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Spraying On Stem Cells to Heal Burns

Posted: November 29, 2010 at 6:14 pm


Another demonstration of the potential utility of autologous stem cell therapies: "A spray solution of a patient's own stem cells is healing their severe burns. So far, early experiments under a University of Utah pilot project are showing some remarkable results. What was once a serious burn on Kaye Adkins foot is healing nicely now because of a topical spray. With diabetes as a complication, the small but open wound had not healed after weeks of failed treatments. ... With a wound that is open for several months, as this patient suffered prior to seeing us in our burn clinic, we worry about a pretty heavy bacterial load there. ... But enter the evolutionary world of regenerative medicine, using almost a bedside stem cell technique that takes only about 15 minutes. With red cells removed, a concentrate of platelets and progenitor cells is combined with calcium and thrombin. The final mixture looks almost like Jello. Though her own skin graft had failed before, the topical spray was used during a second graft. It 'took' and healed. ... Adkins burn is healing and so is her heart. Coincidentally, stem cells were used during her bypass surgery five weeks ago to hasten healing for that procedure as well. While hundreds of heart patients have had stem cell treatments, burn patients are still few in numbers. Cardiothoracic surgeon Amit Patel and burn care surgeon Amalia Cochran are experimenting on small burns for now. But down the road, both are hoping for large scale clinical trials on patients with much larger burns."

Link: http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=13424065

Aubrey de Grey Versus David Brin on Engineered Longevity

Posted: at 6:14 pm


This interview with Aubrey de Grey and David Brin encapsulates the divide in longevity science. On the one side, people who see repair-based methodologies like SENS and the reversal of aging as the best way forward, and who foresee great progress within a few decades after major funding is achieved. One the other, people who look towards changing metabolism to slow aging, and who foresee little progress over the next few decades because the challenge of building a new, viable human metabolism is very, very hard. From de Grey's side of the article: "I think we have a 50% chance of achieving medicine capable of getting people to 200 in the decade 2030-2040. Presuming we do indeed do that, the actual achievement of 200 will probably be in the decade 2140-2150 - it will be someone who was about 85-90 at the time that the relevant therapies were developed. There will be no one technological breakthrough that achieves this. It will be achieved by a combination of regenerative therapies that repair all the different molecular and cellular degenerative components of aging." As a counterpoint, from Brin's side of the article: "I do not expect this any time soon. There are way too many obstacles. First, there is no low-hanging fruit. Simple switches, like the ones that are flipped in many animals, by caloric restriction or celibacy, are there to give creatures a delayed chance at reproduction, if it cannot happen earlier. These switches have already been thrown in humans. All of them! Because we had genuine darwinistic reasons to evolve longest possible lifespans. When the lore held by grandparents helped grandchildren to survive, we evolved a pattern where the tribe would always have a few grandparents around, who remembered stuff."

Link: http://www.ilookforwardto.com/2010/11/when-will-life-expectancy-reach-200-years-aubrey-de-grey-and-david-brin-disagree-in-interview.html

Longevity Meme Newsletter, November 29th 2010

Posted: at 6:14 pm


LONGEVITY MEME NEWSLETTER
November 29th 2010

The Longevity Meme Newsletter is a weekly email containing news, opinions, and happenings for people interested in aging science and engineered longevity: making use of diet, lifestyle choices, technology, and proven medical advances to live healthy, longer lives. This newsletter is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. In short, this means that you are encouraged to republish and rewrite it in any way you see fit, the only requirements being that you provide attribution and a link to the Longevity Meme.

To subscribe or unsubscribe from the Longevity Meme Newsletter, please visit http://www.longevitymeme.org/newsletter/

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CONTENTS

- Exercise and the Age-Damaged Immune System
- Is Nuclear DNA Damage a Cause of Aging?
- On Insulin Metabolism and Aging
- Latest Headlines from Fight Aging!

EXERCISE AND THE AGE-DAMAGED IMMUNE SYSTEM

Regular exercise, along with calorie restriction, is the most effective presently available tool you can use to improve your odds of living a longer, healthy life. No present medical technology can do as much - which is a situation we'd all like to change. A recent Fight Aging! post looks at one of the ways in which exercise can help:

http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/11/exercise-and-the-destruction-of-age-damaged-immune-cells.php

"You might recall that one of the primary issues with our immune systems is that necessary cells become crowded out over time - the body supports only so many immune cells, and the naive T cells needed to fight new invaders become depleted in favor of memory cells uselessly devoted to persistent viruses that the body cannot clear. In essence, the adaptive immune system is evolved to hit the ground running and fight the battles of a young life - and that front-loading of its effectiveness leaves us high and dry later on, once too many battles have been fought.

"One of the strategies that medical researchers could use to solve this problem is to destroy the unwanted specialist cells, freeing up room for more useful T cells and restoring immune response to a more youthful level. The targeted cell-hunting and cell-killing technologies under development in the cancer research community would be ideal for this use.

"Now consider that even though the vast majority of people are infected with persistent viruses like cytomegalovirus, the quality of their immune systems in later life varies widely. Some people have comparatively good immunity when they are old - nowhere near as good as when young, but certainly better than their fellows. It could be argued that exercise goes some way towards establishing this difference - and in this paper, the argument is that exercise lures out decrepit T cells so that they can be destroyed by the body's maintenance systems."

IS NUCLEAR DNA DAMAGE A CAUSE OF AGING?

When most people say "DNA," they mean the DNA that resides in the nucleus of every cell. Despite an amazing array of highly efficient repair mechanisms, this nuclear DNA accumulates damage over time. Is this a process that contributes to degenerative aging?

http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/11/is-nuclear-dna-damage-a-cause-of-aging.php

"It is well settled that the level of nuclear DNA damage and mutation exhibited by an organism rises over time. It is also well settled that higher levels of nuclear DNA damage and mutation mean a greater cancer risk - this is one of the reasons why cancer is predominantly a disease of the old. The more cells that suffer DNA damage, the more likely it is that one or more cells experience exactly the type of damage needed to run amok as the self-replicating seeds to a cancer. But is nuclear DNA damage and mutation a cause of aging?

"That increasing instability of the genome contributes to age-related degeneration is the present working assumption for much of the aging research community, but this hypothesis is not unchallenged. The lack of a definitive proof is one problem: there is no good experiment to show that reduction in nuclear DNA damage levels - and only nuclear DNA damage levels - extends life. We can point to, for example, the fact that calorie restriction results in lower nuclear DNA damage levels, but this is only correlation. Calorie restriction slows the progression of every measure of biological aging, and produces significant changes in all of the master controls of metabolism and their subsystems, which makes it very hard to tease out any one dominant first cause."

ON INSULIN METABOLISM AND AGING

You'll find a pair of posts on the link between insulin metabolism, related controlling mechanisms in our biology, and aging at Fight Aging!:

http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/11/some-people-have-a-better-insulin-metabolism-than-others.php

"It is an unfortunate fact of life that some people are dealt a better hand by chance and happenstance. This includes the biology we are born with, and its contributions to our life expectancy: for example, some people have better mitochondrial DNA than others, which does seem to be correlated with inherited longevity. By way of a different example, let me point out recent research that shows a correlation between better insulin metabolism and inherited longevity. "

http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/11/linking-stem-cells-insulin-metabolism-and-aging.php

"As a companion to yesterday's post on insulin metabolism and human longevity, here is an open access paper that looks at stem cells, insulin signaling processes, and aging. In short, the activity of stem cells is vital to your long-term health, but this activity declines with age - and this decline is linked to other age-related changes, such as in insulin metabolism."

DISCUSSION

The highlights and headlines from the past week follow below. If you have comments, please do send e-mail to newsletter@longevitymeme.org

Remember - if you like this newsletter, the chances are that your friends will find it useful too. Forward it on, or post a copy to your favorite online communities. Encourage the people you know to pitch in and make a difference to the future of health and longevity!

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LATEST HEADLINES FROM FIGHT AGING!

IMPLICATING CELLULAR SENESCENCE AS ONE CAUSE OF AGING
Friday, November 26, 2010
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/11/implicating-cellular-senescence-as-one-cause-of-aging.php
A recent open access review paper looks at the evidence for accumulated senescent cells as one of the causes of aging: "Epidemiological studies have shown that age is the chief risk factor for lifestyle-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but the molecular mechanisms that underlie the increase in the risk of such diseases conferred by aging remain unclear. ... Interestingly, most of the molecules that influence the phenotypic changes of aging also regulate cellular senescence, suggesting a causative link between cellular senescence and aging. ... Cell division is essential for the survival of multicellular organisms that contain renewable tissues, but places the organism at risk of developing cancer. Thus, complex organisms have evolved at least two cellular mechanisms to prevent [cancer]: apoptosis and cellular senescence. In this regard, aging and age-associated diseases can be viewed as byproducts of the tumor suppressor mechanism known as cellular senescence. Consistent with this idea, the number of senescent fibroblasts increases exponentially in the skin of aging primates. Conversely, extension of the lifespan by calorie restriction decreases biomarkers of cellular senescence."

LONG-LIVED SPECIES AND AGING
Friday, November 26, 2010
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/11/longlived-species-and-aging.php
From Maria Konovalenko: "There are many studies that involve extending the lives of laboratory animals - through gene manipulation, pharmaceutical intervention, and dietary restriction. But according to Steven Austad, a biologist at the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, these manipulations 'pale in comparison to the remarkable diversity of lifespan produced by evolution.' He points out that maximum life span across the animal kingdom varies 40,000-fold. For example, some adult flies live less than an hour; some shellfish for centuries. Among mammals alone, longevity varies 1,000-fold. The average fruit fly lives a little more than a month, so scientists' ability to double its lifespan is a remarkable achievement but Austad says we may be missing something by focusing so much of our longevity research on animals - flies, worms, mice - that are 'demonstrably unsuccessful at combating basic aging processes.' He suggests we put more effort into understanding molecular solutions nature has devised to help long-living creatures evade their deaths. ... Aging affects all of us. People are going to continue to live longer because of medical advances. We want them to live healthier as well as live longer. The best way to achieve longer health is to figure out ways to medically slow aging. That's a different sort of approach than figuring out how to cure cancer or heart disease. If you can cure aging, or if you can slow it, then you can really delay or prevent a whole host of disabilities and diseases."

