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October 14, 2010, 8:01 AM CT

Celery, peppers may reduce age-related memory deficits

Celery, peppers may reduce age-related memory deficits
Animal sciences professor and Division of Nutritional Sciences director Rodney Johnson and his colleagues found that the plant compound luteolin can reduce brain inflammation and reverse age-related memory deficits in mice.

A diet rich in the plant compound luteolin reduces age-related inflammation in the brain and related memory deficits by directly inhibiting the release of inflammatory molecules in the brain, scientists report.

Luteolin (LOOT-ee-oh-lin) is found in a number of plants, including carrots, peppers, celery, olive oil, peppermint, rosemary and chamomile.

The newly released study, which examined the effects of dietary luteolin in a mouse model of aging, appears in the Journal of Nutrition.

The scientists focused on microglial cells, specialized immune cells that reside in the brain and spinal cord. Infections stimulate microglia to produce signaling molecules, called cytokines, which spur a cascade of chemical changes in the brain. Some of these signaling molecules, the inflammatory cytokines, induce "sickness behavior": the sleepiness, loss of appetite, memory deficits and depressive behaviors that often accompany illness.

Inflammation in the brain also may be a key contributor to age-related memory problems, said University of Illinois animal sciences professor Rodney Johnson, who led the newly released study. Johnson directs the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Illinois.

"We found previously that during normal aging, microglial cells become dysregulated and begin producing excessive levels of inflammatory cytokines," he said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 14, 2010, 7:30 AM CT

Watermelon lowers blood pressure

Watermelon lowers blood pressure
No matter how you slice it, watermelon has a lot going for it sweet, low calorie, high fiber, nutrient rich and now, there's more. Evidence from a pilot study led by food researchers at The Florida State University suggests that watermelon can be an effective natural weapon against prehypertension, a precursor to cardiovascular disease.

It is the first investigation of its kind in humans. FSU Assistant Professor Arturo Figueroa and Professor Bahram H. Arjmandi observed that when six grams of the amino acid L-citrulline/L-arginine from watermelon extract was administered daily for six weeks, there was improved arterial function and consequently lowered aortic blood pressure in all nine of their prehypertensive subjects (four men and five postmenopausal women, ages 51-57).

"We are the first to document improved aortic hemodynamics in prehypertensive but otherwise healthy middle-aged men and women receiving therapeutic doses of watermelon," Figueroa said. "These findings suggest that this 'functional food' has a vasodilatory effect, and one that may prevent prehigh blood pressure from progressing to full-blown hypertension, a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

"Given the encouraging evidence generated by this preliminary study, we hope to continue the research and include a much larger group of participants in the next round," he said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 14, 2010, 7:27 AM CT

Yoga can counteract fibromyalgia

Yoga can counteract fibromyalgia
PORTLAND, Ore As per new research conducted at Oregon Health & Science University, yoga exercises may have the power to combat fibromyalgia a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain. The research is being reported in the November 10 online edition of the journal Pain and will appear online Thursday, Oct. 14.

"Prior research suggests that the most successful therapy for fibromyalgia involves a combination of medications, physical exercise and development of coping skills," said James Carson, Ph.D., a clinical health psychology expert and an assistant professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. "Here, we specifically focused on yoga to determine whether it should be considered as a prescribed therapy and the extent to which it can be successful".

In this study, scientists enrolled 53 female study subjects previously diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The women were randomly assigned to two research groups. The first group participated in an eight-week yoga program, which included gentle poses, meditation, breathing exercises and group discussions. The second group of women the control group received standard medicine therapys for fibromyalgia.

Following completion of the yoga program, scientists assessed each study subject using questionnaires and physical tests. The results were then compared with testing results obtained previous to the yoga classes. The members of the control group underwent the same assessments. In addition, each participant in the yoga group was urged to keep a daily diary to personally assess their condition throughout the entire program.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 12, 2010, 7:35 AM CT

Estrogen therapy and kidney stones

Estrogen therapy and kidney stones
Use of estrogen treatment is linked to an increased risk of developing kidney stones in postmenopausal women, as per a report in the October 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Nephrolithiasis [kidney stones] is a common condition that affects 5 percent to 7 percent of postmenopausal women in the United States," as per background information in the article. "Because the process of kidney stone formation is influenced by a variety of lifestyle and other health-related factors, the true impact of estrogen treatment on the risk of kidney stone formation is difficult to infer from findings based on observation."

