The Gary Null Show

The Gary Null Show - 02.24.21

February 24, 2021

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. 

 
L-theanine improves neurophysiologic measures of attention in dose-dependent manner University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka), February 22, 2021 According to news reporting originating from Peradeniya, Sri Lanka,research stated, “L-theanine, a non-proteinic amino acid found in tea, is known to enhance attention particularly in high doses, with no reported adverse effects. We aimed to determine whether oral administration of L-theanine acutely enhances neurophysiological measures of selective attention in a dose-dependent manner.” Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from the University of Peradeniya, “In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, 4-way crossover study in a group of 27 healthy young adults, we compared the effects of 3 doses of L-theanine (100, 200 and 400 mg) with a placebo (distilled water) on latencies of amplitudes of attentive and pre-attentive cognitive event-related potentials (ERPs) recorded in an auditory stimulus discrimination task, before and 50 min after dosing. Compared to the placebo, 400 mg of theanine showed a significant reduction in the latency of the parietal P3b ERP component (p < 0.05), whereas no significant changes were observed with lower doses. A subsequent exploratory regression showed that each 100-mg increase in dose reduces the P3b latency by 4 ms (p < 0.05). No dose-response effect was observed in P3b amplitude, pre-attentive ERP components or reaction time. The findings indicate L-theanine can increase attentional processing of auditory information in a dose-dependent manner.” According to the news editors, the research concluded: “The linear dose-response attentional effects we observed warrant further studies with higher doses of L-theanine.” This research has been peer-reviewed.
 
Lost your appetite? Nutmeg oil can bring it back Kyoto University (Japan), February 21 2021 Loss of appetite is treated by directly addressing its cause. However, depending on the condition it’s associated with, treatment can be expensive. But in a recent study, researchers at Kyoto University investigated a potential treatment for loss of appetite that’s both inexpensive and easy to administer. Myristica fragrans, from which this natural medicine is derived, is an evergreen tree native to the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, of Indonesia. The seeds of this exotic plant are the main source of two popular culinary spices, namely, nutmeg and mace. According to previous studies, the oil derived from the fruits and seeds of the nutmeg tree has appetite-enhancing properties. Nutmeg oil is also traditionally used to treat digestive issues, such as bloating, gastrointestinal distress and decreased appetite. The researchers explored the beneficial properties and active components of nutmeg oil in an article published in the Journal of Natural Medicines. Nutmeg oil shows appetite-enhancing effects in vivo The spice known as nutmeg is popular for its warm, nutty flavor that goes well with sweet and savory dishes. It is widely used today in the culinary world and can be found in almost every kitchen around the world. In Asian countries, nutmeg is not only used as an ingredient, but it also has a long history of use as herbal medicine that can improve a person’s appetite. (Related: Nutmeg exhibits powerful anti-diabetes properties, concludes study.) According to previous studies, nutmeg oil contains two active phytochemicals, myristicin and methyl eugenol. Myristicin is also present in parsley, black pepper, carrots and dill, and is said to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-proliferative, anti-cholinergic and hepatoprotective properties. Methyl eugenol, meanwhile, is a compound present in various essential oils. It has been reported to have antibacterial, antifungal, insecticidal, anesthetic and antioxidant properties. In one animal study, researchers found that inhalation of myristicin and methyl eugenol increased the appetite mice. Because of this, the two compounds have attracted the attention of healthcare professionals who care for older people with dementia. Loss of appetite is not unusual for these patients since they tend to suffer from hypophagia, or a reduction in food intake and feeding behavior. Hypophagia, if left unaddressed, leads to frailty, and patients end up bedridden. Hence, inexpensive appetite-enhancing agents that are easy to administer are particularly desirable. In their study, the Japanese researchers found that inhalation of nutmeg oil, myristicin and methyl eugenol produced appetite-enhancing effects in mice. However, only methyl eugenol exerted both appetite-enhancing and locomotor-reducing effects at the same dose. According to a previous study, benzylacetone, an attractant compound found abundantly in flowers, also exerted the same effects at the same dose, and even increased the bodyweight of mice significantly. Methyl eugenol, however, did not have the same effect on body weight because the mice experienced olfactory habituation — reduced behavioral response due to repeated exposure — after several inhalations. The researchers believe that their study provides crucial information for identifying suitable compounds that can be used for the long-term treatment of appetite loss.
 
