Dear Prof Chomsky,
Please take a moment to read this letter and the accompanying attachments.
i was deeply concerned over the insensitive manner in which Jimmy Dore and other commentators took to criticize your stance on the Covid-19 vaccines. I have followed your work since my early days as a college student during the anti-war and civil rights protests in the 1960s, and later your writings. Your book Manufacturing Consent has been a guidebook over the years in my own syndicated national broadcasts and my criticisms of the mainstream media. Later I used some of your material in the college courses I taught as an adjunct at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
What I always highlighted was your deep scholarship, intellectual acumen, and historically being on the correct side of the most pressing issues of our time.
However, your recent comments are unfortunately inaccurate. Not only yours, but also many of those among us who espouse liberal values. Seemingly the entire liberal media, including Amy Goodman, have been in error and responsible for promulgating scientifically misleading information. Therefore I was perplexed that you would defend the very institutional structures, which have betrayed us repeatedly in history, that you have made a career to challenge.
My own background is in human nutritional health and science. I hold a doctorate and was a research fellow at the Institute of Applied Biology for over three decades. I have counseled tens of thousands of people and conducted over 50 clinical studies related to chronic illnesses and health.
When Anthony Fauci and other federal health officials began making very misleading statements about Covid-19, which independent reviews have found to be based on very shoddy scientific research and analysis, it drew my attention. I have attached several articles co-written with my producer, who is a former senior research analyst in the biotech and genomic industries, that provide alternative scenarios with scientific citations.
It is widely accepted that the vaccinated are not protected from contracting the SARS-2 virus. This has been stated clearly by the vaccine makers and is clearly written in the manufacturers' product insert information. Over 100,000 physicians and medical researchers worldwide, including one of the inventors of mRNA vaccine technology Dr. Robert Malone, are formally challenging the official narrative about the efficacy and safety of these experimental vaccines. These are all doctors, who like myself, are pro-vaccine but are deeply concerned about these new experimental Covid vaccines because there is unsound clinical evidence to determine their safety, let alone whether they work or not. These doctors therefore are adhering to the precautionary principle, which has been upheld as a gold standard for questionable medical intervention before the pandemic. Medical professionals are risking their reputations to now warn that more children will die from these vaccines than from a SARS-2 infection. Physicians, scientists, highly educated parents who choose to avoid vaccination are now being labeld a threat to society and no better than a terrorist. In fact there is no evidence whatsoever that the virus is a matter of grave concern for children. The assumption being made by the federal agencies is that vaccinated children will protect the adults; however there is absolutely no proo whatsoever to substantiate this claim because there is still a great deal of controversy over whether an asymptomatic person with the virus can transmit it to others.
If we look at Israel as an example of the most vaccinated nation in the world, which has started to administer a fourth booster shot, the hospitals are filling with Covid patients who are fully vaccinated. Recently in Europe, a suit has been filed by 1,000 attorneys and 10,000 medical professionals against the World Health Organization, the CDC and the World Economic Forum based upon the Nuremberg Code criteria. Another lawsuit is underway in the US against the CDC and Fauci's National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease for manipulating and massaging the data in the CDC's Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) to reduce the evidence that the vaccines are causing enormous injuries and deaths. A federal whistleblower in the suit has estimated that the vaccines have caused approximately 40,000 American deaths already. If we consider the EU's EudraViligance adverse vaccine event monitoring system, which is far more robust and accurate than the CDC's VAERS based upon a Harvard review, then we are looking at over 27,000 deaths due the vaccines and over 2.5 million injuries. What is most worrisome is that over 90 percent of Covid-19 deaths were among the elderly with comorbidities. The CDC's own website states that only 6 percent of deaths was actually caused by the virus alone, the remainder with comorbidity complications; whereas we are observing more vaccination deaths in younger age groups than from the actual virus. Yet none of this is being reported by the mainstream media. It is a classic example of "manufacturing consent" to implement a narrative that is grossly compromised by commercial and perhaps political interests.
So I would encourage you to please examine the literature and articles carefully and reflect upon the facts that are being intentionally ignored and denied by our health officials and by the media. If after reviewing the information you feel morally compelled to revise your earlier statements, many of us will be grateful
But no matter your decision, your legacy will remain as one of America's greatest political and social justice warriors. However, perhaps not on the matter of medical science and immunology.
I appreciate your consideration
Gary Null, PhD
Jonathan Haidt joined New York University Stern School of Business in July 2011. He is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership, based in the Business and Society Program.
Professor Haidt is a social psychologist whose research examines the intuitive foundations of morality. His most recent book is the New York Times bestseller, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. In that book Haidt offers an account of the origins of the human moral sense, and he shows how variations in moral intuitions can help explain the polarization and dysfunction of American politics. At Stern he is applying his research on moral psychology to rethink the way business ethics is studied and is integrated into the curriculum. His goal is to draw on the best behavioral science research to create organizations that function as ethical systems, with only minimal need for directly training people to behave ethically. He co-founded the research collaboration at EthicalSystems.org. His next book will be titled Three Stories About Capitalism: The Moral Psychology of Economic Life .
Before coming to Stern, Professor Haidt taught for 16 years at the University of Virginia. His first book was The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. His writings appear frequently in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and he has given four TED talks. He was named one of the top global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine and also by Prospect magazine.
Professor Haidt received a B.A. in Philosophy from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.
The colonization of independent media.
21 OCTOBER—Watch and listen, O you with open eyes and ears. The national security state’s long, very long campaign to control our press and broadcasters has taken a new turn of late. If independent media are what keep alive hope for a vigorous, authentic Fourth Estate, as argued severally in this space, independent media are now subject to an insidious, profoundly anti-democratic effort to undermine them.
The Independent Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Frances Haugen, Maria Ressa: Let us consider this institution and these people. They are all frauds, if by fraudulent we mean they are not what and who they tell us they are and their claim to independence from power is bogus.
The Deep State—and at this point it is mere pretense to object to this term—long ago made it a priority to turn the mainstream press and broadcasters to its purposes—to make a free press unfree. This has gone on since the earliest Cold War decades and is well and responsibly documented. (Alas, if more Americans read the many excellent books and exposés on this topic, assertions such as the one just made would not arrive as in the slightest outré.)
But several new realities are now very evident. Chief among them, the Deep State’s colonization of corporate media is now more or less complete. CNN, filling its airtime with spooks, generals, and a variety of official and formerly official liars, can be counted a total takeover. The New York Times is prima facie government-supervised, as it confesses in its pages from time to time. The Washington Post, owned by a man with multimillion-dollar CIA contracts, has turned itself into a comic book.
For reasons I will never entirely fathom, corporate media have not merely surrendered their legitimacy, such as it may have been: They have actively, enthusiastically abandoned what frayed claim they may have had to credibility. The national-security state incorporates mainstream media into its apparatus, and then people stop believing mainstream media: The thrill is gone, let’s say.
In consequence of these two factors, independent media have begun to rise as … independent media. They accumulate audiences. A little at a time, they acquire the very habits of professionalism the mainstream press and broadcasters have let decay. Gradually, they assume the credibility the mainstream has lost. The media ecosystem—horrible phrase but there it is—begins to take on a new shape.
Certain phenomena engendered by independent media prove popular. There are whistleblowers. People inside Deep State institutions start to leak, and they turn to independent media, most famously WikiLeaks, to get information out. While the Deep State’s clerks in mainstream media keep their heads down and their mouths shut as they cash their checks, independent media take principled stands in favor of free expression, and people admire these stands. They are, after all admirable.
Those populating the national-security state’s sprawling apparatus are not stupid. They can figure out the logical response to these developments as well as anyone else. The new imperative is now before us: It is to colonize independent media just as they had the mainstream in previous decades.
There are some hopelessly clumsy cases. I urge all colleagues to stop bothering with The Young Turks in any capacity. Those running it, creatures of those who generously fund it, are simply infra-dig. As Matt Taibbi pointed out over the weekend in a piece wonderfully headed, “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Deep State,” they’ve now got some clod named Ben Carollo proclaiming the CIA as an accountable force for good, savior of democracy—this in a video appearing under the rubric “Rebel HQ.”
Democracy Now! is a subtler instance of colonization. The once-admirable Amy Goodman drank the Russiagate Kool-Aid, which I counted the first indication of covert intervention of one or another kind. Then she caved to the orthodoxy on the chemical-weapons scam during the Syrian crisis, and lately—you have to watch to believe—Goodman has begun broadcasting CNN “investigative” reports with unalloyed approval.
The debate in this household is whether Ms. Goodman had a long lunch in Langley or her donors started threatening to delay their checks. I have no evidence of either but tend to the latter explanation.
The three recent phenomena suggested at the top of this piece are indications of the Deep State’s latest tactics in its assault on independent media and the culture that arises among them. It behooves us to understand this.
Two weeks ago, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published “The Pandora Papers,” a “leak” of 12 million electronic documents revealing the tax-fiddling, money-hiding doings of 300–odd political figures around the world. “The Pandora Papers” followed publication of “The Panama Papers” in 2016 and “The Paradise Papers” a year later. There are many useful revelations in these various releases, but we ought not be fooled as to the nature of the project.
Where did the ICIJ get the documents in “The Pandora Papers,” and how? Are they complete? Were names redacted out? They have been verified? Explaining provenance, authenticity, and so forth is essential to any investigative undertaking, but ICIJ has nothing to say on this point.
Why, of all the people “The Pandora Papers” exposes, is there not one American on its list? As Moon of Alabama notes in an analysis of this release, it amounts to a list of “people the U.S. doesn’t like.”
The ICIJ vigorously insists on its independence. But on close inspection this turns out not to be so by any serious understanding of the term. Among its donors are the Ford Foundation, whose longtime ties to the CIA are well-documented, and the Open Societies Foundation, the (in)famous George Soros operation dedicated to cultivating coups in nations that fall outside the fence posts of neoliberalism.
The group was founded in 1997 as a project of the Center for Public Integrity, another institution dedicated to “inspiring change using investigative reporting,” as the center describes itself. Among its sponsors are Ford, once again, and the Democracy Fund, which was founded by Pierre Omidyar, bankroller of The Intercept (another compromised “independent” medium). Omidyar is, like Soros, a sponsor of subversion ops in other countries masquerading as “civil society” projects.
ICIJ’s other sponsors (and for that matter the Democracy Fund’s) are comprised of the sorts of foundations that support NPR, PBS, and other such media. Let us be crystal clear on this point. Anyone who assumes media institutions taking money from such sponsors are authentically independent does not understand philanthropy as a well-established, highly effective conduit through which orthodoxies are enforced and public discourse circumscribed.
There is the case of Maria Ressa, which I considered briefly in a previous commentary. Ressa is the supposedly courageous, speak-truth-to-power co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize this year, a Filipina journalist who co-founded The Rappler, a web publication in Manila. The Nobel committee cited Ressa for her “fight for freedom of expression.” Who is Maria Ressa, then, and what is The Rappler?
Ressa and The Rappler, each insisting on independence just as the ICIJ does, are straight-out lying on this point. The Rappler recently received a grant of $180,000 from the National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA front—this according to an NED financial report issued earlier this year. None other than Pierre Omidyar and a group called North Base Media own nonvoting shares in the publication. Among North Base’s partners is the Media Development Investment Fund, which was founded by George Soros to do what George Soros likes to do in other countries.
Nobel in hand, Maria Ressa has already declared that Julian Assange is not a journalist and that independent media need new regulations, as in censorship. Henry Kissinger got a Nobel as a peacemaker: Ressa gets one as a defender of free expression. It’s a fit.
This brings us to the case of Frances Haugen, the former Facebook exec who recently appeared before Congress waving lots of documents she seems to have secreted (supposedly) out of Facebook’s offices to argue for—what else at this point?—increased government regulation of social media, as in censorship. Frances Haugen, you see, is a courageous, speak-truth-to-power whistleblower. Never mind that her appearance on Capitol Hill was carefully choreographed by Democratic Party operatives whose party simply cannot wait to censor our First Amendment rights out of existence.
The culture of independent media as it has germinated and developed over the past decade or so gave us WikiLeaks, and its effectiveness cannot be overstated. It gave us all manner of gutsy journalists standing for the principles of a genuinely free press, and people listened. It gave us whistleblowers who are admired even as the Deep State condemns them.
And now the national-security state gives us none other than a secret-disclosing crew of mainstream hacks, a faux-independent journalist elevated to the highest honors, and a whistleblower who was handed her whistle and taught how to toot it—three crowd-pleasers, three simulacra. These are three frauds. They are to independent journalism what McDonald’s is to food.
There is only one defense against this assault on truth and integrity, but it is a very good one. It is awareness. CNN, Democracy Now!, the ICIJ, Maria Ressa, Frances Haugen—none of these and many other media and people are properly labeled. But the labels can be written with modest efforts. Awareness and scrutiny, watching and listening, will prove enough.
Dr. John Campbell is a Senior Lecturer in Nursing studies at the University of Cumbria. He has been a clinical nurse and a nurse tutor for over 30 years. In addition to writing books, he has also produced a range of videos and podcasts on various health and nursing related topics. As well as selling his materials in the Western countries, many are distributed at no cost, or low cost, to students in poorer countries
Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg | Full Interview | Planetlockdown. October 18, 2021. In this intimate sit down interview with Wolfgang Wodarg, we discuss the broad issue of corruption in the WHO, how we should understand the "pandemic," or lack there of and how we must stop this diabolical trend towards a fake medical dystopia that will take over all aspects of our lives. He is one of the most honest and thoughtful people we have ever met and has an amazing resume and has lived a rich life full of experiences that uniquely qualifies him to understand the depth and breadth of this complex situation we find ourselves in.
Eating leafy greens could help prevent macular degeneration
Westmead Institute for Medical Research (Australia), October 13, 2021
A new study has shown that eating vegetable nitrates, found mainly in green leafy vegetables and beetroot, could help reduce your risk of developing early-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Researchers at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research interviewed more than 2,000 Australian adults aged over 49 and followed them over a 15-year period.
The research showed that people who ate between 100 to 142 mgs of vegetable nitrates each day had a 35% lower risk of developing early AMD than people who ate less than 69mgs of vegetable nitrates each day.
Lead Researcher Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath from the Westmead Institute and the University of Sydney said the link between vegetable nitrates and macular degeneration could have important implications.
"This is the first time the effects of dietary nitrates on macular degeneration risk has been measured.
"Essentially we found that people who ate 100 to 142 mgs of vegetable nitrates every day had a reduced risk of developing early signs of macular degeneration compared with people who ate fewer nitrates.
"If our findings are confirmed, incorporating a range of foods rich in dietary nitrates - like green leafy vegetables and beetroot - could be a simple strategy to reduce the risk of early macular degeneration," Associate Professor Gopinath said.
Spinach has approximately 20mg of nitrate per 100g, while beetroot has nearly 15mg of nitrate per 100g.
The research did not show any additional benefits for people who exceeded 142mgs of dietary nitrate each day. It also did not show any significant connections between vegetable nitrates and late stage AMD, or between non-vegetable nitrates and AMD risk.
One in seven Australians over 50 have some signs of macular degeneration.
Age is the strongest known risk factor and the disease is more likely to occur after the age of 50.
There is currently no cure for the disease.
The research compiled data from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a benchmark population-based study that started in 1992.
It is one of the world's largest epidemiology studies, measuring diet and lifestyle factors against health outcomes and a range of chronic diseases.
"Our research aims to understand why eye diseases occur, as well as the genetic and environmental conditions that may threaten vision," Associate Professor Gopinath concluded.
Research review shows intermittent fasting works for weight loss, health changes
University of Illinois Chicago, October 13, 2021
Intermittent fasting can produce clinically significant weight loss as well as improve metabolic health in individuals with obesity, according to a new study review led by University of Illinois Chicago researchers.
"We noted that intermittent fasting is not better than regular dieting; both produce the same amount of weight loss and similar changes in blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation," said Krista Varady, professor of nutrition at the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences and author of "Cardiometabolic Benefits of Intermittent Fasting."
According to the analysis published in the Annual Review of Nutrition, all forms of fasting reviewed produced mild to moderate weight loss, 1 percent to 8 percent from baseline weight, which represents results that are similar to that of more traditional, calorie-restrictive diets. Intermittent fasting regimens may also benefit health by decreasing blood pressure and insulin resistance, and in some cases, cholesterol and triglyceride levels are also lowered. Other health benefits, such as improved appetite regulation and positive changes in the gut microbiome, have also been demonstrated.
The review looked at over 25 research studies involving three types of intermittent fasting:
- Alternate day fasting, which typically involves a feast day alternated with a fast day where 500 calories are consumed in one meal.
- 5:2 diet, a modified version of alternate day fasting that involves five feast days and two fast days per week.
- Time-restricted eating, which confines eating to a specified number of hours per day, usually four to 10 hours, with no calorie restrictions during the eating period.
Various studies of time-restricted eating show participants with obesity losing an average of 3 percent of their body weight, regardless of the time of the eating window.
Studies showed alternate day fasting resulted in weight loss of 3 percent to 8 percent of body weight over three to eight weeks, with results peaking at 12 weeks. Individuals on alternate day fasting typically do not overeat or binge on feast days, which results in mild to moderate weight loss, according to the review.
Studies for the 5:2 diet showed similar results to alternate day fasting, which surprised the study's reviewers. The subjects who participate in the 5:2 diet fast much less frequently than alternate-day fasting participants do, but the weight loss results are similar.
Weight loss with alternate day and 5:2 fasting are comparable to more traditional daily calorie-restrictive diets. And, both fasting diets showed individuals were able to maintain an average of 7 percent weight loss for a year.
"You're fooling your body into eating a little bit less and that's why people are losing weight," Varady said.
Varady added the review set out to debunk some myths regarding intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting does not negatively affect metabolism, nor does it cause disordered eating, according to the studies reviewed.
"Fasting people are worried about feeling lethargic and not being able to concentrate. Even though you are not eating, it won't affect your energy," Varady said. "A lot of people experience a boost of energy on fasting days. Don't worry, you won't feel crappy. You may even feel better."
The study review includes a summary of practical considerations for those who may want to try intermittent fasting. Among the considerations are:
- Adjustment time—Side effects such as headaches, dizziness and constipation subside after one to two weeks of fasting. Increased water intake can help alleviate headaches caused by dehydration during this time.
