April 2018


Opioids or cannabis for pain management? Montel Williams has strong opinions

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis around 1999 and struggling with opioid addiction to manage the pain, Montel Williams says that finding cannabis was a game-changer.

Williams shares with Yahoo Lifestyle that he “took a journey down opioid lane for a year and a half, just trying to shut the pain down to the point that I was walking around in a pseudo-suicidal state.”

After two suicide attempts, Williams decided to turn his diagnosis from a “death sentence” into something he could “thrive at.”

He said shifting from opioids to cannabis was what that turned his life around. “The journey that I took with cannabis — it changed my life,” he says.

Williams adds: “That was probably one of the greatest things that happened in my life because that made me understand that I don’t need to take a pill. I was able to function on a daily basis and still mitigate my pain.”

And he’s clearly onto something. An eye-opening study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared opioids, such as Vicodin and oxycodone, to non-opioid pain relievers, such as Tylenol and ibuprofen, to see whether the prescription drugs were better at treating chronic back, hip, or knee pain. Surprisingly, they were not.

In addition, a March 2018 study published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine found that cancer patients who participated in a medical marijuana treatment program for chronic pain found significant relief. The study revealed that nearly 96 percent reported an improvement in their condition, with the vast majority experiencing a dramatic reduction in pain, as well as lower levels of anxiety and depression.

Williams, who has relied on cannabis for 17 years, is not only an advocate for the drug, he also founded Lenitiv Labs, a medical cannabis company, to help others.

While he understands that cannabis isn’t for everyone, Williams believes the drug should be made available to anyone who might benefit from it. “For every person with MS, marijuana isn’t a savior,” he says. “If you’re a person who has no benefits and has found no benefits, I’m not trying to force it on you. But therefore, you shouldn’t be denying me the opportunity to do the same.”

March 2018


Vitamin D reduces mortality

Image result for vitamin d


A normal intake of vitamin D can reduce the risk of death substantially in people with cardiovascular disease, a Norwegian study shows. 

A study from the University of Bergen (UiB) concludes that people who have suffered from , and have a normal intake of vitamin D, reduce their risk of morality as a consequence of the disease by 30 per cent.

"We discovered that the right amount of vitamin D reduces the risk of death substantially. However, too much or too little increase the risk," says Professor Jutta Dierkes at the Department of Clinical Medicine, UiB, which lead the study.

The study followed as many as 4 000 patients with cardiovascular diseases from year 2000, for a period of 12 years. The average age of the participants was 62 years old at the start of the study.  

The study showed that it is favourable to have blood values around 42 to 100 nmol/l. If you have higher or lower values, you are at greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

According to Dierkes, it is difficult to give general a recommendation of how much vitamin D supplementation one should take.

"The optimal amount of vitamin D-supplement varies from one person to another. It depends where you live, and what kind of diet you have," Dierkes points out.

For example, the Nordic countries recommend an intake of 10 microgram per day from all vitamin D-sources, USA recommends 15 micrograms and Germany 20.

"Even if Norwegians receive less sun then the Germans, the Norwegians have more fish in their diet. Fish and cod liver oil are important sources to vitamin D during the winter, in addition to physical activities outdoors during the summer," Dierkes explains.  

Dierkes advices all who have experienced cardiovascular diseases to measure their levels of vitamin D, so that these can be better regulated, and the need for supplements assessed. This can usually be done by your local doctor.

"It is, however, important to take in account that the levels vary seasonally A measurement in September will not show the same results as in January, in the Nordic countries."

"The levels in January or February are often lower because of the lack of sunlight, which induces the skin form to  D," says Jutta Dierkes.


Kevin Smith Considers a Vegan Diet After Heart Attack - Here Are Some Heart-Healthy Tips



After suffering a serious heart attack, director Kevin Smith has said that he is seriously thinking about his diet, and considering going vegan for his health.

In an Instagram post, Smith opened up about his health crisis.

“Doctor who saved my life at the #glendale hospital told me I had 100% blockage of my LAD artery (also known as “the Widow-Maker” because when it goes, you’re a goner). If I hadn’t canceled the second show to go to the hospital, the Doc said I would’ve died tonight,” wrote Smith.

“This is all a part of my mythology now,” added the filmmaker, “and I’m sure I’ll be facing some lifestyle changes (maybe it’s time to go Vegan).”  A plant-based diet can be a great option to improve cardiovascular health and prevent heart disease. Here are some tips for Smith and others to get started on the path to a heart-healthy vegan diet.  

The good news is, if you’re looking for foods with cardiovascular benefits, you have a ton of options! From kale and celery to garlic, avocado, and grapes, there’s bound be something that suits your tastes.

Maybe you like cherries? As it turns out, they’re great for your heart! Try these Cherry Blueberry Galettes for a tasty way to get more cherries into your diet.  

Vegetables contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can strengthen and protect your heart. By including more heart-healthy vegetables in your diet, you will significantly reduce the risk of heart-related illnesses. Here are 10 heart healthy vegetables to add to your diet:

  1. Asparagus

    One of the most important heart healthy ingredients that are found in asparagus is vitamin B6. This vitamin can lower homocysteine, a form of amino acid that has been linked to heart disease.

  2. Bell Peppers

    Bell peppers contain folate, another nutrient that can reduce homocysteine.

  3. Carrots

    Carrots are rich in carotenoids, which are powerful antioxidants that can combat free radicals that cause heart disease.

  4. Tomatoes

    A carotenoid called lycopene in tomatoes has been proven to be effective in preventing heart disease.

  5. Broccoli

    Broccoli has a high content of vitamin C, and it can make you less susceptible to both non-fatal and fatal heart diseases.

  6. Leafy Greens

    Leafy greens are an excellent source of magnesium. According to a Harvard study, magnesium can lower risk of sudden health failure in women.

  7. Garlic

    Garlic contains phytochemicals that boost immunity and protect the heart against diseases.

  8. Onions

    Onions are a rich source of sulphur-containing phytochemicals. These phytochemicals can reduce cholesterol levels, and therefore, prevent heart disease.

  9. Potatoes

    Potatoes are a high-potassium food, and they can help your body maintain healthy blood pressure. High blood pressure can increase the risk of congestive heart failure and stroke.

  10. Squash

    Squash has many nutrients that are beneficial to your heart health, including vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and folate.


Healthy diet linked to lower hip-fracture risk in U.S. women


Fresh vegetables. (Getty Images)

By Mary Gillis

(Reuters Health) - Eating an overall healthy diet is tied to a lower risk of hip fracture among women over age 50, a U.S. study suggests.  

Researchers analyzed decades’ worth of dietary and health data for more than 100,000 U.S. men and women. They found that women who scored highest on the American Healthy Eating Index-2010 (AHEI) scale were about 13 percent less likely to experience a hip fracture than those whose diets over time scored lowest on that quality measure.

There was no clear association between diet and hip fracture risk among men, the authors report in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  

“We often find differences between men and women when it comes to the effect of diet on osteoporosis and hip fractures,” said lead author Diane Feskanich of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“Women have less bone to begin with and go through an early bone loss around menopause. Men lose bone more slowly and experience hip fractures - on average - at a later age. So, it is quite possible that diet may be more important in women for preserving bone,” she said in an email.

Past research has often focused on particular nutrients or certain foods when examining the effect of diet on osteoporosis and resulting hip fractures, Feskanich noted. In recent years, the emphasis has shifted towards examining eating patterns as a whole.  

“This is important because we do not eat particular nutrients and foods in isolation,” she said. Thus, understanding the combination of nutrients and foods and how they interact may be more informative, she added, and may yield better advice on how people should eat, which may benefit not only bone health but many other conditions.

The researchers looked at data on 74,446 postmenopausal women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study between 1980 and 2012 and 36,602 men age 50 or older who took part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study between 1986 and 2012. Both groups completed yearly health surveys plus questionnaires on diet every four years.  

There were 2,143 hip fractures among the women and 603 among the men across the study period. (Fractures resulting from car crashes and other traumatic accidents were excluded from this calculation). Feskanich and colleagues rated the study participants’ diets over time according to three well-regarded scales of diet quality: The AHEI, the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and The Alternative Mediterranean Diet Score. All three scales award points for fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and other healthy foods. Points are withheld or even deducted if a diet includes high levels of red and processed meats, sodium or sugar-laden beverages.  

When they compared these diet-quality scores to the incidence of hip fractures over the years, the study team found a significant difference in risk between women who scored highest on the AHEI scale and those who scored lowest. There was a similar overall pattern among women based on their DASH and Alternative Mediterranean diet scores, but once researchers adjusted for other factors like body mass and physical activity, the difference was too small to rule out the possibility it was due to chance. Among women younger than 75, however, there were statistically meaningful differences in fracture risk tied to the highest versus lowest scores on all three diet indices.  

Among the study’s limitations, the small number of hip fractures in men might have reduced the researchers’ ability to identify associations between fractures and diet. In addition, all the study participants in the analysis were white, which may make the results less generalizable to people of other ethnicities, the authors acknowledge.

The study was not a controlled experiment designed to prove that diet quality influences hip fracture risk directly. The study team adjusted for many other lifestyle and health factors that might play a role, and they note that people with higher diet-quality scores tended to have lower body mass and higher leisure time physical activity.

“Vitamins and minerals including calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K are essential for maintaining bone hardness and structure throughout the lifespan,” said Priya Khorana, an independent nutrition consultant in New York City who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Sure, bone integrity declines and composition weakens as people age, but this rate of decline can be attenuated with proper diets that include these key nutrients - among other foods,” she said in an email.


Food supplements for young children that may help prevent allergies



Many parents are looking for guidance to navigate the often nerve-wracking process of figuring out exaclty when, and how, to introduce allergenic foods to their babies and toddlers. Some companies are stepping in with precise plans and even ready-made powders that offer help.

Even the standard guidance from doctors has changed over the past few years, particularly with regards to one of the most common and sometimes extreme allergens -- peanuts.

New research, as well as an alarming 8 percent of American children documented as having food allergies in the U.S. –- 25.2 percent of which are peanut allergies -– contributed to the shift in guidelines, which now say early introduction could be helpful.

“We now have research proving that early introduction of allergenic foods, especially peanuts, can be beneficial in preventing food allergies in children, and is particularly important for those children who are at high risk," Dr. Alok Patel, a pediatrician at Columbia University, told ABC News, "so long as parents consult with their pediatrician."  

Up until 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics had recommended waiting until a child was 3 years old to introduce peanuts. Now, parents are often being guided to start introducing allergen-containing foods closer to when they begin feeding babies solid foods, generally around 6 months of age.

The National Insitutes of Health also revised their guidelines last year for introducing peanut-containing products, saying infants as young as 4 to 6 months of age can be introduced to the nuts, depending on their health and family history.

But, the question then becomes how to go about it.

"I knew that research now says its supposed to happen early but I didn’t know when and how," new mom Heather VanKuiken told ABC News. She said she was particularly concerned about introducing peanut-containing products to her young daughter, Sophie, whose father has a peanut allergy.  

Some products helping to take the guess work out of introducing the foods, providing a precise roadmap for parents. One company, Hello, Peanut!, offers a blueprint of sorts for peanut introduction. Their product is the brainchild of board-certified allergist Dr. David Erstein and comes in a powdered form meant to be mixed in specific amounts each day into baby food.

The FDA recently permitted the company to include a mention on their label about the recommendation to introduce peanuts early, to avoid an allergy to them. Allowing such a claim for ground peanut products is the first time the FDA has allowed a food allergy claim on a label, acknowledging the potential this type of exposure may have for prevention.”

"We want to make sure parents can make informed decisions based on the latest science about how they choose to approach these challenging issues, but we also recommend that they check with their infant’s healthcare provider before introducing foods containing ground peanuts," an FDA spokesperson said.

Another product aims to introduce young children to an array of different allergens, at the same time. SpoonfulOne says its product contains parts of all of the 8 leading allergens, not just peanuts. Invented by a pediatrician and mother of five, Dr. Kari Nadeau, the product is also a powder to be mixed into a baby’s food and allows a parent to expose their child to a small dose of each top allergen all at once on a frequent basis.  



Diabetes Has Five Distinct Types, Not Two: Study




Most diabetes cases are split into two groups: type one and type two. A new study including nearly 15,000 diabetic patients suggests this decades-old distinction only tells part of the story. A new report divides diabetes mellitus into five separate conditions.

The advancement that could improve patient care. Because each group has different causes and complication risks, the authors of the study, published Thursday in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, believe the results are a “first step” towards precision medicine in diabetes. 

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar. Over time, it can lead to heart attack, limb amputation and blindness.

Almost 10 percent of the U.S. population—30.3 million people—has a form of diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 2 diabetes accounts for between 90 and 95 percent of these cases, and roughly 5 percent are type 1. Less common forms of the disorder include gestational diabetes and neonatal diabetes. Some diabetic patients use insulin to control their disorder. In the picture above, a medical assistant administers a insulin to a patient in New Dehli.               

                                                                                                 A complex picture

In type 1 diabetes, the body’s own immune system attacks beta cells, which produce insulin. This malfunction leaves the body without enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels effectively.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when either the body does not produce enough of the hormone, or its insulin fails to work properly. Usually linked to obesity and a lack of exercise, type 2 diabetes may also have underlying genetic factors. Researchers analyzed data including long-term blood glucose control for 14,775 diabetic patients. They identified five genetically distinct diabetes subgroups. Three were classified as “severe”, while two were “mild.”  

In the report, the authors identified these groups as clusters. The first cluster includes severe autoimmune diabetes, which is similar to traditional type 1. Patients with this form of diabetes are usually young and generally healthy but they struggle to make insulin as the result of an errant immune system.

Cluster 2 patients have what the authors call severe insulin-deficient diabetes. Similar to cluster 1 patients, this group includes young people of a healthy weight whose bodies do not produce insulin properly. The distinguishing feature in this cluster is that the problem is not triggered by a problem in the immune system. In addition, these patients have a higher risk of diabetic eye disease. 

In cluster 3—severe insulin-resistant diabetes—patients are often overweight and their bodies have stopped responding properly to insulin. These patients are at a greater risk of kidney and liver disease.   Clusters 4 and 5 include mild diabetes. The former group includes patients who are very overweight but whose metabolism functions more normally. The latter group of patients develop a milder form of diabetes at an older age than the other groups. 

More effective treatment prospects

“More accurately diagnosing diabetes could give us valuable insights into how it will develop over time,” said lead author, Leif Groop, who studies diabetes and endocrinology at Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden, in a statement, “allowing us to predict and treat complications before they develop.”

Victoria Salem, who researches investigative medicine at Imperial College London, told the BBC that specialists have long recognized that type 1 and type 2 were not particularly accurate classifications. The new study, she said, could help lead scientists towards a diabetes cure by changing the way they approach future study.  “What we need to start doing is thinking less about treating the end problem, which is high blood sugar, and more about what’s causing you to have your diabetes,” Salem said, according to the BBC. “Once we really understand that then we can start targeting the disease better with new drugs.”

The study did have limitations. Most notably, the population on which the findings are based does not necessarily represent the population of people diagnosed with the disease in real life. In the U.S., diabetes disproportionately affects Native Americans, Asian Indians and other ethnic minority groups. This paper was based in Scandinavian countries with relatively homogenous populations.  







February 2018


Cold or flu? This useful CDC symptoms test may help you tell the difference


The CDC has an infographic that charts the symptomatic variances between the common cold and influenza, and the difference is more subtle than you might think. For instance, while sore throats, stuffy noses, and sneezing can be present in both viruses, they’re more common in colds than flus. Conversely, headaches, chills, and chest discomfort are more common in the flu.One telltale sign that you have the flu is the onset of symptoms, which come on abruptly in flu viruses as opposed to gradually with colds. In the end, colds and flus are both respiratory illnesses, and it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference based on symptoms alone, the CDC says. Often, a lab test can tell you for sure.



The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer's


 In recent years, Alzheimer’s disease has occasionally been referred to as “type 3” diabetes, though that moniker doesn’t make much sense. After all, though they share a problem with insulin, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease caused by diet. Instead of another type of diabetes, it’s increasingly looking like Alzheimer’s is another potential side effect of a sugary, Western-style diet.  

In some cases, the path from sugar to Alzheimer’s leads through type 2 diabetes, but as a new study and others show, that’s not always the case.

longitudinal study, published Thursday in the journal Diabetologia, followed 5,189 people over 10 years and found that people with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar—whether or not their blood-sugar level technically made them diabetic. In other words, the higher the blood sugar, the faster the cognitive decline.  

“Dementia is one of the most prevalent psychiatric conditions strongly associated with poor quality of later life,” said the lead author, Wuxiang Xie at Imperial College London, via email. “Currently, dementia is not curable, which makes it very important to study risk factors.”

Melissa Schilling, a professor at New York University, performed her own reviewof studies connecting diabetes to Alzheimer’s in 2016. She sought to reconcile two confusing trends. People who have type 2 diabetes are about twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s, and people who have diabetes and are treated with insulin are also more likely to get Alzheimer’s, suggesting elevated insulin plays a role in Alzheimer’s. In fact, many studies have found that elevated insulin, or “hyperinsulinemia,” significantly increases your risk of Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, people with type 1 diabetes, who don’t make insulin at all, are also thought to have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s. How could these both be true?

Schilling posits this happens because of the insulin-degrading enzyme, a product of insulin that breaks down both insulin and amyloid proteins in the brain—the same proteins that clump up and lead to Alzheimer’s disease. People who don’t have enough insulin, like those whose bodies’ ability to produce insulin has been tapped out by diabetes, aren’t going to make enough of this enzyme to break up those brain clumps. Meanwhile, in people who use insulin to treat their diabetes and end up with a surplus of insulin, most of this enzyme gets used up breaking that insulin down, leaving not enough enzyme to address those amyloid brain clumps.


According to Schilling, this can happen even in people who don’t have diabetes yet—who are in a state known as “prediabetes.” It simply means your blood sugar is higher than normal, and it’s something that affects roughly 86 million Americans.

Schilling is not primarily a medical researcher; she’s just interested in the topic. But Rosebud Roberts, a professor of epidemiology and neurology at the Mayo Clinic, agreed with her interpretation.

In a 2012 study, Roberts broke nearly 1,000 people down into four groups based on how much of their diet came from carbohydrates. The group that ate the most carbs had an 80 percent higher chance of developing mild cognitive impairment—a pit stop on the way to dementia—than those who ate the smallest amount of carbs. People with mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, can dress and feed themselves, but they have trouble with more complex tasks. Intervening in MCI can help prevent dementia.

Rebecca Gottesman, a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins, cautions that the findings on carbs aren’t as well-established as those on diabetes. “It’s hard to be sure at this stage, what an ‘ideal’ diet would look like,” she said. “There’s a suggestion that a Mediterranean diet, for example, may be good for brain health.”

But she says there are several theories out there to explain the connection between high blood sugar and dementia. Diabetes can also weaken the blood vessels, which increases the likelihood that you’ll have ministrokes in the brain, causing various forms of dementia. A high intake of simple sugars can make cells, including those in the brain, insulin resistant, which could cause the brain cells to die. Meanwhile, eating too much in general can cause obesity. The extra fat in obese people releases cytokines, or inflammatory proteins that can also contribute to cognitive deterioration, Roberts said. In one study by Gottesman, obesity doubled a person’s risk of having elevated amyloid proteins in their brains later in life.


As more children die from the flu, here are the symptoms parents should look out for


The flu has killed at least 30 children so far this year according to federal officials, and parents are understandably nervous about the virus.

Devastating stories of children dying from the flu keep popping up online. The most recent one involves Dylan Winnik, a 12-year-old from Florida who died from the flu on Tuesday, just two days after he developed cold-like symptoms, per WPTV.

Dylan’s stepfather, Mike Medwin, says that the child stayed home from school because he was tired and had a runny nose. His family found that he had a normal temperature on Tuesday, but he died hours later. “Don’t mess around with the flu,” Medwin said. “It’s not going to somebody else. It can happen right in your neighborhood. Right in your home. It happened to us. Lightning struck.” The family has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for Dylan’s funeral and memorial.  

This isn’t the only GoFundMe page created to help raise money after a child recently died of the flu. The family of Emily Grace Muth says on their page that the 6-year-old died on Jan. 19 from the virus. “She started to get symptoms on Tuesday..we took her to urgent care on Thursday the 18th and EMT saw her this morning and said she had flu and it will get even worse..just keep her hydrated and she will be okay in a week or so..and today she is gone,” the page says. “Our hearts are aching and feels like we lost a part of us.”

The Internet is filled with stories like this, and it’s terrifying for parents who want to do everything they can to protect their children.

The flu symptoms in children are pretty similar to those that adults experience, infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Those typically include a fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches, and fatigue, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (However, the CDC notes that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.) Children may also experience diarrhea and vomiting, Adalja says.

It seems confusing that Dylan Winnik’s fever was normal right before he died, but Adalja points out that fevers can go up and down when someone is sick. “One reading that is normal in the context of a severe illness doesn’t, in itself, mean the illness is stable or improving,” he says.

Symptoms are slightly different in babies, Danelle Fisher, MD, chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., tells Yahoo Lifestyle. They’ll typically have a fever, a cough, and a lot of mucus, and won’t eat well because they’re suffering from a sore throat, she says.

If your child develops symptoms of the flu, call his or her pediatrician. Your child’s doctor may prescribe Tamiflu, an antiviral drug that can help speed up the flu’s course and lower the risk that your child will develop serious complications as a result, if it’s taken early enough, Fisher says.

Some children develop the flu and get better with time and rest, but if your child has a fever that won’t go down despite using acetaminophen or ibuprofen, is fatigued and unable to do anything, and is having shortness of breath, you need to go the ER, Adalja says.

Of course, the best thing you can do to protect your child from the flu is to try to keep the child from contracting it in the first place. That’s why Fisher strongly recommends that all children with access to the flu vaccine be vaccinated. If your child hasn’t been vaccinated yet, there’s still time, Adalja says — and he recommends that the entire family get vaccinated for added protection. Even though the flu vaccine is estimated to be only 30 percent effective this year, it’s less likely that your child will develop serious complications like pneumonia or sepsis if he or she does contract the virus after being vaccinated, Adalja says.


While the vaccine is the best way of protecting your child, good hand hygiene is also important, Adalja says, especially after your family visits a high-traffic public area like a mall.

You shouldn’t panic about the flu, but it’s important to do what you can to protect your family. “We’re at the peak of the season — there are several weeks left of influenza,” Adalja says.


Here's What a Doctor Has to Say About All That Protein You're Eating



High-protein, low-carb diets are often touted as magic cures for those who want to drop a little (or a lot) of extra weight. The Atkins rave of the early 2000s and the more recent hype around the Paleo lifestyle have driven a high-protein movement that gained momentum with media attention and celebrity endorsements. Though some research does suggest that high-protein diets lead to weight loss in the short term, the greater body of evidence indicates that in the long term, these diets may do more harm than good.

One recent study of 34 overweight women asked half the group to eat a typical weight-loss diet containing a standard amount of protein and the other half to follow an otherwise identical diet that contained 50 percent more protein than usual. Both groups succeeded in losing 10 percent of their body weight. But the high-protein group showed no increase in insulin sensitivity, a typical benefit of weight loss that can help decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In other words, the high-protein diet eliminated one of the major favorable side effects of weight loss.  

Another much larger study raised even more concerns about the effects of high-protein diets. Researchers in Spain asked over 8,000 men and women - most of whom were already following a Mediterranean diet - to recall, in detail, their daily protein intake. Not only were those who consumed the most protein more likely to gain weight, but they were also twice as likely to die from cardiovascular causes and 48 percent more likely to die from cancer. In an even larger study, in which over 100,000 postmenopausal women were asked to self-report their daily diets, researchers noted that as protein intake increased, the incidence of heart failure doubled.

According to Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN of Real Nutrition NYC, "Eating too much of any food group can be harmful to your health and diet goals. It's about balance." She also points out that Americans eat "way more" protein than they need to; although current recommendations state that the average woman should eat about 45 to 50 grams of protein per day, the typical American woman actually eats around 70 grams daily. And since many of the dangers of excessive dietary protein are thought to be due to animal protein, Shapiro said, "don't underestimate the power of plant protein. Plants provide adequate amounts of protein for any diet if eaten and combined correctly."   As a doctor, I caution my patients against high-protein diets, as I do with any fad diets that are not supported by high-quality clinical studies. Long-term weight loss, and its attendant health benefits, comes from a diet containing a balanced breakdown of macronutrients. Don't overdo it on protein or any food group.  Nicole Van Groningen, MD, is an internal medicine physician at the University of California, San Francisco.


January 2018

Woman, 67, who battled blood cancer for five years 'recovers after treating it with TURMERIC' in the first recorded case of its kind

Dieneke Ferguson had been diagnosed with the blood cancer myeloma in 2007 and had undergone three rounds of chemotherapy as well as four stem cell transplants

A woman who battled blood cancer for years without success finally halted the disease with turmeric, it has been reported.

Dieneke Ferguson is now leading a normal life after giving up on gruelling treatments that failed to stop it.

Doctors say her case is the first recorded instance in which a patient has recovered by using the spice after stopping conventional medical treatments.

With her myeloma spreading rapidly after three rounds of chemotherapy and four stem cell transplants, the 67-year-old began taking 8g of curcumin a day – one of the main compounds in turmeric.   

The cancer, which has an average survival of just over five years, was causing increasing back pain and she had already had a second relapse


But it stabilized after Mrs Ferguson, from north London, came across the remedy on the internet in 2011 and decided to try it as a last resort.

 The tablets are expensive – £50 for ten days – but as kitchen turmeric contains just 2 per cent curcumin it would be impossible to eat enough to get the same dose.

Doctors say Dieneke Ferguson's case is the first recorded instance in which a patient has recovered by using turmeric (pictured) after stopping conventional medical treatments

Mrs Ferguson, who was first diagnosed in 2007, continues to take curcumin without further treatment and her cancer cell count is negligible.

Her doctors, from Barts Health NHS Trust in London, wrote in the British Medical Journal Case Reports: ‘To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report in which curcumin has demonstrated an objective response in progressive disease in the absence of conventional treatment.’

The experts, led by Dr Abbas Zaidi, said some myeloma patients took dietary supplements alongside conventional treatment but ‘few, if any, use dietary supplementation as an alternative to standard antimyeloma therapy’.  

ut they added: ‘In the absence of further antimyeloma treatment the patient plateaued and has remained stable for the past five years with good quality of life.’

Since the turn of the century, more than 50 studies have tested curcumin – the pigment in turmeric that gives it that bright yellow colour.  

They suggest the spice can protect against several cancers, as well as Alzheimer’s, heart disease and depression.

It has also been shown to help speed recovery after surgery and effectively treat arthritis. 

But although it is widely used in Eastern medicine, and has been studied for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects, curcumin is not widely prescribed because it has never been tested in large-scale trials.

The doctors wrote that the ‘biological activity of curcumin is indeed remarkable’, including its ‘anti-proliferative effects in a wide variety of tumour cells’. 

But Professor Jamie Cavenagh, one of the authors of the paper, stressed it may not work for all patients. He said: ‘A lot of my patients take curcumin at different stages of their treatment. I don’t object to it.

‘Dieneke’s is the best response I have observed and it is clear-cut because we had stopped all other treatment.’

Mrs Ferguson, who runs Hidden Art, a not-for-profit business helping artists market their work, is frustrated doctors cannot recommend the spice and wants more research carried out.

She said: ‘I hope my story will lead to more people finding out about the amazing health benefits of curcumin.’

Myeloma affects some 5,500 people in the UK every year, killing nearly 3,000. 



It's Not Just A Cold, It's 'Sickness Behavior'

You'd be doing us and yourself a favor if you'd just stay in bed.

It's just a cold. But even though I know I'm not horribly ill, I feel this overwhelming need to skip work, ignore my family and retreat to the far corner of the sofa.

I'm not being a wimp, it turns out. Those feelings are a real thing called "sickness behavior," which is sparked by the body's response to infection. The same chemicals that tell the immune system to rush in and fend off invading viruses also tell us to slow down; skip the eating, drinking and sex; shun social interactions; and rest.

"Those messages are so powerful they can't be ignored," says Philip Chen, a rhinologist at the University of Texas, San Antonio. But that doesn't mean we don't try. Symptoms like a stuffy nose are obvious, Chen notes, but we're less aware that changes in mood and behavior are also part of our bodies' natural response to infection.

It might behoove us to pay attention. There is plenty of evidence that having a cold impairs moodalertness and working memory and that brain performance falls off with even minor symptoms.

But for most people, having a cold does not equal "take the week off." And that means many people work sick, even when it can put others in danger.

A 2015 survey of food workers found that half "always" or "frequently" went to work while sick. And a survey of doctors and other health care providers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia found that even though 95 percent of them thought showing up to work sick puts patients at risk, 83 percent of them did it anyway. Colds were the most common cause of working sick.

The vast majority of health care providers said they were worried about letting down colleagues or patients if they stayed home. Other reasons included fear of being ostracized by their peers or because other people showed up to work sick. "We all feel pressured to deny our own needs (often giving up meals, bathroom breaks, and yes, caring for our own illnesses) in order to meet the high pressure/high demand/productivity of the health care system," one doctor wrote.

And this is despite the fact that numerous outbreaks in health care facilities have been caused by infected workers.

More than half of the people in the Children's Hospital survey, which was published in JAMA Pediatrics in 2015, said they didn't know how sick is too sick to go to work. I share that confusion. Am I just grossing out my co-workers with my hacking and wheezing, or am I endangering their health? Schools and day care centers are also all over the map on this question, though pediatricians point out that most germs are spread before someone starts exhibiting symptoms and that the key question should be whether a child feels well enough to participate and learn.

Animals also exhibit sickness behavior; a pet that stops eating and becomes lethargic is almost certainly a sick pet. Scientists have come to think of this as not just an annoying side effect of illness but a well-evolved survival strategy: hide out, avoid predators and direct energy to fighting off infection. But it's also a strategy that animals will abandon when there is a more pressing need. One study found that sick rodent moms would neglect their pups until the temperature dropped to the point that the pups were imperiled, at which point they went back into mom mode.

"That makes evolutionary sense," says Eric Shattuck, a lecturer in evolutionary medicine and anthropology at the University of Texas, San Antonio. "Being sick is a temporary state. If you can afford to lose the opportunity to take care of your infants or lose a mating opportunity, then you can act on the sickness behavior cues without too much of a loss."

Shattuck has been trying to figure out how people interpret the signals of sickness behavior and how we choose to act on them. It looks like the answer will be: not very well. When he asked students how they respond to feeling sick, "Some people are super-hypochondriac; the minute they're feeling a little under the weather, they're bundled up." But by and large, he says, people try to ignore the cues of sickness behavior unless they are so sick they can't get out of bed. "There's what I suspect is a very cultural pressure to perform and to perform well, especially for what we consider minor illnesses."

Even when our bodies are saying, "Hey listen, it would be really great if you would take a rest."


Gene Wilder's widow on what it's like to care for someone with Alzheimer's




I never pictured myself marrying a movie star. I also never saw myself spending years of my life taking care of one. But I’ve done both. Love was the reason for the first. Alzheimer’s disease, the second.

I met Gene Wilder in 1989. He was preparing to shoot a movie called “See No Evil, Hear No Evil,” in which the character he played was deaf. Though I grew up in very small town in Idaho, where it was a big deal if you had indoor plumbing, I had been working in New York City for over twenty years by that point as a speech pathologist with the hearing impaired. As he always did when he took on a role, Gene wanted to understand his character. He showed up at my office one day in search of my professional advice.  

We formed a powerful bond. At the time, Gene was married to Gilda Radner, who was in the final stages of ovarian cancer. After Gilda’s death, Gene sought me out again. We married a year later and, for more than twenty years, we were one of the happiest couples I knew. We traveled to France and played tennis together (three sets in a single afternoon). When I signed up for tap dancing lessons, Gene joined me. We set up side-by-side easels in the garden painting watercolors. At night, we danced together on a floor we’d built, under the stars -- The Waltz, Salsa, Cha Cha and Tango.

The first signs of trouble were small. Always the kindest, most tender man (if a fly landed on him, he waited for the fly to leave), suddenly I saw Gene lashing out at our grandson. His perception of objects and their distance from him became so faulty that on a bike ride together, he thought we were going to crash into some trees many feet away from us. Once, at a party with friends, when the subject of “Young Frankenstein” came up, he couldn’t think of the name of the movie and had to act it out instead.  

When we finally got him tested and the diagnosis came back, it was Alzheimer’s. Unlike other diagnoses, even some cancers, this one offers not even a shred of hope for survival. The synapses of his brain were getting tangled and the result would be a steady and terrible progression of losses -- memory of course, but also motor control, to the point where eventually his body would simply forget how to swallow or breathe.

My husband took the news with grief, of course, but also astonishing grace. I watched his disintegration each moment of each day for six years. One day, I saw him struggle with the ties on his drawstring pants. That night, I took the drawstrings out. Then his wrist was bleeding from the failed effort of trying to take off his watch. I put his watch away.

I was determined to keep Gene with me –- in California and, finally, at the home we’d made together in Connecticut. We still managed to have some good times and to laugh, even at the ravages of the disease that was killing him.   

One day, when he fell on the patio and couldn’t get up, I maneuvered him over to the edge of our pool and floated him to the other side, where there were steps and a railing to assist him. Another time, after struggling for twenty minutes trying to pull himself up, he looked out as if he was addressing the audience at the Belasco Theater, a place he knew well, and said in his best Gene Wilder voice, "Just a minute folks. I’ll be right back."


But there’s another particularly cruel aspect to the disease of Alzheimer’s, because in addition to destroying – piece by piece – the one who’s stricken with it, it ravages the life of the person caring for its victims. In our case, I was that person.

I am grateful that I knew to reach out for help from the Alzheimer’s Association. When I did, I learned some alarming statistics from them. One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. That means, if a mature couple invites two couples over for dinner, one of the couples could face Alzheimer’s.

Then came the biggest shocker: 40 percent of Alzheimer's caregivers die before the patient according to a study done by Stanford Medicine -- not from disease, but from the sheer physical, spiritual and emotional toll of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

Gene died fifteen months ago. I was in the bed next to him when he took his last breaths. By that point, it had been days since he’d spoken. But on that last night, he looked me straight in the eye and said, three times over, "I trust you."  

But let’s not forget that other killer -- the silent one that takes its victim even before the disintegration of brain cells does its own dirty work. I am speaking of the crisis that can kill the once-healthy loved spouses, siblings, friends and adult children of Alzheimer’s patients, who devote almost every waking hour of their lives (and also the nights) to caring for a person they love, but who may no longer recognize them.

I am grateful that Gene never forgot who I was. But many caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients are less fortunate.

Every year, Alzheimer’s disease costs our nation an estimated $259 billion, according to the Alzheimer's Association. At this hopeful moment, when there is more momentum than ever towards finding a cure and treatments, let’s also remember the desperate need of caregivers.

It is a strange, sad irony that so often, in the territory of a disease that robs an individual of memory, caregivers are often the forgotten. Without them, those with Alzheimer’s could not get through the day, or die -- as my husband did -- with dignity, surrounded by love.


How to Prevent Blood Sugar and Triglyceride Spikes after Meals



 Within hours of eating an unhealthy meal, we can get a spike in inflammation, crippling our artery function, thickening our blood, and causing a fight-or-flight nerve response. But there are foods we can eat at every meal to counter this reaction.

Knowing how your blood sugar responds to certain foods could be a key to weight loss, according to the researchers behind a new diet book.

Drs. Eran Segal and Eran Elinav of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science tested blood sugar levels in 1,000 people after every meal for one week. They found that foods that created a healthy response in some participants produced an unhealthy blood sugar spike in other participants. 

The key to weight loss, according to Segal and Elinav, is watching how your blood sugar reacts to different foods.

“For years, we've been trying to search for that silver-bullet diet that would work for everybody and we've been miserably failing,” Segal told ABC News. “And that's because the best diet for each person really has to be tailored to that individual.”

There is not yet any "evidence-based science" to support the practice of blood sugar monitoring for weight loss, according to ABC News' chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, who also holds an M.S. in nutrition.

"I completely agree with the fact there is no one size fits all for a diet. You have to find what works for you," Ashton said today on "Good Morning America." "But at this time there is no rigorous, peer-reviewed, evidence-based science to support the practice of checking your blood sugar after you eat."  

Ashton also stressed that the concept of using blood sugar levels to create an individualized approach to a diet applies to non-diabetics only.

The program laid out in Segal’s and Elinav’s book, “The Personalized Diet,” focuses on finding which carbohydrates are best for each person. Determining that, they say, requires testing your blood sugar via a finger prick after meals.

“Our solution gives you a way to find out which carbohydrates would actually be best for you to integrate into what we believe would be a healthy diet for you,” Segal said.

Segal and Elinav say their algorithm, based on blood sugar reactions, determines what foods you should avoid and what foods to add to your diet.  

Some people, for instance, may be able to eat white bread, instead of wheat, while others may need to spread fats like avocado, olive oil or butter on the bread.

“What we were surprised to find out was just like any other food, there is no such thing as a good bread,” Elinav said. “The response to bread was completely individualized.”

Other foods sometimes not associated with diets, like cheese, are fine to eat for weight los

“When you don't have carbohydrates, those foods will not spike your blood sugar levels,” Segal said.

Segal and Elinav also found that traditional pre-competition foods for athletes like bananas and dates, both high in carbohydrates, may actually cause more fatigue.

When it comes to achieving weight loss, Ashton recommends taking an approach that is "safe, simple and sustainable."

She also added a fourth item to the list, saying, "You have to watch the sugar."

s, as long as they are not paired with a carbohydrate, according to the pair’s research.  





Calcium and vitamin D supplements may not lower risk of fracture, study finds

PHOTO: A 69 year old senior citizen practicing his yoga exercises outdoors in Santa Monica, Calif., April 2015. (Getty Images)

Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements may not actually lower fracture risks for elder adults living independently, according to a new analysis of past studies published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  The researchers looked at 51,145 participants from 33 clinical trials and found that there was not a significant difference in the risk of hip fractures for those who used calcium supplements, vitamin D supplements, or both, compared to those who took a placebo or no supplements at all.

The participants were all adults who were over 50 years old, not living in a nursing home, not on anti-osteoporosis medications and had no history of steroid-induced bone breakdown.  

"No significant associations were found between calcium, vitamin D, or combined calcium and vitamin D supplements and the incidence of nonvertebral, vertebral or total fractures," researchers added as part of their secondary outcomes.

In addition, further analyses found these results to be "generally consistent" regardless of the calcium or vitamin D dose, sex, fracture history, and dietary calcium intake.  

Researchers only looked at supplement studies and did not assess studies that looked at dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D.

The chances of breaking a hip increase with age, and approximately 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falling sideways, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

All of this is not to say that calcium and vitamin D don't have value. Adults need at least 1,000 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D daily. But the best way to get these nutrients is through food. Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt are rich sources, says Lipman.

Broccoli, collard greens, kale, canned salmon and sardines (eaten with the soft bones), and white beans are non-dairy sources.  (People who don't eat dairy should talk to their doctor about how best to get these nutrients.) 

Good sources of vitamin D are mushrooms, eggs, fortified milk, soy beverages, and salmon. Our bodies also make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight, so experts suggest getting 10 minutes of sunshine per day. 

Exercise is important, too. 

To prevent hip fractures, the CDC recommends talking to your doctor, getting screened for osteoporosis, doing strength and balance exercises, and having your eyes checked. In addition, the CDC recommends taking simple steps to make your home safer, including getting rid of things you could trip over, putting railings on both sides of any set of stairs and making sure your home has lots of light.   


Leaving the house linked to longevity in older adults


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By Carolyn Crist


(Reuters Health) - For older people, getting out of the house regularly may contribute to a longer life - and the effect is independent of medical problems or mobility issues, according to new research from Israel.

For study participants in their 70s, 80s and 90s, the frequency with which they left the house predicted how likely they were to make it to the next age milestone, researchers report in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

“The simple act of getting out of the house every day propels people into engagement with the world,” said lead author Dr. Jeremy Jacobs of Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem in a phone interview.

“We saw similar benefits that you’d expect from treating blood pressure or cholesterol with medicine,” Jacobs said. “Social factors are important in the process of aging.”

Jacobs and colleagues analyzed data on 3,375 adults at ages 70, 78, 85 and 90 who were participating in the Jerusalem Longitudinal Study.

Based on their responses to questions about how often they left the house, participants were grouped into three categories: frequently (six or seven days per week), often (two to five times per week) or rarely (once a week or less).

People who left the house frequently at any of the ages examined were significantly more likely to live to the next age group. For example, among people who left the house frequently, often or rarely at age 78, 71 percent, 67 percent and 43 percent, respectively, survived to age 85. Among people who left the house frequently, often or rarely at age 90, 64 percent, 56 percent and 38 percent, respectively, made it to 95.

At all ages, people who left home less frequently tended to be male, less educated and to have higher rates of loneliness, financial difficulties, poor health, fatigue, poor sleep, less physical activity, bladder and bowel problems, history of falling in the last year, fear of falling, visual and hearing impairments, chronic pain and frailty.

The link between leaving the house and longevity, however, remained after the researchers accounted for medical or mobility issues such as chronic pain, vision or hearing impairment, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and kidney disease.

“We included people who had mobility difficulties, so this isn’t just about people moving their legs up and down,” Jacobs said. “That’s quite exciting. There’s something about interacting with the world outside that helps.”

The study did not examine the effect on participants of leaving the house, such as their sense of well-being or purpose. It also didn’t look at environmental factors that might foster or prevent going out, the authors note. Future studies will look at the oldest cohort (age 95) as they reach 98 to 100 in coming years, Jacobs said. He and his colleagues are also interested in the role that optimism, social engagement and environmental aspects such as community sidewalks play in longer life.

“Studies show that if you create walkways that are friendly for walking, people start walking,” he said. “In neighborhoods with older adults, walkways with benches could encourage them to get out of the house and be social.”

Researchers are interested in finding ways to encourage adults to leave their home more and to develop systems that help them do that, said Dawn Mackey of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“It may be helpful for older adults and their caregivers to make plans to go out of the house more often,” she told Reuters Health by email. “And try to build up to going out of the house every day.” They could plan these outings with these questions: When will it work best for me to leave the house? Where do I want to go? Is there someone to go out with or to meet when I am out? What are my options if the weather is bad or if I’m not feeling well one day?

“The well-being of our older adults is of paramount importance for public health and economic viability,” she said. “Going out of the house is an important way to maintain mobility and social engagement and ward off loneliness.”


Green leafy vegetables may make your brain seem 11 years younger

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By Melissa Healy / Los Angeles Times


Look into your salad bowl and think: If a fountain of cognitive youth were flowing in there, would you return every day?

In research that gives new meaning to the expression “salad days,” a study published Wednesday finds that older people who ate at least one serving of leafy greens a day had a slower rate of decline on tests of memory and thinking skills than did people who rarely or never ate these vegetables.

The study was published in the journal Neurology.

After almost five years, regular consumers of such veggies as kale, spinach, collard greens and lettuce enjoyed a mental edge that was the equivalent of 11 years in age.

To be sure, the top tier of leafy-vegetable consumers started with cognitive scores that were slightly higher than those in the bottom tier. That’s probably a testament to the power of lifelong eating patterns.

But over five years, the pattern of mental aging differed markedly in these two groups. Study participants who ate an average of roughly 1.3 servings of leafy greens a day experienced a decline in test performance that was about half as steep as that of participants whose daily consumption was near-zero.

Those stark differences were evident even after the researchers took account of a host of factors that are known to affect mental aging, including age, gender, education, exercise, participation in cognitive activities, smoking and consumption of seafood and alcohol.

Let’s say you and your neighbor are both 75 and similar in most every way: You both completed the same amount of school, take regular walks together, don’t smoke, and gather with friends over an occasional beer.

But while you enjoy a little more than a bowl of greens every day, your pal barely touches the stuff.

This long-running study would predict that at 75, your memory and thinking skills are a notch stronger than your neighbor’s. Over the next five years, hers will decline twice as fast as yours.

By the time you’re both 80, a battery of exercises that test several types of memory, as well as the speed and flexibility of your thinking, may show that your mental age is typical of a 75-year-old’s. Meanwhile, your neighbor’s performance on the same cognitive tests may look more like that of an 86-year-old.

“It’s almost unbelievable,” said Martha Morris, the senior author of the study who studies nutrition and brain health at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “Eating these leafy greens was independently associated with slower cognitive decline. That tells you this single food group contains so many nutrients it could be brain-protective.”

Morris and her colleagues identified a small cluster of specific nutrients that appear to offer anti-aging benefits. The leafy greens that participants were asked about are generally rich in vitamin E, folic acid, vitamin K1, lutein and beta-carotene. While inconsistent, research has suggested that some or all of these nutrients may play some role in protecting the brain against inflammation, the accumulation of toxic proteins such as beta-amyloid, and neuronal damage and death.

For lifelong avoiders of leafy greens, the study doesn’t show that a late-life conversion to kale salads and spinach shakes will keep dementia at bay. But Morris said she thinks about nutrition the same way she thinks about exercise.

“You do get immediate benefits from eating healthy foods and exercising,” she said. “And you get long-term benefits.”

Dr. Lon Schneider, a specialist in dementia at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, says the new study offers important insights into which nutrients in the Mediterranean diet help support health in aging. But it also underscores the complexity of dementia and cognitive aging — and the absence of a “silver bullet” to counter them.

“Dementia is a complex illness, as so many chronic illnesses are,” Schneider said. “It’s clearly not caused by one thing, and surely its onset and severity are not caused by one thing. This shows the environment is really important. Diet matters.”


10 minutes of exercise gives brain burst of energy

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LONDON, Ontario — For students struggling to focus on that term paper or office workers who need an extra creative boost when tackling a difficult project, a new study finds that a 10-minute burst of exercise can provide a quick mental jumpstart to get the brainwaves moving.

Researchers at Western University in Canada recruited a group of healthy young adults to do one of two activities: either sit down and read a magazine for 10 minutes, or pedal at a moderate-to-vigorous pace on an exercise bike for the same length of time.   

After completing their tasks, participants were hooked up to eye-tracking devices that logged the their reaction times during a challenging eye movement task. The task tapped into the frontal lobe of the brain, an area known for overseeing executive functions like problem solving, decision making, and judgment.

“Those who had exercised showed immediate improvement. Their responses were more accurate and their reaction times were up to 50 milliseconds shorter than their pre-exercise values. That may seem minuscule but it represented a 14-per-cent gain in cognitive performance in some instances,” says study co-author Matthew Heath, a kinesiology professor and supervisor in the university’s graduate program for neuroscience, in a news release.  

In other words, Heath says that the results showed that just 10 minutes of aerobic exercise can provide a significant spark for the brain — enough to help people focus and perform better on challenging assignments.

“I always tell my students before they write a test or an exam or go into an interview — or do anything that is cognitively demanding – they should get some exercise first,” he adds. “Our study shows the brain’s networks like it. They perform better.”

The researchers hope that in addition to being useful for students or workers, the results may also benefit less mobile elderly adults battling dementia or similar conditions.

“Some people can’t commit to a long-term exercise regime because of time or physical capacity. This shows that people can cycle or walk briskly for a short duration, even once, and find immediate benefits,” he says.

If you’re wondering how long the mental burst lasts, Heath is now working on a new experiment to answer that very question.

The results for his completed study were published in the Jan. 2018 edition of the journal Neuropsychologia.


December 2017


Rigorous diet can put type 2 diabetes into remission, study finds



Some people with Type 2 diabetes were able to put the disease in remission without medication by following a rigorous diet plan, according to a study published today in the Lancet medical journal.

"Our findings suggest that even if you have had type 2 diabetes for 6 years, putting the disease into remission is feasible," Michael Lean, a professor from the University of Glasgow in Scotland who co-led the study said in a statement.

The researchers looked at 149 participants who have had Type 2 diabetes for up to six years and monitored them closely as they underwent a liquid diet that provided only 825 to 853 calories per day for three to five months. The participants were then reintroduced to solid food and maintained a structured diet until the end of the yearlong study.  

The study comes at a time when more than 100 million American adults are living with diabetes or prediabetes, according to a report released earlier this year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prediabetes was defined by the CDC as a condition that if not treated often leads to Type 2 diabetes within five years.

In addition, approximately 90 to 95 percent of the more than 30 million Americans living with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC.

Roy Taylor, a professor at Newcastle University in the U.K. who co-led the study said in a statement announcing the findings that the impact that diet and lifestyle has on diabetes are "rarely discussed."

"Rather than addressing the root cause, management guidelines for type 2 diabetes focus on reducing blood sugar levels through drug treatments. Diet and lifestyle are touched upon but diabetes remission by cutting calories is rarely discussed," Taylor said.

He added that the participants were not asked to increase their physical activity at all, but only asked to modify their diet.

"A major difference from other studies is that we advised a period of dietary weight loss with no increase in physical activity, but during the long-term follow up increased daily activity is important," Taylor said.

Taylor also wrote that the study offered a more universal approach to reversing diabetes compared to undergoing bariatric surgery, which can achieve type 2 diabetes remission for some people, but "is more expensive and risky, and is only available to a small number of patients."  


Healthy mitochondria could stop Alzheimer's

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Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and neurodegeneration worldwide. A major hallmark of the disease is the accumulation of toxic plaques in the brain, formed by the abnormal aggregation of a protein called beta-amyloid inside neurons. 

Still without cure, Alzheimer's poses a significant burden on public health systems. Most treatments focus on reducing the formation of amyloid plaques, but these approaches have been inconclusive. As a result, scientists are now searching for alternative treatment strategies, one of which is to consider Alzheimer's as a metabolic disease.

Taking this line of thought, Johan Auwerx's lab at EPFL looked at , which are the energy-producing powerhouses of cells, and thus central in metabolism. Using worms and mice as models, they discovered that boosting mitochondria defenses against a particular form of protein stress, enables them to not only protect themselves, but to also reduce the formation of amyloid plaques.

During normal aging and age-associated diseases such as Alzheimer's, cells face increasing damage and struggle to protect and replace dysfunctional mitochondria. Since mitochondria provide energy to brain cells, leaving them unprotected in Alzheimer's disease favors brain damage, giving rise to symptoms like memory loss over the years.

The scientists identified two mechanisms that control the quality of mitochondria: First, the "mitochondrial unfolded protein response" (UPRmt), which protects mitochondria from stress stimuli. Second, mitophagy, a process that recycles . Both these mechanisms are the key to delaying or preventing excessive mitochondrial damage during disease.

While we have known for a while that mitochondria are dysfunctional in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, this is the first evidence that they actually try to fight the disease by boosting quality control pathways. "These defense and recycle pathways of the mitochondria are essential in organisms, from the worm C. elegans all the way to humans," says Vincenzo Sorrentino, first author of the paper. "So we decided to pharmacologically activate them."

The team started by testing well-established compounds, such as the antibiotic doxycycline and the vitamin nicotinamide riboside (NR), which can turn on the UPRmt and mitophagy defense systems in a worm model (C. elegans) of Alzheimer's disease. The health, performance and lifespan of worms exposed to the drugs increased remarkably compared with untreated worms. Plaque formation was also significantly reduced in the treated animals.

And most significantly, the scientists observed similar improvements when they turned on the same mitochondrial defense pathways in cultured human neuronal cells, using the same drugs.

The encouraging results led the researchers to test NR in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Just like C. elegans, the mice saw a significant improvement of mitochondrial function and a reduction in the number of amyloid plaques. But most importantly, the scientists observed a striking normalization of the cognitive function in the mice. This has tremendous implications from a clinical perspective.

According to Johan Auwerx, tackling Alzheimer's through mitochondria could make all the difference. "So far, Alzheimer's disease has been considered to be mostly the consequence of the accumulation of  in the brain," he says. "We have shown that restoring mitochondrial health reduces  - but, above all, it also improves brain function, which is the ultimate objective of all Alzheimer's researchers and patients."

The strategy provides a novel therapeutic approach to slow down the progression of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease, and possibly even in other disorders such as Parkinson's disease, which is also characterized by profound mitochondrial and metabolic defects.

The approach remains to be tested in human patients. "By targeting mitochondria, NR and other molecules that stimulate their 'defense and recycle' systems could perhaps succeed where so many drugs, most of which aim to decrease , have failed," says Vincenzo Sorrentino.


Megyn Kelly says she doesn't exercise and swears by the 'F-Factor diet'


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Like many of us, Megyn Kelly doesn't have time to go the gym.   

In her 2016 autobiography, "Settle for More," Kelly, the host of NBC's "Megyn Kelly Today" who formerly anchored shows on Fox News, describes how she stays svelte and healthy — and a workout routine isn't part of her strategy.

She wrote, "After I had my children, something had to give, and I gave up on exercise."

Now, Kelly says, she follows the so-called F-Factor diet, outlined in a 2007 book by a dietitian named Tanya Zuckerbrot.

"I started after the birth of my first child, Yates," Kelly wrote. "It took off the baby weight right away."

In her book, "The F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight Loss," Zuckerbrot makes the case for a high-fiber diet and highlights two key benefits: One, fiber makes you feel full, so you end up eating less, and two, you're more inclined to stick with the regimen because you're adding foods to your diet rather than eliminating them.

Zuckerbrot explains that all your meals should include high-fiber carbohydrates and lean protein. By the time you complete all three phases of the F-Factor diet (each one lasts about two weeks), you should be eating a total of nine servings of high-fiber carbohydrates daily.

There's compelling research behind the F-Factor diet. Zuckerbrot cites a study published in the journal Nutrition Reviews that found that diets high in fiber and low in fat may be more effective than low-fat diets alone for weight loss.

Another study, published 2015 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found that participants who increased their fiber intake to 30 grams or more a day lost as much weight as participants who followed a stricter set of dietary guidelines.

But the role of exercise in weight loss is complicated. One study, published 2012 in the journal PLOS One, suggests that people burn roughly the same amount of energy no matter how physically active they are. In other words, it matters more what you're putting into your body.

A small study published this year in the Journal of Endocrinology found that increasing the intensity and duration of your workout can help decrease hunger — at least in young men.

All that said, exercise is still an important part of a healthy lifestyle. And Zuckerbrot hardly advises readers to ditch their workouts.

"Combining the F-Factor diet with exercise is the most powerful formula for losing body fat," she writes, adding, "Dieting, or reducing your caloric intake, will result in dropping pounds, but keeping the weight off long term is almost impossible."

Even if, like Kelly, you feel you're too time-crunched to work out regularly, it's worth trying to squeeze it in when you can. That's true whether your goal is to lose weight or simply to be your healthiest self.


Researchers Find New Link Between Red Meat and Heart Disease


If you’re concerned about heart disease, here’s another reason to consider setting down your steak knife.  A new study adds to a growing body of literature linking red meat consumption with increased heart disease risk.

Researchers have found that when we eat red meat, there is a set of reactions mediated by microbes in our gut. These gut microbe reactions are triggered by carnitine, a nutrient found in red meat. The study found that these reactions, which were previously unrecognized, contribute to the development of heart disease. 

“This adds to the growing body of data reinforcing a connection between red meat, carnitine ingestion and heart disease development,” says Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, Vice Chair of Translational Research for the Lerner Research Institute and Section Head of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation. Dr. Hazen led the study.  

A previous study linked carnitine to the development of narrowing or hardening of the arteries, also called atherosclerosis, but this latest research took it a step further. It uncovered more details about a chain of reactions generated when microbes in the gut digest the carnitine in red meat.

Dr. Hazen says the results help us better understand how eating red meat is related to heart disease. It also allows researchers to develop better tools to fight it.

“We are now a step closer to developing drugs or tools to retard or block the development of heart disease by this pathway,” he says.

Past findings related to red meat and heart disease risk include:


Study finds consuming nuts strengthens brainwave function


Study finds consuming nuts strengthens brainwave function

A new study by researchers at Loma Linda University Health has found that eating nuts on a regular basis strengthens brainwave frequencies associated with cognition, healing, learning, memory and other key brain functions. An abstract of the study—which was presented in the nutrition section of the Experimental Biology 2017 meetings in San Diego, California, and published in the FASEB Journal.  

In the study titled "Nuts and brain: Effects of eating nuts on changing electroencephalograph brainwaves," researchers found that some nuts stimulated some brain frequencies more than others. Pistachios, for instance, produced the greatest gamma wave response, which is critical for enhancing cognitive processing, information retention, learning, perception and  during sleep. Peanuts, which are actually legumes, but were still part of the study, produced the highest delta response, which is associated with healthy immunity, natural healing, and deep sleep.

The study's principal investigator, Lee Berk, DrPH, MPH, associate dean for research at the LLU School of Allied Health Professions, said that while researchers found variances between the six nut varieties tested, all of them were high in beneficial antioxidants, with walnuts containing the highest antioxidant concentrations of all.

Prior studies have demonstrated that nuts benefit the body in several significant ways: protecting the heart, fighting cancer, reducing inflammation and slowing the aging process. But Berk said he believes too little research has focused on how they affect the brain.

"This study provides significant beneficial findings by demonstrating that  are as good for your brain as they are for the rest of your body," Berk said, adding that he expects future studies will reveal that they make other contributions to the and nervous system as well.

Berk—who is best known for four decades of research into the health benefits of happiness and laughter, as well as a cluster of recent studies on the antioxidants in dark chocolate—assembled a team of 13 researchers to explore the effects of regular nut consumption on brainwave activity.

The team developed a pilot study using consenting subjects who consumed almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts. Electroencephalograms (EEG) were taken to measure the strength of brainwave signals. EEG wave band activity was then recorded from nine regions of the scalp associated with cerebral cortical function.  Nuts and Brain Health: Nuts Increase EEG Power Spectral Density (μV&[sup2]) for Delta Frequency (1–3Hz) and Gamma Frequency (31–40 Hz) Associated with Deep Meditation, Empathy, Healing, as well as Neural Synchronization, Enhanced Cognitive Processing, Recall, and Memory All Beneficial For Brain Health.


Most Medical Checkups Miss a 30-Second Test That Could Save Your Life




Think back to the last time you visited a doctor's office. Certain things seem to happen by rote. They weigh you. They measure your height. And they nearly always slap a blood pressure cuff around one arm and take a reading.

Right there is where medical providers usually make one of their biggest mistakes. Having taken one blood pressure reading, they go on to the next step in their examination process. They should stop, and spend a few moments testing your other arm as well.  

Why bother with two annoying blood pressure tests when most doctors consider one to be sufficient? Because the readings in your two arms might be different. A few points' difference is normal. But a difference of 10 points or more in either the "top" (systolic) number or the "bottom" (diastolic) one could signal an underlying problem that might otherwise go undetected.

What kind of problem? In younger people, it might mean that one of your arteries is being squeezed, perhaps by a muscle. In older people it likely means that one or more of your arteries are blocked, meaning you are at greater risk for heart disease, stroke, and dementia among other things.

Five years ago, researchers in the U.K. found that a 15-point difference in the top number between arms could translate into a 70 percent greater likelihood of dying from cardiovascular disease. Since then, some European nations and some medical organizations in the U.S. have added both-arm-testing to their guidelines, but it's still rare for any nurse or doctor to actually do it. Most seem unaware of the significance that different readings between the two arms could carry.

Having read about the UK study a few years back, I've been asking for two arm readings whenever I encounter a routine blood pressure check. It usually seems like an unexpected request, but it's always granted, and usually adds about 30 seconds to the time it takes to give me the exam. I believe those 30 seconds are very well spent. You never know what you might find.


Spirulina: Little known cancer-fighting sea algae



In the field of nutrition, spirulina is categorized as the best discovery yet of the 21st century (10). It is the wide array of dense nutrients contained in spirulina that has been shown in several studies to provide pharmacological actions such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, as well as cancer-preventative effects.

Today, much of the world around us can cause carcinogenic mutations from the toxins we absorb through our skin to the chemicals contained in our food. Supplementing spirulina into your diet is an effective way to combat the damaging effects of toxins accumulating in our bodies. One of the anticancer effects is attributed to its ability to act as an immunostimulatory agent or a substance which enhances the immune response to defend against abnormal and invasive cell growth.   Researchers have shown that spirulina is able to inhibit the growth and development of tumors resulting from overexposure to UVB rays from the sun. In the study, spirulina was shown to promote healthy gene function, inhibit free radical producing enzymes, reduce inflammation and limit DNA damage. Hepatocellular carcinoma is a common form of liver cancer which may be readily influenced by another pigment compound found in spirulina, C-Phycocyanin (C-Pc). C-Pc is found to reduce the rate at which cancerous liver cells multiply. Furthermore, this anti-mutagenic compound stimulates apoptosis in developed cancer cells and may reduce tumor mass. 

Individuals with the genetic condition phenylketonuria (PKU) will have trouble digesting the amino acids in spirulina and should avoid it. Spirulina has blood-thinning properties, so it should be avoided by individuals on anticoagulant medications.

Some individuals with leaky gut, food sensitivities, and autoimmunity do not do well with spirulina.  If you notice an increase in inflammatory conditions when consuming this, then it is best to avoid.  

Be sure to look for a certified organic as other types can be contaminated or have nitrate compounds as additives.  You can get this in combination with other greens in a green superfood powder or with other detoxification herbs in a capsule-based supplement.

Most experts believe it is best to get it on its own and take 1-2 tablespoons daily. If fighting cancer, take 3-4 tablespoons daily.


