LISTEN LIVE NUMBER: 1-717-734-6955
LISTEN LIVE NUMBER: 1-717-734-6955
Vaccine Syndrome is a film produced by Oscar nominated filmmaker Scott Miller, and provides exclusive interviews with military personnel who have had experience with the controversial anthrax vaccine.
The film claims that over 35,000 soldiers have died from the anthrax vaccine, according to a “RAC-GWVI Government Report” published in 2008.
Compare that to how many soldiers have died in combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan, which is 6753 at the time of the filming.
The film starts out with a dramatized recreating of Lance Corporal Jared Schwartz, who refused to receive the anthrax vaccine.
He had to face a military tribunal without legal counsel, and read a prepared statement.
That statement can be found online, such as at the GulfWarVets.com website.
The film also mentions how pharmaceutical companies have legal immunity from any injuries or deaths resulting from vaccines, and that the civilian population only has recourse to sue the federal government in a special Vaccine Court.
However, military personnel are prohibited from suing in this court, which is part of the National Vaccine Compensation Program.
MacKay Children’s Hospital (Taiwan), August 15, 2021
According to news reporting from Taipei, Taiwan, research stated, “Vitamin D (VD) plays an important role not only in mineral balance and skeletal maintenance but also in immune modulation. VD status was found correlated with the pathophysiology and severity of inflammatory bowel diseases and other autoimmune disorders. Epithelial barrier function is primarily regulated by the tight-junction (TJ) proteins.”
The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from MacKay Children’s Hospital: “In this study, we try to establish an animal model by raising mice fed VD-deficient diet and to investigate the effects of VD-deficient diet on gut integrity and zonulin expression. Male C57BL/6 mice were administered either VD-deficient [VDD group, 25(OH)2D3 0 IU/per mouse] or VD-sufficient [VDS group, 25(OH)2D3 37.8 IU/per mouse] special diets for 7 weeks. Body weight and diet intake were recorded weekly. Serum VD levels were detected. After sacrifice, jejunum and colon specimens were collected. The villus length and crypt depth of the jejunum as well as mucosa thickness of the colon were measured. Various serum pro-inflammatory cytokines and intestinal TJ proteins were assessed. The serum level of zonulin and the mRNA expression of jejunum zonulin were also investigated. We found that mice fed a VDD diet had a lower serum level of VD after 7 weeks (p < 0.001). VDD mice gained significant less weight (p = 0.022) and took a similar amount of diet (p = 0.398) when compared to mice raised on a VDS diet. Significantly decreased colon mucosa thickness was found in VDD mice compared with the VDS group (p = 0.022). A marked increase in serum pro-inflammatory cytokine levels was demonstrated in VDD mice. All relative levels of claudin (CLD)-1 (p = 0.007), CLD-3 (p < 0.001), CLD-7 (p < 0.001), and zonulin-1 (ZO-1, p = 0.038) protein expressions were significantly decreased in the VDD group when compared to the VDS group. A significant upregulation of mRNA expression of jejunum zonulin (p = 0.043) and elevated serum zonulin (p = 0.001) were found in the VDD group.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “We successfully demonstrated that VDD could lead to impaired barrier properties. We assume that sufficient VD could maintain intestinal epithelial integrity and prevent mucosal barrier dysfunction. VD supplementation may serve as part of a therapeutic strategy for human autoimmune and infectious diseases with intestinal barrier dysfunction (leaky gut) in the future. To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate that VDD could lead to a significant upregulation in mRNA expression of the jejunum zonulin level and also a marked elevation of serum zonulin in a mouse model.”
Marymount University (US) and University of Guilan (China), August 24, 2021
In a study, researchers from Iran and the U.S. found that pumpkin seed oil can potentially treat hypertension in postmenopausal women. Their report was published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.
In sum, taking pumpkin seed oil may improve arterial hemodynamics in postmenopausal women.\
Kings College London, August 23, 2021
New research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London has found that both diet and exercise can influence the risk of cognitive decline (CD) and dementia by potentially influencing hippocampal neurogenesis (the process by which the brain produces new brain cells) long before their onset.
The study, published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, suggests that altered neurogenesis in the brain could potentially represent an early biomarker for both CD and dementia.
The investigation studied how the blood of participants with and without CD and dementia could influence hippocampal neurogenesis in laboratory settings and whether diet and exercise were important factors. Specifically, blood samples of 418 French adults over the age of 65 were collected 12-years prior to CD and dementia diagnosis and tested on human hippocampal stems cells. Additionally, information on each participant’s sociodemographic, lifestyle, and clinical data were collected and incidence cognition status and dementia were measured every two to three years over a 12-year period.
Over the course of the study, the researchers established that 12 years prior to diagnosis, both CD and Alzheimer’s were associated with levels of neural stem cell death. The team also found that exercise, nutrition, vitamin D levels, carotenoid and lipid levels are all associated with the rate at which cells die off. Furthermore, physical activity and nutrition were key factors that then also determined CD status. Specifically, researchers found that reduced physical activity and increased malnutrition both increased cell death which in turn increased the risk for future CD.
While previous studies have established that diet and exercise have some protective effects against CD and dementia, these roles have been poorly understood at the neurobiological level. To date, studies on animals have shown how diet and exercise can directly influence hippocampal neurogenesis, potentially explaining how exercise and diet may biologically exert their effects, but this study sheds further light on this in the context of a human model.
Dr. Sandrine Thuret, the study’s lead investigator said, “Our study has demonstrated not only that there are individual markers of hippocampal neurogenesis associated with CD and dementia 12 years later, but also that there is some degree of specificity with respect to diagnoses of dementia subtypes. If an individual displays an increase in their levels of cell death during differentiation (when neural stem cells are becoming neurons), we can look at this as a potential warning sign of CD. Conversely, a decrease in levels of cell death during proliferation (the process by which a single cell divides into a pair) and reduced hippocampal progenitor cell integrity could be viewed as a predictor for Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular dementia, respectively.”
According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, there were a total of 525,315 people living with a dementia diagnosis in the UK in 2020. Rates of cognitive decline and dementia are expected to triple in prevalence by 2040.
Dr. Andrea du Preez, the study’s first author from King’s IoPPN said, “While more work is undoubtedly needed to fully understand how diet and exercise might modulate hippocampal neurogenesis, our findings may represent an effective early preventative strategy against CD and dementia.”
University College London, August 23, 2021
Mindfulness may provide modest benefits to cognition, particularly among older adults, finds a new review of evidence led by UCL researchers.
The systematic review and meta-analysis, published in Neuropsychology Review, found that, while mindfulness is typically geared towards improving mental health and well-being, it may also provide additional benefits to brain health.
The study’s lead author, PhD student Tim Whitfield (UCL Psychiatry) said that “the positive effects of mindfulness-based programs on mental health are already relatively well-established. Here, our findings suggest that a small benefit is also conferred to cognition, at least among older adults.”
The researchers reviewed previously published studies of mindfulness, and identified 45 studies that fit their criteria, which incorporated a total of 2,238 study participants. Each study tested the effects of a mindfulness-based intervention delivered by a facilitator in a group setting, over at least four sessions, while excluding mindfulness retreats in order to have a more homogenous set of studies.
The majority of studies involved a certified instructor teaching participants techniques such as sitting meditation, mindful movement and body scan, generally on a weekly basis across six to 12 weeks, while also asking participants to continue the practices in their own time.
The researchers found that overall, mindfulness conferred a small but significant benefit to cognition.
Subgroup analysis revealed that the effect was slightly stronger for people over 60, while there was not a significant effect for people under 60.
Tim Whitfield commented that “executive function is known to decline with age among older adults; the improvement in people over 60 suggests that mindfulness may help guard against cognitive decline, by helping to maintain or restore executive function in late adulthood. It might be easier to restore cognitive functions to previous levels, rather than to improve them beyond the developmental peak.”
When they investigated which aspects of cognition were affected, the researchers found that mindfulness was beneficial only to executive function, and more specifically, there was strong evidence of a small positive effect on working memory (which is one facet of executive function).
The researchers also analyzed whether mindfulness outperformed other ‘active interventions’ (such as brain training, relaxation, or other health or educational programs) or only when compared to people who were not offered any alternative treatment. They found that cognitive benefits of mindfulness were only significant compared with an ‘inactive’ comparison, which means they cannot rule out that the benefits may have been at least partly derived from an expectation of treatment benefits, or social interactions.
The researchers say that more research is needed into which characteristics of mindfulness training may be more likely to confer cognitive benefits, or whether delivering interventions over longer periods, or in intensive retreat settings, might yield greater cognitive benefits.
Senior author Dr Natalie Marchant (UCL Psychiatry) said that they “know mindfulness-based programs benefit mental health, and our paper now suggests that mindfulness may also help to maintain cognitive faculties as people age. Mindfulness practices do not share much in common with cognitive test measures, so it is notable that mindfulness training’s impact appears to transfer to other domains. While our review only identified a small benefit to executive function, it remains possible that some types of mindfulness training might deliver larger gains.”
Major Depression Symptoms Improved with Chlorella
University of Western Australia, August 23rd 2021
The symptoms of depression are often treated with drugs that can have long-term adverse side effects. A new study finds chlorella significantly reduces symptoms of major depression.
Research from the University of Western Australia in Perth has found that chlorella can significantly improve symptoms of depression.
The researchers tested 92 patients with major depressive disorder – a disorder that affects millions of people around the world.
The researchers split the patients into two groups. They gave 42 of the patients 1,800 milligrams of Chlorella vulgaris extract per day. The other 50 patients continued their standard care.
The researchers used a scale called the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to test the patients’ symptoms of depression, along with the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) scale. Both of these have been used in clinical settings to establish the range of depressive symptoms and the severity of the diagnosis.
After six weeks of treatment with either the standard pharmaceutical treatment or chlorella extract, the researchers found that those patients who had taken the chlorella had significantly reduced scores in both depression tests. The BDI-II scores went down by over four points and the HADS scores went down by 3.71 points.
To give some reference, the HADS scale consists of 21 points, and anything over an 8 is considered symptomatic of anxiety or depression.
In addition to reduced total scores, the researchers also saw significant reductions in some of the subset scores. For example, physical and cognitive symptoms were significantly improved in the chlorella group, and subscales for depression and anxiety were significantly lower among the chlorella group.
The researchers concluded:
“This pilot exploratory trial provides the first clinical evidence on the efficacy and safety of adjunctive therapy with CVE in improving physical and cognitive symptoms of depression as well as anxiety symptoms in patients who are receiving standard antidepressant therapy.”
Chlorella is a microalga. It is a single-celled algae that is typically grown in controlled growth medium tanks. It is significantly high in protein, with over 40 percent protein, with all of the essential amino acids. It also contains proteins that stimulate growth hormone and brain neurotransmitters.
Concentrated extract was used in this study due to the fact that whole chlorella can be difficult for the body to break down the cell wall. An extract provides the contents of the cell after the cell wall has been broken.
University of Granada, August 20, 2021
According to news reporting out of Granada, Spain,research stated, “Studies regarding dietary patterns and cardiometabolic risk markers during pregnancy are scarce. The aim of the present study was to analyse whether different degrees of adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD) and the MD components were associated with cardiometabolic markers and a clustered cardiometabolic risk during pregnancy.”
Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from the University of Granada, “This study comprised 119 pregnant women from the GEStation and FITness (GESTAFIT) project. Dietary habits were assessed with a food frequency questionnaire at the 16th and 34th gestational weeks (g.w.). The Mediterranean Diet Score was employed to assess MD adherence. The following cardiometabolic markers were assessed: pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), fasting glucose, triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). A greater MD adherence was associated with a better cardiometabolic status in cross-sectional (16th g.w. and 34th g.w.) and prospective analyses (MD adherence at the 16th g.w. and cardiometabolic markers at the 34th g.w.; SBP, DBP and HDL-C; all, p< 0.05). Participants with the highest MD adherence (Tertile 3) had a lower clustered cardiometabolic risk than those with the lowest MD adherence (Tertile 1) at the 16th and 34th g.w. (both, p< 0.05). A higher intake of fruits, vegetables and fish and a lower intake of refined cereals and red meat and subproducts were associated with a lower cardiometabolic risk during pregnancy (all, p< 0.05).”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “A higher MD adherence, a greater intake of fruits, vegetables and fish and a lower intake of refined cereals and red meat and subproducts showed a cardioprotective effect throughout gestation.”
Unhealthy diet during pregnancy could be linked to ADHD
King’s College London and the University of Bristol , August 20, 2021
New research led by scientists from King’s College London and the University of Bristol has found that a high-fat, high-sugar diet during pregnancy may be linked to symptoms of ADHD in children who show conduct problems early in life. Published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, this study is the first to indicate that epigenetic changes evident at birth may explain the link between unhealthy diet, conduct problems and ADHD.
Early onset conduct problems (e.g. lying, fighting) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are the leading causes of child mental health referral in the UK. These two disorders tend to occur in tandem (more than 40 per cent of children with a diagnosis of conduct disorder also have a diagnosis of ADHD) and can also be traced back to very similar prenatal experiences such as maternal distress or poor nutrition.
In this new study of participants from the Bristol-based ‘Children of the 90s’ cohort, 83 children with early-onset conduct problems were compared with 81 children who had low levels of conduct problems. The researchers assessed how the mothers’ nutrition affected epigenetic changes (or DNA methylation) of IGF2, a gene involved in fetal development and the brain development of areas implicated in ADHD – the cerebellum and hippocampus. Notably, DNA methylation of IGF2 had previously been found in children of mothers who were exposed to famine in the Netherlands during World War II.
The researchers from King’s and Bristol found that poor prenatal nutrition, comprising high fat and sugar diets of processed food and confectionary, was associated with higher IGF2 methylation in children with early onset conduct problems and those with low conduct problems.
Higher IGF2 methylation was also associated with higher ADHD symptoms between the ages of 7 and 13, but only for children who showed an early onset of conduct problems.
Dr Edward Barker from King’s College London said: ‘Our finding that poor prenatal nutrition was associated with higher IGF2 methylation highlights the critical importance of a healthy diet during pregnancy. These results suggest that promoting a healthy prenatal diet may ultimately lower ADHD symptoms and conduct problems in children. This is encouraging given that nutritional and epigenetic risk factors can be altered.’
Dr Barker added: ‘We now need to examine more specific types of nutrition. For example, the types of fats such as omega 3 fatty acids, from fish, walnuts and chicken are extremely important for neural development.
‘We already know that nutritional supplements for children can lead to lower ADHD and conduct problems, so it will be important for future research to examine the role of epigenetic changes in this process.’
Taiyo Kagaku Co (Japan), August 24, 2021
A systematic review and meta-analysis published in a recent issue of Molecules found an association between oral intake or topical application of green tea catechins and a reduction in ultraviolet (UV) radiation-induced sunburn, which is an inflammatory reaction of the skin to UV exposure, clinically known as erythema.*
Catechins are a type of flavonoid that occur in plants such as Camellia sinensis (tea). Green tea catechins include (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), well known for its anti-cancer and health-promoting effects, (-)-epicatechin, and many other similar molecules. These compounds have been recognized as having anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and photo-protective properties.
“To our knowledge, this is the first meta-analysis to assess the effectiveness of green tea catechins specifically on measures of ultraviolet radiation-induced erythema and related pro-inflammatory mediators,” authors Mahendra P. Kapoor and colleagues wrote. “Regular intake of as low as 540 mg of green tea catechins per day could be beneficial for the protection against ultraviolet radiation-induced erythema, wherein green tea catechin metabolites are bioavailable at the dermis and epidermis levels of the skin, and thus increase the minimal dose of radiation (MED) required to induce erythema.”
Dr Kapoor added that the study “suggests that green tea catechins can strengthen the skin’s tolerance to ultraviolet radiation-induced skin damage from radiation through the prevention of the ultraviolet radiation-induced perturbation of epidermal barrier functions.”
Study details: 12 weeks of green tea intake yields benefits
The meta-analysis included three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials and one non-double-blind, non-placebo-controlled study that examined potential protective effects of orally administered capsules containing green tea catechins against sunburn (clinically known as erythema) induced by solar-simulated UV radiation. Two additional studies that involved a single dose of topically administered catechins were separately analyzed.
Pooled analysis of data from three studies that evaluated erythema in skin exposed to UV radiation before and after 12 or more weeks of green tea catechin intake revealed a favorable effect in association with catechin intake. Both low and high doses of the green tea capsules were effective at decreasing low-dose UV radiation-induced erythema. It was also noted that a significant favorable effect was seen in the one study which assessed UV radiation-induced erythema after green tea intake for only six weeks, but as none of the other studies assessed this shorter duration of intake, further analysis was not performed.
When green tea catechins’ effects compared to a placebo were analyzed, pooling the data of two placebo-controlled trials confirmed their effectiveness against low-intensity UV radiation-induced erythema.
Pooling data from participants in the studies involving topical green tea catechins revealed significant benefit for green tea at higher UV radiation doses.
When two great minds come to similar conclusions about the current global push to vaccinate everyone with the COVID experimental vaccines, we should pay close attention. Both highly experienced scientists have a totally negative view of the vaccination effort. Worse than being ineffective, they point to negative health outcomes for the global population. These two truth-telling acclaimed medical researchers make Fauci look as inept, deceitful and dangerous as he is.
The point made in this article is not only has Fauci pushed the wrong potentially disastrous pandemic solution, he has blocked the right one.
Much of what the two virologists say is very technical in nature. This article simplifies their controversial messages without losing their essential meanings. The public needs to understand their warnings that refute all the propaganda pushing vaccines from government and public health agencies as well as big media.
Warning: Keep reading and you may become depressed.
Dr. Luc Montagnier
First considered is the thinking of Dr. Luc Montagnier, a French virologist and recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). He has a doctorate in medicine. But there is a lot more to conclude he is a great expert: He has received more than 20 major awards, including the French National Order of Merit and the Légion d’honneur. He is a recipient of the Lasker Award, the Scheele Award, the Louis-Jeantet Prize for medicine , the Gairdner Award the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement, King Faisal International Prize (known as the Arab Nobel Prize), and the Prince of Asturias Award.
He has worked hard to expose the dangers of the COVID-19 vaccines, still experimental but sadly may soon be fully approved. The vaccines don’t stop the virus, argues the prominent virologist, they do the opposite — they “feed the virus,” and facilitate its development into stronger and more transmittable variants. These new virus variants will be more resistant to vaccination and may cause more health implications than their “original” versions.
