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September 18, 2020  

Could breadfruit be the next superfood? researchers say yes

Breadfruit is sustainable, environmentally friendly and a high-production crop

University of British Columbia, September 17, 2020

 

A fruit used for centuries in countries around the world is getting the nutritional thumbs-up from a team of British Columbia researchers. 

Breadfruit, which grows in abundance in tropical and South Pacific countries, has long been a staple in the diet of many people. The fruit can be eaten when ripe, or it can be dried and ground up into a flour and repurposed into many types of meals, explains UBC Okanagan researcher Susan Murch.

"Breadfruit is a traditional staple crop from the Pacific islands with the potential to improve worldwide food security and mitigate diabetes," says Murch, a chemistry professor in the newly-created Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science. "While people have survived on it for thousands of years there was a lack of basic scientific knowledge of the health impacts of a breadfruit-based diet in both humans and animals." 

Breadfruit can be harvested, dried and ground into a gluten-free flour. For the project, researchers had four breadfruits from the same tree in Hawaii, shipped to the Murch Lab at UBC Okanagan. Doctoral student Ying Liu led the study examining the digestion and health impact of a breadfruit-based diet. 

"Detailed and systematic studies of the health impacts of a breadfruit diet had not previously been conducted and we wanted to contribute to the development of breadfruit as a sustainable, environmentally-friendly and high-production crop," Liu says.

The few studies done on the product have been to examine the glycemic index of breadfruit--with a low glycemic index it is comparable to many common staples such as wheat, cassava, yam and potatoes. 

"The objective of our current study was to determine whether a diet containing breadfruit flour poses any serious health concerns," explains Liu, who conducted her research with colleagues from British Columbia Institute of Technology's Natural Health and Food Products Research Group and the Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanic Garden in Hawaii.

The researchers designed a series of studies--using flour ground from dehydrated breadfruits--that could provide data on the impacts of a breadfruit-based diet fed to mice and also an enzyme digestion model. 

The researchers determined that breadfruit protein was found to be easier to digest than wheat protein in the enzyme digestion model. And mice fed the breadfruit diet had a significantly higher growth rate and body weight than standard diet-fed mice.

Liu also noted mice on the breadfruit diet had a significantly higher daily water consumption compared to mice on the wheat diet. And at the end of the three-week-trial, the body composition was similar between the breadfruit and wheat diet-fed mice.

"As the first complete, fully-designed breadfruit diet study, our data showed that a breadfruit diet does not impose any toxic impact," says Liu. "Fundamental understanding of the health impact of breadfruit digestion and diets is necessary and imperative to the establishment of breadfruit as a staple or as a functional food in the future."

The use of breadfruit is nutritious and sustainable and could make inroads in food sustainability for many populations globally, she adds. For example, the average daily consumption of grain in the United States is 189 grams (6.67 ounces) per day. Liu suggests if a person ate the same amount of cooked breadfruit they can meet up to nearly 57 per cent of their daily fibre requirement, more than 34 per cent of their protein requirement and at the same time consume vitamin C, potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus.

"Overall, these studies support the use of breadfruit as part of a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet," says Liu. "Flour produced from breadfruit is a gluten-free, low glycemic index, nutrient-dense and complete protein option for modern foods."

 

 

Fructose and glucose in high fructose corn syrup deliver a one-two punch to health

New study links combination of the two sugars in high fructose corn syrup to heart health risks

University of California at Davis, September 17, 2020

 

Consuming high fructose corn syrup appears to be as bad for your health as consuming sugar in the form of fructose alone, according to a new study from researchers at the University of California, Davis. The study reports health risks related to the type of sugar consumed, but also reveals novel risks when sugars are combined, which has important implications for dietary guidelines.

When it comes to health risks, sugar in the form of fructose is clearly the bad guy. This is because a majority of fructose consumed ends up in the liver. When there is too much fructose, the liver produces uric acid and fat in the form of triglycerides, which increase the risk of fatty liver, heart disease and gout. But lead investigator Kimber Stanhope, a researcher with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, says the new data shows that we shouldn't let glucose off the hook.

"It turns out that the combination of fructose and glucose found in high fructose corn syrup appears to be worse than fructose alone for some heart disease risk factors," said Stanhope. "When we planned this study, we didn't expect to find this."

Research has shown that fructose compared with glucose increases risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. This led to an assumption that the glucose in the high fructose corn syrup is benign. The new study, published in Metabolism Journal, tested this assumption by examining differences in health risk factors based on sugar type. Participants consumed beverages containing fructose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, or an aspartame control, and researchers analyzed their blood for known risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

The researchers expected risk factors would be highest for fructose and lowest for glucose, with high fructose corn syrup somewhere in between. This is exactly what they saw for some of the risk factors. However, for others, including the risk factors many scientists believe are the most predictive for heart disease, the increases were highest for high fructose corn syrup due to an interaction of fructose and glucose.

CONSUMER CHOICES AND DIETARY GUIDELINES 

The results of the current study suggest that dietary guidelines and consumer choices should not be based on the assumption that all adverse effects from dietary sugars are due to fructose content.

"Our study shows that nutrition is more than looking at individual food components," said first author Bettina Hieronimus with the Department of Child Nutrition at the Max-Rubner Institut in Karlsruhe, Germany. "To understand the way our food affects our bodies, we need to study diets as a whole."

 

 

We are predisposed to forgive, new research suggests

Yale University and Oxford University, September 17, 2020

     

When assessing the moral character of others, people cling to good impressions but readily adjust their opinions about those who have behaved badly, according to new research.

 

This flexibility in judging transgressors might help explain both how humans forgive -- and why they sometimes stay in bad relationships, said the study's authors.

 

The research -- conducted by psychologists at Yale, University of Oxford, University College London, and the International School for Advanced Studies -- in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

 

"The brain forms social impressions in a way that can enable forgiveness," said Yale psychologist Molly Crockett, senior author of the paper. "Because people sometimes behave badly by accident, we need to be able to update bad impressions that turn out to be mistaken. Otherwise, we might end relationships prematurely and miss out on the many benefits of social connection."

 

Across a series of experiments, more than 1500 subjects observed the choices of two strangers who faced a moral dilemma: whether to inflict painful electric shocks on another person in exchange for money. While the "good" stranger mostly refused to shock another person for money, the "bad" stranger tended to maximize their profits despite the painful consequences. The subjects were asked their impressions of the strangers' moral character and how confident they were about those impressions.

 

Subjects rapidly formed stable, positive impressions of the good stranger and were highly confident of their impressions. However, the subjects were far less confident that the bad stranger was truly bad and could change their minds quickly. For instance, when the bad stranger occasionally made a generous choice, subjects' impressions immediately improved -- until they witnessed the stranger's next transgression."

 

This pattern of impression updating may provide some insight into why people sometimes hold on to bad relationships, Crockett said. "We think our findings reveal a basic predisposition towards giving others, even strangers, the benefit of the doubt. The human mind is built for maintaining social relationships, even when partners sometimes behave badly."

 

The research also may eventually help shed light on psychiatric disorders involving social difficulties, such as Borderline Personality Disorder.

 

"The ability to accurately form impressions of others' character is crucial for the development and maintenance of healthy relationships" said Jenifer Siegel, an Oxford doctoral student and lead author of the paper. "We have developed newtools for measuring impression formation, which could help improve our understanding of relational dysfunction."

 

 

Intermittent Fasting Diet Improves Health Without Altering The Body’s Core Clock

University of Copenhagen, Australian Catholic University and Karolinska Institutet, September 17, 2020

 

When it comes to metabolic health, it’s not just what you eat, it’s when you eat it. Studies have shown that one effective means of losing weight and tackling obesity is to reduce the number of hours in the day that you eat. Time-restricted feeding – otherwise known as intermittent fasting – has also been shown to improve health even before weight loss kicks in.

The biological explanation for the phenomenon remains poorly understood. So scientists from the University of Copenhagen, the Australian Catholic University and Karolinska Institutet investigated the body’s early adaptations to time-restricted feeding. Their study identified a number of key changes in the genetic activity of muscles, as well as the content of muscle fats and proteins, which could explain the positive impact of time-restricted feeding.

Novel insights on short-term time-restricted feeding

The study is the first time scientists have examined the oscillations of metabolites in skeletal muscle and in blood, as well as gene expression in skeletal muscle after time-restricted feeding. By focusing on the short-term and early effects of time-restricted feeding, the goal was to disentangle the signals that govern health from those associated with weight loss.

“We observe that the rhythm of skeletal muscle core clock genes is unchanged by time-restricted feeding, suggesting that any differences are driven more by diet, rather than inherent rhythms,” says Postdoc Leonidas Lundell, from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR) at the University of Copenhagen.

“We also see that the metabolite profile of skeletal muscle switches from being predominantly lipid based, to amino acid based, after time-restricted feeding. This coincides with changes in rhythmicity of amino acid transporters, indicating that part of the amino acid profile could be due to absorption from the blood.”

Research Fellow Evelyn Parr from the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research at the Australian Catholic University, adds: “Our research is an important step towards understanding how time-restricted eating can improve metabolic health, while bridging the gap between animal models and human intervention studies. It was important to capture these early metabolic responses before assessing what changes might occur after a longer period following a time-restricted feeding pattern.”

Eating behavior does not impact the body’s core clock

In the study, 11 men with overweight/obesity were assigned one of two eating protocols for a period of five days, either unrestricted feeding, or eight-hours of time restricted feeding. On the fifth day, samples were taken every four hours for a full day. After a 10-day break, they repeated the experiment following the other eating protocol.

After each intervention, the team of scientists studied the gene expression in muscles, as well as the profile of metabolites – molecules that are formed through metabolic processes – in the blood and muscles.

They discovered that time-restricted feeding changed the rhythmic concentration of metabolites in blood and muscle. Time-restricted feeding also influenced the rhythmic expression of genes expressed by muscle, particularly those responsible for helping the transport of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.

Critically, the study showed that time-restricted feeding did not alter the muscle’s core clock – the cell’s inbuilt metronome that regulates its daily cycle of activity. This suggests that the altered rhythmicity of metabolite and gene expression caused by time-restricted feeding could be responsible for the positive health impact.

“Our findings open new avenues for scientists who are interested in understanding the causal relationship between time-restricted feeding and improved metabolic health. These insights could help develop new therapies to improve the lives of people who live with obesity,” says Professor Juleen Zierath from Karolinska Institutet and CBMR at the University of Copenhagen.

 

 

 

Green soy extract could prevent cognitive dysfunction: Mouse data

University of Shizuoka (Japan), September 16, 2020

 

Intake of green soybean extract could help reverse cognitive dysfunction and its associated accumulation of beta-amyloid proteins in the brain, say researchers.

 

The accumulation of beta-amyloid proteins has long been linked to the development of brain stunting conditions including Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. 

 

The new findings come from a Japanese trial in mice with cognitive dysfunction.

 

Writing in the Journal of Functional Foods, the team revealed that brain functions were ‘significantly better-preserved’ in aged mice fed green soybean than age-matched control mice with or without yellow soybean feeding.

 

The molecular mechanisms of these beneficial effects on brain function were examined using transcriptome analysis. An increased expression of lipocalin-type prostaglandin Dsynthase (Ptgds) and a significant reduction in the amyloid precursor protein Aplp1 was reported by the team, led by Keiko Unno from the University of Shizuoka in Japan.

 

“As Ptgds binds and transports small lipophilic molecules (…) it has been proposed as the endogenous Aβ chaperone,” noted the team, adding that lower levels of the usually abundant protein “may play an important role in the development of dementia and of Alzheimer's disease (AD).”

“Furthermore, the amount of beta-amyloid 40 and 42 was reduced in the insoluble fraction of cerebral cortex,” the team noted.

 

Unno and colleagues noted that previous research has suggested several beneficial effects of soybean components such as so isoflavones, including previous suggestions of benefits for cognitive function and the prevention of oxidative damage.

 

In the current study, the isoflavones found to be present in soybean extracts were mostly the glycosides genstin and daidzin.

 

“The levels of genistein and daizein, aglycones of genstin and daidzin, respectively, were very low or not detected,” reported the team – adding that the content of oligo sugars, especially sucrose, was significantly higher in green soybean than in yellow. Furthermore, the contents of saponin and carotene in green soybean were found to be slightly higher in the green than in yellow, however the contents of other components were not different between green and yellow soybeans.

 

“Soybean feeding did not change the weight of body, liver or cerebrum,” Unno and colleagues said – adding that the average food consumptions of each group were also not different. 

 

 

 

Coffee associated with improved survival in metastatic colorectal cancer patients

Dana Farber Cancer Institute, September 17, 2020

 

In a large group of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, consumption of a few cups of coffee a day was associated with longer survival and a lower risk of the cancer worsening, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and other organizations report in a new study.

The findings, based on data from a large observational study nested in a clinical trial, are in line with earlier studies showing a connection between regular coffee consumption and improved outcomes in patients with non-metastatic colorectal cancer. The study is being published today by JAMA Oncology.

The investigators found that in 1,171 patients treated for metastatic colorectal cancer, those who reported drinking two to three cups of coffee a day were likely to live longer overall, and had a longer time before their disease worsened, than those who didn't drink coffee. Participants who drank larger amounts of coffee - more than four cups a day - had an even greater benefit in these measures. The benefits held for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.

The findings enabled investigators to establish an association, but not a cause-and-effect relationship, between coffee drinking and reduced risk of cancer progression and death among study participants. As a result, the study doesn't provide sufficient grounds for recommending, at this point, that people with advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer start drinking coffee on a daily basis or increase their consumption of the drink, researchers say.

"It's known that several compounds in coffee have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other properties that may be active against cancer," says Dana-Farber's Chen Yuan, ScD, the co-first author of the study with Christopher Mackintosh, MLA, of the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine. "Epidemiological studies have found that higher coffee intake was associated with improved survival in patients with stage 3 colon cancer, but the relationship between coffee consumption and survival in patients with metastatic forms of the disease hasn't been known."

The new study drew on data from the Alliance/SWOG 80405 study, a phase III clinical trial comparing the addition of the drugs cetuximab and/or bevacizumab to standard chemotherapy in patients with previously untreated, locally advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer. As part of the trial, participants reported their dietary intake, including coffee consumption, on a questionnaire at the time of enrollment. Researchers correlated this data with information on the course of the cancer after treatment.

They found that participants who drank two to three cups of coffee per day had a reduced hazard for death and for cancer progression compared to those who didn't drink coffee. (Hazard is a measure of risk.) Those who consumed more than four cups per day had an even greater benefit.

"Although it is premature to recommend a high intake of coffee as a potential treatment for colorectal cancer, our study suggests that drinking coffee is not harmful and may potentially be beneficial," says Dana-Farber's Kimmie Ng, MD, MPH, senior author of the study.

"This study adds to the large body of literature supporting the importance of diet and other modifiable factors in the treatment of patients with colorectal cancer," Ng adds. "Further research is needed to determine if there is indeed a causal connection between coffee consumption and improved outcomes in patients with colorectal cancer, and precisely which compounds within coffee are responsible for this benefit."

 

 

Research links increased omega-3 intake to improved cardiovascular outcomes

Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, Sept. 17, 2020 

 

A new study, the most comprehensive analysis of the role of omega-3 dosage on cardiovascular prevention to date, provides compelling evidence for consuming more EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, respectively) omega-3 fats. Published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the meta-analysis is an in-depth review of 40 clinical trials. According to the research, EPA and DHA omega-3 intake is associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) events, the cause of 7.4 million deaths globally each year, and reduced risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), including fatal heart attack.  

Specifically, the study found that EPA+DHA supplementation is associated with a statistically significant reduced risk of:

  • myocardial infarction (13%) 
  • fatal myocardial infarction (35%) 
  • CHD events (10%) 
  • CHD mortality (9%)

"The study supports the notion that EPA and DHA intake contributes to cardioprotection, and that whatever you're getting through the diet, you likely need more," said Carl "Chip" Lavie, MD, a cardiologist at Ochsner Health in New Orleans and one of the study authors.

Cardiovascular benefits appear to increase with dosage. The researchers found that adding an extra 1000 mg of EPA and DHA per day decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack even more: risk of cardiovascular disease events decreased by 5.8% and risk for heart attack decreased by 9.0%. The study looked at dosages of up to 5500 mg/day.

