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September 3, 2019  

Anxiety And Depression: Why Doctors Are Prescribing Gardening Rather Than Drugs

University of Hull (UK), September 3, 2019

 

Scientists have found that spending two hours a week in nature is linked to better health and well-being. It’s maybe not entirely surprising then that some patients are increasingly being prescribed time in nature and community gardening projects as part of “green prescriptions” by the NHS. In Shetland for example, islanders with depression and anxiety may be given “nature prescriptions”, with doctors there recommending walks and activities that allow people to connect with the outdoors.

Social prescriptions – non-medical treatments which have health benefits – are already used across the NHS to tackle anxiety, loneliness and depression. They often involve the referral of patients to a community or voluntary organisation, where they can carry out activities which help to meet their social and emotional needs, and increasingly doctors are opting for community gardening – as this also has the added benefit of involving time spent in nature – even in highly built-up areas.

Research shows that gardening can directly improve people’s well-being. And that taking part in community gardening can also encourage people to adopt healthier behaviours. It may be, for example, that neighbourhood projects can be reached on foot or by bicycle – prompting people to take up more active transport options in their daily lives. Eating the produce from a community garden may also help people to form the habit of eating fresh, locally grown food.

 

Essential oils from the verbena family of plants found to protect against liver and lung cancers

Institute of Biological Investigation (Argentina), September 2, 2019

 

A study published in the Journal of Essential Oil Research investigated the anti-proliferation effect and cytotoxicity of the essential oil from a species of flowering plant called Lippia alba or verbena on human liver and lung cancer cells.

In the current study, the researchers evaluated the essential oils from L. alba (LaEOs) for their cytotoxicity on human cancer culture cells and the mechanisms involved. They found that the LaEOs exhibited selective cytotoxicity against human hepatocarcinoma cell HepG2 (liver cell line) and human alveolar basal epithelial cell A549 (lung cell line). The mechanism involved cell cycle arrest and apoptosis induction.  Based on these results, the researchers concluded that tagetenone chemotype could be a chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic agent against human liver and lung cancers.

 

Poor diet can lead to blindness

University of Bristol, September 2, 2019

 

The University of Bristol researchers who examined the case of a young patient's blindness recommend clinicians consider nutritional optic neuropathy in any patients with unexplained vision symptoms and poor diet, regardless of BMI, to avoid permanent vision loss.

Nutritional optic neuropathy is a dysfunction of the optic nerve which is important for vision. The condition is reversible, if caught early. But, left untreated, it can lead to permanent structural damage to the optic nerve and blindness.

Aside from being a "fussy eater," the patient had no visible signs of malnutrition and took no medications. Initial tests showed macrocytic anaemia and low vitamin B12 levels, which were treated with vitamin B12 injections and dietary advice. When the patient visited the GP a year later, hearing loss and vision symptoms had developed, but no cause was found. By age 17, the patient's vision had progressively worsened, to the point of blindness. Further investigation found the patient had vitamin B12 deficiency, low copper and selenium levels, a high zinc level, and markedly reduced vitamin D level and bone mineral density. 

The researchers concluded that the patient's 'junk food' diet and limited intake of nutritional vitamins and minerals resulted in the onset of nutritional optic neuropathy. They suggest the condition could become more prevalent in future, given the widespread consumption of 'junk food' at the expense of more nutritious options, and the rising popularity of veganism if the vegan diet is not supplemented appropriately to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency.

 

Researchers say vitamin B12 can inhibit a key Parkinson’s enzyme

Basque Center for Biophysics (Spain), September 2, 2019

 

A study published in the journal Cell Research suggests that it can be possible to treat hereditary Parkinson’s disease with the help of vitamin B12.

The study found that an active form of vitamin B12 called AdoCbl (5’-deoxyadenosylcobalamin) could reduce the effects of dopamine loss in Parkinson’s disease caused by genetic mutations in the LRRK2 gene. The finding suggested that this form of vitamin B12 could be used to develop therapies for treating Parkinson’s disease.

“[This active form of vitamin B12] could be used as a basis to develop new therapies to combat hereditary Parkinson’s associated with pathogenic variants of the LRRK2 enzyme,” Iban Ubarretxena, director of the Biofisika Institute and co-author of the study, said in a statement.

 

Not Just CBD – Cannabis Flavonoids Also Show Promise In Fighting Cancer

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, September 1, 2019

 

Scientists from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University recently discovered something that could change cancer treatment forever.

