteoporosis in elderly individuals.”

The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Southeast University, “A total of 31 034 participants from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) during 2005-2010 were enrolled, and 3179 participants with complete data and aged 65 years and older were identified. Baseline characteristics and dietary intake data were obtained through method of in-home administered questionnaires. Of 3179 individuals with a mean age of 73.7 +/- 5.6 years, female (P < 0.001) and non-hispanic white (P < 0.001) occupied a higher proportion in the osteoporosis group. The logistic regression analysis indicated that the prevalence of osteoporosis in three tertile categories with gradually enhanced dietary choline intake was decreased progressively (P for trend <0.001). The restricted cubic spline (RCS) showed that the risk of osteoporosis generally decreased with increasing daily dietary choline intake (P < 0.001), while this trend was not apparent in relation between the daily dietary choline intake and risk of hip fracture (P = 0.592). The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis identified a daily dietary choline intake of 232.1 mg as the optimal cutoff value for predicting osteoporosis.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Our nationwide data suggested that a lower level of daily dietary choline intake was positively associated with the increased risk of osteoporosis in the US elderly population.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

The Gary Null Show - 07.07.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.07.21

July 7, 2021

Cranberry Powder Attenuates Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

University of Suwon (South Korea), June 21, 2021
 
Cranberry powder (CR) is reported to be effective against lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and recurrent urinary tract infections. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men older than 50 years is a common cause of LUTS. Here, we attempted to evaluate if CR is also effective for treating BPH using a BPH-induced rat model, which was orally administered CR. Male Sprague-Dawley rats weighing 200–250 g were randomly divided into the following six groups (n = 9): noncastration group; castration group; BPH group; BPH and cranberry for 8-week (CR8W) group; BPH and cranberry for 4-week (CR4W) group; and BPH and saw palmetto group (saw palmetto). Compared with the BPH group, the CR8W group showed a significant decrease in prostate weight (by 33%), dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels (by 18% in serum and 28% in prostate), 5-alpha reductase levels (18% reduction of type 1 and 35% of type 2), and histological changes. These results indicate that CR could attenuate BPH by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase and by reducing other biomarkers such as prostate weight and DHT levels. Thus, CR may be an effective candidate for the development of a functional food for BPH treatment. IACUC (USW-IACUC-R-2015-004).
 

In our investigation, the administration of CP significantly prevented the progression of BPH by reducing the 5AR levels, and consequently reducing DHT levels in the serum and prostate, along with reduction of the prostate size.

This study demonstrated that CR exerts positive effects against BPH, based on biochemical and histological changes in BPH-induced rats. Although further investigation and validation is required, our study provides evidence, for developing a potential treatment for BPH from natural products.

 

 

Psychedelic spurs growth of neural connections lost in depression

Yale University, July 5, 2021

The psychedelic drug psilocybin, a naturally occurring compound found in some mushrooms, has been studied as a potential treatment for depression for years. But exactly how it works in the brain and how long beneficial results might last is still unclear.

In a new study, Yale researchers show that a single dose of psilocybin given to mice prompted an immediate and long-lasting increase in connections between neurons. The findings are published July 5 in the journal Neuron.

"We not only saw a 10% increase in the number of neuronal connections, but also they were on average about 10% larger, so the connections were stronger as well," said Yale's Alex Kwan, associate professor of psychiatry and of neuroscience and senior author of the paper.

Previous laboratory experiments had shown promise that psilocybin, as well as the anesthetic ketamine, can decrease depression. The new Yale research found that these compounds increase the density of dendritic spines, small protrusions found on nerve cells which aid in the transmission of information between neurons. Chronic stress and depression are known to reduce the number of these neuronal connections.

Using a laser-scanning microscope, Kwan and first author Ling-Xiao Shao, a postdoctoral associate in the Yale School of Medicine, imaged dendritic spines in high resolution and tracked them for multiple days in living mice. They found increases in the number of dendritic spines and in their size within 24 hours of administration of psilocybin. These changes were still present a month later. Also, mice subjected to stress showed behavioral improvements and increased neurotransmitter activity after being given psilocybin.

For some people, psilocybin, an active compound in "magic mushrooms," can produce a profound mystical experience. The psychedelic was a staple of religious ceremonies among indigenous populations of the New World and is also a popular recreational drug.

It may be the novel psychological effects of psilocybin itself that spurs the growth of neuronal connections, Kwan said.

"It was a real surprise to see such enduring changes from just one dose of psilocybin," he said. "These new connections may be the structural changes the brain uses to store new experiences."

 

How long can a person live? The 21st century may see a record-breaker

University of Washington, July 2, 2021

The number of people who live past the age of 100 has been on the rise for decades, up to nearly half a million people worldwide.

There are, however, far fewer "supercentenarians," people who live to age 110 or even longer. The oldest living person, Jeanne Calment of France, was 122 when she died in 1997; currently, the world's oldest person is 118-year-old Kane Tanaka of Japan.

Such extreme longevity, according to new research by the University of Washington, likely will continue to rise slowly by the end of this century, and estimates show that a lifespan of 125 years, or even 130 years, is possible.

"People are fascinated by the extremes of humanity, whether it's going to the moon, how fast someone can run in the Olympics, or even how long someone can live," said lead author Michael Pearce, a UW doctoral student in statistics. "With this work, we quantify how likely we believe it is that some individual will reach various extreme ages this century."

Longevity has ramifications for government and economic policies, as well as individuals' own health care and lifestyle decisions, rendering what's probable, or even possible, relevant at all levels of society.

The new study, published June 30 in Demographic Research, uses statistical modeling to examine the extremes of human life. With ongoing research into aging, the prospects of future medical and scientific discoveries and the relatively small number of people to have verifiably reached age 110 or older, experts have debated the possible limits to what is referred to as the maximum reported age at death. While some scientists argue that disease and basic cell deterioration lead to a natural limit on human lifespan, others maintain there is no cap, as evidenced by record-breaking supercentenarians.

Pearce and Adrian Raftery, a professor of sociology and of statistics at the UW, took a different approach. They asked what the longest individual human lifespan could be anywhere in the world by the year 2100. Using Bayesian statistics, a common tool in modern statistics, the researchers estimated that the world record of 122 years almost certainly will be broken, with a strong likelihood of at least one person living to anywhere between 125 and 132 years.

To calculate the probability of living past 110 -- and to what age -- Raftery and Pearce turned to the most recent iteration of the International Database on Longevity, created by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. That database tracks supercentenarians from 10 European countries, plus Canada, Japan and the United States.

Using a Bayesian approach to estimate probability, the UW team created projections for the maximum reported age at death in all 13 countries from 2020 through 2100.

Among their findings:

  • Researchers estimated near 100% probability that the current record of maximum reported age at death -- Calment's 122 years, 164 days -- will be broken;
  • The probability remains strong of a person living longer, to 124 years old (99% probability) and even to 127 years old (68% probability);
  • An even longer lifespan is possible but much less likely, with a 13% probability of someone living to age 130;
  • It is "extremely unlikely" that someone would live to 135 in this century.

As it is, supercentenarians are outliers, and the likelihood of breaking the current age record increases only if the number of supercentenarians grows significantly. With a continually expanding global population, that's not impossible, researchers say.

People who achieve extreme longevity are still rare enough that they represent a select population, Raftery said. Even with population growth and advances in health care, there is a flattening of the mortality rate after a certain age. In other words, someone who lives to be 110 has about the same probability of living another year as, say, someone who lives to 114, which is about one-half.

"It doesn't matter how old they are, once they reach 110, they still die at the same rate," Raftery said. "They've gotten past all the various things life throws at you, such as disease. They die for reasons that are somewhat independent of what affects younger people.

"This is a very select group of very robust people."

 

 

Dried Plum Consumption Improves Total Cholesterol and Antioxidant Capacity and Reduces Inflammation in Healthy Postmenopausal Women

San Diego State University, June 27, 2021

Dried plums contain bioactive components that have demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The objective of this study was to determine if dried plum consumption reduces the risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in postmenopausal women, specifically examining lipid profiles, oxidative stress, antioxidant capacity, and inflammation in a dose-dependent manner. We conducted a 6-month, parallel-design controlled clinical trial, where 48 postmenopausal women were randomly assigned to consume 0, 50, or 100 g of dried plum each day. After 6 months of intervention, total cholesterol (TC) in the 100 g/day treatment group (P = .002) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the 50 g/day treatment group (P = .005) improved significantly compared to baseline. Inflammatory biomarkers interleukin-6 (P = .044) and tumor necrosis factor-α (P = .040) were significantly lower after 6 months within the 50 g/day dried plum group compared to baseline. Moreover, total antioxidant capacity increased significantly within the 50 g/day group (P = .046), and superoxide dismutase activity increased significantly within both 50 and 100 g/day groups (P = .044 and P = .027, respectively) after 6 months compared to baseline. In addition, plasma activities of alanine transaminase (P = .046), lactate dehydrogenase (P = .039), and creatine kinase (P = .030) were significantly lower after 6 months in the 50 g/day dried plum group. These findings suggest that daily consumption of 50–100 g dried plum improves CVD risk factors in postmenopausal women as exhibited by lower TC, oxidative stress, and inflammatory markers with no clear dose dependence.