This research corroborates the results of an earlier meta-analysis from Harvard School of Public Health, published in October 2019, that looked at EPA and DHA dosage using the 13 largest clinical studies. This new paper encompasses more than triple the number of studies, which is the totality of the evidence to date.

"When separate analyses arrive at similar results, that's not only validating; it also underscores the science base needed to inform future intake recommendations," said co-author Aldo Bernasconi, PhD, Vice President of Data Science for the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), which commissioned this study. "Because this paper included more studies and all dosages, the estimates for a dose-response are more precise and the conclusions stronger."

EPA and DHA omega-3s are long-chain, marine-based fatty acids. Eating fish, particularly fatty fish such as salmon, anchovies and sardines, is the optimal way to get EPA and DHA omega-3s, since fish also provides other beneficial nutrients. However, most people around the world eat much less than the amount of fish recommended, so supplementing with omega-3s helps close the gap. 

"People should consider the benefits of omega-3 supplements, at doses of 1000 to 2000 mg per day – far higher than what is typical, even among people who regularly eat fish," added Dr. Lavie. "Taking omega-3 supplements is a relatively low-cost, high-impact way to improve heart health with few associated risks."

September 17, 2020  

Turmeric may help ease the pain of a dodgy knee

University of Tasmania, September 11, 2020

An extract of Curcuma longa (CL), commonly known as turmeric, was found to be more effective than placebo for reducing knee pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis. However, CL did not affect structural aspects of knee osteoarthritis, such as swelling or cartilage composition assessed using MRI. Findings from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Despite its large disease burden, no approved disease-modifying drugs currently are available to treat osteoarthritis. Common treatments, such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have only mild to moderate effects and are associated with adverse events. As such, an urgent need exists for safer and more effective drugs to treat osteoarthritis.

Researchers from the University of Tasmania, Australia randomly assigned 70 participants with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis and ultrasound evidence of effusion (swelling inside the knee joint) to receive either two capsules per day of CL (n = 36) or matched placebo (n = 34) for 12 weeks to determine the efficacy CL for reducing knee symptoms and joint swelling. Changes in pain and knee effusion-synovitis volume were assessed by standardized questionnaire and MRI, respectively, over 12 weeks. The researchers also looked for changes in cartilage composition, pain medication usage, quality of life, physical performance measures, and adverse events. 

After 12 weeks, they found that patients taking the turmeric supplements reported less pain than those in the placebo group with no adverse events. Besides, participants in the turmeric group consumed fewer pain medications compared to the participants in the placebo group. There was no difference in the structural aspects of knee osteoarthritis between the groups. Due to the modest effect of the turmeric extracts on knee pain, small sample size of the study, short-duration of follow-up and the single research center, the researchers suggest that multicenter trials with larger sample sizes and long duration of follow-up are needed to assess the clinical significance of their findings.

 

Pine bark supplements fight the harmful effects of oxidative stress after exercise: Research

University of Louisiana, September 15, 2020

Researchers from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette said that taking pine bark supplements led to lower levels of malonaldehyde (MDA), a toxic compound that serves as a biomarker for oxidative stress. This effect was seen 48 hours after exercise among individuals who took the supplements for at least two weeks.

The researchers noted that high physical activity often spurs higher levels of oxidative stress. But by taking pine bark supplements, individuals can benefit from an enhanced healing process.

“[Maritime] pine extract as compared to placebo was effective at affording protection from oxidative stress post-exercise,” wrote the researchers.

Pine bark extract protects against oxidative stress

Pine bark extract is an herbal extract that comes from the tree Pinus pinaster, or maritime pine. It grows abundantly in France, where its medicinal uses date back to the 14th century. French sailors used pine bark to combat scurvy, a condition caused by vitamin C deficiency, as they sailed from France to the New World.

Aside from being rich in vitamin C, pine bark extract is also packed with phytochemicals – natural plant compounds that contribute to the color, taste and smell of vegetables. The phytochemicals found in pine bark supplements include procyanidins and flavonoids, both of which lower inflammation and protect from oxidative stress. Previous research also linked pine bark extract to a host of health benefits such as boosting brain function, balancing blood sugar levels and improving blood flow.

In the study, the researchers looked at the effects of pine bark supplements on 20 healthy men. They were randomly assigned to either 200 mg of the extract or a placebo and took these for 14 days prior to the first exercise trial and for 2?days post-exercise. After a seven-day washout period, the men were asked to take the other medication.

Results showed that MDA levels significantly decreased among the pine bark group compared to the placebo group. The placebo group also displayed significant increases in MDA levels before and 48 hours after the exercise.

Given these findings, the researchers recommended further research to evaluate the effects of pine bark extract among individuals who practice intense training. Furthermore, they see great potential in pine bark extract for helping treat metabolic syndrome, a group of diseases that are influenced by oxidative stress.

 

Researchers use soy to improve bone cancer treatment

Washington State University, September 15, 2020

 

Researchers in recent years have demonstrated the health benefits of soy, linking its consumption to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer and improved bone health. 

Now, WSU researchers are hoping to use the health benefits of the popular legume to improve post-operative treatment of bone cancer. 

Reporting in the journal, Acta Biomaterialia, graduate student Naboneeta Sarkar and Professor Susmita Bose in WSU's School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering showed that the slow release of soy-based chemical compounds from a 3D-printed bone-like scaffold resulted in a reduction in bone cancer cells while building up healthy cells and reducing harmful inflammation. 

"There is not much research in this area of natural medicinal compounds in biomedical devices," Bose said. "Using these natural medicines, one can make a difference to human health with very minimal or no side effects, although a critical issue remains composition control." 

Although rare, osteosarcoma occurs most often in children and young adults. Despite medical advances, patients with osteosarcoma and metastatic bone cancer experience a high rate of recurrence, and osteosarcoma is second leading cause of cancer death in children. 

Treatment involves surgery to remove the tumor as well as pre- and post-operative chemotherapy. Large areas of bone need to be removed and repaired, and patients often experience a significant amount of inflammation during bone reconstruction, which slows healing. High doses of chemotherapy before and after surgery can also have harmful side effects.

Researchers would like to develop gentler treatment options, especially after surgery when patients are trying to recover from bone damage at the same time that they are taking harsh drugs to suppress tumor growth. Bose's team has been studying bone tissue engineering as an alternative strategy to repair the bone, using materials science principles and advanced manufacturing techniques to develop effective biomedical devices. 

As part of this study, the researchers used 3D printing to make patient-specific, bone-like scaffolds that included three soy compounds and then slowly released the compounds into samples containing bone cancer as well as healthy bone cells. Soybeans contain isoflavones, plant-derived estrogens that have been shown to impede cancer cell growth for many types of cancer without being toxic to normal cells. Isoflavones have also been shown to improve bone health and possibly prevent osteoporosis. 

One of the soybean compounds caused a 90% reduction in bone cancer cell viability in their samples after 11 days. Two other soy compounds, meanwhile, significantly improved the growth of healthy bone cells. Furthermore, using the soy compounds in animal models also reduced inflammation, which could benefit bone health as well as overall recovery. 

"These results advance our understanding in providing therapeutic approaches in using synthetic bone grafts as a drug delivery vehicle," Bose said. 

The researchers are continuing the unique area of research, studying the specific pathways of the genetic expression of natural compounds and the benefits of integrating them in biomedical technology. More detailed long-term studies are needed, using animal research as well as other malignant cells, she said.

 

 

Broccoli extract found to significantly improve autism symptoms; sulforaphane molecule is powerful natural medicine

Mass General Hospital for Children, September 14, 2020

A powerful anti-cancer nutrient found naturally in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower could help significantly improve health outcomes in autistic men and boys. Research published in the journal The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that sulforaphane, an antioxidant compound, is capable of reversing many of the most common symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that there are no medications currently on the market that can treat or cure ASD, a placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind pilot study suggests otherwise. Present most richly in broccoli sprouts, sulforaphane has been shown to help drastically improve social interactions and verbal communication in ASD-diagnosed men and boys as well as reduce hyperactivity, irritability and other ASD symptoms.

Conducted on 44 males aged 13 to 27, the study found that after 18 weeks of consuming sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout extract, more than half of the men saw significant health improvements. Behavioral abnormalities also decreased significantly as a result of the treatment, as did lipid peroxidation and neuroinflammation. These same men also saw improvements in antioxidant capacity, glutathione synthesis, mitrochondrial function and oxidative phosphorylation.

"Sulforaphane, which showed negligible toxicity, was selected because it upregulates genes that protect aerobic cells against oxidative stress, inflammation, and DNA-damage, all of which are prominent and possibly mechanistic characteristics of ASD," the authors wrote.

Sulforaphane in broccoli sprouts regulates cellular health, energy production and detoxification

Depending on their individual weights, the men and boys were assigned to take either 232 mg (for those who weighed 100 pounds or less), 464 mg (101 to 199 pounds), or 696 mg (more than 200 pounds) of sulforaphane-rich broccoli extract daily. Such amounts are difficult to obtain from eating broccoli sprouts whole, but many supplement manufacturers offer capsules containing concentrated extract levels in this range or even higher.

This is good news for parents who are trying to help their autistic children achieve a better quality of life naturally. Sulphorane is an antioxidant nutrient with no negative side effects, meaning it can only help an ASD-afflicted child. Likewise, whole broccoli sprouts are a "superfood," not a drug, so parents do not have to worry that it will harm their children in any way.

As an added benefit, sulforaphane might also help ameliorate a number of other genetic disorders by activating the body's "stress proteome." The stress proteome is responsible for regulating processes such as glutathione synthesis, mitochondrial function (cellular health), and neurological inflammation.

When ASD patients stopped taking sulforaphane, their symptoms returned

In order for sulforaphane to work, however, ASD patients need to continue taking it. At the 22-week reassessment, which took place one month after study participants ceased taking the broccoli sprout extract, most (but not all) of their improvements had waned or disappeared. The researchers involved say this change only reinforces their finding that sulforaphane was directly responsible for the positive improvements observed throughout the study.

"When we broke the code that revealed who was receiving sulforaphane and who got the placebo, the results weren't surprising to us, since the improvements were so noticeable," stated Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, M.D., one of the study's authors and a physician at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC).

"The improvements seen on the Social Responsiveness Scale were particularly remarkable, and I've been told this is the first time that any statistically significant improvement on the SRS has been seen for a drug study in autism spectrum disorder," he added, noting that the consensus among the research team was that sulforaphane likely activates the Nrf2 pathway, reducing inflammation in the brain and promoting increased antioxidant protection.

 

 

 

Exercise's Surprising Potential To Treat People With Multiple Chronic Conditions

University of Southern Denmark, September 11, 2020

 

Hundreds of millions of people of all ages worldwide live with two or more chronic conditions – commonly defined as multimorbidity. Those living with it are found to have poorer physical and mental health, higher risk of being admitted to hospital, and higher risk of dying prematurely compared to people with only one chronic condition.

Given that the number of people living with multimorbidity is only expected to rise in the future, finding better treatments is considered the next major health priority. But despite multimorbidity being a leading cause of disability, research on treatments are still in its infancy. Few studies have investigated treatment options – and unfortunately the results of these studies most often offer negligible improvements.

People with multimorbidity want treatments that will improve their physical, mental, emotional, and social health. Our research found that exercise may actually be a surprising treatment for those living with multimorbidity, and offer many of these improvements patients want.

Currently, multimorbidity is managed by treating each chronic conditions separately using available medicines. However, this might not reduce symptoms sufficiently, and can have many adverse health effects. Many people consult several health care providers and also end up taking multiple drugs (often at least one for each condition) which carries a risk of adverse events and can be inconvenient and unsatisfactory for patients.

Exercise as medicine

Research has shown exercise is an effective treatment for 26 chronic conditions, including osteoarthritis, depression and type 2 diabetes. Research also shows exercise could potentially prevent 35 chronic conditions from developing.

Thanks to its overall effects on health (such as lowering blood pressureimproving joint health and cognitive function, exercise therapy can benefit a range of chronic conditions. It also has a lower risk of negative side effects compared to pharmacological treatments. At the same time, exercise requires physical effort, and like pharmacological treatments, the effects will diminish if you stop exercising.

But could exercise therapy benefit people with multiple chronic conditions as well? This is what our recent review aimed to investigate.

We assessed the effect of exercise therapy on the physical and mental health of people with at least two of the following chronic conditions: osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, depression, heart failure, ischemic heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We found 23 studies that looked at adults aged 50 to 80 years old.

The exercise therapy interventions used in the studies were at least partially supervised by a physiotherapist or an exercise physiologist. Most lasted 12 weeks on average and exercise was performed two to three times a week, starting from low intensity and progressing to moderate to high intensity. The exercise therapies included were aquatic exercise, strength training, aerobic training and tai chi.

Our review showed exercise therapy improved quality of life and reduced anxiety and depression symptoms. The benefits were higher in younger patients and patients who had higher depression symptoms before starting exercise therapy. This highlights that people with severe depression – often considered ineligible for exercise due to their depression severity – may benefit highly from exercise therapy.

Patients who participated in exercise therapy were also able to walk longer. Those taking part walked on average 43 metres more than those not taking part in the exercise interventions, over six minutes. This improvement appears to be important for the patient and it reduced their disability.

Exercise therapy also didn’t increase risk of non-serious side effects, such as knee, arm, or back pain, or falls and fatigue. What’s more, it reduced the risk of hospitalisation, pneumonia, and extreme fatigue.

As such, exercise could be a safe and effective therapy instead of increasing drug prescription in people with multiple chronic conditions. The benefits were similar across all the combinations of chronic conditions included in our study. However these findings need to be confirmed in future trials to have a more definitive answer.

Together with patients and healthcare professionals, we are developing and testing an exercise therapy and self-management programme in the MOBILIZE project. This trial will help us understand whether personalised exercise therapy and self-management is effective in managing and treating multimorbidity.

In the meantime, people with multimorbidity can improve mental and physical health by exercising two to three times a week. Aerobic workouts, strength training or a combination of the two can promote similar health benefits, regardless of the conditions a person live with. However, it’s important that the exercise therapy sessions are supervised and that the intensity of the session progresses based on patient capabilities.

 

Plant-based diets found to relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

George Washington University, September 14, 2020

 

In a major breakthrough, a team of researchers from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the non-profit health organization Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) looked at recent studies that assessed the impact of diet on the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

The group found that certain foods, such as red meat, milk and milk products, could exacerbate the condition. In contrast, diets rich in plant-based foods like fruits, grains and legumes help reduce pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

In all, these findings suggest that a simple menu change could help patients better manage their disease, said co-author and PCRM clinical research director Hana Kahleova. Sticking to a plant-based diet could also keep the disease in remission for long periods. Their findings appeared online in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

Plant-based diets can benefit rheumatoid arthritis patients

Numerous studies indicate that plant-based diets could help decrease the risk of chronic autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. In patients, adopting a plant-based diet could help in better management of the disease for the long-term.

There are a number of possible mechanisms behind these beneficial effects. For instance, results of randomized clinical trials (RCT) indicate that a plant-based diet could reduce total cholesterol and induce weight loss better than conventional calorie-restricted diets.

Having high cholesterol and being obese could lead to the onset of rheumatoid arthritis or exacerbate joint pain and inflammation in patients. Therefore, these findings suggest that a plant-based diet decreases the risk and eases the effects of rheumatoid arthritis thanks to its influence on weight and total cholesterol.

Furthermore, several observational studies found strong and consistent evidence that a plant-based diet can reduce inflammation linked to rheumatoid arthritis. In contrast, semi-vegetarian or omnivorous diets that still contained meat and animal products triggered inflammation in patients.

In particular, one RCT found that a gluten-free vegan diet reduced the amount of a pro-inflammatory antibody, called immunoglobulin G (IgG), in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Patients typically have higher than appropriate amounts of IgG in their blood and lymph fluid.

Moreover, another RCT found that a three-month Mediterranean dietary intervention improved rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. A Mediterranean diet is rich in monounsaturated fats that protect against inflammation and oxidative stress. Copious amounts of these fats can be found in plant-based foods like nuts and avocados.

