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Recent Longevity News for the week ending 2/21/18

Calcium may play a role in the development of Parkinson's disease - Science Daily, 2/19/18 - "calcium can mediate the interaction between small membranous structures inside nerve endings, which are important for neuronal signalling in the brain, and alpha-synuclein, the protein associated with Parkinson's disease. Excess levels of either calcium or alpha-synuclein may be what starts the chain reaction that leads to the death of brain cells"

The Surprising Secrets to Living Longer — And Better - Time, 2/19/18 - “It really is an issue of moderation,” says Peter Martin, a professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State University, who runs an ongoing study of centenarians. Martin notes that while most centenarians eat different but generally healthy diets, one consistent thing he has picked up from work with his 100-plus crowd is breakfast. “They rarely skip breakfast,” he says. “It’s often at a very specific time, and the routine is important.”

In a surprising study, scientists say everyday chemicals now rival cars as a source of air pollution - Washington Post, 2/15/18 - "The authors argued that previous source apportionment studies have underestimated [volatile chemical product] emissions as sources of urban VOCs, as those studies did not include many species found in chemical products. Here, they constrained the emission inventory with both outdoor and indoor measurement data, as well as a more extensive chemical speciation than prior studies."

NASA’s List Of The 18 Best Air-Filtering Houseplants - shareably.net - "Luckily, there is a simple solution for cleaner air – house plants. They act as natural air filters, and they brighten up the room ... Chrysanthemum ... Spider Plant ... Cornstalk Dracaena ... Ficus ... Peace Lily ... Boston Fern ... Snake Plant ... Bamboo Palm ... Aloe Vera ... Dwarf Date Palm ... Chinese Evergreen ... Devil’s Ivy ... Flamingo Lily ... Lilyturf ... Broadleaf Lady Palm ... Barberton Daisy ... English Ivy ... Red-Edged Dracaena"

Pilot study in Kenya shows link between chronic pain and glutamate consumption - Science Daily, 2/16/18 - "Results demonstrated that when study participants cut monosodium glutamate from their diets, their symptoms improved"

New guideline warns pain benefits of medical cannabis overstated - Science Daily, 2/15/18 - "Published in Canadian Family Physician, "Simplified Guideline for Prescribing Medical Cannabinoids in Primary Care" states there is limited evidence to support the reputed benefits of medical marijuana for many conditions, and what benefits do exist may be balanced out or even outweighed by the harms"

Why do healthy children die from the flu? Study offers new insights - Science Daily, 2/15/18 - "We found that in young healthy mice the immune system overreacted to the influenza virus, which led to more inflammation, greater lung damage and increased mortality compared to healthy adults exposed to the virus"

Women who clean at home or work face increased lung function decline - Science Daily, 2/16/18 - "The study found that compared to women not engaged in cleaning: Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), or the amount of air a person can forcibly exhale in one second, declined 3.6 milliliters (ml)/year faster in women who cleaned at home and 3.9 ml/year faster in women who worked as cleaners ... Forced vital capacity (FVC), or the total amount of air a person can forcibly exhale, declined 4.3 ml/year faster in women who cleaned at home and 7.1 ml/year faster in women who worked as cleaners ... The authors found that the accelerated lung function decline in the women working as cleaners was "comparable to smoking somewhat less than 20 pack- years.""

Eating yogurt may reduce cardiovascular disease risk - Science Daily, 2/15/18 - "Higher intakes of yogurt were associated with a 30 percent reduction in risk of myocardial infarction among the Nurses' Health Study women and a 19 percent reduction in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study me ... In both groups, participants consuming more than two servings a week of yogurt had an approximately 20 percent lower risks of major coronary heart disease or stroke during the follow-up period"

Poor fitness linked to weaker brain fiber, higher dementia risk - Science Daily, 2/14/18 - "a new study from UT Southwestern's O'Donnell Brain Institute suggests that the lower the fitness level, the faster the deterioration of vital nerve fibers in the brain. This deterioration results in cognitive decline, including memory issues characteristic of dementia patients ... This research supports the hypothesis that improving people's fitness may improve their brain health and slow down the aging process ... lower fitness levels were associated with weaker white matter, which in turn correlated with lower brain function"

