Thursday, May 31, 2007

Long workouts best for raising HDL

Long workouts best for raising good cholesterol Reuters/Yahoo! News 5/31/07 "People who want to boost their "good" HDL cholesterol levels with exercise will have to put in at least two hours of physical activity each week, an analysis of 25 studies shows...And the longer each exercise session, the greater the effect, Dr. Satoru Kodama... exercisers increased their HDL cholesterol by a modest but significant 2.53 mg/dL, which equates to a roughly 5 percent drop in heart disease risk for men and a nearly 8 percent reduction for women...In order for exercise to have an effect on HDL cholesterol, study participants had to expend at least 900 kilocalories a week in physical activity, equivalent to about 120 minutes of exercise. The researchers also found that the intensity of exercise or the frequency of exercise sessions didn't seem to matter, as long as exercise was performed consistently. However, the length of an exercise session did matter; for every 10 minutes longer a workout session lasted, there was an additional 1.4 mg/dL rise in good cholesterol...exercise had the greatest effect in increasing HDL cholesterol in people with body mass indexes less than 28 and those who had total cholesterol levels of 220 mg/dL or greater."

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Omega 3 linked to stronger bones

Fish oil again linked to stronger bones 5/31/07 "Increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake in the diet at the expense of omega-6 fatty acids may boost bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life, if a new study in mice can be translated into humans...In the fish oil-supplemented mice, bone mineral density increased significantly in distal femoral metaphysis (DFM) by 20 per cent, proximal tibial metaphysis (PTM) by 24 per cent and tibial diaphysis (TD) by 15 per cent, versus baseline. In comparison, BMD increased only minimally in corn oil-fed mice. BMD increased significantly in the femoral diaphysis (FD) bone region in mice groups, but the increase was higher in fish oil-supplemented mice compared to the corn oil-fed mice, 36 versus 25 per cent, respectively...The beneficial findings amongst the fish oil-fed mice was also accompanied by a decreased activity of pro-inflammatory cytokines, tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), and lower osteoclast generation in bone marrow cell cultures...Inflammation is caused by a number of compounds, including cytokines. These compounds also stimulate bone breakdown, a natural part of a body process known as the bone cycle in which they are continuously broken down and rebuilt."Inhibition of pro-inflammatory cytokines and lower osteoclast generation suggest that higher BMD in FO-fed mice may be associated, in part, with both decreased bone resorption and higher bone formation," concluded the researchers. "

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Epicatechin might boost memory

Food chemical 'may boost memory' BBC News 5/30/07 "Epicatechin is found in grapes... found in chocolate, tea, grapes and blueberries can improve the memory of mice...Those that both exercised and ate the epicatechin diet remembered the location of the platform longer than the other mice. The epicatechin-fed mice who did not exercise also showed enhanced memory, but to a lesser degree...The mice on the special diet appeared to have greater blood vessel growth in certain parts of their brain, alongside more mature brain nerve cells..."

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Green Tea vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Green Tea Compound EGCG May Turn Off Chain Reaction of Inflammation, Joint Damage in RA WebMD 4/30/07 "...Their preliminary lab tests show that the green tea compound EGCG may hold promise as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA)...The EGCG-treated cells produced lower levels of two other inflammatory chemicals than cells that hadn't been treated with EGCG. In fact, the highest tested dose of EGCG virtually halted production of those inflammatory chemicals during the experiment...Further lab tests show that EGCG blocked a chemical chain reaction linked to inflammation and joint damage."The results from this study suggest that EGCG may be of potential therapeutic value in regulating the joint destruction in RA," write Ahmed and colleagues..."