Using data from the national Women's Health Initiative study, Naim M. Maalouf, M.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, examined data from two trials: 10,739 postmenopausal women with hysterectomy who received either an estrogen-only therapy or matching placebo and 16,608 postmenopausal women without hysterectomy who received either an estrogen plus progestin therapy or matching placebo. Data were collected for an average of 7.1 years in the estrogen-only trial and 5.6 years for the estrogen plus progestin trial.

A total of 335 cases of kidney stones were published in the active therapy groups, while 284 cases occurred in the placebo groups. The beginning demographic characteristics and risk factors for kidney stones were similar in the two groups, and the authors observed that estrogen treatment was linked to a significant increase in risk of kidney stones. The corresponding annualized incidence rate per 10,000 women per year was 39 in the therapy group and 34 in the placebo group. Development of kidney stones was five times more common in women with a history of kidney stones at the beginning of the study, but was not significantly altered by estrogen treatment. In this trial, estrogen treatment increased the risk of development of kidney stones irrespective of age, ethnicity, body mass index, previous hormone treatment use or use of coffee or thiazide diuretics.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


October 12, 2010, 7:32 AM CT

No heart benefits for folic acid supplements

No heart benefits for folic acid supplements
Use of folic acid supplements appears to lower blood levels of the amino acid homocysteinetheorized to be a risk factor for heart and blood vessel diseasebut does not appear to be linked to reduced rates of cardiovascular events, cancer or death over a five-year period, as per a meta-analysis of previously published studies in the October 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Elevated plasma total homocysteine [an amino acid created by the body, commonly as a byproduct of eating meat] has been suggested as a potentially modifiable risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke and other occlusive vascular conditions," the authors write as background information in the article. High rates of cardiovascular disease in children with homocystinuriaa rare genetic condition causing extreme elevations in homocysteine levelsled scientists to hypothesize that moderate increases in blood homocysteine levels may increase cardiovascular disease risk in the general population.

Supplementation with B vitamins, and in particular folic acid, lowers blood homocysteine levels and reduces cardiovascular disease risk among individuals with homocystinuria. Several large clinical trials conducted in patients without the condition have been inconclusive. "Consequently, a collaboration between their researchers was established in 2004 to conduct a meta-analysis based on individual participant data from all large randomized trials of folic acidbased B-vitamin supplementation intended to lower plasma homocysteine levels for the prevention of cardiovascular disease," the authors write.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 12, 2010, 7:31 AM CT

Carotid stents vs endarterectomy surgery

Carotid stents vs endarterectomy surgery
For patients with blockages in the carotid artery that supplies blood to the brain, carotid artery stenting (a non-surgical therapy) may be linked to an increased risk of both short- and long-term adverse outcomes when compared with surgical therapy (carotid endarterectomy), as per a meta-analysis of previously published studies that was posted online today and will appear in the February 2011 print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Carotid artery stenting has emerged as an alternative to carotid endarterectomy for the therapy of carotid artery occlusive disease," the authors write as background information in the article. The treatmentwhich involves threading a catheter through the femoral (groin) artery to the carotid artery, inflating an angioplasty balloon to compress plaque and inserting a stent to keep the artery openis endorsed by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association guidelines as a reasonable strategy and recommended by the European Society of Vascular Surgery in certain circumstances. However, its safety and efficacy as compared with carotid endarterectomy (surgery to remove the inner lining of the diseased blood vessel) is controversial.

Sripal Bangalore, M.D., M.H.A., of New York University School of Medicine, New York, and Harvard Clinical Research Institute, Boston, and his colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 13 randomized clinical trials comparing the two therapys conducted through June 2010 and involving 7,477 patients with carotid artery disease. They assessed the risk of death, heart attack (myocardial infarction) and stroke within the periprocedural period (within 30 days of the procedure) as well as intermediate and long-term outcomes.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 12, 2010, 7:30 AM CT

Insulin resistance and stroke risk

Insulin resistance and stroke risk
Insulin resistance, a condition in which insulin produced by the body becomes less effective in reducing blood glucose levels, may be linked to an increased risk of stroke in individuals without diabetes, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Insulin resistance originates from several factors, including genetics, a sedentary lifestyle and obesity, as per background information in the article. The condition contributes significantly to the risk of cardiovascular disease, but whether it predicts ischemic stroke (interruption in blood flow to the brain due to a blood clot or another artery blockage) is still a matter of debate.

One widely used tool to estimate insulin sensitivity is the homeostasis model evaluation (HOMA), calculated using fasting blood glucose and fasting insulin levels. Tatjana Rundek, M.D., Ph.D., of Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, and his colleagues assessed insulin resistance using HOMA for 1,509 non-diabetic participants in the Northern Manhattan Study, a study assessing stroke risk, incidence and prognosis in a multi-ethnic urban community. Participants were followed for an average of 8.5 years.

