Plant-based diet ramps up metabolism

Plant-based participants increased after-meal calorie burn by 18.7% after 16 weeks

The study randomly assigned participants–who were overweight and had no history of diabetes–to an intervention or control group in a 1:1 ratio. For 16 weeks, participants in the intervention group followed a low-fat, plant-based diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes with no calorie limit. The control group made no diet changes. Neither group changed exercise or medication routines, unless directed by their personal doctors.

#plantdiet #metabolism #diet

Hana Kahleova et al, Effect of a Low-Fat Vegan Diet on Body Weight, Insulin Sensitivity, Postprandial Metabolism, and Intramyocellular and Hepatocellular Lipid Levels in Overweight Adults, JAMA Network Open (2020). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.25454

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2773291

https://www.pcrm.org/

How much weightlifting is good for the Heart?

How much weightlifting is good for the Heart?

How much weightlifting is good for the Heart?

Lifting weights for less than an hour a week may reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke by 40 to 70 percent, according to a new Iowa State University study. Spending more than an hour in the weight room did not yield any additional benefit, the researchers found.

Yanghui Liu, Duck-chul Lee, Yehua Li, Weicheng Zhu, Riquan Zhang, Xuemei Sui, Carl J. Lavie, Steven N. Blair. Associations of Resistance Exercise with Cardiovascular Disease Morbidity and Mortality. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2018; 1 DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001822

Cottonseed oil linked with rapid drops in triglycerides and cholesterol

Cottonseed oil linked with rapid drops in triglycerides and cholesterol

Cottonseed oil linked with rapid drops in triglycerides and cholesterol

Participants showed an average decrease of 8 percent in total cholesterol on the cottonseed oil diet, along with a 15 percent decrease in low-density lipoprotein, or LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and a 30 percent decrease in triglycerides. (5 days)

Kristine R.Polley, Natalie J.Oswell, Ronald B.Pegg, Chad M.Paton, Jamie A.Cooper, A 5-day high-fat diet rich in cottonseed oil improves cholesterol profiles and triglycerides compared to olive oil in healthy men, Nutrition Research (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.nutres.2018.09.001

Omega-3 levels better predictors of death risk than cholesterol

Omega-3 levels better predictors of death risk than cholesterol

Results showed that the risk for death from any cause was reduced by about 33% comparing in participants with highest omega-3 blood levels while total serum cholesterol was not significantly associated with any of the tracked outcomes

Erythrocyte long-chain omega-3 fatty acid levels are inversely associated with mortalityand with incident cardiovascular disease: The Framingham Heart Study DOI:10.1016/j.jacl.2018.02.010

Serious studies on the many risks of statins

I have decided to post a quick data rebuttal, after the publishing of a few misguided headlines (i.e ” Statins have virtually no side-effects, study finds”, and “Give statins to all over-40s, says heart surgery pioneer”, from the London Telegraph ).  This coincides with the wildly unsubstantiated recommendations being presented in prescribing statins . I felt I was left with little choice to link some of the extreme risks associated with statins, that the media somehow forgot to cover. I only had time to post these few, since I am currently working on other projects.

facepalm

It is all about Risk to Benefit Ratio – You have a right to know both. You also have the right to access non industry sponsored peer reviewed studies on the benefits of statins ( #? ), when weighing your options.

Thank you for reading,

Ralph Turchiano – clinicalnews.org

  1. Statins have unexpected effect on pool of powerful brain cells : Reduces Glial progenitor cells
  2. Statins Lower Testosterone, Libido
  3. Long-term effects of statin therapy could lead to transient or permanent cognitive impairment
  4. Most heart attack patients’ cholesterol levels did not indicate cardiac risk: half of the patients with a history of heart disease had LDL cholesterol levels lower than 100 mg/dL
  5. Cure-all? Statins have had no effect on Britain’s heart disease rate, study claims
  6. Cholesterol-drugs cause unusual swellings within neurons resulting in cognitive disturbances
  7. Cholesterol medicine affects energy production in muscles: Up to 75 per cent of patients
  8. Statins: Benefits questionable in low-risk patients
  9. Cholesterol-reducing drugs may lessen brain function, says ISU researcher
  10. New insights into link between anti-cholesterol statin drugs and depression
  11. Cholesterol Lowerings Drugs May Create Manifestations of severe irritability included homicidal impulses, threats to others, road rage, generation of fear in family members, and damage to property.
  12. Wider use of statins ‘disturbing’
  13. Statins being overprescribed for growing number of kidney disease patients / But may Kill faster
  14. Statins risk for women: Taking cholesterol-lowering drug for more than ten years ‘doubles chances of the most common breast cancer’
  15. Statins block the ability of exercise to improve fitness levels
  16. Co-Q10 deficiency may relate to statin drugs, diabetes risk
  17. New insights into link between anti-cholesterol statin drugs and depression
  18. First comprehensive paper on statins’ adverse effects released: Benefits have not been found to exceed their risks in those over 70 or 75 years old, even those with heart disease
  19. Cholesterol Drugs ( Statins ) may contribute to Atherosclerosis
  20. Statins increase risk of postoperative delirium in elderly patients: 28% Increase
  21. Statins are unlikely to prevent blood clots
  22. Relationship between statins and cognitive decline more complex than thought
  23. Statins may increase risk of interstitial lung abnormalities in smokers
  24. Statins show dramatic drug and cell dependent effects in the brain
  25. Muscle damage may be present in some patients taking statins
  26. Millions of patients may be on statins needlessly
  27. Statin warning for pregnant women
  28. Cholesterol-lowering drug linked to sleep disruptions – Possibly promoting weight gain and insulin resistance
  29. Cholesterol-lowering drugs and the effect on muscle repair and regeneration
  30. Study finds association between low cholesterol levels and cancer
  31. ‘Bad’ Cholesterol Not As Bad As People Think, Shows Texas A&M Study Texas A&M News & Information Service
  32. Low cholesterol associated with cancer in diabetics ( cancers of digestive organs and peritoneum, genital and urinary organs, lymphatic and blood tissues )
  33. Cholesterol-lowering drugs and the risk of hemorrhagic stroke

 

 

 

 

 

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Cholesterol-drugs cause unusual swellings within neurons resulting in cognitive disturbances

Contact: La Monica Everett-Haynes leverett@email.arizona.edu 520-626-4405 University of Arizona

Research reveals possible reason for cholesterol-drug side effects

University of Arizona researchers have identified a clue to explain the reversible memory loss sometimes caused by the use of statins, one of the most widely prescribed medications in the world.

             IMAGE:   Of 1,040 drugs tested, only four caused  nodules to form inside the neurites, resembling beads on a string. All four drugs were statins.

Click here for more information.     

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and physicians continue to document that some patients experience fuzzy thinking and memory loss while taking statins, a class of global top-selling cholesterol-lowering drugs.

A University of Arizona research team has made a novel discovery in brain cells being treated with statin drugs: unusual swellings within neurons, which the team has termed the “beads-on-a-string” effect.

The team is not entirely sure why the beads form, said UA neuroscientist Linda L. Restifo, who leads the investigation. However, the team believes that further investigation of the beads will help inform why some people experience cognitive declines while taking statins.

“What we think we’ve found is a laboratory demonstration of a problem in the neuron that is a more severe version for what is happening in some peoples’ brains when they take statins,” said Restifo, a UA professor of neuroscience, neurology and cellular and molecular medicine, and principal investigator on the project.

Restifo and her team’s co-authored study and findings recently were published in Disease Models & Mechanisms, a peer-reviewed journal. Robert Kraft, a former research associate in the department of neuroscience, is lead author on the article.

Restifo and Kraft cite clinical reports noting that statin users often are told by physicians that cognitive disturbances experienced while taking statins were likely due to aging or other effects. However, the UA team’s research offers additional evidence that the cause for such declines in cognition is likely due to a negative response to statins.

The team also has found that removing statins results in a disappearance of the beads-on-a-string, and also a restoration of normal growth. With research continuing, the UA team intends to investigate how genetics may be involved in the bead formation and, thus, could cause hypersensitivity to the drugs in people. Team members believe that genetic differences could involve neurons directly, or the statin interaction with the blood-brain barrier.

“This is a great first step on the road toward more personalized medication and therapy,” said David M. Labiner, who heads the UA department of neurology. “If we can figure out a way to identify patients who will have certain side effects, we can improve therapeutic outcomes.”

For now, the UA team has multiple external grants pending, and researchers carry the hope that future research will greatly inform the medical community and patients.

“If we are able to do genetic studies, the goal will be to come up with a predictive test so that a patient with high cholesterol could be tested first to determine whether they have a sensitivity to statins,” Restifo said.

Detecting, Understanding a Drugs’ Side Effects

Restifo used the analogy of traffic to explain what she and her colleagues theorize.

The beads indicate a sort of traffic jam, she described. In the presence of statins, neurons undergo a “dramatic change in their morphology,” said Restifo, also a BIO5 Institute member.

“Those very, very dramatic and obvious swellings are inside the neurons and act like a traffic pileup that is so bad that it disrupts the function of the neurons,” she said.

It was Kraft’s observations that led to team’s novel discovery. Restifo, Kraft and their colleagues had long been investigating mutations in genes, largely for the benefit of advancing discoveries toward the improved treatment of autism and other cognitive disorders.

At the time, and using a blind-screened library of 1,040 drug compounds, the team ran tests on fruit fly neurons, investigating the reduction of defects caused by a mutation when neurons were exposed to different drugs. The team had shown that one mutation caused the neuron branches to be curly instead of straight, but certain drugs corrected this. The research findings were published in 2006 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Then, something serendipitous occurred: Kraft observed that one compound, then another and then two more all created the same reaction – “these bulges, which we called beads-on-a-string,'” Kraft said. “And they were the only drugs causing this effect.”

At the end of the earlier investigation, the team decoded the library and found that the four compounds that resulted in the beads-on-a-string were, in fact, statins.

“The ‘beads’ effect of the statins was like a bonus prize from the earlier experiment,” Restifo said. “It was so striking, we couldn’t ignore it.”

             IMAGE:   Neurons whose mitochondria are labeled with green fluorescent protein (GFP) reveal that statins cause mitochondria to pile up inside the branches that neurons use to connect with each other.

Click here for more information.     

In addition to detecting the beads effect, the team came upon yet another major finding: when statins are removed, the beads-on-a-string effect disappears, offering great promise to those being treated with the drugs.

“For some patients, just as much as statins work to save their lives, they can cause impairments,” said Monica Chaung, who has been part of the team and is a UA undergraduate researcher studying molecular and cellular biology and physiology.

“It’s not a one drug fits all,” said Chaung, a UA junior who is also in the Honors College. “We suspect different gene mutations alter how people respond to statins.”

Having been trained by Kraft in techniques to investigate cultured neurons, Chuang was testing gene mutations and found variation in sensitivity to statins. It was through the work of Chuang and Kraft that the team would later determine that, after removing the statins, the cells were able to repair themselves; the neurotoxicity was not permanent, Restifo said.

“In the clinical literature, you can read reports on fuzzy thinking, which stops when a patient stops taking statins. So, that was a very important demonstration of a parallel between the clinical reports and the laboratory phenomena,” Restifo said.

The finding led the team to further investigate the neurotoxicity of statins.

“There is no question that these are very important and very useful drugs,” Restifo said. Statins have been shown to lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks and strokes.

But too much remains unknown about how the drugs’ effects may contribute to muscular, cognitive and behavioral changes.

“We don’t know the implications of the beads, but we have a number of hypotheses to test,” Restifo said, adding that further studies should reveal exactly what happens when the transportation system within neurons is disrupted.

Also, given the move toward prescribing statins to children, the need to have an expanded understanding of the effects of statins on cognitive development is critical, Kraft said.

“If statins have an effect on how the nervous system matures, that could be devastating,” Kraft said. “Memory loss or any sort of disruption of your memory and cognition can have quite severe effects and negative consequences.”

Restifo and her colleagues have multiple grants pending that would enable the team to continue investigating several facets related to the neurotoxicity of statins. Among the major questions is, to what extent does genetics contribute to a person’s sensitivity to statins?

“We have no idea who is at risk. That makes us think that we can use this genetic laboratory assay to infer which of the genes make people susceptible,” Restifo said.

“This dramatic change in the morphology of the neurons is something we can now use to ask questions and experiment in the laboratory,” she said. “Our contribution is to find a way to ask about genetics and what the genetic vulnerability factors are.”

The Possibility for Future Research, Advice

The team’s findings and future research could have important implications for the medical field and for patients with regard to treatment, communication and improved personalized medicine.

“It’s important to look into this to see if people may have some sort of predisposition to the beads effect, and that’s where we want to go with this research,” Kraft said. “There must be more research into what effects these drugs have other than just controlling a person’s elevated cholesterol levels.”

And even as additional research is ongoing, suggestions already exist for physicians, patients and families.

“Most physicians assume that if a patient doesn’t report side effects, there are no side effects,” Labiner said. “The paternalistic days of medication are hopefully behind us. They should be.”

“We can treat lots of things, but the problem is if there are side effects that worsen the treatment, the patient is more likely to shy away from the medication. That’s a bad outcome,” he said. “There’s got to be a give and take between the patient and physician.”

Patients should feel empowered to ask questions, and deeper questions, about their health and treatment and physicians should be very attentive to any reports of cognitive decline for those patients on statins, she said.

For some, it starts early after starting statins; for others, it takes time. And the signs vary. People may begin losing track of dates, the time or their keys.

“These are not trivial things. This could have a significant impact on your daily life, your interpersonal relationships, your ability to hold a job,” Restifo said.

“This is the part of the brain that allows us to think clearly, to plan, to hold onto memories,” she said. “If people are concerned that they are having this problem, patients should ask their physicians.”

Restifo said open and direct patient-physician communication is even more important for those on statins who have a family history of side effects from statins.