 

 

Regular physical activity linked to more 'fit' preteen brains

 

Childrens Hospital Boston, July 2, 2021

We know exercise has many health benefits. A new study from Boston Children's Hospital adds another benefit: Physical activity appears to help organize children's developing brains.

The study, led by Dr. Caterina Stamoulis, analyzed brain imaging data from nearly 6,000 9- and 10-year-olds. It found that physical activity was associated with more efficiently organized, robust, and flexible brain networks. The more physical activity, the more "fit" the brain.

"It didn't matter what kind of physical activity children were involved in," says Dr. Stamoulis, who directs the Computational Neuroscience Laboratory at Boston Children's. "It only mattered that they were active."

Crunching the data

Dr. Stamoulis and her trainees, Skylar Brooks and Sean Parks, tapped brain imaging data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, a long-running study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. They used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data to estimate the strength and organizational properties of the children's brain circuits. These measures determine how efficiently the brain functions and how readily it can adapt to changes in the environment.

"The preteen years are a very important time in brain development," notes Dr. Stamoulis. "They are associated with a lot of changes in the brain's functional circuits, particularly those supporting higher-level thought processes. Unhealthy changes in these areas can lead to risky behaviors and long-lasting deficits in the skills needed for learning and reasoning."

The team combined these data with information on the children's physical activity and sports involvement, supplied by the families, as well as body mass index (BMI). Finally, they adjusted the data for other factors that might affect brain development, such as being born before 40 weeks of gestation, puberty status, sex, and family income.

Healthy brain networks

Being active multiple times per week for at least 60 minutes had a widespread positive effect on brain circuitry. Children who engaged in high levels of physical activity showed beneficial effects on brain circuits in multiple areas essential to learning and reasoning. These included attention, sensory and motor processing, memory, decision making, and executive control (the ability to plan, coordinate, and control actions and behaviors).

In contrast, increased BMI tended to have detrimental effects on the same brain circuitry. However, regular physical activity reduced these negative effects. "We think physical activity affects brain organization directly, but also indirectly by reducing BMI," Dr. Stamoulis says.

Analyzing brain effects

In the analyses, the brain was represented mathematically as a network of "nodes": a set of brain regions linked by connections of varying strength. Physical activity had two kinds of positive effects: on the efficiency and robustness of the network as a whole, and on more local properties such as the number and clustering of node connections.

"Highly connected local brain networks that communicate with each other through relatively few but strong long-range connections optimizes information processing and transmission in the brain," explains Dr. Stamoulis. "In preteens, a number of brain functions are still developing, and they can be altered by a number of risk factors. Our results suggest that physical activity has a positive protective effect across brain regions."

 

Could Sumac Be Effective on COVID-19 Treatment?

Fırat University Medicine Faculty (Turkey), June 11, 2021

Sumac is an herbal product, commonly consumed as a spice and was used for medical treatment for centuries. The phytochemical structure of Sumac was studied extensively, and it was established that the herb contained tannins, polyphenols, flavonoids, organic acids, and essential oils. Various scientific studies demonstrated that Sumac had a free oxygen radical-scavenging effect, a protective effect against liver damage, antihemolytic, leukopenia, and antifibrogenic effects, along with its antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Recently, several scientific studies described the pathophysiology, clinical course, and the treatment of COVID-19 infection. The examination of the characteristics of COVID-19 infection revealed via the clinical studies suggests that Sumac extract could be useful in the treatment of COVID-19. Given the scientific studies focusing on the beneficial effects of Sumac, the present review aims to provide an encouraging viewpoint to investigate whether Sumac is effective in treating COVID-19 infection.

Antiviral Effect

SARS-CoV2 virus, which causes COVID-19 infection, is a highly infectious RNA virus. There are no scientific studies on whether Sumac is effective against the SARS-CoV2 virus. On the contrary, the medications currently being used for treatment were directly administered in clinics, without scrutinizing whether they were effective against the novel coronavirus. Subsequently, several medications were identified to be useful during the clinical course of the disease. Yet, there are scientific in vitro and in vivo studies that investigated the antiviral effects of Sumac against several viruses. In a study, bioflavonoids isolated from Sumac were evaluated for their antiviral activities. Sumac presented inhibitory activities against respiratory viruses (influenza A, influenza B, and measles) and herpes viruses (HSV-1, HSV-2, and varicella zoster virus [VZV]).2 Another study found that Sumac extract exhibited significant antiviral activity against fish pathogenic infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus, and viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus. Furthermore, it was considered that Sumac was a potential antiviral therapeutic against fish viral diseases.3 In a study conducted in 2015, it was established that urushiol obtained from Sumac exhibited reverse transcriptase inhibitory activity for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). It was specified that Sumac could be used as a biological resource due to such inhibitory activity.4

Another study focusing on HIV found that Sumac extracts exhibited anti-HIV activity due to inhibiting the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase and protease activity. It was also demonstrated that Sumac inhibited the viral load in HIV-infected CEM-GFP (a CD4+ T-lymphocytic reporter cell line expressing green fluorescent protein [GFP] under HIV-1 LTR promoter) cells and human peripheral blood lymphocytes.5 Another study reported that Sumac extract presented strong antiviral activity against HSV-1 and HSV-2. The study also revealed that Sumac extract did not only interact with the viral envelope but also interacted with the surface of the host cells of the viruses, thus, disrupted the ability of the virus to adsorb and penetrate the host cells.6

The above-mentioned studies indicated the antiviral effects of Sumac extracts. The review of the viruses, on which Sumac is effective, such as influenza, HSV-1, HSV-2, VZV, and HIV-1 demonstrated that the common point between these viruses was the fact that they are all enveloped viruses, contain dense lipids in their envelopes, and are sensitive to ether.7 Coronaviruses share the same common features.7 Sumac is likely to affect the lipid layer in the virus envelope, disrupting the adsorption to the host cell and preventing the virus from penetrating the host cell, positively contributing to the infection. Naturally, this hypothesis should be evidenced in future studies. However, its effectiveness on the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) should be clarified first through animal testing and subsequently should be tested through human subjects.

Conclusion

An evaluation of the up to date knowledge, revealed by the clinical studies, on the characteristics of COVID-19 infection, its pathophysiology, clinic, and treatment, suggests that the use of Sumac extracts could be beneficial. Based on the beneficial effects indicated by the scientific studies on Sumac extracts, the present review could be encouraging to investigate its effectiveness for COVID-19 treatment. The authors of the present study believe that the benefits of Sumac extract can be tested by adding the adverse-effect-free Sumac extract to treatment and protecting the existing treatment protocols.

 

Sugar intake during pregnancy is associated with allergy and allergic asthma in children

University of Bristol (UK), July 5, 2021

High maternal sugar intake during pregnancy may increase the risk of allergy and allergic asthma in the offspring, according to an early study led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) involving almost 9,000 mother-child pairs.

While some research has reported an association between a high consumption of sugar-containing beverages and asthma in children, the relation between maternal sugar intake during pregnancy and allergy and asthma in the offspring has been little studied.

The team, which included researchers from University of Bristol, used data from a world-leading birth cohort study, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), also known as 'Children of the 90s'. The cohort recruited mothers who were pregnant in the 1990s and has been following up their offspring ever since.

The current study, which is published in the European Respiratory Journal, analysed associations between maternal intake of free sugars in pregnancy and allergy (defined by positive skin tests to common allergens, namely dust mite, cat and grass) and asthma at seven years of age.

While there was only weak evidence for a link between free sugar intake in pregnancy and asthma overall, there were strong positive associations with allergy and allergic asthma (where the child was diagnosed with asthma and had positive skin tests to allergens).

When comparing the 20 per cent of mothers with the highest sugar intake versus the 20 per cent of mothers with the lowest sugar intake, there was an increased risk of 38 per cent for allergy in the offspring (73 per cent for allergy to two or more allergens) and 101 per cent for allergic asthma. The team found no association with eczema or hay fever.

Lead researcher Professor Seif Shaheen from QMUL said: "We cannot say on the basis of these observations that a high intake of sugar by mothers in pregnancy is definitely causing allergy and allergic asthma in their offspring. However, given the extremely high consumption of sugar in the West, we will certainly be investigating this hypothesis further with some urgency.

