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Calorie Restriction Slows Age-Related Autonomic Decline

Posted: April 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm


Another aspect of aging slowed by calorie restriction: "Caloric restriction (CR) retards aging in laboratory rodents. [Little] information is available on the effects of long-term CR on physiologic markers of aging and longevity in humans. Heart rate variability (HRV) is a marker for cardiac autonomic functioning. The progressive decline in HRV with aging and the association of higher HRV with better health outcomes are well established. HRV assessment is a reliable tool by which the effects of CR on autonomic function can be assessed. Time and frequency domain analyses compared 24-hr HRV in 22 CR individuals aged 35-82 yrs and 20 age-matched controls eating Western diets (WD). The CR group was significantly leaner than the WD group. Heart rate was significantly lower, and virtually all HRV significantly higher in the CR than in the WD group. HRV in the CR individuals was comparable to published norms for healthy individuals 20 years younger. In addition, when differences in HR and HRV between CR and WD were compared with previously-published changes in HRV induced in healthy adults given atenolol, percent differences in each measure were generally similar in direction and magnitude and suggested declines in sympathetic and increases in parasympathetic modulation of HR and increased circadian variability associated with CR. These findings provide evidence that CR has direct systemic effects that counter the expected age-associated changes in autonomic function so that HRV indexes in CR individuals are similar to those of individuals 20 years younger eating WDs,"

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22510429

Source:
http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/rss_feed.cfm

Managing Expectations

Posted: at 3:50 pm


If you are around 40 years of age and basically average in terms of genes and health, the odds are good that in your first few decades you gained little in the way of longevity advantages over someone 20 years your senior, living in the same location. Medical science is progressing, but the young in wealthier regions of the world don't really use or need all that much medical technology once past the point of vaccinations and the standard - and diminishing - brace of infectious childhood diseases. The point here is that the bulk of any technology-dependent difference in your life span has yet to be engineered: it depends on how well you take care of the health basics from here on out, and far more on how rapidly medical technology progresses towards working rejuvenation biotechnology. If that medical technology isn't researched, isn't developed, isn't made available in a competitive marketplace, then the life trajectory of your parents is not an unreasonable model for your life.

If medical technology stopped moving forward now, then, sad to say, most people would not live a great deal longer than their parents. Gains due to medical technology are all in the future - they can be seen, discussed, and worked on in detail, but they are not here yet. What does that mean? It means that if you are 40, you're half-way done. You have half of the hour-glass left in which to make a difference - to help build the technologies that will smash this limitation of the human condition. Here are some recently released tables of European demographic data to reinforce the point:

In 2009 men in the European Union (EU27) could expect 61.3 Healthy Life Years (HLY), representing almost 80% of their life expectancy (LE) at birth of 76.7 years. Women could expect 62 HLY, 75% of their life expectancy (LE) at birth of 82.6 years in 2009.

Life expectancy at birth is an artificial construct - it is a measure of quality of health and medical technology, useful for comparisons, not a number that corresponds to what will happen to people born now or who are alive now. It reflects the life expectancy of a person born now if every statistical measure of health and mortality derived from the present population remained the same into the future. So in an age of advancing technology you would expect life expectancy figures to be lower than what will turn out to be the average age attained by your peers.

But still, it should be clear that unless progress in extending healthy life becomes more radical and less incremental, there are fair odds of 40-year-old you not living to see 80. This is not what anyone wants to hear, but it is what it is - the only way to make this different is to work to make it different. Support the work of the SENS Foundation, for example, or other causes that are involved in the science of extended human longevity and repair of aging.

One other item to keep in mind is that the cultural and financial institutions - such as Social Security in the US - that are ostensibly there to provide for you in old age some decades from now won't be around to help you. The money you're presently giving to your local government that is supposedly for that purpose? It's gone. That was nothing but a wealth transfer from you to someone further ahead in the ranks of the Ponzi scheme that you've all been drafted into. The system as it stands is set for collapse, with bailouts and massive devaluation of national currencies along the way, and that's before we consider the likely increases in longevity above and beyond the prediction models presently in use:

An IMF analysis says advanced economies would need to set aside half of their GDP today to pay for a three-year increase in longevity that is actuarially likely by 2050. ... Over the past several decades, governments have consistently underestimated longevity projections and thus have underestimated their pension liabilities. If people live just three years more than expected in 2050, which is in line with the average underestimates of the recent past, the funding gap to pay retirement benefits would be 1% to 2% per year - an amount equal to 50% of 2010 GDP. This gain in longevity will come as a huge shock to public and private pension schemes that are already woefully underfunded.

