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September 18, 2009, 7:52 AM CT

New vitamin K analysis supports the triage theory

New vitamin K analysis supports the triage theory
Oakland, CA An important analysis conducted by Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute researchers suggests the importance of ensuring optimal dietary intakes of vitamin K to prevent age-related conditions such as bone fragility, arterial and kidney calcification, cardiovascular disease, and possibly cancer (1). Vitamin K is concentrated in dark green plants such as spinach or Swiss chard, and is either not present or present in only small amounts in most multivitamin pills.

This finding comes from Associate Staff Scientist, Joyce McCann, PhD, and Senior Scientist, Bruce Ames, PhD, who analyzed data from hundreds of published articles dating back to the 1970's. Their review was designed to test Dr. Ames' "triage" theory that provides a new basis for determining the optimum intake of individual vitamins and minerals (also called micronutrients), and has major implications for preventive medicine. The analysis, which strongly supports his theory, would be reported in the October 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Dr. Ames proposed the triage theory in 2006 (2,3) to explain numerous observations from his own lab and the scientific literature. The theory explains why diseases linked to aging like cancer, heart disease, and dementia (and the pace of aging itself) appears to be unintended consequences of mechanisms developed during evolution to protect against episodic vitamin/mineral shortages. If correct, the triage theory has widespread implications for public health because modest vitamin/mineral deficiencies are quite common. The theory also suggests a new scientifically based and consistent strategy for establishing optimal vitamin/mineral intake standards, and it provides a research strategy to uncover early biomarkers of chronic disease.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 17, 2009, 7:54 AM CT

Green tea may help improve bone health

Green tea may help improve bone health
Scientists in Hong Kong are reporting new evidence that green tea one of the most popular beverages consumed worldwide and now available as a dietary supplement may help improve bone health. They observed that the tea contains a group of chemicals that can stimulate bone formation and help slow its breakdown. Their findings are in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication. The beverage has the potential to help in the prevention and therapy of osteoporosis and other bone diseases that affect million worldwide, the scientists suggest.

In the newly released study, Ping Chung Leung and his colleagues note that a number of scientific studies have linked tea to beneficial effects in preventing cancer, heart disease, and other conditions. Recent studies in humans and cell cultures suggest that tea may also benefit bone health. But few scientific studies have explored the exact chemicals in tea that might be responsible for this effect.

The researchers exposed a group of cultured bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) to three major green tea components epigallocatechin (EGC), gallocatechin (GC), and gallocatechin gallate (GCG) for several days. They observed that one in particular, EGC, boosted the activity of a key enzyme that promotes bone growth by up to 79 percent. EGC also significantly boosted levels of bone mineralization in the cells, which strengthens bones. The researchers also showed that high concentrations of ECG blocked the activity of a type of cell (osteoclast) that breaks down or weakens bones. The green tea components did not cause any toxic effects to the bone cells, they note.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 17, 2009, 7:50 AM CT

Relieving pain affecting millions

Relieving pain affecting millions
An unprecedented gathering of some of Australia's leading authorities in pain medicine, together with consumer groups representing chronic pain sufferers, will meet in Melbourne today to work towards a national, coordinated approach to managing chronic pain.

The meeting has been called in recognition of the fact that one in five Australians will suffer chronic pain in their lifetime and up to 80% of people currently living with chronic pain are missing out on therapy that could improve their health and quality of life.

The MBF Foundation's landmark report, The High Price of Pain, originally highlighted chronic pain's enormous economic and personal burden and its recommendation for a national pain strategy has led to today's meeting, which is being hosted by the Faculty of Pain Medicine at the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) with the Australian Pain Society and Chronic Pain Australia.

Professor Michael Cousins, Chair of the steering committee for the meeting and Director of the Pain Management Research Institute (PMRI), said chronic pain should be considered a disease in its own right and a national health priority.

"Everyone fears severe pain," explains Professor Cousins, "Unfortunately, most of us will face some type of severe pain during our lifetime and yet in 2009 an apparently simple problem such as the management of "acute pain" for example, after surgery or trauma - is still only effectively managed in half of all patients, despite availability of knowledge and techniques to provide effective therapy in 90% of patients.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 7:55 AM CT

Green tea component for stored platelets

Green tea component for stored platelets
In two separate studies, a major component in green tea, epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate (EGCG), has been found to help prolong the preservation of both stored blood platelets and cryopreserved skin tissues. Reported in the current double issue of Cell Transplantation (18:5/6), now freely available on-line at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct, devoted to organ preservation and transplantation studies from Japan, the two complimentary studies have shown that EGCG, known to have strong anti-oxidative activity, can prolong platelet cell "shelf life" via anti-apoptosis (programmed cell death) properties and preserve skin tissues by controlling cell division.

