DNA discovered not to be a good predictor of health

 

DNA discovered not to be a good predictor of health

“Simply put, DNA is not your destiny, and SNPs are duds for disease prediction,” said David Wishart, professor in the University of Alberta’s Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Computing Science and co-author on the study. “The vast majority of diseases, including many cancers, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease, have a genetic contribution of 5 to 10 per cent at best.”

#DNA #HEALTH #Disease

Jonas Patron, Arnau Serra-Cayuela, Beomsoo Han, Carin Li, David Scott Wishart. Assessing the performance of genome-wide association studies for predicting disease risk. PLOS ONE, 2019; 14 (12): e0220215 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0220215

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0220215

Choline Supplementation and Alzheimer’s Prevention

Choline Supplementation and Alzheimer’s Prevention

Choline Supplementation and Alzheimer’s Prevention

Choline is an attractive candidate for prevention of AD as it is considered a very safe alternative, compared with many pharmaceuticals. “At 4.5 times the RDI (recommended daily intake), we are well under the tolerable upper limit, making this a safe preventive therapeutic strategy.”

#Alzheimer’s #prevention #choline

Ramon Velazquez, Eric Ferreira, Sara Knowles, Chaya Fux, Alexis Rodin, Wendy Winslow, Salvatore Oddo. Lifelong choline supplementation ameliorates Alzheimer’s disease pathology and associated cognitive deficits by attenuating microglia activation. Aging Cell, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/acel.13037

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/acel.13037

Eating Eggs May Greatly reduce Stroke and CVD risks

Eating Eggs May Greatly reduce Stroke and CVD risks

Eating Eggs May Greatly reduce Stroke and CVD risks

There were significant dose-response relationships of egg consumption with morbidity of all CVD endpoints (P for linear trend <0.05). Daily consumers also had an 18% lower risk of CVD death and a 28% lower risk of haemorrhagic stroke death compared to non-consumers.

Qin C, Lv J, Guo Y, et al Associations of egg consumption with cardiovascular disease in a cohort study of 0.5 million Chinese adults Heart Published Online First: 21 May 2018. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2017-312651

Nicholas R Fuller, Amanda Sainsbury, Ian D Caterson, Gareth Denyer, Mackenzie Fong, James Gerofi, Chloris Leung, Namson S Lau, Kathryn H Williams, Andrzej S Januszewski, Alicia J Jenkins, Tania P Markovic; Effect of a high-egg diet on cardiometabolic risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) Study—randomized weight-loss and follow-up phase, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, , nqy048,

Vitamin C could ease muscle fatigue in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients

Contact: Donna Krupa dkrupa@the-aps.org American Physiological Society

Bethesda, Md. (Nov. 7, 2013)—Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—a health problem in which the lungs lose their inherent springiness, making it progressively harder to breathe—can have a dramatic effect on the ability to exercise and even perform simple activities of daily life because of the disease’s fallout effects on skeletal muscles. Several factors have been implicated in these muscle problems. These include loss of fitness from inactivity, problems with the part of cells that convert fuel to energy caused by the COPD itself, and oxidative stress, a phenomenon in which cells and tissues become damaged by unstable molecules called free radicals that harm other molecules in domino-like chain reactions. Some research suggests that easing oxidative stress could improve skeletal muscle function.

To test this idea, researchers led by Matthew J. Rossman of the George E. Whalen VA Medical Center and the University of Utah gave COPD patients intravenous (IV) infusions of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can combat oxidative stress, or saline as a placebo before the patients performed knee extension exercises and underwent neuromuscular function tests. Their findings show that IV infusions of vitamin C can improve skeletal muscle fatigue in COPD patients, further implicating the role of oxidative stress in the skeletal muscle problems that accompany this disease.

The article is entitled “Ascorbate Infusion Increases Skeletal Muscle Fatigue Resistance in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease“. It appears in the online edition of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, published by the American Physiological Society.

Methodology

The researchers worked with 10 COPD patients. Each patient performed a set of knee extension exercises, receiving either an IV infusion of saline or an IV infusion of vitamin C before the set, but both the study volunteers and the researchers monitoring the exercises didn’t know which infusion the volunteers received. Two to three days later, the volunteers performed a second set of knee exercises after receiving the other type of infusion. Before and after they performed these exercises, the study subjects had blood drawn to test for antioxidant levels. Immediately after the exercises, the researchers measured a variety of other factors, including the volunteers’ breathing and heart rate, blood pressure, feelings of exertion of breathlessness, and blood flow.

Results

The researchers found that during exercises, patients had significantly less muscle fatigue after receiving vitamin C and breathed better and slower. After vitamin C infusions, the volunteers also had significantly higher blood antioxidant activity than when they received only saline. Additionally, vitamin C infusions lowered their resting blood pressure and blood flow.

Importance of the Findings

These findings suggest that IV infusions of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, can curb the skeletal muscle fatigue that plagues COPD patients. They also provide further evidence that oxidative stress plays a critical role in the skeletal muscle dysfunction that many COPD patients experience. They suggest that antioxidants could eventually be used as a treatment for these problems.

“Targeting oxidative stress with some form of antioxidant therapy in a clinical setting may represent an important therapeutic avenue for patients with COPD,” they write.

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Study Team

In addition to Matthew J. Rossman, the study team also includes Ryan S. Garten, J. Jonathan Groot, Van Reese, Jia Zhao, Markus Amann, and Russell S. Richardson, all of the George E. Whalen VA Medical Center and the University of Utah.

Physiology is the study of how molecules, cells, tissues, and organs function in health and disease. Established in 1887, the American Physiological Society (APS) was the first US society in the biomedical sciences field. The Society represents more than 11,000 members and publishes 14 peer-reviewed journals with a worldwide readership.

NOTE TO EDITORS: To schedule an interview with a member of the research team, please contact Donna Krupa at dkrupa@the-aps.org, @Phyziochick, or 301.634.7209. The article is available online at http://bit.ly/1bZiW5W.

