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Asthma Can Be Reduced By Increasing Vitamin D Levels And Consuming Ginger
Tel Aviv University (Israel) & Columbia University, November 13, 2022
According to research published in the journal Allergy, Dr Ronit Confino-Cohen and colleagues at Tel Aviv University analysed data from more than four million Israeli’s that are members of the nation’s largest healthcare provider — finding that of the 21,000 with asthma, those with a vitamin D deficiency were 25% more likely than other asthmatics to have had at least one flare-up in the recent past. The effect of the vitamin is strongest in people with asthma and other lung diseases who are predisposed to respiratory infections. People with the worst vitamin D deficiency were 36 percent more likely to suffer respiratory infections than those with sufficient levels, according to research in Archives of Internal Medicine.
“Vitamin D has significant immunomodulatory effects and, as such, was believed to have an effect on asthma — an immunologically mediated disease,” said Confino-Cohen. “But most of the existing data regarding vitamin D and asthma came from the pediatric population and was inconsistent. Our present study is unique because the study population of young adults is very large and ‘uncontaminated’ by other diseases.”
Professor Catherine Hawrylowicz from King’s College London explained that findings already suggest that supplementation with vitamin D may one day be used not only to treat people who don’t respond to medications but also to reduce the doses of dangerous steroids in other asthma patients – thus reducing the risk of harmful side effects.
Of the 21,000 asthmatics studied, the team reported that those with vitamin D deficiency were at a higher risk of an asthma attack.
Meanwhile, a team of US-based researchers have suggested that ginger compounds could also be effective in reducing the symptoms of asthma.
The study, led by Elizabeth Townsend from Columbia University, investigated whether purified extracts of ginger that contained specific components of the spicy root could help enhance the relaxing effects of bronchodilators in asthmatic people.
The research team explained that they studied the effects of three separate components of ginger: 6-gingerol, 8-gingerol or 6-shogaol when exposed to airway smooth muscle (ASM) tissue samples that were caused to contract by exposing them to acetylcholine.
“We demonstrated that purified components of ginger can work synergistically with Beta-agonists to relax ASM,” said Townsend – adding that tissues treated with the combination of purified ginger components and isoproterenol showed significantly greater relaxation than those treated only with isoprotereno.
Indeed, one of the three ginger components, 6-shogaol appeared most effective in increasing the relaxing effects of the Beta-agonist.
Natural matcha green tea extract found to effectively kill breast cancer cells
University of Salford (UK), November 05, 2022
A recent study carried out by the University of Salford has found that one kind of green tea in particular, matcha, can kill breast cancer cells effectively.
The scientists at the university’s Biomedical Research Center used a process known as metabolism phenotyping on breast cancer stem cell lines. They discovered that matcha “shifted cancer cells towards a quiescent metabolic state” while stopping them from spreading. Best of all, this was achieved using a rather low concentration of just 0.2 mg/mL.
In addition, they discovered evidence that matcha affects the signaling pathways that promote cancer stem cells in a way that may make it a viable alternative to chemical cancer drugs like rapamycin.
The scientist explained that the tea essentially suppresses oxidative mitochondral metabolism, preventing these cells from refueling. This causes them to become inactive and eventually die.
University of Salford Professor of Translational Medicine Michael Lisanti said: “Our results are consistent with the idea that Matcha may have significant therapeutic potential, mediating the metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells.”
Inflammation in midlife linked to brain shrinkage later
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, November 11, 2022
People who show signs of inflammation in middle age are more likely to suffer from brain shrinkage later in life, a possible precursor to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, researchers said Wednesday.
The findings in the journal Neurology are the latest to uncover an association between dementia and inflammation, in which the body’s immune cells rev up in response to harms like smoking, stress, illness or poor diet.
However, the findings stopped short of proving any cause-and-effect relationship.
“These results suggest that inflammation in mid-life may be an early contributor to the brain changes that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia,” said study author Keenan Walker of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
“Because the processes that lead to brain cell loss begin decades before people start showing any symptoms, it is vital that we figure out how these processes that happen in middle age affect people many years later.”