Decongestant 'highly effective' at starving cancer cells


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Cancer researchers seeking non-toxic alternatives to harmful chemotherapy are reporting a highly significant result for a humble cold remedy. N-Acetyl cysteine (NAC) is routinely used as a dietary supplement and as a decongestant given to children to ward off a cold.

Now, clinical trials in the US indicate the cheap, over-the-counter drug, is a first rate inhibitor of the tumour stroma, a cell compartment which is fundamental to the spread of cancer. The results, published in Seminars in Oncology, confirm a long-held theory that  are being sustained and strengthened by the presence of MCT4, a protein which 'brings them' energy, in the form of lactate, from neighbouring .

Patients taking high dosages of NAC saw their levels of the 'transporter' protein fall by more than 80%, drastically reducing the ability of the cancer cells to feed off neighbouring cells.

Professor Federica Sotgia of the Biomedical Research Centre at the University of Salford, UK, said, "In cell cultures in the laboratory, we had seen a near complete reduction in MCT4, but to achieve such a substantial result in  patients is extremely exciting indeed."

The team, which includes Professor Michael Lisanti, of the University of Salford and US-based Ubaldo Martinez-Outschoorn, MD, conducted a 'window trial' on 12 patients awaiting surgery for breast cancer at The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (Thomas Jefferson University), in Philadelphia.

Patients were given maximum daily dosages of the over-the-counter drug for three weeks between diagnosis and surgery. Tumour tissue biopsies were then taken before and during surgery and key biomarkers, including MCT4 and K167, were measured post-surgery. K167 levels fell by 25% and MCT4 levels were reduced by approximately 80%.

"High levels of stromal MCT4 are extremely worrying, as they are linked to aggressive cancer behaviour and poor overall survival, so this is very encouraging result," explained Professor Lisanti. "Our idea was to repurpose an inexpensive FDA-approved drug, to examine if its antioxidant properties could target the feeding behaviour of  cells. To be able to inhibit MCT4 protein expression, in a non-toxic way, is huge step forward."

The results are published in the clinical journal Seminars in Oncology (Articles In Press): "Pilot study demonstrating metabolic and anti-proliferative effects of in vivo anti-oxidant supplementation with N-Acetylcysteine in Breast Cancer."



Three coffees a day linked to more health benefits than harm: study


FILE PHOTO: A Cappuccino stands on a table at a branch of Costa coffee in Manchester, Britain, March 18, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo


LONDON (Reuters) - People who drink three to four cups of coffee a day are more likely to see health benefits than harm, experiencing lower risks of premature death and heart disease than those who abstain, scientists said on Wednesday.

The research, which collated evidence from more than 200 previous studies, also found coffee consumption was linked to lower risks of diabetes, liver disease, dementia and some cancers.

Three or four cups a day confer the greatest benefit, the scientists said, except for women who are pregnant or who have a higher risk of suffering fractures. 

Coffee is one of the most commonly consumed drinks worldwide. To better understand its effects on health, Robin Poole, a public health specialist at Britain's University of Southampton, led a research team in an "umbrella review" of 201 studies based on observational research and 17 studies based on clinical trials across all countries and all settings.

"Umbrella reviews" synthesize previous pooled analyses to give a clearer summary of diverse research on a particular topic.

"Coffee drinking appears safe within usual patterns of consumption," Pool's team concluded in their research, published in the BMJ British medical journal late on Wednesday.  

Drinking coffee was consistently linked with a lower risk of death from all causes and from heart disease. The largest reduction in relative risk of premature death is seen in people consuming three cups a day, compared with non-coffee drinkers.

Drinking more than three cups a day was not linked to harm, but the beneficial effects were less pronounced.

Coffee was also associated with a lower risk of several cancers, including prostate, endometrial, skin and liver cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes, gallstones and gout, the researchers said. The greatest benefit was seen for liver conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver.  

Exactly How Much Turmeric to Have a Day to Reap Its Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

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Turmeric root has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and is most noticeable as the bright yellow coloring in curry powder. "Its ability as an anti-inflammatory agent first gained attention in the study of people who ate curry at least once a week and who had very little risk of Alzheimer's disease, in Indian and Indonesian studies, despite these populations having a high percentage of diabetes," said Dr. Steven Gundry MD, one of the world's top heart surgeons and author of The Plant Paradox. "It was determined that two of the spices in curry powder made all the difference: turmeric and black pepper.

"Turmeric, in turn, became known as the wonder spice. "Turmeric is recommended for many patients with inflammatory conditions such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, autoimmune conditions like psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and cancers. Curcumin is the compound found in turmeric," said Atlanta-based integrative medicine physician Dr. Bindiya Gandhi. Arguably, the most powerful aspect of curcumin is its ability to control inflammation. "The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that aspirin and ibuprofen are least effective, while curcumin is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world," said Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, CNS, DC, bestselling author of Eat Dirt. "This news should have reached every household in the world after the study was conducted, because inflammation puts people at risk for almost every disease process known to man," he said.

You can find turmeric in powder culinary spice form and in its whole root form, as well as in tincture, tablets, and capsules. "A good starting dose for its anti-inflammatory benefits is 400 to 600 mg of standardized powder or curcumin turmeric extract three times a day as tolerated," Dr. Gandhi said. "Cut-root dose is 1.5g-3g per day, dried powdered root 1g-3g per day, and tincture (1:2) 15-30 drops up to four times per day, as mentioned by University of Maryland Medical Center."

When taking it for GI issues, you need to find a formula with black pepper or piperine in it, because it is better absorbed. The black pepper stops the turmeric from breaking down as quickly, which keeps it in your system longer. When taking it for any autoimmune issues, you can take the turmeric by itself.

Caution with turmeric should be noted since it can act as a blood thinner and should be avoided before surgery. It can also cause GI upset in some patients and can reduce blood sugars in diabetic patients. "It can increase gallbladder contraction, which is not a good idea for patients suffering with gallstones. I discourage my patients trying to conceive [from taking] it since it can actually act as contraception and advise my nursing and pregnant mothers to use it with caution since it may stimulate uterine contractions," said Dr. Gandhi, who encourages patients to cook with it daily for anti-inflammatory effects, but encourages a supplement if looking for a higher dosage.



November 2017


How Scientists Plan to Beat Aging in Our Lifetimes



Even in 2017, anti-aging and lifespan-increasing technology still feels futuristic. But this new video from Kurzgesagt presents several technologies close to completion that could make a big impact on how we age.  

The first of these is a way to kill off senescent cells--zombie cells that clog up your body and disrupt normal functioning. These dead cells hang around and cause problems, and up till now, there's been no way to get rid of them. But a new trial in mice used drugs that were able to kill up to 80% of senescent cells without harming healthy cells. The treated mice were healthier and regrew lost hair. Another study, which used mice genetically engineered to get rid of senescent cells, saw an incredible 30% increase in lifespan, along with improved health and less cancer.

Another way to combat aging is to flood the body with the the coenzyme NAD+, which helps to keep cell function running smoothly. We have fifty percent less NAD+ at age 50 than we do at age 20, and a deficiently of NAD+ is linked to skin cancer, Alzheimer's, and other diseases. When scientists figured out a way to get NAD+ through the cell walls of mice, the result was healthier mice with more brain, skin, and other stem cells and a slightly longer life span.

Stem cells are the other promising anti-aging technology. Mice who had stem cells injected into their thalamus were healthier than average mice and lived 10% longer. Of course, it's not so easy to find extra stem cells in humans, and the debate rages on about the ethics of using stem cells from embryos.

None of these technologies are going to cure aging once and for all or let us live forever, but it seems likely that some combination of them will have an impact on what it means to age within our own lifetimes--and that's good news.


You should be eating more nuts


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Why should you be eating nuts (unless you’re allergic to them, of course)? For starters, a wealth of research supports the role of nuts in reducing the risk of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. Nuts also appear to have benefits for brain and gut health, as well as for longevity — people who regularly include nuts in their diet tend to live longer.

Unfortunately, national health data shows that many people don’t eat nuts at all. One reason is likely that nuts are victims of lingering confusion about dietary fat — namely whether we should be embracing fat or avoiding fat. Recent consumer research reveals that 81 percent of people know that there are “good” fats and “bad” fats, but only 19 percent know which fats are which. It’s true that nuts are high in fat, but it’s heart-healthy fat, and that fat comes packaged with fiber, high-quality protein, essential vitamins and minerals and an array of phytonutrients that appear to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

While I love all nuts for their different flavors and culinary uses, my daily go-to nuts are almonds and walnuts. Their health benefits are the best researched, plus I’ve had an opportunity to visit California walnut and almond farms and processing facilities. Fun fact: most walnut and almond farms in California are family farms. 

Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, which may explain why they’ve been shown to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol while maintaining — or even improving — “good” HDL cholesterol. Those healthy fats, along with vitamin E, magnesium and potassium, contribute to almonds’ cardiovascular health benefits. Walnuts are an excellent source of heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, including plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. They also boast the highest antioxidant content of any nut, making it one of the best nuts for anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s fitting that walnuts are shaped like a brain — walnut consumption is linked to better brain function in adults. They’re a natural source of melatonin, which is critical in the regulation of sleep and our daily (circadian) rhythms.

The evidence is substantial enough that dietary guidelines in the United States, Canada and other countries recommend including nuts as part of a healthy diet. In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration concluded that for most nuts, 1.5 ounces per day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, “may reduce the risk of heart disease.” This is provided that you’re eating nuts instead of something else, not simply adding them to what you’re already eating.

Nuts have been part of the human diet for thousands of years, but a lot of people avoid them, fearing that they are too high in fat and calories. Although nuts are a calorie-dense food (more calories in less volume), research shows that moderate consumption of nuts isn’t associated with weight gain. This may be because nuts are good at satisfying hunger — and we don’t absorb all of the calories in nuts. Recent research from the US Department of Agriculture found that walnuts have 21 percent fewer calories and almonds have 23 percent fewer calories than previously thought. Still, it’s good to be mindful of portion sizes. One easy way is to keep a ¼-cup measure by your bag of nuts, or pre-measure snack packs of nuts to keep in your desk, bag or purse.

There are many ways to add nuts to your day. Pair an ounce of nuts with a piece of fruit for an afternoon snack. Add them to salads, oatmeal, yogurt and fruit, smoothies, or grain dishes for flavor, texture and a big nutrition boost. Make your own trail mix with nuts, dried fruit, flaked coconut and some dark chocolate chips for a satisfying crunchy snack. With Thanksgiving around the corner, why not slip some nuts into your menu with these easy, make-ahead appetizers/snacks? 




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New research done in yeast cells may shed light on the relationship between sugar and cancer cell growth.

The work, by microbiologists and molecular biologists at three institutions in Belgium, shows that one particular kind of protein can be activated by sugar. Mutations in that protein have been linked to cancer, especially pancreatic and colon cancer.

The study, published in Nature Communications on Friday, explains how cancer cells’ energy production processes are different from normal cells.  

“Some people are interpreting that we have found a mechanism for how sugar causes cancer, but that is certainly not the case,” Johan Thevelein, a molecular biologist at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven), in Belgium, and one of the authors of the paper, told Newsweek

Instead, Thevelein said, his work shows just how sugar is broken down differently in cancer cells.

Normal cells, cancer cells and yeast all need sugar to function. They split the sugar molecules and transform it into something they can actually use. But there are two different ways they can process the sugar. One way is far more efficient than the other.

With oxygen around, cells can produce a different kind of molecule than they would without it. You can feel the difference—it’s what causes muscles to burn during particularly strenuous workouts when blood’s oxygen supplies are depleted. Without enough oxygen available, muscles cells have to process sugar another way—through glycolysis, which produces lactic acid. This process is also what makes beer happen. Instead of producing lactic acid, yeast using this process produces ethanol.

In normal human cells, this process is the last resort to keep up with energy demands because it’s far less efficient than the alternative. But in cancer cells, this alternative process, which is similar to what happens in organisms like yeast, is just what is done.

This phenomenon has a name: the Warburg effect.

Yeast also has the same class of proteins that is linked to many cancers. Mutations in the genes that code for these proteins, called Ras, can often contribute to cancer cells’ ability to grow unchecked. In cancer, these Ras proteins can be far more active than they ought to be.

Thevelein, who is not a clinician, said his work might mean that cancer patients should eat a low-sugar diet. (However, he stressed that his work does not mean that eating a low-sugar diet before a cancer diagnosis might lower a person’s risk.)

Some human studies do show a link between lower-sugar diets and a lower rate of cancer recurrence, especially for people who are obese, said Dr. Juan Manuel Schvartzman, a medical oncology fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

However, there are two things to keep in mind. "Firstly, for normal healthy individuals it is actually very hard to change the blood sugar level significantly by eating less or more sugar," he said. "Secondly, we now know that in vivo, cancer cells that make up a tumor are not all the same. Some may take up a lot of sugar and some may not and still grow." 

"My advice for patients is usually the following: try to eat a healthy prudent diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables (not juices), low in animal fats, low in red meat and high in fish protein. There is some evidence that this can decrease the risk of recurrence in patients with cancer."

One study that followed more than 300,000 people found that sugars were not associated with a higher chance of developing most major types of cancer, including colorectal, breast, prostate or pancreatic cancer. But high sugar levels may be associated with an increased risk of some rarer forms of cancer, including types of lung or esophageal cancer.

And even Thevelein said that his work will not be the last word on the Warburg effect. “What we have demonstrated is that the enhanced breakdown of sugar in the cancer cells stimulates cancer. But why cancer cells have a faster, enhanced breakdown of sugar compared to normal cells—this is still a mystery.” 


Tale of two brains: One from normal child, another from abused child show impact of neglect



The primary cause of the extraordinary difference between the brains of these two three-year-old children [pictured below] is the way they were treated by their mothers. The child with the much more fully developed brain was cherished by its mother, who was constantly and fully responsive to her baby.

The child with the shriveled brain was neglected and abused. That difference in treatment explains why one child’s brain develops fully, and the other’s does not.

The damage caused by neglect and other forms of abuse comes by degrees: the more severe the neglect, the greater the damage. Eighty per cent of brain cells that a person will ever have are manufactured during the first two years after birth. If the process of building brain cells and connections between them goes wrong, the deficits are permanent.

This discovery has enormous implications for social policy. It explains two very persistent features of our society. One is the way that chronic disadvantage reproduces itself across generations of the same families. There is a cycle of deprivation – lack of educational attainment, persistent unemployment, poverty, addiction, crime – which, once a family is in it, has proved almost impossible to break.  




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In this wellness era brimming with kale smoothies, you don’t need a study to tell you why it’s a good idea to eat vegetables. Plant-based diets are attributed to better heart health, lower blood pressure and now making deadly breast cancer tumors treatable.

Plenty of studies have linked fruits and vegetables to a lower incidence of cancer, but a new study looked at how two specific compounds found in food could treat women who have the most fatal type of breast cancer. 

Typically, researchers focus on one compound to avoid any adverse consequences of comingling, but a team believed that sulforaphane, found in cruciferous vegetables, and polyphenols, in green tea, would pair well, according to a release. They hoped the compounds would turn tumors not fueled by estrogen, called estrogen receptor–negative, into a form of the disease known as ER-positive. The ER-negative forms are deadlier since hormonal therapies don’t work, leaving women with fewer treatment options. 

In a lab, mice were given an “anti-cancer” diet containing the compounds two weeks before researchers injected them with breast cancer cells. The plan continued following their "diagnosis" to show potential prevention and treatment strategies. The team found that this combination actually made the tumors ER-positive, allowing them to be treatable with hormone therapy. Somehow, the diet was able to create an epigenetic change, altering the disease’s genes without changing DNA.

Because the study, published this week in Scientific Reports, took place in mice, there's no telling whether the results apply to human breast cancers. The team, from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, hopes to start a clinical trial in humans to see if simply eating broccoli could save thousands of lives. But that doesn’t mean you can’t actually implement the epigenetics diet, as study co-author Trygve Tollefsbol calls it.

“Our studies suggest that the diet could be incorporated at any age and in patients who have estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer.”

Tollefsbol reinforces that while the diet won’t be standard in breast cancer treatment plans anytime soon, there’s no harm in adding broccoli and tea to your shopping cart.

“The consumption of this diet consisting of cruciferous vegetable and green tea is generally considered very safe,” he says.

You can adopt the human equivalent of Tollefsbol’s mouse diet into your own routine as a preventative measure by drinking two cups of green tea and eating two cups of broccoli sprouts per day.


The signs of pancreatic cancer the experts want you to be aware of 


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How's this for a worrying statistic: just over a third of adults in the UK would not be worried if they had a few of the potential symptoms of pancreatic cancer, reveal Pancreatic Cancer UK.

If people aren't aware of potential signs -or simply put off going to their GP - it could delay diagnosis and treatment, which is integral to prognosis. This becomes even more shocking when you consider that 93% of pancreatic cancer patients do not survive beyond five years – a statistic that 20% of the 4,000 adults surveyed didn't know.

The charity is urging people to find out more about the disease to break the "worrying lack of understanding of the seriousness of pancreatic cancer".

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include tummy pain, indigestion, unexplained weight loss, and floating faeces.

Graphic designer Nikki Davies, who lives in Reading, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March at the age of 51. Nikki said:

"I didn't know anything about pancreatic cancer before my diagnosis, and I certainly wouldn't have known what the symptoms were. I was lucky to be diagnosed at an early stage. Because my cancer hadn't spread, I was able to have surgery to remove the tumour and I'm now having chemotherapy, which I'm generally coping well with. My message to others would be that no-one knows your body like you do. Know what the symptoms are and talk to your GP if you notice anything that's unusual for you." 

Alzheimer's disease warning signs and prevention



Dementia is a broad term describing when cognitive problems affect daily functioning, while Alzheimer's disease is a specific cause of dementia, according to experts. 

The disease can affect daily living. The National Institute on Aging said that it “slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.”

hanges probably start happening in the brain decades before there are symptoms, he explained. 

Dr. Judith Heidebrink, an associate professor of neurology with the University of Michigan, said she uses the term "Alzheimer's disease" when speaking about disease pathology, but "Alzheimer's dementia" when it's reached the point in which someone is showing symptoms.

Dementia can also be caused by other health issues, and depending on what's behind someone's dementia, patients may exhibit different symptoms. 

Doctors may diagnose patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) -- which others might call "very mild" dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease -- before they're found to be in a "mild" stage. 

Mild Alzheimer's symptoms

People with early or mild Alzheimer's disease usually have issues with memories first, according to Dr. Joseph Masdeu, the director of the Houston Methodist Nantz National Alzheimer Center. 

The hippocampus, the area of the brain that deals with short-term memories, is “most affected” in the early part of the disease, Dr. Zaldy Tan, the medical director of the UCLA Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Program, explained. People “can remember things from decades ago, but not things from a few hours ago.” 

Patients with mild Alzheimer's dementia, Heidebrink said, may have problems with memory, "higher-level decision making," transportation, driving routes, bill-paying and medication, but are able to do things like dress themselves or complete household activities. 

Moderate Alzheimer's symptoms

Patients may exhibit "marked repetitions of questions, stories, or statements," Day said. Though repeating can be an early symptom of the disease, it's "more and more obvious" here. 

People can have trouble finding their way around and have judgement issues, making them susceptible to financial scams, he explained. They can also exhibit personality changes which make them "offensive or rash," and they may wander, Day added.  

Patients with moderate Alzheimer's dementia may be increasingly forgetful or disoriented and could forget the month or season, Heidebrink explained. They can have trouble clearly expressing themselves and completing household tasks, she said.

Severe Alzheimer's symptoms

“People with severe Alzheimer’s cannot communicate and are completely dependent on others for their care,” according to the NIA. “Near the end, the person may be in bed most or all of the time as the body shuts down.”

These patients frequently experience issues like weight loss, seizures and can have trouble swallowing.

Those with severe Alzheimer's dementia can also forget "longer-term" memories like where they grew up, their birthday or when they were married, according to Heidebrink. 

hysical activity has been shown in studies to reduce risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease, Tan said. 

Masdeu, Day and Heidebrink also recommended following a healthy diet, social engagement and getting enough sleep.

When it comes to mental stimulation, “the best thing is to be mentally active in whatever it is you like to do,” Masdeu said.

People who snore may also want to find out if they have sleep apnea, as it's harmful to the brain, Masdeu explained.

The key thing, Day said, was for people to treat health conditions that could worsen dementia and affect blood flow to both the brain and blood vessels. He also recommended people use things like brain games and puzzles. 


October 2017


Want to Live to Be 100? This Diet Can Help Prolong Your Life


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You may love a big bowl of pasta or a regular hamburger, but if you want to extend your lifespan, follow this simple health plan. 


Avoid Genetically Modified Foods 

Genetically engineered foods may be bigger, brighter, and cheaper, but if you want to live to be 100, opt for the more expensive, less impressive looking organic version of your favorite fruits and vegetables. There are nine primary genetically engineered crops including corn, squash, and zucchini, but their derivatives can also be found in over 70% of your supermarket’s processed foods. This makes it imperative you read the labels on any processed foods.


Minimize Meats 

Studies on centenarians around the world have discovered that one thing they all have in common is that they rarely eat meat. When they do partake in meat it is eaten in small portions of three to four ounces. To top it off, these long-living humans aren’t eating small quantities of meat once a day or even a few times a week, but only an average of five times a month. Regardless of your current meat-eating habits, it may be time to reevaluate the amount of animal protein you consume.


Use Olive Oil

 Hold off on butter, lard, and other animal fat products and substitute in olive oil. Olive oil is rich in beneficial fats, which keep your heart and brain healthy and functioning properly. It has the ability to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and may even help ward off cognitive decline. On top of that, olive oil tastes great. You can use it in baking, on the grill, and in the oven. If you’re a hopeless butter and bread type of person, dip your bread in some olive oil and a little salt and pepper instead.


Eat like Okinawans

The Okinawans are the indigenous people of the Ryukyu islands in Japan and they have one of the longest life expectancies in the world with a high centenarian population. “Hara Hachi Bu,” one of the most noticeable habits of the Okinawans, means to only eat until you’re 80% full. This little trick ensures they eat fewer calories and are able to maintain a healthy weight.


Eat Fish

While you may cut back on your consumption of meat, you should keep fish part of your regular diet. Studies have found that eating three ounces of fish a day along with a plant-based diet leads to a longer life. Many centenarians adhere to this diet trick. Not sure which fish is best? Choose species in the middle of the food chain like sardines, anchovies, and cod. They aren’t exposed to high levels of mercury or other chemicals.


Skip Dairy

The human digestive system isn’t optimized for digesting and processing cow’s milk, which is high in fat and sugar. Centenarians around the world get their calcium from plants like cooked kale, and sometimes goat and sheep’s milk instead. An easier route for the average American may be to swap out dairy milk with soy, almond, rice, or cashew milk. There are plenty of different types to experiment with before you settle on a replacement.


‘Catastrophic’ lack of sleep in modern society is killing us, warns leading sleep scientist


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I take my sleep incredibly seriously because I have seen the evidence,’ says Professor Matthew Walker

 A “catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic” is causing a host of potentially fatal diseases, a leading expert has said.

In an interview with the Guardian, Professor Matthew Walker, director of the Centre for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, said that sleep deprivation affected “every aspect of our biology” and was widespread in modern society.

And yet the problem was not being taken seriously by politicians and employers, with a desire to get a decent night’s sleep often stigmatized as a sign of laziness, he said.

Electric lights, television and computer screens, longer commutes, the blurring of the line between work and personal time, and a host of other aspects of modern life have contributed to sleep deprivation, which is defined as less than seven hours a night.

But this has been linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and poor mental health among other health problems. In short, a lack of sleep is killing us.  

Professor Walker, who is originally from Liverpool, said: “No aspect of our biology is left unscathed by sleep deprivation. 

“It sinks down into every possible nook and cranny. And yet no one is doing anything about it. Things have to change: in the workplace and our communities, our homes and families. 

“But when did you ever see an NHS poster urging sleep on people? When did a doctor prescribe, not sleeping pills, but sleep itself? It needs to be prioritized.

“I take my sleep incredibly seriously because I have seen the evidence,” said Professor Walker, whose book Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams is due out next month.

“Once you know that after just one night of only four or five hours’ sleep, your natural killer cells – the ones that attack the cancer cells that appear in your body every day – drop by 70 per cent per cent, or that a lack of sleep is linked to cancer of the bowel, prostate and breast, or even just that the World Health Organization has classed any form of night-time shift work as a probable carcinogen, how could you do anything else?”

While healthcare workers, employers and politicians all needed to pay greater attention to the benefits of sleep, Professor Walker said people needed to do so on an individual level. 

 “No one wants to give up time with their family or entertainment, so they give up sleep instead,” he said.

“And anxiety plays a part. We’re a lonelier, more depressed society. 

“Alcohol and caffeine are more widely available. All these are the enemies of sleep.”



These Natural Supplements Can Help Fight Chronic Fatigue


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Vitamin B12

This water-soluble vitamin affects the actions and function of the brain and nervous system. By taking a vitamin B12 supplement, you may find an increase in energy, concentration, mood, and stamina. This vitamin can naturally be found in meats, fish, eggs, and dairy but can also be taken in a natural supplement form. In addition to fighting fatigue, vitamin B12 reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke, improves memory, and can protect against Alzheimer’s disease.



If you think lack of sleep may be contributing to your constant fatigue, a melatonin supplement may be beneficial. Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the brain to help you sleep, but if you constantly have trouble sleeping, taking a melatonin supplement may help you fall asleep faster. This supplement is also a powerful antioxidant that has anti-cancer properties and can improve your mood.


Vitamin D

Vitamin D aids the metabolism and your body’s ability to absorb phosphorus and calcium. If you are deficient in vitamin D you may experience fatigue, low energy, sleeping troubles, mood swings, and symptoms of depression. You can get vitamin D from the sun and certain animal-based foods like egg yolks, salmon, and cheese, but it is also available in supplement form making it more accessible for vegans, vegetarians, and those of us who spend long days in an office devoid of natural sunlight.



Magnesium is a mineral that assists in the proper functioning of your blood pressure and cardiovascular system. When you feel tired and exhausted it may be because your adrenal glands are just as fatigued as you are. A sufficient intake of magnesium recovers those adrenal glands and also produces muscular energy to combat muscle aches and tiredness. A magnesium supplement can be beneficial to fight fatigue and should be taken in the evening combined with something acidic like a fruit juice.


10 Reasons Lemon Juice Is Good For You



Saying that lemons are a superfood is an understatement. Not only do they add abundant flavor to a variety of dishes, but they also boast a ton of health benefits. The flavonoids within the juice are said to contain antioxidants, which is why lemons are useful in treating so many ailments and conditions. Here are 10 reasons to enjoy them ASAP.  

  1. Prevent kidney stones: Drinking one half-cup of lemon juice every day raises citrate levels in the urine. Studies have shown that this could protect against calcium stones in the kidney.
  2. Soothe a sore throat: Mixing lemon juice with honey can help alleviate the discomfort that comes from a nasty sore throat.
  3. Support weight loss: Beyond the old notion that the Master Cleanse was the only way lemons could help you lose weight, new studies have shown the ways lemon juice supports your goals. Lemon juice contains pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to aid in weight-loss struggles.
  4. Start your day right: Leave caffeinated drinks behind, and start your day off with hot water and fresh lemon juice to stimulate your digestive track and add vitamin C.
  5. Stop an itch: When it comes to poison ivy or insect bites, rubbing lemon juice on the area can soothe the skin, since it has anti-inflammatory and anesthetic effects.
  6. Aids in digestion: Dr. Oz is a big believer in the power of lemon juice for weight loss. He suggests drinking a mixture of lemon juice and flaxseeds in order to eliminate waste more quickly from your body.
  7. Anticancer properties: Studies have supported the anticancer activity of citrus liminoids, compounds that protect your cells from damage that can lead to the formation of cancer cells.
  8. Potassium power: Bananas aren't the only way to get a big helping of potassium in your system. In addition to vitamin C, lemons offer 80 milligrams of this mineral that helps your body stay strong and nimble.
  9. Bring down a fever: Forget the days of starving a fever! When your temperature goes up, drinking a lemon juice mixture can help bring your fever down faster.
  10. Balance pH: While lemons may seem quite acidic, they're a surprisingly good source of an alkaline food that can help balance your body's pH

Why You Need to Eat Fat to Lose Fat



The secret to dropping pounds, reducing your risk of heart disease, and feeling better overall may just be filling your plate with fats. While eating more fat doesn't mean drowning your veggies in butter, it does mean focusing on two types of "good" fats: MUFAs, or monounsaturated fats, and PUFAs (polyunsaturated fats), which include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Why are good fats so, well, good for you? For one, unsaturated fats contain disease-fighting antioxidants like vitamin E, and have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol levels to reduce your risk of heart disease. Plus, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are important for keeping many of our body functions, like our immune system and heart, in top shape. If you're trying to drop pounds here's another important reasons to embrace good fats: MUFAS have been shown to help burn away belly fat.  While MUFAs and PUFAs reign supreme, a little bit of saturated fat in your diet may not be as bad as previously thought.

Recent studies have suggested that saturated fats in foods like milk, cheese, and meat may not be as harmful as previously thought, after a analysis found no correlation between a high saturated fat diet and an increased risk of heart disease. Coconut oil, a plant-based saturated fat, has actually been shown to raise levels of the "good" cholesterol, HDL, in recent studies. Current guidelines still suggest limiting your saturated and trans fats intake, however, so it's up to you to make educated decisions about how much you should eat.  

That said, eating more fat isn't a bad thing, as long as it's done in moderation. Remember that fats, whether good or bad, are still high in calories, so be sure to keep this in mind when you plan your diet; current dietary guidelines suggest that for a 2000-calorie diet the daily intake of fat, including healthy fats, should be no more than 65 grams. Registered dietitian Julie Upton recommends replacing "low-quality carbs or other foods rich in saturated fats" with foods high in MUFAs and PUFAs to help accommodate the extra calories. Check out our list of some of the best sources of unsaturated fats below, and keep these numbers in mind while you adjust to adding more fat to your diet.  

Food Portion Calories Total Fat (grams) PUFAs (grams) MUFAs (grams) Almonds 1 ounce (23 almonds) 171 15.6 3.8 9.8 Avocados 1/4 avocado 80.5 7.4 .9 4.9 Canola oil 1 tbsp. 124 14 4.1 8.3 Chia seeds 1 ounce 137 8.6 0.6 6.5 Dark chocolate 1 square 27 1.9 0.05 0.6 Flaxseed 1 tbsp. ground 37 3 2 0.5 Olive oil 1 tbsp. 119 14 1.4 9.8 Peanut oil 1 tbsp. 119 13.5 4.3 6.2 Pistachios 1 ounce (49 kernels) 158 12.6 3.8 6.6 Safflower oil 1 tbsp. 120 13.6 2 10.1 Salmon 3 ounces cooked 175 10.5 3.8 3.8 Soybean oil 1 tbsp. 119 14 7.8 3.1 Trout 1 fillet 109 4.3 1.4 1.2 Walnuts 1 ounce (14 halves) 173 17 9.8 4.2


This Is the Best Diet to Go On (According to Harvard Researchers)



If you want to lose weight, what's on your plate is often more important than the minutes you spend in the gym. And if you want to see the most change, a 2015 study from Harvard says you should be cutting carbs, not fat.  or the study, published in PLoS One, researchers from Harvard and Brigham and Women's Hospital reviewed 53 randomized trials of over 68,000 patients who had been assigned to either low-fat or low-carb diets. They found that low-carb diets were consistently better at helping patients lose weight than low-fat diets; the participants on the low-carb diets lost 2.5 pounds more than those on low-fat diets, with the average weight loss among all groups at about six pounds.  This latest study on the weight-loss benefits of a low-carb diet adds further evidence that if you want to lose weight, ditching bread - not olive oil - can help you see success. Another recent study, for example, showed that dieters who ate fewer than 40 grams of carbohydrates per day lost about eight pounds more than dieters who were put on a low-fat diet. Other studies have shown that high-carb diets may be the real heart-disease culprit, not saturated fat. All in all, this new review is a good reminder that if you want to lose weight, you should choose a diet rich in healthy fats, lean proteins, and fresh produce. Of course, not all fats are created equal - find out which healthy fats you should be incorporating into your diet here.


Eating Badly Is a Leading Cause of Death Worldwide, New Study Shows



A new study outlines the serious toll that poor nutrition can have on our well-being, and in some cases that even means death. In fact, about one in five deaths around the world in 2016 can be attributed to poor diet, making this one of the biggest killers, according to the study, “The Global Burden of Disease.”

“In particular, diets low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, fish oil and high in salt were the most common dietary risk factors,” the research team wrote in its report, published in The Lancet medical journal. “In addition, high blood glucose, high blood pressure, high body mass index [BMI], and high cholesterol were all in the top ten leading risk factors for death for men and women globally.”  

All of these factors can be attributed to poor diet, as well as to other causes. Smoking was the only other risk factor to contribute to more deaths, reportedly killing about 7.1 million people in 2016.

“This is really large,” the study's lead author, Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, told The Guardian“It is amongst the really big problems in the world. It is a cluster that is getting worse.”

The findings also showed that while people are living longer, more years of their lives are spent being sick.

“Death is a powerful motivator, both for individuals and for countries, to address diseases that have been killing us at high rates. But we’ve been much less motivated to address issues leading to illnesses,” Murray told Reuters.

The findings also showed that less than 5 million children under the age 5 died in 2016, compared with more than 16 million in 1970.

“Yet, despite this progress, we are facing a triad of trouble holding back many nations and communities—obesity, conflict and mental illness, including substance use disorders,” Murray said in a statement.

The IHME study is a collective effort by more than 2,500 researchers who analyzed data from more than 100 countries. Data from some countries are more comprehensive than that from other countries, and therefore the researchers used estimates to fill in missing information. Their findings were published Friday in a series of five papers.


Vitamin D levels in blood may help predict risk of multiple sclerosis


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Examining vitamin D levels in the blood may help predict whether a person is at risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a large new study published in the September 13, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"There have only been a few small studies suggesting that levels of vitamin D in the blood can predict risk," said study author Kassandra Munger, ScD, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. "Our study, involving a large number of , suggests that correcting vitamin D deficiency in young and middle-age women may reduce their future risk of MS."

For the study, researchers used a repository of  from more than 800,000 women in Finland, taken as part of prenatal testing. Then the researchers identified 1,092 women who were diagnosed with MS an average of nine years after giving the blood samples. They were compared to 2,123 women who did not develop the disease.

Deficient levels of vitamin D were defined as fewer than 30 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L). Insufficient levels were 30 to 49 nmol/L and adequate levels were 50 nmol/L or higher.

Of the women who developed MS, 58 percent had deficient levels of vitamin D, compared to 52 percent of the women who did not develop the disease.

Researchers found that with each 50 nmol/L increase in vitamin D levels in the blood, the risk of developing MS later in life decreased by 39 percent. In addition, women who had deficient levels of vitamin D had a 43 percent higher risk of developing MS than women who had adequate levels as well as a 27 percent higher risk than women with insufficient levels.

"More research is needed on the optimal dose of vitamin D for reducing risk of MS," said Munger. "But striving to achieve  D sufficiency over the course of a person's life will likely have multiple health benefits."

Limitations of the study include that participants were primarily white women and therefore the findings may not be the same for other racial groups or men. Also, while the blood samples were taken an average of nine years before MS diagnosis, it is possible some women may have already had MS when  was drawn and were not yet showing symptoms of the disease.



Study uncovers how inflammation contributes to key feature of diabetes


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A new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) has uncovered how inflammation contributes to a key feature of diabetes, the body's inability to metabolize glucose, a condition known as insulin resistance.

More than 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes. It is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. Nearly 80,000 people died directly from the disease, while for another quarter million, it was an underlying or contributing cause of death. The total cost of the disease in the US comes to nearly $250 billion. Nearly all of these cases are type 2 diabetes, which appears in adulthood. Type 1 appears in childhood, and is caused by the body's immune system attacking the cells that make insulin.

Surprisingly, the underlying molecular mechanism for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes remains mysterious. Diabetes occurs when the body cannot metabolize glucose properly. Normally, the hormone insulin breaks down glucose. But in some people this process becomes increasingly inefficient, a phenomenon known as insulin resistance. Until now, researchers had not understood how insulin resistance turns into full-blown diabetes, in which the body is unable to metabolize sugar properly.  

The findings were published recently in the journal Journal of Biological Chemistry. The study is the first to identify a new molecular link between inflammation and the disease.

"Until now, we didn't really understand how insulin resistance occurred," said Xiao-Jian Sun, an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at UM SOM. "Our study has done something new: it has identified a new molecule involved in the development of insulin resistance."

Dr. Sun's previous research began by focusing on two molecules, Insulin Receptor Substrate-1 and Insulin Receptor Substrate-2, known as IRS-1 and IRS-2. They are key signaling molecules that allow insulin to do its work. In the body, insulin has many jobs: it synthesizes fat, it promotes muscle growth and it breaks down glucose. This is why, in diabetes, patients have multiple problems: the hormone plays many roles.  

Over the years, researchers have noticed that many patients suffer from both type 2 diabetes and chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is caused by many factors, including aging, obesity, and high sugar consumption. These factors also increase the risk of diabetes.

It appears that a gene called IRAK1 (Interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 1) plays a key role in this process. For years, researchers have known that inflammation activates IRAK1. Dr. Sun' team discovered that this enzyme blocks insulin signaling in muscle by blocking IRS-1. This blocks insulin signaling, and as a result, significantly reduces the ability of insulin to metabolize glucose in muscle.  

His team then tested mice that had been genetically modified so that they lacked IRAK1. They found that these mice had significantly higher insulin sensitivity in muscle than that of regular mice. "What we suspect is that high IRAK1 activity is bad in humans," Dr. Sun says. "It increases insulin resistance, particularly in muscle. This gives us insight into how to improve insulin resistance in patients with diabetes."

Dr. Sun says that in the future it may be possible to test diabetes patients to see what version of IRAK1 they have. Some people have a more active version of the gene, while others have a less active version. With this test, it may be possible to predict how much insulin resistance might be possible with weight loss or other preventive measures. In addition, in the future he hopes to look for drugs that can inhibit IRAK1 activity.


September 2017


Four cups of coffee a day could slash chance of early death



Drinking four cups of coffee a day could slash the chance of early death, a major study suggests.

Research on 20,000 middle-aged men and women found that those who drank it regularly had mortality rates almost two thirds lower.

The new study suggests that it could reduce the chance of early death from all causes - by as much as two thirds.

Every extra two cups were associated with a 22 per cent drop in mortality - rising to 30 per cent among older patients in the study.  And those drinking four cups had a 64 per cent lower death risk, compared with those who never or rarely consumed coffee.


 A daily cup of coffee could add months to your life, a new study suggests 


The new study suggests that it could reduce the chance of early death from all causes - by as much as two thirds.

Every extra two cups were associated with a 22 per cent drop in mortality - rising to 30 per cent among older patients in the study.  And those drinking four cups had a 64 per cent lower death risk, compared with those who never or rarely consumed coffee.  

The study was observational - so could not prove that plentiful amounts of coffee were the cause of the improved mortality.

But it echoes findings from US research, which have suggested three cups a day could significantly extend life.

Coffee contains a number of compounds which interact with the body, including caffeine, diterpenes and antioxidants, and scientists believe some of these have a protective impact.

Some studies have found similar benefits among those drinking decaffeinated versions - leading scientists to conclude that the antioxidant plant compounds in coffee may provide the most benefit. The Spanish research involved 19,986 people who were tracked for an average of 10 years.

At the start of the study all provided detailed information about their dietary habits - including coffee consumption - lifestyle habits, and health history.  

Researchers from Hospital de Navarra then examined death rates in the group, with a total of 337 participants dying during the period. 

Those drinking coffee regularly had the lowest death rates, with the strongest links found among older participants.

Researchers from Hospital de Navarra then examined death rates in the group, with a total of 337 participants - around 1 in 60 - dying during the period. 

Those drinking coffee regularly had the lowest death rates, with the strongest links found among older participants.

Lead author Dr Adela Navarro said she believed the antioxidants in coffee, which come in the form of polyphenols, which caused the effect. 

“I would advise drink plenty of coffee, it could be good for your heart. I think it's a good idea to have about four cups a day,” she said.

"I think it's the polyphenols, they have an anti-inflammatory effect. 

The study involved those aged between 25 and 60, with a median starting age of 37.

They were tracked for up to 14 years.  Dr Navarro said that while the group was relatively young, with low numbers of deaths, the findings were consistent with other studies.

Researchers intend to continue tracking them, to see what impact coffee habits have later in life.

The study did not establish an upper limit of coffee consumption, but did not include many drinking very heavy amounts, she said. 

Professor Metin Avkiran, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study suggests there may be an association between drinking coffee and living longer, but it doesn’t prove a causal link or explain how coffee might be having this effect.    

“Coffee drinkers should certainly not rest on their laurels. The best way to minimize your risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death is to concentrate on an overall healthy lifestyle - eat a balanced diet, stay active and don’t smoke - rather than lining up the lattes.”


Low-fat diet could kill you, major study shows



Low-fat diets could raise the risk of early death by almost one quarter, a major study has found.

The Lancet study of 135,000 adults found those who cut back on fats had far shorter lives than those enjoying plenty of butter, cheese and meats.

Researchers said the study was at odds with repeated health advice to cut down on fats.  

Those doing so tended to eat far too much stodgy food like bread, pasta and rice, the experts said, while missing out on vital nutrients.

Participants eating the highest levels of carbohydrates – particularly refined sugars found in fizzy drinks and processed meals – faced a 28 per cent higher risk of early death.  The NHS cautions against having too much saturated fat, on the grounds it raises cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease.

But the latest research, presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress, in Barcelona found those with low intake of saturated fat raised chances of early death by 13 per cent compared to those eating plenty.  And consuming high levels of all fats cut mortality by up to 23 per cent.

The Canadian study tracked eating patterns and death rates across 18 countries.  

Researcher Dr Andrew Mente, from McMaster University, said: “Our data suggests that low fat diets put populations at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. 


“Loosening the restriction on total fat and imposing limits on carbohydrates when high to reduce intake to moderate levels would be optimal.”

He said getting the balance of fats and carbohydrates right was about achieving a “sweet spot” which was best for health - meaning around 35 per cent of calories should come from fats.

Although this is in line with NHS guidance, health officials still warn Brits to cut down on their saturated fat consumption to protect their heart.

Guidance states men should eat no more than 30g daily and women 20g.

Saturated fat is typically found in animal products such as butter, cheese and red meat.

And last year Public Health England suggested increasing the proportion of starchy carbohydrates in the diet.

Lead researcher Dr Mahshid Dehghan, said: "A high carbohydrate diet - greater than 60 per cent of energy - is associated with higher risk of mortality.

“Higher intake of fats, including saturated fats, are associated with lower risk of mortality.”

But diet had little impact on heart death risk, suggesting it had a greater impact on other killers such as cancer, dementia, and respiratory disease. 

Consultant cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra said it was time “for a complete U-turn” in Britain’s approach to diet, and demonisation of fat.


“The sooner we do that the sooner we reverse the epidemic in obesity and diabetes and the sooner start improving health.”

What You Can Eat More of to Lose Weight



 If you want to lose a few pounds, there's one thing you should definitely be eating more of: fiber! Why? This plant-based roughage is a weight-loss wonder. But fear not: you don't need to resort to eating old-school oat bran cereal or adding a fiber supplement to your smoothie in order to up your fiber intake. Some of the most delicious foods, such as raspberries, strawberries, chickpeas, edamame, and sweet potatoes, are also some of the highest in fiber. Read on to get the lowdown on how fiber can help you shed pounds, find out how much fiber you should be eating, and get 10 yummy fiber-rich meal and snack ideas.

How Much Fiber Do I Need?

We all know most Americans aren't eating enough fiber, but how much do you really need? The USDA recommends you eat 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories. So, if you are eating a 2,000-calorie diet, you need about 28 grams of fiber per day. Most Americans get about half that, since the Standard American Diet is high is processed foods and animal fats that are devoid of fiber. In order to get more fiber, you need to eat more plant foods: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are all excellent sources.

What's the Difference Between Insoluble and Soluble Fiber?

While nutritional labels don't discern between insoluble and soluble fiber, they come from different sources, and act differently in the body, too.

Insoluble fiber is found in the peels, skins, or husks of plant-based foods. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, and so it passes quickly through your body, mostly intact, promoting regularity, as long as you have adequate water intake.

Soluble fiber comes from the "flesh" or innards of plant-based foods. For example, when you eat an apple, the skin of the apple is insoluble fiber, while the flesh of the apple is soluble fiber. Soluble fiber does dissolve in water. Once ingested, it forms a gel-like substance in your small intestines that mixes with other partially digested foods. If you focus on eating more whole plant foods, you don't need to be overly mindful of the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber, since they are usually packaged together in whole foods such as brown rice, corn, beans, chickpeas, grapes, apples, raspberries, and celery. 

1. Fiber-rich foods make you feel satisfied but are naturally low in calories.

The math on weight loss is actually pretty simple. In order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. Sounds easy, right? The problem is that in order to feel "full," receptors in your stomach also require a certain amount of food. Here's where insoluble fiber, in particular, plays an important role: while insoluble fiber is a carbohydrate, your body can't digest it as well as it digests other carbs, sugars, fats, and proteins, so it basically helps create a sensation of satiety by filling you up, but then passes right through you without adding to the net calories you are eating.

2. Fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels, which can curb overeating.

When soluble fiber forms its gel-like substance and mixes with other foods in your small intestines, it can help "trap" sugars and fats, and slow their absorption, according to the National Fiber Council; therefore, insoluble fibers can further aid weight loss by stabilizing blood sugar levels, which can curb overeating and prevent your body from storing excess fat.

How Much Exercise to Burn a Doughnut?

How Much Exercise to Burn a Doughnut?

Although doughnuts taste delicious, you may not want to indulge in the treat when you think about the time you need to spend in the gym to burn the calories off. Doughnuts contain anywhere from 175 to 550 calories per serving. This could mean hours in the gym depending on the intensity of your workout session. Instead of eating a doughnut, choose a healthier snack option that is lower in calories.


According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one medium chocolate doughnut contains 175 calories. One medium plain doughnut covered with sugar or glaze has about 192 calories. If you participate in moderate forms of exercise, you will likely need about 30 minutes to work off the doughnut. According to Harvard Health Publications, if you weigh 155 lbs., you burn about 205 calories participating in 30 minutes of low-impact aerobics.


Chain restaurants such as Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme serve several types of doughnuts with a high number of calories. For instance, a Chocolate Coconut Cake Donut from Dunkin Donuts contains a whopping 550 calories. The Caramel Kreme Crunch Donut from Krispy Kreme has 390 calories. You’ll need at least an hour of high-intensity exercise to burn off these high-calorie options. If you weigh 155 lbs., you must jog for an hour at 5 mph to burn a total of 596 calories.




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The pattern of waking during the day when it is light and sleeping at night when it is dark is a natural part of human life. Only recently have scientists begun to understand the alternating cycle of sleep and waking, and how it is related to daylight and darkness.


A key factor in how human sleep is regulated is exposure to light or to darkness. Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the retina in the eye to an area in the brain called the hypothalamus. There, a special center called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) initiates signals to other parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide awake. 


The SCN works like a clock that sets off a regulated pattern of activities that affect the entire body. Once exposed to the first light each day, the clock in the SCN begins performing functions like raising body temperature and releasing stimulating hormones like cortisol. The SCN also delays the release of other hormones like melatonin, which is associated with sleep onset, until many hours later when darkness arrives.


Melatonin is a natural hormone made by your body's pineal (pih-knee-uhl) gland. This is a pea-sized gland located just above the middle of the brain. During the day the pineal is inactive. When the sun goes down and darkness occurs, the pineal is "turned on" by the SCN and begins to actively produce melatonin, which is released into the blood. Usually, this occurs around 9 pm. As a result, melatonin levels in the blood rise sharply and you begin to feel less alert. Sleep becomes more inviting. Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated for about 12 hours - all through the night - before the light of a new day when they fall back to low daytime levels by about 9 am. Daytime levels of melatonin are barely detectable.


Supplement may slow vision loss in seniors with macular degeneration



An inexpensive over-the-counter antioxidant/zinc supplement that may help preserve vision in older people is also cost effective, a new study suggests.

The combo pill has been dubbed the "Age-Related Eye Disease Study," or AREDS, supplement, based on trial in which it was studied previously.  

Dr. Aaron Lee, a researcher on the new trial, said his team found AREDS was "greatly cost-effective for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration, specifically in people who have active wet, age-related macular degeneration in one eye and dry in the other." Lee is assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Macular degeneration is a progressive disease that's a major cause of vision loss in older Americans.

The new study suggests the AREDS supplement may delay the need for more expensive treatment of the "wet" form of the illness, especially, Lee said.

Exactly how the supplements work to slow progression of the eye malady isn't known, he added, but "the current formulation of the supplements contain antioxidants that are thought to be protective of the retina from damage that results in wet age-related macular degeneration."

Still, at least one U.S. eye expert challenged the idea that the AREDS supplement definitively showed a benefit in preventing the disease or its progression.

"Despite this being routine practice among many retinal specialists in the U.S., the benefits remain uncertain," said Dr. Alfred Sommer, professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, or AMDF, age-related macular degeneration causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina. It's the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision. Over time, vision can become blurry, and eventually patients can lose their eyesight.  

The two basic types of macular degeneration are called wet and dry. About 10 percent to 15 percent of the cases of macular degeneration are the wet type.

In wet macular degeneration, blood vessels grow under the retina and macula. These new vessels may bleed and leak fluid, causing the macula to bulge or lift up from its normally flat position, thus distorting or destroying central vision. Vision loss may be rapid and severe.

Approximately 85 percent to 90 percent of the cases of macular degeneration are the dry type. Dry age-related macular degeneration does not involve any leakage of blood. Instead, the macula may deteriorate and waste products from cells in the eye can build up. Loss of vision can occur, according to the AMDF.

The prior AREDS trial showed that the supplements, which combine antioxidant vitamins with zinc and copper, are inexpensive and effective in slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration.

AREDS supplements are sold under brand names such as PreserVision and Pro-Optic. Costs range from about $25 to $40 for 120 pills -- a two-month supply.

That's a much lower price tag than expensive prescription drugs called anti-VEGF therapies, which are currently used to treat wet macular degeneration. Plus, anti-VEGF drug therapy involves getting a needle in the eye, and the drugs can also have side effects. One possible side effect is an increased risk of inflammation of the inside of the eye, and another possibility is stroke, Lee noted.

So, to calculate the cost-effectiveness of AREDS supplements, Lee and colleagues looked at the use of the supplements in people over 55 years of age.

The AREDS trial had concluded that a daily supplement combining high-dose antioxidants and zinc lowered the risk of developing wet age-related macular degeneration and slowed its progression.

Lee's team looked at two formulas of available supplements.

Formula 1 has high doses of vitamins C and E, beta carotene, zinc and copper.  Formula 2 has lutein and zeaxanthin instead of beta carotene.

The researchers used a statistical model with information from the AREDS trial, along with data from more than 90,000 people with macular degeneration in the United Kingdom.The investigators found that both formulations were cost effective for treating patients with early stage disease, but they were even more cost effective for those with the condition in only one eye. Over the course of a lifetime, the researchers found that these patients would need nearly eight fewer injections of anti-VEGF therapies into their eye, Lee said.

That could lead to thousands of dollars in savings per patient over time, the British team concluded. But Sommer, who reviewed the new findings, did have some caveats.

Sommer noted that "it is now, in fact, common practice for ophthalmologists in the U.S. to recommend that their patients who fit this profile take this supplement."

He added, "If one believes the supplement does work in the group in which it appeared to, then the whole issue is cost, since no evidence has ever been reported that shows harm."

But does ARDS actually work?According to Sommer, no large-scale study has been done to test that out. And the AREDS trial researchers used to tout these supplements was small, so that any positive results might still be a chance occurrence, he noted.

Sommer's conclusion: "Despite this being routine practice among many retinal specialists in the U.S., the benefits remain uncertain."

Therefore, "any analysis of the cost for the benefits are somewhat meaningless when viewed from this perspective," he said.

The study was published Aug. 23 in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

More information For more on age-related macular degeneration, visit the U.S. National Eye Institute.

August 2017


Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Reversed?



The essential feature of type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes is that our bodies are completely filled with sugar. It’s not just too much sugar in the blood. That’s only part of the problem. There’s too much sugar in our entire body.

Imagine our bodies to be a sugar bowl. A bowl of sugar. When we are young, our sugar bowl is empty. Over decades, we eat too much of the wrong things – sugary cereals, desserts and white bread. The sugar bowl gradually fills up with sugar until completely full. The next time you eat, sugar comes into the body, but the bowl is full, so it spills out into the blood.  

Insulin is a normal hormone produced when we eat and its job is to allow glucose into the cells. When it is no longer able to do it, glucose piles up outside the cell in the blood, and it is called insulin resistance.

But why does this happen? The cells are already over-filled with glucose.  Like trying to blow air into an over-inflated balloon, it simply takes more force. The cell resists the glucose because it’s completely full. Insulin resistance is an overflow phenomenon.

It’s like packing your clothes into a suitcase. At first, the clothes go without any trouble. After a certain point, though, it is just impossible to jam in those last 2 T-shirts. You can’t close the suitcase. The luggage is now ‘resistant’ to the clothes. It’s waaayyy harder to put those last 2 T-shirts than the first 2. It’s the same overflow phenomenon. The cell is filled to bursting with glucose, so trying to force more in is difficult and requires much higher doses of insulin.  

When the insulin levels are unable to keep up with the increasing resistance, blood sugars rise and your doctor diagnoses you with type 2 diabetes and starts you on a pill, such as metformin. But metformin does not get rid of the sugar. Instead, it simply takes the sugar from the blood and rams it back into the liver. The liver doesn’t want it either, so it ships it out to all the other organs – the kidneys, the nerves, the eyes, the heart. Much of this extra sugar will also just get turned into fat.

The problem, of course, has not been solved – the sugar bowl is still overflowing. You’ve only moved sugar from the blood (where you could see it) into the body (where you couldn’t see it). So, the very next time you eat, the exact same thing happens. Sugar comes in, spills out into the blood and you take metformin to cram the sugar back into the body. This works for a while, but eventually, the body fills up with sugar, too. Now, that same dose of metformin cannot force any more sugar into the body.  

What happens over time – 10, 20 years?

Every single part of the body just starts to rot. This is precisely why type 2 diabetes, unlike virtually any other disease, affects every part of our body. Every organ suffers the long term effects of the excessive sugar load. Your eyes rot – and you go blind. Your kidneys rot – and you need dialysis. You heart rots – and you get heart attacks and heart failure. Your brain rots – and you get Alzheimers disease. Your liver rots – and you get fatty liver disease. Your legs rot – and you get diabetic foot ulcers. Your nerves rot – and you get diabetic neuropathy. No part of your body is spared.  

Once we understand type 2 diabetes, then the solution becomes pretty bloody obvious. If we have too much sugar in the body, then get rid of it. Don’t simply hide it away so we can’t see it. There are really only two ways to get rid of the excessive sugar in the body.

  1. Don’t put sugar in
  2. Burn it off

That’s it. That’s all we need to do. The best part? It’s all natural and completely free. No drugs. No surgery. No cost.



Obesity becomes worldwide epidemic, US is the fattest



Life threatening obesity has become a worldwide epidemic, with 711 million overweight around the globe led by French fry loving Americans.  

A detailed report in the latest New England Journal of Medicine is winning alarmed attention in Washington because it finds that American children and adults are leading the obesity parade.  "The highest level of age-standardized childhood obesity was observed in the United States, 12.7 percent," said the report.

"The United States and China had the highest numbers of obese adults," added the authoritative study.

Obesity is no secret in the U.S., but the continued domestic epidemic, especially after the former Obama administration declared war on it, is alarming officials.

While the Journal looked at the global situation, a Harvard University analysis of the new report highlighted the U.S. problem based on data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their analysis said, "About 38 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 and older are obese as are more than 17 percent of children aged 6 to 11, federal data shows."

It also pulled out the key global findings:

Doctor Who Lived To 105 And Studied Longevity Credited His Own To Working


(KYODO Kyodo / Reuters)

Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, whose work has been credited with helping Japan become a world leader in longevity, died July 18 at his Tokyo home, reported The New York Times. The 105-year-old physician worked until a few months before his death, treating patients, putting in 18-hour days and keeping an appointment book with his schedule for the next five years.

Was that last part optimism? Not according to what Hinohara believed and practiced. In an interview with the Japan Times written by a mentee, Judit Kawaguchi, he offered this advice: “Don’t retire. And if you must, retire much later than age 65.”  

The key to his longevity, said the physician and chairman emeritus of St. Luke’s International University, was being able to make a contribution and help people. Kawaguchi told the BBC that Hinohara “had this incredible drive to help people, to wake up early in the morning and do something wonderful for other people.” 


In the Japan Times interview, Hinohara said that Japan’s retirement age of 65 was set decades ago when the average life expectancy was just 68 years. With Japan’s life expectancy of almost 84 years in 2015, he said, retirement needn’t come so much earlier in life.

In March, unable to eat, Hinohara was hospitalized. But he refused a feeding tube and was discharged home, where he died several months later. He believed that palliative care should be a priority for the terminally ill.  

In the early 1950s, he pioneered a nationally embraced system of complete annual physicals — called “human dry-dock” — that has been credited with helping to lengthen the average life span of Japanese people. The physical can last several days and is a multi-discipline testing regimen that looks for lifestyle issues that could impact future health. Women born in Japan today can expect to live to 87; men, to 80.

Hinohara also connected strokes and heart disease to lifestyle ailments that were often preventable. And he believed that patients should be treated as individuals and that knowing a patient was essential to understanding the best way to treat an illness.  

In addition to maintaining vitality through work, Hinohara had several other guiding principles leading to greater longevity. They included:


Have fun. It was best not to “tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime,” he said. He encouraged people to worry less about eating well or getting more sleep, and just go have fun. “We all remember how as children, when we were having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep. I believe that we can keep that attitude as adults, too.”  

Don’t be overweight. His own diet was simple and he maintained a steady weight of 130 pounds. He said his breakfast was coffee, a glass of milk, and some orange juice with a tablespoon of olive oil in it. Olive oil is “great for the arteries and keeps my skin healthy,” he said. Lunch was milk and a few cookies, or skipped altogether when he was too busy at work to eat it. Dinner consisted of vegetables and small portions of fish and rice. Twice he week he ate 100 grams of lean meat.

Don’t always listen to your doctor. Doctors cannot cure everything. It behooves patients to ask the doctor directly whether he would recommend a surgery or invasive test to their spouse or child. “Why cause unnecessary pain with surgery?” Hinohara asked.  

Music and animals are good for you. “I think music and animal therapy can help more than most doctors imagine.”

Fun conquers pain. “Pain is mysterious, and having fun is the best way to forget it. If a child has a toothache, and you start playing a game together, he or she immediately forgets the pain. Hospitals must cater to the basic need of patients: We all want to have fun. At St. Luke’s we have music and animal therapies, and art classes.”

Always take the stairs and carry your own belongings. Hinohara took the steps two at a time just to get his muscles moving. With the aid of a cane, he would exercise by taking 2,000 or more steps a day. 

Nine things that can affect whether you get dementia – and what you can do about them



Dementia is by no means an inevitable result of ageing. In fact, one in three dementia cases can be prevented, according to new findings published in The Lancet.

For the report – the first for The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care – my colleagues and I analysed a number of studies and developed a model showing how lifestyle changes, at different ages, can reduce a person’s risk of developing dementia.

We considered potentially reversible risk factors from different life stages – not just old age. Based on this, we propose a new model to demonstrate the possible impact of eliminating these risk factors across the lifespan.

We have detailed the compelling international evidence for nine lifestyle factors that may reduce, or increase, an individual’s risk of developing dementia. These are more childhood education, exercise, being socially active, stopping smoking, managing hearing loss, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Each of these factors could help prevent or delay dementia.  

Our message is: be ambitious about prevention; put these into practice. It’s never too early to start education – and never too late to check your blood pressure and stop smoking. Get your blood pressure checked if you are 45 or over and keep it under control. Ask your family if they think your hearing is a problem and, if so, seek medical help. Be physically, mentally and socially active and watch your weight and blood sugar.

The greatest healthcare challenge

Dementia is the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century – and the greatest fear of most people. People are living longer, and dementia is mainly a disease of old age, which means that rates are going up. About 47m people around the world are living with dementia. That figure is expected to rise to 115m by 2050.

In some countries, such as the UK, US, Sweden and the Netherlands, dementia is already being delayed for years in those with more education, so the proportion of older people living with it has decreased, although more people have dementia, simply because there are more old people. In many other countries, the proportion of older people living with dementia has increased.

The 2015 global cost of dementia was estimated to be US$818 billion (£630 billion) and this will continue to increase as the numbers of people with dementia rise. Nearly 85% of costs are related to family and social – rather than medical – care. It may be that future new medical care, including public health measures, may reduce some of this cost.

It’s about doing something now

Giving people information about what to do to prevent dementia is an essential first step, but it is not enough. There is a responsibility, not just as professionals but as a society, to implement this evidence into interventions that are widely and effectively used for people with dementia and their families. So our recommendations need public health as well as individual effort. Interventions have to be accessible, sustainable and, if possible, enjoyable or they won’t be used.