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Sodium benzoate, often found in sodas, can switch off vital parts of DNA

Some soft drinks may seriously harm your health The Independent 5/28/07 "...The problem - more usually associated with ageing and alcohol abuse - can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's...serious consequences for the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who consume fizzy drinks...Concerns centre on the safety of E211, known as sodium benzoate, a preservative used for decades by the £74bn global carbonated drinks industry. Sodium benzoate derives from benzoic acid. It occurs naturally in berries, but is used in large quantities to prevent mould in soft drinks such as Sprite, Oasis and Dr Pepper. It is also added to pickles and sauces...Sodium benzoate has already been the subject of concern about cancer because when mixed with the additive vitamin C in soft drinks, it causes benzene, a carcinogenic substance...Professor Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology, tested the impact of sodium benzoate on living yeast cells in his laboratory. What he found alarmed him: the benzoate was damaging an important area of DNA in the "power station" of cells known as the mitochondria..."These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether"..."The mitochondria consumes the oxygen to give you energy and if you damage it - as happens in a number if diseased states - then the cell starts to malfunction very seriously. And there is a whole array of diseases that are now being tied to damage to this DNA - Parkinson's and quite a lot of neuro-degenerative diseases, but above all the whole process of ageing."...He advised parents to think carefully about buying drinks with preservatives until the quantities in products were proved safe by new tests. "My concern is for children who are drinking large amounts," he said...Coca-Cola and Britvic's Pepsi Max and Diet Pepsi all contain sodium benzoate. "

Not a pretty picture. Time to hunt through the fridge and pantry for drinks and food with sodium benzoate in them.

Kinda makes you wonder what other food industry preservatives and other chemicals have the ability to turn on and off genes... I suspect we'll be hearing about plenty in the future... alas.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Red wine protects the prostate

Red Wine Protects The Prostate, Research Suggests ScienceDaily 5/25/07 "... men who drink an average of four to seven glasses of red wine per week are only 52% as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as those who do not drink red wine...In addition, red wine appears particularly protective against advanced or aggressive cancers...when white wine was compared with red, red had the most benefit. Even low amounts seemed to help, and for every additional glass of red wine per week, the relative risk declined by 6%...speculation focuses on chemicals—including various flavonoids and resveratrol—missing from other alcoholic beverages. These components have antioxidant properties, and some appear to counterbalance androgens, the male hormones that stimulate the prostate ...The Harvard Men’s Health Watch notes that men who enjoy alcohol and can drink in moderation and responsibly may benefit from a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cardiac death."

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Green Tea May Protect Bladder

Green Tea May Protect Bladder From Becoming Inflamed ScienceDaily 5/21/07 "...In the study, normal and cancerous bladder cells were exposed to two major catechin components of green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and epicatechin gallate (ECG), for 23 hours. Both significantly protected cell lines from exposure to hydrogen peroxide, which damages or kills cells. The concentrations of EGCG and ECG used in the study were at levels that may be achieved through dietary intake...Approximately ten million American adults have problems controlling their bladders. Bladder disease affects both men and women and can include incontinence or interstitial cystitis, a chronic inflammatory condition that causes frequent, urgent and painful urination and pelvic discomfort..."

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Eating Apples And Fish During Pregnancy May Protect Against Childhood Asthma And Allergies

Eating Apples And Fish During Pregnancy May Protect Against Childhood Asthma And Allergies ScienceDaily 5/21/07 "...the children of mothers who ate the most apples were less likely to ever have wheezed or have doctor-confirmed asthma at the age of 5 years, compared to children of mothers who had the lowest apple consumption. Children of mothers who ate fish once or more a week were less likely to have had eczema than children of mothers who never ate fish...The study did not find any protective effect against asthma or allergic diseases from many other foods, including vegetables, fruit juice, citrus or kiwi fruit, whole grain products, fat from dairy products or margarine or other low-fat spreads...Willers concludes that at least until age 5, a mother's diet during pregnancy might be more influential on a child's respiratory health than the child's own diet. She notes that further study of this group of children will be needed to see whether the association with the mothers' diet declines in older children, and if mothers' and their childrens' diets interact in older children...Willers suggests that the beneficial effect of apples may come from powerful antioxidants called flavonoids, while fish's protective effect may come from omega-3 fatty acids, which other studies have suggested have a protective effect on the heart and may have a protective effect in asthma..."

