Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Epigenetics of BPA blocked by folic acid or genistein

Negative Effects Of Plastic's Additive Blocked By Nutrient Supplements ScienceDaily 7/31/07 "Experiments in animals have provided additional and tantalizing evidence that what a pregnant mother eats can make her offspring more susceptible to disease later in life...exposure within the womb to bisphenol A (BPA), an ubiquitous chemical used in the production of plastics, caused noticeable changes in the offspring without altering any of the offspring's genes. Additionally, the researchers discovered that administration of folic acid or genistein, an active ingredient in soy, during pregnancy protected the offspring from the negative effects of BPA..."Since BPA can be detected at some level in almost all humans, the current findings could hold the promise of reducing disease susceptibility by using nutritional approaches," Jirtle said. "The ability of some agents to counteract the epigenetic effects of a toxin, in this case BPA, with maternal supplements has the potential to protect present and future generations.""

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Omega-3 has anti-inflammatory potential

Study finds omega-3 greater anti-inflammatory potential NutraIngredients.com 7/30/07 "An increased intake of fish oil over vegetable oil can help reduce the inflammation of various tissue and organs...omega-3 fish oil has a greater effect of decreasing the formulation of chemicals called prostanoids than the equivalent from vegetable oil...a relative increase in fish oil lowered the amount of prostanoids from vegetable oil...Prostanoids, when produced in excess, increase inflammation in various tissues and organs...Certain beneficial effects of fish oil may result from altered PG metabolism resulting from increases in the EPA/AA ratios of precursor phospholipids." ...The in vitro study found that an increase fatty acid high in EPA had a greater effect on inhibiting the creation of prostanoids from omega-6 in the COX-1 enzyme. "

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Caffeine, exercise may help ward off skin cancer

Caffeine, exercise may help ward off skin cancer Reuters/Yahoo!News 7/30/07 "...Experiments on mice showed that caffeine and exercise together somehow made them better able to destroy precancerous cells whose DNA had been damaged by ultraviolet-B radiation..."We think that it will be important in terms of prevention, and possibly not only for skin cancer but possibly for other cancers as well," Rutgers cancer researcher Allan Conney...Both caffeine and exercise alone increased by roughly 100 percent the mice's ability to kill off precancerous cells that could lead to skin cancer compared to the mice that did neither. But the mice that did both showed a nearly 400 percent increase in this ability..."extremely preliminary data," and there is no evidence of such an effect in people..."

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Broccoli and cauliflower may prevent prostate cancer

Broccoli and cauliflower may slash prostate cancer risk NutraIngredients.com 7/27/07 "Eating more than one serving of broccoli and cauliflower a week may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by up to 45 per cent...Epidemiological and animal studies have shown that diets high in cruciferous vegetables result in less instances of certain cancers, especially lung, colon, breast and ovarian cancer, while the new study suggests the veggies may also benefit prostates...broccoli and cauliflower singled out as offering most protection...The cancer-fighting properties of broccoli, a member of the crucifer family of vegetables, are not new and previous studies have related these benefits to the high levels of active plant chemicals called glucosinolates. These are metabolised by the body into isothiocynates, and evidence suggests these are powerful anti-carcinogens. The main isothiocynate from broccoli is sulforaphane."

"Source: Journal of the National Cancer InstitutePublished on-line ahead of print, doi:10.1093/jnci/djm065 "Prospective Study of Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Risk of Prostate Cancer"Authors: V.A. Kirsh, U. Peters, S.T. Mayne, A.F. Subar, N. Chatterjee, C.C. Johnson, R.B. Hayes on behalf of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial"

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Cancer-fighting gene also delays ageing