Of course, not everyone will be able to make changes, some changes will not make a difference and some dementia risk is genetic (about 7% of cases) and not currently modifiable. Nonetheless these interventions should delay dementia for some years for many people and this would be an enormous achievement and enable many more people to reach the end of their life without developing dementia.

Effective dementia prevention could transform the future for society. Acting now on what we already know can make this difference happen.



Consuming half a cup of walnuts per day may boost gut health, cut cancer risk

Walnuts act as a probiotic to help nourish and grow the bacteria that keeps the digestive system healthy.


Consuming half a cup of walnuts per day may help protect the digestive system by increasing the amount of probiotic bacteria in the gut and ward off risks of heart and brain disease as well as cancer, researchers say.

The findings showed that a walnut-enriched diet reshapes the gut microbe community and causes a significant increase in beneficial bacteria including Lactobacillus, Roseburia, and Ruminococcaceae.

 “Greater bacterial diversity may be associated with better health outcomes, whereas low diversity has been linked to conditions such as obesity and inflammatory bowel disease,” Byerley noted. Walnuts are the only nuts that contain a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid (2.5 grams per one ounce) and also offer protein (4 grams per one ounce) and fibre (2 grams per one ounce). For the study, rats were randomly assigned to a diet containing ground walnuts, equivalent to about 2 ounces (1/2 cup) per day in humans, or a diet without walnuts for up to 10 weeks.



4 Surprising Reasons to Drink Hot Water With Lemon Every Morning



 Trying to cut coffee out of your morning? A cup of hot water with fresh lemon juice is an ideal alternative that many nutritionists drink every day - and it's not just because of its tangy flavor! Here are four compelling reasons to make this quick concoction part of your morning ritual. 

  1. It helps you detox every day: While lemons may seem quite acidic, they're a surprisingly good source of an alkaline food that can help balance your body's pH; internist and doctor of integrative medicine Dr. Frank Lipman is a big proponent of a hot water with lemon habit, since the combination wakes up your liver and flushes out nasty toxins.
  2. It wakes up your digestive tract: This simple yet powerful beverage stimulates your gastrointestinal tract - improving your body's ability to absorb nutrients all day and helping food pass through your system with ease.
  3. It supports weight loss: Lemon juice contains pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to aid in weight-loss struggles. And if you've been sipping on a cup of tea loaded with sugar or honey every morning, this beverage will slash calories from your daily diet.
  4. It soothes an upset tummy: When you go to bed on a full stomach, pesky heartburn or a bloated belly can get in the way of your morning. Hot water cleanses your system, while the flavonoids from lemon juice may help reduce acidity in your stomach, so you feel like yourself sooner.

 Articles - July 2017


Half of Americans have diabetes or a high risk for it — and many of them are unaware


Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and … diabetes.

That’s right. The metabolic condition is about as American as you can get, according to a new national report card on diabetes released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report shows that nearly half of Americans have diabetes or prediabetes, which puts them at high risk for the condition. A good number of these folks haven’t been diagnosed and don’t even realize their predicament.

People with diabetes have too much sugar in their blood. If the disease isn’t controlled, they can wind up with heart disease, nerve damage, kidney problems, eye damage and other serious health problems.

The new report combines data from the CDC, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Indian Health Service and the Census Bureau. Here’s a numerical look at what they reveal about diabetes in America. Where diabetes ranked on the list of leading causes of death in the U.S. in 2015. Diabetes was listed as a cause of death on 252,806 death certificates that year, including 79,535 that identified diabetes as the primary cause of death. 

There were two kinds of diabetes included in the study. Type 1 diabetes (formerly known as juvenile diabetes) occurs when the immune system prevents the body from making insulin, and type 2 diabetes (formerly known as adult-onset diabetes) occurs when the body can’t make enough insulin or can’t use it well. About 95% of all diabetes cases are type 2 diabetes. (A third type is gestational diabetes, which affects some women while they are pregnant but usually resolves itself after they give birth).

 The number of U.S. adults who have prediabetes, a condition characterized by elevated blood sugar that puts people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. That works out to 34% of American adults with prediabetes.  

The number of adult diabetes patients who required a lower-extremity amputation in 2014. That works out to five cases per 1,000 adults with diabetes.


Artificial Sweeteners linked to weight gain, new study finds



 Artificial sweeteners are found in a plethora of products from cough syrups to salad dressings, but new research claims that the sugar alternative could actually lead to weight gain. 


The chances of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity are linked to consuming artificial sweeteners, according to the new large-scale study on the effects of the sugar substitute.

The research was conducted by scientists from the University of Manitoba, Canada and reviewed data from 37 studies which analysed more than 400,000 people for an average period of 10 years.  

“The results showed a statistically significant association between consumption of artificial sweeteners and higher risks of diabetes and heart disease, as well as increased weight gain,” lead author of the study, Dr Meghan Azad told the Press Association.

By contrast, soft drinks industry executives said artificial sweeteners had been “deemed safe” by health regulators including the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval.

Artificial sweeteners are synthetic food additives that provide a sweet taste to mimic sugar, while containing significantly fewer calories. Many products which contain them are commonly labelled as ‘reduced sugar’ or ‘diet’ and have intended weight loss benefits which are disputed by the new research.

"Despite the fact that millions of individuals routinely consume artificial sweeteners, relatively few patients have been included in clinical trials of these products,” says the Canadian Medical Institution’s Professor Ryan Zarychanshi.  

However, the study says the evidence was conflicting with Dr Azad adding: “caution is warranted until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully characterised.”

"Given the widespread and increasing use of artificial sweeteners, and the current epidemic of obesity and related diseases, more research is needed to determine the long-term risks and benefits of these products,” Dr Azad added.

Director of the British Soft Drinks Association, Gavin Partington said: "These claims, from the University of Manitoba, run contrary to the substantial body of scientific research which shows how low-calorie sweeteners can help people to reduce their calorie intake and manage their weight."


Alzheimer’s disease and your diet



Eating a heart-healthy diet benefits both your body and your brain. In general, this is a diet that is lower in saturated fats. Research in the area of the relationship between diet and cognitive functioning is somewhat limited, but it does point to the benefits of two diets in particular: the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet. These diets can help reduce heart disease and may also be able to reduce risk of dementia.

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)

The DASH diet:

The Mediterranean diet:

The Mediterranean diet incorporates different principles of healthy eating that are typically found in the areas bordering the Mediterranean Sea:


Novel cancer treatment wins endorsement of FDA advisers


Emily Whitehead was the first child treated with a new type of cancer therapy that uses the patient's own genetically modified immune cells to fight cancer. She has been in remission from acute lymphoblastic leukemia for five years. Her parents, Thomas and Kari Whitehead, are strong advocates for the approach. (Sean Simmers/For The Washington Post)


Food and Drug Administration advisers on Wednesday enthusiastically endorsed a first-of-its-kind cancer treatment that uses patients' revved-up immune cells to fight the disease, concluding that the therapy's benefits for desperately ill children far outweigh its potentially dangerous side effects.

The unanimous recommendation from the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee means the treatment could be approved by the FDA by the end of September, forging a new path in the immunotherapy frontier.

Timothy Cripe, a panel member who is an oncologist with Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, called the treatment the "most exciting thing I've seen in my lifetime."

Novartis, the drugmaker behind the CAR T-cell therapy, is seeking approval to use it for children and young adults whose leukemia doesn't respond to traditional treatments — a group that numbers 600 or so patients a year in this country. But the approach also is being tested for a range of diseases from non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma to solid tumors.  

f cleared by the FDA, it would be the first gene therapy approved in the United States. But unlike traditional gene therapy, the new treatment doesn't replace disease-causing genes with healthy ones. Instead, it uses technology to reprogram immune cells called T cells to target and attack malignancies.

When a patient is treated under the Novartis process, T cells are extracted from a patient's blood, frozen and sent to the company's plant in Morris Plains, N.J. There, the cells are genetically modified to attack the cancer, expanded in number, refrozen and shipped back to the patient for infusion.

Once inside the body, the cells multiply exponentially and go hunting for the CD19 protein, which appears on a kind of white blood cell that can give rise to diseases, such as leukemia and lymphoma. The turnaround time for manufacturing the therapy, called “vein-to-vein” time, will be an estimated 22 days, Novartis officials told the committee Wednesday.

From the start of Wednesday's meeting, committee members made clear that they were not concerned about the treatment's efficacy, which has been well established — 83 percent of patients went into remission in the pivotal Novartis trial. Rather, the panel homed in on how to best to handle possible shot-term toxicities, as well as long-term safety risks and manufacturing quality.

Most patients in the Novartis study experienced something called cytokine release syndrome, which causes fever and flulike symptoms that can range from mild to extremely severe, said Stephan Grupp, an oncologist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia who led the Novartis trial. Some patients in that study also had neurological problems, including seizures and delirium. But there were no cases of fatal brain swelling, as occurred in another company's trial, Grupp said.


Heart failure is associated with loss of important gut bacteria




In the gut of patients with heart failure, important groups of bacteria are found less frequently and the gut flora is not as diverse as in healthy individuals. Data obtained by scientists of the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) provide valuable points of departure for understanding how gut colonisation is associated with the development and progress of heart failure. 

It has long been known that  and gut health are linked. Thus, the gut has reduced blood supply in instances of heart failure; the intestinal wall is thicker and more permeable, whereby bacteria and bacterial components may find their way into the blood. Moreover, scientists know that the composition of the  is altered in other widespread diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Against this backdrop, researchers at the DZHK site Hamburg/Kiel/Lübeck investigated whether and how the  in patients with heart failure changes.

In order to do this, they analysed the gut bacteria in stool samples of healthy individuals and patients with heart failure. The project headed by Professor Norbert Frey of the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, was conducted in close cooperation with Professor Andre Franke's team at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, which found that the sections of the bacterial genome deciphered the distinction of the microorganism. The results showed that a significantly lower proportion of different bacteria are found in the gut in patients with heart failure than in healthy controls. Individual important families of bacteria are significantly reduced. It is still unclear whether the gut flora is altered as a result of heart failure or whether it may be a trigger for this disease.

Influential factors: diet, medication, smoking

"Of course, other factors also affect the composition of our gut bacteria. We know that the gut flora of a vegan who starts eating meat changes within three days", explains associate professor Dr. Mark Lüdde of the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel. For this reason, we asked the Kiel-based researchers of dietary habits beforehand. Individuals with an extreme diet, such as a vegan diet, were not allowed to participate in their study. Instead, they chose individuals with a standard diet comprising both meat and vegetables for both groups.

In addition to diet, medication also affect the gut flora. It was, therefore, important that the control group also took medicinal products that patients with heart failure must take routinely. Antibiotics could not have been administered for at least three months prior. Smokers were also included in both groups. All participants were from the same region and were the same age; gender distribution and BMI were equal in both groups.

Consequence or cause of the disease?

The observed pattern of the reduced genera and families of bacteria seems very characteristic of heart failure, which is why these results may be new points of departure for therapies. The differences between healthy individuals and those with heart failure, thus, came about mainly through the loss of bacteria of the genera Blautia and Collinsella, as well as two previously unknown genera that belong to the families Erysipelotrichaceae and Ruminococcaceae.

Other research projects have shown that the occurrence of Blautia curbs inflammations. Similarly, the genus Faecalibacterium is associated with anti-inflammatory mechanisms. It is, however, not only reduced in patients with heart failure. Since heart failure is accompanied by a chronic inflammation, one theory is that the gut flora fosters the systemic inflammation. Yet generally scientists currently believe that the gut flora changes as a consequence of heart failure. Lüdde and his colleagues believe it is plausible that an altered bacterial profile could also be a risk factor or an early disease marker for heart failure. This is supported by the recent characterisation of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a metabolic product of gut , as an independent risk factor for the mortality rate in patients with heart failure. Further investigations are scheduled to clarify the cause and effect of altered gut  in  with heart failure. The scientists anticipate obtaining new knowledge on how   occurs and progresses.


Two studies link coffee to longer life



New research suggests that coffee may protect people from problems like diabetes and liver disease, and might even lead to longer life. Compared with drinking no coffee, people drinking one cup daily had a 12 percent lower risk of dying. 

Coffee drinkers live longer, according to two large-scale studies released Monday that add to extensive research indicating coffee consumption is associated with better health.  

The studies examined the health histories of hundreds of thousands of people who were tracked over many years. They found that coffee-drinking reduced the risk of various diseases among people from several ethnicities, and this effect was seen in drinkers of regular or decaffeinated coffee. And the more coffee consumed, the greater the benefit.

These are observational studies, not controlled clinical trials. So while they demonstrate an association, they don’t prove cause and effect. And it’s possible that extremely high levels of coffee consumption may produce other undesirable effects besides caffeine jitters.

But at the least, researchers said the latest evidence reinforces a large body of previous reports indicating there’s no harm from most people’s coffee consumption habits, and that it might very well benefit people’s health.


How Many Eggs Are Safe To Eat Per Day?




How many eggs are safe to incorporate into a diet has been a point of contention among medical experts for years, but research showed the benefits of eating eggs may outweigh the possible risks. 

Research showed people who ate three eggs per day while on a weight loss diet achieved significant results.

Egg yolks have been proven to contain 90 percent of calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, pantothenic acid and B12 of the egg. The yolk holds fat-soluble ingredients like vitamins A, D and E. For most people, eggs will not increase cholesterol or risk of heart disease.

While eggs are high in dietary cholesterol, they are low in saturated fat, which is actually a bigger factor in raising blood cholesterol levels, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. A medium egg contains around 100 mg of cholesterol, which is one-third of the 300 mg recommended daily limit.Another benefit provided by eggs is their major protein content — one large whole egg contains 6.3 grams of protein. Eating eggs has been proven to give humans complete protein, which provides all the amino acids needed for survival. One whole egg provides 20 percent of the recommended daily protein intake for women and 17 percent for men. To include eggs in the average diet, they must be balanced with other nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables. The way eggs are prepared is a huge part of how they affect the body — limiting use of oil when making eggs and including egg whites in preparations are some ways to ensure their health benefits outweigh their possible risks. 

How Sugar Really Affects Your Cholesterol



If you’re like most people, you probably think it’s high-cholesterol foods like eggs or shrimp that are the worst for your cholesterol levels. But that’s not really the case.

Because it’s not actually the cholesterol in food that’s the problem. Most of the cholesterol that circulates inside our bodies is made inside our bodies, and not absorbed from the diet. So, it’s not about avoiding foods that naturally contain cholesterol, it’s about avoiding foods that prompt our bodies to create cholesterol.

The most powerful driver of cholesterol production?

Believe it or not, it’s sugar!

When I say sugar, I mean added sugars and simple carbohydrates that can be rapidly turned into sugar within our bodies. Think not only sweets (like cakes and cookies, candies and other desserts), but other foods containing or made from refined grains – like white rice, breads, bagels and pasta.

All carbohydrates are absorbed as sugar. And when blood sugar levels go up (like after eating a bagel), the body responds by releasing insulin. Insulin is a vital hormone that makes sure sugar is stored in our bodies for use between meals. But it doesn’t just cause sugar to be stored. It shifts our bodies into storage mode in general.

And what’s the storage form of cholesterol? LDL, bad cholesterol. If insulin levels go up, LDL goes up. What’s the non-storage form of cholesterol? HDL, good cholesterol. If insulin levels go up, HDL goes down. And what if you’ve stored all the sugar you can and there’s still excess circulating in your blood stream? Insulin helps turn that sugar into fat. The result? Triglyceride levels go up.

Some of the worst cholesterol profiles I’ve seen have been in people who eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet but don’t pay attention to the amount, or source, of sugar they’re consuming. Instead of eating fruits and vegetables and whole grains, they’re eating fat free popcorn, and low cholesterol bread, pasta, and low fat cookies.

But to be clear – sugar that occurs naturally, like in fruits – has a very different effect on our biochemistries. Sugar that comes in the form of a whole food (like an apple) is absorbed slowly because it takes more time to digest an apple, and this helps insulin levels to stay steadier. Note that I’m talking about a whole apple – not apple sauce or apple juice (which is digested more quickly, losing some of the positive effect on your biochemistry). So, when eating carbohydrates, stick as close as you can to the original form (whole foods and grains). It’ll help you keep your insulin levels – and your cholesterol – in check.




Cancer vaccines help patients get tumor-free in 2 studies

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Cancer vaccines — which are intended to help patients fight cancer by enlisting the individuals' own immune systems to attack cancer cells —showed promise in two small new studies.  In both studies, researchers used experimental cancer vaccines to treat patients who had the deadly skin cancer melanoma . And in both studies, tumors completely disappeared in more than half of the patients after they were given their cancer vaccines. The other patients were given another type of treatment that was aimed at further boosting the ability of the individuals' immune systems ' ability to fight cancer, and in some of those cases, these patients' tumors also disappeared. 

Researchers are developing similar vaccines against other cancers as well, including a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma, kidney cancer, blood cell cancers and ovarian cancer, said Dr. Catherine Wu, a physician-scientist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, who led one of the new studies. "Many other cancers might benefit from this approach," Wu said. 

Ideally, any cancer treatment would target cancerous cells while sparing healthy cells. In the vaccine approach, scientists want to develop vaccines that carry molecules seen only on cancerous cells . Such vaccines could help the immune system recognize such cells as harmful, prompting the system to enlist its warriors, including T cells and other defender cells, to seek out and eliminate cancers. 

In the new studies, two separate research teams used two different kinds of vaccines to attack melanoma. The scientists detailed their findings online today (July 5) in two studies in the journal Nature.

Melanomas often have mutations resulting from the exposure of skin to ultraviolet rays . Such mutations can result in abnormal proteins seen nowhere else in the human body and known as neoantigens, which can prove useful targets for vaccines, said Dr. Cornelius Melief, a physician-scientist at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, who did not take part in either study.

In one of the studies, Wu and her colleagues vaccinated six patients who had previously undergone tumor-removal surgery. The vaccine they used was personalized for each patient; the researchers analyzed the DNA of cancerous and healthy cells from each person to identify tumor-specific mutations and their associated neoantigens.

Wu and her colleagues then used computer models to predict which neoantigens might be the best for immune cells to recognize. The scientists next gave the patients vaccines containing up to 20 neoantigens specific to each patient's cancer.

The researchers found that the vaccines were safe and triggered immune responses . Four patients showed no sign of the cancers recurring after 25 months. The other two patients, who had progressive forms of melanoma , were later treated with so-called checkpoint-blockade therapies, which block the mechanisms by which cancer sometimes suppresses a person's immune system. After this additional treatment, both patients underwent complete tumor regression.

"We were delighted to see a strong and consistent response among the six patients we treated," Wu told Live Science. "Vaccines can focus and mobilize the body's standing army of T cells."

In another study, Dr. Ugur Sahin at the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University and Biopharmaceutical New Technologies Corporation, both in Mainz, Germany, and his colleagues analyzed the cancers of 13 patients, choosing up to 10 mutations per person to create vaccines tailored to the patients' cancers. These vaccines were made of RNA molecules , the compounds that encode the instructions used to make proteins such as neoantigens.

Sahin and his colleagues found that the vaccines boosted immune responses in all of the patients. Eight of the 13 patients remained free of tumors after 23 months. The remaining five had tumor relapses; however, one of these five experienced complete tumor regression after receiving checkpoint-blockade therapy.

Wu and her colleagues noted that treatment-related adverse events consisted of mild flu-like symptoms, injection site reactions, rash and fatigue. Sahin and his colleagues noted no serious adverse events.

Both studies were phase I clinical trials, meaning they were carried out with a small number of patients to test the safety of the treatment, and find the best dose of a new treatment with the fewest side effects. "These are small-scale studies that need to be confirmed with larger numbers of patients," Melief said.

Still, "these are exciting times," Melief said. "I think we are in for game changers in cancer."

Originally published on Live Science .


3 Things That Help Reduce Belly Fat



Proven to reduce abdominal fat, MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids) should be a part of your daily diet, and you can find them in avocado, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and olive oil. Just be mindful of how much you eat since these are also high in calories. Blueberries are also proven to diminish belly fat, so make a point to throw them in your salads and smoothies. Some foods like pineapple contain an enzyme that helps ease digestion and banish bloat, making your belly look and feel flatter. High-fiber foods like pears, berries, veggies, beans, and whole grains have the same effect - plus they keep you feeling full longer, just like healthy fats. Feeling full keeps hunger at bay, so you crave less and eat less, reducing your total daily calorie intake which will reduce your overall body fat, including that extra bit around your middle.

Ditch These

Trans fat is a big no-no for your health in general, but also for your belly. It's found in many processed foods like granola bars, crackers, cookies, some peanut butter, and breads. If the list of ingredients includes partially hydrogenated oil, put it back on the shelf. Avoid processed foods, soda, and meats that are high in saturated fat. Try to limit sugar, simple carbs like bagels, and alcohol since these won't fill you up, so you'll end up eating extra calories you don't need. Also, steer clear of foods that personally cause you bloating like dairy products, sweeteners, or bread.  You don't need to give up carbs and go all crazy with a protein-only diet. Instead, CrossFit competitor Christmas Abbott told us to embrace the macronutrient trifecta of proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats to help reduce overall body fat, which will aid in reducing stubborn belly fat. Including all three in your meals will make you feel more satisfied so you end up consuming smaller portions. Plus, you'll feel fuller longer which helps you consume fewer total calories.


Meet Johanna Quaas - the World Oldest Gymnast 



From the neck up, Johanna Quaas looks like the typical great-grandmother with her poof of short, white hair and oval glasses. But from the neck down, this 91-year-old is an elite athlete.

Clad always, it seems, in her signature green, crushed velvet leotard, Quaas performs tricks on the parallel bars that might vex athletes half her age. For instance, how many in-shape 45-year-olds have the dexterity, strength and flexibility to lower themselves from a headstand position parallel to the ground then hold their entire body’s weight up using just their arms?

Yet that’s exactly what Quaas did (and more!) at this month’s International German Gymnastics Festival in Berlin.


Quaas, who holds the Guinness World Record for “oldest gymnast,” began practicing her sport when she was 9 but later switched to handball after World War II when then-East Germany discouraged individual sports and promoted team sports instead. No surprise, perhaps, Quaas succeeded at handball, too, winning the Eastern German championship in 1954.

Gymnastics remained near and dear to her heart, however, and she returned to the sport by becoming an instructor after getting married and raising three children.


Johnna Quaas kissing her husband of 53 years, Gerhard.


Quaas would begin competing again when she turned 56, according to the Guinness World Records, which first certified her as the oldest gymnast in 2012 when she was a mere 86 year old. At the time, Quaas said she hoped to still be competing when she was 90. Today, it appears she plans to keep competing until she can’t, which may be a while because she says it’s precisely her competing that keeps her young.

“I do gymnastics to avoid being susceptible to falls and that is a good preventive tool,” Quaas told the Straits Times, noting she also keeps young by taking naps and eating a mostly plant-based diet.

“My face is old but my heart is young,” she continued. “Maybe the day I stop doing gymnastics is the day I die.”


All red meat is not created equal -- Yes, it can be part of a heart healthy diet


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Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, contributing to more than 22,000 deaths each day. While these statistics may seem alarming, what’s more shocking is that very few at-risk patients actually follow a heart-healthy diet as advised by the American Heart Association. While genetics certainly play a role, lifestyle can have a significant impact on cardiovascular health. But, when it comes to diet and heart disease prevention, the role of red meat is often debated, leaving patients confused and concerned. In the last several years, there has been a growing body of evidence showing lean beef’s positive role in a heart-healthy diet.

Most of us already know that our cholesterol levels play a significant role in determining risk for heart disease. Increased levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad cholesterol” are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Studies show that particular types of saturated fats can further increase bad cholesterol levels. As a result of these findings, many leading health organizations recommend reducing saturated fat in the diet. This is commonly interpreted in vague, general statements such as “reduce intake of red meat” or “eat less beef” without taking into consideration the role of lean red meat. In short, not all red meat is created equal. For example, did you know that half of the fatty acids in a serving of beef are heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids, the same type of fat found in olive oil? Moreover, nearly one-third of the saturated fat in beef is stearic acid, a fatty acid that has been shown to have neutral effects on cholesterol levels.

According to the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, lean beef, which has less than 10 grams of total fat and 4.5 grams or fewer of saturated fat per 3.5-ounce serving, can fit in a heart-healthy dietary pattern. In addition, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is one of the premier heart-healthy diets recommended by health professionals today. This diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein, has been extensively studied in both observational as well as clinical trials and recommends up to six ounces of lean meat, including lean red meat, poultry or eggs, every day. Dietary research supports the fact that adding more variety to protein choices – like lean beef – in a diet can be especially important in helping people enjoy and stick to heart-healthy diets long term.

We all know that diets can often be tough to follow and health professionals know that ensuring patients actually stick to a healthful diet plan is key for reducing cardiovascular disease risk. Diets that rely on restriction and exclusion of certain foods typically fail. A more effective diet strategy requires only small changes or subtle shifts in portion sizes that help people continue to enjoy the foods they like. The Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet – or BOLD – study applied that strategy to a DASH-style eating pattern by substituting lean beef for other proteins. The study found that 4-5.5 ounces of lean beef per day as the primary protein source in a DASH diet was just as effective at lowering LDL cholesterol levels and improving blood pressure as a similar DASH diet plan limited in red meat.

Dietary research supports the fact that adding more variety to protein choices – like lean beef – in a DASH diet can be especially important in helping people enjoy and stick to heart-healthy diets long term.

So, How Can You Identify and Choose Lean Cuts of Beef?

Thanks to enhancements in cattle breeding and feeding as well as improved trimming practices, more than 60 percent of whole muscle beef cuts found in the supermarket are considered lean when cooked with visible fat trimmed.

· Look for cuts with “round” or “loin” in the name, such as Eye of Round, Top Sirloin and Tenderloin.

· For Ground Beef, choose 96% extra lean (4% fat).

· Trim off any excess fat before cooking.

· Enjoy smart portions. If you are not sure what the appropriate portion size for lean protein is, use your smart phone as a guide. A single 3-ounce serving of beef is about the size of a standard smart phone.

· Stick to an overall heart-healthy DASH-style diet, which, in addition to including lean protein, is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.

Heart disease continues to take the lives of millions of Americans each year. It is critical to understand our risk and modify the risk factors that we can impact through diet and heart-healthy lifestyle changes. So, take control, reduce your risk, and embrace small shifts towards improving your overall diet while still enjoying the foods you love.


Dr. Kevin Campbell is an assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of North Carolina and  President, K-Roc Consulting LLC.



Longtime use of heartburn drugs linked to increased risk of death


Popular heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been linked to a variety of health problems, including serious kidney damage, bone fractures and dementia. Now, a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that longtime use of the drugs also is associated with an increased risk of death.

Millions of U.S. residents take proton pump inhibitors which are widely prescribed to treat heartburn, ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems. The drugs also are available over the counter under brand names that include Prevacid, Prilosec and Nexium.

For the study, the researchers examined medical records of some 275,000 users of PPIs and nearly 75,000 people who took another class of drugs – known as H2 blockers – to reduce stomach acid. The research is published online July 3 in the journal BMJ Open.

"No matter how we sliced and diced the data from this large data set, we saw the same thing: There's an increased risk of death among PPI users," said senior author Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, an assistant professor of medicine. "For example, when we compared patients taking H2 blockers with those taking PPIs for one to two years, we found those on PPIs had a 50 percent increased risk of dying over the next five years. People have the idea that PPIs are very safe because they are readily available, but there are real risks to taking these drugs, particularly for long periods of time."

Both PPIs and H2 blockers are prescribed for serious medical conditions such as upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding, gastroesophageal reflux disease and esophageal cancer. Over-the-counter PPIs are most often used for heartburn and indigestion.

PPIs have become one of the most commonly used classes of drugs in the United States with 15 million monthly prescriptions in 2015 for Nexium alone, according to WebMD.

A kidney doctor by profession, Al-Aly has previously published studies linking PPIs to kidney disease, and other researchers have shown an association with other health problems. Al-Aly, first author Yan Xie, PhD, a data scientist, and colleagues reasoned that since each of these side effects carries a small risk of death, together they may affect the mortality rate of PPI users.

To find out, the researchers sifted through millions of de-identified veterans' medical records in a database maintained by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. They identified 275,933 people who had been prescribed a PPI and 73,355 people prescribed an H2 blocker between October 2006 and September 2008, and noted how many died and when over the following five years. The database did not include information on cause of death. 

Al-Aly and colleagues found a 25 percent increased risk of death in the PPI group compared with the H2 blocker group. The researchers calculate that, for every 500 people taking PPIs for a year, there is one extra death that would not have otherwise occurred. Given the millions of people who take PPIs regularly, this could translate into thousands of excess deaths every year, Al-Aly said.

The researchers also calculated the risk of death in people who were prescribed PPIs or H2 blockers despite not having the gastrointestinal conditions for which the drugs are recommended. Here, the researchers found that people who took PPIs had a 24 percent increased risk of death compared with people taking H2 blockers.

Further, the risk rose steadily the longer people used the drugs. After 30 days, the risk of death in the PPI and H2 blocker groups was not significantly different, but among people taking the drugs for one to two years, the risk to PPI users was nearly 50 percent higher than that of H2 blocker users.

Although the recommended treatment regimen for most PPIs is short – two to eight weeks for ulcers, for example – many people end up taking the drugs for months or years.

"A lot of times people get prescribed PPIs for a good medical reason, but then doctors don't stop it and patients just keep getting refill after refill after refill," Al-Aly said. "There needs to be periodic re-assessments as to whether people need to be on these. Most of the time, people aren't going to need to be on PPIs for a year or two or three."

As compared with the H2 blocker group, people in the PPI group were older (64 years old, on average, versus 61) and also somewhat sicker, with higher rates of diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. But these differences cannot fully account for the increased risk of death since the risk remained even when the researchers statistically controlled for age and illness.

Over-the-counter PPIs contain the same chemical compounds as in prescription PPIs, just at lower doses, and there is no way to know how long people stay on them. The Food and Drug Administration recommends taking PPIs no longer than four weeks before consulting a doctor.

Al-Aly emphasizes that deciding whether to take a PPI requires a risk-benefit calculation.

"PPIs save lives," Al-Aly said. "If I needed a PPI, I absolutely would take it. But I wouldn't take it willy-nilly if I didn't need it. And I would want my doctor to be monitoring me carefully and take me off it the moment it was no longer needed."


Never Believe These Myths You’ve Heard About Cholesterol


Cholesterol level chart

1. All cholesterol is bad 

 When you hear the word “cholesterol,” you probably immediately imagine a buttery substance clogging your veins. In some cases, you’re not wrong. But there’s good cholesterol that can actually help protect your heart and arteries, too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains you have two types of cholesterol — HDL and LDL. The former actually absorbs the waxy substance that clogs your arteries and flushes it from your system, thus making it good. LDL is what your doctor’s are worried about — this is what makes up the vein-blocking plaque that can give you problems. Raising your HDL levels actually helps your heart in the long run.

2. All the cholesterol in your body comes from your food

Maybe your doctor has mentioned you should lower your cholesterol. You might think this is purely due to the fact you’re eating foods that are raising your levels. But cholesterol comes from what your body produces, says the American Heart Association. Foods like meats, poultry, and full-fat dairy don’t just directly become plaque — they trigger your liver to create more cholesterol. But even on a low-cholesterol diet, your body still produces the substance. It just (in most cases) produces less when you’re eating healthy. If high levels run in your family, however, your body might naturally produce more than it needs.

3. Eggs are the enemy

You’ve heard this one before — eggs will raise your cholesterol, thus you should leave them out of your diet. But actually, eggs might protect your heart more than you think. Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health explains one egg contains about 200 milligrams of dietary cholesterol, but that’s not the same thing as the substance in your blood. In fact, there’s quite a bit of evidence to suggest the link between the dietary kind and the cholesterol in your blood is not closely related. Still, the American Heart Association does have a few guidelines — try to keep it to 300 milligrams a day if you’re hungry or 200 grams if you have heart disease.

4. Americans have the highest cholesterol levels worldwide 

You’ve probably heard on the news how processed foods and less movement are contributing to American obesity, high blood pressure, and cholesterol rates. But it’s important to note high cholesterol levels aren’t just an American problem — they’re a worldwide issue. One 2011 study reports Western European countries such as Greenland, Iceland, and Germany actually have the highest levels in the world. To top it all off, the U.S. and Canada had surprisingly low levels. Maybe citizens of the States are taking their health more seriously than we assumed.  

5. If a food contains 0 grams of cholesterol, it’s heart-healthy

You’ve probably seen a food label or two that advertises a product as being cholesterol-free. That must mean it’s healthy, right? Actually, it’s not the dietary cholesterol you really have to worry about — it’s the saturated and trans fats that primarily raise your levels. Berkeley Wellness explains the types of fats you’re consuming will have a much greater effect, such as the fats in animal products and many processed foods. Avocados and nuts are also full of fats, but they won’t negatively affect your cholesterol since they’re unsaturated.

6. Only overweight people can have high cholesterol

While it’s true being overweight puts you at a greater risk for having high cholesterol, thin folks can still develop this condition. The American Heart Association says your body type isn’t the only indicator of how high or low your cholesterol levels will be. In fact, many thin people who tend to eat a diet high in saturated and trans fats probably aren’t even aware they’re putting themselves at risk, thus they may not get their cholesterol checked. Remember, no matter what your body type is, you should always have regular doctor visits.  

7. If you’re on cholesterol medication, you don’t need to worry about your diet

Medication saves lives, there’s no doubt about it. But depending solely on cholesterol medication and not making any improvements to your diet or exercise routine is a serious mistake in the long runMayo Clinic says you can help keep your cholesterol medication dosage low by losing weight, keeping your alcohol consumption low, and eating foods known to be good for your heart. If you’re just taking the pills without doing any of the other work to help yourself, you could end up having to increase your dosage.

8. Coconut oil is a cholesterol-friendly alternative to butter

Walter C. Willett, M.D., tells Harvard Health Publications coconut oil is actually about 90% saturated fat. That’s even higher than butter, which is about 64% saturated fat, and beef fat, which is 40%. Here’s where things get interesting: Though it’s high in the saturated department, coconut oil has also been shown to improve good cholesterol levels.

The takeaway? If you’re working to lower your cholesterol, you still should use both coconut oil and butter sparingly. Your HDL levels might get a boost from the former, but the saturated fat content is concerning.


The Best Foods to Fight Inflammation


Whether it's aches and pains, stiffness, headaches, indigestion, stomachaches, yeast imbalances, viruses, low energy, weight gain, or free-radical damage, it often goes back to two things: acidity and inflammation.

To understand how acidity plays a role in producing bodily inflammation, you first have to understand pH, or the measure of a solution's acidity or alkalinity from 0 to 14, 0 being the most acidic, and 14 being the most alkaline. Our bodies need a very specific pH balance to function and maintain homeostasis. Even slight changes to the pH of our blood, for instance, can be extremely problematic.

Our grocery stores and diets are overrun with highly acidic foods. Caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, sugars, refined flours, pasteurized dairy, and animal protein are all highly acidic forming in the body, and if you are eating these on a regular basis, chances are you may experience at least some sort of chronic symptom of inflammation. Even natural processes of the body produce acidic byproducts. Stress also contributes greatly to an acidic environment.

So what can we do? How do we reverse the effects of these highly acidic foods and actions? Just as food plays a role in producing an acidic environment, it can be transformative and healing to the body, reducing inflammation and creating an environment that supports health.

The goal should be to consume 80 percent alkaline foods and 20 percent acidic foods. Not all acidic foods are unhealthy necessarily; however, extremely acidic foods like those stated above should be greatly minimized. Fresh fruits and vegetables that have been lightly seasoned and cooked should be the focus of your diet.

Below is a list of some of the most anti-inflammatory foods your should be adding to your diet daily to restore alkalinity and relieve inflammation. Fight inflammation in the kitchen, not the pharmacy, with: 

Green Leafy Vegetables

Leafy greens are full of nutrition, loaded with alkalizing minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. Load up on kale, chard, spinach, lettuces, bok choy, etc, daily. In addition, fruits and vegetables in general should make up most of your plate at every meal.


This South Asian rhizome has long been used and prized for its anti-inflammatory properties. Today, you can find it just about anywhere — in juices and smoothies to supplements and teas. The main compound responsible for its anti-inflammatory benefits, curcumin, has been used to fight simple colds and flus, Alzheimer's disease, liver damage, prevent cancer, and of course relieve inflammation.

Fish Oils

By now most of us know the importance of omega-3 fatty acids and their role in relieving inflammation. The best source for these fatty acids is fish; however, some sources are better than others. Top of the food chain, large ocean fish can contain high levels of mercury and other heavy metals. Stick to wild salmon, or smaller, oilier fish such as sardines and anchovies. Fish oils can also be taken as a supplement. I recommend taking fermented cod liver oil. In addition to omega 3 fatty acids, it also supplies necessary D and A vitamins in a more bioavailable form.


Berries in general are lower in sugar than most fruit and contain large quantities in inflammation-reducing antioxidants. Blueberries and dark-colored berries especially, due to their high levels of the antioxidant quercetin, and are especially anti-inflammatory.


Walnuts are not only an excellent source of protein, they are also a source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E. Consuming walnuts regularly may help to support brain health and function and reduce inflammation throughout the body.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a highly anti-inflammatory fat that is made up of mostly MCFAs, or medium-chain fatty acids, which are easier to digest and not readily stored as fat. In addition, coconut oil contains antimicrobial and antifungal properties from caprylic, lauric, and capric acids, aiding in reducing inflammation, lowering high blood pressure, improving energy, and boosting the immune system.


Future Cancer Treatment Could Stop Disease From Spreading



The main factor involved in fatal cases of cancer is metastasis, when cancer spreads from the original tumor to different parts of the body. A new study claims to found a way to stop cancer cells from migrating to other body parts, a key process in metastasis. The team believe their discovery could one day lead a treatment that could slow down this process or even stop it all together.The researchers were able to use nanotechnology to create extremely small materials that prevent cancer cells from moving, or what they call, “breaking cancer's legs.” If the cancer can't move, it can't metastasize.  

"If cancer stays in a tumor in one place, you can get to it, and it's not so likely to kill the patient, but when it spreads around the body, that's what really makes it deadly," said lead researcher Mostafa El-Sayed, in a press release. "The method appears to be very effective as a locally administered treatment that also protects the body from cancer's spread away from the treated tumors, and it is also very mild, so it can be applied many times over if needed."

Cells move using leg-like protrusions called filopodia, but cancer cells produce far more of these than healthy tissue. While cancer cells that try to spread usually die at some point in the process, if conditions are favorable, the cancer can successfully form a tumor in another part of the body.

The team was able to obstruct the movement of these filopodia using gold nanoparticles specifically designed so that they only block the function of cancer cells and do not interfere with healthy cells.

The team found that shining a low-energy laser at the cells caused the cell movement to stop completely. The laser caused the gold to heat up and partially melt the cancer cells legs, completely stopping their movement.

"This gentle laser didn't burn the skin or damage tissue, so it could be dosed multiple times and more thoroughly stop the cancer cells from being able to travel," explained study researcher Ronghu Wu in a statement.

According to the National Cancer Institute, metastasis is the main reason that cancer is so deadly. In addition, the metastatic cancer cells can remain inactive on a site for many years before they begin to grow again.

When the cells move to other nearby tissue, it can be very difficult to control. This type of cancer is largely untreatable. Most treatment for metastasized cancer aims to stop or slow down its spread. Some of the most common sites of metastasis are the bone, liver, and lung.

Although the treatment is still in the research phase, the team see it being used for head, neck, breast and skin cancers with direct local injections. They also suspect they would be able to treat deeper cancer using a fiber optic or endoscopic laser.

Source: Ali MRK, Wu Y, Tang Y, et al. Targeting cancer cell integrins using gold nanorods in photothermal therapy inhibits migration through affecting cytoskeletal proteins. PNAS . 2017


6 Foods That Could Increase Your Dementia Risk



You’ve been hearing for years about how eating a healthier diet can help prolong your life — but there’s more. Recent studies have shown certain foods can actually contribute to brain health while others have been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The fact is Alzheimer’s and dementia were not nearly as prevalent 50 years ago as they are today, and the modern American diet could be largely to blame. But you can fight back against this trend. By making some changes to your diet, you can keep your brain happy — and healthy — for a long time.


Changing your diet can help to positively impact your brain health in the future and might even help to reverse some of the damage that’s already been done. A study published by the journal of Alzheimer’s & Dementia found that of 900 participants polled, those who followed recommended dietary recommendations and avoided known trigger foods had a level of cognitive function 7½ years younger than their biological age.

Here are 5 foods to avoid to promote brain health.

1. Sugar

Doughnuts and candy with "sugar" written in sugar
Neuropathologist Suzanne DeLaMonte is credited with coining the term “Type 3 diabetes” when referencing Alzheimer’s disease. According to her research, sugar consumption results in insulin resistance. And regularly consuming insulin-spiking foods can eventually cause brain degeneration and dementia.

2. Processed cheese

cheese slices

Yes, it’s time to put down the Cheez Whiz and back away. Any processed cheese product, including string cheese and pre-wrapped sandwich slices, contains proteins that slowly build up in the body, which have been linked to Alzheimer’s.  

3. Processed meat

bacon for sale

Smoked meats contain

carcinogenic chemical compounds called nitrosamines, which help to increase shelf life. They are linked to certain cancers and have also been found to increase brain degeneration in Alzheimer’s patients. When lunchtime rolls around, consider a vegetarian entrée with a bean base or some healthy fish, such as salmon. Add some fresh veggies to make your meal a real power-packed brain-booster.

4. White foods

sliced white bread

This category includes items such as white bread, white rice, pasta, and any other insulin-spiking foods. Blood sugar spikes cause inflammation in your body, which is one of the suspected causes of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Instead of a sandwich, put together a healthy salad for lunch with lots of leafy greens and chopped veggies. Top it off with some fresh berries for natural sweetness, and add a protein, such as beans or even fish.


6. Carbohydrates

whole-grain bread slices with blades of wheat

Even “healthy” whole-grain bread can cause dramatic blood sugar spikes, making it just as dangerous as white bread, bagels, and doughnuts. When you’re trying to feed your brain and prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s, it’s best to dramatically decrease the amount of carbs you’re consuming.

For a filling and brain-healthy meal, try beans. Bean-based entrees are an essential part of the MIND diet, which was created specifically for promoting brain health. 



The Side Effects of Chemotherapy


A man sits while undergoing chemotherapy cancer treatment as his wife looks on


In many cases, cancer can be successfully treated and overcome. Yes, some cancers are deadlier than others, but we’ve made incredible progress over the years at increasing survival rates.

One of the most common forms of treatment is chemotherapy, the American Cancer Society reports. Chemo, as it’s commonly referred to, is an extremely rough process to experience. Essentially, you’re using a mixture of chemicals and drugs to destroy the cancer present in your body, or to at least shrink tumors and control the spread of the disease. You may not be completely cured, but life can be prolonged through these treatments.

Unfortunately, chemo also has some pretty nasty side effects. Because you’re dosing your body with a lot of chemicals and drugs, it’s not just the cancer cells that are being destroyed — often, your body’s natural functions and healthy tissues succumb to the treatment as well. Here is a short list of some of those side effects you should expect if you or a loved one is prescribed chemotherapy as treatment for cancer. 

Reasons Everyone Should Have Epsom Salts at Home



Epsom salts have a diverse range of uses, from removing splinters to cleaning washing machines. Keep reading to see how you can incorporate Epsom salts into your daily routine.  Relaxation - Epsom salts are a great way to relax and soothe aches and pains. Add a cup or two to your bath.   Removing splinters-  Those pesky splinters we get from time to time can be tricky to remove. Mixing the salts with water acts as an anti-inflammatory and soaking can help remove the splinter.  Exfoliation  Due to the coarse nature of the salts, they can make a great exfoliator, Just be careful not to scrub too hard, as Epsom salts can be rough on more sensitive skins.  Help remove product build-upSometimes all that dry shampoo and hairspray can leave hair dull, and no matter how many times you shampoo, the residue just won't budge. Mix Epsom salts with water and massage into scalp to remove the debris. You can either leave this on for 20-40 minutes or leave on overnight, then shampoo the build-up out.  Soothe sore patches of skin on the scalp  Epsom salts have been used for centuries to help skin conditions such as eczema. The minerals in the salts help kill off any bacteria that may be lingering and help restore the skin's natural barrier. Try adding Epsom salts to shampoo for an easy scalp treatment.  Washing machine cleaner  This versatile salt can be an effective washing machine cleaner when there is a build-up of washing detergent. To clean, run Epsom salts with white vinegar and water through an empty cycle. Headache relief

Help relieve your headache by taking a hot bath with Epsom salts for relaxation.  Tile cleaner

Epsom salts make a great tile cleaner; mix them with washing up liquid for a powerful cleaning solution.  Bug bites  These salts can work at reducing itching from bug bites. Mix salts with water and put into a spray bottle, spray directly on bug bites as needed to reduce itch.  Improve blood circulation

Epsom salts are said to help improve blood circulation by reducing inflammation. Take regular (three to four times a week) relaxing soaks and see if this makes a difference for you. Hair mask  DIY hair masks are a great way to care for our hair. Mix Epsom salts with your favourite conditioner, massage through the lengths and leave in hair for 20 minutes to give the hair extra volume.    Hand wash

When mixed with baby oil the salts can make a moisturising hand wash. Foot scrub  Due to the coarse nature of the salts, they make an effective foot scrub. Add essential oils like peppermint, lemon, or tea tree for added detoxifying and deodorising benefits.  Help flush out toxins

Bathing regularly in Epsom salts is supposed to help flush out toxins: perfect after being sick or after a particularly heavy night! Be wary, Epsom salts can also be a little dehydrating so if you're using them to detox after a heavy night out remember to drink even more water than you would be normally.  Help insomnia

If you struggle from insomnia or restless sleep, Epsom salts could give relief. Bathing before bed is often used as an effective relaxing pre-sleep ritual and adding the salts assists with this relaxation helping you get a better night's sleep.


New Cancer Drug Is So Effective Against Tumors, the FDA Approved It Immediately


A small but significant new study is blowing experts away after it found that a particular cancer drug overwhelmingly helped shrink or eradicate tumors in patients whose cancer had resisted every other form of treatment. The study, which was published in the journal Science, followed 86 patients who had advanced cancer of the pancreas, prostate, uterus, or bone. The patients were given pembrolizumab, which also goes by the brand name Keytruda, and the results were very promising. Sixty-six patients had tumors that shrank significantly and stabilized; among them were 18 patients whose tumors disappeared and haven’t returned.

The patients all carried genetic mutations that kept their cells from fixing damaged DNA. Pembrolizumab is known as a PD-1 blocker, an emerging type of immunotherapy drug that helps the immune system find cancer cells and attack tumors. 

The study was small, and there was no control group (i.e., a group that didn’t receive pembrolizumab that scientists could compare results against), but the results were so striking that the FDA has already approved pembrolizumab for patients whose cancer comes from this particular genetic abnormality. According to the New York Times, this is the first time a drug has been approved for use against tumors that share a particular genetic profile, regardless of where they appear in the body.

Dr. Jack Jacoub, a medical oncologist and director of thoracic oncology at MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif., tells Yahoo that the study was “interesting, welcomed, and exciting.”

There has been a general opinion that the immune system is integral in the development and spread of cancer, he points out, and these new findings show that targeting the immune system to treat cancer can be effective. “To finally see now proof that targeting the immune system improves the situation and doesn’t necessarily correlate with one specific cancer … that’s a really powerful message,” he says.

Jacoub also points out that the FDA’s move to approve pembrolizumab quickly was a big step. “The FDA doesn’t take these kinds of things lightly,” he says. “The data was so good, they had to approve it.”

Jacoub says he suspects that drugs like this will be used in the future in connection with more established cancer treatments for specific types of the disease. “This may improve outcomes,” he says. “This form of therapy, plus something else, may allow us to potentially cure and eradicate cancer. These are the steps that are getting us closer to that goal.”


Low-fat dairy foods linked to Parkinson's risk, study suggests


Image result for low fat dairy


Though you might think eating low-fat dairy foods is a healthy move, new research suggests the habit is tied to a slight rise in the risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Experts who reviewed the study stressed that the findings are preliminary -- the effect was a modest one and the research wasn't designed to prove cause and effect. In the study, researchers analyzed data on about 130,000 men and women, tracking their dietary habits every four years and the number of people diagnosed with Parkinson's.After 25 years, more than 1,000 people developed Parkinson's, a progressive neurodegenerative illness affecting coordination and movement.

Those who consumed at least three servings of low-fat dairy a day had a 34 percent higher risk of getting the disorder than those who only consumed one serving a day. Looking specifically at milk consumption, the researchers found that drinking more than one serving of low-fat or skim milk daily was also linked with a 39 percent higher chance of developing Parkinson's. (Low-fat also included nonfat).

No such association was seen with the consumption of full-fat dairy products, such as whole milk.

Even so, the researchers said it was crucial to put the risk in perspective.

"It is important to note that the risk of Parkinson's disease is still low, even among people in our study who consumed higher amounts of low-fat dairy or milk," said study author Katherine Hughes, a researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

Of the 5,830 people who ate at least three servings a day of low-fat dairy, only 1 percent (60 people), developed Parkinson's during the quarter century of follow-up. To compare, of the more than 77,000 who ate less than a serving a day, only 0.6 percent (483 people), received the diagnosis.

While the researchers found a link, the findings didn't prove that eating dairy products causes Parkinson's.

"This was an observational study, so like any observational study there is the potential for bias," Hughes noted. For instance, the risk could actually be due to some third factor related to both dairy intake and disease risk. To rule out that possibility, the researchers did control for other factors that affect risk, such as coffee drinking, which has been linked with lower risk of Parkinson's.

The researchers also can't explain the link with certainty. According to Hughes, one possible explanation is that milk protein reduces the blood level of urate, a substance derived from uric acid excreted in the urine. Some research has shown that relatively high levels of urate (but not high enough to cause the condition known as gout) are linked with a lower risk of Parkinson's.

Contaminants in dairy products, such as pesticides, may also play a role, Hughes added.

The researchers can't say for sure why they found no link with full-fat dairy, but said it could be that the counter effects of saturated fats in high-fat dairy may help maintain a protective urate level.

The findings do add weight to previous findings from laboratory research, said James Beck, chief scientific officer for the Parkinson's Foundation. But, he also cautioned that "all they are able to do is draw a correlation," and not prove cause and effect.

"I would suggest people not alter their diets dramatically," Beck said. "This is a modest increase in risk for a disease that, when you look at the general population, is still relatively rare."

Getting enough calcium from dairy products is important for other health reasons, Beck added, such as maintaining bone health.

A dairy industry representative also pointed to the other benefits of dairy, including a reduced risk of both heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and lower blood pressure.

"Given that most people don't eat enough dairy foods -- with the average American only eating 1.8 of the recommended three servings of dairy per day ... it's likely in most people's interest to eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet, representative of all food groups -- including dairy -- while the emerging science unfolds," said Chris Cifelli. He is vice president of nutrition research at the National Dairy Council.

Cifelli added that "total dairy intake was not significantly associated" with Parkinson's risk, and that only an association was shown between the two.

The study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Defense. It was published online June 7 in the journal Neurology.

Roughly 1 million people have been diagnosed with Parkinson's in the United States, according to the Parkinson's Foundation, and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed annually.


Articles - June 2017


‘Game-changer for autism’: 100-year-old drug reverses symptoms, study finds


A drug discovered more than 100 years ago may hold the key to combating autism symptoms, according to a study.

Researcher Dr Robert Naviaux of the San Diego School of Medicine gave suramin, a drug first developed in 1916, to 10 autistic boys between the ages of five and 14, and noted transformative results.

"After the single dose, it was almost like a roadblock had been released," he said. “If the future studies show that there’s continued health benefits, this could be a game-changer for families with autism.”

The study, which has been published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, saw five of the participants receive suramin, while the remainder were given placebos. Included in the group were four non-verbal children – two six year olds and two 14 year olds. 

“The six year old and the 14 year old who received suramin said the first sentences of their lives about one week after the single suramin infusion,” Naviaux told the UC San Diego Health website. “This did not happen in any of the children given the placebo.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 1 in 68 children are affected by autism – which is more than four times more common among boys. The causes of autism, however, are not yet fully understood.

Research has shown that cells harden their membranes in response to attacks from viruses or pollutants. The reaction, known as ‘cellular danger response’ (CDR), is a common defense mechanism that allows cells to wait for danger to pass. Autism is thought to develop during early childhood when cells can become ‘stuck’ in this mode.

Dr Naviaux believes that suramin can ‘un-stick’ the cells by inhibiting the signal they release when they sense danger, which can help normalize the response.

One parent, whose son had not spoken a full sentence in more than a decade, said: “Within an hour after the infusion, he started to make more eye contact with the doctor and nurses in the room. There was a new calmness at times, but also more emotion at other times.” 

“He started to show an interest in playing hide-and-seek with his 16-year-old brother. He started practicing making new sounds around the house. He started seeking out his dad more.”

Suramin was originally developed as a cure for sleeping sickness, a parasitic disease spread by the tsetse fly in sub-Saharan Africa.

First tested on mice in 2013, this is the first time suramin has been administered to children.

For Naviaux, the challenge now is to widen his research to a bigger sample testing size. “This work is new and this type of clinical trial is expensive,” he said. “We did not have enough funding to do a larger study. And even with the funding we were able to raise, we had to go $500,000 in debt to complete the trial.”


The 'Blue Zones' diet: Foods that help people live to 100



There are five places on earth which have the highest percentage of people who live to a healthy and happy 100 years. They're called the "Blue Zones" by National Geographic author Dan Buettner, who has explored their secrets to a thriving long.


Buettner has discovered what he believes is the answering to reaching such an old age and being healthy right up to the end: diet. So he has set out to capture the recipes of the world's longest living people.

"Individuals get lucky, but populations don’t," Buettner told NBC's Maria Shriver in the TODAY series, "Eating to 100." "There’s too many people to chalk it up to collective luck, or even genes," said Buettner.

No matter where people live, foods make up all longevity diets: beans, greens, grains, and nuts.

"They know how to make them taste good and they know how to optimize them for their health," Buettner said.

In the TODAY series, "Eating to 100," Buettner and NBC's Maria Shriver visit three of the Blue Zones

Ikaria, Greece

On the remote Greek island of Ikaria, people outlive the average American by more than a decade. On Ikaria, 97 percent of the people are over age 70 and Buettner found only three cases of dementia. By comparison, there's a 50 percent change of dementia for Americans who reach 85.

A common side dish is wild dandelion, boiled like spinach. These greens have 10 times more antioxidants than red wine, according to Buettner. Chickpeas, also a favorite on Ikaria, are the cornerstone of every longevity diet in the world, said Buettner.

evity in his book,"The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World's Healthiest People."

Costa Rica

The Nicoya Pennisula is famous for beautiful sandy beaches, exotic wildlife and people who seem to defy the limits of age. In Nicoya, about 1 in 250 people live to 100, compared to 1 in 4,000 who make it to 100 in America. Their diet of rice, beans and tortillas would be viewed as unhealthy in America. But it's way better than you think.

"If the average American could add a cup of beans a day, it would extend their life by four years," said Buettner.

An hour west of Los Angeles is Loma Linda, California, where nearly half of the city belongs to the 7th Day Adventist Church. Most of the church members don't eat meat or fish and they never touch alcohol or cigarettes. And they live about seven to 10 years longer than the rest of Americans, according to the Adventist Health Study.

Loma Linda, California

In Loma Linda, eating healthfully is part of the religion. Their diet is inspired by the Bible, the diet of the Garden of Eden. The citizens of Loma Linda are always on the move. They take afternoon nature walks and follow a strict lifestyle established over 150 years ago by the church's founder, Ellen G. White.



Magnesium is essential to your health, but many people don’t get enough of it



Ask most people to name a nutrient lacking in the American diet, and the top answers would probably be calcium, vitamin D or fiber. Though all nutrients are essential for good health, few are more crucial to focus on than magnesium — because we don’t usually get enough in our diet and none of our cells could function without it.

Cells need the mineral to produce ATP, a compound dubbed the body’s “energy currency,” says Fudi Wang, a professor of nutrition at Zhejiang University in China, because it’s the bank that cells draw on to power their functions. In particular, magnesium is involved in regulating blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate and nerve transmission.

But nearly half of all Americans — and 70 to 80 percent of those older than 70 — aren’t meeting their daily magnesium needs. Women should be getting 320 milligrams per day; men, 420 mg.

Older people are at risk for magnesium deficiency because they not only tend to consume less of it than younger adults but also may absorb less from what they eat, and their kidneys may excrete more of it. Digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease can also affect magnesium absorption, and people who have Type 2 diabetes or who take diuretics may lose more through their urine.

Why magnesium matters

These shortfalls may contribute to diminished health long-term. In a 2016 review of 40 studies involving a total of more than 1 million people, Wang and his colleagues found that every 100 mg increase in magnesium from food reduced the risk of heart failure by 22 percent, Type 2 diabetes by 19 percent and stroke by 7 percent.

Those who consumed more magnesium were also less likely to die of any cause during the studies’ follow-up periods, which ranged from four to 30 years.

Getting your daily dose

To get sufficient magnesium, focusing on food is best unless your doctor instructs otherwise, Wang says. High doses from supplements may have unpleasant side effects, such as diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps, and may prevent some drugs (such as certain antibiotics and bisphosphonates) from doing their jobs.

Though no one food has a huge amount of the nutrient, it’s not hard to get enough if you keep the best magnesium sources — dark leafy greens, legumes, nuts and whole grains — in regular rotation, says Joan Salge Blake, a clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University. For instance, these foods supply at least 50 mg per serving: ½ cup cooked quinoa, 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup almonds, ¾ cup cooked chickpeas, 2 heaping cups raw spinach, and 1 ounce 70 to 85 percent dark chocolate.

Supplements may be appropriate, however, if you have a digestive disorder or diabetes. Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for acid reflux may also lead to a magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium supplements may help migraine sufferers, but if you get nighttime leg cramps, they’re probably not the answer. Supplements have long been used as a remedy, but research suggests that pills won’t do much to prevent these muscle spasms.



Prostate cancer treatment 'could help more patients


Prostate cancer


One of the largest clinical trials for prostate cancer has given "powerful results", say UK researchers.

A drug for treating prostate cancer that has spread was found to save lives when offered earlier, a study found.

The trial looked at abiraterone as an additional treatment in patients with prostate cancer who were about to start long-term hormone therapy.

Abiraterone improved survival, according to results published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Prof Nicholas James, from the University of Birmingham, who led the research, said: "These are the most powerful results I've seen from a prostate cancer trial - it's a once-in-a-career feeling.

"This is one of the biggest reductions in death I've seen in any clinical trial for adult cancers."


More men could benefit


Abiraterone, also known as Zytiga, is a hormone therapy. Unlike chemotherapy which kills the cancerous cells, it stops more testosterone from reaching the prostate gland to stifle the tumour's growth.

The trial involved almost 2,000 patients.

Half the men were treated with hormone therapy while the other half received hormone therapy and abiraterone.

Of the 1,917 men in the trial, there were 184 deaths in the combination group compared with 262 in those given hormone therapy alone.

Prof James added: "Abiraterone is already used to treat some men whose disease has spread but our results show many more could benefit."

Each year around 46,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK, and around 11,000 men die from the disease.

The results of the trial were presented at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago and published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Saturday.

Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, said: "These results could transform the treatment of prostate cancer. Abiraterone can clearly help many more prostate cancer patients than was first thought."

The Institute of Cancer Research also "strongly welcomed" the new findings.

Prof Johann de Bono said they showed that when used at the start of treatment, abiraterone had "clear benefits for patients".

In March, patients with prostate cancer in England were told they could have early access to abiraterone.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) previously said the treatment was not cost-effective for the NHS until cancers were more advanced.

Prof Paul Workman, chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research, said he was keen to now see abiraterone reassessed by NICE for use in patients "as early as possible".


Lack of sleep increases death risk in people with metabolic syndrome



A new study from the American Heart Association finds sleeping less than six hours a night could more than double the risk of death for people with metabolic syndrome. That includes risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Dr. Tara Narula, a cardiologist at Northwell Health, joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss the study's findings.


Metabolic syndrome refers to a collection of conditions that, when taken together, increase the risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.

These conditions include high blood pressure, or hypertension, elevated blood sugar levels, abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels, and excess body fat around the waist.

An estimated 34 percent of adults in the United States are considered to have metabolic syndrome.

Because of the increase in obesity levels across the U.S., the number of individuals that meet the criteria for metabolic syndrome is on the rise. For this reason, understanding the consequences and implications is becoming increasingly important.


The importance of sleep


Earlier research has drawn links between sleep duration and a range of negative health consequences, some of which include weight gain, increased risk of diabetes, and various cardiovascular outcomes.

Studies investigating how sleep duration might affect individuals with metabolic syndrome have, to date, been inconclusive. A recent study set out to take a fresh look at this interaction. Previous studies have relied on patients self-reporting sleep duration but, for the first time, the current study monitored sleep in a specific laboratory to improve accuracy. 

