Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Programmed by chemicals for obesity

Early Exposure To Common Chemicals Can Permanently Alter Metabolic System ScienceDaily 3/1/07 "Obesity is generally discussed in terms of caloric intake (how much a person eats) and energy output (how much a person exercises). However, according to a University of Missouri-Columbia scientist, environmental chemicals found in everyday plastics and pesticides also may influence obesity...Frederick vom Saal, professor of biological sciences in MU's College of Arts and Science, has found that when fetuses are exposed to these chemicals, the way their genes function may be altered to make them more prone to obesity and disease..."Certain environmental substances called endocrine-disrupting chemicals can change the functioning of a fetus's genes, altering a baby's metabolic system and predisposing him or her to obesity...vom Saal has studied the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including bisphenol-A, which recently made news in San Francisco, where controversy has ensued over an ordinance that seeks to ban its use in children's products...he found that endocrine-disrupting chemicals cause mice to be born at very low birth weights and then gain abnormally large amounts of weight in a short period of time, more than doubling their body weight in just seven days...mice were obese throughout their lives. He said studies of low-birth-weight children have shown a similar overcompensation after birth, resulting in lifelong obesity...55,000 manmade chemicals in the world, and 1,000 of those might fall into the category of endocrine disrupting"

The more I read about endocrine disruptors and also the accidental methylation of certain genes the more I wonder how wide spread the problem is... not just obesity but neurological problems as well.

DogVitals antioxidant supplement for your dogs health

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Some painkillers raise blood pressure

Study finds painkillers raise blood pressure Reuters/Yahoo!News 2/26/07 "Popular painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen can raise blood pressure and thus the risk of heart disease among men...Men who took such drugs for most days in a week were about one-third more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure than men not taking them, the researchers found...Men who took acetaminophen (paracetamol), sold generically and under the Tylenol brand name, six or seven days a week were 34 percent more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure than men who did not take analgesics. Men who took aspirin that regularly were 26 percent more likely to have high blood pressure than non-users. For non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, which include ibuprofen and naproxen, the increased risk was 38 percent...Men who took 15 or more NSAID pills a week were 48 percent more likely than non-users to have high blood pressure. The drugs can affect the ability of blood vessels to expand, and may also cause sodium retention -- two factors that can both raise blood who are advised by a doctor to take an aspirin a day to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke should not stop taking them, cautioned Curhan. "The benefit outweighs the risk"..."

This is a bit of a surprise, esp. for aspirin. A guess the rule of thumb now is if you're taking a daily dose of aspirin, or other pain killer, get your blood pressure checked regularly and watch for a rise.

DogVitals antioxidant supplement for your dogs health

New research on antioxidants

Antioxidant supplements tied to death risk Reuters/Yahoo!News 2/27/07 "Beta carotene and vitamins A and E, antioxidant supplements taken by millions to fight disease, may actually raise the risk of death, a review of 68 studies on nearly a quarter-million people ...Tuesday's report related only to synthetic supplements and not to fruits and vegetables in everyday diets which are natural and contain less concentrated levels of antioxidants...Beta carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E given singly or combined with other antioxidant supplements significantly increase mortality," the study found. It said the increased death risk is about 5 percent higher than those not given supplements and that figure is probably evidence that vitamin C increases longevity and though selenium tended to reduce mortality...Balz Frei, director of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, said the study and the data studied are both flawed because more than two-thirds of the previous research that was examined involved people with heart disease, cancer or other risks who were being treated to see if the supplements worked..."

Most of the science on relatively weak antioxidants like E and beta carotene have not shown clear benefits, or like the meta study above has shown potential problems... esp. with those who are already sick and or have an unhealthy lifestyle. What's the answer? Get your basic antioxidants from fruits and veggies, take an rda multivitamin to make sure you don't have any deficits (rda multivits aren't associated with higher mortality), exercise 5 + days a week and take much stronger antioxidants and compounds that really make a difference to your health. What are they? From what I've read they are: (your dosing might vary - but below doses are what various research shows can be beneficial ) - those in bold I take almost every day.

  • resveratrol (30mgs to 350/450mgs a day (5mg per kg is what Sinclair is on daily) - high end gets you the anti-aging effect, if you can tolerate it - some res. supplements come with other stuff that complicates the issue)
  • curcumin (600mg to 1+gm a day)
  • egcg (200 to 500+mgs a day)
  • cocoa (50gms a day - half a bar 85% cocoa - no milk)
  • alpha lipoic acid (5mg to 25mg )
  • ashwaghanda (50 to 150mgs 2-4%with.)
  • bacopa (100mgs or so)
  • milk thistle (50 - 150mgs most days)
  • ginseng (250mg to 1-2gms panax - various % gins. - once in a while, but not every day and def. not if it messes with your sleep like with me - I rarely take this - but when I do it gives me tons of energy)
  • ginkgo (60mg to 360mgs - a few times a week)
  • carnosine (50mg to 250mg - most days)
  • pycogenol (50mg to 100mgs - occasionally)
  • glisodin (250mg to 750mgs - usually when not taking other antioxidants - good for vacations - only one pill to worry about)
  • rhodiola (50mg occasionally - less is def. better with this one)

What's the reason for these? Most of them besides being antioxidants in their own right, have multiple ways of fighting off various diseases and many of them can boost a variety of endogenous antioxidant enzymes like GPX, CAT, and SOD. Carnosine is for anti-glycation. All of these attempt to address to a degree the three leading theories of aging - free radical theory, mitochondrial theory and glycation theory. Also, all ingredients have been associated with increased longevity. Further research will determine whether any of these ingredients remain on the list, or not... or if they become a smaller part of the regimen. Nothing is sacred. If curcumin proves to have some troubling epigenetic qualities... then off it goes. If resveratrol at certain doses for some folks actually shortens life... then I'll get tested before I get rid of this one. Ok some things hold out so much promise it might be a bit harder to part with. But I'd do it if the research indicated trouble.

Below are a few ingredients that hold promise but more research is necessary before I'll take them.

  • Terminalia arjuna
  • Rubia cordifolia
  • Tinospora cordifolia
  • Fagonia cretica
  • Scoparia dulcis

etc (the list goes on and on)

A very good primer on antioxidants can be found at Dr. Ray Sahelian's site - his site offers excellent information and advice on a vast array of supplements. One of my favorites and a great health resource.