- Exercise—Moderate to high-intensity endurance or resistance training during food abstention can be done, and some study participants reported having more energy on fast days. However, studies recommend those following alternate day fasting eat their fasting day meal after exercise.
- Diet during fasting—There are no specific recommendations for food consumption during intermittent fasting, but eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help boost fiber intake and help relieve constipation that sometimes accompanies fasting.
- Alcohol and caffeine—For those using an alternate day or 5:2 fasting plan, alcohol is not recommended on fast days as the limited calories should be used on healthy foods that provide nutrition.
There are several groups who should not intermittent fast, according to the studies. Those individuals include:
- Those who are pregnant or lactating.
- Children under 12.
- Those with a history of disordered eating.
- Those with a body mass index, or BMI, less than 18.5.
- Shift workers. Studies have shown they may struggle with fasting regimens because of shifting work schedules.
- Those who need to take medication with food at regimented times.
"People love intermittent fasting because it's easy. People need to find diets that they can stick to long term. It's definitely effective for weight loss and it's gained popularity because there are no special foods or apps necessary. You can also combine it with other diets, like Keto," Varady said.
Varady has recently been awarded a National Institutes of Health grant to study time-restricted eating for 12 months to see if it works long term.
Antioxidants to prevent Alzheimer's disease
A balanced intake of antioxidants could prevent the development of Alzheimer's disease.
Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (France), October 13, 2021
Research conducted by the Ph.D student Mohamed Raâfet Ben Khedher and the postdoctoral researcher Mohamed Haddad of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) has shown that an oxidation-antioxidant imbalance in the blood is an early indicator of Alzheimer's disease, rather than a consequence. This breakthrough made by researchers under the supervision of the Professor Charles Ramassamy provides an avenue for preventive intervention: the antioxidants intake.
The research team showed that oxidative markers, known to be involved in Alzheimer's disease, show an increase up to five years before the onset of the disease. The results of this study, published in the Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring (DADM) journal, suggest that oxidation may be an early marker of this disease that affects more than 500,000 Canadians.
“Given that there is an increase in oxidative stress in people who develop the disease, we may regulate the antioxidant systems. For example, we could modulate the antioxidant systems, such as apolipoproteins J and D, which transport lipids and cholesterol in the blood and play an important role in brain function and Alzheimer's disease. Another avenue would be to increase the intake of antioxidants through nutrition”, says Professor Ramassamy.
Unlike the current set of invasive and expensive tests used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease, the oxidative markers discovered by Professor Ramassamy's research team can be detected by a blood test. These markers are found in plasma extracellular vesicles, which are pockets released by all cells in the body, including those in the brain.
The research team focused specifically on the "sporadic" Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of the disease which results primarily from the presence of the APOE4 susceptibility gene. This same form of the disease had been studied by the team for other early markers.
“By identifying oxidative markers in the blood of individuals at risk five years before the onset of the disease, we could make recommendations to slow the onset of the disease and limit the risks”, scientists noted.
This breakthrough brings new hope to Alzheimer's research. Once the disease is symptomatic, it is difficult, if not impossible, to reverse it.
Meditation training reduces long-term stress, according to hair analysis
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Germany), October 11, 2021
Mental training that promotes skills such as mindfulness, gratitude or compassion reduces the concentration of the stress hormone cortisol in hair. This is what scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig and the Social Neuroscience Research Group of the Max Planck Society in Berlin have found out. The amount of cortisol in hair provides information about how much a person is burdened by persistent stress. Earlier positive training effects had been shown in acutely stressful situations or on individual days—or were based on study participants' self-reports.
According to a study by the Techniker Krankenkasse, 23 percent of people in Germany frequently suffer from stress. This condition not only puts a strain on the well-being of those affected, but it is also linked to a number of physiological diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and psychological disorders such as depression, one of the world's leading causes of disease burden (Global Burden of Disease Study, 2017).
Therefore, effective methods are being sought to reduce everyday stress in the long term. One promising option is mindfulness training, in which participants train their cognitive and social skills, including attention, gratitude and compassion, through various meditation and behavioral exercises. Various studies have already shown that even healthy people feel less stressed after a typical eight-week training program. Until now, however, it has been unclear how much the training actually contributes to reducing the constant burden of everyday stress. The problem with many previous studies on chronic stress is that the study participants were usually asked to self-assess their stress levels after the training. However, this self-reporting by means of questionnaires could have distorted the effects and made the results appear more positive than they actually were.
The reason for such a bias: The participants knew they were training their mindfulness, and a reduction in stress levels was a desired effect of this training. This awareness alone has an impact on subsequent information. "If you are asked whether you are stressed after a training session that is declared as stress-reducing, even addressing this question can distort the statements," explains Lara Puhlmann, doctoral student at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences and first author of the underlying publication, which has now appeared in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. Factors such as social desirability and placebo effects played a role here. Unlike pharmacological studies, for example, in which the study participants do not know whether they have actually received the active substance or not, so-called blinded studies are not possible in mental training. "The participants know that they are ingesting the 'antidote,'" says Puhlmann. "In mindfulness research, we are therefore increasingly using more objective, i.e. physiological, methods to measure the stress-reducing effect more precisely."
The concentration of cortisol in hair is considered a suitable measure of exposure to prolonged stress. Cortisol is a hormone that is released when we are confronted with an overwhelming challenge, for example. In that particular situation, it helps put our body on alert and mobilize energy to overcome the challenge. The longer the stress lasts, the longer an increased concentration of cortisol circulates around our body—and the more it accumulates in our hair. On average, hair grows one centimeter per month. To measure the study participants' stress levels during the 9-month training, the researchers, in cooperation with the working group of Clemens Kirschbaum at the University of Dresden, analyzed the amount of cortisol every three months in the first three centimeters of hair, starting at the scalp.
The mental training itself was developed as part of a large-scale longitudinal study on the effects of mental training, the ReSource project, led by Tania Singer, scientific director of the Social Neuroscience Research Group. This 9-month mental training program consisted of three 3-month sessions, each designed to train a specific skill area using Western and Far Eastern mental exercises. The focus was either on the factors of attention and mindfulness, on socio-affective skills such as compassion and gratitude, or on so-called socio-cognitive skills, in particular the ability to take perspective on one's own and others' thoughts. Three groups of about 80 participants each completed the training modules in different order. The training lasted up to nine months, 30 minutes a day, six days a week.
Less stress, less cortisol
And it really showed: After six months of training, the amount of cortisol in the subjects' hair had decreased significantly, on average by 25 percent. In the first three months, slight effects were seen at first, which increased over the following three months. In the last third, the concentration remained at a low level. The researchers therefore assume that only sufficiently long training leads to the desired stress-reducing effects. The effect did not seem to depend on the content of the training. It is therefore possible that several of the mental approaches studied are similarly effective in improving the way people deal with chronic everyday stress.
In an earlier study from the ReSource project with the same sample, the researchers had investigated the effects of training on dealing with acute stressful situations. In this study, the participants were placed in a stressful job interview and had to solve difficult maths problems under observation. The results showed that people who had undergone socio-cognitive or socio-affective training released up to 51 percent less cortisol under stress than those who had not been trained. In this case, they did not measure the amount of cortisol in the subjects' hair, but instead acute cortisolsurges in their saliva. Overall, the researchers conclude that training can improve the handling of acute particularly stressful social situations as well as chronic everyday stress. "We assume that different training aspects are particularly helpful for these different forms of stress," says Veronika Engert, head of the research group "Social Stress and Family Health" at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences.
"There are many diseases worldwide, including depression, that are directly or indirectly related to long-term stress," explains Puhlmann. "We need to work on counteracting the effects of chronic stress in a preventive way. Our study uses physiological measurements to prove that meditation-based training interventions can alleviate general stress levels even in healthy individuals."
Study: Moderate carbohydrate intake is a cardiovascular benefit for women
Monash University (Australia), October 13, 2021
Women's heart health has been the focus of a recent study by Monash University, with researchers finding that proportional carbohydrate intake and not saturated fat was significantly associated with cardiovascular disease benefit in Australian women.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in women. Poor diet is recognized as both an independent CVD risk factor and a contributor to other CVD risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes mellitus (DM), hypertension, and dyslipidaemia.
The research found that in middle-aged Australian women, increasing the percentage of carbohydrate intake was significantly associated with reduced odds of CVD, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and obesity.
Furthermore, a moderate carbohydrate intake between 41.0 percent—44.3 percent of total energy intake was associated with the lowest risk of CVD compared to women who consumed less than 37 percent energy as carbohydrates. No significant relationship was demonstrated between proportional carbohydrate intake and all-cause mortality.
In addition, increasing proportional saturated fat intake was not associated with cardiovascular disease or mortality in women; rather, increasing saturated fat intakecorrelated with lower odds of developing diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and obesity.
The findings are now published in the British Medical Journal.
The results contradict much of the historical epidemiological research that supported a link between saturated fat and CVD. Instead, the results mirror contemporary meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies where saturated fat was found to have no significant relationship with total mortality or CVD.
While the cause of this inconsistency in the literature is unclear, it has been suggested that historical studies neglected to adjust for fiber, which is known to help prevent plaque from forming in the arteries.
"Controversy still exists surrounding the best diet to prevent CVD," said Sarah Zaman, a former Monash University professor who is now an associate professor at the University of Sydney.
"A low-fat diet has historically been the mainstay of primary prevention guidelines, but the major issue within our dietary guidelines is that many dietary trials have predominately involved male participants or lacked sex-specific analyses."
She adds: "Further research is needed to tailor our dietary guidelines according to sex."
The study's first author Sarah Gribbin, a Doctor of Medicine and BMedSc (Hons) student, says: "As an observational study, our findings only show association and not causation. Our research is purely hypothesis-generating. We are hoping that our findings will spark future research into sex-specific dietary research."
The Heart Foundation, which is one of the study's funders, welcomed the focus on women and CVD, which has historically been under-researched.
Heart Foundation manager, food and nutrition, Eithne Cahill, cautioned that "not all carbohydrates are created equal."
"We know that quality carbohydrate foods such as vegetables and whole grains—including whole grain bread, cereals, and pasta—are beneficial for heart health, whereas poor quality carbohydrates such as white bread, biscuits, cakes, and pastries can increase risk," she said.
"Similarly, different fats have different effects on heart health. That is why the Heart Foundation focuses on healthy eating patterns—that is, a combination of foods, chosen regularly over time—rather than a single nutrient or food. Include plenty of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, and heart-healthy fat choices such as nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking and a variety of healthy proteins especially seafood, beans and lentils, eggs and dairy."
Anti-cancer effects found in natural compound derived from onions
Kumamoto University (Japan), October 18, 2021
Research from Kumamoto University, Japan has found that a natural compound isolated from onions, onionin A (ONA), has several anti-ovarian cancer properties. This discovery is a result of research on the effects of ONA on a preclinical model of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) both in vivo and in vitro. This research comes from the same group that found ONA suppressed pro-tumor activation of host myeloid cells.
According to a 2014 review of cancer medicines from the World Health Organization, EOC is the most common type of ovarian cancer and has a 5-year survival rate of approximately 40%. It has a relatively low lifetime risk that is less than 1%, but that can increase up to 40% if there is a family history of the disease. A majority of patients (80%) experience a relapse after their initial treatment with chemotherapy, therefore a more effective line of treatment is needed.
Kumamoto University researchers found that ONA has several effects on EOC. The group's in vitro experiments showed that EOCs, which usually proliferate in the presence of pro-tumor M2 macrophages, showed inhibited growth after introduction of ONA. This was thought to be due to ONAs influence on STAT3, a transcription factor known to be involved in both M2 polarization and cancer cell proliferation. Furthermore, the team found that ONA inhibited the pro-tumor functions of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC), which are closely associated with the suppression of the anti-tumor immune response of host lymphocytes, by using preclinical sarcoma model. ONA was also found to enhance the effects of anti-cancer drugs by strengthening their anti-proliferation capabilities. Moreover, experiments on an ovarian cancer murine model that investigated the effects of orally administered ONA resulted in longer lifespans and inhibited ovarian cancer tumor development. This was considered to be a result of ONA's suppression of M2 polarized macrophages.
The research shows that ONA reduces the progression of malignant ovarian cancer tumors by interfering with the pro-tumor function of myeloid cells. ONA appears to activate anti-tumor immune responses by nullifying the immunosuppressive function of myeloid cells. ONA has the potential to enhance existing anti-cancer drugs while also having little to no cytotoxic effects on normal cells. Additionally, side effects in animals have not been seen. With a little more testing, an oral ONA supplement should greatly benefit cancer patients.
Risk of chronic diseases caused by exogenous chemical residues
Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (China), October 13, 2021
Chronic diseases are main killers affecting the health of human. The morbidities of major chronic diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, hyperuricemia and dyslipidemia are as high as 10% to 30%, showing a gradually upward trend as well.
More and more studies have shown that environmental pollution is a major health risk factor that cannot be ignored. However, the evidence for their relationship is equivocal and the underlying mechanisms is unclear.
Recently, a research group led by Prof. Xu Guowang from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) discovered the risk of chronic diseases caused by exogenous chemical residues through metabolome-wide association study.
Their findings were published in Environment International on Oct. 8. Researchers from National Institute for Nutrition and Health of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology were also involved in this study.
The researchers discovered positive associations of serum perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) with hyperuricemia, and revealed the mechanism of the relationship between the exogenous chemical residues in the serum and the risk of chronic diseases at the metabolic level.
The researchers investigated the relationship between 106 exogenous chemical residues and five chronic diseases in 496 serum samples. They revealed the metabolic perturbations related to exogenous chemical residues and chronic diseases by the metabolome-wide association study combined with meeting-in-the-middle approach and mediation analysis, and investigated the further potential underlying mechanism at the metabolic level.
"PFASs were the risk factor for hyperuricemia," said Prof. Xu. Lipid species including glycerophospholipids and glycerides presented the strongest correlation with exposure and disease, which were not only positively related to PFASs exposure but also the risk factor for hyperuricemia. "We also found that key mediation metabolites mediated 25% to 68% of the exposure-disease risk relationship," Prof. Xu added.
This study provides in-depth etiological understanding for the occurrence and development of diseases, which may be helpful for the early detection of the disease and the identification of early warning markers.
Prof. Eli Schwartz, Director of the Center for Geographic Medicine at Sheba Medical Center in Tel-Hashomer Israel, first introduced the field of travel medicine to Israel .
His practice became the recognized center by the Ministry of Health of Israel for tropical and travel diseases. Dr Schwartz is currently serving as the president of the Israeli Society of Parasitology and Tropical Diseases and past president of the Asia-Pacific Travel Health Society. He is a full Professor (clinical) at the Sacker faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University.
Lifestyle Modification Improves Physical and Mental Health in Elderly Participants: Observational Study in a Controlled Environment
A 60-day observational study was conducted to evaluate how lifestyle modification principles relying upon a customized regimen of aerobic and muscle strength exercise, a plant-based diet and meditative stress reduction techniques may improve physical endurance and strength, mental health, and reverse normal aging associated with the average American lifestyle. All enrolled participants were generally in good health respective to their age. Several subjects had overlapping mild medical conditions. The results demonstrate that the intervention of a customized lifestyle modification regimen of regular daily exercise, a plant-based diet, and daily stress reduction practices, such as meditation and yoga, may provide a viable and beneficial preventative strategy as an anti-aging and wellness model to increase the physical and mental health of elderly men and women.
Diet; Exercise; Lifestyle Modification; Meditative stress reduction; Muscle strength exercise; Physical and Mental Health; Plant-based diet; Yoga
A frequent criticism of the US’s healthcare policies has been its failure to proactively develop and implement a rigorous preventative program to reduce chronic illnesses and reverse cellular aging that are often associated with lifestyle activities, behaviour, diet, nutrient deficiencies and exposure to environmental toxins [1,2].
In recent years, there has been growing interest in lifestyle medicine [3,4]. Lifestyle, especially pertaining to physical activity and diet, has been assessed to have a positive association on the physical and mental health of elderly citizens. Physical inactivity, a sedentary lifestyle, social isolation and chronic stress are critical factors leading to premature aging associated with the non-communicable diseases . Increased physical activity has been associated with lower mortality and hospitalization among seniors aged 70 and over .
Life expectancy is directly associated with the onset of many non-communicable diseases and a growing body studies and analyses have led to an emerging consensus that many illnesses are preventable by dietary and lifestyle interventions.
To date, few studies have been conducted to evaluate the capacity to sustain and improve physical health and mental well-being in a controlled environment over a sustained period of time that incorporate a wide-range of all-inclusive healthy lifestyle interventions to effect behaviour changes in diet, physical activity, stress reduction and mental resilience.
Design and Method
The study was conducted in a controlled setting. All participants were housed in-residence at a retreat centre to assure each followed an identical daily regimen: exercise programs, diet, intermittent fasting, stress reduction sessions and followed similar daily and evening hours.
All participants were 64 years or older with an average of 73 years. Each received a thorough physical and medical examination before starting the study and had blood tested using Life Extension Foundation’s Buyer Club’s Healthy Aging Panel (HAP). Every two weeks individualized examinations were conducted. At the conclusion of the study a final physical examination was conducted and a second round of blood tests was performed.
The protocol included upwards of 3 hours of daily exercise, vegan plant-based diet, stress reduction practices (i.e., meditation and yoga) intermittent daily fasting, and "green" time in nature. Throughout the study, participants were regularly measured on weight, body fat, muscle mass, hydration levels, bone density, strength, endurance and blood pressure.
Exercise and physical training schedules were tailored to the level of each participant’s specific physical requirements. Every morning, participants went for a power walk and gradually increase their distance.
Following breakfast, participants performed an hour-long full cardio-exercise program, including muscle resistance, aerobic exercises and bike spinning.
Daily records were kept on participants' exercise performance including miles and speed walking, ropes, versa climber, pushups, sit-ups, balance and lateral pull downs repetitions.
Daily diet regimen
An alkalizing, anti-inflammatory, plant-based, dairy- and gluten-free diet was designed. The diet excluded refined carbohydrates, wheat and dairy, meat, poultry and fish. No caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners or additives and no carbonated beverages were served.