The point being this: don't look to the future thinking that anyone else is going to pay your way right at the point when it would be peachy keen to have funds for those new medical technologies that will reverse some of the aspects of your age-related degeneration. For one, do you really want to be just another grasping pawn in this vast game of generational theft, and for two, the odds are that the game will be over before you have the chance to do anything other than pay for someone else's increased standard of living. So make your own plans: save, save, save, and invest wisely.

Source:
http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/rss_feed.cfm

Celebrating Progress in Regenerative Medicine

Posted: at 3:50 pm


Nature comments on recent advances: "At the turn of the twentieth century, the promise of regenerating damaged tissue was so far-fetched that Thomas Hunt Morgan, despairing that his work on earthworms could ever be applied to humans, abandoned the field to study heredity instead. Though he won the Nobel Prize in 1933 for his work on the role of chromosomes in inheritance, if he lived today, the advances in regenerative medicine may have tempted him to reconsider. Three studies published this week show that introducing new cells into mice can replace diseased cells - whether hair, eye or heart - and help to restore the normal function of those cells. These proof-of-principle studies now have researchers setting their sights on clinical trials to see if the procedures could work in humans. ... You can grow cells in a Petri dish, but that's not regenerative medicine. You have to think about the biology of repair in a living system. ... Japanese researchers grew different types of hair on nude mice, using stem cells from normal mice and balding humans to recreate the follicles from which hair normally emerges. ... A second study using regenerative techniques helped to restore some vision to mice with congenital stationary night blindness, an inherited disease of the retina. ... [Researchers reprogrammed] cardiac fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes - the muscle cells of the heart that are permanently lost after a heart attack. The team used a retrovirus to deliver three transcription factors that induced the reprogramming in adult mice, and improved their cardiac function. ... These three papers are just the tip of the iceberg. By the time we grow old, doctors are going to look back and say, 'Can you believe people used to go bald, go blind or even have their leg cut off from vascular disease?' - and then the doctor will treat the problem with an injection of cells."

Link: http://www.nature.com/news/regenerative-medicine-repairs-mice-from-top-to-toe-1.10472

Source:
http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/rss_feed.cfm

Exercise Reduces Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted: at 3:49 pm


Via EurekAlert!: "Daily physical exercise may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, even in people over the age of 80 ... The study showed that not only exercise but also activities such as cooking, washing the dishes and cleaning are associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. These results provide support for efforts to encourage physical activity in even very old people who might not be able to participate in formal exercise but can still benefit from a more active lifestyle. ... For the study, a group of 716 people with an average age of 82 wore an actigraph, a device that monitors activity, on their non-dominant wrist continuously for 10 days. All exercise and non-exercise was recorded. They also were given annual tests during the four-year study that measured memory and thinking abilities. During the study, 71 people developed Alzheimer's disease. ... The research found that people in the bottom 10 percent of daily physical activity were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease as people in the top 10 percent of daily activity. The study also showed that those people in the bottom 10 percent of intensity of physical activity were almost three times as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease as people in the top 10 percent of intensity of physical activity."

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-04/aaon-gmd041012.php

Source:
http://www.longevitymeme.org/newsletter/latest_rss_feed.cfm

Fully Functional Hair Regeneration Demonstrated

Posted: at 3:49 pm


Researchers have been manipulating stem cells to cause hair follicles to form and hair to grow for a few years now. Consider this research from 2009, for example:

Professor Lin Sung-jan took 10 hair follicles from rodents and cultivated 8 to 10 million dermal papilla cells in vitro in 20 days. Using aggregates of between 3 and 5 million dermal papilla cells, he mixed these with rodent skin cells and transplanted them onto bare rodent skin, which sprouted hair.

Bald skin and haired skin have the same cell populations needed to grow hair, as it turns out, so this sort of cell-based approach has merit. The end of the story will likely be some form of cell signalling treatment to instruct cells already present in the body to form hairs in an area of skin rather than cell transplants - but transplants are first in line for development. The process is not exactly straightforward, unfortunately. Much like the tissue engineering of teeth, some form of guiding technology must be established to ensure that the cells grow as they should - without it, you end up with misshapen or broken structures.

On this subject, the work of a Japanese group on hair regeneration has been in the news of late, and they seem to have established a proof of principle for guiding correct hair growth. You'll find an open access paper and a couple of popular press items to choose from, complete with pictures of a hairless mouse sporting a patch of engineered hair:

Previously, Tsuji and colleagues had bioengineered follicles and hair shafts in the lab using epithelial and mesenchymal cells from mouse embryos. Until now, it was unclear whether these organized clusters of cells would make normal hair if inserted into mouse skin.