Cancer-fighting gene also delays ageing: study Reuters/Scientific American 7/18/07 "...The findings could also one day lead to new drugs that prevent or fight cancer while extending healthy youth and lifespan, said Manuel Serrano...Serrano said researchers genetically engineered mice to have an extra copy of a key cancer-fighting gene called p53 and found it also played an important role in delaying ageing..."Everyone agrees that the ageing is produced by the accumulation of faulty cells," Serrano said. "In other words, p53 delays ageing for exactly the same reason that it prevents cancer."...Previous cancer studies have shown that p53 can actually cause premature ageing symptoms by killing too many cells when it goes into overdrive, but Serrano said his research strictly regulated the gene so that it turned on only when needed..."The mice lived 16 percent longer in their average lifespan."...Serrano also said that other research has shown that mice and worms that eat less have slower metabolisms and live longer. But his study offers evidence that the mice can benefit from the extra copy of the genes without having to be starved..."There are a number of chemical compounds that have been developed by the big pharmaceutical companies and these compounds are able to boost p53 in the organism," he said...."These compounds are being tested now for their possible anti-cancer activity and hopefully in the light of our study also for their possible anti-ageing activity.""

So this seems to be evidence that the p53 vs longevity framing is wrong. It isn't an either/or relationship, but rather a when/where/how much question. More p53 at the right times and at the right places appears to reduce cancer and increase lifespan. However too much p53 at the wrong time and wrong places appears to shorten lifespan. At least this is the case for mice and fruit flies.

Probably one of the safest ways to increase p53 is through exercise - that's assuming our bodies can get the balance right. Which might be assuming too much. On the diet side, which might be riskier, ellagic acid and quercetin can both increase p53. Curcumin and resveratrol also might increase p53. Milk thistle increases p53 expression. EGCG increases it. Alpha lipoic acid appears to increase it as well. The leaves of ashwagandha does. Triptolide does through an alternate p53 pathway (a plus if certain p53 pathways are inactivated such as in some prostate cancer).

And to complicate matters there's this research from 2005 on fruit flies showing that if you reduce p53 activity in neurons you increase their lifespan by as much as 58%. This seems to be an example of the importance of the location and amount of p53 protein. An interesting part to this research is the connection the scientists made to caloric restriction ""We believe that p53 is part of the caloric restriction life span extension pathway," Helfand said. "It's not the entire explanation, but it appears to play a major role." "

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Diesel fumes help to clog arteries

Diesel pollution 'clogs arteries' BBCNews 7/26/07 "Diesel fumes appear to combine with artery-clogging fats to raise the risk of heart disease...Scientists found the two act in concert to switch on genes that cause potentially dangerous inflammation of the blood vessels...Lead researcher Dr André Nel, an expert in nanomedicine, said the impact of diesel particles and cholesterol fats combined was much greater than the impact of each in isolation...researchers focused on the interaction between diesel exhaust particles and fatty acids found in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol - the "bad" type of cholesterol that leads to artery blockage. Both are sources of molecules called free radicals which cause cell and tissue damage, and can trigger the inflammation that leads to artery disease...Exactly how air pollutants cause cardiovascular injury is poorly understood. "But we do know that these particles are coated with chemicals that damage tissue and cause inflammation of the nose and lungs. "Vascular inflammation in turn leads to cholesterol deposits and clogged arteries, which can give rise to blood clots that trigger heart attack or stroke."..."

I find it amazing how many things in our environment turn on or off genes, or at least change the expression to varying degrees for varying durations. As for the story above and ilk, we're dealing with something different than pleiotropy, different than evolved phenotypic expression for various environments, it is different than epigenetics caused by natural compounds, it is a change of genetic expression caused individually, or in combination by hundreds and more likely many thousands of novel compounds, or semi novel compounds. Not sure what the term would be for this. This story is under reported in the media, like many important stories.

Incidentally I just came across this well written article from 2004 in The Scientist on epigenetics. Ends with the notion that we'll have to study many diseases from the perspective of genetics, epigenetics, and environmental factors. Yup, and the interaction may prove more complicated than they imagined.

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Zeaxanthin linked to better mental performance in the elderly

Zeaxanthin linked to better mental performance in the elderly NutraIngredients.com 7/26/07 "Increased intake of the carotenoids lycopene and zeaxanthin may improve the mental performance of the elderly...levels of the carotenoids were linked to the lowest levels of cognitive function amongst 589 healthy older people..."

