Potassium aids bone health and limits osteoporosis risk Reply

Potassium aids bone health and limit osteoporosis risk
– This meta-analysis confirms that supplementation with alkaline potassium salts leads to significant reduction in renal calcium excretion and acid excretion, compatible with the concept of increased buffering of hydrogen ions by raised circulating bicarbonate. The observed reduction in bone resorption indicates a potential benefit to bone health
* The effect of supplementation with alkaline potassium salts on bone metabolism: a meta-analysis. Osteoporosis International, January 2015 DOI: 10.1007/s00198-014-3006-9 More…

Small study shows beetroot juice improves exercise function of COPD patients Reply

Public Release: 23-Jan-2015

Wake Forest University researchers continue to explore nitrates

(Winston-Salem, N.C., Jan. 23, 2015) A Wake Forest University study to investigate the effects of acute beetroot juice ingestion on the exercise capacity of COPD patients shows some promise, but a larger clinical trial is needed to verify results.

The new research, published online ahead of print in the journal Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry, looked at a small group of COPD patients who drank beetroot juice as compared to a placebo drink before exercise.

“The intent of this study was to determine if acute ingestion of beetroot juice, which is rich with nitrates, prior to exercising could improve the exercise capacity of COPD patients,” said Michael Berry, who is the primary investigator and lead author of the study. As chair of Wake Forest’s department of health and exercise science, Berry is interested in the potential benefits of beetroot juice on physical function.

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, makes it difficult for patients to breathe and worsens over time. Patients often complain of shortness of breath with exertion, so tasks like climbing steps can leave them gasping for air. In turn, they tend to limit their activities, become more sedentary, and lose fitness and physical function. More…

Rubella vaccination used to induce behavioral problems in children Reply

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1998 May;23(4):337-51.
Influence of socioeconomic status on behavioral, emotional and cognitive effects of rubella vaccination: a prospective, double blind study.
– Effects of vaccination with live attenuated Rubella virus on psychological parameters measured in 12-year-old girls with low socioeconomic status before, and 10 weeks after, the vaccination. Compared to their own baseline and to the levels in girls who were already immune to Rubella before vaccination (control group), subjects who seroconverted following vaccination (experimental group) showed significantly increased levels of total and emotional depression, measured by the Children Depression Inventory, and significantly higher incidence of social and attention problems and delinquent behavior, assessed by the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist. (Adapted from Morag et al.13) More…

Celiac disease rate among young children has almost tripled in past 20 years Reply

Public Release: 22-Jan-2015

Kids from poorer families only half as likely to be diagnosed with the condition

BMJ-British Medical Journal
The evidence to date suggests that up to 1% of all children in the UK have blood markers for coeliac disease, an autoimmune reaction to dietary gluten from wheat, barley, and rye.

In a bid to assess current diagnostic patterns, the research team assessed data contained in The Health Improvement Network (THIN), a representative UK database of anonymised primary care health records.

They identified all children from birth to the age of 18, registered with general practices across the UK that contribute to THIN, between 1993 and 2012.

Among the total of 2,063,421 children, 1247 had been diagnosed with coeliac disease during this period, corresponding to around 1 new case in every 10,000 children every year.

This case rate was similar across all four UK countries, and was 53% higher among girls than among boys. Between 1993 and 2012, diagnoses rose by 39% in boys, but doubled in girls.

While the numbers of new cases diagnosed in infants and toddlers remained fairly stable across all four countries, diagnoses among children older than 2 years almost tripled in the space of 20 years.The diagnosis rate for coeliac disease in 2008-12 among children was 75% higher than it was in 1993-97. More…

Enzymes believed to promote cancer actually suppress tumors Reply

Public Release: 22-Jan-2015

Finding upends dogma and may lead to new activator-based drugs

University of California – San Diego
Upending decades-old dogma, a team of scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say enzymes long categorized as promoting cancer are, in fact, tumor suppressors and that current clinical efforts to develop inhibitor-based drugs should instead focus on restoring the enzymes’ activities.

The findings are published in the January 29 issue of Cell.