Risk of fatal traffic crash higher during annual 4/20 cannabis celebration - Science Daily, 2/12/18 - "The investigators found that April 20 was associated with a 12 per cent increase in the risk of a fatal traffic crash. Among drivers younger than 21 years of age, the risk was 38 per cent higher than on control days ... It isn't known how commonly drivers get behind the wheel while high on 4/20, but a 2011 study of U.S. college freshmen found 44 per cent of cannabis users drove soon after consuming marijuana in the month prior to the survey ... Assuming fewer than 10 per cent of Americans drive while high on April 20, our results suggest that drug use at 4/20 celebrations more than doubles the risk of a fatal crash"

Standing room only at work - Science Daily,  2/12/18 - "The promotion of active work stations, such as standing desks and even treadmills in the office has been promoted by manufacturers recently with claims of better physical health, improved posture, even reduced mental stress, and a general boost to wellbeing. A new study by researchers in Finland suggests that many of the proposed benefits and claims are little more than marketing hyperbole ... "the findings of this study suggest that the usage of standing instead of sitting workstations results in only modest promotions of physical activity," the team reports. Moreover, the change "does not have an effect on mental alertness." Indeed, standing to work seems to shift the stress-recovery balance more towards stress than recovery. They did see a decrease in musculoskeletal strain in the user's neck and shoulders, although stress and strain was raised in the legs and feet. Interestingly, the use of standing workstations did not have an impact on work posture comfort or workstation satisfaction, the team found."

Grape-derived compounds may promote resilience against depression, researchers find - Science Daily, 2/2/18 - "Previous research has found that grape-derived polyphenols have some efficacy in modulating aspects of depression, yet the mechanisms of action had largely remained unknown until now. The new study, led by Giulio Maria Pasinetti, PhD, Saunders Professor of Neurology, and a team of investigators from the Center for Integrative Molecular Neuroresilience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, found that a bioactive dietary polyphenol preparation -- a combination of three grape-derived polyphenol products, including a select Concord grape juice, a select grape seed extract, and trans-resveratrol -- was effective in promoting resilience against stress-induced depression in mice" - See grape seed extract at Amazon.com.

Benefit-Risk Assessment of Crataegus Extract WS 1442 - Medscape, 2/5/18 - "Preparations from Crataegus (hawthorn) have a long history in the treatment of heart failure ... Changes in heart failure-associated symptoms and health-related QoL during treatment with WS 1442 were assessed in several trials.[37,43,45,56,57] In two trials, the von Zerssen Complaints List,[61] a validated self-rating questionnaire assessing 24 general symptoms, some of which (e.g., shortness of breath, fatigue) are particularly important in heart failure, was used. In the study reported by Leuchtgens,[56] which included 30 patients (15 per group), those treated with WS 1442 for 8 weeks showed a significantly more pronounced decrease of the total score of the scale than those in the placebo group (mean value difference 7.3 points, 95% CI 0.9–13.7, according to[52]). In the study of Tauchert[37] in which 209 patients received 1800 or 900 mg/day WS 1442 or placebo for 16 weeks, both WS 1442 dosages showed a significantly more pronounced total score decrease compared to placebo" - See hawthorn betty extract at Amazon.com.

Abstracts from this week:

Vitamin D supplementation attenuates the behavioral scores of neuropathic pain in rats - Nutr Neurosci. 2018 Feb 12:1-6 - "These results indicate that chronic vitamin D administrations can attenuate the behavioral scores of neuropathic pain in rats" - See vitamin D at Amazon.com.

Pomegranate supplementation improves cognitive and functional recovery following ischemic stroke: A randomized trial - Nutr Neurosci. 2018 Feb 13:1-6 - "we administered commercially-available pomegranate polyphenol or placebo pills twice per day for one week to adult inpatients in a comprehensive rehabilitation setting starting approximately 2 weeks after stroke. Pills contained 1 g of polyphenols derived from whole pomegranate, equivalent to levels in approximately 8 oz of juice. Placebo pills were similar to the pomegranate pills except that they contained only lactose ... Pomegranate-treated subjects demonstrated more neuropsychological and functional improvement and spent less time in the hospital than placebo controls" - See pomegranate extract at Amazon.com.