The daily diet was based on a modified fasting protocol: five days per week, fresh juices for breakfast and two solid meals for lunch and dinner. For the remaining two days, participants followed a modified fast with no solid foods. All fasted after a 6 pm dinner until 9 am.
Stress reduction techniques
Participants were daily instructed and led in a variety of anxiety and stress reduction techniques, which included meditation, mindfulness training and physical Yoga.
Each participant completed the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) before starting the study and again after its completion.
No participant was taking prescription medications during the course of the study.
Twenty-six of the original 33 enrolled participants completed the full 60 day program.
Statistically significant results were observed in loss of body fat (N=24) with a mean loss of -29.27%, and added bone density (N=18) with a median +16.6%. All but 6 participants completed the study with blood pressure readings characteristically normal for a middle-aged adult. The benchmark blood pressure limit was 130/80. No participants were obese or over-weight at the beginning of the study and three were clinically underweight.
Physical Vitals Results:
- Weight: N=21 decrease; N=4 increase. Mean average loss -4.6%
- Body Fat Percent: N=22 decrease; N=3 increase. Mean loss -29.3%
- Muscle Mass: N=17 gain; N=8 loss or no change. Mean gain +2.2%
- Water Percent: N=18 gain; N=7 loss or no change. Mean gain +8.15%
- Bone Weight: N=19 gain; N=6 loss. Mean gain +9.2%
Muscular performance results
- Ropes (min/sec): N=22 gain; N=3 decrease. Mean gain +587.3%
- Versa Climber (min/sec): N=23 increase; N=1 decrease. Mean gain +341.4%
- Pushups: N=24 increase; N=2 decrease. Mean increase +167.85%
- Sit-Ups: N=23 increase; N=2 decrease. Mean increase +266.4%
- Lateral Pull Reps: N=18 increase; N=2 decrease. Mean increase +282.7%
Throughout the trial, caliper measurements were taken to monitor progress in skin tightness and muscular strength. A statistically moderate but significant decrease was observed in all but one 80 year old man who was clinically underweight. Average cumulative decreases were as follow:
- Biceps -20.0%
- Triceps -17.9%
- Subscapularis -17.6%
- Subilium -29.4%
Power walking (aerobic)
At the beginning of the study average distance was approximately 2 miles at an average pace of 22 min per mile. All but one participant increased their distance substantially. The highest increase recorded was 2 to 26 miles. The mean increase was 822.4% with an average of 12.4 miles. Average walking pace increased to 15 min/3 sec per mile. Due to minor foot injuries two participants were unable to complete the power walking sessions and have been excluded from the results.
Depression and Mental Health Biomarkers
Before and after the conclusion of the study, depression and anxiety levels were recorded with participants completing the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale survey. All participants completed the trial with statistically significant lower levels of depression and anxiety, a heightened sense of self-esteem and a positive outlook on life. Three individuals had had life-long clinically diagnosed depression. At the study’s end, their scores noted they were depression-free. Eight were originally rated with mild and moderate depression and showed a greater than 100% improvement. Cumulative scores upon the completion of the study had decreased by 72.7%.
This study has shown that within a 60-day period, seniors can substantially improve the quality of their physical health and mental well-being with a thorough change in their lifestyles and habits that includes daily aerobic and muscle strength exercise, a plant-based diet, and daily stress-reduction techniques. Given the renewed vitality that all participants exhibited, it was expected that mental health, reduced anxiety and depression, decreased significantly.
However, the results may be statistically significant for this particular unit of senior participants because of the relatively healthy dietary and active lifestyle followed prior to the study. The average elderly American is overweight or obese, disproportionately sedentary, has a poor diet and is prescribed one or more medication for an existing illness.
In future geriatric lifestyle studies it is suggested that when interviewing potential trial participants, a greater emphasis is placed upon differentiating those who adhere to the standard American diet, which is high in saturated and trans fats, animal proteins, refined carbohydrates, carbonated and caffeinated beverages and their overall caloric intake. Greater consideration should be given to differentiate between the healths of those who lead a sedentary life versus those who are physically active. In addition, consideration should be made for those living with chronic stress due to over-active and -taxing lifestyles, are single versus married, and actively employed versus retired. Economic factors and population density may also be additional stressors . Those individuals who led a healthy lifestyle and did not suffer from chronic stress were more likely to adhere to the dietary protocols and exercise regimen. Those who were most likely to not follow the protocols do so reluctantly or had failed completely had highly stressed lifestyles, broken relationships and unhealthy eating and social habits.
Despite the rigor of a 60-day period in a controlled environment enabling all participants to follow an identical daily regimen, the study nevertheless recruited a relatively small number of participants. However, this observational study succeeded to investigate lifestyle modification in a sustained controlled environment and observed notable benefits in short duration.
The study’ results significantly contribute to the growing clinical observational evidence to support lifestyle medicine as a fundamentally necessary and viable geriatric preventative strategy to improve physical vitality and endurance, mental health and general wellness for the elderly.
There are no Conflicts of Interest to declare. The study was funded independently by the authors’ organization affiliations.
Data sets of participants’ physical metrics and blood examination results are available upon request.
- Jung P, Lushniak B (2017) Preventive Medicine's Identity Crisis. Am J Prev Med 52: 85-89.
- Frank AL (1996) Prevention into the 21st century. Mt Sinai J Med 63: 236-40.
- Egger G (2019) Development of a lifestyle medicine. Australian Journal General Practice 48: 661.
- Pine A (2014) Lifestyle and healthy aging. Gynecological Endocrinology 30: 609-611.
- Sagner M, Katz D, Egger G, Lianov L, Schulz K-H, et al. (2014) Lifestyle medicine potential for reversing a world of chronic disease epidemics: from cell to community. Int J Clin Pract 68: 1289-1292.
- Woo J, Ho SC, Yu ALM (2002) Lifestyle factors and health outcomes in elderly Hong Kong Chinese aged 70 years and over. Gerontology 48: 234-240.
- Egger G, Dixon J (2014) Beyond obesity and lifestyle: a review of 21st century chronic disease determinants. Biomed Res Int 2014:731685.
Citation: Null G, Pennesi L, Gale R, Faloon W, Fogle S (2021) Lifestyle Modification Improves Physical and Mental Health in Elderly Participants: Observational Study in a Controlled Environment. J Altern Complement Integr Med 7: 193.
Copyright: © 2021 Gary Null, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Dr. Peter McCullough is a distinguished internist, cardiologist, and epidemiologist who has been front and center speaking against the policies and medical flaws in official actions to deal with the covid pandemic. For many he has become regarded as one of the world's experts on Covid-19. Dr. McCullough is also the Chief Medical Advisor for the Truth for Health Foundation, president of the Cardiorenal Society of America Editor in Chief of the peer reviewed journal Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine and a senior associate editor of the American Journal of Cardiology. In addition to his internal medicine practice, he also manages common infectious diseases as well as cardiovascular complications associated with viral infection and injuries following Covid-19 vaccination. Since the time the pandemic was declared, Dr. McCullough took a lead in the medical response. He published the first synthesis of sequenced multi-drug treatment for ambulatory patients infected with the SARS-2 virus in the American Journal of Medicine. He has now published 46 peer-reviewed papers on the infection, reviewed thousands of reports, and has published an additional 700 papers and studies. You can keep up with Peter's reports and analyses on the website AmericaOutLoud.com
Deborah Conrad is a board certified physician assistant and hospitalist who was formerly employed at the Rochester Regional Health Center in upstate New York. During her career when has worked in emergency medicine, urgent care, Internal medicine and pediatrics. In her position in emergency room admissions and examination she has on the ground experience with covid-related patients, including those who have had adverse reactions to the Covid vaccines. Due to her position regarding the medical interventions being undertaken during the pandemic, vaccination, and a reluctance of medical personnel to report adverse vaccine events, she was relieved of her work at the health center. Deb holds a degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo in clinical laboratory medicine, and received her PA physician assistant degree at Lock Haven University.
The Government Assault Against Ivermectin and other Safe SARS-2 Treatments
Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD
Progressive Radio Network, September 1, 2021
Had the FDA and Anthony Fauci’s National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Disease (NIAID) started approving existing clinically-proven and inexpensive drugs for treating malaria, parasites and other pathogens at the start of the pandemic, millions of people would have been saved from experiencing serious infections or dying from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Why federal health officials never followed this strategy is a question the mainstream media refuses to ask.
Another question that the medical establishment, let alone our compliant media, is why have they failed to ask whether there are reliable studies in the peer-reviewed literature and testimonies from thousands of day-to-day clinical physicians worldwide who treat Covid-19 patients with these drugs, in particular hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and Ivermectin. We may also point out the many different natural remedies, such as nigella sativa, curcumin, vitamin D, melatonin, etc, which have been shown to be effective against SARS-2 infections. In most nations, there has been enormous success in treating Covid patients at the early and moderate stages of infection. However, in the US, Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, the FDA and our federal medical officials have categorically denied their use. In fact during the past couple weeks, there has been an aggressive and concerted effort to erect obstacles to prevent the employment of these more effective drugs. More recently a widespread campaign is underway to denigrate them altogether.
For example, the TOGETHER trial is now touted by the mainstream media as a flagship study showing that ivermectin is ineffective and even dangerous to prescribe. The study was conducted by professor Edward Mills at McMaster University in Ontario. If we are to believe the New York Times, the trial, which enrolled 1,300 patients, was discontinued because Mills claimed the drug was no better than a placebo. However, there is strong reason to believe this entire trial was nothing less than a staged theatrical performance. When asked, Mills denied having any conflict of interests. However, Mills happens to be employed as a clinical trial advisor for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation was also the trial’s principal funder. It may be noted that various organizations and agencies in other nations, such as the Health Products Regulatory Authority in South Africa, which have banned ivermectin, are often funded by Gates. It is naïve to believe that Gates has any philanthropic intentions whatsoever to see a highly effective treatment for SARS-2 infections reach worldwide approval. These drugs are in direct competition to his enormous investments and unwavering commitment to the Covid-19 vaccines.
In the meantime, Americans only have monoclonal antibody therapy and the controversial and ineffective drug Remdesivir at their disposal. Remdesivir’s average effectiveness for late stage treatment is only 22 percent. A Chinese study published in The Lancet found no statistically significant benefit in the drug and 12 percent of participants taking the drug had to discontinue treatment due to serious adverse effects, especially liver and kidney damage.
When questions are posited as a general argument for advocating expedient measures to protect public health during this pandemic, would it not have been wise to have prioritized for emergency use HCQ, Ivermectin, and other remedies with a record of curtailing Covid, such as the antibiotic azithromycin, zinc, selenium, Vitamins C and D, and melatonin as a first line of defense? There was absolutely no need to have waited for experimental vaccines or experimental drugs such as Remdesivir before the pandemic became uncontrollable. But this is what Fauci and Trump, and now Biden, permitted to happen.
If this strategy of medical intervention had been followed, would it have been successful? The answer is likely an unequivocal “yes”. Both HCQ and, even better, Ivermectin have been prophylactically prescribed by physicians working on pandemic’s front lines with enormous success. Yet those American physicians struggling to get this urgent message out to federal health officials are being marginalized and ridiculed en masse. Only in the US, the UK, France, South Africa and several other developed nations has there been a stubborn hubris to deny their effectiveness. The World Health Organization recommends Ivermectin for Covid-19 so why not the US and these other nations? Under oath, multiple physicians and professors at American medical schools have testified before Congress to present the scientific evidence supporting HCQ and Ivermectin. These are otherwise medical professionals at the very heart of treating Covid-19 patients.
Today, American journalism is in shambles. In fact, it is a disgrace. The American public is losing trust in the media. Whether it is CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the liberal tabloid Daily Beast, NPR or PBS, each has unlimited resources to properly investigate the federal and institutional machinery behind the government health policies being thrust upon us. Yet no mainstream journalist has found the moral compass to bring this truth to the public.
In the meantime, we are allowing millions to die, and countless others to be seriously affected from a severe infection because of professional medical neglect and a healthcare system favoring the pharmaceutical industry’s frantic rush to develop expensive novel drugs and experimental vaccines. The incentive by the drug makers is to take every advantage available within the FDA’s emergency use loopholes to get their products approved as quickly as possible. The primary advantage is that these novel drugs and vaccines can then leap over regulatory hurdles, which otherwise would require them to conduct lengthy and thorough clinical trials to prove their efficacy and safety. The consequence is that none of the new pharmaceutical Covid-19 interventions have been adequately reviewed.
On the other hand, HCQ and Ivermectin have an established legacy of prior research and have been on the market for decades. Worldwide, it is not unreasonable to claim that billions of people have been treated with these drugs.
Below is a breakdown of the studies conducted so far for HCQ, Ivermectin and Vitamin D specifically for combatting the SARS-CoV-2 virus
344 studies, 250 peer-reviewed have been conducted specifically for Covid-19
281 have been clinical trials that involved 4,583 scientists and over 407,627 patients
64% improvement in 31 early treatment trials
75% improvement in 13 early stage infection treatment mortality results
21% improvement in 190 late stage infection treatment trials (patients in serious condition)
23% improvement in 44 randomized controlled trials
Full list of HCQ studies and details: https://c19hcq.com
131 studies, 52 peer-reviewed have been conducted specifically for Covid-19
63 have been clinical trials that involved 613 scientists and over 26,398 patients
58% improvement in 31 randomized controlled trials
86% improvement in 14 prophylaxis trials
72% improvement in 27 early stage infection treatment trials
40% improvement in 22 late stage infection treatment trials
58% improvement in 25 mortality results
Full list of Ivermectin studies and details: https://c19ivermectin.com
Other inexpensive repurposed drugs for treating SARS-2
88% improvement in early treatment
29% improvement in late stage treatment
63% improvement in all 7 peer-reviewed studies
101 studies conducted by over 875 scientists
63 sufficiency studies with 34,863 patients
33 treatment trials with 46,860 patients
42% improvement in 33 treatment trials
56% improvement in 68 sufficiency studies
55% improvement in 19 treatment mortality results
Full list of Vitamin D studies and details: https://c19vitamind.com
In contrast there have been 21 studies enrolling 35,744 patients in Remdesivir trials showing only a 22% improvement in all studies combined. This rate is below that of simply taking probiotics (5 studies at 24% improvement), melatonin (7 studies at 62% improvement), curcumin (4 studies at 71% improvement), nigella sativa (3 studies at 84% improvement), quercetin (4 studies at 76% improvement), and aspirin (7 studies at 37% improvement). Despite the small number of trials and low numbers of enrolled participants, early results indicate that greater attention and funding needs to be allocated for more rigorous research if there is to be any success in curbing SARS-2 infections’ severity.
Please share this information. The inept policies and measures being taken by our federal health officials and by both the former Trump and present Biden administrations are unparalleled in American healthcare history. And never before has the media been so willing to self-censor and been so grossly irresponsible to hide the published science and the truth.
Can low temperature-aged garlic enhance exercise performance?
Korea Univesity & National Institute of Agricultural Sciences (South Korea), October 8, 2021
Scientists from South Korea’s National Institute of Agricultural Sciences and Korea University looked at aged garlic to see whether it could help reduce fatigue. To do this, they conducted a study on mice fed with a special low-temperature-aged garlic (LTAG).
Their findings were published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.
Testing the fatigue-fighting effects of low temperature-aged garlic
The researchers chose to use LTAG because it lacked the pungent odor and spicy flavor of regular garlic, making it easier to use for animal testing.
To create the LTAG, the researchers stored garlic in a sealed container, aging at 60 C for 60 days. The resulting LTAG was then peeled and pulverized, before being added to 200 milliliters of 70 percent ethanol (EtOH), which was then subjected to ultrasonic extraction three times. This 70 percent EtOH and LTAG extract was then concentrated under a vacuum at 45 C and then lyophilized to create a dry LTAG residue.
After the creation of the LTAG, the researchers then separated mice into six groups. The first group was given a low dose of LTAG extract; the second was fed a high dose of LTAG extract; the third was given a low dose of garlic extract; and the fourth was given a high dose of garlic extract. The fifth and sixth groups consisted of normal mice that were given phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) instead of garlic. One of these control groups was made to exercise while the other group was not.
The mice in the five groups were forced to run on a treadmill for four weeks. With each passing week, the amount of exercise the mice would have to do on the treadmills would increase. This was done by increasing both the speed that the mice had to run, and the amount of time they had to spend running. (Related: How to alleviate fatigue with herbal medicine.)
After 28 days of treatment, five mice from each group were subjected to a final, exhaustive treadmill test. This test increased the treadmill speed from 15 meters per minute (m/min) to 40 m/min every 3 minutes. During this test, the running time was monitored until each mouse failed to follow the increase in speed on three consecutive occasions and lag occurred. At this point, the mouse’s total running time was recorded.
The effect of the LTAG on the levels of glucose, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), free fatty acid (FFA) and lactate in the mice’s blood. Following the final exercise, the mice were killed and blood samples were collected from them. In addition, the mice’s gastrocnemius muscles were also isolated and frozen in liquid nitrogen for testing.
LTAG treated mice demonstrated less fatigue
Following the exhaustive running tests, the researchers found that the mice treated with LTAG extract were able to run for much longer than the control mice.
Meanwhile, looking at the blood tests, they noted that the mice treated with LTAG extract exhibited lower levels of glucose, LDH, FFA and lactate. More importantly, the LTAG treated mice had increased amounts of glycogen and creatine kinase (CK) in their muscles.
Glycogen storage is an important source of energy during exercise. It serves a central role in maintaining the body’s glucose homeostasis by supplementing blood glucose. Because of this, glycogen is seen as an accurate marker for fatigue, with increased glycogel levels closely associated with improved endurance and anti-fatigue effects.
CK, on the other hand, is known to be an accurate indicator of muscle damage. During muscle degeneration, muscle cells are dissolved and their contents enter the bloodstream. As a result, when muscle damage occurs, muscle CK comes out into the blood. As such, fatigue tends to lead to lower muscle CK levels and higher blood CK levels.
Higher levels of glycogen and muscle CK in the LTAG treated mice indicated that they experienced less fatigue than the other groups.
