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Recent Longevity News for the seven days ending 5/11/11.  You should consult your doctor if you are taking any medications.

Low Vitamin D at Birth Linked to Lung Infections - WebMD, 5/10/11 - "At birth, more than a quarter of the infants had low vitamin D -- serum levels of less than 20 ng/mL. During their first year of life, these kids had a sixfold higher risk of RSV lung infection than did the 46% of kids whose vitamin D levels at birth were at least 30 ng/mL ... It's not just the Netherlands. Other Western nations, including the U.S., have similar rates of low vitamin D ... U.S. researchers reported in 2010 that at a single Boston hospital, 58% of infants and 36% of mothers had low vitamin D levels (under 20 ng/mL). Severe vitamin D deficiency (defined as lower than 15 ng/mL) was seen in 38% of the infants and in 23% of the mothers" - See vitamin D at Amazon.com.

Does Cupid play politics? That 'something special' might be your mate's political ideology - Science Daily, 5/10/11 - "It suggests that, perhaps, if you're looking for a long-term romantic relationship, skip 'What's your sign?' and go straight to 'Obama or Palin?'" Alford said. "And if you get the wrong answer, just walk away."

Study unlocks resveratrol’s fat fighting potential - Nutra USA, 5/10/11 - "It is important to point out that the effective dose in our experimental design, as well as those used by other authors, is far greater than the amount usually ingested by humans (100-930 micrograms per day), meaning that the positive effects of this molecule on body fat would only be achieved by the intake of resveratrol pills or functional foods enriched with this molecule ... resveratrol could activate a gene called sirtuin1 (Sirt1 – the yeast equivalent was Sir2), which is also activated during calorie restriction in various species, including monkeys ... divided 16 rats into two equal groups ... After six weeks of study, the researchers found that both groups had similar body weight, but that the resveratrol fed animals has significantly lower fat tissue levels" - See resveratrol products at Amazon.com.

Vitamin D deficiency in pneumonia patients associated with increased mortality - Science Daily, 5/10/11 - "vitamin D deficiency was associated with higher mortality within the first 30 days after hospital admission for pneumonia. The association between vitamin D deficiency was not explained by patient age, sex, comorbidities, the severity of the systemic inflammatory response, or other known prognostic factors"

Coffee reduces breast cancer risk, study suggests - Science Daily, 5/10/11 - "Researchers from Sweden compared lifestyle factors and coffee consumption between women with breast cancer and age-matched women without. They found that coffee drinkers had a lower incidence of breast cancer than women who rarely drank coffee. However they also found that several lifestyle factors affected breast cancer rates, such as age at menopause, exercise, weight, education, and a family history of breast cancer. Once they had adjusted their data to account for these other factors they found that the protective effect of coffee on breast cancer was only measurable for ER-negative breast cancer"

Vitamin E tocotrienols may reduce cholesterol: RCT data - Nutra USA, 5/9/11 - "Supplements containing a mixture of tocotrienols – forms of vitamin E – may reduce cholesterol levels by about 15 percent in people with raised cholesterol ... Overall, there are eight forms of vitamin E: four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta). Alpha-tocopherol (alpha-Toc) is the main source found in supplements and in the European diet, while gamma-tocopherol (gamma-Toc) is the most common form in the American diet ... After four months of supplementation, the researchers noted a decrease in total cholesterol of 9 percent, with the decrease recorded as 11 percent after six months ... In addition, LDL cholesterol levels were decreased by 13 and 17.5 percent after four and six months of supplementation, respectively" - See Jarrow FamilE (contains all eight members of the vitamin E family, includes Tocomin) at Amazon.com.

Creatine in Type 2 Diabetes - Medscape, 5/10/11 - "The patients were allocated to receive either creatine (CR) (5 g.d−1) or placebo (PL) ...This is the first randomized controlled trial to describe the beneficial effects of creatine supplementation on glycemic control in type 2 diabetic patients who underwent exercise training. As such, this supplement emerges as a valuable nonpharmacological approach for treating diabetes ... the mean reduction in HbA1c (−1.1%) was superior to that commonly seen with exercise training[25] or metformin[10] treatment alone, pointing out the therapeutic potential of this novel nutritional intervention" - See creatine at Amazon.com.

