Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Genetic components of aging discovered - CETP vs LP(a)

Einstein researchers use novel approach to uncover genetic components of aging EurekAlert 2007.08.24
"...“We hypothesized that people living to 100 and beyond must be buffered by genes that interact with disease-causing genes to negate their effects,” says Dr. Aviv Bergman...Centenarians are so rare in human populations—only one in 10,000 people live to be 100—that “longevity” genes probably wouldn’t turn up in a typical control group. Longevity runs in families, so 430 children of centenarians were added to the control group to increase the number of favorable genes...As expected, some disease-related gene variants were as prevalent or even more prevalent in the oldest cohorts of Ashkenazi Jews than in the younger ones. And as Dr. Bergman had predicted, genes associated with longevity also became more common in each succeeding cohort. “These results indicate that the frequency of deleterious genotypes may increase among people who live to extremely old ages because their protective genes allow these disease-related genes to accumulate,” says Dr. Bergman...favorable variant of the gene CETP acts to buffer the harmful effects of the disease-causing gene Lp(a)...If future research finds that a single longevity gene buffers against several disease-causing genes, then drugs that mimic the action of the longevity gene could help protect against cardiovascular disease and other age-related diseases... "

Full study at PLoS.

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Keep your eye on infectious diseases

Click on the picture to make it larger.
WHO warns of global epidemic risk BBC NEWS 2007.08.23

"Infectious diseases are spreading faster than ever before, the World Health Organization annual report says...Since the 1970s, 39 new diseases have developed, and in the last five years alone, the WHO has identified more than 1,100 epidemics including cholera, polio and bird flu...These include bird flu, Sars, also Ebola, Marburg and Nipah viruses...
Flu pandemic could affect more than 1.5 billion people or 25% of world population...
Comeback by cholera, yellow fever and epidemic meningococcal disease in the last quarter of the 20th Century...
685 verified events of international public health concern from September 2003 to September 2006...Growth of anti-microbial resistance, notably drug-resistant TB..."

The Who Report

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The miracle of vitamin D

I had been working on an entry showing how vitamin D seems to help prevent and sometimes fight a surprisingly large number of diseases. Well I can stop because at QualityCounts (excellent anti-aging/health blog) Bernard Hess has listed the current research on Vitamin D.

See if you don't read the list and want to get some safe sun time tomorrow, or at least pop some D3.

Here's a short list of health disorders vitamin d can either help prevent or fight:

Cancers (so many cancers - refer to the QualityCounts link above)
Heart Disease
Shortened Telomeres
Macular Disease
Weak Immune System
Multiple Sclerosis MS
Chronic Fatigue
Stress Fractures
Poor Physical Performance (weakened muscles)
Gum Disease

Hey the list goes on and on. It's truly amazing and I hope the health care field wakes up to this. A short while ago my wife, who runs most mornings and gets tan without burning, was chastised by our GP for the tan. I just looked at him at amazement and knew it was time for another doctor. He's older and obviously does not keep up with research (in my experience most doctors shamefully do not - remember how long it took for most GP's to recognize the H. Pylori connection to ulcers?). The general chastising over a tan might have been justified two decades ago. A more educated GP would first ask how the tan was acquired and then if the tan was acquired through burns would express concern and offer advice - including D3 supplementation. It's about time to qualify tans and recognize that some tans can be an indicator of a healthy lifestyle.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What plastic is safe for bottles these days? #1,#2,#3,#4,#5,#6,#7?

What is safe plastic? The safest appear to be #2, #4, #5.

#7 is to be avoided due to leaching of bisphenol A (BPA). Also avoid #1 found with most bottled water. Avoid #3 and #6. More on these below.

As for BPA bottles, the rule of thumb is if the plastic is cloudy, not crystal clear, and you can squeeze it relatively easy, then it probably does not contain BPA. If the plastic is solid and crystal clear than it is usually polycarbonate - #7 and not safe.

Here's a breakdown.