Depression: ‘Now the Second biggest cause of disability’ in world

By Helen Briggs BBC News

Depression
Depression is common across the world

 

Depression is the second most common cause of disability worldwide after back pain, according to a review of research.

The disease must be treated as a global public health priority, experts report in the journal PLOS Medicine.

The study compared clinical depression with more than 200 other diseases and injuries as a cause of disability.

Globally, only a small proportion of patients have access to treatment, the World Health Organization says.

“Depression is a big problem and we definitely need to pay more attention to it than we are now”

End Quote Dr Alize Ferrari University of Queensland

Depression was ranked at number two as a global cause of disability, but its impact varied in different countries and regions. For example, rates of major depression were highest in Afghanistan and lowest in Japan. In the UK, depression was ranked at number three in terms of years lived with a disability.

Dr Alize Ferrari from the University of Queensland’s School of Population Health led the study.

“Depression is a big problem and we definitely need to pay more attention to it than we are now,” she told BBC News.

“There’s still more work to be done in terms of awareness of the disease and also in coming up with successful ways of treating it.

“The burden is different between countries, so it tends to be higher in low and middle income countries and lower in high income countries.”

Policy-makers had made an effort to bring depression to the forefront, but there was a lot more work to be done, she added.

“There’s lots of stigma we know associated with mental health,” she explained.

“What one person recognises as disabling might be different to another person and might be different across countries as well, there are lots of cultural implications and interpretations that come in place, which makes it all the more important to raise awareness of the size of the problem and also signs and how to detect it.”

The data – for the year 2010 – follows similar studies in 1990 and 2000 looking at the global burden of depression.

Commenting on the study, Dr Daniel Chisholm, a health economist at the department for mental health and substance abuse at the World Health Organization said depression was a very disabling condition.

“It’s a big public health challenge and a big problem to be reckoned with but not enough is being done.

“Around the world only a tiny proportion of people get any sort of treatment or diagnosis.”

The WHO recently launched a global mental health action plan to raise awareness among policy-makers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-24818048

 

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

MS reversed in mice / Single dose ( Calcitriol ) Vitamin D followed by Vitamin D supplements

Contact: Colleen Hayes cehayes@wisc.edu 608-263-6387 University of Wisconsin-Madison

Mouse studies reveal promising vitamin D-based treatment for MS

MADISON — A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) is a hard lot. Patients typically get the diagnosis around age 30 after experiencing a series of neurological problems such as blurry vision, wobbly gait or a numb foot. From there, this neurodegenerative disease follows an unforgiving course.

Many people with MS start using some kind of mobility aid — cane, walker, scooter or wheelchair — by 45 or 50, and those with the most severe cases are typically bed-bound by 60. The medications that are currently available don’t do much to slow the relentless march of the disease.

In search of a better option for MS patients, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison biochemists has discovered a promising vitamin D-based treatment that can halt — and even reverse — the course of the disease in a mouse model of MS. The treatment involves giving mice that exhibit MS symptoms a single dose of calcitriol, the active hormone form of vitamin D, followed by ongoing vitamin D supplements through the diet. The protocol is described in a scientific article that was published online in August in the Journal of Neuroimmunology.

“All of the animals just got better and better, and the longer we watched them, the more neurological function they regained,” says biochemistry professor Colleen Hayes, who led the study.

MS afflicts around 400,000 people nationwide, with 200 new cases diagnosed each week. Early on, this debilitating autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks the myelin coating that protects the brain’s nerve cells, causes symptoms including weakness, loss of dexterity and balance, disturbances to vision, and difficulty thinking and remembering. As it progresses, people can lose the ability to walk, sit, see, eat, speak and think clearly.

Current FDA-approved treatments only work for some MS patients and, even among them, the benefits are modest. “And in the long term they don’t halt the disease process that relentlessly eats away at the neurons,” Hayes adds. “So there’s an unmet need for better treatments.”

While scientists don’t fully understand what triggers MS, some studies have linked low levels of vitamin D with a higher risk of developing the disease. Hayes has been studying this “vitamin D hypothesis” for the past 25 years with the long-term goal of uncovering novel preventive measures and treatments. Over the years, she and her researchers have revealed some of the molecular mechanisms involved in vitamin D’s protective actions, and also explained how vitamin D interactions with estrogen may influence MS disease risk and progression in women.

In the current study, which was funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Hayes’ team compared various vitamin D-based treatments to standard MS drugs. In each case, vitamin D-based treatments won out. Mice that received them showed fewer physical symptoms and cellular signs of disease.

First, Hayes’ team compared the effectiveness of a single dose of calcitriol to that of a comparable dose of a glucocorticoid, a drug now administered to MS patients who experience a bad neurological episode. Calcitriol came out ahead, inducing a nine-day remission in 92 percent of mice on average, versus a six-day remission in 58 percent for mice that received glucocorticoid.

“So, at least in the animal model, calcitriol is more effective than what’s being used in the clinic right now,” says Hayes.

Next, Hayes’ team tried a weekly dose of calcitriol. They found that a weekly dose reversed the disease and sustained remission indefinitely.

But calcitriol can carry some strong side effects — it’s a “biological sledgehammer” that can raise blood calcium levels in people, Hayes says — so she tried a third regimen: a single dose of calcitriol, followed by ongoing vitamin D supplements in the diet. This one-two punch “was a runaway success,” she says. “One hundred percent of mice responded.”

Hayes believes that the calcitriol may cause the autoimmune cells attacking the nerve cells’ myelin coating to die, while the vitamin D prevents new autoimmune cells from taking their place.

While she is excited about the prospect of her research helping MS patients someday, Hayes is quick to point out that it’s based on a mouse model of disease, not the real thing. Also, while rodents are genetically homogeneous, people are genetically diverse.