DogVitals antioxidant supplement for your dogs health

Monday, February 26, 2007

Prenatal multivitamins reduce childhood cancers

prenatal multivitamins reduces risk of childhood cancers PRNewsWire/SickKids 2/21/07 "taking prenatal multivitamins fortifiedwith folic acid can reduce the risk of three common childhood cancers:leukemia, brain tumours and neuroblastoma..."Our research indicates that a large proportion of several earlychildhood cancers can be prevented by taking a prenatal multivitamin beforeand during pregnancy," said Dr. Gideon Koren...prenatal supplementation of multivitaminscontaining folic acid is associated with a 47 per cent protective effectfor neuroblastoma, 39 per cent for leukemia and 27 per cent protectiveeffect for brain tumours. While other studies have investigated the effectof prenatal vitamins on rates of paediatric tumours, this is the firstsystematic review and meta-analysis of prenatal multivitamin use before andduring early pregnancy and its protective effect for several paediatriccancers...Additional research is required to determine which components of aprenatal multivitamin provide protective effect for paediatric cancers andwhether any of the protective effects can be attributed to folic acid. Aprevious study by Motherisk found that prenatal multivitamins fortifiedwith folic acid can reduce the risk of a wide range of serious congenitaldefects..."

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Garlic May Not Lower Cholesterol

No Improvement in Cholesterol Levels From Raw Garlic or Garlic Supplements WebMD 2/26/07 "Garlic may not improve the cholesterol profiles of people with moderately high levels of "bad" cholesterol...None of the three forms of garlic affected participants' total cholesterol, LDL ("bad") cholesterol, HDL ("good") cholesterol, triglycerides, or other blood fats...the study was large enough and long enough to have detected any cholesterol changes...the researchers don't rule out the possibility that garlic has health benefits for other groups of people (such as those with higher LDL cholesterol levels) or requires higher doses..."

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Exercise cuts breast cancer risk

Strong exercise may cut breast cancer risk Reuters/Yahoo!News 2/26/07 "While it is still not clear how hard or long women need to exercise, the study adds to a growing body of evidence that rigorous activity lowers breast cancer risk...exercise may reduce cancer risk through changes in metabolism and the immune system, and by reducing weight gain...Women who said they engaged in strenuous activity for more than five hours a week had a 20 percent lower risk of invasive breast cancer and a 31 percent lower risk of early stage breast cancer, compared to women who participated in less than 30 minutes of such activity every week...The study is the first to look at the cumulative effect of exercise over time"

One of the thousands of studies that show that exercise reduces the chance of getting many types of cancers and other various diseases like diabetes. If you aren't exercising almost everyday... start tomorrow (but go easy and don't do what my Dad did in the 70's when he decided he should start jogging - first run he sprinted and I mean sprinted away from our house and down the road and half a block away he pulled his Achilles tendon and came back limping in immense pain... and that was the end of the 70's jogging phase for my Dad.)

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Breath test for lung cancer

Lung cancer 'colour breath test' BBC 2/26/07 "US scientists have devised a colour test which shows up unique chemical changes in the breath of people with lung cancer. The hues of a series of 36 dots detect lung cancer accurately in just under three out of four people with the disease...Experts have known for many years that the chemical composition of a person's breath changes when they develop lung cancer...lung cancer cells give off chemicals, called volatile organic compounds or VOCs, which are then breathed out. In the past, scientists have used highly sensitive machines such as gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy to "read" these VOCs with extreme accuracy. ..."Ultimately, this line of investigation could lead to an inexpensive, non-invasive screening or diagnostic test for lung cancer," ..."At the moment we rely on people coming forward with symptoms, or a suspect chest x-ray picked up purely by chance. "In the UK our five-year survival for lung cancer is about seven out of 100. "That's appalling. Within one year from diagnosis almost 80% are dead. That's because people are picked up when the disease is advanced. "

So this isn't particularly novel technology, just that it is getting smaller, cheaper, easier to administer and to understand the results. 75% accuracy is ok, but lets hope they improve this soon so this could be employed by most gp's not just specialists.

DogVitals antioxidant supplement for your dogs health

Friday, February 23, 2007

Circumcision helps to prevent HIV

Circumcision: A Proven Strategy To Prevent HIV, Study Shows ScienceDaily 2/23/07 "Male circumcision significantly reduces the risk of acquiring HIV in young African men, according to a study led by University of Illinois at Chicago professor of epidemiology Robert Bailey..."Our study shows that circumcised men had 53 percent fewer HIV infections than uncircumcised men," said Bailey. "We now have very concrete evidence that a relatively simple surgical procedure can have a very large impact on HIV."..."

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hormone prolactin reverses MS damage

Pregnancy hormone reverses MS damage NewScientist 2/21/07 "The finding could help explain why women with MS suffer fewer symptoms during pregnancy. And the results suggest that the hormone - prolactin - might one day be used to treat people with the disorder...Specifically, the area damaged by the initial injection had more new oligodendrocytes - cells that produce myelin. Only one-tenth of the spinal cord nerves in the pregnant mice lacked protective myelin, compared to one-third of the nerves in the non-pregnant mice...They identified receptors for prolactin on the surface of the myelin-producing cells and were also able to boost the growth of these cells using prolactin in a Petri dish...the scientists gave prolactin to non-pregnant mice with induced nerve damage and found that the hormone roughly doubled the number of spinal cells with a protective myelin coating. "We're excited about this result because it suggests to us that prolactin has the potential to be used to enhance the production of new myelin," ...experts warn that using prolactin to treat people with MS could have unwanted side effects, such as encouraging lactation in both men and non-pregnant women...Furthermore, previous studies have also indicated that prolactin may stimulate the immune system. This could be particularly dangerous for people suffering from MS, as it believed to be an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks itself. "The only downside is that we have to be absolutely sure that prolactin does not promote inflammation," "

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Boosting Brain Power -- With Chocolate

Eating chocolate could help to sharpen up the mind ScienceDaily 2/22/07 "...and give a short-term boost to cognitive skills...A study led by Professor Ian Macdonald found that consumption of a cocoa drink rich in flavanols — a key ingredient of dark chocolate — boosts blood flow to key areas of the brain for two to three hours...Increased blood flow to these areas of the brain may help to increase performance in specific tasks and boost general alertness over a short period...The study also suggests that the cocoa flavanols found in chocolate could be useful in enhancing brain function for people fighting fatigue, sleep deprivation, and even the effects of ageing...The effect is linked to dilation of cerebral blood vessels, allowing more blood — and therefore more oxygen — to reach key areas of the brain...“Acute consumption of this particular flavanol-rich cocoa beverage was associated with increased grey matter flow for two to three hours. ..."