In addition, the researchers found that the state of one’s gut health, which depends on diet and nutrition, could also influence the onset and progression of rheumatoid arthritis. For instance, a permeable intestinal barrier, a marker of poor gut health, allows for bacteria and other microbes to enter the bloodstream.

These harmful agents could then trigger inflammation and joint pain in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Research shows that a plant-based diet modulates the gut microbiome for better gut health. In turn, this leads to less intestinal inflammation, which some studies suggest is connected to joint inflammation.

The researchers attribute these effects to the fibers in many plant-based foods. Fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut, thus making it less prone to infection and inflammation. Enzymes and amino acids in plant-based foods also increase bacterial diversity in the gut, which rheumatoid arthritis patients often lack.

Taken together, these studies provide empirical evidence that a plant-based diet comprised of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes could be incredibly beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

 

 

Researchers Report Recent Findings that Garlic Improves Visual Memory and Attention

University of Dhaka (Bangladesh), September 14, 2020

Researchers from University of Dhaka Report Recent Findings in Complementary and Alternative Medicine that  "Studies have shown that Allium sativum L.  or garlic protects amyloid-beta peptide-induced apoptosis, prevents oxidative insults to neurons and synapses, and thus prevent Alzheimer's disease progression in experimental animals. However, there is no experimental evidence in human regarding its putative role in memory and cognition."

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from the University of Dhaka, "We have studied the effect of garlic consumption by healthy human volunteers on visual memory, verbal memory, attention, and executive function in comparison to control subjects taking placebo. The study was conducted over five weeks and twenty volunteers of both genders were recruited and divided randomly into two groups: A Garlic and B (placebo). Both groups participated in the 6 computerized neuropsychological tests of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) twice: at the beginning and after five weeks of the study. We found statistically significant difference (p < 0.05) in several parameters of visual memory and attention due to AS ingestion. We also found statistically nonsignificant (p > 0.05) beneficial effects on verbal memory and executive function within a short period of time among the volunteers."

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: "Study for a longer period of time with patients suffering from neuro degenerative diseases might yield more relevant results regarding the potential therapeutic role of garlic."

 

 

 

Why You Should Eat Two Apples a Day

Green Med Info, September 12th 2020 

 

A 2020 study points to apples' ability to mediate significant gut microbial metabolic activity. All it takes: two apples a day. In light of the increasing link between gut microbiota and human wellness, this new association is worth exploring and further vouches for this fruit's superfood and super healer status

The old saying that eating an apple a day will keep the doctor away may have some scientific basis after all, as scientific literature is packed with findings that vouch for this fruit's healthful benefits.

Showing that the saying above goes beyond folk medicine fantasy, a study found that eating one apple a day for four weeks translated to lower blood levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein//beta2-glycoprotein I complex, which may contribute to atherosclerosis, by 40% among healthy, middle-aged individuals.[i]

Apple consumption has also been the subject of a few studies on reducing cancer risk, including liver cancerbreast cancer and esophageal cancer.[ii] A study published in February 2020 points to apples' ability to mediate significant gut microbial metabolic activity. All it takes: two apples a day.

Study Findings

Apples are a frequently consumed fruit and a reliable source of polyphenols and fiber, an important mediator for their health-protective effects.[iii]

Validated biomarkers of food intake (BFIs) have recently been suggested as a good tool for assessing adherence to dietary guidelines. New biomarkers have[iv] surfaced in recent decades from metabolic profiling studies for different foods, yet the number of comprehensively validated BFIs remains limited.

BFIs offer an accurate measure of intake, independent of the memory and sincerity of the subjects as well as of their knowledge about the consumed foods.[v] They overcome food intake measurement with inherent limitations, such as self-reported dietary intake questionnaires, as they objectively assess food intake without biased self-reported assessment.

The researchers sought to identify biomarkers of long-term apple consumption, exploring how the fruit affects human plasma and urine metabolite profiles. In their randomized, controlled, crossover intervention study, they recruited 40 mildly hypercholesterolemiapatients and had them consume two whole apples or a sugar and energy-matched beverage daily for eight weeks.

At the end of the trial, they found 61 urine and nine plasma metabolites that were statistically significant after the whole apple intake compared to the control beverage. The metabolites included several polyphenols that could serve as BFIs.

Interestingly, the study allowed the group to explore correlations between metabolites significantly modulated by the dietary intervention and fecal microbiota species at genus level -- specifically interactions shared by Granulicatella genus and phenyl-acetic acid metabolites.

"[T]he identification of polyphenol microbial metabolites suggests that apple consumption mediates significant gut microbial metabolic activity which should be further explored," they wrote.[vi]

Gut Health Affects Your Whole Body

The link between the gut microbiota and human wellness is being increasingly recognized, where it is now well-established that healthy gut flora is a key part of your overall health.[vii]

Previous studies corroborate that the richness of the human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers. In a study on 123 non-obese and 169 obese Danish individuals, a group of scientists found two distinct groups displaying a difference in the number of gut microbial genes and thus the richness of gut bacteria in the two groups.[viii]

Individuals with a low bacterial richness had more marked overall adiposity and insulin resistance, for instance, compared with high bacterial richness subjects. The obese subjects among the lower bacterial richness group also tended to gain more weight over time.

A series of largely pre-clinical observations showed, too, that changes in brain-gut-microbiome communication may be involved in the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndromeobesity and several psychiatric and neurologic disorders.[ix]

Additional Apple Benefits

More benefits of apple intake are coming out of the medical literature, confirming its superfood and super healer status that shouldn't be missed out on.

These benefits include addressing common issues such as aging (reduced rate), allergies, alopecia or hair loss, diarrhea, insulin resistance, radiation-induced illness, and Staphylococcal infection. In the area of cancer treatment, apples have been found to both prevent and suppress mammary cancers in the animal model, while carotenoids extracted from the fruit have been found to inhibit drug-resistant cancer cell line proliferation.[x]

September 15, 2020  

LIVE Webinar With Dr. Gary Null: Positive Solutions for Today's Problems

 

Healthy diet and exercise during pregnancy could lead to healthier children, study finds

Kings College London, September 13, 2020

 

New research shows improving the lifestyle of women with obesity during pregnancy could mean long-term cardiovascular benefits for their children.

The study, led by King's College London and supported by the British Heart Foundation and Tommy's charity, examined how an antenatal diet and physical activity intervention in pregnant women with obesity could positively influence the health of the women and their children three years after giving birth.

The UPBEAT trial is a randomised controlled trial which aims to improve the diet and physical activity of obese pregnant women across the UK. Women who were given a diet and exercise intervention were compared to women in a control group, who made no changes to their lifestyle during pregnancy.

Follow-up examinations three years after birth showed that the children born to the intervention arm of the trial had a lower resting heart rate of -5 bpm than children treated with standard care. A higher resting heart rate in adults is associated with hypertension and cardiovascular dysfunction.

The study also showed that mothers in the intervention arm maintained a healthier diet three years after birth.

While women reported lower glycaemic load, maternal energy and saturated fatty acids intake, and higher protein intake three years after delivery, there were no differences in self-reported physical activity or in measures of body composition.

Lead author Kathryn Dalrymple from King's College London said: "This research shows that an lifestyle intervention in pregnant women, which focused on improving diet and increasing physical activity, is associated with improved cardiovascular function in the child at three-years of age and a sustained improvement in the mothers diet, three years after the intervention finished. These findings are very exciting as they add to the evidence that pregnancy is a window of opportunity to promote positive health and lifestyle changes which benefit the mother and her child."

Senior author Professor Lucilla Poston, Tommy's Chair for Maternal and Fetal Health, said: "Obesity in pregnancy is a major problem because it can increase the risk of complications in pregnancy as well as affecting the longer-term health of the child. This study strengthens my resolve to highlight just how important it is that we give children a healthy start in life."

Tommy's Research and Policy Director, Lizzie D'Angelo, said: "Pregnancy can be higher risk for women who are obese, but trying to lose lots of weight while pregnant is not advised, so our research focuses on finding new ways to make pregnancy safer for these families. It's very reassuring to see that our researchers have been able to improve mothers' diets and children's heart health in the long term, helping to give these babies the best start in life."

Tracy Parker, Senior Dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Keeping physically active and maintaining a balanced diet are both important ways of keeping our hearts healthy. This research shows that for pregnant women, the benefits don't end there. A healthy diet before, during and after pregnancy can have positive long-term health benefits for both mother and child."

The team of researchers will follow-up these children again at 8-10 years of age to see if this improvement in cardiovascular function is maintained through childhood.

 

 

Ashwagandha May Calm Generalized Anxiety Disorder 

New findings from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Mashhad University of Medical Sciences (Iran), September 1, 2020

 

Study Objective:To assess the effect of an extract of Withania somnifera on symptoms of generalized anxiety

Design:  Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Participants

Forty patients who were undergoing treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) participated in this trial. They met the criteria for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) diagnosis as stated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DisordersFourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR). They were randomly selected for the treatment group (W somnifera root extract, 1 g/day; n=22) or the placebo group (n=18). Patients received either the extract or placebo daily for 6 weeks.

Study Parameters Assessed

To assess the severity of GAD symptoms at baseline as well as at week 2 and week 6 of the trial, researchers used the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A). The HAM-A scale contains 14 questions rating the severity of common GAD symptoms, from 0 to 4.

Primary Outcome Measures

HAM-A scores during the course of the trial revealed a significant amelioration of GAD symptoms in the treatment group versus placebo (P<0.05). There was also a significant difference in the reduction of GAD score between the 2nd (P=0.04) and 6th week (P=0.02) in the treatment group. The extract was safe, and researchers observed no adverse effect during the trial.

Key Findings

Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) root extract is statistically efficacious at 1 gram per day after 2 weeks and even more so after 6 weeks of treatment. It has also been found to be safe to use while on SSRIs.

 

 

Pesco-Mediterranean diet, intermittent fasting may lower heart disease risk

Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, September 11, 2020

 

A Pesco-Mediterranean diet rich in plants, nuts, whole grains, extra-virgin olive oil, and fish and/or seafood is ideal for optimizing cardiovascular health, according to a cumulative review published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Intermittent fasting is recommended as part of this diet.

The traditional Mediterranean diet has been endorsed by national guidelines as well as the 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease. The Mediterranean diet consists of plant foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds, tree nuts and olives), fish/seafood, olive oil, and moderate amounts of dairy products (yogurt and cheese) and eggs. Multiple studies and randomized clinical trials have indicated that the diet is associated with lower risk for heart disease, diabetes, cognitive decline, depression and some cancers. 

"Although humans are omnivores and can subsist on a myriad of foods, the ideal diet for health remains a dilemma for many people," said James H. O'Keefe, MD, director of preventive cardiology at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, and lead author of the study. "Plant-rich diets reduce cardiovascular disease risk; however, veganism are difficult to follow and can result in important nutrient deficiencies. On the other hand, many people in modern Western cultures over-consume meat, particularly highly processed meat from animals raised in inhuman conditions. We propose the Pesco-Mediterranean diet as a solution to this 'omnivore's dilemma' about what to eat."

Previous studies have supported including fish as a part of a heart-healthy diet. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adults consume fish at least twice a week in place of red meat, poultry or eggs. A pescatarian diet includes fish and/or seafood as the primary source of protein and minimizes the consumption of red meat or poultry. A meta-analysis of five prospective dietary studies found that compared to regular meat-eaters, coronary artery disease mortality was 34% lower in those following a pescatarian diet.

A Pesco-Mediterranean diet also emphasizes using extra-virgin olive oil in place of butter or other fats. Extra-virgin olive oil is a higher-quality, unrefined olive oil, and has been shown in previous studies to have cardiometabolic benefits, such as reducing low density lipoprotein ("bad") cholesterol and increasing high density lipoprotein ("good") cholesterol. The researchers recommend using generous amounts of extra-virgin olive oil (high in polyphenol antioxidants) along with vegetable dishes. To provide an additional source of healthy fats and fibers, the Pesco-Mediterranean diet includes tree nuts. The PREDIMED trial, a randomized clinical trial of primary heart disease prevention, showed a daily serving of mixed nuts resulted in a 28% lower risk of heart disease.

"There is no clear consensus among nutrition experts on the role of dairy products and eggs in heart disease risk, however we allowed for them in the Peso-Mediterranean diet," O'Keefe said. "Low-fat yogurt and cheeses are preferred; butter and hard cheese are discouraged due to a high concentration of saturated fats and salt. Eggs contain beneficial nutrients and can be a healthy substitute for red meat; however, we recommend no more than five yolks be consumed per week."

Intermittent fasting, the practice of limiting daily intake of calories in a specific time window (usually between eight to 12 hours) each day, has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity by forcing the body to switch from burning glucose to fatty acids (usually from belly fat) as the primary metabolic fuel. The most common form of intermittent fasting is timed-restricted eating, consisting of limiting to two, rather than three, meals per day and shortening the calorie-consumption window. Evidence regarding time-restricted eating is preliminary and requires more research.

"Our ancient ancestors did not have access to an unlimited supply of food throughout the year. Nor did they routinely eat three large meals, plus snacks, daily. Focusing on fresh whole foods, along with fish, bestows a range of health benefits, particularly when it comes to cardiovascular health. The Pesco-Mediterranean diet with daily time-restricted eating is an ideal cardioprotective diet," O'Keefe said.

 

 

Resveratrol impacts Alzheimer's disease biomarker 

 

Georgetown University Medical Center, September 11, 2020

 

The largest nationwide clinical trial to study high-dose resveratrol long-term in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease found that a biomarker that declines when the disease progresses was stabilized in people who took the purified form of resveratrol. 

 

Resveratrol is a naturally occurring compound found in foods such as red grapes, raspberries, dark chocolate and some red wines. 

The results, published in Neurology, "are very interesting," says the study's principal investigator, R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD, director of the Memory Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical Center. Turner, who treats patients at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, cautions that the findings cannot be used to recommend resveratrol. "This is a single, small study with findings that call for further research to interpret properly." 

 

The resveratrol clinical trial was a randomized, phase II, placebo-controlled, double blind study in patients with mild to moderate dementia due to Alzheimer's disease. An "investigational new drug" application was required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to test the pure synthetic (pharmaceutical-grade) resveratrol in the study. It is not available commercially in this form. 

 

The study enrolled 119 participants. The highest dose of resveratrol tested was one gram by mouth twice daily -- equivalent to the amount found in about 1,000 bottles of red wine. 

 

John Bozza, 80, participated in the study. Five years ago, his wife, Diana, began noticing "something wasn't quite right." He was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, but only a year later, his condition progressed to mild Alzheimer's. 

Diana, whose twin sister died from the same disease, says there are multiple reasons she and John decided to participate in the resveratrol study, and they now know he was assigned to take the active drug. 

 

"I definitely want the medical community to find a cure," she says. "And of course I thought there's always a chance that John could have been helped, and who knows, maybe he was." 

 

Patients, like John, who were treated with increasing doses of resveratrol over 12 months showed little or no change in amyloid-beta40 (Abeta40) levels in blood and cerebrospinal fluid. In contrast, those taking a placebo had a decrease in the levels of Abeta40 compared with their levels at the beginning of the study. 

 

"A decrease in Abeta40 is seen as dementia worsens and Alzheimer's disease progresses; still, we can't conclude from this study that the effects of resveratrol treatment are beneficial," Turner explains. "It does appear that resveratrol was able to penetrate the blood brain barrier, which is an important observation. Resveratrol was measured in both blood and cerebrospinal fluid." 

 

The researchers studied resveratrol because it activates proteins called sirtuins, the same proteins activated by caloric restriction. The biggest risk factor for developing Alzheimer's is aging, and studies with animals found that most age-related diseases--including Alzheimer's--can be prevented or delayed by long-term caloric restriction (consuming two-thirds the normal caloric intake). 

 

Turner says the study also found that resveratrol was safe and well tolerated. The most common side effects experienced by participants were gastrointestinal-related, including nausea and diarrhea. Also, patients taking resveratrol experienced weight loss while those on placebo gained weight. 

 

One outcome in particular was confounding, Turner notes. The researchers obtained brain MRI scans on participants before and after the study, and found that resveratrol-treated patients lost more brain volume than the placebo-treated group. 