Protein Kinase C (PKC) is a group of enzymes that act as catalysts for a host of cellular functions, among which are cancer-relevant activities, such as cell survival, proliferation, apoptosis, and migration. The discovery that they are receptors for tumor-producing phorbol esters, plant-derived compounds that bind to and activate PKC, created a dogma that activation of PKCs by phorbol esters promoted carcinogen-induced tumorigenesis.

“For three decades, researchers have sought to find new cancer therapies based on the idea that inhibiting or blocking PKC signals would hinder or halt tumor development,” said Alexandra Newton, PhD, professor of pharmacology and the study’s principal investigator, “but PKCs have remained an elusive chemotherapeutic target.” The reason, suggest Newton and colleagues, is that contrary to conventional wisdom, PKCs do not promote cancer progression; rather, they act to suppress tumor growth. More…

WSU researchers see effect of BPA and estradiol on sperm development Reply

Mechanism offers explanation for declining sperm counts

Public Release: 22-Jan-2015

Washington State University
PULLMAN, Wash.–Washington State University researchers have found a direct link between the plastics component bisphenol A, or BPA, and disrupted sperm production. Writing in the journal PLOS Genetics, they say the chemical disrupts the delicate DNA interactions needed to create sperm.

WSU geneticist and principle investigator Pat Hunt says she and her team may have unearthed the physiological mechanism that could account for decreased sperm counts seen in several human studies. It also bolsters the “estrogen hypothesis” that estrogen disruptors in the environment are at play.

“This provides some real insight into what exactly might be going on,” Hunt says. “It’s kind of bizarre because we got into it through a back door, not really starting out to look at that question.”

In addition to seeing BPA effects, Hunt and her colleagues saw an even larger effect on sperm by estradiol, the birth control hormone that passes untreated through sewage plants.

Hunt has a long history of working with BPA, which is often found in plastic bottles, the linings of food and beverage cans, and thermal receipts. Much of her work has documented its effect on female reproduction, from mice to monkeys.

Declining sperm counts have been a subject of concern and conjecture since the early 1990s, when Danish researchers reported “a genuine decline in semen quality over the past 50 years,” with possible implications for male fertility. Sperm count studies have often been criticized for being small, having biased populations or questionable statistical methods, but reproductive biologists continue to see data suggesting that endocrine disruptors like BPA, plastic-softening phthalates and estradiol are impairing reproduction. In a 2013 study cited by Hunt and her colleagues, French researchers looked at the partners of more than 26,000 infertile women and saw their semen concentration drop nearly 2 percent a year for 17 years. More…

Newly identified virus may play unexpected role in inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis Reply

Public Release: 22-Jan-2015
Viruses may play unexpected role in inflammatory bowel diseases

Washington University School of Medicine
Inflammatory bowel diseases are associated with a decrease in the diversity of bacteria in the gut, but a new study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has linked the same illnesses to an increase in the diversity of viruses.

The scientists found that patients with inflammatory bowel diseases had a greater variety of viruses in their digestive systems than healthy volunteers, suggesting viruses likely play a role in the diseases.

The research appears online Jan. 22 in Cell and in the journal’s print edition on Jan. 29.

Scientists only recently started recognizing the role of the microbiome — the bacteria in and on the body, and the bacteria’s genes — in illness. For example, changes in the gut microbiome have been linked to obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases.

The new research is the first to associate disease with changes in the virome, or the viruses in the human body and their genes. According to the researchers, the results raise the possibility that viruses may have unrecognized roles in obesity and diabetes and the two most common inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. More…

Family voices and stories speed coma recovery Reply

Public Release: 22-Jan-2015

Study answers question ‘Can he hear me?’ with resounding ‘Yes’

Northwestern University

CHICAGO — “Can he hear me?” family members are desperate to know when a loved one with a traumatic brain injury is in a coma.

A new Northwestern Medicine and Hines VA Hospital study shows the voices of loved ones telling the patient familiar stories stored in his long-term memory can help awaken the unconscious brain and speed recovery from the coma.

Coma patients who heard familiar stories repeated by family members four times a day for six weeks, via recordings played over headphones, recovered consciousness significantly faster and had an improved recovery compared to patients who did not hear the stories, reports the study.