More on cocoa fighting fatigue

More on the health benefits of cocoa at BBC, NutraIngredients, Cornell, WebMD, WebMD, Newstarget,

Pubmed links

Does Flavanol Intake Influence Mortality from Nitric Oxide-Dependent Processes? Ischemic Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes Mellitus, and Cancer in Panama (full journal article with a good list of references at the end)

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Cancer Is A Stem Cell Issue

Stem cells are at the heart of some, if not all, cancers ScienceDaily 2/22/07 "Mounting evidence implicates a clutch of rogue stem cells brandishing ‘epigenetic’ marks as the main culprits in cancer. Wiping out tumours for good, some biologists believe, depends on uprooting these wayward stem cells... "To be successful in cancer therapy you need to target these stem cells: they are intrinsically resistant to chemotherapy.”...Polycomb proteins have emerged as key players in cancer pathogenesis. They are powerful epigenetic regulators that normally silence genes without altering the cell’s DNA. Compounds that regulate polycomb could result in novel anticancer drugs that shrink malignant tissue, and prevent cancer recurrence, a common problem with most chemotherapies...That tumours and stem cells have much in common has been known for many years. Both self-renew and both spawn many different types of cells. But only recently, new techniques have enabled biologists to identify stem cells buried in tumours...stem cells in cancerous tissues are locked in an immature state in which they carry on multiplying instead of maturing into specific tissues...Some resistant cancer cells don’t listen to the ‘stop’ signal any more,” he explains. That stop sign is delivered by the polycomb proteins. They silence several genes at once by affecting the way the DNA is compacted into chromatin fibres, without altering the DNA sequence. "

More at ScienceDaily. This is a huge story and we'll obviously be hearing much more on polycomb proteins and the search for agents that destroy rogue stem cells without destroying the crucially important normal stem cells that exist throughout our lives.

More on polycomb proteins here. Not many good links on these yet and Wiki only has a stub. This should change very soon. Interesting fact that the polycomb gene was discovered almost 61 years ago and only recently are we discovering the significance.

"Previous studies showed that the Polycomb proteins are essential for early development. If the genes that code for Polycomb proteins are lost in embryonic stem cells, the cells begin to develop in an uncontrolled fashion and lose their unique properties. Knowing that Polycomb is key to an embryonic stem cell's identity,...Polycomb, it turns out, represses entire networks of genes that are essential for later development, the same genes that begin to turn on as a stem cell starts to differentiate. That explains why embryonic stem cells immediately grow into specialized cells when Polycomb proteins are lost. "Polycomb is dynamic," says Jaenisch, "working with other molecules to silence genes and then gradually allowing them to activate during development. It is also the founding ingredient for development, so knowing how it works and which genes it interacts with will be invaluable for understanding these amazing cells." "We're continuing to map the regulatory network that controls stem-cell state and development," says Young. "We hope to use this map to guide the fate of cells so that they can be used to replace diseased or damaged cells.""

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Caffeine might help older hearts

Caffeine may be good for some aging hearts Reuters/Yahoo!News 2/21/07 "Drinking caffeinated beverages on a regular basis may provide significant protection against death from heart disease in the elderly who have normal levels of blood pressure, according to data from a large U.S. health and nutrition study...Drinking caffeinated beverages may induce a "healthy" rise in blood pressure that counteracts the drop in blood pressure that occurs after a meal, a phenomenon that becomes more pronounced as people age...People who consumed four or more servings of caffeinated beverages daily had a 53-percent lower risk of death from heart disease compared with those who consumed less than half a serving daily. Subjects who consumed two to four servings per day had a 32-percent lower risk of dying from heart disease...Caffeinated ground coffee and caffeinated instant coffee, both of which have relatively large amounts of caffeine per serving, were the only specific beverages associated with a statistically significant protective effect...This apparent protective effect of caffeinated coffee consumption was not seen in people with severe high blood pressure or those who were younger than 65 years of age."

There's got to be more going on here than merely keeping blood pressure up after meals. This explanation seems a tad thin.

DogVitals antioxidant supplement for your dogs health

Veggies for Enlarged Prostate Risk

Eating Vegetables May Cut Men's Risk Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia WebMD 2/14/07 "Enlarged prostates appear to be less common among men who eat lots of vegetables, a new study shows...Data came from more than 32,000 male health care workers enrolled in a long-term health study that began in 1986... When the researchers took a closer look at the data, they found that high consumption of vegetables -- but not fruit -- seemed particularly beneficial for BPH...The men who consumed the most vegetables were 11% less likely to have BPH surgery or moderate to high BPH symptoms...In addition, certain antioxidants – beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin C -- were associated with reduced risk of BPH. But those antioxidants had to come from fruits and vegetables, not supplements...(Sabine Rohrmann, PhD, MPH,)"

Flax lignans might help BPH

DogVitals antioxidant supplement for your dogs health

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Low testosterone in men may be diabetes risk factor

Low to normal range (of testosterone) are much more likely to have diabetes Reuters/Yahoo!News 2/20/07 ""Low testosterone levels are common among men with diabetes and there is growing evidence that low testosterone may be a risk factor for developing diabetes," Dr. Elizabeth Selvin from Johns from 1,413 men 20 years or older ...After the influence of age, race and obesity was factored in, men with the lowest levels of testosterone were four times more likely to have diabetes than men with the highest levels. Similar results were found when only the bioavailable testosterone was measured...The association persisted even after men with low total or free testosterone levels were excluded, suggesting, the researchers say, that the association is not entirely driven by failure to produce enough testosterone...the hypothesis that male hormones directly influence sugar metabolism and the development of insulin resistance, which is seen just before diabetes occurs, independent of the effects of obesity"

The best way to prevent type II diabetes and fight it if you have it? Lots of exercise.

DogVitals antioxidant supplement for your dogs health

Watercress may protect against cancer

Eating watercress regularly may reduce risk of cancer significantly 2/18/07 "this plant proved to be protective against DNA damage, which is believed to be the first step of the cancer development process, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition...The trial of 30 healthy men and 30 healthy women ages 33 on average showed that eating watercress everyday for eight weeks reduce DNA damage by 23 percent and cut blood triglyceride by 10 percent while the blood levels of lutein and beta-carotene increased by 1000 and 33 percent respectively..."What makes this study unique is it involves people eating watercress in easily achievable amounts, to see what impact that might have on known bio-markers of cancer risk, such as DNA damage. Most studies to date have relied on tests conducted in test tubes or in animals, with chemicals derived from cruciferous vegetables," ...In the study, 30 healthy men and 30 healthy women including 30 smokers were assigned 85 grams of watercress daily for eight weeks...In addition to the reduction of DNA damage in the white blood cells (lymphocytes), watercress consumption was also linked with a 9.4 percept reduction in DNA damage to lymphocytes when challenged with hydrogen peroxide, which generates DNA damaging free radicals"

Two to things to note about this study: first it is very small and secondly it is funded by the The Watercress Alliance. What's that... you didn't know there was a Watercress Alliance? Well, now you know. They're a powerhouse in the watercress community... I'm sure. We'll see what further, larger studies say, maybe some independent of the industry.

