Beetroot beneficial for athletes and heart failure patients, research finds Reply

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

23-Oct-2014
MANHATTAN, Kansas — Football teams are claiming it improves their athletic performance, and according to new research from Kansas State University, it also benefits heart failure patients. The special ingredient: beetroot.

Recently, the Auburn University football team revealed its pregame ritual of taking beetroot concentrate, or beet juice, before each game. The juice may have contributed to the team’s recent winning season — and one exercise physiologist who has been studying the supplement for several years says that may be the case.

“Our research, published in the journal Physiology in 2013, has shown that the nitrate found in beetroot concentrate increases blood flow to skeletal muscles during exercise,” said David Poole, professor of exercise kinesiology and anatomy and physiology at Kansas State University. The journal Physiology is widely regarded as the world’s premiere physiology journal.

The researchers’ latest study, “Microvascular oxygen pressures in muscles comprised of different fiber types: Impact of dietary nitrate supplementation,” was published in the Journal of Nitric Oxide, Biology and Chemistry. This work provides the basis for how beetroot juice may benefit football players by preferentially increasing blood flow to fast-twitch muscle fibers — the ones used for explosive running. This work was performed by Poole; Scott Ferguson, doctoral student in anatomy and physiology; and Timothy Musch, professor of exercise kinesiology and anatomy and physiology, all at Kansas State University.

In addition to improving athletic performance, the research also found that beetroot juice can improve the quality of life for heart failure patients. More…

Ancient Romans had far less gum disease than modern adults Reply

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

23-Oct-2014

Roman-Britons had less gum disease than modern Britons

The Roman-British population from c. 200-400 AD appears to have had far less gum disease than we have today, according to a study of skulls at the Natural History Museum led by a King’s College London periodontist. The surprise findings provide further evidence that modern habits like smoking can be damaging to oral health.

Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is the result of a chronic inflammatory response to the build-up of dental plaque. Whilst much of the population lives with mild gum disease, factors such as tobacco smoking or medical conditions like diabetes can trigger more severe chronic periodontitis, which can lead to the loss of teeth.

The study, published in the British Dental Journal, examined 303 skulls from a Romano-British burial ground in Poundbury, Dorset for evidence of dental disease. Only 5% of the skulls showed signs of moderate to severe gum disease, compared to today’s population of which around 15-30% of adults have chronic progressive periodontitis. More…

Olive oil more stable and healthful than seed oils for frying food Reply

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

22-Oct-2014

Frying is one of the world’s most popular ways to prepare food — think fried chicken and french fries. Even candy bars and whole turkeys have joined the list. But before dunking your favorite food in a vat of just any old oil, consider using olive. Scientists report in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that olive oil withstands the heat of the fryer or pan better than several seed oils to yield more healthful food.

Mohamed Bouaziz and colleagues note that different oils have a range of physical, chemical and nutritional properties that can degrade oil quality when heated. Some of these changes can lead to the formation of new compounds that are potentially toxic. By-products of heating oil can also lower the nutritional value of the food being fried. Bouaziz’s team wanted to find out which cooking oil can maintain its quality under high heat and repeated use.

The researchers deep- and pan-fried raw potato pieces in four different refined oils — olive, corn, soybean and sunflower — and reused the oil 10 times. They found that olive oil was the most stable oil for deep-frying at 320 and 374 degrees Fahrenheit, while sunflower oil degraded the fastest when pan-fried at 356 degrees. They conclude that for frying foods, olive oil maintains quality and nutrition better than seed oils. More…

Resetting the circadian clock: Shift workers might want to skip high-iron foods at night Reply

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

21-Oct-2014

Researchers identify role of iron in liver’s regulation of blood glucose levels

(SALT LAKE CITY)—Workers punching in for the graveyard shift may be better off not eating high-iron foods at night so they don’t disrupt the circadian clock in their livers.

Disrupted circadian clocks, researchers believe, are the reason that shift workers experience higher incidences of type 2 diabetes, obesity and cancer. The body’s primary circadian clock, which regulates sleep and eating, is in the brain. But other body tissues also have circadian clocks, including the liver, which regulates blood glucose levels.