"We're not sure how to interpret this finding. A similar decrease in brain volume was found with some anti-amyloid immunotherapy trials," Turner adds. A working hypothesis is that the treatments may reduce inflammation (or brain swelling) found with Alzheimer's. 

 

"Given safety and positive trends toward effectiveness in this phase 2 study, a larger phase 3 study is warranted to test whether resveratrol is effective for individuals with Alzheimer's -- or at risk for Alzheimer's," Turner says. 

 

Resveratrol and similar compounds are being tested in many age-related disorders including cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders. The study Turner led, however, is the largest, longest and highest dose trial of resveratrol in humans to date. 

 

 

 

Vitamin D deficiency associated with greater risk of oral squamous cell carcinoma

King Khalid University (Saudi Arabia),September 14, 2020

 

According to news reporting out Saudi Arabia research stated, “Serum level of vitamin D has been used as a predictor for cancer development. We intend to measure the baseline vitamin D level in patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and to compare same with non-cancer controls to determine any association.”

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department: “Patients with OSCC presenting to our clinics were included in this study. Their baseline serum vitamin D levels were measured prior to cancer treatment after obtaining their consents. These patients were then matched with at least 2 cancer-free subjects to serve as controls and whose serum vitamin D levels were also measured. The serum vitamin D levels obtained for the two groups were then categorized into normal (>35 ng/ml), mild deficiency (25-35 ng/ml), moderate deficiency (12.5-25 ng/ml), and severe deficiency (<12.5 ng/ml). The data were analyzed statistically and the two groups compared. A total of 51 patients with OSCC (Male 22 [43%] and female 29 [57%]) and 113 cancer-free controls (Male 36 [31.86%] and female 77 [68.14%]) were included in the study. The commonest site for OSCC was the tongue, accounting for 45% of the cancer cases. Mean age for cancer patients was 59.33 years ±12.54 and 49.24 years ±15.79 for the control. Among the OSCC patients, 74.51% had moderate to severe vitamin D deficiencies, whereas only 20.35% had a moderate deficiency in the control group with no severe deficiency.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Logistic regression analysis shows a positive association between vitamin D deficiency and OSCC risk especially in levels below 25 ng/ml. This further corroborates the assertion that vitamin D deficiency may be a useful indicator of OSCC. It may, therefore, be necessary to routinely prescribe vitamin D supplements to subjects with moderate to severe deficiencies in order to decrease the chances of OSCC development.”

 

 

Immune system affects mind and body, study indicates

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, September 14, 2020

New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis helps illuminate a surprising mind-body connection. In mice, the researchers found that immune cells surrounding the brain produce a molecule that is then absorbed by neurons in the brain, where it appears to be necessary for normal behavior.

The findings, published Sept. 14 in Nature Immunology, indicate that elements of the immune system affect both mind and body, and that the immune molecule IL-17 may be a key link between the two.

"The brain and the body are not as separate as people think," said senior author Jonathan Kipnis, Ph.D., the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Immunology and a professor of neurosurgery, of neurology and of neuroscience. "What we've found here is that an immune molecule—IL-17—is produced by immune cells residing in areas around the brain, and it could affect brain function through interactions with neurons to influence anxiety-like behaviors in mice. We are now looking into whether too much or too little of IL-17 could be linked to anxiety in people."

IL-17 is a cytokine, a signaling molecule that orchestrates the immune response to infection by activating and directing immune cells. IL-17 also has been linked to autism in animal studies and depression in people.

How an immune molecule like IL-17 might influence brain disorders, however, is something of a mystery since there isn't much of an immune system in the brain and the few immune cells that do reside there don't produce IL-17. But Kipnis, along with first author and postdoctoral researcher Kalil Alves de Lima, Ph.D., realized that the tissues that surround the brain are teeming with immune cells, among them, a small population known as gamma delta T cells that produce IL-17. They set out to determine whether gamma-delta T cells near the brain have an impact on behavior. Kipnis and Alves de Lima conducted the research while at the University of Virginia School of Medicine; both are now at Washington University.

Using mice, they discovered that the meninges are rich in gamma-delta T cells and that such cells, under normal conditions, continually produce IL-17, filling the tissues surrounding the brain with IL-17.

To determine whether gamma-delta T cells or IL-17 affect behavior, Alves de Lima put mice through established tests of memory, social behavior, foraging and anxiety. Mice that lacked gamma-delta T cells or IL-17 were indistinguishable from mice with normal immune systems on all measures but anxiety. In the wild, open fields leave mice exposed to predators such as owls and hawks, so they've evolved a fear of open spaces. The researchers conducted two separate tests that involved giving mice the option of entering exposed areas. While the mice with normal amounts of gamma-delta T cells and levels of IL-17 kept themselves mostly to the more protective edges and enclosed areas during the tests, mice without gamma-delta T cells or IL-17 ventured into the open areas, a lapse of vigilance that the researchers interpreted as decreased anxiety.

Moreover, the scientists discovered that neurons in the brain have receptors on their surfaces that respond to IL-17. When the scientists removed those receptors so that the neurons could not detect the presence of IL-17, the mice showed less vigilance. The researchers say the findings suggest that behavioral changes are not a byproduct but an integral part of neuro-immune communication.

Although the researchers did not expose mice to bacteria or viruses to study the effects of infection directly, they injected the animals with lipopolysaccharide, a bacterial product that elicits a strong immune response. Gamma-delta T cells in the tissues around the mice's brains produced more IL-17 in response to the injection. When the animals were treated with antibiotics, however, the amount of IL-17 was reduced, suggesting gamma-delta T cells could sense the presence of normal bacteria such as those that make up the gut microbiome, as well as invading bacterial species, and respond appropriately to regulate behavior.

The researchers speculate that the link between the immune system and the brain could have evolved as part of a multipronged survival strategy. Increased alertness and vigilance could help rodents survive an infection by discouraging behaviors that increase the risk of further infection or predation while in a weakened state, Alves de Lima said.

"The immune system and the brain have most likely co-evolved," Alves de Lima said. "Selecting special molecules to protect us immunologically and behaviorally at the same time is a smart way to protect against infection. This is a good example of how cytokines, which basically evolved to fight against pathogens, also are acting on the brain and modulating behavior."

The researchers now are studying how gamma-delta T cells in the meninges detect bacterial signals from other parts of the body. They also are investigating how IL-17 signaling in neurons translates into behavioral changes.

 

NASA gives thumbs up to use of colloidal silver as antibiotic in space; FDA has no jurisdiction in high orbit

NASA, September 14, 2020

 In the day-to-day happenings of world politics, the United States and Russia are presented on the global stage as arch-enemies. Up in space, however, it's a completely different story. Enter the International Space Station (ISS), which for years has housed astronauts from both countries along with life-support systems unique to each country's needs. The two sides have long remained separate from one another until recently.

For years, the U.S. side of the ISS utilized iodine as its water cleansing agent of choice, while the Russian side took advantage of antibacterial silver for water purification purposes. Both sides coexisted peacefully in their respective methods, with the U.S. picking up whatever extra water the Russian side had leftover. Russia's water purification process has always been much more efficient than that of the U.S.

It seemed that the two opposing nations would never find a common bond in adopting a single, standardized water purification method that served the interests of everyone. However, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently made the decision to adopt Russia's method of purifying its water after coming to the realization that adding ionized silver to water is easier, more effective, and much more efficient than adding iodine.

"Unlike iodine, silver doesn't have to be filtered out of the water," explains a report by Bloomberg, noting that iodine has to be filtered out of the U.S. water after use. "Epsom salts (magnesium) are added to improve its taste."

"Due to widespread growth in the use of colloidal silver as a biocidal agent, development of a simple and cost efficient method of silver testing is valuable," admits NASA on its website. "On station, silver is used as a biocidal agent based on its antimicrobial properties in the potable water system."

Too much silver may be toxic to humans, so NASA is supporting research into a simple technique that it says will allow ISS crew members to test silver levels in water in less than two minutes.

 

 

 

Red Clover Beats Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

Green Med Info, September 12th 2020

Red clover has been touted as one of the top herbal medicines in the world and now scientists are discovering how red clover actually works in your body

Red clover, a native flowering plant found in Europe and Asia, is the source of many health benefits, including the abilities to beat inflammation and lower oxidative stress.

Infections, allergies, and autoimmune diseases upset the balance of your cells, which leads to inflammation, and major diseases associated with aging, such as heart attacksstrokecancer and Type 2 diabetesNeurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's show increased oxidative stress and inflammation as well.[i] It is not surprising that current interest in red clover and its healing elements is rising.

Three Components of Red Clover

  1. Formononetin

One of the key elements of red clover is formononetin, a dietary isoflavone, which is helpful in controlling diseases that are thought to be caused by inflammation and oxidative stress, such as diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome.[ii]

A treatment with formononetin controlled hypoglycemia and significantly reduced insulin resistance and oxidative stress in sciatic nerve tissue in diabetic animal research, making it an effective candidate for treatment of Type 2 diabetic neuropathy.[iii]

In other research, red clover treatment in diabetic rats successfully reduced hyperglycemia, improved insulin sensitivity and contributed to higher longevity (SIRT1 expression in rat pancreatic tissue).[iv]

Red clover sprouts (high in formononetin) reduced metabolic syndrome by decreasing obesity, lowering blood glucose levels and improving the lipid metabolism in obese mice that were given a high-carbohydrate and high-fat diet.[v]

Red clover isoflavones, such as formononetin, decreased total cholesterol by 29% in a meta-analysis covering 12 studies of 910 peri- and postmenopausal women.[vi]

Similarly, in a meta-analysis of 12 randomized control trials of 1,284 peri- and postmenopausal women, those who took red clover isoflavones for four weeks to 18 months improved their lipid profiles (significant decreases in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides and a significant increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol).[vii]

Red clover isoflavone supplementation for 90 days also improved the lipid profile (significant decreases in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) of 88% of the 60 postmenopausal women studied who had an increased body mass index.[viii]

In both human umbilical cord cells and zebrafish cell studies, formononetin also produced proangiogenesis effects (increased blood vessel creation in embryos) through binding cell signaling pathways (estrogen receptor alpha-enhanced ROCK-II).[ix]

In addition, formononetin ameliorated myocardia ischemia/reperfusion injury (loss of oxygen to the heart, which prevents pumping, and when oxygen returns but injures tissues, respectively) in rats (as measured by cardiac dysfunction, infarct size and cardiac markers) and inhibited the inflammatory response by impacting the "reactive oxygen species-thioredoxin interacting protein-nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat-containing protein 3" (ROS-TXNIP-NLRP3) pathway.[x]

In a mouse model, formononetin also exhibited significant anticancer effects in multiple myeloma cancers (found in plasma cells) and decreased inflammation (through the ROS-regulated inhibition of the signaling cascade of aberrant cells impairing the immune system, called STAT3 and STAT5).[xi]

In a human study, 20 men treated with 160 milligrams (mg) per day of red clover-derived dietary isoflavones, (genistein, daidzein, formononetin and biochanin A) also showed significantly higher apoptosis (prostate cancer cell death) than in control subjects specifically for low to moderate-grade cancer.[xii]

Research affirms that formononetin isoflavones in red clover have cancer fighting benefits for breast, colorectal, ovarian,[xiii] bladder[xiv] and prostate cancers, decrease tumors and metastasis and interfere with inflammation-causing signals that allow cancer cells to grow and survive chemotherapy.[xv] In addition, formononetin has also shown neuroprotective properties by suppressing inflammation in the brain neurons of rats.[xvi]

Inflammation is involved in a host of diseases from obesity, atherosclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis to cancer, neurological and cardiac diseases, and isoflavones, such as formononetin, show strong antioxidant, anticancer, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.[xvii]

  1. Anthocyanins

Anthocyanins are pigment-related compounds found in red clover giving the plant its purplish color. These compounds fight both inflammation and oxidative stress.[xviii]Interest in anthocyanin pigments has intensified recently because of potential health benefits -- as dietary antioxidants to prevent neuronal diseases, cardiovascular illnesses, cancer, diabetes, inflammation and atherosclerosis -- and scientific progress in stabilizing the compounds by encapsulating them.[xix],[xx]

In a recent in vitro study, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of red clover extract and red clover anthocyanins showed prevention of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and suppression of genes such as tumor necrosis factor, interleukin, inducible nitric oxide synthase, monocyte chemoattractant protein and cyclooxygenase.

In addition, the anthocyanins in red clover regulated two signaling pathways in cells, called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2), which are important to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, respectively.[xxi]

You produce less NRF2 (a regulator of oxidants) as you age and that interferes with NRF2's cross-talk with NF-κB, which then increases cytokine production (inflammatory proteins), which slowly tips the balance toward the oxidative side -- a condition known as oxidative stress.[xxii]

For example, it has been found that two cytokines, interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, are produced in excess in rheumatoid arthritis where they create inflammation and tissue destruction.[xxiii]

It is no wonder that anthocyanins found in red clover are recommended as powerful natural antioxidants that help reduce inflammation, contribute to the health of connective tissue and are effective in defusing dangerous free radicals that can irritate body tissues and cause the inflammation and joint pain prevalent in arthritis.[xxiv],[xxv]

In a study of 88 healthy, overweight and obese children ages 6 to 10, urinary biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress were elevated in obese children and signaled endothelial dysfunction.[xxvi] This imbalance between dilation and constriction of the blood vessels determines blood pressure and how well the heart is pumping blood out to the body and can contribute to increased inflammation and various heart diseases.[xxvii]

In a randomized, double blind trial of 150 subjects with hypercholesterolemia, those who consumed a purified anthocyanin mixture (320 mg per day) showed improved lipid profiles and reduced inflammatory responses compared to those who took a placebo twice a day for 24 weeks.[xxviii] Dietary anthocyanin consumption was associated with a 15% reduction of Type 2 diabetes risk in a meta-analysis of 200,894 participants and 12,611 Type 2 diabetes cases.[xxix]

In a meta-analysis of 14 cohort studies of flavonoids, subjects taking anthocyanins showed significantly lower risk for cardiovascular disease as well.[xxx] Intake of foods/extracts rich in anthocyanin improved vascular health, as shown in a meta-analysis of 24 randomized-controlled trials; two measures (vascular reactivity and stiffness) were significantly improved.[xxxi]

  1. Polysaccharides

Polysaccharide compounds in red clover (including glucose, galacturonic acid, arabinose and galactose) can be used as natural hypoglycemic agents and antioxidants. DPPH (2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) and ABTS (2,2′-azinobis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid)) are stable free radicals that are used to measure the radical scavenging activity of antioxidants.

Red clover polysaccharides were found to be 87% as effective as acarbose (a current glucosidase inhibition drug used for Type 2 diabetes)[xxxii] and nearly as effective as an antioxidant (92% scavenging rate of DPPH radicals and 99% of ABTS radicals) as ascorbic acid or pure vitamin C.[xxxiii]

In a breakdown study of polysaccharide types in red clover, rhamnogalactouronans exhibited the highest nitric oxide activity as an antioxidant.[xxxiv] Botanical polysaccharides found in plants, such as red clover, enhance macrophage immune responses, leading to immunomodulation, anti-tumor activity, wound healing and other therapeutic effects.[xxxv]

Red Clover Attacks the Root Causes of Diseases

Recent scientific research has uncovered how red clover successfully attacks two important root causes and markers of diseases, namely inflammation and oxidative stress, to help your body gain balance at the molecular cell level. Read more at GreenMedInfo.com about the amazing health benefits of red clover and its three components: formononetinanthocyanin and polysaccharides.

September 15, 2020  

Probiotic skin therapy improves eczema in children, study suggests

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, September 10, 2020

An experimental treatment for eczema that aims to modify the skin microbiome safely reduced disease severity and increased quality of life for children as young as 3 years of age, a National Institutes of Health study has found. These improvements persisted for up to eight months after treatment stopped, researchers report Sept. 9 in Science Translational Medicine.

Atopic dermatitis, commonly called eczema, is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by dry, itchy skin and rashes. The disease is most common in children and is linked to an increased risk of developing asthma, hay fever and food allergy. While available treatments can help manage eczema symptoms, current options can be costly, and many require multiple daily applications.

