February 28, 2011
Staves off Strokes
Alzheimer’s disease, which affects one in eight Americans, is associated with vascular damage in the brain that causes many patients to succumb to strokes. Now, researchers led by Dr. Dan Frenkel, Tel Aviv U, are working on a vaccine that promises to protect against Alzheimer’s and stroke by repairing vascular damage in the brain, even when symptoms of the disease are present. The drug works by inducing “an immune response against amyloid proteins in the blood vessels," says Frenkel, who adds, "In early pre-clinical studies, we've found it can prevent both brain tissue damage and restore cognitive impairment.” Plus, the drug may prevent hemorrhagic strokes. The vaccine has been successfully tested on animals and Frenkel is hopeful that this new approach may lead to a cure.
Reduces Psychological Stress
Taking a 45 minute nap during the day may help regulate blood pressure, says research from Allegheny College, PA which finds that study participants who napped had lower average blood pressures after being subjected to psychological stress than those who didn’t nap. Researchers say that, due to today’s technology and increased work/play habits, the average sleep duration is two hours less than it was 50 years ago and that this is associated with hypertension and other cardiovascular problems. They found that daytime napping had a restorative effect by accelerating cardiovascular recovery following mental stress, such as what one might experience during a typical work day. Researchers say further testing is needed to explore the mechanism linking sleep to cardiovascular health.
Thanks to Antioxidants
Antioxidants found in pecans may contribute to heart health and disease prevention says a new research study from Loma Linda U. Pecans are particularly rich in gamma-tocopherols, a form of the antioxidant vitamin E and that after eating pecans, study participants’ levels of gamma-tocopherols doubled while unhealthy oxidation of LDL cholesterol in their blood decreased by as much as 33 percent. "This protective effect is important in helping to prevent development of various diseases such as cancer and heart disease," says researcher Ella Haddad. Participants ate test meals containing about three ounces of the nuts for the study. Following consumption, oxidized LDL cholesterol decreased by 30 percent, after 2 hours; by 33 percent after 3 hours, and by 26 percent after 8 hours.
Coming Soon to a Store Near You?
Studies suggest that seven in 10 Americans may be deficient in vitamin D. The vitamin helps the body to absorb calcium and may help prevent certain cancers, heart disease, obesity and a variety of other conditions. Now, scientists are looking to vitamin D-fortified bread to offset deficiencies. Vitamin D is already added to milk but researcher Connie Weaver says this may not be enough. Tests on laboratory rats found that bread baked with a high vitamin D yeast yielded beneficial effects. "Our results suggest that bread made with high vitamin D yeast could be a valuable new source of vitamin D in the diet," say researchers. The study appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Well, If That's All...
Bisphenol A (BPA) isn't a real health concern, but it could make women grow "little beards," explains Maine governor Paul LePage. TreeHugger calls the statement "one of the weirder anecdotes in the ongoing BPA saga in the US." According to the Bangor Daily News, LePage said, "The only thing that I've heard [about BPA] is if you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards." The chemical BPA, used in many products like food containers and toys, has been shown to be an endocrine disruptor.
Palin's Mocking Unnecessary
Unlike Sarah Palin, Republicans Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee don't have a problem with Michelle Obama's campaign against childhood obesity, says New York Times. Last year, Palin used one of her episodes of TLC's Sarah Palin’s Alaska to mock Michelle Obama's anti-obesity efforts, saying that she was making s'mores “in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert.” On Face the Nation Sunday morning, Chris Christie, New Jersey governor, said that he believes it's a "really good goal to encourage kids to eat better.” On Fox News Sunday, Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said that the first lady isn't calling for government intrusion with her campaign, but rather, she's calling attention to a serious problem.
Stopping Weight Loss at Skinny
Jennifer Hudson, who dropped five dress sizes and 80 pounds last year, presented at the 83rd Academy Awards yesterday, but some question how far her weight loss will go. According to CBS News, Hudson lost weight with the help of Weight Watchers and a "rigorous diet and fitness regime." However, some people are starting to wonder how much skinnier Hudson will get. Marisa Sherry, a dietitian in New York, told CBS News that Hudson "seems to be getting skinnier and skinner." She wonders how far Hudson will take her weight loss. Sherry adds that if Hudson can maintain her lifestyle without starving herself, then she'll be a good role model for young people.