Case Study Shows Cannabis Led To Remarkable Improvement In Childhood Autism Symptoms Caleo Health Clinic (Canada) and Alberta Children's Hospital, February 21, 2021 An extremely promising case study was recently published in the Journal of Medical Case Reports illustrating the positive effects of cannabis extract and its association with improved autism related behavioral symptoms. According to the authors, “the pharmacological treatment for autism spectrum disorders is often poorly tolerated and has traditionally targeted associated conditions, with limited benefit for the core social deficits. We describe the novel use of a cannabidiol-based extract that incidentally improved core social deficits and overall functioning in a patient with autism spectrum disorder, at a lower dose than has been previously reported in autism spectrum disorder.” The case study focused on a child with autism who was switching out prescription seizure medicine for his epilepsy with a very low cannabidiol-based extract dose. The study found that not only did the cannabidiol extract help with his seizures, but he also “experienced unanticipated positive effects on behavioral symptoms and core social deficits,” according to the study. Researchers pointed out that to modify disruptive behaviors and improve social communication skills, often times children with autism are prescribed psychopharmacologic medications that target specific ASD core behaviors (for example, repetitive behaviors) and associated behaviors (for example, hyperactivity, aggression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances), but do not treat core social communication deficits. They explain that these medications are known for producing “substantial side effects.” For example, aripiprazole and risperidone, the only two medications approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat irritability and agitation in ASD, frequently cause somnolence, increased appetite, and weight gain. These factors have led to families seeking alternative treatments outside of the psychopharmacologic realm. One of the newest forms of these alternative medicines is cannabidiol-based extract. Researchers reported that the patient’s symptoms improved within six-months of treatment, and that he has maintained “positive effects on his behavioral symptoms, anxiety, sleep, and social deficits” since that time. The results of CBE treatments, according to the case study, were nothing short of remarkable. He became more motivated and energetic, starting his own vegetarian diet and exercise programs, ultimately losing 6.4 kg after starting CBE for a calculated BMI of 21.33 kg/m2. He was able to start his first part-time job helping customers and interacting with them. He was instructed to fill out the self-administered Adult AQ which resulted in a normal score of 10. His mother stated he now also has a girlfriend. “This case report provides evidence that a lower than previously reported dose of a phytocannabinoid in the form of a cannabidiol-based extract may be capable of aiding in autism spectrum disorder-related behavioral symptoms, core social communication abilities, and comorbid anxiety, sleep difficulties, and weight control,” authors concluded. “Further research is needed to elucidate the clinical role and underlying biological mechanisms of action of cannabidiol-based extract in patients with autism spectrum disorder.” According to a report in Norml, these finding back up previous research published last year by investigators at Tufts University in Boston who similarly reported that the oral administration of cannabis-based products is associated with improvements in autistic symptoms in patients with self-injurious behaviors and co-morbid epilepsy, Several small clinical trials – such as those reported here, here, here, and here – have also previously reported that plant-derived cannabis extracts are effective and well-tolerated in mitigating various symptoms in patients with ASD, including hyperactivity, seizures, anxiety, and rage attacks.
 
