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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Vitamin E and Selenium raise cancer risk, Oh Really? Let us Disect the Research, and the Researchers


The SELECT trial is being utilized for sensationalist counter intuitive claims in regards to certain nutrients. The following posted below is simply a rational to why the SELECT trial being interpreted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is flawed. Unfortunately improper forms of the nutrients were utilized in addition to the potential corruption of Experimenter Bias from start to current. I don’t necessarily believe this is an intentional act. That however does not discount that the methodology, data interpretation, and study organization, are text book examples of how not waste tax payer dollars.

Ralph Turchiano

English: Bela Lugosi in "The Devil Bat&qu...
English: Bela Lugosi in “The Devil Bat” (1940), which is now in the public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let us Begin:

#1 Initial Trial flaw, form of vitamin E used was synthetic and the wrong isomer

ScreenHunter_151 Feb. 21 23.34

Proper form is d form (natural) not the dl (synthetic )  as pointed out in excerpts

ScreenHunter_151 Feb. 21 23.42

ScreenHunter_151 Feb. 22 00.17

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-04/ru-vei042312.php

#2 The select study which ended in 2008 all supplement usage was halted. In addition at that time there was no statistical difference

ScreenHunter_151 Feb. 21 23.46 Continue reading “Vitamin E and Selenium raise cancer risk, Oh Really? Let us Disect the Research, and the Researchers”

Health Research Report -Video- 18 NOV 2013

Topics:
Ibuprofen and paracetamol Useless as well as make Colds and sore throats worse
* BMJ NOV 2013
Flu Shots may kill you if you have Gelatin Allergies
*ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting notes NOV 2013
Hay Fever (Oral Allergy Syndrome) at risk of life threatening reactions to certain High Blood Pressure Medications (ACE)
*ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting notes NOV 2013
New US erroneous Guidelines on statins extremely dangerous, and un-researched
*Croydon University Hospital Commentary NOV 2013

165th Health Research Report 5 OCT 2015 ( Synopsis)

ScreenHunter_42 Dec. 31 12.07           

Health Research Report

165th Issue Date 5 OCT 2013

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

FOUND AT :

 

www.healthresearchreport.me 

In This Issue:

1.    Melatonin helps control weight gain as it stimulates the appearance of ‘beige fat’

2.    Folic acid deficiency can affect the health of great, great grandchildren

3.    Mouse studies reveal promising vitamin D-based treatment for MS

4.    Organized screening for prostate cancer does more harm than good

5.    Niacin, the fountain of youth

6.    Red wine chemical remains effective against cancer after the body converts it

7.    Component of citrus fruits found to block the formation of kidney cysts

Health Research Report 30 SEP 2013

Topics:

Melatonin consumption shown to help increase metabolism /Burn fat
* Journal of Pineal Research : 26 SEP 2013
Multiple Sclerosis reversed in 100% of animals using Calcitriol & ongoing Vitamin D Sup
* Journal of Neuroimmunology : Online August addition

The Hidden Threat That Could Prevent Polio’s Global Eradication – Vaccinated Children that Become “chronic excreters”

 

Polio could soon be wiped out—but only if scientists can track down the last carriers

By Helen Branswell

 


Image: GETTY IMAGES

Global eradication of polio has been the ultimate game of Whack-a-Mole for the past decade; when it seems the virus has been beaten into submission in a final refuge, up it pops in a new region. Now, as vanquishing polio worldwide appears again within reach, another insidious threat may be in store from infection sources hidden in plain view.

Polio’s latest redoubts are “chronic excreters,” people with compromised immune systems who, having swallowed weakened polioviruses in an oral vaccine as children, generate and shed live viruses from their intestines and upper respiratory tracts for years. Healthy children react to the vaccine by developing antibodies that shut down viral replication, thus gaining immunity to infection. But chronic excreters cannot quite complete that process and instead churn out a steady supply of viruses. The oral vaccine’s weakened viruses can mutate and regain wild polio’s hallmark ability to paralyze the people it infects. After coming into wider awareness in the mid-1990s, the condition shocked researchers.

Philip Minor, deputy director of the U.K.’s National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, describes the biomedical nightmare: Wild polioviruses stop circulating. Countries cut back on vaccination efforts. A chronic excreter kisses an unvaccinated baby, and the baby goes to day care. “And zappo,” he adds, “it’s all over the place, with babies drooling all over each other. So you could see a scenario where polio would come back from a developed country.” It could happen in the developing world as well. Although it was once thought that immunocompromised individuals could not survive for long in lower-income countries, circumstances are changing as those countries improve their health care systems. In 2009 an immunodeficient 11-year-old Indian boy was paralyzed by polio, five years after swallowing a dose of oral vaccine. It was only then that researchers recognized him as a chronic excreter.

Chronic excreters are generally only discovered when they develop polio after years of surreptitiously spreading the virus. Thankfully, such cases are rare. According to Roland W. Sutter, the World Health Organization scientist who heads research policy for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the initiative is pushing for the development of drugs that could turn off vaccine virus shedding. A few promising options are in the pipeline.

Drugs can only solve the problem if chronic excreters are identified, and that’s no easy task. For years scientists in Finland, Estonia and Israel monitored city sewers, watching for signs of shedders’ presence. In many samples, they have found the telltale viruses from chronic excreters, but they have failed to locate any of the individuals. These stealthy shedders may not be classic immunodeficient patients traceable through visits to immunologists. Instead they may be people who do not know they have an immunity problem at all and are under no specialized medical care. “We know that there’s really a Damocles sword hanging over them,” Sutter says. It hangs over the rest of us as well.

This article was originally published with the title Hidden and Dangerous.

 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=hidden-threat-that-could-prevent-polio-global-eradication

161st Health Research Report 10 AUG 2013 – Synopsis

www.healthresearchreport.me 

 

 

In this issue:

1.       Plant-Based Compound May Inhibit HIV Infection, Research Shows

2.       Methamphetamine increases susceptibility to deadly fungal infection

3.       Exercise May be the Best Medicine for Alzheimer’s

4.       Study finds evidence of nerve damage in around half of fibromyalgia patients

5.       Blocking sugar intake may reduce cancer risk or progression in obese and diabetic people

6.       Fatty acids could aid cancer prevention and treatment

7.       Illinois scientists put cancer-fighting power back into frozen broccoli

8.       Diets of Pregnant Women Contain Harmful, Hidden Toxins

9.       L-3-n-butylphthalide protects against cognitive dysfunction in vascular dementia

 ScreenHunter_42 Dec. 31 12.07

Health Research Report

161st Issue Date 10 AUG 2013

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.vit.bz

www.youtube.com/vhfilm

 www.facebook.com/engineeringevil

Health Research Report 29 JUL 2013

Topics:
DHA for Chronic Pain – Annal of Neurology
Vitamins and Minerals as an alternative psychiatric medications – 2013 IFT
Ginkgo Biloba Extract for Effectively treats Vascular Dementia – Neural Regeneration Research V8 N18 2013
BPA – Damages Teeth Enamel  – AJP
BPA- Causes Obesity in Puberty age Girls – PLOS ONE
BPA- Idiopathic Undescended testis ENDO 2013
BPA – Causes Prostate Cancer ENDO 2013
BPA + Chlorine stop cellular communication – Endocrine disruptors online journal

Middle-aged males suffering from epidemic of wife-induced disease

Kuchikomi Jun. 07, 2013 – 06:44AM JST ( 91 )

TOKYO —

In Japanese, “kogen-byo” is connective tissue disease (previously referred to as collagen disease), and used to describe systemic autoimmune diseases such as lupus.

But Japanese males may also be suffering from an outbreak of a new disease, and Shukan Taishu (June 17) thinks it is on to something. It has changed the first syllable from “ko” to “sai,” thereby altering the name to “saigen-byo,” meaning diseases caused by the stresses and strains of being wed to a “monster” wife.

This condition, reports the magazine, may be spreading rapidly.

“I couldn’t figure out what was causing it,” moaned Mr A, a 45-year-old mid-level manager at a construction company. “I don’t smoke or drink alcohol, and on weekends I go to the gym to keep in shape. But from the end of last year, around the time I knocked off work, I’d feel pains in the area of my temples, and while riding the train home, I’d develop a rapid heartbeat.

“My wife, as I see it, is an extreme perfectionist,” Mr A complained. “Even the most trivial thing has to be done just right or she quietly fumes over it. For example, if I leave particles of food uneaten in my lunch box, she’ll silently dump it into the trash, and then ask me, ‘Was there something you didn’t like?’”

“In spring of this year, when my train arrived at the station near our house, I suddenly got cold sweats, and in my mind’s eye I saw the frosty expression on my wife’s face. ‘Eh?’ I said, startled, and then began to feel dizzy. I thought I was going to fall onto the tracks, when another commuter grabbed me and pulled me to safety.” It could have been a disaster.”

“The more husbands devote themselves to their jobs, the greater pride they feel,” explains Yoichi Shimomura, a veteran company doctor with long experience in mental health counseling. “The more a wife refuses to recognize this, the greater stress the husband feels.”

“Many men also suffer from menopause when they reach their 40s or 50s,” remarks Michiko Yonekura, a psychiatrist at a medical facility staffed entirely by young female physicians, called the “Joy Total Clinic.” “This is caused by a decline in the secretion of testosterone, leading to hormonal imbalances. In this case, they might suffer from vertigo or palpitations, as well as loss of sex drive and erectile dysfunction.”

According to Yonekura, the condition makes itself felt after children grow up and couples become “empty nesters,” or upon retirement, when spouses begin to spend more time together. Of course, some wives come up with the female counterpart of this disease, “fugen-byo” (“fu” means husband).

“Men should learn to develop a ‘playful mind,’” advises Shimomura. “I can’t go so far as to recommend they go out and cheat on their wives, but by having a crush on somebody or playing with remotely controlled models, and so on, they are made to feel young again.

“It’s also important to show extra deference to the wife’s parents, as this develops a sense of gratitude on her part,” Shimomura adds. “Even though spouses get on each other’s nerves, there are also ways by which they can develop better tolerance.”

To see if you might be suffering from “saigen-byo,” Shukan Taishu has provided a checklist of 10 items. Answer “yes” to between 1 and 4, and you need to be on your guard. If the score’s between 5 and 7, the chances of having it are pretty good. And if the score is between 8 and 10, a completely medical and psychological checkup is recommended.

– I’m something of a perfectionist – I have trouble falling asleep – I suffer from unexplained episodes of sweating, vertigo or palpitations – I help as much as possible with household chores – Our children are financially independent and married – I’m often at home since I have already retired – I exhibit more fatigue than does my wife – We never engage in marital spats – As a married couple we seem to understand each other without the need to speak – My wife suffers from menopause-related problems.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/kuchikomi/view/middle-aged-males-suffering-from-epidemic-of-wife-induced-disease

 

155th Health Research Report Synopsis 17 MAY 2013

155th Health Research Report Synopsis 17 MAY 2013

 

1. Vitamin C may head off lung problems in babies born to pregnant smokers
2. Magnesium may be as important to kids’ bone health as calcium
3. Preterm infants may need 800 IU of vitamin D3 per day
4. Parents who suck on their infants’ pacifiers may protect their children against developing allergy
5. Restless legs syndrome, insomnia and brain chemistry: A tangled mystery solved?
6. Carnitine supplement may improve survival rates of children with heart defects
7. World first clinical trial supports use of Kava to treat anxiety
8. Statins block the ability of exercise to improve fitness levels
9. Expert questions US public health agency advice on influenza vaccines

 

www.healthresearchreport.me 

153rd Health Research Report Synopsis 19 APR 2013

In this Issue:

 

1. Lift weights to lower blood sugar? White muscle helps keep blood glucose levels under control

 

2. New evidence that natural substances in green coffee beans help control blood sugar levels

 

3. New evidence that egg white protein may help high blood pressure

 

4. Omega-3 fatty acids more effective at inhibiting growth of triple-negative breast cancer

 

5. The adult generations of today are less healthy than their counterparts of previous generations

 

6. Co-Q10 deficiency may relate to statin drugs, diabetes risk

 

7. Naturally-occurring substance proves effective against deadly skin cancer in laboratory tests

 

8. Drinking cup of beetroot juice daily may help lower blood pressure

 

9. Vitamin D may reduce risk of uterine fibroids, according to NIH study

 

10. Excess vitamin E intake not a health concern

 

11. US hospitals make more money when surgery goes wrong

 

www.healthresearchreport.me

 

Liver cancer survival time tripled by virus: JX-594

The virus used in the vaccine that helped eradicate smallpox is now working its magic on liver cancer. A genetically engineered version of the vaccinia virus has trebled the average survival time of people with a severe form of liver cancer, with only mild, flu-like side effects.Thirty people with hepatocellular carcinoma received three doses of the modified virus – code-named JX-594 – directly into their liver tumour over one month. Half the volunteers received a low dose of the virus, the other half a high dose. Members of the low and high-dose groups subsequently survived for, on average, 6.7 and 14.1 months respectively. By contrast, trials several years ago showed that sorafenib, the best existing medication for this cancer, prolonged life by only three months.

Two of the patients on the highest viral dose were still alive more than two years after the treatment. “It’s a very substantial survival benefit,” says Laurent Fischer, president of Jennerex, the company in San Francisco developing the treatment under the trade name Pexa-Vec.

Besides shrinking the primary tumour, the virus was able to spread to and shrink any secondary tumours outside the liver. “Some tumours disappeared completely, and most showed partial destruction on MRI scans,” says David Kirn, head of the study at Jennerex. Moreover, the destruction was equally dramatic in the primary and secondary tumours.

“This clinical trial is an exciting step forward to help find a new way of treating cancers,” says Alan Melcher of the University of Leeds, UK, who was not involved in the study. “It helps demonstrate the cancer-fighting potential of viruses, which have relatively few side effects compared with traditional chemo or radiotherapy,” he says. “If it proves effective in larger trials, it could be available to patients within five years.”

The fact that the virus appears able to spread to secondary tumours suggests that simply injecting the virus into the bloodstream may be effective. A trial to compare this treatment with injecting the virus directly into a tumour is under way.

Targeted at cancer

The virus has had a gene coding for an enzyme called thymidine kinase snipped out. The enzyme enables the virus to recognise and infect dividing cells. By removing the gene, the virus’s developers have reduced the likelihood of healthy dividing cells being infected.

Instead, the virus exclusively attacks cancerous tissue, by targeting two genes that have increased activity in tumour cells. One genes is associated with an epidermal growth factor receptor, which stimulates the cancer to grow. The other is associated with a vascular endothelial growth factor, which enables the cancer to recruit its own blood supply. The virus reduces the activity of both genes, causing the infected cancer cell to wither and die.

What’s more, the virus carries extra genes to prod the body’s own immune system into action against the cancer. One produces granulocyte colony stimulating factor, a protein that encourages production of extra white blood cells at sites of infection. The other produces a protein not naturally found in humans, called Lac-Z, that earmarks infected cells for destruction.

Fischer says that to date, more than 200 people have received the virus, which has also shown promise against other types of cancer, including those of the kidney and skin. But he warns that not everyone sees a benefit. “We know why patients respond, but not why they don’t,” he says.

Journal reference: Nature Medicine, DOI: 10.1038/nm.3089

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23154-liver-cancer-survival-time-tripled-by-virus.html

 

Health Research Report 04 JAN 2013

Topics
Medications in Food, Cause for illness
Cholesterol Medicine affects energy production in muscle in up to 75% of people.
More Deaths Blamed on Plavix
100 Richest People in the world increased wealth by 241 Billion in 2012

Foodborne Illness Could Have Sinister Causes : Medications being intentionally added

Contact: Angela Collom
acollom@acponline.org
215-351-2653
American College of Physicians

 

Observation Article: Foodborne Illness Could Have Sinister Causes

Doctors should consider the intentional addition of medicine to food as a potential cause of foodborne disease outbreaks. The World Health Organization suggests possible sources of foodborne disease outbreaks are pathogenic bacteria, viruses, protozoa, parasitic worms, natural toxins, and chemicals, but not medicines. A 2010 foodborne disease outbreak in Beijing, China was a result of clonidine, a medication used to treat hypertension and ADHD, being intentionally added to lunch ingredients. Eighty travelers who had just finished lunch in a Beijing restaurant began to feel faint. Within a few hours they developed dizziness, weakness, lethargy, dry mouth, and nausea, among other troublesome symptoms. At a nearby hospital, the travelers were treated for low blood pressure and low heart rate. With no response to treatment, the patients were referred for a screening for common toxins and drugs. The screening found clonidine in the patients’ systems. The patients were treated for clonidine poisoning and symptoms resolved in all patients within 48 hours. After six days, all patients had been discharged from the hospital and at one year no patients had residual symptoms. An investigation found that two persons put clonidine into the starch used to make certain dishes (the kitchen staff would not notice the addition because starch and clonidine are both white, odorless powders) to gain a competitive advantage for a nearby restaurant.

Note: For an embargoed PDF, please contact Megan Hanks or Angela Collom

93rd Health Research Report 14 NOV 2010 – Reconstruction

 

Editors Top Five:

 

Black raspberries may prevent colon cancer

Study finds Plantar Fasciitis? Stretching seems to do the trick

Obesity rate will reach at least 42 percent, say models of social contagion

Dangerous chemicals in food wrappers likely migrating to humans

U of T study Myth of a germ-free world:

A closer look at antimicrobial products

 

In This Issue:

1. Pregnant women who eat peanuts may put infants at increased risk for peanut allergy

2. Antibiotics have long-term impacts on gut flora

3. Common stomach bacteria may fight off inflammatory bowel disease caused by Salmonella

4. Black raspberries may prevent colon cancer, study finds

5. Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults

6. Exposure of humans to cosmetic UV filters is widespread

7. Levels of coumarin in cassia cinnamon vary greatly even in bark from the same tree

8. Insufficient vitamin D levels in CLL patients linked to cancer progression and death

9. Obesity rate will reach at least 42 percent, say models of social contagion

10. Study shows a single shot of morphine has long lasting effects on testosterone levels

11. Plantar Fasciitis? Stretching seems to do the trick

12. Plant-based, olive oil diet also has health benefits for prostate cancer survivors

13. Canola-type rapeseed oil reduces the level of fibrinogen, a cause of thrombosis and inflammation

14. Mild painkillers in pregnancy are associated with an increased risk of male reproductive problems

15. Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center research shows fish oil component given up to 5 hours after stroke limits brain damage

16. Dangerous chemicals in food wrappers likely migrating to humans: U of T study

17. Soy May Stop Prostate Cancer Spread

18. DHA improves memory and cognitive function in older adults

19. Low blood levels of vitamin D linked to chubbier kids, faster weight gain

20. Exercise may reduce risk of endometrial cancer

21. Probiotics shorten diarrhea episodes

22. Myth of a germ-free world: a closer look at antimicrobial products

23. Fructose-rich beverages associated with increased risk of gout in women

Public release date: 1-Nov-2010

Pregnant women who eat peanuts may put infants at increased risk for peanut allergy

Researchers have found that allergic infants may be at increased risk of peanut allergy if their mothers ingested peanuts during pregnancy. The data are reported in the November 1 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Led by Scott H. Sicherer, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, researchers at five U.S. study sites evaluated 503 infants aged three to 15 months with likely milk or egg allergies or with significant eczema and positive allergy tests to milk or egg, which are factors associated with an increased risk of peanut allergy. The study infants had no previous diagnosis of peanut allergy. A total of 140 infants had strong sensitivity to peanut based on blood tests, and consumption of peanut during pregnancy was a significant predictor of this test result.

“Researchers in recent years have been uncertain about the role of peanut consumption during pregnancy on the risk of peanut allergy in infants,” said Dr. Sicherer. “While our study does not definitively indicate that pregnant women should not eat peanut products during pregnancy, it highlights the need for further research in order make recommendations about dietary restrictions.”

In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that women whose infants were at increased risk of allergies based upon family history consider avoiding peanut products while pregnant and breast feeding. However, the recommendation was withdrawn in 2008 due to limited scientific evidence to support it. The Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR), which was just awarded a renewed $29.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, is conducting this ongoing, observational study to help better understand the risk factors behind a child’s developing peanut allergy, as well as allergies to milk and egg. The Consortium is also studying novel treatments for food allergies.

The authors caution that the study has limitations, including the reliance on the self-reporting of dietary habits among pregnant women. Importantly, the study has thus far only shown an increased risk for positive allergy test results to peanut.

Despite its limitations, the study has identified a potential risk factor that, if verified, could present an opportunity for risk reduction. The authors conclude that controlled, interventional studies should be conducted to explore these findings further.

“Peanut allergy is serious, usually persistent, potentially fatal, and appears to be increasing in prevalence,” said Dr. Sicherer. “Our study is an important step toward identifying preventive measures that, if verified, may help reduce the impact of peanut allergy.”

Public release date: 1-Nov-2010

Antibiotics have long-term impacts on gut flora

Also archived at http://www.vit.bz

93rd Health Research Technology Report 3

Short courses of antibiotics can leave normal gut bacteria harbouring antibiotic resistance genes for up to two years after treatment, say scientists writing in the latest issue of Microbiology, published on 3 November.

The researchers believe that this reservoir increases the chances of resistance genes being surrendered to pathogenic bacteria, aiding their survival and suggesting that the long-term effects of antibiotic therapy are more significant than previously thought.

Antibiotics that are prescribed to treat pathogenic bacteria also have an impact on the normal microbial flora of the human gut. Antibiotics can alter the composition of microbial populations (potentially leading to other illnesses) and allow micro-organisms that are naturally resistant to the antibiotic to flourish.

The impact of antibiotics on the normal gut flora has previously been thought to be short-term, with any disturbances being restored several weeks after treatment. However, the review into the long-term impacts of antibiotic therapy reveals that this is not always the case. Studies have shown that high levels of resistance genes can be detected in gut microbes after just 7 days of antibiotic treatment and that these genes remain present for up to two years even if the individual has taken no further antibiotics.

The consequences of this could be potentially life-threatening explained Dr Cecilia Jernberg from the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control who conducted the review. “The long-term presence of resistance genes in human gut bacteria dramatically increases the probability of them being transferred to and exploited by harmful bacteria that pass through the gut. This could reduce the success of future antibiotic treatments and potentially lead to new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

The review highlights the necessity of using antibiotics prudently. “Antibiotic resistance is not a new problem and there is a growing battle with multi-drug resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria. The development of new antibiotics is slow and so we must use the effective drugs we have left with care,” said Dr Jernberg. “This new information about the long-term impacts of antibiotics is of great importance to allow rational antibiotic administration guidelines to be put in place,” she said.

Public release date: 1-Nov-2010

Common stomach bacteria may fight off inflammatory bowel disease caused by Salmonella

Helicobacter pylori in the mouse stomach put the brakes on colitis by reducing the immune response in the lower GI tract, U-M study shows

Ann Arbor, Mich. — Helicobacter pylori, a common stomach bacterium, reduced the severity of inflammation of the colon caused by Salmonella in mice, according to research from U-M Medical School scientists.

More than half the people in the world are infected with H. pylori, although it is very unusual to find it in the United States. But this research shows there may be an inflammation control benefit to hosting the H. pylori infection, says Peter Higgins, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc., lead author of the study published last week in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.

“If we have evolved to live with certain bugs, maybe there is a reason,” said Higgins, assistant professor of gastroenterology in U-M’s Department of Internal Medicine. “This research demonstrates that having H. pylori in your stomach could have beneficial immune effects in other parts of the

Also archived at http://www.vit.bz

93rd Health Research Technology Report 4

body.”

In the study, mice were infected with H. pylori, allowed to develop immune tolerance for a month, and then infected with Salmonella, which induces the inflammatory bowel disease colitis. The data provided the first evidence that H. pylori infection in the stomach alters the immunological environment of the lower gastrointestinal tract and reduced the severity of Salmonella-induced colitis.

“This was surprising because H. pylori infects the stomach, not the colon. It appears to have a more global effect on the gut immune system,” says John Kao, M.D., senior author of this study and assistant professor in U-M’s Department of Internal Medicine.

“But it may explain why people in regions with lots of H. pylori infection — such as Asia and Africa — get fewer inflammatory bowel diseases, like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.”

It also may explain why H. pylori infection is so common, Higgins says. Salmonella was historically a rampant fatal infection that caused the plague of Athens, which led to rise of Sparta. It also likely led to the early death of Alexander the Great. So it would make sense that many humans carry the H. pylori bacteria, if it truly reduces the severity of inflammation caused by Salmonella, Higgins says.

The H. pylori infection is now more commonly found in developing countries or those with poor sanitation, where Salmonella and inflammatory bowel diseases are more common. Most people contract H. pylori in their first seven years of life, most commonly through exposure to feces.

Higgins does not recommend that inflammatory bowel patients should be infected with H. pylori, however. In the U.S., H. pylori infection is treated with antibiotics because it can lead to stomach ulcers or cancer, even though most people don’t notice they have it.

“There may be a reason we co-exist with H. pylori. Maybe we should not be so quick to get rid of it in patients who do not have stomach ulcers,” Higgins says, adding that this may be especially true in places where Salmonella remains a common threat.

“It would be reasonable for researchers to look at whether H. pylori infection is associated with reduced severity of other gut infections like cholera or Clostridium difficile. Many more studies are needed, however, to see if H. pylori could actually prevent inflammatory bowel disease.”

About U-M’s Division of Gastroenterology: U-M is one of the largest gastroenterology practices in the country and is a leader in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and liver. Our 50-plus physicians are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of all diseases of the gastrointestinal system, from simple to complex, including those of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, liver, gallbladder, pancreas and biliary tract.

In addition to being leaders in the clinic, our faculty are also leaders in their respective areas of research, which span such varied interests as the role of peptides in the brain-gut interactions in functional bowel diseases to innovative treatments of viral hepatitis and liver cancer.

Public release date: 2-Nov-2010

Black raspberries may prevent colon cancer, study finds

Black raspberries are highly effective in preventing colorectal tumors in two mouse models of the disease, according to a University of Illinois at Chicago study.

The findings are published in the November issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

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Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in both men and women in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute.

Building on previous research that found black raspberries have antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-neurodegenerative and anti-inflammatory properties, the researchers looked at the fruit’s ability to prevent colon cancer.

“We saw the black raspberry as a natural product, very powerful, and easy to access,” said Dr. Wancai Yang, assistant professor of pathology at the UIC College of Medicine and senior author of the study, whose research focuses on the interactions of genetic and nutritional factors in the development of intestinal cancer and tumor prevention.

The researchers used two strains of mice, Apc1638 and Muc2, which each have a specific gene knocked out, causing the mice to develop either intestinal tumors (in the case of Apc1638) or colitis in the case of Muc2. Colitis is an inflammation of the large intestine that can contribute to the development of colorectal cancer.

Both mouse strains were randomized to be fed either a Western-style, high-risk diet (high in fat and low in calcium and vitamin D) or the same diet supplemented with 10 percent freeze-dried black raspberry powder for 12 weeks.

The researchers found that in both mouse strains the black raspberry-supplemented diet produced a broad range of protective effects in the intestine, colon and rectum and inhibited tumor formation.

In the Apc1638 mice, tumor incidence was reduced by 45 percent and the number of tumors by 60 percent. The researchers found that black raspberries inhibited tumor development by suppressing a protein, known as beta-catenin, which binds to the APC gene.

In the Muc2 mice, tumor incidence and the number of tumors were both reduced by 50 percent, and black raspberries inhibited tumor development by reducing chronic inflammation associated with colitis.

The researchers now hope to obtain funding to begin clinical trials in humans, said Yang. Because black raspberries not only prevent cancer but also inflammation, they may also protect against other diseases, such as heart disease.

Public release date: 2-Nov-2010

Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults

Winston-Salem, N.C. – Researchers for the first time have shown that drinking beet juice can increase blood flow to the brain in older adults – a finding that could hold great potential for combating the progression of dementia.

The research findings are available online in Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry, the peer-reviewed journal of the Nitric Oxide Society and will be available in print soon. (Read the abstract.)

“There have been several very high-profile studies showing that drinking beet juice can lower blood pressure, but we wanted to show that drinking beet juice also increases perfusion, or blood flow, to the brain,” said Daniel Kim-Shapiro, director of Wake Forest University’s Translational Science Center; Fostering Independence in Aging. “There are areas in the brain that become poorly perfused as you age, and that’s believed to be associated with dementia and poor cognition.”

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High concentrations of nitrates are found in beets, as well as in celery, cabbage and other leafy green vegetables like spinach and some lettuce. When you eat high-nitrate foods, good bacteria in the mouth turn nitrate into nitrite. Research has found that nitrites can help open up the blood vessels in the body, increasing blood flow and oxygen specifically to places that are lacking oxygen.

In this study, the first to find a link between consumption of nitrate-rich beet juice and increased blood flow to the brain, Translational Science Center researchers looked at how dietary nitrates affected 14 adults age 70 and older over a period of four days.

On the first day, the study subjects reported to the lab after a 10-hour fast, completed a health status report, and consumed either a high- or low-nitrate breakfast. The high-nitrate breakfast included 16 ounces of beet juice. They were sent home with lunch, dinner and snacks conforming to their assigned diets.

The next day, following another 10-hour fast, the subjects returned to the lab, where they ate their assigned breakfasts. One hour after breakfast, an MRI recorded the blood flow in each subject’s brain. Blood tests before and after breakfast confirmed nitrite levels in the body.

For the third and fourth days of the study, the researchers switched the diets and repeated the process for each subject.

The MRIs showed that after eating a high-nitrate diet, the older adults had increased blood flow to the white matter of the frontal lobes – the areas of the brain commonly associated with degeneration that leads to dementia and other cognitive conditions.

“I think these results are consistent and encouraging – that good diet consisting of a lot of fruits and vegetables can contribute to overall good health,” said Gary Miller, associate professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science and one of the senior investigators on the project.

To make the sometimes-bitter beet juice tastier – so a greater number of people will drink it and reap its health benefits – the university has worked with a company to create a new beet juice-based beverage. The university is currently looking into ways of marketing the beverage.

Public release date: 2-Nov-2010

Exposure of humans to cosmetic UV filters is widespread

UV filters were present in 85 percent of human milk samples of a research published in Chemosphere

Amsterdam, 2 November, 2010 – An investigation conducted in the context of the Swiss National Research Programme (NRP50), Endocrine Disrupters: Relevance to Humans, Animals and Ecosystems, demonstrates for the first time that internal exposure of humans to cosmetic UV filters is widespread.