Based on these findings, the researchers believe that LTAG has potential for use as an anti-fatigue agent.
Mindfulness meditation helps preterm-born adolescents
University of Geneva (Switzerland), October 7, 2021
Adolescents born prematurely present a high risk of developing executive, behavioral and socio-emotional difficulties. Now, researchers from Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) and the University of Geneva (UNIGE) have revealed that practicing mindfulness may help improve these various skills. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests using mindfulness as a means of clinical intervention with adolescents, whether prematurely born or not.
Several studies have already shown that very preterm (VPT) children and adolescents are at higher risk of exhibiting cognitive and socio-emotional problems that may persist into adulthood. To help them overcome the difficulties they face, researchers from the HUG and UNIGE have set up an intervention based on mindfulness, a technique known to have beneficial effects in these areas. Mindfulness consists in training the mind to focus on the present moment, concentrating on physical sensations, on breathing, on the weight of one's body, and even on one's feelings and thoughts, completely judgment-free. The mindfulness-based interventions generally take place in a group with an instructor along with invitations to practice individually at home.
To accurately assess the effects of mindfulness, a randomized controlled trial was performed with young adolescents aged 10 to 14, born before 32 weeks gestational weeks. Scientists quickly found that mindfulness improves the regulation of cognitive, social and emotional functions, in other worlds, our brain's ability to interact with our environment. Indeed, it increases the ability to focus on the present—on thoughts, emotions and physical sensations, with curiosity and non-judgment. Thanks to this practice, adolescents improve their executive functions, i.e. the mental processes that enable us to control our behavior to successfully achieve a goal. As a result, young people find it easier to focus, manage and regulate their behavior and emotions in everyday life.
For eight weeks, the young teens spent an hour and a half each week with two mindfulness instructors. They were further encouraged to practice mindfulness daily at home.
Parents were also involved in this study. They were asked to observe their child's executive functions, for example the ability to regulate their emotions and attentional control, their relationships with others and their behavior. The adolescents also underwent a series of computerized tasks to assess their reactions to events. A comparison of their test results with a control group that did not practice mindfulness shows a positive impact of the intervention on the adolescents' everyday life and on their ability to react to new events.
"Each teenager is unique, with their own strenghts and difficulties. Through their involvement in this study, our volunteers have contributed to show that mindfulness can help many young people to feel better, to refocus and to face the world, whether they were born preterm born or not," agree Dr. Russia Hà-Vinh Leuchter, a consultant in the Division of Development and Growth, Department of Paediatrics, Gynaecology and Obstetrics at Geneva University Hospitals, and Dr. Vanessa Siffredi, a researcher at the Child Development Laboratory at the Department of Paediatrics, Gynaecology and Obstetrics at the UNIGE Faculty of Medicine, two of the authors of this work. "However, while the practice of meditation can be a useful resource, it is important to be accompanied by well-trained instructors", they specify.
The adolescents who took part in the program are now between 14 and 18 years. Scientists are currently evaluating the long-term effects of mindfulness-based intervention on their daily attention and stress. Furthermore, to validate their clinical data with neurobiological measurements, researchers are currently studying the effects of mindfulness on the brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Iron deficiency in middle age is linked with higher risk of developing heart disease
University Heart and Vasculature Centre Hamburg (Germany) 6 October 2021
Approximately 10% of new coronary heart disease cases occurring within a decade of middle age could be avoided by preventing iron deficiency, suggests a study published today in ESC Heart Failure, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).1
“This was an observational study and we cannot conclude that iron deficiency causes heart disease,” said study author Dr. Benedikt Schrage of the University Heart and Vasculature Centre Hamburg, Germany. “However, evidence is growing that there is a link and these findings provide the basis for further research to confirm the results.”
Previous studies have shown that in patients with cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure, iron deficiency was linked to worse outcomes including hospitalisations and death. Treatment with intravenous iron improved symptoms, functional capacity, and quality of life in patients with heart failure and iron deficiency enrolled in the FAIR-HF trial.2 Based on these results, the FAIR-HF 2 trial is investigating the impact of intravenous iron supplementation on the risk of death in patients with heart failure.
The current study aimed to examine whether the association between iron deficiency and outcomes was also observed in the general population.
The study included 12,164 individuals from three European population-based cohorts. The median age was 59 years and 55% were women. During the baseline study visit, cardiovascular risk factors and comorbidities such as smoking, obesity, diabetes and cholesterol were assessed via a thorough clinical assessment including blood samples.
Participants were classified as iron deficient or not according to two definitions: 1) absolute iron deficiency, which only includes stored iron (ferritin); and 2) functional iron deficiency, which includes iron in storage (ferritin) and iron in circulation for use by the body (transferrin).
Dr. Schrage explained: “Absolute iron deficiency is the traditional way of assessing iron status but it misses circulating iron. The functional definition is more accurate as it includes both measures and picks up those with sufficient stores but not enough in circulation for the body to work properly.”
Participants were followed up for incident coronary heart disease and stroke, death due to cardiovascular disease, and all-cause death. The researchers analysed the association between iron deficiency and incident coronary heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular mortality, and all-cause mortality after adjustments for age, sex, smoking, cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, body mass index, and inflammation. Participants with a history of coronary heart disease or stroke at baseline were excluded from the incident disease analyses.
At baseline, 60% of participants had absolute iron deficiency and 64% had functional iron deficiency. During a median follow-up of 13.3 years there were 2,212 (18.2%) deaths. Of these, a total of 573 individuals (4.7%) died from a cardiovascular cause. Incidence coronary heart disease and stroke were diagnosed in 1,033 (8.5%) and 766 (6.3%) participants, respectively.
Functional iron deficiency was associated with a 24% higher risk of coronary heart disease, 26% raised risk of cardiovascular mortality, and 12% increased risk of all-cause mortality compared with no functional iron deficiency. Absolute iron deficiency was associated with a 20% raised risk of coronary heart disease compared with no absolute iron deficiency, but was not linked with mortality. There were no associations between iron status and incident stroke.
The researchers calculated the population attributable fraction, which estimates the proportion of events in 10 years that would have been avoided if all individuals had the risk of those without iron deficiency at baseline. The models were adjusted for age, sex, smoking, cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, body mass index, and inflammation. Within a 10-year period, 5.4% of all deaths, 11.7% of cardiovascular deaths, and 10.7% of new coronary heart disease diagnoses were attributable to functional iron deficiency.
“This analysis suggests that if iron deficiency had been absent at baseline, about 5% of deaths, 12% of cardiovascular deaths, and 11% of new coronary heart disease diagnoses would not have occurred in the following decade,” said Dr. Schrage.
“The study showed that iron deficiency was highly prevalent in this middle-aged population, with nearly two-thirds having functional iron deficiency,” said Dr. Schrage. “These individuals were more likely to develop heart disease and were also more likely to die during the next 13 years.”
Dr. Schrage noted that future studies should examine these associations in younger and non-European cohorts. He said: “If the relationships are confirmed, the next step would be a randomised trial investigating the effect of treating iron deficiency in the general population.”
Consumption of a bioactive compound from Neem plant could significantly suppress development of prostate cancer
National University of Singapore, September 29, 2021
Oral administration of nimbolide, over 12 weeks shows reduction of prostate tumor size by up to 70 per cent and decrease in tumor metastasis by up to 50 per cent
A team of international researchers led by Associate Professor Gautam Sethi from the Department of Pharmacology at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has found that nimbolide, a bioactive terpenoid compound derived from Azadirachta indica or more commonly known as the neem plant, could reduce the size of prostate tumor by up to 70 per cent and suppress its spread or metastasis by half.
Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers worldwide. However, currently available therapies for metastatic prostate cancer are only marginally effective. Hence, there is a need for more novel treatment alternatives and options.
"Although the diverse anti-cancer effects of nimbolide have been reported in different cancer types, its potential effects on prostate cancer initiation and progression have not been demonstrated in scientific studies. In this research, we have demonstrated that nimbolide can inhibit tumor cell viability -- a cellular process that directly affects the ability of a cell to proliferate, grow, divide, or repair damaged cell components -- and induce programmed cell death in prostate cancer cells," said Assoc Prof Sethi.
Nimbolide: promising effects on prostate cancer
Cell invasion and migration are key steps during tumor metastasis. The NUS-led study revealed that nimbolide can significantly suppress cell invasion and migration of prostate cancer cells, suggesting its ability to reduce tumor metastasis.
The researchers observed that upon the 12 weeks of administering nimbolide, the size of prostate cancer tumor was reduced by as much as 70 per cent and its metastasis decreased by about 50 per cent, without exhibiting any significant adverse effects.
"This is possible because a direct target of nimbolide in prostate cancer is glutathione reductase, an enzyme which is responsible for maintaining the antioxidant system that regulates the STAT3 gene in the body. The activation of the STAT3 gene has been reported to contribute to prostate tumor growth and metastasis," explained Assoc Prof Sethi. "We have found that nimbolide can substantially inhibit STAT3 activation and thereby abrogating the growth and metastasis of prostate tumor," he added.
The findings of the study were published in the April 2016 issue of the scientific journal Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. This work was carried out in collaboration with Professor Goh Boon Cher of Cancer Science Institute of Singapore at NUS, Professor Hui Kam Man of National Cancer Centre Singapore and Professor Ahn Kwang Seok of Kyung Hee University.
The neem plant belongs to the mahogany tree family that is originally native to India and the Indian sub-continent. It has been part of traditional Asian medicine for centuries and is typically used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Today, neem leaves and bark have been incorporated into many personal care products such as soaps, toothpaste, skincare and even dietary supplements.
Review looks at the efficacy of acupuncture in treating insulin resistance
Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine (China), October 8, 2021
In their report, researcherss from Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine in China explored the role of acupuncture in treating insulin resistance. The study was published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.
- Earlier studies have reported the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating insulin resistance and related conditions.
- The review looked at acupuncture and its effects on clinical outcomes.
- The researchers searched the following databases for randomized controlled trials involving insulin resistance patients treated with acupuncture:
- Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials
- Medline (via OVID)
- China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI)
- Wan Fang and China Science and Technology Journal Database (VIP)
- The studies show that homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance significantly decreased with acupuncture treatment.
- Other significant decreases include fasting blood glucose, postprandial blood glucose and fasting insulin.
- Acupuncture increased insulin sensitivity with very few adverse effects.
In sum, acupuncture is a safe and effective alternative treatment for insulin resistance.
Blueberries may improve attention in children following double-blind trial
University of Reading (UK), October 10, 2021
Primary school children could show better attention by consuming flavonoid-rich blueberries, following a study conducted by the University of Reading.
In a paper published in Food & Function, a group of 7-10 year olds who consumed a drink containing wild blueberries or a matched placebo and were tested on their speed and accuracy in completing an executive task function on a computer.
The double blind trial found that the children who consumed the flavonoid-rich blueberry drink had 9% quicker reaction times on the test without any sacrifice of accuracy. In particular, the effect was more noticeable as the tests got harder.
Professor Claire Williams, a neuroscience professor at the University of Reading said:
"This is the first time that we have seen the positive impact that flavonoids can have on the executive function of children. We designed this double blind trial especially to test how flavonoids would impact on attention in young people as it's an area of cognitive performance that hasn't been measured before.
"We used wild blueberries as they are rich in flavonoids, which are compounds found naturally in foods such as fruits and their juices, vegetables and tea. They have been associated with a range of health benefits including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and our latest findings continue to show that there is a beneficial cognitive effect of consuming fruit and vegetables, tea, coffee and even dark chocolate which all contain flavonoids."
The children were then asked to pay attention to an array of arrows shown on a PC screen and press a key corresponding to the direction that the central arrow was facing. The task was repeated over a number of trials, where cognitive demand was manipulated by varying how quickly the arrows appeared, whether there were additional arrows appearing either side of the central arrow, and whether the flanking arrows were pointing in the same/different direction as the central arrow.
Previous Reading research has shown that consuming wild blueberries can improve mood in children and young people, simple memory recall in primary school children, and that other flavonoid rich drinks such as orange juice, can also improve memory and concentration.
The Wild Blueberry Association of North America provided a freeze-dried powder made from wild blueberries which was used in the study but did not provide any additional financial support and did not play a role in the design of the study.
Wild blueberries are grown and harvested in North America, and are smaller than regular blueberries, and are higher in flavonoids compared to regular varieties.
The double-blind trial used a flavonoid-rich wild blueberry drink, with a matched placebo contained 8.9g of fructose, 7.99g of glucose and 4 mg of vitamin C matching the levels of nutrients found in the blueberry drink.
The amount of fructose is akin to levels found in a standard pear.
This was an executive function task- requiring participants to pay attention to stimuli appearing on screen and responding correctly. The task was a simple one- responding to the direction of an arrow in the middle of a screen (by pressing left/right arrow key) but we then varied how quickly the stimuli appeared, whether there was additional arrows appearing either side of the stimuli and whether those flanking arrows were pointing in the same/different direction as they direction you had to respond.
There are 6 main classes of flavonoids:
- Anthocyanins – found in berry fruits such as the blueberries used in this study and also in red wine.
- Flavonols - found in onions, leeks, and broccoli
- Flavones - found in parsley and celery,
- Isoflavones - found in soy and soy products,
- Flavanones - found in citrus fruit and tomatoes
- Flavanols—found in green tea, red wine, and chocolate
Nocebo effect: Does a drug's high price tag cause its own side effects?
University Medical Center Hamburg (Germany), October 5, 2021
Pricey drugs may make people more vulnerable to perceiving side effects, a new study suggests—and the phenomenon is not just "in their heads."
The study delved into the so-called "nocebo effect." It's the negative version of the well-known placebo effect, where people feel better after receiving a therapy because they expected good things.
With the nocebo effect, patients' worries over treatment side effects make them feel sick.
In this study, researchers found that people were more likely to report painful side effects from a fake drug when told it was expensive.
But it wasn't just something people were "making up." Using brain imaging, the researchers traced the phenomenon to specific activity patterns in the brain and spine.
"These findings are a strong argument against the perception of placebo and nocebo effects as being only 'fake' effects—created purely by imagination or delusions of the patient," said lead researcher Alexandra Tinnermann. She is with the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, in Germany.
Dr. Luana Colloca, a researcher at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, agreed.
"This is not merely a reflection of people's biases," said Colloca, who wrote an editorial published with the study.
"Expectations do modulate symptoms and patients' responses to treatment," she said.
For the study, Tinnermann's team recruited 49 healthy volunteers and randomly assigned them to test one of two itch-relieving "medical creams."
In reality, both creams were identical and contained no active ingredients. However, people in both groups were told that the products could have the side effect of making the skin more sensitive to pain.
There was only one apparent difference between the two phony creams: One came in fancy packing with a high price tag; the other was cheap.
After participants applied the creams to their forearms, the researchers had them undergo a standard test that measured their tolerance for heat-induced pain.
It turned out that people who'd used the expensive cream were more sensitive to pain during the tests. On average, their pain rating hovered around a 15—within the "mild" pain range—whereas people using the cheap cream barely registered any discomfort.
It's likely, Tinnermann said, that people expect a pricey medication to be potent—which could also make them expect more side effects.
Colloca agreed. We are all "vulnerable" to such outside influences, she said, be it a drug's price or how it's given (by IV versus mouth, for instance).
However, we are not just imagining those placebo or nocebo effects, both researchers noted.
Using functional MRI brain scans, Tinnermann's team found specific patterns of nervous system activity in people who had a nocebo response to the pricey cream.
That included a change in "communication" between certain brain structures and the spinal cord, Tinnermann said.
According to Colloca, research like this can have practical uses. Doctors could, for instance, inform patients that drug prices or other factors can sway their expectations about a treatment's benefits and risks—and that, in turn, can influence whether they feel better or develop side effects.
There is, however, no research into whether that kind of knowledge helps prevent patients from the nocebo effect, Tinnermann said.
But, she added, health professionals can be aware that patients' expectations "play a huge role in medicine"—and be mindful of how they talk about a medication and its possible side effects.
It's an important matter, Colloca said, because the nocebo effect can cause people to stop taking needed medications.
Colloca pointed to the example of cholesterol-lowering statins.
The potential for those medications to cause muscle pain has been widely reported. And one recent study found evidence that this knowledge can make statin users more likely to report muscle pain side effects.
Other research, Colloca said, has shown that when people stop taking their statins, their risk of heart attack and stroke rises.
Raspberries, ellagic acid reveal benefits in two studies
Oregon State University, October 1, 2021.
Articles that appeared recently in the Journal of Berry Research report that raspberries and compounds present in the fruit could help support healthy body mass and motor function, including balance, coordination and strength.
In one study, Neil Shay and colleagues at Oregon State University fed mice a high fat, high sugar diet plus one of the following: raspberry juice concentrate, raspberry puree concentrate, raspberry fruit powder, raspberry seed extract, ellagic acid (a polyphenol that occurs in a relatively high amount in raspberries), raspberry ketone, or a combination of raspberry ketone and ellagic acid. Additional groups of animals received a high fat, high sugar diet alone or a low fat diet.
While mice that received the high fat and sugar diet alone experienced a significant increase in body mass, the addition of raspberry juice concentrate, raspberry puree concentrate or ellagic acid plus raspberry ketone helped prevent this effect. Of note, mice that received raspberry juice concentrate experienced gains similar to those of animals given a low fat diet. "We hope that the findings from this study can help guide the design of future clinical trials," Dr Shay stated.
In another study, Barbara Shukitt-Hale, PhD, and her associates at Tufts University's Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging gave 19 month old rats a control diet or a diet enhanced with raspberry extract for 11 weeks. Psychomotor behavior was assessed during week 7 and cognitive testing was conducted during weeks 9-10.
Animals that received raspberry performed better on psychomotor coordination and balance, and had better muscle tone, strength and stamina than those that received a control diet. "These results may have important implications for healthy aging," stated Dr Shukitt-Hale. "While further research in humans is necessary, animal model studies are helpful in identifying deficits associated with normal aging."
Massage doesn't just make muscles feel better, it makes them heal faster and stronger
Harvard University, October 6, 2021
Massage has been used to treat sore, injured muscles for more than 3,000 years, and today many athletes swear by massage guns to rehabilitate their bodies. But other than making people feel good, do these "mechanotherapies" actually improve healing after severe injury? According to a new study from researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), the answer is "yes."