High Homocysteine Levels May Increase Risk Of Heart Attack, Stroke, & Alzheimer’s Disease Temple University, February 14, 2021 There is a strong need for increased awareness, better prevention, detection, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease with well over 5 million Americans currently suffering from this debilitating brain-wasting disease, and this number is projected to triple over the next few decades Research has found a link between Alzheimer’s disease and elevated levels of homocysteine. A recent study from Temple University has revealed another important connection between specific vitamin deficiencies and high homocysteine. Elevated homocysteine can increase the risk of dementia up to tenfold, and the list of ways this can affect the brain is long and damaging. This can include but is not limited to the formation of plaque in blood vessels that supply blood to the brain, development of chronic inflammation in the brain, and shrinkage of areas in the brain associated with memory. Additionally, excess homocysteine promotes the neurofibrillary tau tangles and harmful beta-amyloid plaques that are associated with AD, and it can interfere with the DNA repair process needed for brain cell maintenance. The harmful effects of elevated levels of homocysteine can all take a toll on brain function. For example, a study published in the Annals of Neuroscience found that elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with a 4.2-10.5 fold increased risk for vascular dementia, and the higher homocysteine rises the more damage it can cause. The study reported elevations in homocysteine were found to correspond closely to the degrees of cognitive impairment experienced by the participants. A report published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease classified elevated homocysteine as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive decline. The researchers noted that the risk from elevated homocysteine was modifiable, meaning that reducing these levels could help to reduce the risk of brain damage. The recent study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry describes the dangers of B-complex vitamin shortfalls in relation to homocysteine which is produced in the body in response to the breakdown of proteins and is normally detoxified by B-complex vitamins. Mice were deprived of vitamins B6, B9, and B12 for eight months, the animals were found to display elevated levels of homocysteine and 50% more tau tangles in the brain. The increased levels also caused increased levels of the pro-inflammatory chemical 5-LOX. The animals also displayed considerable difficulty with learning and remembering a water maze compared to the control group. The brain is not the only thing affected by high levels of homocysteine, this condition can also cause harm to the cardiovascular system including but not limited to damaging the lining of blood vessels, promoting deposits of plaque in the arteries that can cause a clog and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Research has shown that high levels of homocysteine is linked to a 42% increase in the risk of constricted carotid arteries which is a major risk factor for strokes. Elevated levels of homocysteine and poor arterial function can combine to interfere with the ability of the body to counter dangerous clotting inside of the arteries as well as with the ability of the heart to adapt to a blocked vessel by creating a new pathway. Elevated levels of homocysteine are dangerous to those with existing cardiovascular disease. A study involving over 3,000 participants with chronic heart disease found that elevated levels were associated with a 2.5 fold increased risk for coronary events. The researchers discovered a formula for measuring the risk, and suggested that every additional 5 micromoles per liter of homocysteine results in a 25% risk increase. As a product of less efficient detoxification functions levels of homocysteine tends to increase with aging. Genetics, stress, and the use of prescription drugs can also affect homocysteine levels. Experts suggest that a shortage in vitamins B2, B6, B9, and B12 that normally detoxify the amino acid are often the reason behind increasing levels of homocysteine. If you are concerned about your levels of homocysteine, or vitamin levels consult with your physician or certified medical professionals who may be able to address your concerns with a simple blood test. If you have reached or are approaching elderhood, with degenerative chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease on the rise it may be better to err on the side of caution and get checked rather than guess. Experts suggest that B complex vitamins are involved in breaking down homocysteine in the blood. These vitamins can be supplemented, but it is always best to obtain them via natural sources such as is found in eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. For example, vitamin B9 can be obtained in leafy greens and lentils; and B6 can be obtained in potatoes, chickpeas, and bananas; while B12 can be obtained in dairy products and organ meats.
 
