Articles of the Month

 

 

 

 

November 2023

 

 

 

Foods You Should Never, Ever Eat if You Want to Protect Your Brain Health

 

 

When it comes to protecting your brain health, there are definitely specific things you should avoid eating. 

For example, experts agree that ultra-processed and highly sweetened foods are bad for your brain health—and your health in general. 

"A whole food, plant-based diet and decreasing the amount of ultra-processed foods you eat helps our bodies and brains function at a higher level," says Dr. Supriya Rao, MD, a quadruple board-certified physician in gastroenterology, internal, obesity and lifestyle medicine. "When you eat a ton of processed foods, the opposite happens. These foods cause inflammation, which can damage the blood vessels that supply the brain with the blood it needs to function optimally."

Dr. Rao adds, "Our gut health influences everything from your weight to your mood to your immune system and cognitive ability. It can be the reason for your fatigue, contributing to depression, and of course, the⁠ cause of your digestive issues. The brain and the gut have a strong connection, which is why some people feel sick to their stomach under stress." 

Noelle Patno, nutritional scientist and chief science officer at Bened Life, says that high-sugar foods are also a no-go, and there's a lot of intersection between ultra-processed foods and foods high in sugar.

The "high-sugar" qualifier isn't limited to just traditional sugar, but also to foods and beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.

"Excessive sugar consumption has been associated with impaired cognitive function," Patno explains. "Higher blood glucose levels have been linked to dementia in a large study following people for several years."

Katie Lounsberry, a registered dietitian at Providence Mission Hospital specializing in brain health, notes that there have been links between type 2 diabetes and the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia. "For this reason, foods that increase the risk for Type 2 diabetes, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grains and processed meats should be reduced," she advises.

Patno also points out that processed meats, like cured, smoked or salted sausages and jerky, as well as fried foods, have been associated with lower cognitive function.

A good rule of thumb, says Dr. Clifford Segil, MD, a neurologist at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California: "Foods that are unhealthy for your heart are also bad for your brain."

This is largely because heart-healthy habits decrease your risk of both heart attacks and stroke, both of which can cause severe brain damage and death. Further, he notes, "High-fat foods clog the arteries in your body—making it hard for blood to perfuse your organs. Foods with high sugar content also overwhelm parts of your body causing hyperglycemia, which may cause problems in the long term."

 

According to Dr. Rao, the absolute worst food for your brain health (and overall health) is actually bacon—as well as other processed meats in general—but, again, especially bacon.

"Processed meat is classified as a Class 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization," Dr. Rao points out, "which basically means there is enough evidence that processed meat can cause cancer."

What's more, bacon, in particular, is not only processed, but also often sweetened—making it the perfect intersection of terrible elements when it comes to your cognitive function and food. 

 

 

8 Nutritional Benefits of Avocado Oil

 

 

 

Avocado oil is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, D, and E. Below are some of the ways it can benefit the skin:

1. Moisturizes and nourishes

In addition to vitamin E, avocado oil contains potassium, lecithin, and many other nutrients that can nourish and moisturize the skin.

The outermost layer of skin, known as the epidermis, easily absorbs these nutrients, which also help to form new skin.

2. Relieves inflammation from psoriasis and eczema

The antioxidants and vitamins in avocado oil may help to heal the dry, irritated, and flaky skin associated with eczema and psoriasis.

A person with a skin condition may wish to test a patch of skin first, to ensure that the oil does not trigger or aggravate their symptoms.

3. Prevents and treats acne

When left on for short periods of time and rinsed off with warm water, avocado oil can keep skin hydrated without leaving an oily residue. This may reduce the risk of acne.

Avocado oil also has anti-inflammatory effectsTrusted Source, which can help to reduce the redness and inflammation associated with acne.

4. Accelerates wound healing

Avocado oil may help wounds to heal more quickly. One 2013 studyTrusted Source found that the essential fatty acids and oleic acid in avocado oil can promote collagen synthesis, which is the process of creating new connective tissue.

The essential fatty acids in avocado oil were also found to help reduce inflammation during the healing process.

More studies are needed in humans, however, to determine whether avocado oil can be used to treat wounds.

5. Treats sunburned skin

The antioxidants in avocado oil may help to ease the symptoms of a sunburn. According to a 2011 reviewTrusted Source, the vitamin E, beta carotenevitamin D, protein, lecithin, and essential fatty acids in the oil can support healing and soothe the skin.

6. Reduces signs of aging

The first signs of aging usually appear on the skin. Some studies have shown that consuming healthful fats, such as those found in avocados, can help the skin to retain its elasticity.

However, researchers have yet to address whether applying avocado oil to the skin has the same effect.

7. Improves nail health

While some people use avocado oil to heal dry, brittle nails, little scientific evidence confirms this benefit.

However, using natural oils to keep the nails and surrounding skin soft may help to reduce breakage.

8. Improves scalp health

Applying avocado oil to the scalp as a hot oil mask can help to reduce dandruff and other problems caused by a dry, flaky scalp.

Other small studiesTrusted Source have shown that consuming avocados may help to protect the skin from harmful UV radiation.   

 

 

 

 

October 2023

 

Nurse helped deliver baby girl, who two decades later married her son

 

 

Mary Ann West was working at Lakeview Hospital in 2001, when she helped a mom to deliver a little girl named Kelsey. Twenty-two years later, that baby girl grew up to marry a boy named Tyler — Mary Ann’s son.

Tyler and Kelsey were looking at Kelsey’s baby photos together when they noticed something incredible. “Hey, I think that’s my mom,” Tyler said. “It looks like she was your nurse!”  Not only that, but Mary Ann was the nurse who took Kelsey’s footprints for her birth certificate.  When they looked at Kelsey’s birth video, they were able to spot Mary Ann standing next to Kelsey’s mother, Stacy, as she held her new baby.

We were both pretty shocked,” Tyler told the Washington Post. The couple then looked at Kelsey’s birth certificate, where Tyler said it was his mother’s handwriting.  

“I thought it was really cool — it made me feel grateful to know I had this tie to my new family,” Kelsey said. “I always wanted to have a good relationship with my future parents, and it also confirmed that I want to be with Tyler for the rest of my life.”

The two sets of parents met at a pre-wedding dinner, where Stacy thought Mary Ann looked familiar. “Kelsey had told me that Mary Ann was a labor and delivery nurse, and she and Tyler had joked that maybe she’d brought me ice chips when I was in the hospital,” Stacy said. “I thought the odds were slim that she’d have been there. But in the back of my mind, I guess I wondered, ‘Could it be?’”   

Stacy further said that Mary Ann stood out as her favorite labor and delivery nurse — so much so, that she included her picture in Kelsey’s baby book. “She was with me the entire time, telling me, ‘Honey, it’s going to be okay,’” Stacy said. “When Kelsey was born, she handed her to me and said, ‘Welcome to the world, princess.’ I just always remembered her kindness.”

In a Good Morning America video above, Kelsey and Mary Ann sat together as they discussed the incredible connection they now share.

 

September 2023

 

 

This Artificial Sweetener Can Permanently Damage Your DNA, New Study Says

 

This Artificial Sweetener Can Permanently Damage Your DNA, New Study Says

 

 

Susan Schiffman, PhD, a study author and adjunct professor in the joint department of biomedical engineering at NC State University and UNC at Chapel Hill, says in a press release: "Our new work establishes that sucralose-6-acetate is genotoxic. We also found that trace amounts of sucralose-6-acetate can be found in off-the-shelf sucralose, even before it is consumed and metabolized."

Dr. Schiffman warned, "Our work suggests that the trace amounts of sucralose-6-acetate in a single, daily sucralose-sweetened drink exceed that threshold. And that's not even accounting for the amount of sucralose-6-acetate produced as metabolites after people consume sucralose."

This is supported by the in vitro experiments the researchers conducted, exposing human blood cells to sucralose-6-acetate and monitoring for markers of genotoxicity. Schiffman said, "In short, we found that sucralose-6-acetate is genotoxic and that it effectively broke up DNA in cells that were exposed to the chemical."  

Apart from the genotoxicity, Schiffman's team explored how sucralose-6-acetate affects gut health. Notably, they found that both sucralose and sucralose-6-acetate can cause a "leaky gut," a condition that can lead to harmful substances being absorbed into the bloodstream. The genetic activity of the gut cells also changed in response to sucralose-6-acetate, showing increased activity in genes related to oxidative stress, inflammation, and carcinogenicity.