"The first step is to see whether we can replicate these findings in a different cohort of mothers and children. If we can, then we will design a trial to test whether we can prevent childhood allergy and allergic asthma by reducing the consumption of sugar by mothers during pregnancy. In the meantime, we would recommend that pregnant women follow current guidelines and avoid excessive sugar consumption."

The team speculate that the associations may be explained by a high maternal intake of fructose causing a persistent postnatal allergic immune response leading to allergic inflammation in the developing lung.

The researchers controlled for numerous potential confounders in their analyses, such as background maternal characteristics, social factors and other aspects of maternal diet, including foods and nutrients that have been previously linked to childhood asthma and allergy.

Importantly, the offspring's free sugar intake in early childhood was found to have no association with the outcomes seen in the analysis.

As the study is observational, it does not prove a causal link between maternal sugar intake and allergies or asthma. A randomised controlled trial would be needed to definitively test causality.

The Gary Null Show -  07.06.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.06.21

July 6, 2021

Saw palmetto boosts testosterone synthesis

Kyung Hee University (South Korea), June 30 2021.

 

The June 2021 issue of the Journal of Medicinal Food reported the finding of a beneficial effect for saw palmetto against symptoms of andropause in rats. 

"Andropause, the male equivalent of menopause, is the set of symptoms caused by the age-related deficiency in male hormones that begins to occur in men in their late 40s to early 50s," Jeong Moon Yun and colleagues explained. "The symptoms of andropause include physical, psychological, and sexual problems, such as fatigue, increased body fat, decreased muscle strength and sexual function, depression, and memory loss."

Dr Yun and associates evaluated the effects of an extract of saw palmetto in Leydig cells (in which testosterone biosynthesis occurs) subjected to oxidative stress and in aged rats.

In Leydig cells, the administration of testosterone lowered 5 alpha-reductase (which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone) and increased total testosterone. 

In rats, one of three doses of saw palmetto extract was administered for four weeks. A control group of animals received no treatment. At the end of the treatment period, saw palmetto supplemented rats had significantly less fat tissue weight gain and total weight gain compared to the controls, without a gain in other tissue weight. Serum triglycerides, total cholesterol and the LDL to VLDL cholesterol ratio were also lower in the supplemented groups. Serum total and free testosterone and sperm counts were higher, and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and 5 alpha-reductase levels were lower in all supplemented groups in comparison with the controls. In tests of muscle endurance, rats that received saw palmetto had longer swimming times compared to the control group. 

"We suggest that supplementation of saw palmetto may relieve the symptoms of andropause syndrome, including decreased spermatogenesis and muscle endurance and metabolic syndrome by increasing testosterone biosynthesis and bioavailability," the authors concluded.

 
 
 
 

Diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids may help reduce headaches

Trial provides 'grounds for optimism' for many people with persistent headaches and those who care for them

University of North Carolina, July 1, 2021

Eating a diet rich in omega 3 (n-3) fatty acids reduces the frequency of headaches compared with a diet with normal intake of omega 3 and omega 6 (n-6) fatty acids, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

Modern industrialised diets tend to be low in omega 3 fatty acids and high in omega 6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are precursors to oxylipins - molecules involved in regulating pain and inflammation.

Oxylipins derived from omega 3 fatty acids are associated with pain-reducing effects, while oxylipins derived from omega 6 fatty acids worsen pain and can provoke migraine. But previous studies evaluating omega 3 fatty acid supplements for migraine have been inconclusive.

So a team of US researchers wanted to find out whether diets rich in omega 3 fatty acids would increase levels of the pain-reducing 17-hydroxydocosahexaenoic acid (17-HDHA) and reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.

Their results are based on 182 patients at the University of North Carolina, USA (88% female; average age 38 years) with migraine headaches on 5-20 days per month who were randomly assigned to one of three diets for 16 weeks. 

The control diet included typical levels of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Both interventional diets raised omega 3 fatty acid intake. One kept omega 6 acid intake the same as the control diet, and the other concurrently lowered omega 6 acid intake.

During the trial, participants received regular dietary counseling and access to online support information. They also completed the headache impact test (HIT-6) - a questionnaire assessing headache impact on quality of life. Headache frequency was assessed daily with an electronic diary.

Over the 16 weeks, both interventional diets increased 17-HDHA levels compared with the control diet, and while HIT-6 scores improved in both interventional groups, they were not statistically significantly different from the control group. 

However, headache frequency was statistically significantly decreased in both intervention groups. 

The high omega 3 diet was associated with a reduction of 1.3 headache hours per day and two headache days per month. The high omega 3 plus low omega 6 diet group saw a reduction of 1.7 headache hours per day and four headache days per month, suggesting additional benefit from lowering dietary omega-6 fatty acid. 

Participants in the intervention groups also reported shorter and less severe headaches compared with those in the control group.

This was a high quality, well designed trial, but the researchers do point to some limitations, such as the difficulty for patients to stick to a strict diet and the fact that most participants were relatively young women so results may not apply to children, older adults, men, or other populations. 

"While the diets did not significantly improve quality of life, they produced large, robust reductions in frequency and severity of headaches relative to the control diet," they write. 

"This study provides a biologically plausible demonstration that pain can be treated through targeted dietary alterations in humans. Collective findings suggest causal mechanisms linking n-3 and n-6 fatty acids to [pain regulation], and open the door to new approaches for managing chronic pain in humans," they conclude.

These results support recommending a high omega 3 diet to patients in clinical practice, says Rebecca Burch at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, in a linked editorial.

She acknowledges that interpretation of this study's findings is complex, but points out that trials of recently approved drugs for migraine prevention reported reductions of around 2-2.5 headache days per month compared with placebo, suggesting that a dietary intervention can be comparable or better. 

What's more, many people with migraine are highly motivated and interested in dietary changes, she adds. These findings "take us one step closer to a goal long sought by headache patients and those who care for them: a migraine diet backed up by robust clinical trial results."

 

 

The Southern diet - fried foods and sugary drinks - may raise risk of sudden cardiac death

University of Alabama, June 30, 2021 

Regularly eating a Southern-style diet may increase the risk of sudden cardiac death, while routinely consuming a Mediterranean diet may reduce that risk, according to new research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open access journal of the American Heart Association.

The Southern diet is characterized by added fats, fried foods, eggs, organ meats (such as liver or giblets), processed meats (such as deli meat, bacon and hotdogs) and sugar-sweetened beverages. The Mediterranean diet is high in fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and legumes and low in meat and dairy.

"While this study was observational in nature, the results suggest that diet may be a modifiable risk factor for sudden cardiac death, and, therefore, diet is a risk factor that we have some control over," said James M. Shikany, Dr.P.H., F.A.H.A., the study's lead author and professor of medicine and associate director for research in the Division of Preventive Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"Improving one's diet - by eating a diet abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish such as the Mediterranean diet and low in fried foods, organ meats and processed meats, characteristics of the Southern-style dietary pattern, may decrease one's risk for sudden cardiac death," he said.

The study examined data from more than 21,000 people ages 45 and older enrolled in an ongoing national research project called REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS), which is examining geographic and racial differences in stroke. Participants were recruited between 2003 and 2007. Of the participants in this analysis, 56% were women; 33% were Black adults; and 56% lived in the southeastern U.S., which is noteworthy as a region recognized as the Stroke Belt because of its higher stroke death rate. The Stroke Belt states included in this study were North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana.

This study is the latest research to investigate the association between cardiovascular disease and diet - which foods have a positive vs. negative impact on cardiovascular disease risk. It may be the only study to-date to examine the association between dietary patterns with the risk of sudden cardiac death, which is the abrupt loss of heart function that leads to death within an hour of symptom onset. Sudden cardiac death is a common cause of death and accounted for 1 in every 7.5 deaths in the United States in 2016, or nearly 367,000 deaths, according to 2019 American Heart Association statistics.

Researchers included participants with and without a history of coronary heart disease at the beginning of the study and assessed diets through a food frequency questionnaire completed at the beginning of the study. Participants were asked how often and in what quantities they had consumed 110 different food items in the previous year.

Researchers calculated a Mediterranean diet score based on specific food groups considered beneficial or detrimental to health. They also derived five dietary patterns. Along with the Southern-style eating pattern, the analysis included a "sweets" dietary pattern, which features foods with added sugars, such as desserts, chocolate, candy and sweetened breakfast foods; a "convenience" eating pattern which relied on easy-to-make foods like mixed dishes, pasta dishes, or items likely to be ordered as take-out such as pizza, Mexican food and Chinese food; a "plant-based" dietary pattern was classified as being high in vegetables, fruits, fruit juices, cereal, bean, fish, poultry and yogurt; and an "alcohol and salad" dietary pattern, which was highly reliant on beer, wine, liquor along with green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and salad dressing.