Also, physicians could work more closely with patients to investigate family history and determine a better dosage plan. Even placing additional questions on the family history questionnaire could be useful, she said.

“There is good clinical data that every-other-day dosing give you most of the benefits, and maybe even prevents some of the accumulation of things that result in side effects,” Restifo said, suggesting that physicians should try and get a better longitudinal picture on how people react while on statins.

“Statins have been around now for long enough and are widely prescribed to so many people,” she said. “But increased awareness could be very helpful.”

###

Lipid researcher, 98, reports on the dietary causes of heart disease ” dietary cholesterol is good for your heart “

Contact: Diana Yates diya@illinois.edu 217-333-5802 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

             IMAGE:   Fred Kummerow, a 98-year-old emeritus professor of comparative biosciences at the University of Illinois, explains the primary causes of heart disease. His research contradicts commonly held notions about the role…

Click here for more information.     

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A 98-year-old researcher argues that, contrary to decades of clinical assumptions and advice to patients, dietary cholesterol is good for your heart – unless that cholesterol is unnaturally oxidized (by frying foods in reused oil, eating lots of polyunsaturated fats, or smoking).

The researcher, Fred Kummerow, an emeritus professor of comparative biosciences at the University of Illinois, has spent more than six decades studying the dietary factors that contribute to heart disease. In a new paper in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Disease, he reviews the research on lipid metabolism and heart disease with a focus on the consumption of oxidized cholesterol – in his view a primary contributor to heart disease.

“Oxidized lipids contribute to heart disease both by increasing deposition of calcium on the arterial wall, a major hallmark of atherosclerosis, and by interrupting blood flow, a major contributor to heart attack and sudden death,” Kummerow wrote in the review.

Over his 60-plus-year career, Kummerow has painstakingly collected and analyzed the findings that together reveal the underlying mechanisms linking oxidized cholesterol (and trans fats) to heart disease.

Many of Kummerow’s insights come from his relentless focus on the physical and biochemical changes that occur in the arteries of people with heart disease. For example, he has worked with surgeons to retrieve and examine the arteries of people suffering from heart disease, and has compared his findings with those obtained in animal experiments.

He and his colleagues first reported in 2001  that the arteries of people who had had bypass operations contained elevated levels of sphingomyelin (SFING-oh-my-uh-lin), one of several phospholipids (phosphate-containing lipids) that make up the membranes of all cells. The bypass patients also had significantly more oxidized cholesterols (oxysterols) in their plasma and tissues than people who had not been diagnosed with heart disease.

Human cells incubated with the blood plasma of the cardiac patients also picked up significantly more calcium from the culture medium than cells incubated in the plasma of healthy patients. When the researchers added oxysterols to the healthy plasma, the proportion of sphingomyelin in the cells increased, as did the uptake of calcium.

Earlier research, including studies conducted by medical pioneer Michael DeBakey, noted that the most problematic plaques in patients with heart disease occurred at the branch-points of the arteries of the heart. Kummerow followed up on these reports by looking at the phospholipid content of the arterial walls in pigs and humans. He found (and reported in 1994) that the branch points of the arteries in humans and in swine also had significantly more sphingomyelin than other regions of the same arteries.

For Kummerow, the increase in sphingomyelin was a prime suspect in the blocked and calcified arteries of the cardiac patients. He had already found  that the arteries of the newborn human placenta contained only about 10 percent sphingomyelin and 50 percent phosphatidylcholine (FOSS-fuh-tih-dul-COH-lean), another important phospholipid component of cell membranes.

“But when we looked at the arteries of people who had had bypass operations, we found up to 40 percent sphingomyelin and about 27 percent phosphatidylcholine,” Kummerow said. “It took us many more years to discover that when you added large amounts of oxysterols to the cells, then the phosphatidylcholine changed to sphingomyelin.”

Further evidence supported sphingomyelin’s starring role in atherosclerosis. When Kummerow and his colleagues compared the blocked and unblocked arteries of patients needing second bypass operations, they found that the arteries with blockages contained twice as much sphingomyelin as the unblocked arteries. The calcium content of the blocked arteries (6,345 parts per million) was also much higher than that of the unblocked arteries (182 ppm).

Other studies had demonstrated a link between increases in sphingomyelin and the deposit of calcium in the coronary arteries. The mechanism by which this occurred was unclear, however. Kummerow’s team searched the literature and found a 1967 study  that showed that in the presence of certain salts (in the blood, for example), lipids like sphingomyelin develop a negative charge. This explains the attraction of the positively charged calcium to the arterial wall when high amounts of sphingomyelin are present, Kummerow said.

“So there was a negative charge on the wall of this artery, and it attracted calcium from the blood until it calcified the whole artery,” he said.

Oxidized fats contribute to heart disease (and sudden death from heart attacks) in an additional way, Kummerow said. He and his collaborators found that when the low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the so-called “bad cholesterol”) is oxidized, it increases the synthesis of a blood-clotting agent, called thromboxane, in the platelets.

If someone eats a diet rich in oxysterols and trans fats and also smokes, he or she is endangering the heart in three distinct ways, Kummerow said. The oxysterols enhance calcification of the arteries and promote the synthesis of a clotting agent. And the trans fats and cigarette smoke interfere with the production of a compound, prostacyclin, which normally keeps the blood fluid.

“And that causes 600,000 deaths in this country each year,” Kummerow said.

Kummerow is the author of “Cholesterol Won’t Kill You, But Trans Fats Could.”

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END EMBARGO FOR RELEASE UNTIL 1 P.M. CST WEDNESDAY (FEB. 27)

Editor’s notes: To reach Fred Kummerow, call 217-344-6380.

The paper, “Interaction Between Sphingomyelin and Oxysterols Contributes to Atherosclerosis and Sudden Death,” is available online or from the U. of I. News Bureau.

Cholesterol medicine affects energy production in muscles: Up to 75 per cent of patients

Painful side effects

Up to 75 per cent of patients who take statins to treat elevated cholesterol levels may suffer from muscle pain. Scientists at the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen have now identified a possible mechanism underlying this unfortunate side effect. The results have just been published in the well-reputed Journal of American College of Cardiology.

Statin is a class of drugs which are used to treat high levels of blood cholesterol by way of inhibiting the liver’s ability to produce cholesterol. Statins are the most potent drugs on the market for lowering low-density cholesterol (LDL). At present 600,000 Danes with elevated cholesterol levels take statins daily. 30-40 per cent of the older Danish population (ages 65+) are currently undergoing treatment.

From 30-40% of the older Danish population (ages 65+) are currently undergoing treatment with statins.

“A well-known side effect of statin therapy is muscle pain. Up to 75 per cent of the physically active patients undergoing treatment for high cholesterol experience pain. This may keep people away from either taking their medicine or from taking exercise – both of which are bad choices,” says Professor Flemming Dela from the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen. He continues:

“We have now shown that statin treatment affects the energy production in muscles. We are working on the assumption that this can be the direct cause of muscle weakness and pain in thepatients.”

Scientists also showed that the patients examined who were being treated with statins had low levels of the key protein Q10. Q10 depletion and ensuing lower energy production in the muscles could be the biological cause of the muscle pain that is a problem for many patients.

Side effects of statin therapy

About 40 per cent of the patients being treated with statins in Denmark are in so-called ’mono therapy’ and thus are prescribed only this one drug. Presumably these are people who ‘only’ have high cholesterol and no other risk factors that could influence heart health:
“The effect of statins is marginal for these patients – in a previous published Cochrane analysis only 0.5% reduction in all-cause mortality was detected, indicating that for every 200 patients taking statins daily for five years, one death would be prevented. This patient group is obviously interesting in light of the side effects of statin therapy,” comments Professor Flemming Dela.

The media influence patients

“The new study is the basis for a large planned research project, where we will focus broadly on patients undergoing statin treatment. We will look at statin consumption from a medical point of view, and will also investigate the media’s influence on patients’ acceptance or rejection of statins as a treatment option. Many contradictory views find their way into the public forum, and it can be difficult for patients to distinguish between fact and fiction,” continues Professor Flemming Dela.
Scientists will also be looking at how home-monitoring of cholesterol levels influences patients – for example, does it make patients feel more or less secure when they take responsibility for their own health in this manner? The Center for Healthy Aging is currently seeking funding for the research project.

See scientific article Simvastatin Effects on Skeletal Muscle in Journal of American College of Cardiology.

Contact:

Professor Flemming Dela Phone: +45 35 32 74 25

New insights into link between anti-cholesterol statin drugs and depression

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Michael Bernstein m_bernstein@acs.org 202-872-6042 American Chemical Society

Scientists are reporting a possible explanation for the symptoms of anxiety and depression that occur in some patients taking the popular statin family of anti-cholesterol drugs, and reported by some individuals on low-cholesterol diets. These symptoms could result from long-term, low levels of cholesterol in the brain, the report suggests. It appears in ACS’ weekly journal Biochemistry.

Amitabha Chattopadhyay and colleagues note in the study that statins work by blocking a key enzyme involved in the body’s production of cholesterol. Some studies link the drugs to an increased risk of anxiety and depression, but the reasons are unclear. The scientists previously showed that maintaining normal cholesterol levels is important for the function of cell receptors for serotonin, a brain hormone that influences mood and behavior. But the long-term effect of cholesterol depletion on these receptors, which can occur in patients taking anti-cholesterol drugs, is unknown.

The scientists turned to the statin medication mevastatin to find out. In lab tests using human serotonin receptors expressed in animal cells, they showed that long-term use of the drug caused significant changes in the structure and function of serotonin cell receptors. Adding cholesterol to cells treated with mevastatin restored them to normal. The results represent the first report describing the effect of long-term cholesterol depletion on this type of cell receptor and suggest that chronic, low cholesterol levels in the brain might trigger anxiety and depression, the scientists say.

###

 

ARTICLE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE “Chronic Cholesterol Depletion using Statin Impairs the Function and Dynamics of Human Serotonin1A Receptors”

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/bi100276b

CONTACT: Amitabha Chattopadhyay, Ph.D. Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Hyderabad, India Phone: 91-40-2719-2578 Fax: 91-40-2716-0311 Email: amit@ccmb.res.in

142nd Health Research Report 16 NOV 2012

 

Editors Top five:

  1. Caffeine improves recognition of positive words
  2. Drinking green tea with starchy food may help lower blood sugar spikes
  3. Link Found Between Child Prodigies and Autism
  4. Triclosan in cosmetics and personal care products can increase allergy risk
  5. Eating more fish could reduce postpartum depression

In This Issue:

  1. Daily doses of a new probiotic reduces ‘bad’ and total cholesterol: Lactobacillus reutei
  2. New study finds that 75 percent of patients taking popular blood-thinners are getting wrong dose
  3. Is your memory playing tricks on you? Check your medicine cabinet!
  4. Caffeine improves recognition of positive words
  5. Antioxidants may ease PAD blood pressure increase
  6. Hebrew Senior Life study finds no link between calcium intake and coronary artery calcification
  7. Drinking green tea with starchy food may help lower blood sugar spikes
  8. Link Found Between Child Prodigies and Autism
  9. Kids need at least 7 minutes a day of ‘vigorous’ physical activity, but most aren’t getting that
  10. Compound in grapes, red wine could be key to fighting prostate cancer
  11. Sugar boosts self-control, UGA study says
  12. Vitamin D prevents clogged arteries in diabetics
  13. Ancient foot massage technique may ease cancer symptoms
  14. BPA shown to disrupt thyroid function in pregnant animals and offspring
  15. Give pregnant women vitamin D supplements to ward off MS, say researchers
  16. Triclosan in cosmetics and personal care products can increase allergy risk
  17. Cordyceps  – Rare parasitic fungi could have anti-flammatory benefits
  18. Eating more fish could reduce postpartum depression
  19. Arginine and proline enriched diet may speed wound healing in diabetes
  20. Vitamin D deficiency linked to Type 1 diabetes
  21. Foetus suffers when mother lacks vitamin C

Daily doses of a new probiotic reduces ‘bad’ and total cholesterol: Lactobacillus reutei

Study Highlights:

  • A new probiotic lowered LDL “bad” cholesterol and total cholesterol in patients with high cholesterol.
  • The probiotic reduced molecules known as cholesterol ester saturated fatty acids, which have been tied to dangerous plaque buildup in the arteries.

American Heart Association Meeting Report:

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 5, 2012 — Two daily doses of a probiotic lowered key cholesterol-bearing molecules in the blood as well as “bad” and total cholesterol, in a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012.

Probiotics are live microorganisms (naturally occurring bacteria in the gut) thought to have beneficial effects; common sources are yogurt or dietary supplements.

In previous studies, a formulation of the bacteria, known as Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242, has lowered blood levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol.

Such treatments are drawing increasing medical attention as researchers unravel how supplementing gut bacteria (microbiome) with probiotics can play a role in health and certain chronic diseases such as heart disease, said Mitchell L. Jones, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and a research assistant in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal.

Researchers investigated whether the same probiotic could lower LDL and reduce blood levels of cholesterol esters — molecules of cholesterol attached to fatty acids, a combination that accounts for most total blood cholesterol and has been tied to cardiovascular disease risk.

Researchers tracked cholesterol esters bound to saturated fat, which have been linked to dangerous arterial plaque buildup and occur at higher levels in coronary artery disease patients.

The study involved 127 adult patients with high cholesterol. About half the participants took L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 twice a day, while the rest were given placebo capsules.

Those taking the probiotic had LDL levels 11.6 percent lower than those on placebo after nine weeks. Furthermore, cholesterol esters were reduced by 6.3 percent and cholesterol ester saturated fatty acids by 8.8 percent, compared with the placebo group.

For the first time, research shows that the probiotic formulation can reduce cholesterol esters “and in particular reduce the cholesterol esters associated with ‘bad’ saturated fatty acids in the blood,” said Jones, co-founder and chief science officer of Micropharma, the company that formulated the probiotic.

