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Fatty Acids and Risk of Prostate Cancer: Response to a Study Currently in the News

Putting the "Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk in the SELECT Trial" study into context.


Dairy Decreases Diabetes

High intakes of dairy are associated with a significant decrease in the risk of type 2 diabetes, says meta-analysis. Can consuming dairy products reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes? The answer, according to a systematic review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition last week, is a qualified YES. Read More


Senior Moment... or Alzheimer's Disease?

While it has been commonplace for the medical profession to dismiss mild slips of memory as a normal part of aging, advancements in early diagnostics may redefine these occurrences as an early sign of Alzheimer’s Disease. Rebecca Amariglio, from Brigham and Women's Hospital (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues took a sample of 189 clinically normal adults over age 65 and asked them questions about their memories, and also conducted brain scans using a radioactive tracer that can detect the presence of a protein called beta amyloid that is considered an early sign of Alzheimer's disease. The researchers found that the people who reported the most trouble with their memories also had amyloid buildup in their brains, leading the lead investigator to posit that: "Subjective concerns may be an early indicator of Alzheimer's pathology." Read More


Curry Derivative Provides Neuroprotection in Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury

Ischemic stroke is the leading cause of disability and the third leading cause of death of older people in the United States, while traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death and disability in both civilians and military personnel under the age of 45 years.  In both conditions, those who survive frequently have serious behavioral and memory deficits.  Presently, there is only one FDA-approved treatment for stroke, which is effective only in about 20% of cases; there is no clinically documented treatment for TBI.  Paul Lapchak, from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (California, USA), collaborated with Salk Institute researchers to show that CNB-001, a synthetic derivative of the curcumin, the active ingredient in the curry spice turmeric, proved highly neuroprotective against behavioral and molecular deficits typical of ischemic stroke and TBI, and enhanced memory in normal animals as well.  Writing that: “We conclude that CNB-001 has a great potential for the treatment of ischemic stroke as well as other CNS pathologies,” the researchers are hopeful that this novel compound may prove to have clinical potential in conditions where there is currently no effective treatment. Read More


Sorghum Bran – A New Superfood

Researchers from the University of Georgia have found that certain varieties of sorghum bran (Sorghum bicolor) contain significantly greater amounts of antioxidants than the popular superfoods blueberries and pomegranate. Diana Hartle and colleagues determined the level of polyphenolic compounds, antioxidants which naturally occur in plants, in black and sumac varieties of sorghum bran, both of which contain high levels of tannins. Results showed that the levels of polyphenolic compounds in these high-tannin varieties ranged from 23 to 62 mg of polyphenolics per gram. In comparison, blueberries contain 5 mg of polyphenolics per gram, while pomegranate juice contains just 2 to 3.5 mg per gram. The researchers also investigated whether different varieties of sorghum (two low-tannin and two high-tannin) were able to reduce inflammation in mice. Results showed that the high-tannin varieties (black and sumac) possessed significant anti-inflammatory activity. “Since most human chronic disease states are associated with chronic inflammation and high oxidative stress, a food ingredient such as sorghum bran could potentially make certain processed foods better for a healthy diet,” concluded study co-author Diane Hartle. The Great Plains area of the U.S. is the largest worldwide producer of sorghum, the researchers believe that the combination of its low price and high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties will make it a very useful and inexpensive nutritional food additive. Read More


Hair Provides Proof of Link Between Chronic Stress and Heart Attack

The stress hormone cortisol is traditionally measured in serum, saliva, and urine, but it is also captured in the hair shaft. Gideon Koren, from The University of Western Ontario (Canada), and colleagues collected hair samples, 3 centimeters long, from 56 adult men who suffered a recent heart attack.  As compared to age-matched healthy counterparts, the team found higher hair cortisol levels corresponding to the previous three months in the heart attack patients. After correcting for confounding variables, the researchers found that hair cortisol content emerged as the strongest predictor of heart attack, concluding that: “This suggests that chronic stress, as assessed by increased hair cortisol in the 3 months prior to the event, may be a contributing factor for [acute myocardial infarction].” Read More 


Telomere Length Linked to Cancer Risk

Positioned as the endcaps of chromosomes, telomeres are involved in the processes of genetic replication and stability.  In that critically short telomeres lead to replicative cell senescence and chromosomal instability, previous studies have suggested that telomere length is an emerging marker of biological age.  To study telomeres in leukocytes, a type of blood cell, Peter Willeit, from Innsbruck Medical University (Austria), and colleagues conducted PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing of 787 men and women enrolled in the Bruneck Study in Italy, each of whom were cancer-free in 1995 at the study’s start. The team followed the subjects for 10 years, tracking cancer incidence and mortality. Analysis indicated that short telomere length at the beginning of the study was associated with new cancer independently of standard cancer risk factors. Compared with participants in the longest telomere length group, participants in the middle length group had about twice the risk of cancer, and those in the shortest length group had approximately three times the risk. Cancer incidence rates were inversely related to telomere length, with participants in the group with the shortest telomere length having the highest rate of cancer.  The team notes that short telomere length was also associated with a higher rate of death from cancer, and conclude that: “there was a statistically significant inverse relationship between telomere length and both cancer incidence and mortality.” Read More


Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Protect Against Hearing Loss

In that hearing loss is a widespread sensory condition that generally impacts with age, Paul Mitchell, from the University of Sydney (Australia), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 2,956 men and women enrolled in the Blue Mountains Hearing Study, surveying the subjects regarding their dietary intakes of fish.  The team found that two servings of fish weekly reduced hearing loss in subjects ages 50 years and older, compared with people who average less than one serving per week.  Writing that: “There was an inverse association between higher intakes of [omega-3 fatty acids] and regular weekly consumption of fish and hearing loss,” the researchers conclude that: “Dietary intervention with [omega-3 fatty acids] could prevent or delay the development of age-related hearing loss.” Read More


Green Tea Extract Reduce Protein Implicated in Cardiovascular Disease

Previous studies have shown that green tea (Camellia sinensis) exerts cardioprotective benefits.  Arpita Basu, from Oklahoma State University (Oklahoma, USA), and colleagues enrolled 35 obese men and women (BMI of approximately 35-37 kg/m2), in their early 40s, in an eight-week study during which subjects drank green tea (4 cups per day), consumed green tea extract (2 capsules and 4 cups of water per day), or received no treatment (4 cups of water daily). Both the beverage and extract groups had similar dosing of epigallocatechin-3-gallate, the active green tea polyphenol.  Assessing fasting blood samples at the study’s start, mid-way, and at the conclusion, the researchers found that both green tea beverage and extracts significantly reduced plasma serum amyloid alpha, as compared to no treatment consumed.  Acknowledging that: “daily consumption of green tea beverage or extracts for 8 [weeks] was well tolerated but did not affect the features of metabolic syndrome,” the team concludes that: “Green tea significantly reduced plasma serum amyloid alpha, an independent cardiovascular disease risk factor, in obese subjects with metabolic syndrome.” Read More


Olive Oil Dampens Genes Responsible for Inflammation

OlivesSpanish researchers identify 98  genes whose inflammatory activity is dampened by consumption of olive oil, suggesting the underlying mechanism by which it exerts beneficial effects on chronic conditions from arthritis to heart disease. Francisco Perez-Jimenez, from University of Cordoba (Spain),and colleagues studied 20 patients with metabolic syndrome, who ate breakfast foods covered in two types of olive oil, either extra virgin olive oil (high in phenol compounds), or a low-phenol oil.   Those subjects who ate the breakfast containing olive oil rich in phenolic compounds were found to have a reduced expression of pro-inflammatory genes associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as compared to those who ate the low-phenolic olive oil breakfast.  Concluding that: “This study shows that intake of a breakfast based in virgin olive oil rich in phenol compounds is able to repress the in vivo expression of several pro-inflammatory genes, thereby switching the activity of peripheral blood mononuclear cells to a less deleterious inflammatory profile,” the researchers submit that: “These results provide at least a partial molecular basis for the reduced risk of cardiovascular disease observed in Mediterranean countries, where virgin olive oil represents the main source of dietary fat.” Read more.


Attitude Toward Exercise A Major Predictor of Weight Loss Success

While all of us likely recognize the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of routine exercise, many obese and overweight people harbor negative emotions of self-consciousness that deter them from going to health clubs and gyms. Read more.


Adverse Consequences of Obesity Underestimated

The link between obesity and cardiovascular mortality may be substantially underestimated, while some of the adverse consequences of being underweight may be overstated.  While numerous studies have investigated the link between body mass index (BMI) and mortality, showing that high BMI is associated with higher rates of death from cardiovascular causes, diabetes, and some cancers, inconsistent evidence suggests that low BMI is associated with increased mortality from other causes, such as respiratory disease and lung cancer.Read more.


Compounds In Fruits and Vegetables Benefit Eye Health

Pigments known as carotenoids are bountiful in green leafy vegetables and colored fruits, with specific carotenoids known as lutein and zeaxanthin found in kale and spinach and lycopene abundantly present in tomatoes. Explaining that scientists since the late 1700s have postulated that consumption of certain food pigments may correlate to improvements in human vision, James M. Stringham and colleagues studied whether dietary consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin may impact visual performance. Read more.

Delaying the Aging Process Protects Against Alzheimer's Disease

Youthful Appearance A Key To Living Longer

Risk of Death by Cardiovascular Disease Predicted by Body Mass Index

Balance of Dietary Proteins Key to Living Longer

Sufficient Sleep is Key to Proper Decision-Making