THE FDA MUST GO
Thursday, November 25, 2010
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/11/the-fda-must-go-1.php
From the Huffington Post: "There is no question that social equity issues such as poverty and access to medical treatment affect life expectancy. The same is true with our life style choices (e.g., eating, exercise). Yet the precise benefit often is elusive as is the case for alcohol where epidemiological studies find surprisingly contradictory results. So, what happens when we throw [the] FDA into the brew? We have a system of FDA approval that requires a pharmaceutical company show three things: (1) a mechanism of action (i.e., identify why a drug works), (2) safety and (3) efficacy in managing a measurable biologic end point associated with a disease. This last condition is a problem. Look at the conundrum: You're a researcher and you walk into FDA one day and say: 'I have in this bottle an elixir that if taken every day of your life will add on average 4 years to how long you can expect to live.' FDA says: 'What disease will it cure?' The researcher says: 'It won't cure disease, it will postpone or mitigate the lethality of some diseases, but as you get older you will get other diseases.' FDA then hopefully says: 'We get it. While we do not now nor have we ever thought about age as a disease metric, we accept the concept. All we need to do is test your drug on a sufficiently large population and for a long enough period of time to prove to us it works.' That is the problem." For so long as the FDA and its more similar foreign counterparts exist, progress in turning science into applied longevity-enhancing therapies will be greatly slowed.

ALCOR RECEIVES $7 MILLION BEQUEST
Thursday, November 25, 2010
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/11/alcor-receives-7-million-bequest.php
Good news for the cryonics community: "Alcor has received seven million dollars following final settlement of the estate of a confidential member who was cryopreserved several years ago. The bequest will be divided equally between Alcorâ¬"s Patient Care Trust and a new Endowment Fund to be created with a maximum legally allowed annual distribution of 2% per year. This will double the value of the Patient Care Trust to approximately $7 million, increasing the security of all 100 patients in Alcorâ¬"s care. The Patient Care Trust is devoted solely to funding the ongoing biostasis of Alcor's patients and their eventual revival and reintegration into society when the medical technology to restore them to full health is developed. ... This is a marked departure from past Alcor practice, which has been to place windfalls into either the Alcor general or reserve fund accounts. The funds would then be gradually depleted to cover operating deficits, with the hope that an additional windfall would arrive prior to the depletion of funds. Alcor is instead now seeking to eliminate structural operating deficits so that it is no longer dependent upon these unpredictable events. Consequently, this bequest will not make a large difference in Alcorâ¬"s budget next year: it will only contribute an extra $70,000. While $70,000 will help close next yearâ¬"s deficit, it must be combined with other difficult measures. In the longer term, however, this financial discipline will make Alcor a healthier and more robust organization."

STEM CELLS VERSUS LIMB ISCHEMIA
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/11/stem-cells-versus-limb-ischemia.php
Early efforts to simply transplant stem cells and let them do their work continue to show promise. First generation cell transplants are not a miracle cure, but they are an improvement over any other options available for some patients: "researchers are [utilizing] patients' own stem cells to regenerate heart and vascular tissue [in] a study examining stem cell transplantation as treatment for critical limb ischemia. ... Traditionally, cardiovascular medicine has focused on repairing damaged tissues with medication or surgery. For some patients, their cardiovascular disease is advanced to the point that standard treatment options are not effective. Regenerative cardiovascular medicine strives to redevelop cardiac and vascular tissue and stimulate new blood supply to areas like the heart and legs by using stem cells already present in the patient's body. ... [the] study examined the effectiveness of stem cell therapy in limb preservation for patients with critical limb ischemia (CLI). CLI develops in patients with severe obstruction of the arteries which limits blood flow to the extremities. CLI results in more than 100,000 amputations annually in the United States. The trial tested the ability of CD34+ cells to stimulate new blood vessel formation in ischemic limbs, which can improve perfusion and salvage function. ... The patients enrolled in this study were [in] the later stages of peripheral artery disease and at heightened risk for amputation. Patients in the randomized group had CD34 injected at eight locations in the ischemic limb and were followed for 12 months. ... Stem cell treatment was associated with a significant reduction in amputation rate. Treatment was associated with a 50 percent reduction in the total amputation rate compared to control."

THE 15TH ANNUAL LONGEVITY PRIZE
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/11/the-15th-annual-longevity-prize.php
The Longevity prize offered by La Fondation IPSEN is a modest cash award and recognition given to leading researchers in the field of aging and longevity science: "The 15th annual Longevity Prize has been awarded to Judith Campisi (Buck Institute for Age Research, Novato, USA) in recognition of the work she has been carrying in the domain of Longevity, Senescence and Cancer, by an international jury ... Founded in 1996, the Longevity Prize of La Fondation Ipsen has been awarded to renowned specialists ... Judith Campisi received a PhD in Biochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and postdoctoral training in the area of cell cycle regulation and cancer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. As an Assistant Professor at the Boston University Medical School, she became interested in the control of cellular senescence and its role in tumor suppression and aging. She left Boston to accept a Senior Scientist position at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1991; in 2002, established a second laboratory at the Buck Institute for Age Research, where she is a Professor. At both institutions, she established a broad program to understand various aspects of aging, with an emphasis on the interface between cancer and aging. Campisiâ¬"s laboratory has made several pioneering discoveries in these areas, and her research continues to challenge and alter existing paradigms."

THE NEED FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT IN MEDICAL RESEARCH
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/11/the-need-for-a-paradigm-shift-in-medical-research.php
Maria Konovalenko considers the present day mainstream of medical science: "Considering the success of the moon race, why isnâ¬"t there a comparable race against aging and its terrible diseases? Why is there so much opposition to promising developments such as therapeutic cloning or stem cell research? Why is modern medicine, and society at large, investing so much in trying to extend the last years of life (often spent in a nursing home) instead of trying to extend the period of youthful vigor? Mainstream medicine [operates] from the mortalist paradigm: it assumes that aging is 'normal' and nothing can be done about it. Weight gain, hearing and vision loss, a rise in blood pressure, a decline in muscle mass - all these are regarded as normal manifestations of aging. Since aging is not regarded as a disease, much less the most important disease, it is acceptable to treat only the symptoms of this universal, underlying degenerative syndrome. It is OK to treat heart disease or Alzheimer's, but not OK to try to slow the aging process itself, much less aim at physiological rejuvenation - even though this would be the most cost-effective solution to the catastrophic rise in medical costs as the population ages. We think medicine badly needs a paradigm shift."

MICROTHREADS AND MUSCLES
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/11/microthreads-and-muscles.php
From the Technology Review: "Researchers have repaired large muscle wounds in mice by growing and implanting 'microthreads' coated with human muscle cells. The microthreads - made out of the same material that triggers the formation of blood clots - seem to help the cells grow in the proper orientation, which is vital for rebuilding working muscle tissue. ... We hypothesize that cells migrate along these scaffolds, which act like a conduit. The cells grow into the space where muscle used to be, but they grow in a guided way. Currently, there's not much doctors can do when someone suffers massive injury to a muscle, such as in a car crash or an explosion. Thick bands of scar tissue can form in the wound, leaving the muscle severely and permanently impaired. Scientists are developing numerous approaches to creating replacement muscle, including growing patches of cells in a dish, injecting stem cells into damaged muscle, and implanting cell-seeded scaffolds designed to mimic native tissue. While all of these efforts show promise for certain applications, one of the major challenges has been growing enough cells in the correct structure to heal large muscle wounds. ... Muscle alignment is very important. You want the sarcomeres [the basic functional unit of muscle] to be aligned, that's how you get muscle contractions."

KILLING CANCER WITH AN IMMUNE SYSTEM REBOOT AND ALTERED T CELLS
Monday, November 22, 2010
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/11/killing-cancer-with-an-immune-system-reboot-and-altered-t-cells.php
From EurekAlert!: "A potent anti-tumor gene introduced into mice with metastatic melanoma has resulted in permanent immune reconfiguration and produced a complete remission of their cancer. ... researchers used a modified lentivirus to introduce a potent anti-melanoma T cell receptor gene into the hematopoietic stem cells of mice. Hematopoietic stem cells are the bone marrow cells that produce all blood and immune system cells. The T cell gene, which recognizes a specific protein found on the surface of melanoma, was isolated and cloned from a patient with melanoma. The gene-modified stems cells were then transplanted back into hosts and found to eradicate metastatic melanoma for the lifetime of the mice. ... We found that the transplantation of gene-modified hematopoietic stem cells results in a new host immune system and the complete elimination of tumor. To date, cancer immunotherapies have been hampered by limited and diminishing immune responses over time. We believe this type of translational model opens new doors for patients with melanoma and potentially other cancers by taking advantage of the potent regenerative capacity of hematopoietic stem cells and new advances in gene therapy."