The study was headed up by Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, who is an assistant professor at Penn State College of Medicine and a sleep psychologist at the Sleep Research & Treatment Center of the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, both in Hershey.

In all, data from 1,344 adults were used. The average age of participants was 49, and a little under half of them were male (42 percent). Each spent one night in a sleep laboratory as part of the Penn State Adult Cohort.

Of this group, 39.2 percent had at least three metabolic syndrome risk factors. Over an average follow-up period of 16.6 years, 22 percent of the participants died.


Sleep and metabolic syndrome


As expected, analysis showed that participants with metabolic syndrome, when compared with people without this cluster of risk factors, were more likely to die of stroke during the follow-up period. When the researchers split the data by how much sleep each individual got, the results were intriguing.

People with metabolic syndrome who slept for more than 6 hours per night were 1.49 times more likely to die of stroke in the 16-year period. Those who slept for under 6 hours were 2.1 times as likely.

Similarly, those with metabolic syndrome who slept for under 6 hours were almost twice as likely to die from any cause, compared with those without the cluster of risk factors.

These results were generated even after researchers adjusted for sleep apnea - in which an individual's breathing pauses during the night - which is a known risk factor for heart disease.


This 70 year old looks amazing after cutting out sugar for 28 years

Report links painkillers to increased risk of heart attack




A new report in the British Medical Journal appears to link commonly used painkillers to an increased risk of heart attack. The painkillers that the team of researchers from Canada, Finland and Germany studied included naproxen, celebrex, ibuprofen, voltaren and rofecoxib, which are all classified as oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. NSAIDs are available both with a prescription and over the counter. 

Researchers examined over 450,000 cases of "myocardial infarction," or heart attacks, from four databases in Canada, the United Kingdom and Finland. The group found that more than 60,000 of the patients they observed were taking NSAID's near the time of their cardiac event.

The team also found that patients were most vulnerable during the first month of their NSAID treatment, and that those who were taking higher doses of NSAIDs were at the highest risk.

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News chief women's health correspondent, said the new report, published Tuesday, should raise people's awareness but also needs "a lot more data" to draw more definitive findings.

"This study was based on observation. It didn’t explain a mechanism or cause or effect," Ashton said today on "Good Morning America. "There were other factors that could have also increased the risk of heart attack in those people which weren’t taken into account."

Any over-the-counter or prescription medications taken to treat ailments like fever, pain and injury come with their own unique risks and benefits, Ashton said.

"They can be safe and effective but it’s not one size fits all, and I think that’s the key message here," she said. "People need to individualize that risk and have the awareness that it could be increased."

Ashton recommended people take steps on their own to reduce the risk of a heart attack, including not smoking, being active daily and limiting alcohol intake.

"It’s not going to completely remove the risk of death from heart attack,” she said, “but it can lower it and it’s in your control.”


The Scary Connection Between Cake and Cancer



While millions of people claim that desserts are their favorite guilty pleasure, scientists report that certain cancer cells may have an even bigger sweet tooth.

Medical researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas discovered that one specific type of cancer — squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC) — is “remarkably more dependent” on sugar for its energy supply, as compared with other cancers.

Since various studies over the years have found that many cancer cells feed off sugar (in the form of glucose), the investigative team decided to examine the differences in metabolism between two major subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer: adenocarcinoma (ADC) and SqCC. They noted that about one quarter of all lung cancers are SqCC, which have been difficult to treat with targeted therapies.

The investigators collected data regarding 33 types of cancers from more than 11,000 patients. And here’s what they found: A protein responsible for transporting glucose into cells was present in significantly higher levels in lung SqCC than in lung ADC. The protein, called glucose transporter 1 or GLUT1, takes up glucose into cells, where the sugar provides a fundamental energy source and fuels cell metabolism.

These results, which were published in the journal Nature Communications, could lead to new forms of treatment, such as a GLUT1 inhibitor, along with specific dietary recommendations.

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer, both small cell and non-small cell, is the second most common cancer in both men and women (after skin cancer). Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

And in addition to squamous cell lung cancer, the research team found that GLUT1 levels were much higher in other types of SqCC: head and neck, esophageal, and cervical cancers.


Other research has also indicated a link between sugar and cancer. A 2016 study published in the online issue of Cancer Research stated that high amounts of dietary sugar — which are found in the typical Western diet — may increase the risk of breast cancer and metastasis to the lungs. Also, medical investigators from New York University discovered that consuming sugary drinks, processed foods, and high-carb meals could triple a man’s risk of prostate cancer.

“For many years, it has been thought that most cancers are universally addicted to sugars,” Jung-whan “Jay” Kim, senior study author and assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, tells Yahoo Beauty. “We were very surprised to find that this specific type of lung cancer is particularly reliant on sugar (glucose) for its growth. Identifying and characterizing this kind of unique metabolic changes associated with specific types of cancer will lead to the development of new cancer therapies, which may exploit a particular cancer’s unique sugar needs.”

He adds that there is no effective therapy that specifically targets lung squamous cancers. “So a very interesting further study would be to test if reduction of sugar consumption, which will restrict sugar to cancer cells, can reduce the tumor growth of this highly sugar-addicted lung cancer,” says Kim.

In fact, an upcoming study by Kim’s group will examine the effect of a sugar-restricted diet on the progression of lung cancer in an animal model of the disease. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that in 2015, on average, each American consumed more than 75 pounds of refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and other sweeteners combined.

         Some types of cancers are heavily dependent on sugar, study shows    

                                                                    Image result for sugar cancer

In a new study, scientists at The University of Texas at Dallas have found that some types of cancers have more of a sweet tooth than others.
"It has been suspected that many cancer cells are heavily dependent on sugar as their energy supply, but it turns out that one specific type -; squamous cell carcinoma -; is remarkably more dependent," said Dr. Jung-whan "Jay" Kim, assistant professor of biological sciences and senior author of the study published May 26 in the online journal Nature Communications. Kim and his collaborators initially set out to investigate differences in metabolism between two major subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer -; adenocarcinoma (ADC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC). About one quarter of all lung cancers are SqCC, which has been difficult to treat with targeted therapies, Kim said.
The research team, which included a Dallas high school student who interned in Kim's lab, first tapped into a large government database called The Cancer Genome Atlas, which maps information about 33 types of cancer gathered from more than 11,000 patients.
Based on that data, they found that a protein responsible for transporting glucose -; a kind of sugar -; into cells was present in significantly higher levels in lung SqCC than in lung ADC. The protein, called glucose transporter 1, or GLUT1, takes up glucose into cells, where the sugar provides a fundamental energy source and fuels cell metabolism. GLUT1 is also necessary for normal cell function, such as building cell membranes.
"Prior to this study, it was thought that the metabolic signatures of these two types of lung cancers would be similar, but we realized that they are very different," Kim said. "These findings lend credence to the idea that cancer is not just one disease, but many diseases that have very different characteristics."
With elevated GLUT1 implicated in SqCC's appetite for sugar, the researchers looked for additional evidence by examining human lung tissue and isolated lung cancer cells, as well as animal models of the disease.
"We looked at this from several different experimental angles, and consistently, GLUT1 was highly active in the squamous subtype of cancer. Adenocarcinoma is much less dependent on sugar," Kim said. "Our study is the first to show systematically that the metabolism of these two subtypes are indeed distinct and unique."
The researchers also investigated the effect of a GLUT1 inhibitor in isolated lung cancer cells and mice with both types of non-small cell lung cancer.
"When we gave GLUT1 inhibitors to mice with lung cancer, the squamous cancer diminished, but not the adenocarcinoma," Kim said. "There was not a complete eradication, but tumor growth slowed.
"Taken in total, our findings indicate that GLUT1 could be a potential target for new lines of drug therapy, especially for the squamous subtype of cancer."
In addition to squamous cell lung cancer, the team found that GLUT1 levels were much higher in four other types of squamous cell cancer: head and neck, esophageal and cervical.
"These are very different organs and tissues in the body, but somehow squamous cell cancers have a very similar commonality in terms of glucose uptake," Kim said. "This type of cancer clearly consumes a lot of sugar. One of our next steps is to look at why this is the case."
An upcoming study by Kim's group will examine the effect of a sugar-restricted diet on the progression of lung cancer in an animal model of the disease. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that in 2015, on average, each American consumed more than 75 pounds of refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners combined.
"As a culture, we are very addicted to sugar," Kim said. "Excessive sugar consumption is not only a problem that can lead to complications like diabetes, but also, based on our studies and others, the evidence is mounting that some cancers are also highly dependent on sugar. We'd like to know from a scientific standpoint whether we might be able to affect cancer progression with dietary changes."

                                                                           Does ‘good’ cholesterol still matter?


May 27 at 9:00 AM

For years “bad” and “good” cholesterol have been the yin and yang of heart health, the two lipids around which so much advice revolves.

Bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) deposits excess cholesterol in your arteries, where it can build up into plaques, increasing the likelihood of heart disease and blood clots. Good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL) carries surplus cholesterol back to your liver so that it can be excreted.

To prevent heart disease, we’ve been told to keep LDL levels down and HDL levels up — with 45 milligrams per deciliter usually offered as a good target for the latter.

Sounds pretty straightforward, right? But according to several recent studies, good cholesterol alone has little ability to lower heart-disease risks, and more is not necessarily better.

Here’s what you need to know about the current thinking and the healthy-heart steps that are unlikely to change even if understanding of cholesterol does:

The new evidence on HDL

The first clue that the role of good cholesterol was more complicated than previously thought emerged when scientists tried to develop medications to raise HDL levels. The drugs they tested — niacin and cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibitors — boosted HDL in the blood but failed to reduce cardiovascular-disease risks.

These results surprised doctors. We know that certain lifestyle changes, such as exercising more and quitting smoking, drive HDL levels up and heart-disease risk down. But increasing HDL levels artificially, without behavioral changes, doesn’t reduce risk at all.

“It turns out that HDL is not a very good therapeutic target,” says cardiologist Dennis Ko, a senior scientist at the Toronto-based Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.

What’s more, Ko’s own research suggests that above a certain threshold, more HDL could increase health risks.

His team looked at 631,762 people and found that, during an evaluation period of about five years, those with HDL levels greater than 70 mg/dL (in men) or 90 mg/dL (in women) were more likely than those with HDL levels in the middle range to die for reasonsthat were unrelated to cardiovascular disease.

Forget the numbers?

As researchers work to figure out what these findings mean in the quest to keep hearts healthy, your doctors might still use your HDL levels (in conjunction with LDL and total cholesterol) to help predict your cardiovascular-disease risk. Consumer Reports’ experts say that very low HDL levels can be a sign of trouble and that the only meaningful way to raise them is through lifestyle changes.

“There is no evidence for a benefit from any HDL-raising drug,” says Steven Nissen, a cardiologist with the Cleveland Clinic. “It’s still important to pay attention to the numbers, but the main focus should be on making healthy choices.”


In other words, whether your HDL is low, high or somewhere in the middle, the prescription for a healthy heart will be the same: Don’t smoke, drink only in moderation, exercise regularly and stay away from trans fats (which are found in items such as fried foods and baked goods made with partially hydrogenated oils).

As Marvin M. Lipman, Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser, notes, “Everyone agrees with the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.”


Monsanto Hires Internet Trolls to Cover Up Roundup’s Cancer Risk



By Josh Gay

Internet trolls, paid for by Monsanto, have been scouring the internet to hide the ugly truth about the herbicide Roundup and the dangers of glyphosate, while the chemical giant worked with government regulators to declare the product safe to use, even though it "probably" causes cancer.

According to court documents, Monsanto hired third parties to search out negative comments about their products and counter them with pseudo-scientific research commissioned by the company itself. Mike Papantonio, of America's Lawyer, predicts that Monsanto will pay heavily in a jury trial and describes how the company even has trolled The Ring of Fire, while manipulating the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  While Monsanto's despicable practices are nothing new, the latest round of accusations stem from new research confirming that chemicals in Roundup are carcinogenic. In March of 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), declared that glyphosate, the key ingredient in the popular weed killer, "probably" causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer. Monsanto quickly attempted to discredit the report, demanding that the WHO explain their findings. 

In the wake of that report, Monsanto stepped up their efforts to keep the public in the dark about the dangerous product. Dr. William Moar, a Monsanto executive, said at a conference in 2015 that the company had "an entire department" with the sole purpose of "debunking" science that threatened their bottom line, like the IARC report.

In fact, as internal emails revealed, Monsanto had staffers ghost-write favorable studies about glyphosate. The company would then pay experts to "just edit & sign their names" to the "findings." The documents also show that this is not the first time Monsanto undertook such efforts: "Recall that is how we handled Williams Kroes & Munro, 2000." That quote is in referencing the April 2000 study on Roundup that declared "that there is no indication of any human health concern." Monsanto, predictably, denies that they took part in ghost-writing scientific studies, saying that the allegations stem from a "single comment in a single email out of context."

Kara Cook-Schultz, toxics director at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group blasted the company for the practice in a statement:

"Monsanto tells us that Roundup is safe because scientists say it is safe. But apparently scientists sign their names, while Monsanto signs the checks. This calls into question multiple studies written or possibly ghostwritten, by agricultural scientists."

Monsanto's deception does not stop with scientific studies—government agencies are also eating out of the chemical giant's palm. In a statement, a representative for Monsanto said that:

"[N]o regulatory agency in the world considers glyphosate a carcinogen." 

Of course, that claim is not without its own controversy. In March, Bloomberg reported that an EPA official bragged to Monsanto that he interfered with an investigation by the U.S. Health and Human Service Department. "If I can kill this I should get a medal," Jess Rowland, a manager within the EPA's pesticide division, told an official at Monsanto.

Shortly after the Bloomberg piece was published, Representative Ted Lieu of California called for the Department of Justice to open an investigation into the EPA's collusion with Monsanto:

"Reports suggest that a senior official at the EPA worked to suppress a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services review of glyphosate, and may have leaked information to Monsanto. I believe that a Department of Justice investigation is warranted to look into any potential misconduct by employees of the EPA. I also believe a congressional hearing is immediately warranted."

Additionally, court documents also show that Monsanto created a program called "Let Nothing Go," which sought to respond to any and all negative social media comments and posts about Roundup and its other products. The documents say:

"[T]hrough a series of third parties, ["Let Nothing Go"] employs individuals who appear to have no connection to the industry, who in turn post positive comments on news articles and Facebook posts, defending Monsanto, its chemicals and GMOs."

The program has become so prevalent that concerned citizens on social media have had to purposefully misspell the company's name to thwart the online trolls. One of the top comments on a Reddit discussion thread highlights the practice: "Everyone should spell Monsant0 with a zero, it allows rational discussion without the Monsant0 shills showing up."  

It is no surprise that Monsanto is working so fiercely to defend their deadly chemicals. In 2015, the company achieved nearly $4.76 billion in herbicide sales, with the global market for glyphosate set to approach $10 billion within 5 years.

As for the trolls, our own Mike Papantonio offers this advice:

"Next time you're scrolling through social media, YouTube or even this website's comment section, remember that the trolls attacking you for no apparent reason may in fact be receiving an annual salary."


10 foods that can help prevent diabetes



Diabetes is an epidemic in the United States, with about 29 million people who have it, another 8 million who are undiagnosed and 86 million who are considered pre-diabetic, according to the American Diabetes Association. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, is a disease in which the body’s cells don’t use insulin properly. At first, the pancreas makes more insulin to get glucose into the cells, but over time, the pancreas can’t make enough to keep blood glucose levels normal and the result is type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes increases a person’s risk for several health conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. It’s also responsible for as many as 12 percent of deaths in the U.S., three times higher than previous estimates, a January 2017 study in the journal PLOS ONE found.   Although genetics can increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, both diet and exercise also play a big role.In fact, people with pre-diabetes who lost just 5 to 7 percent of their body weight reduced their risk by 54 percent, a study out of John Hopkins in July 2013 found.

Here, experts weigh in with 10 foods that balance your blood sugar and can prevent diabetes:

1. Apples
You might think fruit is off the menu because of its sugar content, but fruit is filled with vitamins and nutrients that can help ward off diabetes.

Apples are one of the best fruits you can eat because they’re rich in quercetin, a plant pigment. Quercetin helps the body secrete insulin more efficiently and wards off insulin resistance, which occurs when the body has to make more and more insulin to help glucose enter the cells. Insulin resistance is the hallmark characteristic of type 2 diabetes.

“It’s filled with antioxidants, and also there’s fiber in the fruit that naturally slows the digestion of the sugars,” Karen Ansel, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Syosset, New York, and author of  “Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging,” told Fox News.

But be sure to eat apples with the skin because this park of the fruit has six times more quercetin than its flesh.

2. Yogurt

Eating a serving of yogurt every day can cut your risk for type 2 diabetes by 18 percent, a November 2014 study out of the Harvard School of Public Health found.

Although it’s not clear whether that’s because yogurt has probiotics, one thing is for sure: The snack, especially the Greek variety, is high in protein, which makes you feel satiated and prevents large blood sugar spikes, Marina Chaparro, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), and a certified diabetes educator in Miami, Florida, told Fox News.

Although yogurt contains natural sugars, be sure to read labels to avoid excess sugar, and select varieties that have 12 to 15 grams of carbohydrates.

3. Asparagus
Low in calories and high in fiber, asparagus and other types of green leafy vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which reduce inflammation and can balance blood sugar levels.

In fact, people who ate one and half extra servings of green leafy vegetables a day cut their risk for type 2 diabetes by 14 percent, an August 2010 meta-analysis in the British Medical Journal found.

4. Beans and legumes
Studies suggest that people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet are less likely to   develop type 2 diabetes than their meat-eating counterparts.

Chickpeas, lentils and beans are all low in calories and saturated fat, have a low glycemic index and a ton of fiber, which takes a long time to digest, so blood sugar doesn’t rise as quickly, Chaparro said.

In fact, eating a cup of beans a day has been shown to reduce blood sugar, an October 2010 study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine found.

5. Chia seeds
Because type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease and stroke, it’s also a good idea to eat foods like chia seeds. Two tablespoons of chia seeds  provides 4 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber, as well as heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are also versatile: Add them to oatmeal or muffins, blend them into a smoothie, or make a chia pudding.

6. Berries
Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are all low in calories and carbohydrates, and have a low glycemic index to keep your blood sugar steady. Although they all contain fiber, raspberries and blackberries in particular take the lead to fill you up.

7. Coffee
When it comes to preventing type 2 diabetes, coffee remains controversial, but some studies suggest a coffee habit can be a good thing for preventing diabetes. In fact, people who drank more than one and a half cups a day for 10 years were 54 percent less likely to develop diabetes than non-coffee drinkers, a July 2015 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found. However, if you’re going to drink coffee, enjoy it black or with a small amount of milk, but skip the sugar. Those fancy sugar-laden drinks at Starbucks will definitely spike your blood sugar and negate any benefit, Chaparro said.

8. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are rich in plant chemicals known as lignans, as well as magnesium, both of which help the body use insulin more efficiently. They also contain globulins, or proteins that help lower blood sugar.

Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of protein, which is slowly digested so it keeps blood sugar stable, and fiber, which curbs hunger, can prevent overeating and help you lose weight. Enjoy them as a snack, or add them to a salad or baked goods.


Study opens door to possibility that nutritional intervention could prevent Alzheimer's disease



The incidence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is expected to triple in the coming decades and no cure has been found. Recently, interest in dietary approaches for prevention of cognitive decline has increased. In particular, the omega-3 fatty acids have shown anti-amyloid, anti-tau and anti-inflammatory actions in the brains of animals. In a new article published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, researchers have found that for patients with high omega-3 levels, blood flow in specific areas of the brain is increased.

"This study is a major advance in demonstrating the value of nutritional intervention for brain health by using the latest brain imaging," commented George Perry, PhD, Dean and Professor of Biology, The University of Texas at San Antonio, and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Single photon emission computed tomography, or SPECT, can measure blood perfusion in the brain. Images acquired from subjects performing various cognitive tasks will show higher blood flow in specific brain regions. When these images were compared to the Omega-3 Index, a measure of the blood concentration of two omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), investigators found a statistically significant correlation between higher blood flow and higher Omega-3 Index. In addition, they evaluated the neuropsychological functions of the subjects and found that omega-3 levels also correlated with various psychological feelings using a standardized test battery (WebNeuro).  

This study drew from a random sample of 166 participants from a psychiatric referral clinic for which Omega-3 Index results were available. The participants were categorized into two groups of higher EPA+DHA concentrations (>50th percentile) and lower concentrations (<50th percentile). Quantitative brain SPECT was conducted on 128 regions of their brains and each participant completed computerized testing of their neurocognitive status.

Results indicated statistically significant relationships between the Omega-3 index, regional perfusion on brain SPECT in areas involved with memory, and neurocognitive testing.

Overall, the study showed positive relationships between omega-3 EPA+DHA status, brain perfusion, and cognition. Lead author Daniel G. Amen, MD, of the Amen Clinics Inc., Costa Mesa, CA, adds, "This is very important research because it shows a correlation between lower omega-3 fatty acid levels and reduced brain blood flow to regions important for learning, memory, depression and dementia."

Co-author William S. Harris, PhD, University of South Dakota School of Medicine. Vermillion, SD, lends this perspective, "Although we have considerable evidence that omega-3 levels are associated with better cardiovascular health, the role of the 'fish oil' fatty acids in mental health and brain physiology is just beginning to be explored. This study opens the door to the possibility that relatively simple dietary changes could favorably impact cognitive function."


Gluten-free diet carries increased obesity risk, warn experts


gluten free breads on wood background


Substituting everyday staples with gluten-free foods could increase the risk of obesity, experts have warned, after finding that such products often contain higher levels of fats than the food they aim to replace.

A gluten-free diet is essential to those with coeliac disease – an auto-immune condition that is thought to affect 1% of Europeans – while the regime is also proving increasingly popular among those without the disease. But while a host of gluten-free products are on the market, researchers have said they have a very different nutritional make-up to conventional staples. 

“There is very little [consumers] can do about it,” said Joaquim Calvo Lerma of the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria La Fe in Spain and co-author of the research. “Unfortunately consumers can [only] eat what is available on the market.”

Calvo Lerma’s warning comes after he and his and colleagues compared 655 conventional food products to 654 gluten-free alternatives across 14 food groups including breads, pasta, breakfast cereals, biscuits and even ready meals, covering a range of brands. 

The results – presented at the annual meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition – reveal that, overall, gluten-free products were more energy-dense than their conventional counterparts.

The team found that, on average, gluten-free bread loaves had more than twice the fat of conventional loaves, while gluten-free breads in general had two to three times less protein than conventional products. Gluten-free biscuits were also found to be lower in protein but higher in fat, while gluten-free pasta had lower levels of sugar and just half of the protein of standard pasta. Calvo Lerma warned that gluten-free foods could be contributing to an increased risk of obesity, particularly among children who are more likely to eat products like biscuits and breakfast cereals. He urged consumers to compare gluten-free products across brands to find those with the lowest fat content.

Calvo Lerma also called on manufacturers to innovate. “It is the responsibility of the food industry to produce these type of gluten-free products from other materials that are much healthier or have a [more] enhanced nutritional profile than the current raw materials being used, like cornflour or potato starch,” he said, pointing out that healthier products could be made, for example, using grains such as buckwheat or amaranth.

He added that manufacturers should also add more complete and clearer labels to products to highlight their nutritional content, including levels of vitamins and minerals.Benjamin Lebwohl, from the coeliac disease centre at Columbia University, who was not involved in the research, said that the study backs up previous evidence that gluten-free foods are nutritionally suboptimal. But while a gluten-free diet is essential for coeliacs, it is not intrinsically healthy or unhealthy, he added. “It depends on the choices you make as part of the gluten-free diet,” he said.

Sarah Sleet, chief executive of Coeliac UK, said the latest findings tie in with the charity’s own research, adding that further development of lower-fat, gluten-free products would be welcomed.

David Sanders, professor of gastroenterology at the University of Sheffield, noted that other studies have found gluten-free and conventional foods to have similar nutritional value. “The jury is out,” he said.

But Sanders cautioned that there is no evidence a gluten-free diet has benefits for those without gluten sensitivity or coeliac disease. “Once you go into the territory of dietary restrictions without medical symptoms then you are running the gauntlet of missing out on various vitamins or minerals without realising it,” he said.


Health Benefits of Flaxseeds


Image result for flax seeds


By Dr. Verena Tan

For centuries, flaxseeds have been prized for their health-protective properties.

In fact, Charles the Great ordered his subjects to eat flaxseeds for their health. So it's no wonder they acquired the name Linum usitatissimum, meaning "the most useful." Nowadays, flaxseeds are emerging as a "super food" as more scientific research points to their health benefits.

Here are 10 health benefits of flaxseeds that are backed by science.

Grown since the beginning of civilization, flaxseeds are one of the oldest crops. There are two types, brown and golden, which are equally nutritious.

A typical serving size for ground flaxseeds is 1 tablespoon (7 grams).

Just one tablespoon provides a good amount of protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to being a rich source of some vitamins and minerals.

One tablespoon of ground flaxseeds contains the following :

• Calories: 37

• Protein: 1.3 grams

• Carbs: 2 grams

• Fiber: 1.9 grams

• Total fat: 3 grams

• Saturated fat: 0.3 grams

• Monounsaturated fat: 0.5 grams

• Polyunsaturated fat: 2.0 grams

• Omega-3 fatty acids: 1,597 mg

• Vitamin B1: 8 percent of the RDI

• Vitamin B6: 2 percent of the RDI

• Folate: 2 percent of the RDI

• Calcium: 2 percent of the RDI 

• Iron: 2 percent of the RDI

• Magnesium: 7 percent of the RDI

• Phosphorus: 4 percent of the RDI

• Potassium: 2 percent of the RDI

Interestingly, flaxseeds' health benefits are mainly attributed to the omega-3 fatty acids, lignans and fiber they contain.

Summary: Flaxseeds are good sources of many nutrients. Their health benefits are mainly due to their content of omega-3 fats, lignans and fiber.





WASHINGTON – Why are young people, especially women, reporting cases of temporary blindness and other vision problems in record numbers?  

Doctors see a correlation with cell-phone use – especially watching the device in the dark with one eye closed or obscured.

It’s no joke, says the New England Journal of Medicine, which published a study calling the syndrome “transient smartphone blindness.”

The good news is the condition normally only lasts for two minutes, but the long-term effects are unknown and have doctors and hospital officials concerned. Some fear there may be permanent damage to the eye.

Some victims of the syndrome believed they were suffering strokes. Since the syndrome is still largely unknown by many doctors, they have been known to order all manner of tests, including MRIs and heart scans.

Here’s what doctors believe is the culprit.

Young people often use smartphones in their bedrooms at night with no lights on. The intense light of the LED screen is absorbed into eyes, or, in many cases, one eye with another obscured by a blanket or pillow. But using any smartphone in the dark puts severe strain on the eyes, the doctors say. 

Doctors see a correlation with cell-phone use – especially watching the device in the dark with one eye closed or obscured.

It’s no joke, says the New England Journal of Medicine, which published a study calling the syndrome “transient smartphone blindness.”

The good news is the condition normally only lasts for two minutes, but the long-term effects are unknown and have doctors and hospital officials concerned. Some fear there may be permanent damage to the eye.

Some victims of the syndrome believed they were suffering strokes. Since the syndrome is still largely unknown by many doctors, they have been known to order all manner of tests, including MRIs and heart scans.

Here’s what doctors believe is the culprit.

Young people often use smartphones in their bedrooms at night with no lights on. The intense light of the LED screen is absorbed into eyes, or, in many cases, one eye with another obscured by a blanket or pillow. But using any smartphone in the dark puts severe strain on the eyes, the doctors say.


   Articles - May 2017


Diet soda can increase risk of dementia and stroke, study finds



soft drink being poured into glass


The quest to trim waistlines using artificial sweeteners could be backfiring, as researchers found artificially sweetened drinks like diet soda can increase a person's likelihood of stroke and dementia.

A study published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke found a daily diet soda puts a person at three times the risk of dementia and stroke compared to someone who drinks less than one a week.

It's another blow to diet soda, which has been the subject of recent unflattering studies. Purdue University found in 2013 it doesn't actually help us lose weight. Another 2007 study discovered those who drink diet soda are no less at risk of heart disease than those who drink regular soda.

In fact, the Stroke study found drinking sugary drinks such as soda and fruit juice, doesn’t increase a person's risk of stroke and dementia. Researchers caution that's not a call to go buy sugary drinks, which Harvard has linked to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

"Although we did not find an association between stroke or dementia and the consumption of sugary drinks, this certainly does not mean they are a healthy option," explained Dr. Matthew Pase, study author and a senior fellow at the Boston University School of Medicine. "We recommend that people drink water on a regular basis instead of sugary or artificially sweetened beverages."


Over seven years, researchers studied thousands of people over the age of 45 from the area of Framingham, Mass., on their drinking and eating habits. Researchers followed-up a decade later to see who had experienced a stroke or dementia. The data was adjusted for a number of factors, including age, sex and caloric intake.

The study only tracked the trend between artificial sweetener consumers, dementia and stroke, but was unable to prove that drinking artificial drinks was the cause of the diseases.

Pase added the overall risk for dementia and stroke isn't staggering.

"Even if someone is three times as likely to develop stroke or dementia, it is by no means a certain fate," he said. "In our study, 3% of the people had a new stroke and 5% developed dementia, so we're still talking about a small number of people developing stroke or dementia."

The American Beverage Association, which represents soda makers such as Pepsi and Coca-Cola, defended low-calorie sweeteners, saying they can be tools for weight loss. In statement, the ABA said various other factors contribute to stroke and dementia.

“Low-calorie sweeteners have been proven safe by worldwide government safety authorities as well as hundreds of scientific studies and there is nothing in this research that counters this well-established fact," the statement said. "The (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), World Health Organization, European Food Safety Authority and others have extensively reviewed low-calorie sweeteners and have all reached the same conclusion – they are safe for consumption."


The Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee 

Drinking coffee basically keeps you alive


 Drinking coffee basically keeps you aliveDrinking coffee basically keeps you aliveImage result for coffee


Three strong cups of coffee a day slashes the risk of prostate cancer by half, a study revealed this week.

And that’s only one of its benefits.

Prevents high cholesterol

Coffee helps prevent clogging of the arteries, according to a study in the British Medical Journal.

And a US team found women drinking a cup a day can slash the risk of stroke by up to 25 percent.  

Reduces risk of heart disease

Three to four cups daily cuts the risk of heart disease, a Portuguese study found.

In the US, Harvard researchers found that low consumption of coffee and deaths from heart-related illnesses are linked.

Coffee makes you feel more alert – although scientists are unsure how it also helps maintain brain function.

And Dutch research shows coffee slashes the chance of developing Alzheimer’s by 20 percent.

Reduces risk of dying

Researchers at Harvard found three to five cups of coffee a day could stop you heading to an early grave.

The study also found it reduces the risk of developing neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s.

Helps you heal

Coffee is shown to speed up the healing process, helping faster recovery from operations and wounds.

A German study in 2012 found drinking 3 ounces three times per day helped patients recover from bowel operations faster.


Coffee breath could actually be a sign of clean teeth.

Scientists at Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University found that coffee breaks down bacteria which causes plaque.

Drinking it could slow down or even prevent tooth decay.

Lowers risk of diabetes

Having more than one cup daily cuts the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 11 percent, researchers from Singapore found.

A US study found three to five cups a day could also help diabetics stabilize their blood sugars.


Amino acids in diet could be key to starving cancer




Cutting out certain amino acids -- the building blocks of proteins -- from the diet of mice slows tumor growth and prolongs survival, according to new research published in Nature.

Researchers at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute and the University of Glasgow found that removing two non-essential amino acids -- serine and glycine -- from the diet of mice slowed the development of lymphoma and intestinal cancer.

The researchers also found that the special diet made some cancer cells more susceptible to chemicals in cells called reactive oxygen species.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy boost levels of these chemicals in the cells, so this research suggests a specially formulated diet could make conventional cancer treatments more effective.

The next stage would be to set up clinical trials with cancer patients to assess the feasibility and safety of such a treatment.

Dr Oliver Maddocks, a Cancer Research UK scientist at the University of Glasgow, said: "Our findings suggest that restricting specific amino acids through a controlled diet plan could be an additional part of treatment for some cancer patients in future, helping to make other treatments more effective.

Professor Karen Vousden, Cancer Research UK's chief scientist and study co-author said: "This kind of restricted diet would be a short term measure and must be carefully controlled and monitored by doctors for safety. Our diet is complex and protein -- the main source of all amino acids -- is vital for our health and well-being. This means that patients cannot safely cut out these specific amino acids simply by following some form of home-made diet."

Amino acids are the building blocks that cells need to make proteins. While healthy cells are able to make sufficient serine and glycine, cancer cells are much more dependent on getting these vital amino acids from the diet.

However, the study also found that the diet was less effective in tumors with an activated Kras gene, such as most pancreatic cancer, because the faulty gene boosted the ability of the cancer cells to make their own serine and glycine. This could help to select which tumors could be best targeted by diet therapy.

Dr Emma Smith, science communication manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "This is a really interesting look at how cutting off the supply of nutrients essential to cancer cell growth and division could help restrain tumors.

"The next steps are clinical trials in people to see if giving a specialised diet that lacks these amino acids is safe and helps slow tumor growth as seen in mice. We'd also need to work out which patients are most likely to benefit, depending on the characteristics of their cancer."


Are frozen veggies healthy? Study suggests a surprising finding


Image result for frozen veggies


When it comes to fruits and veggies, there’s little doubt grabbing a bag of pre-washed, prepped frozen peas from the freezer section is likely to be cheaper and easier. But, what about your health? It’s long been assumed that eating fresh fruit and veggies is hands-down healthier.

But a new study set to be published in June casts that common belief in doubt.  A team of scientists from the University of Georgia compared fresh with frozen, as well as a third category dubbed "fresh-stored." This mimicked the typical length of time people tend to store fresh produce after buying it and was found to be around five days.


The researchers focused on these family favorites:

To judge how fresh each product was, the scientists measured levels of key nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.

In many cases, there was little difference between the fresh, fresh-stored and frozen varieties. But, where the researchers noted vast differences, they found the frozen produce outshone the fresh counterparts. They said: “The findings of this study do not support the common belief that fresh food has significantly greater nutritional value than its frozen counterpart.


Scientists Can Reverse DNA Aging In Mice 



Approximately ten thousand times each day, the DNA in our cells receives some damage, but most of that damage is repaired by our cells' built-in DNA repair systems. The efficiency of these DNA repair systems decline with age, however, and that's thought to lead to age-related health problems and cancer.

A recent paper published in Science shows that a chemical used in the DNA repair process, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), has a concentration that declines with age. This decline may drive the age-associated accumulation of DNA damage—a finding that suggests supplementing NAD+ might offset some of the effects of aging.

The team behind the paper used human embryonic kidney cells (which grow well in the lab) to look at the role of this chemical. The authors found that NAD+ binds to the protein “deleted in breast cancer 1” (DBC1), which—as its name implies—was previously implicated in cancer. DBC1 normally binds to and inhibits another protein that performs DNA repair. But NAD+ blocks this interaction, releasing the inhibition on DNA repair.

Therefore, as NAD+ concentrations decline with age, it's possible there is insufficient NAD+ to bind to the DBC1 protein, leaving it free to block DNA repair.

To test this proposed mechanism in a living organism, the authors used aging mice. As expected, NAD+ concentrations declined as the mice aged. With its decline, DBC1 was increasingly binding to and shutting down the DNA repair enzyme. The authors then gave the mice the chemical precursor to NAD+, which should restore their NAD+ concentrations. Once the mice were given this treatment, their DNA repair activity increased, and the levels of DNA damage were reduced.

It's important to note that this is in comparison with untreated, aged mice. The effect was not quantified relative to the DNA repair in young mice, so we don't know how much of a restoration this is.

This paper does not definitively explain all age-related increases in DNA damage—there may be other mechanisms at play. But it does suggest there's an NAD+ dependent mechanism that may contribute to this phenomenon. Based on this finding, the authors suggest that replenishing NAD+ concentrations could alleviate the effects of certain DNA-damaging exposures, such as chemotherapy and radiation.

While the data looks compelling, more research is needed on the potential consequences of elevating NAD+ levels before this technique is employed in humans; this study was small and contained only three to five mice for each of the various experiments. We still don’t know why NAD+ concentration declines with age, and we don’t know what other cellular functions might be controlled by this decline in NAD+ availability.

Once the effects of NAD+ are more fully characterized, this compound could be an exciting new way to limit DNA damage. Increasing NAD+ concentration could also provide more quality years of life.


Study links gut microbes to age-related inflammation


Image result for gut bacteria


April 12 (UPI) -- New research with mice by McMaster University in Canada suggests gut microbes can lead to age-related inflammation and premature death. Researchers found that imbalances in the composition of gut microbes in older mice cause the intestines to become leaky and release bacterial products that trigger inflammation, impair immune function and reduce lifespan. Inflammation can make older adults more susceptible to infections, chronic conditions like dementia and cardiovascular disease, and early death. 

Researchers studied the effects of inflammation by raising mice in germ-free environments and compared them to mice raised in conventional settings. The germ-free mice did not show age-related increases in inflammation and a larger proportion lived longer than mice in the conventional setting.

Increases in levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor, or TNF, in the bloodstream and tissues are linked to age and researchers found that the germ-free mice did not have increased TNF with age.

"To date, the only things you can do to reduce your age-associated inflammation are to eat a healthy diet, exercise and manage any chronic inflammatory conditions to the best of your ability," Dawn Bowdish, professor of pathology and molecular medicine at McMaster University, said in a press release. "We hope that in the future we will be able to use drugs or pre- or probiotics to increase the barrier function of the gut to keep the microbes in their place and reduce age-associated inflammation and all the bad things that come with it."

The study also showed that mice in the conventional setting that were treated with anti-TNF drugs had reduced age-related changes in the microbiome.

The study was published in Cell Host & Microbe


Aging isn't killing us, lack of sleep is




In news that will come as no surprise to anyone over the age of 30, new research has found it gets harder to sleep as we get older.

But it’s not young children, partners or weather sabotaging our precious rest, but biology, according to American sleep researchers.

A review of scientific literature published in the medical journal Neuron found adults begin to lose their ability to lapse into deep, restorative sleep from about their mid-30s. And it’s no coincidence, the researchers say, that this is also about the time we start to show signs of aging.  

More frighteningly, however, report co-author Professor Matthew Walker said, is that lack of sleep has also been linked with a host of deadly diseases, particularly those affecting the brain.

“Sleep changes with aging, but it doesn’t just change with aging; it can also start to explain aging itself,” he said.

“Every one of the major diseases that are killing us in first-world nations — from diabetes to obesity to Alzheimer’s disease to cancer — all of those things now have strong causal links to a lack of sleep.”

“And all of those diseases significantly increase in likelihood the older that we get, and especially in dementia.”

Researchers have found that, as the brain ages, neurons and circuits in the areas that regulate sleep slowly degrade, resulting in a decreased amount of non-REM sleep. 

Non-REM sleep is characterized as a deep state of sleep, without rapid eye movement, dreaming, and bodily movement.

Non-REM sleep plays a key role in maintaining memory and cognition, which explains the connection between brain conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Walker, who leads the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley, said there remains some debate as to whether older adults need less sleep, or they cannot generate the sleep that they need.

“The evidence seems to favor one side — older adults do not have a reduced sleep need, but instead, an impaired ability to generate sleep,” he said.

“The elderly therefore suffer from an unmet sleep need.”  

he authors stress that there is variability between individuals when it comes to sleep loss.

However, the review did find that women seem to experience far less deterioration in non-REM deep sleep than men.

With loss of deep sleep starting in the mid-thirties, Walker said it must be seen as an important health issue.

“We need to recognize the causal contribution of sleep disruption in the physical and mental deterioration that underlies aging and dementia,” he said. “More attention needs to be paid to the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disturbance if we are going to extend healthspan, and not just lifespan.”


Excessive Urination At Night (Nocturia)


Image result for peeing at night

What Is Nocturia?

Nocturia, or nocturnal polyuria, is the medical term for excessive urination during the night. During sleep time, your body produces less urine that is more concentrated. This means that most people don’t need to wake up during the night to urinate and can sleep uninterrupted for six to eight hours.

If you need to wake up several times in the night to urinate, you may be suffering from excessive urination at night. As well as disrupting your sleep, nocturia can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.


 What Are the Causes of Nocturia?

Causes of nocturia range from lifestyle choices to medical conditions. Nocturia is most common among older adults, but it can occur at any age.


Medical Conditions

A variety of medical conditions can cause nocturia. One of the most common causes of nocturia is a urinary tract infection (UTI) or bladder infection. These infections cause frequent burning sensations and urgent urination throughout the day and night, and treatment usually requires antibiotics.

Other medical conditions that can cause nocturia include:

  • infection or enlargement of the prostate
  • bladder prolapse
  • overactive bladder (OAB) syndrome
  • tumors of the bladder, prostate, or pelvic area
  • diabetes
  • anxiety
  • kidney infection
  • edema, or swelling, of the lower legs
  • neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, or spinal cord compression 
  • Pregnancy - Nocturia can be an early symptom of pregnancy. This can develop at the beginning of pregnancy, but is more common later, when the womb presses against the bladder.
  • Sleep Apnea - Nocturia can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. This can occur even if the bladder is not full. Once the sleep apnea is controlled, the nocturia usually goes away.
  • MedicationsSome medications may cause nocturia as a side effect. This is particularly true of diuretics (water pills), which are prescribed to treat high blood pressure. 
  • Lifestyle Choices -Another common cause of nocturia is excessive fluid consumption. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages are diuretics, which means that drinking them causes your body to produce more urine. Consuming either alcohol or caffeinated beverages in excess can lead to waking up and needing to urinate at night.

What Is the Treatment for Nocturia?

If your nocturia is caused by a medication, taking the medication earlier in the day may help.

Treatment for nocturia can sometimes include medication, such as anticholinergic drugs, which help lessen the symptoms of an overactive bladder, or desmopressin, which causes your kidneys to produce less urine.

Nocturia can be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as diabetes or a UTI that could worsen or spread if left untreated. Nocturia due to an underlying condition will usually stop when the condition is successfully treated.

How Can Nocturia Be Prevented?

Nocturia can be a difficult and sometimes embarrassing condition to live with, but there are steps you can take to lessen its impact on your life.

Reducing the amount you drink before going to bed can help prevent you from having to urinate at night. Avoiding drinks that contain alcohol and caffeine may also help, as can urinating before you go to bed. Some food items act as diuretics as well, like chocolate, spicy foods, and artificial sweeteners. Kegel exercises can help strengthen your pelvic muscles and improve bladder control.

Pay close attention to what exacerbates your symptoms so you can try to modify your habits accordingly. Some people find it helpful to keep a diary of what they drink and when.



New Blood Test Could Help Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke



Scientists can tell by your blood whether you have cancer cells, how well your organs are functioning, and if they've been affected by cancer. Now there’s a new blood test that could help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Jeff Meeusen, Ph.D., developed the test at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Meeusen told VOA in a Skype interview that the test will determine who’s at risk for a heart attack or stroke, "and it seems to have a chance to determine who’s at risk, even accounting for current gold standard tests like LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol." LDL cholesterol is considered the "bad" cholesterol because it becomes part of plaque, the waxy stuff that can clog arteries.

The test measures the amount of ceramides in the blood. Ceramides are waxy molecules strongly linked to cardiovascular disease. They are similar to cholesterol, but unlike cholesterol, they are biologically active.

Meeusen explained that when we start to have cardiovascular risk factors, the ceramide levels build up and then they can promote things like the LDL cholesterol crossing into the vascular wall. Once it’s there, he said, ceramides develop atheroscopic plaque, which causes hardening of the arteries.

"Even if you have a very low LDL cholesterol, this ceramide test is able to identify who is going to be at risk for developing a heart attack or stroke later in life," Meeusen said. Meeusen is a clinical chemist and co‑director of Cardiovascular Laboratory Medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

The test could be used to help patients who have progressing coronary artery disease as well as to find out who is at risk for developing coronary artery disease.

Our physicians are really embracing this new test," Meesen said. "There’s been a need for tests that can help identify those people that are at higher risk, and they’re using this test among individuals that would otherwise seem to be at target, on track. They have good cholesterol. They don’t have too many other risk factors. And yet, if you have an elevated ceramide score, being able to prescribe a statin, or encourage that patient to exercise and diet, is going to prevent these events in the long run."

Meeusen said the test provides an incentive to patients to take better care of their health. What's more, the test is available to doctors and their patients outside the Mayo Clinic hospital network.


Chuck Norris on heart health: Answer is closer than you think



A recent report in the medical journal Lancet has proclaimed that the people with the healthiest hearts in the world are the Tsimane people, a band that lives on an isolated tributary of the Amazon River in Bolivia. According to the report, an 80-year-old Tsimane has about the same heart and artery health as the average American in his or her 50s. Tsimane men had lower coronary artery calcification scores than Japanese women, a population previously regarded as having the lowest coronary artery calcification scores reported for any ethnicity.

The Tsimane people get around by walking, riding bikes or canoeing. Their staple foods are homegrown rice, plantains and corn. If they want meat, they go catch it. It might not be surprising that a people who eat no processed food and who exercise all day long and spend the majority of their days outdoors have little heart disease. What this study did was to systematically demonstrate it.


Today, cancer and heart disease remain as the two leading causes of death in the U.S. Both diseases are strongly linked to poor diet and too little exercise. Could an answer to reversing these two troubling health issues lie just outside our living room window?

Dr. Tim Chico, a cardiologist at Britain’s University of Sheffield, who was not involved in the Tsimane study, tells the Lancet that what he takes away from it is a person’s risk of heart attack is largely determined by what they do, not who they are; that all of us can greatly reduce our risk of developing a heart attack if we are regularly active, eat a diet rich in vegetables and low in processed foods, maintain a healthy weight, and don’t smoke. And, we should add, spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors. It seems that nature has not been given proper consideration as an antidote to declining health. More than half of all people now live in cities, a number that is expected to grow. At the same time, our understanding of the importance of the natural world has been slipping away. Some even say that we are witnessing an epidemic disconnection from the importance of the outdoors to our wellbeing.

Florence Williams, a contributing editor at Outside Magazine and author of “The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative

,” believes we are caught in a vicious cycle. As she recently told the New York Times, we don’t spend enough time in nature to let us know how good it makes us feel, and then because we don’t know how good it makes us feel we don’t spend enough time in nature.


Our sensory system evolved in the natural world, Williams says. When we’re in those spaces, our brains become relaxed because these are things that we were designed to look at, hear and to smell. It’s no fluke that studies show people who live near green spaces are generally happier and report better physical and mental health.

So much attention is spent today trying to prevent things like depression and suicide, obesity and chronic disease, and rightly so. Take diabetes. Many in the medical community believe the spiraling costs of diabetic care could cripple our health care system. About 95 percent of the diabetes cases in the United States are from what is known as Type 2 diabetes. It’s a form that doctors view as a reversible disease. Researchers in Australia have recently demonstrated that just avoiding prolonged periods of sitting and finding ways to increase activity across the day can prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes and prevent complications for those who already have Type 2 diabetes.

As noted in Williams’ book, according to a London study, in urban areas with more trees, doctors prescribed fewer antidepressants. While in Denmark, people living within 330 yards of green spaces were less likely to be obese and more likely to engage in rigorous exercise. In a study in Japan, immune cells that fight cancer were found to increase when people were in a forest. As a result, Japan created “therapy trails.”

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic recently conducted an experiment to gage the toll that aging takes on a body. What they found was the cellular health of muscles associated with aging was “corrected” with exercise, especially if it was intense. In fact, older people’s cells responded in some ways more robustly to intense exercise than the cells of the young did.

What can we take away from this? It’s never too late to benefit from exercise. Combine that exercise with the sensory power of the great outdoors and a healthy diet, and you can’t go wrong.

Articles - April 2017

Top Alzheimer's researcher explains how you can help protect your brain


Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease.

Currently, more than 5 million Americans live with the memory-robbing ailment and by 2050 that number could rise as high as 16 million, according to new figures from the Alzheimer’s Association. Scientists are working to find ways to not only treat Alzheimer’s but prevent it from developing in the first place. In one key step in the process, researchers are gaining a better understanding of the role of amyloid proteins in the development of the disease.

“The amyloid plaques build up outside of the nerve cells [in the brain] and now we know that when the nerve cells interact with the plaque, it causes the nerve cell to make a tangle inside,” explains Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D., director of the Alzheimer’s Genome Project and a leading researcher in the field at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “And that tangle then chokes the nerve cell from within and kills it. So the killing process begins with the amyloid – that’s kind of the gun – but the tangle’s the bullet, so to speak.”

Experts now believe these amyloid plaques and the tangles they form start occurring in people’s brains 10 to 15 years before any symptoms like memory loss begin to show. The latest drug development efforts are focused on intervening much earlier on, before the disease takes an irreversible toll on memory and cognitive function. Tanzi likened it to taking statins to manage cholesterol to prevent a future heart attack.

Another increasingly important focus of medical research is neuroinflammation in the brain — why it happens, and how to stop it. For patients with Alzheimer’s, Tanzi explained, “What’s killing most of your nerve cells is neuroinflammation, where the brain has reacted against all these plaques and tangles and cell death with an inflammatory response. And only over the last 5 years, we’ve discovered the genes that control neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s and we’re doing drug discovery based on those as well.”  Yet, while such drugs can take years to develop, Tanzi says there are things people can do right now to help protect their brain. He spoke with CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook about these strategies.

Q: Aside from choosing the right parents, what can somebody do to prevent Alzheimer’s – or try to help prevent Alzheimer’s?

A: The four big categories are diet, exercise, sleep and stress reduction. I wrote about this in detail in my last book, “Super Genes” – six chapters, more than you wanted to know about how to adapt your diet to minimize inflammation and plaques. 

Meaning Mediterranean diet, probiotics – take care of your gut bacteria.

Q: Which probiotics?

A: Yogurt, a yogurt drink like kefir, or a probiotic pill with live bacteria.

Q: But there’s so many different ones ... which ones? Do we know yet? We don’t know yet.

A: It’s a hot area right now. There are companies that are looking at what are the best bacteria to put in a probiotic.

Q: Why would what’s going on in your gut affect what’s going on in your brain?

A: So it turns out there’s what’s called a gut-brain axis, where the bacteria in your gut are creating chemicals that interact with your brain that do everything from determine your mood to control how much inflammation there is in your brain.

Q: And even obesity, right? It’s amazing what we’re learning about these trillions of bacteria that people were saying, ‘Oh, wash them out … I’m going to get a cleanse. They’re icky! Let’s get them out of us!’ It turns out, of course, millions of years of evolution – they’re there for a reason.

A: And you want to take care of them. They’re there to help you. A Mediterranean diet, more fiber, more fruit, what are called prebiotics, probiotics – meaning, if you don’t know exactly what probiotic pill to take, at least live-culture yogurt. I drink kefir every morning. And then after diet – exercise. You know at least an hour-long brisk walk, or try to get 8,000 to 10,000 steps if you’re using a device.  And sleep. Eight hours. After 40 years old, you have to get seven to eight hours of sleep, and try your best to do it because as you cycle in and out of REM sleep, this is when you clean amyloid plaque out of your brain.

Q: That was one of the most amazing discoveries, when I first read about that – you’re actually ‘garbage collecting’ at night when you’re asleep. The toxins get carried out of your brain.

A: The brain – first of all, the cells that can cause inflammation, when they’re behaving are clearing the plaque. So you want to keep these certain cells clearing the plaque away and not causing inflammation. During the deep sleep, those cells eat all the plaque. And then the brain literally, physically constricts itself and releases the plaque debris – the proteins from the plaque – into the spinal fluid and out of the brain to wash away. You can actually see the brain physically constricting after the material’s been broken down by the resident cells. And this only happens during delta – slow-wave – the deepest sleep that comes in after REM. So you want to be able to cycle in and out of REM several times per night. Kind of like a dishwasher on multiple cycles, you want to go in and out to clean the brain as much as you can every night with sleep.

Q: So it’s coming down to what our parents told us, right? Eat your fruits and vegetables, get a lot of exercise, get plenty of sleep. And then the last thing you said was stress reduction.

A: Managing stress. It turns out, we just published a study on meditation, a new trial on how does meditation affect your gene activity – your gene expression, as we call it. 

We did it with folks at Mount Sinai [Hospital] in New York. And what we found was that with a meditation practice, there are changes in your gene expression that work against inflammation and that actually create a healthier state. We also see changes in genes that affect the amount of amyloid in your brain during a full one-week intensive meditation course. So we have meditation instructors, we have novice meditators who are learning, and our control group of people at the same resort who were just hanging out and having fun but not learning how to meditate. And there were significant differences in terms of very beneficial gene expression changes in those who were meditating.

Q: One of the biggest fears my patients have is that they might be developing dementia. So how do you distinguish between a ‘senior moment’ and dementia? I mean, people would kind of flippantly say, if you can’t find your car keys that’s one thing, if you find them and don’t know what they do, that’s another thing. But I always found that a very flip answer. What do you really say to a patient in that situation?

A: Well the fact is, as we get older, we don’t recall names as well, we can see the face of an actor we know but can’t recall the name as fast. There are changes that happen in the brain just as there are changes in the muscles. Our joints, our muscles get a bit weaker. So that’s why it’s so important to work out physically and mentally. You know, stay engaged in learning new things.

Q: Crossword puzzles? Learning a new language?

A: I like to say – if crossword puzzles help you, if it’s the New York Times it would help you between Friday and Sunday, because you’d probably have to look something up and learn something new. But it’s really learning new things. When you learn something new, you make new synapses – connections between nerve cells [in the brain]. And all learning is based on what you already knew, you learn by association to what you already knew. So not only do you make new synapses, but you strengthen the ones you already have.

Bacon, soda & too few nuts tied to big portion of US deaths



CHICAGO (AP) — Gorging on bacon, skimping on nuts? These are among food habits that new research links with deaths from heart disease, strokes and diabetes.

Overeating or not eating enough of the 10 foods and nutrients contributes to nearly half of U.S. deaths from these causes, the study suggests.

"Good" foods that were under-eaten include: nuts and seeds, seafood rich in omega-3 fats including salmon and sardines; fruits and vegetables; and whole grains.

"Bad" foods or nutrients that were over-eaten include salt and salty foods; processed meats including bacon, bologna and hot dogs; red meat including steaks and hamburgers; and sugary drinks.

The research is based on U.S. government data showing there were about 700,000 deaths in 2012 from heart disease, strokes and diabetes and on an analysis of national health surveys that asked participants about their eating habits. Most didn't eat the recommended amounts of the foods studied.

The 10 ingredients combined contributed to about 45 percent of those deaths, according to the study.

It may sound like a familiar attack on the typical American diet, and the research echoes previous studies on the benefits of heart-healthy eating. But the study goes into more detail on specific foods and their risks or benefits, said lead author Renata Micha, a public health researcher and nutritionist at Tufts University. The results were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Micha said the foods and nutrients were singled out because of research linking them with the causes of death studied. For example, studies have shown that excess salt can increase blood pressure, putting stress on arteries and the heart. Nuts contain healthy fats that can improve cholesterol levels, while bacon and other processed meats contain saturated fats that can raise levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol.

In the study, too much salt was the biggest problem, linked with nearly 10 percent of the deaths. Overeating processed meats and undereating nuts and seeds and seafood each were linked with about 8 percent of the deaths.

The Food and Drug Administration's recent voluntary sodium reduction guidelines for makers of processed foods and taxes that some U.S. cities have imposed on sugar-sweetened beverages are steps in the right direction, Micha said.

A journal editorial said public health policies targeting unhealthy eating could potentially help prevent some deaths, while noting that the study isn't solid proof that "suboptimal" diets were deadly.

The study's recommended amounts, based on U.S. government guidelines, nutrition experts' advice, and amounts found to be beneficial or harmful in previous research.

Good" ingredients

—Fruits: 3 average-sized fruits daily

—Vegetables: 2 cups cooked or 4 cups raw vegetables daily

—Nuts/seeds: 5 1-ounce servings per week — about 20 nuts per serving

—Whole grains: 2 ½ daily servings

—Polyunsaturated fats, found in many vegetable oils: 11 percent of daily calories

—Seafood: about 8 ounces weekly

"Bad" ingredients

—Red meat: 1 serving weekly — 1 medium steak or the equivalent

—Processed meat: None recommended

—Sugary drinks: None recommended

—Salt: 2,000 milligrams daily — just under a teaspoon.


More Than 400 Carcinogens are Probably in Your Body Right Now, Says EWG Report


Image result for carcinogens 

What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice, of course. And little boys may be full of snakes, snails, and puppy dog tails, but both boys and girls—and us grown-ups too—are likely to have as many as 400 cancer-causing chemicals in our bodies these days, says a startling new report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) on carcinogens in the human body. Best known for list-building like its “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists that rank fruits and vegetables by their pesticide residue (using USDA data), EWG has compiled a list of cancer-causing chemicals common in popular consumer products, food, water, and air, in a new report entitled “The Pollution in People: Cancer-Causing Chemicals in Americans’ Bodies.”

The group pulled data from government agencies, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to compile the list, which contains about 420 carcinogenic chemicals routinely found in blood and urine samples. 

“More than 1,400 chemicals and chemical groups are known or likely carcinogens,” EWG explains in the report that singles out the most common chemicals we’re likely exposed to on a regular basis.

“Federal health officials have measured many of these chemicals in our systems but the scope and range of carcinogenic pollution in people, known as body burden, has not been tallied – until now.”

From asbestos to pesticides, chemical solvents, and more, the comprehensive list details the health risks, sources of exposure, and average detectable levels in blood or urine samples. The report also details the risks of combined chemical exposure such as Bisphenol A, or BPA, which is commonly found in food and beverage containers and cash register receipts, heavy metals sometimes found in drinking water, and perfluorooctanoic acid, which is used in fabric stain repellents. According to the report, this combination has effects in the body similar to the consumption of tobacco. There are thousands of chemical combination risks like this.

Nearly 2 million people will be diagnosed with cancer this year, with genetics only responsible for a small number of the cases. Much of today’s cancer risk factors can be attributed to diet, lifestyle, and environment.

“The array of carcinogens detected in humans is alarming,” says the EWG report. “It underscores how much work is needed to reduce and eliminate toxic chemicals, particularly carcinogens, from our daily lives.”

4 Steps to Help Prevent Cancer


Be sure to avoid any food labeled as “diet,” “light,” or “fat-free.” In order to remove fat or natural calories, they are replaced with chemicals that are dangerous to your body.

Instead of consuming food products that manufacturers claim is “good for you” – follow these four anti-cancer diet tips to prevent cancer the easy way:

1. Eat organic whenever possible.

2. Choose raw or clean frozen if availability of fresh product isn’t good in your area.

3. Fill half your plate each meal with non-starchy vegetables. If you eat animal products, make sure they’re pastured and grass-fed meats and dairy goods (including eggs). Use only high quality oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, or grass-fed butter.

4. Cut back drastically on grains and sugars.


Excess sugar linked to Alzheimer's: Study finds a 'tipping point'


There's yet another reason to ditch the sweet stuff: scientists have found Alzheimer’s disease could be caused by excess sugar.


 A new study has established a “tipping point” link between the blood sugar glucose and the disease, meaning people with high sugar diets could be at a greater risk of developing the degenerative neurological condition. About 70 per cent of the estimated 413,000 Australians with dementia have Alzheimer’s, and more than 240 new cases of dementia are diagnosed each day, according to Alzheimer’s Australia. Research from the University of Bath found excess glucose damages a vital enzyme involved with inflammation response to the early stage of the disease. Abnormally high blood sugar levels, or hyperglycaemia, is a well-known characteristic of diabetes and obesity.


Diabetes patients have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, where abnormal proteins aggregate to form ‘plaque’ and ‘tangles’ in the brain.

It was already known that glucose and its breakdown products can damage proteins in cells through a reaction called glycation. But now scientists have unravelled the specific molecular link between glucose and Alzheimer’s disease. Studying people both with and without Alzheimers, they found in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, glycation damages an enzyme called MIF (macrophage migration inhibitory factor). MIF plays a role in immune response and insulin regulation, and glycation limits its powers. So researchers believe that inhibition and reduction of MIF activity may be the “tipping point” in disease progression. As the disease progresses, the glycation of these enzymes increases.


Professor Jean van den Elsen, from the University of Bath’s department of biology and biochemistry, said: “We’ve shown that this enzyme is already modified by glucose in the brains of individuals at the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The next step is to see if similar changes can be detected in blood."

Dr Omar Kassaar, from the University of Bath, said excess sugar was “well known to be bad for us when it comes to diabetes and obesity, but this potential link with Alzheimer’s disease is yet another reason that we should be controlling our sugar intake in our diets.”

The work is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

More than 6.4 million Australians will be diagnosed with dementia in the next 40 years, at a cost of more than $1 trillion, unless significant medical breakthroughs are made, Alzheimer’s Australia’s recent Economic Cost of Dementia 2016-2056 report forecasts.