Francesco Branca, MD, PhD, WHO Director for Nutrition and Food Safety, explained in a news release: "Replacing free sugars with [non-sugar sweeteners] does not help with weight control in the long term. People need to consider other ways to reduce free sugars intake, such as consuming food with naturally occurring sugars, like fruit, or unsweetened food and beverages. NSS are not essential dietary factors and have no nutritional value. People should reduce the sweetness of the diet altogether, starting early in life, to improve their health."

 

 

 

August 2023

 

 

Olive Oil Boosts Brain Health – Linked to 28% Lower Risk of Fatal Dementia

 

 

Olive Oil Concept Illustration

 

A recent study suggests that incorporating olive oil into one’s diet could help reduce the risk of death from dementia. With many countries witnessing rising rates of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, the study provides hope that diet, among other healthy lifestyle factors, can aid in preventing or slowing down the progression of these debilitating conditions.

The study is unique as it is the first to examine the relationship between diet and death related to dementia. Scientists analyzed dietary questionnaires and death records from over 90,000 Americans spanning three decades, during which 4,749 study participants died from dementia.

The results indicated that people who consumed more than half a tablespoon of olive oil per day had a 28% lower risk of dying from dementia compared with those who never or rarely consumed olive oil. In addition, replacing just one teaspoon of margarine and mayonnaise with the equivalent amount of olive oil per day was associated with an 8-14% lower risk of dying from dementia.

 

 

July 2023

 

The Health Benefits of Spirulina 

 

 

In the field of nutrition, spirulina is categorized as the best discovery yet of the 21st century (10). It is the wide array of dense nutrients contained in spirulina that has been shown in several studies to provide pharmacological actions such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, as well as cancer-preventative effects.

Today, much of the world around us can cause carcinogenic mutations from the toxins we absorb through our skin to the chemicals contained in our food. Supplementing spirulina into your diet is an effective way to combat the damaging effects of toxins accumulating in our bodies. One of the anticancer effects is attributed to its ability to act as an immunostimulatory agent or a substance which enhances the immune response to defend against abnormal and invasive cell growth.   Researchers have shown that spirulina is able to inhibit the growth and development of tumors resulting from overexposure to UVB rays from the sun. In the study, spirulina was shown to promote healthy gene function, inhibit free radical producing enzymes, reduce inflammation and limit DNA damage. Hepatocellular carcinoma is a common form of liver cancer which may be readily influenced by another pigment compound found in spirulina, C-Phycocyanin (C-Pc). C-Pc is found to reduce the rate at which cancerous liver cells multiply. Furthermore, this anti-mutagenic compound stimulates apoptosis in developed cancer cells and may reduce tumor mass. 

Individuals with the genetic condition phenylketonuria (PKU) will have trouble digesting the amino acids in spirulina and should avoid it. Spirulina has blood-thinning properties, so it should be avoided by individuals on anticoagulant medications.

Some individuals with leaky gut, food sensitivities, and autoimmunity do not do well with spirulina.  If you notice an increase in inflammatory conditions when consuming this, then it is best to avoid.  

Be sure to look for a certified organic as other types can be contaminated or have nitrate compounds as additives.  You can get this in combination with other greens in a green superfood powder or with other detoxification herbs in a capsule-based supplement.

Most experts believe it is best to get it on its own and take 1-2 tablespoons daily. If fighting cancer, take 3-4 tablespoons daily.

 

June 2023

 

 

Best Air Purifying Indoor Plants Approved by NASA

 

 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you could be living in a sick house and not know it. This is because our homes have three to five times more pollutants than the outdoors. Yes, you read that right. To figure out exactly why these plants are so beneficial, NASA performed a controlled experiment to see which plants were most effective at removing several common indoor air pollutants, including ammonia and VOCs like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, toluene, and xylene. Harmful substances like xylene (in paint and lacquers), benzene (in furniture wax and insect sprays), formaldehyde (in upholstery and air fresheners) and trichloroethylene (in cleaners and adhesives) can cause headache, allergies like breathing troubles and sore throats. High levels of these chemicals can result in health problems that collectively make up the phenomenon known as “sick building syndrome.” Benzene, a known carcinogen, can enter our environment through plastics, synthetic fibers, and resins. Formaldehyde is emitted by paints and varnishes. We’ve assembled a list of some of the best air-filterers from the NASA study–these plants are surprisingly easy to care for indoors.

 

May 2023

 

Tucker Carlson's Final Interview

Sugar and Processed Foods- America's Silent Killers

 

 

 

While on Fox Nation's "Tucker Carlson Today," Dr. Mark Hyman outlined how ultra-processed foods, or foods "unrecognizable from its original form," dominate American diets and cause a multitude of illnesses many wrongfully try to treat with medicines – arguing nutrition itself can play a pivotal role in preventing and treating numerous illnesses.  "For every 10% of your calories [that] is ultra-processed food, your risk of death goes up by 14%… And our diet is 60% ultra-processed food, and kids are 67%. It's a national emergency," Physician Dr. Mark Hyman told Fox News' Tucker Carlson. "There's 6 million people [who] have died from COVID globally, but 11 million people die every year from eating processed foods loaded with sugar."

 

 

April 2023

 

Healthy Facts behind drinking Coffee with Caffeine

 

Caffeine is the world’s most popular drug, used worldwide to jumpstart slow mornings or perk up dragging afternoons. The caffeine molecule binds to adenosine receptors in the brain, preventing the feeling of sleepiness (1).

Want the coffee with the most caffeine? How you prepare your coffee drinks plays a big role in the caffeine content of your brew. (By the way, you can also take caffeine in the form of a pill.) If you’re meticulously measuring your caffeine intake, consult our caffeine calculator that tells you which method offers what amounts of caffeine to stay on top of your habit.

 

Let’s look at how some popular brewing methods compare.

 

 

Here are a few more sips of caffeine information.

Let’s start with safety. A toxic dose of caffeine from beverages is impossible. It would take over 100 cups of coffee to reach dangerous levels. Caffeine’s impact on blood pressure is mild and transient. Similar to the rise one would get climbing a flight of stairs.

Caffeinated beverages also contribute to hydration status. The water content of caffeinated beverages offsets any mild diuretic effect of caffeine.

 

Caffeine is absorbed about 45 minutes after consumption. This information tells me to slow down and savor the flavor of that first cup. The burst of alertness and energy caffeine provides is coming, it’s just not immediate.

Up to 400 mg of caffeine is considered safe moderate consumption. Up to 200-300 mg of caffeine is considered safe for pregnant and nursing women but do talk to your physician about this. For children under 12, 2.5-3 mg/kg of body weight is advised.

Eight ounces of coffee is 95 mg. caffeine, eight ounces of black tea is 47 mg. and 12 ounces of most sodas is 34 mg. For more on caffeine content of drinks check out https://www.caffeineinformer.com/the-caffeine-database

I love learning something new at webinars and the caffeine session didn’t disappoint. This is a bit nutrition nerdy but caffeine is metabolized at the same rate whether it is in a hot or cold beverage, or consumed fast or slow.

 

March 2023

 

Blueberries: The World's Healthiest Food!

 

 

Over the past year, a record number of independent studies have confirmed the health effects of blueberries. Scientists tested blueberries against an array of common disorders and discovered significant results.

 

Most impressive was the ability of blueberries to improve memory as well as undo some of the degenerative changes seen in aging neurons. One study showed that the effect of blueberries in suppressing free radical and inflammatory damage in the brain was analogous to long-term calorie restriction. These findings hint that blueberries might be able to reverse certain aspects of brain aging!

 

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging proclaimed blueberries to be one of the world’s most healthful foods. The media responded by publishing numerous reports attributing wide-ranging benefits to blueberries.

 

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture tested more than 100 different kinds of food for total antioxidant capacity per serving. The study included 24 types of fruits, 23 types of vegetables, 10 types of nuts, 4 types of dried fruits, and 16 types of herbs and spices. Blueberries, both wild and cultivated, scored highest in total antioxidant capacity per serving among all the fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs tested.