Shikany noted that the patterns are not mutually exclusive. "All participants had some level of adherence to each pattern, but usually adhered more to some patterns and less to others," he explained. "For example, it would not be unusual for an individual who adheres highly to the Southern pattern to also adhere to the plant-based pattern, but to a much lower degree."

After an average of nearly 10 years of follow-up every six months to check for cardiovascular disease events, more than 400 sudden cardiac deaths had occurred among the 21,000 study participants.

The study found:

Overall, participants who ate a Southern-style diet most regularly had a 46% higher risk of sudden cardiac death than people who had the least adherence to this dietary pattern. Also, participants who most closely followed the traditional Mediterranean diet had a 26% lower risk of sudden cardiac death than those with the least adherence to this eating style. The American Heart Association's Diet and Lifestyle recommendations emphasize eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, fish, beans, legumes, nuts and non-tropical vegetable cooking oils such as olive and canola oil. Limiting saturated fats, sodium, added sugar and processed meat are also recommended. Sugary drinks are the number one source of added sugar in the U.S. diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Heart Association supports sugary drink taxes to drive down consumption of these products.

"These findings support the notion that a healthier diet would prevent fatal cardiovascular disease and should encourage all of us to adopt a healthier diet as part of our lifestyles," said Stephen Juraschek, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the American Heart Association's Nutrition Committee of the Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Council. "To the extent that they can, people should evaluate the number of servings of fruit and vegetables they consume each day and try to increase the number to at least 5-6 servings per day, as recommended by the American Heart Association. Optimal would be 8-9 servings per day.

"This study also raises important points about health equity, food security and social determinants of health," he continued. "The authors describe the "Southern Diet" based on the U.S. geography associated with this dietary pattern, yet it would be a mistake for us to assume that this is a diet of choice. I think American society needs to look more broadly at why this type of diet is more common in the South and clusters among some racial, ethnic or socioeconomic groups to devise interventions that can improve diet quality. The gap in healthy eating between people with means and those without continues to grow in the U.S., and there is an incredible need to understand the complex societal factors that have led and continue to perpetuate these disparities."

This current research expands on earlier studies on participants from the same national stroke project, REGARDS. In a 2018 analysis, Shikany and colleagues reported that adults ages 45 and older with heart disease who had an affinity for the Southern diet had a higher risk of death from any cause, while greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause. And in a 2015 study, the Southern diet was linked to a greater risk of coronary heart disease in the same population.

The large population sample and regional diversity, including a significant number of Black participants, are considered strengths of the REGARDS research project. However, potential limitations of this study include that that dietary intake was based on one-time, self-reported questionnaires, thus, it relied on the participants' memory. Self-reported diet can include inaccuracies leading to bias that could reduce the strength of the associations observed.

One usual association that remains unexplained is that among individuals with a history of heart disease, those who most adhered to the sweets dietary pattern had a 51% lower risk of sudden cardiac death than participants who followed that pattern the least. Researchers note that they found "no viable explanation for the inverse association of the sweets dietary pattern with risk of sudden cardiac death in those with a history of coronary heart disease."

 

 

5-minute workout lowers blood pressure as much as exercise, drugs

'Strength training for breathing muscles' holds promise for host of health benefits

University of Colorado, July 2, 2021

Working out just five minutes daily via a practice described as "strength training for your breathing muscles" lowers blood pressure and improves some measures of vascular health as well as, or even more than, aerobic exercise or medication, new CU Boulder research shows.

The study, published June 29 in the Journal of the American Heart Association, provides the strongest evidence yet that the ultra-time-efficient maneuver known as High-Resistance Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST) could play a key role in helping aging adults fend off cardiovascular disease - the nation's leading killer. 

In the United States alone, 65% of adults over age 50 have above-normal blood pressure - putting them at greater risk of heart attack or stroke. Yet fewer than 40% meet recommended aerobic exercise guidelines.

"There are a lot of lifestyle strategies that we know can help people maintain cardiovascular health as they age. But the reality is, they take a lot of time and effort and can be expensive and hard for some people to access," said lead author Daniel Craighead, an assistant research professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology. "IMST can be done in five minutes in your own home while you watch TV."

Developed in the 1980s as a way to help critically ill respiratory disease patients strengthen their diaphragm and other inspiratory (breathing) muscles, IMST involves inhaling vigorously through a hand-held device which provides resistance. Imagine sucking hard through a tube that sucks back. 

Initially, when prescribing it for breathing disorders, doctors recommended a 30-minute-per-day regimen at low resistance. But in recent years, Craighead and colleagues have been testing whether a more time-efficient protocol--30 inhalations per day at high resistance, six days per week--could also reap cardiovascular, cognitive and sports performance improvements.

For the new study, they recruited 36 otherwise healthy adults ages 50 to 79 with above normal systolic blood pressure (120 millimeters of mercury or higher). Half did High-Resistance IMST for six weeks and half did a placebo protocol in which the resistance was much lower. 

After six weeks, the IMST group saw their systolic blood pressure (the top number) dip nine points on average, a reduction which generally exceeds that achieved by walking 30 minutes a day five days a week. That decline is also equal to the effects of some blood pressure-lowering drug regimens. 

Even six weeks after they quit doing IMST, the IMST group maintained most of that improvement.

"We found that not only is it more time-efficient than traditional exercise programs, the benefits may be longer lasting," Craighead said.

The treatment group also saw a 45% improvement in vascular endothelial function, or the ability for arteries to expand upon stimulation, and a significant increase in levels of nitric oxide, a molecule key for dilating arteries and preventing plaque buildup. Nitric oxide levels naturally decline with age. 

Markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, which can also boost heart attack risk, were significantly lower after people did IMST.

And, remarkably, those in the IMST group completed 95% of the sessions.

"We have identified a novel form of therapy that lowers blood pressure without giving people pharmacological compounds and with much higher adherence than aerobic exercise," said senior author Doug Seals, a Distinguished Professor of Integrative Physiology. "That's noteworthy."

The practice may be particularly helpful for postmenopausal women.

In previous research, Seals' lab showed that postmenopausal women who are not taking supplemental estrogen don't reap as much benefit from aerobic exercise programs as men do when it comes to vascular endothelial function. IMST, the new study showed, improved it just as much in these women as in men. 

"If aerobic exercise won't improve this key measure of cardiovascular health for postmenopausal women, they need another lifestyle intervention that will," said Craighead. "This could be it."

Preliminary results suggest MST also improved some measures of brain function and physical fitness. And previous studies from other researchers have shown it can be useful for improving sports performance.

"If you're running a marathon, your respiratory muscles get tired and begin to steal blood from your skeletal muscles," said Craighead, who uses IMST in his own marathon training. "The idea is that if you build up endurance of those respiratory muscles, that won't happen and your legs won't get as fatigued."

Seals said they're uncertain exactly how a maneuver to strengthen breathing muscles ends up lowering blood pressure, but they suspect it prompts the cells lining blood vessels to produce more nitric oxide, enabling them to relax.

The National Institutes of Health recently awarded Seals $4 million to launch a larger follow-up study of about 100 people, comparing a 12-week IMST protocol head-to-head with an aerobic exercise program.

Meanwhile, the research group is developing a smartphone app to enable people to do the protocol at home using already commercially available devices.

Those considering IMST should consult with their doctor first. But thus far, IMST has proven remarkably safe, they said.

"It's easy to do, it doesn't take long, and we think it has a lot of potential to help a lot of people," said Craighead.

 

Research suggests atheroprotective role for chrysin

Fu Jen Catholic University (Taiwan), July 1, 2021

According to news reporting originating from New Taipei, Taiwan, research stated, “Atherosclerosis and its related clinical complications are the leading cause of death. MicroRNA (miR)-92a in the inflammatory endothelial dysfunction leads to atherosclerosis.”

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from Fu Jen Catholic University, “Kruppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) is required for vascular integrity and endothelial function maintenance. Flavonoids possess many biological properties. This study investigated the vascular protective effects of chrysin in balloon-injured carotid arteries. Exosomes were extracted from human coronary artery endothelial cell (HCAEC) culture media. Herb flavonoids and chrysin (found in mint, passionflower, honey and propolis) were the treatments in these atheroprotective models. Western blotting and real-time PCRs were performed. In situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, and immunofluorescence analyses were employed. MiR-92a increased after balloon injury and was present in HCAEC culture media. Chrysin was treated, and significantly attenuated the miR-92a levels after balloon injury, and similar results were obtained in HCAEC cultures in vitro. Balloon injury-induced miR-92a expression, and attenuated KLF2 expression. Chrysin increased the KLF2 but reduced exosomal miR-92a secretion. The addition of chrysin and antagomir-92a, neointimal formation was reduced by 44.8 and 49.0% compared with balloon injury after 14 days, respectively. Chrysin upregulated KLF2 expression in atheroprotection and attenuated endothelial cell-derived miR-92a-containing exosomes.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “The suppressive effect of miR-92a suggests that chrysin plays an atheroprotective role.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

False-positive mammogram results linked to spike in anxiety prescriptions

Penn State University, July 2, 2021

Women who experience a false-positive mammogram result are more likely to begin medication for anxiety or depression than women who received an immediate negative result, according to a study led by Penn State researcher Joel Segel. The finding highlights the importance of swift and accurate follow-up testing to rule out a breast cancer diagnosis.