In the new work, the team transplanted a group of the engineered follicles into the skin on the backs of hairless mice. After about two weeks, hairs began to sprout. Under the microscope, the hair grown from the bioengineered mouse follicles resembled normal hair, scientists found. And the mouse follicles went through the normal cycle of growing hair, shedding and making new hair.

When researchers injected the region around the bioengineered follicle with acetylcholine, a drug that causes muscles to contract, the hairs perked up. This suggests that the transplanted follicles had integrated with surrounding muscle and nerves like normal hair follicles do.

Importantly, the researchers were able to ensure hair didn't become ingrown or point in the wrong direction by attaching a nylon thread to the engineered follicles and guiding the hair to grow outward.

That guide method doesn't sound very scalable - though given that there is a market for hair restoration techniques that involve moving follicles one by one, I could see it finding use in the clinic. But we can live without our hair and our vanity; a legion of far more serious and life-threatening degenerations accompany aging, and those are where our attention should be directed. The most important long-term effects of this particular line of research will, I think, be the application of the lessons learned to other areas of tissue engineering: guiding the regeneration of small complex structures, of which there are a great many in the body.

The results also mark a step forward in efforts to regenerate organs such as salivary glands that form in a process similar to hair early in their development.

Source:
http://www.longevitymeme.org/newsletter/latest_rss_feed.cfm

Del-1 and Inflammatory Gum Disease

Posted: at 3:49 pm


From Queen Mary, University of London, investigation of the mechanisms of periodontitis in aging: "New research [sheds] light on why gum disease can become more common with old age. The study, published in Nature Immunology, reveals that the deterioration in gum health which often occurs with increasing age is associated with a drop in the level of a chemical called Del-1. The researchers say that understanding more about Del-1 and its effects on the body's immune system could help in the treatment or prevention of serious gum disease. ... As people age they are more likely to suffer from inflammatory diseases, including gum disease. The new research investigated gum disease in young and old mice and found that an increase in gum disease in the older animals was accompanied by a drop in the level of Del-1. This protein is known to restrain the immune system by stopping white blood cells from sticking to and attacking mouth tissue. Mice that had no Del-1 developed severe gum disease and elevated bone loss and researchers found unusually high levels of white blood cells in the gum tissue. When they treated the gums of the mice with Del-1, the number of white blood cells dropped, and gum disease and bone loss were reduced. The researchers say their findings could be the basis for a new treatment or prevention of gum disease."

Link: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/media/news/items/smd/71770.html

Source:
http://www.longevitymeme.org/newsletter/latest_rss_feed.cfm

Another Genome-Wide Search for Longevity Genes

Posted: at 3:49 pm


Researchers are not having as much success as they'd like in finding unambiguous associations between specific genes and human longevity - studies are turning up results, but few are similar between populations, indicating that the genetics of natural variations in longevity are probably very complex: "It has long been thought that related individuals share a familial predisposition to longevity, and for more than a century numerous studies have investigated the degree to which human longevity might be an inherited characteristic. Most studies of this type have reported small (?10%) to moderate (?30%) heritability of human longevity, amid differences in definitions of longevity, methods of measuring it, ascertaining individuals who demonstrate it, and in various behavioral and environmental settings. These methodological differences likely account for much of the variation in the resulting estimates of the heritability of longevity. ... We identified individuals from a large multigenerational population database (the Utah Population Database) who exhibited high levels of both familial longevity and individual longevity. This selection identified 325 related 'affected individuals', defined as those in the top quartile for both excess longevity (EL=observed lifespan - expected lifespan) and familial excess longevity (FEL=weighted average EL across all relatives). A whole-genome scan for genetic linkage was performed on this sample using a panel of 1100 microsatellite markers. A strongly suggestive peak was observed in the vicinity of D3S3547 on chromosome 3p24.1, at a point nearly identical to that reported recently by an independent team of researchers from Harvard Medical School (HMS). ... Corroboration of the linkage of exceptional longevity to 3p22-24 greatly strengthens the case that genes in this region affect variation in longevity and suggest, therefore, an important role in the regulation of human lifespan. Future efforts should include intensive study of the 3p22-24 region."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3323558/

Source:
http://www.longevitymeme.org/newsletter/latest_rss_feed.cfm

Adapting Stem Cells to Deliver a Therapy

Posted: at 3:49 pm


There are many possible forms of therapy that either might be built or are presently being built atop of a greater knowledge of stem cells and cell biotechnologies. Cultured populations of stem cells can be let loose into the body to do their work, or existing cells can be directed to take action where they would normally stand aside, or tissues can be constructed for transplant, and many more variants upon these themes. As explained in a recent open access paper, stem cells can also stand duty as a method of delivering a therapy rather than being a form of therapy themselves: they can move around the body largely unhindered, and different types of stem cells have quite strong opinions as to which part of the body they would like to migrate towards. Given the right signals, stem cells can even be directed to quite specific locations - consider the way in which cells respond to injury, for example. This is but one of countless signals that cause stem cells to travel or take specific actions: a great deal of future medicine will be based on better understanding and control over stem cells in the body.