What are good sources of zeaxanthin? Lots of it is in corn, also green leafy veggies like spinach and kale, it is also found in eggs which also contain lutein. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation has a handy chart of what foods contain the most zeaxanthin. The following is zeaxanthin per 100gms:

"Corn, drainedsweet, yellow, canned, whole kernel-528 mcg"
"Spinach, raw-331 mcg"
"Collards, drainedcooked, boiled, without salt-266 mcg"
"Spinach, drainedcooked, boiled, without salt-179 mcg"
"Orange juice, frozen concentrateunsweetened, diluted -80 mcg"
"Lettuce, rawcos or romaine -187 mcg"

As for bioavailability it looks like eggs allows the zeaxanthin into our bloodstream efficiently. Bioavailibility appears quite important in that certain foods do not deliver it into our bodies as well as others. The one egg a day study on macular degeneration showed that you could safely raise levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in the body without affecting LDL cholesterol. If eggs seem to be a great way to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, can they also fight cognitive decline? More on macular degeneration and eggs here.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Aspirin can reduce colorectal cancer

NSAIDs Treatment Can Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk ScienceDaily 7/26/07 "...A study of Medicare patients with osteoarthritis provides additional evidence that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin reduce the risk of colorectal cancer...Comparing information on 4,600 individuals with colorectal cancer to data from 100,000 controls, they found that a history of osteoarthritis was associated with a 15 percent reduction in the likelihood of a colorectal cancer diagnosis. A similar association was seen when total knee replacement was used as a marker for NSAID treatment..."

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Low Literacy Equals Early Death Sentence

Low Literacy Equals Early Death Sentence ScienceDaily 7/26/07 "...Low literacy impairs people's ability to obtain critical information about their health and can dramatically shorten their lives...older people with inadequate health literacy had a 50 percent higher mortality rate over five years than people with adequate reading skills. Inadequate or low health literacy is defined as the inability to read and comprehend basic health-related materials such as prescription bottles, doctor appointment slips and hospital forms...Low health literacy was the top predictor of mortality after smoking, also surpassing income and years of education...Most of the difference in mortality among people with inadequate literacy was due to higher rates of death from cardiovascular disease... "

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Low vitamin D levels linked to higher blood pressure

Low vitamin D levels linked to higher blood pressure NutraIngredients.com 7/25/07 "People with low blood levels of vitamin D may be at an increased risk of higher blood pressure - a problem that could be easily remedied with supplements..."The finding that ethnic differences in vitamin D status explained about half of the increased prevalence of hypertension in non-Hispanic blacks, compared with non-Hispanic whites, supports the previous suggestion that low vitamin D levels in non-Hispanic blacks may be a factor in their increased hypertension prevalence," ...people with the highest average 25(OH)D levels (at least 85.7 nmol/L) had systolic diastolic and blood pressure 3.0 and 1.6 mm Hg lower, respectively, than people with the lowest levels (40.4 nmol/L or less)...These results from a nationally representative US sample show that systolic BP and pulse pressure are inversely associated with serum 25OHD... The inverse association between serum 25OHD and systolic BP has clinical significance, because the latter variable is a better predictor of coronary heart disease risk than diastolic BP, particularly in older people," ...A recent review of the science reported that the tolerable upper intake level for oral vitamin D3 should be increased five-fold, from the current tolerable upper intake level (UL) in Europe and the US of 2000 International Units (IU), equivalent to 50 micrograms per day, to 10,000 IU (250 micrograms per day)."

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Soy isoflavones may cut risk of prostate cancer by 58 per cent

Soy isoflavones may halve prostate cancer risk NutraIngredients.com 7/25/07 "...increased intake of the soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein and their aglycones was significantly associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer. The highest average isoflavone intake (89.9 mg/d) was associated with a 58 per cent reduction in risk compared with the lowest average isoflavone intake (less than 30.5 mg/d)...earlier study linking isoflavones to potential protection from prostate cancer stated that the benefits could be due to the weak oestrogenic activity of soy isoflavones, which may act to reduce testosterone levels and inhibit 5 alpha-reductase - an enzyme involved in the metabolism of testosterone..."

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Aubrey de Grey talk at Ted - 2005


A classic lecture by Aubrey... in case you missed it.