The experimental therapy contains strains of live Roseomonas mucosa—a bacterium naturally present on the skin—originally isolated from healthy volunteers and grown under carefully controlled laboratory conditions. For four months, clinical trial participants or their caregivers periodically applied this probiotic therapy to areas of skin affected by eczema.

"A child suffering from eczema, which can be itchy, painful and distracting for the child, also is very difficult for the entire family," said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which led the study. "These early-stage findings suggest that R. mucosatherapy may help relieve some children of both the burden of eczema symptoms and the need for daily treatment."

Numerous genetic and environmental factors contribute to eczema, and scientists are learning more about the role that the skin's microbiome plays in this condition. In 2016, NIAID researchers reported that R. mucosa strains isolated from healthy human skin improved outcomes in cell culture and mouse models of eczema.

To build on these preclinical findings, NIAID launched a Phase 1/2 clinical trial at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to assess the safety and potential benefit of R. mucosa therapy in people with eczema. Interim results reported in 2018 for 10 adults and five children aged 9 to 14 years indicated that the treatment was safe and associated with reduced eczema severity. Since then, the trial has enrolled an additional 15 children, for a total of 20 children with mild to severe eczema ranging in age from 3 to 16 years.

Twice weekly for three months and every other day for an additional month, children or their caregivers sprayed a solution of sugar water containing live R. mucosa onto areas of skin with eczema. For the first 15 children enrolled in the study, the dose of live R. mucosa was gradually increased each month. The last five children to enroll received the same dose throughout the four-month treatment period. Regardless of dosing strategy, no serious adverse events were attributed to the therapy.

"Most children in the study experienced substantial improvements in their skin and overall wellbeing following R. mucosa therapy. Encouragingly, the therapeutic bacteria stayed on the skin and continued to provide benefit after therapy stopped," said NIAID's Ian Myles, M.D., principal investigator of the trial. "These results support a larger study to further assess the safety and effectiveness of this experimental treatment by comparing it with a placebo."

Seventeen of the 20 children experienced a greater than 50% improvement in eczema severity following treatment. Improvement occurred on all treated skin sites, including the inner elbows, inner knees, hands, trunk and neck. The scientists also observed increases in the skin's barrier function—its ability to seal in moisture and keep out allergens. Additionally, most children needed fewer corticosteroids to manage their eczema, experienced less itching, and reported a better quality of life following the therapy. These benefits persisted after treatment ended, and the therapeutic R. mucosa strains remained on the skin for up to eight months.

The NIAID researchers next set out to better understand how R. mucosa therapy improves eczema symptoms. They found that treated skin had increased microbial diversity and reduced levels of Staphylococcus aureus—a bacterium known to exacerbate eczema.

In addition to imbalances in the microbiome, the skin of people with eczema is deficient in certain lipids, or oils. By conducting experiments in cell and animal models of eczema, the NIAID scientists found that a specific set of lipids produced by R. mucosa strains isolated from healthy skin can induce skin repair processes and promote turnover of skin tissue. Study participants had increased levels of these lipids on their skinafter treatment with R. mucosa.

The researchers emphasize that additional studies are needed to further elucidate the mechanism of R. mucosa therapy and to explore whether genetic or other factors may explain why some participants did not benefit from the experimental treatment.

 

Gestational diabetes may accelerate child's biological age

Long-term health risks include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and higher weight, Rutgers study says

Rutgers University, September 10, 2020

 

Children born to mothers who had diabetes during pregnancy may age faster biologically and be at an increased risk for obesity and high blood pressure, according to Rutgers researchers. 

The study, published in the journal Epigenetics, explored how more than 1,000 children born to mothers in China aged on a cellular level. Researchers examined their exposure to gestational diabetes in utero and their DNA methylation, or epigenetic age, which indicates how experiences and exposures reflect true biological age even in early childhood. 

Accelerated aging, which can be determined by evaluating if a person's estimated DNA methylation age is greater than their chronological age, has been shown to be associated with cardiovascular risks and poor health outcomes later in life. 

The researchers measured the epigenetic age of 1,156 children who were ages 3 to 10 in Tianjin, China, to see how it differed from their chronological age. They found that children born to mothers who had diabetes while pregnant had a higher epigenetic age -- or were "older" than their actual age -- and that this epigenetic age is associated with higher weight, body mass index, body fat percentage, upper-arm circumference and blood pressure.

"These findings suggest that gestational diabetes may have long-term effects on epigenetic aging in offspring and lead to poorer cardiometabolic health outcomes," said lead author Stephanie Shiau, an instructor at the Rutgers School of Public Health. 

The findings support the need for further studies using longitudinal samples to evaluate the association between epigenetic age and later onset of adult metabolic diseases. 

In the United States, between 2 percent to 10 percent of pregnancies are affected by the condition annually, according to the National Institutes of Health.

 

 

Ten minutes of massage or rest will help your body fight stress: study

University of Konstanz (Germany) September 13, 2020

Allowing yourself a few minutes of downtime significantly boosts mental and physical relaxation. Research by psychologists at the University of Konstanz observed higher levels of psychological and physiological relaxation in people after only ten minutes of receiving a massage. Even ten minutes of simple rest increased relaxation, albeit to a lesser degree than massage. The findings, reported on 8 September 2020 in the journal Scientific Reports, provide the first indication that short-term treatments can robustly reduce stress on a psychological and physiological level by boosting the body's principal engine for relaxation—the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).

Stress is known to have negative consequences for health and disease. However, our bodies have an inbuilt regenerative system, the PNS, to ward off stress during times of threat. Launching a relaxation response is thus key to protecting our health and restoring balance in our body. Massage has been used to improve relaxation, yet no systematic approach exists to robustly confirm its effect on the PNS and whether or not this could be used as rehabilitation for patients suffering from stress-related disease.

Boosting the body's engine for relaxation

This study indicates that massage is an easy-to-apply intervention that can boost the body's principal engine for relaxation—the PNS—and also lead to a reduction in perceived mental stress. The discovery that massage is effective on the level of both psychology and physiology via the PNS will pave the way for future studies on understanding the role of relaxation on stress.

"To get a better handle on the negative effects of stress, we need to understand its opposite—relaxation," says Jens Pruessner, head of the Neuropsychology lab and Professor at the Cluster of Excellence "Center for the Advanced Study of Collective Behavior" at the University of Konstanz. "Relaxation therapies show great promise as a holistic way to treat stress, but more systematic scientific appraisal of these methods is needed."

Standardized testing approach

Researchers from the Department of Psychology in Konstanz developed a standardized approach for testing if tactile stimulation could improve mental and physical relaxation. They applied two different ten-minute massages on human subjectsin the laboratory to test: A head-and-neck massage was designed to actively stimulate the PNS by applying moderate pressure on the vagal nerve, which is the largest nerve running to the PNS. Then a neck-and-shoulder massage with soft stroking movements was designed to examine whether just touch can also be relaxing. Finally, a control group of participants sitting quietly at a table was tested for the effect of rest without tactile stimulation. Physiological relaxation was gaged by monitoring the heart rate of participants and measuring heart rate variability (HRV), which indicates how flexibly the PNS can respond to changes in the environment. The higher the HRV, the more relaxed is the body. Psychological relaxation was gaged by asking participants to describe how relaxed or stressed they feel.

Ten minutes of resting or receiving either massage resulted in psychological and physiological reduction in stress. All participants reported that they felt more relaxed, and less stressed, compared with before the treatments. Further, all participants showed significant increases in heart rate variability, which demonstrates that the PNS was activated and the body physiologically relaxed just by resting alone. The physiological effect was more pronounced when participants received a massage. It was, however, not important whether the massage was soft or moderate—tactile contact in general seemed to improve the relaxation of the body.

Small moments with big impact

"We are very encouraged by the findings that short periods of dis-engagement are enough to relax not just the mind but also the body," says Maria Meier, a doctoral student in the lab of Neuropsychology and first author on the study. "You don't need a professional treatment in order to relax. Having somebody gently stroke your shoulders, or even just resting your head on the table for ten minutes, is an effective way to boost your body's physiological engine of relaxation."

By developing a standardized method for robustly testing and validating relaxation therapies, the study allows further experiments to test the effects of additional relaxation interventions that could be used in prevention or rehabilitation programs for people suffering from stress-related diseases such as depression.

"Massage, being such a commonly used relaxation therapy, was our first study," says Meier. "Our next step is to test if other short interventions, like breathing exercises and meditation, show similar psychological and physiological relaxation results."

 

Processed food linked to age-marker in chromosomes

University of Navarra (Spain), September 10, 2020 

 

People who eat a lot of industrially processed junk food are more likely to exhibit a change in their chromosomes linked to aging, according to research presented at an online medical conference.

Three or more servings of so-called “ultra-processed food” per day doubled the odds that strands of DNA and proteins called telomeres, found on the end of chromosomes, would be shorter compared to people who rarely consumed such foods, scientists reported at the European and International Conference on Obesity.

Short telomeres are a marker of biological aging at the cellular level, and the study suggests that diet is a factor in driving the cells to age faster.

While the correlation is strong, however, the causal relationship between eating highly processed foods and diminished telomeres remains speculative, the authors cautioned.

Each human cell has 23 pairs of chromosomes that contain our genetic code.

Telomeres do not carry genetic information, but are vital for preserving the stability and integrity of chromosomes and, by extension, the DNA that all the cells in our body relies on to function.

As we get older, our telomeres shorten naturally because each time a cell divides, part of the telomere is lost.

That reduction in length has long been recognized as a marker of biological age.

Scientists led by professors Maria Bes-Rastrollo and Amelia Marti, both of the University of Navarra in Spain, wanted to explore a suspected connection between the regular consumption of highly processed junk food and shrinking telomeres.

Earlier studies had pointed to a possible link with sugar-sweetened drinks, processed meats and other foods loaded with saturated fats and sugar, but the findings were inconclusive.

Ultra-processed foods are industrially manufactured substances composed of some mix of oils, fats, sugars, starch and proteins that contain little if any whole or natural foods.

They often include artificial flavorings, colorings, emulsifiers, preservatives and other additives that increase shelf-life and profit margins.

These same properties, however, also mean that such foods are nutritionally poor compared to less processed alternatives, the researchers said.

Earlier studies have shown strong correlations between ultra-processed foods and hypertension, obesity, depression, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer.

These conditions are often age-related in so far as they are linked to oxidative stress and inflammation known to influence telomere length.

Marti and colleagues looked at health data for nearly 900 people aged 55 or older who provided DNA samples in 2008 and provided detailed data about their eating habits every two years thereafter.

The 645 men and 241 women were equally divided into four groups, depending on their consumption of ultra-processed foods.

Those in the high-intake group were more likely to have a family history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and abnormal blood fats.

That also consumed less foods associated with the Mediterranean diet — fibre, olive oil, fruits, vegetable and nuts.

Compared to the group who ate the fewest ultra-processed foods, the other three showed an increased likelihood — 29, 40 and 82 percent, respectively — of having shortened telomeres.

The findings were published earlier this year in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

 

 

Mother's iodine status related to child's IQ

Bothwell OB/GYN Associates, September 9, 2020

For a woman planning to have a baby, there are many health factors to take into consideration. One that may be overlooked is the mother's iodine level.

Iodine is a trace mineral in our bodies that is essential for the production and integration of thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism, development and important body functions. Low levels of iodine result in decreased levels of the thyroid hormone t4 or thyroxine.

According to Dr. Lori Nolla, obstetrician with Bothwell OB/GYN Associates, low levels of this hormone in pregnant women can result in permanent intellectual disability in the baby and is associated with higher newborn and infant death rates.

"Iodine is crucial for the production of thyroid hormones, which play a key role in the brain development of fetuses," Nolla said. "Pregnant women or women planning to be pregnant must have adequate amounts of iodine, particularly in the first trimester, to ensure their baby's central nervous system develops properly."

Nolla said our bodies don't naturally make iodine, so the only way to get this nutrient is through diet.

"Iodine intake in the United States has decreased due to reduced iodine content in dairy products and increased use of noniodized salt in the food industry," she said. "However, women who are pregnant or planning to be can make simple changes to increase their iodine intake including watching what they eat, taking prenatal vitamins and using iodized salt in place of regular salt."

The World Health Organization recommends pregnant women should take 250 micrograms of iodine a day during pregnancy and lactation.

"The months leading up to pregnancy are the most important in terms of optimizing iodine levels, so supplementation should be considered before conception," Nolla said. "When iodine supplements are begun before conception, children show better neurological and developmental outcomes."

For that reason, Nolla recommends women start taking prenatal vitamins three months before attempting to conceive. In addition to iodine levels, iron, selenium and vitamin A levels should also be monitored because deficiencies can worsen the problems of low iodine.

Goiter, or a swelling of the thyroid glands in the neck, is the most obvious symptom of iodine deficiency. However, even if there are no obvious signs of deficiency, iodine levels should be monitored to ensure the health of the mother and child, Nolla said.

"A mother's iodine level has a significant impact on a baby's health," she said. "Women who are pregnant or planning to be should talk to their doctors about checking and monitoring their iodine to ensure a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby."

 

 

Cannabidiol (CBD) found to alleviate seizures in those with neurodevelopmental conditions: Study

University of North Carolina, September 13, 2020

 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 113 organic compounds in the Cannabis sativa plant, commonly known as hemp. Previous studies on CBD have focused on its medicinal uses for pain relief, epileptic seizures, insomnia and Parkinson’s disease.

But a recent study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) found that CBD could also benefit children and adults suffering from Angelman syndrome (AS).

First author Bin Gu and his colleagues tested the effects of CBD on seizures, motor deficits and brain abnormalities in a mouse model of the said neurogenetic disorder.

Their experiments demonstrated that CBD treatment can reduce the severity of seizures in mice with AS. In addition, CBD also caused mild sedation and restored the mice’s normal brain rhythms.

Gu is hopeful that their findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could inspire further research into the use of CBD as a treatment for seizures caused by AS and other neurological disorders.

CBD reduces seizures and causes mild sedation

AS is a rare neurogenetic disorder that occurs in one in 15,000 live births, or about 500,000 people around the globe. It tends to cause developmental problems that become noticeable when an infant reaches six to 12 months of age.

AS can also cause other abnormalities, such as seizures, balance disorders and speech problems. Because of the rare nature of AS, there is scant research on possible treatments and therapies.

Benjamin Philpot, the associate director of the UNC Neuroscience Center and the study’s senior author, said that there is an unmet need for better treatments for children suffering from the disorder. In response to this need, he and his colleagues created genetically modified mouse models of AS that they could use to find a possible treatment.

The researchers chose to test CBD because of its anti-epileptic properties. In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of CBD as a treatment for seizures caused by two rare forms of epilepsy. (Related: Treating neurological disorders in children with oriental herbal medicine.)

To assess the effects of CBD on AS symptoms, the researchers injected the genetically-modified mice they created with various doses of CBD an hour prior to behavioral testing. Regardless of dose, CBD did not have a major impact on motor coordination or balance.

However, injection of a standard anti-convulsant dose of CBD caused mild sedation in the mice and reduced the severity of their experimentally triggered seizures. CBD also helped stabilize brain pulses linked to neural deficits and abnormalities.

These results expand the therapeutic spectrum of the anti-epileptic effects of CBD. The researchers also believe that their study could help address the need for better treatments for children with AS.

CBD reduces seizures and autism-like behaviors in a mouse model of another childhood brain disorder

This isn’t the first time that scientists attempted to assess the therapeutic effects of CBD on rare and less-studied neurological disorders.

In 2017, researchers from the University of Washington (UW) used CBD to treat mice with Dravet syndrome (DS), a severe type of epilepsy characterized by prolonged seizures that begin in the first year of life.

But unlike AS patients whose symptoms tend to improve with age, DS patients tend to suffer from worse intellectual impairments, autism-like behaviors and other debilitating neurological problems over time.

DS is also a rare and life-long condition that affects one in 20,000 to 40,000 people worldwide. Its drug-resistant nature has further complicated the development of treatments and therapies for it.

The UW researchers assessed the effects of CBD treatment on a mouse model of DS. Their experiments showed that high doses of CBD could reduce the severity, frequency and duration of DS-induced seizures.