DogVitals antioxidant supplement for your dogs health

Friday, February 16, 2007

prenatal diet of fish makes for smarter babies

How eating fish during pregnancy could make baby brainier Guardian Unlimited 2/16/07 "A study of 9,000 British families suggests that women who eat seafood during pregnancy could have brainier children. The research suggests that those who avoid fish or do not eat enough of it risk depriving their unborn children of important nutrients that are needed to help brain development...A study of 9,000 British families suggests that women who eat seafood during pregnancy could have brainier children. The research suggests that those who avoid fish or do not eat enough of it risk depriving their unborn children of important nutrients that are needed to help brain development...Mothers who ate more seafood than was considered safe according to US guidelines had children who as toddlers were more advanced in fine-motor, communication and social skills; the children also showed more positive social behaviour and were less likely to have low verbal IQ scores at the age of eight. Those children whose mothers had eaten no fish were 28% more likely to have poor communication skills at 18 months, 35% more likely to have poor fine-motor coordination at three-and-a-half, 44% more likely to have poor social behaviour at seven, and 48% more likely to have a relatively low verbal IQ at the age of eight, compared with the children of women who had eaten more fish than advised by the US guidelines."

Although prenatal choline probably has a much greater effect on memory and intelligence than fish.

More on this story from New Scientist, WebMD "The FDA-EPA advisory warns pregnant women not to eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish. These are the fish more likely to have high mercury levels..."It is very clear that omega-3 fatty acids are very important for brain development," " Newsweek, FoodConsumer.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Calcium, vitamin D cut stress fractures

Calcium, vitamin D cut stress fractures Associated Press/Yahoo!News 2/14/07 "Very active young women who took higher-than-recommended doses of calcium and vitamin D supplements for eight weeks had fewer stress fractures than women who were given dummy pills..."What really surprised us is that calcium/vitamin D supplements made a significant difference in such a short period of time," said lead researcher Joan Lappe of Creighton University. "Frankly, we were not sure we would see any statistically significant results in only eight weeks."...The body uses calcium to build and repair bones. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. The Creighton University study found that women who took 2,000 milligrams of calcium and 800 international units (IUs) of vitamin D daily had 27 percent fewer stress fractures than those who didn't..."

More here

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Fish oil ineffective with depression

Fish oil unlikely to relieve depression Reuters/Yahoo!News 2/14/07 "Despite some evidence linking depression with low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, there is currently no convincing evidence that omega-3 fatty acids alone can relieve depression...As mentioned, there was little convincing evidence that omega-3 fatty acids alone can alleviate symptoms of depression and only limited evidence to back their use as a supplement to established antidepressant drugs. In about nine studies that were reviewed, fish oil supplements were generally well tolerated; the most common side effects, "particularly with higher doses, are nausea, fishy belching and loose stools," "

Disappointing but not exactly surprising since after a decade of use there hasn't been any great cry of celebration in the depression community. If it had been quite effective I'd have expected to hear far more. Still, for heart and joint benefits as well as long term brain health, fish oil is quite remarkable.

I wonder if the study looked at some of the questions regarding fish oil and depression - specifically about whether the ratio of EPA to DHA showed any effect with types of depression and whether higher doses of EPA might aid depression? Or was this review of 9 studies dealing only with generic forms of fish oil without looking at specific fatty acid ratios?

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Less-intense workouts less effective

Less-intense workouts may be less effective Reuters/Yahoo!News 2/14/07 "Low-intensity endurance exercise is not as effective as moderate intensity endurance exercise for promoting fitness...Based on the findings, Meyer said, healthy people with no heart problems should shoot for reaching at least 80 percent of their maximum heart rate during endurance workouts. "If you have a healthy cardio-circulatory system, there is no reason to avoid intense exercise.""

There's a reason athletes look so damn good... and it's not because they are taking it easy in their workouts.

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Blogging will be a bit light this week since we're at the dog show in Denver at the Coliseum (our version of Westminster - with more west and less minster) till Mon. of next week. If you're in the area come visit the show/competitions and please visit us on the ground floor in the main building... at one of the hundreds of booths (I'll have posters up for DogVitals so you should be able to spot us). Love to chat about health news, dogs, science, philosophy almost anything except Anna Nicole smith.

Blogging will pick up again at the normal rate early next week.



Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Vitamin D helps protect skin

Vitamin D3 Provides Skin With Protection From Harmful Microbes ScienceDaily 2/12/07 "A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine shows that fluctuations in Vitamin D3 levels control the body's innate immune response, affecting a skin wound's ability to heal... Gallo and his colleagues look at how the innate immune system is controlled in the skin, and find that genes controlled by active vitamin D3 play an essential role in the process..."Our study shows that skin wounds need vitamin D3 to protect against infection and begin the normal repair process," said Gallo. "A deficiency in active D3 may compromise the body's innate immune system which works to resist infection, making a patient more vulnerable to microbes." antimicrobial peptide called cathelicidin is produced by wounds and is necessary to fight infections. Recently, several studies have begun to link vitamin D to cathelicidin"

Could vitamin D3 do anymore for our health? Talk about a work horse. I'm sure researchers will indeed discover more benefits in time.

DogVitals antioxidant supplement for your dogs health

Sleep Deprivation May Impair Memory

Staying Up All Night Makes for Fuzzy Memories, Study Shows WebMD 2/12/07 "Sleep deprivation tends to hamper the brain's ability to make new memories, a new study shows. The study, published online in Nature Neuroscience, comes from researchers at Harvard Medical School and Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center"

The researchers found that just one night of sleep deprivation has significant effects on memory. The theory is that either sleep deprivation itself prevents new memory formation, or that the brain is overwhelmed and cannot properly lay down the memory for later recall. Specific details are lacking in the articles on this so far.

Maybe associated with this is another study from Princeton that shows that sleep deprivation prevents new cell formation in the hippocampus.