Want to Live to Be 100?  This Diet Can Help Prolong Your Life 


roasted vegetable medley in a bowl


You may love a big bowl of pasta or a regular hamburger, but if you want to extend your lifespan, a plant-based diet is the way to go. A diet comprising primarily plants is the most well-studied diet in extending longevity and reducing the risk of disease. Refined grains, alcohol, red meat, and processed foods actually have the ability to age you and have been linked to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, among other illnesses. For a long, healthy life (plus great skin) opt for leafy greens, berries, root vegetables, and legumes over complex carbs and sugar.

Avoid genetically modified foods

Genetically engineered foods may be bigger, brighter, and cheaper, but if you want to live to be 100, opt for the more expensive, less impressive looking organic version of your favorite fruits and vegetables. There are nine primary genetically engineered crops including corn, squash, and zucchini, but their derivatives can also be found in over 70% of your supermarket’s processed foods. This makes it imperative you read the labels on any processed foods. When it comes to shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables, play it safe and go organic or look for non-GMO labeling.

Minimize the meat 

If you want the longevity of a centenarian it may be time to cut out your morning sausage links, afternoon turkey sandwich, and heavy protein-packed dinner. Studies on centenarians around the world have discovered that one thing they all have in common is that they rarely eat meat. When they do partake in meat it is eaten in small portions of three to four ounces. To top it off, these long-living humans aren’t eating small quantities of meat once a day or even a few times a week, but only an average of five times a month. Regardless of your current meat-eating habits, it may be time to reevaluate the amount of animal protein you consume.

Eat like the Okinawans

The Okinawans are the indigenous people of the Ryukyu islands in Japan and they have one of the longest life expectancies in the world with a high centenarian population. This group of people has been studied endlessly by nutritionists and scientists for secrets to a long, healthy life. One of the most noticeable habits of the Okinawans is something they call “Hara Hachi Bu.” It means to only eat until you are 80% full and 20% empty. This little trick ensures they never overeat, and by not stuffing themselves until they’re completely full, the Okinawans eat fewer calories and are able to maintain a healthy weight.

Eat fish 

You should keep fish part of your regular diet. Studies have found that eating three ounces of fish a day along with a plant-based diet leads to a longer life. Many centenarians adhere to this diet trick. Not sure which fish is best? The best choices are species that are the middle of the food chain like sardines, anchovies, and cod, as they aren’t exposed to high levels of mercury or other chemicals.

Cut back on dairy

You may be the type to guzzle a giant glass of milk every night or maybe you just love your cereal and milk, but this habit may be limiting your lifespan. The human digestive system isn’t optimized for digesting and processing cow’s milk, which is high in fat and sugar. Centenarians around the world get their calcium from plants (cooked kale is a great source) and in some cultures they drink goat and sheep’s milk instead. An easier route for the average American may be to swap our your dairy milk with soy, almond, rice, or cashew milk. There are plenty of different types to experiment with before your settle on your favorite dairy replacement.


Bottled water overtakes soda as America’s No. 1 drink — and you should avoid both



Americans now drink more bottled water than soda.

Bottled-water consumption in the U.S. hit 39.3 gallons per capita last year, while carbonated soft drinks fell to 38.5 gallons, marking the first time that soda was knocked off the top spot, according to data from industry tracker Beverage Marketing Corp. But Soda is still more expensive, racking up $39.5 billion in retail sales versus $21.3 billion for water, industry research group Euromonitor found.

“In 2016, bottled water overtook carbonates to become the leading soft drinks category in off-trade volume terms, an astonishing milestone a decade in the making,” it said.


While the fizzy soda category has experienced an annual volume sales decline since 2003, bottled water grew every year over the last two decades, except 2009 during the depths of the Great Recession, driven by consumer concerns about the effects of artificial sweeteners and sugar.

More than one-quarter of bottled water revenue last year was shared by the soda giants Coca-Cola Co. KO, +0.21% and PepsiCo PEP, -0.17% which sell Dasani and Aquafina respectively. In the four decades since the launch of Perrier water in the U.S., consumption of bottled water surged 2,700%, from 354 million gallons in 1976 to 11.7 billion gallons in 2015, according to the International Bottled Water Association.

Bottled water also had another unexpected boost aside from skittishness over sodas. Scares over possible water contamination have helped boost demand for bottled water over the last few decades, experts say. 

Some 700,000 Californians may be exposed to contaminated water, according to California’s Water Resources Control Board. And in Toledo, Ohio in 2014, the Ohio National Guard distributed bottled water to residents due to contaminated water there. A federal state of emergency was declared in Flint, Mich. in January 2016 and residents were told to use bottled water for both drinking and bathing due to faulty and old lead pipes.

But what people don’t know: When they buy bottled water, they are often times drinking the same water that comes out of the tap. “The general public thinks bottled water is going to be safer and cleaner than tap water,” says Mae Wu, attorney in the health program at National Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. “For the most part, that’s not true.”

Some 45% of bottled water brands are sourced from the municipal water supply—the same source as what comes out of the tap, according to Peter Gleick, a scientist and author of “Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water.”

/Those within the industry say that doesn’t mean it’s the same as tap water. A spokesman for the International Bottled Water Association says purified and spring water must meet Food & Drug Administration quality standards. (Dasani and Aquafina use a public water source, but both companies say the water is filtered for purity using a “state-of-the-art” process.) And, as the industry expands, more bottled waters are available with different flavors, carbonation and vitamins.

Bottled water is not without chemicals, according to studies of European bottled waters carried out in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France — one published in 2011 and the other in 2013 — by the Goethe University Frankfurt’s Department of Aquatic Ecotoxicology. Among the main compounds Wagner found: Endocrine disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, which can act like hormones in the body and have been linked to diabetes, breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. 

lastic soda and water bottles are also clogging up landfills and floating as vast vortices on the world’s oceans. The U.S. was recently ranked 20th among 192 countries that could have contributed to plastic waste in the oceans, according to a 2015 study led by Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer at the University of Georgia and published in the academic journal Science.

Another 2015 study estimated that the accumulated number of microplastic particles in 2014 weighed between 93 and 236 thousand metric tons, which is only 1% of global plastic waste estimated to enter the ocean in one year. What’s more, consumers can purify their own tap water for a fraction of the cost of a $2 bottle of water or soda. (Prices start at $5.)

Still, soda and sugary drinks may lead to an estimated 184,000 deaths each year among adults from diabetes, heart disease and other obesity-related illnesses, according to a landmark 2015 study by researchers at Tufts University published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. The study analyzed consumption patterns from 611,971 individuals between 1980 and 2010 across 51 countries, along with data on national availability of sugar in 187 countries. (The American Beverage Association published a lengthy rebuttal: “The authors themselves acknowledge that they are at best estimating effects of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption.”)

But sugar-shy consumers are shying away from diet soda too. Several recent studies have linked diet soda and cardiovascular disease and showed a correlation (if not a causation) between cancer and aspartame. The beverage industry says people who are overweight and already at risk for heart disease may consume more diet drinks in an attempt to control their weight and the Food and Drug Administration has ruled that artificial sweeteners are safe.

Last year, Pepsi announced that it will now sell Diet Pepsi with both aspartame, the diet sweetener typically used in sweeteners like Equal, and sucralose, used in Splenda.

Unlike bottled water, however, they’re both artificial.


Ask the Doctors: Sun exposure vital to vitamin D production



Dear Doctor: How much sunshine do I need to get my daily dose of vitamin D? And does wearing sunscreen interfere with my body’s production of vitamin D?

Dear Reader: These are good questions. The major source of our body’s vitamin D comes from our own production in the skin. This requires the ultraviolet rays from sunlight to form vitamin D3; both the liver and the kidneys are needed to then create the active form of vitamin D. Those with inadequate sun exposure — including disabled people, infants, the elderly, dark-skinned people, and those who live at northern latitudes during the winter — are at risk of low vitamin D3 production, which can lead to a loss of bone density and an increased risk of fractures. Disabled people and infants are often less likely to go outdoors, and people over the age of 70 don’t produce vitamin D3 from their skin as effectively. As for people with darker skin, they have more melanin, so less UV light gets absorbed to create vitamin D3. They need more sun exposure to produce vitamin D3 than those with lighter skin. So to begin to answer your question, we have to look at all the variables that affect vitamin D3 production: your skin pigmentation, your general age, your latitude, the time of day when you go out in the sun and the season of the year. 

A study done in Valencia, Spain, measured the amount of sunlight necessary to produce a sufficient amount of vitamin D in those with lighter skin. (Valencia is about the same latitude as Kansas City, Missouri.) The researchers took into account the amount of clothing and the season of the year. In spring and summer, 25 percent of the body (the hands, face, neck and arms) is exposed to the sun, and in these seasons, about 8 to 10 minutes of sun exposure at noon produces the recommended amount of vitamin D. In the winter, only 10 percent of the body is exposed, and nearly 2 hours of sun exposure at noon is needed to produce a sufficient amount of vitamin D.

Another study compared the geographic extremes of Miami and Boston. Researchers studied people who tanned well, but who still burned when exposed to sun. In the summer in Miami — with 25 percent of the body exposed to the sun — a person would need only 3 minutes of sun exposure to make a sufficient amount of vitamin D. That same person — when placed in Boston in the winter — would need 23 minutes at noon to produce enough vitamin D.  

Then again, Boston in the winter is really cold, so you would probably have only 5 percent or less of your body exposed to the sun. Thus, 23 minutes in the sun in Boston would need to be stretched to more than 2 hours in order to ensure sufficient sun exposure. In addition, if you have darker skin pigment, the time needed to produce sufficient vitamin D would be even longer.

As for sunscreen, it can decrease the formation of vitamin D3 by the skin, but again there are many variables, such as how much of your body has sunscreen, how thick the layer of sunscreen and the level of SPF. There is a balance — a Goldilocks zone — between sufficient sun exposure to make vitamin D3 and the risk of getting skin cancer.

Lastly, because our fat cells can store vitamin D for months, you don’t need to worry if there are days when you don’t get enough sun exposure. You’ll still be safe from the detrimental bone effects of low vitamin D if you get enough sun other days. So take some time to be outside.


Food for thought: Your diet and cancer




What, if anything, can we do in our own personal lives to possibly hold cancer at bay? Martha Teichner has some food for thought: 


Chef Eric Levine’s “Eureka!” moment about healthy food came with his fifth cancer. Yes, he’s beaten cancer five times.

That moment came on the best and worst day of his life. Hours after chemotherapy and radiation, barely able even to stand up, he competed on the Food Network show, “Chopped.”

“In the middle of it I had that, like, moment of clarity where I thought, ‘You know what? I could win this competition, and I could beat cancer,’” he told Teichner.

He did win. But his doctor told him, change the way you eat -- or die. So far he’s lost 65 pounds.

“So the relationship of food to health and wellness, it’s massive. I didn’t get it,” he said.

Now he wants everybody to get it. He sneaks healthy dishes like a stuffed acorn squash onto the menu at his N.J. restaurant.

“When things are jammed down your throat, people resist,” Levine said.

What cancer patients eat matters. Mary-Eve Brown, an oncology dietician at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, told Teichner, “It’s been reported that two out of three people, when they show up for that very first oncology appointment for treatment, are already suffering nutritionally -- they’re undernourished or malnourished.”

One patient, Jack Appelfeld, had about a quarter of a cup of chicken noodle soup. It went, as he put it, “terrible.” Because he was so malnourished, Appelfeld’s chemotherapy session had to be cancelled. 

“Any time that we hold treatment, that has impact on survival,” said Brown. 

“That’s how powerful nutrition is during your cancer treatment.”Badly enough that Appelfeld’s scheduled chemotherapy had to be cancelled.

So, is there evidence that food can actually cause cancer?

“There’s a relationship between high-fat meats and certain types of gut cancers,” said Brown. “There’s even a bigger body of evidence about obesity and cancer, female cancers, pancreas cancer.”

Dr. Margaret Cuomo has produced a documentary and a companion book, both called “A World Without Cancer.” 

Teichner took a spin around Dr. Cuomo’s local supermarket on Long Island. Her advice: Eat the rainbow. “We want to eat a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits,” Dr. Cuomo said. “The anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities of the vegetables and fruits we’re seeing here today are those elements that are going to help us reduce the risk for cancer, diabetes and other diseases.” 

So says Cuomo, but there is some debate about the role of specific foods in cancer prevention, even organics. Still, she’s a believer and says consider organic. But if you gasp at the price, “buy as much as you can afford. It’s important that you eat the vegetable, so if you cannot get them organic, you’re gonna eat the vegetables regardless.”

And here’s something you may not have thought about: “We want to keep to the periphery of a supermarket,” she said. 

Why? “Because the healthier foods are going to be located there.”

She says fill your cart with fruits and veggies, like tomatoes, peppers, oranges, broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage.

And try green tea. “Green tea is known to have catechins, and that has a powerful anti-cancer effect,” she said.

And what does all that look like on your dinner plate?

“You want two-thirds of that plate to be consisting of vegetables, whole grains and fruits, with one-third of it protein,” Dr. Cuomo said. “That protein can be a bean -- black beans, chick peas, lentils. It can be a lean protein, like fish or poultry.”

Teichner asked, “And what do you say to people who say, ‘I hate all that stuff’?”

“Learn to like it,” Dr. Cuomo laughed. “It’s good for you!” 


The Magic of Neurogenesis: How to Help Your Body Make New Brain Cells


emoji 1913846 1920 The Magic of Neurogenesis: How to Help Your Body Make New Brain Cells


Many people think that their adult brain is not capable of generating new cells. That’s it. Done. From now on, it will only get worse. And if you drink too much alcohol, or even watch too much Netflix, you will “kill” those neurons of yours for good.  Although aging or heavy alcohol consumption may contribute to deterioration of our brain health, the reality is much more complex.

For a long time, it was believed that brains of grown-ups couldn’t regenerate and replace dead or damaged cells. As late as 1998, a duo of scientists Peter Eriksson from Sweden and Fred Gage from the USA presented their discovery that human beings are capable of growing new brain cells throughout their whole lives. The birth of neurons from stem cells is called neurogenesis and in babies, most of the job is done before they leave their mommy’s belly. After birth, this process is restricted to two areas:

Olfactory Bulb — a structure of the forebrain responsible for the sense of smell.

Hippocampus — a seahorse-shaped structure that is located within the temporal lobe of the brain (just above your ears) and is important for learning, formation of memory, regulation of emotions, and spatial navigation.

In patients with Alzheimer’s disease, for example, the hippocampus is one of the first areas that get affected. The hippocampus is also associated with many other mental disorders. Investigations into the link between neurogenesis and depression indicate that production of new brain cells is impaired in depressed patients. As expected, the discovery of neurogenesis in adult individuals has raised questions about how we can directly encourage the development of new neurons. Is it possible to heal our own brains? Research and some studies that have been conducted since prove that we can indeed play an active role in promoting production of new brain cells, and as a result improve our moodmemory, and learning skills. According to the latest findings, you can boost neurogenesis if you pay attention to these:




Yes, that’s right. If you decide to go for a run today, you will not only improve your general health, but you will also help your brain produce new brain cells. According to the study in rats published last year (2016) in the Journal of Physiology, physical exercise enhances neurogenesis if it’s aerobic and sustained. On the other hand, anaerobic resistance training doesn’t result in higher production of neurons in the hippocampus, even though it may have a positive effect on physical fitness. High-intensity interval training (HIT) showed only a very little increase in the number of new neurons, compared to the sedentary lifestyle, possibly due to the related stress that tends to reduce neurogenesis.

Scientists believe the effects of exercise on neurogenesis, as they were modeled on animals, should have a similar impact on a human brain. Dr. Wendy A. Suzuki, Professor of Neural Science and Psychology at New York University, has dedicated her recent work to how aerobic exercise improves memory and learning. In her book titled Happy Brain, Happy Life the neuroscientist talks about the connection between exercise and the ability of our brain to perform better.  


Nothing is closer to the truth than the saying: “You are what you eat.” The composition of your diet is not only important for you in order to stay fit and look slim, but also for your mental health.

In 2009, Doris Stangl and Sandrine Thuret published their research findings on how our diet affects the formation of new cells in the adult human brain. According to these, diet can impact neurogenesis at four levels: through calorie restrictionmeal frequencymeal texture, and meal content.

Studies show that caloric reduction leads to an extended lifespan, significantly increases production of new neurons, and reduces the risk of neurological diseases, such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, or Parkinson’s disease. Experiments with rodents indicated that the positive effects of dietary restriction could be achieved by both daily caloric reduction (50–70% of the normal diet) and intermittent fasting (alternating schedule of eating and fasting). Therefore what really matters is the net cutback on how much you eat.

When there’s no reduction in calorie intake, neurogenesis can be promoted by extending the time between meals.

Japanese scientists went even further and showed that food texture also makes some difference. Soft diet apparently impairs neurogenesis, as opposed to hard diet that requires chewing, even though the whole mechanism is still not completely clear.


Low Fat Diets


Apart from the overall calorie intake, the important factor for stimulation of neurogenesis is the proportion and type of fat in your diet.

Laboratory tests point to the fact that excessive consumption of meals that contain high amounts of saturated fat (animal fat products, coconut oil, palm oil) significantly decreases the number of newly generated cells in the hippocampus. There is plenty of evidence that proves the correlation between a diet rich in saturated fats and diminished neurogenesis, which may augment the risk of depressive and anxiety disorders. In essence, it means that too much butter, cheese, bacon, or Nutella can lead not only to obesity and cardiovascular diseases but also to brain damage.

In contrast stands the type of fat found in salmon, tuna, walnuts, or flax seeds — omega-3 fatty acids — that have been shown to promote the production of new neurons. These nutrients are important for our whole body in a variety of ways, but they play a truly critical role in development and functioning of our brain. Some studies even indicate that the beneficial effect of omega-3 fatty acids on neurogenesis in the hippocampus could help treat and prevent age-related memory weakening, depression, or neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

In summary, if you eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, you genuinely help your brain work well. According to some studies, neurogenesis can be also reinforced by certain dietary substances, such as flavonoids, found in blueberries and cocoa, resveratrol, found in red wine, or curcumin, found in the turmeric spice. So a glass of cabernet, a bite of dark chocolate, or a bowl of yellow curry can be a nice treat for your brain.

On the contrary, it appears that chronic sleep deprivation and stress (including early-life and pregnancy trauma) inhibit the production of new brain cells in adults, which in turn causes deterioration of our cognitive functions and overall mental health.


Study: High-intensity Aerobic Exercise May Reverse Aging


A new study suggests high-intensity aerobic exercise may reverse aging. (Photo by Flickr user Global Panorama via Creative Commons License)


The good news is that researchers say they have found a way that may reverse aging for older people. The bad news is you are going to have to hit the gym for some high-intensity aerobic training to do it.

For the study, researchers from the Mayo Clinic compared three types of exercise: high-intensity interval training, resistance training and a combination of the two. They found that only high-intensity interval training and combined training “improved aerobic capacity and mitochondrial function for skeletal muscle,” with mitochondrial function being a common problem for older adults.

"We encourage everyone to exercise regularly, but the take-home message for aging adults that supervised high-intensity training is probably best, because, both metabolically and at the molecular level, it confers the most benefits," saysK. Sreekumaran Nair, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and senior researcher on the study.

He added that high-intensity training appears to reverse some aspects of aging and warned that resistance training is also important for increasing muscle strength, suggesting hitting the weights “a couple of days a week.”

Specifically, researchers found that high-intensity interval training reversed aging by improving muscle protein content, which improved “energetic functions” and caused muscle enlargement in older adults.

It also improved cells’ ability to make new proteins, which reverses a “major adverse effect of aging.”

The study monitored older and younger adults who were divided into groups to do each of the three types of exercise over 12 weeks. Researchers then gathered health information 72 hours after participants completed a type of exercise.

The findings were published in the journal Cell Metabolism.


Who Really Needs Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Drugs


Steve Findlay, Consumer Reports


Experts agree that high blood pressure and high cholesterol increase the risk of having a heart attack. So you might think they also agree on when you should take drugs to control them.

They don’t.

Earlier this year the American College of Physicians issued more lenient guidelines for blood pressure in people 60 and older: They don’t need drugs until their systolic, or upper, blood pressure number goes above 150, the ACP now says. But the American Heart Association sticks with the traditional cutoff of 140. And last year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggested that people who don’t have particularly high cholesterol levels can still benefit from cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

“There are just too many groups issuing recommendations, and that has made things more confusing,” says Steven Nissen, M.D., chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. 

Taking drugs when they aren’t needed can pose problems. Side effects of blood pressure medications include persistent coughing, diarrhea, nausea, and dizziness. Statins can cause muscle weakness, and possibly kidney damage and type 2 diabetes.

Here’s our guide through the maze, with advice from Nissen, other experts, and our Best Buy Drugs team:

Focus On Your Overall Risk

Though blood pressure and cholesterol levels are important, other factors play a role, too—including your age, gender, race, and whether you smoke or have diabetes.

“Everyone 40 and over should know their overall risk of having a heart attack or stroke,” says Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser.

So he and other experts recommend estimating your 10-year risk by using a calculator developed by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, at The ideal is a 10-year risk that’s less than 7.5 percent.  

Don't Rush to Drugs

If your 10-year risk is greater than 10 percent, or if your LDL (bad) cholesterol level is over 190, you should start a statin. But if your risk is between 7.5 and 10, it can be worth trying lifestyle changes first, our consultants say.

That means stopping smoking, losing excess weight, being active, consuming a heart-healthy diet, drinking alcohol in moderation only, and getting blood sugar levels under control. If that doesn’t lower your risk enough after three to six months, consider a statin, even if your LDL cholesterol isn’t elevated.

The same basic strategy applies to blood pressure. If it’s moderately elevated (150 to 160 for people 60 and older; 140 to 150 for others), consider drugs only if several months of diet and lifestyle changes weren’t enough.

“Lifestyle changes can slash your risk of heart attack, and in some cases eliminate or reduce your need for medication,” Lipman says. For example, regular exercise can lower your systolic pressure by up to 9 points. And every 11 pounds of excess weight lost can reduce it by 2.5 to 10 points. And avoiding excess sodium (anything beyond 2,400 mg in a day) can lower it between 2 and 8 points in some people.  

Get the Right Medication

Statins are thought to work not only by lowering LDL cholesterol but also by stabilizing plaque deposits in the arteries, making the deposits less likely to rupture and send blood clots through the body.

People with a history of heart attack or stroke, or at very high risk of one (greater than 20 percent), should start with higher doses of a potent statin: 40 to 80 mg of atorvastatin (Lipitor and generic) or 20 to 40 mg of rosuvastatin (Crestor and generic). Other people who need a drug should start with lower doses of those or other statins: 40 mg of lovastatin (Mevacor and generic), pravastatin (Pravachol and generic), or simvastatin (Zocor and generic).

Doctors use several different kinds of drugs to lower blood pressure, and for people with levels above 150 it can take a combination to control the problem. Still, it usually makes sense to start with the oldest, safest, and least expensive drug: diuretics, or water pills, such as chlorthalidone or hydrochlorothiazide. If that doesn’t work, you may need to switch to or add an ACE inhibitor, calcium channel blocker, or other kind of drug.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the May 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

This article and related materials are made possible by a grant from the state Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program, which is funded by the multistate settlement of consumer-fraud claims regarding the marketing of the prescription drug Neurontin (gabapentin).


Articles - March 2017


Tom Brady Is In Better Shape at 39 Than He Was at 25:

Here’s His Diet Secret


By Olivia Tarantino

What Tom Brady has accomplished in the football world is amazing. It’s also somewhat unbelievable; that is, until you factor in his and his wife’s diet secret.

Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots, just pulled off the greatest win in Super Bowl history. And not only did the quarterback lead his team into setting or breaking more than 30 records in a single game, but he did it at 39 years old.

It’s unprecedented. So how exactly has TB12 set himself apart from his predecessors? We’re guessing it has to do with the “unique way [of doing things] that's a little outside the box that's really worked,” that Brady mentioned during the Super Bowl LI MVP news conference.

Thanks to Alex Guerrero, Brady’s personal body coach, the quarterback has implemented a number of lifestyle changes, including going to sleep at 9 p.m. and focusing on flexibility. But perhaps the most important (and unconventional) change is adhering to what’s been called a “cutting-edge” anti-inflammatory diet.

According to an interview with Allen Campbell, personal chef for Brady and his wife, supermodel Gisele Bündchen, the diet consists of plenty of all-natural and whole foods, centering on an extensive list of exclusions: processed foods, sugar, refined carbohydrates, gluten, dairy, and mushrooms. He also recommends limiting consumption of inflammatory nightshade veggies (like tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes), iodized salt, caffeine, and alcohol.

(P.S. You’d have to eat more than 24 pounds of potatoes to notice the effects of what some nutritionists believe to be the inflammatory poison found in nightshades)

It might be crazy, but apparently it works: “When I was 25, I was hurting all the time, and I couldn't imagine playing as long as I did, just because, you know, if your arm hurts every day when you throw, how can you keep playing? And now, at 39, my arm never hurts and my body never hurts,” Brady told reporters.

Still need convincing? Here’s a different perspective: “I think I’m living proof of what it’s been,” Brady confided to GQ magazine. “I was the kid that was the 199th pick that never had the body for it. People didn’t think I’d play one year in the NFL, and now I’m going on my 17th year.” Yeah, that’s pretty impressive.

Want to try out the diet for yourself? We’ve rounded up 10 of Brady’s and Gisele’s favorite anti-inflammatory foods a-la Gisele’s Instagram. Eating these foods to fend off inflammation won’t just help your post-workout muscles rebound more quickly, but it’ll also help your body to fight off unwanted weight gain.

1. Strawberries  2. Broccoli  3. Bone Broth  4. Spinach  5. Dark Chocolate  6. Apples  7. Beets  8. Avocados 9. Whole Grains  10. Lemons

Educational Truth  

 Image result for students in classroom

I am a 44-year veteran public schoolteacher and I am addressing this letter to all parents. It is with a heavy heart that I write this, but if just one child, one parent or one family is helped by these words from personal insight, my efforts are not in vain. I, as well as the vast majority of caring teachers throughout our land, make it our primary goal that all of our students achieve maximum success and move forward in life, but a far stronger influence beyond the control of our classrooms is preventing our students from reaching their full potential. Every psychological study ever done on child development has shown that children need stability as much as food, water and oxygen, but the very element that our students need most to achieve success has been thoughtlessly and, in most cases, selfishly stolen away by the ravages of divorce.

Parents of America, wake up! You are destroying your own children. Politicians, open your eyes. Our students' low achievement is not due to lack of educational funding, inadequate testing or poor teaching methods. All the taxpayer money wasted on meaningless tests and raising educational standards will never achieve the desired results if our children's minds are constantly focused on more important issues like "Will Daddy and Mommy get back together again?" or "Who is going to take care of me?" Is it any wonder that teen depression, suicide, drug use and promiscuity are epidemic in America? 

Parents, I have discovered through my many years of teaching the most important ingredient necessary for student achievement and success: It is called the family, the only real source of true security, where the love between husband and wife and children remains forever unconditional and, in God's sight, morally pure.


NEILL G. RUSSELL- Web Host of 


Why you should stop eating chicken breasts with white stripes



Loved for its leanness, adaptability and inoffensiveness, chicken is a popular meat all over the world. 


In fact, many people actively choose to eat chicken over red meat because they believe it’s healthier.

But as a result of changing practices in poultry farming, it turns out chicken is no longer as good for us as it once was.

A new video by Compassion in World Farming has been released, aiming to educate the public about ‘white striping’ in chicken.

More and more chicken breasts now have ‘white striping’ - strips of fat that appear as a result of a condition many of the birds develop in factory farms. Truly lean chicken breast won’t have any of the white striations, but all you have to do is pop down to your local supermarket to see how common it is for what we’re sold to be covered in white stripes of fat. 

The stripes come about as a result of the way the chickens are raised - they’re produced on a mass scale and farmers are doing everything then can to make the chickens bigger, quicker.

This means the chicken we eat may be a lot fattier and less nutritious than it used to be.

A study last year by the University of Arkansas and Texas A&M concluded that “the severity of white striping has increased in recent years,”

and found it present in 96 per cent of the 285 birds they tested.

What’s more, the researchers discovered that white striping “negatively impacts meat quality” and results in chicken that is less tender and absorbs marinades less easily.

A 2013 study also found that chicken breasts with the condition can contain 224 per cent more fat than normal ones.

But according to Jaclyn London, R.D., Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, we shouldn’t be swearing off the stuff: “Chicken - so long as it's not breaded and deep-fried - is a great source of lean protein (that also happens to be rich in B-vitamins, iron and vitamin B12),” she said.

And a spokesman for the National Chicken Council told Buzzfeed white striping actually only affects a “small percentage of chicken meat” and “does not create any health or food safety concerns for people and the welfare of the chicken itself is not negatively impacted.”

So you don’t need to stop cooking your favourite chicken stir-fries, curries and roasts just yet, but let’s hope more supermarkets and restaurants avoid factory-farmed birds


The benefits of a bilingual brain on an aging brain



New research reveals that bilingualism has a positive effect on cognition later in life. Findings show that individuals who speak two or more languages, even those who acquired the second language in adulthood, may slow down cognitive decline from aging. Bilingualism is thought to improve cognition and delay dementia in older adults. While prior research has investigated the impact of learning more than one language, ruling out “reverse causality” has proven difficult. The crucial question is whether people improve their cognitive functions through learning new languages or whether those with better baseline cognitive functions are more likely to become bilingual.

Bilingualism is thought to improve cognition and delay dementia in older adults. While prior research has investigated the impact of learning more than one language, ruling out "reverse causality" has proven difficult. The crucial question is whether people improve their cognitive functions through learning new languages or whether those with better baseline cognitive functions are more likely to become bilingual.

"Our study is the first to examine whether learning a second language impacts cognitive performance later in life while controlling for childhood intelligence," says lead author Dr. Thomas Bak from the Centre for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh.

For the current study, researchers relied on data from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936, composed of 835 native speakers of English who were born and living in the area of Edinburgh, Scotland. The participants were given an intelligence test in 1947 at age 11 years and retested in their early 70s, between 2008 and 2010. Two hundred and sixty two participants reported to be able to communicate in at least one language other than English. Of those, 195 learned the second language before age 18, 65 thereafter.



Findings indicate that those who spoke two or more languages had significantly better cognitive abilities compared to what would be expected from their baseline. The strongest effects were seen in general intelligence and reading. The effects were present in those who acquired their second language early as well as late."The Lothian Birth Cohort offers a unique opportunity to study the interaction between bilingualism and cognitive aging, taking into account the cognitive abilities predating the acquisition of a second language" concludes Dr. Bak. "These findings are of considerable practical relevance. Millions of people around the world acquire their second language later in life. Our study shows that bilingualism, even when acquired in adulthood, may benefit the aging brain."


6 foods that can damage your metabolism the moment you eat them



The same 100 calories that you take in guzzling a can of soda is a lot different inside the body than the 100 calories in your broccoli. Here are six foods that cost more than just their calorie load in ways of weight gain.


One of the main reasons soda gets a bad rap is because it’s sweetened with a little something known as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS, a sweetener found in many of America’s highly processed foods and soft drinks, is as damaging as it is cheap. It has been argued that Fructose consumed in the same quantities as other sugar has more damaging effects on the metabolism (making it an even more sinister commodity).  A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition further explained the link between HFCS and obesity. HFCS may lead to obesity because of its negative effects on the metabolism. In fact, consuming high fructose corn syrup can cause something called “metabolic syndrome,” which is basically a group of risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Therefore, drinking a glass of soda can directly hurt your metabolism.


Fortunately most sources of trans fat are off the market, but they can still be found in stick margarine and baked goods. The trans fats in the margarine can wreak havoc on your metabolism because they can lead to insulin resistance (which is when the body can’t use insulin effectively). Insulin is a hormone used in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, and insulin resistance results in slower metabolism and weight gain, especially around the abdomen, as it causes our bodies to store fat more easily.

White Bread

White bread and other simple carbohydrates are easily broken down by the body because the fiber (which slows digestion) has been removed during processing. The body does not have to burn any extra calories to try to break down these easy-to-digest-foods, leaving your metabolism operating at a slower level. Foods that are high in fiber like whole wheat bread ramp up your metabolism due to the extra work required to try and break down the indigestible fiber.  

Farmed Beef (vs. Grass-Fed)

Conventionally farmed beef can hurt our metabolisms. Conventionally farmed beef has more antibiotics than grass-fed beef. For years, we were unaware what deleterious effects the antibiotics would have on our health. One study published in Front Public Health explained the harm antibiotics have on the good bacteria in the gut of consumers. This change in bacteria in the gut is correlated with an increase in weight gain, as it changes and negatively affects the way we process food. Simply stated, consuming antibiotics from meat can make us gain weight. Our recommendation is to choose grass-fed meat as much as possible.

Conventional (non-organic) apples

Organic fruits are more expensive for more reasons than one. One study published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology showed the toxic effects of pesticides from fruits and vegetables actually caused metabolic changes (by increasing the rate at which fat cells were made) in mice, causing them to gain weight. This means the mice were eating “healthy” fruits and vegetables in the same quantities as the organic control group and were STILL gaining weight. This illustrates the metabolic changes in the mice directly from the pesticides. To limit exposure to pesticides, when it comes to the “Dirty Dozen,” (the fruits and vegetables which are most likely to soak up pesticides and bad bacteria) buy organic. To further limit pesticide exposure be sure to wash all fruits and vegetables well after purchase.

Canola/Vegetable oil

Although previously touted as a health food, canola oil is actually quite the opposite. That’s because it’s a major source of omega-6 fatty acids, which may lead to a slower metabolism.  Whereby the American diet used to be balanced in both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, a push towards higher processing has left our country filled with vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats (high sources of Omega-6), which are pro-inflammatory, and the consumption of these are correlated with obesity. A review published in the journal Nutrients explained that “A high omega-6 fatty acid intake and a high omega-6/omega-3 ratio are associated with weight gain in both animal and human studies, whereas a high omega-3 fatty acid intake decreases the risk for weight gain.” The review further explains that omega-6 fatty acids promote insulin resistance (where our body turns too much of our carbohydrates into fat) and leptin resistance (leptin is the hormone which tells us when we are full; if we are resistant, we never feel full). To limit omega-6s in your diet, switch canola oil out for olive oil.

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.


Diarrhea-causing Salmonella can be weaponize to flush out cancer




A notorious germ best known for getting people rushing to the bathroom may one day have cancer patients headed to clinics for a new treatment instead.

With some genetic tweaking, Salmonella typhimurium transformed from a germ that causes mayhem in people’s intestines to one that can infiltrate deep into the bowels of tumors and spark immune system warfare. In a study published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, South Korean researchers reported that the weaponized gut bacteria could prevent human cancers from growing and spreading in mice—all with no evidence of harmful side-effects.

The study is just in mice and far more work is needed to test efficacy and safety in humans. But the researchers are encouraged by the data so far. Overall, it seems the trained germs have “excellent anticancer effects in diverse mouse tumor models, suggesting that this strategy could be applied to a wide spectrum of malignancies,” the authors conclude.

It’s not the first time that researchers have tried training bacteria to be cancer therapies. In fact, there’s already one treatment—for bladder cancer—that uses Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG). But many of the other treatments so far haven’t been very efficient, requiring multiple injections. Even still, tumors usually regrow in the face of those treatments.

For better cancer weapons, a team of researchers led by biologist Jung-Joon Min at Chonnam National University turned to S. typhimurium. Like many of its intestine-dwelling ilk, S. typhimuriumwill happily wedge itself into tight, necrotic, oxygen-depleted spaces—the exact conditions within tumors.

First, the researchers disarmed the germ, knocking out a potent signal that coordinates its disease-causing activities. Without it, the germ is 100,000- to 1,000,000-fold less virulent, previous research found. Next, the researchers re-armed the subdued Salmonella with the gene for making flagellin B—swiped from Vibrio vulnificus. Flagellin B, or FlaB, is part of bacteria’s whiplike tail that allows them to swim. It’s known to trigger a swift and strong innate immune response in humans and mice. That immune response is supposed to act as a first-line defense against any invading bacteria. But it also produces a storm of chemicals and a rush of attacking immune cell that can blow away cancer cells.

The researchers engineered their S. typhimurium soldiers to only release FlaB when it got a harmless sugar signal. That way, it didn’t spark intense immune responses randomly.

To test out their cancer-seeking bacteria, Min and the team started by implanting and injecting mouse tumors into mice and then injecting the bacteria into their tails. At first, the bacteria would accumulate in the rodents’ spleens and livers. But three days later, the germs would deploy themselves almost exclusively to the insides of tumors.

After making sure that the sweet FlaB trigger worked, the team found that the bacteria could significantly shrink or eliminate the tumors. In one experiment, the triggered bacteria completely blew away tumors in 11 of 20 mice.

Next, the researchers repeated the experiment with mice with implanted human colon cancer tumors in their intestinal walls. After 27 days, a control group of seven animals—which were implanted with cancer but didn’t get a bacterial injection—had a total of 91 tumors. Eight treated mice had only four relatively small tumors among them (three mice had tumors, while five were tumor-free).

Dissecting the tumors, the researchers confirmed that the bacteria were getting deep into the tumors, releasing FlaB, and triggering an intense innate immune response. Yet, the animals didn’t show any signs of serious inflammation or other side-effects, suggesting that the treatment was safe.

While much more animal and human studies are ahead, so far the authors conclude that their cancer-seeking germs set off “a powerful anticancer immune reaction.”


6 unexpected ways to decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s



As we age, our brains might start to get less sharp, making it harder to learn new things or remember key events.

And for some, that cognitive decline could be significant, in some rarer cases leading to Alzheimer's Disease.

When it comes to Alzheimer's, there are more drug failures than successes. On average about 99% of all drugs in clinical trials never actually make it to approval, and drugs are still failing late-stage trials in 2017.

But there are other ways to decrease your risk of getting the disease. We spoke with Neurotrack CEO Elli Kaplan, whose company recently launched an online assessment that helps people understand the state of their memory health, to learn about some of the ways you can potentially decrease your risk for Alzheimer's and cognitive decline more broadly. The company also provides a program that can be used to prevent some of that cognitive decline.

Here's what the science has to say about the best ways to lower your risk of Alzheimer's and cognitive decline.

Pay attention to the food you eat.

The right diet can contribute to lowering your risk of cognitive decline — in particular a diet called the MIND diet, short for "Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay"

It's a hybrid version of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, focusing on the aspects of those diets that have to do with the brain. Berries, olive oil, nuts, and dark, leafy greens are staples of the diet, which was designed based on large-scale studies of cognitive decline and ranked third on US News and World Report's annual best diet list.

A study of almost 1,000 seniors found that the diet appeared to lower the risk of Alzheimer's by 35% for those who followed it moderately and by 53% in people who followed it closely.

Plus, it fits in with what Dr. Maria Carrillo, chief scientific officer of the Alzheimer's Association told Business Insider in July: "Have fun, eat healthy meals that are good for you, and you may end up helping your brain as well as your heart."

Stay active.

Citing intervention-based trials and epidemiological studies, the National Institute on Aging found that exercise can also play a key role in reducing your risk for Alzheimer's and general cognitive decline. Neurotrack's program recommends strength training and cardiovascular exercises, said Kaplan.

Exercise can have additional health benefits as well, adding to the idea that what's good for your heart and body may also be good for your brain.

Decrease your stress levels where possible.

There is evidence to suggest a link between stress and an increased risk of Alzheimer's and cognitive decline.

A small 2009 study found that of the 41 participants with mild cognitive impairment, those who had higher stress ratings also had faster rates of cognitive decline. The good news is that there are plenty of steps you can take to manage stress, such as breathing exercises, meditation and yoga.

Maintain healthy sleep habits.

Too little sleep can do a whole host of things to your body and brain.

A 2014 review of observational studies found that poor sleep is a risk factor for cognitive decline and Alzheimer's. Though the researcher said there needs to be more research into the exact mechanisms of why that is, they concluded that "healthy sleep appears to play an important role in maintaining brain health with age, and may play a key role in [Alzheimer's disease] prevention."

Stay socially active.

taying social can be a great way to lower your risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's. According to the National Institute on Aging, staying cognitively active, either with intellectual stimulation or staying socially engaged, is linked with a decreased risk of Alzheimer's.

That social component is something Neurotrack is working hard to address, said Kaplan. The company has plans to build an internal social network. Since the assessment launched in December 2016, she said she'd seen thousands join a private Facebook group to chat about their results. Kaplan said there's even one group in New Zealand that has started meeting up for coffee after they took the assessment.

Read, play games, or otherwise stimulate your mind.

Along the lines of social engagement, staying stimulated intellectually has also been associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer's. That kind of stimulation can be anything from reading to crossword puzzles or attending lectures and playing memory-based games, according to the National Institute on Aging.

The 1 Food That Cured My Digestive Woes


In college, my stomach turned against me. Every day I suffered from an uncomfortable, bloated feeling, and I never knew if I was going to be constipated or, equally as bad, going to have to stay near a bathroom. My doctor sent me to a gastroenterologist, who ran a test for celiac, which came back negative. I saw a naturopath who told me — a vegetarian since 13 — to start eating meat (um, thanks, but no). Eventually I was diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowl syndrome), but no one had any solid advice for how to deal.

Because all my friends were nature-loving vegans (and I was clearly lactose intolerant), I decided to go vegan, which helped, as did giving up gluten. I was a gluten-free vegan for six years, but because I wasn't eating enough protein and was downing tons of gluten-free junk, I gained a bunch of weight. So I went back to eating dairy, eggs, and gluten, and since I was eating a much healthier diet than my french-fry-loving vegan college days, I surprisingly felt almost 100 percent.

 Fast-forward to July 2014. After watching the documentary Vegucated, I remembered the reasons why I went vegan so many years ago, and I gave up dairy on the spot. At first, my digestion improved, but then a few weeks later, those same symptoms came back, and this time it was even worse. I took a mental note of how my diet had changed and realized that when I was eating dairy, I ate Greek yogurt as a daily morning ritual. So I started eating soy yogurt and boom! — I felt amazing within two days. I was in shock. Probiotics were the cure I needed all along! 

Nutritionist Willow Jarosh, RD, of C&J Nutrition explains that probiotics are good-for-you bacteria that live in our bodies, and more and more research is showing their benefit to general health, skin, weight control, and mood. "Certain strains of probiotics are especially gut-friendly, helping to reduce IBS-related symptoms like bloating, constipation, and diarrhea," she explains. Willow suggests taking a supplement or eating a food that has probiotics to help build up the numbers of good bacteria, so they can edge out the bad bacteria that could be detrimental to our health and cause unwanted symptoms.

If you're dealing with tummy troubles, it's worth going the probiotic route, and yogurt is an inexpensive healthy choice. I eat one six-ounce container of soy yogurt (with some fiber-full berries, also great for the digestive tract) at least every other day, and my digestion has never been better. If you're not a fan of soy and still want to avoid any digestive issues that come with eating dairy, try yogurt made from almond milk or coconut milk. 


How to Create the Ideal Diet for Telomere Health



Health psychologist Elissa Epel—along with Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, co-authors of the just-released book The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer—lays out the ideal diet for optimal telomere health.


"Now that I know about my telomeres, I have an additional thing to worry about—what should I be eating to keep them healthy and stable?" you might be thinking. Ack! Between advocates of gluten-free and dairy-free and high fat and low carb, there's already too much conflicting nutrition advice on what we should be eating. So let me make this simple for you. To start with, Michael Pollan's synthesis of decades of nutrition research holds well: "Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants." I like that because it's achievable. Gravitate toward the produce section, stay away from those Golden Arches. And telomere science supports it—a whole food diet is related to longer telomeres, and the American diet (high in meat and processed foods) is related to shorter telomeres. But telomere studies tell us another layer of helpful details—what types of food specifically are related to longer telomeres? And why? 

Let's start with the why

We have a pretty good sense of the chemical environment that stabilizes telomeres over time—maintaining low insulin, inflammation, and oxidative stress. When we eat a high sugar food with no fiber to slow it down (think soda!), we get a spike in glucose and inflammation. Nope, not a good chemical environment if you want your telomeres to last 100 years. Oxidative stress (when there are too many free radicals and too little antioxidants) also shortens telomeres. We need anti-oxidants to neutralize these free radicals, and thus keep our level of total oxidative stress low. The main way we get antioxidants is through food rich in vitamins. So we need to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to maintain strong antioxidant defenses and keep our oxidative stress in balance.

What creates oxidative stress?

We have free radicals (loose electrons) in our body from the way our cells create energy (a necessary natural process), and through many other exposures, such as smoke and pollution, and certain types of food. Animal products (meat, butter, cheese) are high in compounds that create oxidative stress or AGES (advanced glycation end-products), whereas plant-based foods are low in AGES. Cooking at high heat (vs. moderate) also creates more AGES and thus more oxidative stress.

Types of foods related to longer telomeres:

Will you try a Meatless Monday with me?

Processed meat is on the World Health Organization's"probably carcinogenic" list now. Even small reductions in how much processed meat you eat can make a big difference in your health, and in the impact on our environment. According to this vegetarian calculator, if you are meat-free for one month (or do meatless Mondays for around 7 months), you've saved almost 20 animals' lives and have prevented 130 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into our air. That's a high impact! In other words, it's a win-win for our telomeres, and for the earth.

How we eat is as important as what we eat

Eating when we're stressed is a double whammy. It leads us to choose unhealthy snacks, what we call 'comfort food.' Then we consume these high fat/high sugar foods with a good dose of our internally produced stress hormones, cortisol. This cocktail of comfort food with stress hormones may lead to inflammatory responses and belly fat. Emotional stress alone, when intense, can create spikes of inflammation, and when chronic it can create oxidative stress.

I have a huge sweet tooth. Especially when I'm stressed. So I'm sympathetic to the vast majority who cannot cut out sugar, and who feel they've failed because our body's highly evolved metabolism is not wired to let us lose weight and keep it off. Nope. Rather, what we teach in our weight interventions is moderation, and … meditation. Not the "Om" kind, but rather a brief mindful focus on our internal body feelings (awareness of type of emotion, hunger, and fullness) right before eating. It appears to help with lowering sweets and glucose levels. Stay tuned this month for a lesson in bringing mindfulness to all your daily activities.


Vitamin D Protects Against Colds and Flu: Study



Image: Vitamin D Protects Against Colds and Flu: Study


Taking extra vitamin D can protect against colds, flu and other respiratory infections, said a study Thursday which reopened a debate on the usefulness of over-the-counter supplements. A review of 25 clinical trials in 14 countries, some with conflicting results, yielded "the first definitive evidence" of a link between vitamin D and flu prevention, researchers claimed in The BMJ medical journal.  he effects were strongest for people with very low levels of the nutrient which is found in some foods and can be synthesized by the body when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet light. Many people, especially in grey, cloudy climes, do not have enough vitamin D. Scientific studies over the years have delivered contradictory conclusions on the topic. Some have shown that low levels of the vitamin increase the risk of bone fractures, heart disease, colorectal cancer, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer's disease and death. Others said there is no evidence of a link to disease risk. For the new study, researchers from the Queen Mary University of London conducted the biggest-ever survey of trials involving nearly 11,000 people.  

And they found clues as to why supplements seem to work in some trials but not in others.

"The bottom line is that the protective effects of vitamin D supplementation are strongest in those who have the lowest vitamin D levels, and when supplementation is given daily or weekly rather than in more widely-spaced doses," lead researcher Adrian Martineau said in a statement.


High-dose B vitamins can effectively reduce schizophrenia symptoms, research finds

Image result for schizophrenia

A review of worldwide studies has found that add-on treatment with high-dose b-vitamins - including B6, B8 and B12 - can significantly reduce symptoms of schizophrenia more than standard treatments alone.

The research - on the effect of vitamin and mineral supplements on symptoms of schizophrenia - is funded by The Medical Research Council and University of Manchester, and is published in Psychological Medicine, one of the world's leading psychology journals

Lead author Joseph Firth, based at the University's Division of Psychology and Mental Health, said: "Looking at all of the data from clinical trials of vitamin and mineral supplements for schizophrenia to date, we can see that B vitamins effectively improve outcomes for some patients.

"This could be an important advance, given that new treatments for this condition are so desperately needed."

Schizophrenia affects around 1% of the population and is among the most disabling and costly long term conditions worldwide.

Currently, treatment is based around the administration of antipsychotic drugs.

Although patients typically experience remission of symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions within the first few months of treatment, long-term outcomes are poor; 80% of patients relapse within five years.

The researchers reviewed all randomized clinical trials reporting effects of vitamin or mineral supplements on psychiatric symptoms in people with schizophrenia.

In what is the first meta-analysis carried out on this topic, they identified 18 clinical trials with a combined total of 832 patients receiving antipsychotic treatment for schizophrenia.

B-vitamin interventions which used higher dosages or combined several vitamins were consistently effective for reducing psychiatric symptoms, whereas those which used lower doses were ineffective.

Also, the available evidence also suggests that B-vitamin supplements may be most beneficial when implemented early on, as b-vitamins were most likely to reduce symptoms when used in studies of patients with shorter illness durations.

Firth added: "High-dose B-vitamins may be useful for reducing residual symptoms in people with schizophrenia, although there were significant differences among the findings of the studies we looked at."

"There is also some indication that these overall effects may be driven by larger benefits among subgroups of patients who have relevant genetic or dietary nutritional deficiencies."

Co-author Jerome Sarris, Professor of Integrative Mental Health at Western Sydney University, added: "This builds on existing evidence of other food-derived supplements, such as certain amino-acids, been beneficial for people with schizophrenia.

"These new findings also fit with our latest research examining how multi-nutrient treatments can reduce depression and other disorders."

The research team say more studies are now needed to discover how nutrients act on the brain to improve mental health, and to measure effects of nutrient-based treatments on other outcomes such as brain functioning and metabolic health.


Study: Caffeine may lead to a longer life


Coffee cup and coffee beans


Perk up. That daily cup of coffee could guarantee many more mornings.

A Stanford University School of Medicine study found properties in caffeine may beat back an "inflammatory process" linked to cardiovascular disease and aging. Now, pause to take another sip.The school's findings, published last month in the medical journal Nature Medicine, examined more than 100 people over a series of years. The university said the research found the inflammatory process was less prevalent in those who drank more caffeine. Lab experiments found caffeine "directly countered" the inflammatory process. 

David Fuhrman, the study's lead author, said 90% of noncommunicable diseases — which aren't infectious or transmissible — are tied to chronic inflammation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said about 75% of the world's deaths are caused by noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Researchers studied gene clusters and found people with high levels of an "inflammatory protein" more often had high blood pressure and free radicals in their blood. Free radicals, the university said, can damage cells. Those with gene clusters containing low levels of the inflammatory protein more often had family members who lived age past 90 years old.

Here's where caffeine came in. The blood of the people with low levels of inflammatory protein was found to be "enriched for caffeine" compared to the other group.

Stanford microbiology and immunology professor Mark Davis put it best.

"That something many people drink — and actually like to drink — might have a direct benefit came as a surprise to us," he said. "What we've shown is a correlation between caffeine consumption and longevity. And we've shown more rigorously, in laboratory tests, a very plausible mechanism for why this might be so."


Why wheat bread isn't as healthy as you think — and what you should   be eating instead


Whole Wheat Bread Grocery Store 

The bread aisle at your local grocery store can be a daunting place.

The number of options are overwhelming, so most of the time you just go with wheat bread. It's healthier than white, right?

Not exactly.

According to nutritionist Karen Ansel (MS, RDN), author of "Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging: Stay Younger Live Longer," the healthiest bread to buy is one that's marked whole grain, whole wheat, or whole oats.

Yes, there's a difference between wheat bread and whole wheat bread.

Ansel says the word whole implies that the grains found in that bread are not processed and contain all the original parts of the grain — the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.

Those three layers are where the most important nutrients are found, like fiber, healthy fats, B vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, which help to fight chronic disease. What to look out for:

Unfortunately, bread labels can be misleading, so you'll need to look at more than just the name of the bread to find out whether or not you're getting whole grains.

For example, a multi grain bread might contain more than one grain, but the grains themselves could be completely processed and not whole.

Ansel says to first look at the ingredient list and make sure that either whole grain, whole wheat, whole wheat flour, or whole oats is listed first.

You can also look for the Whole Grains Council stamp, which tells consumers exactly how many whole grains a product has per serving.

According to Ansel, 16 is the golden number when it comes to how many grams of whole grain you should be eating per serving. You should be eating around 48 grams of whole grains per day, which works out to be three servings of 16 grams each.

So eating a sandwich made from bread that contains 16 grams of whole grain per slice means that you'd be getting 2/3 of your daily requirement of whole grains. Why are whole grains so crucial to a healthy diet?

Ansel says current research shows that people who eat more whole grains weigh less and have less body fat than people who eat processed grains. Researchers believe this is because of the fiber that's found in whole grains.

Fiber helps maintain weight in multiple ways. Ansel compares it to a sponge that expands in your gut as soon as you eat it, keeping you fuller for longer than most other nutrients do.

Fiber is also indigestible, meaning when you eat it, you don't absorb it, and therefore don't get any calories from it. Instead, it's believed that fiber traps some of the calories you're ingesting and takes those calories with it when it's excreted out of the body.

In other words, you're getting somewhat of a freebie when you eat fiber.

So next time you're shopping for a loaf of bread, skip the wheat, white, potato, etc., and go for whole grains instead.


Articles - February 2017


DHA in fish oil and traumatic brain injury




(CNN)Time seemed to slow as Marjan Ghassemi saw her 17-year-old son, Bobby, lying in a hospital bed after a car crash.


He had a thick band of gauze wrapped around his head and a tangle of tubes protruding from his body. A hole was cut into his windpipe, and the hollow-sounding hiss of machines helping him breathe filled the room.
At that point, there was no telling whether he would live or die, but Marjan was determined not to cry.
"From day one, when we got there, I didn't want him to know we were crying, that we were upset," she said. "I wanted all positive energy in the room.
"I went in his ear and said ... 'You fight your way and come back to us.' "
It was March 2010. Bobby Ghassemi had been driving fast along a winding road in Virginia when his car barreled off the road. By the time paramedics arrived, he was in a coma and barely alive.
"For all intents and purposes, he was dead on the scene," said Dr. Michael Lewis, a physician who later advised the family. "I'm looking at the reports, and they report a Glasgow Coma Score of 3. A brick or a piece of wood has a Glasgow Coma Score of 3. It's dead."
Ghassemi was airlifted to a hospital. For the first three days, it was touch and go.
Ghassemi's brain was so engorged, doctors needed to relieve the pressure by taking out a portion of his skull. He also had what is called diffuse axonal injury: bleeding that suffused nearly every part of his brain.
"His doctor said to me, 'Listen, he has survived. It is a miracle that he lived, that he made it,' " Marjan Ghassemi said. " 'If he comes out of the coma ... I don't know if he's going to be a vegetable for the rest of his life or whether he'll remember anybody.' "
Ten days later, as Bobby lay comatose but stable, his father, Peter Ghassemi, was sick of waiting and desperate for an intervention. After a series of phone calls to friends, he ended up speaking with Lewis, an Army colonel and doctor.
After some discussion, Lewis proposed something that Peter Ghassemi had never heard about for traumatic brain injuries: fish oil.
At that point, Peter Ghassemi was open to anything.
"Every minute passing was hurting my son ... because they weren't really doing anything to help him besides keeping him alive and stabilizing all of his vital signs," he said. "If there was a chance to improve, I wanted it to be done right then."

'He was really in dire straits'

Fish oil -- which is composed of DHA omega-3 essential fatty acids, also found in the brain -- had been used only once before to treat a brain injury as devastating as Ghassemi's. That was in 2006, in the case of Randal McCloy, the sole survivor of a mine disaster in West Virginia.
McCloy, 26, was trapped in a mine for 41 hours while the air around him and 12 other miners filled with noxious methane and carbon monoxide. By the time he was pulled from underground, he had had a heart attack, was in liver and kidney failure and had a collapsed lung, according to his doctors.
His brain was also riddled with damage from the carbon monoxide and methane.
McCloy's prognosis was not very different from Ghassemi's. According to his neurosurgeon at the time, Dr. Julian Bailes, restoring McCloy's normal brain function was truly a long shot.
"Randy was really on death's doorstep," said Bailes, now co-director of NorthShore Neurological Institute in Evanston, Illinois. "He was really in dire straits."
Like with Ghassemi, once McCloy was stabilized, there was little doctors could do to stem the tide of inflammation and cell death occurring in his brain.
But Bailes and other doctors on McCloy's team resisted the "wait and see" course common in these types of cases and began an unorthodox treatment regimen, including hyperbaric oxygen treatments and high doses of fish oil.
"The concept was then trying to rebuild his brain with what it was made from when he was an embryo in his mother's womb," Bailes said.

The brick wall analogy

That's the theory behind using omega-3 fatty acids to heal brain injury. The human brain, which itself is a fatty mass, is about 30% composed of DHA omega-3 fatty acids, according to Lewis.
In his words, high doses of omega-3 fatty acids, since they mirror what is already in the brain, could facilitate the brain's own natural healing process.
"It really gets down to what I would call my brick wall analogy," Lewis said. "If you have a brick wall and it gets damaged, wouldn't you want to use bricks to repair the wall? And omega-3 fatty acids are literally the bricks of the cell wall in the brain."
Most of the studies about omega-3 for traumatic brain injury are in animals, but they indicate potential for healing the human brain.
After a trauma, the brain tends to swell, and the connections between some nerve cells can become damaged, while other cells simply die.
National Institutes of Health research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may inhibit cell death and could be instrumental for reconnecting damaged neurons.
Another recent study revealed genes that are activated to contain massive damage -- especially inflammation -- when the brain is injured. What activates those genes: omega-3.
"We have strong data that suggest omega-3 will activate good proteins to cope with brain damage and turn off proteins that cause neuroinflammation," said Dr. Nicolas Bazan, director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health in New Orleans and author of the study.
And besides that, according to Bailes and Lewis, fish oil may be the only solution for brain damage that continues after a traumatic brain injury patient has been stabilized.
"There is no known solution; there's no known drug; there's nothing that we have really to offer these sorts of patients," said Bailes, who along with Lewis received money from companies that make fish oil after their treatment of Ghassemi and McCloy.
Citing McCloy's dramatic recovery, Lewis spoke with Peter Ghassemi about introducing omega-3 for his son. After that conversation, Peter Ghassemi was convinced and began to pressure his son's doctors.
"It was a fight," Peter Ghassemi said. "They didn't believe, and they said, 'Fine, the West Virginia miner was one case. Bring me 999 more cases, a thousand more cases ... before I can give it to your son.' "
But eventually they conceded, and Bobby Ghassemi was started on high-dose fish oil therapy, at a dosage that mirrored what Bailes had given to McCloy in 2006.
Soon after that, Bobby began to show signs of recognizing his family and his dog and of discerning things like colors and numbers. Slowly, his brain was recovering, and his family ardently believes that the high-dose fish oil is the reason why.
"His brain was still recovering, but with (omega-3), it recovered much faster and in a shorter amount of time," Peter Ghassemi said. "His brain was damaged, and this was food for the brain."
Three months after his accident, Bobby Ghassemi was well enough to attend his high school graduation.
"The whole place was cheering for me, and they all stood up and were screaming and cheering my name," Ghassemi, now 20, recalls with a smile. "I took my graduation cap off and waved it around."
He still has significant left-side weakness and is relearning how to walk, but his progress has been tremendous, according to Lewis.
"In my opinion, and this is pure speculation, he never would have come out of a coma if it hadn't been for the use of omega-3s to allow that natural healing process to occur," said Lewis, founder of the Brain Health Education and Research Institute. "In the end, the brain has to heal itself.

'The whole place was cheering for me'

Two weeks after beginning the regimen, Ghassemi was emerging from his coma.
"We saw hand movements on the left side," Peter Ghassemi said. "Around the fifth or sixth week, there was some movement, and then his hands started moving more, the leg was moving more."


Want a Lifetime of Better Brain Function? Science Says Change This 1 Habit



We all want brains that function at their best, today, tomorrow, and--we hope--for the rest of our lives. What can we do to make that happen? To try and answer that question, scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital studied 17 "superagers," people over 65 who have the mental function of those in their 20s. The goal was to find out if there were any observable differences between superager brains and normal brains, and if so, whether the rest of us could use that information to give ourselves better brain function through the years.

The answers are yes and yes. Superager brains were thick in places where the control group's were thin. But they weren't, as you might guess, the areas related to cognitive processes, the kinds of brain matter that may be aided by things like crossword puzzles and online brain games. They were areas associated with strong emotion, which researchers have discovered in recent years also perform other important brain functions, as researcher Lisa Feldman Barrett explained recently in The New York Times.

So how do we keep these emotional centers humming? You might think the answer would be to watch a really sad movie or throw the occasional temper tantrum, but it's much simpler and much harder than that, Barrett says. It comes down to this: Stop only doing what's easy and pleasant. If you're in a great routine at work, break out of it by adding new responsibilities. If you've got an effective workout that you can do without even giving it much thought, add some new elements or up the ante by making it longer and more intense.

In short, do stuff that's difficult. Challenge yourself, and keep challenging yourself until you encounter enormous frustration. And then push on through that frustration and try some more.

Whether you actually achieve your objective isn't the point--the point is to push yourself just a little beyond your limits. In other words, get outside your comfort zone. Strangely, it doesn't seem to matter whether the limits you push are mental or physical. Both strenuous physical effort, such as a challenging hike, or strenuous mental effort, such as mastering a difficult math equation, will do the trick. Barrett points to the Marine motto, "Pain is weakness leaving the body." Superagers, she explains, are like Marines. "They excel at pushing past the temporary unpleasantness of extreme effort."