#1 PETE or PET (NOT SAFE due to antimony leaching)
Polyethylene terephthalate

High density polyethylene

#3 PVC or V (NOT SAFE due to phthalates)
Polyvinyl chloride

Low density polyethylene

#5 PP (SAFE)

#6 PS (NOT SAFE for hot liquids, alcohol or fatty foods due to styrene)

#7 plastics including polycarbonates that contain bisphenol A (BPA) (NOT SAFE due to BPA)

The tips being given to avoid BPA and other toxic components of plastic are:

A) Don't microwave using plastic

B) Avoid canned food (not all canned food use plastic liners, so inspect and then avoid if they do)

C) Avoid milk containers that have plastic liners inside

D) Use glass instead of plastic whenever possible

E) Avoid plastic wrap that is made with BPA (Saran is safe)

F) Don't use Lexan items

G) Beware of some Nalgene bottles (the hard ones) - though you can buy safe, soft #4 Nalgene bottles

H) Buy BPA free baby bottles from Medela (Medela is all BPA free - good for them for being ahead of the pack on this) and Born Free. Gerber has a few BPA free bottles, but most have it. Throw away Avent, Evenflo, Dr. Browns, Playtex and other hard plastic bottles. And shame on them for sticking to their guns and using BPA in the face of all the studies. As a new father I will never forget this and I am furious at them! More on this at the Z Recommends. Great blog by the way.

The hard science on BPA listed here in Word format directly from Frederick S. vom Saal, Ph.D. website.

Here is Dr. Weil on the subject and here.
Detroit Free Press/Chicago Tribune here.
ABC News here.
LA Times here.
Short history of bisphenol A from the Washington Post.
Of course Wiki.
National Geographic on the debate. And here on plastics.
Baby 411 article on BPA.

Bit more hard science The Toxic Origins of Disease in PLoS

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Loneliness Can Speed Aging

Unhealthy Effects of Loneliness May Multiply With Time WebMD 8/20/07 "...unhealthy effects of loneliness accumulate with time and may contribute to the wear and tear of stress and aging on your body...although lonely people reported the same number of major life events as others, they were more likely to report more chronic stressors and unhappy childhood the older group, lonely adults had higher blood pressure readings than older adults who were not lonely. This wasn't seen with the college group. In addition, urine samples showed that the older group of lonely people had significantly higher levels of the stress hormone epinephrine...This hormone is involved in the “fight or flight” response in the body, and researchers say elevated epinephrine levels suggest that lonely people live in a heightened sense of arousal, which could have long-term effects on heart disease and other health problems...results showed that not only did lonely people perceive their past in a more negative light, but they were also more likely to feel helpless and threatened in their current situations and, ironically, less likely to seek help when they were stressed out...monitored the sleep of the younger lonely participants and found that although they appeared to be getting as much sleep as normal volunteers, their sleep was disturbed throughout the night. Therefore, they suffered from poor-quality sleep and were more likely to have problems during the day as a result.
Researchers say the unhealthy effects of lack of sleep and heightened stress may accentuate the wear and tear of aging on the body and raise the risk of health problems associated with aging among older lonely people."

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Common virus may be to blame for some obesity

Too fat? Common virus may be to blame: study Reuters/Yahoo!News 8/20/07 "A common virus caused human adult stem cells to turn into fat cells and could explain why some people become obese...The research builds on prior studies of adenovirus-36 -- a common cause of respiratory and eye infections -- and it may lead to an obesity vaccine...The virus adenovirus-36 or Ad-36, caused animals to pack on the pounds in lab experiments. "These animals accumulated a lot of fat," ...Dhurandhar also has shown that obese people were three times more likely to have been infected with Ad-36 than thin people in a large study of humans...researchers in Dhurandhar's lab have shown that exposure to the virus caused adult human stem cells to turn into fat-storing cells..."The virus appears to change their commitment to a fat storing cell," Dhurandhar said, adding that Ad-36 is just one of 10 pathogens linked to obesity and that more may be out there..."

The term used to describe this is infectobesity.

MicrobiologyBytes lists some of the first pathogens linked to obesity.