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Olive oil may prevent and treat ulcers

Virgin Olive Oil May Prevent and Treat H. pylori Stomach Infections WebMD 2/13/07 "A new Spanish study suggests virgin olive oil may help prevent and treat H. pylori infections, which are responsible for millions of cases of gastritis and peptic ulcers each year. Preliminary laboratory tests show the antioxidant compounds found in virgin olive oil are effective against several strains of H. pylori bacteria, which infects the lining of the stomach...previous studies show that other natural products rich in a class of antioxidants known as phenolic compounds -- such as red wine, green tea, and cranberry juice -- may inhibit the growth of H. pylori...Researcher Conception Romero and colleagues of the University Hospital of Valme, in Seville, Spain, found that the healthy phenolic compounds in virgin olive oil remained stable for hours in simulated acidic conditions of the stomach. These phenolic compounds also had a strong antibacterial effect. The results of the lab studies showed olive oil's phenolic compounds were effective against eight strains of H. pylori, including three that are resistant to some antibiotics."

Still has to be proven in the human body where far more variables exist than in "lab" conditions.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Global warming worse than what is being reported

Climate change: What the IPCC didn't tell us NewScientist ($) 2/9/07 - "...research deemed controversial, not fully quantified or not yet incorporated into climate models was excluded...many legitimate findings have been frozen out...This is the untold story of the report, uncovered in interviews with many of the scientists involved, the story of how a complex mixture of scientific rigour and political expediency resulted in many of the scientists' more scary scenarios for climate change - those they constantly discuss among themselves - being left on the cutting room floor."

What are the things "frozen out"? Only the most dramatic tipping point factors that researches believe could be devastating to civilization in this century. Like the collapse of the Greenland ice sheet, the massive release of methane from the ocean floor, soil and permafrost, also Antarctica melting much faster than previously thought and so on.

What does this mean? Much warmer temperatures - 8.1 degrees f. warmer or more, this century. That is the end of most industrial agriculture as we know it... which is the end of modern civilization. Forget certain areas being under water, that is the least of our worries. Beyond the general warming trend will be massive chaotic weather extremes that again will assure that crops fail on a global level.

It's appalling that many important facts about global warming remain for the most part with climatologists. Most of the media deserves a failing grade in their coverage of global warming.

One of the best ways to address global warming is to vote exclusively for politicians where this is their number one issue and to make sure that they are truly educated on the topic and sincere. I think if most Americans knew that the fate of civilization was really at stake... in this century, they wouldn't be spending their time with twaddling candidates.

I'd love to think that James Lovelock is wrong that 2-4 billion people might die in this century because of our inaction. So far we seem to be proving him right. He's also been right that most climate models have proven significantly wrong (underestimating the warming) for three decades. The facts on the ground (and in the air and water) are almost always worse than most climatologists expect.

On a side note I would have expected NewScientist to have put the importance of this story above profit and made it freely available. However, they have been one of the best journalistic outlets for the truth on global warming so I can't nick 'em that hard on this.

Take naps and fight heart disease

Some advice to take to heart, take a nap Reuters/Yahoo!News 2/12/07 "A six-year study of nearly 24,000 Greek adults found those who regularly took midday naps lowered their risk of dying from heart disease by more than a third...Those who made it a practice of napping at least three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes had a 37 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease compared to non-nappers...The relationship was even stronger among employed men as compared to unemployed men, with nappers apparently relieving some of the work-related stress ..."We interpret our findings as indicating that among healthy adults, siesta, possibly on account of stress-releasing consequences, may reduce coronary mortality," lead author Androniki Naska ..."

Just one study here and the authors admit more research is needed, but if they got this right with this many adults the results are significant. The question that I have is whether the benefit would be seen in people who get a healthy amount of sleep every night? Or is the heart benefit of naps more noticeable in those that are getting less than the healthy amount of sleep that they need every night?

DogVitals antioxidant supplement for your dogs health

Friday, February 9, 2007

DHA alone can lower triglycerides

omega-3 fatty acids can lower triglycerides 2/7/07 "Subjects were randomized to either 1000mg of DHA or 1252 mg of DHA + EPA for eight weeks. A total of 116 subjects were enrolled; 57 in the DHA group and 59 in the DHA + EPA group. Baseline characteristics were similar between groups. The mean age was 69.4 years and 70.7 per cent were male...In the study, triglycerides were lowered an average of 21.8 per cent in the DHA group and 18.3 per cent in the DHA + EPA group...a higher proportion of subjects in the DHA group achieved their triglyceride goal (less than 150 mg/dL) compared to the DHA + EPA group (24.6 percent versus 10.2 percent...The study compared Martek's life'sDHA branded microalgae ingredient with a fish oil that provided a combination of DHA and EPA. Martek said it did not fund or sponsor the study...DHA from microalgae is regarded as an important development in this area, as traditional vegetarian sources of omega-3 such as flaxseed yield shorter chain fatty acids, which lose a portion of their health benefits for humans when they are converted into DHA and EPA by the body...One of the most interesting developments in microalgae-derived oils comes from a company called Water 4, which says it has found a way to derive both DHA and EPA from algae. Although it has started selling finished supplements using its oils on the internet, its ingredient is yet to come to market"

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Theory on why women live longer than men

Why Do Women Tend To Live Longer Than Men? ScienceDaily 2/8/07

In short: "Because the mitochondrial genome (as well as the X chromosome) is inherited from the mother, evolutionary pressures might have selected for versions optimized for the female body. If the mitochondrial genome is better adapted to the female environment, the mitochondria in females just may work better, and longer, than those in males. "

A bit more:
"A provocative new model proposed by molecular biologist John Tower of the University of Southern California...genes known to increase longevity always affect male and female flies differently...a gene for the antioxidant enzyme Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD) led to a longer life span in male flies, but had a less dramatic impact in females...a new way to link the regulation of life span to the biological mechanisms that trigger a fertilized egg's development into a male or female. The model suggests that sexual differentiation may exact a high biological cost -- reduced function of the cell's mitochondria, the energy-producing components of the cell...In recent years, much of Tower's research on aging has focused on extending life span by manipulating genes that produce the cell's most powerful and ancient antioxidants -- the superoxidase dismutase (SOD) enzymes. Antioxidants protect cells from the toxic effects of oxygen free radicals, which are produced when cells burn their oxygen fuel during normal metabolism. Free radicals are destructive to DNA, protein and the other complex, delicate molecules that carry out life's every function. In the so-called "oxidative stress" theory of aging, biologists surmise that the whips and scorns of time -- arthritis, dementia, cancer and all the rest -- are caused in part by a steady accumulation of such damage...The mitochondria, thousands of which populate every cell, are the body's largest producers of free radicals. The mitochondria also are unique in that they evolved from free-living bacteria and contain their own complete set of genes, or genome, which has remained distinct from the cell's genome (stored in the nucleus) over millions of years of evolution. While both parents contribute to their offspring's cellular genetic inheritance, only the female passes on the mitochondrial genome to the next generation. Why, and how, this asymmetrical inheritance happens is not clear, but Tower thinks understanding it may be key to understanding sex differences in aging...Because the mitochondrial genome (as well as the X chromosome) is inherited from the mother, evolutionary pressures might have selected for versions optimized for the female body. If the mitochondrial genome is better adapted to the female environment, the mitochondria in females just may work better, and longer, than those in males. ...Mitochondria play a key role in regulating the programmed cell death pathway, or apoptosis. In flies and humans, apoptosis works during normal embryonic development and sexual differentiation, sculpting the body by killing unwanted cells. But the cell death pathway, in which the p53 gene is a central player, also appears to malfunction more frequently over an organism's lifetime, thereby contributing to aging and aging-related diseases like Parkinson's. This might happen more often or differently in males, Tower speculates, leading to a shorter life span"