CALORIE RESTRICTION DELAYS AGE-RELATED HEARING LOSS
Monday, November 22, 2010
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2010/11/calorie-restriction-delays-agerelated-hearing-loss.php
The practice of calorie restriction slows almost all aspects of aging examined to date: "researchers described experiments with mice showing that a 25% reduction in calories activated a single enzyme, Sirt3, that helped preserve hearing. Although small numbers of people practice strict caloric restriction - consuming just 1,000 to 1,500 calories a day - scientists concede that such a diet is exceedingly difficult. But there may be other ways to achieve the same benefits. ... If we can find compounds that activate Sirt3, we may be able to obtain some of the benefits of caloric restriction without having to restrict our calories. ... [researchers] carried out experiments with normal mice and mice without the Sirt3 enzyme. In one experiment both groups were fed the 25% reduced calorie diet for 10 months. The diet had the same weight loss effect on both groups. Although the diet delayed hearing loss at various frequencies in the normal mice, it did not work at all in the mice lacking Sirt3. ... What seems to happen that drives caloric restriction is that the organism senses it is under stress. There are then metabolic changes that favor self-preservation. ... Under normal conditions, he said, levels of Sirt3 are low. Caloric restriction appears to boost levels of Sirt3 and the boost helps the cells' energy factories, called mitochondria. The mitochondria make not only the energy, but also atoms called free radicals, which damage cells and advance the effects of aging. When Sirt3 levels rise, however, they reduce production of the harmful free radicals. One result is less damage to cells, including the cells of the inner ear."

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If you have comments, please do email them to newsletter@longevitymeme.org.

Pomegranate Juice: How it helps kidney dialysis patients from complications

Posted: November 28, 2010 at 12:23 am


A recent study has shown that pomegranate juice helps protect dialysis patients from infections, inflammation and tissue damage.

A good number of studies conducted in recent years have professed support to the wide range of health benefits brought about by the intake of pomegranate juice.  It is said to contain excellent amounts of antioxidants which helps boost a person’s immune system.  Also, pomegranate juice have shown potential effects in lowering bad cholesterol levels and blood pressure – very important effects especially for people diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension.

Aside from the mentioned health benefits, the results of a preliminary study have suggested that pomegranate juice can help protect the body against some complications of undergoing dialysis due to kidney disease, which includes the high death rate due to cardiovascular events and infections.  This is according to a paper presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition of the American Society of Nephrology held in Denver, Colorado.

Effect on Patients under Dialysis

101 patients undergoing dialysis were enrolled in the study.  They were then divided into two groups: one group received pomegranate juice prior to every dialysis session, and another group received a placebo drink, thrice a week for a period of one year.  They were observed by Lilach Shema, a PhD candidate, Dr. Batya Kristal, FASN, (Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya, Ruth & Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel) and colleagues.

Results of the laboratory tests revealed that patients who consumed pomegranate juice exhibited reduction in inflammation and diminished oxidative stress damage caused by free radicals.  Furthermore, those who drank pomegranate juice had reduced risk of hospitalization brought about by infections. The findings of this recent study corroborate with the findings of previous studies saying that pomegranate juice contains powerful and effective antioxidant properties.

Pomegranate Juice also Good for the Heart

When data that was not included in the abstract was analyzed, it revealed that patients who consumed pomegranate juice also exhibited improved risk factors for cardiovascular conditions such as a reduction in blood pressure, improved lipid profile and lower cardiovascular events.  This suggests that the patients who drank pomegranate juice had better cardiovascular health compared to those who didn’t.  The said findings are in consonance with the other studied subjects, especially important for patients who are undergoing dialysis because a good number of patients with kidney disease die either from infections or cardiovascular-related causes.

The authors of the study said the their findings indicate that consuming pomegranate juice in controlled amounts coupled with a monitored and safe levels of potassium may help lessen complications that frequently occurs in patients undergoing dialysis.  It is very important to consider the involved risks in too much potassium content, most especially in patients with chronic kidney disease whose diets include potassium restriction.

Dr. Kristal said that more clinical trials should be conducted regarding the effects of pomegranate juice.  The study should be geared towards reducing the high morbidity rate related to cardiovascular events in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and to put a stop to its deterioration to end-stage renal disease. The researchers said that the next decade may bring about an epidemic of CKD.

What is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease is a condition in which the kidney gradually, and permanently, loses its function. The kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood in order to get rid of excess water and waste products. Waste and water will convert into urine and will then be flushed out of the body. When the normal function of the kidneys is disrupted, waste products and excess water starts to accumulate.  This becomes toxic to the body which may affect various body parts.

The following conditions may cause chronic kidney disease:

  • Uncontrolled hypertension
  • Presence of kidney stones
  • Heroin abuse
  • Sickle Cell disease
  • HIV Infection
  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Diabetes Mellitus (Types 1 and 2)

The worst stage of chronic kidney disease is the Stage 5.  This stage is also referred to as end-stage renal disease or kidney failure.  What happens is that, there is a near-total or total loss of kidney function.  Toxic substances, waste products and excess water start to accumulate which may cause various signs and symptoms to the patient.  When this happens, kidney transplantation or dialysis is needed for the patient to stay alive.

Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Easy fatigability
  • Pruritus (generalized itching)
  • Dry skin
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Swelling of the extremities (hands and feet)
  • Problems in sleeping
  • Amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods)
  • Excessive thirst
  • Easy bruising
  • Frequent muscle cramps and twitching
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness

How to keep your kidneys healthy

  • Avoid eating foods that contain high amounts of salt.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Avoid too much alcohol intake
  • Visit your doctor for regular check-ups.
  • Eat a balanced diet.  Include vegetables and fruits that are rich in polyphenols.  Examples include carrot juice, dried fruits, cauliflower, sun dried tomatoes, avocados, asparagus, green beans, beetroot, mushrooms and potatoes.

Other Benefits of Pomegranate Juice

As mentioned, numerous studies have been conducted regarding the health benefits of pomegranate juice consumption.  Despite its benefits, pomegranate juice contains high amounts of sugar, so remember to drink moderately.

Other known benefits of pomegranate juice are:

  • In a study published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, pomegranate juice helps reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
  • In the Clinical Nutrition journal, researchers said that drinking pomegranate juice boosts the quality of sperm in men.
  • Pomegranate juice helps stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.  This is the result of a study published in the Neurobiology of Disease journal.
  • Studies conducted in Israel have shown that pomegranate juice helps fight breast cancer.  It destroys the cancer cells but leaves healthy cells unharmed.
  • Studies conducted with the use of mice have shown that drinking pomegranate juice may prevent lung cancer development.
  • For pregnant women, consumption of pomegranate juice helps protect the neonatal brain from damage.
  • Pomegranate juice is also good for the heart – it prevents the build up of fatty plaques in arteries which could cause heart attacks and stroke.

Sources
emedicinehealth.com
kidney.niddk.nih.gov
healthdiaries.com
naturalnews.com
naturalnews.com
eurekalert.org

Discuss this post in Frank Mangano’s forum!

Job strain linked to Heart disease: Learn Natural Ways to Reduce Stress

Posted: at 12:22 am


A recent study has associated high levels of job strain to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

The findings of a research study submitted to the Scientific Sessions 2010 of the American Heart Association revealed that women who conveyed having higher levels of job strain possess a 40 percent higher risk for the development of heart diseases such as heart attack.  Their risk of undergoing surgical procedures in order to unblock clogged arteries is also higher. This is in contrast to women who reported to have lower levels of job strain. Furthermore, researchers said that insecurity in one’s job, or the dread of losing a job, was linked to cardiovascular diseases risk factors which include being overweight, increased cholesterol levels and being hypertensive (high blood pressure).  However, they emphasized that it does not have a direct association with cardiovascular death, invasive procedures performed on the heart, stroke and heart attacks.

Job strain is a psychological stressor wherein a person is said to have an unusually demanding job but that does not give her the authority to make decisions, or does not provide opportunities for her to showcase her creativity and skills.

According to the senior author of the study, Dr. Michelle A. Albert, M.P.H, the results of the study shows that there exists clinically documented immediate, as well as long term, consequences of job strain to a person’s heart health, especially in women. She stated that a person’s job as the capability to negatively or positively affect health.  Therefore, people should start paying more attention to the pressures of their job and make it a part of their complete health package.  Dr. Albert is also an associate physician at Boston, Massachusetts’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

17,415 women took part in the momentous Women’s Health Study where researchers did an analysis on job strain.  The women who provided information were healthy health professionals, had a mean age of 57 years and primarily of Caucasian descent. Information regarding their job insecurity, job strain and risk factors of heart disease were asked from them.  A 10-year monitoring period was imposed in order to determine the occurrence of heart disease.  Utilizing standard questionnaire, the researchers assessed job insecurity and job strain.

For women who conveyed high job strain, there was a 40 percent higher risk for balloon angioplasty, coronary artery bypass surgery, ischemic strokes, heart attacks and death. The increased in the risk of a heart attack was up by 88 percent, and a 43 percent risk of invasive procedure or bypass surgery was seen.

Women who were in jobs that gave them low control and high demands had greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease long term.  The same is true for women with jobs that have a high sense of control and with high demands.  This is according to Natalie Slopen, Sc.D.  She is the head researcher as well as a fellow of postdoctoral research of Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child located in Boston.

Earlier research studies regarding job strain and its effects have been concentrated on men and cardiovascular conditions were somewhat restricted.  Dr. Albert said that it is important for employers, hospital and government entities, and potential patients to keep track of apparent job strain in employees and to begin programs that helps ease job strain and maybe positively impact cardiovascular diseases prevention.

What is Stress?

