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Recent Longevity News for the seven days ending 4/28/10.  You should consult your doctor if you are taking any medications.

Low Testosterone Tied to Frailty in Older Men - Medscape, 4/26/10 - "In general, men with total testosterone levels below the median were more likely to be frail. Moreover, lower levels of free testosterone were tied to a greater risk of becoming frail over the next four to seven years"

Regular aerobic exercise is good for the brain - Science Daily, 4/26/10 - "Regular exercise speeds learning and improves blood flow to the brain ... monkeys who exercised regularly at an intensity that would improve fitness in middle-aged people learned to do tests of cognitive function faster and had greater blood volume in the brain's motor cortex than their sedentary counterparts ... This suggests people who exercise are getting similar benefits ... When the researchers examined tissue samples from the brain's motor cortex, they found that mature monkeys that ran had greater vascular volume than middle-aged runners or sedentary animals. But those blood flow changes reversed in monkeys that were sedentary after exercising for five months"

Brown rice and cardiovascular protection -Science Daily, 4/26/10 - "brown rice might have an advantage over white rice by offering protection from high blood pressure and atherosclerosis ("hardening of the arteries") ... a component in a layer of tissue surrounding grains of brown rice may work against angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is an endocrine protein and a known culprit in the development of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis"

Phosphorous in sodas and processed foods accelerates signs of aging, study suggests - Science Daily, 4/26/10 - "high levels of phosphates may add more "pop" to sodas and processed foods than once thought. That's because researchers found that the high levels of phosphates accelerate signs of aging. High phosphate levels may also increase the prevalence and severity of age-related complications, such as chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular calcification, and can also induce severe muscle and skin atrophy"

Erectile dysfunction and increased dangers of cardiovascular disease - Science Daily, 4/25/10 - "men with erectile dysfunction and low testosterone have a higher than normal risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Further work from the same research group shows that obesity is also associated with an impairment of blood flow to the penis, which in turn is also associated with cardiovascular disease in men with erectile dysfunction ... Low testosterone itself was not associated with major cardiac events, but those patients with the lowest testosterone who had a major cardiac event were significantly more likely to die than those with higher levels of testosterone (P<0.001; the risk is increased by a factor of seven ... In a second study (but using the same group of patients as above), the group showed that the degree of obesity, along with erectile dysfunction, were significantly and independently associated with cardiac events"

Better vitamin D status could mean better quality of life for seniors - Science Daily, 4/25/10 - "When the results were tabulated, participants with the highest levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D had better physical function. And, although physical function declined over the course of the study, it remained significantly higher among those with the highest vitamin D levels at the beginning of the study compared to those with the lowest vitamin D levels. The scientists were not surprised to learn that, in general, vitamin D consumption was very low in this group of otherwise healthy seniors. In fact, more than 90% of them consumed less vitamin D than currently recommended, and many were relying on dietary supplements" - See vitamin D at Amazon.com.

To learn better, take a nap (and don't forget to dream) - Science Daily, 4/22/10 - "What's got us really excited, is that after nearly 100 years of debate about the function of dreams, this study tells us that dreams are the brain's way of processing, integrating and really understanding new information ... Dreams are a clear indication that the sleeping brain is working on memories at multiple levels, including ways that will directly improve performance"

A1c Levels: Is Lower Always Better? - Medscape, 4/23/10 - "A1c values in the lowest decile (median, 6.4%) were associated with an increased risk for mortality for all patients (hazard ratio [HR], 1.52; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.40-1.64). This finding was stronger in the INS cohort (HR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.45-1.22) than in the SUMET cohort (HR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.07-1.58). Only the 10th decile (median, 10.4%) was also associated with increased mortality risk in the SUMET cohort (HR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.55-2.42); but in the INS cohort, deciles 2 (median, 6.95%; HR,1.45; 95% CI, 1.17-1.80), 3 (median, 7.3%; HR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.09-1.67), 9 (median, 9.4%; HR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.21-1.77), and 10 (median, 10.6%; HR, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.49-2.17) were all associated with greater risk. The combined model yielded results similar to the INS cohort, and the inclusion of a variable for membership in the INS cohort was significantly associated with increased mortality (HR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.39-1.59). The adjusted risk for progression to large-vessel disease had the same general U-shaped association as for all-cause mortality, and insulin treatment was associated with an increased risk for a first large-vessel disease event"

Study: Too Much Sugar Increases Heart Risks - Time Magazine, 4/21/10 - "Compared with people consuming less than 5% of their daily calories in added sugar, those in the highest consumption group — who got 25% or more of their daily calories in added sugar — were twice as likely to have low levels of HDL cholesterol, the beneficial lipid that mops up artery-clogging LDL cholesterol. According to government health guidelines, HDL levels below 50 mg/dL for women and 40 mg/dL for men are considered low; 43% of the highest sugar consumers recorded low HDL, while only 22% of the lowest sugar consumers did ... People eating the most added sugar also recorded the highest triglyceride levels ... Low HDL and high triglyceride levels are two of the primary risk factors for heart disease"