There are also other environmental factors linked to obesity, such as chemicals.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Polyphenols blunt menopausal effects in rats

Plant compounds blunt menopausal effects in rats Reuters/Yahoo!News "Women who enter menopause often develop high blood pressure, insulin resistance (a risk factor for type 2 diabetes), and memory loss. New research conducted in menopausal rats suggests that polyphenols - compounds found in grapes, soy, and kudzu -- may blunt some of these side effects associated with menopause...Wyss reported that, in estrogen-depleted rats, kudzu root extract reduced blood pressure, elevated by a high-salt diet, by more than 50 percent. Kudzu also lowered blood sugar, insulin levels and the fat hormone leptin..."Kudzu has estrogen-like elements,"...Wyss and colleagues also observed that estrogen-depleted rats fed polyphenols from grape seed seemed to be protected against high blood pressure as well as a decline in short-term and long-term....Other studies from the Wyss lab indicate that polyphenols in soy foods also protect against high blood pressure in menopausal rats...For menopausal symptoms, grapes, soy and kudzu "may be useful" treatments or add-on treatments to other therapies, Wyss concluded. He said his team is also looking at the effects of adding these polyphenols to conventional treatments for diabetes and lipid control."

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Gene that suppresses multiple cancers

Gene Found That Suppresses Human Tumor Growth In Multiple Cancers ScienceDaily 8/15/07 "BC Cancer Agency scientists, led by Dr. Poul Sorensen, have discovered a novel gene that suppresses the growth of human tumours in multiple cancers, including breast, lung, and liver cancers, as well as melanomas, lymphomas and sarcomas...a gene, HACE1, has the ability to help cells deal with various forms of stress, including environmental cancer triggers that cause tumour formation. When the HACE1 gene is missing or inactive, cancerous cells are able to form tumours, and when the gene is re-expressed, it prevents these cells from forming tumours...“If we can learn how to reactivate HACE1 or block cancer cells from inactivating this gene, it may be possible to improve treatments for many cancer patients"...“We’ve always suspected that cancer is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors working together,” says Dr. Sorensen. “Our results give us insight into how the disease takes root when a single gene is inactivated”..."

This is one of the most promising avenues of cancer research I've seen in the last few years. Lets hope that it isn't too hard to reactivate HACE1 and that there are few side effects of doing so. I'd also love to know the reasons why HACE1 gene becomes inactive in the first place.

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Review of previous studies indicates antidepressant effects of omega-3's

Review backs antidepressant effects of omega-3s Reuters/Yahoo!News 8/15/07 "The results of a major review of published research that examined the relationship between depression and level of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet suggest that omega-3 fatty acids have antidepressant effects. However, the researchers point out that the quality of the studies means it's still too soon to say definitively that omega-3s can treat depression or bipolar disord...Fish and fish oil, as well as flax seed oil, are rich sources of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Because areas in which there is high omega-3 PUFA consumption have a lower prevalence of depression, much interest has been generated in their use as antidepressants..."

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Red meat linked to colon cancer recurrence

Red meat diet linked to colon cancer recurrence Reuters/Yahoo!News 8/14/07 "Colon cancer survivors with diets heavy in red meat and fatty foods are more than three times as likely to suffer a recurrence of their disease or die from it than those who avoid such foods...Previous studies had shown that a high-fat diet, especially one with lots of red meat, may increase a person's risk of developing colon cancer, a leading cancer killer..."We know that a variety of dietary factors affect people's risk of developing colon cancer, including high red meat intake and certain sugary foods," Dr. Jeffrey Meyerhardt ..."