So let us say that you want to move a dose of a fragile therapeutic molecule into the brain, past the blood-brain barrier - and, further, to quite specific locations within the brain. Why not enlist stem cells to carry it in? Unfortunately it's not completely straightforward - stem cells have their own ideas as to where they would like to go, and if that isn't suited to the need at hand, then further improvement in control is needed. The basic concept still looks promising, however, even though early attempts are not achieving great results:

Transplantation of neural stems cells (NSCs) could be a useful means to deliver biologic therapeutics for late-stage Alzheimer's disease (AD). In this study, we conducted a small preclinical investigation of whether NSCs could be modified to express metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9), a secreted protease reported to degrade aggregated A? peptides that are the major constituents of the senile plaques.

Our findings illuminated three issues with using NSCs as delivery vehicles for this particular application. First, transplanted NSCs generally failed to migrate to amyloid plaques, instead tending to colonize white matter tracts. Second, the final destination of these cells was highly influenced by how they were delivered.

...

Overall, we observed long-term survival of NSCs in the brains of mice with high amyloid burden. Therefore, we conclude that such cells may have potential in therapeutic applications in AD but improved targeting of these cells to disease-specific lesions may be required to enhance efficacy.

The medicine of the 2040s may involve more cell therapies than any other area at the present pace: cells ordered around, changed in situ into augmented bioartifical machinery to conduct repairs or deliver compounds to needed locations, or even joined by artificial cells that carry out similar duties but more effectively. We are built of cells, so it makes some sense that our medical technology might eventually also be largely built of cells, act through cells, or otherwise be based on the direct control and repair of cells.

Source:
http://www.longevitymeme.org/newsletter/latest_rss_feed.cfm

Lubricin can play an important role in keeping joints agile

Posted: at 3:49 pm


Some relief for people having problems with their hip joints!! Duke University researchers have developed a method which enables specific measurement of biomechanical properties of hip joints in the case of mice. They have found out that lubricin which is a joint fluid has an important role to play in keeping joints agile. This has helped to come to a conclusion that treatments designed for increasing lubricin levels could aid in stopping the deterioration of arthritic joints. Tests conducted on mice showed that arthritic joints of mice lacked the gene which controlled production of lubricin showed greater friction as compared to joints of other animals and even at molecular level it demonstrated that joint cartilage of mutant animals appeared less stiff and rougher. This has suggested to the researchers that there can be a loss of cartilage mechanical integrity without requiring lubricin. Stefan Zauscher, Professor, Pratt School said: Lubricin has been considered important, but the experiments had not been done. This is the first look at the effects on biomechanics of lubricin’s presence or absence All this has opened a new window of hope for joint patients.

Source:
http://www.biotechblog.org/rss.xml

California Stem Cell Agency Launches $30 Million Plan to Lure Industry

Posted: at 3:48 pm



Just one week after the $3 billion California stem cell agency was sharply criticized for its failure to adequately support biotech firms, the agency formally kicked off a $30 million effort to engage industry more closely.

The initiative, in the works since the middle of last year, was heralded as the beginning of a "new era" for CIRM, which is moving to transform into cures the stem cell research it has funded over the last seven years. The agency has scheduled a webinar for April 25 for prospective applicants.

CIRM's press release, crafted by the agency's new PR/communications director, Kevin McCormack, yesterday quoted CIRM President Alan Trounson as saying,

"This initiative is a major new development in the progress towards providing new medical treatments for patients by engaging the most effective global industry partners."

Elona Baum, the agency's s general counsel and vice president of business development, said the program "represents a new era for CIRM."

Under the RFA, the agency will award up to $10 million each for three grants or loans. The program, however, is not limited to businesses. Non-profits may apply as well. Representatives from industry have complained about a strong tilt on the part of CIRM towards academic and non-profit research enterprises. The CIRM board is dominated by representatives from those two sectors.

The program grew out of recommendations in November 2010 from an "external review" panel put together by CIRM that said the agency needed to do better with business. The refrain was heard again directly from stem cell firms at last week's hearing by the Institute of Medicine on the stem cell agency's performance. According to CIRM's figures, businesses have received $54 million in grants and loans since 2005, the first year the CIRM board approved grants, out of a total of $1.3 billion.

Only one news outlet has written a story so far about the posting of the RFA and the press release, as far as can be determined.