The study was based on 1,633 people with an average age of 53.
Researchers tested their blood for levels of five markers of inflammation—not in any specific part of the body but rather throughout it—including the white blood cell count.
An average of 24 years later, participants took a memory test and underwent brain scans.
Those who had higher levels of inflammation at midlife on three or more biomarkers had an average five percent lower brain volume in the hippocampus and other areas associated with Alzheimer’s disease, said the report.
The effect was similar to having one copy of a gene—called apolipoprotein E (APOE) e4—that predisposes people to Alzheimer’s, researchers said.
People with higher inflammation also performed slightly worse on a memory test, remembering on average five of 10 words they were asked to recall, compared to 5.5 in the non-inflammation group.
Outside experts described the study as large and rigorously conducted, but stressed that it did not study whether patients went on to develop Alzheimer’s disease, only that some showed signs of brain shrinkage and memory loss.
“This research points to inflammation as a potential early indicator of later brain degeneration, but we cannot say whether inflammation could be causing brain shrinkage or if it is a response to other damaging processes that might already be underway,” said Carol Routledge, director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Adult ADHD has become epidemic—experts explain why
University of California at Berkeley, November 7, 2022
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is growing up. Stephen Hinshaw and Katherine Ellison authors of ADHD: What Everyone Needs to Know, confirm that adults—and particularly women—are reporting to clinics in record numbers, becoming the fastest-growing part of the population receiving diagnoses and prescriptions for stimulant medications.
“ADHD was never just for kids, and today many adults are getting the help they’ve needed for years,” says Hinshaw, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley and a respected global expert on ADHD.
Ellison, a Pultizer-prize winning journalist, notes, “At least half of all children diagnosed with ADHD will continue to be impaired by their symptoms as adults, suggesting that approximately 10 million U.S. adults qualify for the diagnosis. Adult ADHD can lead to suffering through commonly accompanying disorders such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, antisocial behavior, and gambling or Internet addictions. Social ties may well be frayed, with high risk of difficulties in intimate relationships. And, people with ADHD are also more likely to have a bitter history of academic and professional failures.”
Indeed, researchers have found that adults who have been diagnosed with ADHD are up to 14 percent less likely than their peers to have a job. On average they also earn 33 percent less compared with people in similar lines of work and are 15 percent more likely to be receiving some form of government aid. The bottom line is that adult ADHD is not only real but has potentially devastating consequences, the experts agree.
Hinshaw and Ellison also reveal a recent rapid rise in adult prescriptions for ADHD medication. One of the biggest surprises is that women of child-bearing age have become the fastest-growing group of consumers of ADHD medications. The number of annual prescriptions of generic and brand-name forms of Adderall surged among women over 26 years old, from a total of roughly 800,000 to some 5.4 million.
Study shows clear new evidence for mind-body connection
University of Calgary Department of Oncology, November 3, 2022
Impact of meditation, support groups seen at cellular level in breast cancer survivors
For the first time, researchers have shown that practising mindfulness meditation or being involved in a support group has a positive physical impact at the cellular level in breast cancer survivors.
A group working out of Alberta Health Services’ Tom Baker Cancer Centre and the University of Calgary Department of Oncology has demonstrated that telomeres – protein complexes at the end of chromosomes – maintain their length in breast cancer survivors who practise meditation or are involved in support groups, while they shorten in a comparison group without any intervention.
“We already know that psychosocial interventions like mindfulness meditation will help you feel better mentally, but now for the first time we have evidence that they can also influence key aspects of your biology,” says Dr. Linda E. Carlson, PhD, principal investigator and director of research in the Psychosocial Resources Department at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.
“It was surprising that we could see any difference in telomere length at all over the three-month period studied,” says Dr. Carlson, who is also a U of C professor in the Faculty of Arts and the Cumming School of Medicine, and a member of the Southern Alberta Cancer Institute. “Further research is needed to better quantify these potential health benefits, but this is an exciting discovery that provides encouraging news.”