 

Packed with unique antioxidants, blueberries neutralize free radical damage to the collagen matrix of tissues that can lead to a host of degenerative disorders. The blue-red pigments found in blueberries improve the integrity of support structures in the skin, joints, and vascular system. Blueberry pigments have been shown to enhance the effects of vitamin C, improve capillary integrity, and stabilize the collagen matrix (the structural substance of all body tissues). These pigments work primarily by preventing free radical and inflammatory damage. Recent studies, however, have identified exciting new mechanisms by which blueberries guard our precious health.

 

 

 

 

February 2023

 

Man with terminal cancer cured by new drug

 

 

A 49-year-old grandfather in Southern California said a new drug cured him of his lymphoma after a long battle with the disease.

The newly-approved drug was recently cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration, according to ABC 7.

Juan Yee, the man who claims he was cured, said before the drug he had been told his cancer — follicular lymphoma, the most common type of low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma — had returned for a third time. He was told he would have to go through chemotherapy again, but he refused and asked the doctor how long he had to live.

"’You can have about a year, we don’t know,’" he said he was told by his doctors. "My wife didn’t even know I was going through cancer again. I didn’t tell anybody."

Mr Yee went to meet with Dr Elizabeth Budde, a hematologic oncologist, who said his cancer would not go into remission with chemotherapy, and would return even if it was reduced.

At the time, Dr Budde was the principal investigator for a new treatment called T-cell engager.

She said the new drug, Mosunetuzumab, brand name Lunsumio, effectively puts "a pair of glasses" onto the body’s dysfunctional T-cells, which allow them to better identify the body’s lymphoma cells versus cancerous ones.

 

Mr Yee said the side effects of the drug were minimal, especially compared to those of chemotherapy.

He said he "didn’t feel anything" and that the swelling in his lymph nodes reduced quickly.

Mr Yee was a member of the trial stage of the drug, which led to the FDA’s accelerated approval to get the drug on the market for cancer patients who have already undergone two rounds of therapy.

 

Dr Budde said the drug is currently being tested as a first-line treatment and that researchers "have a lot of reason to believe this is going to be a better treatment."

Mr Yee is thankful the drug came along when it did — not only did it likely save his life, it also allowed him to see the birth of his first grandchild.

"I wouldn’t have a chance to see my grandson if I had given up," he told ABC 7. "Cancer is not the same anymore. Don’t give up. There’s always something there to help you."

 

 

The #1 Drink a Sleep Doctor Says To Sip During the Day for a Better Night’s Rest

 

davids tea organic orange spice tea

Low caffeine green teas

Drinking green tea throughout the day—yes, rather than at night—may be helpful for reducing fatigue and increasing sleep quality," says Dr. Breus. "This is because of a compound in green tea called L-theanine, which helps your brain relax by reducing stress-related hormones and neuron excitement."

If you regularly consume green tea and do it several hours before bedtime, you can still reap its sleep-inducing benefits without the caffeine buzz (or the need to wake up in the middle of the night to pee).

 

 

 

January 2023

 

Sorry, no more Dark Chocolate :(

 

 

 

For many of us, chocolate is more than just a tasty treat. It’s a mood lifter, an energy booster, a reward after a tough day, a favorite holiday gift. 

People also choose dark chocolate in particular for its potential health benefits, thanks to studies that suggest its rich supply of antioxidants may improve heart health and other conditions, and for its relatively low levels of sugar. In fact, more than half of people in a recent survey from the National Confectioners Association described dark chocolate as a “better for you” candy.

But there’s a dark side to this “healthier” chocolate. Research has found that some dark chocolate bars contain cadmium and lead—two heavy metals linked to a host of health problems in children and adults. 

The chocolate industry has been grappling with ways to lower those levels. To see how much of a risk these favorite treats pose, Consumer Reports scientists recently measured the amount of heavy metals in 28 dark chocolate bars. They detected cadmium and lead in all of them.

Heavy Metals in Dark Chocolate

CR tested a mix of brands, including smaller ones, such as Alter Eco and Mast, and more familiar ones, like Dove and Ghirardelli. 

For 23 of the bars, eating just an ounce a day would put an adult over a level that public health authorities and CR’s experts say may be harmful for at least one of those heavy metals. Five of the bars were above those levels for both cadmium and lead. Read more about how CR tested dark chocolate (PDF).

That’s risky stuff: Consistent, long-term exposure to even small amounts of heavy metals can lead to a variety of health problems. The danger is greatest for pregnant people and young children because the metals can cause developmental problems, affect brain development, and lead to lower IQ, says Tunde Akinleye, the CR food safety researcher who led this testing project. 

“But there are risks for people of any age,” he says. Frequent exposure to lead in adults, for example, can lead to nervous system problems, hypertension, immune system suppression, kidney damage, and reproductive issues. While most people don’t eat chocolate every day, 15 percent do, according to the market research firm Mintel. Even if you aren’t a frequent consumer of chocolate, lead and cadmium can still be a concern. It can be found in many other foods—such as sweet potatoes, spinach, and carrots—and small amounts from multiple sources can add up to dangerous levels. That’s why it’s important to limit exposure when you can.

 

 

December 2022

 

The Health Benefits of Taking Niacin (Nicotinic acid) 

Vitamin B3

 

  1. Niacin (Nicotinic acid) for Hair Growth

 

In a 2021 niacin hair growth study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, nicotinic acid was shown to delay hair follicles from entering the hair’s catagen phase, the transition phase where the active growth cycle ends.    This allowed for a longer growth phase of the hair.

 

Niacinamide for hair benefits is vast. Nicotinic Acid is often studied as the niacin derivative with its ability to support cell turnover and may help reduce one’s risk of skin cancer, as reported in a 2017 study in the International Journal of Cancer entitled, Niacin Intake and Risk of Skin Cancer in US Women and Men.

  

 

 

Since research suggests that vitamin B3 can initiate DNA repair while increasing the rate of cellular reproduction, treatments rich in this vitamin can possibly support the healing of skin damaged by pollution damage and the sun’s UV rays.   Although you can be exposed to pollutants anywhere you live or work, in any case, it’s important to combat oxidative stress that can lead to hair loss. Save Me From hair treatments are formulated with a variety of antioxidant rich ingredients to help protect the hair and scalp.

 

  1. Niacin (Nicotinic acid) for Heart Health

 

 

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in heart health.  Niacin has been used since the 1950s to lower elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. 

 

 

November 2022 

 

Newly discovered species of bacteria in the microbiome may be a culprit behind rheumatoid arthritis

 

Rheumatoid arthritis leads to painful joint inflammation, often in the hands and wrists. <a href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/ray-of-painful-hands-royalty-free-image/991972390" rel="sponsored" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank via Getty Images" class="link ">Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank via Getty Images</a>

 

 

Rheumatoid arthritis affects 1 in 100 people worldwide. It causes inflamed, painful and swollen joints, often in the hands and wrists, and can lead to loss of joint function as well as chronic pain and joint deformities and damage. What causes this condition has been unknown.

In our recently published study, my colleagues and I found an important clue to a potential culprit behind this disease: the bacteria in your gut.

What causes rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, meaning it develops when the body’s immune system starts to attack itself. Proteins called antibodies, which usually help fight off viruses and bacteria, begin to attack the joints instead.

The origins of the antibodies that cause rheumatoid arthritis have been an area of study for many years. Some research has shown that these antibodies can start forming at sites like the mouth, lung and intestines over 10 years before symptoms arise. But until now, it was unclear why researchers were finding these antibodies in these particular areas.

 

We wanted to investigate what could trigger the formation of these antibodies. Specifically, we wondered if bacteria in the microbiome, a community of microorganisms that live in the intestines, might be the ones activating the immune response that leads to rheumatoid arthritis. Since microbes commonly live at the same sites as the antibodies driving rheumatoid arthritis, we hypothesized that these bacteria could be triggering the production of these antibodies. We reasoned that though these antibodies were meant to attack the bacteria, rheumatoid arthritis develops when they spread beyond the intestines to attack the joint.

 

We found that one previously unknown species of bacteria was present in the intestines of around 20% of people who were either diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or produce the antibodies that cause the disease. As a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, I suggested we name this species Subdoligranulum didolesgii (“didolesgii” means arthritis or rheumatism in Cherokee) as a nod to the contributions that other Indigenous scholars have made to science as well as the fact that rheumatoid arthritis affects Indigenous people at a higher rate than other populations.

Subdoligranulum didolesgii has not been detected in the feces of healthy people before, and it is currently unknown how prevalent this bacteria is in the general population.