Stress is a fact of life.  These are external forces that affect the individual and she responds in different ways that ultimately affects her and her environment.  There is a relationship between the person and all that surrounds her – nature, work, family, friends, etc. Examples of external factors include:

  • Day-to-day circumstances
  • Difficult times
  • Everyday challenges
  • Home life
  • Relationship with other people
  • Job
  • Physical Environment

But there are internal factors too, and these can determine the body’s capability to deal with, and respond to, external stressors.  This would encompass:

  • Quality of rest and sleep
  • Emotional well-being
  • Fitness level
  • General health
  • Nutritional status

The Dangers of Stress

Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a psychologist, and Ronald Glaser, an immunologist and virologist, both from the Ohio State University, conducted a study as to the effects of stress in a person’s immune system. They discovered that stress suppresses the function of the immune system, making the person more prone to infections. Their study revealed that stress triggered the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, substances that initiate inflammatory reactions.  Once it becomes chronic, it seriously disrupts the body’s capability to heal wounds and fight infection – and it increases a person’s risk for developing various conditions such as type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease, among others.

Natural Ways to Reduce Stress

  • Set aside a time for peace and quiet, preferably in the morning.  You may choose to do yoga, to meditate, or to pray – basically anything that would allow you to find a place of solitude, even for just a few minutes a day.  This will help you attain the right frame of mind in order to go through another stress-filled day.
  • Exercise can give you a boost and reduce stress.  It releases endorphins – feel good hormones – which would help alleviate stress.
  • Reduce your intake of alcohol, caffeine, carbohydrates and sugar.  Too many carbohydrates will overload your body with sugar.  This depletes vitamin B in our bodies, which is important in maintaining the health of the nervous system.
  • Make use of herbs to calm yourself.  A cup of chamomile tea before bedtime will help you relax; ginseng has been known to enhance the body’s resistance to stress.

30 Stress Relievers

  1. Wake up early
  2. Wear comfortable clothes
  3. Write things down
  4. Choose your friends – avoid negative people
  5. Make copies of important documents
  6. Have a spare key
  7. Learn to say “no”
  8. Be generous with praise, even to yourself
  9. Listen more, talk less
  10. Get enough sleep
  11. Remember that you always have a choice
  12. Smile more often
  13. Develop a good sense of humour
  14. Strive for excellence, but not perfection
  15. Have a good support system
  16. Do something new
  17. Say goodbye to a bad habit
  18. Read
  19. Set goals
  20. Believe in yourself
  21. Have faith in the goodness of other people
  22. Recognize that you cannot do everything by yourself – ask for help
  23. Accept help
  24. Make good use of your time
  25. Apologize
  26. Ask for directions
  27. Keep in mind that it’s okay to cry sometimes
  28. Spend time with children
  29. Pay your bills on time
  30. Breathe

Sources
eurekalert.org
medicinenet.co
scientificamerican.com

Study Highlights the Risks of Energy Drinks

Posted: at 12:22 am


Why energy drinks are jeopardizing your health and what to do to energize yourself naturally

Drink at Your Own Risk

Energy drinks are all the rage these days.  Whether it’s Red Bull or Amp, Rockstar or Monster, 5-Hour Energy or Bawls, all of them promise to deliver amazing amounts of vitality and dynamism…so much so that you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it!

Claims like these sound truly fantastic, which is to say that they sound too good to be true.  But what sets these claims apart from so many other unrealistic company claims is that they actually deliver.

If you haven’t experienced the energy lift yourself, no doubt you have friends or family members who have experienced these jolts of energy.  These eight to 16 ounce cans are packed with so much caffeine and herbal stimulants, they make coffee seem like a kids drink.  And truth be told, by comparison, it is!

For example, the average cup of coffee has between 60 and 120 milligrams of caffeine.  Your average energy drink?  Try 200 milligrams (Arizona Green Tea Energy), 360 milligrams (Boo-Koo Energy) even 500 milligrams of caffeine per can!

Despite energy drinks popularity with the general public, several states are putting consumers’ health before the almighty dollar and removing energy drinks from store shelves and chill zones.  For example, the highly controversial energy drink Four Loko – the “four” referring to the absurdly high amounts of the four ingredients caffeine, taurine, guarana and alcohol – has been banned in the state of Michigan after nine Washington state college students were hospitalized after drinking it.  New York and Oregon are on the brink of following Michigan’s lead.

Should Energy Drinks Be Banned Entirely?

While no one is happy to see 20-somethings hospitalized, this may have been just what the doctor ordered to get people’s attention regarding why all energy drinks – not just Four Loko – may need to be banned.

My concern about the health effects of energy drinks comes after the release of a University of Texas at Houston study that examined the potential health risks associated with energy drink consumption.

John Higgins and his team of researchers looked at the ingredients of a wide array of energy drinks extending all the way back to 1976 – which was right around the time energy drinks became pretty mainstream in America – to today.  He also looked at the studies other researchers have done on energy drinks, though there haven’t been many.

His analysis revealed that cases of serious side effects – like heart attack, seizures or death – have been few and far between.  Nevertheless, the side effects he did observe were concerning enough for Higgins to say that they’re risky to drink.

Writing in the pages of the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Higgins and his colleagues say, “[People are] not rats, but consumption has been shown to be positively associated with high-risk behavior.”  The high-risk behavior he’s referring to involved bizarre behavior exhibited by rats during a separate study, wherein the rats displayed symptoms indicative of anxiety and self-mutilation.

Higgins noted other less severe, but nevertheless worrisome symptoms that come with energy drinks, like dehydration and elevated blood pressure levels in people that drink them.

Speaking to Reuters Health, Higgins said the best way to go about addressing the health costs of these energy drinks is greater regulation.  There is very little regulation on these drinks today, Higgins said, so companies can put whatever they want in them, and as much of what they want in them.

“Whenever you have a situation like this, you are going to run into problems,” Higgins said.

Energy Drinks Be Gone

Here’s the bottom line:  Don’t buy or consume so-called “energy” drinks.  Avoid them entirely.

It’s not that caffeine and herbal stimulants prima facie are bad; it’s the amount used that’s bad.  Caffeine is a fine thing when taken in moderation.  It increases awareness and can give you an extra energy boost when you want to rep out that last bench press.  But when used in excess, it ruins your sleep patterns, leaves you headachy if you’ve been taking it regularly and suddenly stop, and elevates your blood pressure to unsafe levels.

Far better to pursue natural ways of increasing energy.

Energize Yourself the Natural Way

There are lots of ways to natural increase your energy.  One of the best ways is to establish a regular exercise routine.  This may seem like putting the cart before the horse (a lot of people need energy to exercise, rather than exercise to get energy), but studies have shown that the physical act of moving increases energy levels.  A study published in a 2006 edition of Psychological Bulletin found that sedentary people who exercised regularly improved their feelings of fatigue considerably.  And this was true in 90 percent of the cases they reviewed!

Another way to find energy is by getting into the proper mindset, because much of your energy level depends on your attitude.  My colleague Steve G. Jones and I write about this fact in considerable depth in our book You Can Attract It.

Even if you don’t feel particularly energized, act it!  One of the worst things you can do in life is acting on your emotions at the moment.  After all, how often do we feel like going to work?  How often do we feel like brushing our teeth?  We do these things because it’s what life and good hygiene demand.  And an energetic physical you demands an energetic mental you.  As the saying goes, fake it until you make it!

Finally, take an inventory of what you’re eating from day to day, meal to meal.  There are a lot of foods that drain your energy levels by spiking your blood sugar, which send you crashing with feelings of lethargy and listlessness an hour or two later.

Energizing foods are those that are primarily carbohydrate-based.  Now, that doesn’t mean that any old carbo will do; you want to seek out foods that will fill you up without weighing you down.

Thus, fruits and vegetables are your best options.  These include blueberries, cantaloupe, tomatoes, bananas and spinach.  Bananas are particularly energizing, as they contain lots of potassium, a vital electrolyte that help stabilize blood sugar levels and maintain proper muscle and nerve function.

Other energizing foods are healthy fat foods.  While the body prefers to use carbohydrates as its primary source for energy, fats have the highest concentration of energy.  Thus, eat healthy sources of fat, which include protein sources like salmon, mackerel and herring; vegetable sources, like avocado; nuts, like almonds, walnuts and pecans; and seeds, like sunflower, chia, flax and hemp.

Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to a happier, energetic, livelier you!

Sources
newsmaxhealth.com
abcnews.go.com
energyfiend.com
naturalhealthontheweb.com
webmd.com
medicinenet.com
askmen.com

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Sleep Well and Stay Healthy

Posted: at 12:22 am


Researchers found out that people with poor sleep quality have higher inflammation levels which could increase the risk for stroke and heart disease.

Alana Morris, MD, a fellow of cardiology at Emory University School of Medicine, will be presenting the findings of a recently concluded study at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions which will be held in Chicago on Sunday, November 14, 2010. The findings are the results of a survey involving 525 middle aged people who participated in the Morehouse-Emory Partnership to Eliminate Cardiovascular Health Disparities, or META-Health – a study about the participants’ duration of sleep and quality of sleep.  Several experts were a part of the META-Health study.  Medical experts who served as co-directors were Gary Gibbon, MD, the director at Morehouse School of Medicine’s Cardiovascular Research Institute; and Emory’s Cardiovascular Research Centre’s director, Arshed Quymi.  The director of Emory University’s Sleep Program, Donald Bliwise, also extended help by providing additional guidance.

Details of the Study

According to Dr. Alana Morris, acute deprivation of sleep results to changes in the function of the blood vessels, as well as an increase in inflammatory hormones production.  However, Dr. Morris emphasized the need for more research studies regarding the physiologic effects of persistent lack of sleep. Furthermore, she added that previously conducted studies which examined the response of the body to lack of sleep have utilized subjects who have been acutely deprived of sleep for over 24 hours in experimental sleep labs and nothing like this has been examined in epidemiologic studies.