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Thursday, February 8, 2007

Leucine and starvation response have a dramatic effect on fat metabolism

Researchers Discover Master Metabolism Regulator With Profound Effect On Fat Metabolism ScienceDaily 2/8/07 "enzyme named GCN2 eIF2alpha kinase, has an unexpectedly profound impact on fat metabolism. "Some results of our experiments suggest interventions that might help treat obesity, prevent Type II diabetes and heart attacks, or ameliorate protein malnutrition," said Douglas Cavener...Cavener and Guo found that the removal of a single amino acid, leucine, from the diet is sufficient to provoke a starvation response that affects fat metabolism. "These findings are important for treating two major problems in the world," Cavener says. "The starvation response we discovered can repress fat synthesis and induce the body to consume virtually all of its stored fat within a few weeks of leucine deprivation. Because this response causes a striking loss of fatty tissue, we may be able to formulate a powerful new treatment for obesity."..."

This research might prove beneficial in two areas: first with those that need to lose a significant amount of fat (and the diseases associated with that) and secondly for those people in developing countries where getting enough protein is the problem. If I'm understanding this correctly researchers might be able to devise dietary interventions that would prevent GCN2 eIF2alpha kinase automatically jumping into starvation mode and making people, especially children lose fat too fast. Not clear what these dietary interventions might be.

A question that comes to mind is whether this enzyme is associated with longevity. Could regulating the function of GCN2 not only lower a variety of diseases but also extend life - since it is directly tied to the starvation response.

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Vitamin D can help prevent cancer

Vitamin D Backed For Cancer Prevention In Two New Studies ScienceDaily 2/8/07 "Two new vitamin D studies using a sophisticated form of analysis called meta-analysis, in which data from multiple reports is combined, have revealed new prescriptions for possibly preventing up to half of the cases of breast cancer and two-thirds of the cases of colorectal cancer in the United States..."The data were very clear, showing that individuals in the group with the lowest blood levels had the highest rates of breast cancer, and the breast cancer rates dropped as the blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D increased," said study co-author Cedric Garland, Dr.P.H. "The serum level associated with a 50 percent reduction in risk could be maintained by taking 2,000 international units of vitamin D3 daily plus, when the weather permits, spending 10 to 15 minutes a day in the sun."..."Through this meta-analysis we found that raising the serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 34 ng/ml would reduce the incidence rates of colorectal cancer by half," said co-author Edward D. Gorham, Ph.D. "We project a two-thirds reduction in incidence with serum levels of 46ng/ml, which corresponds to a daily intake of 2,000 IU of vitamin D3. This would be best achieved with a combination of diet, supplements and 10 to 15 minutes per day in the sun." ...For a typical fair-skinned Caucasian individual, adequate vitamin D could be photosynthesized safely by spending 10 to 15 minutes in the noontime sun on a clear day with 50 percent of skin area exposed to the sun. Darker skinned individuals may require more time in the sun, such as 25 minutes. For people with photosensitivity disorders, or anyone with a personal or family history of nonmelanoma skin cancer, any amount of extra sun exposure would be inadvisable..."

It appears that a low dose of vitamin D may not work as a preventative agent with certain cancers, but at least 2000 IU a day plus occasional sun exposure has a significant effect - at least for these two cancers and maybe others.

Use vitamin D3, not D2. D2 is virtually ineffective.

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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Kids who get less sleep weigh more

Kids who get less sleep weigh more, study finds Reuters/Yahoo!News 2/7/07 ""Children who get less sleep tend to weigh more five years later," lead researcher Emily Snell extra hour of sleep cut the likelihood of being overweight from 36 percent to 30 percent in children ages 3 to 8, and from 34 to 30 percent in those ages 8 to 13...sleep experts recommend that children ages 5 to 12 sleep for 10 to 11 hours a night and adolescents sleep for 8 to 9 hours. But the researchers said children in the study at age 7 on average got less than 10 hours of sleep on weekdays and at age 14 got 8.5 hours of sleep on weekdays...Not getting enough sleep may affect hormones that influence appetite...The researchers noted there is growing evidence linking sleep to children's cognitive and social functioning, with previous research connecting sleep problems and too little sleep to maladjustment in preschoolers and depression and school problems in adolescents. "

There's also tv that increases the chance that kids will be overweight.

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Breast-feeding can improve stereoscopic vision

Breast-feeding enhances kids' eyesight Reuters/Yahoo!News 2/7/07 "Breast-fed children are significantly more likely to do well in measures of stereoscopic vision than are those who received formula during infancy,..."Our study," Dr. Atul Singhal of the Institute of Child Health, London, told Reuters Health, "adds to the growing evidence that breast-feeding has long-term benefits for visual development."..."We don't know the mechanisms involved, but this benefit does not seem to be explained by the presence of certain omega 3 fatty acids -- DHA -- in human milk.""

This is a surprise since it has been thought for the past few years that DHA was the component that helped with stereoscopic vision. This research controlled for DHA and found it did not aid in the development of vision when added to baby formula. So then what is the component (s)? Or does DHA have to be combined with other components of breast milk that formula does not have?

Don't drop the DHA supplement yet because DHA can boost a babies intelligence .

Good site on Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding

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Some doctors withhold information on controversial care

Many doctors stay mum on controversial care Reuters/Yahoo!News 2/7/07 "Do not always expect straight talk from your doctor about treatments he or she disapproves of -- 14 percent of physicians believe it is acceptable to withhold information about topics such as birth control, abortion and sedating dying patients...29 percent feel no obligation to tell patients where they can go to get that care..."if you anticipate wanting access to an area of medical treatment that may be controversial, you might want to have a frank conversation with your physician up front,"(Dr. Farr Curlin of the University of Chicago )...Men, Christian doctors and physicians with the strongest religious beliefs were most likely to say it is permissible to withhold information and not help a patient find another source of controversial care..."