For breakthroughs in slowing aging, scientists must look beyond biology University of Southern California, February 22, 2021 A trio of recent studies highlight the need to incorporate behavioral and social science alongside the study of biological mechanisms in order to slow aging. The three papers, published in concert in Ageing Research Reviews, emphasized how behavioral and social factors are intrinsic to aging. This means they are causal drivers of biological aging. In fact, the influence of behavioral and social factors on how fast people age are large and meaningful. However, geroscience--the study of how to slow biological aging to extend healthspan and longevity--has traditionally not incorporated behavioral or social science research. These papers are by three pioneers in aging research and members of the National Academy of Medicine who study different aspects of the intersection of biology and social factors in shaping healthy aging through the lifespan. Improving translation of aging research from mice to humans Exciting biological discoveries about rate of aging in non-human species are sometimes not applicable or lost when we apply them to humans. Including behavioral and social research can support translation of geroscience findings from animal models to benefit humans, said Terrie Moffitt, the Nannerl O. Keohane University Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. "The move from slowing fundamental processes of aging in laboratory animals to slowing aging in humans will not be as simple as prescribing a pill and watching it work," Moffitt said. "Compared to aging in laboratory animals, human aging has many behavioral/social in addition to cellular origins and influences. These influences include potential intervention targets that are uniquely human, and therefore are not easily investigated in animal research." Several of these human factors have big impacts on health and mortality: stress and early life adversity, psychiatric history, personality traits, intelligence, loneliness and social connection, and purpose in life are connected to a variety of late-life health outcomes, she explained. These important factors need to be taken into account to get a meaningful prediction of human biological aging. "Geroscience can be augmented through collaboration with behavioral and social science to accomplish translation from animal models to humans, and improve the design of clinical trials of anti-aging therapies," Moffitt said. "It's vital that geroscience advances be delivered to everyone, not just the well-to-do, because individuals who experience low education, low incomes, adverse early-life experiences, and prejudice are the people who age fastest and die youngest." Social factors associated with poor aging outcomes "Social hallmarks of aging" can be strongly predictive of age-related health outcomes - in many cases, even more so than biological factors, said USC University Professor and AARP Chair in Gerontology Eileen Crimmins. While the aging field commonly discusses the biological hallmarks of aging, we don't tend to include the social and behavioral factors that lead to premature aging. Crimmins has called the main five factors below "the Social Hallmarks of aging" and poses that these should not be ignored in any sample of humans and the concepts should be incorporated where possible into non-human studies. Crimmins examined data that was collected in 2016 from the Health and Retirement Study, a large, nationally representative study of Americans over the age of 56 that incorporates both surveys regarding social factors and biological measurements, including a blood sample for genetic analysis. For the study, she focused the five social hallmarks for poor health outcomes: low lifetime socioeconomic status, including lower levels of education adversity in childhood and adulthood, including trauma and other hardships being a member of a minority group adverse health behaviors, including smoking, obesity and problem drinking adverse psychological states, such as depression, negative psychological outlook and chronic stress The presence of these five factors were strongly associated with older adults having difficulty with activities of daily living, experiencing problems with cognition, and multimorbidity (having five or more diseases). Even when controlling for biological measurements - including blood pressure, genetic risk factors, mitochondrial DNA copy number and more - the social differences, as well as demographic factors such as age and gender, explained most of the differences in aging outcomes between study subjects, she said. However, biological and social factors aren't completely independent from one another, Crimmins added, which is why she advocates for further incorporation of social and behavioral factors in aging biology research. "Variability in human aging is strongly related to the social determinants of aging; and it remains so when extensive biology is introduced as mediating factors. This means that the social variability in the aging process is only partly explained by the biological measures researchers currently use," she said. "Our hypothesis is that if we could fully capture the basic biological mechanisms of aging, they would even more strongly explain the social variability in the process of aging, as social factors need to 'get under the skin' through biology." Understanding stress and stress resilience Elissa Epel, professor and vice chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UC San Francisco, detailed how research on stress and resilience needs to incorporate psychosocial factors in order to understand how different kinds of stress affect aging. Not all types of stress are equal and in fact some are salutary. The social hallmarks of aging can shape the rate of aging in part through toxic stress responses, she said. While acute responses to minor or moderate stressors, including infection or injury, is critical to survival, chronic exposure to high amounts of stress--including long-term psychological stressors such as abuse--can prove toxic and result in poor health outcomes. "Brief, intermittent, low-dose stressors can lead to positive biological responses, improving resistance to damage, which is called hormesis," Epel explained. For example, physiological hormetic stressors include short term exposure to cold, heat, exercise, or hypoxia. Hormetic stress turns on mechanisms of cell repair and rejuvenation. "In contrast, a high dose of a chronic exposure can override these mechanisms, resulting in damage or death," she added. Thus, toxic stress can accelerate biological aging processes, whereas hormetic stress can slow aging. However, the types, timing, and frequency of hormetic stress need to be better delineated in order to be useful to human aging research and interventions, Epel said. "Stress resilience, an umbrella term including hormetic stress, can be measured across cellular, physiological, and psychosocial functioning," she said. "Developing a deeper understanding of stress resilience will lead to more targeted innovative interventions." Stress resilience can also include social interventions that protect from the malleable social hallmarks of aging, including safe neighborhoods to reduce trauma and violence, and social support programs to combat loneliness and depression. Geroscience is now more important than ever, both to our aging global demography but also to the health challenges we face going forward, and stress resilience is an especially important topic at the moment, Epel added. "In our new era, we have dramatically increasing temperature extremes, wildfires and small particle pollution, and new zoonotic viruses to contend with intermittently," she said. "Reducing social disparities, improving stress resilience and bolstering immune function have become critical public health goals." In sum, the three papers together point to a promising decade ahead for aging research. Humans, as complex social mammals, age together in response to social conditions and behavioral factors that are partly malleable. Epel explains "As we discover and test biological processes of aging that we can manipulate, we can do this in tandem with capitalizing on the natural levers of healthy aging that are powerful, interactive, and cannot be ignored. In this way, the fountain of youth becomes more attainable."
 