The study found that patients who receive a false-positive mammogram result are also prescribed anxiety or depression medication at a rate 10 to 20 percent higher than patients who receive an immediate negative result. These prescriptions are new and not continuations of previously prescribed medicines.

A false-positive result is one where a suspicious finding on the screening mammogram leads to additional testing that does not end up leading to a breast cancer diagnosis.

Additionally, within that group of patients who required more than one test to resolve the false-positive there was a 20 to 30 percent increase in those beginning to take anxiety or depression medications. The increase was particularly noticeable among women with commercial insurance who required multiple tests to rule out a breast cancer diagnosis.

"The results suggest that efforts to quickly resolve initially positive findings including same-day follow-up tests may help reduce anxiety and even prevent initiation of anxiety or depression medication," said Segel, assistant professor of health policy and administration at Penn State.

This study demonstrates that some women who experience a false-positive mammogram may need additional follow-up care to effectively handle the increased anxiety that may accompany the experience, Segel said.

More importantly, from a practitioner standpoint, the study identifies sub-populations who may be most at risk of increased anxiety following a false-positive mammogram, Segel said. Specifically, women whose false-positive result requires more than one follow-up test to resolve, women with commercial insurance who undergo a biopsy, women who wait longer than one week to receive a negative result, and women who are under age 50 may all be at higher risk of experiencing clinically significant anxiety or depression.

"Regular breast cancer screening is critical to early detection," Segel said. "Patients should continue to work with their providers to ensure they are receiving guideline-appropriate screening and should follow up with their providers if they experience either anxiety or depression following screening or any type of care."

Researchers studied commercial- and Medicaid-claims databases to identify women ages 40 to 64 who underwent screening mammography with no prior claims for anxiety or depression medications.

The findings recently appeared in Medical Care.

 

 

Thymoquinone in Black Seed oil increases the expression of neuroprotective proteins while decreasing expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines

Florida A&M University, June 29, 2021

 

 According to news originating from Tallahassee, Florida, research stated, "Neuroinflammation and microglial activation are pathological markers of a number of central nervous system (CNS) diseases. Chronic activation of microglia induces the release of excessive amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and pro-inflammatory cytokines."

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Florida A&M University, "Additionally, chronic microglial activation has been implicated in several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Thymoquinone (TQ) has been identified as one of the major active components of the natural product Nigella sativa seed oil. TQ has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and neuroprotective effects. In this study, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and interferon gamma (IFN gamma) activated BV-2 microglial cells were treated with TQ (12.5 mu M for 24 h). We performed quantitative proteomic analysis using Orbitrap/Q-Exactive Proteomic LC-MS/MS (Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry) to globally assess changes in protein expression between the treatment groups. Furthermore, we evaluated the ability of TQ to suppress the inflammatory response using ELISArray ™ for Inflammatory Cytokines. We also assessed TQ's effect on the gene expression of NFKB signaling targets by profiling 84 key genes via real-time reverse transcription (RT2) PCR array. Our results indicated that TQ treatment of LPS/IFN gamma-activated microglial cells significantly increased the expression of 4 antioxidant, neuroprotective proteins: glutaredoxin-3 (21 fold; p< 0.001), biliverdin reductase A (15 fold; p< 0.0001), 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase (11 fold; p< 0.01), and mitochondria] Ion protease (> 8 fold; p< 0.001) compared to the untreated, activated cells. Furthermore, TQ treatment significantly (P < 0.0001) reduced the expression of inflammatory cytokines, IL-2 = 38%, IL-4 = 19%, IL-6 = 83%, IL-10 = 237%, and IL-17a = 29%, in the activated microglia compared to the untreated, activated which expression levels were significantly elevated compared to the control microglia: IL-2 = 127%, IL-4 = 151%, IL-6 = 670%, IL-10 = 133%, IL-17a = 127%. Upon assessing the gene expression of NFKB signaling targets, this study also demonstrated that TQ treatment of activated microglia resulted in > 7 fold down-regulation of several NFKB signaling targets genes, including interleukin 6 (IL6), complement factor B (CFB), chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 3 (CXCL3), chemokine (C-C) motif ligand 5 (CCL5) compared to the untreated, activated microglia. This modulation in gene expression counteracts the > 10-fold upregulation of these same genes observed in the activated microglia compared to the controls. Our results show that TQ treatment of LPS/IFN gamma-activated BV-2 microglial cells induce a significant increase in expression of neuroprotective proteins, a significant decrease in expression inflammatory cytokines, and a decrease in the expression of signaling target genes of the NF kappa B pathway. Our findings are the first to show that TQ treatment increased the expression of these neuroprotective proteins (biliverdin reductase-A, 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase, glutaredoxin-3, and mitochondrial Ion protease) in the activated BV-2 microglial cells. Additionally, our results indicate that TQ treatment decreased the activation of the NF kappa B signaling pathway, which plays a key role in neuroinflammation."

According to the news editors, the research concluded: "Our results demonstrate that TQ treatment reduces the inflammatory response and modulates the expression of specific proteins and genes and hence potentially reduce neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration driven by microglial activation."

The Gary Null Show - 07.05.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.05.21

July 5, 2021

This is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT speeches ever given by a Brilliant Black Man, an ex-slave.  Take the time to read the whole speech, it is worth your time and patience.  Abraham Ola 

 

What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?

Read the full text of Black 

Republican Frederick Douglass' iconic speech.

In 1852, the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Association invited abolitionist, activist and statesman Frederick Douglass to speak at their July Fourth Independence Day Celebration in Rochester, N.Y.

He refused.

But he agreed to speak on July 5 instead.

Before an audience composed of Washington politicians, white abolitionists, and President Millard Fillmore, Douglass presented what still stands as one of history’s greatest example of speaking truth to power. Douglass’ unapologetic criticism of America’s hypocrisy still rings true to this very day. Although the speech is taught in history classes across the country, most history books and media outlets have only published an abbreviated version of the speech.  

Douglass’ full address, which lasted over an hour, is a history lesson, a political treatise and a dissertation on religion. Because it deserves to be read in its entirety, we decided to share the original speech in its unabridged form.

Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens:

He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me, quite unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. I know that apologies of this sort are generally considered flat and unmeaning. I trust, however, that mine will not be so considered. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country schoolhouses, avails me nothing on the present occasion.

The papers and placards say, that I am to deliver a 4th [of] July oration. This certainly sounds large, and out of the common way, for it is true that I have often had the privilege to speak in this beautiful Hall, and to address many who now honor me with their presence. But neither their familiar faces, nor the perfect gage I think I have of Corinthian Hall, seems to free me from embarrassment.

The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable—and the difficulties to be overcome in getting from the latter to the former, are by no means slight. That I am here to-day is, to me, a matter of astonishment as well as of gratitude. You will not, therefore, be surprised, if in what I have to say. I evince no elaborate preparation, nor grace my speech with any high sounding exordium. With little experience and with less learning, I have been able to throw my thoughts hastily and imperfectly together; and trusting to your patient and generous indulgence, I will proceed to lay them before you.

This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the 4th of July. It is the birthday of your National Independence, and of your political freedom. This, to you, is what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day. This celebration also marks the beginning of another year of your national life; and reminds you that the Republic of America is now 76 years old. I am glad, fellow-citizens, that your nation is so young. Seventy-six years, though a good old age for a man, is but a mere speck in the life of a nation. Three score years and ten is the allotted time for individual men; but nations number their years by thousands. According to this fact, you are, even now, only in the beginning of your national career, still lingering in the period of childhood. I repeat, I am glad this is so. There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon. The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and that she is still in the impressible stage of her existence. May he not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of justice and of truth, will yet give direction to her destiny? Were the nation older, the patriot’s heart might be sadder, and the reformer’s brow heavier. Its future might be shrouded in gloom, and the hope of its prophets go out in sorrow. There is consolation in the thought that America is young. Great streams are not easily turned from channels, worn deep in the course of ages. They may sometimes rise in quiet and stately majesty, and inundate the land, refreshing and fertilizing the earth with their mysterious properties. They may also rise in wrath and fury, and bear away, on their angry waves, the accumulated wealth of years of toil and hardship. They, however, gradually flow back to the same old channel, and flow on as serenely as ever. But, while the river may not be turned aside, it may dry up, and leave nothing behind but the withered branch, and the unsightly rock, to howl in the abyss-sweeping wind, the sad tale of departed glory. As with rivers so with nations.