In the course of the Summer and Fall 2004, 2005 and 2006 (3 cohorts), human milk was sampled by mothers who had given birth at the University Women’s Hospital in Basel. The participants filled out a detailed questionnaire with general questions and, as special feature, in depth questions on use of different types of cosmetic products.

Chemicals out of a large range of products including “modern” chemicals and classical persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were analyzed in the same human milk sample by analytical laboratories in Freiburg, Erlangen and Baden. The list comprised cosmetic UV filters, synthetic musk fragrances, pesticides, phthalates, parabens, flame retardants (polybrominated diphenylethers), and polychlorinated biphenyls

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(PCBs); in total 89 analyses per milk sample. The chemical analytical data of milk samples of individual mothers were then compared with the information obtained through the questionnaire.

The investigation revealed that one and the same human milk sample contained a large range of chemical contaminants, most of which are known to interact with endocrine systems. Individual exposure patterns differed between different types of chemicals. The study demonstrates for the first time that internal exposure of humans to cosmetic UV filters is widespread. Cosmetic UV filters were present in 85% of human milk samples, at concentrations comparable to PCBs. Synthetic musk fragrances were also present in the milk samples. The presence of UV filters in human milk was significantly correlated with the use of cosmetic products containing these UV filters. As a result, exposure patterns differed between individuals.

It seems plausible that exposure to other cosmetic constituents such as synthetic fragrances is also linked to the use of the corresponding products. However, this could not be investigated because musk fragrances are not declared. In contrast, classical contaminants such as PCBs, DDT and metabolites of DDT as well as some other persistent organochlor pesticides represented a rather uniform background exposure. Their levels were in part correlated with each other and also with fat-rich nutrition.

A total daily intake of each individual chemical was calculated for each individual infant from their individual levels in human milk. Calculation included fat content of individual milk samples, total daily milk intake per infant and body weight of the infant. Some infants exhibited values of daily intake of PCBs and several organochlor pesticides that were above US EPA reference dose values.

Margret Schlumpf and Walter Lichtensteiger, who lead the research said, “Research on the effects of endocrine disrupters (chemicals interfering with hormone actions) has shown that it is of utmost importance to obtain information on simultaneous exposure of humans to different types of chemicals because endocrine active chemicals can act in concert. Information on exposure is particularly important for the developing organism at its most sensitive early life stages. Human milk was chosen because it provides direct information on exposure of the suckling infant and indirect information on exposure of the mother during pregnancy.”

An important question during the research was: To what extent lifestyle can influence the presence of chemicals in breast milk? This question was the foundation for the preparation of the questionnaire. The questions were focused particularly on the use of cosmetic products; information on the relationship between the exposure of human populations to constituents of cosmetics and the presence of these constituents in the human body was limited and, in the case of UV filters, absent.

Gert-Jan Geraeds, Executive Publisher of Chemosphere commented, “This study once again emphasizes the importance of global research on the impact of contaminants in the human environment and the need for continuous critical assessment of our priorities in environmental health and consumer habits. I am sure that this investigation will also spark debate at the upcoming first Environmental Health conference in Brazil, February 2011”.

Public release date: 3-Nov-2010

Levels of coumarin in cassia cinnamon vary greatly even in bark from the same tree

A “huge” variation exists in the amounts of coumarin in bark samples of cassia cinnamon from trees growing in Indonesia, scientists are reporting in a new study. That natural ingredient in the spice may carry a theoretical risk of causing liver damage in a small number of sensitive people who consume large amounts of cinnamon. The report appears in ACS’ bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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Friederike Woehrlin and colleagues note that cinnamon is the second most popular spice, next to black pepper, in the United States and Europe. Cinnamon, which comes from the bark of trees, is sold as solid sticks and powder with the country of origin rarely declared on the package label. There are two main types: Ceylon cinnamon (also known as “true” cinnamon) and cassia cinnamon. Ceylon grows in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), the Seychelles, and Madagascar. Cassia generally comes from China and Indonesia. Both types can contain coumarin, a natural flavoring found in plants. Studies have linked high coumarin intake to liver damage in a small number of sensitive people.

The scientists analyzed 91 cinnamon samples purchased from stores in Germany. They found that coumarin levels varied widely among different bark samples of Cassia cinnamon. Therefore they analyzed cassia bark samples of five trees received directly from Indonesia and found a huge variation even among samples collected from a single tree. The study confirmed that cassia cinnamon has the highest levels of coumarin, while Ceylon had the lowest levels. On average, cassia cinnamon powder contained up to 63 times more coumarin than Ceylon cinnamon powder and cassia cinnamon sticks contained 18 times more coumarin than Ceylon sticks. “Further research is necessary to identify factors influencing the coumarin levels in cassia cinnamon and to possibly allow the harvesting of cassia cinnamon with low coumarin levels in the future,” the report notes.

Health officials say it is almost impossible for consumers to distinguish between Ceylon and cassia in cinnamon powder. Cinnamon sticks, however, do look different. Cassia cinnamon sticks consist of a thick layer of rolled bark, while Ceylon cinnamon sticks have thin layers of bark rolled up into a stick.

Public release date: 3-Nov-2010

Insufficient vitamin D levels in CLL patients linked to cancer progression and death

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Researchers at Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org/) have found a significant difference in cancer progression and death in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients who had sufficient vitamin D (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-d/NS_patient-vitamind) levels in their blood compared to those who didn’t.

In the Mayo Clinic study, published online in the journal Blood (http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/), the researchers found that patients with insufficient levels of vitamin D when their leukemia was diagnosed progressed much faster and were about twice as likely to die as were patients with adequate levels of vitamin D.

They also found solid trends: increasing vitamin D levels across patients matched longer survival times and decreasing levels matched shortening intervals between diagnosis and cancer progression. The association also remained after controlling for other prognostic factors associated with leukemia progression.

The finding is significant in a number of ways. For the first time, it potentially offers patients with this typically slower growing form of leukemia a way to slow progression, says the study’s lead author, Tait Shanafelt, M.D., (http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/staff/shanafelt_td.cfm) a hematologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“This finding may be particularly relevant for this kind of leukemia because although we often identify it at an early stage, the standard approach is to wait until symptoms develop before treating patients with chemotherapy,” Dr. Shanafelt says. “This watch and wait approach is difficult for patients because they

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feel there is nothing they can do to help themselves.”

“It appears vitamin D levels may be a modifiable risk factor for leukemia progression. It is simple for patients to have their vitamin D levels checked by their physicians with a blood test,” he says. “And if they are deficient, vitamin D supplements are widely available and have minimal side effects.”

While the researchers have not yet determined if vitamin D replacement in patients with initially low levels will reverse the more rapid progression associated with insufficiency, they are planning a study to explore that hypothesis.

This research adds to the growing body of evidence that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for development and/or progression of a number of cancers, the researchers say. Studies have suggested that low blood vitamin D levels may be associated with increased incidence of colorectal, breast and other solid cancers. Other studies have suggested that low vitamin D levels at diagnosis may be associated with poorer outcomes in colorectal, breast, melanoma and lung cancers, as well as lymphoma.

Replacing vitamin D in some patients has proven to be beneficial, the researchers say. For example, they cite a placebo-controlled clinical trial that found women who increased their vitamin D intake reduced their risk of cancer development.

Vitamin D insufficiency, in general, is widespread, Dr. Shanafelt says. “Between one-fourth and one-half of patients seen in routine clinical practice have vitamin D levels below the optimal range, and it is estimated that up to 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D insufficiency,” he says.

Vitamin D is obtained from skin exposure to sunlight, from certain foods (fatty fish and eggs) and from supplements.

In this study, the research team, including physicians at the University of Iowa (http://www.uihealthcare.com/), enrolled 390 CLL patients into a prospective, observational study. They tested the blood of these newly diagnosed patients for plasma concentration of 25-hydroxyl-vitamin D and found that 30 percent of these CLL patients were considered to have insufficient vitamin D levels, which is classified as a level less than 25 nanograms per milliliter.

After a median follow-up of three years, CLL patients deficient in vitamin D were 66 percent more likely to progress and require chemotherapy; deficient patients also had a two-fold increased risk of death.

To confirm these findings, they then studied a different group of 153 untreated CLL patients who had been followed for an average of 10 years. The researchers found that about 40 percent of these 153 CLL patients were vitamin D deficient at the time of their diagnosis. Patients with vitamin D deficiency were again significantly more likely to have had their leukemia progress and to have died, Dr. Shanafelt says.

“This tells us that vitamin D insufficiency may be the first potentially modifiable risk factor associated with prognosis in newly diagnosed CLL,” he says.

Public release date: 4-Nov-2010

Obesity rate will reach at least 42 percent, say models of social contagion

Projections suggest obesity among American adults may not plateau until 2050

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Researchers at Harvard University say America’s obesity epidemic won’t plateau until at least 42 percent of adults are obese, an estimate derived by applying mathematical modeling to 40

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years of Framingham Heart Study data.

Their work, published this week in the journal PLoS Computational Biology, runs counter to recent assertions by some experts that the obesity rate, which has been at 34 percent for the past five years, may have peaked. An additional 34 percent of American adults are overweight but not obese, according to the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Harvard scientists say that their modeling shows that the proliferation of obesity among American adults in recent decades owes in large part to its accelerating spread via social networks.

“Our analysis suggests that while people have gotten better at gaining weight since 1971, they haven’t gotten any better at losing weight,” says lead author Alison L. Hill, a graduate student in Harvard’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, Biophysics Program, and at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. “Specifically, the rate of weight gain due to social transmission has grown quite rapidly.”

The projections by Hill and colleagues are a best-case scenario, meaning that America’s obesity rate could rise above 42 percent of adults. One silver lining is that their model suggests the U.S. population may not reach this level for another 40 years, making the future rate of increase much more gradual than over the past 40 years. Only 14 percent of Framingham Heart Study participants were obese in 1971.

Along with co-authors David G. Rand, Martin A. Nowak, and Nicholas A. Christakis, Hill broke down the spread of obesity into three components:

•the rate at which obesity has spread through social networks, via transfer from person to person; •the rate of non-social transmission of obesity, such as through easier access to unhealthy foods or increasingly sedentary lifestyles;

•the rate of “recovery” from obesity, defined as weight loss sufficient to push body mass index (BMI) back below 30.

“We find that while non-social transmission of obesity remains the most important component in its spread, social transmission of obesity has grown much faster in the last four decades,” says Rand, a research scientist in the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics and a fellow in Harvard’s Department of Psychology and Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

Hill, Rand, and colleagues found that a non-obese American adult has a 2 percent chance of becoming obese in any given year — a figure that has risen in recent decades — and that this number rises by 0.4 percentage points with each obese social contact, meaning that five obese contacts doubles the risk of becoming obese.

By comparison, an obese adult has a 4 percent chance of losing enough weight to fall back to merely “overweight” in any given year. This figure has remained essentially constant since 1971.

“These results suggest that social norms are changing the propensity for becoming obese by non-social mechanisms, and also magnifying the effect that obese individuals have on their non-obese contacts,” the scientists write in PLoS Computational Biology

Public release date: 4-Nov-2010

Study shows a single shot of morphine has long lasting effects on testosterone levels

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A single injection of morphine to fight persistent pain in male rats is able to strongly reduce the hormone testosterone in the brain and plasma, according to a new paper published in Molecular Pain. The study, led by Anna Maria Aloisi, M.D., of the Department of Physiology – Section of Neuroscience and Applied Physiology at the University of Siena, Italy, Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia, University of Siena, and the Human Health Foundation in Spoleto, Italy, showed that opioids had “long lasting genomic effects in body areas which contribute to strong central and peripheral testosterone levels” including the brain, the liver and the testis.

The study showed increases in aromatase, an enzyme that is responsible for a key step in the biosynthesis of estrogen. The findings are particularly important since testosterone is the main substrate of aromatase, which is involved in the formation of estradiol. Both testosterone and estradiol are important hormones, engaged in cognitive functions as well as in mood, motor control and in many other functions, such as bone structure remodeling.

“Our lab became interested in gonadal hormones several years ago when it became clear that there were many differences in pain syndromes between the sexes,” says Dr. Aloisi. “In looking at differences, it was immediately apparent that these changes were introduced by different treatments, opioids in particular.”

“The research findings are very relevant to the management of patients with chronic pain,” said Marco Pappagallo, M.D., professor and director of pain research and development, Department of Anesthesiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY. “Today, primary care physicians, pain specialists, and a variety of health care professionals are asked not only to treat pain but how to manage side effects of drugs and to strive for the best possible comprehensive care and wellness of patients who experience chronic pain. Opioid induced hypogonadism can cause health complications to which patients with pain can be overly susceptible, including chronic fatigue, loss of stamina, emotional and sexual disturbances, as well painful skeletal and muscular complications.”

It has been known that patients treated with opioids for short or long periods show low levels of gonadal hormones. Hypogonadism was already described in opioid users and applied to pain patients as OPIAD (opioid induced androgen deficiency). It is also known that patients treated with opioids, including newer drugs (fentalyl, tramadol) have a high probability to be hypogonadic, with menopausal symptoms occurring in women and andropausal symptoms in men.

“The use of opioids puts a ‘physiological’ block on the reproductive system and can induce a long lasting absence of these essential hormones from the blood and the brain,” says Dr. Aloisi. “The normal effect of opioids to restrict reproduction in stressed subjects is multiplied by the higher levels/ long duration of opioids in the body.”

“Until a few years ago this condition was completely unrecognized by physicians although some reports clearly showed it in many kinds of patients,” notes Dr. Aloisi. “Today there remains some ignorance on this condition but gonadal hormones are more commonly cited as responsible for many chronic degenerative pathologies.”

Despite the side effects of opioids, Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, warns that the study’s message is not meant to limit the use of opioids for pain. Instead, he suggests that doctors should “take into consideration this side effect, since it is very easy to find hormone replacement therapies. Using HRTs, patients can get relief from their pain, and improve their quality of life.”

Public release date: 4-Nov-2010

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Plantar Fasciitis? Stretching seems to do the trick

New study compares two treatment methods for acute plantar

Rosemont, IL

According to a new study from the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS), patients with acute plantar fasciitis who perform manual plantar fasciitis stretching exercises, as opposed to shockwave therapy, had superior results and higher patient satisfaction.

Study details and findings:

A total of 102 patients who had acute plantar fasciitis pain, were randomly assigned to two groups. Acute is defined as any patient that experiences pain for less than six weeks. 54 people performed an eight-week stretching program, while 48 people received repetitive low-energy radial shock-wave therapy once a week for three weeks. Each group was asked to refrain from any other forms of physical therapy.

Patients in the stretching group, were told to perform stretching exercises three times a day, for eight weeks. All patients were contacted by phone every two weeks to check on training compliance. After four weeks, the patients were told to slowly return to their previous sport and/or recreational activity. Patients in group two received three sessions of radial shock-wave therapy, three times a week.

Patients were given follow-up evaluations at two, four and fifteen months. At both the two and fourth month evaluation, 65 percent of patients who performed the plantar fascia-specific stretch reported total satisfaction with treatment or satisfaction with treatment with minor reservations. Only 29 percent did so after shockwave therapy.

John Furia, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon in Pennsylvania and one of the study authors added that those who develop plantar fascia pain should begin non-operative treatment promptly. “The earlier you understand how stretching fits in, and the earlier you learn how frequently to perform the simple plantar stretch, the less likely you will require a more invasive treatment method,” stated Dr. Furia. “Shockwave therapy has been shown to be a very effective treatment for patients with chronic plantar fasciitis (pain for more than six to eight weeks), however acute cases are probably best treated with more simple measures,” he added.

How to do the stretch: According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), this stretch should be performed in the seated position. Cross your affected foot over the knee of your other leg. Grasp the toes of your painful foot and bring your ankle up and your toes up. Place your thumb along the plantar fascia and rub it to stretch it. The fascia should feel like a tight band along the bottom of your foot when stretched. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat it 10-20 times for each foot. Dr. Furia and Dr. Judy Baumhauer, orthopaedic surgeon and president-elect of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) recommend that this exercise be performed initially in the morning, before getting out of bed and after any long periods of sitting. If there is a sharp pain in your heel when getting up, a stretch should have been done before standing or walking. Dr. Baumhauer gives her patients a visual as a reference for this exercise.

Dr. Baumhauer, who was not involved in this study, has been counseling patients on the plantar fascia stretch for 15 years. “I am a firm believer in this type of stretch and nearly 80 percent of my patients have shown improvement in just eight weeks of stretching therapy.”

Relevant statistics:

•Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of pain on the bottom of the heel, and approximately two

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million patients are treated for plantar fasciitis each year.

•More than 80 percent of patients with plantar fasciitis will improve within 10 months of starting simple treatment methods.

•Dr. Furia suggests that approximately 20 percent of patients with plantar fasciitis develop a chronic condition.

Public release date: 7-Nov-2010

Plant-based, olive oil diet also has health benefits for prostate cancer survivors

PROVIDENCE, RI – Researchers from The Miriam Hospital say a plant-based, olive oil diet similar to the Mediterranean diet can improve the health of men with recurrent prostate cancer.

The findings may be of significance to men who have been treated with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), a common treatment that blocks the level of circulating androgens (male hormones), which can fuel the growth of prostate cancers. This therapy has been associated with increased body mass index, excess body fat around the waist and elevated insulin levels – all symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

According to Miriam researchers, the men who followed the olive oil diet lost an average of 12.4 pounds in an eight-week period. As a result of the diet and weight loss, participants also experienced a significant improvement in some of the risk factors of metabolic syndrome, particularly triglyceride levels (a type of fat found in the blood that can cause plaque buildup in artery walls).

The findings were presented today at the American Dietetic Association’s 2010 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Boston.

“My plant-based olive oil diet is based on foods that research suggests will improve health, such as vegetables, nuts and olive oil, so it is a healthy diet for weight loss,” says lead author Mary Flynn, PhD, RD, LDN, a research dietitian at The Miriam Hospital. “Our study shows that the diet was not only successful as a weight loss tool for these men, but our participants liked the diet and planned to stay on it.”

According to the American Heart Association, metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors in one person. These include abdominal obesity, blood fat disorders (including high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol), elevated blood pressure, and insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen). Metabolic syndrome has become increasingly common in the United States, and it’s estimated that more than 50 million Americans are affected by it.

Extra virgin olive oil has been shown to decrease blood pressure, fasting insulin, glucose, oxidation and inflammation – all risk factors for heart disease and some cancers. Not only does extra virgin olive oil improve the taste of the meal, but because it’s a healthy fat, it also keeps the stomach fuller longer, so individuals are less likely to snack between meals. According to Flynn, the health benefits of olive oil start at about two tablespoons per day.

The health benefits of a plant-based diet are due to the phytonutrients found in plant products. In particular, carotenoids, which are found in dark vegetables, have been shown to help decrease the risk of cancer. Studies also have shown that olive oil – the only oil that is from a fruit – has numerous

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phytonutrients that can improve health; it has been associated with decreasing oxidation, inhibiting tumors from forming or growing and decreasing inflammation. Research also suggests that about two tablespoons a day will improve insulin function and lower blood pressure.

The Miriam study included 11 men treated with ADT who developed metabolic syndrome. For eight weeks, they followed a plant-based olive oil diet, which included a minimum of three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil daily, as well as four servings of vegetables a day. Nuts were allowed and poultry and seafood were limited to eight ounces a day. Men also kept daily food records for key food items and were asked to keep three-day food diaries at weeks four and eight. Participants’ weight loss goal was five percent of their baseline weight.

In addition to shedding an average of 12.4 pounds, men in the study lost an average of just over two inches in their waistline. They also experienced significant improvements in their triglyceride levels. At the start of the study, the average triglyceride level was more than 100 mg/dl; after eight weeks, it dropped down to a healthy range of less than 100 mg/dl.

“It’s possible that someday we may be able to recommend a diet that will prevent the development of metabolic syndrome in men being treated for recurrent prostate cancer, which would greatly decrease their risk of heart disease,” said Flynn.

A separate study led by Flynn earlier this year also showed that a plant-based, olive oil diet produced greater weight loss in breast cancer survivors compared to a more traditional low-fat diet.

Public release date: 8-Nov-2010

Canola-type rapeseed oil reduces the level of fibrinogen, a cause of thrombosis and inflammation

According to research on fatty acids conducted at the universities of Helsinki and Tampere, the consumption of canola-type rapeseed oil decreases the level of fibrinogen detrimental to health in the body. The increased fibrinogen level, caused by an imbalance in essential fats in one’s diet, decreases when saturated fatty acids are replaced with rapeseed oil. The research results were published in the journal Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids.

A complex state of balance, the haemostatic balance, prevails in the bloodstream. One player in this balancing act is fibrinogen, the single most important blood coagulation factor. A high level of fibrinogen promotes the creation of thrombosis and maintains inflammation within the body. An increase in the fibrinogen level is closely linked with, for example, cardiovascular disease, strokes, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The new research demonstrates for the first time that an increase in the fibrinogen level of the blood is largely caused by the lack of omega-3-alpha-linolenic acid in the diet. When there is too little of this beneficial fatty acid found in one’s diet, an imbalance between fatty acids in the body is created. When the omega-3-alpha-linolenic acid level is too low, the body starts to manufacture more harmful omega-6-arachidonic acid out of the omega-6-linoleic acid, creating hormone-like compounds that cause thrombosis and inflammation. According to the researchers, the fat composition of rapeseed oil is optimal with regard to fatty acids essential to the body and consequently is well-suited to reduce the fibrinogen levels in the blood.

Levels of fibrinogen and cholesterol reduced

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In all 42 research subjects, many of whom with high levels of fibrinogen and cholesterol, participated in the research. The study subjects replaced one-fourth of the food fat (margarine, cheese, butter) they used to rapeseed oil. The oil used was canola-quality spring turnip rape oil. They took about a tablespoon of oil a day, for example, mixed with a salad. The rapeseed oil dose doubled the intake of omega-3-alpha-linolenic acid during the experiment period of six weeks. Due to the regime, all higher-than-average fibrinogen levels decreased by approximately 30 per cent.

The research shows that controlling fibrinogen and cholesterol by changing the fat consumed is a point of departure in the prevention of diseases as well as from the perspective of successful individual medical treatment. According to Into Laakso, Ph.D. from the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Helsinki, harmful effects of fats in, for example, elderly people could be easily rectified by switching one-fourth of fats to rapeseed oil. Laakso also recommends that, in addition to cholesterol, healthcare centres should measure patients’ fibrinogen levels.

Public release date: 8-Nov-2010

Mild painkillers in pregnancy are associated with an increased risk of male reproductive problems

New evidence has emerged that the use of mild painkillers such as paracetamol (Tylenol, acetaminophen) , aspirin and ibuprofen, may be part of the reason for the increase in male reproductive disorders in recent decades. Research published in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction today (Monday 8 November) shows that women who took a combination of more than one mild analgesic during pregnancy, or who took the painkillers during the second trimester of pregnancy, had an increased risk of giving birth to sons with undescended testicles (cryptorchidism) – a condition that is known to be a risk factor for poor semen quality and testicular germ cell cancer in later life. [1]

The researchers from Denmark, Finland and France found that women who used more than one painkiller simultaneously (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen) had a seven-fold increased risk of giving birth to sons with some form of cryptorchidism compared to women who took nothing.

The second trimester appeared to a particularly sensitive time. Any analgesic use at this point in the pregnancy more than doubled the risk of cryptorchidism. Of the individual painkillers, ibuprofen and aspirin approximately quadrupled the risk of cryptorchidism, while a doubling of the risk (although non-statistically significant) was found for paracetamol. Simultaneous use of more than one painkiller during this time increased the risk 16-fold.

These findings were supported by work that the researchers Dr Ulla Hass at the Technical University of Denmark (Søborg, Denmark) and Dr Bernard Jégou from INSERM (Institut National de la Santé at de la Recherche Médicale) at the University of Rennes (Rennes, France) carried out in rats. They found that analgesics disrupted androgen production, leading to insufficient supplies of the male hormone testosterone during the crucial early period of gestation when the male organs were forming. The effects of the analgesics on the rats was comparable to that caused by similar doses of known endocrine (hormone) disrupters such as phthalates – a family of chemical compounds used in the manufacture of plastics such as PVC.

Dr Henrik Leffers, senior scientist at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen (Denmark), who led the research, said: “If exposure to endocrine disruptors is the mechanism behind the increasing reproductive problems among young men in the Western World, this research suggests that particular attention should be paid to the use of mild analgesics during pregnancy, as this could be a major reason for the problems.”

The study looked at two groups of women, 834 in Denmark and 1463 in Finland, who joined the study

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93rd Health Research Technology Report 16

while they were pregnant. In Finland the women answered written questionnaires about their use of medication during pregnancy and in Denmark the women did the same or took part in a telephone interview, or both. The telephone interview asked specifically about the use of painkillers during pregnancy, while the written questionnaires did not. The baby boys were examined at birth for any signs of cryptorchidism, ranging from a mild form of the condition, in which the testis is located high in the scrotum, to the more severe form, in which the testis is so high up in the abdomen that it is non-palpable.

The researchers found that women significantly under-reported the use of painkillers in the written questionnaire because they did not consider mild painkillers to be “medication”. Among the 298 Danish mothers who took part in both the self-administered questionnaire and the telephone interview, 30.9% reported using painkillers in the questionnaire, but 57.2% reported it in the telephone interview.

The researchers could find no statistically significant effect in the group of Finnish women, but found significant effects amongst the Danish women.

Dr Leffers said: “We do not quite understand why the Finnish cohort does not show the same associations as the Danish cohort. However, the use of mild analgesics in the Finnish cohort was only examined by questionnaires, not by telephone interviews, and the telephone interviews gave the most reliable information in the Danish cohort, which may explain some of the differences. Moreover, the prevalence of cryptorchidism is much lower in Finland (2.4%) compared to Denmark (9.3%) and, therefore, this would require a larger cohort to find the same number of cases.”

The work examining the effects of the analgesics in rats showed that intrauterine exposure to paracetamol reduced the anogenital distance (the distance between the anus and the genitals) in the offspring. AGD is a sensitive marker for reduced intrauterine androgen levels and effects on AGD predicts increased risk for impaired reproductive performance of the adult animal. The researchers also found that mild analgesics reduced levels of testosterone in the rat foetal testis by approximately 50%.

Dr Jégou said that the mechanism by which mild analgesics reduced testosterone was poorly understood. “It seems to be related to their mode of action which involves inhibiting the production of prostaglandins – locally acting messenger molecules. In another study by David Kristensen et al., we have shown that endocrine disruptors of the phthalate type are almost as potent inhibitors of prostaglandin synthesis as pharmaceutical inhibitors such as mild analgesics. However, currently we do not know how a reduction of prostaglandin synthesis can reduce testosterone production.”

The researchers say that there has been a marked increase in the incidence of congenital cryptorchidism in recent decades, notably in Denmark where it has increased from 1.8% in 1959-1961 to 8.5% in 1997-2001. “The magnitude of this difference is too large to be accounted for by random fluctuations and differences in ascertainment. Moreover, this finding is in accordance with the reported decline in reproductive health in the adult male population over the past five decades,” they write in their paper.

Dr Leffers said: “Although we should be cautious about any over-extrapolation or over-statement, the use of mild analgesics constitutes by far the largest exposure to endocrine disruptors among pregnant women, and use of these compounds is, at present, the best suggestion for an exposure that can affect a large proportion of the human population.”

The researchers say that the risk from the analgesics is markedly higher than that seen for known endocrine disrupters such as phthalates, and that, as most Western women are inevitably exposed to low levels of endocrine disrupters, these together with analgesic use, could be contributing to the increased incidence of cryptorchidism and later life reproductive problems.

Dr Leffers said: “A single paracetamol tablet (500 mg) contains more endocrine disruptor potency than the combined exposure to the ten most prevalent of the currently known environmental endocrine

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93rd Issue 14 NOV 2010

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Watercress may ‘turn off’ breast cancer signal

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Sophie Docker S.Docker@soton.ac.uk 0044-023-805-98933 University of Southampton

The research, unveiled at a press conference today (14 September 2010), shows that the watercress compound is able to interfere with the function of a protein which plays a critical role in cancer development.

As tumours develop they rapidly outgrow their existing blood supply so they send out signals which make surrounding normal tissues grow new blood vessels into the tumour which feed them oxygen and nutrients.

The research, led by Professor Graham Packham of the University of Southampton, shows that the plant compound (called phenylethyl isothiocyanate) found in watercress can block this process, by interfering with and ‘turning off’ in the function of a protein called Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF).

Professor Packham, a molecular oncologist at the University of Southampton, comments: “The research takes an important step towards understanding the potential health benefits of this crop since it shows that eating watercress may interfere with a pathway that has already been tightly linked to cancer development.

“Knowing the risk factors for cancer is a key goal and studies on diet are an important part of this. However, relatively little work is being performed in the UK on the links between the foods we eat and cancer development.”

Working with Barbara Parry, Senior Research Dietician at the Winchester and Andover Breast Unit, Professor Packham performed a pilot study in which a small group of breast cancer survivors, underwent a period of fasting before eating 80g of watercress  (a cereal bowl full) and then providing a series of blood samples over the next 24 hours.

The research team was able to detect significant levels of the plant compound PEITC in the blood of the participants following the watercress meal, and most importantly, could show that the function of the protein HIF was also measurably affected in the blood cells of the women.

The two studies, which have been published in the British Journal of Nutrition and Biochemical Pharmacology, provide new insight into the potential anti-cancer effects of watercress, although more work still needs to be done to determine the direct impact watercress has on decreasing cancer risk.

Watercress Alliance member Dr Steve Rothwell says: “We are very excited by the outcome of Professor Packham’s work, which builds on the body of research which supports the idea that watercress may have an important role to play in limiting cancer development.”

###

A summary of the research has been accepted for inclusion in the Breast Cancer Research Conference which is taking place in Nottingham from 15 to 17 September.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the western world and currently affects approximately 1 in 9 women during their lifetime.

Pigs in southern China infected with avian flu: Recent Infections of H1N1 & H3N2

Contact: Jim Sliwa jsliwa@asmusa.org 202-942-9297 American Society for Microbiology

Researchers report for the first time the seroprevalence of three strains of avian influenza viruses in pigs in southern China, but not the H5N1 avian influenza virus.  Their research, published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, has implications for efforts to protect the public health from pandemics.