For the META-Health study, researchers performed an assessment of the participants’ quality of sleep, making use of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index survey. The study population’s median sleep score is six, and getting a score which is more than six is deemed poor.  The data were also analyzed basing on the subjects’ sleep duration (in hours).

Subjects, who stated six hours of sleep, or fewer, were seen to have increased levels of three inflammatory markers.  The markers were C-reactive protein, Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and fibrinogen.  The average levels of C-reactive protein in subjects who reported less than six hours of sleep were approximately 25 percent greater than the people who had six to nine hours of sleep.  C-reactive protein in people who lacked sleep was 2 mg per litre, while those who had enough sleep had 1.6 mg per litre.  The difference between the two groups was still considered significant, even when recognized risk factors were corrected such as obesity, diabetes, blood pressure and smoking.

Significance of C-reactive protein

C-reactive protein is significantly used as an important marker for the risk of heart disease and inflammation. People with C-reactive protein levels which are more than 3 mg per litre have twice the risk of having a heart attack, as compared to people with low C-reactive protein levels.  This information is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Heart Association.

According to Dr. Morris, the levels of C-reactive protein in people who had little sleep were higher.  However, it was still within the range of what health experts consider to be low to intermediate risk. But she points out that the population of their study was a representative of the community-based population and not patients who are in hospitals or those with known heart diseases, so their population study have overall lesser risk and lower levels of C-reactive protein compared to people who belong to the high risk population utilized in some studies.

Morris added that inflammation might be the reason why poor quality of sleep increases the risk for stroke and heart disease. She said that whether or not the lack of sleep directly contributes to cardiovascular mortality is still questionable.

Short Sleep or Long Sleep?

Past research studies have shown that individuals who get to sleep for seven to eight hours each night live the longest, and those who have too short or too long sleep duration results to a higher mortality.  Researchers discovered that sleeping for too short or too long a time are often associated with psychological stress, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure which are risk factors for the development of stroke and heart diseases.  But in the META-Health study, subjects who slept longer than nine hours did not exhibit significantly greater inflammation marker levels.

How to Sleep Better

While some people have the ability to fall asleep instantly as soon as their heads hit the pillow, there are some unfortunate ones who find it difficult to sleep.  For them, sleep just doesn’t come easy.  If you belong to the latter category, here are some tips on how you can sleep better:

Set a Routine

Setting and following a routine is an appropriate way to condition your body.  It is like setting your internal body clock, which goes off at specified times.  Before going to bed, you may set rituals – take a bath, apply lavender lotion, drink warm milk, read a few pages of your favourite novel before you turn off that bedside lamp.  Stick to this ritual and you will find how easy it is to fall asleep once everything is done.

Also, go to bed at a regular time each night and wake up at the same time each day. Do this even on weekends, even if it is so tempting to sleep and wake up late.

Eat Right, Drink Right

  • Refrain from eating big meals during dinner, especially those that contain high levels of fats since it takes too long to digest.  Also, avoid acidic and spicy foods since this may result to heartburn and stomach trouble.
  • Increase your consumption of foods that are rich in vitamin B complex such as whole grains, legumes, wheat germ, fish, and egg yolks; and vitamin C such as tart fruits and green leafy vegetables.  These vitamins aid in converting tryptophan (mainly found in milk) to serotonin which helps you achieve deep sleep.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before going to sleep since it would greatly affect the quality of your sleep by letting you wake up in the later part of the night.
  • Caffeine causes problems in sleeping even if you drank it ten hours before sleeping.  So it would be wise to reduce your caffeine intake.
  • Do not drink too much liquid at night.  Large amounts of tea, juice, soft drinks and even water can wake you up and cause frequent trips to the bathroom.

Go Natural

  • Do not use sleeping pills.  There are other effective and safer ways to sleep.
  • Drink chamomile tea before sleeping.  It has been used for over 1,000 years and is said to induce sleep and improve its quality.
  • Hops pillows, or those that contain the herb Humulus lupulus, is helpful for people with insomnia.  It is said to have sedating and calming effects, helping a person sleep better.
  • Adding lavender oil when bathing before going to bed is helpful since it gives a calming and relaxing effect and it enhances the quality of sleep.

Sources
life123.com
helpguide.org
eurekalert.org

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Eating Eggs in Moderation is Still Good for the Health

Posted: at 12:22 am


A recent study suggest that eating of eggs should be done in moderation, especially for people at high risk for heart diseases.

A review regarding the dangers of cholesterol present in a person’s diet, especially for those who are at risk of a stroke or heart attack, was published by three leading physicians in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology. The review was actually a warning, saying that one of the leading sources of cholesterol are egg yolks, which may contain cholesterol levels from 215 to 275 mg, depending on its size. It was actually compared to Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Double Down bun-less sandwich made up of cheese and bacon in between two slabs of fried chicken.  KFC’s one-of-a-kind sandwich is said to contain a cholesterol level of 150 mg.  For patients who are at risk of developing diseases of the heart, a limit to their total dietary cholesterol is set:  it should be less than 200 mg of cholesterol on a daily basis.

Dr. David Spence from The University of Western Ontario, a stroke prevention expert; Dr. David Jenkins, a nutrition expert coming from  Toronto’s St. Michael Hospital’s Risk Factor Modification Center; and Dr. Jean Davignon, a cholesterol expert from Montreal’s Clinique de nutrition métabolisme et athérosclérose, were the three physicians who conducted and published the review.

Dr. Spence, a scientist and professor at Robarts Research Institutes’ Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, said that the aim of the review is to put cholesterol into the spotlight, mainly because there have been a pervasive misconception among some physicians and the Canadian public as well, saying that consuming more and more amounts of egg yolks and dietary cholesterol is harmless.  He said that most of this has something to do with efficient marketing of eggs.

The said review made a commentary with regards to the difference between dietary cholesterol and fasting cholesterol levels.  It also tackled two large-scale studies which illustrated that no harm is done when egg is consumed by healthy people.  The authors of the review pointed out that in both previous studies, subjects who developed diabetes as they were consuming one egg per day had a two-fold risk of developing cardiovascular diseases as compared to the subject who ate less than one egg per week.  Furthermore, the studies indicated that consuming eggs on a regular basis brought out a significant increase in the development of new-onset diabetes mellitus.

As a conclusion, the authors said that the value of egg white remains to be unquestionable.  It is still an important source of protein that is excellent in quality.  However, egg yolks are another story.  The high levels of cholesterol present in an egg yolk is enough reason for it not to be eaten indiscriminately, especially by adults who are at risk for cardiovascular diseases.

The Egg in Focus:  Why You Should Not Stop Eating Eggs

The result of the review is enough reason for you to back down on eating eggs, stop altogether and look for other sources of protein.  WRONG.  Truth of the matter is, the egg is one of the best sources of high-quality, low-cost protein, supplying 11.1 percent of a person’s daily needs.  But this does not mean that we can all simply discount the findings of the study and consider it as untrue.  What the study was trying to tell us is that, everything should be done in moderation.  Too much of something is bad, and in this case, too eating too much whole eggs (the white and the yolk) is not advised, most especially for people who are at high risk for diseases of the heart.

Eating whole eggs, especially organic ones, does wonders for the body.  This may be the perfect time to weigh in on the advantages and disadvantages of eating eggs.

Eggs Boost Brain Health

One of the health benefits of eggs is their role in one’s diet as a good source of choline, an important component in body structures such as cell membranes as it maintains the cell’s integrity and flexibility.  Choline is also needed for the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that transmits messages to and from cells, especially in the brain. Sufficient amounts of choline allows proper functioning of the brain cells, helping improve one’s thinking, memory, judgment and other brain functions.

Although the human body is capable of producing choline, it cannot produce sufficient levels enough for the body’s use.  Lack of choline may cause deficiency in folic acid, another form of vitamin B that is critical for one’s health.

Eggs Reduces Inflammation

Again, the choline found in eggs are responsible for reducing the levels of inflammatory markers inside the body.  This is according to a study conducted by Greek researchers , the result of which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. For subjects whose diets were supplemented with choline and its betaine metabolite, the levels of inflammatory markers such as tumour necrosis factor alpha, C-reactive protein, and interleukin-6 were 20 percent lower compared to the subjects with low intake. These inflammatory markers have been linked to various conditions which includes type-2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, osteoporosis and heart disease.

According to the study, the richest source of choline is found in the egg yolk.

Eggs Help in Losing Weight

A controlled, randomized trial involving 160 obese and overweight men and women was conducted by Dhurandhar and company.  The participants were divided into two groups:  one group was given breakfast with two eggs, and the other group was given a bagel for breakfast. The amount of calories was calculated in order to ensure that both groups receive the same amount of calories. The study was conducted for a period of 8 weeks, where the participants had to eat their assigned breakfast menu 5 days a week.

After the 8-week period, results showed that the egg-eaters lost weight, two times more than their bagel-eating counterparts.  They also had an 83 percent reduction in waist circumference, and they reported better energy levels.

Eggs are good for the Eyes

Egg yolks contain large amounts of carotenoids, specifically zeaxanthin and lutein.  Studies have shown that increased dietary intake of zeaxanthin and lutein is linked to a significant reduction in the risk for developing age-related macular degeneration and cataract. The studies were conducted by at the University of Massachusetts.

Eggs help prevent Blood Clots

According to a study that was published in Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, proteins contained in egg yolk are responsible for inhibiting the aggregation of platelets.  It also prolongs fibrinogen to fibrin conversion time thereby reducing the possibility of blood clot formation.  Blood clots pose as a health threat when it impedes blood circulation.