In addition, mice treated with low doses of CBD spent more time interacting with other mice compared with the untreated mice, indicating an improvement of autism-like behaviors. However, this effect was lost at the higher doses needed to reduce seizures.

Nephi Stella, the founder of the UW Center for Cannabis Research and a member of the research team, said that their findings highlight the need for a treatment that could confer both benefits at once.

Nevertheless, the researchers noted that their findings contribute to the emerging data supporting the use of CBD in the treatment of drug-resistant and debilitating neurological conditions.

 

A Novel Approach to Treating COVID-19 Using Nutritional and Oxidative Therapies

David Brownstein, M.D. (journal, Science, Public Health Policy and the Law

 

 

Objective: This report is a case series of consecutive patients diagnosed with COVID-19 treated with a nutritional and oxidative medical approach. We describe the treatment program and report the response of the 107 COVID-19 patients.

 

Study Design: Observational case series consecutive.


Setting: A family practice office in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan.


Patients: All patients seen in the office from February through May 2020 diagnosed with COVID-19 were included in the study. COVID-19 was either diagnosed via PCR or antibody
testing as well as those not tested diagnosed via symptomology.


Interventions: Oral Vitamins A, C, D, and iodine were given to 107 subjects (99%). Intravenous solutions of hydrogen peroxide and Vitamin C were given to 32 (30%) and 37 (35%) subjects. Thirty-seven (35%) of the cohort was treated with intramuscular ozone. A dilute, nebulized hydrogen peroxide/ saline mixture, with Lugol’s iodine, was used by 91 (85%).


Main Outcome Measures: History and physical exam were reviewed for COVID-19 symptoms including cough, fever, shortness of breath, and gastrointestinal complaints. Laboratory reports were examined for SARS-CoV-2 results. Symptomatic improvement after treatment was reported for each patient consisting of first improvement, mostly better, and completely better. 

 

Results: There were a total of 107 patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Thirty-four were tested for SARS-CoV-2(32%) and twenty-seven (25%) tested positive. Three were hospitalized (3%) with two of the three hospitalized before instituting treatment and only one requiring hospitalization after beginning treatment. There were no deaths. The most common symptoms in the cohort were fever (81%), shortness of breath (68%), URI which included cough (69%), and gastrointestinal distress symptoms (27%). For the entire cohort, first improvement was noted in 2.4 days. The cohort reported symptoms mostly better after 4.4 days and completely better 6.9 days after starting the program. For the SARS-CoV-2 test positive patients, fever was present in 25 (93%), shortness of breath in 20 (74%) and upper respiratory symptoms including cough in 21 (78%) while gastrointestinal symptoms were present in 9 (33%). The time to improvement in the SARS-CoV-2 test positive group was slightly longer than the entire cohort.


Conclusion: At present, there is no published cure, treatment, or preventive for COVID-19 except for a recent report on dexamethasone for seriously ill patients. A novel treatment program combining nutritional and oxidative therapies was shown to successfully treat the signs and symptoms of 100% of 107 patients diagnosed with COVID-19.


Each patient was treated with an individualized plan consisting of a combination of oral, IV, IM, and nebulized nutritional and oxidative therapies which resulted in zero deaths and recovery from COVID-19.

 

 

Milk thistle protects against COPD caused by secondhand smoke

Sichuan University, (China), September 11, 2020

 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15.7 million people suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a serious respiratory condition which can cause scarring of the lungs, narrowing of the airway and extreme difficulty breathing. Taking enough milk thistle – on a regular basis – can help protect you from harm. (But, don’t expect to hear about this from the big pharma-owned media.)

Exposure to tobacco smoke – whether through actively smoking or simply inhaling the smoke from another’s cigarette – is the primary cause of COPD. Although Western medicine currently offers no cure for COPD, recent studies generate a ray of hope. Groundbreaking newresearch suggests that milk thistle extracts may not only prevent COPD but, help to treat it.

WARNING: Carcinogenic secondhand smoke is a major contributor to COPD

“Passive” smoking – the act of inhaling secondhand smoke – exposes the victim’s lungs to a truly noxious cocktail of poisons. In fact, secondhand smoke has been classified as a carcinogen by both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Toxicology Program.

Among the toxins found in secondhand smoke are butane, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide – which is used in chemical warfare – carbon monoxide (think: “car exhaust”) and toluene, found in paint thinners, lacquers and glues. Other constituents include the toxic heavy metals arsenic, lead and cadmium.

Although lung cancer is probably the disease most often associated with secondhand smoke, this lethal form of air pollution is also a primary factor in COPD – which is currently the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Having COPD raises the risk of developing lung cancer and heart disease. To make matters worse, this condition is associated with osteoporosis, anxiety, depression, frailty and malnutrition.

While Western medicine attempts to manage COPD symptoms with oxygen therapy and drugs such as bronchodilators and corticosteroids, these treatments don’t reduce mortality at all – and some feature serious (unwanted) side effects.

In light of these discouraging facts, the promising results of recent milk thistle studies stand out as a particularly welcome development. (to say the least!)

Silymarin, a flavonoid in milk thistle, alleviates inflammatory response

In a study published in the journal Inflammation, researchers exposed mice to the equivalent of 1.5 packs of cigarettes a day for four weeks, creating drastic increases in peribronchial inflammation, thickening of airway walls and airway obstruction.

The team found that pretreating the mice with silymarin – the active component of milk thistle – an hour before exposure dramatically decreased inflammatory changes, and cut production of pro-inflammatory chemicals such as TNF-alpha and interleukin.

Encouragingly, silymarin also helped safeguard levels of superoxide dismutase, an important disease-fighting antioxidant produced in the body.

A year later, the same team of researchers took another, closer look at the workings of milk thistle. And what they found was encouraging.

In a study of human bronchial cells published in Scientific Report, the team explored the molecular and cellular mechanisms of silymarin – and found once again that the flavonoid attenuated cigarette smoke-induced upregulation of pro-inflammatory chemicals.

And, researchers discovered for the first time that silymarin modulated a certain pathway – known as MAPK – that governs inflammation.

The takeaway? The team concluded that silymarin might be “an ideal agent for treating inflammatory pulmonary diseases.”

Primary constituent in silymarin suppresses inflammation and scarring

In a third study, recently published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, researchers treated mice with silibinin (a constituent of silymarin) one hour before exposure to cigarette smoke.

The team found that the silibinin caused the mice to not only experience the sharp reductions in inflammatory changes seen in earlier studies – but discovered that it also suppressed the scarring and fibrosis that are typical of COPD in humans.

This means that silibinin may not only help prevent COPD – but, reverse it!

Intriguingly, the silibinin directly affected the expression of a certain pro-inflammatory protein – transforming growth factor beta-1 – that is activated and spurred on by exposure to smoke, making it appear that this compound is custom-designed to protect against secondhand smoke.

How do I take milk thistle extracts to protect against COPD?

Milk thistle extracts are available in the form of pills, powders, extracts, liposomes and teas. Look for a high-quality preparation that is standardized to contain 70 to 80 percent silymarin.

Naturopathic doctors may recommend milk thistle extracts in dosages ranging from 20 to 300 mg a day. As always, you should consult a trusted healthcare provider before supplementing with milk thistle – especially if you have a serious medical condition.

For maximum benefit, some natural health experts advise taking a silymarin-phosphatidylcholine complex, a formulation which helps beneficial silymarin attach to cell membranes more easily.

Note: Milk thistle is a member of the aster family. Don’t take milk thistle if you are allergic to any of its “cousins,” such as ragweed, chrysanthemum, chamomile, marigolds, yarrow or daisies.

Notwithstanding its unglamorous resume as a common weed that thrives in fields and pastures, the humble milk thistle is actually a potent herbal hero that can help defend against a debilitating and deadly disease. If you have been – or are currently – exposed to firsthand or secondhand cigarette smoke, supplementing with milk thistle to protect against COPD could be a wise move.

 
 
 
 
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September 11, 2020  

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment.

September 11, 2020  

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment.

September 9, 2020  

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment.

September 8, 2020  

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment. 

Protective effects of polyphenols present in Mediterranean diet against endothelial dysfunction

University of Valencia (Spain), September 2, 2020

 

According to news originating from Valencia, Spain, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Endothelial dysfunction tends to be the initial indicator in proinflammatory state and macro- and microvascular complications, such as atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from University of Valencia: “It has been shown that certain compounds in diet can generate beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease due to its interactions with endothelial cells. Thus, this review is aimed at investigating whether certain polyphenols present in the Mediterranean diet, specifically catechin, quercetin, resveratrol, and urolithin, could exert positive effects on endothelial dysfunction. After analysis of numerous papers, we found that polyphenols aiding endothelial function is beneficial not only for patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or endothelial dysfunction but for all people as it can improve the effects of aging on the endothelia. The additional benefit of these polyphenols on weight loss further improves health and lowers the risk of several diseases, including those caused by endothelial dysfunction.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “However, it is important to note that the dosages in the majorities of the studies mentioned in this review were of supplemental rather than nutritionally relevant quantities, and therefore, the recommended dosages are difficult to determine.”

 

 

How screen time and green time may affect youth psychological outcomes

University of Adelaide (Australia), September 4, 2020

Less screen time and more green time are associated with better psychological outcomes among children and adolescents, according to a study published September 2 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Tassia Oswald of the University of Adelaide, and colleagues.

The prevalence of mental illness among children and adolescents is increasing globally. Technological developments in recent decades have increased young people's engagement with screen-based technologies (screen time), and a reduction in young people's contact with nature (green time) has been observed concurrently. This combination of high screen time and low green time may affect mental health and well-being. But research investigating the psychological impacts of screen time or green time typically considers each factor in isolation and fails to delineate the reciprocal effects of high technology use and low contact with nature on mental health and cognitive outcomes. To address this question, Oswald and colleagues analyzed the findings of 186 studies to collate evidence assessing associations between screen time, green time, and psychological outcomes (including mental health, cognitive functioning, and academic achievement) for children and adolescents.

In general, high levels of screen time appeared to be associated with unfavorable psychological outcomes, while green time appeared to be associated with favorable psychological outcomes. Young people from low socioeconomic backgrounds were underrepresented in the literature overall and may be disproportionately affected by high screen time and low green time, making this a priority group for future research. However, additional longitudinal studies and RCTs are needed to determine whether decreasing screen time and increasing green time would improve psychological outcomes. According to the authors, preliminary evidence suggests that green time could potentially buffer the consequences of high screen time, meaning nature may be an under-utilized public health resource to promote youth psychological well-being in a high-tech era. Investment in more rigorous research is needed to explore this.

Oswald adds: "This systematic scoping review highlights that nature may currently be an under-utilised public health resource, which could potentially function as an upstream preventative and psychological well-being promotion intervention for children and adolescents in a high-tech era. However, robust evidence is needed to guide policies and recommendations around appropriate screen time and green time at critical life stages, to ultimately ensure optimal psychological well-being for young people."

 

Ginseng gintonin, aging societies and geriatric brain diseases

Konkuk University (South Korea), September 4, 2020

 

According to news reporting out of Seoul, South Korea, research stated, “A dramatic increase in aging populations and low birth rates rapidly drive aging societies and increase aging-associated neurodegenerative diseases. However, functional food or medicinal formulations to prevent geriatric brain disorders are not readily available. Gintonin is a candidate, since ginseng has long-been consumed as a rejuvenating agent.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Konkuk University, “However, the underlying molecular mechanisms and the components of ginseng that are responsible for brain rejuvenation and human longevity are unknown. Accumulating evidence shows that gintonin is a candidate for the anti-aging ingredient of ginseng, especially in brain senescence. Gintonin, a glycolipoprotein complex, contains three lipid-derived G protein-coupled receptor ligands: lysophosphatidic acids (LPAs), lysophosphatidylinositols (LPIs), and linoleic acid (LA). LPA, LPI, and LA act on six LPA receptor subtypes, GPR55, and GPR40, respectively. These G protein-coupled receptors are distributed within the nervous and non-nervous systems of the human body. Gintonin-enriched fraction (GEF) exhibits anti-brain senescence and effects against disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Huntington’s disease (HD), and Parkinson’s disease (PD). Oral administration of gintonin in animal models of d-galactose-induced brain aging, AD, HD, and PD restored cognitive and motor functions. The underlying molecular mechanisms of gintonin-mediated anti-brain aging and anti-neurodegenerative diseases include neurogenesis, autophagy stimulation, anti-apoptosis, anti-oxidative stress, and anti-inflammatory activities. This review describes the characteristics of gintonin and GEF, and how gintonin exerts its effects on brain aging and brain associated-neurodegenerative diseases.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Finally, we describe how GEF can be applied to improve the quality of life of senior citizens in aging societies.”

 

How we sleep today may forecast when Alzheimer's disease begins

Don't despair. deep, restorative sleep may defend against this virulent form of dementia

University of California Berkeley, September 6, 2020

 

What would you do if you knew how long you had until Alzheimer's disease set in? Don't despair. New research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests one defense against this virulent form of dementia -- for which no treatment currently exists -- is deep, restorative sleep, and plenty of it.

UC Berkeley neuroscientists Matthew Walker and Joseph Winer have found a way to estimate, with some degree of accuracy, a time frame for when Alzheimer's is most likely to strike in a person's lifetime.

"We have found that the sleep you're having right now is almost like a crystal ball telling you when and how fast Alzheimer's pathology will develop in your brain," said Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience and senior author of the paper published today, Sept. 3, in the journal Current Biology.

"The silver lining here is that there's something we can do about it," he added. "The brain washes itself during deep sleep, and so there may be the chance to turn back the clock by getting more sleep earlier in life."

Walker and fellow researchers matched the overnight sleep quality of 32 healthy older adults against the buildup in their brains of the toxic plaque known as beta-amyloid, a key player in the onset and progression of Alzheimer's, which destroys memory pathways and other brain functions and afflicts more than 40 million people worldwide.

Their findings show that the study participants who started out experiencing more fragmented sleep and less non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) slow-wave sleep were most likely to show an increase in beta-amyloid over the course of the study.

Although all participants remained healthy throughout the study period, the trajectory of their beta-amyloid growth correlated with baseline sleep quality. The researchers were able to forecast the increase in beta-amyloid plaques, which are thought to mark the beginning of Alzheimer's.

"Rather than waiting for someone to develop dementia many years down the road, we are able to assess how sleep quality predicts changes in beta-amyloid plaques across multiple timepoints. In doing so, we can measure how quickly this toxic protein accumulates in the brain over time, which can indicate the beginning of Alzheimer's disease," said Winer, the study's lead author and a Ph.D. student in Walker's Center for Human Sleep Science at UC Berkeley.

In addition to predicting the time it is likely to take for the onset of Alzheimer's, the results reinforce the link between poor sleep and the disease, which is particularly critical in the face of a tsunami of aging baby boomers on the horizon.

While previous studies have found that sleep cleanses the brain of beta-amyloid deposits, these new findings identify deep non-REM slow-wave sleep as the target of intervention against cognitive decline.

And though genetic testing can predict one's inherent susceptibility to Alzheimer's, and blood tests offer a diagnostic tool, neither offers the potential for a lifestyle therapeutic intervention that sleep does, the researchers point out.

"If deep, restorative sleep can slow down this disease, we should be making it a major priority," Winer said. "And if physicians know about this connection, they can ask their older patients about their sleep quality and suggest sleep as a prevention strategy."

The 32 healthy participants in their 60s, 70s and 80s who are enrolled in the sleep study are part of the Berkeley Aging Cohort Study headed by UC Berkeley public health professor William Jagust, also a co-author on this latest study. The study of healthy aging was launched in 2005 with a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

For the experiment, each participant spent an eight-hour night of sleep in Walker's lab while undergoing polysomnography, a battery of tests that record brain waves, heart rate, blood-oxygen levels and other physiological measures of sleep quality.

Over the course of the multi-year study, the researchers periodically tracked the growth rate of the beta-amyloid protein in the participants' brains using positron emission tomography, or PET scans, and compared the individuals' beta-amyloid levels to their sleep profiles.

Researchers focused on the brain activity present during deep slow-wave sleep. They also assessed the study participants' sleep efficiency, which is defined as actual time spent asleep, as opposed to lying sleepless in bed.