The paper was published in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair January 22.

“We believe hearing those stories in parents’ and siblings’ voices exercises the circuits in the brain responsible for long-term memories,” said lead author Theresa Pape. “That stimulation helped trigger the first glimmer of awareness.”

As a result, the coma patients can wake more easily, become more aware of their environment and start responding to conversations and directions.

“It’s like coming out of anesthesia,” Pape said. “It’s the first step in recovering full consciousness.” More…

Prescription painkillers, widely used by childbearing age women, double birth defects risk Reply

Public Release: 22-Jan-2015

March of Dimes and CDC urge use of safer alternatives during pregnancy

March of Dimes Foundation
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., JAN. 22, 2015 – More than one-fourth of privately-insured and one-third of Medicaid-enrolled women of childbearing age filled prescriptions for opioid-based (narcotic) painkillers between 2008 and 2012, according to a new analysis published today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

For video, photos, documents and links on prescription opioid use and pregnancy visit: http://www.​multivu.​com/​players/​English/​7401852-march-of-dimes-cdc-opioids/​

Many women are unaware that prescription opioid-based medications such as codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, or morphine, used to treat severe pain, may increase the risk for serious birth defects of the baby’s brain, spine, and heart, as well as preterm birth when taken during pregnancy. Use of these medications also can cause babies to suffer withdrawal symptoms when born, a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS, a growing problem in U.S. birthing hospitals.

Since half of all pregnancies are unplanned, women may be prescribed opioid-based pain medications before they or their health care providers know they are pregnant. “This highlights the importance of promoting safer alternative treatments, when available for women of reproductive age. We must do what we can to protect babies from exposure to opioids.” stated Coleen A. Boyle, PhD, MSHyg, Director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD). ” More…

Fatty acids in fish may shield brain from mercury damage 2

Public Release: 21-Jan-2015

University of Rochester Medical Center

New findings from research in the Seychelles provide further evidence that the benefits of fish consumption on prenatal development may offset the risks associated with mercury exposure. In fact, the new study, which appears today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that the nutrients found in fish have properties that protect the brain from the potential toxic effects of the chemical.

Three decades of research in the Seychelles have consistently shown that high levels of fish consumption by pregnant mothers – an average of 12 meals per week – do not produce developmental problems in their children. Researchers have previously equated this phenomenon to a kind of biological horse race, with the developmental benefits of nutrients in fish outpacing the possible harmful effects of mercury also found in fish. However, the new research indicates that this relation is far more complex and that compounds present in fish – specifically polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) – may also actively counteract the damage that mercury causes in the brain.

“These findings show no overall association between prenatal exposure to mercury through fish consumption and neurodevelopmental outcomes,” said Edwin van Wijngaarden, Ph.D., and associate professor in the University of Rochester Department of Public Health Sciences and a co-author of the study. “It is also becoming increasingly clear that the benefits of fish consumption may outweigh, or even mask, any potentially adverse effects of mercury.” More…

Common gut microbe H. pylori might curb MS risk — at least in women Reply

BMJ-British Medical Journal

A common gut microbe might curb the risk of developing multiple sclerosis–at least in women–suggests the largest study of its kind published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

If confirmed in other studies, this might prove the hygiene hypothesis, the premise of which is that childhood infections help to prime and regulate the immune system and ward off autoimmune and allergic diseases in later life, say the researchers.

The prevalence of multiple sclerosis (MS) has increased worldwide, in tandem with other autoimmune disease, but the reasons behind this rise are unclear. Some studies have suggested a link between early childhood infection and reduced MS risk, but they have all been small.

The researchers therefore tested 550 people with confirmed MS and a comparison group of 299 healthy people, matched for age and sex, for the presence of antibodies to Helicobacter pylori. The tests were done between 2007 and 2011.