During the follow-up period, vascular events occurred in 180 participants, including 46 who had fatal or non-fatal ischemic strokes, 45 who had fatal or non-fatal heart attacks and 121 who died of vascular causes. Individuals in the top one-fourth (quartile) of HOMA index had an increased risk of stroke in comparison to those in the other three quartiles of the HOMA index. Adjusting for established cardiovascular risk factorsincluding glucose level, obesity and metabolic syndromedid not diminish the association. The relationship between insulin resistance and the risk of first stroke was stronger in men than women but did not vary by racial or ethnic group.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 12, 2010, 7:25 AM CT

New osteoporosis prevention guidelines

New osteoporosis prevention guidelines
Comprehensive new guidelines from the Osteoporosis Canada aimed at preventing fragility fractures in women and men over the age of 50 are published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal

"Fragility fractures, the consequence of osteoporosis, are responsible for excess mortality, morbidity, chronic pain, institutionalization and economic costs," writes Dr. Alexandra Papaioannou, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences with coauthors. "They represent 80% of all fractures in menopausal women over age 50 and those with hip or vertebral fractures have substantially increased risk of death post-fracture".

Fewer than 20% of women and 10% of men with fragility fractures receive interventions to prevent future fractures, writes co-author Dr. Bill Leslie, University of Manitoba.

Since publication of the 2002 guidelines, focus has shifted to preventing fragility fractures and their negative outcomes. Because current data indicate many fracture patients are not appropriately assessed or treated, these new guidelines focus on identification and management of fractures and tools to assess risk. They are aimed at helping clinicians better manage fractures as well as osteoporosis in general in patients.

The guidelines include information on exercise, calcium and vitamin D supplementation, pharmacological therapies and risk management.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 11, 2010, 7:49 AM CT

Experimental vaccine against Alzheimer's

Experimental vaccine against Alzheimer's
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have created an experimental vaccine against beta-amyloid, the small protein that forms plaques in the brain and is believed to contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Compared with similar so-called DNA vaccines that the UT Southwestern scientists tested in an animal study, the new experimental vaccine stimulated more than 10 times as a number of antibodies that bind to and eliminate beta-amyloid. The results appeared in the journal Vaccine

Future studies will focus on determining the safety of the vaccine and whether it protects mental function in animals, said Dr. Roger Rosenberg, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Center at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study.

"The antibody is specific; it binds to plaque in the brain. It doesn't bind to brain tissue that does not contain plaque," Dr. Rosenberg said. "This approach shows promise in generating enough antibodies to be useful clinically in treating patients."

A traditional vaccine an injection of beta-amyloid protein itself into the arm has been shown in other research to trigger an immune response, including the production of antibodies and other bodily defenses against beta-amyloid. However, the immune response to this type of vaccine sometimes caused significant brain swelling, so Dr. Rosenberg and colleagues focused on developing a nontraditional DNA vaccine.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 11, 2010, 7:46 AM CT

Weight-loss program for obese and overweight women

Weight-loss program for obese and overweight women
In another article being released early online, Cheryl L. Rock, Ph.D., R.D., from Moores UCSD Cancer Center, La Jolla, Calif., and his colleagues, conducted a randomized controlled trial of weight loss and weight maintenance in 442 overweight or obese women (BMI, 25 40), ages 18 to 69, over a two year period with follow-up between November 2007 and April 2010.

The women were randomized into three intervention groups: in-person, center-based (167 women) or telephone based (164 women) weekly one-to-one weight loss counseling, including free-of-charge prepackaged prepared foods (from Jenny Craig, Inc.) and increased physical activity for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. The participants were eventually transitioned to a meal plan that was not based mainly on the commercial program. The third group was the usual care group (111 women) who received two individualized weight loss counseling sessions with a dietetics professional and monthly contacts. All participants were provided a small monetary compensation ($25) for each completed clinic visit.

At 24 months, weight data were available for 407 of the 442 women (92.1 percent of the study sample). The average weight loss for the women participating in the center-based group was about 16 pounds or 7.9 percent of their initial weight, about 14 pounds or 6.8 percent for the telephone-based group, and about 4.5 pounds for the usual care control group. "By study end, more than half in either intervention group (62 percent of center-based [n=103] and 56 percent [n=91] of telephone-based participants) had a weight loss of at least 5 percent compared with 29 percent (n=32) of usual care participants," the authors report.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Studies in monkeys and women suggest that unlike traditional estrogen therapy, a diet high in the natural plant estrogens found in soy does not increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Mark Cline, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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