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Enzyme Wakes Sleeping Genes

Enzyme activates epigenetically silenced genes ScienceDaily 2/7/07 "The reverse process of demethylation, however, has been poorly understood so far. Researchers from the divisions of Professor Dr. Christof Niehrs and Professor Dr. Frank Lyko at the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) have now been able to identify a protein called Gadd45a as a key player in demethylation. Gadd45a is a long known protein that is involved in many cellular processes...The researchers showed in a series of experiments that an increase of Gadd45a levels in the cells wakes deactivated genes from their sleep. Control experiments showed that methyl groups are indeed no longer attached to genes thus reactivated. In contrast, if Gadd45a is deliberately switched off, hypermethylation of many DNA areas is the result. When removing the methyl groups, as the investigators have further demonstrated, Gadd45a interacts with enzymes that are involved in DNA repair. The data obtained by Niehrs and Lyko indicate that Gadd45a induces DNA-cutting enzymes of the DNA repair troops to remove the methylated areas, which are subsequently replaced again by unmethylated building blocks...Gadd45a may also become an interesting target for clinical oncology"

Maybe Gadd45a will show potential for more than "rebooting" the anti-cancer genes in our body, although this in itself would be incredibly beneficial. One can hope that it might also be useful for a variety of other health conditions related to methylated genes. And how many conditions might that be? Billion dollar question.

Other posts on epigenetics here , here and here.

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Exercise benefits aren't the same for old and young

Power-boosting Signal In Muscle Declines With Age ScienceDaily 2/7/07 "As people age, they may have to exercise even harder to get the benefits afforded to younger folk...AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) slows down in the skeletal muscle of 2-year-old rats relative to 3-month-old rats. A chief regulator of whole-body energy balance, AMPK in skeletal muscle stimulates the oxidation of fatty acids and the production, or biogenesis, of power-producing mitochondria that burn fat and fuel cells, according to the researchers...Earlier studies have shown that, in comparison to 20-year-old adults, even lean and healthy people in their seventies show a higher incidence of fat buildup in their muscle and livers and a deficiency in mitochondrial function..."So, one probably has to work harder to maintain the same level of fat oxidation and mitochondrial biogenesis in muscle.""

So if you see a lean muscular 70yr old person, they might be working out all the time to look like that. Also might explain why it does seem harder to lose weight as one gets older... because it is harder. Does that make you feel better? Didn't think so.

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Possible cause of children's bad behavior - genes

Parents' Genes, Not Parents' Arguing, May Cause Children's Conduct Problems ScienceDaily 2/7/07 "A group of researchers from the University of Virginia and several other universities looked at this question, studying 1,045 twins and their 2,051 children. Some of the parents were identical twins and shared all of their genes and some were fraternal and shared only half of their genes. The study found that parents' fighting is not likely a cause of children's conduct problems. On the other hand, parents' genes influenced how often they argued with their spouses and these same genes, when passed to their children, caused more conduct problems. ..."This study suggests that marital conflict is not a major culprit, but genes are," said K. Paige Harden, the lead researcher and professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. "Our findings have potential implications for treating conduct problems: Focusing on a child's parents, as is common in family therapy, may not be as effective as focusing on the child." ..."

No genes are implicated, rather this is a twin study - identical vs fraternal. Which can be an good model to read the nature % vs nurture % influence - if the study is done well.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

New bacteria discovered on our skin

Human Skin Harbors Completely Unknown Bacteria ScienceDaily 1/5/07 "skin, the largest organ in our body, is a kind of zoo and some of the inhabitants are quite novel...182 species of bacteria in skin samples. Eight percent were unknown species ...It is the first study to identify the composition of bacterial populations on the skin using a powerful molecular method. Not only were the bacteria more diverse than previously estimated, but some of them had not been found before, says Martin J. Blaser, M.D., Frederick King ...Roughly half, or 54.4%, of the bacteria identified in the samples represented the genera Propionibacteria, Corynebacteria, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, which have long been considered more or less permanent residents in human skin...Almost three-quarters, or 71.4%, of the total number of bacterial species were unique to individual subjects, suggesting that the skin surface is highly diversified in terms of the bacteria it harbors...women and men may harbor some different bacterial species on their skin...In each individual, the bacterial populations varied over time while revealing a core set of bacteria for each individual. "The predominant bacteria don't change much," says Dr. Gao. "But the more transient bacteria did change over time," ..."Some stay and others come and go""

Much more information at the article. Strange to think that we have been virtually oblivious to this world on our skin until recently.

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Depression tied to physical ills

Depression, loneliness tied to physical ills Reuters/Yahoo!News 1/5/07 "Depression, severe mental illness and loneliness are linked to illnesses such as heart disease and dementia...Dr. Jesse Stewart, formerly of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, found a correlation between depression and hardening of the arteries in his three-year study of 324 men and women who averaged 60 years old...The arteries of those who were most depressed had narrowed twice as much as those who were least depressed, the study found...Depression may also upset the body's regulation of glands that release chemicals governing energy level and growth, and alter the functioning of cells responsible for blood clotting...a British study of 46,136 severely mentally ill people found those who were younger than 50 were more than three times as likely to die from coronary heart disease and stroke than people not suffering from mental illness. Mental illness more than doubled the risk of dying from heart disease for people up to age 75...A third study found that a persistent feeling of loneliness among the elderly doubled their risk of developing Alzheimer's-like symptoms compared to those who felt connected to others"

If it's not enough that mental illness' cause great suffering psychologically... now there's considerable evidence that the body suffers badly under mental illness.

More reason for those with mental illness to go nuts with proven preventative medicine that might be able to address all these other illnesses.