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Vegetarian diet and colorectal cancer

Life Long Vegetarian Diet Reduces The Risk Of Colorectal Cancer ScienceDaily 5/22/07 "...Vegetarianism was significantly associated with patients over 65 years, male gender, body mass index (BMI) of less than 20 Kg/m2 and economic deprivation. Colorectal cancer was positively associated with old age and male gender, and inversely associated with vegetarian diet, low BMI and economic deprivation. The inverse association of CRC and lifelong vegetarianism was observed with all the three control groups..."

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Anti-cancer Triterpenoids From Apple Peel

Scientists Isolate Anti-cancer Compounds From Apple Peel ScienceDaily 5/22/07 "Until now, however, scientists had not identified the specific phytochemicals responsible for apple's anti-cancer effects. Xiangjiu He and Liu processed 231 pounds of Red Delicious apples and extracted phytochemicals from about 24 pounds of peel. They screened the compounds for anti-cancer effects in laboratory cultures of human liver, breast, and colon cancer cells. In doing so, they identified a group of compounds with "potent" anti-cancer effects.Article: "Triterpenoids isolated from Apple Peels Have Potent Antiproliferative Activity and May be Partially Responsible for Apple's Anticancer Activity" "

More in the abstract below

Triterpenoids Isolated from Apple Peels Have Potent Antiproliferative Activity and May Be Partially Responsible for Apple's Anticancer Activity ACS publications 5/8/07 "All triterpenoids tested showed antiproliferative activity against Caco-2 cancer cells, especially 2-hydroxyursolic acid, maslinic acid, 2-hydroxy-3-{[(2E)-3-phenyl-1-oxo-2-propenyl]oxy}olean-12-en-28-oic acid, and 3-trans-p-coumaroyloxy-2-hydroxyolean-12-en-28-oic acid, which displayed much higher antiproliferative activities. These results showed the triterpenoids isolated from apple peels have potent antiproliferative activity and may be partially responsible for the anticancer activities of whole apples. "

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Some Alcohol May Help Aging Brains

Less Than a Drink a Day Found Protective WebMD 5/21/07 "...less than one drink a day, low to moderate drinking was associated with a significantly slower progression to dementia among people with mild age-related cognitive declines, compared with nondrinkers...The protective benefit was not seen with higher alcohol consumption...Earlier findings from the study suggest that specific staples of the diet, including olive oil, whole grains, and red wine, can help protect aging brains...Researcher Vincenzo Solfrizzi, MD, PhD, tells WebMD that these dietary influences may act synergistically to slow mental decline, possibly by reducing the blood vessel inflammation thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease...Patients with MCI (mild cognitive impairment) who said they did drink alcohol but drank less than one drink a day had an 85% lower rate of progression to dementia over 3.5 years of follow up than nondrinkers ...A drink was considered to have 0.5 ounces of alcohol -- the amount typically found in a 12-ounce glass of regular beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a cocktail containing 1 ounce of spirits..."

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Strong Anti-Cancer Sulforaphane In Cruciferous Veggies

Strong Anti-Cancer Properties In Cruciferous Veggies ScienceDaily 5/18/07 "...sulforaphane – a compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy and brussels sprouts – has strong anti-cancer properties...Even more promising results have been found in broccoli sprouts. The tiny, thread-like broccoli sprouts sold at stores next to alfalfa sprouts have more than 50 times the amount of sulforaphane than found in mature broccoli...While many cruciferous vegetables have sulforaphane, broccoli and broccoli sprouts have the highest amount and thus could be a major player in the prevention of prostate and colon cancer...While Ho said the research is not at the point where she can make a specific recommendation on how much broccoli or bok choy to eat, she personally tries to have two servings of cruciferous vegetables a day...In human subjects, just eating some broccoli sprouts on top of a bagel with cream cheese resulted in HDAC inhibition. “The compound in broccoli may be one of the strongest anti-cancer fighters we have,” Ho said" (Emily Ho, Ph.D.)