Influenza A virus is responsible both for pandemics that have killed millions worldwide, and for the much less severe annual outbreaks of influenza. Because pigs can be infected with both human and avian influenza viruses, they are thought to serve as “mixing vessels” for genetic reassortment that could lead to pandemics, and pigs have been infected experimentally by all avian H1-H13 subtypes. But natural transmission of avian influenza to pigs has been documented only rarely.

In the study, from 2010-2012, Guihong Zhang and colleagues of the College of Veterinary Medicine, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China, tested 1080 21-25 week old pigs for H3, H4, H5, and H6 subtypes of avian influenza virus, and H1 and H3 subtypes of swine influenza virus. Thirty-five percent of the serum samples were positive for H1N1, and 19.7 percent were positive for H3N2 swine flu virus, and 0.93 percent, 1.6 percent, and 1.8 percent were positive, respectively, for the H3, H4, and H6 subtypes of avian influenza A virus. However, no serum samples collected in 2001 were positive for any of these viruses, indicating that transmission into swine was recent.

Given the recent transmission of avian influenzas into swine, “We recommend strongly that the pork industry worldwide should monitor the prevalence of influenza in pigs, considering their important role in transmitting this virus to humans,” says Zhang.

Previously, novel reassortant H2N3 influenza viruses were isolated from US pigs, which “were infectious and highly transmissible in swine and ferrets without prior adaptation,” according to a 2009 paper in the Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine by Wenjun Ma et al. Those viruses resembled, but were not identical to the H2N2 human pandemic virus of 1957.

###

A copy of the manuscript can be found online at http://bit.ly/asmtip1212d.  Formal publication is scheduled for the February 2013 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

(S. Su, W. Qi, J. Chen, W. Zhu, Z. Huang, J. Xie, and G. Zhang, 2012. Seroepidemiological evidence of avian influenza A virus transmission in pigs in southern China. J. Clin. Microbiol. Online ahead of print 21 November 2012.)

The Journal of Clinical Microbiology is a publication of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).  The ASM is the largest single life science society, composed of over 39,000 scientists and health professionals. Its mission is to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide.

91st Health Research Report 10 OCT 2010 – Reconstruction

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91st Issue 10 OCT 2010

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Editors Top Five:

 

1. Diabetes risk may fall as magnesium intake climbs

2. J&J, FDA leaders take heat for ‘phantom’ recall

3. Vitamin D deficiency rampant in patients undergoing orthopedic surgery, damaging patient recovery

4. Think saturated fat contributes to heart disease? Think again

5. Surprise: Scientists discover that inflammation helps to heal wounds

 

In this Issue:

 

1. Diabetes risk may fall as magnesium intake climbs

2. UM School of Medicine Center for Celiac Research finds rate of celiac disease is growing

3. Sparkling drinks spark pain circuits

4. Maternal diet high in trans fats doubles risk of excess body fat in breastfed babies, study finds

5. Garlic oil shows protective effect against heart disease in diabetes

6. Blueberries help fight artery hardening, lab animal study indicates

7. IU researchers: Chemotherapy alters brain tissue in breast cancer patients

8. Dirty hands, dirty mouths: U-M study finds a need to clean the body part that lies

9. Research examines vicious cycle of overeating and obesity

10. Dog ownership is associated with reduced eczema in children with dog allergies

11. Faith in God associated with improved survival after liver transplantation

12. Drugs for low libido raise concerns over industry ‘construction’ of new diseases

13. Bioethics scholars fault requirement that all women in clinical drug trials use contraception

14. J&J, FDA leaders take heat for ‘phantom’ recall

15. Vitamin D levels lower in African-Americans

16. Vigorous exercise reduces breast cancer risk in African-American women

17. Think saturated fat contributes to heart disease? Think again

18. Sleep loss limits fat loss

19. Walnuts, walnut oil, improve reaction to stress

20. Surprise: Scientists discover that inflammation helps to heal wounds

21. Amino acid supplement makes mice live longer

22. Shortfalls in carotenoid ( Pro-Vitamin A )intake may impact women’s health

23. Low Testosterone Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

24. Vitamin D deficiency rampant in patients undergoing orthopedic surgery, damaging patient recovery

 

Public release date: 24-Sep-2010

 

Diabetes risk may fall as magnesium intake climbs

 

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Getting enough magnesium in your diet could help prevent diabetes, a new study suggests.

 

People who consumed the most magnesium in foods and from vitamin supplements were about half as likely to develop diabetes over the next 20 years as people who took in the least magnesium, Dr. Ka He of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and colleagues found.

 

The results may explain in part why consuming whole grains, which are high in magnesium, is also associated with lower diabetes risk. However, large clinical trials testing the effects of magnesium on diabetes risk are needed to determine whether a causal relationship truly exists, the researchers note in Diabetes Care.

 

It’s plausible that magnesium could influence diabetes risk because the mineral is needed for the proper functioning of several enzymes that help the body process glucose, the researchers point out. Studies of magnesium and diabetes risk have had conflicting results, though.

 

To investigate the link, the researchers looked at magnesium intake and diabetes risk in 4,497 men and women 18 to 30 years old, none of whom were diabetic at the study’s outset. During a 20-year follow-up period, 330 of the subjects developed diabetes.

 

People with the highest magnesium intake, who averaged about 200 milligrams of magnesium for every 1,000 calories they consumed, were 47 percent less likely to have developed diabetes during follow up than those with the lowest intakes, who consumed about 100 milligrams of magnesium per 1,000 calories.

 

He and colleagues also found that as magnesium intake rose, levels of several markers of inflammation decreased, as did resistance to the effects of the key blood-sugar-regulating hormone insulin. Higher blood levels of magnesium also were linked to a lower degree of insulin resistance.

 

“Increasing magnesium intake may be important for improving insulin sensitivity, reducing systemic inflammation, and decreasing diabetes risk,” He and colleagues write. “Further large-scale clinical trials are needed to establish causal inference and elucidate the mechanisms behind this potential benefit.”

 

SOURCE: http://link.reuters.com/xuz35p Diabetes Care, published online August 31, 2010.

 

Public release date: 27-Sep-2010

 

UM School of Medicine Center for Celiac Research finds rate of celiac disease is growing

 

Study finds increasing number of celiac cases, particularly in the elderly

Working to solve the puzzle of when people develop celiac disease has led researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine Center for Celiac Research to some surprising findings. They have found that the autoimmune disorder is on the rise with evidence of increasing cases in the elderly. An epidemiological study published September 27 in the Annals of Medicine supports both trends—with interesting implications for possible treatment and prevention.

 

“You’re never too old to develop celiac disease,” says Alessio Fasano, M.D., director of the University of Maryland’s Mucosal Biology Research Center and the celiac research center, which led the study. The Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona, Italy; the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; the Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo; and Quest Diagnostics Inc. of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., also participated.

 

Celiac disease is triggered by consuming gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Classic symptoms include diarrhea, intestinal bloating and stomach cramps. Left untreated, it can lead to the malabsorption of nutrients, damage to the small intestine and other medical complications.

 

Since 1974, in the U.S., the incidence of the disorder has doubled every 15 years. Using blood samples from more than 3,500 adults, the researchers found that the number of people with blood markers for celiac disease increased steadily from one in 501 in 1974 to one in 219 in 1989. In 2003, a widely cited study conducted by the celiac research center placed the number of people with celiac disease in the U.S. at one in 133.

 

As the people in the study aged, the incidence of celiac disease rose, echoing the findings of a 2008 Finnish study in Digestive and Liver Disease that found the prevalence of celiac disease in the elderly to be nearly two and a half times higher than the general population. The recent findings challenge the common speculation that the loss of gluten tolerance resulting in the disease usually develops in childhood.

 

“You’re not necessarily born with celiac disease,” says Carlo Catassi, M.D., of the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Italy. Dr. Catassi is the lead author of the paper and co-director of the Center for Celiac Research. “Our findings show that some people develop celiac disease quite late in life.” The trend is supported by clinical data from the center, notes Dr. Catassi, who urges physicians to consider screening their elderly patients.

 

Although researchers have identified specific genetic markers for the development of celiac disease, exactly how and why an individual loses tolerance to gluten remains a mystery. “Even if you have these genetic markers, it’s not your destiny to develop an autoimmune disease,” adds Dr. Fasano. “Our study shows that environmental factors cause an individual’s immune system to lose tolerance to gluten, given the fact that genetics was not a factor in our study since we followed the same individuals over time.”

 

The finding contradicts the common wisdom that nothing can be done to prevent autoimmune disease unless the triggers that cause autoimmunity are identified and removed. Gluten is one of the triggers for celiac disease. But if individuals can tolerate gluten for many decades before developing celiac disease, some environmental factor or factors other than gluten must be in play, notes Dr. Fasano.

 

Identifying and manipulating those factors could lead to novel treatment and possible prevention of celiac disease and other autoimmune disorders including type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research are working toward that goal, says Dr. Fasano. As the third most common disease category after cancer and heart disease, autoimmune disorders affect approximately five to eight percent of the U.S. population, according to the National Institutes of Health.

 

“The groundbreaking research of Dr. Fasano and his team sheds new light on the development of celiac disease, a complex disorder that continues to present challenges to physicians and their patients,” says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A, vice president for medical affairs, University of Maryland, and John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine.

 

Diagnosis of celiac disease can be a challenge as patients who test positive for the disease may not display the classic symptoms of gastrointestinal distress linked to the disease. Atypical symptoms include joint pain, chronic fatigue and depression. In the study, only 11 percent of people identified as positive for celiac disease autoimmunity through blood samples had actually been diagnosed with the disease.

 

Public release date: 28-Sep-2010

 

Sparkling drinks spark pain circuits

 

Fizzy beverages light up same pain sensors as mustard and horseradish, a new study shows — so why do we drink them?

 

You may not think of the fizz in soda as spicy, but your body does.

 

The carbon dioxide in fizzy drinks sets off the same pain sensors in the nasal cavity as mustard and horseradish, though at a lower intensity, according to new research from the University of Southern California.

 

“Carbonation evokes two distinct sensations. It makes things sour and it also makes them burn. We have all felt that noxious tingling sensation when soda goes down your throat too fast,” said Emily Liman, senior author of a study published online in the Journal of Neuroscience.

 

That burning sensation comes from a system of nerves that respond to sensations of pain, skin pressure and temperature in the nose and mouth.

 

“What we did not know was which cells and which molecules within those cells are responsible for the painful sensation we experience when we drink a carbonated soda,” said Liman, an associate professor of neurobiology in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

 

By flowing carbonated saline onto a dish of nerve cells from the sensory circuits in the nose and mouth, the researchers found that the gas activated only a particular type of cell.

 

“The cells that responded to CO2 were the same cells that detect mustard,” Liman said.

 

These cells express a gene known as TRPA1 and serve as general pain sensors.

 

Mice missing the TRPA1 gene showed “a greatly reduced response” to carbon dioxide, Liman said, while adding the TRPA1 genetic code to CO2-insensitive cells made them responsive to the gas.

 

Now that carbonated beverages have been linked to pain circuits, some may wonder why we consume them. A new park in Paris even features drinking fountains that dispense free sparkling water.

 

Liman cited studies going back as far as 1885 that found carbonation dramatically reduced the growth of bacteria.

 

“Or it may be a macho thing,” she speculated.

 

If only a sip of San Pellegrino were all it took to prove one’s hardiness.

 

The pain-sensing TRPA1 provides only one aspect of carbonation’s sensory experience. In 2009, a group led by Charles Zuker of the University of California, San Diego and Nicholas Ryba of the National Institutes of Health showed that carbonation trips cells in the tongue that convey sourness.

 

Public release date: 29-Sep-2010

 

Maternal diet high in trans fats doubles risk of excess body fat in breastfed babies, study finds

 

Athens, Ga. – A new University of Georgia study suggests that mothers who consume a diet high in trans fats double the likelihood that their infants will have high levels of body fat.

 

Researchers, whose results appear in the early online edition of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that infants whose mothers consumed more than 4.5 grams of trans fats per day while breastfeeding were twice as likely to have high percentages of body fat, or adiposity, than infants whose mothers consumed less than 4.5 grams per day of trans fats.

 

The researchers investigated different fatty acids, but determined trans fats to be the most important contributor to excess body fat. “Trans fats stuck out as a predictor to increased adiposity in both mothers and their babies,” said study co-author Alex Anderson, assistant professor in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

 

Anderson explained that although breast milk is optimal for the health of infants, it could also contain high levels of trans fats, depending on the mother’s diet. A better understanding of how a mother’s consumption of trans fats may impact the health of her baby would aid nutritionists in making more accurate dietary recommendations to prevent chronic disease later in life by encouraging mothers to select a diet low in trans fats, he said.

 

To determine the effect of the intake of trans fats by the child through breast milk, the researchers studied three different groups; mothers who only breast fed their infants, those that only used formula and those that used a combination of breast milk and formula.

 

It is important to measure body fat in addition to weight, said Anderson, since being overweight does not always mean having a high percent of body fat and vice versa. “It’s not just the weight, but the amount of body fat in the person that affects their health,” Anderson said. “That is why adiposity is such an important measure of cardiovascular risk.”

 

The researchers also found that mothers who consumed more than 4.5 grams of trans fats per day increased their own risk of excessive fat accumulation, independent of pre-pregnancy weight, by almost six times. This data suggests that trans fats intake could have a more significant weight-gain effect on breastfeeding mothers than it does at other times in their lives, Anderson said.

 

The researchers studied 96 women, many of whom were highly educated non-Hispanic white women, and note that the study should be replicated in a larger, more diverse group to strengthen information about the health dangers of eating trans fats. “It would help to be able to follow the child from when the mother was pregnant, through birth, and then adolescence, so that we can confirm what the type of infant feeding and maternal diet during breastfeeding have to do with the recent epidemic of childhood obesity,” said Anderson.

 

Maternal diet high in trans fats doubles risk of excess body fat in breastfed babies, study finds

Athens, Ga. – A new University of Georgia study suggests that mothers who consume a diet high in trans fats double the likelihood that their infants will have high levels of body fat.

 

Researchers, whose results appear in the early online edition of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that infants whose mothers consumed more than 4.5 grams of trans fats per day while breastfeeding were twice as likely to have high percentages of body fat, or adiposity, than infants whose mothers consumed less than 4.5 grams per day of trans fats.

 

The researchers investigated different fatty acids, but determined trans fats to be the most important contributor to excess body fat. “Trans fats stuck out as a predictor to increased adiposity in both mothers and their babies,” said study co-author Alex Anderson, assistant professor in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

 

Anderson explained that although breast milk is optimal for the health of infants, it could also contain high levels of trans fats, depending on the mother’s diet. A better understanding of how a mother’s consumption of trans fats may impact the health of her baby would aid nutritionists in making more accurate dietary recommendations to prevent chronic disease later in life by encouraging mothers to select a diet low in trans fats, he said.

 

To determine the effect of the intake of trans fats by the child through breast milk, the researchers studied three different groups; mothers who only breast fed their infants, those that only used formula and those that used a combination of breast milk and formula.

 

It is important to measure body fat in addition to weight, said Anderson, since being overweight does not always mean having a high percent of body fat and vice versa. “It’s not just the weight, but the amount of body fat in the person that affects their health,” Anderson said. “That is why adiposity is such an important measure of cardiovascular risk.”

 

The researchers also found that mothers who consumed more than 4.5 grams of trans fats per day increased their own risk of excessive fat accumulation, independent of pre-pregnancy weight, by almost six times. This data suggests that trans fats intake could have a more significant weight-gain effect on breastfeeding mothers than it does at other times in their lives, Anderson said.

 

The researchers studied 96 women, many of whom were highly educated non-Hispanic white women, and note that the study should be replicated in a larger, more diverse group to strengthen information about the health dangers of eating trans fats. “It would help to be able to follow the child from when the mother was pregnant, through birth, and then adolescence, so that we can confirm what the type of infant feeding and maternal diet during breastfeeding have to do with the recent epidemic of childhood obesity,” said Anderson.

 

Public release date: 29-Sep-2010

 

Garlic oil shows protective effect against heart disease in diabetes

 

Garlic has “significant” potential for preventing cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that is a leading cause of death in people with diabetes, scientists have concluded in a new study. Their report, which also explains why people with diabetes are at high risk for diabetic cardiomyopathy, appears in ACS’ bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

 

Wei-Wen Kuo and colleagues note that people with diabetes have at least twice the risk of death from heart disease as others, with heart disease accounting for 80 percent of all diabetes-related deaths. They are especially vulnerable to a form of heart disease termed diabetic cardiomyopathy, which inflames and weakens the heart’s muscle tissue. Kuo’s group had hints from past studies that garlic might protect against heart disease in general and also help control the abnormally high blood sugar levels that occur in diabetes. But they realized that few studies had been done specifically on garlic’s effects on diabetic cardiomyopathy.

 

The scientists fed either garlic oil or corn oil to laboratory rats with diabetes. Animals given garlic oil experienced beneficial changes associated with protection against heart damage. The changes appeared to be associated with the potent antioxidant properties of garlic oil, the scientists say, adding that they identified more than 20 substances in garlic oil that may contribute to the effect. “In conclusion, garlic oil possesses significant potential for protecting hearts from diabetes-induced cardiomyopathy,” the report notes.

 

Public release date: 29-Sep-2010

 

Blueberries help fight artery hardening, lab animal study indicates

 

Blueberries may help fight atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries, according to results of a preliminary U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-funded study with laboratory mice. The research provides the first direct evidence that blueberries can help prevent harmful plaques or lesions, symptomatic of atherosclerosis, from increasing in size in arteries.

 

Principal investigator Xianli Wu, based in Little Rock, Ark., with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center and with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, led the investigation. The findings are reported in the current issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

 

Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of two forms of cardiovascular disease–heart attacks and strokes. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of Americans.

 

The study compared the size, or area, of atherosclerotic lesions in 30 young laboratory mice. Half of the animals were fed diets spiked with freeze-dried blueberry powder for 20 weeks; the diet of the other mice did not contain the berry powder.

 

Lesion size, measured at two sites on aorta (arteries leading from the heart), was 39 and 58 percent less than that of lesions in mice whose diet did not contain blueberry powder.

 

Earlier studies, conducted elsewhere, have suggested that eating blueberries may help combat cardiovascular disease. But direct evidence of that effect has never been presented previously, according to Wu.

 

The blueberry-spiked diet contained 1 percent blueberry powder, the equivalent of about a half-cup of fresh blueberries.

 

All mice in the investigation were deficient in apolipoprotein-E, a trait which makes them highly susceptible to forming atherosclerotic lesions and thus an excellent model for biomedical and nutrition research.

 

Wu’s group wants to determine the mechanism or mechanisms by which blueberries helped control lesion size. For example, by boosting the activity of four antioxidant enzymes, blueberries may have reduced the oxidative stress that is a known risk factor for atherosclerosis.

 

In followup studies, Wu’s group wants to determine whether eating blueberries in infancy, childhood and young adulthood would help protect against onset and progression of atherosclerosis in later years. Early prevention may be especially important in light of the nation’s epidemic of childhood obesity. Overweight and obesity increase atherosclerosis risk.

 

Public release date: 29-Sep-2010

 

IU researchers: Chemotherapy alters brain tissue in breast cancer patients

 

INDIANAPOLIS — Researchers at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center have published the first report using imaging to show that changes in brain tissue can occur in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

 

The cognitive effects of chemotherapy, often referred to as “chemobrain,” have been known for years. However, the IU research is the first to use brain imaging to study women with breast cancer before and after treatment, showing that chemotherapy can affect gray matter. The researchers reported their findings in the October 2010 edition of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

 

“This is the first prospective study,” said Andrew Saykin, Psy.D., director of the Indiana University Center for Neuroimaging and a researcher at the IU Simon Cancer Center. “These analyses, led by Brenna McDonald, suggest an anatomic basis for the cognitive complaints and performance changes seen in patients. Memory and executive functions like multi-tasking and processing speed are the most typically affected functions and these are handled by the brain regions where we detected gray matter changes.”

 

Dr. Saykin, who is Raymond C. Beeler Professor of Radiology at the IU School of Medicine, and colleagues studied structural MRI scans of the brain obtained on breast cancer patients and healthy controls. The scans were taken after surgery, but before radiation or chemotherapy, to give the researchers a baseline. Scans were then repeated one month and one year after chemotherapy was completed.

 

The researchers found gray matter changes were most prominent in the areas of the brain that are consistent with cognitive dysfunction during and shortly after chemotherapy. Gray matter density in most women improved a year after chemotherapy ended.

 

For many patients, Dr. Saykin said, the effects are subtle. However, they can be more pronounced for others. Although relatively rare, some patients — often middle-aged women — are so affected that they are never able to return to work. More commonly, women will still be able to work and multi-task, but it may be more difficult to do so.

 

The study focused on 17 breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy after surgery, 12 women with breast cancer who did not undergo chemotherapy after surgery, and 18 women without breast cancer.

 

“We hope there will be more prospective studies to follow so that the cause of these changes in cancer patients can be better understood,” Dr. Saykin said.

 

Dr. Saykin and his colleagues started their research at Dartmouth Medical School before finishing the data analyses at IU. A new, independent sample is now being studied at the IU Simon Cancer Center to replicate and further investigate this problem affecting many cancer patients.

 

Public Release: 29-Sep-2010

 

Dirty hands, dirty mouths: U-M study finds a need to clean the body part that lies

 

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Apparently your mom had it right when she threatened to wash your mouth out with soap if you talked dirty. Lying really does create a desire to clean the “dirty” body part, according to a University of Michigan study.

 

“The references to ‘dirty hands’ or ‘dirty mouths’ in everyday language suggest that people think about abstract issues of moral purity in terms of more concrete experiences with physical purity,” said Spike W.S. Lee, a U-M doctoral candidate in psychology, who conducted the study with Norbert Schwarz, a psychologist at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR), the Ross School of Business, and the U-M psychology department.

 

The findings of the study, published in the current (October) issue of Psychological Science, support that connection.

 

For the study, Lee and Schwarz asked 87 students to play the role of lawyers competing with a colleague, “Chris,” for a promotion. Each was asked to imagine they found an important document that Chris had lost, and that returning the document would help his career and hurt their own career. Each participant was instructed to leave Chris a message by either voice mail or email, telling him who they were and either lying that they could not find his document or telling the truth that they had found the document.

 

Next, participants rated the desirability of several products as part of a supposed marketing survey and reported how much they were willing to pay for each product. The products included mouthwash and hand sanitizer.

 

Study participants who lied on the phone, leaving an untrue and malevolent voicemail, felt a stronger desire for mouthwash and were willing to pay more for it than those who lied on e-mail. And conversely, those who lied on e-mail, typing the same mean message, felt a stronger desire for hand sanitizer and were willing to pay more for that. Saying nice and ethical things, on the other hand, made it less appealing to clean the body part involved in conveying the message.

 

In scientific terms, the findings showed that “the embodiment of moral purity is specific to the motor modality involved in the moral transgression.” Verbal lying increased participants’ assessment of mouthwash while lying on e-mail, using their hands, increased the assessment of hand sanitizer’s value.

 

“This study shows how ‘concrete’ the metaphorical links are between abstract and concrete domains of life,” Schwarz said. “Not only do people want to clean after a dirty deed, they want to clean the specific body part involved.”

 

Public release date: 29-Sep-2010

 

Research examines vicious cycle of overeating and obesity

 

New research provides evidence of the vicious cycle created when an obese individual overeats to compensate for reduced pleasure from food.

 

Obese individuals have fewer pleasure receptors and overeat to compensate, according to a study by University of Texas at Austin senior research fellow and Oregon Research Institute senior scientist Eric Stice and his colleagues published this week in The Journal of Neuroscience.

 

Stice shows evidence this overeating may further weaken the responsiveness of the pleasure receptors (“hypofunctioning reward circuitry”), further diminishing the rewards gained from overeating.

 

Food intake is associated with dopamine release. The degree of pleasure derived from eating correlates with the amount of dopamine released. Evidence shows obese individuals have fewer dopamine (D2) receptors in the brain relative to lean individuals and suggests obese individuals overeat to compensate for this reward deficit.

 

People with fewer of the dopamine receptors need to take in more of a rewarding substance — such as food or drugs — to get an effect other people get with less.

 

“Although recent findings suggested that obese individuals may experience less pleasure when eating, and therefore eat more to compensate, this is the first prospective evidence to show that the overeating itself further blunts the award circuitry,” says Stice, a senior scientist at Oregon Research Institute, a non-profit, independent behavioral research center. “The weakened responsivity of the reward circuitry increases the risk for future weight gain in a feed-forward manner. This may explain why obesity typically shows a chronic course and is resistant to treatment.”

 

Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Stice’s team measured the extent to which a certain area of the brain (the dorsal striatum) was activated in response to the individual’s consumption of a taste of chocolate milkshake (versus a tasteless solution). Researchers tracked participants’ changes in body mass index over six months.

 

Results indicated those participants who gained weight showed significantly less activation in response to the milkshake intake at six-month follow-up relative to their baseline scan and relative to women who did not gain weight.

 

“This is a novel contribution to the literature because, to our knowledge, this is the first prospective fMRI study to investigate change in striatal response to food consumption as a function of weight change,” said Stice. “These results will be important when developing programs to prevent and treat obesity.”

 

Public release date: 30-Sep-2010

 

Dog ownership is associated with reduced eczema in children with dog allergies

 

Cincinnati, OH, September 30, 2010 — Children with eczema, a chronic skin condition that often begins in childhood, have a greater risk of developing asthma and food allergies. The number of children with eczema is rising, but the reasons for this are unclear. A new study soon to be published in The Journal of Pediatrics examines the relationship between pet ownership and eczema. Researchers found that dog ownership among children with dog allergies may reduce the risk of developing eczema by age 4 years; cat ownership, however, may increase the risk among children with cat allergies.

 

Dr. Tolly Epstein and colleagues from the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center gathered data from 636 children enrolled in the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy & Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS), a long-term epidemiologic study examining the effects of environmental particulates on childhood respiratory health and allergy development. Children enrolled in the study are considered at high risk for developing allergies because they were born to parents with allergies. The researchers focused on several potential risk factors for developing eczema, including dog and cat ownership. The children were tested for 17 separate allergies on a yearly basis from ages 1 through 4 years, and the parents completed yearly surveys.

 

The results provided interesting information regarding pet ownership. The researchers found that children who tested positive for dog allergies were less likely to develop eczema by age 4 years if they owned a dog before age 1 year. According to Dr. Epstein, “Children with dog allergies who did not own dogs were 4 times more likely to develop eczema.”

 

Unlike dog ownership, cat ownership seemed to have a negative effect on children with cat allergies. “Children who owned a cat before age 1 year and were allergic to cats based on a skin allergy test were 13 times more likely to develop eczema by age 4 years,” Dr. Epstein explains. She notes, however, that children who were not allergic to cats were not at an increased risk for eczema if they owned a cat. Dr. Epstein suggests that parents of children at risk for eczema may want to consider these findings when choosing a family pet.

 

Public release date: 30-Sep-2010

 

Faith in God associated with improved survival after liver transplantation

 

Study reveals religiosity prolongs life span

 

Italian researchers report that liver transplant candidates who have a strong religious connection have better post-transplant survival. This study also finds that religiosity—regardless of cause of death—prolongs the life span of individuals who underwent liver transplantation. Full findings are now available online and in the October issue of Liver Transplantation. a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

 

Much of the medical profession today is focused on the delivery of services, rather than whole patient care which not only takes into account physical well-being, but psychological, social, and spiritual aspects as well. Although there is a lack of interest in religion by the medical community, the authors point out that 90% of the world’s population today is involved in some form of religion or spiritual pursuit. Prior studies have demonstrated that religiosity allows individuals to better cope with illness, and may even influence disease progression. Furthermore, a report by McCullough et al. that included a meta-analysis of 42 studies (surveying roughly 126,000 people) found active religious involvement increased the odds of being alive at follow-up by 26%.

 

“Our study tested the hypothesis that religiosity—seeking God’s help, having faith in God, trusting in God, trying to discern God’s will even in the disease—improves survival of patients with end-stage liver disease who underwent liver transplantation,” explains Franco Bonaguidi, D.Psych., and lead author of the study. The study team selected 179 patients who received a liver transplant between January 2004 and December 2007, and who also completed the religiosity questionnaire. Participants (129 males and 50 females) had a media age of 52 years and were followed for 4 years (median = 21 months) post-transplantation. Indications for liver transplant included: viral hepatitis (68%), alcoholic liver disease (17%), and autoimmune hepatitis (7%).

 

Results indicate that the Search for God factor (hazard ratio = 2.95) and length of stay in the intensive care unit (1.05) were independently associated with survival. Furthermore, it was the personal relationship between the patient and God, regardless of religious creed (Christian, Muslim, or other) rather than formal church attendance that positively affected survival. As one participant described, “I recovered my life by the will of Someone up there…I had great faith in Him. This closeness made me feel strong and calm.”

 

Dr. Bonaguidi concluded, “We found that an active search for God—the patient’s faith in a higher power rather than a generic destiny—had a positive impact on patient survival.” The authors caution that this study focuses on a severely ill patient population, therefore the conclusions may not be applicable to individuals with different illnesses or degrees of disease severity.

 

Public release date: 30-Sep-2010

 

Drugs for low libido raise concerns over industry ‘construction’ of new diseases

 

Feature: Merging of marketing and medical science: female sexual dysfunction

 

Drug companies have not only sponsored the science of a new condition known as female sexual dysfunction, they have helped to construct it, in order to build global markets for new drugs, reveals an article in this week’s BMJ.

 

Researching his new book ‘Sex, Lies and Pharmaceuticals’ Ray Moynihan, journalist and lecturer at the University of Newcastle in Australia, discovered that drug industry employees have worked with paid key opinion leaders to help develop the disease entity; they have run surveys to portray it as widespread; and they helped design diagnostic tools to persuade women that their sexual difficulties deserve a medical label and treatment.

 

He believes that “drug marketing is merging with medical science in a fascinating and frightening way” and he asks whether we need a fresh approach to defining disease.

 

He quotes a company employee saying that her company was interested in “expediting the development of a disease” and he reveals how companies are funding surveys that portray sexual problems as widespread and creating tools to assess women for “hypoactive sexual desire disorder.”

 

Many of the researchers involved in these activities were drug company employees or had financial ties to the industry, writes Moynihan. Meanwhile, scientific studies conducted without industry funding were questioning whether a widespread disorder of low desire really existed.