In their study, Harvard researchers learned that a compound in the cannabis plant called “flavonoids” can be used in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest forms of cancer with a survival rate of only 20 percent within one year.

Perhaps the most exciting discovery is that the introduction of flavonoids not only kills cancer in the pancreas, but in cancer cells found throughout the body. This could mean that cannflavins may be used to treat other forms of cancer in the future.

 

 

Oleocanthal-Rich Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Restores the Blood-Brain Barrier Function in Mice

Auburn University, August 30, 2019

 

According to news reporting originating in Auburnresearch stated, “Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a complex neurodegenerative disorder characterized by multiple hallmarks including extracellular amyloid (Ab) plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, dysfunctional blood-brain barrier (BBB), neuroinflammation, and impaired autophagy. ”

“A growing body of evidence including our studies supports a protective effect of oleocanthal (OC) and extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) at early AD stages before the onset of pathology. In addition, we reported previously that OC and EVOO exhibited such effect by restoring the blood brain barrier function. 

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Thus, diet supplementation with OC-rich EVOO could provide beneficial effect to slow or halt the progression of AD.”

 

 

Higher omega-3 intake could improve trial results

Omega Quant Analytics, August 30, 2019. 

 

An article published on August 8, 2019 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that insufficient doses of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) could be to blame for some trial results in which supplementation failed to substantially increase red blood cell omega-3 fatty acid levels reported as the Omega-3 Index. 

By analyzing data from 14 trials that examined the effects of varying doses of omega-3 fatty acids on the Omega-3 Index among a total of 1,422 men and women, Dr Jackson and colleagues developed a model equation that can be used to predict Omega-3 Index levels from a given daily dose of EPA and DHA.The authors remarked that thesefactors explained 62% of the variance in response.

As an illustration, for someone with a baseline Omega-3 Index of 4%, 1750 milligrams per day of a triglyceride fish oil formula or 2500 milligrams of an ethyl ester formulation would be predicted to elevate the Omega-3 Index to 8% in 13 weeks with 95% certainty.

 
 

A life of low cholesterol and BP slashes heart and circulatory disease risk by 80 per cent

British Heart Foundation, September 1, 2019

 

Modest and sustained decreases in blood pressure and cholesterol levels reduces the lifetime risk of developing fatal heart and circulatory diseases, such as heart attack and stroke, according to research part-funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Researchers have found that a long-term reduction of 1 mmol/L low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or 'bad' cholesterol, in the blood with a 10 mmHg reduction in blood pressure led to an 80 per cent lower lifetime risk of developing heart and circulatory disease.  This combination also reduced the risk of death from these conditions by 67 per cent.

The team found that even small reductions can provide health benefits. A decrease of 0.3 mmol/L LDL cholesterol in the blood and 3 mmHg lower blood pressure was associated with a 50 per cent lower lifetime risk of heart and circulatory disease.

 

 

Cardiovascular disease patients benefit more from exercise than healthy people

Seoul National University (Seoul, Korea), September 2, 2019

 

A study of nearly half a million people has found for the first time that those with heart or blood vessel problems benefit more from having a physically active lifestyle than do healthy people without cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Increased physical activity reduced the risk of dying during a six-year follow-up period for people with and without CVD, but the researchers found the greatest reduction in risk was in people with CVD and this continued to reduce the more exercise they did.

Researchers led by Dr Sang-Woo Jeong, a cardiologist at Seoul National University (Seoul, Korea), looked at data from a total of 441,798 people enrolled in the Korean National Health Insurance Services Health Screening Cohort, who underwent a health screening programme between 2009 and 2015 and completed surveys on physical activity. The participants were aged over 40 years, and the average age was 60. A total of 131,558 had CVD and 310,240 did not; 53.5% were men. The participants were followed for nearly six years, and information on deaths and causes of death were collected from the Korean National Death Index.

Dr Kang said: "There may be several plausible explanations for why people with CVD benefited the most from exercise. First, sedentary lifestyle is a well-known risk factor for CVD. Patients with CVD may have had sedentary lifestyles, and thus changing their lifestyle to become more physically active may be more beneficial. Secondly, a number of previous studies have shown that physical activity helps control cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose. The benefit of physical activity in secondary prevention may come by better controlling such risk factors. Lastly, patients with CVD usually have higher levels of systemic inflammation than those without CVD, and there is evidence that physical activity lowers systemic inflammatory levels."

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