H. pylori is usually acquired before the age of 2, and lasts for life in the stomach, unless treated. Around half the world’s population is infected with it, most of whom live in the developing world, where hygiene standards and antibiotic prescribing rates tend to be lower than they are in developed countries. More…

Citrus scent inhibits liver cancer Reply

Public Release: 19-Jan-2015

Researchers from Bochum decode signalling pathway

Ruhr-University BochumLiver Cancer [image] | EurekAlert! Science News

IMAGE: The calcium influx into the liver carcinoma cell can be monitored following the exposure to citronellal (pictured in pseudo-colours). view more 

Credit: RUB, Work Group Hatt

In future, the olfactory receptor could serve as target for liver cancer diagnosis and therapy. The researchers report their findings in the journal Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

Essential oils protect not only from bacteria, viruses and fungi

Essential oils occur in many plants, protecting them through their antibacterial, antiviral and fungicidal properties. It has been recently discovered that terpenes, the oils’ main components, can also inhibit the growth of different cancer cells, including liver cancer. Their function had not previously been fully understood. More…

Too much sitting linked to serious health risks and death, regardless of exercise habits Reply

  Ann Intern Med. 2015;162(2):146-147. doi:10.7326/M14-2552

Study author provides practical tips for reducing sedentary time

Sound bites, b-roll footage, and image available. Satellite coordinates and feed times are below. Accumulated evidence suggests that sitting for prolonged periods of time increases risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and death, regardless of whether a person exercises regularly or not. The article is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

More than one half of the average person’s waking life involves sedentary activity, such as watching television, working at a computer, or commuting. Studies have explored the independent association between prolonged sitting and health outcomes after adjusting for physical activity; however, the magnitude, consistency, and manner of association between sedentary time and outcomes independent of physical activity remain unclear. More…

Gut microbes trigger autoimmune disease later in life in mice Reply

Public Release: 19-Jan-2015

HEIDELBERG, 19 January 2015 – Researchers have revealed that the colonization of the gut of young mice by certain types of bacteria can lead to immune responses later in life that are linked to disease. Increases in the levels of segmented filamentous bacteria can trigger changes in the lymphoid tissue of the mouse gut that result in the production of antibodies that attack components of the cell nucleus. This type of damage is a hallmark of autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus and systemic sclerosis where organs throughout the body are damaged by wayward immune responses. The findings are published in The EMBO Journal.

“Our results demonstrate how gut health in young animals may be linked to autoimmune disease in older animals,” says Dirk Elewaut, Professor at Ghent University Hospital in Belgium and VIB Inflammation Research Center, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium who is one of the lead authors of the study. “The microbiome of the young mouse impacts a loss of tolerance of the secondary immune system against proteins in the nucleus of the cell. The attack of certain proteins by the body’s own immune system can subsequently lead to tissue damage and disease.” More…

Bed nets and vaccines: Some combinations may worsen malaria Reply

Public Release: 19-Jan-2015

University of Michigan
ANN ARBOR–Combining insecticide-treated bed nets with vaccines and other control measures may provide the best chance at eliminating malaria, which killed nearly 600,000 people worldwide in 2013, most of them African children.

More than 20 malaria vaccine candidates are in different stages of development, but none are licensed for use. So no one knows for sure what will happen when vaccines and bed nets are used together.

A University of Michigan-led research team used a mathematical model of malaria transmission to find out. The researchers examined potential interactions between the two control measures and found that–in some cases–the combination of bed nets and a vaccine actually makes the problem worse.

“The joint use of bed nets and vaccines will not always lead to consistent increases in the efficacy of malaria control. In some cases, the use of vaccines and bed nets may actually make the situation worse,” said Mercedes Pascual, a professor in the U-M Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

“Specifically, our study suggests that the combined use of some malaria vaccines with bed nets can lead to increased morbidity and mortality in older age classes.” More…

Lavender aroma increases trust in anyone Reply

Lavender aroma increases trust in anyone
– Inexpensive way to increase trust -Test persons gave significantly more money to the other person when they were exposed to the aroma of lavender, compared to persons who had been exposed to the fragrance of peppermint.
– “Our results might have various serious implications for a broad range of situations in which interpersonal trust is an essential element. Smelling the aroma of lavender may help a seller to establish more easily a trusting negotiation to sell a car, or in a grocery store it may induce consumers to spend more money buying products.
* . Article title: A question of scent: lavender aroma promotes interpersonal trust Journal: Frontiers in Psychology DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01486 More…