Dr. Suong-Hyn Hyon, main author on both studies and associate professor in the Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences in Kyoto, Japan, says that EGCG, a green tea polyphenol, is a known anti-oxidation and anti-proliferation agent, yet the exact mechanism by which EGCG works is still not known. However, some of the activity of EGCG is likely to be correlation to its surface binding ability.

Enhanced platelet preservation

Using standard blood banking procedures, the storage duration for platelet cells (PCs) is limited to five days internationally or three days in Japan. During storage, PCs undergo biochemical, structural and functional changes, and PCs may lose membrane integrity and haemostatic functions, such as aggregability and affinity for surface receptors. Thus, PC shortages often occur. When EGCG was added to blood platelet concentrates, aggregation and coagulation functions were better-maintained after six days, perhaps due to EGCG's anti-oxidative ability. Scientists suggested that EGCG inhibited the activation of platelet functions and protected the surface proteins and lipids from oxidation.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 14, 2009, 11:51 PM CT

High-quality child care leads to academic success

High-quality child care leads to academic success
For low income parents, finding high quality child care not only boosts the performance of their children in school, but actually combats the effects of poverty, as per a newly released study in the journal Child Development

Children who spent more time in high-quality child care in the first five years of their lives had better reading and math scores in middle school, as per scientists from Boston College, the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Samford University, who studied 1,300 middle school students.

Looking deeper, scientists observed that low income children who received high-quality child care achieved at similar academic levels as their more affluent peers, even after taking into account factors such as levels of parental education and employment.

"The real takeaway here is that even minimal exposure to higher quality child care protects children from the harm done by living in poverty," co-author Eric Dearing, an associate professor of applied developmental psychology in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, said. "When it comes to early child care, quality matters more for children in poverty than for affluent children in promoting the long term academic achievement of the former up to similar levels as the latter".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 11, 2009, 7:43 AM CT

Second-hand smoking results in liver disease

Second-hand smoking results in liver disease
A team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside has observed that even second-hand tobacco smoke exposure can result in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a common disease and rising cause of chronic liver injury in which fat accumulates in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol.

The scientists found fat accumulated in liver cells of mice exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke for a year in the lab. Such fat buildup is a sign of NAFLD, leading eventually to liver dysfunction.

In their study, the scientists focused on two key regulators of lipid (fat) metabolism that are found in a number of human cells as well: SREBP (sterol regulatory element-binding protein) that stimulates synthesis of fatty acids in the liver, and AMPK (adenosine monophosphate kinase) that turns SREBP on and off.

They observed that second-hand smoke exposure inhibits AMPK activity, which, in turn, causes an increase in activity of SREBP. When SREBP is more active, more fatty acids get synthesized. The result is NAFLD induced by second-hand smoke.

"Our study provides compelling experimental evidence in support of tobacco smoke exposure playing a major role in NAFLD development," said Manuela Martins-Green, a professor of cell biology, who led the study. "Our work points to SREBP and AMPK as new molecular targets for drug treatment that can reverse NAFLD development resulting from second-hand smoke. Drugs could now be developed that stimulate AMPK activity, and thereby inhibit SREBP, leading to reduced fatty acid production in the liver".........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


September 10, 2009, 7:14 AM CT

Role of vitamin C in skin protection

Role of vitamin C in skin protection
Researchers have uncovered a new role played by Vitamin C in protecting the skin.

Scientists at the University of Leicester and Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal studied new protective properties of vitamin C in cells from the human skin, which could lead to better skin regeneration.

The work, by Tiago Duarte, Marcus S. Cooke and G. Don Jones, observed that a form of Vitamin C helped to promote wound healing and also helped protect the DNA damage of skin cells. Their findings have been reported in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine This report is the latest in a long line of publications from these researchers, at the University of Leicester, concerning vitamin C. Previously, the group has published evidence that DNA repair is upregulated in people consuming vitamin C supplements. The scientists have now provided some mechanistic evidence for this, in cell culture, using techniques such as Affymetrix microarray, for looking at gene expression, and the 'Comet' assay to study DNA damage and repair.