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Dad's telomeres and lifespan matches daughters

The long and the short of it The Economist 8/12/07 "...what remains unknown is why some people have longer telomeres than others. And it is this question that Dr Hsueh addresses in a paper just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences...adjusted for age, the telomeres of men and women were the same length. (In the outside world, men generally have shorter telomeres than their female contemporaries.) That correlates nicely with the fact that among the Amish, men and women are equally long lived. And, since it is unlikely (though not impossible) that Amish men are genetically different from others, it also suggests that men's shorter telomeres in the outside world are a result of the way they conduct their lives, rather than an inevitable property of being male...Children's telomeres did, indeed, correlate in length with those of their parents—but they correlated only with one parent, the father. Moreover, it was not merely the father's telomere length that correlated with that of his offspring, but also his actual lifespan. But here, too, there was a sex-linked wrinkle. The correlation between paternal lifespan and children's telomere length applied only to daughters. Moreover, the age at which men and women became parents also influenced their offspring's average telomere length: the older the parents, the longer the offspring's telomeres..."

Beyond the curiosity of telomere length, I want to know what on earth are the Amish doing wrong? 71 years ave. lifespan... for "clean living." Time to hit the vino tinto more. Actually I'd love to find out why they live 7 yrs less than the average American.

Also there's an earlier study showing that children born to a young mother have the greatest chance of reaching 100. How to square these two studies? I have no idea.

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Waist size is key indicator for heat disease

Pot belly linked to heart disease BBC New 8/13/07 "Even a small pot belly can increase the risk of heart disease...Research from the University of Texas found large waist measurements, relative to hip size, were linked to early signs of heart disease. This confirms other research that waist size, rather than overall body weight, is a key indicator of heart disease. The study of 2,744 people suggests that a waist size of 32ins (81cm) for a woman and 37ins (94cm) for a man represents a "significant" raised risk...They found adding a few inches to the waist increased the risk of damage in the arteries, even if body weight remained within the normal range..."Fat that accumulates around your waist seems to be more biologically active as it secretes inflammatory proteins that contribute to atherosclerotic plaque build-up, whereas fat around your hips doesn't appear to increase risk for cardiovascular disease at all... "

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bacteria-devouring virus - bacteriophage to combat MRSA

'Red Army' virus to combat MRSA BBC News 8/13/07 "An old-fashioned treatment for bacterial infections which was once found in every Red Army soldier's kit bag is being touted as a new weapon against hospital superbug MRSA...a bacteria-devouring virus called a bacteriophage..."But it's this specificity which makes them so attractive," says Dr Ron Dixon, Head of the Department of Forensic and Biomedical Sciences at Lincoln University. "It will only kill the bacteria you want it to." ...Once the phage has entered the body, it attaches itself to the bacteria causing the infection, and shoots in its own DNA to make the bacteria start producing bacteriophages. Within 30 minutes, up to 200 new phage are created, according to Dr Dixon, and in the process the bacteria die...The job done, the phage automatically start to disappear. ...And if the bacteria become resistant to the phage, as they have done to antibiotics, a new phage matched to the new bacteria can be developed. In order to inhibit resistance, a cocktail of phages would most likely be used in treatment. There are no known side-effects, researchers stress..."

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

US Slipping in Life Expectancy Rankings

US Slipping in Life Expectancy Rankings AP News/My Way News 8/12/07 "Americans are living longer than ever, but not as long as people in 41 other countries...For decades, the United States has been slipping in international rankings of life expectancy, as other countries improve health care, nutrition and lifestyles..."Something's wrong here when one of the richest countries in the world, the one that spends the most on health care, is not able to keep up with other countries," said Dr. Christopher Murray...A baby born in the United States in 2004 will live an average of 77.9 years. That life expectancy ranks 42nd, down from 11th two decades earlier...Andorra, a tiny country in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, had the longest life expectancy, at 83.5 years, according to the Census Bureau. It was followed by Japan, Macau, San Marino and Singapore...The shortest life expectancies were clustered in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region that has been hit hard by an epidemic of HIV and AIDS, as well as famine and civil strife. Swaziland has the shortest, at 34.1 years, followed by Zambia, Angola, Liberia and Zimbabwe...Researchers said several factors have contributed to the United States falling behind other industrialized nations.
  • A major one is that 45 million Americans lack health insurance, while Canada and many European countries have universal health care..."
  • Adults in the United States have one of the highest obesity rates in the world. Nearly a third of U.S. adults 20 years and older are obese, while about two-thirds are overweight
  • Racial disparities. Black Americans have an average life expectancy of 73.3 years, five years shorter than white Americans.
  • A relatively high percentage of babies born in the U.S. die before their first birthday, compared with other industrialized nations
  • Another reason for the U.S. drop in the ranking is that the Census Bureau now tracks life expectancy for a lot more countries - 222 in 2004 - than it did in the 1980s