 

Industry is also taking a leading role in “educating” both professionals and the public about this controversial condition, he adds.

 

For example, a Pfizer funded course designed for doctors across the United States claimed that up to 63% of women had sexual dysfunction and that testosterone and sildenafil (Viagra) may be helpful, along with behavioural therapy. And he points out that German drug company Boehringer Ingelheim’s “educational” activities “went into overdrive” as the planned 2010 launch of its desire drug, flibanserin, approached.

 

In June, flibanserin was rejected by advisors to the US Food and Drug Administration and Pfizer’s sildenafil was also pulled after studies showed virtually no difference from placebo. But although the drugs have so far failed, Moynihan warns that “the edifice of scientific evidence about the condition remains in place … creating the impression that there is a massive “unmet need” for treatment.”

 

And with more experimental drugs in the pipeline, “the drug industry shows no signs of abandoning plans to meet the unmet need it has helped to manufacturer,” he says.

 

“Perhaps it’s time to reassess the way in which the medical establishment defines common conditions and recommends how to treat them,” he suggests.

 

“Perhaps it is time to develop new panels to take responsibility for defining treatable illness, made up of people without financial ties to those with vested interests in the outcomes of their deliberations and much more broadly representative of the wider public … and start the slow process of untangling the marketing from the medical science.” he concludes.

 

“Faced with a woman in tears whose libido has disappeared and who is terrified of losing her partner, doctors can feel immense pressure to provide an immediate, effective solution,” says Dr Sandy Goldbeck-Wood, a specialist in psychosexual medicine, in an accompanying commentary.

 

She says Moynihan’s research clarifies both the conflicts of interest at work and the relative paucity of good quality evidence for pharmacological solutions to women’s sexual problems. However, she argues: “his argument that female sexual dysfunction is an illness constructed by pathologising doctors under the influence of drug companies will fail to convince clinicians who see women with sexual dysfunction, or their patients.”

 

Women who have struggled to overcome the psychological and cultural barriers to requesting help with their sexual difficulties will not welcome the argument that they are to be “left alone,” she writes.

 

She believes the problem is one of oversimplification and believes that more studies are needed that reflect the complexity of sexual life. “It’s time to invest in more research into the most realistic, respectful and evidence based treatments, rather than narrow biological ones founded on poor evidence,” she says.

 

Public release date: 30-Sep-2010

 

Bioethics scholars fault requirement that all women in clinical drug trials use contraception

 

(Garrison, NY) Research ethics review committees often require all women of childbearing age who enroll in clinical trials to use contraceptives to protect against a developing fetus being exposed to potentially harmful drugs. A mandatory contraceptive policy is often imposed even when there is no evidence that a trial drug could harm a fetus or when women have no chance of becoming pregnancy. This requirement is excessive and can safely be relaxed in many cases, according to a report in IRB: Ethics & Human Research.

 

Policies on contraceptive use in research should reflect the level of potential risk the study drug poses to the fetus, write Chris Kaposy, an assistant professor of Health Care Ethics at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada; and Françoise Baylis, professor and Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Philosophy at Dalhousie University in Halifax. They point to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s categories for prescription drug labeling for drug use in pregnancy as a helpful guide. The FDA has five categories, each with different degrees of evidence of risk to fetuses.

 

Category A, for example, indicates that “adequate, well-controlled studies in pregnant women have not shown increased risk of fetal abnormalities.” And yet the policy of the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s institutional review board – which Kaposy and Baylis reviewed as a typical example of IRB contraceptive use policies – permits researchers to petition the IRB to impose a mandatory contraception or abstinence requirement for trial participants in studies that use Category A drugs. However, the authors argue that an ideal policy for Category A drugs would not require contraception or abstinence.

 

The authors also say that contraception should not be mandated for women who have no chance of becoming pregnant while participating in a clinical drug trial. “Consider, for example, women who are not sexually active (e.g., nuns) or who are not sexually active in a heterosexual relationship (e.g., lesbians),” they write. Mandating contraception for these groups sends “a paternalistic message of mistrust” that undermines the normal practice of treating research participants as autonomous decision-makers.

 

“Our recommendations are an attempt to find an appropriate balance between the interests of potential fetuses and the autonomy and well-being of women,” they write.

 

Public release date: 30-Sep-2010

 

J&J, FDA leaders take heat for ‘phantom’ recall

 

By MATTHEW PERRONE, AP Health Writer Matthew Perrone, Ap Health Writer

Thu Sep 30, 5:58 pm ET

 

WASHINGTON – Johnson & Johnson executives and the Food and Drug Administration both shouldered the blame Thursday for a secret recall in which hired contractors quietly bought up defective painkillers to clear them from store shelves.

 

J&J Chief Executive William Weldon told House lawmakers the company “made a mistake” in conducting the so-called “phantom recall,” which is one of a string of problems that have drawn congressional scrutiny

 

In the same committee hearing, the FDA’s deputy commissioner, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, said his agency should have acted sooner to halt J&J’s plan. At the same time, though, he stressed that regulators were not aware of the deceptive nature of the recall.

 

Sharfstein and Weldon testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which held its second hearing on J&J’s unprecedented spate of recalls. The largest, involving more than 135 million bottles of infants’ and children’s Tylenol and other medicines, triggered the committee’s investigation.

 

“We recognize that we need to do better, and we will work hard to restore the public’s trust and faith in Johnson & Johnson,” Weldon told lawmakers.

 

Democrats and Republicans pressed Weldon on its “phantom” recall involving 88,000 packets of Motrin, which Weldon acknowledged as “not one of our finer moments.”

 

But lawmakers also pressed the FDA on when and what it knew about the activity. New Brunswick, N.J.-based J&J has repeatedly claimed it alerted the agency’s officials in Puerto Rico, where the defective Motrin was originally manufactured.

 

Sharfstein said J&J informed the FDA of its plan to repurchase the pills – which did not dissolve correctly – in April 2009.

 

“From this point, it took until July for the FDA to tell the company that a recall should be conducted,” Sharfstein said in his testimony. “In my opinion that message should have been given sooner.”

 

But Sharfstein stressed that the FDA did not know J&J had instructed contractors to pose as regular customers while buying the product and to not alert store employees to their activity.

 

“Based on the documents I reviewed, I don’t see any indication that the FDA was aware of the surreptitious, lying nature of the recall,” he said.

 

Republican lawmakers criticized a “too cozy” relationship between FDA and J&J employees, citing months-long e-mail exchanges between the two before regulators took action. But Sharfstein said ultimate blame lies with J&J, pointing out that the FDA does not have the authority to order when and how companies conduct recalls.

 

“I think fundamentally the responsibility is with the company to handle their quality problems in a much different way,” Sharfstein said.

 

Companies are advised to work with the FDA on recalls, although that isn’t a legal requirement.

 

Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., has introduced a bill that would give the agency the power to order recalls.

 

The maker of trusted brands like Tylenol and Benadryl, J&J has announced nine recalls of drugs for children and adults since last September with problems ranging from too much active ingredient to tiny shards of metal.

 

In May, J&J closed its Fort Washington, Pa., facility, the largest manufacturing site for children’s medications. J&J announced Thursday it would begin shipping its grape-flavored Children’s Tylenol next week, the first of its children’s formulas to return to the market.

 

Weldon said the company plans to invest $100 million across the company to improve facilities, equipment and operations around the world.

 

Weldon, who has been CEO since 2002, missed the committee’s last hearing because of back surgery.

 

Testifying beside him Thursday was J&J executive Colleen Goggins, who oversaw the consumer division of the company’s McNeil Healthcare unit during the recalls.

 

At the May hearing, Goggins told lawmakers she had no knowledge of instructions to contractors involved in the phantom recall to not tell store employees what they were doing. In her testimony Thursday, Goggins acknowledged that the company wrote those instructions.

 

“Based on what I have learned since May, I believe that McNeil should have handled things differently,” Goggins said.

 

Goggins will retire in March, Johnson & Johnson announced this month.

 

Ralph’s Note – If all the product did was not dissolve correctly….Then why the incredible secrecy, and deception? I’m sorry.. First the FDA and J&J admit being dishonest….Then they issue this weak press release. Yes the FDA may not of had the authoity to issue a recall…BUT IT IS THEIR JOB TO AT LEAST INFORM THE PUBLIC.. Now that all the recalled tablets have been secretly REMOVED AS EVIDENCE….How will we ever know the TRUTH. Whatever Tablets remain, need to go to an independent testing facility…. WHY are no lot numbers mentioned in this article? They are probably still sitting in medicine cabinets across the country….

 

Public release date: 1-Oct-2010

 

Vitamin D levels lower in African-Americans

 

MIAMI — African-American women had lower vitamin D levels than white women, and vitamin D deficiency was associated with a greater likelihood for aggressive breast cancer, according to data presented at the Third AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities.

 

“We know that darker skin pigmentation acts somewhat as a block to producing vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, which is the primary source of vitamin D in most people,” said Susan Steck, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Carolina.

 

Steck and colleagues observed 107 women who were all diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous five years. Sixty of these women were African-American, while the remaining 47 were white.

 

All women donated a blood sample, and vitamin D status was determined using circulating 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels as a marker. The mean serum concentration of vitamin D was 29.8 ng/ml in white women and 19.3 ng/ml in African-American women.

 

Researchers defined vitamin D deficiency as a serum concentration less than 20 ng/ml, and found this to be the case in 60 percent of African-American women compared with 15 percent of white women. Serum levels were lowest among patients with triple-negative breast cancer, and aggressive disease was eight times more likely among patients with vitamin D deficiency.

 

Steck said the findings of this study provide a foundation for a possible prevention strategy, but further research would be required.

 

Public release date: 1-Oct-2010

 

Vigorous exercise reduces breast cancer risk in African-American women

 

MIAMI — Vigorous exercise of more than two hours per week reduces the risk of developing breast cancer in postmenopausal African-American women by 64 percent, compared to women of the same race who do not exercise, according to researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

 

Results were presented at the Third AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities, held Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, 2010.

 

“People often want to know what they can do to reduce their risk of disease, and we have found that just two or more hours of vigorous activity per week can made a difference in one’s risk of developing breast cancer,” said the lead researcher Vanessa Sheppard, Ph.D., a cancer control scientist and assistant professor in the department of oncology at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

 

In this study, more than two hours of aerobics, running or similar activity over the span of a week counted as vigorous activity.

 

“We also know from other studies that being physically active can have benefits in other diseases that occur at high rates in African-American women, such as diabetes and hypertension,” Sheppard said. “Four out of five African-American women are either overweight or obese, and disease control is a particularly important issue for them.”

 

Evidence showing exercise reduces breast cancer risk has been inconsistent, and there are few that look specifically at African-American women, Sheppard said. The issue is important, she added, because breast cancer has some important differences in this community. Whereas more white women are diagnosed with breast cancer, African-American women have a higher risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer than white women do, and comparatively more African-American women develop the most aggressive form of the disease, known as triple-negative breast cancer.

 

The researchers identified 97 recently diagnosed African-American breast cancer patients in the Washington, D.C., area and matched them with 102 African-American women without breast cancer. Participants filled out a questionnaire about exercise routines; the responses were analyzed and compared.

 

Women who exercised vigorously for more than two hours a week in the past year had a 64 percent reduced risk of breast cancer compared to women who did not exercise. Women who engaged in moderate exercise, like walking, had a 17 percent reduced risk, compared to women who were sedentary.

 

After evaluating those who were pre- and postmenopausal, they found that vigorous exercise only significantly benefitted postmenopausal women — they had a 62 percent reduction in risk.

 

“I was surprised that we did not find a significant effect in premenopausal women, but it may be because we need a larger sample,” Sheppard said.

 

However, when the researchers examined the effect of total physical activity, which combined walking with vigorous activity of two or more hours per week, they saw significant gains for both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.

 

“We suggest that our findings, while promising, should be interpreted with caution. This is a pilot study and a larger, more rigorous study is needed to precisely quantify the effect of exercise on development of breast cancer. I think it is fair to conclude that if African American women exercise they can help take charge of their health,” said Sheppard.

 

Public release date: 1-Oct-2010

 

Think saturated fat contributes to heart disease? Think again

 

Leading scientists re-examine the role of saturated fat in the diet

(Rosemont, IL) Oct. 1 – For the past three decades, saturated fat has been considered a major culprit of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and as a result dietary advice persists in recommending reduced consumption of this macronutrient. However, new evidence shows that saturated fat intake has only a very limited impact on CVD risk — causing many to rethink the “saturated fat is bad” paradigm.

 

A series of research articles published in the October issue of Lipids provides a snapshot of recent advances in saturated fat and health research, based on science presented at the 100th American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) annual meeting in Orlando, Florida (May 2009). During a symposium entitled “Saturated Fats and Health: Facts and Feelings,” world-renowned scientists specializing in fat research analyzed the evidence between saturated fat intake and health, and overall agreed upon the need to reduce over-simplification when it came to saturated fat dietary advice.

 

“The relationship between dietary intake of fats and health is intricate, and variations in factors such as human genetics, life stage and lifestyles can lead to different responses to saturated fat intake,” said J. Bruce German, PhD, professor and chemist in the Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California at Davis. “Although diets inordinately high in fat and saturated fat are associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk in some individuals, assuming that saturated fat at any intake level is harmful is an over-simplification and not supported by scientific evidence.”

 

Professor Philippe Legrand of Agrocampus-INRA in France confirmed this by discussing various roles that different saturated fatty acids play in the body. His main conclusion was that saturated fats can no longer be considered a single group in terms of structure, metabolism and cellular function, and recommendations that group them together with regard to health effects need to be updated.

 

Effect of Saturated Fat Replacement on CVD Risk

 

Results from a research review conducted by Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, MPH, Department of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard University School of Public Health, found that the effects of saturated fat intake on CVD risk depend upon simultaneous changes in other nutrients. For example, replacing saturated fat with mono-unsaturated fat yielded uncertain effects on CVD risk, while replacing saturated fat with carbohydrates was found to be ineffective and even harmful especially when refined carbohydrates such as starches or sugars were used in place of fat . Replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat gave a small reduction in CVD risk, but even with optimal replacement the magnitude of the benefit was very small. According to Mozaffarian it would be far better to focus on dietary factors giving much larger benefits for CVD health, such as increasing intake of seafood/omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and decreasing intake of trans fats and sodium.

 

”Carbohydrate intake has been intimately linked to metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of risk factors that can increase CVD risk,” said Jeff Volek, PhD, RD, Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut. His research showed that very low carbohydrate diets can favorably impact a broad spectrum of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk factors, even in the presence of high saturated fat intake and in the absence of weight loss.

 

Kiran Musunuru, MD, PhD, MPH. Cardiovascular Research Center and Center for Human Genetic Research, Massachusetts General Hospital, focused on the role of carbohydrates and fats on atherogenic dyslipidemia – a new marker for CVD risk often seen in patients with obesity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. He showed that low-carbohydrate diets appear to have beneficial lipoprotein effects in individuals with atherogenic dyslipidemia, compared to high-carbohydrate diets, whereas the content of saturated fat in the diet has no significant effect.

 

Full-Fat Dairy: An Unnecessary Target?

 

As long as saturated fat targets remain firmly rooted in dietary advice, nutrient-rich foods that contribute saturated fat to the diet, like full-fat dairy products, will continue to be unduly criticized regardless of their health benefits.

 

A recent meta-analysis of epidemiological and intervention studies of milk fat conducted by Peter Elwood, DSc, MD, FRCP, FFPHM, DUniv, Hon DSc, Honorary Professor at the School of Medicine, Cardiff University, found that milk and dairy consumption actually was associated with a decrease in CVD risk .

 

“It is clear that we have barely scratched the surface in our understanding about the biological effects of saturated fatty acids,” said Cindy Schweitzer, PhD, Technical Director, Global Dairy Platform. “Scientific meetings where researchers from different disciplines within the field of nutrition share information are extremely important to identify both the gaps in our knowledge and the studies that are needed to answer the important questions about diet and health.”

 

All of these recent research advances add to the growing body of science re-assessing the role of saturated fat in the diet. Whether it’s nutrient replacement or better understanding the role certain foods can play in CVD risk, saturated fat is definitely not be as bad as once thought.

 

Public release date: 4-Oct-2010

 

Sleep loss limits fat loss

 

Cutting back on sleep reduces the benefits of dieting, according to a study published October 5, 2010, in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

 

When dieters in the study got a full night’s sleep, they lost the same amount of weight as when they slept less. When dieters got adequate sleep, however, more than half of the weight they lost was fat. When they cut back on their sleep, only one-fourth of their weight loss came from fat.

 

They also felt hungrier. When sleep was restricted, dieters produced higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger and reduces energy expenditure.

 

“If your goal is to lose fat, skipping sleep is like poking sticks in your bicycle wheels,” said study director Plamen Penev, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. “Cutting back on sleep, a behavior that is ubiquitous in modern society, appears to compromise efforts to lose fat through dieting. In our study it reduced fat loss by 55 percent.”

 

The study, performed at the University of Chicago’s General Clinical Resource Center, followed 10 overweight but healthy volunteers aged 35 to 49 with a body mass index ranging from 25, considered overweight, to 32, considered obese. Participants were placed on an individualized, balanced diet, with calories restricted to 90 percent of what each person needed to maintain his or her weight without exercise.

 

Each participant was studied twice: once for 14 days in the laboratory with an 8.5-hour period set aside for sleep, and once for 14 days with only 5.5 hours for sleep. They spent their waking hours engaged in home- or office-like work or leisure activities.

 

During the two-week, 8.5-hours-in-bed phase, volunteers slept an average of 7 hours and 25 minutes each night. In the 5.5-hour phase, they slept 5 hours and 14 minutes, or more than two hours less. The number of calories they consumed, about 1,450 per day, was kept the same.

 

The volunteers lost an average of 6.6 pounds during each 14-day session. During weeks with adequate sleep, they lost 3.1 pounds of fat and 3.3 pounds of fat-free body mass, mostly protein. During the short-sleep weeks, participants lost an average of 1.3 pounds of fat and 5.3 pounds of fat-free mass.

 

Getting adequate sleep also helped control the dieters’ hunger. Average levels of ghrelin did not change when dieters spent 8.5 hours in bed. When they spent 5.5 hours in bed, their ghrelin levels rose over two weeks from 75 ng/L to 84 ng/L.

 

Higher ghrelin levels have been shown to “reduce energy expenditure, stimulate hunger and food intake, promote retention of fat, and increase hepatic glucose production to support the availability of fuel to glucose dependent tissues,” the authors note. “In our experiment, sleep restriction was accompanied by a similar pattern of increased hunger and … reduced oxidation of fat.”

 

The tightly controlled circumstances of this study may actually have masked some of sleep’s benefits for dieters, suggested Penev. Study subjects did not have access to extra calories. This may have helped dieters to “stick with their lower-calorie meal plans despite increased hunger in the presence of sleep restriction,” he said.

 

The message for people trying to lose weight is clear, Penev said. “For the first time, we have evidence that the amount of sleep makes a big difference on the results of dietary interventions. One should not ignore the way they sleep when going on a diet. Obtaining adequate sleep may enhance the beneficial effects of a diet. Not getting enough sleep could defeat the desired effects.”

 

Public release date: 4-Oct-2010

 

Walnuts, walnut oil, improve reaction to stress

 

A diet rich in walnuts and walnut oil may prepare the body to deal better with stress, according to a team of Penn State researchers who looked at how these foods, which contain polyunsaturated fats, influence blood pressure at rest and under stress.

 

Previous studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids — like the alpha linolenic acid found in walnuts and flax seeds — can reduce low density lipoproteins (LDL) — bad cholesterol. These foods may also reduce c-reactive protein and other markers of inflammation.

 

“People who show an exaggerated biological response to stress are at higher risk of heart disease,” said Sheila G. West, associate professor of biobehavioral health. “We wanted to find out if omega 3-fatty acids from plant sources would blunt cardiovascular responses to stress.”

 

The researchers studied 22 healthy adults with elevated LDL cholesterol. All meals and snacks were provided during three diet periods of six weeks each.

 

The researchers found that including walnuts and walnut oil in the diet lowered both resting blood pressure and blood pressure responses to stress in the laboratory. Participants gave a speech or immersed their foot in cold water as a stressor. Adding flax seed oil to the walnut diet did not further lower blood pressure. They report their findings in the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

 

“This is the first study to show that walnuts and walnut oil reduce blood pressure during stress,” said West. “This is important because we can’t avoid all of the stressors in our daily lives. This study shows that a dietary change could help our bodies better respond to stress.”

 

A subset of the participants also underwent a vascular ultrasound in order to measure artery dilation. Results showed that adding flax oil to the walnut diet significantly improved this test of vascular health. The flax plus walnuts diet also lowered c-reactive protein, indicating an anti-inflammatory effect. According to West, that could also reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

The researchers used a randomized, crossover study design. Tests were conducted at the end of each six-week diet, and every participant consumed each of the three diets in random order, with a one-week break between. Diets included an “average” American diet – a diet without nuts that reflects what the typical person in the U.S. consumes each day. The second diet included 1.3 ounces of walnuts and a tablespoon of walnut oil substituted for some of the fat and protein in the average American diet. The third diet included walnuts, walnut oil and 1.5 tablespoons of flaxseed oil. The three diets were matched for calories and were specifically designed for each participant so that no weight loss or gain occurred. The walnuts, walnut oil, and flax oil were either mixed into the food in such offerings as muffins or salad dressing or eaten as a snack. About 18 walnut halves or 9 walnuts make up the average serving used by the researchers.

After each diet, the participants underwent two stress tests. In the first test, they received a topic; and they were given two minutes to prepare a three-minute speech, which they presented while being videotaped. The second stressor was a standard physical test of stress consisting of submerging one foot in ice-cold water. Throughout these tests, the researchers took blood pressure readings from the participants.

 

Results showed that average diastolic blood pressure — the “bottom number” or the pressure in the arteries when the heart is resting — was significantly reduced during the diets containing walnuts and walnut oil.

 

Walnuts are a rich source of fiber, antioxidants, and unsaturated fatty acids, particularly alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, and these compounds could be responsible for the beneficial effects on blood pressure. Flax oil is a more concentrated source of omega-3 fatty acids than walnut oil, but this study did not test whether flax oil alone could blunt cardiovascular responses to stress.

 

“These results are in agreement with several recent studies showing that walnuts can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure,” noted West. “This work suggests that blood pressure is also reduced when a person is exposed to stress in their daily life.”

 

Public release date: 4-Oct-2010

 

Surprise: Scientists discover that inflammation helps to heal wounds

 

New research in the FASEB Journal suggests that muscle inflammation after acute muscle injury is essential to muscle repair by means of insulin-like growth factor-1

A new research study published in The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) may change how sports injuries involving muscle tissue are treated, as well as how much patient monitoring is necessary when potent anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed for a long time. That’s because the study shows for the first time that inflammation actually helps to heal damaged muscle tissue, turning conventional wisdom on its head that inflammation must be largely controlled to encourage healing. These findings could lead to new therapies for acute muscle injuries caused by trauma, chemicals, infections, freeze damage, and exposure to medications which cause muscle damage as a side effect. In addition, these findings suggest that existing and future therapies used to combat inflammation should be closely examined to ensure that the benefits of inflammation are not eliminated.

 

“We hope that our findings stimulate further research to dissect different roles played by tissue inflammation in clinical settings, so we can utilize the positive effects and control the negative effects of tissue inflammation,” said Lan Zhou, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Neuroinflammation Research Center/Department of Neurosciences/Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

 

Zhou and colleagues found that the presence of inflammatory cells (macrophages) in acute muscle injury produce a high level of a growth factor called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) which significantly increases the rate of muscle regeneration. The research report shows that muscle inflammatory cells produce the highest levels of IGF-1, which improves muscle injury repair. To reach this conclusion, the researchers studied two groups of mice. The first group of mice was genetically altered so they could not mount inflammatory responses to acute injury. The second group of mice was normal. Each group experienced muscle injury induced by barium chloride. The muscle injury in the first group of mice did not heal, but in the second group, their bodies repaired the injury. Further analysis showed that macrophages within injured muscles in the second group of mice produced a high level of IGF-1, leading to significantly improved muscle repair.

 

“For wounds to heal we need controlled inflammation, not too much, and not too little,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, “It’s been known for a long time that excess anti-inflammatory medication, such as cortisone, slows wound healing. This study goes a long way to telling us why: insulin-like growth factor and other materials released by inflammatory cells helps wound to heal.”

 

Public release date: 5-Oct-2010

 

Amino acid supplement makes mice live longer

 

When mice are given drinking water laced with a special concoction of amino acids, they live longer than your average mouse, according to a new report in the October issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication. The key ingredients in the supplemental mixture are so-called branched-chain amino acids, which account for 3 of the 20 amino acids (specifically leucine, isoleucine, and valine) that are the building blocks of proteins.

 

“This is the first demonstration that an amino acid mixture can increase survival in mice,” said Enzo Nisoli of Milan University in Italy, noting that researchers last year showed that leucine, isoleucine, and valine extend the life span of single-celled yeast.

 

In the new study, the researchers gave middle-aged, male mice extra branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) in their drinking water. The animals were otherwise healthy and eating standard mouse chow.

 

Animals that were given the extra amino acids over a period of months lived longer, with a median life span of 869 days compared to 774 days for untreated control animals, the researchers report. That’s an increase of 12 percent.

 

Those survival gains were accompanied by an increase in mitochondria in cardiac and skeletal muscles. Mitochondria are the cellular components responsible for powering cells. The supplement-fed mice also showed increased activity of SIRT1, a well-known longevity gene, and of the defense system that combats free radicals. They therefore showed fewer signs of oxidative damage.

 

The benefits of the amino acid supplements appear similar to those earlier ascribed to calorie restriction, Nisoli said.

 

Treated animals also showed improvements in their exercise endurance and in motor coordination, the researchers report. (It is important to note that the animals in the current study were all male, Nisoli said. They plan to test the effects in females in future studies.)

 

The findings in older mice suggest that the supplementary mixture may be specifically beneficial for those who are elderly or ill. “It may not be useful in young people or body builders,” who are already in good condition, he said. But it might be a useful preventive strategy, he added, emphasizing that the mice they studied “were just aged, not sick.”

 

Nisoli emphasized that consuming amino acid supplements is different from consuming proteins containing those amino acids. That’s because they do not have to be digested, and can enter the bloodstream immediately. “They come with no energy cost.”

 

He suspects that BCAA nutritional supplements may prove to be particularly helpful for people with heart failure, the muscle-wasting condition known as sarcopenia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or other conditions characterized by energy defects. In fact, there are already some small studies in human to support that idea and BCAA supplements are already available for purchase in several countries, including Italy.

 

The challenge, Nisoli says, will be convincing clinicians that these supplements might be a benefit to their patients. He says a large clinical trial is needed, but there is little incentive for companies to do such trials for dietary supplements as opposed to drugs.

 

Overall, Nisoli said the new work supports a “general philosophy of a nutritional approach to disease, aging, and problems of energy status.”

 

Public release date: 5-Oct-2010

 

Shortfalls in carotenoid ( Pro-Vitamin A )intake may impact women’s health

 

Newly released report finds younger women have greater ‘carotenoid gap’ in the diet than older women

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH., Oct. 5, 2010 – Only about a third of American women are meeting their fruit and vegetable intake recommendations, which means they are likely missing out on potentially important breast and ovarian health benefits (1). Along with vitamins, minerals and fiber, fruits and vegetables contain a type of phytonutrient called carotenoids, which research suggests help support women’s health including breast and ovarian health.

 

Based on a new report called America’s Phytonutrient Report: Women’s Health by Color, older women have total carotenoid intakes 20 percent greater than younger women after accounting for differences in caloric intake. Similar to the original America’s Phytonutrient Report: Quantifying the Gap which found that on average eight out of 10 American adults are falling short on phytonutrient consumption, the new report revealed a troubling shortfall, this time among women and carotenoids. America’s Phytonutrient Reports are released by The Nutrilite Health Institute, a worldwide collaboration of experts who are dedicated to helping people achieve optimal health – through research, education, and practical, personalized solutions. Nutrilite is the world’s leading brand of vitamin, mineral, and dietary supplements, based on 2008 sales.

 

Carotenoids are compounds that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors, which research suggests may offer breast, ovarian and other health benefits for women. Using NHANES energy-adjusted data to compare the diets of women 45 years and older with those younger, the report finds that many women of all ages lack carotenoid-rich foods in their diet, but the relative magnitude of the “carotenoid gap” is greater among women less than 45 years old as compared to older women.

 

“This points to a troubling phenomenon where younger women may be missing some of the benefits of consuming more carotenoid rich fruits and vegetables, and yet calorie for calorie, older women are eating more of these important nutrients,” said Keith Randolph, Ph.D., Technology Strategist for Nutrilite.

 

The Carotenoids by Color Category

 

This new report examined consumption of five different carotenoids across three phytonutrient color categories including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin in the yellow/orange category, lutein/zeaxanthin in the green category and lycopene in red. In every color category, older women consumed equal or greater amounts compared to younger women after adjusting for differences in caloric intake. Specifically, women age 45 and older consume:

 

•50 percent more beta-carotene;

•40 percent more alpha-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin;

•and, 10 percent more beta-cryptoxanthin.

For lycopene, younger and older women consume comparable amounts.

 

Carotenoids Shown To Reduce Cancer Risk

 

A growing body of research suggests carotenoids may be associated with protective benefits against certain cancers. The research points to an apparent lowered risk for breast and ovarian cancers among women of all ages who increase their intake of fruits and vegetables rich in various carotenoids including lutein/zeaxanthin, lycopene, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin according to Randolph.

 

Top Food Sources

 

It turns out that a limited number of foods account for significant portions of carotenoid intakes, according to the new report. Following are the single largest food contributors in the diets of American women by color category of phytonutrient:

 

•Green Carotenoid: Lutein/Zeaxanthin

 

◦Spinach accounts for 33% of lutein/zeaxanthin intake among younger women and 31% among older.

•Red Carotenoid: Lycopene

 

◦Tomatoes (and tomato products) account for 93% of lycopene intake among younger women and 89% among older.

•Yellow/Orange Carotenoid: Alpha-carotene

 

◦Carrots account for 76% of alpha-carotene intake among younger women and 73% among older.

•Yellow/Orange Carotenoid: Beta-carotene

 

◦Carrots account for 33% of beta-carotene intake among younger women and 30% among older.