Sounds like a good idea--but not sure how to achieve Marine-like effort? Here are some ideas:

1. Learn to play a musical instrument.

Make it an instrument you haven't played before, and set yourself the task to play a complete piece or song in front of your family, friends, or co-workers. For extra pressure, plan a date when you will give this performance and invite your family and friends to hear you play.

2. Study a language you don't know.

Or take a language you know a little to the next level. Set yourself a deadline to read (and understand) a book in that language. Or book a vacation to a country where the language is spoken and force yourself to talk to the locals in their native language even if they offer to speak English.

3. Sign up for a triathlon (or other challenging event).

If you're not a triathlete and hate the idea of biking, swimming, and running, find something else that will push you to your limits. Sign up for CrossFit or martial arts or with your local hiking or skiing club. Make sure to commit to something that's a little harder than whatever you normally do. Then push yourself to do it.

4. Get up onstage.

Does stretching yourself emotionally work as well as stretching yourself mentally or physically? Barrett doesn't say, but it seems logical that it would. So book yourself to give a speech or lead a panel if you've never done it before. If you're an old hand at giving speeches, try an improv, acting, or singing class. Just remember, whatever it is has to be a big challenge for you. If it isn't difficult--if it isn't a stretch--it won't do you any good.



Supplements That Lower Blood Sugar Naturally


Image: Supplements That Lower Blood Sugar Naturally
(Copyright DPC) By Gary Greenberg 

Although diet and exercise are the two most important factors in dealing with Type 2 diabetes, scientific research shows that there are several supplements you can enlist in your blood sugar battle.

“I think supplements should be part of the foundation for how people with high blood sugar address their problems,” says Paula H. Mendelsohn, a licensed dietician and functional medicine nutritionist. “Supplements help the diabetics I treat get off of medications and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.”

One key element that may be lacking in the diet of many diabetics is the trace mineral chromium, which gives insulin a boost in regulating blood sugar.

Although chromium is found in wide range of foods — including egg yolks, whole-grain products, coffee, nuts, green beans, broccoli, meat, and brewer’s yeast — it’s not easily absorbable by the body. What’s more, surveys show that a majority of Americans don’t get the minimum daily requirement of it.

Supplements can help make up the difference.

“Chromium supplementation, especially in the form of chromium picolinate…can improve both glucose and insulin metabolism” in diabetics, say researchers Dr. William T. Cefalu, and Dr. Frank B. Hu, citing several studies, on the American Diabetes Association Website.

A general consensus among experts is that taking 1,000 micrograms of chromium picolinate a day may help diabetics control their blood sugar. But chromium is just one of several supplements that Mendelsohn recommends for Type 2 diabetes patients.

“No single supplement is better than all the others,” Mendelsohn tells Newsmax Health. “They all work together synergistically.”

Here are some others (just be aware that diabetics shouldn’t take any supplement that may affect blood sugar without first consulting their healthcare provider):

  • B-complex vitamins. These nutrients aid methylation, a biochemical process involved with just about every bodily function, including the regulation of blood sugar. Mendelsohn suggests getting high-quality B-complex supplements that are in an active state.
  • Berberine. This herb simulates the enzyme adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, or AMPK, which is called a “metabolic master switch.” Berberine enhances the absorption of glucose in cells, increases insulin sensitivity and reduces glucose production in the liver.
  • Alpha lipoic acid (ALA). Studies suggest that this antioxidant can relieve pain from diabetic neuropathy. It’s also both water- and fat-soluble, making it easily absorbable by the body.
  • Resveratrol. Among many health benefits, the antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes and berries helps to protect against insulin resistance. Researchers believe that it also activates a gene that appears to protect the body against obesity.
  • Coconut oil. Scientific evidence suggests that consuming virgin coconut oil may help prevent obesity and reduce insulin resistance. Experts suggest using it in moderation due to its high saturated fat content
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. These fats commonly found in fish seem to lower insulin resistance and triglyceride levels to both help with blood sugar and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, a problem that plagues many diabetics. Mendelsohn says omega-3s work even better when combined with the healthy omega-6, gamma linolenic acid (GLA).
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Although there’s no concrete evidence that this antioxidant directly affects blood glucose levels, studies show it may help reduce complications of diabetes, including heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and neuropathy.
  • Magnesium. The essential mineral magnesium is required for more than 300 enzymatic functions, and many Americans are deficient in it. Research has shown that magnesium-rich foods – such as spinach, lentils and broccoli -- or supplements may help promote healthy insulin production. If taking a supplement, use magnesium glycinate to reduce the laxative effect of the mineral.
  • Bitter melon. Studies with lab animals suggest that tea made from this melon activates AMPK to help move glucose from the blood into cells.
  • Cinnamon. This sweet spice gets mixed results in scientific studies, but some trials suggest that it may curb blood sugar levels by lowering insulin resistance.

If you want to live longer, take good care of your telomeres


       Image result for telomeres

Pay attention to this story as if your life depended on it.


That’s because thinking about things other than the task at hand can seriously up your anxiety level. Not to stress you out or anything, but that might make you age faster, get sick and die, according to “The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer,” a book from molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn and health psychologist Elissa Epel.

Blackburn (and two colleagues) won the Nobel Prize in 2009 for the discovery of telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes the bits of DNA on either end of your chromosomes. Those bits are called telomeres, and they’re often compared to the plastic caps on shoelaces.


Let those caps wear down, and the laces fray and can’t do their job. It’s the same with telomeres: Stress makes them shorter. And if they get too short, your cells stop dividing, which leads to pain, heart disease and other health woes — all markers of what the authors dub the “diseasespan.” (The idea is that we have a healthspan and a diseasespan during our lives, and people with short telomeres move into their diseasespan earlier.)

Pictures of shoelaces are scattered throughout the book. Spot one, and you’re supposed to “refocus your mind on the present, take a deep breath, and think of your telomeres being restored with the vitality of your breath.”

It’s a strategy based on the book’s promising premise: Even if you’re a total stress case, it’s possible to reverse the negative effects by transforming how you respond to situations.

The key, the authors explain, is to develop a “challenge” response. Basically, instead of crumbling under the pressure of responsibilities or events, you should have a “bring it on!” mentality. It also helps to banish negativity, practice self-compassion and not be an idiot about your health. (I.e., get enough sleep and physical activity, cut out processed foods and smoking.)

The bad news is that some people start off at a telomere disadvantage, Blackburn and Epel found. That includes a newborn whose parent has shortened telomeres, which get passed on, folks who live in unsafe or littered neighborhoods or one without nearby greenery. Another way to wind up with shorter telomeres, the authors write, is to be African American and experience discrimination.


Taking the Pressure Down - Mostly!


Apart from smoking, the biggest risk factor for heart attacks and strokes is high blood pressure. It batters and weakens arteries and is also linked to heart and kidney failure. So it makes sense for doctors to prescribe treatments that lower blood pressure. But how low should doctors go?

Last year, a US study suggested doctors should aim to lower blood pressure further than traditional guidelines recommend. Now an August study warns that might not be a good idea for everyone.

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg), a reference to the old-fashioned sphygmomanometers that doctors still sometimes use. They wrap a cuff around your arm, which is attached to a glass column filled with mercury, and pump up the cuff while feeling and listening to the pulse in the brachial artery just below it. The cuff pressure is increased enough to stop the pulse in the artery.

Then with a whooshing sound, the air pressure is reduced until the doctor hears the thump thump of the pulse coming back. A reading of the mercury level indicates the systolic pressure, from the Greek word sustolē, meaning “to contract”. It’s a measure of the heart’s power stroke.

A normal reading is considered to be below 120 mmHg. More air is released, and the doctor listens for a switch to a softer thump or the sound disappears altogether. That’s the diastolic pressure, deriving from the Greek word for expansion, diastole.

As the heart expands to refill, the elasticity of the blood vessels maintains a back pressure, which is crucial to keep blood coursing through the vessels and tissues in between heartbeats. Normal is considered below 80 mmHg.

Patients are considered candidates for treatment if their systolic blood pressure is above 140 mmHg. That’s based on studies that have correlated systolic blood pressure with risks of heart attacks and stroke. We used to use diastolic pressure, but it’s no longer considered as good a predictor of risk.

The question, then, is what should be the target? Until recently doctors thought it was good enough to get below 130mmHg. But in 2015, the American SPRINT (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial) study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that in people with multiple risk factors such as heart disease and raised cholesterol, aiming below 120mmHg significantly reduced the chances of stroke, heart attack, heart failure and dying prematurely. It came at the price of having to take more medications plus some side effects, including dizziness.

So should 120mmHg be the new target? It depends who you are. Last August, researchers at John Hopkins University in Baltimore published a paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that suggested this low target could cause hidden damage to the heart in people with low diastolic pressure by lowering it further.

In some people with arterial disease, their stiffened arteries have lost the elasticity to provide good diastolic pressure. The result can be that their systolic pressure is a high 140mmHg but their diastolic is a low 65mmHg.

The researchers suspected that if the diastolic pressure was lowered even further by the aggressive use of drugs, their coronary arteries, which supply oxygenated blood to heart muscle when the heart expands, might not do their job properly. A heart that is missing out on its oxygen starts suffering muscle damage – a first step on the way to heart failure.

To test this idea, the researchers studied 11,500 people with an average age of 57 and compared their diastolic pressure with circulating levels of troponin – a protein that is released by a damaged heart. They found that people with a diastolic pressure less than 70 mmHg were more likely to have high troponin levels.

The take-away message for people being treated for high blood pressure may be that if they already have low diastolic blood pressure, then perhaps lowering blood pressure too aggressively could hurt their heart. In consultation with their doctor, they should take extra care until more studies are released that shed light on this perplexing and relatively ignored issue.




The Telomere Effect and Touching Toes: Lifestyle for Anti-Aging


Image result for telomeres



Is a yoga mat, a good nights sleep, and and plant-based lifestyle the fountain of youth? A new book by Nobel Prize laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D., The Telomere Effect, suggests that the science indicates that this may be the case. For years, a huge goal within the scientific community has been to safely slow down aging and avoid chronic diseases. Theories of aging have abounded. In 2009, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD and co-workers for describing how the caps at the end of DNA molecules called telomeres (often compared to the tips of shoe laces) protect our genes and determine the number of times a cell can divide: longevity. The team discovered an enzyme, telomerase, that maintains the telomeres. Lower amounts of telomerase and shorter telomeres are associated with shorter lifespans and chronic diseases. You can have your telomere length measured for about $300 if you want to know your true biologic age. Strategies to activate telomerase and lengthen telomeres are being studied as treatments for heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.

If you want to start lengthening your telomeres today and protect your chromosomes from aging, would you have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to a healing clinic, purchase a new drug that costs a fortune, or sign up for dangerous research? No! Just power up your blender, visit your farmers market, spread out your yoga mat, and find your gym shoes. Dr. Dean Ornish came to worldwide attention in 1990 for demonstrating that plant-based diets and lifestyle changes can halt and reverse heart blockages in even very sick patients. Subsequently he published a new study with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn on the results of his lifestyle program on telomere length in humans. He studied 35 men over five years with low grade prostate cancer being watched by their urologists. Dr. Ornish had previously published results showing that his lifestyle program lowered PSA levels in these men, transformed their blood into a prostate cancer killing elixir, and shut off many harmful genes, while turning on many healing genes.

In terms of The Telomere Effect, Drs. Ornish and Blackburn reported that the 10 men who followed the Ornish lifestyle program showed telomeres that were 10% longer than at baseline while the 25 men in a control group had telomeres that were 3% shorter on average. The more adherent subjects were to the program, the more the telomeres lengthened. Lifestyle changes were successfully demonstrated to have anti-aging effects at the gene level!! The program used to activate telomerase included 4 components 1) Dietary changes: He found that a low-fat (10% calories), whole foods, plant-based diet, high in fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains, legumes and low in refined carbohydrates. The diet was supplemented with one daily serving of tofu and a soy protein powder drink, selenium 200 ug, Vitamin C 2 gm, fish oil 3 gm and Vitamin E 100 ug every day, 2) Moderate aerobic exercise: walking 30 minutes 6 days a week 3) Stress management: gentle yoga-based stretching, breathing, meditation, imagery and progressive relaxation 60 minutes 6 days a week 4)1 hour group support one day a week.

In the The Telomere Effect, Dr. Blackburn lists foods that may shorten telomeres (red meat, white bread, sweetened drinks, saturated fat, soda, and excessive alcohol consumption) and foods that are associated with longer telomeres (whole grains, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seaweed, fruit, and coffee). For now, the best anti-aging strategies do not cost thousands of dollars and do not take place in hospitals and clinics. You’ll find them in your homes, yoga centers, and farmers markets. In addition, Dr. Blackburn’s book reminds us of the need to limit or eliminate saturated fats such as butter, cheese, and animal meats.


Forget detox diets. Eat broccoli, berries and sprouts to rid your system of toxins

Broccoli contains sulphoraphane, which triggers the liver to produce detoxifying enzymes that block free-radical attack on DNA. That helps your liver detox toxins from your body.

Broccoli contains sulphoraphane, which triggers the liver to produce detoxifying enzymes that block free-radical attack on DNA. That helps your liver detox toxins from your body.


Oh my liver, are you there? So many folks online are marketing detox diets to me I fear they know something I don’t. That you might have abandoned me. But I feel good and I’m not a lighter shade of green so I know you are there working for me. So what is the truth about “detox diets”? We are all exposed, probably on a daily basis, to low-level environmental toxins. Luckily, our liver is ready for this and in two phases makes a toxic substance less harmful, which it converts to a water-soluble form for excretion. Alcohol, medications and insecticides keep the liver busy.Detox is the liver’s job. Our role is to provide the liver, through foods, the support it needs to keep filtering out potential toxins. Going on a restrictive “detox diet” could be the opposite of what the liver needs if nutrients are eliminated in favor of a “magic drink.”  

The best liver support comes from the sulphoraphane found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Sulphoraphane triggers the liver to produce detoxifying enzymes that block free-radical attack on DNA. Once started, the process continues to protect for up to four days after the sulphoraphane-containing food was initially eaten. Additional sulphoraphane-containing vegetables are bok choy, kale, radishes and turnips.

Other delicious detoxers are the anthocyanidins in berries, grapes and beets, polyphenols in green tea and resveratrol in red wine. Eating at least five cups a day of richly colored fruits and vegetables will cover your detox needs.

Broccoli sprouts are an easy and tasty way to pack a diet with sulphoraphane. Available at the supermarket, sprouts have 10 to 100 times more sulphoraphane than broccoli. Broccoli sprouts can be added to a salad, sandwich, burger or omelet and slipped into a taco.

Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow her on Twitter @sheahrarback.


Articles - January 2017


The actual heart attack symptoms women report have nothing to do with chest pain


The actual heart attack symptoms women report have nothing to do with chest pain

by Nadine Avola

Legendary Star Wars actor and activist Carrie Fisher died today at age 60, after she suffered what was thought to be a heart attack on an airplane bound for Los Angeles.

On Sunday, Fisher's mother, Debbie Reynolds, tweeted "Carrie is in stable condition.If there is a change,we will share it. For all her fans & friends. I thank you for your prayers & good wishes." Yesterday, her brother Todd wouldn't confirm that she did, in fact, have a heart attack on Saturday, indicating that the media reporUncertainty surrounding how heart disease presents itself in women is not uncommon, primarily because the symptoms of a heart attack differ than those typically seen in men. Here's what you need to know about heart attacks and women:ts had been speculative and the family itself had little information.

First oif all, in a study by the National Institutes of Health, 43 percent of the 515 women surveyed reported having no chest pain during or prior to the heart attack.

Traditionally, pain in the chest cavity — described like an elephant sitting on your chest — has been the most recognized predictor of a heart attack, along with shortness of breath, fatigue and pain in the left arm. Unfortunately, symptoms in women can be more subtle.

1. Extreme fatigue

In the NIH study, "unusual fatigue" was reported by 70 percent of the women in the sample. This tiredness can creep up days or weeks before the actual attack.

2. Sleep disturbance

If you aren't sleeping well at night, this could be a forewarning. The NIH found that 48 percent of the women reported sleep disturbance as a symptom prior to their heart attacks.

3. Back, neck or jaw pain

Instead of an obvious chest pain, we may experience pain in the jaw, neck, or lower or upper back. WebMD notes, "The pain can be gradual or sudden, and it may wax and wane before becoming intense. If you're asleep, it may wake you up."


4. Indigestion

Heart failure can cause abdominal swelling, which can show up as indigestion, nausea, lack of appetite and vomiting. In the NIH study, 39 percent of women reported these symptoms.

5. Flu-like symptoms

Coughing, sweating and lightheadedness are more than just signs of the flu itself. If you notice any of these flu-like symptoms in conjunction with any other previously mentioned indicators, it may be time to get checked by your doctor.

6. Anxiety

Anxiety is a way of life for most Americans in today's society. But, if you notice unusual bouts of stress or feelings of "impending doom," take a minute to breathe. Your anxiety may be trying to tell you something.



A Look at the Zero Sugar Diet with Author Dave Zinzcenko


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The countdown to New Year's Day is on, which means New Year's resolutions are just around the corner too. And many people's resolutions may be to drop a few pounds or improve their health.

Dave Zinczenko, an ABC News contributor on nutrition and wellness, is the author of a new book, "Zero Sugar Diet: The 14-Day Plan to Flatten Your Belly, Crush Cravings, and Help Keep You Lean For Life," that claims people can lose up to a pound a day.   

Zinczenko appeared on "Good Morning America" today to share his tips for helping to reduce added sugar from in your diet. The American Heart Association recommends men consume no more than nine teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar per day and women consume no more than six teaspoons (24 grams) of added sugar per day.  Zinczenko said consumers should pay attention to sugars added to everyday foods. To illustrate, he compared the amount of sugar in foods like yogurt to the amount of sugar in doughnuts.

Pasta Sauce: Sugar or corn syrup is a predominant ingredient in many popular brands. According to Zinczenko, a quarter-cup of one particular brand of pasta sauce contains 12 grams of sugar, the same as in one glazed doughnut.

Yogurt: Be careful of fruit on the bottom and mix-ins like granola or cereal, which now come in popular flip containers. According to Zinczenko, some brands have more than 27 grams of sugar, almost as much as in three glazed doughnuts.

Smoothie: Most smoothies start with a base of frozen yogurt or fruit juice. According to Zinczenko, a smoothie from one popular chain has 250 grams of sugar, about the same as in 25 doughnuts, according to Zinczenko.


Breakfast: Chocolate Vanilla Oatmeal:

227 calories, 6.1 grams natural sugar



cup cooked oatmeal

1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup raspberries

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions: Mix together and enjoy.


Tip: Start your day off with cacao powder in your oatmeal. It can help reduce bloating because it’s anti-inflammatory, and a touch of vanilla is a heart-healthy antioxidant. This breakfast has just 6.1 grams of sugar and 12 grams of belly-filling fiber.


Lunch: Steak Salad with Kale and Spinach:

480 calories, 14 grams natural sugar




3-oz portion flank steak, grilled and cut into strips

1 cup baby kale

1 cup baby spinach

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1 cup chopped carrots

1/4 cup garbanzo beans

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

FOR MEN: 1/2 cup sweet peas

Directions: Combine all of the ingredients and enjoy.

Tip: This delicious salad will keep you fuller longer. It contains nearly 30 grams of protein, thanks to the veggies and savory grilled steak, and takes just minutes to assemble


PHOTO: Dave Zinczenko shared recipes from his new book, Zero Sugar Diet: The 14-Day Plan to Flatten Your Belly, Crush Cravings, and Help Keep You Lean For Life.


Dinner: Whole Wheat Pizza with Chicken and Asparagus:

448 calories, 4 grams natural sugar


2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup chopped asparagus

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes

Ready-made whole-grain flatbread pizza crust, 12 inches

1 cup sliced pear

1/4 cup cooked chicken

1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Mix 1 Tbsp olive oil with the Parmesan cheese and asparagus; arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Combine the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil with the Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes; brush over the pizza crust. Spread the roasted asparagus, pear slices, and chicken evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top. Place the pizza in the oven and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted.

Tip: This pizza has a ready-made, whole-grain flatbread crust. The chicken adds protein, the pear gives natural sweetness, and you can even enjoy it with a glass (5 oz) of Gragnano wine for an additional 125 calories.


Rise in heart disease deaths sends experts down new paths


Heart disease


The number of Americans dying of heart disease increased last year for the first time in more than a decade, delivering a wake-up call to the medical and scientific communities. After nearly 40 years of victories in the battle against heart disease — from the development of medications to control blood pressure and cholesterol to the public campaign against smoking — heart health experts are now facing a stark truth: Progress has stalled.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in America, responsible for about 1 in every 4 deaths. New data released by the National Center for Health Statistics shows it took more than 633,000 lives in 2015. That's a 0.9 percent increase over the previous year, helping to drive up the overall death rate in the United States for the first time since 1999. Other contributors to increased mortality include stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and kidney disease.

The rise in heart disease deaths is a surprising change, since they had been declining rapidly since 1969. The last time there was an uptick was between 1992 and 1993. The latest data reinforces another troubling trend: the annual number of heart disease deaths hasn't gone down since 2011.

While statisticians caution that an uptick in heart disease death rate one year does not indicate a sustained upward trend, many experts are concerned.

"Year after year the death rates have been going down, so there is an assumption that it's going to continue," said Dr. George Mensah, former director of the division of cardiovascular sciences at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. "This is a wake-up call. ... This is not a time for complacency. This is a time to redouble our efforts."


The data is prompting some scientists to consider whether the tried-and-true methods of the last five decades are no longer effective and if it's time to develop a new approach.

"You immediately ask yourself: Is this it? Is this the best we can do?" said Dr. Steven Houser, president of the American Heart Association. "I think we need to ask ourselves how can we make more progress."

For Houser, the next frontier lies in research on precise biological and social factors that can help doctors determine who is at greatest risk for heart disease. It's part of the recent emphasis on precision medicine, which aims to develop unique treatments for each individual based on their environment, lifestyle and genetic makeup.

"The future of cardiovascular research is to stop the disease before it starts," Houser said. "It sounds simple, but we haven't really done that. What we've done before is that we identify the disease once it exists and do our best to treat it. But the brave new world is to identify the disease you might get before you get it."

Houser believes this goal can be achieved in the next decade.

"The future of cardiovascular research is to stop the disease before it starts. It sounds simple, but we haven't really done that."-Dr. Steven Houser, president of the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association, AstraZeneca and Verily are together investing $75 million in a new research initiative based on the precision medicine approach. The project, called One Brave Idea, aims to prevent and reverse coronary heart disease by uncovering new genetic and molecular factors that put individuals at risk.

"We're trying to understand the fundamental underpinnings of coronary heart disease," said Dr. Robert Harrington, a member of the American Heart Association board of directors who is overseeing the One Brave Idea initiative. "Why does it develop in some people and not others? Why does it progress in some people and not others?"

The association hopes this research helps to meet its goals of increasing cardiovascular health by 20 percent, while reducing cardiovascular mortality by 20 percent by 2020.

In line with its 2020 goal, the American Heart Association for the first time defined "ideal cardiovascular health" — the absence of disease and the presence of seven key health factors and behaviors, including blood pressure, physical activity, cholesterol, healthy diet, healthy weight, smoking status and blood glucose.

The 'Holy Grail' of heart health - Houser described the goal as very ambitious and said he is not sure the American Heart Association can reach it by 2020. Standing in the way is the greatest obstacle to decreasing the heart disease mortality rate, which is also the oldest: lifestyle choices.Decades of research has shown that eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoiding tobacco products and using medication to control blood pressure and cholesterol can drastically reduce the risk of heart disease. Experts are now searching for new ways to get that ages-old message to resonate with Americans in a unique and motivating way.

"In cardiovascular disease, unlike with many other diseases, we actually know what works," said Dr. Janet Wright, executive director of Million Hearts, a CDC initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. "The obstacle is doing what works and doing it everywhere and for everyone in a way that works for them. ... Behavior change is the Holy Grail."



Foods to eat for a better skin



We have long heard that carrots are good for our eyesight and walnuts are good for our brains. But did you know food can have other miraculous skin, hair and nail benefits as well?

Perhaps the phrase “beauty comes from within” can be applied to different meaning: beauty comes from within- your food! One study published by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition found that higher intake of vitamin C was associated with lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance among middle aged American women.

Vitamin C is found in more foods than just oranges though, and other nutrients have even more beauty benefits too. So, drop the Clearasil and leave your foundation at home. Your next favorite beauty products can be found at the supermarket.


A cup of strawberries (8 strawberries) contains 140 percent the RDA for Vitamin C, which is more vitamin C than an orange (84 mg versus 70 mg.) Not only is vitamin C key to a healthy immune system, but it does wonders for our skin, as it helps to produce collagen, which keeps skin tight and smooths fine lines. So tomorrow at breakfast consider eating a cup of fresh strawberries over Greek yogurt sprinkled with bran buds.


Lentils can help maintain long luscious locks because they contain B vitamins and biotin, both of which are needed for healthy hair growth. In addition, lentils are packed with protein and fiber, the two nutrients that help maintain blood sugar levels. This is important for clear skin because the opposite, fluctuating blood sugar and resultant insulin spikes, is associated with pimples and acne. Incorporate lentils into your diet this week by enjoying a lentil soup at lunch or a lentil salad by mixing 1/2 cup of lentils with your favorite non-starchy veggies.


Just two oysters will put you over the recommended daily amount of zinc (25 mg in 2 oysters.) And if you're concerned about acne or aging, you should be eating zinc.  Zinc deficiency is a known cause of acne and adequate zinc helps protect collagen and elastin proteins, which keep your skin young and resilient. Let’s get to shucking!

Sunflower seeds:

Sunflower seeds are among the best food sources of vitamin E, with 1 ounce providing 47 percent the RDA. Vitamin E is often found in anti-aging creams, and for good reason. Vitamin E helps to rehydrate the skin, and reduces dry and rough skin. Vitamin E also works as an antioxidant by preventing inflammation and protecting skin from sun damage. Sunflower seeds are delicious toasted and sprinkled over salads.


Salmon is one fatty fish that is a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which can improve skin’s elasticity and may reduce the risk of acne and other skin problems and yield more radiant supple skin. Salmon also contains antioxidants that help capture free radicals that can cause aging. That’s certainly not all though, among other benefits, omega 3s also helps protect against heart disease, reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure.


When you think kale, think vitamin K; kale is the highest source of vitamin k per calorie (with over 600 percent the RDA value in each 30 calorie cup of kale.) Vitamin K is responsible for aiding in blood clotting so helps cure skin wounds and bruises.  Vitamin K plays a role in ensuring healthy skin and is believed to prevent wrinkles and premature aging by preventing calcification of the protein elastin. Make your next salad with a kale base and add your favorite veggies, and three to six ounces of lean protein to make a complete meal. 

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.


Doctors turning to healthy foods as medicine

Dr. Elizabeth Klodas has been a practicing cardiologist in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area for 20 years. She spent the first 10 of those years putting people on medication and the last 10 trying to get them off.

"My patients' cholesterol levels and blood pressure numbers were good, but they all looked and felt awful," she said, "and I realized that what I was doing was just making numbers look good and not treating the underlying problems of diet and nutrition." 

In the United States, according to the American Heart Association, 78 million people have hypertension. The Centers for Disease Control says that 120 million, or half of the adult population, is diabetic or prediabetic, and based upon published eligibility criteria, it is estimated that 70 million people are candidates for statin therapy, which involves using prescribed drugs to help lower cholesterol in the blood. 

Additionally, the CDC estimates that two-thirds of the population is overweight or obese. The number of people with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and full-blown cardiovascular disease continues to rise.

In 2014, according to a report by the IMS Institute for Health Informatics, doctors prescribed a then-unprecedented $374 billion worth of pharmaceuticals. Added to that is $14,600 more a year per patient for a new class of injectable cholesterol-lowering drugs called PCSK Inhibitors.

These costs are not only unsustainable, says Klodas, but about 20 percent of patients who take cholesterol-lowering drugs or statins have side effects, including muscle aches, changes in mental acuity and liver function abnormalities. Statins have also been shown to increase the risk for diabetes, so although we are improving cholesterol numbers, we are creating other problems that can be worse than the original cholesterol, she says.

Dr. Richard Collins, a Denver cardiologist and the director at South Denver Cardiology Associates' Dean Ornish Heart Reversal Program, made a similar decision to that made by Klodas. Instead of continuing to unblock arteries with angioplasty procedures to treat cardiovascular disease, Collins, who is also known as "The Cooking Cardiologist," began to show his patients how they should cook to prevent heart disease.

"Americans love salt, sugar and fat," says Collins, "but we need to promote the consumption of whole foods, such as fresh vegetables, whole grains and plant-based proteins, in proper portions if we are going to take on and prevent the unsustainable growth of cardiovascular heart disease."

When Klodas realized that no amount of medication could make up for the damage caused by eating an unhealthy diet, she began a personal crusade to find out as much about nutrition and diet as she could. She discovered that the critical nutrients for a healthy heart are fiber (fruits, vegetables, grains), omega-3 fatty acids (vegetable oils, nuts, seeds), antioxidants (fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts) and plant sterols (grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds).

Klodas says she spent a lot of time talking with patients about what they should eat and where they could find good information but discovered that for every patient who could change his or her diet and cook healthy foods, there were 20 to 30 who couldn't. There was a gap, she says, between knowing what needed to be done and having the time and cooking skills to do it. "I realized how difficult it is in today's world to eat properly for cardiovascular health," she said.

"With the help of my team at Step One Foods, I embarked on a plan to combine precise amounts of whole food nutrients from ingredients such as chia, walnuts, oats and dried fruits into foods that are as easy to use as drugs. The result was the development of a new category of foods that are either ready or almost ready to use, and just like many medications, you only need to take them two times a day," Klodas said.

Her heart healthy company Step One Foods was created to deliver the health benefits from foods that pharmaceuticals deliver from medication. The food is packaged in single-serve "doses" that help lower cholesterol, improve blood sugar levels and promote weight reduction, she said.

Dr. David Katz, president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, a field of medicine and health that promotes the use of lifestyle change based on nondrug modalities to prevent, treat and reverse lifestyle-related chronic diseases, says that a number of studies have shown that when one eats, exercises and lives optimally, the risk of chronic disease is cut by 80 percent. "Once we have rallied a team of professionals to promote healthy eating, we will need to reach out to parents and grandparents — those who have the most interest in a child's welfare — and who should be outraged by the obesity and diabetes epidemic we are witnessing in the U.S., and begin what should become a full-blown cultural revolution to encourage the consumption of real foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and water for thirst that can each have health promoting effects due to the essential nutrients derived from whole real food ingredients," Katz said.


Cells Dripped Into the Brain Help Man Fight a Deadly Cancer



A man with deadly brain cancer that had spread to his spine saw his tumors shrink and, for a time, completely vanish after a novel treatment to help his immune system attack his disease — another first in this promising field.

The type of immunotherapy that 50-year-old Richard Grady received already has helped some people with blood cancers such as leukemia. But the way he was given it is new, and may allow its use not just for brain tumors but also other cancers that can spread, such as breast and lung.

Grady was the first person to get the treatment dripped through a tube into a space in the brain where spinal fluid is made, sending it down the path the cancer traveled to his spine.

He had "a remarkable response" that opens the door to wider testing, said Dr. Behnam Badie, neurosurgery chief at City of Hope, a cancer center in Duarte, California, where Grady was treated.

The case is reported in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.

Each year in the United States, about 20,000 people are diagnosed with a type of brain tumor called glioblastoma. Grady, who lives in Seattle, had the usual surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, but the cancer came back.

He enrolled in a clinical trial at City of Hope and had some of his own blood cells, called T cells, removed and genetically modified in the lab to turn them into specialized soldiers to seek and destroy cancer.

The treatment, called CAR-T cell therapy, has been used for blood cancers, but its value for solid tumors is unknown. City of Hope has been testing injecting the cells directly into the brain.

First, Grady had more surgery to remove three of his largest tumors. Then he got six weekly infusions of the cells through a tube into his brain, where the biggest one had been. No cancer recurred there, but the remaining tumors continued to grow, new ones appeared, and cancer spread to his spine. Doctors decided on a bold step: placing a second tube in his brain, into a cavity where spinal fluid is made, and putting the cells there.

"The idea was to have the flow of the spinal fluid carry the T cells to different locations," along the route the cancer had taken, Badie said.

After three treatments, all tumors had shrunk dramatically. After the 10th treatment, "we saw all the tumors disappear," and Grady was able to cut back on other medicines and return to work, Badie said.

New tumors, though, have now emerged in different spots in his brain and spine, and he is getting radiation treatment. But his response to immunotherapy lasted more than seven months, and "for him to live more than a year and half" after starting it is amazing for a situation where survival often is measured in weeks, Badie said. Side effects of the treatment were manageable, including headaches, fatigue and muscle aches, and some may have been due to other medicines Grady needed, doctors reported. It's early research, but it's an advance for the field "that they showed this is safe, at least in this patient," said Dr. Donald O'Rourke, a neurosurgeon heading a similar study at the University of Pennsylvania.

O'Rourke treated 10 brain tumor patients with CAR-T cells but used a single IV dose. A paper detailing results is in the works, but "it's pretty striking what we've found," he said.

At City of Hope, nine patients have been treated so far, but only three with infusions into the spinal fluid brain cavity. Two of the nine have not responded to treatment, Badie said.

His study is supported by the nonprofit Gateway for Cancer Research, the Food and Drug Administration, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Some authors get royalties from pending patents or money from Mustang Bio, Inc., which has licensed some of the technology.


8 Foods That Could Help Unclog Your Arteries


Cardiovascular Disease (the buildup of plaque and gradual clogging of the arteries) is statistically the number one killer in the world, with on average 2,200 Americans dying of cardiovascular disease each day! With mortality rates like that, cardiovascular health is one of the most important body systems to maintain and repair. While progressive clogging of the arteries can be caused by diet, genetics and a sedentary lifestyle, preventing and repairing the damage is not impossible with these artery unclogging (and delicious!) foods.

1. Garlic

While maybe not quite as sexy as others, garlic is hands-down a super food! In addition to helping maintain a healthy heart, garlic can help treat a slew of viruses, infections and even cancers! Studies show that consuming 4,000 mcg of the  compound allicin (found in 1-4 cloves of garlic a day) can lower cholesterol, as well as significantly decrease both diastolic and systolic blood pressure, and prevent blood clots from forming. Load up on your daily dose of cloves with this Creamy Zinger Garlic Spread or Pumpkin Seed and Garlic Pasta.

2. Pomegranate

This tasty and beautiful fruit has recently been discovered to clear out plaque buildup in the arteries, as well as naturally stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the blood, opening the arteries and reducing blood pressure. It wont be hard to add more pomegranates to your diet with this stunning Cashew Citrus Cream Cake with Pomegranates!

3. Turmeric

The the primary polyphenol in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown to reduce fatty deposits in the arteries by 26%! That’s a welcome statistic for heart health and a good reason to add more of this brightly colored and delicious Indian spice to your diet.

4. Chia Seeds

Ancient cultures have long prized chia seeds as a solid source of hydration and energy. But the the fiber and alpha-linolenic acid in chia can also regulate blood pressure, lower triglycerides, increase good cholesterol and decrease bad cholesterol. Besides being heart healthy, chia seeds are versatile and tasty as well!

5. Cinnamon

The cinnamon challenge may have brought negative attention to this common spice, but consumed wisely, cinnamon is anything but bad or dangerous! Just a tablespoon of cinnamon a day can reduce cholesterol levels, as well as providing a healthy dose of antioxidants. Make your heart warm, healthy and happy with scrumptious Vegan Cinnamon Rolls.

6. Apples

The pectin in apples can lower cholesterol as well as slow down the progression of clogging in the arteries. Ohio State University researchers discovered that an apple a day can reduce the hardening of arteries by 40%! It seems the old apple-a-day saying is true after all! Stock up on your daily dose with this recipe for Grilled Apple Pie with Vanilla Coconut Whipped Cream.

7. Tomatoes

Carotenoid lycopene is an antioxidant that is responsible for giving tomatoes their rich red color, but it can be found in lighter or greener varieties of this juicy fruit as well. And a diet rich in lycopene can significantly reduce the oxidation of the bad cholesterol that leads to atherosclerosis. Tomatoes are also important for bone health! Get your lycopene fill with this warming Eggplant and Tomato Stew.

8. Greens

Leafy greens are a rich source of anti oxidizing vitamins, which can prevent the oxidization of cholesterol, leading to plaque formation in the arteries. Additionally, the fiber, potassium, and folate can lower blood pressure.  Just one serving per day of folate-rich leafy greens, like spinach or chard, can lower homocysteine levels, decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. There is no better (or tastier) way to pack in the greens than with a mouth-watering green smoothie. Check out this awesome Green Smoothie Cheat Sheet to learn how to tailor make one you’ll love!



Taking omega-3 supplements during pregnancy can reduce risk of childhood asthma by one third



Image result for fish oil


Taking certain omega-3 fatty acid supplements during pregnancy can reduce the risk of childhood asthma by almost one third, according to a new study from the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC) and the University of Waterloo. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that women who were prescribed 2.4 grams of long-chain omega-3 supplements during the third trimester of pregnancy reduced their children's risk of asthma by 31 per cent. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found in cold water fish, and key to regulating human immune response.

"We've long suspected there was a link between the anti-inflammatory properties of long-chain omega-3 fats, the low intakes of omega-3 in Western diets and the rising rates of childhood asthma," said Professor Hans Bisgaard of COPSAC at the Copenhagen University Hospital. "This study proves that they are definitively and significantly related."

The study used rapid analytical techniques developed and performed at the University of Waterloo to measure levels of EPA and DHA in pregnant women's blood. The University of Waterloo is one of a few laboratories in the world equipped to run such tests.


"Measuring the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in blood provides an accurate and precise assessment of nutrient status," said Professor Ken Stark, Canada Research Chair in Nutritional Lipidomics and professor in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Waterloo, who led the testing. "Our labs are uniquely equipped to measure fatty acids quickly, extremely precisely, and in a cost-efficient manner."

The testing also revealed that women with low blood levels of EPA and DHA at the beginning of the study benefitted the most from the supplements. For these women, it reduced their children's relative risk of developing asthma by 54 per cent.

"The proportion of women with low EPA and DHA in their blood is even higher in Canada and the United States as compared with Denmark. So we would expect an even greater reduction in risk among North American populations," said Professor Stark. "Identifying these women and providing them with supplements should be considered a front-line defense to reduce and prevent childhood asthma."

Researchers analyzed blood samples of 695 Danish women at 24 weeks' gestation and one week after delivery. They then monitored the health status of each participating child for five years, which is the age asthma symptoms can be clinically established.

"Asthma and wheezing disorders have more than doubled in Western countries in recent decades," said Professor Bisgaard. "We now have a preventative measure to help bring those numbers down."

Currently, one out of five young children suffer from asthma or a related disorder before school age. 



The Wrong Eating Habits Can Hurt Your Brain, Not Just Your Waistline


A diet high in saturated fats and sugars can affect the parts of the brain that important to memory.


Being overweight can raise your blood pressure, cholesterol and risk for developing diabetes. It could be bad for your brain, too.

A diet high in saturated fats and sugars, the so-called Western diet, actually affects the parts of the brain that are important to memory and make people more likely to crave the unhealthful food, says psychologist Terry Davidson, director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at American University in Washington, D.C.

He didn't start out studying what people ate. Instead, he was interested in learning more about the hippocampus, a part of the brain that's heavily involved in memory.

He was trying to figure out which parts of the hippocampus do what. He did that by studying rats that had very specific types of hippocampal damage and seeing what happened to them.

In the process, Davidson noticed something strange. The rats with the hippocampal damage would go to pick up food more often than the other rats, but they would eat a little bit, then drop it.

Davidson realized these rats didn't know they were full. He says something similar may happen in human brains when people eat a diet high in fat and sugar. Davidson says there's a vicious cycle of bad diets and brain changes. He points to a 2015 study in the Journal of Pediatrics, that found obese children performed more poorly on memory tasks that test the hippocampus compared with kids who weren't overweight.

He says if our brain system is impaired by that kind of diet, "that makes it more difficult for us to stop eating that diet. ... I think the evidence is fairly substantial that you have an effect of these diets and obesity on brain function and cognitive function."

But, if we understand how obesity affects the brain and memory, then maybe we could use that relationship to prevent people from becoming obese in the first place.

Lucy Cheke, a psychologist at the University of Cambridge, says her study in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology this November gives her some idea of how to do that.

Her researchers asked obese and lean people to do a memory task that's a virtual treasure hunt. The subjects had to hide something in a scene across various computer sessions, then they were asked what they hid, where they hid it and in which session. The obese people were 15 to 20 percent worse than lean ones in at all aspects of the experiment. The finding confirmed what other researchers had already seen in rodents. "This really picks apart spatial, item and temporal memory, as well as, crucially, the ability to integrate them," which Cheke says is "one of the most fundamental aspects of memory."

If you're obese, she says, you might just be "10 to 15 to 20 percent more likely to not quite remember where you put your keys."

Diet isn't necessarily destiny. People can compensate. As American University's Davidson puts it, "Let's say I had a kid and I gave him a high fat diet and he showed hippocampal dysfunction. That kid may not do worse in school."

But, Davidson adds, that the processes that help the kid do well in school may be impaired. When that happens, the kid would have to work harder, be more motivated, and "have a tougher go of it."

Cheke says with the link between obesity and the brain growing as a field of research, we could see more ways of targeting obesity.

For example, if the issue is that the diet of obese people degrades their memory and makes them more likely to overeat, then maybe making their meals more memorable would help them eat less of the bad stuff. Cheke says there's already some research showing that if you watch TV while you eat lunch, you'll eat more and also be more likely to get hungry in the afternoon and later to eat more at dinner.

She says not watching TV while you eat is one of the "small easy changes that people can make that don't involve a lot of self-control and that don't involve a lot of sacrifices, but that can still make a significant difference into how much you're eating."

However, even though we are beginning to understand that obesity affects the brain, we don't exactly know how, says John Gunstad, professor and director of the Applied Psychology Center at Kent State University in Ohio.

He points out obesity changes a lot about the body: blood sugar levels, the cardiovascular system, inflammation levels throughout the body. Any one of those things could affect the brain.

"Most likely, the effect of obesity on the brain is related to not just one cause but a combination of causes," Gunstad says.

Davidson is also moving forward by studying how to break the vicious cycle of a Western diet, obesity, and brain changes. But he says the underlying idea that obesity affects the brain is clear.

"It's surprising to me that people would question that obesity would have a negative effect on the brain because it has a negative effect on so many other bodily systems, he says, adding, why would "the brain would be spared?"


Why -- and how -- to get more antioxidants in your diet



The holiday season is in full swing, and with it comes time for family celebration while gathering around tables full of delicious foods with seasonal spices! But it can also be a stressful time of year, with substantial meal preparation as well as stress in the gut from digesting highly caloric and rich foods. Your food choices can help reduce stress in your body.

Traditional holiday meals are laden with salt, fat and sugar, which can spike blood glucose and insulin levels when eaten in excess all in one day. They also, alas, can increase the amount of free radicals, or molecules with unattached electrons, in the body, which can do serious cellular damage.We hear a lot about antioxidants, and we are encouraged to eat foods that are rich in them. But what exactly are they, and why do we need them? As a researcher who examines cellular damage, I will explain the oxidative process and why it's important to curb it.
If a substance is "oxidized," it has lost electrons to another substance. In contrast, we say a substance is "reduced" when it has gained electrons from another substance. Oxidizing agents are called electron acceptors, because they remove electrons from a substance, putting them in a state of loss, or oxidized. Oxidizing agents keep electrons for themselves.
The oxidizing agents that have accepted electrons become free radicals if the unpaired electrons don't bind to other molecules. These free radicals mess with our cellular metabolism, even interfering with our DNA.Our mitochondria, which operate like little factories in our cells, are responsible for burning fuel from food and producing energy in each of our cells via a process called oxidative phosphorylation. This metabolic pathway is a cellular chain reaction that involves a series of oxidation and reduction reactions in which atoms try to give or receive enough electrons to have a full "shell." Most atoms have a matching number of protons and electrons, but this leaves the various "shells" of electrons incomplete, rendering them vulnerable to scavenge the body in search of electrons for pairing.  Normally, when an electron separates from a molecule involved in oxidation and reduction, it reattaches almost immediately to another. But when they don't, free radicals form.Under ordinary conditions, this oxidative process creates chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen. This in turn can lead to the production of molecules of free radicals that are unstable in high concentrations. Not all free radicals are bad. Free radical formation is crucial to the process of oxidizing nutrients from our food into chemical energy.
Free radical accumulation, however, be it atoms, ions or molecules, is harmful and can have severe consequences on our health. These unstable molecules are detrimental to the proper structure and function of cells throughout the body due to their ability to oxidize cells, known as oxidative stress.
20 easy food swaps to help you eat healthier
Free radicals damage the growth, development and survival of cells in the body. Their reactive nature allows them to engage in unnecessary side reactions causing cellular impairment and eventually injury when they are present in disproportionate amounts.
They directly impair cell membranes and DNA. This leads to cell mutation and causes new cells to grow erroneously, which means free radicals are associated with both development of cancer as well as the progression of aging. Free radicals are frequently implicated with health problems that are experienced with age, such as hardened arteries, diabetes and even wrinkle formation.Overeating further increases free radical production. As we eat more, our mitochondria release more activated oxygen than normal during energy consumption, thus generating higher levels of free radicals. And, risk of oxidative stress is greater when certain types of foods are consumed and the degree of danger can be influenced by the way in which they are prepared or cooked. you can avoid sources of free radicals on your holiday menu by planning ahead and incorporating healthy foods. Keep in mind that free radical content is high in nutrient-poor meals and those deficient of antioxidants.
  • Avoid high glycemic foods, or foods that are rich in refined carbohydrates and sugars. They are more likely to generate free radicals.
  • Limit processed meats such as sausages, bacon and salami. They contain preservatives, which leads to the production of free radicals.
  • Limit red meat. It is particularly more vulnerable to oxidation because of its high iron content.
  • Don't reuse cooking fats and oils. Heating fats and oils during cooking oxidizes them, generating free radicals which seep into our foods.
  • Limit alcohol. Alcoholic drinks not only are high in calories but also can produce free radicals in the body. Try to limit your drinks to one or two per day.
  • Eat foods rich in antioxidants, chemicals that inhibit the oxidation of molecules by neutralizing free radicals, thereby stopping them from causing cellular damage. Antioxidants are found in a variety of plants in the form of vitamins A, C and E, selenium and certain phytonutrients and polyphenols. Cranberries are loaded with them!
  • Look for foods with β-carotene, lycopene and lutein, including broccoli flowers, alfalfa sprouts, Brussels sprouts, carrots, collard greens, corn, mango and tomatoes. These foods can be incorporated into several side dishes such as vegetable medleys, casseroles and salads.
  • Consider fruit for dessert instead of rich pies and cakes. Apples, cantaloupe, cherries, grapefruit, kiwi, papaya, red grapes, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries are delightful on their own or when mixed to create lovely fruit salads.
  • Grab some nuts -- always plentiful at the holidays -- and other foods rich in vitamin E, such as sweet potatoes.
  • Plant metabolites called flavonoids also demonstrate antioxidant functions. Some versatile antioxidant-rich flavonoids include onions, eggplant, lettuce, turnip greens, endives, pears, red wine, parsley, citrus fruits, berries, cherries, plums, legumes, soybeans, milk, cheese, tofu and miso.
  • Enjoy antioxidant superfoods, those with high levels of more than one vitamin. These are prunes, plums, raisins, blueberries, cranberries, figs, oranges, pomegranates, sweet red bell peppers, beets, kale, spinach and dark chocolate.
  • Try herbal therapy -- in your food! Many spices can not only enhance the flavor of our holiday turkeys and hams but also reduce oxidative stress. These include ginger, grape seed extract, ginkgo, rosemary and turmeric.
  • Take time for tea. When the evening comes to an end, you can revel in a gentle and soothing cup of warm green tea and be comforted in knowing that the polyphenols in your brew also combat oxidation.

Does a vegan diet affect your ability to heal?



 Leafy greens are also a good source of plant protein.


On September 19, 2008, just before midnight, two pilots attempted to abort their takeoff from the Columbia Metropolitan Airport in South Carolina. The pilots, who thought that they had blown a tire, were unable to stop the plane on the remaining runway they had left. Four people died in the resulting fiery crash, including both pilots. Only two people survived: celebrity disc jockey DJ AM and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker.Travis Barker, a vegan at the time, suffered second- and third-degree burns over his torso and lower body. He was taken to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia, where, he told the Guardian in an interview several weeks after the crash, he had to eat 6,000 calories a day in order to speed his recovery.   "Obviously, they didn't have a vegan chef for me," Barker told the paper, "so I had to eat whatever. I ended up eating a lot of beef jerky." Giving up veganism, in this case, came with an added health benefit: Early in his hospital stay, his doctors reportedly had trouble getting his skin grafts to take, which Barker said in interviews was due to his low levels of protein; after a while on his new high-calorie diet, they had more success. Was his vegan regimen really to blame, though? Whether or not a plant-based diet hinders the body's ability to healing is a matter of ongoing debate, but some research seems to suggest that it does. One 2013 review in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, for example, found milk protein is better able to support muscle-protein synthesis after exercise than soy protein. Researchers speculated that this may be because milk proteins contains more of the 20 amino acids (compounds that help the body create new proteins) that humans need.   But Neal Barnard, an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University and the president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, calls this argument "really old-fashioned thinking."

Barnard, who extolled the virtues of a low-fat, plant-based diet, acknowledged the importance of protein to recovery. But "the amount of protein that is in vegetables and beans and grains is much more than enough," he said, pointing to animals like bulls, stallions, elephants, and giraffes -- all of which are vegan, and all of which "build their massive bodies and repair them every day entirely from plant-based foods." In fact, Barnard argued, a plant-based diet may actually be optimal during the healing process, helping the body regulate levels of inflammation (characterized by the enlargement of blood vessels, the leaking of blood into tissues, and the release of antibodies that occur after injury). While inflammation may be designed to protect the body, it can easily get out of control, Barnard said, adding that veganism may help to keep it in check:. "The closer you get to no animal products at all, the better off you'll be." Still, not everyone agrees that animal products are the greatest culprit in inflammation. Other studies indicate that foods rich in carbohydrates may contribute more strongly. And as Barker's case illustrates, the anti-inflammatory benefits of a plant-based diet may be counteracted by the fact that vegans do have to be more vigilant about getting enough protein, which research suggests may play a key role in speeding injury recovery. A 1998 study in the Journal of Burn Care and Research, for instance, found that increased protein intake helped burn patients increase both their body weight and muscle strength. Another study, published in 2006 in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, looked at the recovery of adult male rats with bone fractures; five weeks after injury, the animals with the highest-protein diets had the greatest body mass, muscle mass, and bone mineral density. So how can we define the optimal diet for recovery in the face of such conflicting advice?  The short answer is: Maybe we can't, at least not yet. Charles Keith Ozaki, director of vascular surgery research at Brigham and Women's Hospital and a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, noted that more research is needed before we fully understand the long-term relationship between what we eat and how we heal. 
"However, as a clinician and an active surgeon," he said, "I believe there are enormous opportunities for lessening complications in surgery by manipulating diet," even for short periods of time -- temporarily adjusting what a person eats may still affect the body's response to injury. In fact, many studies support the notion of increasing protein intake after an acute injury, as Barker did. (Barker eventually made a full recovery, and returned to his vegan diet upon leaving the hospital.)
"There's a fascination in America right now about how what you eat impacts your health," Ozaki said, and the limited knowledge we do have is better than nothing at all: "Short-term interventions could help, even if we have trouble adhering to long-term dietary guidelines."


Articles - December 2016


Want to Raise Successful Kids? Science Says Praise Them Like This. (Most Parents Do the Opposite)




What if I were to tell you that you could increase the odds that your kids will achieve great success in life--maybe greater success than you've had--simply by making a small change in how you praise them and talk about achievement? It turns out, you can. What's more, this change flies in the face of almost everything we've been told by so-called experts about raising successful kids--at least for the past 15 years or more. It's all about how we praise our kids for their accomplishments. An emerging and exciting body of research on the subject suggests several key things we might not have realized otherwise:

  1. Praising kids merely for their innate abilities, such as their intelligence, actually makes it less likely that they'll grow up to enjoy learning and to excel.
  2. Praising kids instead for the strategies and processes they develop to solve problems--even when they don't fully succeed--makes them more likely to try harder and ultimately achieve.
  3. And--perhaps the kicker--the effects of these praise strategies can be quantified even when we're talking about children as young as 1 to 3 years of age. (So once again, my 15-month-old daughter will get the benefit of something I've learned while writing for Inc.!)

As you might imagine, this would mean that the so-called experts who told us to praise our kids endlessly (part of the "everyone gets a participation trophy" movement) were dead wrong. (I've written a lot this subject at Inc. and put together a free e-book: How to Raise Successful Kids.)

How does it all work? We'll talk below about two studies involving school-age children, both led by Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University. First, however, let's examine the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset, which underlies the whole thing.

Fixed vs. growth mindset

This is really what this research is all about--teaching kids to develop growth mindsets rather than fixed mindsets.

When it comes to beliefs about human achievement, a fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence, for example, is almost entirely innate. Either you're born with great smarts and the ability to achieve, or you're not.

A growth mindset, on the other hand, is the belief that achievement (again, for our purposes in the intellectual realm) is much more variable, and that intelligence and problem-solving abilities can be developed over time.

You might summarize the whole thing by thinking of Albert Einstein, Dweck suggests. A person with a fixed mindset might say, "Einstein was brilliant." A person with a growth mindset might observe that Einstein solved some incredibly difficult problems.

As for teaching growth mindsets, writer Angie Aker summarized Dweck's work and put it like this on Upworthy: "Praise your child explicitly for how capable they are of learning rather than telling them how smart they are."




Gut bacteria and cholesterol are important pieces of the puzzle for fat-burning



Gut bacteria play a little-understood role in the body's energy balance, which is influenced by diet. However, the crucial nutritional components are unknown. A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) was able to demonstrate for the very first time that mice without gastrointestinal microbiota grow obese when fed with dietary fat from plant sources, but not from animal sources. One of the important findings of the study is that cholesterol from the animal dietary fat plays a crucial role in what goes on in the intestines.

Obesity, diabetes, and related illnesses are among the most widespread health problems in Western societies, and an increasing number of people are also suffering from them in emerging economies. According to a study published in the specialist journal The Lancet in spring, more than 600 million people around the world are now obese.

Besides the well-established fact that obesity is a result of an imbalance between calorie intake and energy consumption, it has been known for a long time that the colonization of the intestines with bacteria (gastrointestinal microbiota) also has an effect on the energy metabolism. More recent studies have shown how changes in the intestinal flora due to differences in diet have an impact on the energy metabolism, thereby facilitating obesity and diabetes.

Therefore, fats and their influence on the gut flora were compared for a new study that has been published in Molecular Metabolism. For this study, germ-free mice that did not host any microbiota in their intestines were fed a high-fat diet for four weeks, which was either made using lard or palm oil. As a control, the same feed was given to mice with a normal gut flora.


A diet with a high quantity of animal fat does not necessarily lead to obesity

The findings led to three crucial conclusions: The first observation was that the germ-free mice which were fed a lot of animal fat (lard) did not gain body fat. At the same time, a different group which received a diet enriched with fats from plant sources (palm oil) fully developed diet-induced obesity. On the other hand, the control groups with a normal gut flora became obese regardless of whether they were fed lard or palm oil. Hence, it was the type of alone which made the crucial difference for the germ-free mice: Diet-induced obesity only occurred with fats from plant sources, not from animal sources.


Impaired fat digestion results in a modified metabolism

"The feed with high levels of lard stimulated the metabolism in the body of the germ-free mice," says Professor Martin Klingenspor from the Chair for Molecular Nutritional Medicine at the Else Kroener-Fresenius Center for Nutritional Medicine (EKFZ) at TUM explained, presenting the second, central finding. "What this means is that a large percentage of the nutritional energy is combusted in metabolism," said Klingenspor. Hence, the was increased accordingly in the germ-free mice. Furthermore, animal fat is harder to absorb and process: "Because they were less able to utilize the feed with the lard, the germ-free mice modified their metabolism to use more carbohydrates because dietary fat was only available in limited amounts," Klingenspor concluded from the findings of the study.


Microbiota influences metabolism of cholesterol

The two types of dietary fat used in the study differ fundamentally: Palm oil is practically free from , while lard is rich in cholesterol. Because it has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, cholesterol has a negative connotation. But despite this bad reputation, cholesterol, which is a sterol, is also essential for life, because it is a vital component of cell membranes and a precursor to steroid hormones and .

The plant-based fats fed to the mice in this current study contain phytosterols such as sitosterol, which inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine. On the other hand, the supply and availability of cholesterol in animal fats is greatly increased. Could the cholesterol in lard therefore lower the fat storage capacity and increase the basal metabolic rate in the germ-free mice?

The accompanying analysis conducted on the metabolites (intermediate products created during metabolism) for this purpose and on the corresponding metabolic paths in the intestines of the mice yielded unexpected results: Steroids, steroid hormones, and bile acids, which are all chemical derivatives of cholesterol, showed noticeable changes which were linked to the intake of the lard-containing feed.


Gut flora regulates food-host interaction

This led the scientists to their third conclusion: In the test groups with a normal , a comparison of the group with the lard feed group showed subtle differences in their bacterial composition. In the mice that were fed with lard, the abundance of specific bacterial strains was associated with changes in bile acid levels in the gut. One of these strains is actually known to metabolize cholesterol. Hence, diet-induced changes of the gut microbiota lead to modified sterol and bile acid metabolism. These cholesterol metabolites impact on fat resorption and energy expenditure and play a role in determining whether diet-induced obesity develops - or not.


How To Cook With Fats



"Dr. Hyman, I'm so confused about what fats to cook with," a reader recently wrote. "For so long I've been using vegetable oils because I heard they were best to cook with and now I hear that we can cook with butter or coconut oil."

I completely understand your confusion, especially with rampant misinformation about fats and nutrition in general. For instance, the American Heart Association recommends adults get no more than five percent of their calories from saturated fat, urging people to use vegetable oils instead.


They also advise people to eat at least 5 to 10 percent of their calories from polyunsaturated fat. Unlike saturated fat, the American Heart Association rationalizes the linoleic acid in polyunsaturated fats lower LDL cholesterol levels.

As a result of this and other poor nutrition advice, the average intake of this omega-6 fatty acid has risen sharply: Americans consume at least twice the amount of linoleic acid today than they did in the 1960s.

Increased consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils, which are highly inflammatory to the body and unstable, has subsequently increased inflammatory diseases. Over-consuming omega-6 fats and under-consuming omega-3 fats increases numerous health issues including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, pre-diabetes, IBS, arthritis, asthma, cancer and autoimmune diseases.


These ubiquitous omega-6 fats like vegetable oils (soybean, safflower, sunflower and canola oils) undo any health benefits from consuming omega-3 fats. They also reduce conversion of plant-based omega-3 fats (called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA) into active forms of omega-3s (calledeicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid or EPA and DHA, respectively) by about 40 percent.

This misguided dietary advice to swap traditional omega-3-rich fats for inflammatory omega-6 fats, although it may have begun with good intent, has yielded disastrous results. Consuming too many omega-6 fats also increases mental illness, suicide and homicide. In fact, studies show a connection of mental health with inflammation in the brain.

Big food companies have played a big role here. The oil industry played a major role pushing trans fats. When that didn't work, they resorted to "healthier," highly refined vegetable oil and other omega-6 polyunsaturated fats.


We need to eliminate these highly processed vegetable oils that are so prevalent in the standard American diet. Instead, I suggest using more plant-based and animal-stable fats such as butter, coconut oil and even lard.

Based on misinformation, you might think using these fats is unhealthy. I did too at one time, yet after closely evaluating literature on this topic from a neutral perspective, I completely changed my diet and those of my patients.

Today, I embrace coconut oil, ghee and even some grass-fed butter as part of my diet. After all, we've been eating these and other traditional fats for centuries before flawed science and so-called experts told us they were unhealthy and caused heart disease.

Saturated fat is one reason these animal-stable fats got a bad rep. While studies show saturated fat raises LDL (your so-called "bad" cholesterol), it actually has been found to improve the quality of your LDL by increasing its size, making it less likely to promote heart disease. Saturated fat also raises HDL (your "good" cholesterol).

While research shows coconut oil contains higher amounts of saturated fat and does increase total cholesterol, it also raises HDL and improves your TC/HDL ratio (a good thing), a far better predictor of heart attacks than LDL alone.


Vitamin D May Help Children With Autism


Image: Vitamin D May Help Children With Autism


Vitamin D supplementation improved the symptoms of children with autism, a new study shows.


Autism spectrum disorder is a serious neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs a child's ability to communicate and interact with others. It also includes restricted repetitive behaviors, interests and activities.It has been previously reported that there is vitamin D deficiency in autistic children; however, there is a lack of randomized controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation in these children.  