Heart medication best at bedtime, animal study suggests - Science Daily, 5/9/11 - "angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors -- commonly given to patients with high blood pressure or after a heart attack or during heart failure -- improve heart structure and function when given at sleep time. In fact, when administered during wake time, ACE inhibitors are no more effective than a placebo, the study found ... The research was conducted on mice with high blood pressure ... The sleep-time benefit of giving the ACE inhibitor correlates with the biological rhythm of this hormone ... By targeting those hormones when they're highest during sleep, you're dropping their levels so they're not doing so much damage"

Do you think liposuction will get rid of that fat forever? - Science Daily, 5/9/11 - "the fat eventually returns within one year, and is redistributed to other areas of the body, especially the upper abdomen. There was further redistribution around the shoulders and triceps of the arms"

Folic acid supplementation not associated with colon cancer: Meta-analysis - Nutra USA, 5/9/11 - "New research analysing data from the three largest trials of folic acid and the risk of colon cancer has suggested that supplementation has no effect on the risk of developing the disease ... Interestingly, we observed a potential beneficial effect of folic acid supplements on overall mortality" - [Abstract]

Omega-3 status in pregnancy linked to childhood obesity: Study - Nutra USA, 5/6/11 - "A higher ratio of cord plasma omega-6 to omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) was associated with higher subscapular and triceps [skinfold thicknesses] and odds of obesity ... around one fifth expectant mothers ate more than 2 fish meals per week at mid-pregnancy, however only about half of these women achieved the recommend intake of DHA of 200 mg per day ... Only three per cent of pregnant women in the study were found to consume the recommended intake of 200 mg/day of DHA in the last month of pregnancy ... this is the time when large amounts of DHA are transferred from the mother to the infant to support brain development ... the odds of obesity in 3-year-olds were between two and four times higher when cord blood had a high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids ... In contrast, the odds of obesity were 32 per cent lower when maternal consumption of omega-3s was high or if the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 was at close to recommended levels" - [Abstract] - See Mega Twin EPA at Amazon.com and Jarrow Max DHA at Amazon.com.

Green tea extract shows memory boosting activity: Study - Nutra USA, 5/4/11 - "A combination of a green tea extract with L-theanine was associated with improvements in immediate and delayed recall, and general memory, according to findings published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods ... As a natural ingredient with a long history of consumption, LGNC-07 [ – a combination of green tea extract and L-theanine - ] should be considered as a potential nutraceutical candidate for enhancing cognitive performance" - [Abstract] - See Jarrow Formulas, Theanine 200 at iHerb.

Osama Bin Laden's Evil Charisma Recalls Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson and Jim Jones - ABC News, 5/4/11 - "History is littered with Osama bin Ladens -- former President George W. Bush called them the "evil-doers" -- who wield mesmerizing power over their devoted followers and often possess qualities of grandiosity and charisma ... The fact is that Hitler was beloved by his people--not the military, at least not in the beginning, but by the average Germans who pledged to him an affection, a tenderness and a fidelity that bordered on the irrational ... Agents of influence are effective at what they do. But some people come along who have a personality type and are often described as narcissistic ... The fact is that Hitler was beloved by his people--not the military, at least not in the beginning, but by the average Germans who pledged to him an affection, a tenderness and a fidelity that bordered on the irrational ... It was idolatry on a national scale. One had to see the crowds who acclaimed him. And the women who were attracted to him. And the young who in his presence went into ecstasy. Did they not see the hateful mask that covered his face? Did they not divine the catastrophe he bore within himself?"