In a new study in Diabetes online, University of Utah researchers show that dietary iron plays an important role in the circadian clock of the liver. Judith A. Simcox, Ph.D., a University of Utah postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry, is the study’s lead author.

“Iron is like the dial that sets the timing of the clock,” Simcox says. “Discovering a factor, such as iron, that sets the circadian rhythm of the liver may have broad implications for people who do shift work.”

Each of the body’s circadian clocks operates on its own schedule to perform its necessary functions. The circadian clock in the brain, for example, is set by light, telling people to wake up in the morning and sleep when it’s dark. Ideally all the body’s clocks would work on their correct schedules. But, as anyone who has ever been on a graveyard or swing shift knows, working off-hours can cause one’s circadian clocks to get out of synch and disrupt sleeping and eating patterns. More…

A rich vocabulary can protect against cognitive impairment Reply

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

21-Oct-2014
Some people suffer incipient dementia as they get older. To make up for this loss, the brain’s cognitive reserve is put to the test. Researchers from the University of Santiago de Compostela have studied what factors can help to improve this ability and they conclude that having a higher level of vocabulary is one such factor.

‘Cognitive reserve’ is the name given to the brain’s capacity to compensate for the loss of its functions. This reserve cannot be measured directly; rather, it is calculated through indicators believed to increase this capacity.

A research project at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) has studied how having a wide vocabulary influences cognitive reserve in the elderly.

As Cristina Lojo Seoane, from the USC, co-author of the study published in the journal Anales de Psicología (Annals of Psychology), explains to SINC: “We focused on level of vocabulary as it is considered an indicator of crystallised intelligence (the use of previously acquired intellectual skills). We aimed to deepen our understanding of its relation to cognitive reserve.” More…

Study suggests altering gut bacteria might mitigate lupus Reply

” Luo suggests that people with lupus should eat Lactobacillus-containing probiotics, such as live culture yogurts, to reduce lupus flares “
WASHINGTON, DC – October 20, 2014 — Lactobacillus species, commonly seen in yogurt cultures, correlate, in the guts of mouse models, with mitigation of lupus symptoms, while Lachnospiraceae, a type of Clostridia, correlate with worsening, according to research published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. “Our results suggest that the same investigation shold be performed in human subjects with lupus,” says principal investigator Xin Luo of Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.

In the study, the investigators first showed that mouse models of lupus had higher levels of Lachnospiraceae (a type of Clostridia), and lower Lactobacillus than control mice. They also compared male and female mice, and found that the differences were present only in females. These results suggest that the gut bacteria may contribute to lupus, a disease which is nine times as prevalent in women as in men, says first author Husen Zhang.

They also monitored the gut microbiota over time in both lupus and control mice, and found that in the former, Clostridia increased in both early and late stages of the disease. More…

LMU researchers shows that infants fed on Raw milk rather than UHT cow’s milk are less prone to infection Reply

reports that fresh cow’s milk protects young children from respiratory infections, febrile illness and inflammation of the middle ear

Fresh milk keeps infections at bay

München, 10/20/2014

A study by LMU researchers shows that infants fed on fresh rather than UHT cow’s milk are less prone to infection. The authors recommend the use of alternative processing methods to preserve the protectants found in the natural product.
A pan-European study, led by Professor Erika von Mutius, Professor of Pediatric Allergology at LMU and Head of the Asthma and Allergy Department at Dr. von Hauner’s Children’s Hospital, reports that fresh cow’s milk protects young children from respiratory infections, febrile illness and inflammation of the middle ear. Their results appear in the “Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology”. As untreated cow’s milk may itself contain pathogenic microorganisms and could pose a health risk, the researchers argue for the use of processing methods that preserve the protective agents present in raw milk.