Montagnier refers to the mass vaccine program as an “unacceptable mistake” and are a “scientific error as well as a medical error.” His assertion is that “The history books will show that…it is the vaccination that is creating the variants.” In other words: “There are antibodies, created by the vaccine,” forcing the virus to “find another solution” or die. “This is where the variants are created. It is the variants that “are a production and result from the vaccination.” Stop and think about these thoughts. Have you heard a better explanation of variant creation? I doubt it.
He is talking about the mutation and strengthening of the virus from a phenomenon known as Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE). ADE is a mechanism that increases the ability of a virus to enter cells and cause a worsening of the disease.
Data from around the world confirms ADE occurs in SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, says Montagnier. “You see it in each country, it’s the same: the curve of vaccination is followed by the curve of deaths.” Sounds like what we are now hearing more about, namely escalating breakthrough infections that kill some people. And this spiral into disaster may have no end.
In a November 2020 documentary he emphasized harmful and irrational mask mandates as well as lockdowns, quarantines, abuses of government overreach, and supported use of effective COVID treatments such as hydroxychloroquine. The film was banned by YouTube and most other mainstream outlets. At that time Fauci had succeeded in blocking wide use of the cheap generic based treatments for COVID and pursued the wait for the vaccine strategy.
Montagnier has been a vocal critic of the mass vaccination campaign. In a letter to the President and Judges of the Supreme Court of the State of Israel, which unrolled the world’s speediest and the most massive vaccination campaign, Montagnier argued for its suspension. He said: “I would like to summarize the potential dangers of these vaccines in a mass vaccination policy.” Here they are:
1. Short-term side effects: these are not the normal local reactions found for any vaccination, but serious reactions involve the life of the recipient such as anaphylactic shock linked to a component of the vaccine mixture, or severe allergies or an autoimmune reaction up to cell aplasia. In this group we should include a number of lethal blood problems involving clots and loss of platelets that cause strokes, brain bleeds and other impacts.
Lack of vaccine protection:
2.1 In induced antibodies do not neutralize a viral infection, but on the contrary facilitate it depending on the recipient. The latter may have already been exposed to the virus asymptomatically. Naturally induced antibodies may compete with the antibodies induced by the vaccine.
2.2 The production of antibodies induced by vaccination in a population highly exposed to the virus will lead to the selection of variants resistant to these antibodies. These variants can be more virulent or more transmissible. This is what we are seeing now. An endless virus-vaccine race that will always turn to the advantage for the virus.
Long-term effects: Contrary to the claims of the manufacturers of messenger RNA vaccines, there is a risk of integration of viral RNA into the human genome. Our cells have the ability to reverse transcriptase from RNA into DNA. Although this is a rare event, its passage through the DNA of germ cells and its transmission to future generations cannot be excluded.
His bottom line: “Faced with an unpredictable future, it is better to abstain.” But most people will find it extremely difficult to resist all the coercion and vaccine mandates.
Back in April 2020, before all the talk of variants and before the rollout of the experimental vaccines, Montagnier urged people to refuse vaccines against COVID-19 when they become available. His main point should always be remembered: “instead of preventing the infection, they [would] accelerate infection.” Today, the newly occurring variants of SARS-CoV-2 that affect vaccinated people prove his thesis. With his scientific thinking, mass vaccination may cause a new, more deadly wave of pandemic infection.
As to the much talked about and hope for herd immunity, he has said: “the vaccines Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca do not prevent the transmission of the virus person-to-person and the vaccinated are just as transmissive as the unvaccinated. Therefore the hope of a ‘collective immunity’ by an increase in the number of vaccinated is totally futile.”
On the positive side, he advocated this: “The early treatment of infection with ivermectin and bacterial antibiotic because there is a bacterial cofactor that amplifies the effects of the virus. “
Dr. Vanden Bossche
The stark views of Montagnier have been shared by the esteemed Belgium virologist Dr. Vanden Bossche. He too has considerable credentials that make his views worth consideration. He has PhD degree in Virology from the University of Hohenheim, Germany. He held faculty appointments at universities in Belgium and Germany. He was at the German Center for Infection Research in Cologne as Head of the Vaccine Development Office. He has been in the private sector at several vaccine companies (GSK Biologicals, Novartis Vaccines, Solvay Biologicals) where he worked on vaccine R&D as well as vaccine development. He also worked with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) in Geneva as Senior Ebola Program Manager.
His views have been analyzed in a recent article. He too has loudly called for a halt to mass-vaccination programs. He believes that if the jabs are not halted, they could lead to the evolution of stronger and stronger variants of the virus until a “supervirus” takes hold and wipes out huge numbers of people.
This is his bold view:
“Given the huge amount of immune escape that will be provoked by mass vaccination campaigns and flanking containment measures, it is difficult to imagine how human interventions would not cause the COVID-19 pandemic to turn into an incredible disaster for global and individual health.”
Here is an essential element of his thinking. Pretty much everything being done in the pandemic doesn’t guarantee elimination of the virus. What is happening is selective viral ‘immune escape’ where viruses continue to be shed from those who are infected [both vaccinated and nonvaccinated] because neutralizing antibodies fail to prevent replication and elimination of the virus.
The evolutionary selection pressure on the virus through ‘immune escape,’ creates ever more virulent strains of the virus that have a competitive advantage over other variants and will increasingly have the potential to break through the antibody defenses. Defenses provided by the vaccine induced immune system. This is ‘vaccine resistance.’ What happens is that vaccine makers keep trying to outsmart variants, but fail. So, they keep pushing boosters and yearly vaccine shots. This is the more is better approach. This is aided by suppression of many negative facts about the vaccines by big media.
A frightening forecast by Bossche is that the worst of the pandemic is still to come. Hard to believe considering all the bad news propaganda about cases, hospitalizations and deaths. But he thinks we are now experiencing the calm before the ultimate storm. Imagine a new wave of infection far worse than anything we’ve seen so far is how Bossche thinks.
How does this happen? There will be more mutants or variants to which the adaptive immune system from vaccine shots provides little resistance. At the same time there will be decreased innate or natural immune effectiveness. Unless people take a number of steps to boost their natural immunity.
Bossche consistently points to a lack of evidence that the existing global, mass vaccination program that has been mounted while there is still significant infection around, is unprecedented and there is no scientific evidence that this will work. This is why he is largely ignored.
He stresses that historic vaccination programs have always emphasized the importance of vaccinating populations prophylactically in the absence of infection pressure.
He also argues that if different types of vaccine were used that provided sterilizing immunity i.e., that prevented immune escape and killed all viruses in those vaccinated, the situation would be entirely different. Most people do not understand that the current experimental vaccines do not actually kill the virus; and that both the vaccinated and nonvaccinated shed the virus. These vaccines do not stop viral transmission. And all the contagion control measures simply to not work effectively enough to stop wide spread of the virus in its various forms.
Here is his big picture view: “There is only one single thing at stake right now and that is the survival of our human race, frankly speaking.”
But there are more strong words recently said by Bossche to pay attention to:
“every person out there who is ‘partially’ or ‘fully’ vaccinated is a walking disease incubation system that puts everyone else at risk of contracting a deadly, vaccine-caused ‘variant’ that could kill them. The ‘vaccinated’ are walking murderers spreading disease to others. Getting injected for the Fauci Flu is not only foolish; it is also a form of murder in that unvaccinated people are now at risk of contracting the deadly diseases being manufactured inside the bodies of the vaccinated. If Trump had never introduced the vaccine in the first place, the pandemic would have long ago fizzled out. Since his vaccines continue to be pushed … however, the ‘Delta’ variant is spreading like wildfire, soon to be followed by other ‘variants’ as we enter the fall season.”
This too is a very strong view. The “mass vaccination program is…unable to generate herd immunity.” If true, there is little hope of seeing the COVID pandemic ending.
What is the solution? Bossche has identified the needed alternative to the current massive vaccine effort. It is this; “This first critical step can only be achieved by calling an immediate halt to the mass vaccination program and replacing it by widespread use of antiviral chemoprophylactics while dedicating massive public health resources to scaling early multidrug treatments of Covid-19 disease.” This is referring to the early home/outpatient treatment protocols based on cheap, safe and fully approved generics like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine; these also work as preventatives. Pandemic Blunder provides much data and advice on using this treatment approach. So, both virologists support use of what Fauci has blocked.
These action recommendations were also made by Bossche “Provide – at no cost – early multidrug treatment to all patients in need. Roll out campaigns to promote healthy diets and lifestyle.” In other words, people need to take actions to boost their natural immunity, this should include vitamins and supplements, including this cocktail: vitamin C, vitamin D, zine and quercetin.
Take a moment to consider that Patrick Wood on the Bannon show on August 21 concluded that all the available data from the US and Europe shows some 100,000 people have died from the COVID experimental vaccines. I agree with that assessment. And by the time you read this FDA may have given full approval to the Pfizer vaccine.
After considering what these two experts have said it is appropriate to criticize what current government officials say, namely blame the unvaccinated for the surges in COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths. The major alternative to this thinking is that it is the vaccinated people who are creating pandemic problems, including the variants. The strong conclusion is that the current vaccines are ineffective, nonprotective and dangerous.
What is needed is an entirely new approach to COVID vaccines. Perhaps there are companies working on this. This would threaten the trillion-dollar business of the current vaccine makers.
If the people, agencies and institutions with all the power listening to these two very smart people they would devote all their energies to using alternatives to the current vaccines. We have them. Notably, the treatment protocols that so many great doctors have created and used to help their patients.
Many other physicians and medical researchers have called for a halt to the current vaccine bonanza for big drug companies. In the meantime, on a daily basis for all those willing to look at the facts, it is clearer and clearer that the experimental vaccines are not effective. It is insanity to keep doing or expanding what is not working. That is the insane world we are now experiencing even as more and people die from breakthrough infections, blood problems and other bad vaccine health impacts.
Perhaps the ugly truth about the vaccines will be widely revealed only when there are massive, widespread deaths despite all the shots and jabs. That will be too late to change pandemic management from money-driven stupidity to life-saving, medically moral actions.
Dr. Joel S. Hirschhorn, author of Pandemic Blunder and many articles on the pandemic, worked on health issues for decades. As a full professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he directed a medical research program between the colleges of engineering and medicine. As a senior official at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association, he directed major studies on health-related subjects; he testified at over 50 U.S. Senate and House hearings and authored hundreds of articles and op-ed articles in major newspapers. He has served as an executive volunteer at a major hospital for more than 10 years. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and America’s Frontline Doctors and has been a long-time contributor to the sites of Kettle Moraine.
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, August 18, 2021
The consumption of millets can reduce total cholesterol, triacylglycerols (commonly known as triglycerides) and BMI according to a new study that analyzed the data of 19 studies with nearly 900 people. The latest study was undertaken by five organizations and led by International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
The results published in Frontiers in Nutrition bring critically needed scientific backing to the efforts to popularize and return millets to diets, especially as staples, to combat the growing prevalence of obesity and being overweight in children, adolescents and adults.
The study showed that consuming millets reduced total cholesterol by 8%, lowering it from high to normal levels in the people studied. There was nearly a 10% decrease in low- and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (commonly viewed as ‘bad cholesterol’) and triacylglycerol levels in blood. Through these reductions, the levels went from above-normal to normal range. In addition, consuming millets decreased blood pressure with the diastolic blood pressure decreasing by 5%.
Dr S Anitha, the study’s lead author and Senior Nutritionist at ICRISAT, explained, “We were very surprised by the number of studies that had already been undertaken on the impact of millets on elements that impact cardiovascular diseases. This is the very first time anyone has collated all these studies and analyzed their data to test the significance of the impact. We used a meta-analysis, and results came out very strongly to show significant positive impact on risk factors for cardiovascular disease.”
The study also showed that consuming millets reduced BMI by 7% in people who were overweight and obese (from 28.5 ± 2.4 to 26.7 ± 1.8 kg/m2), showing the possibility of returning to a normal BMI (<25 kg/m2). All results are based on consumption of 50 to 200 g of millets per day for a duration ranging from 21 days to four months.
These findings are influenced by comparisons that show that millets are much higher in unsaturated fatty acids, with 2 to 10 times higher levels than refined wheat and milled rice as well as being much higher than whole grain wheat.
“This latest review further emphasizes the potential of millets as a staple crop that has many health benefits. It also strengthens the evidence that eating millet can contribute to better cardiovascular health by reducing unhealthy cholesterol levels and increasing the levels of whole grains and unsaturated fats in the diet,” said Professor Ian Givens, a co-author of the study and Director at University of Reading’s Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH) in the UK.
“Obesity and being overweight are increasing globally in both wealthy and poorer countries, so the need for solutions based on healthier diets is critical. This new information on the health benefits of millets further supports the need to invest more in the grain, including in its whole value chain from better varieties for farmers through to agribusiness developments,” said Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT.
The study identified a number of priority future research areas including the need to study all different types of millets, understand any differences by variety alongside the different types of cooking and processing of millets and their impact on cardiovascular health. Given the positive indicators to date, more detailed analysis on the impact of millets on weight management is also recommended. All relevant parameters are also recommended to be assessed to gain a deeper understanding of the impacts millets consumption on hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular disease.
“A key recommendation from the study is for government and industry to support efforts to diversify staples with millets, especially across Asia and Africa. Given that millets are hardy and climate smart, returning to this traditional staple makes a lot of sense and is a critical solution that could be the turning point of some major health issues,” highlighted Ms Joanna Kane-Potaka, a co-author and Executive Director of the Smart Food initiative, ICRISAT.
Ruhr University Bochum (Germany), August 18, 2021
People remember past experiences through the so-called episodic memory system. In the process, they can manipulate their memories on three levels, describe Dr. Roy Dings and Professor Albert Newen from the Institute of Philosophy II at Ruhr-Universität Bochum in a theoretical paper. It has been published online in the journal Review of Philosophy and Psychology on 13. August 2021. The researchers explain how people recall past experiences and modify them in the process. “We often construct memories of important events in a way that suits us,” outlines Albert Newen.
Memories are not photographic representations
Adults mainly remember significant experiences that were linked to very positive or very negative feelings, such as a unique experience on holidays, a driving test or a wedding. The memory is not a photographic excerpt of the past, but a construct that is fed by the perception of a past event; however, when the perceived situation is stored and, above all, recalled, a variety of construction processes take place. “To paraphrase Pippi Longstocking, you might say: I make the past world the way I like it,” as Roy Dings illustrates.
People can influence the construction of a past scenario on three processing levels – something that usually happens automatically and unconsciously. The source of influence is the narrative self-image: “When we talk to friends, we tell about ourselves the things that are important to us,” says Roy Dings. “We refer to these aspects as the narrative self-image.”
The constructive model of memory recall
The authors, as well as all members of the Bochum-based research group “Constructing Scenarios of the Past”, work on the assumption that a memory is formed when a memory trace is activated by a stimulus: the wedding invitation card on the pinboard, for example, activates a memory trace of the wedding table. However, according to the Bochum model of episodic memory, the situation is then augmented by general background knowledge that is available in semantic memory. When the memory trace and background knowledge merge, a vivid memory picture emerges, for example of the bride’s greeting, and, eventually, the person talks about the event the way they experienced it.
Three levels of influence
The process of scenario construction includes the stimulus that triggers the memory, the actual processing, and the result, i.e. the memory image and the associated description. People can be influenced by all three components. Firstly, they tend to specifically look for the triggering stimulus for positive memories and avoid it for negative memories. For example, they put a wedding photo on the office desk, but avoid encounters with people with whom unpleasant memories are associated.
Secondly, the self-image can also influence what background information is drawn upon to augment the sparse memory trace into a vivid memory; this is what determines the rich memory image in the first place.
Thirdly, the description associated with a memory image can be either very concrete or rather abstract. The memory image can be described in concrete terms either as the beginning of the bride’s address or in more abstract terms as the beginning of the growing together of two families. The more abstract the associated description, the more likely a person is to remember the experience from an observer’s perspective, i.e. as an object in the scene; in this case, the feelings associated with the experience are less intense. The level of description chosen by the self-image influences the memory image and how it is experienced – and in particular, in what form it is then recorded.
“Essentially, this means we shape our memories in such a way that we protect our positive self and tend to mitigate the challenges posed by negative memories that do not fit our self-image,” concludes Albert Newen.
Peking University (China), August 16, 2021
According to news reporting originating from Beijing, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Little is known about the effects of lifestyle modification on biological aging in population-based studies of middle-aged and older adults. We examined the individual and joint associations of multiple lifestyle factors with accelerated biological aging measured by change in frailty index (FI) over 8 years in a prospective study of Chinese adults.”
Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from Peking University, “Data were obtained on 24,813 participants in the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) on lifestyle factors and frailty status at baseline and at 8 years after baseline. Adherence to healthy lifestyle factors included non-smoking or quitting smoking for reasons other than illness, avoidance of heavy alcohol consumption, daily intake of fruit and vegetables, being physically active, body mass index (BMI) of 18.5-23.9 kg/m 2, and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) <0.90 (men)/0.85 (women). FI was constructed separately at baseline and resurvey using 25 age- and health-related items. Overall, 8,760 (35.3%) individuals had a worsening frailty status. In multivariable-adjusted logistic regression analyses, adherence to healthy lifestyle was associated with a lower risk of worsening frailty status. Compared with robust participants maintaining 0-1 healthy lifestyle factors, the corresponding OR (95% CI) was 0.93 (0.83-1.03), 0.75 (0.67-0.84), 0.68 (0.60-0.77), and 0.55 (0.46-0.65) for robust participants with 2, 3, 4, and 5-6 healthy lifestyle factors. The decreased risk of frailty status worsening by adherence to healthy lifestyle factors was similar in both middle-aged and older adults, and in both robust and prefrail participants at baseline.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Adherence to a healthy lifestyle may attenuate the rate of change in biological aging in middle-aged and older Chinese adults.”
This research has been peer-reviewed.
Hospital Santa Maria (Portugal), August 16, 2021
According to news reporting originating from the Hospital Santa Maria research stated, “Uterine fibroids are the most common benign tumor in women and a specific treatment is not available. The combination of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), vitamin D and B6 in treating uterine fibroids (UFs) recently showed a promising efficacy.”