Does it take one to know one? New research reveals conspiring conspiracy theorists - Science Daily, 5/4/11 - "The research, titled Does it take one to know one? Endorsement of conspiracy theories is influenced by personal willingness to conspire, considered the responses of around 250 UK undergraduates to 17 major alleged conspiracies, such as the 'assassinations' of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, the 'faking' of the moon landings and the 'orchestration' of the 9/11 attacks by the US government ... The more that participants indicated a willingness to conspire, the more they found the same conspiracy theories to be plausible, interesting, and worth considering ... that participants who were highly Machiavellian -- defined as willing to exploit others for personal gain -- were more likely to indicate willingness to conspire, and as a result, were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories ... 'We found that in their search for explanations under such uncertain and confusing conditions, people rely partly on projection -- the assumption that others would behave much as they would"

New evidence that caffeine is a healthful antioxidant in coffee - Science Daily, 5/4/11 - "caffeine in coffee, tea, and other foods seems to protect against conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and heart disease on the most fundamental levels ... coffee is one of the richest sources of healthful antioxidants in the average person's diet. Some of the newest research points to caffeine (also present in tea, cocoa, and other foods) as the source of powerful antioxidant effects that may help protect people from Alzheimer's and other diseases ... In an effort to bolster scientific knowledge about caffeine, they present detailed theoretical calculations on caffeine's interactions with free radicals. Their theoretical conclusions show "excellent" consistency with the results that other scientists have report from animal and other experiments, bolstering the likelihood that caffeine is, indeed, a source of healthful antioxidant activity in coffee"

Exercise protects the heart via nitric oxide, researchers discover - Science Daily, 5/4/11 - "Nitric oxide, a short-lived gas generated within the body, turns on chemical pathways that relax blood vessels to increase blood flow and activate survival pathways. Both the chemical nitrite and nitrosothiols, where nitric oxide is attached to proteins via sulfur, appear to act as convertible reservoirs for nitric oxide in situations where the body needs it, such as a lack of blood flow or oxygen ... Our study provides new evidence that nitric oxide generated during physical exercise is actually stored in the bloodstream and heart in the form of nitrite and nitrosothiols. These more stable nitric oxide intermediates appear to be critical for the cardioprotection against a subsequent heart attack ... voluntary exercise boosted levels of an enzyme that produces nitric oxide (eNOS, endothelial nitric oxide synthase). Moreover, the levels of eNOS in heart tissue, and nitrite and nitrosothiols in the blood as well as heart tissue, stayed high for a week after exercise ceased, unlike other heart enzymes stimulated by exercise. The protective effects of exercise did not extend beyond four weeks after the exercise period was over, when nitrite and nitrosothiols in the heart returned to baseline"

Damaged hearts pump better when fueled with fats, study suggests - Science Daily, 5/4/11 - "for a damaged heart, a balanced diet that includes mono- and polyunsaturated fats, and which replaces simple sugars (sucrose and fructose) with complex carbohydrates, may be beneficial ... researchers previously thought a high-fat diet fed to animal models that have suffered a heart attack, would overload their tissues with fat, which in turn would have a toxic effect on their hearts. Surprisingly, the heart's pump function improved on the high-fat diet. Through further testing, the researchers found that animal models suffering from heart failure and receiving a low fat diet were able to produce insulin and take up glucose from the blood, just as healthy hearts do. However, the biological models with heart failure that were fed high-fat diets showed signs of insulin resistance, exhibited by a decreased amount of glucose taken up by the heart, as might be expected in a diabetic patient ... One of the main implications of these findings is that contrary to previously held beliefs, a state of insulin-resistance might actually be beneficial to a failing heart"

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):

Biomarkers of dairy intake and the risk of heart disease - Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2011 May 4 - "The association between the FFQ measure of dairy intake and MI showed evidence of a possible threshold effect, with a protective association observed for all but the top quintile of the exposure distribution ... Dairy product intake as assessed by adipose tissue 15:0, 17:0, and by FFQ is not associated with a linear increase in the risk of MI in the study population. It is possible that the adverse effect of saturated fat in dairy products on cardiovascular health is offset by presence of beneficial nutrients"

Foods and Food Groups Associated With the Incidence of Colorectal Polyps: The Adventist Health Study - Nutr Cancer. 2011 May 4:1 - "Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The majority of CRC arise in adenomatous polyps and 25-35% of colon adenoma risk could be avoidable by modifying diet and lifestyle habits ... Multivariate analysis adjusted by age, sex, body mass index, and education showed a protective association with higher frequency of consumption of cooked green vegetables (OR 1 time/d vs. <5/wk = 0.76, 95% CI = 0.59-0.97) and dried fruit (OR 3+ times/wk vs. <1 time/wk = 0.76, 95%CI = 0.58-0.99). Consumption of legumes at least 3 times/wk reduced the risk by 33% after adjusting for meat intake. Consumption of brown rice at least 1 time/wk reduced the risk by 40%. These associations showed a dose-response effect. High frequency of consumption of cooked green vegetables, dried fruit, legumes, and brown rice was associated with a decreased risk of colorectal polyps"