Furthermore, people taking the probiotic had total cholesterol reduced by 9.1 percent. HDL “good” cholesterol and blood triglycerides, a dangerous form of fat in the blood, were unchanged.

Scientists have proposed that Lactobacillus bacteria alone may impact cholesterol levels in several ways, including breaking apart molecules known as bile salts. L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 was fermented and formulated to optimize its effect on cholesterol and bile salts.

Based on correlations between LDL reduction and bile measurements in the gut, the study results suggest the probiotic broke up bile salts, leading to reduced cholesterol absorption in the gut and less LDL.

The probiotic worked at doses of just 200 milligrams a day, far lower than those for soluble fiber or other natural products used to reduce cholesterol.

“Most dietary cholesterol management products require consumption between 2 to 25 grams a day,” Jones said.

Patients appear to tolerate the probiotic well and the probiotic strain L. reuteri has a long history of safe use, he said.

Because of the small number of patients involved in the study, researchers aren’t sure if the impact of the probiotic differs between men and women or among ethnic groups.

Co-authors are Christopher J. Martoni, Ph.D. and Satya Prakash, Ph.D.

Micropharma funded the study and owns intellectual property rights for the formulation, which is expected to be on the U.S. market next year.

New study finds that 75 percent of patients taking popular blood-thinners are getting wrong dose

Millions at risk for serious problems like uncontrolled bleeding or developing blood clots

SALT LAKE CITY – Cardiology researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute have found that approximately 75 percent of patients taking two common blood-thinning drugs may be receiving the wrong dosage levels, according to a new study.

This could put them at risk for serious problems like uncontrolled bleeding or developing blood clots.

Millions of Americans with coronary artery disease take one of the two drugs — clopidogrel (Plavix) and prasugrel (Effient) — to prevent harmful blood clots that can cause a stroke or heart attack. Current guidelines recommend that all patients take the same standardized dose. But in this new study of 521 patients, researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute found that dose is not effective for all patients.

“There’s a sweet spot, an appropriate range for each patient. But we found that not many people are falling into that range,” said cardiologist Brent Muhlestein, MD, a cardiac researcher at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.

Dr. Muhlestein is presenting the group’s findings on Nov. 6 at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2012 in Los Angeles.

“We showed that by performing a simple blood test to see whether or not the blood is clotting properly, we can determine whether patients are getting an appropriate, individualized dose of the medications,” he says. “The test is easy to perform, but not widely used.”

The Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute study could help lead to personalized treatment and improved results for millions of people taking the drugs. It may also help cut pharmacy bills for many patients. The annual cost for one of the medications is more than $1,800. Finding the lowest effective dose for those patients could conceivably cut their bill in half.

Major findings of the study show that:

  • Half of patients taking clopidogrel were getting too little of the drug to prevent clotting most effectively. A quarter were getting too much. Only a quarter were getting an accurate dose.
  • Half of patients taking prasugrel are getting too much of the drug, which could lead to dangerous bleeding. A quarter were getting too little. Only a quarter are getting the appropriate dose.

The researchers also discovered that common indicators like age, gender, cholesterol levels, and history of heart problems were not good predictors for how a person would react to the drugs.

“That means there’s not an easy way to predict how a person will react to these drugs. But the blood test is very effective,” said Dr. Muhlestein. “In fact, a physician could have the test machine on his or her desk and perform the test right there in the office.”

Is your memory playing tricks on you? Check your medicine cabinet!

National Senior Safety Week – Drug safety for seniors

This press release is available in French.

Common medication to treat insomnia, anxiety, itching or allergies can have a negative impact on memory or concentration in the elderly, according to Dr. Cara Tannenbaum, Research Chair at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM, Montreal Geriatric University Institute) and Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Montreal (UdeM). Up to ninety percent of people over the age of 65 take at least one prescription medication. Eighteen percent of people in this age group complain of memory problems and are found to have mild cognitive deficits. Research suggests there may be a link between the two.

Dr. Tannenbaum recently led a team of international researchers to investigate which medications are most likely to affect amnestic (memory) or non-amnestic (attention, concentration, performance) brain functions. After analyzing the results from 162 experiments on medications with potential to bind to cholinergic, histamine, GABAergic or opioid receptors in the brain, Dr. Tannenbaum concluded that the episodic use of several medications can cause amnestic or non-amnestic deficits. This potential cause is often overlooked in persons who are otherwise in good health.

The 68 trials on benzodiazepines (which are often used to treat anxiety and insomnia) that were analyzed showed that these drugs consistently lead to impairments in memory and concentration, with a clear dose-response relationship. The 12 tests on antihistamines and the 15 tests on tricyclic antidepressants showed deficits in attention and information processing. Dr. Tannenbaum’s findings support the recommendation issued in the Revised Beers Criteria published last spring 2012 by the American Geriatrics Society that all sleeping pills, 1st generation antihistamines and tricyclic antidepressants should be avoided at all costs in seniors.

Dr. Tannenbaum believes in the importance of communicating this knowledge to patients: “Seniors can play an important role in reducing the risks associated with these medications. Patients need this information so that they are more comfortable talking to their doctors and pharmacists about safer pharmacological or non-pharmacological treatment options,” she explained. She also points out that each case must be addressed on an individual basis: “Despite the known risks, it may be better for some patients to continue their medication instead of having to live with intolerable symptoms. Each individual has a right to make an informed choice based on preference and a thorough understanding of the effects the medications may have on their memory and function.”

Caffeine improves recognition of positive words

2-3 cups of coffee improve brain processing of positive, but not negative or neutral words

Caffeine perks up most coffee-lovers, but a new study shows a small dose of caffeine also increases their speed and accuracy for recognizing words with positive connotation. The research published November 7 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Lars Kuchinke and colleagues from Ruhr University, Germany, shows that caffeine enhances the neural processing of positive words, but not those with neutral or negative associations.

Previous research showed that caffeine increases activity in the central nervous system, and normal doses of caffeine improve performance on simple cognitive tasks and behavioral responses. It is also known that certain memories are enhanced when strong positive or negative emotions are associated with objects, but the link between caffeine consumption and these emotional biases was unknown.

This study demonstrates, for the first time, that consuming 200 mg of caffeine, equivalent to 2-3 cups of coffee, 30 minutes before a task can improve the implicit recognition of positive words, but has no effect on the processing of emotionally neutral or negative words. The authors suggest that this effect is driven by caffeine’s strong dopaminergic effects in the language-dominant regions of the brain.

Hebrew Senior Life study finds no link between calcium intake and coronary artery calcification

BOSTON – Researchers at the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) at Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School (HMS), have published a study that shows no evidence of a link between calcium intake and coronary artery calcification, reassuring adults who take calcium supplements for bone health that the supplements do not appear to result in the development of calcification of blood vessels.

The paper, published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that study participants who had the highest calcium intake, from diet or supplements or both, had the same coronary artery calcification score as those who had the lowest calcium intake. The coronary artery calcification score represents the severity of calcified plaque clogging the arteries in the heart and is an independent predictor of heart attack.

“This study addresses a critical question about the association between calcium intake and a clinically measurable indicator of atherosclerosis in older adults,” said Elizabeth (Lisa) Samelson, Ph.D., associate scientist at IFAR and an assistant professor at HMS and the lead author of the study. “There was no increased risk of calcified arteries with higher amounts of calcium intake from food or supplements.”

Today’s paper reported on an observational, prospective study using participants from the highly regarded Framingham Heart Study, the longest running medical study in history. The investigators examined 1,300 participants, both men and women with an average age of 60, who were asked about their diet and supplement use and then underwent CT scans of their coronary arteries four years later.

In recent years, reports have raised concern regarding a potential adverse effect of calcium supplements on risk of heart attack. However, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that evidence from clinical trials does not support an adverse effect of calcium intake on risk of cardiovascular disease. They recommended the following guidelines for calcium intake considered safe and effective for bone health: 1,200 mg per day of calcium for women over 50 and men over 70 and 1,000 mg per day for men between 50 and 70. The guidelines say supplementation can be used if the minimum requirements are not being met through diet.

Today’s paper reassures people who take calcium at levels within the recommended guidelines for bone health that they can continue to do so safely, without worrying about the risk of calcifying their arteries, according to Samelson. However, “it is critically important that each individual discuss with a health care provider whether the recommendations are appropriate given his or her personal medical history.”

Antioxidants may ease PAD blood pressure increase

HERSHEY, Pa. — Low antioxidant levels contribute to increased blood pressure during exercise for people with peripheral arterial disease, according to researchers at Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute.

Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, affects an estimated 10 million Americans and increases the chance of death from a cardiovascular event. Reduced blood flow causes pain in the legs and increases blood pressure in people who have PAD. However, the causes of the disease are unknown.

“Past studies have shown that having low antioxidant levels and increased reactive oxygen species — chemical products that bind to body cells and cause damage — is related to more severe PAD,” said Matthew Muller, postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Larry Sinoway’s lab at Penn State College of Medicine, and lead author of the study.

Antioxidants prevent the reactive oxygen species from damaging cells.

“This study shows that blood pressure increases more with exercise in more severe PAD cases. By infusing the antioxidant vitamin C into the blood, we were able to lessen the increase in blood pressure during exercise,” said Muller.

Vitamin C does not lessen the increase in blood pressure of PAD patients to that of healthy people. As the intensity of exercise increases, the effects of vitamin C decrease but are still seen. The researchers report their findings in the Journal of Physiology.

Penn State Hershey researchers looked at three groups of PAD patients to study the blood pressure increase. A group of 13 PAD patients was compared to people without PAD to see the effects of doing low-intensity exercise on blood pressure. From that group, a second group of nine patients was used to measure the effects of vitamin C. A third group of five PAD patients and five without PAD had their leg muscles electrically stimulated to remove the brain’s role in raising blood pressure during muscle contraction in this disease.

Increased blood pressure during exercise occurs in both legs, before pain begins, and relates to the severity of the disease. By using electrical stimulation, the scientists show that the blood pressure increase comes from the muscle itself, since the brain is not telling the leg to contract and the pressure still increases.

“This indicates that during normal, everyday activities such as walking, an impaired antioxidant system — as well as other factors — plays a role in the increased blood pressure response to exercise,” Muller said. “Therefore, supplementing the diet with antioxidants may help these patients, but more studies are needed to confirm this concept.”

Drinking green tea with starchy food may help lower blood sugar spikes

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — An ingredient in green tea that helps reduce blood sugar spikes in mice may lead to new diet strategies for people, according to Penn State food scientists.

Mice fed an antioxidant found in green tea — epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG — and corn starch had a significant reduction in increase in their blood sugar — blood glucose — levels compared to mice that were not fed the compound, according to Joshua Lambert, assistant professor of food science in agricultural sciences.

“The spike in blood glucose level is about 50 percent lower than the increase in the blood glucose level of mice that were not fed EGCG,” Lambert said.

The dose of EGCG fed to the mice was equivalent to about one and a half cups of green tea for a human.

Lambert, who worked with Sarah C. Forester, postdoctoral fellow, and Yeyi Gu, graduate student, both in food science, said EGCG was most effective when the compound was fed to the mice simultaneously with corn starch. For humans, this may mean that green tea could help them control the typical blood sugar increases that are brought on when they eat starchy foods, like breads and bagels that are often a part of typical breakfasts.

“If what you are eating with your tea has starch in it then you might see that beneficial effect,” Lambert said. “So, for example, if you have green tea with your bagel for breakfast, it may reduce the spike in blood glucose levels that you would normally get from that food.”

The EGCG had no significant effect on blood sugar spikes in mice that were fed glucose or maltose, according to the researchers who released their findings in the online version of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. Lambert said that the reason blood sugar spikes are reduced when the mice ate starch, but not these sugars, may be related to the way the body converts starch into sugar.

An enzyme called alpha-amylase that is produced in both the mouth and by the pancreas helps break down starch into maltose and glucose. EGCG may inhibit the enzymes ability to break down the starch, the researchers indicated, since they also found that EGCG reduced the activity of alpha amylase in the pancreas by 34 percent.

If the mechanism holds in humans, this may mean that people who want to limit the blood sugar spike should skip adding sugar to their cup of green tea.

“That may mean that if you add sugar into your green tea, that might negate the effect that the green tea will have on limiting the rise in blood glucose level,” Lambert said.

Lambert added that the green tea and the starch would need to be consumed simultaneously. For example, drinking a cup of tea well after eating a piece of toast would probably not change the blood sugar spike.

For the study, researchers separated mice into several groups based on body weight. After a fasting period, the mice were given common corn starch, maltose, or sucrose. One group of mice received EGCG along with the feed, while a control group was not fed the compound.

The researchers then tested the blood sugar levels of both groups.

Lambert said the researchers next step is to test the compound on people.

“The relatively low effective dose of EGCG makes a compelling case for studies in human subjects,” the researchers said.

Link Found Between Child Prodigies and Autism

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new study of eight child prodigies suggests a possible link between these children’s special skills and autism.

Of the eight prodigies studied, three had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. As a group, the prodigies also tended to have slightly elevated scores on a test of autistic traits, when compared to a control group.

In addition, half of the prodigies had a family member or a first- or second-degree relative with an autism diagnosis.

The fact that half of the families and three of the prodigies themselves were affected by autism is surprising because autism occurs in only one of 120 individuals, said Joanne Ruthsatz, lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University’s Mansfield campus.

Joanne Ruthsatz

“The link between child prodigies and autism is strong in our study,” Ruthsatz said. “Our findings suggest child prodigies have traits in common with autistic children, but something is preventing them from displaying the deficits we associate with the disorder.”

The study also found that while child prodigies had elevated general intelligence scores, where they really excelled was in working memory – all of them scored above the 99th percentile on this trait.