An Egyptian research team created a study in which they randomized 109 children with autism spectrum disorder.

One half of the children received a vitamin D3 supplement for four months and the other half took a placebo.

Autism symptoms – such as hyperactivity, social withdrawal, and others—improved significantly following vitamin D3 supplementation but not after receiving placebo, the researchers say.



Drugs used to treat acid reflux and ulcers may increase risk of developing kidney stones and CKD


Certain medications commonly used to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers can have damaging effects on the kidneys. The findings come from two studies that will be presented at ASN Kidney Week 2016 November 15¬-20 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine receptor-2 (H2) blockers are commonly used to reduce gastric acid production. To see if these drugs increase the risk of developing kidney stones, Pietro Manuel Ferraro, MD, MS, PhD (Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli - Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, in Rome, Italy) and his colleagues examined information on 187,330 participants of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) and Nurses' Health Study (NHS) I and II who were initially free of kidney stones.

During a follow-up of up to 12 years for PPIs and 26 years for H2 blockers, 3245 symptomatic kidney stones developed. After adjusting for a number of factors such as age, race, body mass index, physical activity, smoking status, comorbidities, use of medications, and intake of nutrients, use of PPIs was associated with a 12% higher risk of developing a kidney stone, and use of H2 blockers with a 13% higher risk. In a subgroup of participants, use of PPIs was associated with lower urinary excretion of calcium, oxalate, citrate, and magnesium, which are components of kidney stones.



Additives found in many processed foods linked to colon cancer


Ice cream


Emulsifiers — the common food additives found in many of your favorite foods — have been linked to colon cancer in mice, according to the latest research.

Emulsifiers are ingredients that help all of the other ingredients mesh together into a final product. In a recipe, they get along well with water-loving and oil-loving ingredients, so they bind all of those ingredients together and help them play nicely in your food.

Eggs are emulsifiers. So is beeswax, although it's not very tasty in food. Nowadays, the most common emulsifiers used in foods are monoglyceride and diglyceride derivatives of fatty acids. These emulsifiers not only improve the texture of the final product, but they also help to extend its shelf life. They are commonly used in foods like ice cream, mayonnaise, margarine, creamy sauces, and other bakery products and processed foods (think bread and chocolate.)

Researchers from Georgia State University's Institute for Biomedical Sciences wanted to see how these emulsifiers affected the human body. After feeding mice a diet that included "regular consumption" of the dietary emulsifiers, polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose, the research team found that these emulsifiers altered the intestinal bacteria of the mice in such as way as to cause inflammation and colorectal cancer. Overall, the mice that were fed the emulsifiers developed more and bigger cancerous tumors than those whose diet did not include those additives.

The study was published in the journal Cancer Research.


According to the researchers, the emulsifiers may act as "detergents" in the gut by changing the composition of bacteria in the digestive system. This altered microbial composition may be more prone to inflammation and may favor the introduction and development of cancer.


Beyond Resveratrol: The Anti-Aging NAD 


Structure of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, oxidized (NAD+). (Scientific American)


Whenever I see my 10-year-old daughter brimming over with so much energy that she jumps up in the middle of supper to run around the table, I think to myself, "those young mitochondria."

Mitochondria are our cells' energy dynamos. Descended from bacteria that colonized other cells about 2 billion years, they get flaky as we age. A prominent theory of aging holds that decaying of mitochondria is a key driver of aging. While it's not clear why our mitochondria fade as we age, evidence suggests that it leads to everything from heart failure to neurodegeneration, as well as the complete absence of zipping around the supper table. Recent research suggests it may be possible to reverse mitochondrial decay with dietary supplements that increase cellular levels of a molecule called NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide). But caution is due: While there's promising test-tube data and animal research regarding NAD boosters, no human clinical results on them have been published.


NAD is a linchpin of energy metabolism, among other roles, and its diminishing level with age has been implicated in mitochondrial deterioration. Supplements containing nicotinamide riboside, or NR, a precursor to NAD that's found in trace amounts in milk, might be able to boost NAD levels. In support of that idea, half a dozen Nobel laureates and other prominent scientists are working with two small companies offering NR supplements.

The NAD story took off toward the end of 2013 with a high-profile paper by Harvard's David Sinclair and colleagues. Sinclair, recall, achieved fame in the mid-2000s for research on yeast and mice that suggested the red wine ingredient resveratrol mimics anti-aging effects of calorie restriction. This time his lab made headlines by reporting that the mitochondria in muscles of elderly mice were restored to a youthful state after just a week of injections with NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide), a molecule that naturally occurs in cells and, like NR, boosts levels of NAD.It should be noted, however, that muscle strength was not improved in the NMN-treated mice—the researchers speculated that one week of treatment wasn't enough to do that despite signs that their age-related mitochondrial deterioration was reversed.


NMN isn't available as a consumer product. But Sinclair's report sparked excitement about NR, which was already on the market as a supplement called Niagen. Niagen's maker, ChromaDex, a publicly traded Irvine, Calif., company, sells it to various retailers, which market it under their own brand names. In the wake of Sinclair's paper, Niagen was hailed in the media as a potential blockbuster.

In early February, Elysium Health, a startup cofounded by Sinclair's former mentor, MIT biologist Lenny Guarente, jumped into the NAD game by unveiling another supplement with NR. Dubbed Basis, it's only offered online by the company. Elysium is taking no chances when it comes to scientific credibility. Its website lists a dream team of advising scientists, including five Nobel laureates and other big names such as the Mayo Clinic's Jim Kirkland, a leader in geroscience, and biotech pioneer Lee Hood. I can't remember a startup with more stars in its firmament.


A few days later, ChromaDex reasserted its first-comer status in the NAD game by announcing that it had conducted a clinical trial demonstrating that “a single dose of NR resulted in statistically significant increases” in NAD in humans—the first evidence that supplements could really boost NAD levels in people. Details of the study won't be out until it's reported in a peer-reviewed journal, the company said. (ChromaDex also brandishes Nobel credentials: Roger Kornberg, a Stanford professor who won the Chemistry prize in 2006, chairs its scientific advisory board. He’s the son of Nobel laureate Arthur Kornberg, who, ChromaDex proudly notes, was among the first scientists to study NR some 60 years ago.)


The NAD findings tie into the ongoing story about enzymes called sirtuins, which Guarente, Sinclair and other researchers have implicated as key players in conferring the longevity and health benefits of calorie restriction. Resveratrol, the wine ingredient, is thought to rev up one of the sirtuins, SIRT1, which appears to help protect mice on high doses of resveratrol from the ill effects of high-fat diets. A slew of other health benefits have been attributed to SIRT1 activation in hundreds of studies, including several small human trials.


Here's the NAD connection: In 2000, Guarente's lab reported that NAD fuels the activity of sirtuins, including SIRT1—the more NAD there is in cells, the more SIRT1 does beneficial things. One of those things is to induce formation of new mitochondria. NAD can also activate another sirtuin, SIRT3, which is thought to keep mitochondria running smoothly.

The Sinclair group's NAD paper drew attention partly because it showed a novel way that NAD and sirtuins work together. The researchers discovered that cells' nuclei send signals to mitochondria that are needed to maintain their normal operation. SIRT1 helps insure the signals get through. When NAD levels drop, as they do with aging, SIRT1 activity falls off, which in turn makes the crucial signals fade, leading to mitochondrial dysfunction and all the ill effects that go with it.

NAD boosters might work synergistically with supplements like resveratrol to help reinvigorate mitochondria and ward off diseases of aging. Elysium is banking on this potential synergy—its NR-containing supplement includes a resveratrol-like substance called pterostilbene (pronounced tero-STILL-bean), which is found in blueberries and grapes.


Why pterostilbene instead of resveratrol?

While resveratrol has hogged the anti-aging spotlight over the past decade, unsung researchers in places like Oxford, Miss., have quietly shown that pterostilbene is a kind of extra-potent version of resveratrol. The pterostilbene molecule is nearly identical to resveratrol's except for a couple of differences that make it more "bioavailable" (animal studies indicate that about four times as much ingested pterostilbene gets into the bloodstream as resveratrol). Test-tube and rodent studies also suggest that pterostilbene is more potent than resveratrol when it comes to improving brain function, warding off various kinds of cancer and preventing heart disease.

Elysium isn't the only pterostilbene vendor. In fact, ChromaDex also offers pterostilbene for supplements separately from Niagen.

How excited should we be about all this? If I were a middle-aged mouse, I'd be ready to spend some of the nickels and dimes I'd dragged off the sidewalk to try NR supplements. Even before Sinclair's paper, researchers had shown in 2012 that when given doses of NR, mice on high-fat diets gained 60 percent less weight than they did on the same diets without NR. Further, none of the mice on NR showed signs of diabetes, and their energy levels improved. The scientists reportedly characterized NR's effects on metabolism as "nothing short of astonishing."

But the paucity of human data gives me pause. Nobel laureates notwithstanding, I plan to wait until more is known before jumping up from the supper table to run out for some NR. Besides, it probably won’t be long before more data come out given the growing buzz about NAD.




Woman Who Ate ‘Carbs All Day Every Day’ Drops 100 Lbs. After Eliminating Bread from Her Diet






Kristina Guice had always been “the fat kid in school,” she says, so when the Tucson, Arizona, native got accepted to graduate school across the country in Long Island, New York, she decided this was her opportunity to make a change.Guice, 25, had recently lost a close friend — who had also been her weight loss inspiration — and got accepted to graduate school just two weeks later. The two major life events made her want to get serious about finally losing weight. “I was like, ‘Here is my someday,'” she tells PEOPLE. “I could to a grad school program with people across the country who I’ve never met before, and I could be who I want to be.” 

Guice read about the ketogenic diet on Reddit, and was inspired by a woman’s photos who had a similar build to her.

“I was like, I can do that — and I can still eat cheese!” she says of the diet that entails restricting carbs and eating fats as fuel instead. “I had heard about low-carb before and I thought I could never give up bread, but then I started reading about all you can still have.”Even though Guice was still able to eat dairy, eliminating carbs meant an extreme overhaul in her current diet.

“It was carbs all day every day — cereal for breakfast, nachos or a sandwich for lunch, pizza or pasta for dinner,” she says of her typical daily diet. “I didn’t really like vegetables so I rarely ate salad. Bread was the love of my life, and I didn’t understand what an appropriate portion was, so I was just eating however much I wanted.”

Now Guice gets a very small number of carbs from leafy greens, and sticks to a diet of mainly meat, vegetables and cheese.

“A standard dinner would be spinach and chicken thighs cooked in butter, so I have the fat, the protein and then the leafy green as my carbs,” she says. “That was a big change from having pasta with pasta and a side of pasta!”

Although it was hard to give up her beloved carbs, Guice was motivated to stay on track once she started losing weight.

“Seeing the results right away was super motivating,” she says. “I lost 11 lbs. in the first two weeks. I kept motivated by turning it into a habit. Now it feels weird not to go to the gym or not to log how many carbs I’m having. I do it because it’s what I do.”

On Guice’s 25th birthday in November, she reached her goal of losing 100 lbs., and says the best part of her weight loss journey has been “discovering I had cheekbones.”

“I never thought I had cheekbones!” she says. “Shopping is a lot more fun too, and being able to have five racks of clothes to choose from instead of a half rack of plus-size clothing has been a big thing.”

When Guice returned home after graduate school, she started her Ellipticalifragilistic Instagram account — which now has 23.5k followers — to keep up with her weight loss goals.

“I really wanted to hit 100 lbs. down so I started an Instagram for more motivation and accountability,” she says. “I loved looking at other people’s fitness and weight loss accounts on Instagram, and having a community, especially other keto people, to see people’s food, and making friendships has made it a lot more fun.  having people to talk to and get feedback from.”




Does marijuana weaken heart muscles?

By Hailey Middlebrook, CNN




Articles - November 2016


Eggs Reduce Stroke Risk


Image: Eggs Reduce Stroke Risk


When asked for the secret of her longevity, Emma Morano, the world's oldest person, answered "eggs." A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition indicates she's on the right track.

For years, nutritionists limited the consumption of eggs, fearing they increased cholesterol and led to heart disease. But the new study found no association between eggs and coronary heart disease, and found that eating one egg a day actually lowered the risk of stroke by 12 percent.


The findings come from a review and meta-analysis of studies dating back between 1982 and 2015, which evaluated relationships between egg intake and coronary heart disease and included almost 600,000 subjects, about half them heart disease subjects and the other half stroke subjects.

Morano, who will turn 117 on November 27, says she has been eating at least two eggs a day for 90 years. Her doctor Carlo Bava, acknowledges she doesn't follow a traditional healthy diet and has had a long-standing habit of eating eggs.


"Emma has always eaten very few vegetables, very little fruit," he said. "When I met her, she ate three eggs per day, two raw in the morning and then an omelet at noon, and chicken at dinner."

Dr. Dominik Alexander of the EpidStat Institute, Ann Arbor, MI, who was the principle investigator of the egg study, says that more work is needed to understand the connection between egg consumption and stroke risk.


"Eggs do have many positive nutritional attributes, including antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation," Alexander theorizes. "They are also an excellent source of protein, which has been related to lower blood pressure.

When to Take Your Vitamins: Timing is Key to Effectiveness


Image: When to Take Your Vitamins: Timing is Key to Effectiveness

Many people who take vitamins and supplements grab a handful and toss them down the gullet first thing in the morning. But experts say that may not be the best time to take some nutritional supplements, so it’s important to know when to take them to get the most benefit.

“The best way to get all your nutrients is from food,” notes Dr. Ellen Kamhi, a medical school instructor and author of "The Natural Medicine Chest."

“But of course there is a large amount of scientific evidence that supports the use of supplements. There are many instances when your diet isn’t sufficient to provide all the necessary nutrients because of toxic growing conditions, the chemicals used in GMO crops, or simply poor eating habits.

“That being said, there are some ‘rules of thumb’ about the best times to take different kinds of vitamins and minerals.”

Kamhi recommends taking multivitamin and mineral combinations in the morning before breakfast. And she says NEVER to take a calcium-magnesium pill combination.

“The calcium will most likely be absorbed but will block the absorption of magnesium,” she tells Newsmax Health. “And if you take iron supplements, avoid ferrous sulfate. Choose ferrous chelate or fumerate instead.”

Other experts are even more specific in their directives:

Water-soluble vitamins. B vitamins and vitamin C, among other water-soluble vitamins, should be taken in the morning, preferably without food. “Take all the water-soluble vitamins before breakfast,” Dr. Robert Silverman, a certified clinical nutritionist with the American Clinical Board of Nutrition, tells Newsmax Health.

Fat-soluble vitamins. It’s best to take fat-soluble vitamins with food. These include vitamins A, D., E, K, and the minerals iron and magnesium should be taken with food.

Magnesium. Taking magnesium with food reduces the side effect of diarrhea and taking the fat soluble vitamins with food prevents stomach upset.


SAMe, CoQ10. “If you are taking the supplement SAMe, this also should be taken with food,” Silverman advises. “The important supplement co-enzyme Q10 needs to be taken with fat, so choose a healthy fat such as avocado and almonds to help the absorption of this nutrient.”

Calcium. Silverman recommends taking calcium supplements in the evening because it helps with muscle relaxation.

Fish oil pills. The popular omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements may slow down the absorption of other medications and nutrients, according to the University of Maryland. So take this supplement at dinner time and avoid combining it with other medicines or nutritional aids.


DHEA. Holli Lapes, RD, with Life Extension, adds that certain hormones such as DHEA should be taken in the morning.


Antioxidants. “Lipoic acid, a powerful antioxidant, is another good one to take in the morning since it works best on an empty stomach,” Lapes adds. “But since an empty stomach is defined as 30 minutes before a meal or two hours after a meal, that could a flexible.”

Brain boosters. She adds that brain-boosting blends or formations like Cognitex should be taken in the morning to support memory, learning, and oxygenation to the brain throughout the day.

Digestive enzymes. People who take digestive enzymes should take them with the heaviest meal of the day, which for many Americans is dinner.


How to eat red meat and not get cancer


How to eat red meat and not get cancer



Eating processed meats like bacon, ham, hot dogs and sausage puts you at risk of getting cancer, according to a report released in 2015 by the World Health Organization. The WHO put processed meats — defined as meats that have been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation — in the highest of five categories in terms of their cancer-causing potential, along with cigarettes, arsenic, plutonium and asbestos.


What’s more, the organization says red meat is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” though this was based on more limited evidence. To reach these conclusions, the WHO reviewed more than 800 studies that investigated the association between more than a dozen types of cancer and the consumption of red meat or processed meat in many different countries.

 Flying in the face of this evidence, there are studies that don’t show a link between meat eating and cancer, including a study of roughly 60,000 participants released last year that which showed that bowel cancer occurred at relatively similar rates among meat eaters and vegetarians. Plus, as the WHO notes, the cancer risk from consuming processed meat is low: “For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small.”

The North American Meat Institute said in a statement, “scientific evidence shows cancer is a complex disease not caused by single foods and that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices are essential to good health.”


Still, for meat devotees, the WHO report is, no doubt, disturbing. The good news: You don’t have to ditch those meat-filled backyard barbecues just yet.

The main thing you can do to cut the cancer risks of red meat is to eat less of it, as “risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” Kurt Straif, head of the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer’s Monographs program, notes in the report. The WHO report found that eating just 50 grams of processed meat each day (that’s less than two pieces of bacon) increases the risk of colorectal (bowel) cancer by 18%. For red meat, 100 grams per day (that’s a piece of meat roughly the size of a deck of playing cards) was associated with a 17% increased cancer risk.


o how much is OK to eat? The World Cancer Research Fund recommends that you eat no more than 500 grams (that’s 18 ounces) of red meat a week; that’s about three regular-sized burgers. Harvard Health, a blog published by the Harvard Medical School, recommends that red meat should only make an appearance in your diet only every “now and then,” and that instead, you should eat fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans nuts and seeds each day, along with small portions of cheese, yogurt, fish poultry or eggs each day.

The type of meat matters as well. The WCRF advises that “very little if any” of the red meat you eat should be processed, and the WHO report classifies the processed meats as more dangerous than fresh red meat.


Consumers should also avoid searing their meat at high temperatures, says Jayson Calton, who holds a PhD in human nutrition and co-authored the book “The Micronutrient Miracle: The 28-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Increase Your Energy and Reduce Disease”. This searing, he says, has been shown to cause cancer — a finding that research backs up. (The reason: Two chemicals, heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, form on meat cooked at high temperatures, such as when you pan fry or grill directly over an open flame; both have been shown to cause changes in DNA that may increase the risk of cancer.) To avoid this, Calton recommends that you turn down the heat to less than 300 degrees Fahrenheit, turn meat with tongs (since forks can puncture the meat, which causes the flame to flare up), flip meat frequently and avoid overcooking.

There is also some evidence that grass-fed beef has cancer-fighting properties. A study published in the Nutrition Journal, which examined three decades of research on grass-fed versus grain-fed beef, found that grass-fed beef has twice the level of conjugated linoleic acids (which may have cancer-fighting abilities) than does grain-fed beef (as well as a host of other perks like lower levels of unhealthy fats and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and E, antioxidants). But despite that, it’s not clear that those perks have much impact on human health.


Doctor’s Orders: Drink a Cup of Cocoa to Boost Your Brain


circa 1800: A branch carrying the fruit of the the obroma cocao.

When the snow begins to fall and temperatures take a dip, a hot cup of cocoa does more than simply warm you up. This ancient drink traces its history back 2000 years ago to the Mayans during which the taste back then would have been significantly different—can you imagine the taste of cocoa seed paste, water, cornmeal, and chili peppers mixed together and served cold?


Not exactly how we think of cocoa nowadays. It wasn’t until cocoa was introduced in Europe during the 1500’s as to when sugar was used in place of the chili pepper to help sweeten it up making it more like the beverage we know and love today.

Many of us may think we’re simply drinking a sinfully rich, chocolaty beverage that tastes good. But, don’t be fooled. A cup of cocoa may have surprising health perks possibly playing an important role in your overall wellness.


Health Benefits of Cocoa

Cocoa comes from the cocoa tree and is considered to be a complex plant product containing over 300 different constituents including cocoa butter, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, polyphenols in addition to tyramine, tryptophan, and serotonin. Some people may consider anything containing chocolate is automatically bad and while there are many chocolate products that are unhealthy and calorie dense, it is due to the amount of sugar added to them and not to cocoa itself. Cocoa powder which comes from the cocoa bean contains many important nutrients providing numerous health benefits:

Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Numerous studies have shown cocoa contains polyphenolic flavonoids, antioxidants known to have the potential to prevent heart disease. Consuming cocoa may help lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels by decreasing “bad” LDL cholesterol and increasing “good” HDL cholesterol. Cocoa does not have an effect on triglyceride levels which is good. Triglycerides are a type of fat in our blood and elevated levels are associated with heart disease.

May improve diabetes

Flavonoid-rich cocoa may have a positive impact on another disease – diabetes. Clinical and experimental evidence has shown a possible connection of cocoa helping reduce risk factors for diabetes. In addition, people who drank cocoa were better able to utilize the hormone insulin, helping to regulate blood sugar.

May reduce risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease

Studies have suggested that daily intake of cocoa flavanols can enhance blood flow to the brain. A 2016 study found elderly volunteers who consumed flavanol-rich cocoa for 2 weeks had a 10% increase in blood flow velocity to the middle cerebral artery in the brain.

Improves mood

Cocoa contains a substance called phenethylamine, a neurotransmitter found in the brain acting as a mood lifter and natural antidepressant. Cocoa may also boost endorphins, those same chemicals released after exercising, laughing, or having sex that gives us a natural high. One other neurotransmitter cocoa may improve is serotonin, which prescribed antidepressants target to increase feelings of wellbeing.

High concentration of antioxidant

A study conducted at Cornell University found that the antioxidant concentration in hot cocoa is almost twice as strong as red wine. The concentration was even two to three times stronger than that of green tea and four to five stronger than that of black tea. Notice, it emphasizes “hot” cocoa – more antioxidants are released when it is heated up.

To sum it up

Drinking hot cocoa is always a delicious treat but it does have its caveats.   How it’s made can make a big difference. If you make it with whole milk, chocolate syrup and whipped cream on top, the health benefits go down several notches. That’s a lot of saturated fat and added sugar defeating the purpose! Choose cocoas lower in fat and sugar and know that the higher the cocoa content – look for 100% cacao – the more antioxidants it provides.

To maximize the health benefits of cocoa, buy the least processed and unsweetened cocoa you can find. Not only will it contain more nutrients, but cocoa in its raw form, has four times the antioxidants as processed cocoa. Look for it at health food stores or in the health food section of your supermarket.

Relaxing on a cold winter night sipping a cup of cocoa may feel like a guilty pleasure but you can indulge away guilt free knowing it’s a drink to your health.


Science Says This Much Halloween Candy Could Kill You




Parents who warn their kids about eating too much candy after trick-or-treating this Halloween now have science to back up their claims.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) has produced a video showing exactly how much candy it will take to not just make you sick, but possibly kill you.

If candy corn is your favorite Halloween treat, you will be wise to stop well short of the 1,627 pieces the ACS’s calculations say will be fatal when eaten in one sitting by a 180-pound person.


Love those bite-size chocolate treats of your favorite candy bar? The ACS found that eating 262 pieces of fun-size candy bars in one sitting could also prove deadly.

“Adding all of the sugar to your body is going to change the balance of water in your cells,” Matt Hartings, professor of chemistry at American University, told ABC News. “When you have so much sugar floating around in your body … you’ll likely to start leeching water from all your cells.




Hartings, author of the forthcoming “Chemistry in Your Kitchen,” is an ACS expert in the area of food chemistry and materials science. The Washington, D.C.-based organization used a measurement called LD 50 to determine what it termed “hypothetical death by gluttony.”

LD 50 is defined as the quantity of a chemical that could kill half of an animal test population, like rats, according to the ACS. The quantity is dependent upon the size of each animal. For humans, one would need to eat around 5.4 pounds of sugar to hit the LD 50 level, the ACS found (based on a person’s average weight of 180 pounds).


“The danger is eating it all at once,” said Hartings, explaining that this formula calculates acute toxicity. “Long-term toxicity would be if you eat five candy corn every day for many years, you may develop Type 2 diabetes.”

Curious what candy would do to your own body? Plug your weight into this formula provided by the ACS to determine how many fun-size candy bars and candy corn pieces would be toxic for you



Articles - October 2016


A Young Girl Beats Cancer with Immunotherapy



At only seven years old, Emily Whitehead was facing a life-threatening recurrence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common childhood cancer. Emily's cancer resisted chemotherapy treatments. Determined to save their child's life, her parents, Tom and Kari Whitehead, enrolled their daughter in a clinical trial of a new treatment designed to turn Emily's immune system into a powerful weapon against cancer. The treatment, called CAR T cell therapy (CAR stands for "chimeric antigen receptor" and T cells are a type of immune cell that kills virally infected, damaged, or cancerous cells), had never been tested in a child before.

The treatment worked, and Emily's cancer went into complete remission immediately. As of December 2013, more than 18 months since her treatment, Emily remains cancer-free. Her story made national headlines, and helped focus public attention on the potential for cancer immunotherapy to transform cancer treatment as well as the need to continue supporting lifesaving cancer research.

Watch the video to learn more about Emily's story and how the Cancer Research Institute is helping to advance research that is leading to treatments like the one Emily received.



DHA supplementation enhances cognitive function in older adults with Alzheimer's


Inflammation and Diet: Making the Connection

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One of the best ways to improve your health is to eat from the earth. It’s full of the most healing, nutrient-dense foods you can put in your body that are all more alkaline in nature than animal-based foods, sugar, processed foods, caffeine drinks, alcohol and refined grains. Dairy is one of the most inflammatory foods, along with eggs, meat, and poultry. Sadly, many of these foods make up the majority of the American Diet and are leading us to health problems like heart disease and diabetes.


Many foods fall in different rages on the pH scale, according to how acid or alkaline they are. All animal foods fall under the acid category while plant-based foods vary in their alkaline levels. You don’t need to get too technical with which one is better than another, but it’s a smart choice to work them into your diet when you can. 


Here are 10 of some of the lesser-known, yet extremely beneficial alkalizing foods to add to your meals:

1. Dark Lettuce 

You might write off those dark lettuces as nothing worthy of your dollars and skip right to the kale and collards. And while kale and collards are definitely alkalizing superstars, you’re missing out if you pass up those dark-hued lettuce varieties. Their deep color indicates their high nutrient content, including chlorophyll for your blood sugar, Vitamin K, and lots of Vitamin C. They’re some of the easier greens to digest.

2. Celery

Celery is a fantastic alkalizing food for several reasons. It’s packed with water, Vitamin C and K, and also full of natural electrolytes. This is important for bringing balance to the body and preventing electrolyte loss that can cause inflammation on its own. You’ll also be happy to hear that celery is helpful for reducing high blood pressure. Since hypertension (high blood pressure) can lead to heart disease or be a symptom, it’s especially important to eat foods that help combat this issue. Celery can be chopped and diced anywhere, not just eaten as a snack; sneak it in a smoothie, juice with it, add it to soups and stews, or whatever else you fancy too.


3. Carrots

All root vegetables will provide some alkalizing benefits, yet carrots offer a special punch all on their own. Full of Vitamin A and C, and many cleansing benefits, carrots have been juiced for years due to their healing and alkalizing properties. Try using them in your next green juice, using them raw in dishes of all kinds, or even roast them in the oven slightly to add a caramelized flavor. Though cooking will make them a little acidic, they’re still more alkalizing than any animal-based or processed food. Sweet potatoes and orange winter squash also provide similar benefits.


4. Sea Vegetables

Dulse, kelp, wakame, agar agar, nori, and other sea vegetables are some of the most mineral-rich foods on the planet. Rich in magnesium, potassium, natural sodium and Vitamins A, C and K, these vegetables bring excellent healing benefits. They’re commonly eaten in a macrobiotic diet for this purpose, but can be used by anyone. Sea veggies are also particularly great for adding a salty, ocean-like flavor in place of tuna, though they make tasty additions to soups and salads as well. Nori wraps are also an excellent replacement to grain-based wraps if you’d like to try those too.


5. Sprouted Almonds
Sprouted almonds are another good choice for taking in more alkalizing nutrients. Almonds are one of the most alkalizing nuts and seeds of all kinds, but those that are soaked and sprouted provide even more benefits. The soaking and sprouting process reduces some of the acidic properties, making them easier to digest. This also helps your body assimilate the magnesium, Vitamin E and potassium in almonds better as well. Almonds are also a good source of vegan protein and fiber, so work these into your diet either whole or use raw, sprouted almond butter. Using these in place of roasted nuts and seeds can lower inflammation and also provide sustenance in place of rancid oils or animal-based fats.


6. Bok Choy
Bok choy is packed with Vitamin K and fiber, along with Vitamin C. It’s also rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation and helps fight cancerous cells like other cruciferous veggies. Add bok choy to soups, stews, baked it in halves, or shred it and use it in raw salads or wraps.


7. Raw Pumpkin Seeds

Raw (not roasted) green heirloom pumpkin seeds are one of the only nuts and seeds to actually leave an alkaline ash in the blood. This means they’re not just alkaline, but they also help the body reach a more alkaline state on their own. Hemp seeds are the only other nut or seed that provides this unique property. Pumpkin seeds’ nutritional benefits are evident in their color, which indicates the high amount of chlorophyll they contain. They’re also a good source of iron and protein. Pumpkin seeds go great in raw dishes of any kind, or just make excellent entree toppers for a nice, sweet crunch!


8. Pink Sea Salt

Salt is normally avoided on healthy diets, but pink sea salt (also called rock Himalayan sea salt) is an exception. This salt contains over 84 trace minerals, specifically magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Pink salt can help alleviate headaches, joint pain, fatigue, muscle weakness, and may also improve digestion. A salt-free diet isn’t necessary to eat healthy, so long as you know what kinds to use. Pink sea salt goes great in smoothies, salads, soups, or any entree of your choosing. Consume it raw if possible to get the most benefits, and remember just a pinch will go a long way.


9. Green Tea 

Forget this food’s popularity right now – that’s not important. What is important is the nutrition that this form of green tea contains. It’s neither heated or processed like other forms of green tea, so think of it like any other raw, green superfood. And if you buy quality matcha (Do Matcha and Taste of Kyoto are two of the better high-quality choices), then you’ll be able to physically see this abundance of nutrition through the alarmingly bright green color (almost neon green) these teas contain. Matcha is packed with chlorophyll and forty times the antioxidants of regular green tea. It can help improve your mood, alleviate inflammation and contains less caffeine than coffee and other acidic caffeinated drinks. It has a particularly calming effect on the body and also helps balance blood sugar cravings.

Though you can use matcha as a hot tea, it actually tastes much better (and sweeter) when used in smoothies. However, if you’re looking to replace your morning cup of coffee, a hot matcha latte with some vanilla, unsweetened non-dairy milk and stevia is a great choice!


10. Spirulina

Not a sea vegetable, but a form of sea algae (which are different plants), spirulina is a rock solid choice to alkalize your blood. While broccoli, kale, and other green vegetables are amazing for you, nothing rivals the nutrition in just a teaspoon of spirulina. Did you know 1 teaspoon of this sea algae contains 4 grams of protein, 80 percent of your daily iron content and most of your requirements for B vitamins? It’s also packed with Vitamin A, containing over 800 percent of your daily needs! The most nutrient-dense source of protein per weight, this food is one to add to your day. All you need is a teaspoon to get the benefits, but be sure you buy a high-quality brand that does routine testing to eliminate impurities.

Other helpful fruits and veggies that leave an alkaline ash in the body include: beets, cucumber, herbs, asparagus, all leafy greens, lemons, tomatoes, and broccoli. Add as many of these to your day and you can bet that your body will thank you!




Calcium supplements may raise risk of plaque buildup in arteries and heart damage


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After analyzing 10 years of medical tests on more than 2,700 people in a federally funded heart disease study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and elsewhere conclude that taking calcium in the form of supplements may raise the risk of plaque buildup in arteries and heart damage, although a diet high in calcium-rich foods appears be protective.

In a report on the research, published Oct. 10 in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers caution that their work only documents an association between calcium supplements and atherosclerosis, and does not prove cause and effect.

But they say the results add to growing scientific concerns about the potential harms of supplements, and they urge a consultation with a knowledgeable physician before using calcium supplements. An estimated 43 percent of American adult men and women take a supplement that includes calcium, according the National Institutes of Health.

"When it comes to using vitamin and mineral supplements, particularly calcium supplements being taken for bone health, many Americans think that more is always better," says Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., associate director of preventive cardiology and associate professor of medicine at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "But our study adds to the body of evidence that excess calcium in the form of supplements may harm the heart and vascular system."

The researchers were motivated to look at the effects of calcium on the heart and vascular system because studies already showed that "ingested calcium supplements -- particularly in older people -- don't make it to the skeleton or get completely excreted in the urine, so they must be accumulating in the body's soft tissues," says nutritionist John Anderson, Ph.D., professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health and a co-author of the report. Scientists also knew that as a person ages, calcium-based plaque builds up in the body's main blood vessel, the aorta and other arteries, impeding blood flow and increasing the risk of heart attack.

The investigators looked at detailed information from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a long-running research project funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which included more than 6,000 people seen at six research universities, including Johns Hopkins. Their study focused on 2,742 of these participants who completed dietary questionnaires and two CT scans spanning 10 years apart.

The participants chosen for this study ranged in age from 45 to 84, and 51 percent were female. Forty-one percent were white, 26 percent were African-American, 22 percent were Hispanic and 12 percent were Chinese. At the study's onset in 2000, all participants answered a 120-part questionnaire about their dietary habits to determine how much calcium they took in by eating dairy products; leafy greens; calcium-enriched foods, like cereals; and other calcium-rich foods. Separately, the researchers inventoried what drugs and supplements each participant took on a daily basis. The investigators used cardiac CT scans to measure participants' coronary artery calcium scores, a measure of calcification in the heart's arteries and a marker of heart disease risk when the score is above zero. Initially, 1,175 participants showed plaque in their heart arteries. The coronary artery calcium tests were repeated 10 years later to assess newly developing or worsening coronary heart disease.

For the analysis, the researchers first split the participants into five groups based on their total calcium intake, including both calcium supplements and dietary calcium. After adjusting the data for age, sex, race, exercise, smoking, income, education, weight, smoking, drinking, blood pressure, blood sugar and family medical history, the researchers separated out 20 percent of participants with the highest total calcium intake, which was greater than 1,400 milligrams of calcium a day. That group was found to be on average 27 percent less likely than the 20 percent of participants with the lowest calcium intake -- less than 400 milligrams of daily calcium -- to develop heart disease, as indicated by their coronary artery calcium test.

Next, the investigators focused on the differences among those taking in only dietary calcium and those using calcium supplements. Forty-six percent of their study population used calcium supplements.

The researchers again accounted for the same demographic and lifestyle factors that could influence heart disease risk, as in the previous analysis, and found that supplement users showed a 22 percent increased likelihood of having their coronary artery calcium scores rise higher than zero over the decade, indicating development of heart disease.Among participants with highest dietary intake of calcium -- over 1,022 milligrams per day -- there was no increase in relative risk of developing heart disease over the 10-year study period.

"Based on this evidence, we can tell our patients that there doesn't seem to be any harm in eating a heart-healthy diet that includes calcium-rich foods, and it may even be beneficial for the heart," says Michos. "But patients should really discuss any plan to take calcium supplements with their doctor to sort out a proper dosage or whether they even need them."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coronary heart disease kills over 370,000 people each year in the U.S. More than half of women over 60 take calcium supplements -- many without the oversight of a physician -- because they believe it will reduce their risk of osteoporosis.



Does gum disease have a link to cancer, dementia, stroke?




The link to inflammation

The chronic inflammation of gum disease may spur inflammation elsewhere in the body. Gum-disease bacteria may travel to the liver and raise levels of C-reactive protein, which is an indicator of inflammation involved in many conditions, including heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Most who develop Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, with extra weight overworking the pancreas and causing inflammation. Gum disease seems to contribute to that inflammation.

“There is mounting evidence that there is a bidirectional link between diabetes and gum disease,” said Thomas Van Dyke, research team leader at the Forsyth Institute. (Based in Cambridge, Mass, the institute promotes oral health.) That two-directional relationship means that diabetics with gum disease have more difficulty controlling their blood sugar and that gum disease is two to three times as prevalent in diabetics as in the general population, he said. Studies show that when diabetics get their gum disease under control, they have much more success managing their blood sugar levels.


Fatty diet activates oldest branch of immune system, causing intestinal tumors





A high-fat-diet-induced immune reaction causes inflammation leading to intestinal cancer in a mouse model – even among animals that are not obese—according to a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Case Western Reserve University, the Pacific Northwest Research Institute (PNRI), and others. Epidemiological and clinical evidence have linked obesity with inflammation and increased risk of cancer. Up to now, however, the molecular mechanisms linking these three conditions have been elusive. The interdisciplinary team published their findings in Molecular Cancer Research.


"We found that specific types of high-fat diets – based on corn or coconut oils like those found in certain salad dressings and ice cream—are associated with increased tumor formation in a mouse model of intestinal cancer," said co-senior author John Lambris, PhD, the Dr. Ralph and Sallie Weaver Professor of Research Medicine at Penn. "This model is particularly interesting because it resembles human familial adenomatous polyposis, a condition that carries an 80 percent risk of developing colorectal cancer in individuals with mutations in a called Apc."

While increased tumor formation was associated with mice fed corn or coconut fats, mice fed diets with olive oil as a source of fat did not develop intestinal polyps, despite being obese. "This observation led us to our first important conclusion that diet, but not necessarily obesity, can promote intestinal cancer," said co-author Edimara Reis, PhD, a research associate in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. In fact in late September, the FDA decided to give the food industry three years to phase out partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fat in some foods based on corn oil and other types of fat.

Using the , which was developed by co-senior author Joseph Nadeau from PNRI and first author Stephanie Doerner from Case Western, the team concluded that a high-fat diet (rather than metabolic status) and the chemical composition of the diet are the most important factors for determining . "Our results clearly show that eating a high-fat diet is sufficient to increase cancer risk, regardless of obesity," said co-senior author Nadeau.The team also noted that was caused by inflammation induced by the corn- and coconut-based diets. Notably, inflammation and


intestinal tumors in the mice were triggered very soon – three days—after being fed these high-fat diets.

Specifically, the corn- and coconut-based HFDs, not the olive oil-based diet, activated the complement system, an arm of the innate immune system. Complement is an evolutionarily conserved network of proteins that regulate immune responses that destroy foreign invaders. The system is a rapid defense mechanism in most species, from primitive sponges to humans. Complement also has inflammatory functions, and the Lambris lab has been investigating C5aR (the C5a receptor) for more than two decades. In the current study, C5a, a related pro-inflammatory molecule, increased in the intestine and systemically in mice fed corn- and coconut-based HFDs.

"When mice were given a drug to reduce the activity of C5aR, it prevented the development of intestinal tumor-genesis in mice fed corn- and coconut HFDs, indicating that anti-complement therapy could act as an adjutant with cancer treatments," Lambris said. The team also surmises that a diet change and complement inhibitors could potentially be beneficial to people with the apc mutation to prevent carcinogens.


Farmed Salmon Delivers Half the Omega-3s of Five Years Ago


Salmon farming is only about four decades old, but it is the fastest-growing food production system in the world according to WWF. Globally, about 3.5 million tons are caught or raised each year, and salmon accounts for 17 percent of the global seafood trade. About 70 percent of the world's salmon production is farmed.

Salmon is among the most popular seafoods in the U.S., where we eat 2.3 pounds per person each year. We prize salmon for its omega-3 fatty acids. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that consumption of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are key omega-3s found in seafood, may help to prevent high blood pressure, heart disease, certain types of cancer, clinical depression, anxiety and macular degeneration. Of the salmon consumed in the U.S., half is farm-raised.


NOAA also states that farmed seafood is safe and healthy to eat, but many have questions about the practice. Crowded conditions in the pens used for raising salmon provide an ideal breeding ground for sea lice, which are now invading wild Alaskan salmon populations. Sea lice can be lethal to juvenile pink and chum salmon. In farms in some parts of the world, a pesticide is used to combat sea lice that is toxic to marine life and banned by both the European Union and U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The greatest concern, though, centers around interbreeding of farmed and wild salmon. In September, a study by Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans found that more than 750,000 salmon have escaped from fish farms in Newfoundland since aquaculture began, and that these fish are breeding with wild salmon and producing offspring. A separate study in Norway found that half the wild salmon tested had genetic material from farmed fish. It's unclear which traits might impose themselves on wild salmon, but farm-raised fish are bred to grow big and to grow fast.

Farm-raised and wild caught salmon contain the same amount of cholesterol, but wild salmon have half the fat of farmed in a typical half-filet serving. Farmed fish also deliver three times the saturated fat as wild. But to feed a growing global population and provide the omega-3s they need, wild fisheries may not be up to the job.

On the West Coast of North America, salmon are in trouble. The number of endangered or threatened salmon runs on the Columbia River system has jumped from four to 13. In British Columbia, the sockeye salmon run this year was the lowest ever seen. Alaska's pink salmon catch is the worst it has been in 40 years.

Farmed salmon can still be ecologically friendly. According to WWF, it takes 10 to 12 pounds of feed to produce one pound of beef, but less than two pounds to yield a pound of salmon. Recognizing the need for fish farming, WWF worked to create global standards for salmon aquaculture designed to address the worst impacts. The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)now manages the standards and provides a certification program that retailers and consumers can use to ensure they are buying responsibly-farmed salmon.

The standards require farms to minimize diseases and the occurrence of sea lice while limiting the use of medicines to a set of strict conditions. Farms are also required to monitor and control water quality and prevent fish escapes as much as possible. The ASC also limits use of wild fish as feed, which is now seen to be responsible for reducing omega-3 levels in farmed salmon.

"We, and many others, are working very hard at developing new sustainable alternatives to fish oil and fish meal as sources of these long-chain omega-3s," wrote Dr. Douglas Tocher, one of the authors of the study, in an email to EcoWatch. "These include microalgal sources and genetically-modified oilseed crops."

The U.S. imports 91 percent of the seafood it consumes. Currently, oysters, clams and mussels account for tho-thirds of farmed seafood produced in the U.S., but NOAA opened up the hurricane-prone Gulf of Mexico to fish farms in January. That's the first time federal waters have been available for fish farming. So far, no commercial proposals have been received. 

The World Bank estimates that almost two-thirds of the fish we eat in 2030 will be farm-raised. "Aquaculture will be an essential part of the solution to global food security," said Jim Anderson, bank advisor on fisheries, aquaculture and oceans for the World Bank Group. "We expect the aquaculture industry to improve its practices in line with expectations from the market for sustainable and responsibly produced seafood."

Aquaculture may also be the only answer to overfishing of the seas. Almost one third of global fish stocks are overfished, according to the United Nations. WWF says that stocks of all current food species of fish could collapse by 2048. But we'll need to feed 9 billion people by then.

Articles - September 2016


      I Changed My Diet and Changed My  Life  



When I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition at 16, it meant little more to me than taking a small dose of synthetic thyroid hormone each morning. It was an alarming turn of events that lead to my diagnosis: Practically overnight, I became excessively fatigued and cloudy-headed, with debilitating menstrual irregularities and a host of bizarre symptoms.    I was a competitive horseback rider enrolled in prep school at the time — with a rigorous academic schedule and an exhausting training regimen to adhere to. When I became so exhausted that I lacked the energy to maintain my lifestyle, my parents took me an endocrinologist, and the rest is history.


Because of this, I had (rather skeptically) turned to a naturopathic doctor in my early 20s when western medicine fell short on symptom relief. Naturopaths are physicians who combine nature with modern science using a variety of techniques — homeopathy, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, physical medicine, and lifestyle counseling — to treat their patients.   Holistic studies assert that good health begins with a healthy gut. Never having heard the term "healthy gut" before, I began with low enthusiasm and experienced many setbacks along the way. But once I found the right doctor, I was converted: I felt better than I had in years.


Much of my treatment plan involved my behavior and lifestyle choices, namely drastically altering my diet. In your early 20s, it's hard to suddenly be held accountable for your health. Harder still? Being told to eliminate foods containing gluten and dairy and to avoid sugar. Already a vegetarian, this left me with startlingly few options. I was instructed to prepare a special Detox Shake daily, complete with organic berries and supplements galore, in lieu of breakfast.   It turns out autoimmune illness is actually caused by inflammation in the body — and gluten and dairy are two notoriously inflammatory agents. The problem is, they're also found in most notoriously delicious foods.

As I changed my diet, a slow and gradual improvement in the quality of my life took place. I learned to avoid inflammatory foods that would activate my immune system, and how to include the nutrients, supplements, and foods in my diet that promote good health. The benefits have been incredible: clearer thinking, menstrual regularity, stabilized blood sugar, improved energy — and the list goes on! Once a sufferer of chronic insomnia, I haven't missed out on sleep in two years!   I also now have a new relationship with food. I look at certain foods as medicine and a vital part of my daily diet — like remembering to take your vitamins. It also helps to focus on behaviors I want to promote, rather than disciplining myself constantly; this simple reframing of how I thought about what I ate made the process much easier.


My diet is by no means perfect, but my digestive health has been restored — and my overall health transformed. My doctor called my cholesterol beautiful, and the difference in my mental clarity is so pronounced that some days it feels like I've gained IQ points. Plus, serotonin — the neurotransmitter associated with being calm and happy — is actually produced in the gut. So, as my digestion has improved, so has my attitude — seriously!

Eliminating gluten and dairy removed two major sources of inflammation in my body, but I also take daily probiotics, put raw, organic coconut oil in my coffee, and take vitamins and supplements from my doctor. I buy fresh, organic berries for antioxidants, and pursue health-supporting activities — like meditation and yoga — to relieve my body of unnecessary stress. I've even taken up cooking — at first out of necessity, but now, I genuinely enjoy it.

When I recently went to see my doctors, I was told my autoimmune condition appears to have been reversed.

Was it a misdiagnosis? Not exactly.


Doctors base your diagnosis on the presence of autoimmune antibodies in your blood. My lab-work indicated no such antibodies.

So how did this happen!? According to my doctor, by eliminating gluten and dairy from my diet.   Of course, food wasn't the only thing behind my condition's reversal. Another major source of inflammation is stress, to which, like most people, I am far from immune. But all in all, my health — and my lifestyle — have completely transformed. For all the choices that felt like sacrifices, I now view the prioritization of my health as part of becoming an adult.The biggest difference is that now I feel healthy and know that I'm supporting and nourishing my body with the dietary choices I make. At the end of the day, the lab tests don't lie — I have all the confirmation I need to know that changing my diet transformed my health. And now, I'm antibody-free.




          Could This Breakthrough Mean the End of Skin Cancer?




Researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) with collaborators from the German Cancer Research Center and two other Israeli medical centers published an article in Nature Cell Biology Monday that could change the way skin cancer is treated.   The authors, led by Dr. Carmit Levy, the research leader of TAU’s Sackler School of Medicine, have established the mechanism by which melanoma, the most aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer, spreads to other organs. Along with establishing the machinery that allows melanoma to spread cancer throughout the body, the researchers also identified chemical substances that can halt the metastasizing process—and may prove to be powerful anti-cancer drug candidates.


In a statement for the university, Dr. Levy explained that “the threat of melanoma is not in the initial tumor that appears on the skin, but rather in its metastasi —in the tumor cells sent off to colonize in vital organs like the brain, lungs, liver and bones.”



The motivation behind the study, therefore, was to better understand the process by which melanoma passes through the most superficial layer of skin (the epidermis) and invades the living tissue (the dermis) to become a threat to other organ systems.

To metastasize, cancer cells must break off from the initial point of formation and impinge upon the blood or lymphatic system in order to form new, metastatic tumors, in other parts of the body. Dr. Levy and his colleagues discovered that melanoma spreads by sending out tiny vesicles, or capsules, containing molecules of genetic information in the form of microRNA. These microRNA then cause changes to the structure of the dermis, which enables it to receive and transport cancer cells.   Further, the structural changes to the dermis and the presence of microRNA-containing vesicles could serve as indicators of melanoma in its early stages. This finding is especially constructive because while the five-year survival rate once the disease metastasizes to distant organs is 17 percent, if the melanoma is detected early, patient survival rates can be as high as 98 percent.

After identifying the key morphological changes in the skin needed to facilitate cancer spread, Dr. Levy said “it then became clear to us that by blocking the vesicles, we might be able to stop the disease altogether.” The scientists also examined the possibility of preventing the structural changes from occurring, even if the vesicles were able to infiltrate the dermis.   The researchers found chemicals to successfully interrupt both stages in the lab, encouraging evidence that these substances could be used to create anti-metastatic melanoma drugs.


“Our study is an important step on the road to a full remedy for the deadliest skin cancer,” Dr. Levy said in the press release. “We hope that our findings will help turn melanoma into a non-threatening, easily curable disease.”


Melanoma accounts for less than 1 percent of skin cancers, but results in the majority of skin cancer deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 76,000 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the United States in 2016 and that one person dies of melanoma every 52 minutes.

And remember, the best way to prevent melanoma is to stay out of the sun and always, always, wear sunscreen.



 Major breakthrough identifies cause and treatment of fatal autoimmune disease


            Major breakthrough identifies cause and treatment of fatal autoimmune disease

The cause of a potentially fatal inherited autoimmune disease has been identified for the first time. The disease, now named OTULIN-related autoinflammatory syndrome (ORAS), was discovered by doctors treating patients who developed symptoms such as rashes, fever, and diarrhoea shortly after birth. The immune system of these patients spontaneously activates and starts to attack the patient's own body leading to the described symptoms and eventually to the child's death. Doctors performed extensive investigations describing the symptoms and analysing patients, but the origin of the disease remained obscure for years. Now, as a result of collaborative research involving the groups of David Komander and Andrew McKenzie in the LMB's PNAC Division, Professor Eamonn Maher's group in the Department of Medical Genetics, University of Cambridge and colleagues at the University of Birmingham, the cause of this disease has been discovered.


The breakthrough began when a team of geneticists led by Prof Eamonn Maher analysed the genomes of the patients and found a clue to its origin. Prof Maher's team found a mutation in the patients in a gene called OTULIN. OTULIN was discovered, and named, in 2013 by David Komander's group. They discovered that OTULIN is a deubiquitinating enzyme that specifically cleaves so-called linear ubiquitin chains (ubiquitin chains linked via a methionine residue, Met1 or M1). The assembly of these linear ubiquitin chains is a key alarm signal that sets off an inflammatory response by activating nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) transcription factors that orchestrate immune responses. Since 2013 the Komander group has been working to understand the role that OTULIN plays in regulation of the immune system and in health and . Together with Andrew McKenzie's group, they uncovered a crucial role for OTULIN in restraining the activity of the immune system using experimental mouse models, but the team lacked evidence for its importance in humans.

Hence, the groups were excited when they were contacted by Prof Maher to set up collaborative research to further investigate the molecular basis of the disease. Knowing the importance of OTULIN in humans, and which symptoms defects in the OTULIN enzyme causes, the team was able to reconstruct the disease in experimental mice in which OTULIN was removed from immune cells. These mice developed syndromes with similar hallmarks to the human syndrome ORAS. This enabled further detailed study and a mechanistic understanding of the disease and of the consequences of OTULIN loss. The work in the experimental mouse models was absolutely crucial for understanding the mechanism of the disease. The team discovered that OTULIN works by restricting the cellular levels of linear ubiquitin, effectively acting as the foot on the brake to ensure the immune system does not take off without permission. In the absence of OTULIN, the level of linear ubiquitin is not controlled and the immune system is activated even in the absence of infection. The hyper-activated immune system starts attacking the patients own body rather than an invading bacterium or virus, leading to the described symptoms.

Most importantly, the team also found a treatment for the ORAS disease. All the symptoms of ORAS both in experimental mice and in patients can be eliminated by giving them an antibody that blocks one of the primary hormones, called TNF, mediating the activation of the . By blocking the function of TNF, the symptoms are relieved and ORAS patients can live a normal life. Importantly, the TNF blocking antibody drug, called Infliximab or Remicade, is already approved for the treatment of other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease, making it easily accessible to the and a good example of repurposing of already clinically approved drugs.


This work highlights the importance of the ubiquitin system, in particular its key role in regulating normal immune function in humans. This work has further implications for the development of drugs that target the ubiquitin pathway, as it is clear that any drugs that prevented OTULIN from functioning would likely have negative health impacts.



  Aussie drug melting cancer cells approved for human use in US


 Unexpected findings reveal insight into how cancer spreads in the body


ELBOURNE, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- A tablet developed in Melbourne that "melts away" cancer cells has been approved for use in the United States.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Tuesday that venetoclax was approved for prescription outside of human trials for patients with chronic lymphotic leukemia (CLL). Venetoclax, which overwhelms the BCL-2 protein that is vital to cancer cell survival, was developed in Melbourne in the 1980s after researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) discovered the importance of BCL-2.

WEHI's head of clinical translation, Professor Andrew Roberts, said that 80 of 116 participants in a human trial of the drug in Melbourne have displayed a positive response.


"Most of the patients had failed to be controlled by all the other treatments we had available. This was a last line option for them," Roberts told News Limited on Tuesday. "It truly does lead to the disease melting away in 20 percent of people."

Vic Blackwood, a 68-year old participant in a ventoclax trial for two years at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, said he had exhausted all his options for treating CLL before being admitted to the trial.  "They said if we don't do anything you've got three weeks to live," Blackwood told News Limited. "I was so weak, I was in bed for 20 hours a day."


Blackwood had cancerous lumps the size of golf balls in the lymph nodes in his neck and those the size of grapefruits under his arms but is now cancer-free. "The change in me has been more dramatic than in anyone else. I can do anything now. It saved my life," he said.

Roberts said that while it was "highly likely" Australia would follow the the United States in approving the drug, the treatment would require government subsidies to increase access to the drug which costs 100,000 U.S. dollars per year in the United States.


             The biggest reason you gain weight as you age has nothing to do with your metabolism



You've probably heard that once you hit 40, it's all downhill when it comes to your weight.

That inexplicable force we call our metabolism does begin to grind a bit slower every year from age 30 onward.

Here's the good news: The rate at which your metabolism slows down is actually rather minimal. In reality, most weight gain that happens in midlife isn't the result of a slower metabolism at all.    Instead, it comes down to a simple but changeable truth: As we get older, we get less and less active.

While this might sound depressing, it's actually great news. There's plenty we can do to counteract the slow, seemingly inevitable onset of poundage. But first, here are some basics about what metabolism is — and what it isn't.

Your metabolism isn't just your metabolism

Our resting metabolic rate is a measure of how much energy we expend — or "burn" — when we're at rest. It's determined by a combination of factors, including your height, sex, and the genes you got from your parents, and it can't be altered much, no matter what you do.

Beyond that, our bodies appear to enter into three more distinct phases of calorie burning, depending on what we're doing. These three are the types of metabolism that most people are referring to when they say doing certain things, like eating spicy food or working out, can "boost" your metabolism.

Most of the things that people say will boost your metabolism won't

When we're eating, we burn a small number of calories (roughly 10% of our total calories burned for the day). This is called the thermic effect of food, and it's the first of those three phases I mentioned earlier. We can turn up the heat on this process a tiny bit (but not by a whole lot) by doing things like drinking stimulant beverages like coffee and eating large amounts of protein.


"Eating foods like green tea, caffeine, or hot chili peppers will not help you shed excess pounds," notes an entry in the ADAM Medical Encyclopedia, hosted by the National Institutes of Health. "Some may provide a small boost in your metabolism, but not enough to make a difference in your weight."

Instead, get active

Unsurprisingly, the most important calorie-burning activity we engage in is just that — activity.

Whether we're taking the stairs, stepping away from our desks for a coffee, or sweating it out in a hot yoga class, we're expending energy. Researchers call this second phase physical-activity expenditure.

After a strenuous workout, we continue to burn more calories than we would while at rest — and that's the third phase, or what's called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

When it comes to counteracting weight gain, these two phases — the ones related to physical activity — are the most important. Your best bet for burning more calories throughout the day is to increase your levels of any kind of activity, be it running or walking



                     Removing certain sugars from cancer cell surfaces alerts immune system


     Removing certain sugars from cancer cell surfaces alerts immune system


Cancer has proven to be a wily foe, in part because the cells are so effective at hypnotizing the immune system that should act to destroy them.  

n recent years, cancer therapies that activate the body's own to destroy tumors have improved the odds against some cancers, including formerly incurable skin cancers like that afflicting former President Jimmy Carter. But the immunotherapies currently available only activate one arm of the multi-pronged immune system – the adaptive immune system – and aren't always effective.


Carolyn Bertozzi, a Stanford professor of chemistry, has now shown that removing certain sugars surrounding can recruit a second arm of the immune system – the innate immune system. The approach, described in a study published Aug. 22 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, greatly improved the effectiveness of a in a lab dish, opening up a new avenue in the fight against cancer.

"This is a whole new dimension to immune therapy," Bertozzi said, adding that she thinks it could be the first of many therapeutic approaches involving the sugars that surround cells, called the glycocalyx.


"People in this field are starting to appreciate that there are many different nodes that you need to affect to get a more robust immune reaction against a tumor, and the glycocalyx appears to be one of those nodes," she said.

Nothing to see here


Scientists have long known that if certain sugars are present on a tumor, it is less likely to respond well to therapies. But nobody knew what that halo of sugars was doing, in part because such a small number of labs study the glycocalyx.   Evidence had been mounting within those few labs that do study the glycocalyx, including Bertozzi's, that a subset of sugars called sialic acids act as a signal for the innate immune system to ignore the otherwise suspicious-looking tumor. Eliminate those sugars, and maybe innate immune cells would be more likely to recognize and attack the , Bertozzi thought.


Chemical lawn mower

Bertozzi and her team worked with in the lab that had varying amounts of a protein called HER2 on the surface. This is a well-known protein that's present at some level on about three-quarters of breast cancers. Women whose tumors have that protein at high levels generally receive a therapy called Herceptin, which is an antibody that binds to HER2 and flags the tumor cell for destruction by innate immune cells, such as natural killer (NK) cells and macrophages.

But Herceptin doesn't always work, especially in tumors with less abundant HER2, and if sialic acids are present on the cancer cell surface, then it's even less likely to be effective.

Bertozzi and her team used chemistry tools they'd created in previous work to attach what is essentially a chemical lawn mower onto the Herceptin antibody. Once the drug bound to HER2 molecules on the cancer cell, the chemical mower sliced off the neighboring sialic acids.

With those sugars gone, Herceptin became significantly more likely to activate NK cells to kill the cancerous cells, especially in cases where the cells had lower levels of HER2 and higher levels of sugars. This all took place in a lab dish, but Bertozzi is hopeful a version of this strategy could be effective in people.

Tilting the scale


Bertozzi said that cancer immunotherapies are a matter of tilting the scale of signals present on tumors, some of which tell immune cells to attack, and others of which tell immune cells to turn a blind eye.

"All of the world of is now thinking about the immune system as calculating pluses and minuses. If you want to tilt the scale toward , you can either augment the activator or remove inhibitor, or both," said Bertozzi, who is also an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Current immunotherapies on the market work by blocking one of the inhibitory signals that are recognized by the adaptive immune system. Block those and the balance tilts in such a way that the immune system will attack the now recognizable cancer.

Bertozzi's approach provides a second way of tiling the balance in favor of attack, this time for the system. She said this study shows just one example of how it could work, but her sugar-removing lawnmower could be used on a wide variety of cell types, not just those expressing HER2, and on different types of sugars.

"It's almost always the case that you need a component of both the adaptive and innate immunity to get a robust reaction against infectious pathogens, such as during vaccination," said Bertozzi. "The smart money suggests that the same will be true with tumors."

Bertozzi said the approach also highlights the importance of paying attention to the much ignored glycocalyx.

"The fact that people don't study and understand the contribution of the glycocalyx to interactions means there's lost opportunity there," Bertozzi said. "I think this work might turn the tide on that situation."


 Exercise not enough to undo harms of sedentary lifestyle, study shows



The American Heart Association says even bursts of exercise may not counter the unhealthy effects of sitting too much. Cardiologist Dr. Tara          

                                                     Narula joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss the new warnings about sedentary lifestyles.



Articles - August 2016



 Ketonic Diets for Brain Disorders



Studies with neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease, ALS, Huntington's disease, traumatic brain injury, and stroke have shown that the ketogenic diet can provide symptomatic relief to a broad range of brain disorders. Animal models of Alzheimer's have also responded well to ketone therapy. In animal studies ketones are shown to reduce the amount of Alzheimer's-like plaque that forms in the brain and improve performance on visual-spatial memory tasks, increase the ability of learning tasks, and improve performance in short-term memory.


With the classic ketogenic diet carbohydrate intake must be kept very low (around 2 percent of calories) in order to stimulate the liver to convert fat into ketones. Carbohydrate ordinarily accounts for about 60 percent of our daily calories. When this is dropped to only 2 percent, the void must be filled by other energy producing nutrients – either fat or protein. In the ketogenic diet fat is used to replace the carbohydrate in order to supply the needed building blocks for ketone production. Although the ketogenic diet shows great promise in treating Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases, producing palatable meals consisting of 90 percent fat is a challenge.