Fellow-citizens, I shall not presume to dwell at length on the associations that cluster about this day. The simple story of it is that, 76 years ago, the people of this country were British subjects. The style and title of your “sovereign people” (in which you now glory) was not then born. You were under the British Crown. Your fathers esteemed the English Government as the home government; and England as the fatherland. This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper.

But, your fathers, who had not adopted the fashionable idea of this day, of the infallibility of government, and the absolute character of its acts, presumed to differ from the home government in respect to the wisdom and the justice of some of those burdens and restraints. They went so far in their excitement as to pronounce the measures of government unjust, unreasonable, and oppressive, and altogether such as ought not to be quietly submitted to. I scarcely need say, fellow-citizens, that my opinion of those measures fully accords with that of your fathers. Such a declaration of agreement on my part would not be worth much to anybody. It would, certainly, prove nothing, as to what part I might have taken, had I lived during the great controversy of 1776. To say now that America was right, and England wrong, is exceedingly easy. Everybody can say it; the dastard, not less than the noble brave, can flippantly discant on the tyranny of England towards the American Colonies. It is fashionable to do so; but there was a time when to pronounce against England, and in favor of the cause of the colonies, tried men’s souls. They who did so were accounted in their day, plotters of mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men. To side with the right, against the wrong, with the weak against the strong, and with the oppressed against the oppressor! here lies the merit, and the one which, of all others, seems unfashionable in our day. The cause of liberty may be stabbed by the men who glory in the deeds of your fathers. But, to proceed.

Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated by the home government, your fathers, like men of honesty, and men of spirit, earnestly sought redress. They petitioned and remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal manner. Their conduct was wholly unexceptionable. This, however, did not answer the purpose. They saw themselves treated with sovereign indifference, coldness and scorn. Yet they persevered. They were not the men to look back.

As the sheet anchor takes a firmer hold, when the ship is tossed by the storm, so did the cause of your fathers grow stronger, as it breasted the chilling blasts of kingly displeasure. The greatest and best of British statesmen admitted its justice, and the loftiest eloquence of the British Senate came to its support. But, with that blindness which seems to be the unvarying characteristic of tyrants, since Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea, the British Government persisted in the exactions complained of.

The madness of this course, we believe, is admitted now, even by England; but we fear the lesson is wholly lost on our present ruler.

Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became restive under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity. With brave men there is always a remedy for oppression. Just here, the idea of a total separation of the colonies from the crown was born! It was a startling idea, much more so, than we, at this distance of time, regard it. The timid and the prudent (as has been intimated) of that day, were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it.

Such people lived then, had lived before, and will, probably, ever have a place on this planet; and their course, in respect to any great change, (no matter how great the good to be attained, or the wrong to be redressed by it), may be calculated with as much precision as can be the course of the stars. They hate all changes, but silver, gold and copper change! Of this sort of change they are always strongly in favor.

These people were called Tories in the days of your fathers; and the appellation, probably, conveyed the same idea that is meant by a more modern, though a somewhat less euphonious term, which we often find in our papers, applied to some of our old politicians.

Their opposition to the then dangerous thought was earnest and powerful; but, amid all their terror and affrighted vociferations against it, the alarming and revolutionary idea moved on, and the country with it.

On the 2d of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress, to the dismay of the lovers of ease, and the worshipers of property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of national sanction. They did so in the form of a resolution; and as we seldom hit upon resolutions, drawn up in our day whose transparency is at all equal to this, it may refresh your minds and help my story if I read it. “Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved.”

Citizens, your fathers made good that resolution. They succeeded; and to-day you reap the fruits of their success. The freedom gained is yours; and you, therefore, may properly celebrate this anniversary. The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation’s history—the very ring-bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny.

Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.

From the round top of your ship of state, dark and threatening clouds may be seen. Heavy billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks! That bolt drawn, that chain broken, and all is lost. Cling to this day—cling to it, and to its principles, with the grasp of a storm-tossed mariner to a spar at midnight.

The coming into being of a nation, in any circumstances, is an interesting event. But, besides general considerations, there were peculiar circumstances which make the advent of this republic an event of special attractiveness.

The whole scene, as I look back to it, was simple, dignified and sublime.

The population of the country, at the time, stood at the insignificant number of three millions. The country was poor in the munitions of war. The population was weak and scattered, and the country a wilderness unsubdued. There were then no means of concert and combination, such as exist now. Neither steam nor lightning had then been reduced to order and discipline. From the Potomac to the Delaware was a journey of many days. Under these, and innumerable other disadvantages, your fathers declared for liberty and independence and triumphed.

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men too—great enough to give fame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory.

They loved their country better than their own private interests; and, though this is not the highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue, and that when it is exhibited, it ought to command respect. He who will, intelligently, lay down his life for his country, is a man whom it is not in human nature to despise. Your fathers staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, on the cause of their country. In their admiration of liberty, they lost sight of all other interests.

They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny. With them, nothing was “settled” that was not right. With them, justice, liberty and humanity were “final”; not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times.

How circumspect, exact and proportionate were all their movements! How unlike the politicians of an hour! Their statesmanship looked beyond the passing moment, and stretched away in strength into the distant future. They seized upon eternal principles, and set a glorious example in their defense. Mark them!

Fully appreciating the hardship to be encountered, firmly believing in the right of their cause, honorably inviting the scrutiny of an on-looking world, reverently appealing to heaven to attest their sincerity, soundly comprehending the solemn responsibility they were about to assume, wisely measuring the terrible odds against them, your fathers, the fathers of this republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a sublime faith in the great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep the corner-stone of the national superstructure, which has risen and still rises in grandeur around you.

Of this fundamental work, this day is the anniversary. Our eyes are met with demonstrations of joyous enthusiasm. Banners and pennants wave exultingly on the breeze. The din of business, too, is hushed. Even Mammon seems to have quitted his grasp on this day. The ear-piercing fife and the stirring drum unite their accents with the ascending peal of a thousand church bells. Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this day; while the quick martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation, echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal interests nation’s jubilee.

The Gary Null Show - 07.02.21

The Gary Null Show - 07.02.21

July 2, 2021

Sunflower peptide as 'template' for potential analgesic

Medical University of Vienna (Austria), June 28, 2021

A naturally occurring peptide in sunflower seeds was synthetically optimised and has now been identified as a potential drug for treating abdominal pain or inflammation (in the gastrointestinal tract, abdominal area and/or internal organs). That is the finding of an international study led by Christian Gruber from MedUni Vienna's Institute of Pharmacology (Center for Physiology and Pharmacology), which was conducted jointly with the University of Queensland and Flinders University in Australia and has now been published.

The scientific aim of the study is to find analgesics that are only active in the periphery and do not cross the blood-brain barrier, as an alternative to commonly used synthetic opioids. Gruber explains the background: "Morphine was one of the first plant-based medicines and was isolated from the dried latex of poppies more than 200 years ago. It binds to opioid receptors in the brain and is still regarded as the main pillar of pain therapy. However, there is a high risk of opioid addiction, and an overdose - as a result of this strong dependency - inhibits the breathing centre in the brain, which can result in respiratory depression and, in the worst case, in death." For this reason, researchers throughout the world are trying to make analgesics safer and to find active drug molecules that do not have the typical opioid side-effects. 

Sunflower extracts were to some extent used in traditional medicine for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. In the current study, the scientists from Austria and Australia, primarily PhD student Edin Muratspahi?, isolated the plant molecule that may be responsible for this effect. Medicinal chemistry methods were then used to optimise the so-called sunflower trypsin inhibitor-1 (SFTI-1), one of the smallest naturally occurring cyclic peptides, by 'grafting' an endogenous opioid peptide into its scaffold. 

A total of 19 peptides were chemically synthesized based on the original SFTI-1 blueprint and pharmacologically tested. "One of these variants turned out to be our lead candidate for as potential innovative analgesic molecule, especially for pain in the gastrointestinal tract or in the peripheral organs. This peptide is extremely stable, highly potent and its action is restricted to the body's periphery. Its use is therefore expected to produce fewer of the typical side-effects associated with opioids," point out Gruber and Muratspahi?. 

The mode-of-action of the peptide is via the so-called kappa opioid receptor; this cellular protein is a drug target for pain relief, but is often associated with mood disorders and depression. The sunflower peptide does not act in the brain, hence there is much less risk of dependency or addiction. Furthermore, it selectively activates only the molecular signalling pathway that influences pain transmission but does not cause the typical opioid side-effects. The data of the animal model in the current study are very promising: the scientists see great potential for using this peptide in the future to develop a safe medication - which could be administered orally in tablet form - to treat pain in the gastrointestinal tract, and this drug could potentially also be used for related painful conditions, e.g. for inflammatory bowel disease. 