So there you have it. It's mostly down to a worsening health care system, lack of insurance, lousy health habits of Americans, African Americans suffering disproportionately in our system and increased number of Census Bureau trackings. So for the US to increase life expectancy now should be relatively simple. Right...

For an interesting interactive study in life expectancy rankings check out this new Google technology. Gapminder World beta. Google does it again, thanks to their attention to TED.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Green tea extract boosts glutathione S-transferase - defense against cancer

Green Tea Boosts Production Of Detox Enzymes, Rendering Cancerous Chemicals Harmless ScienceDaily 8/10/07 "Concentrated chemicals derived from green tea dramatically boosted production of a group of key detoxification enzymes in people with low levels of these beneficial proteins, according to researchers at Arizona Cancer tea concentrate might help some people strengthen their metabolic defense against toxins capable of causing cancer...In a study of 42 people, the concentrate -- composed of chemicals known as green tea catechins in amounts equal to that found in 8-16 cups of green tea -- boosted production of the enzymes, which belong to the glutathione S-transferase (GST) family, by as much as 80 percent in some participants...GST enzymes are believed to be crucial to the body's defense against cancer-causing chemicals and other toxins, according to the study's lead investigator, H.-H. Sherry Chow, Ph.D...They modify the cancer-causing molecules that would otherwise damage cellular DNA, thus rendering them inert... "Green tea catechins somehow increase gene expression of these enzymes, which can be an advantage to people with low levels to start with."...the volunteers were asked to take four Polyphenon E capsules, for a total of 800 milligrams of EGCG, each morning on an empty stomach ...Polyphenon E enhanced GST activity when data from all participants were included for analysis. But it had its most significant effect in volunteers whose baseline blood measurements showed low GST activity -- an 80 percent increase compared to baseline GST activity. Activity did not change in volunteers with medium GST expression, or in those with the highest levels, GST seemed to decrease slightly although researchers believe that decline was due to random variation..."

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Lactobaccillus GG probiotic proven again to treat diarrhea

Despite Claims, Not All Probiotics Can Treat Diarrhea Say Experts ScienceDaily 8/11/07 "...Duration of diarrhoea was significantly lower in children receiving Lactobacillus GG and a mix of four bacterial strains than in patients receiving oral rehydration alone...not all commercially available probiotic preparations are effective in children with acute diarrhoea...The effectiveness of Lactobacillus GG was not unexpected as several previous studies have shown similar results...the lack of effect in children receiving Saccharomyces boulardii was unexpected, they say, because a previous trial showed it to be beneficial in young children admitted to hospital for diarrhoea..."

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Bacterial load doesn't seem to alter lifespan

Bacteria 'do not cut short life' BBC News 8/10/07 "...It has been thought that the immune system response provoked by even harmless bacteria speeds up the ageing process by using up vital energy. But a study of fruit flies kept in a bacteria-free environment showed they did not outlive their grubby siblings...The researchers admit their experiment cannot be replicated in higher organisms, which need bacteria for proper digestion and other functions. But they said the result in flies still may be relevant to human ageing research...Lead researcher Dr Steven Finkel said: "I think a lot of people would just assume that if you're increasing bacterial load in an ageing human, it must be bad. "It might not just be bad, it just might be. Prior to this study, I would not have thought that."... "

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Diet food could actually fuel obesity