The news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Hospital Santa Maria: “Here we tried to evaluate the efficiency of the combination to improve gynaecologycal and cardiological parameters. 43 women with a diagnosis of UF were enrolled and divided into two groups: a) study group, treated twice a day with 150 mg EGCG, 25 g vitamin D and 5 mg vitamin B6, for 4 months; b) control group, with no intervention. Volume, number of UFs, menstrual bleeding, pelvic discomfort, anemia and hypertension were monitored and analyzed. One UF developed in the control group, but none in the treated group. UF size significantly decreased from 10.73 ± 5.52 cm3 at baseline to 7.98 ± 4.00 cm3 after 4 months of treatment (p < 0.0001), while it remained unchanged in the control group (10.21 ± 5.83 cm3 at T0 to 10.62 ± 6.28 cm3 at T1). Menstrual bleeding and anemia ameliorated only in the treated women.”
According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Supplementation with EGCG, vitamin D and B6 is a safe and novel approach for the management of UFs, reducing volume and improving menstrual bleeding and anemia of women presenting such symptoms.”
Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine, August 20, 2021
Emerging evidence from a research study shows acupuncture may be an effective treatment for hypertension. Acupuncture regulates blood pressure, blood flow and body temperature. Patients with hypertension treated with acupuncture experienced drops in their blood pressure that lasted up to a month and a half, researchers with the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine have found.
Their work is the first to scientifically confirm that this ancient Chinese practice is beneficial in treating mild to moderate hypertension, and it indicates that regular use could help people control their blood pressure and lessen their risk of stroke and heart disease.
The reports of side effects show that acupuncture works, says Dr. Marc Micozzi, editor of the textbook Fundamentals of Complementary Alternative Medicine and executive director of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. He says, “People need to understand that part of taking alternative medicine seriously is to take a look at and understand the side effects.”
“This clinical study is the culmination of more than a decade of bench research in this area,” said Dr. John Longhurst, a University of California, Irvine cardiologist and former director of the Samueli Center. “By using Western scientific rigor to validate an ancient Eastern therapy, we feel we have integrated Chinese and Western medicine and provided a beneficial guideline for treating a disease that affects millions in the U.S.”
Participants were treated at UCI’s Institute for Clinical & Translational Science. Study results appear in Medical Acupuncture.
Longhurst and his UCI colleagues Dr. Peng Li and Stephanie Tjen-A-Looi conducted tests on 65 hypertensive patients who were not receiving any hypertension medication. Separated randomly into two groups, the subjects were treated with electroacupuncture – a form of the practice that employs low-intensity electrical stimulation – at different acupoints on the body.
“In the hands of a trained professional, acupuncture is very safe and effective. Like everything else, acupuncture is not effective for everything. Certainly, it has demonstrated itself as effective for pain that does not respond well to even high doses of medication or chronic pain,”says Bruce Dubin, dean of Ohio University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.
In one group of 33 receiving electroacupuncture on both sides of the inner wrists and slightly below each knee, the researchers found a noticeable drop in blood pressure rates in 70 percent of participants – an average of 6 to 8 mmHg for systolic blood pressure (the high number) and 4 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure (the low number). These improvements persisted for a month and a half.
Also in this group, the team identified significant declines in blood concentration levels of norepinephrine (41 percent), which constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure and glucose levels; and renin (67 percent), an enzyme produced in the kidneys that helps control blood pressure. In addition, the electroacupuncture decreased aldosterone (22 percent), a hormone that regulates electrolytes.
No consequential blood pressure changes were found in the group of 32 who received electroacupuncture at other acupoints along the forearm and lower leg.
Although the blood pressure reductions in the first cohort were relatively small – mostly in the 4-to-13-mmHg range – the researchers noted that they were clinically meaningful and that the technique could be especially useful in treating systolic hypertension in patients over 60.
“Because electroacupuncture decreases both peak and average systolic blood pressure over 24 hours, this therapy may decrease the risk for stroke, peripheral artery disease, heart failure and myocardial infarction in hypertensive patients,” Longhurst said.
Weill Cornell Medical College, August 19, 2021
Eating fructose appears to alter cells in the digestive tract in a way that enables it to take in more nutrients, according to a preclinical study from investigators at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian. These changes could help to explain the well-known link between rising fructose consumption around the world and increased rates of obesity and certain cancers.
The research, published August 18 in Nature, focused on the effect of a high-fructose diet on villi, the thin, hairlike structures that line the inside of the small intestine. Villi expand the surface area of the gut and help the body to absorb nutrients, including dietary fats, from food as it passes through the digestive tract. The study found that mice that were fed diets that included fructose had villi that were 25 percent to 40 percent longer than those of mice that were not fed fructose. Additionally, the increase in villus length was associated with increased nutrient absorption, weight gain and fat accumulation in the animals.
“Fructose is structurally different from other sugars like glucose, and it gets metabolized differently,” said senior author Dr. Marcus DaSilva Goncalves, the Ralph L. Nachman Research Scholar, an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and an endocrinologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “Our research has found that fructose’s primary metabolite promotes the elongation of villi and supports intestinal tumor growth.”
The investigators didn’t plan to study villi. Previous research from the team, published in 2019, found that dietary fructose could increase tumor size in mouse models of colorectal cancer, and that blocking fructose metabolism could prevent that from happening. Reasoning that fructose might also promote hyperplasia, or accelerated growth, of the small intestine, the researchers examined tissues from mice treated with fructose or a control diet under the microscope.
The observation that the mice on the high-fructose diet had increased villi length, which was made by first author Samuel Taylor, a Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program student in Dr. Goncalves’ lab, was a complete surprise. And once he made the discovery, he and Dr. Goncalves set out to learn more.
After observing that the villi were longer, the team wanted to determine whether those villi were functioning differently. So they put mice into three groups: a normal low-fat diet, a high-fat diet, and a high-fat diet with added fructose. Not only did the mice in the third group develop longer villi, but they became more obese than the mice receiving the high-fat diet without fructose.
The researchers took a closer look at the changes in metabolism and found that a specific metabolite of fructose, called fructose-1-phosphate, was accumulating at high levels. This metabolite interacted with a glucose-metabolizing enzyme called pyruvate kinase, to alter cell metabolism and promote villus survival and elongation. When pyruvate kinase or the enzyme that makes fructose-1-phospate were removed, fructose had no effect on villus length. Previous animal studies have suggested that this metabolite of fructose also aids in tumor growth.
According to Taylor, the observations in mice make sense from an evolutionary perspective. “In mammals, especially hibernating mammals in temperate climates, you have fructose being very available in the fall months when the fruit is ripe,” he said. “Eating a lot of fructose may help these animals to absorb and convert more nutrients to fat, which they need to get through the winter.”
Dr. Goncalves added that humans did not evolve to eat what they eat now. “Fructose is nearly ubiquitous in modern diets, whether it comes from high-fructose corn syrup, table sugar, or from natural foods like fruit,” he said. “Fructose itself is not harmful. It’s a problem of overconsumption. Our bodies were not designed to eat as much of it as we do.”
Future research will aim to confirm that the findings in mice translate to humans. “There are already drugs in clinical trials for other purposes that target the enzyme responsible for producing fructose-1-phosphate,” said Dr. Goncalves, who is also a member of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center. “We’re hoping to find a way to repurpose them to shrink the villi, reduce fat absorption, and possibly slow tumor growth.”
Heinrich-Heine University (Germany), August 20, 2021
Consumption of Lactobacillus reuteri probiotics may boost insulin release in healthy people, says a new study.
Tablets containing Nutraceutix’s L. reuteri strain (ATCC strain SD-5865) and its patented BIO-tract delivery technology were found to increase insulin secretion by 49%, according to findings published in Diabetes Care.
Daily administration of L. reuteri tablets for four weeks was also associated with 76% and 43% increases in glucose-stimulated glucagon-like peptides (GLP)-1 and -2 release, wrote researchers from Germany, Denmark and the US. GLP-1(incretin) is known to play a key role in insulin secretion and beta-cell function in the pancreas, while GLP-2 is reported to enhance intestinal function.
“[A]dministration of probiotic L. reuteri increased insulin secretion and incretin release in humans,” wrote the researchers, led by Prof Michael Roden from Heinrich-Heine University in Dusseldorf. “This effect was not caused by a modulation of the fecal microbiota, suggesting a direct effect of the Lactobacilli on host physiology.
“The increase of the intestinotrophic gut peptide, GLP-2, which may contribute to intestinal integrity, was accompanied by stable concentrations of endotoxin and immune mediators.
“Therefore, administration of a specific bacterial strain might have clinical implications by improving incretin-mediated beta-cell function in individuals with impaired glucose homeostasis and therefore warrants further studies on specific bacterial strains in type 2 diabetes.”
Prof Roden and his co-workers recruited 11 lean and 10 obese glucose tolerant people with an average age of 50 to participate in their prospective, double-blind, randomized trial. Participants received a daily L. reuteri dose of 20 billion colony forming units (CFUs) per day or placebo for four weeks. The probiotic was encapsulated by Nutraceutix using its BIO-tract technology, which is protected by US Patents 8,540,980 and 8,007,777 , and other international patents
Results showed that, in addition to the increases in insulin sectretion, GLP-1, and GLP-2 levels, the probiotic supplements were also associated with a 55% increase in C-peptide secretion. C-peptide is a protein that joins the A- and B-chains of insulin. It is secreted in equal measure to insulin and is seen as an important measure of insulin secretion.
“An increase of GLP-2 secretion most probably enhances the expression of tight junctions in the intestinal wall, with the consequence of decreased gut permeability and leakage of endotoxin,” they explained. “It has been suggested that low-grade metabolic inflammation driven by endotoxin translocation is the proposed mechanism by which the microbiota may contribute to systemic inflammation in obesity due to increased intestinal permeability.
“Lactobacilli may have the capability to improve intestinal integrity in rodents, which may diminish the LPS [lipopolysaccharide, an endotoxin] overflow from the gut to the circulation and thereby reduce the systemic concentrations of inflammatory markers.”
However, the researchers did not find any significant effects for systemic inflammation or oxidative stress in the study participants over four weeks, nor were there any impacts on insulin sensitivity, body mass, or levels of circulating cytokines.
The study was co-funded by the Heinrich-Heine University, the German Center for Diabetes Research, and the Danone Institute for Nutrition and Health.
Okayama University (Japan), August 17, 2021
Lung cancer is known to be the most fatal form of cancer. Chemicals like 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) found in tobacco are usually the main culprits behind smoking-related lung cancer causing cancer biologists to actively explore targeted treatments. Now, a research group led by Associate Professor ARIMOTO-KOBAYASHI Sakae at Okayama University has reported the potential of a berry-producing vine, Vitis coignetiae Pulliat (colloquially known as Yamabudo in Japan), against lung cancer in mice.
The team has previously shown that juice extracted from the Yamabudo fruit and 2,6-dimethoxy-1,4-benzoquinone (DBQ), a chemical found within it, have protective effects against skin cancer. Thus, in this study the potential of both these chemicals was investigated. Mice were first treated with NNK to establish lung cancer models and tumors that subsequently developed within their lungs were assessed. After 30 weeks, mice given Yamabudo juice or DBQ showed greatly reduced tumor size. To understand the mechanism of Yamabudo further, human lung cancer cells were employed. NNK induces cancer by facilitating a chemical change in the DNA structure, known as DNA methylation. To mimic this process, cells were exposed to MNNG (a chemical that artificially induces DNA methylation) and the effects of Yamabudo were studied. Indeed, cells that were treated with Yamabudo juice or DBQ showed lower levels of DNA methylation.
The DNA methylation induced by NNK also plays a role in mutating the DNA, making all exposed cells susceptible to cancer. The methylated forms of DNA tend to form large complexes which can undergo damage more easily. Therefore, NNK-induced mutations were analyzed next to see if Yamabudo also plays a protective role in this regard. The number of NNK-induced mutations was, in fact, found to be considerably reduced by Yamabudo juice or DBQ. Yamabudo thus mitigated lung cancer by repairing the DNA damage caused by toxins. Lastly, the team also assessed biological pathways which typically help cancer cells proliferate. While all such pathways were active in the lung cancer cells, treatment with Yamabudo showed a dampening of these cancer-facilitating signals.
“Stimulation of repair of alkyl DNA adducts and suppressed growth signaling pathways are potential anti-tumorigenic targets of Yamabudo juice and DBQ in NNK-induced lung tumorigenesis,” conclude the researchers. Given the broad range of tumor-suppressing properties Yamabudo displays, it is one herbal medicine that should be explored further in lung cancer research.
Yamabudo: Vitis coignetiae Pulliat, also known as crimson glory vine or “Yamabudo” in Japan, is a berry-producing vine that grows primarily in East Asia. The juice extracted from Yamabudo berries comprises several chemical compounds that have medicinal properties. While its protective properties against skin cancer have briefly been shown before, this is the first study that explores the potential of Yamabudo in lung cancer.
DNA methylation: DNA methylation is a natural chemical process intended to regulate proper functioning of our genes. A chemical group known as the “methyl” group is usually bound onto specific regions of the DNA as a mechanism to prevent genes from being turned on when not in use. However, certain toxins and other external factors can also induce DNA methylation which sometimes prevents important genes (such as those that suppress cancer) from being active. Unfortunately, the methylated forms of DNA are passed on when cells replicate. DNA methylation thereby also abets the spread of cancer. Controlling DNA methylation is an important strategy in keeping certain cancers in check.
Dana Farber Cancer Institute, August 17, 2021
Consuming higher amounts of Vitamin D – mainly from dietary sources – may help protect against developing young-onset colorectal cancer or precancerous colon polyps, according to the first study to show such an association.
The study, recently published online in the journal Gastroenterology, by scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and other institutions, could potentially lead to recommendations for higher vitamin D intake as an inexpensive complement to screening tests as a colorectal cancer prevention strategy for adults younger than age 50.
While the overall incidence of colorectal cancer has been declining, cases have been increasing in younger adults – a worrisome trend that has yet to be explained. The authors of the study, including senior co-authors Kimmie Ng, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber, and Edward Giovannucci, MD, DSc., of the T.H. Chan School, noted that vitamin D intake from food sources such as fish, mushrooms, eggs, and milk has decreased in the past several decades. There is growing evidence of an association between vitamin D and risk of colorectal cancer mortality. However, prior to the current study, no research has examined whether total vitamin D intake is associated with the risk of young-onset colorectal cancer.
“Vitamin D has known activity against colorectal cancer in laboratory studies. Because vitamin D deficiency has been steadily increasing over the past few years, we wondered whether this could be contributing to the rising rates of colorectal cancer in young individuals,” said Ng, director of the Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber. “We found that total vitamin D intake of 300 IU per day or more – roughly equivalent to three 8-oz. glasses of milk – was associated with an approximately 50% lower risk of developing young-onset colorectal cancer.”
The results of the study were obtained by calculating the total vitamin D intake – both from dietary sources and supplements – of 94,205 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS II). This study is a prospective cohort study of nurses aged 25 to 42 years that began in 1989. The women are followed every two years by questionnaires on demographics, diet and lifestyle factors, and medical and other health-related information. The researchers focused on a primary endpoint – young-onset colorectal cancer, diagnosed before 50 years of age. They also asked on a follow-up questionnaire whether they had had a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy where colorectal polyps (which may be precursors to colorectal cancer) were found.
During the period from 1991 to 2015 the researchers documented 111 cases of young-onset colorectal cancer and 3,317 colorectal polyps. Analysis showed that higher total vitamin D intake was associated with a significantly reduced risk of early-onset colorectal cancer. The same link was found between higher vitamin D intake and risk of colon polyps detected before age 50.
The association was stronger for dietary vitamin D – principally from dairy products – than from vitamin D supplements. The study authors said that finding could be due to chance or to unknown factors that are not yet understood.
Interestingly, the researchers didn’t find a significant association between total vitamin D intake and risk of colorectal cancer diagnosed after age 50. The findings were not able to explain this inconsistency, and the scientists said further research in a larger sample is necessary to determine if the protective effect of vitamin D is actually stronger in young-onset colorectal cancer.
In any case, the investigators concluded that higher total vitamin D intake is associated with decreased risks of young-onset colorectal cancer and precursors (polyps). “Our results further support that vitamin D may be important in younger adults for health and possibly colorectal cancer prevention,” said Ng. “It is critical to understand the risk factors that are associated with young-onset colorectal cancer so that we can make informed recommendations about diet and lifestyle, as well as identify high risk individuals to target for earlier screening.”
The study was funded by grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense; by the American Cancer Society Mentored Research Scholar Grant; and by the Project P Fund.
Ng’s disclosures include research funding from Pharmavite, Revolution Medicines, Janssen, and Evergrande Group; Advisory boards for Array Biopharma, Seattle Genetics, and BiomX; and consulting for X-Biotix Therapeutics.
Kings College London, August 17, 2021
New research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London has found that both diet and exercise can influence the risk of cognitive decline (CD) and dementia by potentially influencing hippocampal neurogenesis (the process by which the brain produces new brain cells) long before their onset.
The study, published in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, suggests that altered neurogenesis in the brain could potentially represent an early biomarker for both CD and dementia.
The investigation studied how the blood of participants with and without CD and dementia could influence hippocampal neurogenesis in laboratory settings and whether diet and exercise were important factors. Specifically, blood samples of 418 French adults over the age of 65 were collected 12-years prior to CD and dementia diagnosis and tested on human hippocampal stems cells. Additionally, information on each participant’s sociodemographic, lifestyle, and clinical data were collected and incidence cognition status and dementia were measured every 2 to 3 years over a 12-year period.
Over the course of the study, the researchers established that 12 years prior to diagnosis, both CD and Alzheimer’s were associated with levels of neural stem cell death. The team also found that exercise, nutrition, vitamin D levels, carotenoid and lipid levels are all associated with the rate at which cells die off. Furthermore, physical activity and nutrition were key factors that then also determined CD status. Specifically, researchers found that reduced physical activity and increased malnutrition both increased cell death which in turn increased the risk for future CD.
While previous studies have established that diet and exercise have some protective effects against CD and dementia, these roles have been poorly understood at the neurobiological level. To date, studies on animals have shown how diet and exercise can directly influence hippocampal neurogenesis, potentially explaining how exercise and diet may biologically exert their effects, but this study sheds further light on this in the context of a human model.