The results supported their hypothesis that sleep quality is a biomarker and predictor of disease down the road.

"We know there's a connection between people's sleep quality and what's going on in the brain, in terms of Alzheimer's disease. But what hasn't been tested before is whether your sleep right now predicts what's going to happen to you years later," Winer said. "And that's the question we had."

And they got their answer: "Measuring sleep effectively helps us travel into the future and estimate where your amyloid buildup will be," Walker said.

As for next steps, Walker and Winer are looking at how they can take the study participants who are at high risk of contracting Alzheimer's and implement methods that might boost the quality of their sleep.

"Our hope is that if we intervene, then in three or four years the buildup is no longer where we thought it would be because we improved their sleep," Winer said.

"Indeed, if we can bend the arrow of Alzheimer's risk downward by improving sleep, it would be a significant and hopeful advance," Walker concluded.

 

Link between positive emotions and health depends on culture

University of Wisconsin, September 8, 2020

Positive emotions are often seen as critical aspects of healthy living, but new researchsuggests that the link between emotion and health outcomes may vary by cultural context. The findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, show that experiencing positive emotions is linked with better cardiovascular health in the US but not in Japan.

"Our key finding is that positive emotions predict blood-lipid profiles differently across cultures," says psychological scientist Jiah Yoo of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "American adults who experience high levels of positive emotions, such as feeling 'cheerful' and 'extremely happy', are more likely to have healthy blood-lipid profiles, even after accounting for other factors such as age, gender, socioeconomic status, and chronic conditions. However, this was not true for Japanese adults."

"Our findings underscore the importance of cultural context for understanding links between emotion and health, something that has been largely ignored in the literature," Yoo adds. "Although some studies have examined cultural differences in links between positive emotions and healthy functioning, this work is novel in that it includes biological measures of health and large representative samples from both countries."

The fact that positive emotions are conceived of and valued differently across cultures led Yoo and colleagues to wonder whether the health benefits observed in tandem with positive emotions might be specific to Western populations.

"In American cultures, experiencing positive emotions is seen as desirable and is even encouraged via socialization. But in East Asian cultures, people commonly view positive emotions as having dark sides - they are fleeting, may attract unnecessary attention from others, and can be a distraction from focusing on important tasks," says Yoo.

The researchers designed a cross-cultural comparison, examining data from two large representative studies of adults: Midlife in the United States and Midlife in Japan, both funded by the National Institute on Aging. Data included participants' ratings of how frequently they felt 10 different positive emotions in the previous 30 days and measures of blood lipids, which provided objective data on participants' heart health.

"Because of the global prevalence of coronary artery disease, blood lipids are considered important indices of biological health in many Western and East Asian countries," Yoo explains.

As expected, the data indicated that experiencing frequent positive emotions was associated with healthy lipid profiles for American participants. But there was no evidence of such a link for Japanese participants.

The differences may be due, in part, to the relationships between positive emotions and BMI in each culture. Higher positive emotions were linked with lower BMI and, in turn, healthier lipid profiles among American participants, but not among Japanese participants.

"By demonstrating that the cultural variation in the connection between emotional well-being and physical well-being, our research has wide-ranging relevance among those who seek to promote well-being in the communities and the workplace, including clinicians, executives, and policy makers," Yoo concludes.

In future work, the researchers will examine longitudinal data to determine whether the evidence suggests a direct causal link between emotions and health. They also hope to identify emotional profiles that may be more relevant or important to health outcomes in East Asian cultures.

 

Experimental research suggests co-administration of Panax ginseng and Brassica oleracea plants (kale, broccoli, cabbage, etc) may help protect against osteoporosis

Inha University School of Medicine (South Korea), September 4, 2020

 

According to news reporting out of Incheon, South Korea, research stated, “Postmenopausal osteoporosis is a common disorder resulting from increased osteoclastic activity.”

The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Inha University School of Medicine: “To determine the effect of * * Panax ginseng* * on postmenopausal osteoporosis, ovariectomized (OVX) mice were treated with 500 mg/kg/day * * P. ginseng* * extract (Pg) alone or in combination with hot water extract of * * Brassica oleracea* * (Bo) daily for 10 weeks, and the effect of the treatments on OVX-induced bone loss was examined. Bone weight, bone mineral density (BMD), osteoclast (OC) formation, OC marker expression, and biochemical parameters in blood were determined. OVX significantly increased body weight and decreased bone weight compared with those in the Sham group (* * p* * < 0.01). Pg or Bo alone did not affect OVX-induced bone loss, but a combination of Pg and Bo (Pg:Bo) recovered bone weight. The bones of OVX mice showed lower BMD than that of Sham mice, and the Pg:Bo = 3:1 restored the decreased BMD. Single treatment with Pg or Bo did not alter OC formation; however, the Pg:Bo = 3:1 inhibited OC formation.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “In addition, Pg and Bo lowered the OVX-induced elevation in blood glucose level. Thus, we suggest that Pg in combination with proper materials, such as Bo, might be a potential candidate treatment with minimal side effects protect against postmenopausal osteoporosis.”

 

 

 

Rest Days Are Important For Fitness — Here’s Why, According To Science

University Of Aberdeen, September 4, 2020

 

In 2017, world famous distance runner, Ron Hill, ended his record of 52 years and 39 days of consecutive running by taking a day’s rest after feeling unwell during one of his runs.

Hill writes in his autobiography that he ran at least one mile a day, and tasked himself with training 13 times per week. His training was conducted without a coach, and was done on a trial and error basis.

Though successful – he even competed twice in the Olympics – there were occasions that he describes the symptoms of over-training. These included sore and heavy legs, increased susceptibility to colds and infections, and weight loss. Though Hill found a training regimen that helped him prepare for competition, he wondered if some of his substandard performances were a consequence of not taking any rest days.

When starting a new fitness regime, we’re often told it’s important to take “rest days” between workouts. The reason many recommend rest days is to allow the body’s muscles to recover from any damage they’ve sustained during workouts, and to allow them to grow. And numerous scientific studies show that rest days do indeed play an important role in helping us maintain good health and fitness.

We usually define rest as a period of time without any training. For most people, this is usually about 24 hours between workouts. However, recovery is different, and could indicate a time span of several minutes to hours (such as taking a short break during training between rounds). Recovery could also indicate the time required to induce some form of physiological adaptation, such as the observed rapid increase in plasma volume, which could improve aerobic fitness. But how necessary are both rest and recovery as part of a training program?

Take a break

Most studies indicate that rest and recovery between workouts are both necessary for helping the body adapt and recuperate from one’s last workouts. Exercise requires us to use our body’s energy stores (primarily carbohydrates) and fluids (in producing sweat), so rest and recovery give the body time to replenish these energy stores.

Several studies have shown that the body needs at least 24 hours to fully replace our muscle’s store of carbohydrates. Maintaining an adequate store of muscle glycogen (glycogen is the body’s store of carbohydrate), is important for training and maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

However, less time is required to recover our fluids. Numerous studies have found it takes only around one to two hours to replace our fluids lost as sweat during exercise. But our bodies still require several hours of rest following exercise to maintain hydration due to the continued production of urine.

Training may also damage our body’s tissues. Under some circumstances this damage can be beneficial, but is not an essential part of building muscle. But in order for muscle to recover and improve (known as physiological adaptation) they require several weeks of cycles of exercise and recovery.

Research shows our bodies require a longer rest period in order to build muscle tissue (protein synthesis). But given the turnover of protein for muscle, tendon and ligaments is between 0.4-1.2% a day, this shows there’s a constant exchange of protein in our body related to dietary intake, urinary nitrogen excretion and the added effect of exercise.

The hours just after the initial workout may actually be most important for making this happen. Researchers reported that a three-hour feeding pattern of whey protein was more effective at increasing protein synthesis than feeding every 1.5 or six hours over a 12-hour period.

Many other adaptations that occur as a consequence of training (such as increasing the activity of enzymes and glucose transporters, which are key in oxygen consumption and fuel use), require a period in excess of 12 hours before changes are detected. These changes are important, as when we increase our exercise intensity, we need to use glucose instead of fat to fuel our exercise.

Longer-term adaptations, such as increasing the number of blood vessels in our exercised muscles, or increasing the size of the heart, are a much longer process, requiring months of training and rest to observe any measurable change. Both adaptations are key to increasing our aerobic capacity.

The quality of rest has also been a source of much interest, and sleep deprivation has been used as a tool to examine the effects of disturbed rest on exercise performance and physical and psychological function. A wide-ranging review concluded that disturbed sleep may have a detrimental effect on performance, such as a reduced time to exhaustion – but they were clear that sleep deprivation had many negative effects on cognitive function.

Overwhelming evidence also shows rest days are also extremely important for preventing overtraining syndrome. Overtraining syndrome can cause fatigue, sleep loss, weight gain, depression – and may even result in decreased performance and may stall progress.

In general, it seems that one day’s rest per week is sound advice and is supported by the scientific evidence, especially when it comes to repairing tissues, building and adapting skeletal muscle, and restoring fuel reserves. It may also reduce mental stress. Although Hill set world records at distances between 10 and 16 miles, he is an exceptional example – and even admitted that trying to run every single day may have hindered his performance at the two Olympic games. Based on the evidence, taking a rest day seems to be as important for progress and fitness as exercise itself.The Conversation

 

Probiotics may help manage childhood obesity

University of Piemonte Orientale (Italy), September 5, 2020

Probiotics may help children and adolescents with obesity lose weight when taken alongside a calorie-controlled diet, according to a study being presented at e-ECE 2020. The study found that obese children who were put on a calorie-restricted diet and given probiotics Bifidobacterium breve BR03 and Bifidobacterium breve B632, lost more weight and had improved insulin sensitivity compared with children on a diet only. These findings suggest that probiotic supplements and a calorie-controlled diet may help manage obesity in the younger population and reduce future health risks, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Obesity is a global health concern and can lead to a number of life-threatening conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Treatment and prevention is a serious public health challenge, especially in children and adolescents. Bifidobacteria are a group of probiotic bacteria that are part of the natural gut microbiome and help with preventing infection from other bacteria, such as E.coli, and digestion of carbohydrates and dietary fibre. During digestion, they release chemicals called short-chain fatty acids, which play an important role in gut health and controlling hunger. Low numbers of Bifodobacteria may impair digestion, affect food intake and energy expenditure, leading to body weight gain and obesity. 

Previous studies suggested that probiotic supplementation with Bifidobacteria could help restore the composition of the gut microbiome, which may aid weight loss and could be a potential approach for obesity management. However, current research uses mixtures of different strains of probiotics and does not examine the effects of administering Bifidobacteria alone.

Dr Flavia Prodam and her team at the University of Piemonte Orientale, aimed to assess the impact of Bifidobacteria probiotic treatment in children and adolescents with obesity on a controlled diet, on weight loss and gut microbiota composition. 100 obese children and adolescents (6-18 years) were put on a calorie-controlled diet and randomly given either probiotics Bifidobacterium breve BR03 and Bifidobacterium breve B632, or a placebo for 8 weeks. Clinical, biochemical and stool sample analyses were carried out to determine the effect of probiotic supplementation on weight gain, gut microbiota and metabolism.

The results suggested that children who had taken probiotics had a reduction in waist circumference, BMI, insulin resistance and E.coli in their gut. These beneficial effects demonstrate the potential of probiotics in helping to treat obesity in children and adolescents, when undergoing dietary restrictions.

"Probiotic supplements are frequently given to people without proper evidence data. These findings start to give evidence of the efficacy and safety of two probiotic strains in treating obesity in a younger population," Dr Prodam comments. 

The study suggests that supplementation with probiotics could modify the gut microbiome environment and beneficially affect metabolism, helping obese children or adolescents who are also undergoing a restricted diet to lose weight. However, larger studies over a longer period of time are needed to investigate this.

Dr Prodam explains, "The next step for our research is to identify patients that could benefit from this probiotic treatment, with a view to creating a more personalised weight-loss strategy. We also want to decipher more clearly the role of diet and probiotics on microbiome composition. This could help us to understand how the microbiota is different in young people with obesity."

September 7, 2020  

Curcumin suppresses aldosterone-induced CRP generation in 

Hebei University of Chinese Medicine (China), September 2, 2020

 

According to news reporting from Shijiazhuang, People’s Republic of China, research stated, “Aldosterone regulates the initiation and development of atherosclerosis which is identified as a chronic inflammatory disease by promoting the generation of C-reactive protein in vascular smooth muscle cells.”

Our news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from Hebei University of Chinese Medicine: “Curcumin is the most active ingredient of turmeric with anti-inflammation and antioxidation effects. Here, the effect of curcumin on aldosterone-induced C-reactive protein generation in vascular smooth muscle and the molecular mechanisms involved were explored. Primary rat vascular smooth muscle cells and hyperaldosteronism model rats were used in this study. The amount of C-reactive protein, reactive oxygen species, and the signaling pathway-related molecules generated were estimated. We found that curcumin inhibited aldosterone-induced C-reactive protein generation in vascular smooth muscle cells by interfering with the reactive oxygen species-ERK1/2 signal pathway.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “The results provide new evidence for the potential anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular protective effects of curcumin.”

 

 

Meta-analysis finds DHA and EPA have similar anti-inflammatory effects

Laval University (Quebec), August 26, 2020

 

According to news originating from Quebec City, Canada, research stated, “Recent data from randomized clinical trials (RCTs) suggest that DHA may have stronger anti-inflammatory effects than EPA. This body of evidence has not yet been quantitatively reviewed.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Laval University, “The aim of this study was to compare the effect of DHA and EPA on several markers of systemic inflammation by pairwise and network meta-analyses of RCTs. MEDLINE, EMBASE, and The Cochrane Library were searched through to September 2019. We included RCTs of 7 d on adults regardless of health status that directly compared the effects of DHA with EPA and RCTs of indirect comparisons, in which the effects of DHA or EPA were compared individually to a control fatty acid. Differences in circulating concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) and adiponectin were the primary outcome measures. Data were pooled by pairwise and network meta-analysis and expressed as mean differences (MDs) with 95% CIs. Heterogeneity was assessed (Cochran Q statistic) and quantified (I2 statistic) in the pairwise meta-analysis. Inconsistency and transitivity were evaluated in the network meta-analysis. The certainty of evidence was assessed using the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation) approach. Eligibility criteria were met by 5 RCTs (N=411) for the pairwise meta-analysis and 20 RCTs (N=1231) for the network meta-analysis. In the pairwise meta-analysis, DHA and EPA had similar effects on plasma CRP [MDDHA versus EPA=0.14 mg/L (95% CI: -0.57, 0.85); I2=61%], IL-6 [MDDHA versus EPA=0.10 pg/mL (-0.15, 0.34); I2=40%], and TNF-a [MDDHA versus EPA=-0.10 pg/mL (-0.37, 0.18); I2=40%]. In the network meta-analysis, the effects of DHA and EPA on plasma CRP [MDDHA versus EPA=-0.33 mg/L (-0.75, 0.10)], IL-6 [MDDHA versus EPA=0.09 pg/mL (-0.12, 0.30)], and TNF-a [MDDHA versus EPA=-0.02 pg/mL (-0.25, 0.20)] were also similar. DHA and EPA had similar effects on plasma adiponectin in the network meta-analysis.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Results from pairwise and network meta-analyses suggest that supplementation with either DHA or EPA does not differentially modify systemic markers of subclinical inflammation.”

 

 

 

Common cold combats influenza

Yale University, September 4, 2020

 

As the flu season approaches, a strained public health system may have a surprising ally—the common cold virus.

Rhinovirus, the most frequent cause of common colds, can prevent the flu virus from infecting airways by jumpstarting the body's antiviral defenses, Yale researchers report Sept. 4 in the journal The Lancet Microbe.

The findings help answer a mystery surrounding the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic: An expected surge in swine flu cases never materialized in Europe during the fall, a period when the common cold becomes widespread.

A Yale team led by Dr. Ellen Foxman studied three years of clinical data from more than 13,000 patients seen at Yale New Haven Hospital with symptoms of respiratory infection. The researchers found that even during months when both viruses were active, if the common cold virus was present, the flu virus was not.