•Yellow/Orange Carotenoid: Beta-cryptoxanthin

 

◦Oranges (and orange juice) account for 61% of beta-cryptoxanthin intake among younger women and 60% among older.

Powering Up Produce

 

Choosing to increase the amount of the fruit and vegetables richest in carotenoids is important for long-term preventative health among women. While foods like spinach, tomatoes and carrots are certainly part of a healthy diet, there are opportunities for women to choose a wider variety of produce. For example, while carrots are among the top food sources of alpha and beta-carotenes, cooked pumpkin is also a concentrated food source of not only those carotenes, but of beta-cryptoxanthin. However, based on the current data analysis, cooked pumpkin accounts for less than 3% of total intake of these carotenoids among American women.

 

“It’s concerning that so many American women lack a variety of carotenoid-rich foods in their regular diets,” says Amy Hendel, Nutrilite’s Phytonutrient Coach. “By selecting the most carotenoid-rich produce choices, women can purposefully increase their carotenoid and phytonutrient intakes which can impact health significantly as they age.”

 

Hendel, a registered physician assistant and health/wellness expert, offers these easy substitutions to “power up” your plate and add new flavors to your meal plan:

 

•Green: A serving of cooked kale provides triple the amount of lutein/zeaxanthin as a serving of raw spinach.

•Red: A serving of guava delivers more than one and a half times the lycopene in a raw tomato.

•Yellow/Orange:

◦A serving of sweet potatoes has nearly double the beta-carotene as a serving of carrots.

◦A serving of carrots delivers four times the amount of alpha-carotene as a serving of winter squash.

◦A serving of fresh papaya has roughly 10 times the beta-cryptoxanthin found in an orange.

 

Hendel adds, a good goal for most individuals is to consume 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, with an emphasis on quality, not just quantity. If this proves challenging, consider a natural, plant-based dietary supplement which includes phytonutrients such as carotenoids.

 

“Just remember, small changes in the diet each day can add up to powerful changes over time. Older women may eat more carotenoids, but women of all ages are falling short. Diet is a lifetime of exposure and best we teach younger women how to eat right, up those carotenoids, and exercise more from the beginning,” says Hendel.

 

Public release date: 5-Oct-2010

 

Low Testosterone Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

 

SLU Geriatrician Collaborates on Year-Long Study of Chinese Older Men

 

ST. LOUIS — Low levels of the male sex hormone, testosterone, in older men is associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research by a team that includes a Saint Louis University scientist.

 

John Morley, M.D.

 

“Having low testosterone may make you more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease,” said John E. Morley, M.D., director of the division of geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University and a study co-investigator. “The take-home message is we should pay more attention to low testosterone, particularly in people who have memory problems or other signs of cognitive impairment.”

 

The study was published electronically prior to its print publication in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and led by Leung-Wing Chu, M.D., who is chief of the division of geriatric medicine at Queen Mary Hospital at the University of Hong Kong.

 

Researchers studied 153 Chinese men who were recruited from social centers. They were at least 55 years and older, lived in the community and didn’t have dementia. Of those men, 47 had mild cognitive impairment – or problems with clear thinking and memory loss.

 

Within a year, 10 men who all were part of the cognitively impaired group developed probable Alzheimer’s disease. These men also had low testosterone in their body tissues; elevated levels of the ApoE 4 (apolipoprotein E) protein, which is correlated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease; and high blood pressure.

 

“It’s a very exciting study because we’ve shown that a low level of testosterone is one of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease,” Morley said.

 

The findings corroborate findings in previous studies of older Caucasian men that show low testosterone is associated with impaired thinking and Alzheimer’s disease. They suggest that testosterone may have a protective value against Alzheimer’s disease.

 

The next step, Morley said, is to conduct a large-scale study that investigates the use of testosterone in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Morley and his co-authors advocate studying the effectiveness of testosterone replacement in older men who have both mild memory problems and low testosterone in staving off Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Public release date: 6-Oct-2010

 

Vitamin D deficiency rampant in patients undergoing orthopedic surgery, damaging patient recovery

 

Doctors provide strategy to improve outcomes

 

Almost 50 percent of patients undergoing orthopedic surgery have vitamin D deficiency that should be corrected before surgery to improve patient outcomes, based on a study by researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City. Vitamin D is essential for bone healing and muscle function and is critical for a patient’s recovery. The study appears in the October issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

 

“In the perfect world, test levels, fix and then operate,” said Joseph Lane, M.D., professor of Orthopedic Surgery and chief of the Metabolic Bone Disease Service at HSS, who led the study. “If you put people on 2,000-4,000 [milligrams] of vitamin D based on what their deficient value was, you can usually get them corrected in four to six weeks, which is when you are really going to need the vitamin D. If you are really aggressive right before surgery, you can correct deficient levels quickly, but you have to correct it, measure it, and then act on it.”

 

According to Dr. Lane, bone remodeling or bone tissue formation, a part of the healing process, occurs about two to four weeks after surgery. This is the critical stage when your body needs vitamin D.

 

For their study, investigators conducted a retrospective chart review of 723 patients who were scheduled for orthopedic surgery between January 2007 and March 2008 at HSS. They examined the vitamin D levels, which had been measured in all patients before their surgery, and found that 43 percent had insufficient vitamin D and 40 percent had deficient levels.

 

Vitamin D inadequacy was defined as

 

The highest levels of deficiency were seen in patients in the trauma service, where 66 percent of patients had insufficient levels and 52 percent had deficient levels. Of the patients undergoing foot and ankle surgery, 34 percent had inadequate levels and of patients undergoing hand surgery, 40 percent had insufficient levels.

 

In the Sports Medicine Service, 52.3 percent had insufficient levels and of these, one-third of these or 17 percent of the total had deficient levels. “We frequently see stress fractures in the Sports Medicine Service and if you want to heal, you have to fix the calcium and vitamin D,” Dr. Lane said.

 

In the Arthroplasty Service, which conducts hip and knee replacements, 38 percent had inadequate levels and 48 percent had deficient levels. “With arthroplasty, there is a certain number of patients that when you put in the prothesis, it breaks the bone adjacent to the protheses, which can really debilitate patients.” This could be prevented or minimized by rectifying vitamin D levels. Dr. Lane also explained that they now perform procedures where they grow a bone into a prosthesis without using cement. “In those people, it would be an advantage to have adequate vitamin D, because it matures the bone as it grows in, it is really healing into the prosthesis,” he said.

 

“The take home message is that low vitamin D has an implication in terms of muscle and fracture healing, it occurs in about 50 percent of people coming in for orthopedic surgery, and it is eminently correctable,” Dr. Lane said. “We recommend that people undergoing a procedure that involves the bone or the muscle should correct their vitamin D if they want to have an earlier faster, better, result. What we are saying is ‘wake up guys, smell the coffee; half of your patients have a problem, measure it, and if they are low, then fix it.'”

 

In recent years, vitamin D deficiency has been recognized as a common phenomenon and is caused by many factors. It is difficult to get from foods, except, for example, cod liver oil and fish. Until recently, the recommended daily allowance was set too low so foods were not supplemented with adequate doses. And third, while people can absorb vitamin D from sunlight, people these days often work long hours and often use sunscreen that impedes vitamin D intake.

 

________________________________

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 the base aspirations for fame, or fortune.

Just honorable people, doing honorable things.

 

Higher levels of vitamin B6, common amino acid associated with lower risk of lung cancer

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Paul Brennan, Ph.D. Brennan@iarc.fr JAMA and Archives Journals

This release is available in Chinese.

An analysis that included nearly 400,000 participants finds that those with higher blood levels of vitamin B6 and the essential amino acid methionine (found in most protein) had an associated lower risk of lung cancer, including participants who were current or former smokers, according to a study in the June 16 issue of JAMA.

Previous research has suggested that defi­ciencies in B vitamins may increase the probability of DNA damage and subse­quent gene mutations. “Given their involvement in maintaining DNA integrity and gene ex­pression, these nutrients have a potentially important role in inhibiting cancer devel­opment, and offer the possibility of modi­fying cancer risk through dietary changes,” the authors write. They add that deficiencies in nutrient levels of B vitamins have been shown to be high in many western populations.

Paul Brennan, Ph.D., of the International Agency for Re­search on Cancer, Lyon, France, and colleagues conducted an investigation of B vitamins and me­thionine status based on serum samples from the European Prospective Inves­tigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort study, which recruited 519,978 participants from 10 European countries between 1992 and 2000, of whom 385,747 donated blood. By 2006, 899 lung cancer cases were iden­tified and 1,770 control participants were individually matched by country, sex, date of birth, and date of blood collection.

After an analysis of the incidence rate of lung can­cer within the entire EPIC cohort and adjusting for various factors, the researchers found a lower risk for lung cancer among participants with increasing levels of B6 (comparing the fourth vs. first quartile of B6 levels). A lower risk was also seen for increasing methionine levels. “Similar and consistent decreases in risk were observed in never, former, and current smokers, indicating that results were not due to confounding [factors that can influence outcomes] by smoking. The magnitude of risk was also constant with increasing length of follow-up, indicating that the associations were not explained by preclinical disease,” the researchers write.

When participants were classified by median (midpoint) levels of serum methionine and B6, having above-median levels of both was associated with a lower lung cancer risk overall. A mod­erate lower risk was observed for increasing serum folate levels, although this association was restricted to former and current smok­ers, and was not apparent in never smokers.

“Our results suggest that above-median se­rum measures of both B6 and methionine, assessed on average 5 years prior to disease onset, are associated with a reduction of at least 50 percent on the risk of developing lung cancer. An additional association for se­rum levels of folate was present, that when combined with B6 and methionine, was associated with a two-thirds lower risk of lung cancer,” the authors write.

The researchers add that if their observations regarding serum methionine, B6, or both are shown to be causal, identifying optimum levels for re­ducing future cancer risk would appear to be appropriate.

“Lung cancer remains the most com­mon cause of cancer death in the world today and is likely to remain so for the near future. It is essential that for lung cancer prevention, any additional evidence about causality does not detract from the importance of reducing the numbers of individuals who smoke tobacco. With this in mind, it is important to recognize that a large proportion of lung cancer cases occur among former smokers, making up the majority in countries where tobacco campaigns have been particularly successful, and a non-trivial number of lung cancer cases oc­cur also among never smokers, particu­larly among women in parts of Asia. Clarifying the role of B vitamins and re­lated metabolites in lung cancer risk is likely therefore to be particularly relevant for former smokers and never smokers,” the authors conclude.

###

(JAMA. 2010;303[23]:2377-2385. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org)

Editor’s Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

84th Health Research Report 24 JUN 2010 – Reconstruction

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Health Research Report

84th Issue 24 JUN 2010

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.vit.bz

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

www.engineeringevil.com  www.healthresearchreport.me 

120922_0002

In this issue:

1. Tumor virus is best predictor of throat cancer survival

2. Molecular link between diabetes and schizophrenia connects food and mood

3. Healthy diet could slow or reverse early effects of Alzheimer’s disease

4. Pecans provide neurological protection

5. New evidence that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of diabetes

6. Polyphenols in red wine and green tea halt prostate cancer growth

7. Scottish people ‘living dangerously’

8. Replacing white rice with brown rice or other whole grains may reduce diabetes risk

9. Apple juice improves behavior but not cognition in Alzheimer’s patients

10. Higher levels of vitamin B6, common amino acid associated with lower risk of lung cancer

11. Probiotic therapy cuts risk of VAP in half for some in ICU

12. Coffee or tea: enjoy both in moderation for heart benefits

13. Vitamin D deficiency confirmed as common across a range of rheumatic conditions

14. Cutting carbs is more effective than low-fat diet for insulin-resistant women

15. Blueberry ameliorates hepatic fibrosis

16. Poor control of diabetes may be linked to low vitamin D

17. Early life exposure to BPA may affect testis function in adulthood

18. Polio research gives new insight into tackling vaccine-derived poliovirus

19. Study demonstrates pine bark naturally reduces hay fever symptoms

Public release date: 7-Jun-2010

Tumor virus is best predictor of throat cancer survival

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The presence of human papilloma virus, the virus that causes cervical cancer, in tumors is the most important predictor of survival for people diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the back of the mouth), according to a new study led by a researcher at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James).

Published online June 7 in the New England Journal of Medicine with a related editorial, this is the first study large enough to show that the presence of human papilloma virus (HPV) in tumors accounts for better response to therapy, rather than other favorable factors that may be present, such as young age and small tumors.

The second leading predictor of survival is lifetime smoking history, followed by cancer stage.

The findings suggest that the HPV status of a patient’s tumor and their smoking history may be used in the future, in addition to cancer stage, to determine the aggressiveness of a patient’s therapy.

“Previous studies indicated a relationship exited between the presence or absence of HPV in oropharyngeal tumors and patient survival, but they couldn’t determine if other favorable factors present in these patients were responsible for their better outcome,” says study leader Dr. Maura Gillison, a medical oncologist and head and neck cancer specialist at the OSUCCC-James.

“These findings close the door on these questions and will allow the field to move forward with clinical trials designed to determine how we should use molecular and behavioral factors to personalize therapy for patients.”

Gillison emphasized that there is insufficient data at this time to indicate how a specific patient’s cancer therapy should be tailored based on these factors.

Gillison and her colleagues analyzed the tumors and outcomes of 323 patients with stage III or IV oropharyngeal cancer who were part of a Radiation Therapy Oncology Group clinical trial. Of these patients, 206 had HPV-positive tumors and 117 had HPV-negative tumors.

At three years after treatment, 82 percent of patients with HPV-positive tumors were still alive, compared with 57 percent of patients with HPV-negative tumors. Rates of cancer relapse at three years for the groups were 43 percent and 74 percent, respectively.

The investigators determined that HPV presence in tumors accounted for most of the difference in therapy response and survival between patients with HPV-positive and HPV-negative tumors, while factors such as younger age, white race, better energy level, absence of anemia and smaller tumors were responsible for only about 10 percent of the difference.

Smoking history emerged as the second most important independent predictor of survival and cancer relapse for patients with oropharyngeal cancer. The risk of cancer relapse or death increased by one percent for each additional pack year of tobacco smoking (one pack year is equivalent to smoking one pack a day for a year).

The investigators found that at three-years, about 93 percent of patients with HPV-positive tumors who were never or light- smokers were alive, as compared to about 70 percent of patients with HPV-positive tumors who were smokers and about 46 percent of patients with HPV-negative tumors who were smokers.

“The two risk factors that place an individual at risk for oropharyngeal cancer are also the most important factors determining patient survival. This is probably because these factors determine the genetic profile of these cancers and how they respond to treatment,” Gillison says.

Gillison and her colleagues have since conducted a follow-up study to further investigate the influence of tobacco smoking on oropharyngeal cancer. She reported these findings June 7 at the 2010 annual meeting of American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Ralph’s Note – Time to Re-Think the Useless HPV vaccine….

Public Release: 8-Jun-2010

Molecular link between diabetes and schizophrenia connects food and mood

Defects in insulin function – which occur in diabetes and obesity – could directly contribute to psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigators have discovered a molecular link between impaired insulin signaling in the brain and schizophrenia-like behaviors in mice. The findings, reported June 8 in PLoS Biology, offer a new perspective on the psychiatric and cognitive disorders that affect patients with diabetes and suggest new strategies for treating these conditions.

“We know that people with diabetes have an increased incidence of mood and other psychiatric disorders,” said endocrinologist Kevin Niswender, M.D., Ph.D. “And we think that those co-morbidities might explain why some patients have trouble taking care of their diabetes.”

“Something goes wrong in the brain because insulin isn’t signaling the way that it normally does,” said neurobiologist Aurelio Galli, Ph.D.

Galli’s group was among the first to show that insulin – the hormone that governs glucose metabolism in the body – also regulates the brain’s supply of dopamine – a neurotransmitter with roles in motor activity, attention and reward. Disrupted dopamine signaling has been implicated in brain disorders including depression, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Now, Galli, Niswender, and colleagues have pieced together the molecular pathway between perturbed insulin signaling in the brain and dopamine dysfunction leading to schizophrenia-like behaviors.

The researchers developed mice with an insulin-signaling defect only in neurons (they impaired the function of the protein Akt, which transmits insulin’s signal inside cells). They found that the mice have behavioral abnormalities similar to those frequently seen in patients with schizophrenia.

They also showed how defects in insulin signaling disrupt neurotransmitter levels in the brain – the mice have reduced dopamine and elevated norepinephrine in the prefrontal cortex, an important area for cognitive processes. These changes resulted from elevated levels of the transporter protein (NET) that removes norepinephrine and dopamine from the synaptic space between neurons.

“We believe the excess NET is sucking away all of the dopamine and converting it to norepinephrine, creating this situation of hypodopaminergia (low levels of dopamine) in the cortex,” Galli explained. Low dopamine function in the cortex is thought to contribute to the cognitive deficits and negative symptoms – depression, social withdrawal – associated with schizophrenia.

By treating the mice with NET inhibitors (drugs that block NET activity), the investigators were able to restore normal cortical dopamine levels and behaviors. Clinical trials of NET inhibitors in patients with schizophrenia are already under way, Galli said, and these new data provide mechanistic support for this approach.

The findings also provide a molecular basis for interpreting previous reports of Akt deficiencies in patients with schizophrenia, as revealed by post-mortem, imaging and genetic association studies.

Galli and Niswender suggest that the insulin to Akt signaling pathway is critical for “fine-tuning” the function of monoamine neurotransmitters – dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin – and that it can be impaired in many different ways.

“Dysregulation of this pathway – because of type 1 diabetes, because of a high-fat diet, because of drugs of abuse, because of genetic variations – may put a person on the road to neuropsychiatric disorders,” Galli said.

Understanding the molecular link between insulin action and dopamine balance – the connection between food and mood – offers the potential for novel therapeutic approaches, the researchers said. The mouse model described in the current studies may be useful for testing schizophrenia and cognition-enhancing treatments.

Public release date: 8-Jun-2010

Healthy diet could slow or reverse early effects of Alzheimer’s disease

Patients in the early to moderate stages of Alzheimer’s Disease could have their cognitive impairment slowed or even reversed by switching to a healthier diet, according to researchers at Temple University.

In a previous study [http://www.temple.edu/newsroom/2009_2010/12/stories/alzheimers.htm], researchers led by Domenico Praticò, an associate professor of pharmacology in Temple’s School of Medicine, demonstrated that a diet rich in methionine could increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Methionine is an amino acid typically found in red meats, fish, beans, eggs, garlic, lentils, onions, yogurt and seeds.

“The question we asked now as a follow-up is if, for whatever reason, you had made bad choices in your diet, is there a chance you can slow down or even reverse the disease or is it too late — that there is nothing you could do,” said Praticò.

As in the previous study, the researchers fed one group of mice a diet high in methionine and another group a regular, healthy diet. After five months, they split the group receiving the methionine-rich diet into two, with one group continuing the amino-heavy diet while the second switched to the healthy diet for an additional two months.

“At the end of the study, when we looked at these mice, what we found — very surprisingly — was that switching to a more healthy diet reversed the cognitive impairment that had built up over the first three months of eating the methionine-rich diet,” said Praticò. “This improvement was associated with less amyloid plaques — another sign of the disease — in their brains.

Pratico said that the cognitive impairment that had been observed in the mice after three months on the methionine-rich diet was completely reversed after two months on the healthier diet, and they were now able to function normally.

“We believe this finding shows that, even if you suffer from the early effects of MCI or Alzheimer’s, switching to a healthier diet that is lower in methionine could be helpful in that memory capacity could be improved,” he said.

Pratico stressed that this was not a drug therapy for curing MCI or Alzheimer’s, but that it did demonstrate that a lifestyle change such as diet can improve some of the impairments that have already occurred in the brain.

“What it tells us is that the brain has this plasticity to reverse a lot of the bad things that have occurred; the ability to recoup a lot of things such as memory that were apparently lost, but obviously not totally lost,” he said.

Pratico also emphasized that the researchers believe that in addition to switching to a healthy diet, patients diagnosed with MCI or Alzheimer’s also need a regiment of physical as well as mental exercises.

“This combination won’t cure you, but we believe, as we saw in this study, that it will be able to slow down or even possibly reverse the effects on the cognitive impairment,” he said.

 

Public release date: 9-Jun-2010

Pecans provide neurological protection

Study suggests pecans may delay progression of motor neuron degeneration

Lowell, MA – Eating about a handful of pecans each day may play a role in protecting the nervous system, according to a new animal study published in the current issue of Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research. The study, conducted at the Center for Cellular Neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, suggests adding pecans to your diet may delay the progression of age-related motor neuron degeneration. This may include diseases like amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Researchers suggest vitamin E – a natural antioxidant found in pecans – may provide a key element to neurological protection shown in the study. Antioxidants are nutrients found in foods that help protect against cell damage, and studies have shown, can help fight diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer and heart disease. Pecans are the most antioxidant-rich tree nut and are among the top 15 foods to contain the highest antioxidant capacity, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“These findings suggest regular consumption of pecans may provide significant nutritive and antioxidant benefits for your body,” said lead researcher Thomas B. Shea, PhD.

Dr. Shea and his research team carried out a number of laboratory studies on three groups of mice specifically bred to demonstrate severe decline in motor neuron function that are commonly used in studies of ALS. Each of the three groups was fed a control diet or one of two diets containing differing amounts of pecans ground into their food. Standard testing methods were used to determine how well the mice scored relative to motor neuron functions, both before and after they were provided with one of the three diets.

Mice provided a diet supplemented with pecans displayed a significant delay in decline in motor function compared to mice receiving no pecans. Mice eating the diet with the most pecans (0.05%) fared best. Both pecan groups fared significantly better than those whose diets contained no pecans. The result was based on how the mice performed in highly specific tests, each of which compared mice on the control diet with mice consuming pecan-enriched diets.

“Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean eating bland,” said Beth Hubrich, a registered dietitian with the National Pecan Shellers Association. “Pecans are a tasty addition to a healthy diet and scientific research continues to show they’re good for you as well.”

Eating a handful of pecans will also provide you with more than 19 vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and several B vitamins, Hubrich said. Pecans are naturally cholesterol-free and sodium-free.

Public release date: 9-Jun-2010

New evidence that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of diabetes

Scientists are reporting new evidence that drinking coffee may help prevent diabetes and that caffeine may be the ingredient largely responsible for this effect. Their findings, among the first animal studies to demonstrate this apparent link, appear in ACS’ bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Fumihiko Horio and colleagues note that past studies have suggested that regular coffee drinking may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The disease affects millions in the United States and is on the rise worldwide. However, little of that evidence comes from studies on lab animals used to do research that cannot be done in humans.

The scientists fed either water or coffee to a group of laboratory mice commonly used to study diabetes. Coffee consumption prevented the development of high-blood sugar and also improved insulin sensitivity in the mice, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes. Coffee also caused a cascade of other beneficial changes in the fatty liver and inflammatory adipocytokines related to a reduced diabetes risk. Additional lab studies showed that caffeine may be “one of the most effective anti-diabetic compounds in coffee,” the scientists say.

Public release date: 9-Jun-2010

Polyphenols in red wine and green tea halt prostate cancer growth

New report in the FASEB Journal suggests that disrupting a particular cellular signaling pathway could stop or slow the initiation, promotion, and progression of prostate cancer

In what could lead to a major advance in the treatment of prostate cancer, scientists now know exactly why polyphenols in red wine and green tea inhibit cancer growth. This new discovery, published online in The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org), explains how antioxidants in red wine and green tea produce a combined effect to disrupt an important cell signaling pathway necessary for prostate cancer growth. This finding is important because it may lead to the development of drugs that could stop or slow cancer progression, or improve current treatments.

“Not only does SphK1/S1P signaling pathway play a role in prostate cancer, but it also plays a role in other cancers, such as colon cancer, breast cancer, and gastric cancers,” said Gerald Weissmann, MD, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal. “Even if future studies show that drinking red wine and green tea isn’t as effective in humans as we hope, knowing that the compounds in those drinks disrupts this pathway is an important step toward developing drugs that hit the same target.”

Scientists conducted in vitro experiments which showed that the inhibition of the sphingosine kinase-1/sphingosine 1-phosphate (SphK1/S1P) pathway was essential for green tea and wine polyphenols to kill prostate cancer cells. Next, mice genetically altered to develop a human prostate cancer tumor were either treated or not treated with green tea and wine polyphenols. The treated mice showed reduced tumor growth as a result of the inhibited SphK1/S1P pathway. To mimic the preventive effects of polyphenols, another experiment used three groups of mice given drinking water, drinking water with a green tea compound known as EGCg, or drinking water with a different green tea compound, polyphenon E. Human prostate cancer cells were implanted in the mice and results showed a dramatic decrease in tumor size in the mice drinking the EGCg or polyphenon E mixtures.

“The profound impact that the antioxidants in red wine and green tea have on our bodies is more than anyone would have dreamt just 25 years ago,” Weissmann added. “As long as they are taken in moderation, all signs show that red wine and green tea may be ranked among the most potent ‘health foods’ we know.”

Public release date: 10-Jun-2010

Scottish people ‘living dangerously’

Almost the entire adult population of Scotland (97.5%) are likely to be either cigarette smokers, heavy drinkers, physically inactive, overweight or have a poor diet. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Public Health also found a strong association between the presence of several of these risk factors and low income.

David Conway, from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, worked with a team of researchers to study data from 6574 participants in the Scottish Health Survey 2003. He said, “Our analysis shows that around two-thirds of the Scottish population is overweight or obese, a similar proportion are not sufficiently physically active, and most people have a poor diet – it is just that it is not the same majority for each factor. The most important determinants of multiple risk factors were low educational attainment and residence in our most deprived communities”.

The prevalence of multiple behavioural risk factors was high, with 86% having at least two risk factors; 55% having three or more risk factors; and nearly 20% having four or all five risk factors. Furthermore these risk factors are strongly associated with low socio-economic circumstances. The researchers caution that, as the behaviours were self-reported, the real situation may be even worse than these figures suggest. According to Conway, “Respondents might tend to give answers that would convey more favourable behaviours. This was confirmed for alcohol consumption by an analysis comparing self-reported alcohol intake in the Scottish Health Surveys with alcohol sales estimates, which suggested that surveys may understate alcohol consumption by as much as 50%”.

Public release date: 14-Jun-2010

Replacing white rice with brown rice or other whole grains may reduce diabetes risk

Boston, MA—In a new study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have found that eating five or more servings of white rice per week was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. In contrast, eating two or more servings of brown rice per week was associated with a lower risk of the disease. The researchers estimated that replacing 50 grams of white rice (just one third of a typical daily serving) with the same amount of brown rice would lower risk of type 2 diabetes by 16%. The same replacement with other whole grains, such as whole wheat and barley, was associated with a 36% reduced risk.

The study is the first to specifically examine white rice and brown rice in relation to diabetes risk among Americans, said Qi Sun, who did the research while at HSPH and is now an instructor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “Rice consumption in the U.S. has dramatically increased in recent decades. We believe replacing white rice and other refined grains with whole grains, including brown rice, would help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes,” said Sun.

The study appears online June 14, 2010, on the website of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. Brown rice is superior to white rice when it comes to fiber content, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals, and it often does not generate as large an increase in blood sugar levels after a meal. Milling and polishing brown rice removes most vitamins and minerals. In addition, milling strips away most of its fiber, which helps deter diabetes by slowing the rush of sugar (glucose) into the bloodstream.

The researchers, led by Sun, and senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at HSPH, examined white and brown rice consumption in relation to type 2 diabetes risk in 157,463 women and 39,765 men participating in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital-based Nurses’ Health Study I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The researchers analyzed responses to questionnaires about diet, lifestyle, and health conditions which participants completed every four years. They documented 5,500 cases of type 2 diabetes during 22 years of follow-up in NHS 1 participants, 2,359 cases over 14 years in NHS II participants, and 2,648 cases over 20 years in HPFS participants.

Sun and his colleagues found that the biggest consumers of white rice were less likely to have European ancestry or to smoke and more likely to have a family history of diabetes. Eating brown rice was not associated with ethnicity but with a more health-conscious diet and lifestyle. In the analysis, researchers adjusted for a variety of factors that could influence the results, including age, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol intake, family history of diabetes, and other dietary habits, and found that the trend of increased risk associated with high white rice consumption remained. Because ethnicity was associated with both white rice consumption and diabetes risk, the researchers conducted a secondary analysis of white participants only and found similar results.

Because brown rice consumption was low in the study population, the researchers could not determine whether brown rice intake at much higher levels was associated with a further reduction in diabetes risk. Substitution of other whole grains for white rice was more strongly associated with lowering diabetes risk. This observation, said the researchers, may result from more reliable estimates based on participants’ higher consumption of whole grains other than brown rice.

The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released by the U.S. government, identifies grains, including rice, as one of the primary sources of carbohydrates and recommends that at least half come from whole grains. Americans are eating more rice — but it’s mostly white. “From a public health point of view, whole grains, rather than refined carbohydrates, such as white rice, should be recommended as the primary source of carbohydrates for the U.S. population,” said Hu, “These findings could have even greater implications for Asian and other populations in which rice is a staple food.”

Public release date: 14-Jun-2010

Apple juice improves behavior but not cognition in Alzheimer’s patients

Los Angeles, CA (June 14, 2010) Apple juice can be a useful supplement for calming the declining moods that are part of the normal progression of moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), according to a study in American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias (AJADD), published by SAGE.

In the AJADD study, after institutionalized AD patients consumed two 4-oz glasses of apple juice a day for a month, their caregivers reported no change in the patients’ Dementia Rating Scale or their day-to-day abilities. What did change, however, was the behavioral and psychotic symptoms associated with their dementia (as quantified by the Neuropsychiatric Inventory), with approximately 27% improvement, mostly in the areas related to anxiety, agitation, and delusion.

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by a progressive loss of memory, decline in cognitive function, behavioral changes, and the loss in ability to do daily activities, all of which causes a significant caregiver burden and increased health care costs. While pharmacological treatments can provide temporary reduction in AD symptoms, they’re costly and cannot prevent the ultimate decline in cognitive and behavioral function. That’s why the authors considered it important to discover any possible nutritional interventions.