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

New information on lipoic acid and aging

Lipoic Acid Explored As Anti-aging Compound ScienceDaily 5/17/07 "..."Our studies have shown that mice supplemented with lipoic acid have a cognitive ability, behavior, and genetic expression of almost 100 detoxification and antioxidant genes that are comparable to that of young animals," Hagen said. "They aren't just living longer, they are living better -- and that's the goal we're after."...the role of lipoic acid is not so much a direct one to benefit cells, but rather an indirect aid that "kick starts" declining function in cells and helps them recover the functions that came more easily and naturally in young animals...lipoic acid appears to help restore a cellular "signaling" process that tends to break down in older blood vessels. It reduces mitochondrial decay in cells, which is closely linked to the symptoms of aging. With age, glutathione levels naturally decline, making older animals more susceptible to both free radicals and other environmental toxins -- but lipoic acid can restore glutathione function to near normal. And the expression and function of other genes seems to come back to life..."We never really expected such a surprising range of benefits from one compound," Hagen said. "This is really unprecedented, and we're pretty excited about it."..."

The evidence for regular supplementation with LA grows. The only side effect I get with LA is back end insomnia (waking up too early and not being able to fall asleep) at doses higher than 50mg. Not sure why, but it always happens. But if I keep it below this I can minimize this minor side effect.

All the basic info plus more at Oregon U. and Linus P. Inst.

And of course you should know about Bruce Ames and his supplement Juvenon. Note the research on B vitamins and aging on Ames' page. Implication that high dose of B vitamins might slow aging.

More on Ames and B vitamins here.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have positive effect on muscle mass EurekAlert 5/9/07 "..."Adding fish oil to their diet could prevent this decline by restoring insulin sensitivity in aging animals," suggests the researcher. "In addition, it could contribute to reducing the amount of by-product emissions in the environment, since animals that are given omega-3’s spontaneously eat 10% less food to achieve the same weight gain," points out Thivierge...Restoring insulin sensitivity through the use of marine omega-3 fatty acids could also prevent the loss of muscle mass in older people and, by the same token, prevent the various health problems associated with it, believes Thivierge. She also suggests that omega-3’s could help athletes trying to increase their muscle mass. "However, it should not be seen as a miracle product," she points out. "For increased muscle protein metabolism to take place in people younger than 50, physical training is still required,"..."

Is there no end to the health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids? Slows Alzheimers, boosts grey matter in brain, can benefit mood, fights macular disease, helps prevent postpartum depression, makes you lose weight, lowers prostoglandins, inhibits liver cancer, prenatally can protect against breast cancer for daughters, may slow prostate cancer, oh and it also lowers mortality in general, fights heart disease and makes kids smarter. The list goes on.

Question the meta studies to the contrary (ahem BMJ... you might want to revisit topic), omega-3's appear to have shown a clear pattern of health benefits... now we just have to worry about the fish and the depleting stocks. Vegetarian sources of DHA and EPA exist and a combo of these is nearing store shelves last I read. Maybe it's out already? I guess so - here's one company offering it. Can't vouch for them at all though.

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Lycopene no use in prostate cancer prevention

Study breaks link between lycopene and prostate cancer prevention EurekAlert 5/17/07 "...According to the researchers, the study is one of the largest to evaluate the role of blood concentrations of lycopene and other carotenoid antioxidants in preventing prostate cancer. Study data were derived from over 28,000 men enrolled in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial..."It is disappointing, since lycopene might have offered a simple and inexpensive way to lower prostate cancer risk for men concerned about this common disease," said Ulrike Peters, Ph.D., M.P.H..."

What a shame. The first research years ago seemed to indicate lycopene had good prevention qualities. Later studies were inconclusive. Now the largest and most comprehensive study seems to indicate lycopene is of no help.