Doctor Sandrine Thuret, the study’s lead investigator from King’s IoPPN said “Our study has demonstrated not only that there are individual markers of hippocampal neurogenesis associated with CD and dementia 12 years later, but also that there is some degree of specificity with respect to diagnoses of dementia subtypes.
“Specifically, if an individual displays an increase in their levels of cell death during differentiation (when neural stem cells are becoming neurons), we can look at this as a potential warning sign of CD. Conversely, a decrease in levels of cell death during proliferation (the process by which a single cell divides into a pair) and reduced hippocampal progenitor cell integrity could be viewed as a predictor for Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular dementia, respectively.”
According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, there were a total of 525,315 people living with a dementia diagnosis in the UK in 2020. Rates of cognitive decline and dementia are expected to triple in prevalence by 2040.
Dr Andrea du Preez, the study’s first author from King’s IoPPN said, “While more work is undoubtedly needed to fully understand how diet and exercise might modulate hippocampal neurogenesis, our findings may represent an effective early preventative strategy against CD and dementia.”
Acupuncture improves symptoms of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome compared to sham treatment
China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, August 17, 2021
A multicenter randomized trial showed that 20 sessions of acupuncture over 8 weeks resulted in greater improvement in symptoms of moderate to severe chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) compared with sham therapy. Treatment effects endured over 24 weeks follow up. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
CP/CPPS manifests discomfort or pain in the pelvic region for at least 3 of the previous 6 months without evidence of infection. Lower urinary tract symptoms, psychological issues, and sexual dysfunction may also be involved. Men with CP/CPPS may have a poor quality of life due to the many neuropsychophysiologic pathophysiology factors associated with the disorder, such as inflammation in the prostate, anxiety and stress, and dyssynergic voiding. Antibiotics, a-blockers, and anti-inflammatories are the mainstays of treatment in clinical practice, but they have limited effectiveness and are associated with adverse events with long-term use. Acupuncture has shown promise as an alternative treatment, but high-quality evidence is scarce.
Researchers from the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences randomly assigned 440 male participants (220 in each group) to either 8 weeks of acupuncture or sham therapy to assess the long-term efficacy of acupuncture for improving symptoms of CP/CPPS. The treatment was considered effective if participants achieved a clinically important reduction of at least 6 points from baseline on the National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index at weeks 8 and 32. Ascertainment of sustained efficacy required the between-group difference to be statistically significant at both time points. The researchers found that compared with the sham acupuncture group, larger proportions of participants in the acupuncture group reported marked or moderate improvements in symptoms at all assessment points. No significant difference was found in changes in International Index of Erectile Function 5 score at all assessment time points or in peak and average urinary flow rates at week 8. No serious adverse events were reported in either group.
According to the researchers, these findings show long-term efficacy of acupuncture and provide high-quality evidence for clinical practice and guideline recommendations.
Yunnan University (CHina), August 16, 2021
According to news reporting originating in Yunnan, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Although the cause of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is still controversial, it is generally accepted that neuroinflammation plays a key role in AD pathogenesis. Thus, regulating the polarization of microglia will help in recovering from AD since microglia can be polarized into classical M1 and alternative M2 phenotypes, M1 microglia leading to neuroinflammation and M2 microglia acting as anti-inflammatory effectors.”
Financial support for this research came from National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC).
The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Yunnan University, “Our previous study demonstrated that eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an essential n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, may modulate glial cell activity and functions, but it is not clear whether EPA plays a role in microglial polarization. Here, we aimed to test the hypothesis that EPA may regulate the polarization of microglia and subsequently alleviate neuroinflammation and neuronal damage. Male C57BL/6 mice were fed an EPA -supplemented diet or a palm oil -supplemented diet for 42 days. On day 28 of diet feeding, the mice received a single intracerebroventricular injection of beta-peptide fragment 1-42(A beta(1-42)) or saline. The polarization of M1 and M2 microglia was evaluated by western blot using the respective markers. Changes in inflammatory cytokine mRNA levels were examined using real-time PCR. Neurological deficits were analysed using the Morris water maze and TdT-mediated dUTP Nick-End Labeling (TUNEL) assays. EPA supplementation effectively reversed the increasing trend of M1 microglial markers and the decreased expression of M2 microglial markers in the hippocampus mediated by A beta(1-42) and normalized the A beta-induced upregulation of proinflammatory cytokines and the downregulation of anti-inflammatory factors. Consistent with these findings, EPA significantly improved cognitive function and inhibited apoptotic neuronal death in the hippocampus.”
According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “These results demonstrated that EPA appears to have potential effects on regulating microglial polarization, which contributes to alleviating neuroinflammation and may have beneficial effects for preventing and treating AD.”
This research has been peer-reviewed.
University of Southern California August 19, 2021
Many people report positive health effects from practicing yoga and meditation, and experience both mental and physical benefits from these practices. However, we still have much to learn about how exactly these practices affect mind-body health. A new research article published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience investigates the effects of yoga and meditation on brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), the activity on the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) effects and inflammatory markers. By studying the participants of an intensive 3-month yoga and meditation retreat, the researchers found that the practices positively impacted BDNF signaling, the cortisol awakening response (CAR) and immunological markers, and in addition improved subjective wellbeing.
In this study, the retreat participants were assessed before and after participating in a 3-month yoga and meditation retreat that involved daily meditation and Isha yoga, accompanied by a vegetarian diet. The yogic practices consisted of physical postures, controlled breathing practices, and seated meditations during which the participants focused on mantra repetition, breath, emptying the mind and bodily sensation. The researchers measured psychometric measures, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), circadian salivary cortisol levels, as well as pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. They also collected data on psychometric variables including mindfulness, absorption, depression and anxiety, and investigated the relationship between psychological improvements and biological changes.
The data showed that participation in the retreat was associated with decreases in both self-reported anxiety and depression as well as increases in mindfulness. The research team observed increases in the plasma levels of BDNF, a neuromodulator that plays an important role in learning, memory and the regulation of complex processes such as inflammation, immunity, mood regulation, stress response and metabolism. They also observed increases in the magnitude of the cortisol awakening response (CAR) which is part of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA), suggesting improved stress resilience. Moreover, there was a decrease in inflammatory processes caused by an increase of the anti-inflammatory cytokine Interleukin-10 and a reduction of the pro-inflammatory cytokine Interleukin-12 after the retreat. "It is likely that at least some of the significant improvements in both HPA axis functioning as exemplified by the CAR as well as neuroimmunologic functioning as exemplified by increases in BDNF levels and alterations in cytokines were due to the intensive meditation practice involved in this retreat," says corresponding author Dr Baruch Rael Cahn (University of Southern California, USA).
The research team hypothesize that the pattern of biological findings observed in their study is linked to enhanced resilience and wellbeing. "The observed increased BDNF signaling possibly related to enhanced neurogenesis and/or neuroplasticity, increased CAR likely related to enhanced alertness and readiness for mind-body engagement, and increased anti- and pro-inflammatory cytokines possibly indicating enhanced immunological readiness," explains Dr Cahn. "An intriguing possible link between the effects on BDNF and the CAR is hippocampal functional integrity, since increased BDNF levels due to physical exercise has previously been shown to relate with hippocampal neurogenesis and likely relate to its positive effects on well-being and depression."
In the light of previous studies of the positive effects of meditation on mental fitness, autonomic homeostasis and inflammatory status, the researchers think that their findings are related to the meditative practices that the retreat participants engaged in. However, they suggest that some of the observed changes may also be related to the physical aspects of the retreat - yoga practice and diet - and that the observed change patterns are a reflection of wellbeing and mind-body integration. The next step will be to conduct further research in order to clarify the extent to which the positive changes on mind-body wellness and stress resilience are related to the yoga and meditation practices respectively, and to account for other possible contextual factors such as social dynamics, diet and the impact of the teacher. "To our knowledge, our study is the first to examine a broad range of pro- and anti-inflammatory markers in a healthy population before and after a yoga-meditation intervention. Our findings justify further studies of yoga and meditation retreats assessing for the replicability, specificity and long-term implications of these findings," concludes Dr Cahn.
Dr Piers Robinson is an expert on communication, media and world politics, focusing on conflict and war and especially the role of propaganda. He is presently Co-Director of the Organisation for Propaganda Studies, Convenor of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media and Associated Researcher with the Working Group on Propaganda and the 9/11 ‘War on Terror’. From 2016 – 2019, he was Professor and Chair in Politics, Society and Political Journalism at the University of Sheffield. He has also served on the boards of several academic journals. He has lectured at the NATO Defense College in Rome and briefed senior UK military commanders and diplomats, and his research interests focus on Organised Persuasive Communication and Contemporary Propaganda and his current projects include Propaganda and the Syrian conflict; Propaganda and the 9/11 Global War on Terror and Covid19.
According to news reporting originating from Selangor, Malaysia, research stated, “Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide.”
Our news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from Monash University Malaysia: “Despite the overall successes in breast cancer therapy, hormone-independent HER2 negative breast cancer, also known as triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), lacking estrogens and progesterone receptors and with an excessive expression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), along with the hormone-independent HER2 positive subtype, still remain major challenges in breast cancer treatment. Due to their poor prognoses, aggressive phenotype, and highly metastasis features, new alternative therapies have become an urgent clinical need. One of the most noteworthy phytochemicals, curcumin, has attracted enormous attention as a promising drug candidate in breast cancer prevention and treatment due to its multi-targeting effect. Curcumin interrupts major stages of tumorigenesis including cell proliferation, survival, angiogenesis, and metastasis in hormone-independent breast cancer through the modulation of multiple signaling pathways. The current review has highlighted the anticancer activity of curcumin in hormone-independent breast cancer via focusing on its impact on key signaling pathways including the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway, JAK/STAT pathway, MAPK pathway, NF-qB pathway, p53 pathway, and Wnt/b-catenin, as well as apoptotic and cell cycle pathways.”
According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Besides, its therapeutic implications in clinical trials are here presented.”
Bioengineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a cancer immunotherapy that pairs ultrasound with cancer-killing immune cells to destroy malignant tumors while sparing normal tissue.
The new experimental therapy significantly slowed down the growth of solid cancerous tumors in mice.
The team, led by the labs of UC San Diego bioengineering professor Peter Yingxiao Wang and bioengineering professor emeritus Shu Chien, detailed their work in a paper published Aug. 12 in Nature Biomedical Engineering.
The work addresses a longstanding problem in the field of cancer immunotherapy: how to make chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy safe and effective at treating solid tumors.
CAR T-cell therapy is a promising new approach to treat cancer. It involves collecting a patient’s T cells and genetically engineering them to express special receptors, called CAR, on their surface that recognize specific antigens on cancer cells. The resulting CAR T cells are then infused back into the patient to find and attack cells that have the cancer antigens on their surface.
This therapy has worked well for the treatment of some blood cancers and lymphoma, but not against solid tumors. That’s because many of the target antigens on these tumors are also expressed on normal tissues and organs. This can cause toxic side effects that can kills cells—these effects are known as on-target, off-tumor toxicity.
“CAR T cells are so potent that they may also attack normal tissues that are expressing the target antigens at low levels,” said first author Yiqian (Shirley) Wu, a project scientist in Wang’s lab.
“The problem with standard CAR T cells is that they are always on—they are always expressing the CAR protein, so you cannot control their activation,” explained Wu.
To combat this issue, the team took standard CAR T cells and re-engineered them so that they only express the CAR protein when ultrasound energy is applied. This allowed the researchers to choose where and when the genes of CAR T cells get switched on.
“We use ultrasound to successfully control CAR T cells directly in vivo for cancer immunotherapy,” said Wang, who is a faculty member of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine and the Center for Nano-ImmunoEngineering, both at UC San Diego. What’s exciting about the use of ultrasound, noted Wang, is that it can penetrate tens of centimeters beneath the skin, so this type of therapy has the potential to non-invasively treat tumors that are buried deep inside the body.
The team’s approach involves injecting the re-engineered CAR T cells into tumors in mice and then placing a small ultrasound transducer on an area of the skin that’s on top of the tumor to activate the CAR T cells. The transducer uses what’s called focused ultrasound beams to focus or concentrate short pulses of ultrasound energy at the tumor. This causes the tumor to heat up moderately—in this case, to a temperature of 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit)—without affecting the surrounding tissue. The CAR T cells in this study are equipped with a gene that produces the CAR protein only when exposed to heat. As a result, the CAR T cells only switch on where ultrasound is applied.
The researchers put their CAR T cells to the test against standard CAR T cells. In mice that were treated with the new CAR T cells, only the tumors that were exposed to ultrasound were attacked, while other tissues in the body were left alone. But in mice that were treated with the standard CAR T cells, all tumors and tissue expressing the target antigen were attacked.
“This shows our CAR T-cell therapy is not only effective, but also safer,” said Wu. “It has minimal on-target, off-tumor side effects.”
The work is still in the early stages. The team will be performing more preclinical tests and toxicity studies before it can reach clinical trials.
Shaanxi University of Technology (China), August 10, 2021
According to news originating from Shaanxi University of Technology research stated, “Diabetic osteoporosis (DOP) is one of the complications of diabetes, with high morbidity, and high disability rate. Here, we established a diabetic rat model and administered lycopene to observe its effect on DOP.”
Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from Shaanxi University of Technology: “Our results showed that ten weeks lycopene treatment lowered blood glucose, improved diabetic induced polydipsia, overeating and body weight loss. Lycopene treatment also enhanced bone mineral density, restored bone mechanical and bone Micro-CT parameters of diabetic rats. Subsequently, lycopene decreased serum inflammatory cytokines levels and increased serum anti-oxidant indicators levels. Moreover, lycopene reduced the number of bone marrow adipocytes, and osteoclasts numbers of diabetic rats. The serum bone turnover markers levels were down-regulated after lycopene treatment. Meanwhile, the bone and serum OPG, RUNX 2 expression levels were up-regulated by lycopene in diabetic rats, and the OPG/RANKL ratio was also up-regulated.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “This study showed that lycopene could ameliorate diabetic induced bone loss via anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidation, and increasing OPG/RANKL ratio in diabetic rats. Lycopene could be used for nutritional intervention in patients with diabetic osteoporosis.”
Millions of people around the world seek mental clarity through meditation, most of them following or inspired by the centuries-old practices of Buddhism.
Anecdotally, those who meditate say it helps to calm their minds, recenter their thoughts and cut through the "noise" to show what really matters. Scientifically, though, showing the effects of meditation on the human brainhave proved to be tricky.
A new study from Binghamton University's Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science tracked how practicing meditation for just a couple of months changed the brain patterns of 10 students in the University's Scholars Program.
The seed for the research came from a casual chat between Assistant Professor Weiying Dai and lecturer George Weinschenk, MA '01, Ph.D. '07, both from the Department of Computer Science.
Weinschenk is a longtime meditation practitioner whose wife worked as an administrator at the Namgyal Monastery in Ithaca, which is the North American seat of the Dalai Lama's personal monastery.
"I developed very close friendships with several of the monks," he said. "We would hang out together, and I even received instruction from some of the Dalai Lama's teachers. I took classes there, I read a lot and I earned a three-year certificate in Buddhist studies."
Dai has studied brain mapping and biomedical image processing, and while earning her Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh, she tracked Alzheimer's disease patients using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
"I'm interested in brain research to see how our brains are really functioning and how all different kinds of disease affect our brain," she said. "I really have zero medical training, but I pick up all this knowledge or background from reading the literature and talking with the experts."
The two faculty members had neighboring offices and shared a conversation one day about their backgrounds. Weinschenk mentioned that he had been asked to teach a semester-long class for the Scholars Program on meditation.
"I told Weiying, 'Yeah, meditation really can have a transformative effect on the brain,'" Weinschenk said. "She was a little skeptical, especially about whether such a short amount of time spent learning how to meditate, whether that would make any difference. She suggested we might be able to quantify such a thing with modern technology."
For the fall 2017 semester, Dai secured grant funding, and their collaboration began. Near the beginning of the semester, she took the participants to Cornell University for MRI scans of their brains. Weinschenk taught students how to meditate, told them to practice five times a week for 10 or 15 minutes, and asked them to keep a journal record of their practice. (The syllabus also included other lessons about the cultural transmissions of meditation and its applications for wellness.)
"Binghamton University Scholars are high achievers who want to do the things they are assigned and do well on them, so they didn't require much prompting to maintain a regular meditation routine," he said. "To guarantee objective reporting, they would relate their experiences directly to Weiying about how frequently they practiced."
The results, recently published in the journal Scientific Reports, show that meditation training led to faster switching between the brain's two general states of consciousness.
One is called the default mode network, which is active when the brain is at wakeful rest and not focused on the outside world, such as during daydreaming and mind-wandering. The other is the dorsal attention network, which engages for attention-demanding tasks.
The findings of the study demonstrate that meditation can enhance the brain connection among and within these two brain networks, indicating the effect of meditation on fast switching between the mind wandering and focusing its attention as well as maintaining attention once in the attentive state.
"Tibetans have a term for that ease of switching between states—they call it mental pliancy, an ability that allows you to shape and mold your mind," Weinschenk said. "They also consider the goal of concentration one of the fundamental principles of self-growth."
Dai and Weinschenk are still parsing through the data taken from the 2017 MRI scans, so they have yet to test other Scholars Program students. Because Alzheimer's disease and autism could be caused by problems with the dorsal attention network, Dai is making plans for future research that could use meditation to mitigate those problems.
"I'm thinking about an elderly study, because this population was young students," she said. "I want to get a healthy elderly group, and then another group with early Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment. I want to see whether the changes in the brain from meditation can enhance cognitive performance. I'm writing the proposal and trying to attract the funds in that direction."
Though once skeptical about the subject, "I'm pretty convinced about the scientific basis of meditation after doing this study," she added. "Maybe I'll just go to George's class when he teaches it so that I can benefit, too!"
Cedars-Sinai Medicine Institute, August 9, 2021
Can chemicals that are added to breakfast cereals and other everyday products make you obese? Growing evidence from animal experiments suggests the answer may be "yes." But confirming these findings in humans has faced formidable obstacles - until now.
A study published in Nature Communications details how Cedars-Sinai investigators developed a novel platform and protocol for testing the effects of chemicals known as endocrine disruptors on humans.
The three chemicals tested in this study are abundant in modern life. Butylhydroxytoluene (BHT) is an antioxidant commonly added to breakfast cereals and other foods to protect nutrients and keep fats from turning rancid; perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a polymer found in some cookware, carpeting and other products; and tributyltin (TBT) is a compound in paints that can make its way into water and accumulate in seafood.