We also found that these bacteria can activate specialized immune cells called T cells in people with rheumatoid arthritis. T cells drive inflammatory responses in the body, and have been linked to the development of different autoimmune diseases.

These findings suggest that these gut bacteria may be activating the immune systems of people with rheumatoid arthritis. But instead of attacking the bacteria, their immune system attacks the joints.

We now believe that a particularly strong intestinal immune response against Subdoligranulum didolesgii could allow antibodies to bypass the intestinal “firewall” and spread to the joints.

To confirm our hypothesis, we gave mice an oral dose of Subdoligranulum didolesgii and monitored their reaction. Within 14 days, the mice began to develop joint swelling and antibodies that attacked their joints.

The future of rheumatoid arthritis treatment

My colleagues and I hope this research can shed light on the origins of rheumatoid arthritis. Our next goal is to discover how common these bacteria are in the general population and test whether the presence of these bacteria in the gut may lead to the development of rheumatoid arthritis in people.

It’s important to note that antibiotics are unlikely to be helpful treatment for the microbiomes of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Although Subdoligranulum didolesgii may be triggering an autoimmune response for some people with rheumatoid arthritis, antibiotics eliminate both helpful and harmful bacteria in the gut. Additionally, removing the bacteria won’t necessarily stop the immune system from attacking the joints once it has started.

Nevertheless, we believe that these bacteria can be used as tools to develop treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and hopefully ways to prevent disease from happening in the first place.

 

October 2022

 

The Healthy Benefits of Eating Cherries

 

North Star Cherry

 

       Cherries are effective in reducing risks of gout

Cherries have been reported to reduce uric acid levels in the blood which have been linked to gout and kidney stones.

 

Cherries help reduce inflammation

Cherries help in reducing risks of diseases, they contain antioxidants that help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body as well as lessening muscle soreness and lowering blood pressure.

 

Cherries help you sleep

Cherries are a good source of melatonin a hormone that helps in inducing sleep.

 

It is recommended that one consumes 25 cherries a day.

 

 

 

Hormone-Hijacking Chemicals in Your Dental Floss?

forever chemicals pfas dental floss feature

By Douglas Fischer

 

That nice waxy glide as you floss your teeth? Turns out it could be courtesy of PFAS, the “forever chemicals” that hijacks hormones and is linked to reproductive problems, birth defects, testicular cancer and a host of other diseases.

 

Mamavation, the wellness site, and EHN.org tested 39 different brands of floss for PFAS and found evidence of the chemical in one-third of the samples. Levels ranged from 11 parts per million, or ppm, to 248,900 ppm.

Four products had more than 70,000 ppm, or 7%, PFAS, with Oral-B Glide testing at 248,900 ppm, or nearly 25%.

“None of these contaminants are something our readers want in their products,” Mamavation founder Leah Segedie wrote.

 

PFAS is a family of nearly 12,000 chemicals used to make products, like Teflon, slippery. It’s also found in stain-resistant carpeting and fabrics, cosmetics and firefighting foam.

PFAS are in the blood of nearly all Americans, and testing of umbilical cord blood and breast milk indicates that exposure begins before birth.

 

Some PFAS bioaccumulate — build-up — which means even low exposures are cause for concern over time as our bodies accumulate more and more of them.

 

Companies and trade associations like the American Dental Association should “stop approving of any dental product that contains any forever PFAS compound,” said Terry Collins, Teresa Heinz Professor of Green Chemistry & Director of Institute for Green Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University.

“They should start educating their members about the insidious nature of low dose adverse effects from endocrine-disrupting chemicals.”

 

The ongoing investigation of PFAS in everyday products has uncovered evidence of the toxins in our clothes, food and makeup — including in many so-called “green” and “organic” brands.

While many are aware of PFAS pollution in water, the testing finds that we’re also exposed by the things we wear or eat.

The testing highlights the dangerous unknowns in many U.S. supply chains, as many brands are not intentionally adding PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which contribute to cancer, reproductive and immune systems damage, elevated cholesterol and other health issues.

 

 

September 2022

 

Snorers face significantly higher risk of cancer, heart disease, dementia

 

Annoyed by snoring

 

UPPSALA, Sweden — Snorers could be at an increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and dementia, according to new research. Scientists in Sweden say obstructive sleep apnea, in which snoring is the main symptom, cuts off oxygen supply — fueling tumors, blood clots and loss of brain cells.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects about 30 million Americans — though only 6 million are diagnosed cases, according to the American Medical Association. The condition causes the walls of the throat relax and narrow, interrupting normal breathing several times a night. Overweight individuals are particularly prone to OSA. Preventative measures include weight loss or wearing a mask in bed which blows air into the back of the throat.  

 

The findings, presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) meeting in Barcelona, could lead to screening programs. They are based on three studies across Europe.  “It’s known already patients with obstructive sleep apnea have an increased risk of cancer, but it has not been clear whether or not this is due to the OSA itself or to related risk factors for cancer, such as obesity, cardiometabolic disease and lifestyle factors,” says Dr. Andreas Palm, a researcher and senior consultant at Uppsala University, in a statement. “Our findings show that oxygen deprivation due to OSA is independently associated with cancer.”    

 

Study authors analyzed data on 62,811 Swedes five years before they started being treated for obstructive sleep apnea with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask. They combined it with information from the Swedish National Cancer Registry, taking into account body size, other health problems and socio-economic status. It enabled them to match 2,093 patients with OSA and a diagnosis of cancer up to five years before OSA diagnosis with a control group of 2,093 patients with OSA but no cancer.

Severity was measured with the apnea hypopnea index (AHI) — which counts breathing disturbances during sleep — or the oxygen desaturation index (ODI), which measures how many times an hour blood levels fall by at least three percent for ten seconds or longer.  

 

“We found patients with cancer had slightly more severe OSA, as measured by an apnea hypopnea index average of 32 versus 30, and an oxygen desaturation index of 28 versus 26,” says Palm. “In further analysis of subgroups, ODI was higher in patients with lung cancer (38 versus 27) prostate cancer (28 versus 24) and malignant melanoma (32 versus 25).

“The findings in this study highlight the need to consider untreated sleep apnea as a risk factor for cancer and for doctors to be aware of the possibility of cancer when treating patients with OSA,” Palm continues. “However, extending screening for cancer to all OSA patients is not justified or recommended by our study results.”  

The researchers plan to increase the number of patients and to follow the patients over time to study the potential influences of CPAP treatment on cancer incidence and survival.

“The association between OSA and cancer is less well established than the link with diseases of the heart and blood vessels, insulin resistance, diabetes and fat.

 

“We found that OSA and, in particular, low oxygen levels during sleep due to OSA, was associated with a greater decline in global cognitive function, processing speed, executive function and verbal memory,” says Dr. Nicola Marchi of Lausanne University. “We also found that people aged 74 and older and men were at higher risk of cognitive decline related to sleep apnea in some specific cognitive tests.”

For example the Stroop test, which measures processing speed and executive function, showed a steeper decline in people aged 74 and older compared to younger participants. Verbal fluency showed a steeper decline in men, but not in women.

 

Fatty liver disease,” adds Palm. “Therefore, more research is needed, and we hope our study will encourage other researchers to research this important topic.”  

Obstructive sleep apnea’s impact on the brain

A second study identified a link between OSA and greater decline in brainpower over a period of five years. It was based on sleep tests undertaken by 358 over 65s in Switzerland. Global cognitive and executive function, verbal memory, language and visual perception of spatial relationships were also assessed.  

 

This study demonstrates the severity of sleep apnea and night-time oxygen deprivation contribute to cognitive decline in old age,” says Dr. Marchi. “It also shows that sleep apnea is related to a decline in specific cognitive functions, such as processing speed, executive function and verbal memory, but not to a decline in all cognitive functions; for instance, language and visuospatial function were not affected.

“People with OSA and doctors should be aware that OSA may play a role in cognitive decline. However, to date, OSA treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) has not been clearly demonstrated to prevent cognitive decline,” says Marchi. “Our study suggests that probably not all OSA patients have the same risk of cognitive decline; there is probably a subgroup of patients, particularly those with greater nocturnal oxygen deprivation but also older patients and men, who could be at greater risk of OSA-related cognitive decline.”