Ruthsatz conducted the study with Jourdan Urbach of Yale University. Their results were published in a recent issue of the journal Intelligence.

For the study, the researchers identified eight child prodigies through the internet and television specials and by referral. The group included one art prodigy, one math prodigy, four musical prodigies and two who switched domains (one from music to gourmet cooking, and one from music to art). The study included six males and two females.

The researchers met with each prodigy individually over the course of two or three days. During that time, the prodigies completed the Stanford-Binet intelligence test, which included sub-tests on fluid reasoning, knowledge, quantitative reasoning, visual spatial abilities and working memory.

In addition, the researchers administered the Autism-Spectrum Quotient assessment, which scores the level of autistic traits. The prodigies’ scores on the test were compared to a control group of 174 adults who were contacted randomly by mail.

Ruthsatz said the most striking data was that which identified autistic traits among the prodigies.

The prodigies showed a general elevation in autistic traits compared to the control group, but this elevation was on average even smaller than that seen in high-functioning autistic people diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

Autism is a developmental disability characterized by problems with communicating and socializing and a strong resistance to change. People with Asperger’s are more likely than those with autism to have normal intelligence, but tend to have difficulties with social interaction.

The prodigies did score higher than the control group and the Asperger’s group on one subsection of the autism assessment: attention to detail.

“These prodigies had an absolutely amazing memory for detail,” she said. “They don’t miss anything, which certainly helps them achieve the successes they have.”

Ruthsatz said it was not the three prodigies who were diagnosed with autism who were driving this particular finding. In fact, the three autistic prodigies scored an average of 8 on attention to detail, compared to 8.5 for the entire group of prodigies.

On the intelligence test, the prodigies scored in the gifted range, but were not uniformly exceptional. While five of the eight prodigies scored in the 90th percentile or above on the IQ test, one scored at the 70th percentile and another at the 79th percentile.


“Our findings suggest child prodigies have traits in common with autistic children, but something is preventing them from displaying the deficits we associate with the disorder.”


But just as they did in the autism assessment, the prodigies stood out in one of the sub-tests of the intelligence test. In this case, the prodigies showed an exceptional working memory, with all of them scoring above the 99th percentile.

Working memory is the system in the brain that allows people to hold multiple pieces of information in mind for a short time in order to complete a task.

The findings paint a picture of what it takes to create a prodigy, Ruthsatz said.

“Overall, what we found is that prodigies have an elevated general intelligence and exceptional working memory, along with an elevated autism score, with exceptional attention to detail,” Ruthsatz said.

These results suggest that prodigies share some striking similarities with autistic savants – people who have the developmental disabilities associated with autism combined with an extraordinary talent or knowledge that is well beyond average.

“But while autistic savants display many of the deficits commonly associated with autism, the child prodigies do not,” Ruthsatz said. “The question is why.”

The answer may be some genetic mutation that allows prodigies to have the extreme talent found in savants, but without the deficits seen in autism. But the answer will require more study, Ruthsatz said.

“Our findings suggest that prodigies may have some moderated form of autism that actually enables their extraordinary talent.”

Kids need at least 7 minutes a day of ‘vigorous’ physical activity, but most aren’t getting that

UAlberta medical researchers part of national research team examining activity levels of kids in Leduc, Alta., area

Children need a minimum of seven minutes a day of vigorous physical activity, demonstrates recently published findings by University of Alberta medical researchers and their colleagues across Canada.

“If you watch late-night television, or look in the backs of magazines, you’ll see magical ads saying you need just 10 minutes a day or five minutes a day of exercise to stay fit. And for those of us in the medical field, we just rolled our eyes at that. But surprisingly, they may actually be right and that’s what this research shows,” says co-principal investigator Richard Lewanczuk, a researcher with the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the U of A.

“Our research showed children don’t need a lot of intense physical activity to get the health benefits of exercise – seven minutes or more of vigorous physical activity was all that was required. But the seven minutes had to be intense to prevent weight gain, obesity and its adverse health consequences. And most kids weren’t getting that.”

Lewanczuk worked on this study with Jonathan McGavock, his co-principal investigator and former post-doctoral fellow, who now works with the Manitoba Institute of Child Health. They collaborated with Black Gold Regional Schools in Leduc and surrounding communities just south of Edmonton, as well as researchers from the University of Manitoba, Queen’s University, the University of Newcastle, and U of A researchers from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, the School of Public Health, Physical Education and Recreation, and Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences. The team’s findings were recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

More than 600 children, between the ages of nine to 17 from Leduc and surrounding areas, wore monitors that tracked their physical activity levels for seven days. These children also had their weight, waist circumference and blood pressure regularly monitored.

Researchers reviewed the data collected through the Healthy Hearts program via Black Gold Regional Schools and determined the children spent almost 70 per cent of their time doing sedentary activities; nearly 23 per cent was devoted to light physical activity; almost seven per cent to moderate physical activity and 0.6 per cent to vigorous physical activity.

Overall, boys were less sedentary than girls. And the more vigorous the physical activity, the less apt the children were to be overweight. Children who were overweight had improved fitness levels and shrinking waist lines when they increased the amount of time spent doing vigorous activities.

Lewanczuk said the team made some other notable findings including the following: there weren’t the expected health benefits from doing only mild or moderate activity even if the time spent doing this type of activity increased. What seemed to be critical was taking part in intense physical activity. For kids who took part in vigorous physical activity that lasted longer than seven minutes, their health benefits were significantly better. And the whole notion of being overweight but fit? The team’s data didn’t support that finding in children. If children were overweight, they were also unhealthy, Lewanczuk says.

“This research tells us that a brisk walk isn’t good enough,” says Lewanczuk, a professor in the Department of Medicine who has been studying this topic for eight years. “Kids have to get out and do a high-intensity activity in addition to maintaining a background of mild to moderate activity. There’s a strong correlation between obesity, fitness and activity. Activity and fitness is linked to a reduction in obesity and good health outcomes.”

Getting young children to make vigorous physical activity part of their daily routines is important, especially considering activity levels in the teenage years drop right off, Lewanczuk says. And previously published research from the same group of children shows kids are more active at school than they are at home.

“Quite often the activity levels on evenings or weekends would be almost flat,” he says. “We made the presumption that kids were just sitting in front of a screen the whole time.”

Lewanczuk hopes the research findings will help schools decide what type of mandatory physical activity is needed.

He praised the school district involved in the study, noting the research wouldn’t have been possible without its support.

Paul Wozny with Black Gold Regional Schools said physical activity is always worthwhile and noted that increased moderate to intense activity was closely associated with lower weights from year to year. He said the Healthy Hearts project has truly created “a school and community culture where regular physical activity and healthy nutrition are seen as essential ingredients for students’ health, wellness and life-long learning. Everyone is involved – students, their parents, teachers, staff, researchers and the community as a whole.

“We are always striving to improve, so we regularly review the research results to help us fine tune and develop future activity and wellness programming at all of our school communities. Black Gold Regional Schools’ Health Hearts project has received both national and international recognition as a world-leading school and community initiative dedicated to the improvement of student cardiovascular health through regular physical activity and multi-stakeholder support.”

The primary funders of the research were: the Canadian Diabetes Association and the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research.

“The Canadian Diabetes Association is proud to be a leading supporter of diabetes research in Canada, investing more than $7 million annually in diabetes research,” said Janet Hux, chief scientific advisor for the Canadian Diabetes Association. “The association encourages Canadians to pursue healthy lifestyles in order to prevent and manage diabetes. Dr. Lewanczuk’s work provides important new insights that may make enhanced activity more feasible for children and youth.”

The Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research added: “Having this kind of evidence should make it easier for parents, schools and daycare programs to do activities with children that will help develop lifelong healthy attitudes towards exercise and activity,” stated Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research President and CEO, Robyn Blackadar.

Compound in grapes, red wine could be key to fighting prostate cancer

MU researcher finds that prostate tumor cells are more susceptible to treatment after being exposed to resveratrol, a compound found in grape skins and red wine

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Resveratrol, a compound found commonly in grape skins and red wine, has been shown to have several beneficial effects on human health, including cardiovascular health and stroke prevention. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has discovered that the compound can make prostate tumor cells more susceptible to radiation treatment, increasing the chances of a full recovery from all types of prostate cancer, including aggressive tumors.

“Other studies have noted that resveratrol made tumor cells more susceptible to chemotherapy, and we wanted to see if it had the same effect for radiation therapy,” said Michael Nicholl, an assistant professor of surgical oncology in the MU School of Medicine. “We found that when exposed to the compound, the tumor cells were more susceptible to radiation treatment, but that the effect was greater than just treating with both compounds separately.”

IMAGE:Scientists at MU have found that treatment with a compound found in grape skins and red wine could increase the chances of a full recovery from all types of prostate…

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Prostate tumor cells contain very low levels of two proteins, perforin and granzyme B, which can function together to kill cells. However, both proteins need to be highly “expressed” to kill tumor cells. In his study, when Nicholl introduced resveratrol into the prostate tumor cells, the activity of the two proteins increased greatly. Following radiation treatment, Nicholl found that up to 97 percent of the tumor cells died, which is a much higher percentage than treatment with radiation alone.

“It is critical that both proteins, perforin and granzyme B, are present in order to kill the tumor cells, and we found that the resveratrol helped to increase their activity in prostate tumor cells,” Nicholl said. “Following the resveratrol-radiation treatment, we realized that we were able to kill many more tumor cells when compared with treating the tumor with radiation alone. It’s important to note that this killed all types of prostate tumor cells, including aggressive tumor cells.”

Resveratrol is present in grape skins and red wine and available over-the-counter in many health food sections at grocery stores. However, the dosage needed to have an effect on tumor cells is so great that many people would experience uncomfortable side effects.

“We don’t need a large dose at the site of the tumor, but the body processes this compound so efficiently that a person needs to ingest a lot of resveratrol to make sure enough of it ends up at the tumor site. Because of that challenge, we have to look at different delivery methods for this compound to be effective,” Nicholl said. “It’s very attractive as a therapeutic agent since it is a natural compound and something that most of us have consumed in our lifetimes.”

Nicholl said that the next step would be to test the procedure in an animal model before any clinical trials can be initiated. Nicholl’s studies were published in the Journal of Andrology and Cancer Science. The early-stage results of this research are promising. If additional studies, including animal studies, are successful within the next few years, MU officials will request authority from the federal government to begin human drug development (this is commonly referred to as the “investigative new drug” status). After this status has been granted, researchers may conduct human clinical trials with the hope of developing new treatments for cancer.

Sugar boosts self-control, UGA study says

Athens, Ga. – To boost self-control, gargle sugar water. According to a study co-authored by University of Georgia professor of psychology Leonard Martin published Oct. 22 in Psychological Science, a mouth rinse with glucose improves self-control.

His study looked at 51 students who performed two tasks to test self-control. The first task, which has shown to deplete self-control, was the meticulous crossing out of Es on a page from a statistics book. Then, participants performed what is known as the Stroop task where they were asked to identify the color of various words flashed on a screen, which spell out the names of other colors. The Stroop task’s goal is to turn off the student’s tendency to read the words and instead see the colors.

Half of the students rinsed their mouths with lemonade sweetened with sugar while performing the Stroop test, the other half with Splenda-sweetened lemonade. Students who rinsed with sugar, rather than artificial sweetener, were significantly faster at responding to the color rather than the word.

“Researchers used to think you had to drink the glucose and get it into your body to give you the energy to (have) self control,” Martin said. “After this trial, it seems that glucose stimulates the simple carbohydrate sensors on the tongue. This, in turn, signals the motivational centers of the brain where our self-related goals are represented. These signals tell your body to pay attention.”

It took subjects about 3-5 minutes to perform the Stroop test. Martin said results show a measure of self-control, but a glucose mouthwash might not be enough to solve some of the biggest self-control obstacles like losing weight or smoking.

“The research is not clear yet on the effects of swishing with glucose on long-term self-control,” he said. “So, if you are trying to quit smoking, a swish of lemonade may not be the total cure, but it certainly could help you in the short run.”

Martin, in collaboration with co-author Matthew Sanders, a doctoral candidate also in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, believes the motivation comes in the form of self-values, or emotive investment.

“It is the self-investment,” Martin said. “It doesn’t just crank up your energy, but it cranks up your personal investment in what you are doing. Clicking into the things that are important to you makes those self-related goals salient.”

They theorized that the glucose causes emotive enhancement, leading the person to pay attention to their goals and perform better at evoking the non-dominant response.

“The glucose seems to be good at getting you to stop an automatic response such as reading the words in the Stroop task and to substitute the second harder one in its place such as saying the color the word is printed in,” he said. “It can enhance emotive investment and self-relevant goals.”

Previous self-control studies showed a marked decrease in performance for the second task.

“Previous studies suggest the first task requires so much energy, you just don’t have the energy left for the second task that you need,” Martin said. “We are saying when people engage in self-control, they ignore important aspects of their goals and feelings. If you have to stay late at work, for example, but you really want to be going home, you have to ignore your desire to go home. Doing so will help you stay late at work, but it may also put you out of touch with what you personally want and feel on later tasks. Swishing glucose can focus you back on those goals and feelings and this, in turn, can help you perform better on the second task. In short, we believe self-control goes away because people send away, not because they don’t have energy. People turn it off on purpose.”

Martin’s research focused on what the affects of swishing glucose psychologically rather than physiologically. “We think it makes your self-related goals come to mind,” he said.

Martin’s lab is continuing to study how subjects evoke and interpret emotive responses.

Vitamin D prevents clogged arteries in diabetics

November 13, 2012

By Jim Dryden

People with diabetes often develop clogged arteries that cause heart disease, and new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that low vitamin D levels are to blame.

