Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Meditation Gives Brain a Charge

Meditation Gives Brain a Charge, Study Finds (
"Brain research is beginning to produce concrete evidence for something that Buddhist practitioners of meditation have maintained for centuries: Mental discipline and meditative practice can change the workings of the brain and allow people to achieve different levels of awareness...over the past few years, researchers at the University of Wisconsin working with Tibetan monks have been able to translate those mental experiences into the scientific language of high-frequency gamma waves and brain synchrony, or coordination. And they have pinpointed the left prefrontal cortex, an area just behind the left forehead, as the place where brain activity associated with meditation is especially intense..."What we found is that the longtime practitioners showed brain activation on a scale we have never seen before"...especially interested in measuring gamma waves, some of the highest-frequency and most important electrical brain impulses...the electrodes picked up much greater activation of fast-moving and unusually powerful gamma waves in the monks, and found that the movement of the waves through the brain was far better organized and coordinated...some of the monks produced gamma wave activity more powerful than any previously reported in a healthy person..."

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Clean living 'slows cell ageing'

BBC NEWS | Health | Clean living 'slows cell ageing':
"Taking more exercise and eating the right foods may help increase levels of an enzyme vital for guarding against age-related cell damage, work suggests...Among 24 men asked to adopt healthy lifestyle changes for a US study in The Lancet Oncology, levels of telomerase increased by 29% on average...a diet high in fruit and vegetables, supplements of vitamins and fish oils, an exercise regimen and classes in stress management, relaxation techniques and breathing exercises...Increases in telomerase activity were linked with decreases in "bad" LDL cholesterol and decreases in one measure of stress - intrusive thoughts...there is evidence to suggest that telomere shortness and low telomerase activity might be important risk factors for cancer and cardiovascular disease..."

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Fish in children's diet cuts eczema risk

Fish in children's diet cuts eczema risk: study - Yahoo! News:
"Feeding babies as little as one portion of fish before they are nine months old may cut their risk of developing eczema, Swedish researchers said on Thursday...Introducing fish of any type into the diet curbed the risk of contracting the skin condition by 25 percent compared with children who never ate it..."There was no link with the amount of fish or type of fish. We think it is more the timing of the introduction."..."It must have something to do with its influence on the developing immune system,"..."

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Outdoor pools boost child's asthma risk

Outdoor pools boost child's asthma risk: study - Yahoo! News: 2008.09.24
" Swimming in outdoor chlorinated pools appears to increase the odds a child will develop asthma...Other studies have linked chlorine and asthma but the new findings published in the European Respiratory Journal cast doubt on the idea outdoor pools are safer than indoor ones where chlorine vapors remains trapped inside an enclosed space..."The more you swim, the higher the risk"...And because children tend to spend more time in pools they are more likely to swallow chlorinated water or ingest vapors containing chemicals that attack the cellular barriers protecting the lung from allergens...Children with the highest pool attendance -- one hour per week for 10 years -- were five times more likely to be asthmatic than young people who had never swum in a pool..."Young children are more exposed because they take more water into their airways and their lungs are still developing,"..."

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vitamin B-12 may prevent memory loss

BBC NEWS | Health | Vitamin 'may prevent memory loss':
"Older people with lower than average vitamin B12 levels were more than six times more likely to experience brain shrinkage, researchers concluded..."This study adds another dimension to our understanding of the effects of B vitamins on the brain - the rate of shrinkage of the brain as we age may be partly influenced by what we eat." ...Shrinkage has been strongly linked with a higher risk of developing dementia at a later stage..."

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Antioxidant cream guards skin from UV damage

Antioxidant cream guards skin from UV damage - Yahoo! News: "Thu Sep 18, 2008
"(Reuters Health) - A cream containing vitamin C, vitamin E and ferulic acid protects the skin from sun damage and reduces cancer-associated mutations in skin cells, new research shows...The cream's "mechanism of action is different from sunscreens and would be expected to supplement the sun protection provided by sunscreens,"...The active cream almost completely blocked the production of thymine dimers, a type of UV-related genetic damage, as well as the induction of the tumor suppressor gene p53...While unprotected skin exposed to UV radiation produced substances called cytokines that promote inflammation and suppress immune system function, protected skin did not..."

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Dietary trans fatty acids may be linked to fetal loss

Dietary trans fatty acids may be linked to fetal loss - Yahoo! News:
Thu Sep 18, 2008
"NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Trans fatty acids, the much maligned 'solid' fats implicated as artery-clogging contributors to cardiovascular disease, may also increase the risk of fetal death during pregnancy, study findings suggest...Earlier studies have also found a relationship between a diet high in trans fatty acids and increased insulin resistance. This, in turn, increases the activity of plasminogen activator inhibitor, which has been associated with fetal loss...After categorizing the study population according to average trans fat intake, the investigators found the rate of fetal loss increased from 30 percent among those with the lowest intake of trans fat in the diet (2.2 percent of total calories on average) to 52 percent among women with the highest intake of trans fat (defined as 4.7 percent of total calories)...As the percent of calories from trans fat increased, so did the risk of having one or more fetal losses, Glueck and colleagues report. This association was independent of body mass, insulin and glucose levels, and other factors potentially associated with risk for fetal loss..."

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mom's Mood, Baby's Sleep: What's The Connection?