 

 

August 2022

 

 

3 Reasons to Avoid Farmed Salmon

 

Operations At Kuterra Fish Farm As Industry Plans To Double Sales

 

Not so long ago, Atlantic salmon was an abundant wild species. Born in the rivers of northeastern United States and Canada, after a couple years in freshwater they embarked on an epic migration, navigating 2,000 miles across the Atlantic to feed and mature off western Greenland. Millions of salmon travelled up to 60 miles a day, fending off predators and feeding on zooplankton and small fish. When the time came, instinct and the earth’s magnetic fields led these magnificent fish back to spawn in the precise rivers of their birth.

Today, wild salmon are an endangered species, gone from most rivers in the U.S. There are many culprits, from polluted waterways and habitat destruction to overfishing and climate change. In the last 20 years, however, a new threat has emerged: floating feedlots on the ocean known as open-net salmon farms. The $20-billion-a-year farmed salmon industry is the world’s fastest growing food producer, and it has made farmed Atlantic salmon the most popular fish on dinner tables North America. But at what cost?

This new fish is an industrialized imposter that risks our health and damages our planet. Farmed salmon are bred to grow fast in cages so crammed that they are rife with parasites and disease. The fish eat pellets of fishmeal, vegetables, and animal byproducts; they are doused regularly with pesticides and antibiotics.

We spent more than two years investigating the global salmon farming business and the multinational companies that control it for our book, Salmon Wars. We interviewed scientists, physicians, fishers, activists, and those in the business of aquaculture. We read academic studies, court papers and previously undisclosed investigative files. We identified and tried to answer three critical questions swirling around farmed salmon.

First and most important, is eating farmed salmon healthy?

Doctors recommend salmon for protein, nutrients, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association suggests consuming at least two servings of fish a week. But they rarely spell out the kind of salmon you should eat or warn of the dangers.

Many experts and scientific studies cast doubt on the blanket claim that salmon should be part of a healthy diet when the fish comes from open-net farms. Some farmed salmon may be safer than other types, but consumers rarely have enough information to make that choice. Labels are unlikely to disclose that the salmon was farmed, let alone identify the chemicals used to raise it. The U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t even have definition for organic salmon.

“It is confusing, and I suspect there is willful confusion out there,” Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a professor of environmental medicine at New York University, told us. “We know that every fish is a trade-off between omega-3 content and toxic content like PCBs. From the perspective of salmon in general, the balance favors consumption of that fish. Now the challenge here is that I can’t tell which salmon is farmed the right way or the wrong way.”

As early as 2004, scientists found levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, a probable carcinogen known as PCBs, seven times higher in farmed Atlantic salmon than in wild salmon. More recent studies found high levels of other chemicals and antibiotics in farmed salmon. Researchers at Arizona State University discovered increases in drug-resistant antibiotics in farmed seafood over the past 30 years, leading to concerns about increased risk of antibiotic resistance in humans. Toxins often wind up in salmon flesh and accumulate in people who eat the fish.

Some studies warn that a single meal per month of farmed Atlantic salmon can expose consumers to contaminant levels exceeding standards from the World Health Organization. The risk is greatest for infants, children, and pregnant women because of the potential harm from contaminants to developing brains.

Seafood Watch, an independent guide to fish consumption affiliated with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, recommends avoiding most farmed Atlantic salmon because of excessive chemical use and disease. Nutritionists generally recommend eating wild salmon over farmed salmon.

Second, is farmed salmon sustainable?

Salmon farmers often advertise their fish as sustainable and naturally raised. These assertions are deceptive.

Salmon are carnivores. Fish meal and fish oil from anchovies, sardines, mackerel, herring, and other small forage fish comprise 25 to 30 percent of most salmon feed. Fully a quarter of the fish harvested from the world’s oceans winds up in feed for aquaculture and pets. To meet growing global demand for salmon, huge trawlers pillage the fisheries off the coast of West Africa and Peru, robbing subsistence fishers of their livelihood and increasing food insecurity.

“You take the food from the plates of people in West Africa to feed the people of Europe and the United States and other countries,” Dr. Ibrahima Cisse of Greenpeace told us.

Salmon farmers argue that they fill the need for protein as the global population grows. Depleting fisheries in low-income countries to provide an unsustainable fish for richer countries sets a dangerous precedent.

Efforts to develop alternative protein sources are under way in university laboratories and start-ups. So far, there is no end in sight for the industry’s exploitation of small fish.

Recent court cases have challenged the industry’s sustainability claims. Norway’s Mowi ASA, the world’s largest salmon farmer, settled a deceptive advertising case in federal court in New York City a year ago. The company paid $1.3 million and agreed its U.S. subsidiaries would stop using the phrases “sustainably sourced” and “naturally raised” to describe its smoked salmon.

Finally, are farmed salmon raised naturally in ways that do not harm the environment?

You be the judge.

The fish spend two to three years in open-net farms that contain up to a million salmon jammed into 10 or 12 cages, which extend 30 feet below the surface and are anchored to the seabed. The crowded cages are petri dishes for tiny parasites called sea lice and many viruses that kill farmed fish and endanger wild salmon when currents carry them outside the farms.

Massive doses of pesticides, including banned neurotoxins, and antibiotics are deployed against the parasites and pathogens. Some of the residue winds up in the salmon, and some falls to the seabed below the cages. Untreated waste from excess feed, decomposing fish, excrement, and chemical residue forms a toxic stew that kills or drives away marine life for hundreds of yards. One photo we found showed a yardstick stuck to the 32-inch mark in slime beneath a salmon farm.

Salmon in open-net farms die from parasites, disease, and warming waters at a staggering rate. Estimates are that 15 to 20 percent of farmed salmon die each year before they are harvested; that is tens of millions of fish. By comparison, the mortality rate for factory chickens is 5 percent and 3.3 percent for feedlot cattle. Young wild salmon beginning their migration are especially vulnerable to the plumes of sea lice from the farms. Escaped farmed salmon compete with wild ones for food and weaken the gene pool through interbreeding.

Up to 85 percent of the salmon we eat is imported from farms along the coasts of Norway, Chile, Scotland, and Canada. Yet the Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for food safety, pays scant attention to farmed salmon at a time when food-borne pathogens are on the increase. For instance, an investigation by the General Accounting Office, an arm of Congress, found that the FDA inspected 86 samples out of 379 thousand tons of salmon in 2017.

Fortunately, there are alternatives. New technology, called recirculation aquaculture systems, grows the fish in closed-containment facilities on land. The fish swim in tanks filled with filtered, recirculated water and the salmon never touch the ocean, eliminating the use of chemicals and damage to the environment.

Several recent surveys show that consumers will pay a premium for products that are sustainable and don’t harm the environment. Land-raised salmon may eventually upend the global market. For now, transparency, better regulation, and accurate labels on farmed salmon are essential to ensure good choices for our health and the health of our planet. Until that happens, farmed Atlantic salmon from open-net pens is off our menu and should be off yours.

 

 

 July 2022

 

Teen Is Cured from Cancer After Groundbreaking Therapy:

'It's a Miracle I'm Alive

 

is Cured from Cancer after Groundbreaking Therapy 10 Years Ago
is Cured from Cancer after Groundbreaking Therapy 10 Years Ago
 

It was 2010, and 5-year-old Emily Whitehead had her entire future ahead of her.

"From the time she was little, she liked to pull pranks and make us laugh," her father Tom, 53, tells PEOPLE. "She made our lives a lot better."

The rambunctious preschooler had just gone to her annual checkup in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, hit every milestone, and was given a clean bill of health.

"Everything was great," recalls her mom, Kari, 46. But just a week later, she noticed that Emily had bruises on odd parts of her body, including her stomach and back. Then her gums started bleeding, and she was waking up in the middle of the night with unbearable pain.

 

When Kari Googled the symptoms, "they were the classic signs of leukemia," she says, and by the next morning she was back at the doctor's office with her little girl.

Within days, Emily was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and doctors at Penn State Health in Hershey, Pennsylvania, prescribed a 26-month regime of chemotherapy for Emily.

 

During the first few weeks of treatment, she ran dangerously high fevers, and had a rare infection that almost caused doctors to amputate both her legs. But despite the challenges, she was in remission one month later.

"We had a rough start," says Kari, "but the doctors said when chemotherapy works for these kids, it works."

That was until October 2011, when Emily relapsed and the then 6-year-old was given just a 30% chance of survival.