Excessive alcohol consumption may lead to increased cancer risk - Science Daily, 4/21/10 - "Researchers have detected a link between alcohol consumption, cancer and aging that starts at the cellular level with telomere shortening ... Telomeres are found at the region of DNA sequences at the end of a chromosome, and are important for the genetic stability of cells. As people age, telomere length shortens progressively ... Since telomere shortening is thought to increase cancer risk, the researchers speculated that those with shorter telomeres due to heavy alcohol consumption would have an increased risk of cancer ... telomere length was dramatically shortened in those who consumed heavy amounts of alcohol; telomere length was nearly half as long as telomere length in the non-abusers (0.41 vs. 0.79 relative units)"

How red wine may shield brain from stroke damage: researchers discover pathway in mice for resveratrol's apparent protective effect - Science Daily, 4/21/10 - "Two hours after feeding mice a single modest dose of resveratrol, a compound found in the skins and seeds of red grapes, the scientists induced an ischemic stroke by essentially cutting off blood supply to the animals' brains. They found that the animals that had preventively ingested the resveratrol suffered significantly less brain damage than the ones that had not been given the compound ... his study suggests that resveratrol increases levels of an enzyme (heme oxygenase) already known to shield nerve cells in the brain from damage. When the stroke hits, the brain is ready to protect itself because of elevated enzyme levels. In mice that lacked the enzyme, the study found, resveratrol had no significant protective effect and their brain cells died after a stroke" - See resveratrol products at Amazon.com.

Lung Cancer Risk in Painters: A Meta-Analysis - Medscape, 4/21/10 - "Although there was not enough information in the studies provided to assess the association of lung cancer with specific chemical agents encountered in painting, the robustness of the estimates in the subgroup analyses (by sex, region, study design, and controlling for smoking and other occupational exposures) and the stronger associations seen in specific subgroups (by duration of exposure) support the conclusion that occupational exposures in painters are causally associated with the risk of lung cancer. Because several million people are employed as painters worldwide and because lung cancer is the most common cancer in painters, even a modest increase in the relative risk is remarkable"

Does a man's estrogen level impact his risk of prostate cancer? - Science Daily, 4/19/10 - "The relative amounts of the 15 estrogens and estrogen metabolites in the urine of prostate cancer cases were similar to that of non-cancer patients with the exception of the estrogen metabolite 4-OHE1 ... This particular estrogen metabolite appeared to be more abundant among men diagnosed with prostate cancer"

Abstracts from this week's Doctor's Guide Nutrition/Dietetics plus abstracts from my RSS feeds (Click here for the journals, the PubMed ones at the top):

Curcumin inhibits cholesterol uptake in Caco-2 cells by down-regulation of NPC1L1 expression - Lipids Health Dis. 2010 Apr 19;9(1):40 - "Curcumin inhibits cholesterol uptake through suppression of NPC1L1 expression in the intestinal cells"

Effects of phenylethyl isothiocyanate and its metabolite on cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis in LNCaP human prostate cancer cells - Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2010 May;11(7):324-36 - "Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with decreased risk of several cancers, including prostate cancer. Gluconasturtiin, one of the predominant glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables, is hydrolyzed to yield phenylethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC). PEITC absorption and metabolism in humans involves glutathione conjugation followed by conversion via the mercapturic acid pathway to an N-acetylcysteine (NAC) conjugate that is excreted in the urine. We observed an inhibitory effect of PEITC and its metabolite, NAC-PEITC, on cancer cell proliferation, cell-cycle progression, and apoptosis in LNCaP human prostate cancer cells. PEITC and NAC-PEITC suppressed LNCaP cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner, and exposure to 5 microM PEITC or NAC-PEITC reduced cell proliferation by 25% and 30%, respectively. Cell-cycle analysis revealed that cells treated with 5 microM PEITC or NAC-PEITC arrested at the G(2)/M phase. In addition, the percentage of cells in the S phase decreased from 46% to 25% following 48 h of incubation with PEITC or NAC-PEITC. The G(2)/M-phase cell-cycle arrest of LNCaP cells grown in the presence of PEITC or NAC-PEITC is correlated with the downregulation of Cdk1 and cyclin B(1) protein expression. Apoptosis was observed at the later stages of 24-h and 48-h treatments with 5 microM PEITC and NAC-PEITC. In conclusion, PEITC and NAC-PEITC are potential chemopreventive/chemotherapeutic agents against LNCaP human prostate cancer cells"

Lowering Midlife Levels of Systolic Blood Pressure as a Public Health Strategy to Reduce Late-Life Dementia. Perspective From the Honolulu Heart Program/Honolulu Asia Aging Study - Hypertension. 2010 Apr 19 - "Compared with those with SBP <120 mm Hg, untreated, and <50 years of age at baseline, 17.7% (95% CI: 4.6% to 29.1%) of the cases were attributable to prehypertensive levels (SBP: 120 to <140 mm Hg) of SBP, translating into 11 excess cases per 1000. Among those who did not report taking antihypertensive medication in midlife, 27% (95% CI: 8.9% to 42.1%) of dementia cases can be attributed to systolic BP >/=120 mm Hg, translating into 17 excess cases per 1000. Although population-attributable risk estimates for population subgroups may differ by relative risk for dementia or prevalence of elevated levels of blood pressure, these data suggest that reducing midlife systolic BP is an effective prevention strategy to reduce risk for late-life dementia"

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