Using a custom-designed robotic system to deliver consistent and tunable compressive forces to mice's leg muscles, the team found that this mechanical loading (ML) rapidly clears immune cells called neutrophils out of severely injured muscle tissue. This process also removed inflammatory cytokinesreleased by neutrophils from the muscles, enhancing the process of muscle fiber regeneration. The research is published in Science Translational Medicine.
"Lots of people have been trying to study the beneficial effects of massage and other mechanotherapies on the body, but up to this point it hadn't been done in a systematic, reproducible way. Our work shows a very clear connection between mechanical stimulation and immune function. This has promise for regenerating a wide variety of tissues including bone, tendon, hair, and skin, and can also be used in patients with diseases that prevent the use of drug-based interventions," said first author Bo Ri Seo, Ph.D., who is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Core Faculty member Dave Mooney, Ph.D. at the Wyss Institute and SEAS.
Seo and her coauthors started exploring the effects of mechanotherapy on injured tissues in mice several years ago, and found that it doubled the rate of muscle regeneration and reduced tissue scarring over the course of two weeks. Excited by the idea that mechanical stimulation alone can foster regeneration and enhance muscle function, the team decided to probe more deeply into exactly how that process worked in the body, and to figure out what parameters would maximize healing.
They teamed up with soft robotics experts in the Harvard Biodesign Lab, led by Wyss Associate Faculty member Conor Walsh, Ph.D., to create a small device that used sensors and actuators to monitor and control the force applied to the limb of a mouse. " The device we created allows us to precisely control parameters like the amount and frequency of force applied, enabling a much more systematic approach to understanding tissue healing than would be possible with a manual approach," said co-second author Christopher Payne, Ph.D., a former Postdoctoral Fellow at the Wyss Institute and the Harvard Biodesign Lab who is now a Robotics Engineer at Viam, Inc.
Once the device was ready, the team experimented with applying force to mice's leg muscles via a soft silicone tip and used ultrasound to get a look at what happened to the tissue in response. They observed that the muscles experienced a strain of between 10-40%, confirming that the tissues were experiencing mechanical force. They also used those ultrasound imaging data to develop and validate a computational model that could predict the amount of tissue strain under different loading forces.
They then applied consistent, repeated force to injured muscles for 14 days. While both treated and untreated muscles displayed a reduction in the amount of damaged muscle fibers, the reduction was more pronounced and the cross-sectional area of the fibers was larger in the treated muscle, indicating that treatment had led to greater repair and strength recovery. The greater the force applied during treatment, the stronger the injured muscles became, confirming that mechanotherapy improves muscle recovery after injury. But how?
Evicting neutrophils to enhance regeneration
To answer that question, the scientists performed a detailed biological assessment, analyzing a wide range of inflammation-related factors called cytokines and chemokines in untreated vs. treated muscles. A subset of cytokines was dramatically lower in treated muscles after three days of mechanotherapy, and these cytokines are associated with the movement of immune cells called neutrophils, which play many roles in the inflammation process. Treated muscles also had fewer neutrophils in their tissue than untreated muscles, suggesting that the reduction in cytokines that attract them had caused the decrease in neutrophil infiltration.
The team had a hunch that the force applied to the muscle by the mechanotherapy effectively squeezed the neutrophils and cytokines out of the injured tissue. They confirmed this theory by injecting fluorescent molecules into the muscles and observing that the movement of the molecules was more significant with force application, supporting the idea that it helped to flush out the muscle tissue.
To pick apart what effect the neutrophils and their associated cytokines have on regenerating muscle fibers, the scientists performed in vitro studies in which they grew muscle progenitor cells (MPCs) in a medium in which neutrophils had previously been grown. They found that the number of MPCs increased, but the rate at which they differentiated (developed into other cell types) decreased, suggesting that neutrophil-secreted factors stimulate the growth of muscle cells, but the prolonged presence of those factors impairs the production of new muscle fibers.
"Neutrophils are known to kill and clear out pathogens and damaged tissue, but in this study we identified their direct impacts on muscle progenitor cell behaviors," said co-second author Stephanie McNamara, a former Post-Graduate Fellow at the Wyss Institute who is now an M.D.-Ph.D. student at Harvard Medical School (HMS). "While the inflammatory response is important for regeneration in the initial stages of healing, it is equally important that inflammation is quickly resolved to enable the regenerative processes to run its full course."
Seo and her colleagues then turned back to their in vivo model and analyzed the types of muscle fibers in the treated vs. untreated mice 14 days after injury. They found that type IIX fibers were prevalent in healthy muscle and treated muscle, but untreated injured muscle contained smaller numbers of type IIX fibers and increased numbers of type IIA fibers. This difference explained the enlarged fiber size and greater force production of treated muscles, as IIX fibers produce more force than IIA fibers.
Finally, the team homed in on the optimal amount of time for neutrophil presence in injured muscle by depleting neutrophils in the mice on the third day after injury. The treated mice's muscles showed larger fiber size and greater strength recovery than those in untreated mice, confirming that while neutrophils are necessary in the earliest stages of injury recovery, getting them out of the injury site early leads to improved muscle regeneration.
"These findings are remarkable because they indicate that we can influence the function of the body's immune system in a drug-free, non-invasive way," said Walsh, who is also the Paul A. Maeder Professor of Engineering and Applied Science at SEAS and whose group is experienced in developing wearable technology for diagnosing and treating disease. "This provides great motivation for the development of external, mechanical interventions to help accelerate and improve muscle and tissue healing that have the potential to be rapidly translated to the clinic."
The team is continuing to investigate this line of research with multiple projects in the lab. They plan to validate this mechanotherpeutic approach in larger animals, with the goal of being able to test its efficacy on humans. They also hope to test it on different types of injuries, age-related muscle loss, and muscle performance enhancement.
"The fields of mechanotherapy and immunotherapy rarely interact with each other, but this work is a testament to how crucial it is to consider both physical and biological elements when studying and working to improve human health," said Mooney, who is the corresponding author of the paper and the Robert P. Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering at SEAS.
"The idea that mechanics influence cell and tissue function was ridiculed until the last few decades, and while scientists have made great strides in establishing acceptance of this fact, we still know very little about how that process actually works at the organ level. This research has revealed a previously unknown type of interplay between mechanobiology and immunology that is critical for muscle tissue healing, in addition to describing a new form of mechanotherapy that potentially could be as potent as chemical or gene therapies, but much simpler and less invasive," said Wyss Founding Director Don Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., who is also the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at (HMS) and the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children's Hospital, as well as Professor of Bioengineering at SEAS.
Vitamin E could help protect older men from pneumonia
University of Helsinki (Finland), October 7 2021.
For the current investigation, Dr Harri Hemilä of the University of Helsinki, Finland analyzed data from the Alpha-Tocopherol Beta-Carotene (ATBC) Cancer Prevention Study conducted in Finland. The trial included 29,133 men between the ages of 50 to 69 years who smoked at least five cigarettes daily upon enrollment. Participants received alpha tocopherol (vitamin E), beta carotene, both supplements, or a placebo for five to eight years.
The current study was limited to 7,469 ATBC participants who started smoking at age 21 or older. Among this group, supplementation with vitamin E was associated with a 35% lower risk of developing pneumonia in comparison with those who did not receive the vitamin. Light smokers who engaged in leisure time exercise had a 69% lower risk compared with unsupplemented members of this subgroup. The risk in this subgroup of developing pneumonia by age 74 was 12.9%.
Among the one-third of the current study's population who quit smoking for a median period of two years, there was a 72% lower risk of pneumonia in association with vitamin E supplementation. In this group, exercisers who received vitamin E experienced an 81% lower pneumonia risk.
Dr Hemilä observed that the benefit for vitamin E in this study was strongest for older subjects—a group at higher risk of pneumonia.
"The current analysis of individual-level data suggests that trials on vitamin E and pneumonia on nonsmoking elderly males are warranted," he concluded.
Toxic fatty acids to blame for brain cell death after injury
New York University, October 7, 2021
Cells that normally nourish healthy brain cells called neurons release toxic fatty acids after neurons are damaged, a new study in rodents shows. This phenomenon is likely the driving factor behind most, if not all, diseases that affect brain function, as well as the natural breakdown of brain cells seen in aging, researchers say.
Previous research has pointed to astrocytes—a star-shaped glial cell of the central nervous system—as the culprits behind cell death seen in Parkinson's disease and dementia, among other neurodegenerative diseases. While many experts believed that these cells released a neuron-killing molecule to "clear away" damaged brain cells, the identity of this toxin has until now remained a mystery.
Led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the new investigation provides what they say is the first evidence that tissue damage prompts astrocytes to produce two kinds of fats, long-chain saturated free fatty acids and phosphatidylcholines. These fats then trigger cell death in damaged neurons, the electrically active cells that send messages throughout nerve tissue.
Publishing Oct. 6 in the journal Nature, the study also showed that when researchers blocked fatty acid formation in mice, 75 percent of neurons survived compared with 10 percent when the fatty acids were allowed to form. The researchers' earlier work showed that brain cells continued to function when shielded from astrocyte attacks.
"Our findings show that the toxic fatty acids produced by astrocytes play a critical role in brain cell death and provide a promising new target for treating, and perhaps even preventing, many neurodegenerative diseases," says study co-senior author Shane Liddelow, Ph.D.
Liddelow, an assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology at NYU Langone Health, adds that targeting these fats instead of the cells that produce them may be a safer approach to treating neurodegenerative diseasesbecause astrocytes feed nerve cells and clear away their waste. Stopping them from working altogether could interfere with healthy brain function.
Although it remains unclear why astrocytes produce these toxins, it is possible they evolved to destroy damaged cells before they can harm their neighbors, says Liddelow. He notes that while healthy cells are not harmed by the toxins, neurons become susceptible to the damaging effects when they are injured, mutated, or infected by prions, the contagious, misfolded proteins that play a major role in mad cow disease and similar illnesses. Perhaps in chronic diseases like dementia, this otherwise helpful process goes off track and becomes a problem, the study authors say.
For the investigation, researchers analyzed the molecules released by astrocytes collected from rodents. They also genetically engineered some groups of mice to prevent the normal production of the toxic fats and looked to see whether neuron death occurred after an acute injury.
"Our results provide what is likely the most detailed molecular map to date of how tissue damage leads to brain cell death, enabling researchers to better understand why neurons die in all kinds of diseases," says Liddelow, also an assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at NYU Langone.
Liddelow cautions that while the findings are promising, the genetic techniques used to block the enzyme that produces toxic fatty acids in mice are not ready for use in humans. As a result, the researchers next plan is to explore safe and effective ways to interfere with the release of the toxins in human patients. Liddelow and his colleagues had previously shown these neurotoxic astrocytes in the brains of patients with Parkinson's, Huntington's disease, and multiple sclerosis, among other diseases.
Clinical trial for nicotinamide riboside: Vitamin safely boosts levels of important cell metabolite linked to multiple health benefits
University of Iowa Health Care, October 3, 2021
In the first controlled clinical trial of nicotinamide riboside (NR), a newly discovered form of Vitamin B3, researchers have shown that the compound is safe for humans and increases levels of a cell metabolite that is critical for cellular energy production and protection against stress and DNA damage.
Studies in mice have shown that boosting the levels of this cell metabolite -- known as NAD+ -- can produce multiple health benefits, including resistance to weight gain, improved control of blood sugar and cholesterol, reduced nerve damage, and longer lifespan. Levels of NAD+ diminish with age, and it has been suggested that loss of this metabolite may play a role in age-related health decline.
These findings in animal studies have spurred people to take commercially available NR supplements designed to boost NAD+. However, these over-the-counter supplements have not undergone clinical trials to see if they work in people.
The new research, reported in the journal Nature Communications, was led by Charles Brenner, PhD, professor and Roy J. Carver Chair of Biochemistry at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in collaboration with colleagues at Queens University Belfast and ChromaDex Corp. (NASDAQ: CDXC), which supplied the NR used in the trial. Brenner is a consultant for ChromaDex. He also is co-founder and Chief Scientific Adviser of ProHealthspan, which sells NR supplements under the trade name Tru NIAGEN®.
The human trial involved six men and six women, all healthy. Each participant received single oral doses of 100 mg, 300 mg, or 1,000 mg of NR in a different sequence with a seven-day gap between doses. After each dose, blood and urine samples were collected and analyzed by Brenner's lab to measure various NAD+ metabolites in a process called metabolomics. The trial showed that the NR vitamin increased NAD+ metabolism by amounts directly related to the dose, and there were no serious side effects with any of the doses.
"This trial shows that oral NR safely boosts human NAD+ metabolism," Brenner says. "We are excited because everything we are learning from animal systems indicates that the effectiveness of NR depends on preserving and/or boosting NAD+ and related compounds in the face of metabolic stresses. Because the levels of supplementation in mice that produce beneficial effects are achievable in people, it appears than health benefits of NR will be translatable to humans safely."
The next step will be to study the effect of longer duration NR supplementation on NAD+ metabolism in healthy adults, but Brenner also has plans to test the effects of NR in people with diseases and health conditions, including elevated cholesterol, obesity and diabetes, and people at risk for chemotherapeutic peripheral neuropathy.
Prior to the formal clinical trial, Brenner conducted a pilot human study -- on himself. In 2004, he had discovered that NR is a natural product found in milk and that there is pathway to convert NR to NAD+ in people. More than a decade of research on NR metabolic pathways and health effects in mice and rats had convinced him that NR supplementation had real promise to improve human health and wellness. After consulting with UI's institutional review board, he conducted an experiment in which he took 1 gram of NR once a day for seven days, and his team analyzed blood and urine samples using mass spectrometry. The experiment showed that Brenner's blood NAD+ increased by about 2.7 times. In addition, though he reported immediate sensitivity to flushing with the related compound niacin, he did not experience any side effects taking NR.
The biggest surprise from his metabolomic analysis was an increase in a metabolite called NAAD, which was multiplied by 45 times, from trace levels to amounts in the micromolar range that were easily detectable.
"While this was unexpected, I thought it might be useful," Brenner says. "NAD+ is an abundant metabolite and it is sometimes hard to see the needle move on levels of abundant metabolites. But when you can look at a low-abundance metabolite that goes from undetectable to easily detectable, there is a great signal to noise ratio, meaning that NAAD levels could be a useful biomarker for tracking increases in NAD+ in human trials."
Brenner notes this was a case of bidirectional translational science; having learned something from the initial human experiment, his team was able to return to laboratory mice to explore the unexpected NAAD finding in more detail.
Brenner's mouse study showed that NAAD is formed from NR and confirmed that NAAD levels are a strong biomarker for increased NAD+ metabolism. The experiments also revealed more detail about NAD+ metabolic pathways.
In particular, the researchers compared the ability of all three NAD+ precursor vitamins -- NR, niacin, and nicotinamide -- to boost NAD+ metabolism and stimulate the activity of certain enzymes, which have been linked to longevity and healthbenefits. The study showed for the first time that oral NR is superior to nicotinamide, which is better than niacin in terms of the total amount of NAD+ produced at an equivalent dose. NR was also the best of the three in stimulating the activity of sirtuin enzymes. However, in this case, NR was the best at stimulating sirtuin-like activities, followed by niacin, followed by nicotinamide.
The information from the mouse study subsequently helped Brenner's team design the formal clinical trial. In addition to showing that NR boosts NAD+ in humans without adverse effects, the trial confirmed that NAAD is a highly sensitive biomarker of NAD+ supplementation in people.
"Now that we have demonstrated safety in this small clinical trial, we are in a position to find out if the health benefits that we have seen in animals can be reproduced in people," says Brenner, who also is co-director of the Obesity Research and Education Initiative, professor of internal medicine, and a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center at the UI.
Protecting the ozone layer is delivering vast health benefits
Montreal Protocol will spare Americans from 443 million skin cancer cases
National Center for Atmospheric Research, October 7, 2021
An international agreement to protect the ozone layer is expected to prevent 443 million cases of skin cancer and 63 million cataract cases for people born in the United States through the end of this century, according to new research.
The research team, by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), ICF Consulting, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), focused on the far-reaching impacts of a landmark 1987 treaty known as the Montreal Protocol and later amendments that substantially strengthened it. The agreement phased out the use of chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that destroy ozone in the stratosphere.
Stratospheric ozone shields the planet from harmful levels of the Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, protecting life on Earth.
To measure the long-term effects of the Montreal Protocol, the scientists developed a computer modeling approach that enabled them to look to both the past and the future by simulating the treaty’s impact on Americans born between 1890 and 2100. The modeling revealed the treaty’s effect on stratospheric ozone, the associated reductions in ultraviolet radiation, and the resulting health benefits.
In addition to the number of skin cancer and cataract cases that were avoided, the study also showed that the treaty, as most recently amended, will prevent approximately 2.3 million skin cancer deaths in the U.S.
“It’s very encouraging,” said NCAR scientist Julia Lee-Taylor, a co-author of the study. “It shows that, given the will, the nations of the world can come together to solve global environmental problems.”
The study, funded by the EPA, was published in ACS Earth and Space Chemistry. NCAR is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
Mounting concerns over the ozone layer
Scientists in the 1970s began highlighting the threat to the ozone layer when they found that CFCs, used as refrigerants and in other applications, release chlorine atoms in the stratosphere that set off chemical reactions that destroy ozone. Concerns mounted the following decade with the discovery of an Antarctic ozone hole.
The loss of stratospheric ozone would be catastrophic, as high levels of UV radiation have been linked to certain types of skin cancer, cataracts, and immunological disorders. The ozone layer also protects terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, as well as agriculture.
Policy makers responded to the threat with the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, in which nations agreed to curtail the use of certain ozone-destroying substances. Subsequent amendments strengthened the treaty by expanding the list of ozone-destroying substances (such as halons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons, or HCFCs) and accelerating the timeline for phasing out their use. The amendments were based on Input from the scientific community, including a number of NCAR scientists, that were summarized in quadrennial Ozone Assessment reports.