The study was published online in the journal Cancer.
A total of 88 breast cancer survivors who had completed their treatments for at least three months were involved for the duration of the study. The average age was 55 and most participants had ended treatment two years prior. To be eligible, they also had to be experiencing significant levels of emotional distress.
In the Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery group, participants attended eight weekly, 90-minute group sessions that provided instruction on mindfulness meditation and gentle Hatha yoga, with the goal of cultivating non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. Participants were also asked to practise meditation and yoga at home for 45 minutes daily.
In the Supportive Expressive Therapy group, participants met for 90 minutes weekly for 12 weeks and were encouraged to talk openly about their concerns and their feelings. The objectives were to build mutual support and to guide women in expressing a wide range of both difficult and positive emotions, rather than suppressing or repressing them.
The participants randomly placed in the control group attended one, six-hour stress management seminar.
All study participants had their blood analysed and telomere length measured before and after the interventions.
Scientists have shown a short-term effect of these interventions on telomere length compared to a control group, but it’s not known if the effects are lasting. Dr. Carlson says another avenue for further research is to see if the psychosocial interventions have a positive impact beyond the three months of the study period.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom for Your Brain and Neuronal Health
Green Med Info, November 8th 2022
Lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus), with their shaggy, mane-like spines, stand out among fungi not only for their appearance but for their mild, sweet, seafood-like flavor. Like other mushrooms, lion’s mane are multi-faceted healers, with antimicrobial, antihypertensive, antidiabetic and wound healing properties among their many therapeutic properties. Of the 68 diseases and conditions that lion’s mane mushroom may support, many of them relate to the nervous system, including cognitive function, memory, dementia, depression, anxiety and sleep disorders.
Lion’s mane mushroom contains more than 35 beneficial polysaccharides that may help prevent or treat cancer, gastric ulcers, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, liver injury and neurodegenerative diseases, according to a review published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules.
With a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine, including for brain and neurological health, it’s now known that two terpenoid compounds– hericenones and erinacines — in these mushrooms and their mycelia may stimulate the synthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF).
Active compounds in lion’s mane mushrooms may also delay neuronal death in neurodegenerative diseases, including ischemic stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and depression, while promoting nerve regeneration in cases of neuropathic pain or age-related hearing loss (presbycusis). Some of their top therapeutic benefits include:
Regenerate Damaged Nerves – Lion’s mane has been shown to trigger neurite outgrowth in brain, spinal cord and retinal cells. It also stimulates the activity of nerve growth factor, which is important for the growth and differentiation of neurons.
Boost Cognitive Function – In adults with mild cognitive impairment , those who took lion’s mane powder three times a day for 16 weeks significantly increased their scores on a cognitive function scale compared with those who took a placebo.
Hericenones in lion’s mane are believed to be responsible for some of the mushroom’s beneficial effects on brain neural networks and improvements to cognitive function. This brain-boosting mushroom has also been found to improve memory in mice.[xi]
Fight Depression – Lion’s mane may ameliorate depressive disorder through a variety of mechanisms, including neurogenic/neurotrophic and anti-inflammatory pathways. Animal studies suggest that lion’s mane may reverse depressive behaviors caused by stress by modulating monoamine neurotransmitters and regulating BDNF pathways.
Support for Neurodegenerative Disease – neurotrophic compounds are known to pass through the blood-brain barrier and have been used to treat cognitive impairments, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In a study of patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease, those who took lion’s mane mycelia capsules for 49 weeks had improvements in their ability to carry out daily activities, such as personal hygiene and preparing food.
Improve Mood and Sleep Disorders – Among overweight or obese people with sleep disorders or mood disorders, lion’s mane was effective in relieving symptoms. Eight weeks of lion’s mane supplementation decreased depression, anxiety and sleep disorders in the study, while also improving mood disorders of a “depressive-anxious nature” and boosting the quality of sleep at night.