In a study published Nov. 9 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the researchers report that blood vessels are less likely to clog in people with diabetes who get adequate vitamin D. But in patients with insufficient vitamin D, immune cells bind to blood vessels near the heart, then trap cholesterol to block those blood vessels.

Low levels of vitamin D in people with diabetes appear to encourage cholesterol to build up in arteries, eventually blocking the flow of blood. In mice, immune cells adhering to the wall of a major blood vessel near the heart are loaded with cholesterol (shown in red).

“About 26 million Americans now have type 2 diabetes,” says principal investigator Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi, MD. “And as obesity rates rise, we expect even more people will develop diabetes. Those patients are more likely to experience heart problems due to an increase in vascular inflammation, so we have been investigating why this occurs.”

In earlier research, Bernal-Mizrachi, an assistant professor of medicine and of cell biology and physiology, and his colleagues found that vitamin D appears to play a key role in heart disease. This new study takes their work a step further, suggesting that when vitamin D levels are low, a particular class of white blood cell is more likely to adhere to cells in the walls of blood vessels.

Vitamin D conspires with immune cells called macrophages either to keep arteries clear or to clog them. The macrophages begin their existence as white blood cells called monocytes that circulate in the bloodstream. But when monocytes encounter inflammation, they are transformed into macrophages, which no longer circulate.

In the new study, researchers looked at vitamin D levels in 43 people with type 2 diabetes and in 25 others who were similar in age, sex and body weight but didn’t have diabetes.

They found that in diabetes patients with low vitamin D — less than 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood — the macrophage cells were more likely to adhere to the walls of blood vessels, which triggers cells to get loaded with cholesterol, eventually causing the vessels to stiffen and block blood flow.

“We took everything into account,” says first author Amy E. Riek, MD, instructor in medicine. “We looked at blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes control, body weight and race. But only vitamin D levels correlated to whether these cells stuck to the blood vessel wall.”
Sometime in the next several months, the scientists hope to determine whether vitamin D treatment can reverse some of the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease.

“In the future, we hope to generate medications, potentially even vitamin D itself, that help prevent the deposit of cholesterol in the blood vessels,” Bernal-Mizrachi explains. “Previous studies have linked vitamin D deficiency in these patients to increases in cardiovascular disease and in mortality. Other work has suggested that vitamin D may improve insulin release from the pancreas and insulin sensitivity. Our ultimate goal is to intervene in people with diabetes and to see whether vitamin D might decrease inflammation, reduce blood pressure and lessen the likelihood that they will develop atherosclerosis or other vascular complications.”

For more information on the current clinical studies involving vitamin D in people with diabetes, call study coordinator Robin Bruchas at (314) 362-0934.

Ancient foot massage technique may ease cancer symptoms

 

EAST LANSING, Mich. — A study led by a Michigan State University researcher offers the strongest evidence yet that reflexology – a type of specialized foot massage practiced since the age of pharaohs – can help cancer patients manage their symptoms and perform daily tasks.

Funded by the National Cancer Institute and published in the latest issue of Oncology Nursing Forum, it is the first large-scale, randomized study of reflexology as a complement to standard cancer treatment, according to lead author Gwen Wyatt, a professor in the College of Nursing.

“It’s always been assumed that it’s a nice comfort measure, but to this point we really have not, in a rigorous way, documented the benefits,” Wyatt said. “This is the first step toward moving a complementary therapy from fringe care to mainstream care.”

Reflexology is based on the idea that stimulating specific points on the feet can improve the functioning of corresponding organs, glands and other parts of the body.

The study involved 385 women undergoing chemotherapy or hormonal therapy for advanced-stage breast cancer that had spread beyond the breast. The women were assigned randomly to three groups: Some received treatment by a certified reflexologist, others got a foot massage meant to act like a placebo, and the rest had only standard medical treatment and no foot manipulation.

Wyatt and colleagues surveyed participants about their symptoms at intake and then checked in with them after five weeks and 11 weeks.

They found that those in the reflexology group experienced significantly less shortness of breath, a common symptom in breast cancer patients. Perhaps as a result of their improved breathing, they also were better able to perform daily tasks such as climbing a flight of stairs, getting dressed or going grocery shopping.

Wyatt said she was surprised to find that reflexology’s effects appeared to be primarily physical, not psychological.

“We didn’t get the change we might have expected with the emotional symptoms like anxiety and depression,” she said. “The most significant changes were documented with the physical symptoms.”

Also unexpected was the reduced fatigue reported by those who received the “placebo” foot massage, particularly since the reflexology group did not show similarly significant improvement. Wyatt is now researching whether massage similar to reflexology performed by cancer patients’ friends and family, as opposed to certified reflexologists, might be a simple and inexpensive treatment option.

Reflexology did not appear to reduce pain or nausea, but Wyatt said that could be because the drugs for combating those symptoms are generally quite effective, so the women may not have reported them to begin with.

Although health researchers only recently have begun studying reflexology in a scientifically rigorous way, it’s widely practiced in many parts of the world and dates back thousands of years.

“Reflexology comes out of the Chinese tradition and out of Egypt,” Wyatt said. “In fact, it’s shown in hieroglyphics. It’s been around for a very long time.”

Wyatt’s co-authors include MSU statistics and probability professor Alla Sikorskii and College of Nursing research assistant Mei You, along with colleagues from Northwestern University and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

BPA shown to disrupt thyroid function in pregnant animals and offspring

New study uses animal model similar to humans and shows BPA can affect thyroid function

Chevy Chase, MD –– In utero exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) can be associated with decreased thyroid function in newborn sheep, according to a recent study accepted for publication in Endocrinology, a journal of The Endocrine Society. Hypothyroidism is characterized by poor mental and physical performance in human adults and in children can result in cognitive impairment and failure to grow normally.

BPA, a major molecule used in the plastic industry, has been shown to be an endocrine disruptor that could exert deleterious effects on human health. Most investigations have focused on reproductive functions, but there is evidence that BPA might have negative effects on other endocrine systems including thyroid function. The current study used sheep, a relevant model for human pregnancy and thyroid regulation and ontogeny, and analyzed the internal exposures of the fetuses and their mothers to BPA and determined to what extent those exposures may be associated with thyroid disruption.

“Our study is the first to show that BPA can alter thyroid function of pregnant animals and their offspring in a long-gestation species with similar regulation of thyroid function as humans,” said Catherine Viguié, PhD, of Toxalim, Research Centre in Food Toxicology in Toulouse, France and lead author of the study. “Because of the potential consequences of maternal/fetal thyroid disruption on neural and cognitive development, we think that our study warrants the need for further investigations on the effect of BPA on thyroid function.”

This study was conducted on adult ewes that had multiple pregnancies before being included in the experiment. Some of the pregnant ewes received daily subcutaneous injections of BPA while the remainder were allocated to the control group. Blood samples were taken from jugular blood, amniotic fluid, placenta samples and cord blood to determine levels of BPA, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine. Results showed that maternal and fetal exposure to BPA was associated with disruption of thyroid function of both the pregnant ewes throughout pregnancy and the newborns as characterized by a decrease in circulating thyroxine levels.

“BPA concentrations in the mother blood in this experiment were fluctuating between injections from 15 to 1 time the highest blood levels reported in pregnant women in the literature,” notes Viguié. “As a consequence, although this study clearly indicates that BPA has the potential to alter thyroid function in living pregnant animals and their offspring, it cannot be considered as fully conclusive in terms of risk for human health in the actual conditions of exposure of human populations.”

“In other words, although our study clearly indicates that BPA-induced thyroid disruption is possible, it does not indicate how probable such a disruption is to occur in real conditions,” added Viguié. “Thus, the main merit of our work is to encourage others, including epidemiologists, to scrutinize and qualify carefully such a probability.”

Give pregnant women vitamin D supplements to ward off MS, say researchers

Risk of MS highest in April and lowest in October, large analysis shows

The risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) is highest in the month of April, and lowest in October, indicates an analysis of the available evidence, published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

The findings, which include several populations at latitudes greater than 52 degrees from the equator for the first time, strongly implicate maternal exposure to vitamin D during pregnancy.

They extend previous research and prompt the authors to conclude that there is now a strong case for vitamin D supplementation of pregnant women in countries where ultraviolet light levels are low between October and March.

The researchers compared previously published data on almost 152,000 people with MS with expected birth rates for the disease in bid to find out if there was any link between country of birth and risk of developing multiple sclerosis.

At latitudes greater than 52 degrees from the equator, insufficient ultraviolet light of the correct wavelength (290 to 315 nm) reaches the skin between October and March to enable the body to manufacture enough vitamin D during the winter months, say the authors.

The analysis indicated a significant excess risk of 5% among those born in April compared with what would be expected. Similarly, the risk of MS was 5 to 7% lower among those born between October and November, the data indicated.

In order to exclude wholly or partially overlapping data, and therefore the potential to skew the data, the authors carried out a further “conservative analysis” in which such studies were left out.

This reduced the number of people with MS to just under 78,500 and showed a clear link only between November and a reduced risk of MS.

But this result is likely to have been due to the fact that all the excluded studies involved countries more than 52 degrees from the equator, explain the authors.

When the same analysis was carried out again, but this time including all those involving people living in countries less than 52 degrees from the equator, the same seasonal trends were apparent.

There was a significant increase in risk among those born in April and May and a significantly lower risk among those born in October and November.

No studies from the southern hemisphere were included in the analysis, largely because so few have been carried out, so the results should be viewed in light of that, caution the authors.

But they conclude: “Through combining existing datasets for month of birth and subsequent MS risk, this study provides the most robust evidence to date that the month of birth effect is a genuine one.”

And they go on to say: “This finding, which supports concepts hypothesised some years previously, surely adds weight to the argument for early intervention studies to prevent MS through vitamin D supplementation.”

Triclosan in cosmetics and personal care products can increase allergy risk

 

Triclosan – an antibacterial chemical found in toothpaste and other products – can contribute to an increased risk of allergy development in children. This comes from the Norwegian Environment and Childhood Asthma Study, in which the Norwegian Institute of Public Health is involved. Similar results are reported in the USA.

Triclosan has been in use for decades, but was recently associated with allergies in children in an American study, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The new Norwegian study found similar associations between allergies and triclosan levels measured in children’s urine.

The study found that triclosan levels measured in urine were associated with elevated levels of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) and rhinitis (blocked nose/hay fever) in 10 year-olds.

623 urine samples were collected and measured at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, USA. Approximately 50 per cent of the Norwegian children had detectable levels of triclosan, while 80 per cent of American children had measurable levels. The children had approximately the same amount of triclosan exposure.

Triclosan can change the bacterial flora on the skin, in the mouth and in the intestines. A change in the bacterial composition of “good” bacteria can cause an increased risk of developing allergies (hygiene hypothesis). Therefore, increased use of triclosan and antibacterial products has generally been associated with an increased incidence of allergies.

Reduce consumption

For many years, the health authorities in Norway have called for a reduction in the use of antibacterial products to prevent the development of resistant bacteria.

In a study of triclosan use in Norway in 2001, it was found that 85 per cent of the total amount of triclosan came from cosmetic products, of which 75 per cent were toothpaste. Since this study, triclosan has been removed from a variety of products.

The extent to which Norwegian children are exposed to triclosan is today uncertain. In the USA, where they have annual sampling and monitoring of chemical exposure, there is little evidence that exposure to triclosan is being reduced.

Cordyceps  – Rare parasitic fungi could have anti-flammatory benefits

Caterpillar fungi (Cordyceps) are rare parasites found on hibernating caterpillars in the mountains of Tibet. For centuries they have been highly prized as a traditional Chinese medicine – just a small amount can fetch hundreds of pounds.

Scientists at The University of Nottingham have been studying how this fungus could work by studying cordycepin, one of the drugs found in these mushrooms. They have already discovered that cordycepin has potential as a cancer drug. Their new work indicates that it could also have anti-inflammatory characteristics with the potential to help sufferers of asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, renal failure and stroke damage.

The research, published today in the academic journal RNA, was led by Dr Cornelia de Moor in the School of Pharmacy. It shows that cordycepin reduces inflammatory gene products in airway smooth muscle cells – the cells that contract during an asthma attack.

Several studies have suggested that cordycepin could be an effective drug for a variety of conditions, including cancer, stroke, kidney damage and inflammatory lung disease but until now it was unclear how cordycepin could bring about so many different beneficial effects at the cellular level.

Dr de Moor said: “We have shown that cordycepin reduces the expression of inflammatory genes in airway smooth muscle cells by acting on the final step in the synthesis of their messenger RNAs (mRNAs) which carry the chemical blueprint for the synthesis of proteins. This process is called polyadenylation. Commonly used anti-inflammatory drugs either work much earlier in the activation of inflammatory genes, such as prednisone, or work on one of the final products of the inflammatory reaction (e.g. ibuprofen).These findings indicate that cordycepin acts by a completely different mechanism than currently used anti-inflammatory drugs, making it a potential drug for patients in which these drugs don’t work well.

“However, it is a surprise that cordycepin does not affect the synthesis of mRNAs from other genes, because nearly all mRNAs require polyadenylation.”

Dr de Moor’s research suggests that this is because inflammatory genes can be very rapidly induced and that cordycepin has its many and varied effects by altering the synthesis of other classes of rapidly induced genes as well. If this is true if could be said that cordycepin slows down the rapid cellular responses to tissue damage and may work by preventing the over-activation of these responses which are associated with conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, renal failure, cancer and stroke damage.

However, it also indicates that cordycepin could have adverse effects on normal wound healing and on the natural defences against infectious diseases.

Dr de Moor said: “We are hoping to further investigate which genes are more dependent on polyadenylation than others and why this is the case, as well as test the effect of cordycepin on animal models of disease. Clinical testing of cordycepin is not in our immediate plans, as we think we first have to understand this drug in more detail before we can risk treating patients with it.”

Eating more fish could reduce postpartum depression

Emerging evidence suggests many pregnant women are deficient in omega-3

This release is available in French.