To quantify the impacts of the treaty, the research team built a model known as the Atmospheric and Health Effects Framework. This model, which draws on various data sources about ozone, public health, and population demographics, consists of five computational steps. These simulate past and future emissions of ozone-destroying substances, the impacts of those substances on stratospheric ozone, the resulting changes in ground-level UV radiation, the U.S. population’s exposure to UV radiation, and the incidence and mortality of health effects resulting from the exposure.
The results showed UV radiation levels returning to 1980 levels by the mid-2040s under the amended treaty. In contrast, UV levels would have continued to increase throughout this century if the treaty had not been amended, and they would have soared far higher without any treaty at all.
Even with the amendments, the simulations show excess cases of cataracts and various types of skin cancer beginning to occur with the onset of ozone depletion and peaking decades later as the population exposed to the highest UV levels ages. Those born between 1900 and 2040 experience heightened cases of skin cancer and cataracts, with the worst health outcomes affecting those born between about 1950 and 2000.
However, the health impacts would have been far more severe without the treaty, with cases of skin cancer and cataracts rising at an increasingly rapid rate through the century.
“We peeled away from disaster,” Lee-Taylor said. “What is eye popping is what would have happened by the end of this century if not for the Montreal Protocol. By 2080, the amount of UV has tripled. After that, our calculations for the health impacts start to break down because we’re getting so far into conditions that have never been seen before.”
The research team also found that more than half the treaty’s health benefits could be traced to the later amendments rather than the original 1987 Montreal Protocol. Overall, the treaty prevented more than 99% of potential health impacts that would have otherwise occurred from ozone destruction. This showed the importance of the treaty’s flexibility in adjusting to evolving scientific knowledge, the authors said.
The researchers focused on the U.S. because of ready access to health data and population projections. Lee-Taylor said that the specific health outcomes in other countries may vary, but the overall trends would be similar.
“The treaty had broad global benefits,” she said.
What is Boron?
The trace mineral boron provides profound anti-cancer effects, in addition to maintaining stronger bones.
Life Extension, September 2021
Boron is a trace mineral found in the earth’s crust and in water. Its importance in human health has been underestimated.
Boron has been shown to have actions against specific types of malignancies, such as:
- Cervical cancer: The country Turkey has an extremely low incidence of cervical cancer, and scientists partially attribute this to its boron-rich soil.1 When comparing women who live in boron-rich regions versus boron-poor regions of Turkey, not a single woman living in the boron-rich regions had any indication of cervical cancer.2(The mean dietary intake of boron for women in this group was 8.41 mg/day.)
Boron interferes with the life cycle of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a contributing factor in approximately 95% of all cervical cancers.1
Considering that HPV viruses are increasingly implicated in head and neck cancers,3,4 supplementation with this ultra-low-cost mineral could have significant benefits in protecting against this malignancy that is increasing in prevalence.
- Lung cancer: A study conducted at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center between 1995 and 2005 found that increased boron intake was associated with a lower risk of lung cancer in postmenopausal women who were taking hormone replacement therapy.
- Prostate cancer: Studies point to boron’s ability to inhibit the growth and spread of prostate cancer cells.
In one study, when mice were exposed to boric acid, their tumors shrank by as much as 38%.6 One analysis found that increased dietary boron intake was associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer.7
Several human and animal studies have confirmed the important connection between boron and bone health.
Boron prevents calcium loss,8 while also alleviating the bone problems associated with magnesium and vitamin D deficiency.9 All of these nutrients help maintain bone density.
A study in female rats revealed the harmful effects a deficiency in boron has on bones, including:10
- Decreased bone volume fraction, a measure of bone strength,
- Decreased thickness of the bone’s spongy inner layer, and
- Decreased maximum force needed to break the femur.
And in a study of post-menopausal women, supplementation with3 mg of boron per day prevented calcium loss and bone demineralization by reducing urinary excretion of both calcium and magnesium.8
In addition to its bone and anti-cancer benefits, there are nine additional reasons boron is an important trace mineral vital for health and longevity. It has been shown to:1
- Greatly improve wound healing,
- Beneficially impact the body’s use of estrogen, testosterone, and vitamin D,
- Boost magnesium absorption,
- Reduce levels of inflammatory biomarkers, such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α),
- Raise levels of antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase,
- Protect against pesticide-induced oxidative stress and heavy-metal toxicity,
- Improve the brain’s electrical activity, which may explain its benefits for cognitive performance, and short-term memory in the elderly,
- Influence the formation and activity of key biomolecules, such as S-adenosyl methionine (SAM-e) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), and
- Potentially help ameliorate the adverse effects of traditional chemotherapeutic agents.
Because the amount of boron varies in the soil, based on geographical location, obtaining enough boron through diet alone can be difficult.
Supplementing with low-cost boron is an effective way to maintain adequate levels of this overlooked micronutrient.
Natural compound in basil may protect against Alzheimer's disease pathology
University of South Florida, October 5, 2021
Fenchol, a natural compound abundant in some plants including basil, can help protect the brain against Alzheimer's disease pathology, a preclinical study led by University of South Florida Health (USF Health) researchers suggests.
The new study published Oct. 5 in the Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, discovered a sensing mechanism associated with the gut microbiome that explains how fenchol reduces neurotoxicity in the Alzheimer's brain.
Emerging evidence indicates that short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)– metabolites produced by beneficial gut bacteria and the primary source of nutrition for cells in your colon—contribute to brain health. The abundance of SCFAs is often reduced in older patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. However, how this decline in SCFAs contributes to Alzheimer's disease progression remains largely unknown.
Gut-derived SCFAs that travel through the blood to the brain can bind to and activate free fatty acid receptor 2 (FFAR2), a cell signaling molecule expressed on brain cellscalled neurons.
"Our study is the first to discover that stimulation of the FFAR2 sensing mechanism by these microbial metabolites (SCFAs) can be beneficial in protecting brain cells against toxic accumulation of the amyloid-beta (Aβ) protein associated with Alzheimer's disease," said principal investigator Hariom Yadav, Ph.D., professor of neurosurgery and brain repair at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, where he directs the USF Center for Microbiome Research.
One of the two hallmark pathologies of Alzheimer's disease is hardened deposits of Aβ that clump together between nerve cells to form amyloid protein plaques in the brain. The other is neurofibrillary tangles of tau protein inside brain cells. These pathologies contribute to the neuron loss and death that ultimately cause the onset of Alzheimer's, a neurodegenerative disease characterized by loss of memory, thinking skills and other cognitive abilities.
Dr. Yadav and his collaborators delve into molecular mechanisms to explain how interactions between the gut microbiome and the brain might influence brain health and age-related cognitive decline. In this study, Dr. Yadav said, the research team set out to uncover the "previously unknown" function of FFAR2 in the brain.
The researchers first showed that inhibiting the FFAR2 receptor (thus blocking its ability to "sense" SCFAs in the environment outside the neuronal cell and transmit signaling inside the cell) contributes to the abnormal buildup of the Aβ protein causing neurotoxicity linked to Alzheimer's disease.
Then, they performed large-scale virtual screening of more than 144,000 natural compounds to find potential candidates that could mimic the same beneficial effect of microbiota produced SCFAs in activating FFAR2 signaling. Identifying a natural compound alternative to SCFAs to optimally target the FFAR2 receptor on neurons is important, because cells in the gut and other organs consume most of these microbial metabolites before they reach the brain through blood circulation, Dr. Yadav noted.
Dr. Yadav's team narrowed 15 leading compound candidates to the most potent one. Fenchol, a plant-derived compound that gives basil its aromatic scent, was best at binding to the FFAR's active site to stimulate its signaling.
Further experiments in human neuronal cell cultures, as well as Caenorhabditis (C.) elegans (worm) and mouse models of Alzheimer's disease demonstrated that fenchol significantly reduced excess Aβ accumulation and death of neurons by stimulating FFAR2 signaling, the microbiome sensing mechanism. When the researchers more closely examined how fenchol modulates Aβ-induced neurotoxicity, they found that the compound decreased senescent neuronal cells, also known as "zombie" cells, commonly found in brains with Alzheimer's disease pathology.
Zombie cells stop replicating and die a slow death. Meanwhile, Dr. Yadav said, they build up in diseased and aging organs, create a damaging inflammatory environment, and send stress or death signals to neighboring healthy cells, which eventually also change into harmful zombie cells or die.
"Fenchol actually affects the two related mechanisms of senescence and proteolysis," Dr. Yadav said of the intriguing preclinical study finding. "It reduces the formation of half-dead zombie neuronal cells and also increases the degradation of (nonfunctioning) Aβ, so that amyloid protein is cleared from the brain much faster."
Before you start throwing lots of extra basil in your spaghetti sauce or anything else you eat to help stave off dementia, more research is needed—including in humans.
In exploring fenchol as a possible approach for treating or preventing Alzheimer's pathology, the USF Health team will seek answers to several questions. A key one is whether fenchol consumed in basil itself would be more or less bioactive (effective) than isolating and administering the compound in a pill, Dr. Yadav said. "We also want to know whether a potent dose of either basil or fenchol would be a quicker way to get the compound into the brain."
Researchers find sense of purpose associated with better memory
Florida State University, October 6, 2021
Add an improved memory to the list of the many benefits that accompany having a sense of purpose in life.
A new study led by Florida State University researchers showed a link between an individual's sense of purpose and their ability to recall vivid details. The researchers found that while both a sense of purpose and cognitive function made memories easier to recall, only a sense of purpose bestowed the benefits of vividness and coherence.
The study, which focused on memories related to the COVID-19 pandemic, was published in the journal Memory.
"Personal memories serve really important functions in everyday life," said Angelina Sutin, a professor in the College of Medicine and the paper's lead author. "They help us to set goals, control emotions and build intimacy with others. We also know people with a greater sense of purpose perform better on objective memory tests, like remembering a list of words. We were interested in whether purpose was also associated with the quality of memories of important personal experiences because such qualities may be one reason why purpose is associated with better mental and physical health."
Nearly 800 study participants reported on their sense of purpose and completed tasks that measured their cognitive processing speed in January and February 2020, before the ongoing coronavirus pandemic took hold in the U.S. Researchers then measured participants' ability to retrieve and describe personal memories about the pandemic in July 2020, several months into the public health crisis.
Participants with a stronger sense of purpose in life reported that their memories were more accessible, coherent and vivid than participants with less purpose. Those with a higher sense of purpose also reported many sensory details, spoke about their memories more from a first-person perspective and reported more positive feeling and less negative feeling when asked to retrieve a memory.
The researchers also found that depressive symptoms had little effect on the ability to recall vivid details in memories, suggesting that the connection between life purpose and memory recall is not due to the fewer depressive symptoms among individuals higher in purpose.
Purpose in life has been consistently associated with better episodic memory, such as the number of words retrieved correctly on a memory task. This latest research expands on those connections to memory by showing a correlation between purpose and the richness of personal memory.
"We chose to measure the ability to recall memories associated with the COVID-19 pandemic because the pandemic is an event that touched everyone, but there has been a wide range of experiences and reactions to it that should be apparent in memories," said co-author Martina Luchetti, an assistant professor in the College of Medicine.
Along with the association with better memory, previous research has found other numerous benefits connected with having a sense of purpose, from a lower risk of death to better physical and mental health.
"Memories help people to sustain their well-being, social connections and cognitive health," said co-author Antonio Terracciano, a professor in the College of Medicine. "This research gives us more insight into the connections between a sense of purpose and the richness of personal memories. The vividness of those memories and how they fit into a coherent narrative may be one pathway through which purpose leads to these better outcomes.
Vitamin D protects against severe asthma attacks
Queen Mary University of London, October 3, 2021
Taking oral vitamin D supplements in addition to standard asthma medication could halve the risk of asthma attacks requiring hospital attendance, according to research led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).
Asthma affects more than 300 million people worldwide and is estimated to cause almost 400,000 deaths annually. Asthma deaths arise primarily during episodes of acute worsening of symptoms, known as attacks or 'exacerbations', which are commonly triggered by viral upper respiratory infections.
Vitamin D is thought to protect against such attacks by boosting immune responses to respiratory viruses and dampening down harmful airway inflammation.
The new study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, and published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, collated and analysed the individual data from 955 participants in seven randomised controlled trials, which tested the use of vitamin D supplements.
Overall, the researchers found that vitamin D supplementation resulted in:
- a 30 per cent reduction in the rate of asthma attacks requiring treatment with steroid tablets or injections - from 0.43 events per person per year to 0.30.
- a 50 per cent reduction in the risk of experiencing at least one asthma attack requiring Accident and Emergency Department attendance and/or hospitalisation - from 6 per cent of people experiencing such an event to 3 per cent.
Vitamin D supplementation was found to be safe at the doses administered. No instances of excessively high calcium levels or renal stones were seen, and serious adverse events were evenly distributed between participants taking vitamin D and those on placebo.
Lead researcher Professor Adrian Martineau said: "These results add to the ever growing body of evidence that vitamin D can support immune function as well as bone health. On average, three people in the UK die from asthma attacks every day. Vitamin D is safe to take and relatively inexpensive so supplementation represents a potentially cost-effective strategy to reduce this problem."
The team's use of individual participant data also allowed them to query the extent to which different groups respond to vitamin D supplementation, in more detail than previous studies.
In particular, vitamin D supplementation was found to have a strong and statistically-significant protective effect in participants who had low vitamin D levels to start with. These participants saw a 55 per cent reduction in the rate of asthma exacerbations requiring treatment with steroid tablets or injections - from 0.42 events per person per year to 0.19.
However, due to relatively small numbers of patients within sub-groups, the researchers caution that they did not find definitive evidence to show that effects of vitamin D supplementation differ according to baseline vitamin D status.
Professor Hywel Williams, Director of the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme, said: "The results of this NIHR-funded study brings together evidence from several other studies from over the world and is an important contribution to reducing uncertainties on whether Vitamin D is helpful for asthma - a common condition that impacts on many thousands of people worldwide."
Dr David Jolliffe from QMUL, first author on the paper, added: "Our results are largely based on data from adults with mild to moderate asthma: children and adults with severe asthma were relatively under-represented in the dataset, so our findings cannot necessarily be generalised to these patient groups at this stage. Further clinical trials are on-going internationally, and we hope to include data from them in a future analysis to determine whether the promise of today's results is confirmed in an even larger and more diverse group of patients."
Study Shows Lifestyle Choices Have Significant Impact on Multiple Chronic Conditions, Significant Implications For Reducing Costs
Yale University, October 05, 2021
In a study published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine, Adams and colleagues showed a linear association between a number of modifiable risk factors and multiple chronic conditions, making those modifications a key to health care cost savings and to preventing a wide range of conditions.
The data analyzed for the study, https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1VpFeKt2pmc9H, were from the publicly available 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and included 483,865 non-institutionalized US adults ages 18 years old or older. Chronic conditions included asthma, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cognitive impairment, cancer other than skin, and kidney disease. Risk factors included obesity, current smoking, sedentary lifestyle, inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption and sleeping other than seven to eight hours, while depression, hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes were considered in each category.
Previous research by Thorpe and colleagues had estimated that the care of adults with four or more chronic conditions (17.1% of all adults in the study) is responsible for 77.6% of all health care costs in the U.S. today.
The potential savings by reducing just two risk factors (diabetes and hypertension) and their related comorbidity was estimated previously by Ormond and colleagues at $9 billion annually over one to two years and closer to $25 billion a year after 5 years or more, factoring in possible complications.
True Health Initiative founder, at Yale University Director and study co-author David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACLM, pointed out that in addition to costs, another implication of the study results is an individual's access to healthcare if they have one or more of the chronic conditions.
"Although insurers decide what qualifies as a pre-existing condition, all the chronic conditions used in this study except cognitive impairment are commonly included," he said. "Individuals with a pre-existing condition could be denied coverage or face higher premiums. While having a pre-existing condition might not affect coverage for adults eligible for Medicare, over half of all adults with multiple chronic conditions are ages 18 to 64 years."
American College of Lifestyle Medicine President George Guthrie, MD, MPH, FACLM, said the study confirms the necessity for addressing the root cause of chronic conditions.
"The evidence shows that the risks for chronic disease are rooted in lifestyle choices," he said. "More than ever, it is important to emphasize lifestyle medicine as the first treatment option for preventing, treating, and in some cases, reversing the cause of chronic conditions. If we can help people with chronic conditions, we can add years to their life and life to their years, as well as lower the ever-increasing costs of healthcare for everyone."
Physical athletes' visual skills prove sharper than action video game players
University of Waterloo (Canada), October 7, 2021
Athletes still have the edge over action video gamers when it comes to dynamic visual skills, a new study from the University of Waterloo shows.
"Athletes involved in sports with a high-level of movement—like soccer, football, or baseball—often score higher on dynamic visual acuity tests than non-athletes," said Dr. Kristine Dalton of Waterloo's School of Optometry & Vision Science. "Our research team wanted to investigate if action video gamers—who, like e-sport athletes, are regularly immersed in a dynamic, fast-paced 2D video environment for large periods of time—would also show superior levels of dynamic visual acuity on par with athletes competing in physical sport."
While visual acuity (clarity or sharpness of vision) is most often measured under static conditions during annual check-ups with an optometrist, research shows that testing dynamic visual acuity is a more effective measure of a person's ability to see moving objects clearly—a baseline skill necessary for success in physical and e-sports alike.
Using a dynamic visual acuity skills-test designed and validated at the University of Waterloo, researchers discovered that while physical athletes score highly on dynamic visual acuity tests as expected, action video game players tested closer to non-athletes.
"Ultimately, athletes showed a stronger ability to identify smaller moving targets, which suggests visual processing differences exist between them and our video game players," said Alan Yee, a Ph.D. candidate in vision science. All participants were matched based on their level of static visual acuity and refractive error, distinguishing dynamic visual acuity as the varying factor on their test performance.
"Our findings show there is still a benefit to training in a 3D environment," said Dalton. "For athletes looking to develop stronger visual skills, the broader visual field and depth perception that come with physical training may be crucial to improving their dynamic visual acuity—and ultimately, their sport performance."
The study, Athletes demonstrate superior visual dynamic visual acuity, authored by Waterloo's School of Optometry & Vision Science's Dalton, Yee, Dr. Elizabeth Irving and Dr. Ben Thompson, was recently published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science.