Diet food 'may fuel obesity risk' BBC News 8/8/07 "...In tests on young rats, animals given low-calorie versions of foods were induced to overeat, whether they were lean or obese.
The researchers believe low-calorie versions of usually high-calorie foods disrupt the body's ability to use taste to regulate calorific intake...Lead researcher Professor David Pierce said: "Based on what we've learned, it is better for children to eat healthy, well-balanced diets with sufficient calories for their daily activities rather than low-calorie snacks or meals"...older, adolescent rats also fed diet foods did not show the same tendency to overeat...researchers believe the older rats did not overeat because they, unlike the younger rats, were able to rely on a variety of taste-related cues to correctly assess the energy value of their food.
In contrast the younger animals learned to match tastes usually associated with food high in calories with low-fat alternatives, and so carried on eating to try to get their calorie count up when in fact it had already reached a healthy level..."

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Vitamin B1 (thiamine) could help some with diabetes

Diabetes problems 'vitamin link' BBC News 8/7/07 "A simple vitamin deficiency may be the cause of many of the side effects of diabetes, a study suggests. Researchers found people with the disease expelled thiamine - vitamin B1 - from their bodies at 15 times the normal rate in a study of 94 people...thiamine helped ward off complications such as heart disease and eye problems...It is the first time a deficiency of the vitamin, which is found in meat, yeast and grains, has been identified in people with diabetes. It has been missed in the past because of the way thiamine levels were measured...Lead researcher Professor Paul Thornalley said: "It is early days, but it could have a huge difference..."Around 80% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease and diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the UK's working age population..."

If this proves true it would be amazing for the quality and length of life of those with diabetes.

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Green tea might help fight initial stages of colon cancer

Green tea may stop colon cancer in its tracks - study 8/9/07 "Green tea may stop the growth of colon tumours in their infancy, suggests a new study using mice, but merely drinking green tea offers no benefits against larger tumours..."Our results suggest that green tea specifically targets initial stages of colon carcinogenesis; the time of administration of green tea is pivotal for effective chemoprevention," ..."Beverage levels of green tea are not likely to inhibit the progress of any large adenomas or adenocarcinomas existing prior to the tea administration," ...The results add to an ever-growing body of science linking consumption to a wide range of health benefits, including lower risk of certain cancers, increased weight loss, improved heart health, and protection against Alzheimer's. Green tea contains between 30 and 40 per cent of water-extractable polyphenols, while black tea (green tea that has been oxidized by fermentation) contains between 3 and 10 per cent. The four primary polyphenols found in fresh tealeaves are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epicatechin...A mechanistic study indicated that green tea decreased the total levels of the early carcinogenesis biomarker beta-catenin and its downstream target cyclin D1."

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Folate may lower breast cancer risk

Increased folate may slash breast cancer risk 8/9/07 "The researchers calculated that women in the highest average intake group (456 micrograms of folate per day) had a 44 per cent lower risk of invasive breast cancer than women in the lowest average intake group (160 micrograms of folate per day)...the researchers report that the protective effect of folate only applied to the overweight women...the reduced form of folate, 5- Methyltetrahydrofolate (MTHF) plays a role in a series of reactions for DNA methylation"Changes in DNA methylation patterns are an early event in carcinogenesis and may influence gene silencing," they said. "Folate is also involved in DNA synthesis and repair; folate deficiency has been related to elevated uracil incorporation to DNA and subsequent chromosome breaks, which may contribute to an increased risk of cancer."..."Yet, there is now increasing evidence from randomized trials that high doses of folic acid can foster the growth of common precancerous lesions. The benefit of reducing a relatively small number of neural tube defects may be outweighed by the possible negative effects on tumor promotion in a substantial fraction of the population. ..."

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Coffee may prevent liver cancer

Drinking coffee seems to protect the liver Reuters/Yahoo!News 8/9/07 "Data from 10 studies conducted in Europe and Japan suggest that people who drink coffee may be reducing their risk of liver cancer, although the reasons for the apparent protective effect of coffee remain to be determined...the results showed a 41 percent reduction in the risk of liver cancer (or hepatocellular carcinoma, HCC) among coffee drinkers compared to those who never drank coffee...Animal and laboratory studies have suggested that certain compounds in coffee may block harmful enzymes involved in the development of cancer. Coffee drinking has also been linked to a lower risk of cirrhosis of the liver and chronic liver disease, which are the major risk factors for HCC. "Thus, there seems to be a continuum of the favorable effect of coffee on liver enzymes, cirrhosis, and HCC,"..."