Low levels of omega-3 may be behind postpartum depression, according to a review lead by Gabriel Shapiro of the University of Montreal and the Research Centre at the Sainte-Justine Mother and Child Hospital. Women are at the highest risk of depression during their childbearing years, and the birth of a child may trigger a depressive episode in vulnerable women. Postpartum depression is associated with diminished maternal health as well as developmental and health problems for her child. “The literature shows that there could be a link between pregnancy, omega-3 and the chemical reaction that enables serotonin, a mood regulator, to be released into our brains,” Shapiro said. “Many women could bring their omega-3 intake to recommended levels.” The findings were announced by the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry on November 15, 2012.

Because omega-3 is transferred from the mother to her fetus and later to her breastfeeding infant, maternal omega-3 levels decrease during pregnancy, and remain lowered for at least six-weeks following the birth. Furthermore, in addition to the specific biological circumstances of pregnant women, it has been found in the US that most people do not consume sufficient amounts of omega-3. “These findings suggest that new screening strategies and prevention practices may be useful,” Shapiro said, noting that the study was preliminary and the further research would be needed to clarify the link and identify the reasons for it.

Arginine and proline enriched diet may speed wound healing in diabetes

Article is published in the American Journal of Physiology — Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology

BETHESDA, Md. (Nov. 15, 2012)—Chronic wounds such as foot ulcers are a common problem for diabetics and are the cause of more than 80 percent of the lower leg amputations in these patients. There is currently no effective way to improve healing of these types of wounds, but new research offers hope.

French researchers found that diabetic rats on a high protein diet with arginine and proline—specific molecules found in protein—showed better wound healing over rats fed either standard or high protein food without arginine and proline supplementation.

The article is entitled “Arginine plus proline supplementation elicits metabolic adaptation that favors wound healing in diabetic rats.” It appears in the online edition of the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology published by the American Physiological Society.

Methodology

Researchers divided 18 rats into three groups that were either fed a standard diet, a high-protein diet, or a high protein diet supplemented with arginine and proline (ARG+PRO). On the first day of the experiment, each rat was given an incision, under which a sponge was placed in order to collect wound-healing fluid. To assess skin regrowth and healing, researchers also removed two full-thickness sections of skin from the rats’ backs each day from day 1 until day 5, when the experiment ended.

At the end of the experiment, the rats’ blood was analyzed for blood sugar, insulin, and amino acid concentrations. The wounds on their backs were examined for skin regrowth and development of new blood vessels. And, finally, macrophages were collected from the sponges and analyzed for indications of cytokine stimulation and pro-inflammatory activity.

Results

Rats on both high protein diets had better nitrogen balance than those on the standard diet. However, the wounds of the rats on the ARG+PRO diet showed more new blood vessel growth on day 5. New blood vessel growth is an essential part of wound healing as the blood vessels supply nutrition and oxygen to growing tissue.

Furthermore, the macrophages in the ARG+PRO group showed less cytokine stimulation and pro-inflammatory activity than the other groups. This indicates a better environment for promoting wound healing, as inflammation slows the healing process.

The researchers did not find a difference in skin regrowth between groups, but their findings may be limited because of the small number of rats in the study. Additionally, researchers did not measure markers of collagen deposition in the wound, and the study cannot confirm the beneficial effect of arginine on collagen deposition and wound breaking strength reported in previous research.

Importance of the Findings

This study suggests that arginine and proline supplementation could offer new hope for effective treatment in diabetic patients with chronic wounds. This is a promising new area of research where there are no existing effective treatments for these patients.

Vitamin D deficiency linked to Type 1 diabetes

A study led by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has found a correlation between vitamin D3 serum levels and subsequent incidence of Type 1 diabetes. The six-year study of blood levels of nearly 2,000 individuals suggests a preventive role for vitamin D3 in this disease. The research appears the December issue of Diabetologia, a publication of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).

“Previous studies proposed the existence of an association between vitamin D deficiency and risk of and Type 1 diabetes, but this is the first time that the theory has been tested in a way that provides the dose-response relationship,” said Cedric Garland, DrPH, FACE, professor in UCSD’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

This study used samples from millions of blood serum specimens frozen by the Department of Defense Serum Registry for disease surveillance. The researchers thawed and analyzed 1000 samples of serum from healthy people who later developed type 1 diabetes and 1000 healthy controls whose blood was drawn on or near the same date but who did not develop type 1 diabetes. By comparing the serum concentrations of the predominant circulating form of vitamin D – 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) – investigators were able to determine the optimal serum level needed to lower an individual’s risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

Based mainly on results of this study, Garland estimates that the level of 25(OH)D needed to prevent half the cases of type 1 diabetes is 50 ng/ml. A consensus of all available data indicates no known risk associated with this dosage.

“While there are a few conditions that influence vitamin D metabolism, for most people, 4000 IU per day of vitamin D3 will be needed to achieve the effective levels,” Garland suggested. He urges interested patients to ask their health care provider to measure their serum 25(OH)D before increasing vitamin D3 intake.

“This beneficial effect is present at these intakes only for vitamin D3,” cautioned Garland. “Reliance should not be placed on different forms of vitamin D and mega doses should be avoided, as most of the benefits for prevention of disease are for doses less than 10,000 IU/day.”

Foetus suffers when mother lacks vitamin C

Healthy pregnancy

 

Maternal vitamin C deficiency during pregnancy can have serious consequences for the foetal brain. And once brain damage has occurred, it cannot be reversed by vitamin C supplements after birth. This is shown through new research at the University of Copenhagen just published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

vitamin C supplements are important during pregnancy.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons af Tom & Katrien.

Population studies show that between 10-20 per cent of all adults in the developed world suffer from vitamin C deficiency. Therefore, pregnant women should think twice about omitting the daily vitamin pill.

“Even marginal vitamin C deficiency in the mother stunts the foetal hippocampus, the important memory centre, by 10-15 per cent, preventing the brain from optimal development,” says Professor Jens Lykkesfeldt. He heads the group of scientists that reached this conclusion by studying pregnant guinea pigs and their pups. Just like humans, guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin C themselves, which is why they were chosen as the model.

“We used to think that the mother could protect the baby. Ordinarily there is a selective transport from mother to foetus of the substances the baby needs during pregnancy. However, it now appears that the transport is not sufficient in the case of vitamin C deficiency. Therefore it is extremely important to draw attention to this problem, which potentially can have serious consequences for the children affected,” says Jens Lykkesfeldt.

Too late when damage is done

The new results sharpen the focus on the mother’s lifestyle and nutritional status during pregnancy. The new study has also shown that the damage done to the foetal brain cannot be repaired, even if the baby is given vitamin C after birth.
When the vitamin C deficient guinea pig pups were born, scientists divided them into two groups and gave one group vitamin C supplements. However, when the pups were two months old, which corresponds to teenage in humans, there was still no improvement in the group that had been given supplements.
The scientists are now working to find out how early in the pregnancy vitamin C deficiency influences the development of foetal guinea pigs. Preliminary results show that the impact is already made early in the pregnancy, as the foetuses were examined in the second and third trimesters. Scientists hope in the long term to be able to use population studies to illuminate the problem in humans.

Vulnerable groups

There are some groups that may be particularly vulnerable of vitamin C deficiency:
“People with low economic status who eat poorly – and perhaps also smoke – often suffer from vitamin C deficiency. Comparatively speaking, their children risk being born with a poorly developed memory potential. These children may encounter learning problems, and seen in a societal context, history repeats itself because these children find it more difficult to escape the environment into which they are born,” says Jens Lykkesfeldt.
He emphasises that if pregnant women eat a varied diet, do not smoke, and for instance take a multi-vitamin tablet daily during pregnancy, there is no reason to fear vitamin C deficiency.
“Because it takes so little to avoid vitamin C deficiency, it is my hope that both politicians and the authorities will become aware that this can be a potential problem,” concludes Jens Lykkesfeldt.

v

These reports are done with the appreciation of all the Doctors, Scientist, and other Medical Researchers who sacrificed their time and effort. In order to give people the ability to empower themselves. Without base aspirations of fame, or fortune. Just honorable people, doing honorable things.

Health Research Report

142nd Issue Date 16 NOV 2012

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.healthresearchreport.me www.vit.bz

www.youtube.com/vhfilm www.facebook.com/engineeringevil

www.engineeringevil.com

 

Daily doses of a new probiotic reduces ‘bad’ and total cholesterol: Lactobacillus reuteri

Abstract 11348 – Embargoed until 8 a.m. PT /11 a.m. ET
November 05, 2012
This news release is featured in a news conference at 8 a.m. PT on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012.
Study Highlights:
  • A new probiotic lowered LDL “bad” cholesterol and total cholesterol in patients with high cholesterol.
  • The probiotic reduced molecules known as cholesterol ester saturated fatty acids, which have been tied to dangerous plaque buildup in the arteries.
American Heart Association Meeting Report:
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 5, 2012 — Two daily doses of a probiotic lowered key cholesterol-bearing molecules in the blood as well as “bad” and total cholesterol, in a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012.
Probiotics are live microorganisms (naturally occurring bacteria in the gut) thought to have beneficial effects; common sources are yogurt or dietary supplements.
In previous studies, a formulation of the bacteria, known as Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242, has lowered blood levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
Such treatments are drawing increasing medical attention as researchers unravel how supplementing gut bacteria (microbiome) with probiotics can play a role in health and certain chronic diseases such as heart disease, said Mitchell L. Jones, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and a research assistant in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal.
Researchers investigated whether the same probiotic could lower LDL and reduce blood levels of cholesterol esters — molecules of cholesterol attached to fatty acids, a combination that accounts for most total blood cholesterol and has been tied to cardiovascular disease risk.
Researchers tracked cholesterol esters bound to saturated fat, which have been linked to dangerous arterial plaque buildup and occur at higher levels in coronary artery disease patients.
The study involved 127 adult patients with high cholesterol. About half the participants took L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 twice a day, while the rest were given placebo capsules.
Those taking the probiotic had LDL levels 11.6 percent lower than those on placebo after nine weeks. Furthermore, cholesterol esters were reduced by 6.3 percent and cholesterol ester saturated fatty acids by 8.8 percent, compared with the placebo group.
For the first time, research shows that the probiotic formulation can reduce cholesterol esters “and in particular reduce the cholesterol esters associated with ‘bad’ saturated fatty acids in the blood,” said Jones, co-founder and chief science officer of Micropharma, the company that formulated the probiotic.
Furthermore, people taking the probiotic had total cholesterol reduced by 9.1 percent. HDL “good” cholesterol and blood triglycerides, a dangerous form of fat in the blood, were unchanged.
Scientists have proposed that Lactobacillus bacteria alone may impact cholesterol levels in several ways, including breaking apart molecules known as bile salts. L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 was fermented and formulated to optimize its effect on cholesterol and bile salts.
Based on correlations between LDL reduction and bile measurements in the gut, the study results suggest the probiotic broke up bile salts, leading to reduced cholesterol absorption in the gut and less LDL.
The probiotic worked at doses of just 200 milligrams a day, far lower than those for soluble fiber or other natural products used to reduce cholesterol.
“Most dietary cholesterol management products require consumption between 2 to 25 grams a day,” Jones said.
Patients appear to tolerate the probiotic well and the probiotic strain L. reuteri has a long history of safe use, he said.
Because of the small number of patients involved in the study, researchers aren’t sure if the impact of the probiotic differs between men and women or among ethnic groups.
Co-authors are Christopher J. Martoni, Ph.D. and Satya Prakash, Ph.D.
Micropharma funded the study and owns intellectual property rights for the formulation, which is expected to be on the U.S. market next year.
Follow news from the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012 via Twitter: @HeartNews External link.
Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding External link.
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Note: Actual presentation is at 4:45 p.m. PT/ 7:45 p.m. ET, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 in Room 503.
All downloadable video/audio interviews, B-roll, animation and images related to this news release are on the right column of the release link at http://newsroom.heart.org/pr/aha/_prv-daily-doses-of-a-new-probiotic-239562.aspx.
Video clips with researchers/authors of studies will be added to the release links after embargo.
For Media Inquiries:
AHA News Media in Dallas: (214) 706-1173
AHA News Media Office, Nov. 3-7
at the Los Angeles Convention Center: (213) 743-6205
For Public Inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

Long-term effects of statin therapy could lead to transient or permanent cognitive impairment

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Nick Zagorski
nzagorski@asbmb.org
301-634-7366
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Statins show dramatic drug and cell dependent effects in the brain

Besides their tremendous value in treating high cholesterol and lowering the risk of heart disease, statins have also been reported to potentially lower the risks of other diseases, such as dementia. However, a study in the October Journal of Lipid Research finds that similar statin drugs can have profoundly different effects on brain cells –both beneficial and detrimental. These findings reinforce the idea that great care should be taken when deciding on the dosage and type of statin given to individuals, particularly the elderly.

John Albers and colleagues compared the effects of two commercially used statins, simvastatin and pravastatin, on two different types of brain cells, neurons and astrocytes (support cells that help repair damage). By directly applying the drugs to cells as opposed to administering them to animals, they could eliminate differences in the drugs’ ability to cross the blood-brain barrier as a reason for any differing effects. Albers and colleagues looked at the expression of genes related to neurodegeneration, and found that indeed, despite using biologically equivalent drug concentrations, differences were seen both between cells, and between drugs; for example, simvastatin reduced the expression of the cholesterol transporter ABCA1 by approximately 80% in astrocytes, while pravastatin lowered expression by only around 50%. Another interesting difference was that while both statins decreased expression of the Tau protein –associated with Alzheimer’s disease—in astrocytes, they increased Tau expression in neurons; pravastatin also increased the expression of another Alzheimer’s hallmark, amyloid precursor protein (APP).