Food Terrorism via Mice
Nikolas Galiatsatos, owner of Nina's Bella Pizzeria in Upper Darby near Philadelphia, has been charged with animal cruelty after attempting to carry out a plot to infest his competition with mice from a pet store. BBC reports that Galiatsatos was arrested after police discovered a man leaving a sack of mice in the restroom ceiling at Verona Pizza and in the trash at Uncle Nick's Pizza. Upper Darby Police Supt. Michael Chitwood described the incident as "food terrorism by mice." Galiatsatos, who had problems with mice at his own shop, remained in police custody on Monday afternoon.
Even One Drink a Day Has Effect
For adults, drinking just one sweetened beverage a day could contribute to higher blood pressure, claim researchers from Imperial College London. The researchers suggest that moderation is best when it comes to consuming sugar-sweetened beverages. Study findings reveal that individuals who consumed more glucose and fructose (sweeteners found in high-fructose corn syrup) were more likely to have higher blood pressure. High-fructose corn syrup is the most commonly used sweetener in the beverage industry. The study was published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Rising Twice Rate of Inflation
An increase in grain prices plus a rise in the cost of processing food will cause food prices to jump in the United States between 3 and 4 percent. The price of corn, for example, is up 88 percent from 12 months ago, according to the USDA. Wheat and soybeans are up 76 percent and 37 percent respectively. Higher grain prices have an effect on other foods, such as meat, as much of the grains are fed to the animals to promote growth. The rising price of gasoline is having an effect on food prices, which the USDA expects to rise at roughly twice the general inflation rate. Supermarket and restaurant executives are not sure what costs will be passed along to consumers, because many are leery of customers shopping elsewhere in order to save.
Yogurt Better Than Cheese Though
When it comes to longevity, dairy products appear to have no effect either way, says a study funded by the Dutch Dairy Foundation and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. While whole dairy products contain saturated fat, which could raise cholesterol and contribute to heart disease, the foods did not appear to increase a man’s risk of dying during the study period. In women, every 10 gram increase in butter per day increased the odds of dying only four percent, suggesting that men and women process fats differently. Although the calcium, protein, and unsaturated fats in dairy have been linked with health benefits such as lower blood pressure and weight control, there was no relationship to longevity, says researcher Dr. R. Alexandra Goldbohm.
Svelte 30 Nutritional Consultants, a diet pill manufacturer out of Florida, has issued a recall on its OTC diet pill “Svelte 30 Orange and Gray capsules” after an FDA test in January revealed that the pills contained sibutramine, a prescription diet medication previously sold under the brand name Meridia. Last October, Meridia was pulled from the shelves by Abbott Laboratories after study data indicated that the diet drug increased the risk of heart attack and stroke. Because Svelte 30 is a nutritional product and not approved as a drug, it must be removed from the market until it is reformulated with approved ingredients. The recalled diet supplement was sold directly to customers with lot numbers 04-3000 to 04-5999. Consumers with questions can call 407-350-5940.
Ambras Syndrome Is Rare
Supatra Sasuphan, an 11-year-old girl from Thailand, has been inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s hairiest girl. Sasuphan, who has a rare condition known as Ambras Syndrome, has thick hair growing all over her face, ears, arms and legs. “Nat”, as she is called by her friends, is one of only fifty documented cases of the disease since the Middle Ages. She has attempted to remove the hair with lasers, but it keeps growing back. She has regular haircuts to keep the hair from growing over her eyes. While she used to let the taunts of her peers get to her, she is now one of the most popular girls in school since being awarded the title. But she does hope that she will one day be cured.
Knocking Out HIV
Scientists have announced that by deleting the CCR5 gene in T-cells, blood cells that HIV targets can become resistant to infection with the virus. They took T-cells from six HIV-positive men, added the compound made by Sangamo BioSciences Inc. which deleted the CCR5 gene in 25 percent of the cells which were then multiplied and put back into the patients. After three months, researchers found that the number of HIV-resistant cells tripled in five of the men and they were present the bloodstream of all six a year later even in tissues where HIV hides. There are still many questions about the long term effects of modifying T-cells but researchers hope this technique can be used as a functional cure so patients’ immune systems are healthy enough that they do not need antiretrovirals.
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