The findings are the latest to emerge from the long-term PASTURE study, which is exploring the role of dietary and environmental factors in the development of allergic illness. The study initially recruited 1000 pregnant women who were asked to document their children’s diet and state of health at weekly intervals during the first year of life. “Among children who were fed on fresh, unprocessed cow’s milk the incidence of head colds and other respiratory infections, febrile and middle-ear inflammation was found to be significantly lower than in the group whose milk ration consisted of the commercially processed ultra-pasteurized product,” says Dr. Georg Loss of Dr. von Hauner’s Hospital, first author of the new paper. Ingestion of farm milk reduced the risk of developing these conditions by up to 30%, and the effect was diminished if the milk was heated at home before consumption. Conventionally pasteurized milk retained the ability to reduce the risk of febrile illness, while exposure to the higher temperatures used in UHT processing eliminated the effect altogether. Importantly, the positive impact of raw milk could be clearly separated from the confounding effects of other elements of the children’s nutrition. More…

Vaccines in the short-term may accelerate the transition from subclinical MS to overt autoimmunity in patients with existing disease Reply

Vaccines and the Risk of Multiple Sclerosis and Other Central Nervous System Demyelinating Diseases

JAMA Neurol. Published online October 20, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.2633

Importance  Because vaccinations are common, even a small increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) or other acquired central nervous system demyelinating syndromes (CNS ADS) could have a significant effect on public health.

Objective  To determine whether vaccines, particularly those for hepatitis B (HepB) and human papillomavirus (HPV), increase the risk of MS or other CNS ADS.

Design, Setting, and Participants  A nested case-control study was conducted using data obtained from the complete electronic health records of Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) members. Cases were identified through the KPSC CNS ADS cohort between 2008 and 2011, which included extensive review of medical records by an MS specialist. Five controls per case were matched on age, sex, and zip code.

Exposures  Vaccination of any type (particularly HepB and HPV) identified through the electronic vaccination records system.

Main Outcomes and Measures  All forms of CNS ADS were analyzed using conditional logistic regression adjusted for race/ethnicity, health care utilization, comorbid diseases, and infectious illnesses before symptom onset.

Results  We identified 780 incident cases of CNS ADS and 3885 controls; 92 cases and 459 controls were females aged 9 to 26 years, which is the indicated age range for HPV vaccination. There were no associations between HepB vaccination (odds ratio [OR], 1.12; 95% CI, 0.72-1.73), HPV vaccination (OR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.62-1.78), or any vaccination (OR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.86-1.22) and the risk of CNS ADS up to 3 years later. Vaccination of any type was associated with an increased risk of CNS ADS onset within the first 30 days after vaccination only in younger (<50 years) individuals (OR, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.18-4.57).

Conclusions and Relevance  We found no longer-term association of vaccines with MS or any other CNS ADS, which argues against a causal association. The short-term increase in risk suggests that vaccines may accelerate the transition from subclinical to overt autoimmunity in patients with existing disease. Our findings support clinical anecdotes of CNS ADS symptom onset shortly after vaccination but do not suggest a need for a change in vaccine policy.

More…

Panic attacks associated with fear of bright daylight Reply

Berlin, 20 October 2014 Fear of bright daylight is associated with panic disorder, according to new presented at the ECNP congress in Berlin.

Panic disorder is where a person has recurring and regular panic attacks. In the UK, it affects about two in 100 people, and it’s about twice as common in women as it is in men1. Previous studies have shown that there is a strong seasonal component in panic disorder, but this is the first study to look specifically at panic disorder patients’ reactions to light.

A group of researchers from the University of Siena (Italy) compared 24 patients with panic disorder (PD) against 33 healthy controls. Using a standard Photosensitivity Assessment Questionnaire (PAQ), they found that healthy controls showed a slight (not statistically significant) tendency to be photophilic – to be attracted to bright light. In contrast, the patients with panic disorder showed medium to high levels of aversion to bright light.

The Photosensitivity Assessment Questionnaire asks subjects to agree or disagree with a series of questions about their attitude towards light, for example “My ideal house has large windows” or “Sunlight is so annoying to me, that I have to wear sunglasses when I go out”. The mean values in the Photosensitivity Assessment Questionnaire were as follows: patients with photophobia scored 0.34 (± 0.32 SD), healthy subjects scored 0,11 (± 0,13 SD). More…

Vitamin D deficiency increases poor brain function after cardiac arrest by sevenfold Reply

 

Lack of vitamin D also increases mortality

Geneva, Switzerland – 18 October 2014: Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of poor brain function after sudden cardiac arrest by seven-fold, according to research presented at Acute Cardiovascular Care 2014 by Dr Jin Wi from Korea. Vitamin D deficiency also led to a higher chance of dying after sudden cardiac arrest.