While increased levels of these two proteins may account for potential risks of disease, Albers and colleagues also note that large decreases in cholesterol proteins like ABCA1 should be considered. Brain cholesterol levels tend to be reduced in elderly people, and in such individuals the long-term effects of statin therapy could lead to transient or permanent cognitive impairment.

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From the article: “Differential effects of simvastatin and pravastatin on expression of Alzheimer’s disease-related genes in human astrocytes and neuronal cells” by Weijiang Dong, Simona Vuletic and John J. Albers
Corresponding Author: John J Albers, Northwest Lipid Metabolism and Diabetes Research Laboratories, University of Washington jja@u.washington.edu

Cholesterol-reducing drugs may lessen brain function, says ISU researcher

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Yeon-Kyun Shin
colishin@iastate.edu
515-294-2530
Iowa State University

AMES, Iowa — Research by an Iowa State University scientist suggests that cholesterol-reducing drugs known as statins may lessen brain function.

Yeon-Kyun Shin, a biophysics professor in the department of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, says the results of his study show that drugs that inhibit the liver from making cholesterol may also keep the brain from making cholesterol, which is vital to efficient brain function.

“If you deprive cholesterol from the brain, then you directly affect the machinery that triggers the release of neurotransmitters,” said Shin. “Neurotransmitters affect the data-processing and memory functions. In other words — how smart you are and how well you remember things.”

Shin’s findings will be published in this month’s edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Cholesterol is one of the building blocks of cells and is made in the liver. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) — often referred to as bad cholesterol — is cholesterol in the bloodstream from the liver on the way to cells in the body. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) — so-called good cholesterol — is cholesterol being removed from cells. Too much LDL going to cells and not enough being removed can lead to cholesterol deposits and hardening of the cells.

“If you have too much cholesterol, your internal machinery is not going to be able to take away enough cholesterol from the cells,” said Shin. “Then cells harden and you can get these deposits.”

Cholesterol-reducing statin drugs are helpful because they keep the liver from synthesizing cholesterol so less of the substance is carried to the cells. This lowers LDL cholesterol.

It is the function of reducing the synthesis of cholesterol that Shin’s study shows may also harm brain function.

“If you try to lower the cholesterol by taking medicine that is attacking the machinery of cholesterol synthesis in the liver, that medicine goes to the brain too. And then it reduces the synthesis of cholesterol which is necessary in the brain,” said Shin.

In his experiments, Shin tested the activity of the neurotransmitter-release machinery from brain cells without cholesterol present and measured how well the machinery functioned. He then included cholesterol in the system and again measured the protein function. Cholesterol increased protein function by five times.

“Our study shows there is a direct link between cholesterol and the neurotransmitter release,” said Shin. “And we know exactly the molecular mechanics of what happens in the cells. Cholesterol changes the shape of the protein to stimulate thinking and memory.”

While reducing the cholesterol in the brain may make you have less memory and cognitive skills, more cholesterol in the blood does not make people smarter. Because cholesterol in the blood cannot get across the blood brain barrier, there is no connection to the amount of cholesterol a person eats and brain function.

Shin says that for many people taking cholesterol-lower statins can be very healthful and they should listen to their doctor when taking medication.

First comprehensive paper on statins’ adverse effects released: Benefits have not been found to exceed their risks in those over 70 or 75 years old, even those with heart disease

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Debra Kain
ddkain@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California – San Diego

Provides evidence for reported side effects including muscle and cognitive problems

A paper co-authored by Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and director of UC San Diego’s Statin Study group cites nearly 900 studies on the adverse effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), a class of drugs widely used to treat high cholesterol.

The result is a review paper, currently published in the on-line edition of American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs, that provides the most complete picture to date of reported side effects of statins, showing the state of evidence for each. The paper also helps explain why certain individuals have an increased risk for such adverse effects.

“Muscle problems are the best known of statin drugs’ adverse side effects,” said Golomb. “But cognitive problems and peripheral neuropathy, or pain or numbness in the extremities like fingers and toes, are also widely reported.” A spectrum of other problems, ranging from blood glucose elevations to tendon problems, can also occur as side effects from statins.

The paper cites clear evidence that higher statin doses or more powerful statins – those with a stronger ability to lower cholesterol – as well as certain genetic conditions, are linked to greater risk of developing side effects.

“Physician awareness of such side effects is reportedly low,” Golomb said. “Being vigilant for adverse effects in their patients is necessary in order for doctors to provide informed treatment decisions and improved patient care.”

The paper also summarizes powerful evidence that statin-induced injury to the function of the body’s energy-producing cells, called mitochondria, underlies many of the adverse effects that occur to patients taking statin drugs.

Mitochondria produce most of the oxygen free radicals in the body, harmful compounds that “antioxidants” seek to protect against. When mitochondrial function is impaired, the body produces less energy and more “free radicals” are produced. Coenzyme Q10 (“Q10”) is a compound central to the process of making energy within mitochondria and quenching free radicals. However, statins lower Q10 levels because they work by blocking the pathway involved in cholesterol production – the same pathway by which Q10 is produced. Statins also reduce the blood cholesterol that transports Q10 and other fat-soluble antioxidants.

“The loss of Q10 leads to loss of cell energy and increased free radicals which, in turn, can further damage mitochondrial DNA,” said Golomb, who explained that loss of Q10 may lead to a greater likelihood of symptoms arising from statins in patients with existing mitochondrial damage – since these people especially rely on ample Q10 to help bypass this damage. Because statins may cause more mitochondrial problems over time – and as these energy powerhouses tend to weaken with age—new adverse effects can also develop the longer a patient takes statin drugs.

“The risk of adverse effects goes up as age goes up, and this helps explain why,” said Golomb. “This also helps explain why statins’ benefits have not been found to exceed their risks in those over 70 or 75 years old, even those with heart disease.” High blood pressure and diabetes are linked to higher rates of mitochondrial problems, so these conditions are also clearly linked to a higher risk of statin complications, according to Golomb and co-author Marcella A. Evans, of UC San Diego and UC Irvine Schools of Medicine.

The connection between statins’ antioxidant properties and mitochondrial risk helps explain a complicated finding that statins can protect against the very same problems, in some people, to which they may predispose others – problems such as muscle and kidney function or heart arrhythmia.

 

###

 

This paper was funded in part by a Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Physician Faculty Scholar award to Dr Golomb

Obese kids’ artery plaque similar to middle-aged adults

Contact: AHA News Media Staff Office
bridgette.mcneill@heart.org
504-670-6524
American Heart Association

Abstract 6077; this abstract is also featured in a news conference

The neck arteries of obese children and teens look more like those of 45-year-olds, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2008.

“There’s a saying that ‘you’re as old as your arteries,’ meaning that the state of your arteries is more important than your actual age in the evolution of heart disease and stroke,” said Geetha Raghuveer, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine and cardiologist at Children’s Mercy Hospital. “We found that the state of the arteries in these children is more typical of a 45-year-old than of someone their own age.”

Researchers used ultrasound to measure the thickness of the inner walls of the neck (carotid) arteries that supply blood to the brain. Increasing carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) indicates the fatty buildup of plaque within arteries feeding the heart muscle and the brain, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Investigators calculated CIMT in 34 boys and 36 girls who were “at-risk,” (average age 13, 89 percent white) and found:

  • These children had abnormal levels of one or more types of cholesterol – elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is known as “bad cholesterol;” low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the “good cholesterol;” or high triglyceride levels.
  • Forty (57 percent) had a body mass index (BMI, a calculation of weight for height) above the 95th percentile.

 

Their average CIMT was 0.45 millimeters (mm), with a maximum of 0.75 mm.

The children’s “vascular age” — the age at which the level of thickening would be normal for their gender and race — was about 30 years older than their actual age, Raghuveer said.

The children were deemed at high risk for future heart disease because of obesity, abnormal cholesterol, and/or a family history of early heart disease.

On average, these children had:

  • total cholesterol levels of 223.4 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) (less than 170 is considered acceptable by American Heart Association recommendations);
  • LDL cholesterol levels of 149.8 mg/dL (less than 110 is considered acceptable); and
  • triglycerides levels of 151.9 mg/dL (below 150 is considered acceptable).

 

Researchers found that having a higher BMI and higher systolic blood pressure had the most impact on CIMT.

Of the various risk factors, the children with triglycerides over 100 mg/dL were most likely to have an advanced vascular age. Thirty-eight children with high triglycerides had a CIMT above the 25th percentile for 45-year-olds, while only five in the group were below the 25th percentile. Children with lower triglycerides were evenly divided between those who scored below (13) or above (14) the 25th percentile on the charts for 45-year-olds.

“Vascular age was advanced the furthest in the children with obesity and high triglyceride levels, so the combination of obesity and high triglycerides should be a red flag to the doctor that a child is at high risk of heart disease,” Raghuveer said.

Further studies are needed to determine whether artery build-up will decrease if children lose weight, exercise, or are treated for abnormal lipids. Some studies have shown that CIMT can be reduced when children at extremely high risk are treated with cholesterol-lowering statin medications, and that exercise can improve blood vessel function in children with a high BMI.

“I’m optimistic that something can be done,” Raghuveer said. “In children, the buildup in the vessels is not hardened and calcified. We can improve the vessel walls and blood flow in adults through treatment, and I’m sure we can help children even more.”

Other risk factors for high CIMT in children are high blood pressure, exposure to secondhand smoke and insulin resistance – which is frequently seen in obese children.

 

###

 

Co-authors are: Joseph Le, medical student; Menees Spencer, medical student; David McCrary, M.D.; Danna Zhang, M.S.; and Chen Jie, Ph.D. Individual author disclosures are available on the abstract.

The Sarah Morrison Medical Student Research Grant from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, funded the research.

Editor’s note: In May 2005, the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation formed the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The alliance is working to reduce the nationwide increase in childhood obesity by 2010, and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices. For more information visit: www.HealthierGeneration.org.

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at www.americanheart.org/corporatefunding.

NR08-1135 (SS08/Raghuveer)

Low cholesterol associated with cancer in diabetics

2008 posted for filing

Contact: Janet Chow
janetchow@cuhk.edu.hk
Canadian Medical Association Journal

Low levels of LDL cholesterol as well as high levels are associated with cancer in patients with type 2 diabetes, found a prospective cohort study http://www.cmaj.ca/press/pg427.pdf published in CMAJ.

Researchers from the Hong Kong Institute of Diabetes and Obesity, the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences and The Chinese University of Hong Kong conducted a study of 6107 Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes and found a V-shaped risk relation between LDL cholesterol and cancer in patients not receiving statin therapy.

“LDL cholesterol levels below 2.80 mmol/L and levels of at least 3.90 mmol/L were both associated with markedly elevated risk of cancer among patients who did not use statins,” state Dr. Juliana Chan and coauthors.

The study excluded people on statins as statins obscured the association between LDL cholesterol and all-site cancer.

Increasing data suggests an association between type 2 diabetes and an elevated risk of cancer, including breast, colorectal, pancreatic and liver cancers. An elevated risk of cancer in patients with low LDL was linked to cancers of digestive organs and peritoneum, genital and urinary organs, lymphatic and blood tissues as well as other areas. Patients with an LDL cholesterol level above 3.80 mmol/L had heightened risks of oral, digestive, bone, skin, connective tissue, breast and other cancers.

Regarding clinical implications, the authors suggest “the use of these levels as risk markers may help clinicians to assess their patients more fully and thus to prevent premature deaths in patients who have high risk.”

They call for re-analysis of data from clinical trials to confirm or refute these findings.

In a related commentary, Drs. Frank Hu and Eric Ding of Harvard School of Public Health (Todd Datz, Public Relations, Harvard School of Public Health, 617-432-3952 for Dr. Frank Hu) say confounding factors such as indication for the use of statins, lifestyle and socioeconomic status must be considered when looking at the association of high levels of LDL cholesterol and the risk of cancer.

“Low serum cholesterol is commonly observed in individuals with ill health (e.g. cancer patients) and those with unhealthy lifestyle characteristics such as smoking and heavy drinking,” states Hu.

 

###

34th Health Research Report 08 JUL 2008 – Reconstruction

 

Editors Top Five:

 

1. Statins have unexpected effect on pool of powerful brain cells
2. Cholesterol drugs recommended for some 8-year-olds
3. Newborn vitamin A reduces infant mortality
4. Fish oil and red yeast rice studied for lowering blood cholesterol
5. New report: The truth about drug innovation

 

In this issue:

 

1. A blue curing light used to harden dental fillings also may stunt tumor growth, Medical College of Georgia researchers say.
2. New report: The truth about drug innovation
3. Salutary pizza spice
4. Morbid thoughts whet the appetite
5. Seniors with type 2 diabetes may experience memory declines immediately after eating unhealthy meal
6. Higher Coffee Consumption Associated with Lower Liver Cancer Risk
7. Prebiotic potential of almonds
8. The tummy’s taste for red wine with red meat
9. A good cup of coffee might be just the wake-up call scientists need to stop multiple sclerosis.
10. United States has highest level of illegal cocaine and cannabis use, and more
11. Watermelon May Have Viagra-Effect
12. Post-exercise caffeine helps muscles refuel
13. Designer diet for prostate cancer
14. Weight Watchers Versus Fitness Centers, MU Study Finds Both Work Best in Combination
15. Red wine ingredient wards off effects of age on heart, bones, eyes and muscle
16. Statins have unexpected effect on pool of powerful brain cells
17. Cholesterol drugs recommended for some 8-year-olds
18. The benefits of green tea in reducing an important risk factor for heart disease
19. Infant formula blocks HIV transmission via breastfeeding
20. Mother’s vitamin D status during pregnancy will affect her baby’s dental health
21. Herbal remedy reduces obesity and heart disease?
22. Newborn vitamin A reduces infant mortality
23. Some antidepressants associated with gastrointestinal bleeding
24. Argyrin: natural substance raises hope for new cancer therapies
25. Leading worldwide cause of cardiovascular disease may be modified by diet
26. Fish oil and red yeast rice studied for lowering blood cholesterol
 

Health Technology Research Synopsis

34th Issue Date 08 JUL 2008

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.healthresearchreport.me www.vit.bz

www.youtube.com/vhfilm http://www.facebook.com/vitaminandherbstore

www.engineeringevil.com

Statins Lower Testosterone, Libido

This is a requsted Repost from 2010 link to abstract below:

By Kathleen Doheny WebMD Health News Reviewed byLaura J. Martin, MD

April 16, 2010 — Statin therapy prescribed to lower cholesterol also appears to lower testosterone, according to a new study that evaluated nearly 3,500 men who had erectile dysfunction or ED.