Association of plasma adiponectin levels with hearing thresholds in adults - Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2011 Apr 30 - "Plasma adiponectin may protect peripheral hearing function, particularly that related to high frequencies. Adiponectin may be a mediator of obesity-associated, age-related hearing impairment"

A diet with 35 % of energy from protein leads to kidney damage in female Sprague-Dawley rats - Br J Nutr. 2011 May 3:1-8 - "High-protein (HP) diets for weight loss remain popular despite questions surrounding overall safety. In a recent study using the pig model, we showed that long-term intakes from whole proteins at 35 % energy (en %) cause moderate renal histological damage. To examine whether this observation may be species specific or more generalisable, the effect of this diet in rats was examined ... Rats consuming the HP diet had 17 % higher kidney weights (P < 0.0001), three times higher proteinuria (P < 0.0001) and 27 % higher creatinine clearance (P = 0.0012) compared with those consuming the NP diet. Consistent with this, HP-fed rats had larger glomeruli (P < 0.0001) and more glomerulosclerosis (P = 0.0003) compared with NP-fed rats. The HP diet also resulted in altered levels of free monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (P < 0.0001). The histological changes are consistent with those observed in the pig model. In contrast to the pig model, the elevated proteinuria and creatinine clearance observed in the rat model are also usually observed with HP consumption in human subjects. These results indicate that the rat is a useful model for HP effects on the kidney and, along with previous results using the pig model, suggest that long-term intake of high levels of protein may be detrimental to renal health"

Breakfast frequency inversely associated with BMI and body fatness in Hong Kong Chinese children aged 9-18 years - "The prevalence of obesity among breakfast skippers, semi-skippers and non-skippers was, respectively, 9.8, 10.6 and 3.8 % (P < 0.001) for primary school students and 3.9, 3.1 and 2.4 % (P < 0.001) for secondary school students. The 12 % of Hong Kong children aged 9-18 years who skipped breakfast had higher BMI, BMI z-scores and percentage of body fat (PBF) than their counterparts. The dose effects of breakfast frequency (unstandardised regression coefficient, P < 0.001) on BMI and PBF were, respectively, - 0.125 kg/m2 and - 0.219 % for boys and - 0.165 kg/m2 and - 0.353 % for girls, adjusting for physical activity per additional breakfast meal per week. Further study is recommended to elucidate whether regular breakfast consumption may have a role in the prevention of childhood obesity" - Note:  I don't know what the problem is with the "." in the actual abstract instead of the "." but I fixed it so it wouldn't be so confusing.

Effects of Ginseng Rhizome and Ginsenoside Ro on Testosterone 5α-Reductase and Hair Re-growth in Testosterone-treated Mice - Phytother Res. 2011 May 2 - "Extracts of red ginseng rhizome showed greater dose-dependent inhibitory effects against testosterone 5α-reductase (5αR) when compared with extracts of the main root. Ginsenoside Ro, the predominant ginsenoside in the rhizome, and ginsenoside Rg(3) , a unique ginsenoside in red ginseng, showed inhibitory activity against 5αR with IC(50) values of 259.4 and 86.1 µm, respectively. The rhizome of P. japonicus, which contains larger amounts of ginsenoside Ro, also inhibited 5αR. Topical administration of extracts of red ginseng rhizomes (2 mg/mouse) and ginsenoside Ro (0.2 mg/mouse) to shaved skin inhibited hair re-growth suppression after shaving in the testosterone-treated C57BL/6 mice. These results suggest that red ginseng rhizomes containing both oleanane- and dammarane-type ginsenosides are a promising raw material for cosmetic use. This is the first report that ginsenoside Ro enhances in vivo hair re-growth based on their inhibitory activity against 5αR in the androgenetic alopecia model" - See ginseng at Amazon.com.