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

To Gain Muscle And Lose Fat, Drink Milk

To Gain Muscle And Lose Fat, Drink Milk ScienceDaily 8/8/07 "Part of an ongoing study into the impact of drinking milk after heavy weightlifting has found that milk helps exercisers burn more fat...researchers found that the milk drinking group had lost nearly twice as much fat - two pounds - while the carbohydrate beverage group lost one pound of fat. Those drinking soy lost no fat. At the same time, the gain in muscle was much greater among the milk drinkers than either the soy or carbohydrate beverage study participants...As reported in the first phase of the study, the milk drinking group came out on top in terms of muscle gain with an estimated 40 per cent or 2.5 pounds more muscle mass than the soy beverage drinkers. In addition, this group gained 63 per cent or 3.3 pounds, more muscle mass than the carbohydrate beverage drinkers..."

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High-Intensity Ultrasound may help launch attack on cancer

High-Intensity Ultrasound May Launch Attack On Cancer, Wherever It Lurks ScienceDaily 8/8/07 "An intense form of ultrasound that shakes a tumor until its cells start to leak can trigger an “alarm” that enlists immune defenses against the cancerous invasion...findings from animal experiments suggest that once activated by the ultrasound, the immune system might even seek and destroy cancer cells, including those that have spread through the bloodstream to lurk in other parts of the body...That shaking ruptures tumor cell membranes, causing them to spill their contents. The toxic spill then alerts the immune system to the cancer threat, leading to the production of tumor-fighting white blood cells...For reasons that are still not completely understood, cancer cells often go largely undetected by the immune system, Zhong said. For an anti-tumor immune response to be effective, it may need to recognize not only the surface proteins of cancer cells, but some of the other proteins locked inside those cells, which Zhong called “danger signals.”..."

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New theory of facial aging

Theory Of Facial Aging Gets A Facelift ScienceDaily 8/9/07 "The longstanding idea that the entire human face ages uniformly is in need of a facelift..."For hundreds of years, everyone has believed that the fat on the face is one confluent mass, which eventually gets weighed down by gravity, creating sagging skin," said Dr. Joel Pessa..."the face is made up of individual fat compartments that gain and lose fat at different times and different rates as we age"...A youthful face is characterized by a smooth transition between these compartments. As people age, contour changes occur between these regions due to volume losses and gains as well as repositioning of the compartments. Eventually, this can result in sagging or hollowed skin and wrinkles..."

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Monday, August 6, 2007

Coffee may slow memory declines in women... not men

Coffee may slow memory declines in women: study Reuters/Yahoo!News 8/6/07 "...Drinking more than three cups of coffee a day helped protect older women against some age-related memory decline...Men did not enjoy the same benefit..."The more coffee one drank, the better the effects seemed to be on (women's) memory functioning in particular," said Karen Ritchie...women who drank more than three cups of coffee per day, or its caffeine equivalent in tea, retained more of their verbal and -- to a lesser extent -- visual memories over four years...These women had a 33 percent lower odds of having verbal memory declines and 18 percent lower odds of having visual and spatial memory declines, compared to women who drank one cup or fewer per day...The effect also depended on age, with women over 80 reaping more benefits from these beverages than those who were 10 to 15 years younger...Some studies in mice have suggested that caffeine might block the buildup of proteins that lead to mental decline..."

The second coffee study in week that showed a benefit for women but not men. If true then the metabolism of coffee would seem to be different in men and women. What else in the diet do men and women metabolize differently? If this is the case, why is this happening and what is the evolutionary reasons for different metabolisms? Note the frustrations written by a man towards this horribly sexist coffee.