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Monday, February 5, 2007

Ketamine lifts depression quickly

Tackling depression with ketamine NewScientist 1/20/07 (subsription) ""FOR MANY, it was a huge, obvious effect," says psychiatrist John Krystal. "One of the patients said, 'Don't give me those old medications, I want this again'." Krystal, a professor at Yale University, is talking about the time he gave seven severely depressed patients ketamine, a mind-blowing drug developed as an anaesthetic but better known as a club drug. It was a long shot, but the results were astonishing. Though most of the patients found the ketamine experience itself unpleasant, once it wore off they had a far better feeling: the disabling and suicidal depression they had lived with for years had vanished. Krystal's pioneering experiment happened in the late 1990s, but now researchers at the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Maryland, have repeated the study and the results have got psychiatrists, neuroscientists and drug companies buzzing. An antidepressant that acts in hours rather than weeks would transform the treatment of depression, make a lot of money and change the way we understand the disease...It's not just depression. Other studies suggest that ketamine might act with similar speed to help addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and certain chronic pain conditions. Ketamine, researchers increasingly believe, may be a "reset button" for brains stuck in dysfunctional ruts...Zarate's results were not quite as dramatic as Krystal's but were impressive nevertheless. His team recruited 17 people who on average had failed to get relief from six different drugs; four had even tried ECT, the treatment of last resort. Of the 17, 12 experienced a strong antidepressant response within hours of receiving ketamine, and for six patients the response lasted a week or more. As Zarate describes it, the subjects reported that their depression "lifted"..."

The most important questions remain unanswered -"Still, ketamine has a long way to go before it can prove itself as an antidepressant. Both Krystal and Zarate restricted their patients to a single infusion, so it remains unclear whether a second dose of ketamine would work; equally unclear is whether ketamine would carry on relieving depression if given regularly, or whether this would even be practical given the side effects and cost."

Still, the fact that a compound exists that for some can lift depression very quickly and can last for a week or longer is encouraging. What we need now are much larger studies that look at continued use of ketamine over time - more importantly we need pharmaceuticals to invest in research looking at the glutamate system in relation to depression.

Ketamine is an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist and is approved for human use but is mainly used by veterinarians as an anaesthetic. In the study the dosage was given intravenously.

More info on ketamine and depression at NIMH, MedPage Today, Forbes, BBC, The Boston Globe, here, Brown Univ. health education, and Primary Psychiatry.

Abstract in Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006;63:856-864,

General info at Wiki - where you find this fact that might make you think twice about using recreational ketamine to self medicate for depression "Unlike true psychedelics, ketamine is powerfully reinforcing to many users and compulsive use is frequently reported. Both ketamine pioneer John Lilly and pseudonymous author D.M. Turner reported prolonged periods of 'ketamine dependency', and the latter drowned in a bathtub while on ketamine."

Things to worry about if you are thinking of getting ketamine on the street to use for depression:

  • risk of contamination
  • how will you know for sure what dose you are taking?
  • addictive?
  • long term health effects- neurotoxic?
  • you're messing with an anaesthetic... not a trivial matter if you have poor judgement and or suicidal impulses
  • contraindications?
  • also the research is on a very small number of people - success rates are bound to lower in a larger study - and side effects usually increase

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Onions and garlic help prevent cancer

Powerful antioxidants in onions and garlic may offer protection MSNBC 2/2/07 "In laboratory studies, certain natural compounds in onions and garlic have demonstrated cancer protection. Now population studies published in recent months provide further evidence of the link between onions and garlic and a lower risk of cancer...People who used the most onion or garlic about a half-cup of chopped onion daily and a self-assessed “high” garlic consumption were from 10 percent to 88 percent less likely to have various types of cancer than those who said they used little or none...Laboratory studies have shown that onion and garlic compounds can increase enzymes that deactivate carcinogens in the body, enhancing our ability to eliminate carcinogens before they do any damage. Furthermore, in the laboratory onion and garlic compounds slow the growth and stimulate the self-destruction of cancer cells that form...studies show even greater reduction in cancer development from garlic and tomato than from either alone..."

The article mentions that some researchers now believe onions and garlic offer some protection from a wide variety of cancers, not merely specific types. This combined with the talk of stimulating enzymes seems to imply endogenous antioxidant stimulation.

Also this is the second recent article that mentions the beneficial cofactor effect of tomatoes. The other one was broccoli/tomato combo helping fight prostate cancer. Adding tomatoes, usually best in the form of a sauce with a bit of olive oil (more available antioxidants like lycopene) appears to enhance the preventative qualities.

More info on garlic and cancer is at the National Cancer Institute - from this a rather important part of to the preparation of garlic and it's ability to fight cancer "Peeling garlic releases an enzyme called allinase and starts a series of chemical reactions that produce diallyl disulfide (DADS). DADS is also formed when raw garlic is cut or crushed. However, if garlic is cooked immediately after peeling, the allinase is inactivated and the cancer-fighting benefit of DADS is lost. Scientists recommend waiting 15 minutes between peeling and cooking garlic to allow the allinase reaction to occur"

It also appears that processing garlic into powder and oils can also be beneficial in releasing and making more available anti-cancer compounds like "allin (responsible for the typical garlic odor), alline (odorless compound), ajoene (naturally occurring disulfide), diallyl sulfide (DAS), diallyl disulfide (DADS), diallyl trisulfide (DAT), S-allylcysteine (SAC), organosulfur compounds and allyl sulfur compounds"

Abstract from AJCN on some of the recent research

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Friday, February 2, 2007

Selenium supplements could slow age-related cognitive decline

The decline of mental function that naturally occurs with age may be increased by falling selenium levels, suggests new research from France 2/2/07 "Because brain oxidative stress is a cause of cognitive impairment, selenium, which is an antioxidant, may protect against cognitive decline,” wrote lead author N. Tasnime Akbaraly, from the University of Montpellier 1...“Among subjects who had a decrease in their plasma selenium levels, the greater the decrease in plasma selenium, the higher the probability of cognitive decline,” said Akbaraly. “Among subjects who had an increase in their plasma selenium levels, cognitive decline was greater in subjects with the smallest selenium increase.”..."

Just one of the 1001 reasons to take an RDA supplement a day. I'm a fan of the Nature Made multi line. No financial ties here, I just think they provide some of the best multivitamin supplements.

NIH dietary fact sheet on selenium

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Thursday, February 1, 2007

Study links air pollution particles, heart disease

Air pollution might help cause heart disease and strokes Reuters/Yahoo!News "women living in areas with high concentrations of tiny particles of air pollution were more prone to strokes, heart attacks and other forms of heart disease than those living where the air is cleaner...Each time the concentration of particulates increased by 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air, a woman's risk of dying from heart disease rose by 76 percent, the researchers found..."The magnitude of health effects may be larger than previously recognized,"...The particles in question are so tiny that at least 400 laid end-to-end would be needed to cover 1 millimeter (0.04 inch). They come from burning fossil fuels...Other air pollutants including sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and nitrogen dioxide, did not increase the heart attack risk, the study said" (Dr. Joel Kaufman)

It isn't known why these particles increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. The working theory for now is that these particles cause inflammation and from that, disease.

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