Probiotic Akkermansia muciniphila and environmental enrichment reverse cognitive impairment associated with high-fat high-cholesterol consumption
University of Oviedo (Spain), September 8, 2021
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is one of the most prevalent diseases globally. A high-fat, high-cholesterol (HFHC) diet leads to an early NASH model. It has been suggested that gut microbiota mediates the effects of diet through the microbiota–gut–brain axis, modifying the host’s brain metabolism and disrupting cognition. Here, we target NASH-induced cognitive damage by testing the impact of environmental enrichment (EE) and the administration of either Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) or Akkermansia muciniphila CIP107961 (AKK). EE and AKK, but not LGG, reverse the HFHC-induced cognitive dysfunction, including impaired spatial working memory and novel object recognition; however, whereas AKK restores brain metabolism, EE results in an overall decrease. Moreover, AKK and LGG did not induce major rearrangements in the intestinal microbiota, with only slight changes in bacterial composition and diversity, whereas EE led to an increase in Firmicutes and Verrucomicrobia members. Our findings illustrate the interplay between gut microbiota, the host’s brain energy metabolism, and cognition. In addition, the findings suggest intervention strategies, such as the administration of AKK, for the management of the cognitive dysfunction related to NASH.
In this study, we described cognitive, brain metabolism, and microbiota alterations associated with high-fat and high-cholesterol consumption. In addition, we clearly showed that environmental enrichment and A. muciniphila CIP107961 restore cognitive dysfunction. Furthermore, we revealed that cognitive improvement is associated with differential effects of environmental enrichment and this strain of A. muciniphila on brain metabolism and gut microbiota. Finally, we discovered that restored cognitive function was associated with the administration of A. muciniphila CIP107961, but not L. rhamnosus GG, which may be clinically relevant when selecting probiotics for treating HFHC-derived pathologies.
In conclusion, the microbiota and cognition are intimately connected through the gut–brain axis, and in HFHC pathologies they can be influenced by environmental enrichment and A. muciniphila CIP107961 administration. Cognitive improvement was accompanied by changes in brain metabolic activity and gut microbial composition analysis, pointing to specific microbiota targets for intervention in diet-induced pathologies. However, some mechanisms other than major changes in microbiota composition and the combined effect of environmental enrichment and A. muciniphila administration, which we identified in this study, may also be biologically relevant and will need to be investigated in future studies due to their relative contributions to the selection of effective treatments for patients.
Red onion effective at killing cancer cells, study says
University of Guelph (Ontario)
If you’re looking for a flavorful way to help fight and prevent cancer, add red onion to your shopping list. It will be worth the effort … as you will soon see why.
In the first study of its kind, University of Guelph researchers looked at how the Ontario-grown red onion and several others affected the growth and proliferation of cancer cells. Their findings indicate that all onions are not created equal.
The Canadian researchers looked at five different kinds of onion in total from the province of Ontario. They assessed the onions in terms of their effects against cancer cells and their ability to prevent cancer. Of the five species tested, the Ruby Ring red onion was the most effective.
Few people are aware that onions are somewhat of a superfood. Hopefully, studies like these will help to change that. Onions in general have very high concentrations of the flavonoid quercetin. However, the Ruby Ring Ontario red onion has particularly high levels of these compounds as compared with other species.
In the study, colon cancer cells were placed in direct contact with quercetin that was extracted from the five onion varieties studied. It was found that all of the onion types created an unfavorable environment for cancer cells and initiated cancer cell death, or apoptosis. Communication between the cancer cells seems to be disrupted by the compounds in the onions, and this can help to fight and prevent cancer.
The study also showed that the Ruby Ring red onion was high in anthocyanin, a compound that helps to enrich the scavenging properties of quercetin. This in turn supports quercetin in fighting cancer cells and helping to prevent cancer.
Anthocyanin is the molecule that gives vegetables like red onions their rich, deep color. This is in keeping with the general increased healthbenefits that can be gained from other dark or brightly colored vegetables and fruits. The recent onion study results were published in the journal Food Research International.
While all of the onions studied showed the ability to inhibit cancer cells, red onions were particularly effective. Their beneficial compounds blocked the production of both colon cancer cells and breast cancer cells within the controlled conditions of the study.
The next step is to complete human trials to further explore the cancer fighting effects of onions. Researchers are also working on an extraction technique to isolate the quercetin in onions so that it can be administered as a cancer therapy.
In the meantime, finding ways to include more of this cancer-fighting superfood into your diet can allow you to experience many health benefits. Enjoy red onions in salads, on sandwiches and cooked into soups, stews and stir-fry dishes.
Age and aging have critical effects on the gut microbiome
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, October 4, 2021
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai have found that aging produces significant changes in the microbiome of the human small intestine distinct from those caused by medications or illness burden. The findings have been published in the journal Cell Reports.
"By teasing out the microbial changes that occur in the small bowel with age, medication use and diseases, we hope to identify unique components of the microbial community to target for therapeutics and interventions that could promote healthy aging," said Ruchi Mathur, MD, the study's principal investigator.
Research exploring the gut microbiome, and its impact on health, has relied predominantly on fecal samples, which do not represent the entire gut, according to Mathur. In their study, investigators from Cedars-Sinai's Medically Associated Science and Technology (MAST) Program analyzed samples from the small intestine–which is over 20 feet in length and has the surface area of a tennis court–for examination of the microbiome and its relationship with aging.
"This study is the first of its kind to examine the microbial composition of the small intestine of subjects 18 years of age to 80. We now know that certain microbial populations are influenced more by medications, while others are more affected by certain diseases. We have identified specific microbes that appear to be only influenced by the chronological age of the person," said Mathur, an endocrinologist and director of the Diabetes Outpatient Treatment & Education Center.
The 21st century has been referred to as the "era of the gut microbiome" as scientists turn considerable attention to the role trillions of gut bacteria, fungi and viruses may play in human health and disease. The microbiome is the name given to the genes that live in these cells. Studies have suggested that disturbances in the constellations of the microbial universe may lead to critical illnesses, including gastroenterological diseases, diabetes, obesity, and some neurological disorders.
While researchers know that microbial diversity in stool decreases with age, Cedars-Sinai investigators identified bacteria in the small bowel they refer to as "disruptors" that increase and could be troublesome.
"Coliforms are normal residents of the intestine. We found that when these rod-shaped microbes become too abundant in the small bowel–as they do as we get older–they exert a negative influence on the rest of the microbial population. They are like weeds in a garden," said study co-author Gabriela Leite, Ph.D.
Investigators also found that as people age, the bacteria in the small intestine change from microbes that prefer oxygen to those that can survive with less oxygen, something they hope to understand as the research continues.
"Our goal is to identify and fingerprint the small intestinal microbial patterns of human health and disease. Given the important role the small bowel plays in absorption of nutrients, changes in the microbiome in this location of the gut may have a greater impact on human health, and warrants further study," said Mark Pimentel, MD, director of the MAST program and a co-author of the study.
This research is part of Cedars-Sinai's ongoing REIMAGINE study: Revealing the Entire Intestinal Microbiota and its Associations with the Genetic, Immunologic, and Neuroendocrine Ecosystem.
Study finds no association between caffeine intake and invasive breast cancer risk
University of Buffalo, September 28, 2021
Researchers from the University at Buffalo conducted a study of nearly 80,000 postmenopausal women in the U.S. to determine whether caffeine consumption from coffee and tea has any association with invasive breast cancer.
The average age when U.S. women reach menopause, 51, also happens to coincide with the age group—50- to 64-year-olds—that has the highest reported caffeine consumption. In addition to that, the average age of breast cancer diagnosis in the U.S. is 62.
This overlap of age at menopause, age at diagnosis of breast cancer and age with high caffeine consumption gave greater weight to the importance of clarifying whether caffeine intake impacts breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women.
It does not, according to the UB researchers' findings, published in August in the International Journal of Cancer.
"From our literature review, many studies have found significant associations between coffee and/or tea consumption and reduced breast cancer incidence whereas a few studies have reported elevated risk. Our study, however, found no association," said study first author Christina KH Zheng, who worked on the study while completing her master's in epidemiology at UB. She is now a surgical resident in the MedStar Baltimore general surgery program.
"About 85% of Americans drink at least one caffeinated beverage a day. It is important for the public to know whether consumption of caffeinated beverages has beneficial or harmful effects on breast cancer, the most common type of cancer and second-leading cause of cancer death for U.S. women," said Lina Mu, MD, Ph.D., the study's senior author, who is an associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health at UB.
"The overlap of age at diagnosis of breast cancer and age with high consumption of caffeine, and the inconsistent findings from previous studies motivated us to study whether this lifestyle factor could affect breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women," said Kexin Zhu, a study co-first author and epidemiology Ph.D. student in UB's School of Public Health and Health Professions.
Researchers looked at a sample of 79,871 participants in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. Participants have for decades now completed yearly health questionnaires that help researchers learn more about diet and exercise habits, as well as disease, and any possible linkages.
After a median follow-up of 16 years, there were 4,719 cases of invasive breast cancer identified.
At first glance, women who reported drinking two to three cups of caffeinated coffee per day had a 12% higher risk of invasive breast cancer compared to non-drinkers. But that association was not statistically significant after adjusting for lifestyle factors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption.
"Seeing null results after adjusting for lifestyle, demographic and reproductive factors informs us of the complexity that is the relationship between caffeine intake and invasive breast cancer risk," Zheng said.
"Some lifestyle factors, like drinking alcohol and physical activity, might be associated with both coffee intake and breast cancer risk," Zhu explained. "Therefore, they might confound the initial positive associations. After we took the lifestyle factors into account, the results suggested that regular coffee drinking might not have an impact on invasive breast cancer risk."
The risk of invasive breast cancer was even higher—22%—for women who reported drinking two to three cups of decaffeinated coffee each day. It was slightly lower when adjusted for lifestyle variables (smoking history, alcohol consumption, physical activity, etc.), and the association was not statistically significant when further accounting for reproductive variables such as family history of breast cancer and number of children
The researchers were unable to determine if the elevated risk is due to the decaffeinated nature of the coffee, the amount consumed, or another factor unique to this population that was not accounted for in the study.
The researchers did not observe a significant association between overall tea consumption and invasive breast cancer. Additional research needs to be done in order to understand whether different types of teas have different effects on breast cancer risk, Zhu said.
Liver function improves with the consumption of Broccoli sprout extract
Tokai University Tokyo Hospital (Japan), October 5, 2021
A Japanese study of broccoli sprouts and liver function has found the sulforaphane-rich food to be highly beneficial. An extract from broccoli sprouts given to male participants was shown to improve hepatic abnormalities and overall liver function significantly.
For the study, the researchers conducted a double blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial of males with fatty liver disease. The subjects received either extract of broccoli sprouts in capsule form, or a placebo. The capsules contained glucoraphanin, a precursor for the sulforaphane in broccoli sprouts.
A number of key liver function markers were measured before and after the trial. It was determined that dietary supplementation with extract of broccoli improved liver functioning by decreasing alkali phosphatase activity and oxidative stress markers.
Broccoli sprout extract was also found to prevent NDMA-induced chronic liver failure in rats. The researchers believe the antioxidants in broccoli sprouts are effective in suppressing the mechanisms of liver failure at a cellular level.
The reduction of oxidative stress is crucial in protecting the liver and improving its health, and broccoli is loaded with health-supporting antioxidants.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is also reaching epidemic proportions, with nearly 30 percent of Americans (90 million people) having some level of the disease. Like hep C, NAFLD can result in liver failure and cancer of the liver in the most severe cases.
Exposure to environmental toxins exacerbates liver conditions as well, with the glyphosate found in weed killers, like Roundup, particularly harmful.
The good news is that liver conditions are preventable by embracing a healthy lifestyle. Eating plenty of organic fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly and avoiding alcohol and cigarettes can do wonders for liver health.
As evidenced by the recent research out of Japan, sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprouts can be a key component in supporting healthy liver function. Milk thistle, vitamin E, black seed oil and dandelion root have also shown effectiveness in supporting and detoxifying the liver.
How cannabis-like substances keep the brain in balance
Utrecht University (Netherlands), October 4, 2021
Whenever we learn, remember or forget something, a surprisingly active role is played by cannabis-like substances in the brain. Researchers at Utrecht University found that the substances actively balance connections in the brain that allow cells to either activate or inhibit each other. The discovery reveals how brain cells influence each other, and how psychiatric disorders can arise when this process goes wrong.
Although wisdom comes with age, our brain does not store every single experience or lesson learned. In addition to learning and remembering, our brains are also equipped to forget irrelevant things or drop unused skills. In order to find a balance in this, brain cellsconstantly communicate with each other through connections that activate or inhibit the cells. Researchers from Utrecht University discovered that brain cells can form new, inhibitory connections via so-called endocannabinoids. They reported their discovery in Journal of Neuroscience.
Endocannabinoids derive their name from the cannabis plant, which contains similar substances. The researchers discovered the role of endocannabinoids when they induced brain cells of mice to strengthen activating connections. In response, the brain cells also started making new inhibitory connections. The researchers found that endocannabinoids kickstarted the new connections.
Surprisingly active role
The researchers were surprised to find that these substances play such an active role. "Nobody expected this from endocannabinoids," says research leader Dr. Corette Wierenga, neurobiologist at Utrecht University.
It was already known that endocannabinoids can influence the functioning of our brains. But until now researchers assumed that the substances were merely involved in adjusting existing connections. "Now it appears that the system of endocannabinoids can actively push the production of new inhibitory connections, with which brain cells actively regulate the balance."
Psychiatric disorders caused by imbalance
The discovery could help scientists to better understand how psychiatric disordersand other abnormalities in the brain develop. In many of these disorders, the balance between inhibitory and activating connections is disturbed. During an epileptic seizure, for example, this balance is seriously disturbed. Although in many other disorders the disturbance is more subtle, for example in schizophrenia, the impact can still be equally profound.
The balance between activating and inhibiting connections in our brain is constantly being adjusted in response to our experiences. Whenever we experience something, the connections change, and the brain must restore the balance. Cannabis use can disrupt that balance.
"Occasional cannabis use will not seriously disturb the balance," says Wierenga. "But if the balance is disturbed for a longer period, it can cause problems. For example, children of mothers who smoked marijuana during pregnancy can experience problems with neurological development."
Early stages of life
The balance is especially important in early stages of life, Wierenga says. "During our development, brain connections are constantly changing. Especially during that period, it is important that inhibitory and activating connections remain coordinated. If the coordination is malfunctioning or disturbed, you can imagine that the system becomes disrupted. And unfortunately, disruptions that occur so early cannot be easily repaired later in life."
According to Wierenga, such disruptions can lead not only to loss of memory, but also initiate more serious consequences. For example, the brain might grow out to less adaptive to stressful situations. "When this happens, things get out of hand more easily in the brain, because inhibition and activation are out of balance. That could lead to learning and behavioral problems."
Predicting and preventing disorders
Creating a deeper understanding of the role endocannabinoids play in the brain, could lead to psychiatric disorders being more predictable or even prevented in the future. The publication in Journal of Neuroscience now sets out a new direction in which more knowledge can be built up. Wierenga: "Ultimately, as a researcher, we want to understand how brain cells coordinate the balance and what happens when that balance is disturbed.
Glycerin is safe, effective in psoriasis model
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, October 4, 2021
Patients with psoriasis have reported that glycerin, an inexpensive, harmless, slightly sweet liquid high on the list of ingredients in many skin lotions, is effective at combatting their psoriasis and now scientists have objective evidence to support their reports.
They found that whether applied topically or ingested in drinking water, glycerin, or glycerol, helps calm the classic scaly, red, raised and itchy patches in their psoriasismodel, Dr. Wendy Bollag, cell physiologist and skin researcher at the Medical College of Georgia and Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center and her colleagues report in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
The studies also provide more evidence of the different ways glycerin enables the healthy maturation of skin cells through four stages that result in a smooth, protective skin layer. Psoriasis is an immune-mediated problem that typically surfaces in young adults in which skin cells instead multiply rapidly, piling up into inflamed patches.
"We have experimental data now to show what these patients with psoriasis are reporting," says Bollag, who nearly 20 years ago first reported in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology that glycerin, a natural alcohol and water attractor known to help the skin look better, also safely helped it function better by helping skin cells mature properly.
Bollag's early report led to many anecdotal reports from individuals and their reports ultimately led to the newly published study.
Topically, glycerin is known to have a soothing, emollient effect. But another key part of its magic, which Dr. Bollag has helped delineate, is its conversion to the lipid, or fat, phosphatidylglycerol, which ultimately regulates the function of keratinocytes, our major skin cell type, and suppresses inflammation in the skin.
Glycerin gets into the skin through avenues like aquaporin-3, a channel expressed in skin cells, and the MCG scientists have shown that once inside, aquaporin 3 funnels glycerin to phospholipase-D-2, an enzyme that converts fats in the external cell membrane into cell signals, ultimately converting glycerin to phosphatidylglycerol.
In 2018, Bollag and team reported that topical application of phosphatidylglycerol reduced inflammation and the characteristic raised skin patches in a mouse model of psoriasis. This time they decided to look at the impact of its widely available precursor glycerin.
For the new studies, they used imiquimod, which is known to produce psoriasis-like plaques on humans using it for problems like genital warts and some skin cancers, to produce an animal model. The mice either drank the sweet natural alcohol or the scientists applied it topically. Either way, glycerin helped reduce development of the characteristic skin lesions, the scientists report, a finding which helps underline that glycerin works in more than one way to improve the skin condition.
Externally, glycerin showed its action as an emollient because even in mice missing phospholipase-D-2, it was beneficial. Additionally, topically it appears to compete with hydrogen peroxide for space inside the aquaporin 3 channel. Hydrogen peroxide is commonly known as a mild antiseptic but we produce it as well and at low levels it's a cell signaling molecule. But at high levels, hydrogen peroxide produces destructive oxidative stress, which can actually cause psoriasis.
The scientists found that topical glycerin reduced the levels of hydrogen peroxide entering skin cells. When they added glycerin and hydrogen peroxide at the same time directly to skin cells, they found that glycerin protected against the oxidative stress from hydrogen peroxide.