“So it’s not certain we’ll be able to translate (this discovery to humans),” says Hayes. “But I think the chances are good because we have such a broad foundation of data showing protective effects of vitamin D in humans.”

The next step is human clinical trials, a step that must be taken by a medical doctor, a neurologist. If the treatment works in people, patients with early symptoms of MS may never need to receive an official diagnosis.

“It’s my hope that one day doctors will be able to say, ‘We’re going to give you an oral calcitriol dose and ramp up the vitamin D in your diet, and then we’re going to follow you closely over the next few months. You’re just going to have this one neurological episode and that will be the end of it,'” says Hayes. “That’s my dream.”

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Nicole Miller nemiller2@wisc.edu 608-262-3636

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

Contact: Mike Morrison mdmorrison@partners.org 617-724-6425 Massachusetts General Hospital

Small study could lead to identification of treatable diseases for some with chronic pain syndrome

About half of a small group of patients with fibromyalgia – a common syndrome that causes chronic pain and other symptoms – was found to have damage to nerve fibers in their skin and other evidence of a disease called small-fiber polyneuropathy (SFPN). Unlike fibromyalgia, which has had no known causes and few effective treatments, SFPN has a clear pathology and is known to be caused by specific medical conditions, some of which can be treated and sometimes cured. The study from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers will appear in the journal Pain and has been released online.

“This provides some of the first objective evidence of a mechanism behind some cases of fibromyalgia, and identifying an underlying cause is the first step towards finding better treatments,” says Anne Louise Oaklander, MD, PhD, director of the Nerve Injury Unit in the MGH Department of Neurology and corresponding author of the Pain paper.

The term fibromyalgia describes a set of symptoms – including chronic widespread pain, increased sensitivity to pressure, and fatigue – that is believed to affect 1 to 5 percent of individuals in Western countries, more frequently women.  While a diagnosis of fibromyalgia has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health and the American College of Rheumatology, its biologic basis has remained unknown.  Fibromyalgia shares many symptoms with SFPN, a recognized cause of chronic widespread pain for which there are accepted, objective tests.

Designed to investigate possible connections between the two conditions, the current study enrolled 27 adult patients with fibromyalgia diagnoses and 30 healthy volunteers.  Participants went through a battery of tests used to diagnose SFPN, including assessments of neuropathy based on a physical examination and responses to a questionnaire, skin biopsies to evaluate the number of nerve fibers in their lower legs, and tests of autonomic functions such as heart rate, blood pressure and sweating.

The questionnaires, exam assessments, and skin biopsies all found significant levels of neuropathy in the fibromyalgia patients but not in the control group.  Of the 27 fibromyalgia patients, 13 had a marked reduction in nerve fiber density, abnormal autonomic function tests or both, indicating the presence of SFPN.  Participants who met criteria for SFPN also underwent blood tests for known causes of the disorder, and while none of them had results suggestive of diabetes, a common cause of SFPN, two were found to have hepatitis C virus infection, which can be successfully treated, and more than half had evidence of some type of immune system dysfunction.

“Until now, there has been no good idea about what causes fibromyalgia, but now we have evidence for some but not all patients.  Fibromyalgia is too complex for a ‘one size fits all’ explanation,” says Oaklander, an associate professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School.  “The next step of independent confirmation of our findings from other laboratories is already happening, and we also need to follow those patients who didn’t meet SFPN criteria to see if we can find other causes.  Helping any of these people receive definitive diagnoses and better treatment would be a great accomplishment.”

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Other authors of the Pain report are Zeva Daniela Herzog, Heather Downs and Max Klein, PhD, all of MGH Neurology.  Preliminary results of the study were presented at the 2012 American Neurological Association meeting, and it was supported by Public Health Service grants NINDS K24NS059892 and UIL RR025758, Department of Defense grant GW093049, and a donation from Jane Cheever Powell.

Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $775 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, reproductive biology, systems biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine.

Saliva proteins may protect older people from influenza

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

Spit. Drool. Dribble. Saliva is not normally a topic of polite conversation, but it may be the key to explaining the age and sex bias exhibited by influenza and other diseases, according to a new study. Published in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research, it provides new insights into why older people were better able to fight off the new strains of “bird” flu and “swine” flu than younger people.

Zheng Li and colleagues explain that saliva does more than start the process of digesting certain foods. Saliva also contains germ-fighting proteins that are a first-line defense against infections. Scientists already knew that levels of certain glycoproteins — proteins with a sugar coating that combat disease-causing microbes — differ with age. Li’s team took a closer look at how those differences affected vulnerability to influenza.

Their tests of 180 saliva samples from men and women of various ages suggested that seniors, who fought off the bird flu better than the younger groups, might thank their saliva. Glycoproteins in saliva of people age 65 and over were more efficient in binding to influenza than those in children and young adults. The research “may provide useful information to help understand some age-related diseases and physiological phenomenon specific to women or men, and inspire new ideas for prevention and diagnosis of the diseases by considering the individual conditions based primarily on the salivary analysis,” the scientists state.

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The authors acknowledge funding from the National Science and Technology Major Project and the Foundation of Shaanxi Educational Committee.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

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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

 

Study suggests US children born outside the United States have lower risk of allergic disease

Contact: Richard Bory rbory@chpnet.org 212-523-6069 The JAMA Network Journals

 

 

A study by Jonathan I. Silverberg, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., of St. Luke’s—Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York,  and colleagues suggests children living the in the United States but born outside the U.S. have a lower prevalence of allergic disease that increases after residing in the United States for one decade. (Online First)

The cross-sectional questionnaire used for the study was distributed to 91,642 children aged 0 to 17 years enrolled in the 2007-2008 National Survey of Children’s Health. The main outcomes measured were prevalence of allergic disease, including asthma, eczema, hay fever, and food allergies.