The investigators used hormone-producing tissues grown from human stem cells to demonstrate how chronic exposure to these chemicals can interfere with signals sent from the digestive system to the brain that let people know when they are "full" during meals. When this signaling system breaks down, people often may continue eating, causing them to gain weight.
"We discovered that each of these chemicals damaged hormones that communicate between the gut and the brain," said Dhruv Sareen, PhD, assistant professor of Biomedical Sciences and director of the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Core Facility at the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute. "When we tested the three together, the combined stress was more robust."
Of the three chemicals tested, BHT produced some of the strongest detrimental effects, Sareen said.
While other scientists have shown these compounds can disrupt hormone systems in laboratory animals, the new study is the first to use human pluripotent stem cells and tissues to document how the compounds may disrupt hormones that are critical to gut-to-brain signaling and preventing obesity in people, Sareen said.
"This is a landmark study that substantially improves our understanding of how endocrine disruptors may damage human hormonal systems and contribute to the obesity epidemic in the U.S.," said Clive Svendsen, PhD, director of the institute and the Kerry and Simone Vickar Family Foundation Distinguished Chair in Regenerative Medicine. More than one-third of U.S. adults are considered to be obese, according to federal statistics.
The new testing system developed for the study has the potential to provide a much-needed, safe and cost-effective method that can be used to evaluate the health effects of thousands of existing and new chemicals in the environment, the investigators say.
For their experiments, Sareen and his team first obtained blood samples from adults, and then, by introducing reprogramming genes, converted the cells into induced pluripotent stem cells. Then, using these stem cells, the investigators grew human epithelium tissue, which lines the gut, and neuronal tissues of the brain's hypothalamus region, which regulates appetite and metabolism.
The investigators then exposed the tissues to BHT, PFOA and TBT, one by one and also in combination, and observed what happened inside the cells. They found that the chemicals disrupted networks that prepare signaling hormones to maintain their structure and be transported out of the cells, thus making them ineffective. The chemicals also damaged mitochondria - cellular structures that convert food and oxygen into energy and drive the body's metabolism.
Because the chemical damage occurred in early-stage "young" cells, the findings suggest that a defective hormone system potentially could impact a pregnant mother as well as her fetus in the womb, Sareen said. While other scientists have found, in animal studies, that effects of endocrine disruptors can be passed down to future generations, this process has not been proved to occur in humans, he explained.
More than 80,000 chemicals are registered for use in the U.S. in everyday items such as foods, personal care products, household cleaners and lawn-care products, according to the National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While the program states on its website that relatively few chemicals are thought to pose a significant risk to human health, it also states: "We do not know the effects of many of these chemicals on our health."
Cost and ethical issues, including the health risk of exposing human subjects to possibly harmful substances, are among the barriers to testing the safety of many chemicals. As a result, numerous widely used compounds remain unevaluated in humans for their health effects, especially to the hormone system.
"By testing these chemicals on actual human tissues in the lab, we potentially could make these evaluations easier to conduct and more cost-effective," Sareen said.
University of Sheffield (UK), August 12, 2021
Approximately 6 million people in the U.S. are suffering from dementia, as well 50 million people worldwide. There is currently no cure for the degenerative condition and medical treatments often have side effects such as vomiting, loss of appetite, and muscle pains. Now, researchers say patients can greatly benefit from a type of treatment that doesn’t come with such downsides and helps their brain avoid additional decline.
A new study suggests that mixing with other people helps dementia patients stay sharp and fend off depression. Scientists say the type of treatment known as “cognitive stimulation” could make living with dementia easier for hundreds of thousands of people.
“Dementia is one of the biggest global challenges that we face,” says senior author Dr. Claudia von Bastian, of the University of Sheffield, in a statement. “Our research highlights that cognitive stimulation can be a safe, relatively cheap, and accessible treatment to help reduce some of the core symptoms of dementia and may even alleviate symptoms of depression.”
The researchers analyzed the use of cognitive stimulation as an effective treatment for people with dementia. They found that getting patients involved in social and group activities helped combat depression and boost global cognition.
Global cognition refers to five types of brain function: attention, memory, verbal fluency, language, and awareness. “It’s great that governments now recognize the importance for people to live well with dementia. We’ve seen far more energy and resources put into developing initiatives to support this, such as cognitive stimulation, which is now used widely across the world,” notes co-author Dr. Ben Hicks, of Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
“We still need to learn more about the key ingredients of cognitive stimulation which lead to these benefits and how they influence the progression of dementia. However, the absence of negative side-effects and the low costs of this treatment means the benefits are clear,” adds Dr. von Bastian.
More research is needed to determine whether cognitive stimulation and other non-pharmaceutical treatments could help the growing number of people who suffer fromdementia.
“Our research is the first to comprehensively interrogate the evidence base for its effectiveness, using the most up-to-date statistical techniques. While early signs are positive, there’s an urgent need to improve the rigor of evaluative research and better assess the long-term benefits of cognitive stimulation. People with dementia need effective treatments, and, as a research community, this is what we must deliver,” added Dr. Hicks.
Toho University (Japan), August 18 2021
A randomized, double-blind study reported on in the International Heart journal found improvements in arterial stiffness and oxidative stress among type 2 diabetics who were supplemented with resveratrol.
The trial included 50 diabetic men and women who received 100 milligrams resveratrol or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. Cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI, a novel diagnostic measure of arterial stiffness that is a marker of atherosclerosis) and blood pressure were assessed at the beginning and end of the study, in addition to blood assessments of oxidative stress and other factors.
At the end of the study, subjects who received resveratrol had significantly lower blood pressure, less oxidative stress and decreased arterial stiffness in comparison with values obtained at the beginning of the study. Participants who received a placebo experienced no significant changes in these areas.
“The primary finding in the present study was that oral supplementation of resveratrol for 12 weeks decreased CAVI in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus,” authors Haruki Imamura, MD, and colleagues at Toho University Sakura Medical Center in Japan write. “Many previous studies have demonstrated increased CAVI in atherosclerotic diseases such as acute coronary syndrome and stroke, and these reports indicate that CAVI reflects organic atherosclerosis.”
They suggest that a reduction in oxidative stress may be one mechanism involved in the improvement in arterial stiffness observed in this study among participants who received resveratrol. Improved endothelial function via increased nitric oxide production may be another mechanism.
Xi’an Jiaotong University (China), August 8, 2021
According to news reporting out of Xi’an, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “To investigate the mechanism of astragalus polysaccharides (PAS) in including the apoptosis of lung cancer tumor cells regulating the factor kappa B (NF-kappa b) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways and the expression of apoptosis-related proteins. Of he 45 specific-pathogen (SPF) mice, 9 were selected as the blank control group (0.3 mL normal saline, 1d/time), and the remaining 36 were modeled as tumor-bearing mice.”
Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Xi’an Jiaotong University, “After successful modeling, tumor-bearing mice were randomly divided into the model control group (0.3 mL normalsaline, 1d/time), APS low-dose (50 mg/kg APS), APS medium-dose group (100 mg/kg APS), and APS high-dose (200 mg/kg APS). Each group was given continues medication for 20 days. The mRNA and caspase-1 were compered. The mRNA and protein expressions of NF-kappa B p53, and p38 in the model group were significantly higher than those in the control group (P <0.05). The mRNA and protein expressions between the APS medium- and high-dose groups and the model group (P >0.05). The expressions if Bcl-2 and FasL in the model group were significantly higher than those in the blank control group, while the expressions of BAX and capase-9 were significantly lower than those in the blank control group (P <0.05). The expressions levels of Bcl-2 and FasL in the high-dose APS group were significantly lower than those in the model group, while the expression levels of Bcl-2 and capase-9 were significantly higher than those in the model group (P <0.05).”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Astragalus polysaccharides can induce the apoptosis of lung cancer tumor cells by regarding the NF-kappa B/MAPK signaling pathways and the expressions of apoptosis-related proteins.”
This research has been peer-reviewed.
UCLA, August 9, 2021
Being grateful seems to have a lot of positive effects on our lives. In fact, grateful peoplemay have better sleep, healthier hearts, and fewer aches and pains.
But what is going on in our bodies when we’re grateful, that might help us be healthier? A couple of recent studies aimed to find out.
In the first study, 61 healthy women between the ages of 35 and 50 were randomly assigned to either a six-week online gratitude activity or a writing activity (as a comparison). Once a week, the gratitude group were given a writing prompt that asked them to write about someone they were grateful for (for example, “Think of someone in your life who you feel like you have never fully or properly thanked for something meaningful or important that they did for you”). The control group wrote about neutral topics (“Think about the longest distance that you walked today”).
Before and after the six weeks, the participants reported on how much they tended to offer support or receive support from other people and provided a blood sample, which was used to check for the presence of inflammatory cytokines (interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor-α). Inflammatory cytokines are linked to chronic diseases of aging, like diabetes, atherosclerosis, and even cancer.
After analyzing the data, the researchers found that women assigned to the gratitude condition did engage in more supportive care, which is consistent with the idea that gratitude may inspire people to “pay it forward” and help others. But they didn’t find any significant drop in cytokine levels—meaning, no improved immune function. Naomi Eisenberger, director of the Social and Affective Neuroscience Lab at UCLA and a coauthor on the study, was a little surprised by this.
“You read all the news stories about gratitude and you assume you’re going to see these magical beneficial effects. We didn’t see that,” she said. “The effects were actually harder to see than we thought; they were subtler.”
To get at what might be going on, she and her colleagues looked women’s supportiveness, whether or not they’d participated in the gratitude activity. Here they did see an effect: Women who engaged in more supportive care had lower levels of interleukin 6, suggesting that supportive care (and not gratitude, per se) might improve immune function. Gratitude could affect inflammation, perhaps, but only if it leads to more support for others.
“When people feel grateful, one of the first things they want to do is give back,” she says. “Maybe that doesn’t lead straight to better immune function. But it does lead to more support-giving, and that’s interesting.”
These findings still left an open question for the researchers: Could experiencing gratitude affect people’s brains in a way that promotes better health? To find out, Eisenberger and her colleagues did a second study looking at how gratitude affected brain centers associated with support-giving and responding to distress, both of which are tied to better health.
Drawing from the same participants, they used fMRI scans to monitor brain activity while the women were shown names of people they felt grateful for and asked to either think about why they felt grateful to the person or to describe the person’s physical appearance. Occasionally, an image of a threatening face was flashed on the screen to startle participants and induce a threat response.
Participants experiencing gratitude didn’t have more neural activity in the caregiving centers of the brain than the control group. But those who’d reported high levels of support-giving had a healthier response to the threatening imagery (decreased amygdala activity) after focusing on gratitude. In other words, for highly supportive people, feeling momentary gratitude seemed to play a role in soothing their stress response—a possible pathway to better health.
“There seems to be something about people engaging in more support-giving over time that makes them less threat-sensitive when primed with gratitude,” says Eisenberger.
This finding mirrors previous work showing that volunteering or giving to others improves health, says Eisenberger. On the other hand, it contrasts with some people’s views that feeling gratitude in and of itself is key to better health, she adds.
“Our study brings up an interesting question of what contributes to better health: Is it the emotion of gratitude, or is it actually engaging in behaviors that help somebody else?” she says. “I don’t know for sure, but maybe it’s tied to behaviors more than to feelings.”
She also mentions that some of the people in her studies reported having trouble feeling grateful. That could be a barrier when it comes to promoting gratitude for improving health.
“These effects didn’t seem to happen for individuals who were higher in things like depression and stress,” she says. “So, I think for those individuals, a gratitude intervention can sometimes backfire.”
Though Eisenberger believes much more research needs to be done to know for sure, her work shows that the effects of gratitude on health may be more nuanced than past research suggests. It doesn’t mean gratitude doesn’t play a role—after all, it seems to encourage more kind and helpful behavior. But it may only play an indirect role.
“If we’re trying to take care of our own health, maybe the best way to do that is helping take care of others,” says Eisenberger. “One way to getting to helping other people could be through experiences of gratitude. But it’s not necessarily the only way to get there, either
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, August 8, 2021
A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials reported on May 11, 2021 in the journal Cureus revealed lower combined risk of stroke, heart attack and vascular death, as well as a reduction in homocysteine levels, in stroke patients who received B vitamins compared to a placebo.*
Homocysteine is an amino acid formed in the body which, when elevated, is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and numerous other conditions. Increasing the intake of B vitamins helps lower serum or plasma homocysteine levels by helping it metabolize into downstream products that the body needs.
Researchers at All India Institute of Medical Sciences selected eight trials that included a total of 8,513 stroke patients for their analysis. Trials were limited to those that evaluated homocysteine levels and recurrence of stroke, recurrence of cardiovascular disorders and vascular death (separately or combined) among participants who received a placebo or vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folate.
Analysis of the trials’ results found a significant reduction in average homocysteine levels among B-vitamin-intake participants compared to those that received placebo. When the combined risk of heart attack, stroke and vascular death were examined, there was an 11% lower risk among participants who received the vitamins compared to the placebo. Further analysis revealed a 13% lower risk of stroke and a 17% lower risk of vascular death among vitamin B participants.
“This meta-analysis presented substantial evidence proving the beneficial effect of vitamin B [intake], especially among stroke patients, in lowering homocysteine with no documented side effects,” Neetu Kataria and colleagues concluded. “Vitamin B [intake] effectively reduces homocysteine levels and the risk of stroke and vascular deaths.”
“This treatment is highly recommended in clinical settings, which will become a cost-effective strategy for preventing stroke risk, hence relieving the burden of stroke across the globe by reducing homocysteine levels among stroke patients.”
National Taiwan University, August 6, 2021
According to news reporting out of Taipei, Taiwan, research stated, “Scope Epidemiological studies show a consistent and compelling association between the risk of colorectal cancer development and obesity, but its mechanisms remain poorly understood. Evidence is mounting that colorectal cancer can be prevented by nutritional supplements, such as phytochemicals.”
Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from National Taiwan University, “Garcinol, a polyisoprenylated benzophenone derivative, is widely present in Garcinia plants. This study investigates the potential role of garcinol supplementation in ameliorating obesity-induced colon cancer development. An animal model to investigate the effect of high-fat-diet (HFD)-induced obesity on promoting colitis-associated colon cancer (AOM (azoxymethane)/DSS (dextran sodium sulfate)-induced) is designed. The results show that HFD can promote colitis-associated colon cancer as compared to an AOM/DSS group without the intervention of obesity, and supplementing with 0.05% garcinol in the diet can significantly ameliorate obesity-promoted colon carcinogenesis. The results also reveals that the microbiota composition of each group is significantly different and clustered. The most representative genera are Alistipes, Romboutsia, and Ruminococcus. The RNA-sequencing results show that the administration of garcinol can regulate genes and improve obesity-promoting colitis-associated colon carcinogenesis.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “The study results suggest that garcinol can prevent obesity-promoted colorectal cancer, and these findings provide important niches for the future development of garcinol as functional foods or adjuvant therapeutic agents.”
This research has been peer-reviewed.
Imagine spending a week or even a month in a secluded part of the world, away from all distractions, and focusing your mind only on your inner values and beliefs. Every day, you would meditate or pray, walk in the woods, eat the most natural foods, and strive for some type of intense spiritual or mystical experience. If you are religious, you might be engaging in a particular type of prayer exercise and trying to connect with God. If you are not religious, it could be meditating in silence, trying to connect to the fundamental level of the Universe. There are many different types of spiritual retreats, from traditional religious programmes to modern holistic approaches, and they usually involve intensive and immersive practices focusing on taking your mind or consciousness to an extraordinary kind of experience.
If you have ever had an intense spiritual experience, or if you are on a journey to find one, it’s possible that you have taken part in some type of spiritual retreat programme. These programmes, and practices such as meditation or prayer more generally, can have profound effects on the individual. And this means that they can have a profound effect on the brain. The puzzle is to figure out what produces major spiritual or enlightenment experiences, which are much more intense than our everyday experiences and – whether they last a long time or only briefly – can result in a powerful personal transformation.
Insights from the field of neurotheology can help us better understand how intense spiritual experiences affect the brain and might ultimately help people figure out the best ways of having them. Over the past 25 years, I have been involved in a number of neurotheological research projects designed to investigate the nature of spiritual practices and the experiences of enlightenment that arise from them. We have scanned people’s brains as they perform practices from diverse traditions, from various forms of meditation and prayer to speaking in tongues and entering trancestates.
In addition to brain scans, we have also performed survey studies in which we have obtained detailed descriptions of these experiences. The participants come from virtually every spiritual tradition, and their descriptions provide important information about the cognitive and emotional elements of the experiences – data that can be combined with what we have learned from our brain scans.
Based on an analysis of approximately 2,000 descriptions provided in an online survey, we have found that five elements seem to be common across many enlightenment experiences, whether they occur during spiritual retreats, daily meditation or prayer practices, psychedelic experiences, or even spontaneously. Along with our brain data, these elements help to create a picture of what is happening both subjectively during these experiences as well as objectively in the brain:
Enlightenment experiences are commonly considered to be the most intense experiences that a person has ever had. The sense of intensity can be associated with feelings such as love, joy or awe. A 43-year-old male study participant, who had a profoundly affecting dream following a period of meditation, stated:
I, as an un-namable but individual being, was travelling down an infinite rollercoaster like waves of pure white ecstatic light. The ecstasy was overwhelming, and rose and fell in intensity with the waves of light. The light path seemed infinitely long in both directions. The sense of the being and the light was INFINITELY MORE REAL than anything I had ever experienced.
The intensity of these experiences is likely associated with increased activity in the limbic system, the brain’s primary emotional centre. Intensity is exactly what these areas of the brain register for us as they label various thoughts and experiences as being emotionally important.
A sense of oneness or unity
During the experience, the person feels a profound sense of connectedness with the rest of humanity, God or the Universe. We have found evidence that the sense of unity is associated with a decrease of activity in the parietal lobe of the brain. The parietal lobe typically takes sensory information and helps us to create a spatial representation of the self. Thus, a decrease of activity in this area could be related to a loss of the sense of a discrete self, a blurring of the boundary between the self and the rest of the world, and ultimately a feeling of oneness or unity. We have observed such decreases in the parietal lobe in our brain scan research on deep meditation.