Sources
healthdiaries.com
whfoods.com
eurekalert.org

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DHA in Fish Oil can help Stroke Patients and More

Posted: at 12:22 am


The results of a recent study revealed that DHA, a component in fish oils, can limit the severity of brain damage in stroke patients when administered up to 5 hours after the onset of stroke.

A group of researchers from the Health Sciences Center of Louisiana State University has conducted a research showing the benefits of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) against brain damage when it is given up to 5 hours after a stroke.  Dr. Nicolas Bazan led the team of researchers in this study.  He is a Villere Chair, a Boyd professor, and the Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at the Health Science Center of LSU.  The results of their study revealed that an important component of fish oil, DHA, acts as a strong therapeutic agent that can provide protection to brain tissues and help encourage recovery in an experimental representation of acute ischemic stroke, even if the treatment is deferred by up to 5 hours.  The findings of the study are very significant because, not only does it provide a new treatment approach for stroke, but it also provide necessary information when it comes to how long the therapeutic window really is.  The said research was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the results of which are published in the Translational Stroke Research journal.

The Brain:  What causes stroke?

For any organ to function properly, it needs a continuous and sufficient supply of blood since blood carries glucose and oxygen, which are necessary requirements in order for cells to live.  The brain is one important organ that cannot tolerate a lack, or the absence, of blood supply.  When blood supply to the brain is interrupted, brain cells die.  This is a condition called cerebrovascular accident (CVA), or more commonly referred to as stroke.

There are different reasons why the blood supply to the brain is disrupted.  First, when the arteries are either narrowed or hardened, blood supply becomes seriously impaired.  The narrowing of the arteries is called atherosclerosis, and it happens when a person has been overly consuming the wrong kind of cholesterol – the bad one.  Fatty plaques deposit into the walls or linings of the arteries.  Over time, the arteries, which are the blood’s passageway, becomes overly narrowed by the fatty deposits, and blood flow becomes difficult and sluggish.  Not only does this cause lesser blood flowing to the brain, but it places the person in great danger of embolism.  The pressure exerted by blood flowing through narrow arteries may cause debris to lodge off, travel through the bloodstream, and then obstruct one of the major arteries that provide the brain its blood supply.

Another reason for the disruption of the blood supply to the brain is the occurrence of an aneurysm in an artery inside the brain.  Aneurysms are small pouches that are filled with blood, and the presence of which is considered to be abnormal.  When an aneurysm ruptures, blood will spill out from the artery, which will compress structures inside the brain.

When blood supply is cut off, an irreversible damage occurs to the core tissue located at the spot of the blockage.  The penumbra, or the core’s surrounding tissues, may also be damaged but the difference lies in the fact that it has the potential of being salvaged.  But there is a certain life span to the penumbra because, after a few hours where blood flow is not re-established and no measures are done to protect the neurons, it may also undergo irreversible damage.  This is the part where the research findings become very significant.

The Study Details

In order for the researchers to know how effective DHA is in the treatment and recovery of stroke patients, the research team from LSUHSC administered either saline or DHA intravenously at the third, fourth, fifth and sixth hours after the start of stroke.  The subjects then underwent an MRI test which revealed that neurological deficits were decreased because of DHA administration.  Treatment with DHA assisted in neurobehavioral recovery and reduced the swelling in the brain.  Destroyed tissue size was reduced by approximately 40 percent when DHA was given at 3 hours, 66 percent at 4 hours, and 59 percent at 5 hours. DHA treatment also triggered the production of Neuroprotectin D 1 (NPD 1) which exerts a protective effect on neurons.

Risk Factors for Stroke

The World Health Organization says that 15 million people all over the world experiences stroke per year, and the number of deaths is at 6 million. For people aged 60 and above, stroke is the second most common cause of death and is the foremost cause of long-lasting disability regardless of country of origin, ethnicity, gender and age.  In the United States alone, it is estimated that the indirect and direct costs of stroke amounts to almost $74 billion.

The most common risk factors for stroke are as follows:

  • Smoking
  • Increasing age
  • Diabetes
  • Heart valve disease
  • Patent foramen ovale
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol levels in the blood
  • Hypertension, or high blood pressure

The Reasons Why DHA is good for You

DHA is one of the two types of Omega-3 fatty acids and the best sources of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are fish oil.  Good fish oil, obviously, comes from good fish – the examples of which are mackerel, hoki, salmon and herring. Here are some quick facts about the benefits of DHA consumption:

  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is essential for the growth and functional development of the brain in infants.
  • DHA is essential for pregnant women as it helps in the functional development and growth of the infant’s brain.
  • DHA is important for adults since it helps maintain normal brain function.
  • Consuming plentiful amounts of DHA in the diet enhances one’s ability to learn.
  • A decrease in the levels of DHA present in the brain is linked to the development of cognitive problems and causes its decline especially during aging.
  • DHA helps prevent cardiovascular diseases since it reduces triglyceride levels in the blood.
  • DHA decreases thrombosis and at the same time, it prevents the onset of abnormal heart rhythms (cardiac arrhythmias)
  • Diseases such as some forms of cancer, thrombosis, myocardial infarction, adult-onset diabetes mellitus, depression, atherosclerosis, arthritis, and hypertension can greatly benefit from the positive effects of DHA.

Sources
medicinenet.com
healthyomega3.com
omega-3-fish-oil-guide.com
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
eurekalert.org

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What You Can Do to Lower your Bad Cholesterol

Posted: at 12:22 am


A recent study has found out that the consumption of concentrated orange juice helps in lowering LDL-cholesterol in the body.

Much has been said about the effects of having high levels of LDL in the body.  Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) are commonly known as the bad form of cholesterol and have been greatly associated with a higher risk of developing diseases of the heart that may lead to life-threatening conditions such as stroke and heart attack.  This is due to the fact that when LDL cholesterol levels become too high, they have the tendency to stick to the walls of the blood vessels, which causes fatty plaque build-up, leading to a condition known as atherosclerosis. As previously stated, high LDL level is a chief risk factor for heart attacks and stroke.  This explains why LDL is called as the “bad” cholesterol.

It is not strange, therefore, that people are becoming more and more concerned with their cholesterol levels.  Numerous research ventures have been conducted with the main goal of finding ways to lower down LDL levels.  One such venture is the result of a study which was published in Nutrition Research, suggesting that the intake of a concentrated form of orange juice has the potential of reducing LDL cholesterol levels, especially in people with high levels of cholesterol in their bodies.  Concentrated orange juice, which contains high amounts of flavonoids, does not only exert its effects on the LDL cholesterol levels, but also in a person’s lipid profile, by escalating the transfer of free cholesterol.

The authors of the study, headed by Thais Cesar from Brazil’s Sao Paulo State University, said that the effects of taking in orange juice may be considered as beneficial to people with normal cholesterol levels, and those diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia (elevated cholesterol levels in the blood).  The researchers went on to report that consuming orange juice has become a part of a person’s dietary habit worldwide.  However, the practice of consuming concentrated forms of orange juice has become quite popular over the years.

Concentrated or Fresh?

It is best to point out that concentrated orange juice contain high amounts of flavonoids as compared to fresh orange juice. These flavonoids are naringin, hesperitin as well as polymethoxylated flavones (PMF).  The difference lies in the manufacturing process.  Concentrated orange juice makes use of the entire orange fruit.  This means that essential oils and pectin, which are found in the peel, are included in the concentrated form.

Other studies that have been conducted previously have shown that supplementation with naringin, hesperitin and PMF can indeed reduce the level of triglycerides and low density lipoprotein circulating in the blood.  At the same time, studies about the consumption of orange juice or the flavonoids in an orange extract have also shown favourable effects on the levels of plasma lipids.  Despite all these valuable information regarding orange juice, its function towards serum lipids have been hardly ever investigated.

Details of the Study

The consumption of orange juice reportedly caused a decrease in the LDL cholesterol levels of the hypercholesterolemic group, but did not have any effects on the normolipidemic group.  It was noted, however, that the triglycerides and the high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels remained unchanged for people from both groups. The researchers further reported that the transfer of free cholesterol to HDL intensified in both groups, but a decrease in phospholipid and triglyceride transfers was observed.

For subjects with normal cholesterol levels (normolipidemic group), the intake of orange juice elicited a 48 percent increase in the transfer of free cholesterol, and 9 percent in phospholipid transfers.  The hypercholesterolemic group exhibited a 22 percent increase in free-cholesterol transfer, but the transfer of phospholipids decreased by 10 percent, and transfer of triglycerides went down by 23 percent after the intake of orange juice.  The authors of the study concluded that the consumption of orange juice leads to a decrease in LDL-cholesterol levels of subjects with hypercholesterolemia.

Natural Ways to Lower Bad Cholesterol

While orange juice may be able to decrease LDL, there is one caveat to this:  it contains high amounts of sugar.  This means that one can simply start drinking gallons and gallons of orange juice per week.  One should know that there are a lot of other natural options that are considered safe and effective.  It is just a matter of imposing self-discipline and choosing what you feel is right for you.  Here are some practical and inexpensive ways of lowering your bad cholesterol level:

Stop being a couch potato

The first few changes a person has to make are related to lifestyle.  Are you spending more time in the couch, watching TV, and munching on junk foods? Then, it is time to stop.  Get those rubber shoes out of the closet and start jogging – or you may just do brisk-walking. High intensity exercises are not a requirement, although it can significantly increase the levels of the good cholesterol (HDL).

In fact, one study has shown that walking helps in reducing the risk of heart disease. For 18 weeks, the subjects went on once-a-day walks and their LDL levels went down by 8.3 percent.

Walking is the simplest form of exercise too, and it helps you lose weight as well, especially for people who want to shed off extra pounds. Research studies say that being overweight disturbs the normal metabolism of fats contained in the diet.  So this would ultimately increase cholesterol levels.  Shedding off at least 5 pounds will do wonders in decreasing LDL cholesterol.