Childhood sun exposure may lower risk of multiple sclerosis

Childhood Sun Exposure May Lower Risk Of Multiple Sclerosis ScienceDaily 7/23/07 "...The study found the twin with MS spent less time in the sun as a child than the twin who did not have MS. Depending on the activity, the twin who spent more hours outdoors had a 25 to 57 percent reduced risk of developing MS. For example, the risk of developing MS was 49 percent lower for twins who spent more time sun tanning than their siblings..."Sun exposure appears to have a protective effect against MS," said study authors Talat Islam, MBBS, PhD, and Thomas Mack, MD, MPH..."Exposure to ultra violet rays may induce protection against MS by alternative mechanisms, either directly by altering the cellular immune response or indirectly by producing immunoactive vitamin D."..."

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Friday, July 20, 2007

New research on insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome: Don't Blame The Belly Fat ScienceDaily 7/19/07 "... insulin resistance in skeletal muscle leads to alterations in energy storage that set the stage for the metabolic syndrome...insulin resistance in skeletal muscle -- caused by decreased ability of muscle to make glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrate from food energy -- can promote an elevated pattern of lipids or fats in the bloodstream that underpins the metabolic syndrome..."Our hypothesis was that the metabolic syndrome is really a problem with how we store energy from food," Shulman explained. "The idea is that insulin resistance in muscle changes the pattern of energy storage."...Another key observation was that skeletal muscle insulin resistance precedes the development of insulin resistance in liver cells, and that fat production in the liver is increased. "These findings also have important implications for understanding the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, one of the most prevalent liver diseases in both adults and children" Shulman said... The good news, according to Shulman, is that insulin resistance in skeletal muscle can be countered through a simple intervention: exercise. "

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Taking a break during a workout helps rev up fat metabolism

Taking a Break During a Workout May Help Fizzle Fat WebMD 7/20/07 "...Here's the fat-burning fitness plan they tested: Exercise for 30 minutes, take a 20 minute break, and finish with another 30 minutes of exercise...That revs up fat metabolism even more than a solid hour of exercise, note the researchers, who included Kazushige Goto, PhD, of the life sciences department at Japan's University of Tokyo..."

Just a small study and preliminary at best, but a surprise result... at least to me. I wonder what made them study taking a break? What was the theory going into this? Not in the article alas. Anyway, something to watch in the future. If it proves true, can you imagine all the jogger's you'll see sitting on park benches? Might make exercising a more thoughtful event as well... sorta like what the constitutional was.

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Hydrogels for repaing and regenerating tissue

Novel Hydrogels Invented For Repairing, Regenerating Human Tissue ScienceDaily 7/20/07 "...scientists have invented a novel biomaterial with surprising antibacterial properties that can be injected as a low-viscosity gel into a wound where it rigidifies nearly on contact--opening the door to the possibility of delivering a targeted payload of cells and antibiotics to repair the damaged tissue...Regenerating healthy tissue in a cancer-ridden liver, healing a biopsy site and providing wounded soldiers in battle with pain-killing, infection-fighting medical treatment are among the myriad uses the scientists foresee for the new technology...Hydrogels are formed from networks of super-absorbent, chain-like polymers. Although they are not soluble in water, they soak up large amounts of it, and their porous structure allows nutrients and cell wastes to pass right through them...Schneider and Pochan and their research teams have been focusing on developing peptide-based hydrogels that, once implanted in the human body, will become scaffolds for cells to hold onto and grow--cells such as fibroblasts, which form connective tissue, and osteoblasts, which form bone."

Much more on this facinating material at ScienceDaily.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lower levels of insulin in the brain linked to longevity