Scottsdale Magnesium Study: Absorption, Cellular Uptake, and Clinical Effectiveness of a Timed-Release Magnesium Supplement in a Standard Adult Clinical Population - J Am Coll Nutr. 2018 Feb 9:1-12 - "Suboptimal magnesium status is likely widespread in the United States and increasing evidence links it to many chronic diseases. Therapeutically addressing magnesium status can be challenging, as higher supplementation often leads to bowel intolerance. This study evaluated the absorption, cellular uptake, and clinical effectiveness of a timed-release formulation containing dimagnesium malate with vitamins B6, B12, and folate (MagSRT™) in a standard clinical population ... More than 75% of trial participants presented with suboptimal serum and RBC magnesium status at baseline, while the magnesium status questionnaire predicted 100% of participants to have suboptimal magnesium status. MagSRT™ was well tolerated by 91% of magnesium intervention participants. RBC magnesium increased 7% and 36% over 30 and 90 days, respectively, suggesting magnesium absorption and uptake into red blood cells over time. Overall symptomatology, assessed through a magnesium status questionnaire, improved 30% over 30 days and 63% over 90 days" - See MagSRT™ at Amazon.com.

The Macular Carotenoids are Associated with Cognitive Function in Preadolescent Children - Nutrients. 2018 Feb 10;10(2) - "The macular carotenoids lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z) are obtained via diet and accumulate in the central retina where they are referred to as macular pigment. The density of this biomarker (macular pigment optical density; MPOD) has been positively correlated with cognitive functioning via measures of global cognition, processing speed, and visual-spatial abilities, among others. Although improvements in cognitive function have been found in adults, much less is known about how L and Z intake may support or improve cognitive functioning during periods of rapid developmental change, such as childhood and pre-adolescence ... In this sample, MPOD was significantly related to Executive Processes, r(47) = 0.288, p < 0.05, and Brief Intellectual Ability, r(47) = 0.268, p < 0.05" - See carotenoid complexes at Amazon.com.

Do physicians measure patients' blood pressure, and are those measurements reliable? - J Hum Hypertens. 2018 Feb 8 - "Physicians who performed measurements determined the same SBP and DBP as the researchers in 34.3% of patients. Hypertension was determined in 18.9% of patients in clinics in which BP measurement was not performed by physicians. Not all physicians in our study measured BP, and the great majority of those who did failed to measure it reliably. We think that it is therefore vitally important for physicians across the world to receive regular, repeated, and effective training in the importance of BP measurement and how to perform it correctly"

Association of Circulating Vitamin E (α- and γ-Tocopherol) Levels with Gallstone Disease - Nutrients. 2018 Jan 27;10(2) - "Since vitamin E exerts important anti-oxidative functions, we hypothesized that circulating vitamin E levels might be inversely associated with prevalence of gallstone disease ... Lower probabilities of having gallstone disease were observed in the top (compared to the bottom) tertile of the plasma α-tocopherol/cholesterol ratio in multivariable-adjusted models (OR (Odds Ratio): 0.31; 95% CI (Confidence Interval): 0.13-0.76). A lower probability of having gallstone disease was also observed for the γ-tocopherol/cholesterol ratio, though the association did not reach statistical significance (OR: 0.77; 95% CI: 0.35-1.69 for 3rd vs 1st tertile). In conclusion, our observations are consistent with the concept that higher vitamin E levels might protect from gallstone disease, a premise that needs to be further addressed in longitudinal studies" - [Nutra USA] - See vitamin E products at Amazon.com.

Randomized, Double Blind and Placebo Controlled Study Using a Combination of Two Probiotic Lactobacilli to Alleviate Symptoms and Frequency of Common Cold - Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2013, 4, 13-20 - "Although the number of episodes was similar in both groups, cold episodes in the active group were significantly shorter than in the placebo group. The total sum scores of cold symptoms were significantly lower in the active group as compared with the placebo group, as well as in the intention-to-treat (ITT) as in the per-protocol (PP) collectives (ITT: 75.2 ± 40.3 vs. 113.4 ± 66.3" - [Nutra USA] - See probiotic products at Amazon.com

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