A sense of clarity
People feel as if a veil has been lifted and that they are now seeing and understanding the world in ways they never have before. The sense of clarity, which occurs during the experience but can last long after it too, helps them to feel as if they have gained new insights into themselves and how they are to act within the world. A 37-year-old scientist said this about her experience, which occurred during a time when she had been meditating daily:
Everything in life seemed to click. I had this clarity and it was as if I was looking at life from the inside out. Despite my trepidation, this experience seemed to satisfy my proof-oriented mentality … It was almost as if my intuition from somewhere ‘deeper’ had offered some sort of direct experience that offered up proof.
An area of the brain that might be particularly related to the sense of clarity is called the thalamus, a central structure that connects various parts of the brain to each other and could be very important for establishing our consciousness. Our brain scan studies have found that people who are long-term meditators have altered function in the thalamus, which we think is associated with the sense of clarity that is part of these experiences.
A sense of surrender
Most people describe enlightenment experiences as happening to them rather than as something that they made happen. Even individuals who go through intense meditation or spiritual retreat programmes still find that they are ultimately ‘going along for the ride’ when the experience actually happens. A 48-year-old Catholic woman described it like this:
I surrendered everything, including my faith and my salvation, and only for one reason. I loved God so much that I would truly give up everything to be connected with Him. I said ‘yes’ and, in an instant, God returned everything to me, transformed. From that day forward, a new relationship exists between God and me. It is ever present, no distance, no separation.
Our brain scan studies suggest that a sense of surrender is related to decreased activity in the frontal lobes. Frontal lobe activity normally increases during meditation or prayer because we are purposefully engaged in the practice. However, during the most intense of these experiences, we are likely to see a decrease in activity in conjunction with a loss of the sense of purposeful control.
Transformation as a result of the experience
Various aspects of one’s life can feel changed by the experience, including mental health, physical health, sense of meaning and purpose in life, sense of spirituality and sense of religiousness. It is not fully clear how such transformation occurs during these experiences, but brain scan studies have documented differences in the brains of long-time meditators compared with non-meditators. Of particular interest is increased activity and thickness in the frontal lobes. This might occur partly as a result of the concentration aspect of spiritual retreat programmes and the persistent, intense meditation that is part of them. But the frontal lobes also regulate our emotional responses as well as help us with our overall cognition. As a person uses the frontal lobes more and more, this might help solidify the transformational aspect of enlightenment experiences.
Recognising all of these changes leads us to consider what the best approaches might be for having such transformative experiences. Everyone can engage in a meditation or prayer practice as part of their daily routine, and many religious and spiritual people do. But another approach is to participate in a spiritual retreat programme that can last days or longer.
We studied one such seven-day programme in Pennsylvania based on the spiritual exercises of Saint Ignatius. Our research on this retreat programme, which is typically conducted in silence and consists of extended periods of prayer and meditation, showed a number of differences in participants’ brains after the retreat compared with before it. For one, our study looked at the effects of the retreat programme on serotonin and dopamine, two critical neurotransmitters involved in many of our emotional and cognitive processes. The results suggested that a person’s brain becomes more sensitised to the effects of serotonin and dopamine, which might help us understand how retreat programmes of this nature can improve measures of wellbeing (in this case, decreased self-reported tension and fatigue). Our research also found that, after the retreat, there were changes in how different parts of the brain were functionally connected, particularly the frontal and parietal lobes.
The data from our studies suggest that many spiritual practices and retreats can be beneficial for people by changing the brain and improving various psychological and spiritual measures. So what should you consider if you are thinking about trying a retreat programme? It is important to learn as much as possible about how a programme works to make sure that it is consistent with your goals and beliefs. Are you trying to reduce stress, connect with your religious tradition or find spiritual enlightenment? It can be helpful to talk with the leader of the programme to better assess its goals. Further, our data indicate that it is essential that a person is able to fully engage in the practices and buy into them. For example, one would not expect a Jewish person to find much of an effect from exercises based in the Christian tradition of Saint Ignatius. Hence, each person needs to carefully select the practices or programmes that they engage in, based on their own goals and spiritual background.
Ultimately, each person has to try particular practices or programmes and see how they respond. Hopefully, finding the right fit will lead to intense spiritual experiences that comprise the elements described above – including newfound feelings of oneness, clarity and surrender – and that make lasting positive changes to the brain and to one’s whole being.
Duke University, August 8, 2021
Strange as it seems, being an indifferent housekeeper could be right up there on the list of risk factors that promote health problems and obesity. Recent studies suggest that endocrine-disrupting chemicals lurking in ordinary household dust may disturb metabolic health and trigger the accumulation of body fat, especially in children.
Read on to discover the truth about how chemical residues in household dust can contribute to weight gain and serious health problems.
“House dust” is composed of a blend of shed skin cells, hair, bacteria and dust mites, along with a sprinkling of the body parts of dead insects. Particles of pollen and soil, fibers from clothing and microscopic specks of plastic and dye are also found in this environmental mix.
As unwholesome as this mixture is, the real danger of house dust may be its content of pollutants and carcinogenic compounds, all of which can function as endocrine disruptors.
No matter how zealously one housecleans, dust can become entrenched in carpets and accumulate in crevices, leading over the years to a harmful buildup – even in the tidiest of homes. Even more troubling, dust that has been in place for many years can hold residues of substances that have been banned, such as DDT and PCBs.
According to an article in Chemical and Engineering News, phthalates are the most common harmful contaminants found in dust, with DEHP – a phthalate plasticizer found in plastic food containers, cosmetics and vinyl flooring – topping the list.
According to recent studies, DEHP can disrupt hormone function and reduce sperm motility in men.
Dust is also a major source of human exposure to PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ether. Found in flame retardants and fabric protectants, PBDEs are known endocrine disruptors. Although PBDEs have been banned, they still exist in the environment – and in household dust.
And now, for a shocking fact: According to the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental agency, the concentrations in house dust of some phthalates and flame retardants actually exceed soil-screening health risk thresholds set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Toxic compounds in dust can be inhaled, absorbed through skin or ingested through the mouth – as can occur when eating with dusty hands.
In a study conducted by researchers at Duke University and published in Environmental Science and Technology, precursor fat cells – or adipocytes – were exposed to household dust containing endocrine disrupting chemicals.
The result? The team found that extracts from seven of the eleven house dust samples caused precursor adipocytes to mature and accumulate more fat – while nine of the samples caused the cells to proliferate and increase in number.
The team found that the flame retardant TBPDP, the plasticizer DBP and the pesticide pyraclostrobin had the greatest effects on fat accumulation.
Lead author Dr. Heather Stapleton remarked that the findings raised concerns for human health, especially because the fat-producing tendency of the dust occurred at concentrations below EPA estimated child exposure levels. Disturbingly, as little as 3 micrograms of dust triggered fat-producing effects – well below the 50-milligrams of house dust that children could be consuming daily.
Some compounds found in dust, including PBDEs, PCBS and PAHs – or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – are suspected leukemia risk factors. According to the Environmental Working Group, PBDEs, in particular, have been linked in animal studies to thyroid hormone disruption, learning and memory impairment, hearing deficits, decreased sperm count and even cancer.
Todd P. Whitehead, an environmental scientist at the University of California, studied dust in California homes as part of his work with the California Childhood Leukemia Study. The research showed that homes of children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, tended to have higher levels of PAHs, PBDEs and PCBs.
Whitehead called the findings the “strongest type of evidence” to suggest that these compounds are risk factors for childhood leukemia.
In addition, Professor Marsha Wills-Karp, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, reports there is accumulating evidence that exposure to contaminants in dust might lead to diseases such as obesity, asthma and autism.
To reduce exposure to – and ingestion of – dust, natural health experts recommend frequent hand washing, and the use of a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air filter.
Avoid using feather dusters, which only redistribute dust, and clean with a damp rag. And, whenever possible or practical, opt for wood or tile floors over carpet. Experts report that normal vacuuming only removes about 10 percent of entrapped dust from carpets.
Other actions you can take include changing bedding once a week, removing all clutter from floors, and storing contents of closets in garment bags or boxes.
Tufts University, August 8, 2021
According to news originating from Boston, Massachusetts, research stated, “Functional changes in the brain during ageing can alter learning and memory, gait and balance - in some cases leading to early cognitive decline, disability or injurious falls among older adults. Dietary interventions with strawberry (SB) have been associated with improvements in neuronal, psychomotor and cognitive functions in rodent models of ageing.”
Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Tufts University, “We hypothesised that dietary supplementation with SB would improve mobility and cognition among older adults. In this study, twenty-two men and fifteen women, between the ages of 60 and 75 years, were recruited into a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in which they consumed either freeze-dried SB (24 g/d, equivalent to two cups of fresh SB) or a SB placebo for 90 d. Participants completed a battery of balance, gait and cognitive tests at baseline and again at 45 and 90 d of intervention. Significant supplement group by study visit interactions were observed on tests of learning and memory. Participants in the SB group showed significantly shorter latencies in a virtual spatial navigation task (P = 0.020,.p2 = 0.106) and increased word recognition in the California Verbal Learning test (P = 0.014,.p2 = 0.159) across study visits relative to controls. However, no improvement in gait or balance was observed.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “These findings show that the addition of SB to the diets of healthy, older adults can improve some aspects of cognition, but not gait or balance, although more studies with a larger sample size and longer follow-up are needed to confirm this finding.”
This research has been peer-reviewed.
Edith Cowan University (Australia), August 10, 2021
New Edith Cowan University (ECU) research has found that people who eat a diet rich in vitamin K have up to a 34 percent lower risk of atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular disease (conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels).
Researchers examined data from more than 50,000 people taking part in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health study over a 23-year period. They investigated whether people who ate more foods containing vitamin K had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease related to atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries).
There are two types of vitamin K found in foods we eat: vitamin K1 comes primarily from green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils while vitamin K2 is found in meat, eggs and fermented foods such as cheese.
The study found that people with the highest intakes of vitamin K1 were 21 percent less likely to be hospitalized with cardiovascular disease related to atherosclerosis.
For vitamin K2, the risk of being hospitalized was 14 percent lower.
This lower risk was seen for all types of heart disease related to atherosclerosis, particularly for peripheral artery disease at 34 percent.
ECU researcher and senior author on the study Dr. Nicola Bondonno said the findings suggest that consuming more vitamin K may be important for protection against atherosclerosis and subsequent cardiovascular disease.
"Current dietary guidelines for the consumption of vitamin K are generally only based on the amount of vitamin K1 a person should consume to ensure that their blood can coagulate," she said.
"However, there is growing evidence that intakes of vitamin K above the current guidelines can afford further protection against the development of other diseases, such as atherosclerosis.
"Although more research is needed to fully understand the process, we believe that vitamin K works by protecting against the calcium build-up in the major arteries of the body leading to vascular calcification."
University of Western Australia researcher Dr. Jamie Bellinge, the first author on the study, said the role of vitamin K in cardiovascular health and particularly in vascular calcification is an area of research offering promising hope for the future.
"Cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of death in Australia and there's still a limited understanding of the importance of different vitamins found in foodand their effect on heart attacks, strokes and peripheral artery disease," Dr. Bellinge said.
"These findings shed light on the potentially important effect that vitamin K has on the killer disease and reinforces the importance of a healthy diet in preventing it."
Dr. Bondonno said that while databases on the vitamin K1 content of foods are very comprehensive, there is currently much less data on the vitamin K2 content of foods. Furthermore, there are 10 forms of vitamin K2 found in our diet and each of these may be absorbed and act differently within our bodies.
"The next phase of the research will involve developing and improving databases on the vitamin K2 content of foods.
"More research into the different dietary sources and effects of different types of vitamin K2 is a priority," Dr. Bondonno said.
Additionally, there is a need for an Australian database on the vitamin K content of Australian foods (e.g. vegemite and kangaroo).
To address this need, Dr. Marc Sim, a collaborator on the study, has just finished developing an Australian database on the vitamin K content of foods which will be published soon.
The paper "Vitamin K intake and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in the Danish Diet Cancer and Health Study' was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
University of Exeter (UK), August 9, 2021
A large-scale study provides further evidence that being overweight causes depression and lowers wellbeing and indicates both social and physical factors may play a role in the effect.
With one in four adults estimated to be obese in the UK, and growing numbers of children affected, obesity is a global health challenge. While the dangers of being obese on physical health is well known, researchers are now discovering that being overweight can also have a significant impact on mental health.
The new study, published in Human Molecular Genetics, sought to investigate why a body of evidence now indicates that higher BMI causes depression. The team used genetic analysis, known as Mendelian Randomisation, to examine whether the causal link is the result of psychosocial pathways, such as societal influences and social stigma, or physical pathways, such as metabolic conditions linked to higher BMI. Such conditions include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In research led by the University of Exeter and funded by the Academy of Medical Sciences, the team examined genetic data from more than 145,000 participants from the UK Biobank with detailed mental health data available. In a multifaceted study, the researchers analyzed genetic variants linked to higher BMI, as well as outcomes from a clinically-relevant mental health questionnaire designed to assess levels of depression, anxiety and wellbeing.
To examine which pathways may be active in causing depression in people with higher BMI, the team also interrogated two sets of previously discovered genetic variants. One set of genes makes people fatter, yet metabolically healthier, meaning they were less likely to develop conditions linked to higher BMI, such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. The second set of genes analyzed make people fatter and metabolically unhealthy, or more prone to such conditions. The team found little difference between the two sets of genetic variants, indicating that both physical and social factors play a role in higher rates of depression and poorer wellbeing.
Lead author Jess O'Loughlin, at the University of Exeter Medical School, said: "Obesity and depression are both major global health challenges, and our study provides the most robust evidence to date that higher BMI causes depression. Understanding whether physical or social factors are responsible for this relationship can help inform effective strategies to improve mental health and wellbeing. Our research suggests that being fatter leads to a higher risk of depression, regardless of the role of metabolic health. This suggests that both physical health and social factors, such as social stigma, both play a role in the relationship between obesity and depression."
Lead author Dr. Francesco Casanova, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said, "This is a robust study, made possible by the quality of UK Biobank data. Our research adds to a body of evidence that being overweight causes depression. Finding ways to support people to lose weight could benefit their mental health as well as their physical health."
The study, titled "Higher adiposity and mental health: causal inference using Mendelian Randomisation," is published in Human Molecular Genetics.
Guangdong Medical University (China), August 4, 2021
According to news reporting from Dongguan, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a most common neurodegenerative disorder worldwide. Because of its complex pathogenesis, the prevention and therapies of AD still are a severe challenge.”
The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from Guangdong Medical University, “Evidence suggested that crocin, the major component of saffron, exhibited neuroprotective effects in AD. As such, in this study, N2a/APP695swe cells were enrolled to investigate the effects of crocin on endogenous A beta-induced neurotoxicity. Crocin (100 and 200 mu M) could ameliorate cytotoxicity according to CCK-8 assay and reduce apoptosis in line with Hoechst 33,342 staining and Annexin V-FITC/PI double staining in N2a/APP695swe cells. Reduced ROS generation and elevated MMP were found in N2a/APP695swe cells treated with crocin (100 and 200 mu M). Additionally, crocin at concentrations of 100 and 200 mu M inhibited the release of cytochrome and attenuated caspases-3 activity in N2a/APP695swe cells. Furthermore, succinylation, crotonylation, 2-hydroxyisobutyrylation, malonylation, and phosphorylation were significantly reduced, while a slight increase of acetylation was found in 100-mu M crocin treated N2a/APP695swe cells.”
According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Taken together, crocin may be a promising natural product candidate for the effective cure of AD.”
This research has been peer-reviewed.
Research from APC Microbiome Ireland (APC) at University College Cork (UCC) published today in the leading international scientific journal Nature Agingintroduces a novel approach to reverse aspects of aging-related deterioration in the brain and cognitive function via the microbes in the gut.
As our population ages one of the key global challenges is to develop strategies to maintain healthy brain function. This ground-breaking research opens up a potentially new therapeutic avenues in the form of microbial-based interventions to slow down brain aging and associated cognitive problems.
The work was carried out by researchers in the Brain-Gut-Microbiota lab in APC led by Prof John F. Cryan, Vice President for Research & Innovation, University College Cork as well as a Principal Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland an SFI Research Centre, based in in University College Cork and Teagasc Moorepark.
There is a growing appreciation of the importance of the microbes in the gut on all aspects of physiology and medicine. In this latest mouse study the authors show that by transplanting microbes from young into old animals they could rejuvenate aspects of brain and immune function. Prof John F. Cryan, says "Previous research published by the APC and other groups internationally has shown that the gut microbiome plays a key role in aging and the aging process. This new research is a potential game changer , as we have established that the microbiome can be harnessed to reverse age-related brain deterioration. We also see evidence of improved learning ability and cognitive function". Although very exciting Cryan cautions that "it is still early days and much more work is needed to see how these findings could be translated in humans".
APC Director Prof Paul Ross stated that "This research of Prof. Cryan and colleagues further demonstrates the importance of the gut microbiome in many aspects of health, and particularly across across the brain/gut axis where brain functioning can be positively influenced. The study opens up possibilities in the future to modulate gut microbiota as a therapeutic target to influence brain health" The study was led by co-first authors Dr. Marcus Boehme along with Ph.D. students Katherine E. Guzzetta, and Thomaz Bastiaansen.
Yale University & Swarthmore College, August 7, 2018
College students who listen to a 10-minute meditation tape complete simple cognitive tasks more quickly and accurately than peers who listen to a "control" recording on a generic subject, researchers at Yale University and Swarthmore College report.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers of Neuroscience, shows even people who have never meditated before can benefit from even a short meditation practice.
"We have known for awhile that people who practice meditation for a few weeks or months tend to perform better on cognitive tests, but now we know you don't have to spend weeks practicing to see improvement," said Yale's Hedy Kober, associate professor of psychiatry and psychology and senior author of the study.
The research team headed by Kober and Catherine Norris at Swarthmore randomly divided college students into two groups. One group listened to a 10-minute recording on meditation prior to performing cognitive tests and the second group listened to a similarly produced tape about sequoia trees.
Both groups were then given simple tasks designed to measure cognitive dexterity. Those who listened to the meditation recording performed significantly better, across two studies.
There was one exception, however. Those who scored highest in measurements of neuroticism—"I worry all the time"—did not benefit from listening to the meditation tape.
"We don't know if longer meditation sessions, or multiple sessions, would improve their cognitive scores, and we look forward to testing that in future studies," Kober said.