Healthy weight link to longevity BBC News 6/20/07 "Keeping a healthy weight may help people live longer by limiting brain exposure to insulin...A study in mice found that reducing insulin signals inside brain cells increased lifespan...Previous research in fruit flies and roundworms has suggested that reducing the activity of the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels, can increase lifespan...The latest study looked at the effects of a protein, IRS2, which carries the insulin signal in the brain...Mice who had half the amount of the protein lived 18% longer than normal mice...Despite being overweight and having high levels of insulin, the mice were more active as they aged, and their glucose metabolism resembled that of younger mice...the engineered mice were living longer because the diseases that kill them, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, were being postponed due to reduced insulin signalling in the brain, even though circulating levels of insulin were high...it may be possible to design drugs to reduce IRS2 activity to reproduce the same effect, although they would have to be specific to the brain...Study leader Dr Morris White, an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, said the simplest way to encourage longevity was to limit insulin levels by exercising and eating a healthy diet...Diet, exercise and lower weight keep your peripheral tissues sensitive to insulin. .."That reduces the amount and duration of insulin secretion needed to keep your glucose under control when you eat..."Therefore, the brain is exposed to less insulin."...His team is now planning to look at possible links between IRS2 signalling and dementia, which research has shown is associated with obesity and high insulin levels..."

In case you think IRS2 has something to do with revenue... it actually stands for Insulin Receptor Substrate 2. What I find interesting about this research is the divide made between insulin exposure in the brain and the rest of the body. Now, why is this happening in mice? And to what extent is it happening to us, if at all?

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Flavanoids in orange Juice prove surprisingly powerful

Orange juice flavanoids fight disease? NutraIngredients.com 7/19/07 "Orange juice is a healthy drink due to the presence of flavonoids, which help fight diseases such as diabetes and heart disease...Paresh Dandona, the study's senior author, concluded that the study's findings are more important than fears over the sugar content of juice, especially in the US...We were intrigued by the fact that there was no increase in ROS or inflammation following orange juice consumption, even though its glucose concentration was the same as in participants in the glucose group," said Dandona.Further tests suggested that one of the flavonoids in orange juice, naringenin, inhibited ROS by massive 77 per cent..."

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Calcium, Vitamin D lower diabetes risk

Calcium, vitamin D may lower diabetes risk Reuters/Yahoo!News 7/16/07 "Calcium and vitamin D, whether from food or supplements, may help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes...people with the highest intakes of vitamin D and calcium had an 18 percent lower risk of diabetes than those with the lowest intakes...Similarly, people who ate the most dairy food had a 14 percent lower diabetes risk than those who ate the least dairy...authors, led by Dr. Anastassios G. Pittas...Both nutrients may be important in the functioning of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, and in the body's proper use of insulin..."

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Curcumin fights Alzheimer's

Curry ingredient may fight Alzheimer's Reuters/Yahoo!News 7/16/07 "...An ingredient in curry may help stimulate immune system cells that gobble up the brain-clogging proteins that mark Alzheimer's disease...isolated bisdemethoxycurcumin and determined it was the most active ingredient in curcumin...Using blood samples from Alzheimer's patients, they found that bisdemethoxycurcumin boosted immune cells called macrophages to clear a protein called amyloid beta, which clogs the brains of Alzheimer's patients and kills brain cells...it is not clear if people can eat enough curcumin to get this level of activity, but said bisdemethoxycurcumin was active at a level that could easily be achieved by infusion...studies have suggested that people who eat a lot of curry may be less prone to cancer and Alzheimer's, but whether curry is responsible is unclear...Our results may provide an entirely different direction to therapeutic opportunities in Alzheimer's disease through the repair of the functional and transcriptional deficits of Alzheimer's disease macrophages by curcuminoids,"..."

India has one of the lowest rates of Alzheimer's of any country (4.4 times less than U.S.). It has been known for years that curcumin played a large role in this. They aren't getting infusions... they're just eating turmeric often. So you guess where the research is heading.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Personality type and health

Shy guys 'could face heart risk' 7/11/07 BBC News "Being the life and soul of the party may cut your chances of a fatal heart or stroke, research suggests. ...A 30-year study by Chicago Northwestern University suggested shy or antisocial men were 50% more likely to die this way, compared with outgoing men...The Annals of Epidemiology study supports other work suggesting a link between personality and health...The shyest group of men were 50% more likely to have died from heart attack or stroke than the group of most sociable men...Decades of research suggest there is only one personality type which is not linked to an increase risk of serious disease...Easy going people - so-called type "B" personalities - appear to be the healthiest...Type "A" personalities - driven workaholics prone to stress and anger, are more likely to suffer high blood pressure and heart disease, while Type "C" people, who suppress their feelings, have been connected to an increased risk of cancer...Other research projects have connected Type "D" people, pessimists with low self-confidence, with heart attack or stroke... "

That's it, I'm going to be an extrovert that doesn't give a damn about anything. Flip aside, moderating unhealthy personality traits is possible. The question is how much can you moderate and what kind of health benefits might you gain? And would you gain similar health benefits if you had a super healthy lifestyle - ate healthy, exercised almost every day etc. - but didn't change your personality?