”Current statin therapy is associated with a twofold increased prevalence of hypogonadism,” a condition in which men don’t produce enough testosterone, study author Giovanni Corona, MD, PHD, a researcher at the University of Florence in Italy, tells WebMD.

Although previous studies have produced mixed findings on the possible link between taking cholesterol-lowering drugs and a drop in testosterone, most involved a limited number of patients, with few studies including more than 50 people, Corona says.

“Our study is the first report showing a negative association between statin therapy and testosterone levels in a large series of patients consulting for sexual dysfunction,” he says.

About one of six adults in the U.S. has high cholesterol, according to the CDC. The number of people buying a statin (such as Lipitor or Zocor) rose 88% from 2000 to 2005, from 15.8 million people to 29.7 million, according to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Statins, Testosterone, and ED: The Study

Corona and colleagues evaluated 3,484 men, average age 51, who visited an outpatient clinic at the University of Florence with complaints of sexual dysfunction between January 2002 and August 2009.

Of that total, 244, or 7%, were being treated with statins for their high cholesterol. Most often the statin was simvastatin (Zocor) or atorvastatin(Lipitor).

The researchers calculated the men’s total testosterone as well as free testosterone, the amount of unbound testosterone in the bloodstream.

When they compared men on statins to those not, the men on statins were twice as likely to have low testosterone, regardless of which of three commonly used thresholds for low testosterone they looked at.

The researchers emphasize they have found a link, not a cause and effect, between statins and lower testosterone. They can’t explain the link with certainty.

One possibility, Corona says, is that low testosterone levels and the need for statin treatment share some common causes.

Some researchers also have looked at the possibility that the statins’ inhibition of cholesterol synthesis may interfere with the production of testosterone, which depends on a supply of cholesterol. The statins may disrupt the body’s feedback mechanism to instruct it to make more testosterone.

”This is huge,” says Irwin Goldstein, MD, director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

The study results, he says, demonstrate the need for more study to replicate the finding and figure out the reason for the link.

According to the authors, he says, the best explanation for now is that “statins may disrupt the pituitary feedback to the testicles, telling them to produce testosterone.”

For consumers, he says, the message is for men on statins to pay attention to early warning signs of testosterone deficiency. That includes falling asleep after meals when they did not in the past, noticing poorer athletic performance, having a change from an upbeat mood to a grumpy mood, and experiencing a reduced sex drive, Goldstein says.

If a man suspects testosterone deficiency, Goldstein says he should ask his doctor about checking his testosterone levels.

Statins and Testosterone: Industry Input

In a prepared statement, Sally Beatty, a spokeswoman for Pfizer, the manufacturer of Lipitor, says, “Millions of people have been prescribed Lipitor, which is clinically proven to lower bad cholesterol levels 39%-60% (this is an average effect depending on dose), when diet and exercise aren’t enough.”

The label on Lipitor does warn of the possibility of interference with hormone production, she says. “As described in the Lipitor U.S. prescribing information, statins interfere with cholesterol synthesis and theoretically might blunt adrenal and/or gonadal steroid production.”

But she says, “It is important to note that some other studies and analyses have shown that Lipitor does not have an effect on levels of testosterone or other reproductive steroid hormones.”

Spokesman Lee Davies of Merck and Schering-Plough, which make Zocor andVytorin, had no comment on the study, but says neither of its two statin labels refers to low testosterone.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20141585

Give statins to all over-50s: Even the healthy should take heart drug, says British expert ( Misinformation/Propaganda ) With Data Rebuttal

Data  Rebuttal posted at the end of the arrticle ,to their conflicting hypothesis. Were not going to let them off the hook so easy for this.

  • Currently statins only given to around eight  million high-risk patients
  • But Professor Sir Rory Collins  says healthy people can also benefit
  • Hesaid evidence from 130,000 patients  taking statins shows they’re safe

By Jenny Hope

PUBLISHED:14:23 EST, 28  August 2012| UPDATED:16:32 EST, 28 August 2012

Statins should be given to all over-50s,  regardless of their health history, because they dramatically cut the risk of  heart attacks and strokes in later life, one of the UK’s leading experts has  said.

Currently statins are given only to high-risk  patients, around eight million people, who have high cholesterol or have a risk  of heart disease.

But there is ‘clear evidence’ that healthy  people can also benefit based on their age alone, says Professor Sir Rory  Collins.

Statins are taken each day by eight million adults in the UK but there is 'clear evidence' that healthy people can also benefit, it is claimedStatins are taken each day by eight million adults in  the UK but there is ‘clear evidence’ that healthy people can also benefit, it is  claimed (posed by model)

He led the world’s largest study to  investigate statins in the prevention of cardiovascular disease which proved  that cutting levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the blood saved  lives.

The risk of having a major vascular event  such as a heart attack is cut by one-fifth for each 1.0mmol/L (millimoles per  litre) fall in LDL, whether in high or low risk patients.

But current guidelines on their use – and  misguided safety fears about muscle pain and memory loss – are restricting the  range of people who can take them, he said.

‘At 50 you should be considering it and  whether you should be taking them at an earlier age is an open question’ he  said.

‘If you start treatment earlier and continue  for longer the benefits will be much greater, you’re not trying to unfur the  arteries, you’re preventing them from furring in the first place’ he  said.

Prof Collins, who was giving a keynote  lecture at the European Cardiology Congress in Munich, said evidence from  130,000 patients taking statins in trials show they are safe.

Professor Sir Rory Collins says statins should be given to all over-50s, regardless of their health historyProfessor Sir Rory Collins says statins should be given  to all over-50s, regardless of their health history

Yet drug safety watchdogs here and in the US  have insisted on flagging up relatively minor side effects which are putting  patients off the drugs, he said.

These include memory loss, depression, sexual  difficulties and depression, while recent research suggests cataracts and  diabetes may be more common in patients taking statins.

Trial data shows only one significant side  effect, myopathy or muscle pain, which affects one in 10,000 patients, said Prof  Collins.

He said: ‘We need to look properly at the  safety of statins. The reality is that these drugs are remarkably safe, but the  problem is that high risk patients are getting the message that these drugs have  side effects.’

Prof Collins, 57, went to his GP a fortnight  ago to ask about taking statins despite a relatively low cholesterol level, and  was dismayed to learn she could not get high risk patients to take them because  of fears about side effects.

Research earlier this year co-ordinated by  the Clinical Trial Service Unit Oxford University, where Prof Collins is  co-director, reviewed findings from 27 statin trials involving 175,000 people,  some of whom were at low risk of heart problems.

The drugs cut the risk of heart attacks,  strokes and operations to unblock arteries by one third or more.

The benefits were gained no matter what level  of cholesterol patients started out with. Healthier people who were given  statins also had lower overall death rates than those who were given a  placebo.

It concluded the positives greatly exceeded  any side-effects from taking the drugs.

More than eight million adults are already  taking statins, but it is estimated that routine use by the over 50s would lead  to 10,000 fewer heart attacks and strokes a year, including 2,000 fewer deaths  in the UK.

The small cost of the drugs – as low as £16 a  year – would be outweighed by NHS savings due to the reduced number of heart  attacks and strokes.

At present, statins are restricted to those  with at least a 20 per cent risk of having a heart attack or stroke over the  next five years.

But, said Prof Collins, trial data shows very  low risk groups can benefit where individuals have just a five to 10 per cent  chance of heart disease, and even lower.

He said there did not appear to be a  threshold at which the drugs didn’t work and the longer they were taken, the  greater the benefit.

‘We need to review the guidelines and the  current thresholds should go,’ said Prof Collins, who claimed medical tests such  as liver function were also unnecessary.

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director  of the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘The issue is where do you set the  threshold between low, normal and high risk.

‘The current arbitrary threshold was decided  by cost but now statins are off patent (and much cheaper) it may be appropriate  to see if there are benefits for more people – the threshold is a bit too high,’  he added

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2194892/All-50s-statins-regardless-health-history-says-Oxford-professor.html#ixzz24yfGXdJ1

* No footnoted study is listed to review. We assume they utilized a meta analysis, based upon an unknown statistical model:

Links in Conflict with the Clinical Trial Service Unit Oxford University: ( There are far more, but the intent is to disprove their hypothesis )

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/08/22/cholesterol-lowerings-drugs-may-create-manifestations-of-severe-irritability-included-homicidal-impulses-threats-to-others-road-rage-generation-of-fear-in-family-members-and-damage-to-property/

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/08/20/cholesterol-lowering-drug-linked-to-sleep-disruptions-possibly-promoting-weight-gain-and-insulin-resistance/

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/08/20/relationship-between-statins-and-cognitive-decline-more-complex-than-thought/

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/08/11/cure-all-statins-have-had-no-effect-on-britains-heart-disease-rate-study-claims/

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/07/23/statins-may-increase-risk-of-interstitial-lung-abnormalities-in-smokers/

Cure-all? Statins have had no effect on Britain’s heart disease rate, study claims

Benefits of statins are exaggerated and not always the best way to prevent  heart disease, study claims

  • NHS spends £450million a year on  cholesterol-lowering drugs
  • Most are prescribed as a preventative  measure for heart disease, however experts admit they find it difficult to  predict who is at risk

PUBLISHED:06:50 EST, 9  August 2012| UPDATED:10:32 EST, 9 August 2012

Cure-all? Statins have had no effect on Britain’s heart  disease rate, study claims

Statins are not the best way to prevent heart  disease, according to new research.

The cholesterol-lowering drugs are taken by  seven million people in the UK, costing the NHS £450million a  year.

Conventional medical wisdom states they are a  good ‘cure-all’ treatment for heart disease, but making  dietary changes could be a more effective tactic, say scientists.

Professor Kausik Ray, of St George’s  Healthcare Trust in London, said statins are an effective treatment for many  people with heart problems, especially if they have already had a heart attack  or stroke.

However, this accounts for only a small  amount of patients who are actually prescribed statins. The majority are given  to people seen to be ‘at risk’ of the disease.

Professor Ray says it is very difficult to  predict who is at risk.

He told Mail Online that cost was the biggest  driver to prescribe statins to people at lower and lower risk from heart  disease.

He said: ‘Statins are cheap and fairly safe.  The costs of the drugs are as low as £1.30 a month compared to £24 a month a few  years ago.

‘However, the cost from heart  disease for hospital admissions, investigations, stents and bypasses is  huge.’

He added to The Sun: ‘For people with no  family history of heart problems and others deemed a low risk, other approaches  should be used, like eating a good diet full of fish, lean meat, vegetables and  low in saturated fat.’

He is one of the experts who has taken part  in a documentary due to be released in September, called ‘Statin Nation.’

The director Justin Smith claims the benefits  of statins are routinely exaggerated and that the pharmaceutical industry is  partly to blame.

He told Mail Online: ‘Creating a drug is a  costly and lengthy process so they are encouraging more patients to take  existing drugs.’

Mr Smith worked for four years as a personal  trainer and nutritional coach before writing the book ‘$29  Billion Reasons to Lie About Cholesterol’ in 2009.

He said he made the crowd-funded documentary  because he believes doctors are being provided with too much information that  favours the drugs industry.

However, Professor Peter Weissberg, from the  British Heart Foundation, contested this saying: ‘The most commonly used statins  are off patent, which means the drug cmopanies no longer have any financial  incentive in expanding the market.

‘It is the medical community who is pushing  for wider use of statins since they are convinced by the evidence this will  reduce heart attacks and strokes in the future.’

Mr Smith also pointed to a 2008 study by  Allender et al in Coronary Heart Disease Statistics, which found the heart  disease rate did not decline between 1994 and 2006 in men aged 65 to 94 yet high  cholesterol levels dropped by 40 per cent.

He added that average cholesterol levels in  the UK are low when compared with the rest of Europe,  yet the UK has one  of the highest rates of heart attacks

Mr Smith said: ‘I hope that the film will  prompt more people to ask their doctor questions like: if I take this  cholesterol medication, how much longer might I live?

‘This question is important because most  people will not receive life extension from statins.’

He added that negative side-effects of  statins were not given enough prominence.

However, Maureen Talbot, Senior  Cardiac  Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘Statins are now a  very important  part of the lives of millions of people and play a vital  role in both lowering  cholesterol and helping prevent heart attacks.

‘Their importance shouldn’t be  underestimated and the potential risk of side effects are outweighed by  the  proven benefits. The use of statins is the main reason why fewer  people have  high cholesterol levels now compared to 20 years ago.

‘Your body will always make  cholesterol so  if you stop taking a statin it’s likely your cholesterol  levels will rise. So,  if you’re prescribed a statin make sure you take  it every day because they’re  most beneficial when you take them on a  long-term basis. If you develop side  effects see your GP as the medicine or dose can be changed. ‘

But she added: ‘It’s  worth remembering though that you may be able head off the  prospect of being  prescribed statins by eating a healthy balanced diet,  keeping physically active  and maintaining a healthy weight and body  shape.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2185962/Benefits-statins-exaggerated-best-way-prevent-heart-disease-study-claims.html#ixzz23E7IhqJ5