Ron Leuty of the San Francisco Business Times said,

"The most likely candidates to attract industry funding would be CIRM’s 'disease team' grant winners, who face a deadline of 2014 to bring a project to the point of first-in-human clinical trials. CIRM has weighed options for pushing those projects — there are 13 of them now — deeper into the FDA approval process."

CIRM said in the RFA material,

"The intent of the initiative is to create incentives and processes that will: (i) enhance the likelihood that CIRM funded projects will obtain funding for Phase III clinical trials (e.g. follow-on financing), (ii) provide a source of co-funding in the earlier stages of clinical development, and (iii) enable CIRM funded projects to access expertise within pharmaceutical and large biotechnology partners in the areas of discovery, preclinical, regulatory, clinical trial design and manufacturing process development.

"This initiative requires applicants to show evidence of either having the financial capacity to move the project through development or of being able to attract the capital to do so. This may be evidenced by, for example, (i) significant investment by venture capital firms, large biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies and/or disease foundations; or (ii) a licensing and development agreement with a large biotechnology or pharmaceutical company or a commitment to enter into such an agreement executed prior to the disbursement of CIRM funding.

"The objective of the first call under this initiative, the Strategic Partnership I Awards, is to achieve, in 4 years or less, the completion of a clinical trial under an Investigational New Drug (IND) application filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)."

CIRM has scheduled a webinar on the RFA for prospective applicants for next Wednesday, April 25. It is asking for registration and questions in advance.



(Editor's note: An earlier version of this article did not contain the sentence about businesses receiving $54 million out of $1.3 billion awarded by CIRM.)

Source:
http://californiastemcellreport.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

Study Compares Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair Methods

Posted: at 7:43 am


(HealthDay News) -- A less-invasive method of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair reduces the short-term risk of death, according to a new U.S. study.

The interim findings are from a nine-year multicenter trial comparing patient outcomes after endovascular and open surgical repair of AAA. The report included postoperative outcomes of up to two years (average 1.8 years of follow-up) for 881 patients, aged 49 or older, who had endovascular repair (444) or open repair (437).

Endovascular repair is performed through a catheter inserted into an artery. Open repair involves an abdominal incision. Of the 45,000 patients in the United States who undergo elective repair of an unruptured AAA each year, more than 1,400 die in the perioperative period -- the first 30 days after surgery or inpatient status. There's limited data available about whether short-term survival is better after endovascular repair compared to open repair. Read more...




Ayurtox for Body Detoxification

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Nutrition: Nine questions every athlete should ask before taking a supplement

Posted: April 21, 2012 at 2:12 am


Elite sport dietitian examines the benefits of nutritional supplements

Windsor, ON--Nutritional supplements claim to improve athletic performance, but not all supplements are created equal. According to Nutrition Australia life member Glenn Cardwell, athletes vary greatly in their response to training, environmental conditions, psychological barriers, and nutritional supplements, which makes it difficult to assess the value of proposed ergogenic aids. "Improvement is not proof that a supplement works. It may be just a convenient coincidence," says Cardwell, author of the forthcoming new edition of Gold Medal Nutrition (Human Kinetics, May 2012). "Proof only comes when the same result can be repeated time and time again."

Before taking a nutritional supplement Cardwell advises assessing its potential value by asking nine vital questions.

"Based on current knowledge, the best regimen for achieving optimal performance is to avoid excess body fat, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, eat enough carbohydrate to fuel your training program, eat adequate protein for muscle growth and repair, and eat for good health," Cardwell says. "Most nutritional supplements do not enhance sports performance in well-nourished athletes."

For more information on Gold Medal Nutrition, 5E or other nutrition resources, visit http://www.HumanKinetics.com or call 800-465-7301.

Product Description Gold Medal Nutrition is a comprehensive manual covering the areas that most concern athletes, including what and when to eat and drinkand why. The book explains how to use nutrition to maximize sport performance. It includes information on determining the best supplements to use as well as athlete-specific eating tips.

See the rest here:
Nutrition: Nine questions every athlete should ask before taking a supplement

Nutrition Society honours Liow

Posted: at 2:12 am


HEALTH Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai was recently conferred honorary member of the Nutrition Society of Malaysia.

The societys president Dr Tee E. Siong said Liow was recognised as an honorary member of the society because of his many years of contributions to the field of nutrition.

Liow received the membership certificate from Dr Tee during the launch of Nutrition Month Malaysia and NutriFun Land Carnival recently.

Id like to thank the society for conferring the honorary membership to me, said Liow, adding that it was meaningful to him as he himself was a nutritionist.

Dr Tee said Liow had helped establish the Health Ministrys Nutrition division in 2009 and increased the number of nutritionists to the current 300.