Choose Soluble Fibers

Foods such as beans, whole grains, vegetables and fruits contain high amounts of soluble fibers, which act as a broom, sweeping off excess cholesterol in the body.  One study suggested that a 15 g intake of soluble fiber each day is enough to lower LDL levels by 5 to 10 percent.

Eat Fish

The American Heart Association said that consuming foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids lowers triglyceride levels and diminishes the growth of fatty plaques which causes atherosclerosis.  Best source of Omega-3 fatty acids are fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna.  Other supplemental sources include unprocessed oils such as olive oil, cod liver oil and fish oil.

Discover Lecithin

Lecithin has been widely used all over the world to treat patients with hypercholesterolemia, as this has the capacity to prevent fatty build-up in the walls of the blood vessels, thereby contributing to good cardiovascular health.

Go for Garlic

This very popular spice is known to lower LDL-cholesterol while increasing HDL levels, contributing to a healthy heart.

These are but few natural means of lowering down bad cholesterol levels.  If you search hard enough, you can surely come up with more options that would best fit your needs.

Sources
prevention.com
positivehealthsteps.com
nutritional-supplements-health-guide.com
nutraingredients.com

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What You Can Do to Keep Your Bones Healthy

Posted: at 12:22 am


A new study from the Texas Tech University found that the combined supplementation of green tea extract and vitamin D can improve bone health, repair bone damage caused by inflammation and reduce the product of inflammatory substances.

In a nutshell, the bones are responsible for holding everything together and help in keeping them in place and in the right position. The human skeletal system is composed of bones and other supporting components like tendons, cartilages and ligaments that holds the bones together and supports skeletal movement. The main function of the skeletal system is to serve as a protection and support for essential body organs like the heart, brain and lungs, and the same time act as a framework for the muscles and other tissues like the skin. The bones comprise around 30 to 40 percent of the body’s total weight.

The development of the bones starts during the early gestation period in pregnancy. A new born baby has around 300 bones and some of the bones fuse together as the person grows older; an adult has an estimated 206 bones. Beside its function of supporting the whole body, the bones, especially the long bones in the arms and the body’s lower extremities, are also responsible for the production of red blood cells. This process takes place in the bone marrow is called haematopoiesis.

Taking good care of the bones is important to maintain overall health. Lack of proper nutrition and sufficient exercise can lead to bone problems like osteoporosis, which is more popular in women, and bone cancer and the growth of bone tumors. The lesser popular bone disease are osteogenesis imperfecta or what is popularly termed as the brittle bone diseases and Paget’s bone disease associated with the weakness of the bones. Genetically predisposed individuals with a history of having bone diseases can have high risks of developing the condition. But poor nutrition plays a vital role as well.

Your Body Needs Calcium

Calcium is one of the important nutrients needed by the bones to promote growth and sustain strength and proper function. It is also needed to help the nerves, muscles and the heart to function properly. Different studies have shown that the lack of calcium in early life can lead to low bone mass and increased fracture rates in late-adult life. This leads to osteoporosis and other diseases associated with bone weakness. Vitamin D, on the other hand, is an important calcium culprit that promotes the efficient absorption of calcium during digestion. It also helps to maintain sufficient concentrations of serum calcium and phosphate to keep the bones in shape and sustain growth. Vitamin D deficiency makes the bones brittle, thin and out of shape.

A study conducted by a team of researchers from the Health Sciences Center of Texas Tech University found that the combination of polyphenols from green tea extract and alfacalcidol in Vitamin D can improve bone structure, strength and stability. The researchers used mice subjects and supplemented their diet with green tea polyphenols or alfacalcidol and found that the compounds have the potential to reverse bone damage caused by chronic inflammation while the supplementation of both compounds can sustain bone strength and structure. The study was published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Head researcher Dr Chwan-Li Chen said that the effects of polyphenols and alfacalcidol in maintaining bone microstructure demonstrate its significance in preventing the onset of osteoporosis. This is primarily caused by the anti-inflammatory properties of polyphenols from green tea and vitamin D alfacalcidol’s role in better calcium absorption.

Chronic inflammation of the bones has been long linked to the development of bone loss and deterioration through excessive production of inflammatory molecules and oxidative stress. Different anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants from isoflavones from soy products, polyphenols from green tea and as well as vitamin D can inhibit the production of inflammatory compounds in the body. Green tea has been the subject of different studies examining the health benefits of its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The new study evaluates its efficacy together with alfacalcidol in maintaining bone health and preventing bone diseases associated with low bone mass and bone weakness like osteoporosis.

The researchers reported that the combination of the two compounds reversed the changes in bone structure caused by inflammation. They were also found to strengthen the bones and suppress the production of inflammatory substances.

Foods for Healthy Bones

Sources of Calcium

The recommended dietary intake of calcium for adults is at least 1000 milligrams in a day. But this will primarily depend on the person’s weight, age and special conditions like pregnancy requires increased dosage of calcium. The easiest way to get calcium is by taking calcium supplements. But eating the right kinds of food is the best natural way of supplying the body with its much needed nutrient. The richest sources of calcium are the following:

  • green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli
  • oranges
  • beans
  • peanuts
  • tofu and other soy products
  • sea foods like sardines and salmon
  • sesame seeds
  • brown sugar
  • almonds
  • tortillas
  • corn
  • molasses

Sources of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for the better absorption of calcium. Without vitamin D, calcium may be wasted and flushed out of the body. The recommended dietary intake of vitamin D is 200 IU for adults and the recommended dosage increases as the person grows older. Vitamin D has a very low bioavailability in foods. The richest sources, however, are fish flesh and fish liver oils. Vitamin D is also found in egg yolks, cheese and beef liver. Due to the rarity of the natural sources of vitamin D, fortification of the nutrient in processed food products is popular amongst food manufacturers. In the US, vitamin D fortified milk supplies most of the population’s vitamin D requirement. Some brands of margarine, yogurt, and orange juice also fortify their products with vitamin D.

Exercise for Healthy Bones

Like the muscles, the bones are living tissues that also needs exercise to become stronger. And the best exercise for the bones is the weight-bearing kind. This includes dancing, tennis, climbing stairs, jogging, hiking, walking and weight training. Together with a healthy diet, involving in physical activities can significantly help in keeping the bones healthy and strong.

Sources
nutraingredients.com
nlm.nih.gov
medicalnewstoday.com
ods.od.nih.gov
niams.nih.gov
orthopedics.about.com
niams.nih.gov

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Is Nuclear DNA Damage a Cause of Aging?

Posted: at 12:22 am


When people say "DNA" they usually mean nuclear DNA. Our nuclear DNA resides, as you might guess, in the nucleus of cells. It is the packaged blueprint for the proteins and biochemical processes that give rise to our physical structure, protected, repaired, and manipulated by a dazzlingly complex array of attendant biological machinery. Our cells are constantly assaulted by reactive molecules created as a byproduct of metabolic processes, and despite the very efficient DNA repair mechanisms we have evolved, damage to nuclear DNA accumulates slowly over time and results in mutations - changes to the information coded in the DNA strands - or other forms of outright impairment of cellular operations.

It is well settled that the level of nuclear DNA damage and mutation exhibited by an organism rises over time. It is also well settled that higher levels of nuclear DNA damage and mutation mean a greater cancer risk - this is one of the reasons why cancer is predominantly a disease of the old. The more cells that suffer DNA damage, the more likely it is that one or more cells experience exactly the type of damage needed to run amok as the self-replicating seeds to a cancer. But is nuclear DNA damage and mutation a cause of aging?

That increasing instability of the genome contributes to age-related degeneration is the present working assumption for much of the aging research community, but this hypothesis is not unchallenged. The lack of a definitive proof is one problem: there is no good experiment to show that reduction in nuclear DNA damage levels - and only nuclear DNA damage levels - extends life. We can point to, for example, the fact that calorie restriction results in lower nuclear DNA damage levels, but this is only correlation. Calorie restriction slows the progression of every measure of biological aging, and produces significant changes in all of the master controls of metabolism and their subsystems, which makes it very hard to tease out any one dominant first cause. (And where work is proceeding on that front, boosted autophagy is the leading candidate in any case).

Biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey has argued for the irrelevance of nuclear DNA damage to aging - beyond the issues of cancer risk, and over the present human life span, that is:

Since Szilard's seminal 1959 article, the role of accumulating nuclear DNA (nDNA) damage - whether as mutations, i.e. changes to sequence, or as epimutations, i.e. adventitious but persistent alterations to methylation and other decorations of nDNA and histones - has been widely touted as likely to contribute substantially to the aging process throughout the animal kingdom. Such damage certainly accumulates with age and is central to one of the most prevalent age-related causes of death in mammals, namely cancer. However, its role in contributing to the rates of other aspects of aging is less clear. Here I argue that, in animals prone to cancer, evolutionary pressure to postpone cancer will drive the fidelity of nDNA maintenance and repair to a level greatly exceeding that needed to prevent nDNA damage from reaching levels during a normal lifetime that are pathogenic other than via cancer or, possibly, apoptosis resistance.

The high level goal of de Grey's SENS program is to develop the biotechnologies needed to repair and reverse all of the identified biochemical differences between a young person and an old person. That remit obviously includes nuclear DNA damage and mutation, but de Gray's position above is essentially an efficiency argument - other forms of difference are far more important, so the research community should deal with those first.

This is far from the last word in the ongoing debate over aging and nuclear DNA damage, of course, and until someone designs an experiment to show extended life in mice achieved through nothing more than better DNA repair, it will remain a debate. If you look back into the Fight Aging! archives, you'll find more on this topic:

There are good arguments and supporting evidence on either side; sometimes in the life sciences you have to accept that a good answer beyond mere hypothesis remains elusive, and more work must be done in order to change that fact.