But just as lycopene possibly fades away... up pops the benefits of cruciferous vegetables in preventing prostate cancer. Remember the term isothiocyanates (ITCs). I think we'll be hearing much more on these in the future. Phenethyl-ITC, or PEITC is the specific ITC related to preventing and fighting prostate cancer.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Omega 3 and Vitamin D linked to lower risk of macular disease

Higher Intake Of Fish And Vitamin D Levels Linked To Lower Risk Of Age-related Macular Disease ScienceDaily 5/15 07 "Individuals who have higher dietary intake of foods with omega-3 fatty acids and higher fish consumption have a reduced risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration, while those with higher serum levels of vitamin D may have a reduced risk of the early stages of the disease..."Dietary total omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid intake was inversely associated with neovascular AMD, as was docosahexaenoic acid," or DHA, a fatty acid that previous evidence suggests affects the retina...Omega-3 fatty acids may influence processes involved in the development of blood vessel-- and nerve-related diseases of the retina, the authors write. For instance, DHA may protect the retina by influencing which genes turn on and off, while fatty acids overall may eventually form compounds that promote cell survival and proper blood vessel function, reduce inflammation and maintain energy balance..."Levels of serum vitamin D were inversely associated with early AMD but not advanced AMD," the authors write. When participants were split into five groups based on level of vitamin D in the blood, those in the highest group had a 40 percent lower risk of early AMD than those in the lowest group. "Milk intake was inversely associated with early AMD. Fish intake was inversely associated with advanced AMD."...Vitamin D may reduce the risk of AMD by reducing inflammation or by preventing the growth of new blood vessels in the retina, which contributes to some forms of AMD..."

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Boiling broccoli dramatically lowers anti cancer glucosinolates

Boiling Broccoli Ruins Its Anti-cancer Properties, According To Study ScienceDaily 5/15/07 "...Boiling appeared to have a serious impact on the retention of those important glucosinolate within the vegetables. The loss of total glucosinolate content after boiling for 30 minutes was: broccoli 77%, Brussel sprouts 58%, cauliflower 75% and green cabbage 65%. ...The effects of other cooking methods were investigated: steaming for 0–20 min, microwave cooking for 0–3 min and stir-fry cooking for 0–5 min. All three methods gave no significant loss of total glucosinolate analyte contents over these cooking periods....Domestic storage of the vegetables at ambient temperature and in a domestic refrigerator showed no significant difference with only minor loss of glucosinolate levels over 7 days. ...However the researchers found that storage of fresh vegetables at much lower temperatures such as −85 °C (much higher than for storage in a refrigerator at 4–8 °C) may cause significant loss of glucosinolates up to 33% by fracture of vegetable material during thawing...The researchers found that preparation of Brassica vegetables had caused only minor reductions in glucosinolate except when they were shredded finely which showed a marked decline of glucosinolate levels with a loss of up to 75% over 6 hours after shredding."

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carotenoids extend life in fish

Could Carrots Be The Secret To A Long Life And Sex Appeal? ScienceDaily 5/11/07 "...The work was carried out on sticklebacks, and compared the fate of fish that all received the same basic diet but had different amounts of carotenoid supplement. Male sticklebacks need carotenoids to produce the red throat patch that they develop in the breeding season and display to females...Dr Thomas Pike, researcher in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology at Glasgow University said: 'Males provided with fewer carotenoids still tried to produce a bright red throat patch, but could only do so by diverting carotenoids away from their role as antioxidants; so by trying to look as good as possible, these males aged faster.' ...'The positive effects of a carotenoid-rich diet are likely to apply to many other animal species as well – but whether eating carrots makes humans longer-lived and more handsome remains to be seen!' "

I would be very surprised if carotenoids have as beneficial effect in humans as in stickleback fish that rely so heavily upon them.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Aspirin vs. colon cancer