Mom's Mood, Baby's Sleep: What's The Connection?: "ScienceDaily (Sep. 2, 2008) - ...those first six months of life are crucial to developing the regular sleeping and waking patterns, known as circadian rhythms, that a child will need for a healthy future...Babies whose mothers experienced depression any time before they became pregnant, or developed mood problems while they were pregnant, are much more prone to having chaotic sleep patterns in the first half-year of life than babies born to non-depressed moms...infants born to depressed moms nap more during the day, take much longer to settle down to sleep at night, and wake up more often during the night. It's a baby form of the insomnia that millions of adults know all too well..."Keeping a very regular sleep schedule is incredibly important," says Armitage. "We know that for both children and adults, and from this study we now know that for infants, the more stable the bedtime the less chaotic sleep is during the night."...Armitage and her team have devoted years to studying the links between sleep and depression, and the circadian rhythms, light-dark exposure, and other factors that appear to make a difference in sleep and mood. Over the past decade, they've shown that all are strongly linked..."We think we've identified one of the risk factors that may contribute to these infants' going on to develop depression later in life," says Armitage. "Not everybody who has poor sleep or weak circadian rhythms will develop depression, but if sleep stays consistently disrupted and circadian rhythms are weak, the risk is significantly elevated."...That's why, she says, it's so crucial to help all babies – and new parents – get the sleep they need."...Those first few months, in fact, are a kind of training camp for the baby's sleep in the future, Armitage says. Babies' bodies and brains need to be trained to understand that they should sleep when it's dark, and be awake when it's light – the basic circadian rhythm that governs sleep patterns for a person's entire life. This sets the baby's "body clock" right from the start..."

At some point in time the mainstream media will wake up and begin covering the story about how amazingly sensitive hundreds of genes are during prenatal and postnatal. OB's also need to become educated. Research clearly shows that certain foods, supplements and actions can change the health of your child... for life. You'd think this topic would be front page news on a regular basis... as it is this story on sleep, like so many others, is almost completely under appreciated in terms of significance.

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Why Folate Might Reduce Colon Cancer

New Evidence On Folic Acid In Diet And Colon Cancer: "ScienceDaily (Sep. 1, 2008) — Researchers in the United Kingdom and Texas are reporting a new, more detailed explanation for the link between low folate intake and an increased risk for colon cancer...scientists grew human colon cells in folate-depleted and folate-enriched tissue culture. They found that folate depletion caused increased DNA damage and a cascade of other biological changes linked to an increased cancer risk."

Sloppy work by the authors. Folate is the natural form, folic acid is the synthetic form. Folic acid has it's benefits but it has also been tied to various cancers. The evidence is fairly clear, so get this B vitamin from natural sources if you can.

FoodMicrograms (μg)% DV^
*Breakfast cereals fortified with 100% of the DV, ¾ cup 400100
Beef liver, cooked, braised, 3 ounces18545
Cowpeas (blackeyes), immature, cooked, boiled, ½ cup10525

Spinach, frozen, cooked, boiled, ½ cup10025
Great Northern beans, boiled, ½ cup9020
Asparagus, boiled, 4 spears8520

Vegetarian baked beans, canned, 1 cup6015
Spinach, raw, 1 cup6015
Green peas, frozen, boiled, ½ cup 5015
Broccoli, chopped, frozen, cooked, ½ cup 5015

Broccoli, raw, 2 spears (each 5 inches long)4510
Avocado, raw, all varieties, sliced, ½ cup sliced4510
Peanuts, all types, dry roasted, 1 ounce4010
Lettuce, Romaine, shredded, ½ cup 4010
Wheat germ, crude, 2 Tablespoons4010
Tomato Juice, canned, 6 ounces3510
Orange juice, chilled, includes concentrate, ¾ cup3510
Turnip greens, frozen, cooked, boiled, ½ cup308
Orange, all commercial varieties, fresh, 1 small308

Egg, whole, raw, fresh, 1 large256
Cantaloupe, raw, ¼ medium256
Papaya, raw, ½ cup cubes 256
Banana, raw, 1 medium206

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Walking Boosts Brainpower

Walking Boosts Brainpower: WebMD
"Older adults who take a brisk stroll just three times a week could boost their brainpower and reduce the risk of memory-robbing illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease...Those in the exercise group scored higher on cognitive tests and had better delayed recall. For example, they could more accurately remember a list of words after a certain amount of time had passed...the benefits could be seen after 6 months and that they lasted for at least a year after the program's end..."

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Genetic Key to Longevity?

Genetic Key to Longevity?: "Sept. 2, 2008 -- Scientists looking into aging say they've found a gene that's related to living a long and healthy life...One gene called FOXO3A caught the researchers' attention. Participants who were in better health had similarities on that gene...The study showed the long-lived group was leaner (lower waist-to-hip ratio), had lower levels of blood fats (triglycerides), lower glucose and insulin levels, and greater prevalence of FOXO3A gene variation at baseline..."up to 50% of the variation in human life span might be explained by genetic differences."...The FOXO3A gene is located on what researchers call the "insulin signaling pathway" and may be linked to how cells respond to stress...In studies done with mice and roundworms, genes that are along the insulin signaling pathway seem to protect against obesity that can come with aging, stress on a cellular level, and life span."

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Helmet law halved child bike deaths

Helmet law halved child bike deaths - Yahoo! News:
"The number of bike-related deaths among children younger than 16 fell by more than half after a Canadian bike-helmet law went into effect..."

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High fiber intake may cut preeclampsia risk

High fiber intake may cut preeclampsia risk - Yahoo! News:
"Pregnant women who increase their fiber intake by 5 grams a day -- the equivalent of 2 slices of whole grain bread -- may reduce their risk of developing preeclampsia by about 14 percent, researchers report...Women who reported eating at least 21.2 grams of total fiber a day, compared with those eating less than 11.9 grams daily, were 67 percent less likely to develop preeclampsia...They calculate that every 5-gram increase in daily fiber intake led to a 14 percent reduction in preeclampsia risk...Moreover, women with the highest fiber intake had triglycerides nearly 12 points lower and high-density lipoproteins ('good' cholesterol) more than 2.6 points higher than women with the lowest daily fiber intake..."

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