Liow also launched the National Strategic Plan for non-communicable disease (2010-2014) to strengthen the cardiovascular and diabetes prevention and control programme and to combat obesity as the main risk factor, he said.

As part of Liows plans, 300 nutritionists were placed at the clinic level for a four-year period from Aug 14, 2009 to guide patients on good nutrition.

He also made extensive revisions to the 1999 edition of the Malaysian Dietary Guidelines, said Dr Tee.

The publication of the 2010 guideline is timely in view of the Governments effort to ensure that all Malaysians have adequate access to practical and accurate information on nutrition and health, he said.

Liows other contributions included supporting the implementation of the National Plan of Action for Nutrition of Malaysia, (2006-2015), the drive for infant and young child feeding, especially breastfeeding and spearheading the Food Basket Programme which focused on the rehabilitation for malnourished children in the country, he said.

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Nutrition Society honours Liow

Canadian nutrition label claims often wildly misleading, tests show

Posted: at 2:12 am


OTTAWA Some of the world's biggest food brands and leading organic labels have understated the amount of bad nutrients such as fat, sugar and sodium in their products, or overstated the good ones, internal government tests show.

Kraft, Frito Lay, Unilever and Heinz are among the big names with a product that flunked Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) testing, conducted to see if nutrition claims on labels live up to their billing.

Loblaw's popular President's Choice brand had multiple "unsatisfactory" tests on products ranging from cereal to spaghetti.

Premium brands like Amy's Kitchen, Eden Organic, Natur-a, Kashi and Yves Veggie Cuisine also fell short on composition claims, as did Canadian food-makers like B.C.-based Sun-Rype Products Ltd. and Quebec-based Aliments Fontaine Sante.

Test results involving these and other companies, conducted between 2006 and 2010, have just been released under Canada's access to information legislation. CFIA previously released overall statistics about compliance rates for some product categories, but the earlier release did not contain individual test results and did not name specific brands or products.

The level of detail provided in the newly released documents shows labelling problems are widespread.

But most companies told Postmedia News that, when CFIA flags a labelling problem, they move quickly to change the labels. Some major operators even beefed up their own internal controls to better monitor their nutrition claims.

CFIA allows for a variance of up 20 percentage points on nutrition information found on food packages to account for natural variances in ingredients or deviations in testing equipment. Anything beyond that is considered unsatisfactory.

Companies tagged with unsatisfactory results say they're committed to providing accurate information. But natural variances in ingredients, including crop fluctuations with organic produce, or changes in a product's nutritional composition over its shelf life, means this is not a perfect science, they say.

Some consumers wonder whether they can rely on the nutrition information on food labels, since CFIA can only test a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of products on store shelves in any given year. It's unclear whether CFIA's limited testing program is representative of the entire market or masks an even bigger program.

Originally posted here:
Canadian nutrition label claims often wildly misleading, tests show

Role of Lipid Supplements from Fish and Plant Sources in Combating Effects of the Global Nutrition Transition

Posted: at 2:12 am


SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

Physicians and nutrition scientists from around the world gathered today in San Diego for a scientific symposium on the Global Nutrition Transition: The Role of Lipid Supplementation, a satellite symposium which focused on the essential role of fatty acids in human health, held in conjunction with the American Society for Nutritions Scientific Sessions & annual meeting.

The Global Nutrition Transition refers to the worldwide spread of modern industrialized dietary patterns to countries where these diets were previously unknown. In the last 30 years, there has been a U.S. and worldwide increase in hidden fat intake, largely from vegetable oils rich in omega-6 fatty acids which lead to imbalances in the concentrations of fats in cells within the heart, the brain, and immune system.

While the body needs small amounts of both types of fats, the proper proportions are key in supporting brain function, immune function and cardiovascular health, noted Dr. William Lands, one of the symposium speakers.

Researchers from the University of California San Diego reviewed the recent findings of specialized proteins called receptors for omega-3 fatty acids on the surface of immune cells.

Vegetable oils are full of omega-6 fatty acids, said Lands, and our diet is overloaded with them. Fried foods, baked goods, snack foods and sweets dump an abundance of omega-6 fatty acids into the body, said Lands, and at the same time, were not eating nearly enough omega-3s, he added. As a result, the ideal balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fats has been thrown way off and this imbalance may have widespread impact on human health across the globe.

We are seeing tremendous increases in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil high in trans fatty acid and imbalanced omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acid profile intake in South Asia, said Dr. Anoop Misra of the Fortis Hospital in Delhi, which is leading to an alarming rise in obesity and obesity-related diseases.