Implicating Cellular Senescence as One Cause of Aging

Posted: at 12:22 am


A recent open access review paper looks at the evidence for accumulated senescent cells as one of the causes of aging: "Epidemiological studies have shown that age is the chief risk factor for lifestyle-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but the molecular mechanisms that underlie the increase in the risk of such diseases conferred by aging remain unclear. ... Interestingly, most of the molecules that influence the phenotypic changes of aging also regulate cellular senescence, suggesting a causative link between cellular senescence and aging. ... Cell division is essential for the survival of multicellular organisms that contain renewable tissues, but places the organism at risk of developing cancer. Thus, complex organisms have evolved at least two cellular mechanisms to prevent [cancer]: apoptosis and cellular senescence. In this regard, aging and age-associated diseases can be viewed as byproducts of the tumor suppressor mechanism known as cellular senescence. Consistent with this idea, the number of senescent fibroblasts increases exponentially in the skin of aging primates. Conversely, extension of the lifespan by calorie restriction decreases biomarkers of cellular senescence."

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1253/circj.CJ-10-0916

Long-Lived Species and Aging

Posted: at 12:21 am


From Maria Konovalenko: "There are many studies that involve extending the lives of laboratory animals - through gene manipulation, pharmaceutical intervention, and dietary restriction. But according to Steven Austad, a biologist at the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, these manipulations 'pale in comparison to the remarkable diversity of lifespan produced by evolution.' He points out that maximum life span across the animal kingdom varies 40,000-fold. For example, some adult flies live less than an hour; some shellfish for centuries. Among mammals alone, longevity varies 1,000-fold. The average fruit fly lives a little more than a month, so scientists' ability to double its lifespan is a remarkable achievement but Austad says we may be missing something by focusing so much of our longevity research on animals - flies, worms, mice - that are 'demonstrably unsuccessful at combating basic aging processes.' He suggests we put more effort into understanding molecular solutions nature has devised to help long-living creatures evade their deaths. ... Aging affects all of us. People are going to continue to live longer because of medical advances. We want them to live healthier as well as live longer. The best way to achieve longer health is to figure out ways to medically slow aging. That's a different sort of approach than figuring out how to cure cancer or heart disease. If you can cure aging, or if you can slow it, then you can really delay or prevent a whole host of disabilities and diseases."

Link: http://mariakonovalenko.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/what-old-animals-can-teach-us-about-aging/

An Advance in Cancer Immunotherapy

Posted: at 12:21 am


Manipulating the immune system to destroy specific targets in the body is an approach that shows great promise. Targets involved in aging include senescent cells, cancerous cells, and aggregates such as amyloids that become harmful as they build up over time. An added bonus to the increasing importance of immune therapies in the research community is that it will force researchers to spend more time on establishing ways to reverse the decline of the immune system with age. The people who will most benefit from immune therapies are the old - but their immune systems need to be functioning well in order to obtain the best results.

Here is an example of present work on training the immune system to destroy cancer. These are still the opening years of this field of research, but the benefits are evident even now, while the therapies are comparatively crude and unrefined.

A new process for creating a personalized vaccine may become a crucial tool in helping patients with colorectal cancer develop an immune response against their own tumors. ... Basically, we've worked out a way to use dendritic cells, which initiate immune responses, to induce an antitumor response. ... The new research grew dendritic cells from a sample of a patient's blood, mixed them with proteins from the patient's tumor, and then injected the mixture into the patient as a vaccine. The vaccine then stimulated an anti-tumor response from T-cells, a kind of white blood cell that protects the body from disease.

...

In the study, Barth first operated on 26 patients to remove tumors that had spread from the colon to the liver. While some of these patients would be expected to be cured with surgery alone, most of them would eventually die from tiny metastases that were undetectable at the time the tumors were removed from the liver. The DC vaccine treatment was given one month after surgery. The results were that T-cell immune responses were induced against the patient's own tumor in more than 60% of the patients. The patients were followed for a minimum of 5.5 years.; Five years after their vaccine treatment, 63% of the patients who developed an immune response against their own tumor were alive and tumor-free. In contrast, just 18% of the patients who did not develop an immune response against their own tumor were alive and tumor-free.

It'll be a couple of decades before people of my generation reach the prime years for developing cancer. Progress of this sort today, when we are still at the very start of the age of biotechnology, is one of the reasons why I'm not overly concerned about the cancer in my future. The impact on my personal finances will no doubt be painful at the time - but that can be planned for, and I'll take it over the other options.

The FDA Must Go

Posted: at 12:21 am


From the Huffington Post: "There is no question that social equity issues such as poverty and access to medical treatment affect life expectancy. The same is true with our life style choices (e.g., eating, exercise). Yet the precise benefit often is elusive as is the case for alcohol where epidemiological studies find surprisingly contradictory results. So, what happens when we throw [the] FDA into the brew? We have a system of FDA approval that requires a pharmaceutical company show three things: (1) a mechanism of action (i.e., identify why a drug works), (2) safety and (3) efficacy in managing a measurable biologic end point associated with a disease. This last condition is a problem. Look at the conundrum: You're a researcher and you walk into FDA one day and say: 'I have in this bottle an elixir that if taken every day of your life will add on average 4 years to how long you can expect to live.' FDA says: 'What disease will it cure?' The researcher says: 'It won't cure disease, it will postpone or mitigate the lethality of some diseases, but as you get older you will get other diseases.' FDA then hopefully says: 'We get it. While we do not now nor have we ever thought about age as a disease metric, we accept the concept. All we need to do is test your drug on a sufficiently large population and for a long enough period of time to prove to us it works.' That is the problem." For so long as the FDA and its more similar foreign counterparts exist, progress in turning science into applied longevity-enhancing therapies will be greatly slowed.

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-liberson/does-fda-need-to-rethink_b_787383.html

Liver diseases identified as Europes silent killers

Posted: at 12:21 am


LIVER diseases have become a silent killer in Europe, and are now responsible for more than one in six deaths in the European Union.

More than 10 million people in the region suffer from viral hepatitis alone but many of them will not even be aware of it, according to medical experts.

The European association for the study of the liver want the European Union to launch a public awareness campaign especially about viral hepatitis.

Professor Jean-Michel Pawlotsky told members of the European Parliament yesterday that viral hepatitis is one of the most common and lift-threatening communicable diseases in Europe, and yet it seems to have been forgotten by governments.

"It has become a silent killer because of the large and increasing number of individuals who carry hepatitis B or C, but have not been tested and are so unaware of their condition.

"Without treatment, viral hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and death," he said.

The condition should be recognised as an urgent health priority with awareness campaigns, primary prevention measures, earlier diagnosis and better management of the disease, said Prof Pawlotsky. Read more...

Blood sugar levels, Healthy blood

Vitamins and Good Sense

Posted: at 12:21 am


By Bernadine Healy M.D.
Posted 3/4/07

Vitamin studies always seem to stir controversy, but certainly not visions of death. On that score, last week's report on antioxidant vitamins, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was a doozy. The researchers concluded that people taking the antioxidants vitamins A, its precursor beta carotene, and vitamin E, for whatever reason, at whatever dose, and for however long, may be putting their lives in jeopardy. But before you toss out your vitamin pills, let's examine this alarmist study a little bit closer.

Researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital set out to determine whether the antioxidant supplements lengthen one's life. That's difficult to answer, since most people taking vitamins are healthy. So the researchers identified antioxidant clinical trials large and small, as long as they reported at least one death. Any death counted, whether from heart disease or cancer, kidney failure or hip fractures, murders or suicides. Out of 747 antioxidant trials reviewed, 68 met the bill. Then, in what is called a meta-analysis, the 68 trials were combined into what is effectively one study. Read more...

Diet detox , detox patch , kidney detox

Malpractice Fears Can Influence Medical Practice

Posted: at 12:21 am


(HealthDay News) -- Peer pressure and fear of malpractice lawsuits seem to be behind the decisions by some doctors to order unnecessary cardiac catheterizations, new research suggests.

When asked in a national survey why they might order this potentially hazardous procedure that measures blood flow to the human heart, even when it might not be called for clinically, the top two reasons that cardiologists around the country gave were the fact that other doctors do it routinely and that patients might sue if the test wasn't done.

"We didn't say unnecessary," noted study author Frances Lee Lucas, an epidemiologist with the Maine Medical Center in Portland, whose report was published in the April 13 online edition of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. "We said how often for non-clinical reasons. We didn't want to say unnecessary because we knew nobody would ever say they ordered an unnecessary test."

The study of 598 cardiologists didn't attempt to determine the number of catheterizations performed that weren't really needed -- an important issue in an era of rising worry about medical costs. That would be a very difficult study to do, and it would have to include errors in both directions, people who need one and don't get it as well as people who get one and don't need it, Lucas said. Read more...

Detox fast, detox center , detox programs

Amino acids are latest in growing list of nutrients shown to extend life span

Posted: at 12:21 am


Researchers are zeroing in on specific nutrients and natural therapies that not only can prevent and heal disease but promote longevity. For example, as NaturalNews previously reported, a research team from Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc., and LifeGen Technologies found that Cordyceps sinensis (Cs-4), a traditional Chinese mushroom, is a powerful anti-aging food that could lengthen lifespan (http://www.dreddyclinic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=24075). And University at Buffalo endocrinologists recently documented for the first time that resveratrol, a phytochemical found in red grapes, grape juice and red wine, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in humans and may promote human longevity, too (http://www.dreddyclinic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=20422). Read more...

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