Children's heavy digital media use is associated with a risk of being overweight later in adolescence. Physical activity protects children from the adverse effects of digital media on their weight later in adolescence.
A recently completed study shows that six hours of leisure-time physical activity per week at the age of 11 reduces the risk of being overweight at 14 years of age associated with heavy use of digital media.
Obesity in children and adolescents is one of the most significant health-related challenges globally. A study carried out by the Folkhälsan Research Center and the University of Helsinki investigated whether a link exists between the digital media use of Finnish school-age children and the risk of being overweight later in adolescence. In addition, the study looked into whether children's physical activity has an effect on this potential link.
The results were published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.
More than six hours of physical activity per week appears to reverse adverse effects of screen time
The study involved 4,661 children from the Finnish Health in Teens (Fin-HIT) study. The participating children reported how much time they spent on sedentary digital media use and physical activity outside school hours. The study demonstrated that heavy use of digital media at 11 years of age was associated with a heightened risk of being overweight at 14 years of age in children who reported engaging in under six hours per week of physical activity in their leisure time. In children who reported being physically active for six or more hours per week, such a link was not observed.
The study also took into account other factors potentially impacting obesity, such as childhood eating habits and the amount of sleep, as well as the amount of digital media use and physical activity in adolescence. In spite of the confounding factors, the protective role of childhood physical activity in the connection between digital media use in childhood and being overweight later in life was successfully confirmed.
"The effect of physical activity on the association between digital media use and being overweight has not been extensively investigated in follow-up studies so far," says Postdoctoral Researcher Elina Engberg.
Further research is needed to determine in more detail how much sedentary digital media use increases the risk of being overweight, and how much physical activity is needed, and at what intensity, to ward off such a risk. In this study, the amount of physical activity and use of digital media was reported by the children themselves, and the level of their activity was not surveyed, so there is a need for further studies.
"A good rule of thumb is to adhere to the physical activity guidelines for children and adolescents, according to which school-aged children and adolescents should be physically active in a versatile, brisk and strenuous manner for at least 60 minutes a day in a way that suits the individual, considering their age," says Engberg. In addition, excessive and extended sedentary activity should be avoided.
Liverpool Hope University, August 4, 2021
A bioactive compound found in cocoa powder and dark chocolate could help middle-aged adults enjoy exercise, a new study has suggested. The research analyzed the potential health benefits of cocoa flavanols, a plant nutrient extracted from cocoa beans.
Cocoa flavanols are found in abundance in cocoa powder, and to a lesser extent in dark chocolate, and can be consumed as a supplement. Because cocoa flavanols have a 'vasodilatory' effect, helping to increase blood flow, they've been shown to prevent blood clots and even combat memory decline.
Now, a team of scientists from Liverpool Hope University and Liverpool John Moores University have tested the effects of cocoa flavanols when it comes to exercise in a group of sedentary adults aged between 40 and 60 years old.
And the report found that cocoa flavanols contribute to faster oxygen uptake kinetics—with improved blood flow the likely cause.
Associate Professor Simon Marwood, subject lead in sport science at Liverpool Hope University, says the findings could be important when it comes to convincing people to get off the sofa and then stick with an exercise program. He said: "One barrier to starting an exercise plan is poor fitness in the first place, perhaps because of the discomfort associated with what might otherwise be light exercise.
"Without frequent exercise, aging results in a slowing in the rate at which our oxygen consumption increases at the onset of exercise. This is due to impairments in the ability to supply blood to the exercising muscles at the onset of exercise.
"In previous studies, we have shown that this slowing of the rate of increase of oxygen consumption has a direct and inhibiting effect on the ability to tolerate exercise.
"The finding of faster increases in oxygen consumption at the onset of exercise with cocoa flavanols supplementation is therefore really encouraging for this age group since it suggests that a simple nutritional supplement can improve exercise tolerance, and therefore enhance the likelihood of sustaining an exercise program.
"This is a relatively small study but it's encouraging and has significant results, which could be the basis for further research."
Lead author Daniel Sadler, of Liverpool John Moores' School of Sport and Exercise Science, concludes: "These novel effects of cocoa flavanols in this demographic may contribute to improved tolerance of moderate-activity physical activities, which appear commonly present in daily life."
The research was published in the journal European Journal of Applied Physiology.
Professor Marwood says it's important to note that over-consumption of chocolate, dark or otherwise, isn't to be encouraged, although dark chocolate may contain cocoa flavanols. And the substance is most commonly available as a supplement, which is often used by amateur athletes to boost performance.
The research itself focused on a group of healthy, middle-aged men and women with an average age of 45 years old and who typically engaged in less than two hours of structured exercise training per week.
Over a period of five weeks, prior to consuming the cocoa supplement, the group was put through a series of trials, using a lab-based exercise bike, where they were incrementally pushed to exhaustion. These trials were performed in order to establish a person's VO2 peak, the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use during exercise, as well as power output.
And at the end of that week, they got back on the cycle ergometers and took part in a series of step exercise tests, where they started pedaling at a baseline before the load was ramped up to either moderate or severe-intensity work rates.
The key measurement being analyzed was pulmonary VO2 kinetics, or τVO2, the time it takes for oxygen delivery to respond to the demands of exercise.
The shorter the response time, the better equipped someone is to tolerate the given exercise.
And what the research team discovered was that when the test subjects who'd consumed the cocoa flavanols were subjected to 'moderate' exercise, the VO2 kinetics time was 'significantly reduced' from around 40 seconds to 34 seconds.
This reduction of six seconds is important, the team states, because it exceeds the minimum physiologically relevant change of around 5 seconds.
The scientists add: "The reduction in τVO2 observed after cocoa flavanol supplementation in our middle-aged individuals reflects a shift toward values typically observed in younger healthy individuals."
And the report states: "Ultimately, the findings of the present study may have clinical potential in contributing to improved tolerance of daily life activity in middle-aged adults."
Flavonoids aren't just found in cocoa—they're also abundant in green tea, fruit and vegetables—and have anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant properties.
Liverpool John Moores' Daniel Sadler says you shouldn't rely on eating dark chocolate to get an effective dose of flavanols.
He explains: "It is preferable to take supplements over eating dark chocolate since potential beneficial effects of cocoa flavanols occur during exercise when high doses are consumed—greater than 400 mg flavanols—and because dark chocolate contains fat and sugar that may negate the beneficial potential of any bioactive constituents."
In April this year, a separate study by researchers at the University of Birmingham found blood vessels were able to function better during mental stress when test subjects were given a cocoa drink containing high levels of flavanols compared to when drinking a non-flavanol enriched drink.
The study, published in the journal Nutrients, could help to combat stress-induced ischemia while also paving the way for offering 'improved guidance to people about how to make the most of their dietary choices during stressful periods."
Karolinska Institute (Sweden), August 4, 2021
Patients with vitamin D deficiency who received vitamin D supplements had a reduced need for pain relief and lower levels of fatigue in palliative cancer treatment, a randomized and placebo-controlled study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet shows. The study is published in the scientific journal Cancers.
Among patients with cancer in the palliative phase, vitamin D deficiency is common.
Previous studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D in the blood may be associated with pain, sensitivity to infection, fatigue, depression, and lower self-rated quality of life.
A previous smaller study, which was not randomized or placebo-controlled, suggested that vitamin D supplementation could reduce opioid doses, reduce antibiotic use, and improve the quality of life in patients with advanced cancer.
244 cancer patients with palliative cancer, enrolled in ASIH, (advanced medical home care), took part in the current study in Stockholm during the years 2017-2020.
Slower increase in opiod doses
All study participants had a vitamin D deficiency at the start of the study. They received either 12 weeks of treatment with vitamin D at a relatively high dose (4000 IE/day) or a placebo.
The researchers then measured the change in opioid doses (as a measurement of pain) at 0, 4, 8, and 12 weeks after the start of the study.
"The results showed that vitamin D treatment was well tolerated and that the vitamin D-treated patients had a significantly slower increase in opioid doses than the placebo group during the study period. In addition, they experienced less cancer-related fatigue compared to the placebo group," says Linda Björkhem-Bergman, senior physician at Stockholms Sjukhem and associate professor at the Department of Neurobiology, Healthcare Sciences, and Society, Karolinska Institutet.
Large study within ASIH
On the other hand, there was no difference between the groups in terms of self-rated quality of life or antibiotic use.
"The effects were quite small, but statistically significant and may have clinical significance for patients with vitamin D deficiency who have cancer in the palliative phase. This is the first time it has been shown that vitamin D treatment for palliative cancer patients can have an effect on both opioid-sensitive pain and fatigue," says first author of the study Maria Helde Frankling, senior physician at ASIH and postdoc at the Department of Neurobiology, Healthcare Science and Society, Karolinska Institutet.
The study is one of the largest drug studies conducted within ASIH in Sweden. One weakness of the study is the large drop-out rate. Only 150 out of 244 patients were able to complete the 12-week study because many patients died of their cancerduring the study.
University of Paris (France), August 5, 2021
Increasing poor physical (motor) function from around age 65 is associated with an increased risk of death, finds research published by The BMJ today.
Signs of increasing decline, such as difficulty getting up from a chair or getting dressed, emerge up to 10 years before death, the findings show.
The researchers therefore suggest that early detection of changes in motor function “might offer opportunities for prevention and targeted interventions.”
It is well known that motor function, also commonly known as physical function or physical capability, declines with age, but rates of decline differ widely from person to person. And while studies show that decline in cognitive (mental) skills can emerge up to 15 years before death, it’s not clear whether the same is true for physical abilities.
To explore this further, researchers examined several measures of motor function for their associations with mortality over a 10 year period from around age 65.
Their findings are based on over 6,000 participants of the Whitehall II Study, which recruited participants aged 35-55 years in 1985-88 to look at the impact of social, behavioural, and biological factors on long term health.
Between 2007 and 2016, participants underwent motor function assessments on up to three occasions. These included measures of walking speed, chair rise time, and grip strength, along with self-reported measures of functioning and difficulties with activities of daily living, such as dressing, using the toilet, cooking and grocery shopping.
Deaths from any cause were then recorded until October 2019.
After taking account of other potentially influential factors, the researchers found that poorer motor function was associated with an increased mortality risk of 22% for walking speed, 15% for grip strength and 14% for timed chair rises, while difficulties with activities of daily living were associated with a 30% increased risk.
These associations became progressively stronger with later life assessments.
Further analysis showed different patterns of change between participants who died and those who survived.
For example, participants who died had poorer chair rise times than survivors up to 10 years before death, poorer self-reported functioning up to seven years before death, and more difficulties with activities of daily living up to four years before death.
These differences increased steadily in the period leading to death.
This is an observational study, so can’t establish cause and the researchers point to some limitations, such as being unable to examine trajectories of motor function by cause of death or in specific minority groups, and not accounting for events such as falls or hospital admissions.
Nevertheless, they say this study “adds to the sparse literature on terminal decline in motor function and, to our knowledge, is the first to examine terminal and age related long term trajectories of multiple measures of motor function.”
The ageing of populations worldwide makes understanding of the functional status of older adults and change in functioning with age important, they write.
These results suggest that strategies to reduce accelerated decline should start before old age, and that early detection of changes in motor function might offer opportunities for prevention and targeted interventions, they conclude.
This study adds to a rapidly growing evidence base providing novel insights on healthy ageing, say researchers in a linked editorial.
They point out that as the study participants continue to age and more data becomes available, this will help to inform the development of interventions to promote healthy ageing.
Although the authors suggest that “early detection of changes in motor function might offer opportunities for prevention and targeted interventions,” what these interventions would be and what specifically they would be aiming to achieve is unclear, they note. “Despite the focus on death as an outcome in these analyses, our goal should always be to add life to years, not just years to life.”
Researchers propose new treatment to prevent kidney stones – HCA in Garcinia Cambogia
University of Houston, August 8, 2021
Researchers have found evidence that a natural fruit extract is capable of dissolving calcium oxalate crystals, the most common component of human kidney stones. This finding could lead to the first advance in the treatment of calcium oxalate stones in 30 years.
Jeffrey Rimer, associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Houston, was lead author of the study, published Aug. 8 in the online edition of Nature. The work offers the first evidence that the compound hydroxycitrate (HCA) is an effective inhibitor of calcium oxalate crystal growth that, under certain conditions, is actually able to dissolve these crystals. Researchers also explain how it works.
The findings are the result of a combination of experimental studies, computational studies and human studies, Rimer said.
Kidney stones are small, hard mineral deposits that form inside the kidneys, affecting up to 12 percent of men and seven percent of women. High blood pressure, diabetes and obesity can increase the risk, and the reported incidence is on the rise.
Preventive treatment has not changed much over the last three decades. Doctors tell patients who are at risk of developing stones to drink lots of water and avoid foods rich in oxalate, such as rhubarb, okra, spinach and almonds. They often recommend taking citrate (CA), in the form of potassium citrate, a supplement that can slow crystal growth, but some people are unable to tolerate the side effects.
The project grew out of preliminary work done by collaborator John Asplin, a nephrologist at Litholink Corporation, who suggested HCA as a possible treatment. HCA is chemically similar to CA and is also available as a dietary supplement.
"HCA shows promise as a potential therapy to prevent kidney stones," the researchers wrote. "HCA may be preferred as a therapy over CA (potassium citrate)."
In addition to Rimer and Asplin, authors on the paper include Giannis Mpourmpakis and his graduate student, Michael G. Taylor, of the University of Pittsburgh; Ignacio Granja of Litholink Corporation, and Jihae Chung, a UH graduate student working in Rimer's lab.
The head-to-head studies of CA and HCA determined that while both compounds inhibit the growth of calcium oxalate crystals, HCA was more potent and displayed unique qualities that are advantageous for the development of new therapies.
The team of researchers then used atomic force microscopy, or AFM, to study interactions between the crystals, CA and HCA under realistic growth conditions. According to Rimer, the technique allowed them to record crystal growth in real time with near-molecular resolution.
Chung noted that the AFM images recorded the crystal actually shrinking when exposed to specific concentrations of HCA. Rimer suspected the initial finding was an abnormality, as it is rare to see a crystal actually dissolve in highly supersaturated growth solutions. The most effective inhibitors reported in the literature simply stop the crystal from growing.
It turned out that Chung's initial finding was correct. Once they confirmed it is possible to dissolve crystals in supersaturated solutions, researchers then looked at reasons to explain why that happened.
Mpourmpakis and Taylor applied density functional theory (DFT) - a highly accurate computational method used to study the structure and properties of materials - to address how HCA and CA bind to calcium and to calcium oxalate crystals. They discovered HCA formed a stronger bond with crystal surfaces, inducing a strain that is seemingly relieved by the release of calcium and oxalate, leading to crystal dissolution.
HCA was also tested in human subjects, as seven people took the supplement for three days, allowing researchers to determine that HCA is excreted through urine, a requirement for the supplement to work as a treatment.
While Rimer said the research established the groundwork to design an effective drug, questions remain. Long-term safety, dosage and additional human trials are needed, he said.
"But our initial findings are very promising," he said. "If it works in vivo, similar to our trials in the laboratory, HCA has the potential to reduce the incidence rate of people with chronic kidney stone disease."
According to news reporting out of Portland, Oregon, research stated, “The medicinal herb Centella asiatica has been long been used for its neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing effects. We have previously shown that two weeks of treatment with a water extract of Centella asiatica (CAW) improves cognition and activates the endogenous antioxidant response pathway without altering amyloid-beta (A beta) plaque burden.”
Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), “Here, we assess the effect of long-term treatment of CAW in the 5xFAD mouse model of A beta accumulation. Four-month-old 5xFAD mice were treated with CAW in their drinking water (2 g/L) for three months at which point they underwent cognitive testing as well as analysis of A beta plaque levels and antioxidant and synaptic gene expression. In order to confirm the involvement of the antioxidant regulatory transcription factor NRF2 on the effects of CAW on synaptic plasticity, neurons isolated from 5xFAD mice were also treated with CAW and the targeted inhibitor ML385. Three months of treatment with CAW improved spatial and contextual memory as well as executive function in 5xFAD mice. This improvement was accompanied by increased antioxidant gene expression and a decrease in A beta plaque burden relative to untreated 5xFAD animals. In isolated neurons, treatment with ML385 blocked the effects of CAW on dendritic arborization and synaptic gene expression. These results suggest that prolonged CAW exposure could be beneficial in Alzheimer’s disease and that these effects likely involve NRF2 activation.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Moreover, these findings suggest that targeting NRF2 itself may be a relevant therapeutic strategy for improving synaptic plasticity and cognitive function in Alzheimer’s disease.”
This research has been peer-reviewed.
The so-called red wine nutrient resveratrol may help maintain muscle performance and reduce frailty in the elderly, research in mice has suggested.
Using 48 young, mature and old mice models, the study found resveratrol improved muscle performance in the mature and old animals but not in the young.
They found resveratrol – found in grapes, red wine, walnuts, peanuts and berries – “primed” the effect of exercise by increasing endurance, coordination and strength in the old animals as well as providing higher protection against oxidative damage and an increase in the mitochondrial mass responsible for the energy-generating process essential for cell metabolism.
“Our results indicate that resveratrol can be considered an ergogenic compound that helps maintain muscle performance during ageing and subsequently reduces frailty and increases muscle performance in old individuals practising moderate exercise,” wrote the researchers from Universidad Pablo de Olavide in Seville, Spain and the Vietnam National University in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Each experiment group animal was given a daily dose of about 500 μg of resveratrol for 4.5 months. After this period the mice were randomly divided again into sedentary and trained groups.
The trained mice were adapted to exercise then put on a rodent treadmill for 20 minutes per day, five days a week for six weeks.
The animals were then killed by cervical dislocation and the gastrocnemius muscle was quickly removed.
Discussing the results, lead author and professor at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide Dr Guillermo Lopez-Lluch told us while this was not the first time the polyphenol had been looked at within health ageing, this was the first time it had been associated with the improvement of muscle capacity in ageing.
Asked if the results meant older people should be recommended or even prescribed resveratrol, Professor Lopez-Lluch said: “The use of nutraceuticals such as resveratrol can be recommended in the case of poor diets lacking fresh vegetables rich in polyphenols.
“In aged people an unbalanced diet must be supplemented with extracts rich in these compounds accompanied by a more active life.”
In 2011 research in Italy estimated between 11–50% of over 80s suffer from age-related muscle loss sarcopenia, with the problem particularly prevalent in care homes.