Since fatty foods are the primary sources of omega-6 fats in the diet, reducing total fat intake is one way to shift the balance. However, it is also important to supplement omega-3 fatty acids by eating fish or taking omega-3 supplements from fish, krill, or algae sources. The benefits of a total nutrition solution - which encompasses the inclusion of a range of plant foods, with an emphasis on low fat proteins and the rebalancing of healthy fats is a cornerstone in correcting the nutritional imbalances caused by the modern diet.

Conference speakers noted that supplements may play a role in improving the fatty acid balance in the diet when combined with lower total fat intake which can balance omega-3 and omega-6 concentrations in tissues.

The session was organized and supported by the Herbalife Nutrition Institute and DSM Nutritional Products. Ds. Misra is a member of the Herbalife Nutrition Institute Editorial Board. Among other products, Herbalife markets dietary supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids, as well as foods composed largely of low-fat proteins.

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Role of Lipid Supplements from Fish and Plant Sources in Combating Effects of the Global Nutrition Transition

Is Life Time Fitness the Perfect Stock?

Posted: at 2:12 am


Every investor would love to stumble upon the perfect stock. But will you ever really find a stock that provides everything you could possibly want?

One thing's for sure: You'll never discover truly great investments unless you actively look for them. Let's discuss the ideal qualities of a perfect stock, then decide if Life Time Fitness (NYSE: LTM) fits the bill.

The quest for perfectionStocks that look great based on one factor may prove horrible elsewhere, making due diligence a crucial part of your investing research. The best stocks excel in many different areas, including these important factors:

With those factors in mind, let's take a closer look at Life Time Fitness.

Factor

What We Want to See

Actual

Pass or Fail?

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Total score = number of passes.

With only two points, Life Time Fitness doesn't look perfectly fit. Even with double-digit growth, the fitness center operator has balance sheet concerns and isn't generating the returns on equity that we prefer to see.

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Is Life Time Fitness the Perfect Stock?

Life Time Fitness Beats Analyst Estimates on EPS

Posted: at 2:12 am


Life Time Fitness (NYSE: LTM) reported earnings on April 19. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeawayFor the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), Life Time Fitness met expectations on revenue and beat slightly on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue improved and GAAP earnings per share expanded significantly.

Gross margin contracted, operating margin improved, and net margin improved.

Revenue detailsLife Time Fitness logged revenue of $268.4 million. The eight analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected a top line of $271.6 million on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 12% higher than the prior-year quarter's $240.6 million.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS detailsEPS came in at $0.62. The seven earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $0.61 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.62 for Q1 were 22% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.51 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin detailsFor the quarter, gross margin was 40.1%, 210 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 18.0%, 120 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 9.6%, 90 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking aheadNext quarter's average estimate for revenue is $288.0 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.71.

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Life Time Fitness Beats Analyst Estimates on EPS

Tour Report: Fitness: Strength + speed = power

Posted: at 2:11 am


By Sean Cochran, Golf Fitness

Power in the golf swing equates to speed, and more speed provides the golfer with an opportunity to drive the golf ball farther. The increasing of swings speeds is a combination of the efficiency by which the golfer executes the swing, the ability of the body to generate power, and the matching up the correct equipment to the golfers swing characteristics.

It is via the integration of these three variables by which swing speeds and driving distances can be increased. That being said, if the desire exists to increase ones swing speeds it will require attention to be paid to by the golfer to these three entities.

As noted above, on the physical side of speed development we have what is termed power. Improving the power outputs of the body will provide the golfer with an opportunity to improve their swing speeds simply because the body has the ability to generate more speed within the biomechanics of the golf swing.

The simple equation for increasing the power outputs of the body is strength plus speed. The development of both physical entities (i.e. strength and speed) is required in order for the body to generate more power, and the process by which strength and speed is developed is via different types of training.

Speed training utilizes exercises commonly referred to as plyometrics to increase the rate (i.e. speed) at which the body generates force. These types of exercises focus on the interaction of the nervous and muscular systems and the rate at which these two systems produce explosive movements.

Strength training on the other hand addresses the amount of force the muscular system produces. The greater amount of force the muscles of the body can generate is the foundation by which speed can be enhanced.

Strength training creates the foundation for power development whereas speed training enhances the explosiveness of the muscular system. Both are needed to increase the power outputs of the body, but are trained with very different types of exercises.

At this point we understand two components to increase the power outputs of the body for the golf swing, strength and speed. We are also aware the exercises and training modalities utilized to develop each of these physical entities is very different. Strength training focuses on force whereas speed addresses explosiveness.

On the strength side of this equation golf requires the development of what is termed lower body push, lower body pull, upper body push, and upper body pull strength. Essentially indicating strength training for golf requires attention to the entire body as an integrated unit.