Acute Cardiovascular Care is the annual meeting of the Acute Cardiovascular Care Association (ACCA) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and takes place 18-20 October in Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr Wi said: “In patients resuscitated after sudden cardiac arrest, recovery of neurological function is very important, as well as survival. Vitamin D deficiency has been reported to be related to the risk of having various cardiovascular diseases, including sudden cardiac arrest. We investigated the association of vitamin D deficiency with neurologic outcome after sudden cardiac arrest, a topic on which there is no information so far.”

The researchers prospectively analysed clinical data from all unconscious patients resuscitated from sudden cardiac arrest of presumed cardiac cause at Severance Cardiovascular Hospital in Seoul, Korea. Neurologic outcome was assessed by the Cerebral Performance Category (CPC) score at 6 months after discharge.1 Good neurologic outcome was defined as a CPC score of 1 or 2, whereas poor neurological outcome was defined as a CPC score of 3 to 5. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as 25-hydroxyvitamin D less than 10 ng/mL. More…

Feinstein Institute researchers discover that bean used in Chinese food could protect against sepsis Reply

mung bean (Vigna radiata)

02 NOV 2012
MANHASSET, NY – Researchers at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have discovered that a bean commonly used in Chinese cuisine protects against the life-threatening condition sepsis. These findings are published in the current issue of Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM).

It has been found that a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) protein, HMGB1, mediates inflammation. Inflammation is necessary for maintaining good health – without inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal. However, persistent and constant inflammation can damage tissue and organs, and lead to diseases such as sepsis. Sepsis affects approximately 750,000 Americans each year, 28 to 50 percent of whom die from the condition, and costs the nation’s healthcare system nearly $17 billion annually. It is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection or injury, and occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight the infection trigger inflammation throughout the body. The result is that organs become damaged, including liver, heart, lungs, kidney, and brain. If excessive damage occurs, it may be irreversible. Therefore, it is important to identify ways in which persistent and constant inflammation can be halted. More…

Drop in testosterone tied to prostate cancer recurrence Reply

Fox Chase researchers find that men whose testosterone falls after radiation are more likely to experience a rise in PSA

 

BOSTON, MA (October 28, 2012)—Men whose testosterone drops following radiation therapy for prostate cancer are more likely to experience a change in PSA levels that signals their cancer has returned, according to new research from Fox Chase Cancer Center. The findings will be presented on October 29 at the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s 54th Annual Meeting.

 

Specifically, men whose testosterone fell following various forms of radiation therapy were more likely to experience an increase in prostate-specific antigen (PSA)—often the first indication the cancer has recurred.

 

“The men who had a decrease in testosterone also appear to be the men more likely to see an increase in PSA after treatment,” says study author Jeffrey Martin, MD, resident physician in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Fox Chase.

 

In theory, doctors may one day be able to use testosterone levels to guide treatment decisions, says Martin. “For men with a decrease in testosterone, doctors might intervene earlier with other medications, or follow their PSA more closely than they would otherwise, to spot recurrences at an earlier time.”

 

Martin and his colleagues decided to conduct the study because there is limited information regarding testosterone levels after radiation treatment and what it means for prognosis. To investigate whether a decrease in testosterone has any clinical effects, Martin and his colleagues reviewed medical records from nearly 260 men who received radiation therapy for prostate cancer between 2002 and 2008. The men were treated with either brachytherapy, in which doctors insert radioactive seeds in the prostate, or intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), in which an external beam of radiation is directed at the prostate. More…

Exercise is smart for your heart – and makes you smarter Reply

02 NOV 2012
Study shows that high-intensity training boosts cognitive function

A regular exercise routine can make you fitter than ever – mentally fit.

In a new study, previously sedentary adults were put through four months of high-intensity interval training. At the end, their cognitive functions – the ability to think, recall and make quick decisions – had improved significantly, says Dr. Martin Juneau, director of prevention at the Montreal Heart Institute.

“If you talk to people who exercise, they say they feel sharper. Now we’ve found a way to measure that,” says Dr. Juneau.

Blood flow to the brain increases during exercise. The more fit you are, the more that increases. The pilot study – presented today at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress – looked at adults, average age 49, who were overweight and inactive. Dr. Juneau and his colleagues measured their cognitive function with neuropsychological testing, as well as their body composition, blood flow to the brain, cardiac output and their maximum ability to tolerate exercise.