According to the study results, children born outside the United States had significantly lower odds of any atopic disorders than those born in the United States, including ever-asthma, current-asthma, eczema, hay fever, and food allergies. Children born outside of the United States whose parents were also born outside the United States had significantly lower odds of any atopic disorders than those whose parents were born in the United States. Children born outside the United States who lived in the United States for longer than 10 years when compared with those who resided for only 0 to 2 years had significantly higher odds of developing any allergic disorders, including eczema and hay fever, but not asthma or food allergies.

“In conclusion, foreign-born Americans have significantly lower risk of allergic disease than US-born Americans. However, foreign-born Americans develop increased risk for allergic disease with prolonged residence in the United States,” the study concludes.

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(JAMA Pediatr. Published online April 29, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.1319. Available pre-embargo to the media at http://media.jamanetwork.com.)

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

Your body’s microbiome has a unique ‘fingerprint’

Contact: Suzanne Price sprice@nutrition.org 617-954-3976 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Study suggests increasing complexity of gut effect on health

Boston, MA—The microbiome is your body’s set of microbial communities; microbial cells outnumber human cells roughly ten to one. Through studying the microbiome, scientists are learning more the relationship between these microbes and human health and disease. In looking at the effect of diet on the composition of the gut microbiome, Dr. Nanette Steinle of the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine and Dr. Emmanuel Mongodin of the University of Maryland Institute of Genome Sciences wanted to determine if the Mediterranean diet would cause changes in an individual’s microbiome. This diet was selected because it has already been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

In this small study, 8 women and 1 man ages 50-65 were provided with foods that fit the Mediterranean diet profile: high fiber, whole grains, dry beans/lentils, olive oil, and 5 servings of fruits/vegetables a day. After 2 weeks, they provided blood for the analysis of fasting lipids and stool samples to determine the microbes present.

The results indicated a decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. In addition, there was clustering of individuals’ microbial profiles.

“What we expected to find was that a particular microbe species increased, but we haven’t observed that,” said Steinle. “Instead, each individual appears to have a unique microbiome signature, like a fingerprint. A sample from 5 people would result in 5 unique profiles. It’s the first time we’ve observed that this signature remained true, even after manipulation of diet,” Steinle added.

This study adds another clue to the complicated nature of the gut microbiome. Dr. Steinle will present the data for the American Society for Nutrition’s poster sessions on Tuesday, April 23. Prior to the poster session on the microbiome on April 23, there is a symposium “Managing the Microbiome in Human Gastrointestinal Disease” on Saturday, April 20, 8-10 am.

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This study was partially funded by the Dry Bean Health Research Program.

Self-medication in animals much more widespread than believed

Contact: Jim Erickson ericksn@umich.edu 734-647-1842 University of Michigan

ANN ARBOR—It’s been known for decades that animals such as chimpanzees seek out medicinal herbs to treat their diseases. But in recent years, the list of animal pharmacists has grown much longer, and it now appears that the practice of animal self-medication is a lot more widespread than previously thought, according to a University of Michigan ecologist and his colleagues.

Animals use medications to treat various ailments through both learned and innate behaviors. The fact that moths, ants and fruit flies are now known to self-medicate has profound implications for the ecology and evolution of animal hosts and their parasites, according to Mark Hunter, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and at the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

In addition, because plants remain the most promising source of future pharmaceuticals, studies of animal medication may lead the way in discovering new drugs to relieve human suffering, Hunter and two colleagues wrote in a review article titled “Self-Medication in Animals,” to be published online today in the journal Science.

“When we watch animals foraging for food in nature, we now have to ask, are they visiting the grocery store or are they visiting the pharmacy?” Hunter said. “We can learn a lot about how to treat parasites and disease by watching other animals.”

Much of the work in this field has focused on cases in which animals, such as baboons and woolly bear caterpillars, medicate themselves. One recent study has suggested that house sparrows and finches add high-nicotine cigarette butts to their nests to reduce mite infestations.

But less attention has been given to the many cases in which animals medicate their offspring or other kin, according to Hunter and his colleagues. Wood ants incorporate an antimicrobial resin from conifer trees into their nests, preventing microbial growth in the colony. Parasite-infected monarch butterflies protect their offspring against high levels of parasite growth by laying their eggs on anti-parasitic milkweed.

Hunter and his colleagues suggest that researchers in the field should “de-emphasize the ‘self’ in self-medication” and base their studies on a more inclusive framework.

“Perhaps the biggest surprise for us was that animals like fruit flies and butterflies can choose food for their offspring that minimizes the impacts of disease in the next generation,” Hunter said. “There are strong parallels with the emerging field of epigenetics in humans, where we now understand that dietary choices made by parents influence the long-term health of their children.”

The authors argue that animal medication has several major consequences on the ecology and evolution of host-parasite interactions. For one, when animal medication reduces the health of parasites, there should be observable effects on parasite transmission or virulence.

For example, when gypsy moth caterpillars consume foliage high in certain toxic compounds, transmission of viruses between the caterpillars is reduced, facilitating moth outbreaks.

In addition, animal medication should affect the evolution of animal immune systems, according to Hunter and his colleagues. Honeybees are known to incorporate antimicrobial resins into their nests. Analysis of the honeybee genome suggests that they lack many of the immune-system genes of other insects, raising the possibility that honeybees’ use of medicine has been partly responsible—or has compensated—for a loss of other immune mechanisms.

The authors also note that the study of animal medication will have direct relevance for human food production. Disease problems in agricultural organisms can worsen when humans interfere with the ability of animals to medicate, they point out.

For example, increases in parasitism and disease in honeybees can be linked to selection by beekeepers for reduced resin deposition by their bees. A reintroduction of such behavior in managed bee colonies would likely have great benefits for disease management, the authors say.

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The first author of the Science paper is Jacobus de Roode of Emory University. The other author is Thierry Lefevre of the Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement in France.