“Maintenance of muscle functionality is important to avoid frailty and to increase the independence and quality of life during ageing. It seems clear that for daily life activity, and hence a good quality of life, not only strength but also endurance is needed,” the researchers wrote in the British Journal of Nutrition.
“Apart from the maintenance of a series of basic exercises, several nutritional bioactive compounds have been proposed to increase muscle function during ageing and to avoid sarcopenia.”
The researchers said the "most controversial problem" with identifying effects of bioactive compounds was to find if the positive effects found in preclinical studies in animals produced the same response in humans.
"Regarding the effect of different polyphenols on physical capacity in humans, different clinical trials carried out to date have been unsuccessful or show controversial results and further studies are needed."
Yet Professor Lopez-Lluch said his research team did not have plans to study this effect of resveratrol in humans.
Instead they were currently awaiting funds to carry out a study about exercise, quality of nutrition and quality of life in elderly people.
“We hope this study will get a grant in the next months.”
Harvard University and Kings College London, August 2, 2021
People who eat a plant-based diet are less likely to contract COVID-19 and become severely ill with the disease, according to a recent study by researchers from Harvard Medical School, King’s College London and the health science company ZOE.
The researchers analyzed data from over 590,000 people from the United States and the United Kingdom who answered a survey about the foods they ate last February using the ZOE COVID Symptom Study application. The application allows users to record their symptoms in case of COVID-19 infection and to log when they’ve had a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
By early December 2020, 19 percent of the users who participated contracted COVID-19 based on positive PCR test results and symptoms reported via the application.
“For the first time, we’ve been able to show that a healthier diet can cut the chances of developing [COVID-19],” said co-author Sarah Berry, a senior lecturer in nutritional sciences at King’s College London.
A preprint of the study was released online in medRxiv.
by University of Technology, Sydney
A flowering plant native to North Africa and Western Asia could be utilized in the future treatment of COVID-19 infection.
The seeds of the plant, Nigella sativa, have been used for centuries as a traditional remedy for multiple medical conditions, including inflammation and infections. Now, an Australian-first research review article has found it could be used to treat COVID-19.
"There is growing evidence from modeling studies that thymoquinone, an active ingredient of Nigella sativa, more commonly known as black cumin, can stick to the COVID- 19 virus spike protein and stop the virus from causing a lung infection.
Northwest University (China), July 28, 2021
According to news originating from Xi’an, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a kind of malignant tumor with high morbidity and mortality rates worldwide. Epithelial-mesenchymal transformation (EMT) is crucial for HCC progression and prognosis.”
MIT and Harvard University, August 2, 2021
Centenarians are less susceptible to age-related chronic diseases and more likely to survive infectious diseases. Now, a new study reveals that people who live to be 100 or older have a unique microbiome that may protect them from certain bacterial infections including those caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria. The findings, published in Nature, could help researchers develop new ways to treat chronic inflammation and bacterial disease.
University College London, July 29, 2021
When under stress, people reach undesirable conclusions based on weaker evidence than when they are relaxed, finds a new study led by UCL researchers.
The findings, published today in the Journal of Neuroscience, show that stress can make people more likely to conclude the worst scenario is true.
Senior author Professor Tali Sharot (UCL Psychology & Language Sciences and Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research) said: "Many of the most significant choices you will make, from financial decisions to medical and professional ones, will happen while you feel stressed. Often these decisions require you to first gather information and weigh the evidence. For example, you may consult multiple physicians before deciding on a best course of medical treatment. We wanted to find out: does feeling stressed change how you process and use the information you gather?
"Our research suggests that under stress, people weight each piece of evidence that supports undesirable conclusions more than when they are relaxed. In contrast, how they weigh evidence that supports desirable conclusions is not affected by stress. As a result, people are more likely to conclude the worst is true when they are stressed."
For the study, 91 volunteers played a categorisation game, in which they could gather as much evidence as they wanted to decide whether they were in a desirable environment (which was associated with rewards) or an undesirable environment (which was associated with losses). They were incentivised for accuracy. Prior to playing the game, 40 of the volunteers were told that they had to give a surprise public speech, which would be judged by a panel of experts. This caused them to feel stressed and anxious.
The researchers found that under stress, the volunteers needed weaker evidence to reach the conclusion that they were in the undesirable environment. By contrast, stress did not change the strength of the evidence needed to reach the conclusion that they were in the desirable environment.
Lead author, PhD student Laura Globig (UCL Psychology & Language Sciences and Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research) said that "we usually think of stressful situations as a hindrance to our decision-making process. But the pattern of learning we have uncovered may counterintuitively be adaptive, because negative beliefs may drive people to be extra cautious when in threatening environments."
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed authorities to set up a committee to study the use of green chiretta (Andrographis paniculata) extracts to treat Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms.
The announcement was made at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, which was convened to discuss additional measures to help curb the Covid-19 outbreak, the premier said on Wednesday.
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul was appointed head of the committee.
It will coordinate studies on the safety and efficacy of green chiretta extracts on Covid-19 patients, as well as draft a strategic plan to promote Thai traditional medicine in general.
The decision was taken in response to a proposal from Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin, who urged the government to scale up the use of traditional medicines on Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms. This comes amid a vaccine shortage which has led to criticism for the government.
His proposal came with evidence showing the Department of Corrections' success in treating 12,376 inmates who were infected with Covid-19 with green chiretta extracts.
Of this number, 5,045 inmates were in Chiang Mai Central Prison, 2,100 in Nonthaburi Provincial Prison and 5,231 in Bang Kwang Central Prison also in Nonthaburi, said Mr Somsak.
Before prescribing the herbal medicine to infected inmates, Mr Somsak said he had studied information by the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, which recommended a dosage of 180mg of andrographolides from green chiretta for five consecutive days to patients with mild symptoms.
Citing the same research, the minister said each rai of land can yield up to 600kg of green chirettas, which can be turned into roughly 375,000 herbal extract capsules, he said.
A total of 3.1 billion such capsules will be needed to cover all Thais, which means 8,400 rai of land will need to be planted with the herb, he said.
The Department of Corrections now plans to produce about 50 million capsules of the herbal medicine in the next four months, which it aims to prescribe to about 50% of the prison population, he said.
Due to its medical benefits, green chiretta has become a cash crop which is now in high demand in the export sector, he said.
Mr Somsak added that the medicinal herb costs about 450 baht per kg
Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology (Germany), July 29, 2021
We remember things longer if we take breaks during learning, referred to as the spacing effect. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology gained deeper insight into the neuronal basis for this phenomenon in mice. With longer intervals between learning repetitions, mice reuse more of the same neurons as before—instead of activating different ones. Possibly, this allows the neuronal connections to strengthen with each learning event, such that knowledge is stored for a longer time.
Many of us have experienced the following: the day before an exam, we try to cram a huge amount of information into our brain. But just as quickly as we acquired it, the knowledge we have painstakingly gained is gone again. The good news is that we can counteract this forgetting. With expanded time intervals between individual learning events, we retain the knowledge for a longer time.
But what happens in the brain during the spacing effect, and why is taking breaks so beneficial for our memory? It is generally thought that during learning, neurons are activated and form new connections. In this way, the learned knowledge is stored and can be retrieved by reactivating the same set of neurons. However, we still know very little about how pauses positively influence this process—even though the spacing effect was described more than a century ago and occurs in almost all animals.
Learning in a maze
Annet Glas and Pieter Goltstein, neurobiologists in the team of Mark Hübener and Tobias Bonhoeffer, investigated this phenomenon in mice. To do this, the animals had to remember the position of a hidden chocolate piece in a maze. On three consecutive opportunities, they were allowed to explore the maze and find their reward—including pauses of varying lengths. "Mice that were trained with the longer intervals between learning phases were not able to remember the position of the chocolate as quickly," explains Annet Glas. "But on the next day, the longer the pauses, the better was the mice's memory."
During the maze test, the researchers additionally measured the activity of neurons in the prefrontal cortex. This brain region is of particular interest for learning processes, as it is known for its role in complex thinking tasks. Accordingly, the scientists showed that inactivation of the prefrontal cortex impaired the mice's performance in the maze.
"If three learning phases follow each other very quickly, we intuitively expected the same neurons to be activated," Pieter Goltstein says. "After all, it is the same experiment with the same information. However, after a long break, it would be conceivable that the brain interprets the following learning phase as a new event and processes it with different neurons." However, the researchers found exactly the opposite when they compared the neuronal activity during different learning phases. After short pauses, the activation pattern in the brain fluctuated more than compared to long pauses: In fast successive learning phases, the mice activated mostly different neurons. When taking longer breaks, the same neurons active during the first learning phase were used again later.
Memory benefits from longer breaks
Reactivating the same neurons could allow the brain to strengthen the connections between these cells in each learning phase—there is no need to start from scratch and establish the contacts first. "That's why we believe that memory benefits from longer breaks," says Pieter Goltstein.
Thus, after more than a century, the study provides the first insights into the neuronal processes that explain the positive effect of learning breaks. With spaced learning, we may reach our goal more slowly, but we benefit from our knowledge for much longer. Hopefully, we won't have forgotten this by the time we take our next exam!
University of Bath (UK), July 23, 2021
According to news reporting originating in Avon, United Kingdom, by NewsRx journalists, research stated, “Aggregation of the microtubule-associated protein tau into paired helical filaments (PHFs) and neurofibrillary tangles is a defining characteristic of Alzheimer’s Disease. Various plant polyphenols disrupt tau aggregation in vitro but display poor bioavailability and low potency, challenging their therapeutic translation.” Green tea, cocoa, blackberries and blueberries are high in epicatechin.
The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from the University of Bath, “We previously reported that oral administration of the flavonoid (-)-epicatechin (EC) reduced Amyloid-beta (A beta) plaque pathology in APP/PS1 transgenic mice. Here, we investigated whether EC impacts on tau pathology, independent of actions on A beta, using rTg4510 mice expressing P301L mutant tau. 4 and 6.5 months old rTg4510 mice received EC (similar to 18 mg/day) or vehicle (ethanol) via drinking water for 21 days and the levels of total and phosphorylated tau were assessed. At 4 months, tau appeared as two bands of similar to 55 kDa, phosphorylated at Ser262 and Ser396 and was unaffected by exposure to EC. At 6.5 months an additional higher molecular weight form of tau was detected at similar to 64 kDa which was phosphorylated at Ser262, Ser396 and additionally at the AT8 sites, indicative of the presence of PHFs. EC consumption reduced the levels of the similar to 64 kDa tau species and inhibited phosphorylation at Ser262 and AT8 phosphoepitopes. Regulation of the key tau kinase glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK3 beta) by phosphorylation at Ser9 was not altered by exposure to EC in mice or primary neurons. Furthermore, EC did not significantly inhibit GSK3 beta activity at physiologically-relevant concentrations in a cell free assay.”
According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Therefore, a 21-day intervention with EC inhibits or reverses the development of tau pathology in rTg4510 mice independently of direct inhibition of GSK3 beta.”
Johns Hopkins University, July 29, 2021
Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have added to evidence that the compound farnesol, found naturally in herbs, and berries and other fruits, prevents and reverses brain damage linked to Parkinson's disease in mouse studies.
he compound, used in flavorings and perfume-making, can prevent the loss of neurons that produce dopamine in the brains of mice by deactivating PARIS, a key proteininvolved in the disease's progression. Loss of such neurons affects movement and cognition, leading to hallmark symptoms of Parkinson's disease such as tremors, muscle rigidity, confusion and dementia. Farnesol's ability to block PARIS, say the researchers, could guide development of new Parkinson's disease interventions that specifically target this protein.
"Our experiments showed that farnesol both significantly prevented the loss of dopamine neurons and reversed behavioral deficits in mice, indicating its promise as a potential drug treatment to prevent Parkinson's disease," says Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering and professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Results of the new study, published July 28, in Science Translational Medicine, detail how the researchers identified farnesol's potential by screening a large library of drugs to find those that inhibited PARIS.
In the brains of people with Parkinson's disease, a buildup of PARIS slows down the manufacture of the protective protein PGC-1alpha. The protein shields brain cells from damaging reactive oxygen molecules that accumulate in the brain. Without PGC-1alpha, dopamine neurons die off, leading to the cognitive and physical changes associated with Parkinson's disease.
To study whether farnesol could protect brains from the effects of PARIS accumulation, the researchers fed mice either a farnesol-supplemented diet or a regular mouse diet for one week. Then, the researchers administered pre-formed fibrils of the protein alpha-synuclein, which is associated with the effects of Parkinson's disease in the brain.
The researchers found that the mice fed the farnesol diet performed better on a strength and coordination test designed to detect advancement of Parkinson's disease symptoms. On average, the mice performed 100% better than mice injected with alpha-synuclein, but fed a regular diet.
When the researchers later studied brain tissue of mice in the two groups, they found that the mice fed a farnesol-supplemented diet had twice as many healthy dopamine neurons than mice not fed the farnesol-enriched diet. The farnesol-fed mice also had approximately 55% more of the protective protein PGC-1alpha in their brains than the untreated mice.
In chemical experiments, the researchers confirmed that farnesol binds to PARIS, changing the protein's shape so that it can no longer interfere with PGC-1alpha production.
While farnesol is naturally produced, synthetic versions are used in commerce, and the amounts people get through diet is unclear. The researchers caution that safe doses of farnesol for humans have not yet been determined, and that only carefully controlled clinical trials can do so.
Though more research is needed, Dawson and his team hope farnesol can someday be used to create treatments that prevent or reverse brain damage caused by Parkinson's disease.
Russian Academy of Sciences, July 28 2021.
Research published on June 9, 2021 in Scientific Reportsexplored mechanisms involved in the cancer protective effects of 30 compounds derived from fruits and vegetables. The researchers hope that their findings will contribute to the formulation of new drugs that will have fewer side effects than drugs currently in use.
“To create potent new drugs that will target only the tumor, it was necessary to determine how dietary compounds affect cell proteins in the prevention and treatment of cancer,” explained coauthor Grigory Zyryanov, who is a professor at the Russian Academy of Sciences. “Therefore, by modeling molecular mechanisms, we figured out how substances bind to proteins. This allowed us to determine the pool of therapeutic targets that the drugs will subsequently target. For example, these are anti-apoptotic (prevent apoptosis) and pro-apoptotic (induce apoptosis) proteins, protein kinases, and others. But a key drug target is phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase . . . This enzyme influences mutations in cancer, rearrangement, and amplification of genes.”
Compounds investigated in the study included emodin, eugenol, gingerol, sulforaphane, linalool, catechin, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, curcumin, yakuchinone-A, pinusolide, alpha-boswellic acid, oleandrin, sesquiterpene lactone-326, resveratrol, triterpenoid, beta-boswellic acid, anethole, capsaicin, glycolic acid, quercetin, genistein, ellagic acid, flavopiridol, zerumbone, garcinol, guggulsterone, parthenolide, halogenated monoterpenes and silibinin. Of these compounds, silibinin, flavopiridol, oleandrin, ursolic acid, alpha-boswellic acid, beta-boswellic acid, triterpenoid, guggulsterone and oleanolic acid had the greatest binding affinity with phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase alpha (P13K), which is involved in functions that can contribute to cancer. Other targets identified as binding with various compounds included PKC-η, Ras and H-Ras.
“We assumed that the foods we selected for the study had anti-cancer properties, but this needed to be verified,” Dr Zyryanov noted. “As a result, we found out that diseased cells stop development under the influence of certain combinations of food compounds.”
Omega-3s fatty acid supplements may improve symptoms and cognitive performance in children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a meta-analysis of gold standard clinical trials.
Data from seven clinical trials involving over 500 children and adolescents indicated that omega-3s were associated with improvements in clinical symptoms of ADHD, while data from three clinical trials involving over 200 children and adolescents indicated a positive impact on cognitive measures associated with attention.
“[W]e provide strong evidence supporting a role for n3-PUFAs deficiency in ADHD, and for advocating n-3 PUFAs supplementation as a clinically relevant intervention in this group, especially if guided by a biomarker-based personalization approach,” wrote the authors, led by Jane Pei-Chen Chang from King’s College London, in Neuropsychopharmacology .
Commenting independently on the meta-analysis, Harry Rice, PhD, VP of regulatory & scientific affairs for the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED): “In the past, I've been lukewarm on whether or not increasing EPA/DHA intake benefits children with ADHD. Results from this meta-analysis put me a little closer to believing.
“Minimally, given the low side effect profile of omega-3s versus the drugs of choice to treat ADHD, I would highly recommend first increasing intake of EPA/DHA. This is particularly true if a child doesn't eat at least two servings of fatty fish a week or doesn't take an omega-3 supplement on a regular basis.”
The new meta-analysis was performed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines and used established scientific literature databases to identify appropriate studies for inclusion.
Data from seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with 534 young people indicated that that omega-s3 supplementation significantly improved inattention and hyperactivity symptoms, according to parental reports.
Additional analysis revealed that the improvements in hyperactivity were only observed when doses of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) of 500 mg/day or more were used.
Interesting, the researchers did not find improvements in hyperactivity and inattention when they looked at teacher’s reports, unlike what was reported by parents.
Omega-3 supplements were associated with improvements in select measures of cognitive performance, said the researchers.
“N-3 PUFAs are crucial for optimal neurotransmitter function: for example, incorporating more EPA and DHA in the cell membrane can increase cholesterol efflux, modulate lipid raft clustering and disruption, and affect the function of the dopamine transporter (DAT), which in turn may affect attention and executive function by regulating synaptic dopamine levels,” wrote the researchers.
Data from case-control studies were also collected to assess if omega-3 levels were also associated with ADHD, with results indicating that children and adolescents with ADHD had lower levels of EPA, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid),and total omega-3s.
“In the context of ‘personalised medicine’, it is tempting to speculate that a subpopulation of youth with ADHD and with low levels of n-3 PUFAs may respond better to n-3 PUFAs supplementation, but there are no studies to date attempting this stratification approach,” wrote the researchers. “However, we have [previously] shown that individuals at genetic risk of developing depression in the context of the immune challenge, interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha), have lower levels of RBCs n3-PUFAs, and that n-3 PUFAs supplementation prevents the onset of IFN-alpha-induced depression, arguably by replenishing the endogenously low anti-inflammatory PUFAs in the ‘at risk’ individuals.”