The subjects then began a twice-a-week routine with an exercise bike and circuit weight training. After four months – not surprising – their weight, body mass index, fat mass and waist circumference were all significantly lower. Meanwhile, their capacity to exercise (measured by VO2 max) was up 15 per cent. More…

New study reveals that every single junk food meal damages your arteries 2

02 NOV 2012
Mediterranean meals do not have the same effect

A single junk food meal – composed mainly of saturated fat – is detrimental to the health of the arteries, while no damage occurs after consuming a Mediterranean meal rich in good fats such as mono-and polyunsaturated fatty acids, according to researchers at the University of Montreal-affiliated ÉPIC Center of the Montreal Heart Institute. The Mediterranean meal may even have a positive effect on the arteries. The findings are being presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, which runs in Toronto until Wednesday, by the head of the study, Dr. Anil Nigam, Director of Research at the Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Centre (ÉPIC) and associate professor at the university’s Faculty of Medicine.

Bad fat vs. good fat

Dr. Nigam undertook the study to compare the effects of junk food and typical Mediterranean meal on the vascular endothelium: the inner lining of the blood vessels. By measuring endothelial function, it is possible to determine how easily the arteries will dilate after a temporary, five-minute occlusion, following the consumption of the two types of meals. This is a very interesting analysis for researchers to perform as endothelial function is closely linked to the long-term risk of developing coronary artery disease.

The study also revealed that participants with higher blood triglyceride levels seemed to benefit more from the healthy meals. Their arteries responded better to the Mediterranean meal compared to people with low triglyceride levels. “We believe that a Mediterranean-type diet may be particularly beneficial for individuals with high triglyceride levels, such as patients with metabolic syndrome, precisely because it could help keep arteries healthy,” Dr. Nigam said.

Mediterranean meal vs. junk food meal More…

Common food preservative may slow, even stop tumor growth Reply

02 NOV 2012
ANN ARBOR—Nisin, a common food preservative, may slow or stop squamous cell head and neck cancers, a University of Michigan study found.

What makes this particularly good news is that the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization approved nisin as safe for human consumption decades ago, says Yvonne Kapila, the study’s principal investigator and professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

This means that obtaining FDA approval to test nisin’s suggested cancer-fighting properties on patients in a clinical setting won’t take as long as a new therapy that hasn’t been tried yet on people, she says.

Antibacterial agents like nisin alter cell properties in bacteria to render it harmless. However, it’s only recently that scientists began looking to antibacterial agents like nisin to see if they altered properties in other types of cells, such as cancer cells or cells in tumors.

Oral cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, and oral squamous cell carcinoma accounts for more than 90 percent of oral cancers. However, survival rates for oral cancer haven’t improved in decades, according to the study. More…

Study suggests too much risk associated with SSRI usage and pregnancy Reply

02 NOV 2012
Antidepressants should only be prescribed with great caution

BOSTON – Elevated risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, neonatal health complications and possible longer term neurobehavioral abnormalities, including autism, suggest that a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) should only be prescribed with great caution and with full counseling for women experiencing depression and attempting to get pregnant, say researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center and MetroWest Medical Center.

“Depression and infertility are two complicated conditions that more often than not go hand in hand. And there are no definitive guidelines for treatment,” says lead author Alice Domar, Ph.D, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Executive Director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF. “We hope to provide a useful analysis of available data to better inform decisions made by women and the providers who care for them.”

Domar and colleagues conducted a review of published studies evaluating women with depressive symptoms who took antidepressants while pregnant. The results appear online October 31 in the journal Human Reproduction.

“There are three main points that stand out from our review of the scientific studies on this topic,” says senior author Adam Urato, MD, Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at MetroWest Medical Center and a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist at Tufts Medical Center. “First, there is clear and concerning evidence of risk with the use of the SSRI antidepressants by pregnant women, evidence that these drugs lead to worsened pregnancy outcomes. Second, there is no evidence of benefit, no evidence that these drugs lead to better outcomes for moms and babies. And third, we feel strongly that patients, obstetrical providers, and the public need to be fully aware of this information.” More…

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