Up to 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day may prevent 7.8 million premature deaths Imperial College London, February 22, 2021 A fruit and vegetable intake above five-a-day shows major benefit in reducing the chance of heart attack, stroke, cancer and early death. This is the finding of new research, led by scientists from Imperial College London, which analysed 95 studies on fruit and vegetable intake. The team found that although even the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduced disease risk, the greatest benefit came from eating 800g a day (roughly equivalent to ten portions - one portion of fruit or vegetables if defined as 80g). The study, which was a meta-analysis of all available research in populations worldwide, included up to 2 million people, and assessed up to 43,000 cases of heart disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease, 112,000 cancer cases and 94,000 deaths. In the research, which is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the team estimate approximately 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide could be potentially prevented every year if people ate 10 portions, or 800 g, of fruit and vegetables a day. The team also analysed which types of fruit and vegetables provided the greatest protection against disease. Dr Dagfinn Aune, lead author of the research from the School of Public Health at Imperial explained: "We wanted to investigate how much fruit and vegetables you need to eat to gain the maximum protection against disease, and premature death. Our results suggest that although five portions of fruit and vegetables is good, ten a day is even better." The results revealed that even a daily intake of 200g was associated with a 16 per cent reduced risk of heart disease, an 18 per cent reduced risk of stroke, and a 13 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. This amount, which is equivalent to two and a half portions, was also associated with 4 per cent reduced risk in cancer risk, and 15 per cent reduction in the risk of premature death. Further benefits were observed with higher intakes. Eating up to 800g fruit and vegetables a day - or 10 portions - was associated with a 24 per cent reduced risk of heart disease, a 33 per cent reduced risk of stroke, a 28 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a 13 per cent reduced risk of total cancer, and a 31 per cent reduction in dying prematurely. This risk was calculated in comparison to not eating any fruit and vegetables. The team were not able to investigate intakes greater than 800 g a day, as this was the high end of the range across studies. An 80g portion of fruit and vegetables equals approximately one small banana, apple, pear or large mandarin. Three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables such as spinach, peas, broccoli or cauliflower count as a portion. The researchers also examined the types of fruit and vegetables that may reduce the risk of specific diseases. They found the following fruits and vegetables may help prevent heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and early death: apples and pears, citrus fruits, salads and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and chicory, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. They also found the following may reduce cancer risk: green vegetables, such as spinach or green beans, yellow vegetables, such as peppers and carrots, and cruciferous vegetables. Similar associations were observed for raw and cooked vegetables in relation to early death, however, additional studies are needed on specific types of fruits and vegetables and preparation methods. The team say the number of studies was more limited for these analyses, and the possibility that other specific fruits and vegetables may also reduce risk cannot be excluded. Dr Aune said that several potential mechanisms could explain why fruit and vegetables have such profound health benefits: "Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system. This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold. For instance they contain many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage, and lead to a reduction in cancer risk." He added that compounds called glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, activate enzymes that may help prevent cancer. Furthermore fruit and vegetables may also have a beneficial effect on the naturally-occurring bacteria in our gut. The vast array of beneficial compounds cannot be easily replicated in a pill, he said: "Most likely it is the whole package of beneficial nutrients you obtain by eating fruits and vegetables that is crucial is health. This is why it is important to eat whole plant foods to get the benefit, instead of taking antioxidant or vitamin supplements (which have not been shown to reduce disease risk)." In the analysis, the team took into account other factors, such as a person's weight, smoking, physical activity levels, and overall diet, but still found that fruit and vegetables were beneficial. Dr Aune added: "We need further research into the effects of specific types of fruits and vegetables and preparation methods of fruit and vegetables. We also need more research on the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake with causes of death other than cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, it is clear from this work that a high intake of fruit and vegetables hold tremendous healthbenefits, and we should try to increase their intake in our diet."
 
Alpha-lipoic acid an effective antioxidant for healthy adult dogs Hills Pet Nutrition Research, February 19, 2021 According to news reporting originating from the Hill’s Pet Nutrition research stated, “This study was designed to determine the effect of alpha-lipoic acid on the glutathione status in healthy adult dogs.” Our news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Hill’s Pet Nutrition: “Following a 15 month baseline period during which dogs were fed a food containing no alpha-lipoic acid, dogs were randomly allocated into four groups. Groups were then fed a nutritionally complete and balanced food with either 0, 75, 150 or 300 ppm of alpha-lipoic acid added for 6 months. Evaluations included physical examination, body weight, food intake, hematology, serum biochemistry profile and measurements of glutathione in plasma and erythrocyte lysates. Throughout, blood parameters remained within reference ranges, dogs were healthy and body weight did not change significantly. A significant increase of 0.05 ng/mL of total glutathione in red blood cell (RBC) lysate for each 1 mg/kg bodyweight/day increase in a-LA intake was observed. In addition, a significant increase was observed for GSH, GSSG and total glutathione in RBC lysate at Month 6.” According to the news editors, the research concluded: “We conclude that alpha-lipoic acid, as part of a complete and balanced food, was associated with increasing glutathione activity in healthy adult dogs.”

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