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More moles might mean slower ageing

Moles 'good indicator to ageing' BBC News 7/11/07 "The number of moles may offer an indication of how quickly the body ages...the more moles a person had, the more likely their DNA was to have the properties to fight off ageing...Moles appear in childhood and disappear from middle age onwards...Since moles disappear with age, scientists looked at the relationship between the number of moles and telomere length in cells, which is a good indicator of the rate of ageing in organs such as the heart, muscle, bones and arteries...In the study, researchers found those with more than 100 moles had longer telomeres than those with fewer than 25...The difference between the two mole groups was equivalent to six to seven years of ageing...Lead researcher Dr Veronique Bataille said: "The results of this study are very exciting as they show, for the first time, that moley people who have a slightly increased risk of melanoma may, on the other hand, have the benefit of a reduced rate of ageing..."This could imply susceptibility to fewer age-related diseases such as heart disease or osteoporosis, for example. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings."... "

More at The Independent.

If this research holds up I might actually come to appreciate my moles. What a fascinating study.

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Glycemic index linked with risk of AMD

Link Between Carbohydrate Quality And Vision Loss ScienceDaily 7/13/07 "Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and its associated vision loss may be connected to the quality of carbohydrates an individual consumes...confirmed earlier findings linking dietary glycemic index with the risk of developing AMD..."Our findings suggest that 20 percent of the cases of advanced AMD might have been prevented if those individuals had consumed a diet with a glycemic index below the average for their age and gender,"..."Our results support our hypothesis," says Taylor, "that dietary glycemic index, which has been related to the risk of diabetes, is also associated with the risk and severity of AMD." Taylor speculates that carbohydrates that comprise a high-glycemic-index diet may provide eye tissue"It is possible that the type of damage produced by poor quality carbohydrates on eye tissue is similar in both diabetic eye disease and AMD." ..."

No doubt as the eyes go, so do a variety of organs. Glycemic index and glycemic load appears to get more and more important. More info on both here.

Little doubt that this also holds true for our pets.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New book, The Biology of Human Longevity: Inflammation, Nutrition, and Aging in the Evolution of Lifespans

A New Book Examines Why and How We Age USNews & World Report 7/6/07 "In the last 200 years, one year of extra lifespan has been added for about every four years of historical time. Life expectancy has doubled since the industrial revolution, from about 40 years to near 80 years. The same factors that increased lifespan in modern times were also responsible for increasing human lifespans in evolution. Life expectancy doubled from 20 years in our great ape ancestors, to 40 years, which was the general human life expectancy before the modern era...What is inflammation, and how does it impact health? ...Inflammation comes from two major sources. The first is chronic infections, which have been reduced for most of us by advances in medical treatment. And of course, some infections we can't avoid. The second source of inflammation is the environment—what we breathe and what we eat. Obesity, for example, is a pro-inflammatory state. Fat tissues secrete inflammatory molecules called cytokines, which contribute to chronic inflammation and conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Environmental pollutants such as cigarette smoking and air pollution are linked to vascular and lung diseases. The point is that the environment governs the progress of a number of the diseases of aging, such as atherosclerosis, cancer, and Alzheimer's. What can people do to stay healthy and live longer? ...Exercise and maintaining a healthy weight—both of which have anti-inflammatory effects—are remarkably preventive for all the diseases of aging. This cuts across all the systems. What's good for your heart is good for your brain and is good for preventing cancer. The separate diseases of adult life are much more related to each other and to overall health than we previously recognized."