Neat Tech Stuff / "How To's":

Health Focus (GABA):

Specific Recommendations:

CME:

  • The Role of GABA in the Pathogenesis and Treatement of Aniety and other Neurophychiatric Disorders - vcu-cme.org, exp. - "The cliché “If you find one thing wrong in the brain, you’ll find more than one” clearly applies to psychiatric disorders. Most individuals with psychiatric disorders suffer from one or more additional disorders at some point, and it is not surprising that many patients require multipledrug therapy to control their symptoms. Unfortunately, many individuals with comorbid psychiatric disorders fail to respond optimally to treatment. It is likely that specific GABA-enhancing agents will play important roles as treatment for patients with anxiety disorders, with or without comorbidity, and as adjunctive therapy in patients with more complicated neuropsychiatric disorders."

News & Research:

  • Trouble with the latest dance move? GABA might be to blame - Science Daily, 3/3/11 - "those who were more GABA responsive were also quicker to learn the simple motor task. The brains of more GABA-responsive individuals also showed greater activation in the motor cortex during learning. The researchers also found that those with higher GABA concentrations at baseline tended to have slower reaction times and less brain activation during learning ... GABA levels can change after that kind of brain trauma, and the findings support the idea that treatments designed to influence GABA levels might improve learning"
  • The Body Odd - Can't dance? Brain chemical throws off your groove - MSNBC, 3/3/11
  • Memory's master switch: Molecular power behind memory discovered - Science Daily, 7/29/10 - "Higher concentrations of GABA near a synapse induced a stronger activation of its receptors, weakening basal synapse strength. As a result, GABA makes this synapse more liable to the formation of new memories"
  • Anxiety Protocol - Life Extension Magazine - "Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea and produces a calming effect on the brain (Yokogoshi H et al 1998). It easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and produces subtle changes in biochemistry, including increased production of GABA and dopamine, which cause a tranquilizing effect"
  • PharmaGABA: Natural Support for Stress, Anxiety, and Insomnia - Dr. Murray's Natural Living, 5/17/07
  • Brown rice may act against onset of Alzheimer’s - Nutra USA, 5/25/04 - "Pre-germinated brown rice, high in levels of the nutrient GABA, significantly improved levels of spatial learning in mice"
  • Sleep Problems, Anxiety May Be Connected - WebMD, 9/12/03 - "both sleep and mood problems may result from a lack of the same brain chemical ... The brain chemical -- gamma-aminobutryric acid, or GABA -- is involved in regulating brain activity ... Specifically, GABA deficiencies interfere with the most important stage of sleep -- the "deep" delta sleep" - See iHerb or Vitacosticon GABA products.
  • Study: GABA May Help Brain Aging - Physician's Weekly, 5/26/03
  • GABA Makes Old Brains Act Young Again - WebMD, 5/2/03
  • Chemical helps aging brains feel younger - MSNBC, 5/1/03 - "in old primates, both human and monkey, there is a decline in the levels of GABA, a chemical that inhibits neuron signals in the brain. Without enough of that control, he said, the brain is distracted and overwhelmed by stray signals, in the same way the ear is overwhelmed when trying to hear a whisper at a rock concert ... When minute quantities of GABA were injected directly into neurons, the brains of the older monkeys responded just like those of the young animals ... Added GABA appeared to have no effect on the young"
  • Old Monkey Study Might Help Old Human Brains - HealthDay, 5/1/03 - "brain cells in the old monkeys have lost much of their ability to respond to the specific signals carried by GABA. Giving GABA to young monkeys did very little in terms of brain function, but it helped the old monkeys a lot ... GABA restored selectivity, so the cells worked better ... What's true for vision probably is true for other functions controlled by the cortex ... GABA is found throughout the brain, so if GABA function is diminished, brain function is diminished"
  • Gabitril Receives Approval For the Treatment of Epilepsy - Doctor's Guide, 6/17/96 - "Being the first drug specifically designed as a GABA uptake inhibitor, Gabitril(R) is a new type of antiepileptic drug"

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