“The modest, but statistically significant, impact of apple juice on the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia in this study adds to the body of evidence supporting the usefulness of nutritional approaches, including fruit and vegetable juices, in delaying the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, even in the face of known genetic risk factors,” write the authors, Ruth Remington, RN, PhD, Amy Chan, PhD, Alicia Lepore, MS, Elizabeth Kotlya, MS, and Thomas B. Shea, PhD, “As in prior studies with vitamin supplements, it indicates that nutritional supplementation can be effective even during the late stages of AD.”

Public release date: 15-Jun-2010

Higher levels of vitamin B6, common amino acid associated with lower risk of lung cancer

 

An analysis that included nearly 400,000 participants finds that those with higher blood levels of vitamin B6 and the essential amino acid methionine (found in most protein) had an associated lower risk of lung cancer, including participants who were current or former smokers, according to a study in the June 16 issue of JAMA.

Previous research has suggested that defi­ciencies in B vitamins may increase the probability of DNA damage and subse­quent gene mutations. “Given their involvement in maintaining DNA integrity and gene ex­pression, these nutrients have a potentially important role in inhibiting cancer devel­opment, and offer the possibility of modi­fying cancer risk through dietary changes,” the authors write. They add that deficiencies in nutrient levels of B vitamins have been shown to be high in many western populations.

Paul Brennan, Ph.D., of the International Agency for Re­search on Cancer, Lyon, France, and colleagues conducted an investigation of B vitamins and me­thionine status based on serum samples from the European Prospective Inves­tigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort study, which recruited 519,978 participants from 10 European countries between 1992 and 2000, of whom 385,747 donated blood. By 2006, 899 lung cancer cases were iden­tified and 1,770 control participants were individually matched by country, sex, date of birth, and date of blood collection.

After an analysis of the incidence rate of lung can­cer within the entire EPIC cohort and adjusting for various factors, the researchers found a lower risk for lung cancer among participants with increasing levels of B6 (comparing the fourth vs. first quartile of B6 levels). A lower risk was also seen for increasing methionine levels. “Similar and consistent decreases in risk were observed in never, former, and current smokers, indicating that results were not due to confounding [factors that can influence outcomes] by smoking. The magnitude of risk was also constant with increasing length of follow-up, indicating that the associations were not explained by preclinical disease,” the researchers write.

When participants were classified by median (midpoint) levels of serum methionine and B6, having above-median levels of both was associated with a lower lung cancer risk overall. A mod­erate lower risk was observed for increasing serum folate levels, although this association was restricted to former and current smok­ers, and was not apparent in never smokers.

“Our results suggest that above-median se­rum measures of both B6 and methionine, assessed on average 5 years prior to disease onset, are associated with a reduction of at least 50 percent on the risk of developing lung cancer. An additional association for se­rum levels of folate was present, that when combined with B6 and methionine, was associated with a two-thirds lower risk of lung cancer,” the authors write.

The researchers add that if their observations regarding serum methionine, B6, or both are shown to be causal, identifying optimum levels for re­ducing future cancer risk would appear to be appropriate.

“Lung cancer remains the most com­mon cause of cancer death in the world today and is likely to remain so for the near future. It is essential that for lung cancer prevention, any additional evidence about causality does not detract from the importance of reducing the numbers of individuals who smoke tobacco. With this in mind, it is important to recognize that a large proportion of lung cancer cases occur among former smokers, making up the majority in countries where tobacco campaigns have been particularly successful, and a non-trivial number of lung cancer cases oc­cur also among never smokers, particu­larly among women in parts of Asia. Clarifying the role of B vitamins and re­lated metabolites in lung cancer risk is likely therefore to be particularly relevant for former smokers and never smokers,” the authors conclude.

Public release date: 17-Jun-2010

Probiotic therapy cuts risk of VAP in half for some in ICU

 

Daily use of probiotics reduced ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in critically ill patients by almost half, according to new research from Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska.

The study was published on the American Thoracic Society’s Web site ahead of the print edition of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

It is estimated that VAP complicates the care of up to 30 percent of critical care patients receiving mechanical ventilation. “Patients with VAP have increased morbidity, mortality and hospital costs as well as prolonged intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital lengths of stay, and increased costs.”

“We chose to study probiotics in this context because VAP is increasingly caused by pathogens associated with antimicrobial resistance and the supply of novel antibiotics is essentially nonexistent for the foreseeable future,” said Lee E. Morrow, M.D., M.Sc., associate professor of medicine at Creighton University and lead author. “The implication is that novel methods of prevention must be our priority.”

Although previous studies have suggested that probiotics might be effective in reducing risk of VAP, the results have been limited by the quality of their design.

“We were unsure what to expect with this trial,” said Dr. Morrow. “Ultimately our hope was that upon completion of this ‘proof of concept’ study we could demonstrate two critically important points in a patient group at high risk for developing VAP: One, that properly selected probiotic agents can be safely administered to critically ill patients; and, two, when administered to the proper study population these agents also have efficacy in disease prevention. We felt that rigorously establishing these suppositions as facts was essential in order to continue to study probiotic agents in the intensive care unit setting.”

Dr. Morrow and colleagues included 138 critically ill patients from a single center to receive either placebo or probiotic therapy. Patients in the treatment arm received 2 x 109 colony-forming units of Lactobacillus rhamnosus twice daily—half the dose was administered as a slurry to the oropharynx and the remainder was given through nasogatsric tube. After almost 5 years, the researchers found that daily use of probiotics not only decreased VAP infections by about 50 percent compared to placebo, but also reduced the amount of antibiotics needed in comparison to placebo-treated patients. This reduction in antibiotic consumption led to significantly fewer Clostridium difficile infections in patients given probiotics. No side effects attributable to the probiotics were observed.

Meta analysis of similar studies shows an overall reduction in VAP of 39 percent with probiotics.

“Collectively, these data suggest that Lactobacillus may represent a novel, inexpensive (retail price, $2.13 per day for four tablets as administered per protocol), and non-antibiotic approach to prevention of nosocomial infections in properly selected ICU patients,” said Dr. Morrow.

Because the patients were carefully selected to reduce the risk of iatrogenic infection, and over 90 percent of patients in the ICU were deemed ineligible for the study, it is important to note, Dr. Morrow cautioned, that these findings are not applicable to all ICU patients and probiotics should not be used for VAP prophylaxis beyond the population that was included in this study.

“We strongly emphasize that these data should be viewed as preliminary in nature and cannot be generalized to the general ICU population given the prolonged period of enrolment, the rigorous inclusion criteria, the large number of exclusion criteria and the small number of patients included.

Other studies have found potentially harmful effects of probiotics, underscoring the need for meticulous monitoring of patients.

“Probiotic prophylaxis of VAP using Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG appears safe and efficacious in a select population with a very high risk of VAP,” concluded Dr. Morrow. “Ultimately, probiotics may fulfill a role in antimicrobial stewardship programs given the reductions in antibiotic consumption. Larger, multicenter clinical trials with more liberal inclusion criteria are needed to establish efficacy of probiotics and to allow for extrapolation to a larger at-risk population.”

Public release date: 17-Jun-2010

Coffee or tea: enjoy both in moderation for heart benefits

Study highlights:

Both high and moderate amounts of tea are linked with reduced heart disease deaths.

Moderate amounts of coffee are linked with reduced heart disease risk.

Neither coffee nor tea consumption was associated with stroke risk in this Dutch study.

DALLAS, June 18, 2010 —Coffee and tea drinkers may not need to worry about indulging – high and moderate consumption of tea and moderate coffee consumption are linked with reduced heart disease, according to a study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers in The Netherlands found:

Drinking more than six cups of tea per day was associated with a 36 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those who drank less than one cup of tea per day.

Drinking three to six cups of tea per day was associated with a 45 percent reduced risk of death from heart disease, compared to consumption of less than one cup per day.

And for coffee they found:

Coffee drinkers with a modest intake, two to four cups per day, had a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those drinking less than two cups or more than four cups.

Although not considered significant, moderate coffee consumption slightly reduced the risk of heart disease death and deaths from all causes.

Researchers also found that neither coffee nor tea consumption affected stroke risk.

“While previous studies have shown that coffee and tea seem to reduce the risk of heart disease, evidence on stroke risk and the risk of death from heart disease was not conclusive,” said Yvonne T. van der Schouw, Ph.D., study senior author and professor of chronic disease epidemiology, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands. “Our results found the benefits of drinking coffee and tea occur without increasing risk of stroke or death from all causes.

Van der Schouw and colleagues used a questionnaire to evaluate coffee and tea consumption among 37,514 participants. They followed the participants for 13 years for occurrences of cardiovascular disease and death.

Study limitations included self-reported tea and coffee consumption, and the lack of specific information on the type of tea participants drank. However, black tea accounts for 78 percent of the total tea consumed in The Netherlands and green tea accounts for 4.6 percent. Coffee and tea drinkers have very different health behaviors, researchers note. Many coffee drinkers tend to also smoke and have a less healthy diet compared to tea drinkers.

Researchers suggest that the cardiovascular benefit of drinking tea may be explained by antioxidants. Flavonoids in tea are thought to contribute to reduced risk, but the underlying mechanism is still not known.

Co-authors are: J. Margot de Koning Gans, M.D.; Cuno S.P.M. Uiterwaal, M.D., Ph.D.; Joline W.J. Beulens, Ph.D.; Jolanda M.A. Boer, Ph.D.; Diederick E. Grobbee, M.D., Ph.D.; and W.M. Monique Verschuren, Ph.D. Author disclosures and funding sources are in the study.

Public release date: 18-Jun-2010

Vitamin D deficiency confirmed as common across a range of rheumatic conditions

Recommended supplementation is not sufficient to normalise vitamin D levels in RA and osteoporosis patients

Rome, Italy, Friday 18 June 2010: Two separate studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is common in patients with a range of rheumatic diseases, with over half of all patients having below the ‘normal’ healthy levels of vitamin D (48-145 nmol/L) in their bodies. A further study assessing response to vitamin D supplementation found that taking the recommended daily dose did not normalise vitamin D levels in rheumatic disease patients. The results of these three studies were presented today at EULAR 2010, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome, Italy.

A UK study1 of 180 patients aimed to assess mean levels of vitamin D in patients with inflammatory joint diseases, osteoarthritis and myalgia (muscle pain that, when experienced long term may be associated with nutritional deficiency). Data on vitamin D levels were gathered and results showed that 58% of individuals with a rheumatic condition had levels below that clinically considered to be ‘sufficient’ in healthy subjects (48-145 nmol/L).

An Italian study2 of 1,191 RA patients aimed to determine a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and several different clinical measures of disease activity. Researchers found that, regardless of supplementation, levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), (a standard clinical measure of vitamin D in the blood), were lower than healthy levels (<50 nmol/L) in 85% of the patients not taking a vitamin D supplement and in 60% of those taking 800 IU or more vitamin D daily as a supplement. In non-supplemented patients levels of 25(OH)D significantly correlated with three measures of disease activity – the Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index, (p=0.000) the Mobility Activities of Daily Living Score (p=0.000) and the Number of Swollen Joints count (p=0.000).

“We have seen in studies that vitamin D deficiency is common in patients with a range of rheumatic diseases, and our results have confirmed this using several clinically accepted measures of disease activity,” said Dr. L. Idolazzi, of the Rheumatology Unit, University of Verona, Italy. “What we need to see now is a range of long term studies, which examine the clinical response of patients to vitamin D supplementation.”

Furthermore, a third study undertaken in Italy3 aimed to evaluate the affect of vitamin D supplementation in patients with inflammatory autoimmune disease (IAD) and non-inflammatory autoimmune disease (NIAD). Following supplementation, only 29% patients reached vitamin D levels greater than the level clinically considered to be ‘sufficient’ in healthy subjects, with no significant differences in vitamin D levels observed between the IAD and NIAD groups.

“Whilst it is well known that hypovitaminosis D is often seen in patients with inflammatory autoimmune diseases, the effects of supplementation have not been fully investigated in this setting,” said Dr. Pier Paolo Sainaghi of the Immuno-Rheumatology Clinic, A. Avogadro University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara, Italy and author of the third study. “The results of our study show that daily 800-1,000 IU supplementation is not sufficient to normalise vitamin D levels in patients with rheumatologic or bone conditions. What is unclear is whether a higher dose would be more effective.”

Study designs and key statistics

The UK study1 involved patients with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoporosis, or unexplained muscle pain, (total n=90, 30 from each group). These patients were matched with a control group of patients presenting with chronic back pain for a minimum of 6 months (n=90). The RA patient group registered median levels of vitamin D of 36 nmol/L (range 16-85 nmol/L, p=0.045) and in osteoporosis patients, these levels were slightly lower with a median value of 31 nmol/L (range 7-82 nmol/L, p=0.005). Patients with unexplained muscle pain had equally low median levels of vitamin D at 31 nmol/l (range 11-79 nmol/L, p= 0.008).

In the first Italian study2 of 1,191 patients (85% women) from 22 rheumatology centres, researchers measured levels of 25(OH)D, alongside paramaters of disease activity, calcium intake, sun exposure and bone mineral density. The association found by researchers between disease activity scores and vitamin D levels remained statistically significant when adjusted for both sun exposure and body mass index (BMI), both known risk factors for vitamin D deficiency. Significantly lower 25(OH)D levels were found in patients with active disease compared with those in disease remission (mean level 21.8 nmol/L 25(OH)D vs. 23.6 nmol/L respectively, p=0.057), and in those who were not responding to treatment compared to patients with a good response to treatment (20.5 nmol/L vs. 23.4 nmol/L p=0.020).

In the third Italian study3, 100 patients (43 with IAD and 57 with NIAD) received daily supplementation of 800-1000 IU of cholecalciferol (a form of vitamin D often used to fortify foods) over the course of six months. Abstract Numbers: FRI0509, SAT0093, SAT0506

Public release date: 19-Jun-2010

Cutting carbs is more effective than low-fat diet for insulin-resistant women

Obese women with insulin resistance lose more weight after three months on a lower-carbohydrate diet than on a traditional low-fat diet with the same number of calories, according to a new study. The results will be presented Saturday at The Endocrine Society’s 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego.

 

“The typical diet that physicians recommend for weight loss is a low-fat diet,” said the study’s lead author, Raymond Plodkowski, MD, chief of endocrinology, nutrition and metabolism at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno. “However, as this study shows, not all people have the same response to diets.”

People with insulin resistance, a common precursor for Type 2 diabetes, metabolize carbohydrates, or “carbs,” abnormally, which may affect their rate of weight loss. For them, Plodkowski said, “the lower-carb diet is more effective, at least in the short term.”

At 12-weeks, the study funded by Jenny Craig and using prepared calorie-controlled meals as part of a behavioral weight loss program, found that the insulin resistant women on a lower-carb diet lost 3.4 pounds more than those on a low-fat diet.

Forty-five obese women between the ages of 18 and 65 years participated in the study, and all had insulin resistance, as found by fasting blood levels of insulin. The researchers randomly assigned the women to either a low-fat or lower-carb diet. The groups did not differ significantly in average body weight, the authors reported. On average, women in the low-fat diet group weighed 213 pounds, while women in the other group weighed 223 pounds.

The composition of the low-fat diet was 60 percent of calories from carbs, 20 percent from fat and 20 percent from protein. Although the lower-carb diet also had 20 percent of calories from protein, it had 45 percent from carbs and 35 percent from primarily unsaturated fats, such as nuts. Menus included a minimum of 2 fruits and 3 vegetable servings a day.

Use of prepared meals helped make the structured diets easier and more palatable for the dieters, according to Plodkowski. “We wanted to make this study real-world—anyone could follow this plan by making moderate changes as part of a healthy menu,” he said.

Both groups lost weight at each monthly weigh-in, but by 12 weeks, the insulin resistant group receiving the lower-carb diet lost significantly more weight, 19.6 pounds versus 16.2 pounds in the low-fat diet group – approximately 21 percent more on average.

“These data have potential widespread applications for clinicians when counseling people with insulin resistance to help improve weight loss as part of a calorie-restricted diet,” Plodkowski said. “They should at least initially lower their carbohydrate intake.”

 

Public release date: 17-Jun-2010

 

Blueberry ameliorates hepatic fibrosis

Conventional drugs used in the treatment of liver diseases inevitably have side effects. An increasing number of natural substances have been studied to explore if they have protective effects on the liver. Blueberries have unique effects on human retinal, brain and tumor cells, but reports about the effects of blueberries on liver diseases are lacking.

A research article to be published on June 7, 2010 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The research team led by Ming-Liang Cheng, MD, from Department of Infectious Diseases, Guiyang Medical College, Guiyang, presented some data from their research on the effectiveness of blueberries on liver fibrosis induced in laboratory animals.

Their study showed that blueberries could reduce liver indices, serum levels of hyaluronic acid and alanine aminotransferase, and increase levels of superoxide dismutase and decrease levels of malondialdehyde in liver homogenates compared with the model group. Meanwhile, the stage of hepatic fibrosis was significantly weakened. Blueberries increased the activity of glutathione-S-transferase in liver homogenates and the expression of Nrf2 and Nqo1 compared with the normal group, but there was no significant difference compared with the model group.

The authors suggest that blueberry consumption is beneficial for hepatic diseases (including fibrosis).

Public release date: 19-Jun-2010

Poor control of diabetes may be linked to low vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in patients with Type 2 diabetes and may be associated with poor blood sugar control, according to a new study. The results will be presented Saturday at The Endocrine Society’s 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego.

“This finding supports an active role of vitamin D in the development of Type 2 diabetes,” said study co-author Esther Krug, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an endocrinologist at Sinai Hospital, Baltimore.

Krug and her colleagues reviewed the medical charts of 124 patients with Type 2 diabetes who came to an endocrine outpatient clinic for specialty care from 2003 to 2008. Patients’ age ranged from 36 to 89 years. All patients had a single measurement of their serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels as part of their evaluation at the clinic. The researchers divided the patients into quartiles based on vitamin D level.

Despite receiving regular primary care visits before referral to the endocrine clinic, 91 percent of patients had either vitamin D deficiency (defined as a level below 15 nanograms per deciliter, or ng/dL) or insufficiency (15 to 31 ng/dL), the authors reported. Only about 6 percent of patients were taking vitamin D supplements at their first visit.

Additionally, the investigators found an inverse relationship between the patients’ blood levels of vitamin D and their hemoglobin A1c value, a measure of blood sugar control over the past several months. Lower vitamin D levels were discovered in patients with higher average blood sugars as measured by HbA1c, Krug said. Compared with whites, blacks had a higher average A1c and lower average vitamin D level.

“Since primary care providers diagnose and treat most patients with Type 2 diabetes, screening and vitamin D supplementation as part of routine primary care may improve health outcomes of this highly prevalent condition,” she said.

Public release date: 21-Jun-2010

Early life exposure to BPA may affect testis function in adulthood

Exposure to environmental levels of the industrial chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, in the womb and early life may cause long-lasting harm to testicular function, according to a new study conducted in animals. The results are being presented Monday at The Endocrine Society’s 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego.

“We are seeing changes in the testis function of rats after exposure to BPA levels that are lower than what the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency consider safe exposure levels for humans,” said Benson Akingbemi, PhD, the study’s lead author and an associate professor at Auburn (Ala.) University. “This is concerning because large segments of the population, including pregnant and nursing mothers, are exposed to this chemical.”

Many hard plastic bottles and canned food liners contain BPA, as do some dental sealants. BPA acts in a similar manner as the female sex hormone estrogen and has been linked to female infertility. This chemical is present in placenta and is able to pass from a mother into her breast milk. In their study of the male, Akingbemi and colleagues saw harmful effects of BPA at the cellular level, specifically in Leydig cells. These cells in the testis secrete testosterone, the main sex hormone that supports male fertility. After birth, Leydig cells gradually acquire the capacity for testosterone secretion, Akingbemi explained.

The process of testosterone secretion was decreased in male offspring of female rats that received BPA during pregnancy and while nursing. The mothers were fed BPA in olive oil at a dose of either 2.5 or 25 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight. Akingbemi said this is below the daily upper limit of safe exposure for humans, which federal guidelines currently put at 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. A control group of pregnant rats received olive oil without BPA. Male offspring, after weaning at 21 days of age, received no further exposure to BPA.

Using a combination of analytical methods, the investigators studied the development of Leydig cells in male offspring. The capacity for testosterone secretion was assessed at 21, 35 and 90 days of age. The amount of testosterone secreted per Leydig cell was found to be much lower in male offspring after early-life exposure to BPA than in offspring from control unexposed animals.

“Although BPA exposure stopped at 21 days of age, BPA’s effects on Leydig cells, which were seen immediately at the end of exposure and at 35 days, remained apparent until 90 days of age, when the rats reached adulthood,” Akingbemi said. “Therefore, the early life period is a sensitive window of exposure to BPA and exposure at this time may affect testis function into adulthood.”

Public release date: 23-Jun-2010

Polio research gives new insight into tackling vaccine-derived poliovirus

A vaccine-derived strain of poliovirus that has spread in recent years is serious but it can be tackled with an existing vaccine, according to a new study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

 

Vaccine-derived polioviruses can emerge on rare occasions in under-immunised populations, when the attenuated virus contained in a vaccine mutates and recombines with other viruses, to create a circulating vaccine-derived strain.

The researchers behind today’s study say their findings highlight the importance of completing polio eradication. They also say that should wild-type poliovirus be eradicated, routine vaccination with oral polio vaccines will need to cease, in order to prevent further vaccine-derived strains of the virus from emerging.

The study was carried out by researchers from the Medical Research Council Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London, working with the Government of Nigeria and the World Health Organization (WHO) research teams.

Poliovirus is highly infectious and primarily affects children under five years of age. Around one in 200 of the people infected with polio develop permanent paralysis, which can be fatal.

Polio was virtually wiped out by the early 2000s following a major vaccination drive by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, but since then the number of cases of paralysis reported has plateaued, remaining roughly constant at between one and two thousand each year from 2003 to 2009, dropping only recently in 2010.

The first reported polio outbreak resulting from a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus, known as a cVDPV, occurred in Hispaniola in 2000. Prior to today’s study, there was little evidence available about the severity and potential impact of this kind of poliovirus.

Although billions of doses of oral vaccine have been distributed in the last decade, just 14 cVDPV outbreaks have been reported, affecting 15 countries. These outbreaks have usually been limited in size.

For the new study, researchers looked at the largest recorded outbreak of a cVDPV to date, which began to circulate in Nigeria in 2005. The authors examined data from 278 children paralysed by this cVDPV, and compared them with children paralysed by wild-type poliovirus in the country. Their analysis showed that this serotype 2 cVDPV is as easily transmitted and likely to cause severe disease as wild-type poliovirus of the same serotype.

The study also shows that vaccination with trivalent OPV, one of the main types of vaccine currently used to combat polio, is highly effective in preventing paralysis by this serotype 2 cVDPV.

The research shows that it is even more effective against cVDPV than against the wild-type polioviruses that are currently circulating, which can also be targeted with a different vaccine.

The new findings mean that it is particularly vital that efforts to vaccinate children with trivalent OPV continue in Nigeria and neighbouring countries, to protect children against all strains of polio. The scientists hope their findings will help countries to devise the right vaccine strategies to eradicate polio.

Helen Jenkins, the lead author of the study from the Medical Research Council Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London, said: “Our research shows that vaccine-derived polioviruses must be taken seriously and that we have the right tools to tackle them. We’ve had a lot of success against polio in the past and we’re optimistic that ultimately we should be able to eradicate it completely.

“However, our study shows that we can’t be complacent about the virus. It’s still vital for us to protect children from this dangerous and debilitating disease and we have to make sure we continue to vaccinate as many children as possible in affected countries for as long as wild-type poliovirus continues to circulate,” added Ms Jenkins.

Senior study author Dr Nicholas Grassly, also from the Medical Research Council Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London, added: “There has been some debate about the significance of circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses for the eradication initiative. Our research shows these viruses can be as pathogenic and transmissible as wild-type polioviruses and outbreaks must be responded to with just as much vigour.”

 

Dr Bruce Aylward, Director of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative at WHO, added: “These new findings suggest that if cVDPVs are allowed to circulate for a long enough time, eventually they can regain a similar capacity to spread and paralyse as wild polioviruses. This means that they should be subject to the same outbreak response measures as wild polioviruses. These results also underscore the need to eventually stop all OPV use in routine immunization programmes after wild polioviruses have been eradicated, to ensure that all children are protected from all possible risks of polio in future.”

 

Public release date: 23-Jun-2010

 

Study demonstrates pine bark naturally reduces hay fever symptoms

Research shows Pycnogenol decreases nasal and ocular symptoms in allergic rhinitis patients

HOBOKEN, N.J. (June 23, 2010) – An estimated 60 million people in the U.S. are affected by allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. Hay fever is an allergic inflammation of the nasal airways that causes itching, swelling, mucus production, hives and rashes. A study published in the June 14, 2010 issue of Phytotherapy Research demonstrates Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract derived from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, substantially improves the symptoms of hay fever.

“Allergic rhinitis is often mistakenly believed to be a trivial health problem, while people suffering from hay fever may disagree as they experience a dramatic impairment to their quality of life,” said Dr. Malkanthi Evans Scientific Director KGK Synergize Inc., a lead researcher on the study. “This study confirmed that taking Pycnogenol® naturally relieves eye and nasal symptoms of hay-fever patients owing to lower pollen-specific antibodies, particularly for ocular and nasal distress.”

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted by KGK Synergize, Inc.,60 subjects between the ages of 18 and 65 began treatment three to eight weeks prior to the onset of birch allergy season in Ontario, Canada. All subjects tested positive for birch pollen allergies, a seasonal trigger of hay fever, as determined by skin prick tests. Patients were assigned to a Pycnogenol® group or placebo group according to a computer-generated, randomized schedule. Neither the patient, the investigator nor research staff was informed to which test order the subjects were assigned. Subjects were instructed to take either one 50 mg Pycnogenol® tablet or one placebo tablet twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening throughout the allergy season. Patients were allowed to use non-prescription antihistamines as needed and recorded usage and dosage in treatment journals. The study was approved by an ethical committee as well as the “Health Canada” authorities.

Blood was collected before and after treatment throughout the entire birch pollen season for the measurement of birch specific IgE antibodies. Upon recognition of a specific allergen the IgE class of antibodies stimulates the release of histamine, an inflammatory mediator responsible for the hay-fever symptoms. During exposure to pollen allergic people develop higher levels of the corresponding IgE antibody, which goes along with increasing hay-fever symptoms. Comparison of birch specific IgE levels from the start of the trial and the end of allergy season showed an increase of 31.9 percent in the placebo group but only 19.4 percent in the Pycnogenol® group.

Subjects were instructed to rate nasal and eye symptoms daily by means of a self-administered questionnaire, recording values in their treatment journals. These resemble problems well known to people affected by hay-fever: burning, itchy, watering or tearing eyes, redness, sneezing and stuffy, runny or itchy nose. All nasal and eye symptoms were scored with values ranging from “zero” (symptoms absent) to a maximum of “three” (severe, symptoms completely preventing normal activity). Throughout the birch pollen seasons around mid of April until end of May, the total average nasal and eye symptom score was lower in the Pycnogenol® group than in the placebo group. A detailed analysis showed that Pycnogenol® was more effective the earlier patients began taking the product prior to the onset of the exposure to birch pollen. The researchers speculate that a lag-time of at least five weeks prior to pollen exposure is required for Pycnogenol® to defy hay-fever symptoms. Subjects taking Pycnogenol® seven weeks before onset of the birch season required very little non-prescription antihistamine medication (12.5%) compared with subjects taking the placebo (50%).

“For the many people seeking alternatives to conventional treatment for allergic rhinitis Pycnogenol® may represent an effective and completely natural solution, void of any side-effects” said Evans.

Previous studies have revealed Pycnogenol® to favorably affect patients suffering from allergies. Two earlier clinical trials showed that Pycnogenol® improves symptoms and breathing ability of asthma patients. Asthma is likewise triggered by airborne allergens and Pycnogenol® was demonstrated to significantly decrease leukotriene levels, an inflammatory mediator involved in asthma and hay fever alike. Human pharmacologic studies have pointed to a general anti-inflammatory potency of Pycnogenol®.

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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 the base aspirations for fame, or fortune.

Just honorable people, doing honorable things.

 

Poultry disease vaccine brings short-term results but long-term problems: live vaccines that protect poultry against Newcastle Disease may be altering the genetic makeup of the wild virus strains

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Amitabh Avasthi axa47@psu.edu 814-865-9481 Penn State

Attenuated live vaccines that protect poultry against Newcastle Disease may be altering the genetic makeup of the wild virus strains, which could make future outbreaks unpredictable and difficult to tackle, according to biologists.

Newcastle Disease is an economically devastating poultry disease that costs the industry millions of dollars.

“Many vaccines in the animal industry are developed by modifying a virulent live virus,” said Mary Poss, professor of biology and veterinary and biomedical sciences, Penn State. “These vaccines elicit a strong protection against disease.”

However, vaccinated birds can shed the vaccine virus to infect other birds, and live virus vaccines do not always protect birds from infection from other viral strains of Newcastle disease.

Poss and her Penn State colleagues Yee Ling Chong, graduate student in biology; Abinash Padhi, post-doctoral fellow and Peter J. Hudson, Willaman professor of biology, found that one vaccine strain recombined — exchanged genetic material — with at least three wild strains, creating new viruses. These viruses are found in both domestic and wild birds. The team’s findings appear today (Apr. 22) in PLoS Pathogens.

“Our findings indicate that birds can be simultaneously infected with the live virus vaccine and several other strains of this avian virus,” said Poss. “This raises concerns that modified live virus vaccines, though effective, may combine with circulating viruses to create unpredictable new strains.”

A modified live virus vaccine is essentially a weakened virus that does not cause disease but mimics a natural infection that in turn evokes a strong immune response from the infected host. But Poss argues that vaccination may be unwittingly increasing the diversity of Newcastle Disease viruses that are circulating in wild birds.

For instance, many poultry farmers typically vaccinate the flock by mixing the vaccine in the birds’ drinking water or by aerosol, which means wild birds and pigeons can also become infected with the vaccine virus.

This sets up the opportunity for viral recombination. A bird is infected with two different viruses at the same time, one from the weakened vaccine and one naturally, and both viruses then infect the same cell.

In addition to the possibility of creating new viruses, different strains of the virus that causes Newcastle disease may be evolving in different environments. Recombination among these strains could bring together genes that have multiple means to evade immunity in a host.

Poss added that vaccine developers need to be aware of the potential for driving virus evolution using modified live viruses and should instead consider using killed or inactivated viruses. Scientists are already using that approach against Newcastle Disease in some areas but not globally.