Fortunately there are certain fats, namely medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), that are converted into ketones in the body regardless of blood glucose levels or the amount of carbohydrate in the diet. When MCTs are consumed, a portion will be converted into ketones regardless of what other foods are eaten. Therefore, most any type of diet can be transformed into a ketogenic diet by the addition of an adequate amount of MCTs.

The addition of MCTs into the diet can produce very positive effects on the brain, providing a new tool in which to fight Alzheimer's. In clinical studies MCTs have produced better results in Alzheimer's patients than any other treatment currently known.

In one study for instance, Alzheimer's patients consumed a beverage containing MCTs or a beverage without MCTs. Those who drank the beverage with the MCTs scored significantly better on cognitive tests.


This study was remarkable for the reason that it produced improvement in cogitative function after a single dose of MCTs. No Alzheimer's drug or treatment has ever come close to achieving results like this. Based on this and similar studies, a new drug consisting of only MCTs has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.


MCT based drugs aren't really necessary. They are expensive and require a prescription. Any source of MCTs can work just as well. The normal way we get MCTs is in the diet. However, there are few good natural dietary sources of MCTs. By far the largest natural source is found in coconut oil. Coconut oil is composed predominately of MCTs, amounting to about 63 percent of the total. Coconut oil is the source of the MCTs used in Alzheimer's studies and to produce pharmaceuticals. The amount of MCTs in coconut oil is high enough to achieve therapeutic blood levels of ketones. Two tablespoons of coconut oil can produce enough ketones to have a significant effect on brain function and can be used for the treatment of Alzheimer's.



                     Why You Need to Be Eating Good Fats If You Want to Lose Weight and Be Healthy





The secret to dropping pounds, reducing your risk of heart disease, and feeling better overall may just be filling your plate with fats. While eating more fat doesn't mean drowning your veggies in butter, it does mean focusing on two types of "good" fats: MUFAs, or monounsaturated fats, and PUFAs (polyunsaturated fats), which include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.  Why are good fats so, well, good for you? For one, unsaturated fats contain disease-fighting antioxidants like vitamin E, and have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol levels to reduce your risk of heart disease. Plus, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are important for keeping many of our body functions, like our immune system and heart, in top shape. If you're trying to drop pounds here's another important reasons to embrace good fats: MUFAS have been shown to help burn away belly fat.


Almonds 1 ounce (23 almonds) 164 14.36 3.5 9.1
Avocados 1/4 avocado 60 6 1 4
Canola oil 1 tbsp. 124 14 4.1 8.3
Chia seeds 1 ounce 137 8.6 0.6 6.5
Dark chocolate 1 square 27 1.9 0.05 0.6
Flaxseed 1 tbsp., ground 37 3 2 0.5
Olive oil 1 tbsp. 119 13.5 1.4 9.8
Peanut oil 1 tbsp. 119 13.5 4.3 6.2
Pistachios 1 ounce (49 kernels) 158 12.6 3.8 6.6
Safflower oil 1 tbsp. 120 13.6 2 10.1
Salmon 4 ounces 166 6.7 2.3 2.4
Soybean oil 1 tbsp. 120 13.6 7.9 3.2
Trout 1 fillet 109 4.3 1.4 1.2
Walnuts 1 ounce (14 halves) 185 18.5 13.4 2.5






                  Here's More Evidence That High Saturated Fat Diets Aren't Good For Your Brain



If you need another reason to cut back on saturated fats, add possible brain damage to the list. A new rat study suggests that diets high in saturated fat increase inflammation in the part of the brain that controls hunger, causing it to malfunction, which in turn triggers a domino effect leading to obesity and related metabolic disorders.


Researchers placed groups of rats on diets either high in saturated fat (in the form of lard) or fish oil for six weeks. The results showed that the brains of rats fed saturated fat experienced inflammation and oxidative stress particularly in the hypothalamus, a brain area essential for hunger regulation. Rats in the saturated fat group also gained weight, suffered increased inflammation and developed insulin resistance, the primary driver of diabetes. The same biomarkers were comparatively reduced in the group fed fish oil.


Quoting professor Marianna Crispino from the University of Naples Federico, one of the study’s authors:  “The difference was very clear and we were amazed to establish the impact of a fatty diet onto the brain. Our results suggest that being more aware about the type of fat consumed with the diet may reduce the risk of obesity and prevent several metabolic diseases.  The study results also add evidence to the expanding argument that cellular inflammation, largely triggered by what we eat, is a prime suspect in several disorders – diabetes, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases among them.




                  Resveratrol appears to restore blood-brain barrier integrity in Alzheimer's disease




Resveratrol, given to Alzheimer's patients, appears to restore the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, reducing the ability of harmful immune molecules secreted by immune cells to infiltrate from the body into brain tissues, say researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center. The reduction in neuronal inflammation slowed the cognitive decline of patients, compared to a matching group of placebo-treated patients with the disorder.


The laboratory data provide a more complete picture of results from a clinical trial studying resveratrol in Alzheimer's disease that was first reported in 2015. The new findings will be presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2016 in Toronto on July 27th.

The Alzheimer's disease brain is damaged by inflammation, thought to be due to a reaction to the buildup of abnormal proteins, including Abeta40 and Abeta42, linked to destruction of neurons. Researchers believe that heightened inflammation—which was historically thought to come only from "resident" brain immune cells—worsens the disease. According to the researchers, this study suggests that some of the immune molecules that can cause inflammation in the blood can enter the brain through a leaky .


"These findings suggest that resveratrol imposes a kind of crowd control at the border of the brain. The agent seems to shut out unwanted immune molecules that can exacerbate brain inflammation and kill neurons," says neurologist Charbel Moussa, MD, PhD, scientific and clinical research director of the GUMC Translational Neurotherapeutics Program. "These are very exciting findings because it shows that resveratrol engages the brain in a measurable way, and that the to Alzheimer's disease comes, in part, from outside the brain."

Resveratrol is a naturally occurring compound found in foods such as red grapes, red wine, raspberries and dark chocolate. GUMC researchers, led by R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD, tested the substance in 119 patients, the largest nationwide phase II clinical trial to study high-dose pure synthetic (pharmaceutical-grade) resveratrol in individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer's. The study was published Sept. 11, 2015 in Neurology.

The new part of the resveratrol study examines specific molecules in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) taken from participants with biomarker-confirmed Alzheimer's disease—19 were given a placebo, and 19 treated daily for a year with resveratrol, equivalent to the amount found in about 1,000 bottles of red wine.   Previous studies with animals found that age-related diseases—including Alzheimer's—can be prevented or delayed by long-term caloric restriction (consuming two-thirds the normal caloric intake). The researchers studied resveratrol because it mimics the effects of caloric restriction by also activating proteins called sirtuins.


In this new study, Moussa and Turner found that treated patients had a 50 percent reduction in matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) levels in the cerebrospinal fluid. MMP-9 is decreased when sirtuin1 (SIRT1) is activated. High levels of MMP-9 cause a breakdown in the blood-brain barrier, allowing proteins and molecules from the body to enter the brain. Normally low MMP-9 levels maintain the barrier, say the researchers.

"These new findings are exciting because they increase our understanding of how resveratrol may be clinically beneficial to individuals with Alzheimer's disease. In particular, they point to the important role of inflammation in the disease, and the potent anti-inflammatory effects of resveratrol," says Turner, director of GUMC's Memory Disorders Program and co-director of the Translational Neurotherapeutics Program.

They also found that resveratrol increased the level of molecules linked to a long-term beneficial or "adaptive" immune reaction, suggesting involvement of inflammatory cells that are resident in the brain, says Moussa. "This is the kind of immune response you want—it is there to remove and degrade neurotoxic proteins."

"A puzzling finding from the resveratrol study (as well as immunotherapy strategies for Alzheimer's under investigation) is the greater shrinkage of the brain found with treatment. These new findings support the notion that resveratrol decreases swelling that results from inflammation in Alzheimer's brain," says Turner. "This seemingly paradoxical effect is also found with many of the drugs that are beneficial for patients with multiple sclerosis—another brain disease characterized by excessive inflammation."

Moussa says that resveratrol should be further tested in a phase III study, but the agent, by itself, is unlikely to be a complete treatment for Alzheimer's. It does not inhibit destruction of neurons by tau, another protein aggregate involved in the disease, so a likely beneficial treatment would combine with an agent that targets tau, he says.



       Are Smoothies Actually Healthy?





Smoothies are a fun and quick food fix for breakfast. But when it comes to the health benefits behind the trend, the blended drinks might not be as filling or as healthful as some people think.  Nutritionist Sarah B. Krieger, of St. Petersburg, Fla., stirred the controversy after her presentation to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her hypothesis: pulverizing fruit reduces fiber and lets sugar from fruit speed into the blood stream.

She asserted that quick release of sugar spikes the blood sugar, speeds through your system and you get hungry sooner. Hello, snacking!

I decided to break down the health differences between drinking the ingredients that have been blended together as a smoothie, versus consuming them separately.


New York-based dietitian Maya Feller explained, "When you get a dump of sugar into the blood stream ... it spikes the blood sugar. Then you get a drop."

The fiber in fruit slows digestion and acts as a time release, gradually distributing fuel into the body. When fruit is blended into a smoothie, that release occurs sooner than it would with whole food.  "You could say that fiber is like a mesh-netting ... it slows the sugar absorption down, so that it's not going rushing in," Feller said.


To test this, I ate the raw ingredients of a smoothie, including 4 and a half ounces of mango, 4 and a half ounces of pineapple, 2 ounces of bananas, 3 ounces of vanilla yogurt and 6 ounces of applejuice. It took me about 15 minutes to chew the ingredients. I sat down at the table and felt like I had a real meal.

Then, over the course of the next two hours, I checked my blood sugar levels every 15 minutes.

The next day I made a smoothie with the same exact ingredients and drank it. Because it was a smoothie, I could walk around while I drank it. It took me less than five minutes to drink. Then I followed the drinking of the smoothie by the same blood sugar tracking.

Drinking the smoothie caused my blood sugar to spike to 129 milligrams per deciliter within the first half an hour. But at the 1:15 mark, it dropped a lot lower, below the 80 mg/dl it was when I first woke up.


At that point I felt hungry and lightheaded. Feller explained that my body was "really trying to get itself back up to normal with a high and then a low."

My results from the blood test after eating the fruit were very different. When I ate the fruit, my blood sugar never got above 112 mg/dl. It also stayed consistently above my waking baseline. More importantly, I wasn't hungry for two hours and I never felt lightheaded.

Feller estimates that the smoothie was about 300 calories. Less than two hours after drinking the smoothie, I was hungry and snacking, accidentally adding more calories to the day through smoothie diet sabotage.







Dietary supplements are now a 40-billion dollar a year industry.   But Consumer Reports says they're not as safe as you might think. Twenty-three thousand people a year wind up in an emergency room after taking a supplement.  And a Consumer Reports investigation calls out 15 supplement ingredients being sold now that are potentially harmful.

Supplements are easier to get than prescription drugs and they carry an aura of being more natural and thus safer. 70 percent of us take a dietary dietary supplement just about every day.   A Consumer Reports survey finds 50 percent of Americans believe that supplement makers test their products for effectiveness.   And 38 percent believe that supplements have been tested for safety by the Food and Drug Administration.

"For the most part, supplement makers don't have to prove that their products are safe. They don't have to prove that they work as advertised. And they don't have to prove that packages contain what the labels say that they do," says Jeneen Interlandi, Consumer Reports Health Editor.

Consumer Reports has just released an investigation on supplements. "Because the regulations are so weak, dietary supplements can be contaminated, says Interland.

"They can be ineffective. They can be spiked with illegal or prescription drugs and they can have harmful side effects," she continues.

In response, the Council for Responsible Nutrition representing supplement manufacturers says that supplements are adequately regulated and the vast majority are safe.   Consumer Reports has identified 15 supplement ingredients to avoid that have been linked to serious health hazards.  For example, people use yohimbe for obesity, sexual dysfunction and depression.   However, it can raise blood pressure and heart rate, cause headaches, panic attacks, seizures, liver and kidney problems, and possibly death.   


Yet Consumer Reports found that and 14 other supplement ingredients in products sold by major retailers such as GNC, Costco, CVS, Walmart and Whole Foods.   Other ingredients it says to avoid include caffeine powder, green tea extract, aconite, comfrey, kava, lobelia, and red yeast rice.

Consumer Reports believes the best way to protect the public is to have stronger federal regulation of supplements.  The organization cautions that many supplements can also interact in dangerous ways with prescription drugs.  So you should tell your doctor what supplements you are taking before you start a new prescription.

For the full list of ingredients to avoid, click here.



                            Magnesium and Diabetes: A Hidden Link in Blood Sugar Levels

Magnesium plays an important role in preventing diabetes and improving conditions for diabetics. Regulating blood sugar levels is among the many activities of this essential mineral. Magnesium controls blood sugar, or glucose, to thwart insulin resistance, which leads to Type 2 diabetes, explains Dr. Joseph Mercola, an osteopathic physician specializing in preventive health care. Insulin resistance causes blood sugar levels to become high.Diabetics benefit from magnesium because many patients with insulin resistance lose the mineral through urination, causing the unhealthy cycle of magnesium deficiency and increased blood sugar levels. Mercola points to a six-month study of people with insulin resistance where subjects who were given 365 mg of magnesium daily had lower blood sugar levels and better control of insulin than those in a control group.
Additionally, an analysis of 13 studies involving 500,000 subjects has linked higher intake of magnesium with a reduced risk of diabetes, Today's Dietitian reports.
In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin at all. Type 2 encompasses too-little or ineffectively used insulin in the body.Type 1 diabetes has been found to result in magnesium deficiency, vision disorders, and nerve damage, Clara Schneider, a licensed dietitian, nutritionist, and certified diabetes educator, writes at So magnesium is involved with diabetes prevention and helps with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
“A serious discussion should take place with healthcare professionals on magnesium status and if more dietary magnesium is needed or even supplements,” Schneider says. Supplements should be taken only with the approval from a doctor.
A list of superfoods from the American Diabetes Association includes sources rich in magnesium and other nutrients, such as calcium, potassium, fiber, and vitamins. These foods include dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit, beans, sweet potatoes, whole grains, fish with omega-3 fatty acids, tomatoes, nuts, and low-fat dairy products.

                Vitamin D supplements 'advised for everyone'


                  vitamin d pills


Everyone should consider taking vitamin D supplements in autumn and winter, public health advice for the UK recommends. It comes as a government-commissioned report sets the recommended levels at 10 micrograms of the vitamin a day.  But officials are concerned this may not be achievable through diet alone, particularly when sunlight, which helps in vitamin D production, is scarce.

Limited amounts of the vitamin are found in foods such as oily fish, eggs and fortified cereals. But, for most people, the bulk of their vitamin D is made from the action of sunlight on their skin.And official estimates suggest one in five adults and one in six children in England may have low levels.

Now, an extensive review of the evidence, carried out by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), suggests everyone over the age of one needs to consume 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day in order to protect bone and muscle health.  And public health officials say, in winter months, people should consider getting this from 10 microgram supplements, if their diet is unlikely to provide it.



                     Brain training may forestall dementia onset for years, new study says


          dementia computer training

The new clinical trial results, presented Sunday at the Alzheimer’s Assn.’s International Conference in Toronto, establish specialized brain training as a potentially powerful strategy to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and other afflictions, including normal aging, that sap memory and reduce function.   

With 76 million baby boomers reaching the age of maximum vulnerability to Alzheimer’s and with no effective treatments available to alter the disease’s progression, researchers are keen to find ways to prevent or delay the onset of the memory-robbing disease. The new research suggests that even years after it is administered, an inexpensive intervention without unwanted side effects might forestall dementia symptoms.

The latest results emerged from a 10-year study that compared the effects of three forms of brain training in a group of 2,802 cognitively healthy seniors. The ACTIVE study — short for Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly — was funded by the National Institute on Aging.

A quarter of the participants, who had an average age of 73.4 at the study’s start, got no training at all. The remaining participants were divided into three groups, and over five weeks, each group got 10 hour-long training sessions. One group got a classroom-based course designed to impart strategies aimed at boosting memory; a second got a classroom-based course designed to sharpen participants’ reasoning skills.

A third group was given computerized training designed to increase the speed at which the brain picks up and processes cues in a person’s field of vision. Speed of visual processing is a cognitive skill that declines with age, a trend that some neuroscientists attribute to the increasing “noise” in electrical communications between cells and among regions in the brain.

Over the study’s 10-year follow-up, 14% of participants in the control group suffered significant cognitive decline or dementia, compared with 11.4% in the memory-strategies training group, 11.7% in the reasoning-strategies training group and 10.5% in the speed-of-processing group. Cognitive decline or dementia was not only less among those in the speed-of-processing group; when it appeared, it came later.

Statistically, the trial’s four groups experienced sizable differences in  cognitive aging. For those who got the commercially available brain-training exercises, the cumulative risk of developing cognitive decline or dementia over 10 years was 33% lower than for participants who got no training at all. Among a smaller group of computerized-training participants who got “booster sessions” — at least one refresher class 11 and 35 months after the initial training — the risk of cognitive decline or dementia went down even further. Compared to study participants who got no training at all, recruits who went through more than 10 of the computerized brain-training sessions were 48% less likely over 10 years to experience dementia or cognitive decline.

Participants who took part in the other two training regimens, which focused on teaching strategies for remembering and for reasoning, were as a group slightly less likely than the control group to suffer cognitive decline or dementia over the study’s 10-year span. That was particularly true for those who got 10 sessions to improve reasoning-strategies. But the results of those training regimens were less robust than those for the computerized training, and researchers could not rule out the possibility they were caused by chance.

In the ACTIVE trial, participants’ cognitive health was measured at one, two, three, five and 10 years after initial training took place, using several standardized batteries. Researchers gauged participants’ mood, confidence and self-rated health, and surveyed their ability to conduct such daily tasks as preparing meals, driving and taking care of finances.

The computerized brain-training exercise is commercially available as the “Double Decision” game, one of a suite of cognitive exercises marketed online by the San Francisco-based Posit Science Corp. The game exercises an individual’s ability to detect, remember and respond to cues that appear and disappear quickly in varying locations on a computer screen. It uses colorful graphics and challenges players with escalating difficulty as their proficiency increases.

In an interview, UC San Francisco neuroscientist Michael Merzenich, chief scientific officer of Posit Science, said that the seemingly narrow skill of processing visual cues appears to be a pretty good indication of a person’s overall cognitive health. The new study suggests that when visual processing skills are improved by programs designed to build up those mental “muscles,” people not only perform better in tests of that specific skill, they get better at a wide range of complex behaviors, he said. The cognitive benefits, in short, appear to be “generalized.”

For companies marketing computer-based brain-training programs, now a multimillion industry, claims of such generalized cognitive benefits have generated criticism and controversy. In 2014, neuroscientists gathered under the auspices of the Stanford Center on Longevity took the brain-training industry to task for promising results that were “frequently exaggerated and at times misleading.”

Though such exercises can produce performance improvements in the lab, they wrote, “these small, narrow, and fleeting advances are often billed as general and lasting improvements of mind and brain.” Despite bold marketing claims, “compelling evidence of general and enduring positive effects on the way people’s minds and brains age has remained elusive,” they wrote in a December 2014 consensus statement.

University of South Florida associate professor Jerri Edwards, first author of the new study, said the ACTIVE study’s findings appears to be a milestone — “the first time a cognitive training intervention has been shown to protect against cognitive impairment or dementia in a large, randomized, controlled trial.”

Among the study’s most intriguing findings, said Edwards, was the suggestion that with continued brain training — an increased dose — older people might further boost their protection against dementia.

In one such study, researchers from the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute scanned the brains of 284 people in late middle age who were cognitively healthy, looking for injury to connective tissue that is a marker for  Alzheimer’s Disease. Among those who showed evidence of the diseased “white matter,” they found that those who worked primarily with other people, rather than with things or data, had maintained the highest cognitive function.

“These new data add to a growing body of research that suggests more stimulating lifestyles, including more complex work environments with other people, are associated with better cognitive outcomes in later life,” said Maria C. Carrillo, Alzheimer’s Assn. chief science officer.


                 Behavior changes offer clues that dementia could be brewing


WASHINGTON (AP) — Memory loss may not always be the first warning sign that dementia is brewing — changes in behavior or personality might be an early clue.  Researchers on Sunday outlined a syndrome called "mild behavioral impairment" that may be a harbinger of Alzheimer's or other dementias, and proposed a checklist of symptoms to alert doctors and families.

Losing interest in favorite activities? Getting unusually anxious, aggressive or suspicious? Suddenly making crude comments in public?

"Historically those symptoms have been written off as a psychiatric issue, or as just part of aging," said Dr. Zahinoor Ismail of the University of Calgary, who presented the checklist at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Toronto.

Now, "when it comes to early detection, memory symptoms don't have the corner on the market anymore," he said.

Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, affects more than 5 million people in the U.S., a number growing as the population ages. It gradually strips people of their memory and the ability to think and reason.

But it creeps up, quietly ravaging the brain a decade or two before the first symptoms become noticeable. Early memory problems called "mild cognitive impairment," or MCI, can raise the risk of later developing dementia, and worsening memory often is the trigger for potential patients or their loved ones to seek medical help.   It's not uncommon for people with dementia to experience neuropsychiatric symptoms, too — problems such as depression or "sundowning," agitation that occurs at the end of the day — as the degeneration spreads into brain regions responsible for more than memory. And previous studies have found that people with mild cognitive impairment are at greater risk of decline if they also suffer more subtle behavioral symptoms.

What's new: The concept of pre-dementia "mild behavioral impairment," or MBI, a term that describes specific changes in someone's prior behavior that might signal degeneration is starting in brain regions not as crucial for memory, he said.

Ismail is part of an Alzheimer's Association committee tapped to draft a checklist of the symptoms that qualify — new problems that linger at least six months, not temporary symptoms or ones explained by a clear mental health diagnosis or other issues such as bereavement, he stressed. They include apathy, anxiety about once routine events, loss of impulse control, flaunting social norms, loss of interest in food. He even cites extreme cases, like a 68-year-old who started using cocaine before anyone noticed her memory trouble.

If validated, the checklist could help doctors better identify people at risk of brewing Alzheimer's and study changes over time.

"It's important for us to recognize that not everything's forgetfulness," said Dr. Ron Petersen, the Mayo Clinic's Alzheimer's research chief. He wasn't involved in developing the behavior checklist but said it could raise awareness of the neuropsychiatric link with dementia.

Technology specialist Mike Belleville of Douglas, Massachusetts, thought stress was to blame when he found himself getting easily frustrated and angry. Normally patient, he began snapping at co-workers and rolling down his window to yell at other drivers, "things I'd never done before," Belleville said.

The final red flag was a heated argument with his wife, Cheryl, who found herself wondering, "Who is this person?" When Mike Belleville didn't remember the strong words the next morning, the two headed straight for a doctor. Physicians tested for depression and a list of other suspects. Eventually Belleville, now 55, was diagnosed with an early-onset form of dementia — and with medication no longer gets angry so easily, allowing him to volunteer his computer expertise.

"If you see changes, don't take it lightly and assume it's stress," Cheryl Belleville advised.

                                                            Also at Sunday's meeting:

— Complex jobs that require working with people may help the brain build resilience against dementia, what's called "cognitive reserve," University of Wisconsin researchers reported.

The team tested 284 adults in late middle-age whose brain scans showed changes that have been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer's. Comparing their cognitive ability and their careers, the researchers found those who worked primarily with people, rather than objects or data, functioned better even if brain scans showed more of that quiet damage.


— Preliminary results from a study of "brain training" suggested one type might help delay cognitive impairment.

Researchers examined records from 2,785 older adults who'd participated in a previous trial that compared three cognitive training strategies — to improve memory, reasoning or reaction times —with no intervention. A decade later, that reaction-time training suggested benefit: 12 percent of people who'd completed up to 10 hours had evidence of cognitive decline or dementia compared with 14 percent in the control group, said Dr. Jerri Edwards of the University of South Florida. The figure was lower — 8 percent — for people who got some extra booster training.

"It's the first hint for a cognitive training intervention like this," but more research is needed, said Dr. Jonathan King of the National Institute on Aging, who wasn't involved in the new study.


       Does intermittent fasting work?



                              Here’s what the science reveals so far for the three major types of intermittent fasting diets.

Alternate-day fasting: Don’t eat for 24 hours and then eat “normally” the next 24 hours (example: Eat Stop Eat).

There isn’t any evidence to show that alternate-day fasting has a benefit over other types of diets. Only three small studies have been done on this type of diet, and none of them had a comparison or control group for benchmarking.

Although one study demonstrated an average weight loss of 2.5 percent over 22 days, the participants reported being very hungry on fasting days, and this didn’t get better over time.

Modified fasting: Eat a quarter of the calories you need in a day (about 500) on two nonconsecutive days of the week and eat a normal diet the rest of the week (example: 5:2 Diet).

There are three studies on modified fasting in overweight and obese individuals that have a comparison group (either 1,200-1,500 calories per day or three-quarters of calorie needs). Only one of the studies found that the fasting group lost 4.1 percent more weight than the comparison group.


Blood sugar levels weren’t significantly different between the fasting and comparison groups in any of the studies, but insulin levels were lower in the fasting group in two of the studies. (High insulin levels encourage your body to store more fat, especially around your waistline.)

Time-restricted feeding: This diet pattern extends your nighttime fast from 12 to 20 hours so you have less time to eat and eat fewer meals during the day (example: Lean Gains).

There have been two small studies on time-restricted feeding in people. In one study, 29 men with normal body mass index followed a nighttime fast of 11 hours or more for two weeks and also spent two weeks following a regular eating schedule. During the fasting period, the men lost 1.3 percent more than in the control period.

Another study looked at the impact of having only one meal a day in the afternoon for eight weeks in 15 adults with a healthy body mass index and found they lost 2.1 kg of fat compared to losing no weight or fat when they ate the same amount of calories divided over three meals a day. Not surprisingly, when the participants were eating one meal a day, they reported feeling much hungrier in the morning.

Overall findings

Overall, intermittent fasting diets don’t seem to be any better than daily calorie reduction for promoting weight loss or health. A review of all of the research studies that have compared intermittent fasting to daily calorie reduction found that in the intermittent fasting groups, people lost 3 to 8 percent of their weight over three to 24 weeks while daily calorie reduction led to weight loss of 4 to 14 percent over six to 24 weeks.




       Articles - July 2016


               Why This Omega-3 Fatty Acid Is Critical to Your Diet






What is DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)?

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid.

It’s 22 carbons long, has 6 double bonds and is mainly found in seafood, such as fish, shellfish, fish oils and some types of algae.

It’s a component of every cell in your body and a vital structural component of your skin, eyes and brain (1, 2, 3, 4).

In fact, DHA makes up more than 90 percent of the omega-3 fatty acids in your brain and up to 25 percent of its total fat content (3, 5).

Technically, it can be synthesized from another plant-based omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). However, this process is very inefficient and only 0.1–0.5 percent of ALA is converted into DHA in your body (6, 7, 8, 9, 10).

What’s more, the conversion also relies on adequate levels of other vitamins and minerals, as well as the amount of omega-6 fatty acids in your diet (11, 12, 13).

Because your body can’t make DHA in significant amounts, you need to get it from your diet or supplements.

Bottom Line: DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is vital for your skin, eyes and brain. Your body can’t produce it in adequate amounts, so you need to get it from your diet.

How Does it Work?

DHA is an unsaturated fatty acid with 6 double bonds. This means it’s very flexible.

It’s mainly located in cell membranes, where it makes the membranes and gaps between cells more fluid (14).

This makes it easier for cells to send and receive electrical signals, which is their way of communicating (15).

Therefore, adequate levels of DHA seem to make it easier, quicker and more efficient for cells to communicate.

Having low levels in your brain or eyes may slow the signaling between cells, resulting in poor eyesight or altered brain function.

Bottom Line: DHA makes the membranes and gaps between cells more fluid, making it easier for cells to communicate.

Top Food Sources of DHA

DHA is mainly found in seafood, such as fish, shellfish and algae.

Several types of fish are excellent sources, providing up to several grams per serving (16).

These include:

Some fish oils, such as cod liver oil, can provide as much as 1 gram of DHA in one tablespoon (10–15 ml) (17).

Just keep in mind that fish oils may also be high in vitamin A, which can be harmful in large amounts.

DHA may also be present in small amounts in meat and dairy from grass-fed animals, as well as omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs.

However, it may be hard to get enough from your diet alone. So if you don’t regularly eat the foods mentioned above, taking a supplement may be a good idea.

Bottom Line: DHA is mostly found in fatty fish, shellfish, fish oils and algae. Grass-fed meat, dairy and omega-3 enriched eggs may also contain small amounts.

Effects on the Brain

DHA is the most abundant omega-3 in your brain and plays a critical role in its development and function.

Brain levels of other omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA, are typically 250–300 times lower (3, 4,18).

It Plays a Major Role in Brain Development

DHA is extremely important for brain tissue growth and function, especially during development and infancy (19, 20).

It needs to accumulate in the central nervous system in order for the eyes and brain to develop normally (3, 4).

DHA intake during the third trimester of pregnancy determines the baby’s levels, with the greatest accumulation occurring in the brain during the first few months of life (3).

DHA is mainly found in the gray matter of the brain and the frontal lobes are particularly dependent on it during development (21, 22).

These parts of the brain are responsible for processing information, memories and emotions. They are also important for sustained attention, planning and problem solving, as well as social, emotional and behavioral development (4, 5, 23).

In animals, decreased DHA in a developing brain leads to a reduced amount of new nerve cells and altered nerve function. It also impairs learning and eyesight (24).

In humans, DHA deficiency in early life has been associated with learning disabilities, ADHD, aggressive hostility and several other disorders (25, 26).

Furthermore, studies have linked low levels in the mother to an increased risk of poor visual and neural development in the child (3, 24, 27).

Studies have shown that babies of mothers who consumed 200 mg per day from the 24th week of pregnancy until delivery had improvements in vision and problem solving (3, 28).

Bottom Line: DHA is essential for brain and eye development. A deficiency in early life is linked to learning disabilities, ADHD and other disorders.

It May Have Benefits for the Aging Brain

DHA is also critical for healthy brain aging (29, 30, 31, 32).

There are many factors that come naturally with brain aging, such as oxidative stress, altered energy metabolism and DNA damage (33, 34, 35).

The structure of the brain also changes, which reduces its size, weight and fat content (36, 37).

Interestingly, many of these changes are also seen when DHA levels decrease.

This includes altered membrane properties, decreased performance in memory tasks, altered enzyme activity and altered neuron function (38, 39, 40, 41, 42).

Taking a supplement may help. DHA supplements have been linked to significant improvements in memory, learning and verbal fluency for those with mild memory complaints (43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48).

Bottom Line: A DHA deficiency may disrupt brain function. Supplements may improve memory, learning and verbal fluency for certain people.

Low Levels Are Linked to Brain Diseases

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia in older people.

It affects about 4.4 percent of adults over 65 and impacts brain function, mood and behavior (49, 50).

Changes in episodic memory are among the earliest signs of brain changes in older adults. This refers to difficulty recalling events that occurred at a specific time and place (44, 51, 52, 53).

Interestingly, Alzheimer’s disease patients have been shown to have lower amounts of DHA in the brain and liver, while EPA and DPA levels are elevated (54, 55).

Studies show that higher blood DHA levels are linked to a reduced risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s (56).

Bottom Line: Low DHA levels are linked to an increased risk of developing memory complaints, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Effects on Eyes and Vision

DHA is a very important membrane component in the eye. It helps activate a protein calledrhodopsin, a membrane protein in the rods of the eye.

Rhodopsin helps your brain receive images from your eyes by altering permeability, fluidity, thickness and other properties inside the eye (57, 58).

A DHA deficiency can cause vision problems, especially in children (3, 24, 27).

Therefore, baby formula is now generally fortified with it, which is an effective way to help prevent vision impairment in babies (59, 60).

Bottom Line: DHA is important for vision and various functions inside the eye. A deficiency may cause vision problems in children.

Effects on Heart Health

Omega-3 fatty acids have generally been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.

Low levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and death and some (but not all) supplement studies have shown that omega-3s reduce the risk (61,62, 63, 64).

This applies especially to the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish and fish oils, such as EPA and DHA.

Their intake can improve many risk factors for heart disease, including:

Bottom Line: DHA may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood triglycerides and blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels and protecting against endothelial dysfunction.

Other Health Benefits

DHA may also protect against the development of other diseases, including:

Bottom Line: DHA may also help with conditions like arthritis and asthma, as well as prevent the growth of cancer cells.

DHA is Especially Important During Pregnancy, Lactation and Childhood

DHA is critical during the last months of pregnancy and early in a baby’s life.

Babies up to the age of two have a greater need for it than older children and adults (3, 90, 91).

Their brains are growing rapidly and need high amounts of DHA to form vital cell membrane structures in the brain and eyes (3, 92).

Therefore, DHA intake can dramatically affect brain development (27, 93).

Animal studies show that DHA-deficient diets during pregnancy, lactation and weaning limit the supply to the infant’s brain to only about 20 percent of normal levels (94).

Deficiency is associated with changes in brain function, including learning disabilities, changes in gene expression and impaired vision (24).

Bottom Line: During pregnancy and early life, DHA is vital for the formation of structures in the brain and eyes.

How Much DHA Do You Need?

Most guidelines for healthy adults recommend at least 250–500 mg of combined EPA and DHA per day (95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100).

Studies show the average DHA intake is closer to 100 mg per day (101, 102, 103).

Children up to the age of two may need 4.5–5.5 mg/lb (10–12 mg/kg) of body weight, while older children may need up to 250 mg per day (104).

Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers are advised to get at least 200 mg of DHA or 300–900 mg of combined EPA and DHA, per day (93, 97).

People with mild memory complaints or cognitive impairments may benefit from 500–1,700 mg of DHA per day to improve brain function (43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48).

Vegetarians and vegans are often lacking in DHA and should consider taking microalgae supplements that contain DHA (11, 105).

DHA supplements are usually safe. However, taking more than 2 grams a day does not have any added benefits and is not recommended (106, 107, 108).

Interestingly, curcumin—the active compound in turmeric—may enhance DHA absorption in the body. It’s linked with many health benefits and animal studies have shown that it may boost DHA levels in the brain (109, 110).

Therefore, curcumin may be helpful when supplementing with DHA.

Bottom Line: Adults should get 250–500 mg of combined EPA and DHA daily, while children should get 4.5–5.5 mg/lb (10–12 mg/kg) of body weight.

Considerations and Adverse Effects

DHA supplements are usually well tolerated, even in large doses.

However, omega-3s are generally anti-inflammatory and may thin the blood (111).

Consequently, too much omega-3 may cause blood thinning or excessive bleeding.

If you are planning surgery, you should stop supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids a week or two beforehand.

Also make sure to speak with a doctor before taking omega-3s if you have a blood clotting disorder or take blood thinning medication.

Bottom Line: Like other omega-3 fatty acids, DHA may cause blood thinning. You should avoid taking omega-3 supplements 1-2 weeks before surgery.

Take Home Message

DHA is a vital part of every cell in your body, especially the cells in your brain and eyes.

It’s also an essential part of brain development and function. What’s more, it may affect the speed and quality of communication between nerve cells.

Furthermore, DHA is important for your eyes and it may reduce many risk factors for developing heart disease.

If you suspect you’re not getting enough in your diet, consider taking an omega-3 supplement. It is one of the few supplements that may actually be worth the money.



                This is how sugar 'fuels' cancer cells




If you saw the recent headlines connecting gallbladder cancer to the consumption of sugary sodas, you may not have been too surprised by the news. America’s obsession with sugar has been blamed for plenty of chronic diseases in recent years, including several types of cancer. 

But what is it, exactly, about the sweet stuff that seems to raise a person’s cancer risk? We rounded up some recent research and spoke with Carrie Daniel-MacDougall, PhD, a nutritional epidemiologist at The University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center, to get the scoop.


               Fucoidan and Cancer: A Multifunctional Molecule with Anti-Tumor Potential




Fucoidan is a natural product from the sea. It is a special kind of seaweed. However, because people generally do not like the taste of seaweed by itself, Fucoidan is generally mixed (by the vendor) with fruit and vegetable juices to mask the taste of seaweed (that is a wise thing to do).

The anti-cancer effect of fucoidan is well proven and has been the focus of many, many scientific studies which are published on PubMed. Fucoidan safely kills cancer cells and does not harm non-cancerous cells.   Fucoidan has cured many cases of cancer by itself, but it is recommended by this website to be used in conjunction with other “Stage IV” protocols as a “supplemental” protocol.


As an example of its power, in one case in Missouri, a woman (I know the lady’s sister-in-law very well) had very advanced cancer which had spread throughout her body. She was also very, very thin. She refused all alternative cancer treatments except Fucoidan.

However, instead of taking the recommended therapeutic dose for cancer of 16 ounces a day, she was only taking 5 or 6 ounces a day.

Without the Fucoidan there is no doubt she would have died within a month or two of when I first knew about her. She was skin and bones and the cancer had spread throughout her body before she even started the Fucoidan.

In fact she lived about six months using less than half of the daily recommended dose for cancer patients. Quite frankly, everyone, including me, was in a state of shock that she lived so long on that small of a dose.

While this product can “buy time,” it is best to use it at therapeutic doses whereby it becomes a significant part of a cancer treatment.

The product of the most expensive vendor (and certainly the best), for 16 ounces a day, is about $125 a week.However, as mentioned above, the 16 ounces should be spread out by taking several small doses spread throughout the day.   This protocol can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy for those inclined to take chemo. In fact, this product may significantly reduce the side-effects of the chemotherapy.

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                       Indicator of chronic fatigue syndrome found in gut bacteria


               Indicator of chronic fatigue syndrome found in gut bacteria


Physicians have been mystified by chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition where normal exertion leads to debilitating fatigue that isn't alleviated by rest. There are no known triggers, and diagnosis requires lengthy tests administered by an expert.   Due to this lack of information, some people have even suggested the may be psychosomatic.   Now, for the first time, Cornell researchers report they have identified biological markers of the disease in gut bacteria and inflammatory microbial agents in the blood.


In a study published June 23 in the journal Microbiome, the team describes how they correctly diagnosed myalgic encephalomyeletis/(ME/CFS) in 83 percent of patients through stool samples and blood work, offering a noninvasive diagnosis and a step toward understanding the cause of the disease.


"Our work demonstrates that the gut bacterial microbiome in ME/CFS patients isn't normal, perhaps leading to gastrointestinal and inflammatory symptoms in victims of the disease," said Maureen Hanson, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and the paper's senior author. "Furthermore, our detection of a biological abnormality provides further evidence against the ridiculous concept that the disease is psychological in origin."


Ruth Ley, associate professor in the Departments of Molecular Biology and Genetics and Microbiology, is a co-author.

"In the future, we could see this technique as a complement to other noninvasive diagnoses, but if we have a better idea of what is going on with these gut microbes and patients, maybe clinicians could consider changing diets, using prebiotics such as dietary fibers or probiotics to help treat the disease," said Ludovic Giloteaux, a postdoctoral researcher in both Hanson's and Ley's labs and first author of the study.

Researchers have evidence that an overactive immune system plays a role in chronic fatigue. Symptoms include fatigue even after sleep, muscle and joint pain, migraines and gastrointestinal distress. One hallmark of the condition is post-exertional malaise, meaning patients may take weeks to recover from minor exertion. To test for ME/CFS, clinicians may give patients a cardio-pulmonary exercise test where they ride a bike until they become fatigued. If the test is repeated the following day, ME/CFS patients usually cannot reproduce their performance from the first day.

"That's very typical and specific of people with ME/CFS, because healthy people, or even people who have heart disease, can reproduce the exercise on the second day, but these people cannot," Giloteaux said.


In the study, Ithaca campus researchers collaborated with Dr. Susan Levine, an ME/CFS specialist in New York City, who recruited 48 people diagnosed with ME/CFS and 39 healthy controls to provide stool and blood samples.

The researchers sequenced regions of microbial DNA from the stool samples to identify different types of bacteria. Overall, the diversity of types of bacteria was greatly reduced and there were fewer bacterial species known to be anti-inflammatory in ME/CFS patients compared with healthy people, an observation also seen in people with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.


At the same time, the researchers discovered specific markers of inflammation in the blood, likely due to a leaky gut from intestinal problems that allow bacteria to enter the blood, Giloteaux said.   Bacteria in the blood will trigger an immune response, which could worsen symptoms.

The researchers have no evidence to distinguish whether the altered gut microbiome is a cause or a whether it is a consequence of disease, Giloteaux added.

In the future, the research team will look for evidence of viruses and fungi in the gut, to see whether one of these or an association of these along with bacteria may be causing or contributing to the illness.



                      Healthy aging benefits may be associated with walnut consumption: study


              Healthy aging benefits may be associated with walnut consumption, according to research

A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that consuming 1-2 servings of walnuts per week (1/4 cup per serving) was associated with reduced risk of developing impairments in physical function, which helps enable older women to maintain independence throughout the aging process. This paper emphasized that overall diet quality, rather than individual foods, may have a greater impact on reducing risk of physical function impairments. Specifically, diet quality traits most associated with reduced rates of incident physical impairment were higher intake of fruits and vegetables; lower intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and sodium; and . Among food components, the strongest relations were found for increased intakes of oranges, orange juice, apples, pears, romaine or leaf lettuce, and .


The researchers looked at data from 54,762 women in the Nurses' Health Study, which tracked women for over 30 years. Between 1992 and 2008, the women were asked questions about their physical function, including their ability to perform basic activities of daily living. This new paper prospectively examined the association between the dietary habits of the participants and subsequent impairment in physical function. Diet was assessed using the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI-2010), a measure of that incorporates foods and nutrients predictive of chronic disease risk based on scientific evidence.       

"These results add to the large body of evidence that outline the many benefits of a healthy diet for women. Additional research is needed to better understand how diet and lifestyle choices can help maintain our health and well-being as we age," said Dr. Grodstein.


There are numerous possible active properties in walnuts that may be contributing factors in providing health benefits. Walnuts are unique among nuts in that they are primarily composed of polyunsaturated fat (13 grams per ounce), which includes alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based . They are the only nut to contain a significant amount of ALA with 2.5 grams per one ounce serving.


   The Best Time of Day to Take Probiotics




Getting the timing just right when to take probiotics is important since these sensitive microflora are prone to destruction from acid in the stomach. So, the best times of day to take probiotics are considered right before bedtime and upon rising in the morning.   Probiotics are living micro-organisms, or good bacteria, that live in the gut and contribute to overall health and wellness. Probiotics are found in food and in supplement form, and the timing of ingestion is vital to the absorption and effectiveness of these tiny organisms.

Probiotic means “for life” or “promoting life,” and knowing when to take probiotics may significantly improve health for some. Some common ailments probiotics have reportedly improved include tooth decay, diarrhea, eczema, yeast infections, UTIs, respiratory infections, allergies, high cholesterol, and infant colic.  Stomach acid can destroy probiotics or significantly decrease the potency of these powerful bacteria, says Livestrong, which should help determine when to take them. Probiotics need a low acidic environment in order to survive and attach to the intestinal walls.

Survival of good bacteria can increase digestion, boost immunity, decrease symptoms of IBS, fight harmful bacteria in the gut and urinary tract, and stop the growth of destructive yeast throughout the body. Therefore, the best times to take probiotics, according to some experts, are right before bed and in the morning when the pH levels in the stomach are lower and there is decreased digestive activity.
However, some experts believe probiotic supplements should be taken with food to decrease the assault of stomach acid on the live organisms.

According to Probiotics 101
, the best time of day to take probiotics is during meals. Food is believed to create a “buffer” against stomach acid’s harmful effects on probiotics, says Probiotics 101, making mealtime the best time of day to take them.  Food sources normally offer the most potent amounts of probiotics, says Prevention. Cultured and fermented foods are considered the best.

Supplements also can boost the efficacy of probiotics in food and should contain at least 1 billion colony-forming units, or CFUs, a guarantee of activity, specific bacteria for your condition, and resistance to acid.  

                          Forget Oatmeal — Barley Fights Cholesterol With Half the Calories




Move over, oats: Another cholesterol-lowering grain — barley — is in the spotlight.  Barley reduces levels of two types of so-called bad cholesterol, according to a new review of research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition this week.  Specifically, barley reduces:

That’s considered “significantly reduced levels,” according to researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.  


Research scientist Vladimir Vuksan, associate director of the St. Michael’s Risk Factor Modification Centre, is among the authors of the research review. He explains: “The findings are most important for populations at high risk for cardiovascular disease, such as Type 2 diabetics … but [barley] can also benefit people without high cholesterol.”


The research review also found that barley’s cholesterol-lowering effects are comparable to those of oats.

Barley is arguably more healthful, however. Compared with oats, barley contains:

For the research, the authors reviewed 14 studies on clinical trials conducted in seven countries.


Vuksan explains:  “Barley’s positive effect on lowering cholesterol is well-documented … Health Canada, the FDA and several health authorities worldwide have already approved health claims that barley lowers LDL cholesterol, but this is the first review showing the effects on other harmful lipids.”

Over the past decade, consumption of barley by humans (as opposed to livestock) has fallen by 35 percent, according to the St. Michael’s study.

Yet it was almost exactly a decade ago that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a health claim associating barley consumption with reduced risk of heart disease.  Today, whole grain barley and dry milled barley products with at least 0.75 grams of soluble fiber per serving may still bear this claim:  “Soluble fiber from foods such as [name of soluble fiber source, and, if desired, name of food product], as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. …”  If you’re new to barley or just not ready to eat it on its own like oatmeal, Vuksan recommends incorporating it into existing recipes or using it as a rice substitute.




                   Unexpected findings reveal insight into how cancer spreads in the body


                    Unexpected findings reveal insight into how cancer spreads in the body


Cancer cells appear to depend on an unusual survival mechanism to spread around the body, according to an early study led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). The discovery could help with future development of novel treatments to prevent metastasis and secondary tumors.  The spread of cancer around the body - metastasis - is one of the biggest challenges in cancer treatment. It is often not the original tumor that kills, but secondary growths. These happen when are able to break away from the primary site, travel around the body and 'seed' new tumors.  A key question in cancer research has been how cancer cells are able to survive once they break away from a tumor to spread around the body. Cells are relatively protected when they are attached to other cancer cells and their surroundings, but become more vulnerable when they detach and 'float', and normally undergo cell death.


Lead researcher Dr Stéphanie Kermorgant from QMUL's Barts Cancer Institute said: "Metastasis is currently incurable and remains one of the key targets of cancer research. Our research advances the knowledge of how two key molecules communicate and work together to help cancer cells survive during metastasis. We're hoping that this might lead to the discovery of new drugs to block the spread of cancer within the body."


The study, published in Nature Communications, examined the changes that occur in cancer cells as they break away from tumors in cell cultures, zebrafish and mice. The researchers revealed a previously unknown survival mechanism in cancer cells and found that molecules known as 'integrins' could be key.

Integrins are proteins on the cell surface that attach to and interact with the cell's surroundings. 'Outside-in' and 'inside-out' signalling by integrins is known to help the cancer cells attach themselves to their surroundings. But the study suggests that when the cancer cells are floating, as they do during metastasis, the integrins switch from their adhesion role to take on an entirely new form of communication which has never been seen before - 'inside-in' signalling, in which integrins signal within the cell.


The researchers discovered that an integrin called beta-1 (β1) pairs up with another protein called c-Met and they move inside the cell together. The two proteins then travel to an unexpected location within the cell which is normally used to degrade and recycle cell material. Instead the location is used for a new role of cell communication and the two proteins send a message to the rest of the cell to resist against death while floating during metastasis.


Using both breast and lung cells, the team found that metastases were less likely to form when β1 and c-Met were blocked from entering the cell together or were prevented from moving to the special location within the cell.


          Unexpected findings reveal insight into how cancer spreads in the body


Integrins are already major targets for cancer treatment with drugs either being tested or in use in the clinic. Most integrin inhibitor drugs target their adhesive function and block them on the surface of the cancer cell. The researchers say that the limited success of these drugs could be partly explained by this newly discovered role of integrins within the cancer cell. A new strategy could be to prevent the integrin from going inside the cell in the first place. The researchers hope that these insights could lead to the design of better therapies against metastasis and more effective treatment combinations that could prevent and slow both tumour growth and spread.  The research was funded by the UK Medical Research Council, Breast Cancer Now, Rosetrees Trust, British Lung Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Barts Charity.


The team carried out part of their animal research work on zebrafish embryos in order to implement the principle of 3Rs (refine, reduce, replace) on their research on mice. Zebrafish provide a similar tumor microenvironment to humans, meaning fewer tests need to be carried out in mice and any future experiments in mice will have been optimised to have minimal toxicity. They are aiming to reduce the number of mice used by at least 90 per cent and ultimately use zebrafish to completely replace the use of mice.


       Articles - June 2016


          Imaging biomarker distinguishes prostate cancer tumor grade


                                                         Imaging biomarker distinguishes prostate cancer tumor grade

Physicians have long used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect cancer but results of a University of California San Diego School of Medicine study describe the potential use of restriction spectrum imaging (RSI) as an imaging biomarker that enhances the ability of MRI to differentiate aggressive prostate cancer from low-grade or benign tumors and guide treatment and biopsy.


"Noninvasive imaging is used to detect disease, but RSI-MRI takes it a step further," said David S. Karow, MD, PhD, assistant professor of radiology at UC San Diego School of Medicine and the study's senior author. "We can predict the grade of a tumor sometimes without a biopsy of the prostate tissue. This is taking all that's good about multi-parametric MRI and making it better."


The addition of RSI to a pelvic MRI added between 2.5 to 5 minutes to scanning time making it a fast and highly accurate tool with decreased risk compared to contrast MRI which involves injecting patients with dye, said Karow.

In the study, published online June 1, 2016 in Clinical Cancer Research, the authors said RSI-MRI corrects for magnetic field distortions found in other imaging techniques and focuses upon water diffusion within tumor cells that exhibit a high nuclear volume fraction. By doing this, the ability of imaging to accurately plot a tumor's location is increased and allows for differentiation between tumor grades. The higher the grade, the more aggressive the cancer. Patients can have more than one tumor with different grades, however. Karow said RSI-MRI can be used to guide treatment or biopsy to target the region of highest-grade cancer.


An early diagnosis of prostate cancer typically improves a patient's prognosis. According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States, with more than 26,000 estimated deaths this year and 180,890 new diagnoses predicted. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 66. At UC San Diego Health, more than 1,000 patients have been imaged with RSI-MRI since 2014 and a subset have subsequently undergone MR-fused ultrasound guided prostate biopsy, said J. Kellogg Parsons, MD, MHS, UC San Diego School of Medicine associate professor of surgery and study co-author.


"Previously, we relied completely on systematic—but random—biopsies of the prostate to diagnose cancer, which has been the standard practice in our field for years. Now, we use RSI-MRI to precisely target specific areas of concern and enhance the accuracy of our diagnosis," said Parsons, surgical oncologist at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health.


"Greater accuracy means improved care tailored to each individual patient. With RSI-MRI, we are better able to identify which cancers are more aggressive and require immediate treatment, and which ones are slow growing and can be safely observed as part of a program called active surveillance."

Although this study focused on 10 patients, more than 2,700 discrete data points were evaluated. Next steps include introducing the technology to other hospitals and to study whether it can be used in isolation from other screening tools. In prior papers published in the journals Abdominal Radiology and Prostate Cancer Prostatic Diseases, the same authors reported that RSI-MRI increases detection capability and can perform better than traditional multi-parametric MRI when used in isolation.


These data suggest that RSI-MRI could eventually serve as a stand-alone, non-contrast screening tool that would take 15 minutes compared to a normal contrast-enhanced exam lasting 40 to 60 minutes.


"What our evidence shows so far is the imaging benefit is coming from RSI-MRI," said Karow. "I think this technique could become standard of care and mainstream for the vast majority of men who are at risk for prostate cancer. Full contrast MRI is expensive and risky for most men. This is the kind of exam that could be done on a routine clinical basis."


Anders Dale, PhD, professor of radiology and neurosciences and co-director of the Multimodal Imaging Laboratory at UC San Diego, and Nate White, PhD, assistant professor of radiology, initially co-invented RSI-MRI to characterize aggressive brain tumors.


"RSI-MRI could be a transformational imaging technology for oncologists in the same way CT scans altered the way effects of treatment are quantitated from plain X-rays," said Jonathan W. Simons, MD, Prostate Cancer Foundation president and Chief Executive Officer. "Based on the investigations at UC San Diego, this is a particular promise that needs more validation. Now testable is the hypothesis that RSI-MRI could identify oligometastatic that became curable through its identification by RSI-MRI."





                               3 foods Guaranteed To Keep The Doctor Away                            


            Diet to lower the risk of Alzheimer&#39;s disease also ranked No. 1 easiest to follow in 2016

As a registered dietitian, if I had to narrow it down to just three foods to eat almost every day, here are the three I would choose – apples, carrots, and walnuts. The reason why? They are affordable, portable and available year round each having their own unique nutritional qualities to offer.

The reason I say to eat them almost every day is because, of course, we also need to choose other nutritious foods besides these three plant foods. Consuming a wide variety of food daily–lean meat, poultry, fish, whole grains, nuts, and other fruits and veggies–is a smart thing to do. But I know people get busy. They want food they can grab and go, that fill you up and are considered healthy. This is why apples, carrots and walnuts made my list. Most people like them whether eaten cooked or raw and they are easy-keepers in regards to their shelf life and storage. Let’s take a closer look at each one:


Remember learning in kindergarten “A is for apple?” That “A” I think stood for “amazing.” Apples are one of the most popular fruits with some amazing health benefits keeping us well–there’s a reason for the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Apples provide a rich supply of phytochemicals, antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamin A and dietary fiber. They are also rich in the powerful flavonoid quercetin which acts as an antioxidant and may prevent some cancers and protect arteries and the heart. Eating a whole apple is better than apple juice which loses 80 percent of it quercetin during processing.

In addition to their crunchy goodness, it also appears that apples may improve several health conditions as follows:

A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated apple consumption seemed to be related to a decreased risk of thrombotic stroke.

Another study found people who ate three servings of apples weekly had a 7 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who did not.

To top it off, apples may have an influence in preventing dementia. A 2008 study in the Journal of Food Science found eating an apple a day may protect neuron cells against oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity possibly reducing Alzheimer’s disease.

Store apples in the crisper drawer in the fridge and lay a slightly dampened paper towel on top of the apples.


Carrots are one of the most favorite vegetables in the world, primarily because they are easy to grow and they are very versatile in cooking. They can be easily added to soups, stews or smoothies, shredded over salads, steamed, stir-fried or eaten raw.

We tend to think carrots come in only one color–orange. How wrong we are. Carrots in the colors of purple, white, yellow, and red are around just not as common.

Carrots health benefits come from their beta carotene and fiber content. They are also known to be a rich source of vitamin A, pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, copper and manganese.

Some important health benefits carrots provide are in maintaining good digestive functioning. Carrot’s high fiber content–4.6 grams in one cup–adds bulk to bowel movements preventing constipation while stimulating peristaltic motion and the secretion of gastric juice.

You never see rabbits wearing glasses and they love carrots and for a very good reason – carrots may reduce risk of macular degeneration. Research has found people who ate foods with the most beta carotene had a 40 percent lower risk of macular degeneration than those who did not. Beta carotene is the precursor to vitamin A which boosts our vision.

Another benefit of beta carotene is it has been linked to a reduction in lung cancer. Researchers found when beta carotene consumption went from 1.7 to 2.7 milligrams per day it reduced lung cancer by 40 percent. Carrots contain about 3 milligrams of beta carotene.

To keep carrots fresh, store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator’s vegetable bin. Avoid storing them next to apples, which emit ethylene gas that can give carrots a bitter taste.


When it came to choosing walnuts, it was a toss-up between all the other nuts available. Walnuts came out the winner as they are the only nut–and one of the few foods–that provide an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based form of omega-3. A ¼ cup of walnuts contains 2.5 grams of ALA more than eight times the amount found in the next highest nut which is good news for our heart health and in reducing inflammation.

Walnuts also contain the amino acid l-arginine important for vascular health. In fact, walnuts positively affect various heart health markers from reducing total cholesterol, lowering LDL cholesterol, raising HDL cholesterol, and decreasing blood pressure

Diabetes is another disease walnuts can have a beneficial effect on. Research shows that consuming 2 ounces a day can significantly improve endothelial function in people with type 2 diabetes and they may also play a role in managing metabolic syndrome.

To maximize the shelf life of walnuts store them in a cool, dry area. Once the package is opened, place them in a sealed airtight container to maintain freshness.


Dr. David Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team Learn more at Visit Dr. Samadi’s blog at Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and Facebook.



                   How To Lose Weight and Permanently Keep It Off



You know you should exercise to lower your risk for heart disease, but you're already crunched for time. Which exercise should you choose and how can you get the best benefits out of it? Start by checking in with your doctor to make sure it's safe for you to embark on an exercise program and then consider these top performers.


1. Walking is easy, convenient, and it is really effective.

In one large study, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that walking half an hour a day cut the overall risk of heart disease by 18 percent. In a study of the benefits of walking for people with diabetes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that just two hours of walking per week can reduce the risk of death from heart disease by 34 percent.


2. Running can be even more effective than walking if you can do it safely.

In the Harvard study, people who ran at least one hour per week cut their risks of heart disease by 42 percent. High intensity aerobic exercise, such as running, has been associated with improvements in a wide range of cardiovascular risk factors, including physical fitness, increased HDL (the good cholesterol), decreased blood pressure and decreased inflammation, says Dr. Frank Hu from the Harvard School of Public Health.


3. Dietary changes and stress management.

Found an overall drop in their total cholesterol of 23 percent and a decreased LDL cholesterol of 26 percent, and an improvement of their heart disease overall between 43 and 70 percent.


4. Weight-Training more than 30 minutes per week decreased heart disease risk by 23 percent in the Harvard study.

Weight training can help lower high blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and help control blood sugar levels, says Dr. Hu. By increasing lean muscle tissue and decreasing fat tissue in the body, it may also help boost your metabolism to help you maintain a healthy weight. How much do you need to do? Perhaps not as much as you think.




                                       Government Sets New Recommended Salt Levels for Foods


                       Government Sets New Recommended Salt Levels for Fo&nbsp;&hellip;

Top U.S. health officials have announced a new set of recommendations to help Americans cut the salt –- setting new target sodium levels for foods in more than 100 different categories, ABC News has learned. The guidelines set two- and 10-year goals and officials stress that many companies have already met or were working toward the two-year goals.


The officials say the new guidelines would help cut more than 1,000 mg of sodium a day from the American diet.

The recommended daily intake of salt is 2,300 mg, but most Americans consume 50 percent more than that.

“A lot of it comes in your prepared and processed foods,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell told ABC News. “So most folks don’t actually know that you are getting it. Whether it is your bread, your salad dressing or when you are out a restaurant you are getting quite a bit then.”


The guidelines place foods in 150 categories, outlining new target sodium reductions in everything from bacon and fries to pasta sauces, soups and salads with toppings. For instance, breakfast bakery products would have to reduce sodium by 65 percent over 10 years and frozen soups by 42 percent over the same time period.


According to HHS, 75 percent of sodium intake comes from processed and prepared foods, not the salt shaker, and 50 percent of every dollar spent on food is consumed outside the home.


                         How to Take Probiotics for Maximum Effect



Most health experts agree probiotics can improve your health, but knowing how to take probiotics to reap the most benefit is important.  Probiotics are beneficial bacteria strains that can help balance intestinal bacterial flora and prevent harmful bacteria from taking over.

According to Jillian Michaels, one of the most well-known health and wellness experts and TV personalities, it is best to take probiotics with food.  When the stomach is empty, it is a highly acidic environment that is not hospitable to live beneficial bacteria. Large numbers of them can be killed off in an empty stomach. Eating makes the stomach less acidic, which allows more of the bacteria to make their way to the intestines.  Probiotics are measured in colony-forming units or CFUs. Because the human digestive tract contains literally trillions of bacteria, it will require billions of probiotics to make a positive impact.

Most probiotics contain between 1 billion and 15 billion CFUs, and the amount you should take depends on your specific needs.

For example, to simply maintain a healthy GI tract, a dose of 1 billion or 2 billion CFUs daily will suffice, says Probiotics 101. If you have just completed a course of antibiotics that has altered your gut flora, you may want to take as many as 10 billion to 15 billion CFUs for a time to restore the proper balance.

The total daily probiotic intake works best when split up and taken in three or four doses throughout the day, says Michaels.   All probiotics are not the same. There are many different strains, and the ones that are right for you depend on your specific health concern.

When considering how to take probiotics, Dr. David Williams, a chiropractor, researcher, and wellness expert, advocates choosing a supplement that contains many different strains rather than choosing based solely on CFUs. He believes the best supplements contain at least the following three important probiotic strains: L. acidophilus, B. Longum, and B. bifidum.

                       What's the difference between kosher salt, table salt, and sea salt?



If you don't know the difference between kosher, table, and sea salt, you're not alone. But salt is probably the most important weapon in a chef's arsenal after a good knife, so it's worth setting the record straight.    Though the chemical makeup of these three commonly used salts is the same, the texture and density differs. Here's what you need to know.