"The news was more devastating to us than her original diagnosis," says Tom, a power company lead lineman, who also took Emily to get a second opinion at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). "I told Emily that if I had to crawl to the North Pole, I would, if that's what it took to find someone to fix her."

And essentially, that's exactly what he and Kari, a research project coordinator, did.

 

As Emily spent most of the next four months in the hospital preparing for a bone marrow transplant in February 2012, her parents made calls to experts and found out about every possible treatment available.

"I was just praying like, 'God, if you're up there, we need help right now.' I was kind of asleep but not really and I suddenly saw Emily at CHOP. And I could see her getting better," says Tom, who wrote about the clear visions he had of Emily's recovery in his book, Praying for Emily: The Faith, Science, and Miracles that Saved Our Daughter.

From that vision, he knew, he says, that she would be alright.    

I know my parents tried to make me smile every day," Emily, now 17, tells PEOPLE. "That's something really special that I still remember."

By February 29, her condition had deteriorated to the point that she was no longer eligible for a transplant — and the family was out of options.

But as fate and science would have it, Tom and Kari got the news from Emily's doctors at CHOP that after a year of completing the required paperwork, the FDA and other committees had finally approved the hospital's Phase 1 clinical trial for CAR T-Cell therapy in children — and Emily had become the very first pediatric patient.

There were many risks involved, but "it wasn't a hard decision for us at all," says Kari. Adds Tom: "The alternative was to go home on hospice and just watch her die."

And miraculously, it worked.

On May 10, 2012, 23 days after Emily began the treatment, a bone marrow test showed all of her cancer was gone.

"It was a total shock after everything we she'd been through," remembers Kari, whose family is featured in the new film Of Medicine and Miracles that premiered at the Tribeca Festival in June. "We were just so excited."

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Stephan Grupp, director of the Susan S. and Stephen P. Kelly Center for Cancer Immunotherapy and Emily's doctor who is also in the documentary, says that "she was not expected to make it and then suddenly all of the cancer was gone."

There are a couple different approaches "to getting the body's immune system to directly engage and kill the cancer, but CAR T-cell therapy is the most powerful and direct way," he adds.

The treatment involves taking T-Cells — a type of white blood cell critical in fighting infections — from the body, genetically engineering them in a lab over a three-week period to "teach them how to fight the cancer," says Grupp, then putting them back in the patient's blood.

Since Emily became the first pediatric CAR T-cell patient, more than 15,000 people with blood cancer have successfully received the treatment worldwide.

"You could argue this is a brand-new field of medicine," says Grupp. "Now, we just have to find the right recipe to treat all types of cancer."

Ever since, Emily, who recently got her driver's license and is applying to colleges, has remained cancer free and when she turned 17 in May, was declared cured.

In 2015, she and her family started the Emily Whitehead Foundation, to raise awareness about innovative childhood cancer treatments and help other families dealing with the disease.

"Spreading awareness about treatments like CAR T-cell is really important to me," says Emily. "It's a miracle I'm alive — and I am so grateful."

 

 June 2022

 

New injectable gel significantly reduces chronic lower back pain

 

Man feeling back pain

FAIRFAX, Va. — A new experimental form of hydrogel has proven both safe and effective when it comes to relieving chronic lower back pain caused by degenerative disc disease (DDD).

According to a new study, doctors can inject the new gel right into a patient’s spinal discs.   After six months of treatment, each patient involved reported feeling significantly less pain. On a scale of one to 10, pain among back pain sufferers declined from an average self-reported pain score of 7.1 to just 2.0. Additionally, the patients reported improved physical functioning; average scores fell from 48 all the way down to six on a questionnaire measuring how much lower back pain hindered their ability to do normal tasks.  

 “If these findings are confirmed in further research, this procedure may be a very promising treatment for chronic low back pain in those who’ve found insufficient relief from conservative care,” says lead study author Douglas P. Beall, MD, FSIR, chief of radiology services at Clinical Radiology of Oklahoma, in a media release. “The gel is easy to administer, requires no open surgery, and is an easy procedure for the patient.”   

Filling in problem areas in the discs

Scientists call the new gel Hydrafil™ — a second-generation hydrogel developed by ReGelTec, Inc.

In 2020, ReGelTec received the FDA’s “breakthrough device designation.” This distinction allows for an expedited review for cases in which the early evidence indicates a new, experimental product may provide even better treatment than currently available options.

A total of 20 patients enrolled (ages 22-69), all with DDD lower back pain. Each volunteer described their pain to researchers as at least a four or higher on the 10-point pain scale. No participant had enjoyed anything more than “mild relief” from conservative care options (rest, back braces, analgesics, and physical therapy).  

 

Study authors sedated each patient for the operation and then heated the gel into a thick liquid. Using fluoroscopic imaging, the team used a 17-gauge needle to inject the gel directly into the affected discs. Upon injection, the gel filled in any cracks and tears, adhering to the disc’s center and outer layer.

“We really have no good treatments for degenerative disc disease, aside from conservative care,” Dr. Beall adds. “Surgery is statistically no more effective than conservative care and can potentially make things worse; nerve ablation is appropriate for only a few patients; and existing hydrogels are inserted through an incision as a soft solid, which can pop out of place if you’re not highly skilled in placing it.”  

“Because this gel is injectable, it requires no incision, and it augments the whole disc, restoring its structural integrity, which nothing we have currently can do,” he concludes.

The researchers are presenting their findings at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 2022 Annual Scientific Meeting.

 

 

Fillet of oily fish a day is better for your heart than Omega-3 supplements

 

Fish - jamesharrison

 

A daily fillet of oily fish is better than Omega-3 supplements for lowering blood pressure and preventing heart failure, experts have advised, after finding the current recommended intake is far too low.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) currently advises people to consume between 1.1 and 1.6g of Omega-3 each day, while the NHS recommends just one portion of fish per week.

But a new study by Macau University of Science and Technology in China, found the optimal dose for heart health is 3g, twice the amount that even the strongest 1,500 mg supplements provide. Many supplements are produced in capsule form of just 300mg.  

 

Researchers analysed the results of 71 clinical trials from around the world, published from 1987 to 2020, and found the sweet spot for lowering blood pressure was 3g per day, the equivalent of about 4-5 ounces of Atlantic salmon.

“According to our research, the average adult may have a modest blood pressure reduction from consuming about three grams a day of these fatty acids,” said Dr Xinzhi Li, the study author and assistant professor of the School of Pharmacy at Macau University.

Algae supplements also an option

“Most of the studies reported on fish oil supplements rather than on Omega-3’s consumed in food, which suggests supplements may be an alternative for those who cannot eat fatty fish such as salmon regularly.

 

“Algae supplements are also an option for people who do not consume fish or other animal products.”

Omega-3 fatty acids are typically found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, herring and oysters, and are essential for heart, brain, joint and eye health.

Fish do not actually produce their own Omega-3s, but get them from consuming seaweed and algae.  

Other foods which contain high levels of omega-3s include walnuts, chia seeds and soybeans.

Omega-3s are also known to have a beneficial effect on inflammation and immunity, and may even help prevent autoimmune diseases, some studies have suggested.

 

Deficiencies in Omega-3s have previously been linked to depression, joint pain, headaches, anxiety, skin irritation, brittle hair and nails, insomnia and fatigue.

The research was published in the journal of the American Heart Association.

 

Drinking coffee everyday could help you live longer, study reveals

 

 

There’s new evidence showing coffee offers health benefits, with two to three cups a day associated with a longer life, and a lower risk of heart disease and heart rhythm problems.  Those benefits applied to both people with and without cardiovascular disease, according to three studies to be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session next month.

 

“Because coffee can quicken heart rate, some people worry that drinking it could trigger or worsen certain heart issues,” said Dr. Peter Kistler, the senior author and head of arrhythmia research at the Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart Institute in Melbourne, Australia, in a statement.

“But our data suggest that daily coffee intake shouldn’t be discouraged, but rather included as a part of a healthy diet for people with and without heart disease… We found coffee drinking had either a neutral effect — meaning that it did no harm — or was associated with benefits to heart health.”  

The findings are based on data from about half a million people in a British medical database who were grouped by how much coffee they drank every day and then followed for 10 years.

 

“The biggest takeaway is just how comprehensive the study was,” said NBC senior medical correspondent Dr. John Torres on TODAY. “Those who drank that magic number — two to three cups of coffee for the most part — ended up not just having fewer heart problems, but less chance of dying over that 10 year period. They found it can be very, very good for you.”