Tiago Duarte, formerly of the University of Leicester, and now at the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal, said: "The exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation increases in summer, often resulting in a higher occurence rate of skin lesions. Ultraviolet radiation is also a genotoxic agent responsible for skin cancer, through the formation of free radicals and DNA damage.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


September 10, 2009, 7:11 AM CT

Regular aerobic exercise reduces health concerns

Regular aerobic exercise reduces health concerns
Scientists from the University of Sydney, Australia determined that patients with a sedentary lifestyle who engage in routine physical activities lower their risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The lower risk of problems linked to fatty liver was not contingent upon weight loss, but a direct result from the increased aerobic exercise. The results of this study are reported in the recent issue of Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease affects 30% of the adult population and the majority of obese individuals. The condition, where fat accumulates in the liver of those individuals who drink little or no alcohol, can cause inflammation or scarring of the liver with more serious cases, known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, possibly progressing to liver failure.

A study, led by Jacob George, M.D. from Westmead Hospital at the University of Sydney, included 19 obese adults who had a body mass index >30 kg/m2 and reported a sedentary lifestyle. Baseline measurements were performed to determine hepatic triglyceride concentration (HTGC) and hepatic lipid saturation index (SI), intramyocellular triglyceride (IMTG) levels, visceral adipose tissue (VAT) or amount of fat stores in the abdomen, cardiorespiratory fitness, blood biochemistry, and measurements for body height and weight. Volunteers either received 4 weeks of aerobic cycling exercise (12 subjects) or a placebo (7 participants), which involved regular stretching.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 9, 2009, 7:31 AM CT

Work conditions impact parents' food choices

Work conditions impact parents' food choices
Since most parents in the US are employed, there are competing demands on their time that can compromise food choices for themselves and their children. How parents cope with these demands and how work conditions are correlation to food choice coping strategies are the subjects of a study in the September/recent issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior Findings suggest that better work conditions appears to be linked to more positive strategies such as more home-prepared meals, eating with the family, keeping healthful food at work, and less meal skipping.

Scientists from Cornell University measured food choice coping strategies in low- to middle-income families in five categories: (1) food prepared at/away from home; (2) missing meals; (3) individualizing meals (family eats differently, separately, or together); (4) speeding up to save time; and (5) planning. A three-part telephone survey of 25 employed mothers and 25 employed fathers or guardians from 3 racial/ethnic groups was used to evaluate food choice strategies.

Half or more of respondents often/sometimes used 12 of 22 food choice coping strategies and there were gender differences in the use of these strategies. Fathers who worked long hours or had nonstandard hours and schedules were more likely to use take-out meals, miss family meals, purchase prepared entrees, and eat while working. Mothers purchased restaurant meals or prepared entrees or missed breakfast. Job security, satisfaction, and food access were also linked to gender-specific strategies. About a quarter of mothers and fathers said they did not have access to healthful, reasonably priced, and/or good-tasting food at or near work.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 3, 2009, 7:37 AM CT

Rise in weight-loss drugs prescribed for childhood obesity

Rise in weight-loss drugs prescribed for childhood obesity
Thousands of children and adolescents are using anti-obesity drugs that in the UK are only licensed for use by adults. The number of young people receiving prescriptions for these drugs has increased 15-fold since 1999, but most stop using them before they could expect to see any benefit, as per a newly released study.

The study, reported in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, focuses on prescriptions in the UK, where the drugs are not licensed for use under the age of 18. Extrapolated across the whole population, the results indicate that around 1,300 young people are now being prescribed off-licence anti-obesity drugs each year.

More than three quarters of those included in the study received prescriptions for orlistat, also known as Xenical or Alli. Orlistat has been approved for children as young as 12 in the US, but only for adults in the UK. Most patients given orlistat stopped using it very quickly, on average after just three months, and therefore would have been unlikely to see any benefit.

"It's possible that the drugs are being given inappropriately, or that they have excessive side effects that make young people discontinue their use. Conversely they could be expecting the drugs to deliver a miracle "quick fix" and stop using them when sudden, rapid weight loss does not occur," said Russell Viner, one of the authors of the study based at the General & Adolescent Paediatrics Unit at University College London.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Adolescents who suffer physical injuries are vulnerable to emotional distress in the months following their hospitalization, yet almost 40 percent of hospitalized adolescents interviewed for a new study had no source for the follow-up medical care that could diagnose and treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. These young trauma survivors are at risk for high levels of post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms, as well as high levels of alcohol use, according to research by researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

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