The Gary Null Show Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy.

July 28, 2021  

CoQ10 supplementation associated with improved trauma patient outcomes

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By quelling inflammation, black seed could save lives from covid

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

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

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

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

 

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

Cairo University (Egypt), July 20, 2021

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

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

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

 

Physical activity could combat fatigue, cognitive decline in cancer survivors

University of Illinois, July 26, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Sichuan University (China), July 26, 2021

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

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

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

 

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

Louvain Drug Research Institute (Belgium), July 25 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

Study details

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Microbiome mechanisms

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

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

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

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

July 27, 2021  

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

 

Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD

Progressive Radio Network, July 27, 2021

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

July 26, 2021  

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

Oxford University, July 21, 2021

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

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

Overall, the evidence from the analysis indicated that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

Hebei Medical Institute (China), July 19, 2021

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Silent Spring Institute, July 22, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

University of Naples (Italy), July 19, 2021

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

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

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

 

 

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

Coventry University (UK), July 22, 2021

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

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

Body’s Response to Stress Causes Damage

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

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

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

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

Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don’t realise is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business.

These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing.

More needs to be done to understand these effects in greater depth, for example how they compare with other healthy interventions like exercise or nutrition. But this is an important foundation to build on to help future researchers explore the benefits of increasingly popular mind-body activities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Brigham and Women's Hospital, July 22, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 23, 2021  

New study shows transcendental meditation reduces emotional stress and improves academics

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

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

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

Student emotional well-being and its impact on academic outcomes

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

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

Transcendental Meditation improves emotional balance and academic performance 

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

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

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

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

 

Impact of vitamin D deficiency and autoimmunity on chronic hives

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

2,200 people monitored over eleven years

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Awareness without a sense of self

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

Regarding the methods used in the study:

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

 

Coffee doesn't raise your risk for heart rhythm problems

University of California at San Francisco, July 20, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 22, 2021  

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

Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, July 21, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
 
 

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

 

University of South Australia, July 19, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

University of Nevada, July 16, 2021

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

 

 

 

Championing chrononutrition with protein, the morning elixir for muscle growth

Waseda University (Japan), July 20, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ginseng compound exerts neuroprotective effects

Gachon University (South Korea), July 16, 2021

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

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

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

 

 

Many kinds of happiness promote better health, study finds

Weill Cornell University of Medicine, July 21, 2021 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How can these findings help one achieve better health?

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

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

July 21, 2021  

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

University of South Australia, July 13, 2021

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

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

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

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

Coffee and veggies may protect against COVID-19

Northwestern University, July 20, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exact mechanisms linking these diet factors to COVID are unknown. 

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

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

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

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

 

Biologic age reversed with lifestyle improvement plus supplements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Research suggests L-carnitine could aid burn recovery

Anhui Medical University (China), July 12, 2021

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

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

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

 
 

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

 

Penn State University, July 19, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

EGCG in Green Tea inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

University College London, July 20, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 20, 2021  
July 19, 2021  

Why everyone was wrong

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

By Beda M Stadler

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

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

But let’s look at this one by one.

1. A new virus?

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

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

2. The fairy tale of no immunity

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

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

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

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

3. The failure of modellers

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

4. Immunology of common sense

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. The problem with corona immunity

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

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

What now?

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

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

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

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

July 16, 2021  

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

Stanford University, July 13, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Microbe diversity stable in fiber-rich diet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Designing a suite of dietary and microbial strategies

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

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

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

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

 

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

Capital Medical University (China), July 11, 2021

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

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

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

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

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

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

Tufts University, July 13, 2021

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

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

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

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

The results showed that for each four-year interval:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Methodology

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

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

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

 

Antibiotics in early life could affect brain development

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

Rutgers University, July 14, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Taking the brain out for a walk

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

Max Planck Institute for Human Development, July 15, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

University of Salford (UK),  July 8, 2021

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scientifically speaking, the future looks bright for vitamin C

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

University of Reading (UK), July 13, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 15, 2021  

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

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

University of Fukui (Japan), July 14, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Flavonoids may slow Alzheimer onset

Tufts University Human Nutrition Center, July 13, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

University of Copenhagen (Denmark), July 9, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

University of Iowa, July 13, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How a Mediterranean diet could reduce osteoporosis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

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

University of Salford (UK),  July 8, 2021

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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