 

Researchers wanted to see if healthy coffee drinkers went on to develop heart disease or stroke during the next decade; whether those who already had heart disease at the start had a higher risk of heart problems or death over the next 10 years.  They found that for healthy people, drinking two to three cups of coffee a day offered the biggest benefit — it was associated with a 10% to 15% lower risk of developing heart disease, heart failure, heart rhythm problems or dying prematurely. But drinking less also offered health benefits — the risk of stroke or heart-related death was lowest among people who drank one cup of coffee a day.

 

For people who already had heart problems, drinking two to three cups a day was associated with lower odds of dying compared with abstaining. And drinking any amount of coffee was not associated with a higher risk of heart rhythm problems. People with atrial fibrillation who drank one cup of coffee a day were almost 20% less likely to die than non-coffee drinkers.

 

Amish minister: COVID-19 'left us before vaccines arrived'

 

An Amish woman in Lebanon, Ohio (Photo by Sean Foster on Unsplash)

 

'Even if we had accepted the vaccination, coronavirus still left us prior to the vaccines'

 

 

Marcus Wengerd, who owns Carlisle Press, a small publisher of books and magazines, says the coronavirus arrived in his Ohio county in March 2020.

 

"The Amish community, 38,000 people strong, braced for its approach with narratives from 'it's political' or 'it's really nothing to worry about' to 'it's demonic.' It hardly matters whether these narratives had a grain of truth or were completely false – COVID-19 came. 

 

 "We felt the sting of COVID along with the rest of the world. We felt the pain of increased deaths. The elderly and those with pre-existing conditions felt it most. Smaller funerals and weddings were a short-term cultural shift."

 

Wengerd says the Amish community in Holmes County responded with a month of canceled church services "because our medical world thought us irresponsible to continue."  

 

"We wore masks where required in public places," he explained. "We temporarily adjusted the size of our funerals and weddings as a nod to civil authority and medical experts. A few social events were canceled.

 

"But, for the most part, life among our 38,000 members quickly resumed normal. Thousands attended auctions. No masks in sight. No six feet between bodies. Business as usual. Our schools didn't close. We avoided consigning our children to fear and alienation. Amish didn't wear masks to church, social, and family gatherings or to work (except where required by non-Amish employers). Social closeness has been and remains a plain-people distinctive."   

"COVID came," says Wengerd, the father of nine children. "When it did some of us left earlier than we expected. We had a few more funerals than usual. But then COVID left. COVID exited.  

 

"Then the vaccine came. Trillions of dollars were thrown at their warp speed development and hasty distribution. Mankind was saved by a jab in the arm just in the nick of time. Or was it?

 

"Not the Amish community. COVID came, then COVID left. COVID exited, then the vaccine entered. Note the order here. Yes, COVID caused some to leave earlier than expected. Yes, it interrupted our social and spiritual lives for a month or so. But it left. It left before salvation arrived. It left the Amish community prior to the arrival of the vaccine.

 

"Even if the vaccine had arrived prior to COVID's exit the vaccine would have failed its purpose for a very important reason: almost no Amish were or are vaccinated. Very few of the Amish population chose to vaccinate. Reasons for not vaccinating may vary but even if we had accepted the vaccination, COVID still left us prior to the vaccines' arrival.

 

"When medical experts, anthropologists, sociologists, and government agencies look back on 2020 and the COVID pandemic they will do so with the sharpness of 20/20 hindsight. 'COVID came,' they will say, 'then we mandated, masked, social distanced, and vaccinated it out of existence.' And in their perfect hindsight they may miss a group of 38,000 people for which that was not true. 

 

"They may miss it, that is, unless someone says something today. So I have."

 

 

May 2022

 

How cranberries could improve memory and ward off dementia

 

Cranberries 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

 

Adding cranberries to your diet could help improve memory and brain function, and lower 'bad' cholesterol -- according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UK).  A new study published today highlights the neuroprotective potential of cranberries.

 

The research team studied the benefits of consuming the equivalent of a cup of cranberries a day among 50 to 80-year-olds.

They hope that their findings could have implications for the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. Lead researcher Dr David Vauzour, from UEA's Norwich Medical School, said: "Dementia is expected to affect around 152 million people by 2050. There is no known cure, so it is crucial that we seek modifiable lifestyle interventions, such as diet, that could help lessen disease risk and burden.

 

"Past studies have shown that higher dietary flavonoid intake is associated with slower rates of cognitive decline and dementia. And foods rich in anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, which give berries their red, blue, or purple colour, have been found to improve cognition.

 

"Cranberries are rich in these micronutrients and have been recognized for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

"We wanted to find out more about how cranberries could help reduce age-related neurodegeneration."

The research team investigated the impact of eating cranberries for 12 weeks on brain function and cholesterol among 60 cognitively healthy participants.

Half of the participants consumed freeze-dried cranberry powder, equivalent to a cup or 100g of fresh cranberries, daily. The other half consumed a placebo.

The study is one of the first to examine cranberries and their long-term impact on cognition and brain health in humans.

The results showed that consuming cranberries significantly improved the participants' memory of everyday events (visual episodic memory), neural functioning and delivery of blood to the brain (brain perfusion).

 

Dr Vauzour said: "We found that the participants who consumed the cranberry powder showed significantly improved episodic memory performance in combination with improved circulation of essential nutrients such as oxygen and glucose to important parts of the brain that support cognition -- specifically memory consolidation and retrieval.

 

"The cranberry group also exhibited a significant decrease in LDL or 'bad' cholesterol levels, known to contribute to atherosclerosis -- the thickening or hardening of the arteries caused by a build-up of plaque in the inner lining of an artery. This supports the idea that cranberries can improve vascular health and may in part contribute to the improvement in brain perfusion and cognition.

"Demonstrating in humans that cranberry supplementation can improve cognitive performance and identifying some of the mechanisms responsible is an important step for this research field.

 

"The findings of this study are very encouraging, especially considering that a relatively short 12-week cranberry intervention was able to produce significant improvements in memory and neural function," he added.

"This establishes an important foundation for future research in the area of cranberries and neurological health."

The study was supported by a grant from The Cranberry Institute. It was led by the University of East Anglia in collaboration with researchers at the Leiden University Medical Center (Netherlands), the University of Parma (Italy) and the Quadram Institute (UK).

 

 

Scientists reveal new technique that destroys cancer using sound waves

 

 

 

By Joe Morgan via SWNS

 

A new technique that destroys cancer using sound waves also spurs the immune system to kill off any of the tumor left, scientists have revealed.

The non-invasive treatment only needs to be partially effective to stop the cancer spreading.

It is currently being tested on human liver cancers in the US and Europe following successful trials in rats. 

The team from the University of Michigan showed the noninvasive sound technology is able to prevent further spread with no evidence of recurrence or metastases in the majority of cases.

The treatment, called histotripsy, non invasively focuses ultrasound waves to mechanically destroy target tissue with millimeter precision.

In many cases, the entirety of a cancerous tumor cannot be targeted directly in treatments due to the mass' size, location or stage.

However researchers investigated the effects of partially destroying tumors with sound to 50 or 75 percent and found the technique was still very effective.

They showed that in 80 percent of cases performed on rats, the immune system broke down the rest of the tumor and it did not return.

Professor Zhen Xu, at the University of Michigan, said: "Even if we don't target the entire tumor, we can still cause the tumor to regress and also reduce the risk of future metastasis.

"Our transducer delivers high amplitude microsecond-length ultrasound pulses—acoustic cavitation—to focus on the tumor specifically to break it up.

"Traditional ultrasound devices use lower amplitude pulses for imaging."

Tejaswi Worlikar, a PhD student in biomedical engineering, said: "Histotripsy is a promising option that can overcome the limitations of currently available ablation modalities and provide safe and effective noninvasive liver tumor ablation.

"We hope that our learnings from this study will motivate future preclinical and clinical histotripsy investigations toward the ultimate goal of clinical adoption of histotripsy treatment for liver cancer patients."

The study was published in the journal Cancers.