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EPA offers slight advantage over DHA against colorectal cancer

Different omega-3 may offer different colorectal protection NutraIngredients.com 7/11/07 "Increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids from marine source, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), may offer differing levels of protection against colorectal cancer...Increased intake of EPA was associated with a 41 per cent reduction in risk, while DHA was associated with a 37 per cent reduction in risk, comparing highest against lowest average intakes...It has previously been proposed that omega-3 fatty acids may inhibit the omega-6 arachidonic acid (AA) cascade that has been linked to cancer formation and cell proliferation.Metabolism of fatty acids produces compounds called prostaglandins, which can be either pro- or anti-inflammatory. The prostaglandins derived from omega-3 fatty acids are said to be anti-inflammatory and may protect against the development of cancer, while prostaglandins derived from omega-6 fatty acids, like AA, are proposed to be pro-inflammatory..."

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Vitamin D Fights Colon Cancer

But Colon Cancer Protection Limited to the Lean and Active WebMD 7/10/07 "People with higher blood levels of vitamin D are less likely to get colon cancer...Harvard School of Public Health researcher Kana Wu, MD, PhD, and colleagues looked at data from a large, ongoing study of male health professionals who provided blood samples for analysis. The researchers compared vitamin D levels in the blood of 179 study participants who developed colon or rectal cancer with those of 356 matched participants who did not get cancer...Wu and colleagues find that the colon cancer-fighting benefit of vitamin D may be limited to people who are not overweight and who exercise regularly. That's because overweight, sedentary individuals tend to suffer insulin resistance, which may increase risk of colon cancer..."We found that the [colon cancer-protective effect of vitamin D] was much stronger for both lean and physically active men and women but much weaker in overweight and inactive individuals,"..."

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Organic fruit and vegetables may be better for you than conventionally grown crops

Organic food 'better' for heart BBC 7/5/07 "A ten-year study comparing organic tomatoes with standard produce found almost double the level of flavonoids - a type of antioxidant.
Flavonoids have been shown to reduce high blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke...Dr Alyson Mitchell, a food chemist at the University of California, and colleagues measured the amount of two flavonoids - quercetin and kaempferol - in dried tomato samples that had been collected as part of a long-term study on agricultural methods...on average they were 79% and 97% higher respectively in the organic tomatoes than in the conventionally grown fruit...New Scientist magazine reported that the different levels of flavonoids in tomatoes are probably due to the absence of fertilisers in organic farming. Flavonoids are produced as a defence mechanism that can be triggered by nutrient deficiency, such as a lack of nitrogen in the soil. The inorganic nitrogen in conventional fertiliser is easily available to plants and so, the researchers suggests, the lower levels of flavonoids are probably caused by over-fertilisation."

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Western diet ups breast cancer risk for Asians

Western diet risk to Asian women BBC News 7/10/07 "Asian women who eat a Western-style diet high in meat, white bread, milk and puddings may be at higher risk of breast cancer...A study of 1,500 Chinese women showed those who ate a "meat-sweet" diet were twice as likely to develop the disease as those on a vegetable-based diet...Those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 25 were found to be most at risk..."

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Monday, July 2, 2007

Longevity and cytochrome b

Exceptional longevity in songbirds is associated with high rates of evolution of cytochrome b, suggesting selection for reduced generation of free radicals The Journal of Experimental Biology 6/11/07 "...contrary to expectation, in several mammalian taxa, exceptional longevity is associated with high basal metabolic rate, and also fast evolution of mtDNA-coded proteins. The association of these traits was suggested to result from adaptive selection of mutations in mtDNA-coded proteins, which accelerates basal respiration, thus inhibiting the generation of reactive oxygen species that constrain longevity. In birds, all the genera with high rate of cytochrome b evolution are songbirds (oscines)...In Serinus, a genus of finches (canaries) that exhibits the highest rate of cytochrome b evolution, and the highest values of exceptional longevity and lifetime expenditure of energy in all birds, many of the substitutions in cytochrome b are clustered around Qi, a ubiquinone binding site adjacent to the mitochondrial matrix, apparently selected to increase the rate of ubiquinone reduction. We therefore suggest that, in songbirds, the accelerated evolution of cytochrome b involved selection of mutations that reduce the generation of reactive oxygen species, thus contributing to the evolution of exceptional longevity, and possibly also exceptional long-term memory, which is necessary for learning songs..."

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