Mark Hunter: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/eeb/directory/faculty/mdhunter

Old before their time: Britons now ageing quicker than their parents

Poor diet and lack of exercise blamed for increase in obesity, blood pressure and diabetes

Jeremy Laurance

Thursday, 11 April 2013

We are living longer yet growing less healthy. That is the paradoxical conclusion reached by researchers who have found successive generations building up medical problems worse than those faced by their forbears.

Life expectancy has grown dramatically in recent decades as a result of improved nutrition, housing and medical care. But today’s 40-year-olds are experiencing problems of excess weight, high blood pressure and diabetes similar to those now in their mid-fifties.

The younger generation is thus 15 years ahead of the older generation on the pathway to increasing frailty, disability and ill health. Ultimately, the effect is likely to be a slowing of the increase in life expectancy or even a reversal, experts say.

For more than a decade doctors have warned that our existing way of life is killing us softly, due to an excess of fat, sugar and salt – and sloth. Two-thirds of the population are overweight or obese and, on present trends, that will rise to 90 per cent by 2050.

Obesity already causes an estimated 9,000 premature deaths a year, and doctors fear its relentless rise could mean the current generation will be the first to die before their parents.

Researchers who followed 6,000 individuals for up to 16 years have charted the consequences of that indolent, calorie-rich lifestyle and found the adults of today are less “metabolically” healthy than in the past.

“The more recently born generations are doing worse than their predecessors,” they say, adding: “The prevalence of metabolic risk factors and the lifelong exposure to them have increased and probably will continue to increase.”

The study was conducted in the town of Doetinchem in the Netherlands beginning in 1987. The researchers compared the health of those in their twenties, thirties, forties and fifties and then followed up each group to find out how one generation compared with another born a decade earlier.

At the start of the study, 40 per cent of men in their thirties were overweight. But 11 years later, the proportion had grown to 52 per cent among the next generation of men in their thirties. Among women, their weight did not change until the most recent generations when the proportion who were obese doubled in a decade. These “generation shifts” were also seen in high blood pressure, with the prevalence of the condition increasing in each generation for both men and women. The only exceptions were the two most recent generations of men. A similar increase was seen in diabetes in succeeding generations of men, though not of women.

There was no generation shift in high cholesterol, but levels of “good” HDL cholesterol did rise in the oldest two generations. Gerben Hulsegge, of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health, who led the study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, said the impact of obesity in youth was a critical factor.

“The prevalence of obesity in our youngest generation of men and women at the age of 40 is similar to that of our oldest generation at the age of 55. This means that the younger generation is 15 years ahead of the older generation and will be exposed to their obesity for a longer time.”

As smoking has declined in recent decades, there is also likely to be a shift from smoking-related illnesses such as lung cancer to obesity-related diseases such as diabetes.

Dr Hulsegge said: “The decrease in smoking and improved healthcare are important driving forces behind greater life expectancy of younger generations. But it is also possible in the distant future, as a result of current trends in obesity, that the rate of increase in life expectancy may well slow down.”

Lifestyle illnesses: The three big killers

Diabetes

Since 1996 the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled from 1.4 million to 2.9 million. By 2025 it is estimated that five million people will have diabetes. The illness increases the risk of heart failure, kidney failure, and death – and is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK.

In the study, the prevalence of diabetes increased in each succeeding generation of men though not of women.

Blood pressure

It is one of the most important causes of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease and controlling it is one of the most effective ways of preventing premature death. High blood pressure affects an estimated 12 million people in the UK, one in four of the adult population and one in two of those over 60. In the study, the prevalence of high blood pressure increased in each generation of men and women, except for the two most recent generations of men.

Weight

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of heart disease, cancer and a range of other conditions. Two-thirds of people in the UK are overweight or obese and obesity is estimated to cause 9,000 premature deaths a year.

At the start of the study, 40 per cent of men in their thirties were overweight. A decade later, the proportion of men overweight in the next generation of men in their thirties had risen to 52 per cent.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/old-before-their-time-britons-now-ageing-quicker-than-their-parents-8567898.html#

 

Plantain and broccoli fibers may block key stage in Crohn’s disease development

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Emma Dickinson edickinson@bmjgroup.com 44-207-383-6529 BMJ-British Medical Journal

Translocation of Crohn’s disease Escherichia coli across M-cells: Contrasting effects of soluble plant fibers and emulsifiers

Plantain and broccoli fibres may block a key stage in the development of the inflammatory bowel disorder, Crohn’s disease, suggests preliminary research published online in Gut.

The causes of Crohn’s disease are thought to be a mix of genetic and environmental factors, one of which is very likely to be diet.

The disease is significantly less common in developing countries, where fibrous fruit and vegetables are dietary staples, and its incidence has recently risen rapidly in Japan, in tandem with the increasing adoption of a more Westernised diet.

One of the key stages in the development of Crohn’s is invasion of the cells lining the bowel (epithelial cells) by bacteria, particularly a “sticky” type of Escherichia coli, so the researchers looked at dietary agents that might influence this process.

They cultured M (microfold) cells, bowel lining cells that are the common entry point for invading bacteria that cause diarrhoea – a process known as translocation.

The researchers tested whether preparations of plant soluble fibres prepared from leeks, apples, broccoli, and plantains, and the fat emulsifiers polysorbate 60 and 80, commonly used in processed food manufacture, could alter E coli translocation across M cells.

Plantain and broccoli fibres (5 mg/ml) reduced translocation of E. coli by between 45% and 82%, while leek and apple fibres had no noticeable impact. By contrast, the emulsifier polysorbate 80 substantially increased translocation.

These results were then confirmed in tissue samples taken from patients undergoing surgery for other gut disorders.

The findings suggest that supplementing the diet with broccoli/plantain fibres might prevent relapse of Crohn’s disease, say the authors.

They go on to add that the results could have further implications for the treatment of Crohn’s disease as many enteral feeds contain emulsifiers, which may account for the variable response to this type of treatment.