"Glycerol is basically outcompeting the hydrogen peroxide in getting in there and preventing it from being able to enter and increase oxidative stress," Bollag says. Oil and water don't mix, so yet another way glycerin may be helpful is by supporting the skin's major role as a water permeability barrier so that, as an extreme, when we sit in a bathtub the bath water doesn't pass through our skin so we blow up like a balloon, she says.
On the other hand, when glycerin was ingested by the mice missing the phospholipase- D-2, which converts fats or lipids in a cell's membrane to signals, it simply did not work, Bollag says, which confirmed their earlier findings that internally anyway, glycerin pairs with the enzyme to produce the signal essential to skin cell maturation.
Some of their other most recent work is detailing more about how phosphatidylglycerol decreases inflammation.
Bollag would like next steps to also include clinical trials with dermatologists and patients and is working to find a formulation scientist who can make what she thinks will be the optimal combination: glycerin and phosphatidylglycerol in the same topical cream.
The addition of phosphatidylglyerol itself, rather than just the glycerin that makes it, is essentially a backup since there is some evidence that in psoriasis the essential conversion of glycerin to phosphatidylglycerol is not optimal. Bollag's lab and others have shown reduced levels of aquaporin 3 in psoriasis, which likely means less phosphatidylgycerol, so making more glycerin available may help, albeit not as efficiently, raise the availability of this lipid essential to normal skin cell proliferation.
Moving quickly into clinical trials should be comparatively easy since, as with glycerin, there already is experience with the use of phosphatidylglycerol in humans. For example, it's a component of some high-end cosmetics, Bollag says.
She suspects that this sort of two-punch combination, could help keep early signs of psoriasis at bay and, with more advanced disease, use existing psoriasis treatments to get the skin condition under control then start applying glycerin to help keep it that way.
Bollag and her colleagues reported in 2018 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology that in a mouse model of psoriasis, phosphtidylglycerol reduced inflammation and the characteristic raised skin lesions of psoriasis.
While its exact cause is unclear, psoriasis is an immune-mediated condition and patients have higher levels of inflammation, as well as too many skin cells being produced then maturing abnormally. The heightened inflammation also puts them at increased risk for problems like heart disease.
Biologics used to treat psoriasis work different ways to stem this overactive immune response but in addition to their high cost, can put the patient at risk for problems like serious infections and cancer. The only side effect she has seen in about 20 years of working with glycerin and the clinical and cosmetic use already out there, is it can leave the skin feeling slightly sticky.
Our bodies can make glycerol from the carbohydrates, proteins and fats that we eat or already have in our body.
Investigating the anti-hypertensive effects of pumpkin seed oil
Marymount University and University of Guilan (Iran), September 29, 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.
- Postmenopausal women are more likely to develop hypertension than men of the same age.
- In vivo studies reveal that pumpkin seed oil has anti-hypertensive activity.
- The team investigated the effects of pumpkin seed oil supplementation on vascular function and heart rate variability in postmenopausal women with elevated blood pressure.
- Participants were assigned to take either a pumpkin seed oil supplement or a placebo for the six-week study. Those in the experimental group took 3 grams of pumpkin seed oil every day.
- Brachial and central blood pressure, wave reflection (augmentation index, AIx), arterial stiffness (SI) and various HRV parameters were measured at baseline and at the end of the study.
- Those who took pumpkin seed oil had significantly lower AIx, brachial and systolic blood pressure after treatment. SI and HRV parameters remained unchanged for the treatment group and the placebo group at the end of the study.
In sum, taking pumpkin seed oil may improve arterial hemodynamics in postmenopausal women.
Health benefits of evening classes revealed
Oxford University, September 20, 2021
Those with a taste for adult education classes have long known it, but now Oxford University scientists have confirmed that taking part in the weekly sessions can boost wellbeing – regardless of the subject studied.
In partnership with the Workers' Educational Association (WEA), the largest voluntary sector provider of adult education in England and Scotland, a team from Oxford's department of experimental psychology studied attendees at seven separate day-time adult education classes. Their findings are published in a series of papers.
Each class took place over seven months and included a break in the middle. Attendees completed questionnaires before and after their class three times over the seven months: at the beginning of their courses, after 3 months, and at the end of the seven months. Participants were involved in one of three activities: singing, crafts or creative writing.
Overall, attendees at all seven classes had improved mental and physical health and reported more satisfaction with their lives at the end of their courses.
Dr Eiluned Pearce led the research. She said: 'The students reported benefits including increased self-confidence, a greater feeling of control over their lives and more willingness to take on new challenges. Some said the classes made them more motivated to be more active, despite the classes not specifically involving physical activity.
'Participants also said that the classes broadened their networks of friends and gave them an increased sense of belonging. We also found that the more someone felt part of their group, the more their health and wellbeing improved.'
An intriguing finding was in the singing and creative writing classes. Building on the results of an earlier paper from the same study, which found that people in singing classes felt closer to their group more quickly than those in the other classes, the team looked at how relationships formed between individuals in the classes.
Each person was asked to name those other people in the class whose name they could remember, whether or not they felt connected to each person they named, and whether they had talked to that person during class.
Dr Pearce said: 'The results showed that those in the singing and creative writing groups built up relationships with other individuals more quickly than the crafters, and singers felt more connected to the class as a whole more quickly than both the other groups.
'While this confirms our earlier finding that singing has an 'ice-breaker effect' compared to other activities, it shows that other activities may enable people to increase their social networks just as much, even if it takes them longer to feel connected to their group as a whole.'
Co-author Dr Jacques Launay adds: 'While much of our previous work has demonstrated the importance of music, it is likely that the most socially bonding activities are always those that are personally chosen and enjoyed. This research adds to growing support for the relevance of creative activities in creating happy communities and improving health and well-being, with consequent benefits for public services and society.'
Dr Pádraig Mac Carron, Dr Anna Machin and Professor Robin Dunbar were also involved in the research.
Howard Croft, WEA Regional Education Manager, said: 'The findings reiterate the feedback that we have had from our students over the years: learning is a fantastic way to boost your self-esteem and confidence. Also of note, is its therapeutic effect. For many students, creative courses are a means of finding a new outlet for expressing their feelings. This can be of immense help during times of personal difficulty or emotional upheaval, such as divorce or bereavement. Simply going to a course can offer much-needed respite.
'For others, learning can be an opportunity to reignite a former passion. This could be anything from a subject which you enjoyed at school to an area which you are interested in. Whatever your reason, there are so many benefits to be gained by signing up to a course.'
Want to live forever? Theoretically, you could, study says
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, September 29, 2021
Humans can probably live to at least 130, and possibly well beyond, though the chances of reaching such super old age remain vanishingly small, according to new research.
The outer limit of the human lifespan has long been hotly debated, with recent studies making the case we could live up to 150 years, or arguing that there is no maximum theoretical age for humans.
The new research, published Wednesday in the Royal Society Open Science journal, wades into the debate by analyzing new data on supercentenarians—people aged 110 or more—and semi-supercentenarians, aged 105 or more.
While the risk of death generally increases throughout our lifetime, the researchers' analysis shows that risk eventually plateaus and remains constant at approximately 50-50.
"Beyond age 110 one can think of living another year as being almost like flipping a fair coin," said Anthony Davison, a professor of statistics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), who led the research.
"If it comes up heads, then you live to your next birthday, and if not, then you will die at some point within the next year," he told AFP.
Based on the data available so far, it seems likely that humans can live until at least 130, but extrapolating from the findings "would imply that there is no limit to the human lifespan," the research concludes.
The conclusions match similar statistical analyses done on datasets of the very elderly.
"But this study strengthens those conclusions and makes them more precise because more data are now available," Davison said.
The first dataset the team studied is newly released material from the International Database on Longevity, which covers more than 1,100 supercentenarians from 13 countries.
The second is from Italy on every person who was at least 105 between January 2009 and December 2015.
'One in a million'
The work involves extrapolating from existing data, but Davison said that was a logical approach.
"Any study of extreme old age, whether statistical or biological, will involve extrapolation," he said.
"We were able to show that if a limit below 130 years exists, we should have been able to detect it by now using the data now available," he added.
Still, just because humans can theoretically reach 130 or beyond, doesn't mean we're likely to see it anytime soon.
For a start, the analysis is based on people who have already achieved the relatively rare feat of making it to well over 100.
And even at age 110, your chances of making it to 130 are "about one in a million... not impossible but very unlikely," said Davison.
He thinks we could see people reaching 130 within the century, as more people make it to supercentenarian status, increasing the chances of one becoming that one in a million.
"But in the absence of major medical and social advances, ages much over this are highly unlikely ever to be observed," he added.
For now, the oldest person on record is Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the confirmed age of 122.
Her true age was the subject of some controversy, with claims of a possible fraud, but in 2019 several experts said a review of the evidence confirmed her age.
Other pretenders to the throne of oldest person ever have a long way to go. The oldest verified living person in the world is Japan's Kane Tanaka, a comparatively youthful 118.
Psychological treatment shown to yield strong, lasting pain relief, alter brain networks
University of Colorado, September 29, 2021
Rethinking what causes pain and how great of a threat it is can provide chronic pain patients with lasting relief and alter brain networks associated with pain processing, according to new University of Colorado Boulder-led research.
The study, published Sept. 29 in JAMA Psychiatry, found that two-thirds of chronic back pain patients who underwent a four-week psychological treatment called Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT) were pain-free or nearly pain-free post-treatment. And most maintained relief for one year.
The findings provide some of the strongest evidence yet that a psychological treatmentcan provide potent and durable relief for chronic pain, which afflicts one in five Americans.
"For a long time we have thought that chronic pain is due primarily to problems in the body, and most treatments to date have targeted that," said lead author Yoni Ashar, who conducted the study while earning his Ph.D. in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at CU Boulder. "This treatment is based on the premise that the brain can generate pain in the absence of injury or after an injury has healed, and that people can unlearn that pain. Our study shows it works."
Misfiring neural pathways
Approximately 85% of people with chronic back pain have what is known as "primary pain," meaning tests are unable to identify a clear bodily source, such as tissue damage.
Misfiring neural pathways are at least partially to blame: Different brain regions—including those associated with reward and fear—activate more during episodes of chronic pain than acute pain, studies show. And among chronic pain patients, certain neural networks are sensitized to overreact to even mild stimuli.
If pain is a warning signal that something is wrong with the body, primary chronic pain, Ashar said, is "like a false alarm stuck in the 'on' position."
PRT seeks to turn off the alarm.
"The idea is that by thinking about the pain as safe rather than threatening, patients can alter the brain networks reinforcing the pain, and neutralize it," said Ashar, now a postdoctoral researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine.or the randomized controlled trial, Ashar and senior author Tor Wager, now the Diana L. Taylor Distinguished Professor in Neuroscience at Dartmouth College, recruited 151 men and women who had back pain for at least six months at an intensity of at least four on a scale of zero to 10.
Those in the treatment group completed an assessment followed by eight one-hour sessions of PRT, a technique developed by Los Angeles-based pain psychologist Alan Gordon. The goal: To educate the patient about the role of the brain in generating chronic pain; to help them reappraise their pain as they engage in movements they'd been afraid to do; and to help them address emotions that may exacerbate their pain.
Pain is not 'all in your head'
"This isn't suggesting that your pain is not real or that it's 'all in your head'," stressed Wager, noting that changes to neural pathways in the brain can linger long after an injury is gone, reinforced by such associations. "What it means is that if the causes are in the brain, the solutions may be there, too."
Before and after treatment, participants also underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to measure how their brains reacted to a mild pain stimulus.
After treatment, 66% of patients in the treatment group were pain-free or nearly pain-free compared to 20% of the placebo group and 10% of the no-treatment group.
"The magnitude and durability of pain reductions we saw are very rarely observed in chronic pain treatment trials," Ashar said, noting that opioids have yielded only moderate and short-term relief in many trials.
And when people in the PRT group were exposed to pain in the scanner post-treatment, brain regions associated with pain processing—including the anterior insula and anterior midcingulate —had quieted significantly.
The authors stress that the treatment is not intended for "secondary pain"—that rooted in acute injury or disease.
The study focused specifically on PRT for chronic back pain, so future, larger studies are needed to determine if it would yeild similar results for other types of chronic pain.
Meanwhile, other similar brain-centered techniques are already ememrging among physical therapists and other clinicians who treat pain.
"This study suggests a fundamentally new way to think about both the causes of chronic back pain for many people and the tools that are available to treat that pain," said co-author Sona Dimidjian, professor of psychology and neuroscience and director of the Renee Crown Wellness Institute at CU Boulder. " It provides a potentially powerful option for people who want to live free or nearly free of pain."
Citicoline (CDP-choline) and Memory Function in Healthy Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial
Kyowa Hakko Bio (Japan), September 2021
Supplementation of citicoline (CDP-choline), a naturally occurring mononucleotide, has shown beneficial effects on memory function and behavior in populations with a wide range of impairments. However, few studies have investigated its effect in healthy older populations.
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of citicoline, on memory in healthy elderly populations with age-associated memory impairment (AAMI).
A total of 100 healthy men and women aged between 50 and 85 y with AAMI participated in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Participants were randomized to receive placebo (n = 51) or citicoline (n = 49; 500 mg/d) for 12 wk. Memory function was assessed at baseline and end of the intervention (12 wk) using computerized tests (Cambridge Brain Sciences, Ontario, Canada). Safety measurements included adverse events query, body weight, blood pressure, and hematology and metabolic panel. Intent-to-treat analysis was conducted using ANCOVA for the primary and secondary outcome variables with Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons.
A total of 99 out of 100 participants completed the study in its entirety. After the 12-wk intervention, participants supplemented with citicoline showed significantly greater improvements in secondary outcomes of episodic memory (assessed by the Paired Associate test), compared with those on placebo (mean: 0.15 vs. 0.06, respectively, P = 0.0025). Composite memory (secondary outcome), calculated using the scores of 4 memory tests, also significantly improved to a greater extent following citicoline supplementation (mean: 3.78) compared with placebo (mean: 0.72, P = 0.0052).
Dietary supplementation of citicoline for 12 wk improved overall memory performance, especially episodic memory, in healthy older males and females with AAMI. The findings suggest that regular consumption of citicoline may be safe and potentially beneficial against memory loss due to aging.
Sleep may strengthen long-term memories in the immune system
University of Tuebingen (Germany) September 29, 2021
More than a century ago, scientists demonstrated that sleep supports the retention of memories of facts and events. Later studies have shown that slow-wave sleep, often referred to as deep sleep, is important for transforming fragile, recently formed memories into stable, long-term memories. Now, in an Opinion article published in Trends in Neurosciences, part of a special issue on Neuroimmunology, researchers propose that deep sleep may also strengthen immunological memories of previously encountered pathogens.
"While it has been known for a long time that sleep supports long-term memoryformation in the psychological domain, the idea that long-term memory formation is a function of sleep effective in all organismic systems is in our view entirely new," says senior author Jan Born of the University of Tuebingen. "We consider our approach toward a unifying concept of biological long-term memory formation, in which sleep plays a critical role, a new development in sleep research and memory research."
The immune system "remembers" an encounter with a bacteria or virus by collecting fragments from the bug to create memory T cells, which last for months or years and help the body recognize a previous infection and quickly respond. These memory T cells appear to abstract "gist information" about the pathogens, as only T cells that store information about the tiniest fragments ever elicit a response. The selection of gist information allows memory T cells to detect new pathogens that are similar, but not identical, to previously encountered bacteria or viruses.
Studies in humans have shown that long-term increases in memory T cells are associated with deep slow-wave sleep on the nights after vaccination. Taken together, the findings support the view that slow-wave sleep contributes to the formation of long-term memories of abstract, generalized information, which leads to adaptive behavioral and immunological responses. The obvious implication is that sleep deprivation could put your body at risk.
"If we didn't sleep, then the immune system might focus on the wrong parts of the pathogen," Born says. "For example, many viruses can easily mutate some parts of their proteins to escape from immune responses. If too few antigen-recognizing cells [the cells that present the fragments to T cells] are available, then they might all be needed to fight off the pathogen. In addition to this, there is evidence that the hormones released during sleep benefit the crosstalk between antigen-presenting and antigen-recognizing cells, and some of these important hormones could be lacking without sleep."
Born says that future research should examine what information is selected during sleep for storage in long-term memory, and how this selection is achieved. In the end, this research could have important clinical implications.
"In order to design effective vaccines against HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis, which are based on immunological memory, the correct memory model must be available," Born says. "It is our hope that by comparing the concepts of neuronal and immunological memory, a model of immunological memory can be developed which integrates the available experimental data and serves as a helpful basis for vaccine development."
Standardized astragalus extract for attenuation of the immunosuppression induced by strenuous physical exercise: randomized controlled trial
University of Physical Sciences (Poland), September 3, 2021
This paper aimed to verify how a supplementation of rower’s diet with Astragalus Membranaceus Root (AMR) modulated their immune system response to maximal physical exertion.
The double-blind study included 18 members of the Polish Rowing Team assigned to the supplemented group (n = 10), and the placebo group (n = 8). The participants performed a 2000 m test on a rowing ergometer at the beginning and at the end of the six-week of intensive training camp during which the supplemented group received 500 mg of AMR. Blood samples were obtained prior to, 1 min after completing, and 24 h after the exertion test. The levels of interleukin 2 (IL2), interleukin 4 (IL4), interleukin 10 (IL10), interferon ɤ (IFN-ɣ), and lactic acid were determined. Subpopulations of T regulatory lymphocytes [CD4+/CD25+/CD127−] (Treg), cytotoxic lymphocytes [CD8+/TCRαβ+] (CTL), natural killer cells [CD3−/CD16+/CD56+] (NK), and TCRδγ-positive cells (Tδγ) were determined with flow cytometry.
After the camp, the initial NK and Treg levels sustained at the baseline, while Tδγ counts increased relative to the levels in the placebo group. In the supplemented subgroup, a decrease in IL2 level in reaction to maximal exertion clearly deepened while the change in IL-2/IL-10 level induced by the recovery after this exertion clearly increased, relative to the changes in the placebo group.
AMR restored the immunological balance in strenuously trained athletes through a stabilization of NK and Treg cells with a positive trend in Tδγ towards Th1 response during restitution by cytokine IL2 modulation.