Aspirin vs. colon cancer: study weighs benefits ScienceDaily 5/10/07 "Long-term use of aspirin may be a cheap, effective way of warding off colorectal cancer for people who are at high risk, but bleeding risks make it a bad idea for the average patient...reducing...Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths, killing about 52,000 people a year...Daily aspirin use can also protect against heart attack or stroke for people at risk. But it can cause gastrointestinal bleeding and it may worsen some strokes that involve bleeding in the brain..."As always, it comes down to the balance of likely risk and benefit in individuals," said Peter Rothwell of Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford...What they found is that patients who took a daily 300 mg or greater dose of aspirin were 37 percent less likely to have colorectal cancer after five years and 74 percent less likely to have it after 10 to 15 years...That study, published on April 18 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, concluded that because of aspirin's high toxicity in doses greater than 80 mg a day, the risks of further study were not warranted, especially given that screening and colonoscopy work well at preventing colon cancer...Originally made from the bark of the willow tree, aspirin is one of nature's oldest drugs. It was first synthesized more than a century ago and scientists continue to explore its potential benefits...A 2004 study of daily use of adult aspirin over a lifetime resulted in about 1 in 15 people having an aspirin-related complication and about 1 in 556 people dying."

I'm not sure if the 2004 study results will hold up in time, but more recent studies do imply that baby aspirin doses are what one should strive for (if healthy and no cancer predisposition) - where you get a fair amount of aspirin's benefits without that pesky death by bleeding problem. Hate when that happens. But if you know you are at high risk for certain cancers like colorectal cancer then aspirin seems to have an amazing ability to help prevent.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Smelling shortens longevity?

Smelling food can reduce fly lifespan The Scientist 2/1/07 "Findings suggest the effects of caloric restriction on aging stem from both less food and less of a sensation of food...The smell of food can affect the lifespan of flies and even partially reverse the life-prolonging effects of dietary restriction..."This work provides an important first step into understanding how neural circuits may regulate lifespan in the fly," coauthor Scott Pletcher...While these results suggest olfactory regulation of aging in Drosophila may work largely independently of insulin signaling, they don't "rule out" that insulin plays some role, Pletcher said. Other pathways through which smells might help regulate aging include Sir2...The fact that knocking out the olfactory systems dramatically affects lifespan in worms and flies is fascinating, and suggests a striking conservation of the physiological mechanisms that impact lifespan across a wide range of species.""

It's note clear yet what is happening but one of the researchers, Sergiy Libert speculated "...that the smell of food may give organisms early information on whether they should devote resources to reproducing or to maintaining their bodies. While animals in a lush environment are more likely to reproduce, animals that sense that food isn't available tend to avoid reproduction and live longer..."

If you could extend your life by as much as 40%-50% by ditching your sense of smell... would you? And of course with that you lose a considerable amount of taste. In my mind I'd not have to choose because researchers will soon let me have my cake and eat it. I hope. Because I don't think I could get rid of smell and some taste. Take a pinky sure, maybe a toe, but smell?

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Lamin A, progeria and aging research

New clues for treatment of disease that causes accelerated aging Washington U. in St. Louis 5/2/07 "...Scientists studying the genes of two infants who died of mysterious illnesses found the infants had mutations in LMNA, the same gene altered in patients with the premature aging condition progeria. But the infants' unusual mutations caused them to make many more bad copies of the gene's primary protein, lamin A, than progeria patients..."Our success in treating these cells, which had unusually high levels of bad lamin A, suggest that progeria treatment may not be as distant as we thought," says senior author Jeffrey Miner, Ph.D., ... "If physicians can reduce production of bad lamin A by as little as half in progeria patients, we might see significant improvement." ...Progeria treatment also has potential implications for larger populations. The LMNA gene is involved in several other more prevalent disorders including forms of muscular dystrophy and heart disease...In addition, recent studies by other labs have shown that occasional errors in the production of lamin A may take place even in people with "normal" copies of the gene. Scientists suspect that accumulation of these bad copies may contribute to aging. If so, treatments that work for progeria patients may one day be adapted to reduce the effects of aging...Science still has much to learn about lamin A. When appropriately produced, the protein becomes part of a meshwork between DNA and the nuclear membrane, which keeps DNA in a pocket known as the nucleus. Lamin A may help arrange the DNA in a way that affects how often genes are used to make proteins...To get to where it does its job, lamin A binds to another molecule that guides it to the nuclear membrane. Normally the portion of lamin A bound to the guide molecule gets cut off at this point, freeing the rest of lamin A to become part of the nearby meshwork where it belongs. In most patients with progeria, though, the spot in lamin A where the guide molecule gets clipped off is erroneously deleted during initial assembly of the protein. That leaves lamin A stuck to its guide molecule, which in turn is stuck in the nuclear membrane. Scientists believe this misplacement causes progeria; under the microscope, it leads to visible distortions in the structure of cell nuclei..."It's a matter of ratios: the more abnormal protein you have, the more severe the disease," Miner says. "And apparently we don't have that far to go to tip that ratio in progeria patients' favor." "