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

U.S. breast feeding rates raise

U.S. breast-feeding rates rise to record high Reuters/Yahoo!News 8/2/07 "...The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 74 percent of American women who gave birth in 2004 breast-fed their babies for at least some period of time...The CDC report found that among infants born in 2004, the rate of exclusive breast-feeding through the first three months after birth was 31 percent, shy of the government's goal of 60 percent, and through six months was 11 percent, below the government target of 25 percent...The report detailed racial and socioeconomic disparities among women who provide their babies exclusively breast milk in these first months, with black, teen-age, rural, less-educated, lower-income and unmarried mothers less likely to do so...The 2004 breast-feeding rate of 74 percent was the highest since such statistics were first kept for U.S. women in the 1950s, Philip said. The lowest rate on record was in 1971, when only 25 percent of mothers breast-fed their infants ...The CDC noted that breast-feeding is associated with decreased risk for many diseases and conditions, including ear infections, respiratory tract infections, sudden infant death syndrome, obesity, eczema and diarrhea...It also is associated with health benefits to women, CDC said, including decreased risk for the most common form of diabetes, ovarian cancer and breast cancer. "Something I think a lot of people may not realize is that there are benefits to the mother as well as the child," Philip said"

An encouraging trend, but not nearly as eye popping at the story would at first present. 31% isn't much for 3 months and 11% is pathetic for 6 months. So it's a victory, although a rather shallow one.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

And speaking of Bisphenal A (BPA)...

Unsafe levels of Bisphenol A found in humans, scientists say 8/1/07 "Human exposure to food packaging chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) is higher than levels found to have caused cancer in laboratory animals...In addition a group of 38 scientists associated with BPA research have issued a consensus statement saying that they are particularly concerned about the use of concern is the use of BPA in food and beverage plastic storage and heating containers and to line metal cans...BPA is an additive widely used in plastic packaging and the resin linings of food cans. It is also used in dental filling. Other published studies have found that the chemical migrates in small amounts into food and beverages from packaging containing the substance...One review reports that BPA is present in many forms in the daily lives of Americans. The common exposure sources are the linings of food cans and some plastic containers, including some popular water and baby bottles...The journal will also publish simultaneously a new study claiming that BPA is functionally similar to diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic estrogen banned long ago for use by pregnant women...Previous studies have linked BPA with increases in abnormal penile and urethra development in males, early sexual maturation in females, an increase in neurobehavioral problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism, an increase in childhood and adult obesity and type 2 diabetes, a regional decrease in sperm count, and an increase in hormonally mediated cancers, such as prostate and breast cancers..."

From previous post more reasons to take folic acid - in order to help prevent epigenetic changes to fetus from BPA.

It seems clear to me that the chemical industry has learned some valuable lessons from the fossil fuel industry and their battle to instill doubt in the public as to the scientific veracity of climate change. The difference, beyond the lies and half truths, is that many chemists have stuck their neck out to say BPA is safe... when in fact their statements are not within the purview of their expertise. When objective researchers (unpaid by industry) who are experts on how chemicals can effect human health study BPA... lo and behold they usually find disturbing results. When the dust on the BPA fracas settles I would hope there would be fallout for those researchers who claimed that BPA was perfectly safe. Of course we all know what the chances of that will be.

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Coffee may prevent colon cancer for women

coffee may prevent colon cancer Reuters/Yahoo!News 8/1/07 "Drinking three or more cups of coffee a day may cut the risk of colon cancer in women by half...Researchers from Tokyo's National Cancer Center studied data from more than 96,000 men and women aged between 40-69 over a period of up to 12 years from 1990, a member of the team said on Wednesday. They found no significant benefit in men..."In Japan, almost all the male population drinks alcohol and there are a large number of smokers," said Manami Inoue of the research team. "There may be some benefit from coffee for men, but it may be that we were unable to adjust for these factors."...The mechanism by which coffee may prevent cancer is unknown, Inoue said. The caffeine it contains could stimulate the working of the colon, or the effect could be due to coffee's antioxidant properties, she said..."

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