Using Nature's blueprint

The research of this MedUni Vienna laboratory led by Christian Gruber exploits the concept of using Nature's blueprint to develop optimised drugs. "We are searching through large databases containing genetic information of plants and animals, decoding new types of peptide molecules and studying their structure, with a view to testing them pharmacologically on enzymes or membrane receptors and ultimately utilizing them in the disease model," explains Gruber. Finally, potential drug candidates are chemically synthesised in a slightly modified form based on the natural blueprint, to obtain optimised pharmacological properties.

 

Study associates organic food intake in childhood with better cognitive development

Analysis of multiple prenatal and childhood environmental risk factors suggests that poor nutrition, house crowding and indoor air pollution are associated with poorer cognitive function

Barcelona Institute for Global Health (Spain), July 1, 2021

A study analysing the association between a wide variety of prenatal and childhood exposures and neuropsychological development in school-age children has found that organic food intake is associated with better scores on tests of fluid intelligence (ability to solve novel reasoning problems) and working memory (ability of the brain to retain new information while it is needed in the short term). The study, published in Environmental Pollution, was conceived and designed by researchers at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal)--a centre supported by the "la Caixa" Foundation--and the Pere Virgili Health Research Institute (IISPV-CERCA). 

The explanation for this association may be that "healthy diets, including organic diets, are richer than fast food diets in nutrients necessary for the brain, such as fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants, which together may enhance cognitive function in childhood," commented lead author Jordi Júlvez, a researcher at IISPV-CERCA who works closely with ISGlobal. 

The study also found that fast food intake, house crowding and environmental tobacco smoke during childhood were associated with lower fluid intelligence scores. In addition, exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) indoors was associated with lower working memory scores. 

The study, titled "Early life multiple exposures and child cognitive function: A multi-centric birth cohort study in six European countries", used data on 1,298 children aged 6-11 years from six European country-specific birth cohorts (United Kingdom, France, Spain, Greece, Lithuania and Norway). The researchers looked at 87 environmental factors the children were exposed to in utero (air pollution, traffic, noise, various chemicals and lifestyle factors) and another 122 factors they were exposed to during childhood.

A Pioneering Study

The aim of the study was to analyse the influence of these exposures on the development and maturation of the human brain, since during childhood the brain is not yet fully developed for efficient defence against environmental chemicals and is particularly sensitive to toxicity, even at low levels that do not necessarily pose a risk to a healthy mature brain. 

The originality of the study lies in its use of an exposome approach, i.e. the fact that it takes into account the totality of exposures rather than focusing on a single one. This approach aims to achieve a better understanding of the complexity of multiple environmental exposures and their simultaneous effect on children's neurodevelopment. 

Another strength of the study, which analyses cohorts from six European countries, is its diversity, although this factor also poses the additional challenge of cultural differences, which can influence exposure levels and cognitive outcomes.

Notable Associations

The study found that the main determinants of fluid intelligence and working memory in children are organic diet, fast food diet, crowdedness of the family home, indoor air pollution and tobacco smoke. To date, there has been little research on the relationship between type of diet and cognitive function, but fast food intake has been associated with lower academic development success and some studies have also reported positive associations between organic diets and executive function scores. "In our study," explained Júlvez, "we found better scores in fluid intelligence and working memory with higher organic food intake and lower fast food intake." 

In contrast, exposure to tobacco smoke and indoor PM2.5 during childhood may negatively affect cognitive function by enhancing pro-inflammatory reactions in the brain. Still, according to Júlvez, it is worth bearing in mind that "the number of people living together in a home is often an indicator of the family's economic status, and that contexts of poverty favour less healthy lifestyles, which in turn may affect children's cognitive test scores". 

Some Surprising Findings 

The study also found some unexpected associations, which could be explained by confounding and reverse causality. For example, a positive association was found between childhood exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and cognitive function, even though PFOS is considered an endocrine disruptor that may alter thyroid function and negatively influence cognitive development. 

The study forms part of the large European project Human Early-Life Exposome (HELIX), as does another recent paper that used the same exposome and the same participants but looked at symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and childhood behavioural problems. "We observed that several prenatal environmental pollutants (indoor air pollution and tobacco smoke) and lifestyle habits during childhood (diet, sleep and family social capital) were associated with behavioural problems in children," explained Martine Vrijheid, last author of the study and head of ISGlobal's Childhood and Environment programme.

"One of the strengths of this study on cognition and the earlier study on behavioural problems is that we systematically analysed a much wider range of exposure biomarkers in blood and urine to determine the internal levels in the model and that we analysed both prenatal and childhood exposure variables," concluded Vrijheid.

 

 

Extract of mulberry leaves partially restores the composition of intestinal microbiota and strengthens liver glycogen fragility in diabetic rats

Macau University of Science and Technology (China), June 28, 2021

According to news reporting out of Macau, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Mulberry leaf as a traditional Chinese medicine is able to treat obesity, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. It is well known that diabetes leads to intestinal microbiota dysbiosis.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from the Macau University of Science and Technology, “It is also recently discovered that liver glycogen structure is impaired in diabetic animals. Since mulberry leaves are able to improve the diabetic conditions through reducing blood glucose level, it would be interesting to investigate whether they have any positive effects on intestinal microbiota and liver glycogen structure. In this study, we first determined the bioactive components of ethanol extract of mulberry leaves via high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS). Murine animal models were divided into three groups, normal Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats, high-fat diet (HFD) and streptozotocin (STZ) induced type 2 diabetic rats, and HFD/STZ-induced rats administered with ethanol extract of mulberry leaves (200 mg/kg/day). Composition of intestinal microbiota was analyzed via metagenomics by sequencing the V3-V4 region of 16S rDNAs. Liver glycogen structure was characterized through size exclusion chromatography (SEC). Both Student’s t-test and Tukey’s test were used for statistical analysis. A group of type 2 diabetic rat models were successfully established. Intestinal microbiota analysis showed that ethanol extract of mulberry leaves could partially change intestinal microbiota back to normal conditions. In addition, liver glycogen was restored from fragile state to stable state through administration of ethanol extract of mulberry leaves. This study confirms that the ethanol extract of mulberry leaves (MLE) ameliorates intestinal microbiota dysbiosis and strengthens liver glycogen fragility in diabetic rats.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “These finding can be helpful in discovering the novel therapeutic targets with the help of further investigations.”

 

 

Supplemental antioxidants may reduce exacerbations in cystic fibrosis

 

 

University of Colorado, July 2, 2021

An antioxidant-enriched vitamin may decrease respiratory exacerbations in people with cystic fibrosis(CF), according to new research published online iin the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

In "Effects of an Antioxidant-Enriched Multivitamin in Cystic Fibrosis: Randomized, Controlled, Multicenter Trial," Scott D. Sagel, MD, PhD, a professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital Colorado and director of the University of Colorado Cystic Fibrosis Center, and coauthors report a 50 percent reduced risk of time to the first exacerbation requiring antibiotics in those receiving the supplemental antioxidants.

During the 16-week study of 73 patients (36 received supplemental antioxidants), 53 percent of the antioxidant-treated group experienced 28 exacerbations, compared to 68 percent of the control group who experienced 39 exacerbations.

The researchers also found that supplemental antioxidants increased circulating antioxidant concentrations of beta-carotene, coenzyme Q10, gamma-tocopherol (a form of vitamin E) and lutein and transiently decreased inflammation (at 4 weeks, but not 16 weeks) as measured by two blood-based biomarkers of inflammation, calprotectin and myeloperoxidase (MPO).

People with CF typically experience chronic bacterial infections, which lead to inflammation and the release of "vast amounts of reactive oxygen species in the airways," the authors wrote.

Normally, they added, the body would marshal an antioxidant defense to neutralize this oxidant stress, but CF is characterized by dietary antioxidant deficiencies. This contributes to an oxidant-antioxidant imbalance and more inflammation, which leads to lung damage and a progressive loss of lung function.

"Improving antioxidant status in CF is an important clinical goal and may have a positive effect on health," Dr. Sagel said. "Oral antioxidant formulations had been tested in CF with mixed results. However, there had not been a well-designed randomized controlled trial of an antioxidant 'cocktail' that included multiple antioxidants in a single formulation."

This phase 2 trial, conducted at 15 CF centers affiliated with the CF Foundation Therapeutics Development Network, enrolled patients who were 10 years and older (average age 22 years), with pancreatic insufficiency, which causes malabsorption of antioxidants. Participants had an FEV1, the measure of how much air can be forcefully exhaled in one second, between 40 and 100 percent of what would be predicted, based on age, gender, height and a range of other characteristics.