“We need to step up the surveillance and monitoring of viral diseases in poultry and wild birds,” said Poss. “We need to be aware that management practices including the use of live virus vaccines can change viral diversity and the consequences of such changes will not be evident for several generations.”

While many virus strains undergo a boom and bust cycle — they are present for a period of time and then die out — Poss notes that the use of live virus vaccines creates a persistent level of the vaccine strains in the global bird population.

Poultry farmers around the world vaccinate birds with vaccine made from one of two live strains of an avian virus that causes Newcastle Disease. While vaccines from the first strain are used mainly in Asia, the second strain is used in vaccines worldwide. Since the 1950s, vaccines derived from the two strains have helped poultry farmers avoid devastating economic losses.

To determine the impact of vaccination on the evolution of wild viruses, researchers analyzed the evolutionary history of 54 samples of full-length genome sequences of the avian paramyxovirus — the virus that causes Newcastle Disease — isolated from infected birds.

If all six genes that make up the paramyxovirus shared the same ancestor, Poss reasoned, the family trees of each gene would look the same. However, genes that are derived from a different strain would have family trees distinct from the other genes of that virus, a strong signature of recombination.

Statistical analysis of the gene sequences indicates that recombination occurred in at least five of the sampled genomes. Four of these five genomes contained gene sequences from one of the two vaccine strains.

Researchers next reconstructed the population history of the different viral strains. The strain from which the vaccine was derived showed a higher and more constant population size compared to other circulating strains.

“When viruses don’t change, it is typically a good thing,” Poss explained. “But as soon as they start to change, like the flu, we don’t know what the transmission and disease potential are going to be like from one year to another. So driving up viral diversity is not a good thing.”

Breakthrough Nanoparticle Halts Multiple Sclerosis in Mice, Offers Hope for Other Immune-Related Diseases

A biodegradable nanoparticle turns out to be the perfect vehicle to stealthily deliver an antigen that tricks the immune system into stopping its attack on myelin and halt a model of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) in mice, researchers report. (Credit: © mgkuijpers / Fotolia)

ScienceDaily (Nov. 18, 2012) — In a breakthrough for nanotechnology and multiple sclerosis, a biodegradable nanoparticle turns out to be the perfect vehicle to stealthily deliver an antigen that tricks the immune system into stopping its attack on myelin and halt a model of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) in mice, according to new Northwestern Medicine research.

The new nanotechnology also can be applied to a variety of immune-mediated diseases including Type 1 diabetes, food allergies and airway allergies such as asthma.

In MS, the immune system attacks the myelin membrane that insulates nerves cells in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. When the insulation is destroyed, electrical signals can’t be effectively conducted, resulting in symptoms that range from mild limb numbness to paralysis or blindness. About 80 percent of MS patients are diagnosed with the relapsing remitting form of the disease.

The Northwestern nanotechnology does not suppress the entire immune system as do current therapies for MS, which make patients more susceptible to everyday infections and higher rates of cancer. Rather, when the nanoparticles are attached to myelin antigens and injected into the mice, the immune system is reset to normal. The immune system stops recognizing myelin as an alien invader and halts its attack on it.

“This is a highly significant breakthrough in translational immunotherapy,” said Stephen Miller, a corresponding author of the study and the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “The beauty of this new technology is it can be used in many immune-related diseases. We simply change the antigen that’s delivered.”

“The holy grail is to develop a therapy that is specific to the pathological immune response, in this case the body attacking myelin,” Miller added. “Our approach resets the immune system so it no longer attacks myelin but leaves the function of the normal immune system intact.”

The nanoparticle, made from an easily produced and already FDA-approved substance, was developed by Lonnie Shea, professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

“This is a major breakthrough in nanotechnology, showing you can use it to regulate the immune system,” said Shea, also a corresponding author. The paper will be published Nov. 18 in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Miller and Shea are also members of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. In addition, Shea is a member of the Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine and the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute.

Clinical Trial for Ms Tests Same Approach — With Key Difference

The study’s method is the same approach now being tested in multiple sclerosis patients in a phase I/II clinical trial — with one key difference. The trial uses a patient’s own white blood cells — a costly and labor intensive procedure — to deliver the antigen. The purpose of the new study was to see if nanoparticles could be as effective as the white blood cells as delivery vehicles. They were.

The Big Nanoparticle Advantage for Immunotherapy

Nanoparticles have many advantages; they can be readily produced in a laboratory and standardized for manufacturing. They would make the potential therapy cheaper and more accessible to a general population. In addition, these nanoparticles are made of a polymer called Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLG), which consists of lactic acid and glycolic acid, both natural metabolites in the human body. PLG is most commonly used for biodegradable sutures.

The fact that PLG is already FDA approved for other applications should facilitate translating the research to patients, Shea noted. Miller and Shea tested nanoparticles of various sizes and discovered that 500 nanometers was most effective at modulating the immune response.

“We administered these particles to animals who have a disease very similar to relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis and stopped it in its tracks,” Miller said. “We prevented any future relapses for up to 100 days, which is the equivalent of several years in the life of an MS patient.”

Shea and Miller also are currently testing the nanoparticles to treat Type one diabetes and airway diseases such as asthma.

Nanoparticles Fool Immune System

In the study, researchers attached myelin antigens to the nanoparticles and injected them intravenously into the mice. The particles entered the spleen, which filters the blood and helps the body dispose of aging and dying blood cells. There, the particles were engulfed by macrophages, a type of immune cell, which then displayed the antigens on their cell surface. The immune system viewed the nanoparticles as ordinary dying blood cells and nothing to be concerned about. This created immune tolerance to the antigen by directly inhibiting the activity of myelin responsive T cells and by increasing the numbers of regulatory T cells which further calmed the autoimmune response.

“The key here is that this antigen/particle-based approach to induction of tolerance is selective and targeted. Unlike generalized immunosuppression, which is the current therapy used for autoimmune diseases, this new process does not shut down the whole immune system,” said Christine Kelley, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering director of the division of Discovery Science and Technology at the National Institutes of Health, which supported the research. “This collaborative effort between expertise in immunology and bioengineering is a terrific example of the tremendous advances that can be made with scientifically convergent approaches to biomedical problems.”

“We are proud to share our expertise in therapeutics development with Dr. Stephen Miller’s stellar team of academic scientists,” said Scott Johnson, CEO, president and founder of the Myelin Repair Foundation. “The idea to couple antigens to nanoparticles was conceived in discussions between Dr. Miller’s laboratory, the Myelin Repair Foundation’s drug discovery advisory board and Dr. Michael Pleiss, a member of the Myelin Repair Foundation’s internal research team, and we combined our efforts to focus on patient-oriented, clinically relevant research with broad implications for all autoimmune diseases. Our unique research model is designed to foster and extract the innovation from the academic science that we fund and transition these technologies to commercialization. The overarching goal is to ensure this important therapeutic pathway has its best chance to reach patients, with MS and all autoimmune diseases.”

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121118141516.htm

Indian spice may delay liver damage and cirrhosis

2010 study posted for filing
Contact: Emma Dickinson
edickinson@bmjgroup.com
44-207-383-6529
BMJ-British Medical Journal

Curcumin improves sclerosing cholangitis in Mdr2 -/- mice by inhibition of cholangiocyte inflammatory response and portal myofibroblast proliferation

Curcumin, one of the principal components of the Indian spice turmeric, seems to delay the liver damage that eventually causes cirrhosis, suggests preliminary experimental research in the journal Gut.

Curcumin, which gives turmeric its bright yellow pigment, has long been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders.

Previous research has indicated that it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which may be helpful in combating disease.

The research team wanted to find out if curcumin could delay the damage caused by progressive inflammatory conditions of the liver, including primary sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cirrhosis.

Both of these conditions, which can be sparked by genetic faults or autoimmune disease, cause the liver’s plumbing system of bile ducts to become inflamed, scarred, and blocked. This leads to extensive tissue damage and irreversible and ultimately fatal liver cirrhosis.

The research team analysed tissue and blood samples from mice with chronic liver inflammation before and after adding curcumin to their diet for a period of four and a period of eight weeks.

The results were compared with the equivalent samples from mice with the same condition, but not fed curcumin.

The findings showed that the curcumin diet significantly reduced bile duct blockage and curbed liver cell (hepatocyte) damage and scarring (fibrosis) by interfering with several chemical signalling pathways involved in the inflammatory process.

These effects were clear at both four and eight weeks. No such effects were seen in mice fed a normal diet.

The authors point out that current treatment for inflammatory liver disease involves ursodeoxycholic acid, the long term effects of which remain unclear. The other alternative is a liver transplant.

Curcumin is a natural product, they say, which seems to target several different parts of the inflammatory process, and as such, may therefore offer a very promising treatment in the future.

 

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Trans fats linked to increased endometriosis risk and omega-3-rich food linked to lower risk

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Emma Ross
rosswrite@mac.com
European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology

Women whose diets are rich in foods containing Omega-3 oils might be less likely to develop endometriosis, while those whose diets are heavily laden with trans fats might be more likely to develop the debilitating condition, new research published today (Wednesday 24 March) suggests.

The study – which is the largest to have investigated the link between diet and endometriosis risk and the first prospective study to identify a modifiable risk factor for the condition – found that while the total amount of fat in the diet did not matter, the type of fat did. Women who ate the highest amount of long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids were 22% less likely to be diagnosed with endometriosis than those who ate the least and that those who ate the most trans fats had a 48% increased risk, compared with those who ate the least.

The findings from 70,709 American nurses followed for 12 years, published online in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction [1], not only suggest that diet may be important in the development of endometriosis, but they also provide more evidence that a low fat diet is not necessarily the healthiest and further bolster the case for eliminating trans fats from the food supply, said the study’s leader, Dr. Stacey Missmer, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynaecology and reproductive biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

“Millions of women worldwide suffer from endometriosis. Many women have been searching for something they can actually do for themselves, or their daughters, to reduce the risk of developing the disease, and these findings suggest that dietary changes may be something they can do. The results need to be confirmed by further research, but this study gives us a strong indication that we’re on the right track in identifying food rich in Omega-3 oils as protective for endometriosis and trans fats as detrimental,” Dr. Missmer added.

Endometriosis occurs when pieces of the womb lining, or endometrium, is found outside the womb. This tissue behaves in the same way as it does in the womb – growing during the menstrual cycle in response to oestrogen in anticipation of an egg being fertilized and shedding as blood when there’s no pregnancy. However, when it grows outside the womb, it is trapped and cannot leave the body as menstruation. Some women experience no symptoms, but for many it is very incapacitating, causing severe pain. The tissue can also stick to other organs, sometimes leading to infertility. It afflicts about 10% of women. The cause is poorly understood and there is no cure. Symptoms are traditionally treated with pain medication, hormone drugs or surgery.

In the study, the researchers collected information from 1989 to 2001 on 70,709 women enrolled in the U.S. Nurses Health Study cohort. They used three food-frequency questionnaires spaced at four-year intervals to record the women’s usual dietary habits over the preceding year. They categorized consumption of the various types of dietary fat into five levels and related that information to later confirmed diagnoses of endometriosis. A total of 1,199 women were diagnosed with the disease by the end of the study. The results were adjusted to eliminate any influence on the findings from factors such as total calorie intake, body mass index, number of children borne and race.

Long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids are found mostly in oily fish. They have been linked to reduced heart disease risk. In the study, the highest contributor was mayonnaise and full-fat salad dressing, followed by fatty fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel.

Trans fats are artificially produced through hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oil into solid fat. Used in thousands of processed foods, from snacks to ready-meals, they have already been linked to increased heart disease risk. Some countries and municipalities have banned them. The major sources of trans fats in this study were fried restaurant foods, margarine and crackers.

“Women tend to go to the Internet in particular to look for something they can do. The majority of the dietary recommendations they find there are the ones prescribed for heart health, but until now, those had not been evaluated specifically for endometriosis,” Dr. Missmer said. “This gives them information that is more tailored and provides evidence for another disease where it is the type of fat in the diet, rather than the total amount, that is important.”

Besides confirming the finding, a next step could be to investigate whether dietary intervention that reduces trans fats and increases Omega-3 oils can alleviate symptoms in women who already have endometriosis, Dr. Missmer added.

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The U.S. National Institutes of Health funded the study.

[1] A prospective study of dietary fat consumption and endometriosis risk. Human Reproduction journal. doi:10.1093/humrep/deq044

High systolic BP in patients with chest pain linked with favorable prognosis

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Fredrik H. Nystrom
fredrik.nystrom@lio.se
JAMA and Archives Journals

New research finds that there is an inverse association between the level of supine (lying face up) systolic blood pressure measured on admission to an intensive care unit for acute chest pain and risk of death at one year, with those patients having high systolic blood pressure having a better prognosis after a year, according to a study in the March 24/31 issue of JAMA.

High blood pressure (BP) when measured after a resting period is among the best studied and established risk factors for cardiovascular disease, according to background information in the article. “However, little is known about the relationship between BP under acute stress, such as in acute chest pain, and subsequent mortality,” the authors write.

Fredrik H. Nystrom, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues from Linkoping University, Linkoping, Sweden, examined the death rate in relation to supine systolic BP measured at admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) for chest pain from 1997 through 2007. The study included analysis of data from 119,151 patients in a registry that includes all Swedish hospitals. Results from this study were presented according to systolic BP quartiles: Q1, less than 128 mm Hg; Q2, from 128 to 144 mm Hg; Q3, from 145 to 162 mm Hg; and Q4, at or above 163 mm Hg. Average follow-up time was 2.5 years.

The researchers found that the one-year mortality rate, after adjustment for various factors, showed that participants in Q1 of systolic BP had highest risk for death; conversely, patients in Q4 had the best prognosis. “Corresponding adjusted absolute risks were a 21.7 percent lower absolute risk for death within 1 year for patients in Q4 compared with Q2. The mortality risk was 15.2 percent lower for patients in Q3 compared with Q2 while the risk for patients in Q1 was 40.3 percent higher for mortality compared with that in Q2,” the authors write.

“High supine systolic BP measured in patients with acute chest pain was associated with a favorable 1-year prognosis,” they write. “There is an inverse association between admission supine systolic BP and 1-year mortality rate in patients admitted to the medical ICU for chest pain. This finding also applies to those patients who are diagnosed with ischemic heart disease and those who eventually develop [heart attack].”

 

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(JAMA. 2010;303[12]:1167-1172. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org)

Editor’s Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Virus infections may be contributing factor in onset of gluten intolerance

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Paivi Saavalainen
paivi.saavalainen@helsinki.fi
358-094-742-5086
Academy of Finland

Recent research findings indicate a possible connection between virus infections, the immune system and the onset of gluten intolerance, also known as coeliac disease. A research project in the Academy of Finland’s Research Programme on Nutrition, Food and Health (ELVIRA) has brought new knowledge on the hereditary nature of gluten intolerance and identified genes that carry a higher risk of developing the condition. Research has shown that the genes in question are closely linked with the human immune system and the occurrence of inflammations, rather than being connected with the actual breakdown of gluten in the digestive tract.

“Some of the genes we have identified are linked with human immune defence against viruses. This may indicate that virus infections may be connected in some way with the onset of gluten intolerance,” says Academy Research Fellow Päivi Saavalainen, who has conducted research into the hereditary risk factors for gluten intolerance.

Saavalainen explains that the genes that predispose people to gluten intolerance are very widespread in the population and, as a result, they are only a minor part of the explanation for the way in which gluten intolerance is inherited. However, the knowledge of the genes behind gluten intolerance is valuable in itself, as it helps researchers explore the reasons behind gluten intolerance, which in turn builds potential for developing new treatments and preventive methods. This is essential, because the condition is often relatively symptom-free, yet it can have serious complications unless treated.

Researchers have localised the risk genes by using data on patients and on entire families. The material in the Finnish study is part of a very extensive study of thousands of people with gluten intolerance and control groups in nine different populations. The research will be published in a coming issue of Nature Genetics.

Research into hereditary conditions has made great progress over the past few years. Gene researchers now face their next challenge, as a closer analysis is now needed of the risk factors in the genes that predispose people to gluten intolerance. It is important to discover how they impact on gene function and what part they play in the onset of gluten intolerance.

Gluten intolerance is an autoimmune reaction in the small intestine. Roughly one in a hundred Finns suffer from this condition. The gluten that occurs naturally in grains such as wheat, barley and rye causes damage to the intestinal villi, problems with nutrient absorption and potentially other problems too. Gluten intolerance is an inherited predisposition, and nearly all sufferers carry the genes that play a key part in the onset of the condition. The only known effective treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet.

 

###

 

More information:

Academy Research Fellow Päivi Saavalainen, University of Helsinki, tel. +358(0)9 474 25086, paivi.saavalainen@helsinki.fi

Academy of Finland Communications
Riitta Tirronen, communications manager
tel. +358(0)9 7748 8369
riitta.tirronen@aka.fi

‘Dung of the devil’ plant roots point to new swine flu drugs: Showed greater potency against influenza A (H1N1) than a prescription antiviral drugs

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Michael Woods m_woods@acs.org 202-872-6293 American Chemical Society

Scientists in China have discovered that roots of a plant used a century ago during the great Spanish influenza pandemic contains substances with powerful effects in laboratory experiments in killing the H1N1 swine flu virus that now threatens the world. The plant has a pleasant onion-like taste when cooked, but when raw it has sap so foul-smelling that some call it the “Dung of the Devil” plant. Their report is scheduled for the Sept. 25 issue of ACS’ Journal of Natural Products, a monthly publication.

In the study, Fang-Rong Chang and Yang-Chang Wu and colleagues note that the plant, Ferula assa-foetida, grows mainly in Iran, Afghanistan and mainland China. People used it as a possible remedy during the1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed between 20 to 100 million people. Until now, however, nobody had determined whether the plant does produce natural antiviral compounds.

Chang and Wu identified a group of chemical compounds in extracts of the plant that showed greater potency against influenza A (H1N1) than a prescription antiviral drug available for the flu. “Overall, the present study has determined that sesquiterpene coumarins from F. assa-foetida may serve as promising lead components for new drug development against influenza A (H1N1) viral infection,” the authors write.

###

 

ARTICLE #1 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE “Influenza A (H1N1) Antiviral and Cytotoxic Agents from Ferula assa-foetida”

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE: http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/np900158f

CONTACT: Fang-Rong Chang, Ph.D. Yang-Chang Wu, Ph.D. Kaohsiung Medical University. Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan, Republic of China Phone: 886-7-312-1101, ext. 2197 Fax: 886-7-311-4773 E-mail: yachwu@kmu.edu.tw or aaronfrc@kmu.edu.tw

Common food dye may hold promise in treating spinal cord injury: stops the cascade of molecular events that cause secondary damage to the spinal cord

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Mark Michaud
mark_michaud@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-4790
University of Rochester Medical Center

A common food additive that gives M&Ms and Gatorade their blue tint may offer promise for preventing the additional – and serious – secondary damage that immediately follows a traumatic injury to the spinal cord. In an article published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers report that the compound Brilliant Blue G (BBG) stops the cascade of molecular events that cause secondary damage to the spinal cord in the hours following a spinal cord injury, an injury known to expand the injured area in the spinal cord and permanently worsen the paralysis for patients.

This research builds on landmark laboratory findings first reported five years ago by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center. In the August 2004 cover story of Nature Medicine, scientists detailed how ATP, the vital energy source that keeps our body’s cells alive, quickly pours into the area surrounding a spinal cord injury shortly after it occurs, and paradoxically kills off what are otherwise healthy and uninjured cells.

This surprising discovery marked a milestone in establishing how secondary injury occurs in spinal cord patients. It also laid out a potential way to stop secondary spinal injury, by using oxidized ATP, a compound known to block ATP’s effects. Rats with damaged spinal cords who received an injection of oxidized ATP were shown to recover much of their limb function, to the point of being able to walk again, ambulating effectively if not gracefully.

Now, scientists detail the clearing of yet another hurdle in moving this research closer from bench to bedside by successfully identifying a compound that could be administered systemically to achieve the same benefit. Previously, the team needed to inject a compound directly into the injured spinal cord area to achieve its results.

“While we achieved great results when oxidized ATP was injected directly into the spinal cord, this method would not be practical for use with spinal cord-injured patients,” said lead researcher Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., professor of Neurosurgery and director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “First, no one wants to put a needle into a spinal cord that has just been severely injured, so we knew we needed to find another way to quickly deliver an agent that would stop ATP from killing healthy motor neurons. Second, the compound we initially used, oxidized ATP, cannot be injected into the bloodstream because of its dangerous side effects.”

Nedergaard cautions that while this body of work offers a promising new way of treating spinal cord injury, it is still years away from possible application in patients. In addition, any potential treatments would only be helpful to people who have just suffered a spinal cord injury, not for patients whose injury is more than a day old. Just as clot-busting agents can help patients who have had a stroke or heart attack who get to an emergency room within a few hours, so a compound that could stem the damage from ATP might help patients who have had a spinal cord injury and are treated immediately.

Too Much of a Good Thing

While ATP is usually considered to be helpful to our bodies – after all, it’s the main source of energy for all of our body’s cells – Nedergaard was the first to uncover its darker side in the spinal cord. Immediately after a spinal cord injury occurs, ATP surges to the damaged area, at levels hundreds of times higher than normal. It is this glut of ATP that over-stimulates neurons and causes them to die from metabolic stress.

Neurons in the spinal cord are so susceptible to ATP because of a molecule known as “the death receptor.” Scientists know that the receptor – called P2X7 – plays a role in regulating the deaths of immune cells such as macrophages, but in 2004, Nedergaard’s team discovered that P2X7 also is carried in abundance by neurons in the spinal cord. P2X7 allows ATP to latch onto motor neurons and send them the flood of signals that cause their deaths, worsening the spinal cord injury and resulting paralysis.

So the team set its sights on finding a compound that not only would prevent ATP from attaching to P2X7, but could be delivered intravenously. In a fluke, Nedergaard discovered that BBG, a known P2X7R antagonist, is both structurally and functionally equivalent to the commonly used FD&C blue dye No. 1. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a food additive in 1982, more than 1 million pounds of this dye are consumed yearly in the U.S.; each day, the average American ingests 16 mgs. of FD&C blue dye No. 1.

“Because BBG is so similar to this commonly used blue food dye, we felt that if it had the same potency in stopping the secondary injury as oxidized ATP, but with none of its side effects, then it might be great potential treatment for cord injury,” Nedergaard said.

The team was not disappointed. An intravenous injection of BBG proved to significantly reduce secondary injury in spinal cord-injured rats, who improved to the point of being able to walk, though with a limp. Rats that had not received the BBG solution never regained the ability to walk. There was one side effect: Rats who were injected with BBG temporarily had a blue tinge to their skin.

Nedergaard’s long-time collaborator on this and other projects, chair of the University of Rochester Department of Neurology Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., adds, “We have no effective treatment now for patients who have an acute spinal cord injury. Our hope is that this work will lead to a practical, safe agent that can be given to patients shortly after injury, for the purpose of decreasing the secondary damage that we have to otherwise expect.”

Nedergaard and Goldman believe that further laboratory testing will be needed to test the safety of BBG and related agents before human clinical trials could begin. Nonetheless, the investigators are optimistic that with sufficient study, strategies like this could yield new treatments for acute spinal cord injuries within the next several years.

###

Other authors from the University of Rochester Medical Center include Weiguo Peng, Maria L. Cotrina, Xiaoning Han, Hongmei Yu, Lane Bekar, Livnat Blum, Takahiro Takano, and Guo-Feng Tia.

The research was supported by the New York State Spinal Cord Injury program, the Miriam and Sheldon Adelson Medical Research Foundation, and grants from the National Institutes of Health.

62nd Health Research Report 04 AUG 2009 – Reconstruction

 

Editors top 5:

  1. Common household pesticides linked to childhood cancer cases in Washington area
  2.  Got zinc? New zinc research suggests novel therapeutic targets
  3.  Study Links Virus To Some Cases Of Common Skin Cancer
  4.  Millions of US children low in vitamin D- (70%)
  5.  Food additive may one day help control blood lipids and reduce disease risk

In this issue:

1. The ‘see food’ diet

2. Almost 1/4 of Spanish women take antidepressants

3. New research finds that bingeing increases opioids in brain area that controls food intake

4. Common food dye may hold promise in treating spinal cord injury

5. Common household pesticides linked to childhood cancer cases in Washington area

6. Got zinc? New zinc research suggests novel therapeutic targets

7. Scientists uncork a potential secret of red wine’s health benefits

8. SAMe is Effective in Preventing Formation of Primary Liver Cancer in Rats

9. Study Links Virus To Some Cases Of Common Skin Cancer

10. Millions of US children low in vitamin D- (70%)

11. Food additive may one day help control blood lipids and reduce disease risk

12. US Marshals seize (anti-bacterial) sanitizer for bacteria problems

13. Antidepressant Use in U.S. Has Almost Doubled

Health Research Report

62nd  Issue Date 04 AUG 2009

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.healthresearchreport.me www.vit.bz

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

www.engineeringevil.com

New evidence that popular dietary supplement may help prevent, treat cataracts: Carnosine

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Michael Woods
m_woods@acs.org
202-872-6293
American Chemical Society

Biochemistry

Researchers are reporting evidence from tissue culture experiments that the popular dietary supplement carnosine may help to prevent and treat cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye that is a leading cause of vision loss worldwide. The study is scheduled for the July 28 edition of ACS’ Biochemistry, a weekly journal.

In the new study, Enrico Rizzarelli and colleagues note that the only effective treatment for cataracts is surgical replacement of the lens, the clear disc-like structure inside the eye that focuses light on the nerve tissue in the back of the eye. Cataracts develop when the main structural protein in the lens, alpha-crystallin, forms abnormal clumps. The clumps make the lens cloudy and impair vision. Previous studies hinted that carnosine may help block the formation of these clumps.

The scientists exposed tissue cultures of healthy rat lenses to either guanidine — a substance known to form cataracts — or a combination of guanidine and carnosine. The guanidine lenses became completely cloudy, while the guanidine/carnosine lenses developed 50 to 60 percent less cloudiness. Carnosine also restored most of the clarity to clouded lenses. The results demonstrate the potential of using carnosine for preventing and treating cataracts, the scientists say.

 

###

 

ARTICLE #3 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“Protective Effects of L- and D-Carnosine on alpha-Crystallin Amyloid Fibril Formation: Implications for Cataract Disease”

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE: http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/bi900343n

CONTACT:
Enrico Rizzarelli, Ph.D.
Department of Chemical Sciences
University of Catania
Catania, Italy
Phone: 390957385070
Fax: 39095337678
Email: erizzarelli@unict.it

 

61st Health Research Report 21 JUL 2009 – Reconstruction

 

Editors Top Five:

1. Easter Island compound extends lifespan of old mice

2. Is obesity an oral bacterial disease?

3. Are we what our mothers ate?

4. New evidence that popular dietary supplement may help prevent, treat cataracts

5. INCREASE IN THYROID CANCER NOT EXPLAINED BY SCREENING ALONE

In This Issue :

1. Easter Island compound extends lifespan of old mice

2. Plastics chemical retards growth, function of adult reproductive cells

3. Is obesity an oral bacterial disease?

4. Dry Mouth Linked to Prescription and Over the Counter Drugs

5. INCREASE IN THYROID CANCER NOT EXPLAINED BY SCREENING ALONE

6. Pesticide levels in blood linked to Parkinson’s disease, researchers find

7. Probiotics help gastric-bypass patients lose weight more quickly, Stanford study shows

8. Asian Spice Could Reduce Breast Cancer Risk in Postmenopausal Women Exposed to Hormone Replacement Therapy, MU Study Finds

9. Hormone therapy use associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer

10. Study demonstrates the anti-inflammatory properties of pine bark extract

11. New evidence that popular dietary supplement may help prevent, treat cataracts

12. Baking soda: For cooking, cleaning and kidney health?

13. Baby bathwater contains fragrance allergens

14. Healing power of aloe vera proves beneficial for teeth and gums, too

15. Prenatal exposure to environmental pollutants affect a child’s intelligence quotient or IQ

16. Are we what our mothers ate?

 

 

Health Research Report

61st Issue Date 21 JUL 2009

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.healthresearchreport.me www.vit.bz

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

www.engineeringevil.com

60th Health Research Report 07 JUL 2009 – Reconstruction

Editors Top Five:

1.Your Arteries on Wonder Bread

2.Report: Prostate cancer screening has yet to prove its worth

3. Doubts cast on credibility of some published clinical trials

4. Health food supplement may curb compulsive hair pulling

5. Acid-reducing medicines may lead to dependency

In this issue:

1.Irritability should be considered when diagnosing bipolar disorder in children

2. Kidney damage from medical imaging procedures can cause long-term health problems

3. Chemicals in common consumer products may play a role in pre-term births

4. Vitamin A derivative provides clues to better breast cancer drugs

5.Your Arteries on Wonder Bread

6. Tryptophan deficiency may underlie quinine side effects

7. Mice run faster on high-grade oil

8.Report: Prostate cancer screening has yet to prove its worth

9. Magic ingredient in breast milk protects babies’ intestines

10.K-STATE RESEARCHER STUDIES THE ANTI-CANCER CAPABILITIES OF A SPECIAL PURPLE SWEET POTATO

11.Triggering muscle development — a therapeutic cure for muscle wastage?

12.Acid-reducing medicines may lead to dependency

13.Doubts cast on credibility of some published clinical trials

14.. Caffeine reverses memory impairment in Alzheimer’s mice

15.Researchers find possible environmental causes for Alzheimer’s, diabetes

16.Muscle damage may be present in some patients taking statins

17. Health food supplement may curb compulsive hair pulling

18.Sugar substitute appears to prevent early childhood cavities

Health Research Report

60th Issue Date 07 JUL 2009

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.healthresearchreport.me www.vit.bz

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

www.engineeringevil.com

Chest band may relieve a chronic cough

Contact: Jennifer Stawarz jstawarz@chestnet.org 847-498-8306 American College of Chest Physicians

A soft, extendible band fitted around the chest may help to relieve cough in patients with persistent dry cough. Over the course of 1 year, Japanese researchers evaluated the antitussive effect of the chest band worn for 8 hours a day in 56 patients with chronic cough due to a variety of conditions. Results showed that 88% (n=49) of patients improved their cough scores, and 59% (n=33) were able to reduce the cough. Researchers conclude that soft chest band therapy for intractable, prolonged, and chronic cough is a safe and effective therapy. This study was presented during CHEST 2012, the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, held October 20 – 25, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Daily vibration may combat prediabetes in youth : 20min daily was better than prescription drugs at reducing levels of hemoglobin A1

Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@georgiahealth.edu
706-721-4421
Georgia Health Sciences University

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Daily sessions of whole-body vibration may combat prediabetes in adolescents, dramatically reducing inflammation, average blood glucose levels and symptoms such as frequent urination, researchers report.