There has been debate over whether research to help victims of progeria might possibly help aging and longevity for healthy folks. It appears from this that it might. So add lamin A to your Google Alerts.

More on lamins at NIH and Ouroboros (excellent blog on biology of aging)

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Friday, May 4, 2007

Vitamin NR - nicotinamide riboside extends life in yeast and probably for us

Vitamin Extends Life In Yeast, Scientists Find ScienceDaily 5/4/07 "...a cousin of niacin prolongs lifespan in yeast ..."If we could do this in humans -- give people a drug or vitamin that would mimic effects of calorie restriction without having to skip lunch -- we would be able to provide some of the benefits of calorie restriction, which are pretty striking in model organisms," said Brenner, also a member of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center...providing a newly discovered vitamin activates the yeast anti-aging gene product Sir2, which resembles sirtuins found in humans. The new work builds on Brenner's prior discovery of the vitamin, termed NR (nicotinamide riboside), a natural product found in milk. Like the B3 vitamin, niacin, NR is a precursor to a versatile cellular factor that is vital for all life...The factor, called NAD, short for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, is elevated by calorie restriction...At the molecular level, elevating NAD to turn on Sir2 actually enables the yeast to silence genes that are not supposed to be expressed. In any organism, not all genes are on at once; in yeast, there are sets of genes that Sir2 normally represses. "We showed that that we could improve Sir2-dependent gene silencing with NR and increase the longevity of yeast grown in high glucose conditions," ...Yeast cells formerly capable of dividing 13 times, divided over 23 times when given NR. ...Granted that the human anti-aging apparatus is more complex, but animal studies indicate potential. Perhaps the best known sirtuin activator is the red wine compound resveratrol. Overfed mice on high dose resveratrol have healthier livers, better endurance and possibly longer lifespan. While resveratrol and NR work through different mechanisms to increase sirtuin activity, Brenner said, "the two compounds could be complementary or synergistic." ...More testing remains for NR in humans, but Brenner foresees intriguing possibilities. "As a natural product found in milk, we expect the compound to be much safer than most drugs, and to be a more specific remedy than most vitamins." ..."

What a week for anti-aging research.
It's exciting that NR might work synergistically with resveratrol. How many extra years might these two compounds grant us?

A little more information on NR in the filing of a patent. David Sinclair is listed as one of the patent inventors of NR as used for medical purposes. Charles Brenner isn't. Not with Sirtris apparently (correction he is, see UPDATE below). . Much more info about nicotinamide riboside at that link.

"0007] The present invention is directed to nicotinamide riboside and analogs thereof, including their use in methods of treating diseases or conditions, such as diabetes/insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia and obesity. It is believed that nicotinamide riboside and its analogs directly or indirectly activate sirtuins, such as the human protein SIRT1...compounds that are capable of modulating sirtuin activity may be useful in a variety of medical conditions in mammals (e.g., mice and humans), such as those that are caused by or associated with changes in gene expression and age of the individual. These medical conditions include disorders related to aging or stress, diabetes, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular disease, blood clotting disorders, inflammation, cataracts, flushing, cell death, cancer, appetite, and/or weight gain."