Trial results ‘do not support the use of general health checks’ warn experts

Contact: Stephanie Burns
sburns@bmjgroup.com
44-020-738-36920
BMJ-British Medical Journal

Checks have not reduced number of deaths from cardiovascular disease or cancer

Research: General health checks in adults for reducing morbidity and mortality from disease: Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis

Editorial: The value of conducting periodic health checks

Researchers have found that routine general health checks, which have become common practice in some countries, do not reduce the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease or cancer. They do, however, increase the number of new diagnoses.

Health checks were defined as screening for more than one disease or risk factor in more than one organ system offered to a general population unselected for disease or risk factors.

Health checks were introduced with the intention of reducing morbidity and prolonging life and there are many potential benefits, including: detection of both increased risk factors and precursors to disease (thus preventing cancer from developing); counselling on diet, weight and smoking; reassuring healthy people thus reducing worry about potential disease.

However, screening healthy people can be harmful and can lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment, a topic which was featured in the BMJ in October. The researchers also point out that invasive diagnostic tests may cause harm. Being labelled as having a disease may also negatively impact healthy people’s views of themselves and their health behaviour.

Few of the individual tests commonly used in health checks have been adequately studied in trials and it is not clear whether they do more harm than good. When tests have been studied in trials, the results have been varied. Authors from the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Denmark therefore carried out a review of a total of 14 trials that looked at systematic health checks. The studies had between 1 and 22 years of follow-up.

Nine of the 14 trials had data on mortality and included 182,880 participants, 11,940 of whom died during the study period. 76,403 were invited to health checks and the remainder were not. All participants were over 18 years old and the study excluded trials specifically targeting older people or trials that only enrolled people aged 65 or over.

Despite some variation regarding the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, no evidence was found for a reduction of either total mortality, cardiovascular mortality, or cancer mortality. Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that health checks led to more diagnoses and more medical treatment for hypertension, although this was infrequently studied.

The lack of beneficial effects indicates that the interventions did not work as intended in the included trials. Health checks are likely to increase the number of diagnoses, but in the absence of benefits, this suggests over-diagnosis and overtreatment.

The researchers also note that people who accept a health check invitation are often different from those who do not, so the checks might not reach those who need prevention the most. Plus, many physicians already carry out testing for cardiovascular risk factors or diseases in patients that they judge to be at risk when they see them for other reasons.

In conclusion, the results do not support the use of general health checks aimed at the general population. The researchers say that further research should “be directed at the individual components of health checks e.g. screening for cardiovascular risk factors, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, or kidney disease”.

In an accompanying editorial, Professor Macauley, Primary Care Editor at the BMJ, agrees that although health checks are “seductive” and “seem sensible” there is little evidence to show that they reduce morbidity and mortality. As well questioning whether they do more harm than good, Dr Macauley says that Krogsbøll and colleagues’ study finds that “regular health checks are ineffective” and show “evidence of little effect” and adds that policy should be based on “wellbeing rather than […] well meant good intentions”.

Regular use of aspirin increases risk of Crohn’s disease by 5 times

2010 study posted for filing

 

Contact: Simon Dunford s.dunford@uea.ac.uk 44-160-359-2203 University of East Anglia

People who take aspirin regularly for a year or more may be at an increased risk of developing Crohn’s disease, according to a new study by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Led by Dr Andrew Hart of UEA’s School of Medicine, the research will be presented for the first time at the Digestive Disease Week conference in New Orleans today.

Crohn’s disease is a serious condition affecting 60,000 people in the UK and 500,000 people in the US. It is characterized by inflammation and swelling of any part of the digestive system. This can lead to debilitating symptoms and requires patients to take life-long medication. Some patients need surgery and some sufferers have an increased risk of bowel cancer.

Though there are likely to be many causes of the disease, previous work on tissue samples has shown that aspirin can have a harmful effect on the bowel. To investigate this potential link further, the UEA team followed 200,000 volunteers aged 30-74 in the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Italy. The volunteers had been recruited for the EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) between 1993 and 1997.

The volunteers were all initially well, but by 2004 a small number had developed Crohn’s disease. When looking for differences in aspirin use between those who did and did not develop the disease, the researchers discovered that those taking aspirin regularly for a year or more were around five times more likely to develop Crohn’s disease.

The study also showed that aspirin use had no effect on the risk of developing ulcerative colitis – a condition similar to Crohn’s disease.

“This is early work but our findings do suggest that the regular use of aspirin could be one of many factors which influences the development of this distressing disease in some patients,” said Dr Hart.

“Aspirin does have many beneficial effects, however, including helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes. I would urge aspirin users to continue taking this medication since the risk of aspirin users possibly developing Crohn’s disease remains very low – only one in every 2000 users, and the link is not yet finally proved.”

Further work must now be done in other populations to establish whether there is a definite link and to check that aspirin use is not just a marker of another risk factor which is the real cause of Crohn’s disease. The UEA team will also continue its wider research into other potential factors in the development of Crohn’s disease, including diet.

On-the-job pesticide exposure associated with Parkinson’s disease

Contact: Jonathan Friedman jfriedman@thepi.org 408-542-5606 JAMA and Archives Journals

Individuals whose occupation involves contact with pesticides appear to have an increased risk of having Parkinson’s disease, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

The development of Parkinson’s disease related to chemical exposure was identified in the late 20th century, according to background information in the article. Since then, occupations such as farming, teaching and welding have all been proposed to increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease. However, associations have been inconsistent and few previous studies have evaluated the direct relationship between occupational chemical exposure and disease risk.

Caroline M. Tanner, M.D., Ph.D., of the Parkinson’s Institute, Sunnyvale, Calif., and colleagues studied 519 individuals with Parkinson’s disease and 511 controls who were the same age and sex and lived in the same location. Participants were surveyed about their occupational history and exposure to toxins, including solvents and pesticides.