In mice that mimic over-eating adolescents headed toward diabetes, 20 minutes of daily vibration for eight weeks restored a healthy balance of key pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators and was better than prescription drugs at reducing levels of hemoglobin A1c, the most accurate indicator of average blood glucose levels, said Dr. Jack C. Yu, Chief of the Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University.

In normal mice, just four days of vibration also dramatically improved the ability to manage a huge glucose surge similar to that following a high-calorie, high-fat meal. “It’s a very good sign,” said Yu. “If you eat a pound of sugar, your blood glucose will go up. If you are prediabetic, it will go up even more and take longer to come down.”

Interestingly, vibration did not produce similar changes in older, normal mice, Yu told researchers at the Third World Congress of Plastic Surgeons of Chinese Descent.

“This is our model: the average American teenager who eats too much,” said Yu, who regularly operates on obese and often prediabetic adolescent males who want their abnormally large breasts reduced. “The only way to burn fat is to exercise. We shake the bone for you rather than the body’s muscle shaking it. This is a highly efficient way to fool the bone into thinking we are exercising.”

It’s also one way to deal with the reality that many individuals simply will not exercise regularly, he said.

Yu, also a craniofacial surgeon who studies bone formation, said while it’s unclear exactly how vibration produces these desirable results, it seems linked to the impact of movement on bone health. Vibration mimics the motion bones experience during exercise when muscles are doing the work. The slight bending and unbending of bone triggers remodeling so it can stay strong. One result is production of osteocalcin, a protein essential to bone building, which also signals the pancreas to get ready for food. While this prehistoric relationship is tied to the hunt for food, it doesn’t work so well in 21st century living where folks are moving too little and eating too much, Yu said. The constant demand can produce resistance to the insulin required to use glucose as energy.

Additionally, the body tends to hold onto fat for energy and survival, which researchers think is key to the chronic inflammation found in obesity-related type 2 diabetes. The fat itself produces inflammatory factors; the immune system also can misidentify fat as an infection, resulting in even more inflammation but, unfortunately, not eliminating the fat.

The bottom line is an unbalanced immune response: too many aggressors like the immune system SWAT team member Th17 and too few calming regulating factors like FoxP3. Researchers looked in the mouse blood and found vibration produced a 125-fold increase in immune system homeostasis and similar results in the kidney. This included positive movement in other players as well, such as a five-fold reduction in what Yu calls the “nuclear fuel,” gammaH2AX, an indicator that something is attacking the body’s DNA.

The animal model researchers used has a defect in the receptor for leptin, the satiety hormone, so the mice uncharacteristically overeat. Vibration also significantly reduced the mouse’s diabetic symptoms of excessive thirst and diluted urine, resulting from excessive urination. The mice also seemed to like it, Yu said.

Next steps include learning more about how vibration produces such desirable results and large-scale clinical studies to see if they hold true in adolescents.

Prediabetics can avoid type 2 diabetes by making healthy diet changes and increasing physical activity, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Vibration technology was originally developed by the former Soviet Union to try to prevent muscle and bone wasting in cosmonauts. MCG researchers reported in the journal Bone in 2010 that daily whole body vibration may help minimize age-related bone density loss.

Yu and Biomedical Engineer Karl H. Wenger developed the whole-body vibrator used for the animal studies. Study coauthors include Wenger as well as GHSU’s Drs. Babak Baban, Sun Hsieh, Mahmood Mozaffari and Mohamad Masoumy.

###

Cochrane Review finds no benefit from routine health checks

Contact: Jennifer Beal sciencenewsroom@wiley.com 44-012-437-70633 Wiley

Carrying out general health checks does not reduce deaths overall or from serious diseases like cancer and heart disease, according to Cochrane researchers. The researchers, who carried out a systematic review on the subject for The Cochrane Library, warn against offering general health checks as part of a public health programme.

In some countries, general health checks are offered as part of standard practice. General health checks are intended to reduce deaths and ill health by enabling early detection and treatment of disease. However, there are potential negative implications, for example diagnosis and treatment of conditions that might never have led to any symptoms of disease or shortened life.

The researchers based their findings on 14 trials involving 182,880 people. All trials divided participants into at least two groups: one where participants were invited to general health checks and another where they were not. The number of new diagnoses was generally poorly studied, but in one trial, health checks led to more diagnoses of all kinds. In another trial, people in the group invited to general health checks were more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, as might be expected. In three trials, large numbers of abnormalities were identified in the screened groups.

However, based on nine trials with a total of 11,940 deaths, the researchers found no difference between the number of deaths in the two groups in the long term, either overall or specifically due to cancer or heart disease. Other outcomes were poorly studied, but suggested that offering general health checks has no impact on hospital admissions, disability, worry, specialist referrals, additional visits to doctors or time off work.

“From the evidence we’ve seen, inviting patients to general health checks is unlikely to be beneficial,” said lead researcher Lasse Krogsbøll of The Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark. “One reason for this might be that doctors identify additional problems and take action when they see patients for other reasons.”

“What we’re not saying is that doctors should stop carrying out tests or offering treatment when they suspect there may be a problem. But we do think that public healthcare initiatives that are systematically offering general health checks should be resisted.”

According to the review, new studies should be focused on the individual components of health checks and better targeting of conditions such as kidney disease and diabetes. They should be designed to further explore the harmful effects of general health checks, which are often ignored, producing misleading conclusions about the balance of benefits and harm. Another problem is that those people who attend health checks when invited may be different to those who do not. People who are at a high risk of serious illness may be less likely to attend.

Aspirin and similar drugs may be associated with brain microbleeds in older adults: Causes amyloid accumulation often related to Alzheimer’s disease

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Monique M.B. Breteler, M.D., Ph.D. m.breteler@erasmusmc.nl JAMA and Archives Journals

Individuals who take aspirin or other medications that prevent blood clotting by inhibiting the accumulation of platelets appear more likely to have tiny, asymptomatic areas of bleeding in the brain, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the June print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Cerebral microbleeds—small deposits of the iron-storing protein hemosiderin in the brain—may be a sign of cerebral small-vessel disease, according to background information in the article. This condition, common among older adults, occurs when the walls of blood vessels in the brain become weakened. When microbleeds occur in certain brain areas, they may indicate a type of small vessel disease known as cerebral amyloid angiopathy, in which the accumulation of amyloid (a protein often related to Alzheimer’s disease) causes degeneration of smooth muscle cells and increases the susceptibility of blood vessels to ruptures and hemorrhages.

Meike W. Vernooij, M.D., and colleagues at Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, investigated the relationship between cerebral microbleeds and the use of anti-clotting medications in 1,062 individuals without dementia involved in the Rotterdam Scan Study. Participants (average age 69.6) underwent magnetic resonance imaging examinations in 2005 and 2006. Pharmacy records were used to assess whether any of the individuals took anti-clotting drugs. These included aspirin and carbasalate calcium—called platelet aggregation inhibitors because they prevent the accumulation of platelets that form blood clots.

In the years before MRI, 363 (34.2 percent) of the participants had used any anti-clotting drugs, including 245 (23.1 percent) who took platelet aggregation inhibitors (67 taking aspirin and 141 taking carbasalate calcium). Compared with patients who did not use anti-clotting drugs, those who took aspirin or carbasalate calcium were more likely to have cerebral microbleeds visible on MRI. This association was particularly strong among individuals taking these drugs at higher doses, typically used to treat or prevent heart disease. Microbleeds in the frontal lobe were more common among aspirin users than carbasalate calcium users. There was no association between other types of anti-clotting drugs and cerebral microbleeds.

“There is currently major interest in bleeding risks with the use of antithrombotic or thrombolytic treatment in persons who have microbleeds that are apparent on MRI because this may affect treatment in patients with cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease,” the authors write. “The cross-sectional design of our analyses prohibited an investigation of whether persons with cerebral microbleeds are at increased risk for symptomatic hemorrhage [excessive bleeding] when using platelet aggregation inhibitors.”

The beneficial effects of anti-clotting drugs for individuals at risk for heart attack and stroke typically outweigh any risks of bleeding, they note. “Nevertheless, it may be that in selected persons (e.g., those with signs of cerebral amyloid angiopathy), this risk-benefit ratio may differ for certain drugs (e.g., aspirin), thus influencing treatment decision,” they conclude.

###

(Arch Neurol. 2009;66[6]:(doi:10.1001/archneurol.2009.42).  Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org.)

Editor’s Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc

48th Health Research Report 20 JAN 2009 – Reconstruction

 

Editors Top Five:

Not enough research to justify a top five yet.

 

 

In this issue:

 

1. Maslinic acid provides a natural defense against colon cancer

2. Chemopreventive agents in black raspberries identified

3. Study shows California’s autism increase not due to better counting, diagnosis

4. Hormone therapy linked to brain shrinkage, but not lesions

5. Vitamin D is the ‘it’ nutrient of the moment

6. Most heart attack patients’ cholesterol levels did not indicate cardiac risk

7. Misuse of Vicks VapoRub may harm infants and toddlers

8. HHS Report Slams FDA’s Conflict of Interest Oversight

9. Smoking during pregnancy may impair thyroid function of mom and fetus

10. Greater Quadriceps Strength May Benefit Those with Knee Osteoarthritis

11. Seasonal variation in blood pressure

12. Progress made in understanding causes and treatment of endometriosis

13. Study links water pollution with declining male fertility

14. Low-carbohydrate diet burns more excess liver fat than low-calorie diet, UT Southwestern study find

 

Health Research Report

48th Issue Date 20 JAN 2009

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.healthresearchreport.me www.vit.bz

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

www.engineeringevil.com

 

47th Health Research Report 06 JAN 2009 – Reconstruction


 

Editors Top Five:

 

**Holiday Light Version

 

In this issue:

 

1. Common food additive found to increase risk and speed spread of lung cancer

2. Another reason to avoid high-fat diet — it can disrupt our biological clock

3. Nutrigenomics — developing personalized diets for disease prevention

4. Grape-seed extract kills laboratory leukemia cells, proving value of natural compounds

5. USC dentist links Fosamax-type drugs to jaw necrosis

6. Antioxidants offer pain relief in patients with chronic pancreatitis

7. Childhood trauma associated with chronic fatigue syndrome

8. Pneumococcal vaccine does not appear to protect against pneumonia

9. Low-carb diets prove better at controlling type 2 diabetes

10. New infant formula safety advice could prevent infant suffering

11. Coffee may protect against oral cancers

 

Health Technology Research Synopsis

47 th Issue Date 06 JAN 2009

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.healthresearchreport.me www.vit.bz

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www.engineeringevil.com

 

New study proves that pain is not a symptom of arthritis, pain causes arthritis

2008 study posted for filing

Contact: Greg Williams
Greg_Williams@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-1757
University of Rochester Medical Center

New treatments will seek to interrupt ‘crosstalk’ between joints and the spinal cord

Pain is more than a symptom of osteoarthritis, it is an inherent and damaging part of the disease itself, according to a study published today in journal Arthritis and Rheumatism. More specifically, the study revealed that pain signals originating in arthritic joints, and the biochemical processing of those signals as they reach the spinal cord, worsen and expand arthritis. In addition, researchers found that nerve pathways carrying pain signals transfer inflammation from arthritic joints to the spine and back again, causing disease at both ends.

Technically, pain is a patient’s conscious realization of discomfort. Before that can happen, however, information must be carried along nerve cell pathways from say an injured knee to the pain processing centers in dorsal horns of the spinal cord, a process called nociception. The current study provides strong evidence that two-way, nociceptive “crosstalk” may first enable joint arthritis to transmit inflammation into the spinal cord and brain, and then to spread through the central nervous system (CNS) from one joint to another.

Furthermore, if joint arthritis can cause neuro-inflammation, it could have a role in conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and multiple sclerosis. Armed with the results, researchers have identified likely drug targets that could interfere with key inflammatory receptors on sensory nerve cells as a new way to treat osteoarthritis (OA), which destroys joint cartilage in 21 million Americans. The most common form of arthritis, OA eventually brings deformity and severe pain as patients loose the protective cushion between bones in weight-bearing joints like knees and hips.

“Until relatively recently, osteoarthritis was believed to be due solely to wear and tear, and inevitable part of aging,” said Stephanos Kyrkanides, D.D.S., Ph.D., associate professor of Dentistry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “Recent studies have revealed, however, that specific biochemical changes contribute to the disease, changes that might be reversed by precision-designed drugs. Our study provides the first solid proof that some of those changes are related to pain processing, and suggests the mechanisms behind the effect,” said Kyrkanides, whose work on genetics in dentistry led to broader applications. The common ground between arthritis and dentistry: the jaw joint is a common site of arthritic pain.

Study Details

Past studies have shown that specific nerve pathways along which pain signals travel repeatedly become more sensitive to pain signals with each use. This may be a part of ancient survival skill (if that hurt once, don’t do it again). Secondly, pain has long been associated with inflammation (swelling and fever).

In fact, past research has shown that the same chemicals that cause inflammation also cause the sensation of pain and hyper-sensitivity to pain if injected. Kyrkanides’ work centers around one such pro-inflammatory, signaling chemical called Interleukin 1-beta (IL-1β), which helps to ramp up the bodies attack on an infection.

Specifically, Kyrkanides’ team genetically engineered a mouse where they could turn up on command the production of IL-1β in the jaw joint, a common site of arthritis. Experiments showed for the first time that turning up IL-1β in a peripheral joint caused higher levels of IL-1β to be produced in the dorsal horns of the spinal cord as well.

Using a second, even more elaborately engineered mouse model, the team also demonstrated for the first time that creating higher levels of IL-1β in cells called astrocytes in the spinal cord caused more osteoarthritic symptoms in joints. Past studies had shown astrocytes, non-nerve cells (glia) in the central nervous system that provide support for the spinal cord and brain, also serve as the immune cells of CNS organs. Among other things, they release cytokines like IL-1β to fight disease when triggered. The same cytokines released from CNS glia may also be released from neurons in joints, possibly explaining how crosstalk carries pain, inflammation and hyper-sensitivity back and forth.

In both mouse models, experimental techniques that shut down IL-1β signaling reversed the crosstalk effects. Specifically, researchers used a molecule, IL-1RA, known to inhibit the ability of IL-1β to link up with its receptors on nerve cells. Existing drugs (e.g. Kineret® (anakinra), made by Amgen and indicated for rheumatoid arthritis) act like IL-1RA to block the ability IL-1β to send a pain signal through its specific nerve cell receptor, and Kyrkanides’ group is exploring a new use for them as osteoarthritis treatment.

The implications of this process go further, however, because the cells surrounding sensory nerve cell pathways too can be affected by crosstalk. If 10 astrocytes secrete IL-1β in response to a pain impulse, Kyrkanides said, perhaps 1,000 adjacent cells will be affected, greatly expanding the field of inflammation. Spinal cord astrocytes are surrounded by sensory nerve cells that connect to other areas of the periphery, further expanding the effect. According to Kyrkanides’ model, increased inflammation by in the central nervous system can then send signals back down the nerve pathways to the joints, causing the release of inflammatory factors there.

Among the proposed, inflammatory factors is calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP). The team observed higher levels calcitonin-gene related peptide (CGRP) production in primary sensory fibers in the same regions where IL-1β levels rose, and the release of IL-1β by sensory neurons may cause the release of CGRP in joints. Past studies in Kyrkanides reveal that CGRP can also cause cartilage-producing cells (chondrocytes) to mature too quickly and die, a hallmark of osteoarthritis.

Joining Kyrkanides in the publication from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry were co-authors M. Kerry O’Banion, M.D., Ph.D., Ross Tallents, D.D.S., J. Edward Puzas, Ph.D. and Sabine M. Brouxhon, M.D. Paolo Fiorentino was a student contributor and Jennie Miller was involved as Kyrkanides’ technical associate. Maria Piancino, led a collaborative effort at the University of Torino, Italy. This work was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

“Our study results confirm that joints can export inflammation in the form of higher IL-1β along sensory nerve pathways to the spinal cord, and that higher IL-1β inflammation in the spinal cord is sufficient in itself to create osteoarthritis in peripheral joints,” Kyrkanides said. “We believe this to be a vitally important process contributing to orthopaedic and neurological diseases in which inflammation is a factor.”

Drinking chamomile tea daily with meals may help prevent the complications of diabetes, which include loss of vision, nerve damage, and kidney damage

2008 Post for filing

Drinking chamomile tea may help fight complications of diabetes Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Drinking chamomile tea daily with meals may help prevent the complications of diabetes, which include loss of vision, nerve damage, and kidney damage, researchers in Japan and the United Kingdom are reporting.

The findings could lead to the development of a new chamomile-based drug for type 2 diabetes, which is at epidemic levels in this country and spreading worldwide, they note. Their study appears in the Sept. 10 issue of the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

In the new study, Atsushi Kato and colleagues point out that chamomile, also known as manzanilla, has been used for years as a medicinal cure-all to treat a variety of medical problems including stress, colds, and menstrual cramps. Scientists recently proposed that the herbal tea might also be beneficial for fighting diabetes, but the theory hasn’t been scientifically tested until now.

To find out, the researchers fed chamomile extract to a group of diabetic rats for 21 days and compared the results to a group of control animals on a normal diet. The chamomile-supplemented animals showed a significant decrease in blood glucose levels compared with the controls, they say. The extract also showed significant inhibition of both ALR2 enzymes and sorbitol, whose elevated levels are associated with increased diabetic complications, the scientists say. — MTS

ARTICLE #2 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE “Protective Effects of Dietary chamomile Tea on Diabetic Complications”

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf8014365

CONTACT: Atsushi Kato University of Toyama Toyama, Japan Fax: 81 76 434 5155 Email: kato@med.u-toyama.ac.jp

New research suggests diabetes transmitted from parents to children

2008 posted for filing
Contact: Nick Zagorski
nzagorski@asbmb.org
301-634-7366
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

An unusual form of inheritance may have a role in the rising rate of diabetes, especially in children and young adults, in the United States

A new study in the September issue of the Journal of Lipid Research suggests an unusual form of inheritance may have a role in the rising rate of diabetes, especially in children and young adults, in the United States.

DNA is the primary mechanism of inheritance; kids get half their genes from mom and half from dad. However, scientists are just starting to understand additional kinds of inheritance like metabolic programming, which occurs when an insult during a critical period of development, either in the womb or soon after birth, triggers permanent changes in metabolism.

In this study, the researchers looked at the effects of a diet high in saturated fat on mice and their offspring. As expected, they found that a high-fat diet induced type 2 diabetes in the adult mice and that this effect was reversed by stopping the diet.

However, if female mice continued a high-fat diet during pregnancy and/or suckling, their offspring also had a greater frequency of diabetes development, even though the offspring were given a moderate-fat diet. These mice were then mated with healthy mice, and the next generation offspring (grandchildren of the original high-fat fed generation) could develop diabetes as well.

In effect, exposing a fetal mouse to high levels of saturated fats can cause it and its offspring to acquire diabetes, even if the mouse goes off the high-fat diet and its young are never directly exposed.

The study used mice so it’s not time to warn women to eat differently during pregnancy and breastfeeding but earlier research has shown that this kind of inheritance is at work in humans. For example, there is an increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in children born of malnourished mothers.

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From the article: “Effects of High Fat Diet Exposure During Fetal Life on Type 2 Diabetes Development in the Progeny” by Donatella Gniuli, Alessandra Calcagno, Maria Emiliana Caristo, Alessandra Mancuso, Veronica Macchi, Geltrude Mingrone, and Roberto Vettor.

Article link: http://www.jlr.org/cgi/content/abstract/M800033-JLR200v1

Corresponding Author: Donatella Gniuli, Istituto di Medicina Interna, Universita’ Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome; Tel: +39-3204261273; email: dgniuli@gmail.com

Only one in six ‘baby boomers’ in good health

Only one in six ‘baby boomers’ is retiring in good health, with most succombing to a range of conditions and diseases including high cholesterol, osteoporosis or cancer, a study has found.

The 'baby boomer' generation is likely to dictate the agenda for the NHS for the next 30 years, argue the report's authors.

The ‘baby boomer’ generation is likely to dictate the agenda for the NHS for the next 30 years, argue the report’s authors. Photo: GETTY

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Stephen Adams

By , Medical Correspondent

10:00PM BST 19 Sep 2012

Even though today’s 60-somethings have benefited from the NHS and welfare state pretty much from birth, most still have at least one health problem, say Government scientists.

They found the average baby boomer – referring to those born in the years just after the Second World War – has two medical conditions.

Just over half have high blood pressure, a third are obese, and a quarter have high cholesterol.

A quarter have Type 2 diabetes or ‘pre-diabetes’, meaning they are on the cusp of fully developing the condition.

Almost one in five suffer from a mental health problem, while 12 per cent have chronic lung or throat disease.

Eleven per cent have cancer, the same proportion that has osteoporosis. In addition, 11 per cent have suffered from cardiovascular disease such as a heart attack, stroke or heart failure.

One in six have three or more health problems.

The results are from a study of 2,661 people born in 1946, from every walk of life, whose health has been followed from birth. For this, the latest study, they were assessed between 60 and 64 years of age for 15 conditions.

The study found the origins of poor health in one’s 60s could usually be traced back to early middle age.

Dr Mary Pierce, of the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, the GP who led the report, said: “The babies born in the post-war period were the first generation to enjoy the lifelong benefits of the NHS and the welfare state, and have an extended life expectancy.

“We might, therefore, expect this generation to be in pretty good health at retirement age.

“But our research shows that medical conditions – some of which could lead to serious disability or even death ­– are common among baby boomers.”

Professor Diana Kuh, director of the unit, said some of the conditions shared “common root causes related to poor diet and inactive lifestyles”.

They argued GPs would become more and more stretched as the baby boomer generation aged, with Dr Pierce saying it made “a compelling case to invest in primary care to ease the burden on an already stretched service”.

Writing in the report, published in the journal PLoS One, she warned: “The health of the baby boomers as they age will dominate the work of the health and social care systems for the next three decade.”

Anemia of chronic disease: an adaptive response?

Re-Post for file 2008
Contact: Jennifer Paterson
613-798-5555 x19691
Canadian Medical Association Journal

The anemia of chronic disease may be a beneficial, adaptive response to the underlying disease, rather than a negative effect of the illness, postulates an analysis article in CMAJ, http://www.cmaj.ca/press/pg333.pdf.

The authors argue that anemia may be beneficial to patients with inflammatory disease, and advocate restraint in treating mild to moderate forms of anemia.

“The general assumption is that anemia is a disorder and that patients would be better off without it,” state the authors.

However, they suggest that anemia of chronic disease has the characteristics of an adaptive physiologic response, and their review of the literature shows that mortality appears to increase when treatment, given to raise hemoglobin levels, overrides mild to moderate anemia of chronic disease. They call for better characterization of the cause of individual patients’ anemia in future trials of anemia treatment, and careful monitoring of adverse outcomes, including mortality, if patients with anemia of chronic disease are included in such trials

Coffee’s aroma kick-starts genes in the brain

Re-Post for Filing 2008

Contact: Michael Woods
m_woods@acs.org
202-872-4400
American Chemical Society

IMAGE:Scientists report that the simple inhalation of coffee by rats has changed their gene expressions in ways that help reduce sleep deprivation-induced stress.Click here for more information.


Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Drink coffee to send a wake-up call to the brain? Or just smell its rich, warm aroma? An international group of scientists is reporting some of the first evidence that simply inhaling coffee aroma alters the activity of genes in the brain. In experiments with laboratory rats, they found that coffee aroma orchestrates the expression of more than a dozen genes and some changes in protein expressions, in ways that help reduce the stress of sleep deprivation. Their study is scheduled for the June 25 issue of ACS’ bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Han-Seok Seo and colleagues point out that hundreds of studies have been done on the ingredients in coffee, including substances linked to beneficial health effects. “There are few studies that deal with the beneficial effects of coffee aroma,” they note. “This study is the first effort to elucidate the effects of coffee bean aroma on the sleep deprivation-induced stress in the rat brain.”

In an effort to begin filling that gap, they allowed lab rats to inhale coffee aroma, including some rats stressed by sleep deprivation. The study then compared gene and protein expressions in the rats’ brains. Rats that sniffed coffee showed different levels of activity in 17 genes. Thirteen of the genes showed differential mRNA expression between the stress group and the stress with coffee group, including proteins with healthful antioxidant activity known to protect nerve cells from stress-related damage. — MTS

ARTICLE #1 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“Effects of Coffee Bean Aroma on the Rat Brain Stressed by Sleep Deprivation: A Selected Transcript- and 2D Gel-Based Proteome Analysis”

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE
http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf8001137

CONTACT:
Han-Seok Seo, Ph.D.
Seoul National University
Seoul, South Korea
Email: abc6978@empal.com

Study: Routine ovarian cancer screenings are ineffective

By Agence France-Presse Tuesday, September 11, 2012 14:01 EDT

Racks test tubes filled with blood. Routine screening for ovarian cancer is ineffective and at times can do more harm than good, a panel of cancer specialists has concluded.

Routine screening for ovarian cancer is ineffective and at times can do more harm than good, a panel of cancer specialists has concluded.

“There is no existing method of screening for ovarian cancer that is effective in reducing deaths,” said US Preventive Services Task Force member and chair Dr Virginia Moyer.

“In fact, a high percentage of women who undergo screening experience false-positive test results and consequently may be subjected to unnecessary harms, such as major surgery,” added Moyer in a statement on the group’s website and in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The tests include ovarian scans and blood tests that look at a marker that can be linked to the disease.

The group said they are not recommended routinely for women who do not show signs of the disease, or who have genetic mutations (BRCA1 and BRCA2) that put them at a greater risk of developing it.

Other medical groups already have made similar recommendations including the “American Cancer Society” and “American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”

Ovarian cancer is fairly rare with 22,200 new cases a year in the United States and 15,500 deaths

Miracle leaves that may help protect against liver damage: Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)

Contact: Meral Nugent
meral.nugent@soci.org
020-759-81533
Society of Chemical Industry

Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) berries are well known for their cholesterol busting properties, but scientists in India say that its leaves are also rich in anti-oxidants and may help ward off liver disease, according to new research due to be published in the Society of Chemical Industry’s (SCI) Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Indigineous to the mountainous regions of China and Russia, sea buckthorn has been shown to be rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids and essential fatty acids. The leaves are also used to make a tea.

In a clinically controlled study, scientists looked at whether the leaves had any protective effects by testing a group of rats, some of whom were given the leaf extract before being administered with a liver damage agent, carbon tetrachloride (CCI4).

Six groups were looked at in all – group 1 was given a daily dose of saline for 5 days; group 2 received saline for 4 days and on the 5th day was given CCI4; group 3 was given a daily dose of silymarin for 5 days followed by a single dose of CCI4; groups 4, 5 and 6 were given 50, 100 and 200mg of sea buckthorn leaf extract respectively for five days followed by a single dose of CCI4 on the 5th day.

The results showed that the leaf extract appeared to confer a protective mechanism on the liver – the rats given CCI4 minus the leaf extract had sustained significant liver damage compared to the control group that did not receive CCI4. In comparison, liver damage was severely restricted in the rats given leaf extract at 100mg and 200mg and CCI4.

 

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For more information or a full copy of the paper, contact: Meral Nugent, Press and Public Relations Manager, T: +44 (0)20 7598 1533, F: +44 (0) 20 7598 1545, Mob: 07931 315077 E

Licorice extract provides new treatment option for canker sores

Re-post for filing 2008

Contact: Stefanie Schroeder
media@agd.org
312-440-4346
Academy of General Dentistry

CHICAGO (May 22, 2008) – What common oral condition appears as shallow ulcers of different sizes, affects one in five Americans, can be caused by food allergies and hormonal changes, and also can cause severe mouth pain? Commonly referred to as “canker sores,” recurrent aphthous ulcers (RAU) now can be treated by an extract in licorice root herbal extract, according to a study published in the March/April 2008 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.

The authors examined the effects of an over-the-counter medicated adhesive patch (with extract from the licorice root) for treatment of RAU versus no treatment. After seven days of treatment, ulcer size in the group who received the adhesive patch with licorice extract was significantly lower, while ulcer size in the no-treatment group had increased 13 percent.

Licorice root extract was used as a prescribed treatment for gastric ulcers until the 1970s, according to the study. In its original form, licorice root extract has a very strong taste. However, when combined with a self-adhering, time-release, dissolving oral patch, the taste is mild and pleasant.

Among the causes of canker sores, a genetic predisposition might be the biggest cause, says Michael Martin, DMD, PhD, lead author of the study. “When both parents have a history of canker sores, the likelihood of their children developing them can be as high as 90 percent,” he says.

The most serious side effect of canker sores is sharp pain in the mouth, which can interfere with an individual’s quality of life and affect their eating, drinking or speech. Dr. Martin revealed that “in addition to speeding healing of the canker sores, the adhesive patch helped to reduce pain after just three days of treatment.”

Those who experience canker sores on a regular basis can visit their dentist for treatment techniques. “Dentists can give patients the proper medication and treatment options to seal the lesions, which will prevent further infection,” says Eric Shapira, DDS, MAGD, AGD spokesperson and expert on alternative medicine. “Also, increasing vitamins and other herbs, such as Vitamin C and zinc, can help treat canker sores because they help to regenerate tissue cells,” Dr. Shapira adds.

Common causes of canker sores:

  • Local trauma and stress
  • Diet and food allergies
  • Hormonal changes
  • Use of certain medications

Common treatments of canker sores:

  • Antimicrobial mouthwashes
  • Local painkillers
  • Over-the-counter remedies (oral adhesive patches, liquids and gels)
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The AGD is a professional association of more than 35,000 general dentists dedicated to staying up-to-date in the profession through continuing education. Founded in 1952, the AGD has grown to become the world’s second largest dental association, which is the only association that exclusively represents the needs and interests of general dentists.

More than 786,000 persons are employed directly in the field of general dentistry. A general dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management and overall coordination of services related to patients’ oral health needs.