If the ambition of the patent is an indication of the confidence of the researchers as to the benefits of this one sirtuin activator, then we'll be hearing much more on this.

Sirtuin activators and prenatal choline - these will probably be two of the biggest stories this century... after global warming - one continues to hope.

UPDATE: A reader corrects me in comments - Charles Brenner is on the Scientific Advisory Board of Sirtris and holds earlier patents on NR. Thanks for the correction.

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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Vigorous exercise keeps age related weight gain lower

Vigorous Exercise Keeps People Thin With Age ScienceDaily 5/3/07 "...People who maintain a vigorously active lifestyle as they age gain less weight than people who exercise at more moderate levels...The study also found that maintaining exercise with age is particularly effective in preventing extreme weight gain, which is associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other diseases...The study, conducted by Paul Williams of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), followed 6,119 men and 2,221 women who maintained their weekly running mileage (to within three miles per week) over a seven-year period. On average, the men and women who ran over 30 miles per week gained half the weight of those who ran less than 15 miles per week...The research is the latest report from the National Runners' Health Study, a 20-year research initiative started by Williams that includes more than 120,000 runners... "

While we're on info from the National Runners' Health study - previous findings here.
"Williams reports that men and women who ran faster had lower blood pressure, triglycerides, body mass index, and narrower hips. That's when adjusted for weekly training distances, age, alcohol intake, and diet. For men, relative to the benefits of running longer weekly distances, running faster is estimated to have 13.3 times greater impact on lowering systolic blood pressure, 2.8 times greater impact on lowering diastolic blood pressure, and 4.7 times greater impact on narrowing waistlines. For women, running faster as versus running longer is estimated to have 5.7 times greater impact on lowering systolic blood pressure.
Running longer distances, on the other hand, had a more pronounced effect on another coronary heart disease risk factor. Running more miles had an over six-fold stronger effect on raising HDL-cholesterol than did running faster. That was the case for both men and women. Numerous studies show that higher HDL cholesterol levels protect against heart disease"

For a more comprehensive and definitely more funky, sorta D&D version of results from Nat. Runners Health Study - look no further than here. The format is actually quite nice and the content succinct. Even the candle is animated. Also info on twins and running - one that runs and one that doesn't. What are the effects? Read on.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Pha-4 gene associated with calorie restriction and longevity

Study identifies gene linked to longer lifespan Reuters/Yahoo!News 5/2/07 "...a gene called pha-4 plays a role in gut development in embryonic worms but in adults is associated with calorie-restricted is unclear whether similar genes may play a similar role in humans...People have three genes very much like the worm's pha-4. They are related to glucagon, a pancreatic hormone that increases blood sugar concentration and maintains the body's energy balance, particularly during fasting...Pinpointing the worm gene might open the door to drugs that imitate the effects of calorie restriction and could allow people to live longer without following such a severely restrictive diet...there is a primate study that's going on that's around 35 years into it, and it looks like the primates are going to respond very well to reduced food intake and actually live longer." usually takes a 50 to 70 percent reduction in normal food intake to yield longer lifespan in animals. "If you reduce food too much, you're going to go toward starvation and actually live shorter,"..."If you overeat -- have the Big Mac diet, high-calorie content -- you're going to come to obesity and have a short life span as well. So dietary restriction is really a sweet spot in between the two."... researchers, led by Andrew Dillin of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California"

''...mice, dogs, fruit flies, worms and other animals given calorie-restricted diets tended to live up to 40 percent longer than their better-fed cousins..."

Big news out of the Salk Institute and the media seems to be getting it - some other links below.

Also it appears like the primate study mentioned in the Reuters article is more evidence that all mammals living with calorie restriction do indeed live longer lives.

More at ScienceDaily, The Daily Telegraph, VOA, The Independent,

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