Patients in the control group received a multivitamin without antioxidant enrichment. The two groups tolerated their vitamins equally well, and there were no differences in adverse events between the two groups.

The study did not meet its primary endpoint: change in sputum MPO concentration over 16 weeks. The authors chose sputum MPO "rather than another marker of airway inflammation such as neutrophil elastase because MPO generates reactive oxidant species as part of its function in innate host defense mechanisms, and is considered by many a marker of oxidative stress."

"While the antioxidant supplement did not appear to exert sustained anti-inflammatory effects, we believe its effect on time to first pulmonary exacerbation was significant and clinically meaningful," Dr. Sagel said, adding that the improvement in antioxidant status alone may justify its use. "Developing safe and effective anti-inflammatory treatments remains a key priority of the CF community."

 

Maternal diets rich in Omega-3 fatty acids may protect offspring from breast cancer

Marshall University School of Medicine, June 28, 2021

According to researchers at Marshall University, a maternal diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids protects from breast cancer development in offspring. In a new studyrecently published by Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, researchers noted a significant difference in mice from mothers that were fed a diet rich in canola oil, compared with mothers fed a diet rich in corn oil. A maternal Omega 3-rich diet affected genome-wide epigenetic landscape changes in offspring and potentially modulated gene expression patterns.

Dr. Ata Abbas, a former postdoctoral research fellow in Marshall's Department of Biological Sciences, headed a research team under the leadership of Dr. Philippe Georgel in the College of Science. Research was done in the Cell Differentiation and Development Center at Marshall as part of a collaborative effort with the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine's Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, under the leadership of Dr. W. Elaine Hardman.

Researchers noticed a three-week delay in mortality in mice whose mothers were fed canola oil versus corn oil. The early delay in mortality was significantly different, but the ultimate overall survival rate was not. Eventually, all the mice developed tumors, but the ones fed canola oil had tumors that were slower-growing and smaller than the mice fed corn oil. Translated to human time scale, the duration of the protective effect linked to the maternal diet would be equivalent to several months (Sengupta et al., 2016).

This study is among a body of work done by Marshall University scientists and others looking at the link between Omega-3 fatty acids and reduced incidence of various types of cancer including, but not restricted to, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma.

"The issue of parental diet and inter-generational transmission has become an important field of research; however, the mode of action often remains partially elusive," said Georgel, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Marshall. "The MU research group focused on 'epigenetic' aspects of trans-generational transmission to explain the reported role of Omega-3 fatty acids. Epigenetics involves changes in gene expression which are not linked to changes in genetic sequences. These results have the potential to promote the design of simple changes in diet which would allow for reduced onset of various types of cancer, not only for the individuals using that diet but also for their offspring."

 

 

Compounds found in green tea and wine may block formation of toxic metabolites

Tel Aviv University (Israel), July 2, 2021

A new Tel Aviv University study suggests there is hope of treating certain inborn congenital metabolic diseases -- a hope found in green tea and in red wine.

Most people with inherited metabolic disorders are born with a defective gene that results in a critical enzyme deficiency. In the absence of a cure, many patients with inborn congenital metabolic disorders must adhere to a strict and demanding diet their entire lives. This new research finds that certain compounds found naturally in green tea and red wine may block the formation of toxic metabolites.

The research was led by Prof. Ehud Gazit of TAU's Faculty of Life Sciences and his doctoral student Shira Shaham-Niv. It was published in the Nature group journal Communications Chemistry.

The researchers considered two compounds: (1) epigallocatechin gallate, known as EGCG, found naturally in green tea, which has attracted attention within the medical community for its potential health benefits; and (2) tannic acid, found in red wine, which is known to prevent the formation of toxic amyloid structures that cause neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

"In the case of inborn congenital metabolic diseases, the body does not produce a vital metabolic enzyme," Shaham-Niv said. "As a result, metabolites -- substances that are, among other things, the building blocks of DNA and proteins -- accumulate in the body. Such uncontrolled accumulation is toxic and can cause severe developmental and mental disorders.

"Our new study demonstrates once again the ability of nature to produce the best candidate of drugs to treat some of the worst human maladies."

Collectively, this group of disorders constitutes a significant portion of pediatric genetic diseases. The disease phenylketonuria (PKU), which produces the aggregation of the metabolite phenylalanine, is one common inborn metabolic disease. Infants with PKU must adhere to a strict diet free of phenylalanine for the rest of their lives. If they don't, they may face severe debilitating developmental problems.

"But this is an incredibly difficult task, since phenylalanine is found in most of the food products that we consume," Shaham-Niv said. "The avoidance of certain substances is the only way to prevent the debilitating long-term effects of inborn congenital metabolic disorders. We hope that our new approach will facilitate the development of new drugs to treat these disorders."

The new research is based on two previous studies conducted at Prof. Gazit's TAU laboratory. In the first study, phenylalanine was shown to be capable of self-assembly and of forming amyloid structures like those seen in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases. In the second study, by Shaham-Niv, other metabolites that accumulate in other inborn congenital metabolic diseases were also shown to undergo self-assembly processes and form toxic amyloid aggregates.

"Both studies led to an overhaul in the research community's understanding of metabolic diseases," Shaham-Niv said. "In our new study, we examined whether the molecules identified in past studies on Alzheimer's disease and other amyloid diseases, which are known to inhibit the formation of amyloid aggregates, could also help counteract the amyloid formation process of metabolites in metabolic diseases."

The new research focused on EGCG and tannic acid using test tubes and culture cell systems. The two substances were tested on three metabolites related to three innate metabolic diseases: adenine, cumulative tyrosine and phenylalanine. The results were promising. Both tannic acid and EGCG were effective in blocking the formation of toxic amyloid structures. The researchers also used computer simulations to verify the mechanism driving the compounds.

"We are entering a new era of understanding the role and the importance of metabolites in various diseases, including metabolic diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and even cancer," Shaham-Niv concluded. "The tools we have developed are ground-breaking and have tremendous potential to help a wide range of patients in the future."

 

 

 

People with fibromyalgia are substituting CBD for opioids to manage pain

University of Michigan, June 24, 2021

Fibromyalgia is one of many chronic pain conditions that remains stubbornly difficult to treat. 

As the ravages of the opioid epidemic lead many to avoid these powerful painkillers, a significant number of people with fibromyalgia are finding an effective replacement in CBD-containing products, finds a new Michigan Medicine study. 

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the second most common cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, and has been marketed for everything from mood stabilization to pain relief, without the intoxicating effects produced by the most common cannabinoid, THC. THC, which stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the ingredient in marijuana that causes people to feel high.

The cannabis industry has exploded, aided by the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in states around the United States and the removal of hemp-derived CBD from Schedule 1 status--reserved for drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse--at the federal level. 

Previous research shows that some people substitute medical cannabis (often with high concentrations of THC) for opioids and other pain medications, reporting that cannabis provides better pain relief and fewer side effects. However, there is far less data on CBD use.

"CBD is less harmful than THC, as it is non-intoxicating and has less potential for abuse," said Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D., a research investigator in the Department of Anesthesiology and the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center. "If people can find the same relief without THC's side effects, CBD may represent a useful as a harm reduction strategy."

Boehnke and his team surveyed people with fibromyalgia about their use of CBD for treatment of chronic pain. 

"Fibromyalgia is not easy to treat, often involving several medications with significant side effects and modest benefits," Boehnke explained. "Further, many alternative therapies, like acupuncture and massage, are not covered by insurance."

For this study, the team focused on 878 people with fibromyalgia who said they used CBD to get more insight into how they used CBD products. 

The U-M team found that more than 70% of people with fibromyalgia who used CBD substituted CBD for opioids or other pain medications. Of these participants, many reported that they either decreased use or stopped taking opioids and other pain medications as a result. 

"I was not expecting that level of substitution," said Boehnke, noting that the rate is quite similar to the substitution rate reported in the medical cannabis literature. People who said they used CBD products that also contained THC had higher odds of substitution and reported greater symptom relief.

Yet the finding that products containing only CBD also provided pain relief and were substituted for pain medications is promising and merits future study, noted Boehnke. 

The team noted that much of the widespread use of CBD is occurring without physician guidance and in the absence of relevant clinical trials. "Even with that lack of evidence, people are using CBD, substituting it for medication and doing so saying it's less harmful and more effective," he said. 

Boehnke stressed the need for more controlled research into how CBD may provide these benefits, as well as whether these benefits may be due to the placebo effect. 

Clinically, opening up lines of discussion around CBD use for chronic pain is imperative, said Boehnke, for medication safety reasons as well as for "enhancing the therapeutic alliance and improving patient care."

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