Working in agriculture, education, health care or welding was not associated with Parkinson’s disease, nor was any other specific occupation studied after adjustment for other factors.

Among the patients with Parkinson’s disease, 44 (8.5 percent) reported pesticide exposure compared with 27 (5.3 percent) of controls, such that occupational pesticide exposure was associated with an increased risk of the disease. “Growing evidence suggests a causal association between pesticide use and parkinsonism. However, the term ‘pesticide’ is broad and includes chemicals with varied mechanisms,” the authors write. “Because few investigations have identified specific pesticides, we studied eight pesticides with high neurotoxic plausibility based on laboratory findings. Use of these pesticides was associated with higher risk of parkinsonism, more than double that in those not exposed.”

Three individual compounds—an organochloride (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid), an herbicide (paraquat) and an insecticide (permethrin)—were associated with a more than three-fold increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. All three have been shown to have effects on dopaminergic neurons—affected by Parkinson’s disease—in the laboratory.

“This convergence of epidemiologic and laboratory data from experimental models of Parkinson’s disease lends credence to a causative role of certain pesticides in the neurodegenerative process,” the authors conclude. “Other pesticide exposures such as hobby gardening, residential exposure, wearing treated garments or dietary intake were not assessed. Because these exposures may affect many more subjects, future attention is warranted.”

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(Arch Neurol. 2009;66[9]:1106-1113. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org.)

Editor’s Note: This study was supported by an unrestricted grant from a group of current and former manufacturers of welding consumables awarded to The Parkinson’s Institute. Co-author Dr. Hauser has received fees for providing expert testimony in cases related to Parkinson’s disease in welders. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Plant-Based Diets Can Remedy Chronic Diseases

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 63 percent of the deaths that occurred in 2008 were attributed to non-communicable chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, Type 2 diabetes and obesity—for which poor diets are contributing factors. Yet people that live in societies that eat healthy, plant-based diets rarely fall victim to these ailments. Research studies have long indicated that a high consumption of plant foods is associated with lower incidents of chronic disease. In the October issue of Food Technology magazine, Senior Writer/Editor Toni Tarver discusses recent discoveries in nutritional genomics that explain how plant-based diets are effective at warding off disease.

October 17, 2012

CHICAGO—According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 63 percent of the deaths that occurred in 2008 were attributed to non-communicable chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, Type 2 diabetes and obesity—for which poor diets are contributing factors. Yet people that live in societies that eat healthy, plant-based diets rarely fall victim to these ailments. Research studies have long indicated that a high consumption of plant foods is associated with lower incidents of chronic disease. In the October issue of Food Technology magazine, Senior Writer/Editor Toni Tarver discusses recent discoveries in nutritional genomics that explain how plant-based diets are effective at warding off disease.
The article indicates that bioactive compounds in plant foods play a role in controlling genetic and other biological factors that lead to chronic disease. For example, antioxidants in plant foods counter free radicals that can cause chronic inflammation and damage cells. And other plant compounds help control a gene linked to cardiovascular disease and plaque buildup in arteries and the genes and other cellular components responsible for forming and sustaining tumors.
William W. Li, M.D., President and Medical Director of the Angiogenesis Foundation in Cambridge, Mass., says that all consumers should look at their diets as if food is the medicine necessary to maintain healthy, disease-free lives. “Prevention is always better than a cure,” said Li. Foods that may help prevent cancer and other chronic diseases include artichokes, black pepper, cinnamon, garlic, lentils, olives, pumpkin, rosemary, thyme, watercress, and more.  For a more comprehensive list of medicinal foods, read “The Chronic Disease Food Remedy” in the October 2012 issue of Food Technology.

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About IFT For more than 70 years, IFT has existed to advance the science of food. Our nonprofit scientific society—more than 18,000 members from more than 100 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professions from academia, government, and industry. For more information, please visit ift.org.

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.

Melatonin may save eyesight in inflammatory disease: Uveitis

2008 study posted for filing

Contact: Angela Colmone
acolmone@asip.org
301-634-7953
American Journal of Pathology

Buenos Aires, Argentina — Current research suggests that melatonin therapy may help treat uveitis, a common inflammatory eye disease. The related report by Sande et al., “Therapeutic Effect of Melatonin in Experimental Uveitis,” appears in the December issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

People with uveitis develop sudden redness and pain in their eyes, and their vision rapidly deteriorates. Untreated, uveitis can lead to permanent vision loss, accounting for an estimated 10-15% of cases of blindness in the US. Uveitis has a wide variety of causes, including eye injury, cancer, infection, and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. There is currently no optimal treatment for uveitis. Corticoid steroid eye drops are often used; however, long-term corticoid use has many negative side effects, including the possible development of glaucoma.

Researchers lead by Dr. Ruth Rosenstein of The University of Buenos Aires and The National Research Council (CONICET) hypothesized that melatonin, which regulates sleep/wake cycles and reduces jet lag, may be able to prevent the ocular inflammation in uveitis. They found in an experimental model of uveitis that levels of two factors that contribute to inflammation, TNFα and NFκB, were reduced with melatonin treatment. Importantly, melatonin treatment also decreased the appearance of clinical symptoms of uveitis such as inflammation, blood vessel expansion and cataract, and protected the blood-ocular barrier integrity.

Taken together, the data from Sande et al suggest that “melatonin, which lacks adverse collateral effects even at high doses, could be a promising resource in the management of uveitis. Alone or combined with corticosteroid therapy, the anti-inflammatory effects of melatonin may benefit patients with chronic uveitis and decrease the rate and degree of corticosteroid-induced complications.” Future studies will aim at understanding the mechanisms governing melatonin protection in the eye.