 

 

The Maximum Amount of Eggs You Can Eat each week

 

Seven eggs against a white background

Eggs have a pretty scrambled reputation. (Get it?) Once a universally accepted health food, eggs have gotten a bad rap in recent conversation as being too high in cholesterol and not as heart-healthy as most consumers had come to believe. One large egg contains around 186 milligrams of cholesterol -- for reference, the recommended daily intake for cholesterol is 300 milligrams for adults, according to CardioSmart. Yikes.

But, eggs also boast an impressive and undeniable repertoire of health benefits, too. Just one large egg provides 6 grams of high quality protein, only 70 calories, and is a good source of essential nutrients, per Food Network. So, which is it? Are eggs good for you, or not?  Like most toss-ups in life, the answer is: "Both." And, as with so many other good things, the key word here is "moderation." This is the exact sweet spot to reap all the health benefits from your morning egg avocado toast without making the mistake of overdoing it

 

The pros and cons might seem like a lot to unyolk. On one hand, eggs are singular units packed with nutrients. Eggs are a potent source of vitamins A, D, B12, and all nine essential amino acids, per the BBC. They also contain about 113 milligrams of choline, an important nutrient for neurological and metabolic health.   

 

ggs can also lower your triglycerides, reports Health Digest. According to the Mayo Clinic, triglycerides are a type of fat found in the bloodstream. In healthy levels, it reports, triglycerides provide the body with energy and keep it fueled; in excess, triglycerides can cause heart failure and increased risk of strokes. However, despite all its good contents, eggs still pack a pretty high amount of cholesterol. Is it a big deal?

According to Healthline, eggs actually improve a body's overall cholesterol profile. Eggs raise HDL (the "good" cholesterol) and tend to lower LDL (the "bad cholesterol). Amy Bhatt, MD, FACC of Harvard Medical School explains that high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) work with the liver to keep blood clean; they prevent plaque buildup in the heart and protect your cardiovascular system. Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), on the other hand, carry cholesterol to your arteries, which can lead to decreased blood flow to the heart, muscles, or even block an artery.

So, what is the maximum amount of eggs you can safely eat in a week? To reap all the health benefits without incurring any of the negatives?

 

According to the Mayo Clinic, most people can eat up to seven eggs a week without affecting their heart health. The American Heart Association agrees: healthy folks, it says, can include up to one egg per day in a heart-healthy diet. Registered dietitian Nicole Hopsecger, RD, LD of the Cleveland Clinic also recommends one egg per day or half a dozen per week.

The main factor is watching what you pair them with. Eggs might be healthy on their own, but they often come alongside accoutrements like cheese, bacon, and butter, which are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, says the Mayo Clinic. Think twice before you order that bacon, egg, and cheese at the deli counter. Instead, the omega-3s in this salmon eggs Benedict makes for a nutrient-packed meal.

The findings from a study published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care discourage dietary recommendations aimed at restricting egg consumption. The benefits of including eggs in a regular diet outweigh the drawbacks; to write eggs off altogether based on cholesterol is a limiting one-dimensional way of thinking. The key, it says, is maintaining a balanced diet.

The American Heart Association agrees with this as well. Choosing plant-based protein sources will limit cholesterol intake; ovo-lacto vegetarians — who don't consume high-cholesterol, meat-based foods — may safely include more dairy and eggs in their diets. Some folks choose to eat only the egg white and not the yolk, which provides some protein without the cholesterol.

 

April 2022

 

 

 

Mystery of why humans die around 80 may finally be solved

 

Humans and animals die after amassing a similar number of genetic mutations, researchers have found, suggesting that the speed of DNA errors is critical in determining the lifespan of a species - Matt Porteous/Digital Vision

 

The mystery of why humans die around 80, while other mammals live far shorter or longer lives, may finally have been solved by scientists.

Humans and animals die after amassing a similar number of genetic mutations, researchers have found, suggesting that the speed of DNA errors is critical in determining the lifespan of a species.

 

There are huge variations in the lifespan of mammals in the animal kingdom, from South Asian rats which live for just six months, to bowhead whales which can survive for 200 years.  Previously experts have suggested that size is the key to longevity, with smaller animals burning up energy more quickly, requiring a faster cell turnover, which causes a speeder decline.

 

But a new study from the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge suggests it is the speed of genetic damage that could be the key to survival, with long-living animals successfully slowing down their rate of DNA mutations, regardless of their size. It helps explain how a five-inch long naked mole rat can live for 25 years, about the same as a far larger giraffe, which typically lives for 24 years. When scientists checked their mutation rates, they were surprisingly similar. Naked mole rats suffer 93 mutations a year, and giraffes 99.

In contrast, mice suffer 796 mutations a year and only live for 3.7 years. The average human lifespan in the study was 83.6 years, but the mutation rate was far lower, at around 47.  Genetic changes, known as somatic mutations, occur in all cells and are largely harmless, but some can start a cell on the path to cancer or impair normal functioning.

 

Dr Alex Cagan, the first author of the study, said: “To find a similar pattern of genetic changes in animals as different from one another as a mouse and a tiger was surprising.  “But the most exciting aspect of the study has to be finding that lifespan is inversely proportional to the somatic mutation rate.

“This suggests that somatic mutations may play a role in ageing.”

 

The team analyzed genetic errors in the stem cells from the intestines of 16 species of mammal and found that the longer the lifespan of a species, the slower the rate at which mutations occur.The average number of mutations at the end of lifespan across species was around 3200, suggesting there is a critical mass of errors after which a body is unable to function correctly.

Aging is a complex process’

Although the figure differed about threefold across species the variation was far less than the variation in body size, which varied up to 40,000 fold.

The researchers believe the study opens the door to understanding the ageing process, and the inevitability and timing of death.

 

Dr Inigo Martincorena, the senior author of the study, said: “Ageing is a complex process, the result of multiple forms of molecular damage in our cells and tissues.

“Somatic mutations have been speculated to contribute to ageing since the 1950s, but studying them has remained difficult.

 

“With the recent advances in DNA sequencing technologies, we can finally investigate the roles that somatic mutations play in ageing and in multiple diseases.”

The research was published in the journal Nature.

 

 

Revealed: List of dangerous chemicals in your food wrappers

Tests by Consumer Reports found PFAS in all kinds of food packaging, even from companies that say they’ve phased out the chemicals

by Kevin Loria of Consumer Reports

 

Independent testing of more than 100 packaging products from US restaurant and grocery chains identified PFAS chemicals that are known to cause cancer in many of the wrappers, a Consumer Reports investigation has found.  The potentially dangerous “forever chemicals“were found in food packaging including paper bags for french fries, wrappers for hamburgers, molded fiber salad bowls and single-use paper plates.

 

They were found in the packaging from every retailer CR looked at, including fast-food chains – such as Burger King and McDonald’s – and places that promote healthier fare, such as Cava and Trader Joe’s.

 

CR tested multiple samples of 118 food packaging products and found evidence of PFAS in more than half of those tested, while almost a third had levels beyond a threshold supported by CR experts and others.

 

In recent decades, PFAS exposure has been linked to a growing list of health problems, including immune system suppression, lower birth weight and increased risk for some cancers.   PFAS can be found not only in nonstick pans and waterproof gear but also in the grease-resistant packaging that holds food from takeout chains and supermarkets. A seemingly virtuous alternative to plastic, packaging made with PFAS often resembles paper or cardboard but salad dressing and fry oil do not leak through.

 

“We know that these substances migrate into food you eat,” said Justin Boucher, an environmental engineer at the Food Packaging Forum, a non-profit research organization based in Switzerland. “It’s clear, direct exposure.”

 

 That’s especially likely when food is fatty, salty or acidic, according to a 2021 review in the journal Foods. Some research even suggests that PFAS levels are higher in people who regularly eat out.

 

Another concern: when packaging is tossed into the trash it can end up in landfills, and PFAS can contaminate water and soil, or it is incinerated, and PFAS can spread through the air.  Health and environmental advocates have been pushing for PFAS use to be restricted, especially in items such as food packaging. In response, some fast-food and fast-casual restaurants, as well as several grocery stores, say that they have taken steps to limit PFAS in their food packaging or that they plan to phase it out.

 

Among the 24 retailers CR looked at, nearly half had at least one product above that level, and most had one or more above 20ppm. But almost all also had products below that amount. For example, while the two products with the highest average levels came from Nathan’s, the chain also had four products below 20ppm. Nathan’s told CR that it was redoing its packaging and had eliminated the high-level items, as did Chick-fil-A, which had the item with the next highest level in CR’s tests.