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Tour Report: Fitness: Strength + speed = power

Life Time Fitness Announces First Quarter 2012 Financial Results

Posted: at 2:11 am


CHANHASSEN, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

Life Time Fitness, Inc. (NYSE:LTM - News), The Healthy Way of Life Company, today reported its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012.

First quarter 2012 revenue grew 11.6% to $268.4 million from $240.6 million during the same period last year. Net income for the quarter was $25.7 million, or $0.62 per diluted share, compared to net income of $20.8 million, or $0.51 per diluted share, for 1Q 2011.

Once again this quarter, I am pleased with our operating results, which are highlighted by strong revenue, net income and EPS growth, said Bahram Akradi, Life Time chairman, president and chief executive officer. We remain on track with our strategic growth, programming and branding initiatives for 2012. Our growth will continue to occur through square footage expansion, price and mix optimization, and our in-center and ancillary business revenue. Additionally, we are focused on delivering consistency and excellence in our member programming. We have made great strides in this area and we see additional opportunities to drive strong growth in member participation and retention. Finally, we will continue building our Healthy Way of Life brand, with the goal of ensuring that our brand position is of the highest possible quality and value across our businesses and programs. By executing upon our healthy way of life vision, programs and services, we believe Life Time has tremendous opportunity for continued growth and success.

During the quarter, Life Time opened its first Canada-based center in Mississauga, Ontario (Toronto market). The Company also continued the integration, remodeling and rebranding activities associated with the acquired Lifestyle Family Fitness facilities in Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina. On April 12, 2012, the Company opened a new center in Tulsa, its first location in Oklahoma. In May, the Company plans to open its fifth center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Three Months Ended March 31, 2012, Financial Highlights:

Total revenue for the first quarter grew 11.6% to $268.4 million from $240.6 million in 1Q 2011.

(in millions except revenue per membership data)

Membership dues

Enrollment fees

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Life Time Fitness Announces First Quarter 2012 Financial Results

Fitness Trackers Use Psychology to Motivate Couch Potatoes

Posted: at 2:11 am


When it comes to fitness trackers, the psychology behind them is just as important as the technology inside them.

Gadgets like the Nike+ FuelBand, Fitbit Ultra and BodyMedia Fit Linkuse accelerometers, altimeters and algorithms to track everything from how many steps you took to how many calories you burned. By providing this data instantaneously, and in some cases allowing you to share it via social media, they do more than inform. They reinforce, motivate and reward by turning exercise into a game.

Motivating couch potatoes and providing everyday athletes with data will be an increasingly lucrative business as so-called wearable computing devices like fitness trackers take off. Companies like Nike, Adidas and Motorola are expected to ship 90 million wearables by 2017, according to ABI Research.

Forrester Research is equally bullish, noting in a report this week that wearables are the next wave of consumer technology product innovation and companies like Adidas, Nike and Under Armour should work alongside the likes of Apple, Google and Facebook to maximize their potential.

How these devices work is a straightforward technological issue. Why they work delves into two important facets of activity: measurement and motivation. To know whether youre getting better at something, you need data. As physicist Lord Kelvin said, If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it. Once youve got data, you need specific goals or standards to provide the sense of accomplishment that will make you work harder.

One of the best things fitness trackers do is provide an objective measure of activity, said John Bartholomew, a kinesiology and health education professor at the University of Texas at Austin. The truth is, people are lousy at accurately judging their level of physical activity. Few people have any idea how many calories theyve burned running for the train or walking to work. Others spend, say, half an hour on the treadmill each day and consider themselves active. And still more promise theyll get active but fall short.

By having this sort of equipment and this sort of technology, it allows you to actually track and look back to see how active you actually are, Bartholomew said. You cant lie to yourself.

Once youve established an exercise routine and have a realistic idea of what youre doing each day, fitness trackers delve further into your psyche by motivating you. The routine things you do each day climbing stairs, schlepping groceries, pushing the lawnmower are cast in a new light. Suddenly, theyre exercise. They always were, of course, but fitness trackers drive the point home by telling you just how many calories you burned raking the lawn. As a result, exercise becomes something you seek to interject into your life, a goal-directed activity that brings a sense of accomplishment. Every goal you reach Today I hit 12,000 steps! pushes you to do better next time.

Theres incredible power in knowing how youre doing, Stefan Olander, v.p. of digital sport at Nike, said in a discussion at South by Southwest. Its inherently, incredibly motivational.

That motivation is amplified by the ability to broadcast your results via social media. Posting your stats to Facebook and Twitter lets you do more than boast. It allows others to encourage you or even join you in working toward similar goals like running a marathon. Youre part of a community, which makes it that much harder to slack off.

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Fitness Trackers Use Psychology to Motivate Couch Potatoes

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