 

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This work was supported by grants from the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (ANPCyT), the University of Buenos Aires, CONICET, Argentina, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Sande PH, Fernandez DC, Aldana Marcos HJ, Chianelli MS, Aisemberg J, Silberman DM, Sáenz, DA, Rosenstein RE: Therapeutic effect of melatonin in experimental uveitis. Am J Pathol 2008 173:1702-1713

For press copies of the articles, please contact Dr. Angela Colmone at 301-634-7953 or acolmone@asip.org or the Journal Editorial Office at 301-634-7959.

For more information on Dr. Rosenstein, please contact at: ruthr@fmed.uba.ar

The American Journal of Pathology, official journal of the American Society for Investigative Pathology, seeks to publish high-quality, original papers on the cellular and molecular biology of disease. The editors accept manuscripts that advance basic and translational knowledge of the pathogenesis, classification, diagnosis, and mechanisms of disease, without preference for a specific analytic method. High priority is given to studies on human disease and relevant experimental models using cellular, molecular, animal, biological, chemical, and immunological approaches in conjunction with morphology.

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

Interferon does not slow or stop hepatitis C from worsening, study finds

 

 

Interferon does not slow or halt the progression of chronic hepatitis C and advanced liver disease in patients who haven’t responded to previous attempts to eradicate the disease, a national study in which the Saint Louis University School of Medicine participated has found.

 

Patients in the trial who were treated with interferon did experience a significant decrease in viral levels and liver inflammation, but the trial unequivocally demonstrated that treatment with long-term pegylated interferon – also called peginterferon – does not prevent the worsening of liver disease in patients who’ve failed prior treatments

 

“The results are this study are very clear – long-term therapy with peginterferon for those with chronic hepatitis C is not effective in preventing progression of liver disease for patients who did not respond to an initial course of treatment,” said Adrian Di Bisceglie, M.D., professor of internal medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and chairman of the trial’s steering committee.

Results of the study were reported by Di Bisceglie at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease in Boston this week.

 

The randomized, multi-site study involved 1,050 patients with chronic hepatitis C who’d failed prior treatments to eradicate the infection. All had advanced liver fibrosis – a gradual scarring of the liver that puts patients at risk for progressive liver disease.

 

At the end of the study, while patients treated with interferon did have significantly lower blood levels of the hepatitis C virus and less liver inflammation, 34.1 percent of them had experienced one or more of the following outcomes: excess fluid in the abdomen; brain and nervous system damage; cirrhosis (for those who did not have it initially); liver cancer; or death. Of patients in the control group, 33.8 percent experienced one or more of the outcomes.

* Requested Repost

Should doctors treat lack of exercise as a medical condition? Mayo expert says ‘yes’ Quote: prescribing supported exercise, and more formal rehabilitation programs that include cognitive and behavioral therapy would develop

Contact: Sharon Theimer newsbureau@mayo.edu 507-284-5005 Mayo Clinic

ROCHESTER, Minn. — A sedentary lifestyle is a common cause of obesity (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obesity/DS00314), and excessive body weight and fat in turn are considered catalysts for diabetes (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes/DS01121), high blood pressure (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-pressure/DS00100), joint damage (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/arthritis/DS01122/DSECTION=risk-factors) and other serious health problems. But what if lack of exercise itself were treated as a medical condition? Mayo Clinic physiologist Michael Joyner, M.D. (http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/mayo/research/staff/joyner_mj.cfm), argues that it should be. His commentary is published this month in The Journal of Physiology (http://jp.physoc.org/).

Physical inactivity affects the health not only of many obese patients, but also people of normal weight, such as workers with desk jobs, patients immobilized for long periods after injuries or surgery, and women on extended bed rest (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pregnancy/PR00107) during pregnancies, among others, Dr. Joyner says. Prolonged lack of exercise can cause the body to become deconditioned, with wide-ranging structural and metabolic changes: the heart rate may rise excessively during physical activity, bones and muscles atrophy, physical endurance wane, and blood volume decline.

When deconditioned people try to exercise, they may tire quickly and experience dizziness or other discomfort, then give up trying to exercise and find the problem gets worse rather than better.

“I would argue that physical inactivity is the root cause of many of the common problems that we have,” Dr. Joyner says (http://www.drmichaeljoyner.com/newsroom/). “If we were to medicalize it, we could then develop a way, just like we’ve done for addiction, cigarettes and other things, to give people treatments, and lifelong treatments, that focus on behavioral modifications and physical activity. And then we can take public health measures, like we did for smoking, drunken driving and other things, to limit physical inactivity and promote physical activity.”

Several chronic medical conditions are associated with poor capacity to exercise, including fibromyalgia (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fibromyalgia/DS00079), chronic fatigue syndrome (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chronic-fatigue-syndrome/DS00395) and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CatWlEGPqG4), better known as POTS, a syndrome marked by an excessive heart rate and flu-like symptoms when standing or a given level of exercise. Too often, medication rather than progressive exercise is prescribed, Dr. Joyner says.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas (http://www.texashealth.org/landing.cfm?id=115) and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/index.html) researchers found that three months of exercise training can reverse or improve many POTS symptoms, Dr. Joyner notes. That study offers hope for such patients and shows that physicians should consider prescribing carefully monitored exercise before medication, he says.

If physical inactivity were treated as a medical condition itself rather than simply a cause or byproduct of other medical conditions, physicians may become more aware of the value of prescribing supported exercise, and more formal rehabilitation programs that include cognitive and behavioral therapy would develop, Dr. Joyner says.

For those who have been sedentary and are trying to get into exercise, Dr. Joyner advises doing it slowly and progressively.

“You just don’t jump right back into it and try to train for a marathon,” he says. “Start off with achievable goals and do it in small bites.”

There’s no need to join a gym or get a personal trainer: build as much activity as possible into daily life. Even walking just 10 minutes three times a day can go a long way toward working up to the 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity the typical adult needs, Dr. Joyner says.

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VIDEO ALERT: A video interview with Dr. Joyner is available for journalists to download on the Mayo Clinic News Network. (http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/)