"When we looked at the data, it became clear that very few people had both viruses at the same time," said Foxman, assistant professor of laboratory medicine and immunobiology and senior author of the study.

Foxman stressed that scientists do not know whether the annual seasonal spread of the common cold virus will have a similar impact on infection rates of those exposed to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

"It is impossible to predict how two viruses will interact without doing the research," she said.

To test how the rhinovirus and the influenza virus interact, Foxman's lab created human airway tissue from stem cells that give rise to epithelial cells, which line the airways of the lung and are a chief target of respiratory viruses. They found that after the tissue had been exposed to rhinovirus, the influenza virus was unable to infect the tissue.

"The antiviral defenses were already turned on before the flu virus arrived," she said.

The presence of rhinovirus triggered production of the antiviral agent interferon, which is part of the early immune system response to invasion of pathogens, Foxman said.

"The effect lasted for at least five days," she said.

Foxman said her lab has begun to study whether introduction of the cold virus before infection by the COVID-19 virus offers a similar type of protection.

 

 

Highly fluorinated chemicals can increase risk for diabetes and coeliac disease in children

Orebro University (Sweden),  September 4, 2020

 

Tuulia Hyötyläinen and Matej Orešič, both researchers in biomedicine, have published two studies on the connection between highly fluorinated chemicals—per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) – and two diseases in children: type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease (US spelling celiac, or gluten intolerance). Both are autoimmune diseases, which arise from an abnormal immune response to the body's healthy cells or tissues.

The studies are based on a combination of comprehensive metabolomics (analysis of small molecules, i.e. metabolites, in a body), analysis of PFAS, and the system's biology approach to integrate complex data acquired in the study. The data comes from a group of expectant mothers and children.

Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases among children and younger people in the Nordic countries. Over the past decades, the number of cases has markedly increased. However, the incidence curve has flattened in recent years.

Some children are genetically predisposed for type 1 diabetes, but only a fraction of them, around one-tenth, develop the disease. It is clear that some environmental trigger is needed to initiate the progression to this autoimmune disease. For example, viral infections and diet are suspected to have an influence.

Tuulia Hyötyläinen and Matej Orešič show in this study, published in Environment International, how PFAS impacts lipid metabolism and risk of type 1 diabetes in new-born children. The study includes expectant mothers exposed to these harmful substances at various levels, which are then transferred from the expectant mother to the fetus.

Within the same study, these findings were further confirmed in another prospective clinical study involving children at-risk for type1 diabetes, as well as in two studies in mice (experimental models of type 1 diabetes).

"We show that children exposed to the high levels of PFAS during the prenatal stage have a certain lipid profile. We have previously identified this profile to be associated with an increased risk for type 1 diabetes and the development of the disease in children," explains Matej Orešič.

In another study published in Environment Research, Tuulia Hyötyläinen and Matej Orešič show a connection between PFAS and coeliac disease.

"These results show that high exposure to PFAS in the womb and in first years of life can accelerate the development of coeliac disease in children," says Tuulia Hyötyläinen.

PFAS consists of some 5,000 man-made chemical substances in extensive use in society. They are used in a wide range of products, such as coatings in clothing, furniture, adhesives and food packaging as well as in fire-fighting foam.

"Exposure to harmful chemicals in early life, including prenatally, may offer an explanation for the changing incidence of these autoimmune diseases in developed countries and can be connected to other health risks," says Matej Orešič.

The increase of type 1 diabetes has flattened in many industrial countries, especially in the Nordic countries. A possible explanation is the stricter PFAS regulation.

 

T cells need methionine 

University of Michigan School of Medicine, September 2 2020. 

 

Research reported on September 2, 2020 in Nature revealed a mechanism used by cancer cells to evade the immune system.

“Abnormal epigenetic patterns correlate with effector T cell malfunction in tumors, but the cause of this link is unknown,” Yingjie Bian of the University of Michigan School of Medicine and colleagues wrote. “Here we show that tumor cells disrupt methionine metabolism in CD8+ T cells, thereby lowering intracellular levels of methionine and the methyl donor S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) and resulting in loss of dimethylation.”

Dr Bian and colleagues sought to determine why immune cells known as T cells stop combatting tumors and other related questions. They found that low methionine levels were associated with T cell impairment. 

Other research has investigated the effects of starving tumor cells of methionine. However, this also starves T cells of the amino acid, thereby diminishing their function. "You have competition between tumor cells and T cells for methionine,” explained senior author Weiping Zou, MD, PhD, who is a Professor of Surgery, Pathology, Immunology and Biology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “The T cells also need it. If you starve the tumor cells of methionine, the T cells don't get it either. You want to selectively delete the methionine for the tumor cells and not for the T cells."

Supplementing with methionine restored T cell immunity in tumor-bearing mice and colon cancer patients. "There are still a lot of mechanistic details we have not worked out, particularly the detailed metabolic pathways of methionine metabolism,” Dr Zou remarked. “We also need to understand how metabolism pathways may be different from tumor cells and T cells. We hope to find a target that is relatively specific to tumor cells so that we do not harm the T cells but impact the tumor."

 
 
 

Green tea could hold the key to reducing antibiotic resistance

University of Surrey (UK), September23, 2020
 

Scientists at the University of Surrey have discovered that a natural antioxidant commonly found in green tea can help eliminate antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The study, published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, found that epigallocatechin (EGCG) can restore the activity of aztreonam, an antibiotic commonly used to treat infections caused by the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

P. aeruginosa is associated with serious respiratory tract and bloodstream infections and in recent years has become resistant to many major classes of antibiotics. Currently a combination of antibiotics is used to fight P. aeruginosa.

However, these infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat, as resistance to last line antibiotics is being observed.

To assess the synergy of EGCG and aztreonam, researchers conducted in vitro tests to analyse how they interacted with the P. aeruginosa, individually and in combination. The Surrey team found that the combination of aztreonam and EGCG was significantly more effective at reducing P. aeruginosa numbers than either agent alone.

This synergistic activity was also confirmed in vivo using Galleria mellonella (Greater Wax Moth larvae), with survival rates being significantly higher in those treated with the combination than those treated with EGCG or aztreonam alone. Furthermore, minimal to no toxicity was observed in human skin cells and in Galleria mellonella larvae.

Researchers believe that in P. aeruginosa, EGCG may facilitate increased uptake of aztreonam by increasing permeability in the bacteria. Another potential mechanism is EGCG's interference with a biochemical pathway linked to antibiotic susceptibility.

Lead author Dr Jonathan Betts, Senior Research Fellow in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey, said:

"Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a serious threat to global public health. Without effective antibiotics, the success of medical treatments will be compromised. We urgently need to develop novel antibiotics in the fight against AMR. Natural products such as EGCG, used in combination with currently licenced antibiotics, may be a way of improving their effectiveness and clinically useful lifespan."

Professor Roberto La Ragione, Head of the Department of Pathology and Infectious Diseases in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey, said:

"The World Health Organisation has listed antibiotic resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa as a critical threat to human health. We have shown that we can successfully eliminate such threats with the use of natural products, in combination with antibiotics already in use. Further development of these alternatives to antibiotics may allow them to be used in clinical settings in the future."

 

 

Research discovers links among poor sleep, high blood pressure, gut microbiome

University of Illinois, September 3, 2020

 

In the first study of its kind, University of Illinois Chicago researchers have found associations among disrupted sleep, elevated blood pressure and changes in the gut microbiome. 

The research aimed to determine whether a 28-day period of disrupted sleep changed the microbiota in rats. The gut microbiota refers to the collection of microorganisms living in the intestines. The researchers also sought to identify biological features associated with undesirable arterial blood pressure changes. 

The results were published in Physiological Genomics

Using rats, the researcher disrupted their sleep periods. Rats are nocturnal, so the experiments were designed to interfere with their daytime sleep periods. 

Telemetry transmitters measured the rats' brain activity, blood pressure and heart rate. Fecal matter also was analyzed to examine changes in the microbial content. 

The research idea was generated by several of the paper's authors who are or have been health care providers with night-shift schedules. 

"When rats had an abnormal sleep schedule, an increase in blood pressure developed -- the blood pressure remained elevated even when they could return to normal sleep. This suggests that dysfunctional sleep impairs the body for a sustained period," Maki said. 

Undesirable changes also were found in the gut microbiome -- the genetic material of all bacteria living in the colon. 

Contrary to her initial hypothesis, Maki found that the gut microbiome changes did not happen immediately, but instead took a week to show unfavorable responses such as an imbalance among different types of bacteria including an increase in microbes associated with inflammation. 

"When the sleep disruption stopped, everything did not come back to normal immediately," Maki said. "This research shows a very complex system with the presence of multiple pathological factors." 

This was initial research, and studies will continue to examine pathways involving the gut microbiome and metabolites produced by gut bacteria. The researchers will see exactly how sleep characteristics are changed and how long blood pressure and gut microbiome alterations persist. Researchers will then determine how this information translates to humans. 

"We hope to find an intervention that can help people who are at risk for cardiovascular disease because of their work and sleep schedules. People will always have responsibilities that interrupt their sleep. We want to be able to reduce their risk by targeting the microbiome with new therapies or dietary changes," Fink said.

September 4, 2020  

Our 5G Dystopian Future

Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD

September 4, 2020

 

 

During the past two years, a large number of scientists, medical doctors and consumer activists have presented evidence, including testimony before Congress and state and city councils, that highlight the thousands of peer-reviewed studies showing the dangers of electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation on human health and the environment. This is not only true for the new 5G technologies being rolled out by the Trump administration and earlier by Obama, but also for earlier generations of the technology.  From brain cancers, to adversely affecting our immune systems, fertility, and neurological disorders, there is no safe use for any of these EMF devices nor Wifi.  The science behind 5G and its 4G predecessor is overwhelmingly negative. Nevertheless the media and its advertisers are 100 percent behind 5G and portray it as a wonderful technological advance that will improve our lives by enabling us to electronically connect with everything.  The New York Times is in a partnership with Verizon to be one of 5G’s leading sounding boards.  We are told we will be able to download videos, movies and internet content in a fraction of the time compared to 4G’s capabilities. Yet why would $6 trillion be spent to simply increase the speed of our computers and mobile phones?  Surely something else is afoot. 

Anyone who challenges 5G’s benefit-risk ratio is labeled irresponsible, ignorant and a conspiracy theorist.  Disparaging remarks against 5G are immediately cancelled on Google, Youtube and Facebook.  Due to the Clinton administration’s original telecommunications act, our local towns and communities are unable to prevent its installation despite the medical and scientific warnings. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Elon Musk have been given the green light to place tens of thousands of satellites into orbit – exponentially more than, all previous launches since Explorer 1 in 1958. 

On Saturday August 29th, Robert Kennedy Jr stood before approximately 38,000 people in Berlin’s main square and briefly spoke about the dangers of 5G and the real agenda behind its rollout as the world remains in panic over Covid-19.  The crisis before us is clear. Governments are taking advantage of this pandemic, which Kennedy called “a pandemic crisis of convenience” to impose authoritarian control over their populations. This is certainly ALEC’s agenda and it found the perfect village idiot in Trump to do its bidding.  The 5g rollout, Kennedy said, has one purpose. It is for “surveillance 5G data harvesting” of all our personal information and the movements in our lives in order to inaugurate authoritarian regimes. The orchestrators of the destruction of our democratic institutions are the psychopathic billionaire elites such as Gates, Zuckerberg, Bezos and Musk. 

The upcoming presidential election offers us no choice. Both Trump and Biden are fully onboard the 5G train. The only fundamental difference is that Biden claims to favor net neutrality; however, how this can be accomplished under a 5G surveillance regime is anyone’s guess.  More likely it is more Democrat promises lacking critical thought and spineless to boot. 

For many it remains a mystery where Trump receives his guidance.  Is it simply the clanging of noises in his head, imaginary friends, or from individuals and groups who actually know something about what they are speaking and have a private and self-serving agenda contrary the public’s interest?  For the external guidance he receives about 5G, the source is clear.

Our current Regulation Demolition Chief in the White House has been perfectly in sync with the Koch Brothers-funded American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) playbook to overturn state and city regulations that may hinder the rapid deployment of 5G throughout the nation. 

ALEC’s corporate membership includes the commercial interests of major telecommunication associations such as CTIA (The Wireless Association), Charter Communications, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), and the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association. CTIA and NCTA are two of the largest associations promoting the Internet of Things that are publicly lobbying for ALEC’s telecommunication "model legislation." The largest behemoths for the 5G antennae and installation rollout -- AT&T, Cellpoint, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon – all hold membership in these associations. Back in early 2016, ALEC was already drafting legislation to “streamline” 5G’s necessary infrastructure to avoid violating city zoning laws.

No other administration since ALEC’s founding has been so packed with its representatives. Our early investigation, “Like it or Not, ALEC is Determined You Will Have 5G,” noted that the Trump administration is and has been stacked with ALEC operatives since day one.  Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, Rick Perry, Betsy DeVos, agriculture secretary Sonny Purdue, Ben Carson, Kellyanne Conway, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and the head of Health and Human Services Alex Azar are all ALEC alumni or insiders.  This is an ALEC White House.  For example, ALEC's 45th year celebration was held at Trump's International Hotel in DC, a mile from the White House. ALEC's CEO Lisa Nelson expressed her elation that the administration "does have the potential to be an ALEC administration. It is full of the people and ideas we've advanced since 1973. Now is our time. And ALEC is ready."

During a White House Infrastructure and Technology briefing in April 2019, alongside his ALEC insider, FCC chairman Ajit Pai, Trump stated,

“Secure 5G networks will absolutely be a vital link to America’s prosperity and national security in the 21st century.
5G will be as much as 100 times faster than the current 4G cellular networks.  It will transform the way our citizens work, learn, communicate, and travel… Basically, it covers almost everything, when you get right down to it.  Pretty amazing.”

He touted the traditional ALEC agenda to assure 5G rollout, without proper health and environmental risk reviews, will be highly profitable for private industry by removing public oversight

 

“To accelerate and incentivize these investments, my administration is focused on freeing up as much wireless spectrum as needed — we’re going to free it up so they’ll be able to get out there and get it done — and removing regulatory barriers to the build out of networks…By next year, the United States is on pace to have more 5G spectrum than any other country in the world.”

The ALEC-controlled FCC has already “adopted new rules that will reduce federal regulatory impediments to deploying infrastructure needed for 5G and help to expand the reach of 5G for faster, more reliable wireless service.”  More egregious is that Trump is committed to preventng any nationalization of the 5G network and to keep it in the control of private industry. 

Ajit Pai is a former Verizon attorney and a long time ALEC associate. Back in 2013, Pai spokebefore ALEC's Communications and Technology Task Force to commend state efforts to roll back regulations in order to permit the Internet Protocol (IP) Transition -- Washington's term for the 5G technological revolution -- to unfold freely without obstacles from state and city governments. A wolf in sheep's wool, Pai is a committed free market globalist who favors solutions coming from market competition in the absence of government regulations and polices to protect the public. Therefore it came as no surprise that Pai appointed ALEC's director of the Telecommunication's Task Force, Jonathan Hausenschild, to the FCC's new Broadband Development Advisory Council in 2019. Reporting for TechDirt, Karl Bode notedthat ALEC has already helped "the broadband industry pass blatantly protectionist bills in more than 21 states that hamstrung or simply banned towns or cities from building their own networks, even in areas when private industry refuses to."

In the shadow of the pandemic panic, and a severe economic depression that is turning the public’s attention elsewhere, 5G’s installation pace is accelerating.  According to Android Central, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint have already deployed 5G in hundreds of cities and counties across the nation. In addition there are efforts to transition to a digital currency that will hand over greater control over every person’s finances.  These efforts, aided by the advent of 5G are giving the government further control to monitor and punish behavior. Its long-term goal, Kennedy observed, is to indoctrinate the public into obedience. We are essentially surrendering our human rights for the sake of faster electronic devices. The payoff will be the demolition of democracy as we know it. 

As the average person views 5G has a marvelous enhancement to their lives, and the younger generation embrace it without any discernable forethought, we are about to enter an authoritative and dystopian era.  Echoes of Aldous Huxley’s soma and Orwell’s ministry of truth are already here.  And our mainstream media seems perfectly fine with that. 

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