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Recent Longevity News for the week ending 7/24/19

Could Cheap Drug Metformin Prevent Dementia in Black Patients? - Medscape, 7/19/19 - "Over a mean follow-up of around 6.5 years, regardless of age, the African American participants showed a greater than 25% lower risk of dementia if they took metformin compared with a sulfonylurea (hazard ratio [HR], 0.73 ... In contrast, white patients had just a 4% to 8% lower risk (HR, 0.96 ... When stratified further by age group, in African Americans aged 50-64 years, dementia risk was reduced (HR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.45 - 0.81). This effect was not seen among white patients in the same age group ... In the 65-74 years age bracket of white patients, there appeared to be a 10% lower risk of dementia on metformin compared with a sulfonylurea ... In African Americans of the same age, dementia risk was reduced by around 29% ... the drug could be working by reducing systemic inflammation"

Frequent Sleeping Pill Use Linked to Increased Dementia Risk - Medscape, 7/19/19 - "Older adults who reported taking sleep medications "often" or "almost always" were 43% more likely to develop dementia than those who never or rarely used sleep medications (hazard ratio [HR], 1.43 ... White participants reporting frequent use had a 79% higher dementia risk (HR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.21 - 2.66). There was no association in blacks" - Yeah, but chicken or the egg?  Are people in the early stages of dementia also having problems with insomnia?

Can Learning a Foreign Language Prevent Dementia? - Time, 7/19/19 - "bilinguals outperform monolinguals on tests of selective attention and multitasking ... They also are better at multitasking. One explanation of this superiority is that speakers of two languages are continually inhibiting one of their languages, and this process of inhibition confers general cognitive benefits to other activities. In fact, bilingual individuals outperform their monolingual counterparts on a variety of cognitive measures, such as performing concept-formation tasks, following complex instructions, and switching to new instructions .... If the benefits of being bilingual spill over to other aspects of cognition, then we would expect to see a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in bilinguals than in monolinguals, or at least a later onset of Alzheimer’s for bilinguals. In fact, there is evidence to support this claim. The psychologist Ellen Bialystok and her colleagues obtained the histories of 184 individuals who had made use of a memory clinic in Toronto. For those who showed signs of dementia, the monolinguals in the sample had an average age at time of onset of 71.4 years. The bilinguals, in contrast, received their diagnosis at 75.5 years, on average. In a study of this sort, a difference of four years is highly significant, and could not be explained by other systematic differences between the two groups ... A separate study, conducted in India, found strikingly similar results: bilingual patients developed symptoms of dementia 4.5 years later than monolinguals" - Try learning Mandarin. Several years ago I bought all four versions of Pimsleur (used) and imported them into iTunes and put them on my iPod and iPhone to also listen to in the car. I don't see any advantage of buying the new. You used it only once to import it into iTunes.

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can increase men's risk of stroke and heart attack - Science Daily, 7/18/19 - "a cohort of 15,401 men, aged 45 years or older, with low testosterone levels (hypogonadism). Users of TRT had a 21 percent greater risk of cardiovascular events compared with nonusers, corresponding to an additional 128 events. The increased risk appears to be transient, declining after two years of TRT use, which the investigators attribute to a phenomenon called "depletion of susceptibles.""

Heavy Alcohol Use May Triple Dementia Risk - Medscape, 7/18/19 - "alcohol use disorder (AUD) ... The study showed that female veterans with AUD were more than three times more likely to develop dementia than female veterans who did not have AUD (hazard ratio, 3.06; 95% confidence interval, 1.83 – 5.13)"

Arthritis Is Tied to Heart Disease Risk - NYT, 7/18/19 - "

Exercise offers protection against Alzheimer's - Science Daily, 7/16/19 - "The Harvard Aging Brain Study at MGH assessed physical activity in its participants -- 182 normal older adults, including those with elevated b-amyloid who were judged at high-risk of cognitive decline -- through hip-mounted pedometers which counted the number of steps walked during the course of the day ... Beneficial effects were seen at even modest levels of physical activity, but were most prominent at around 8,900 steps, which is only slightly less than the 10,000 many of us strive to achieve daily"

Marijuana use may not make parents more 'chill' - Science Daily, 7/17/19 - "The findings revealed that parents who used marijuana in the past year tended to use more of all types of discipline compared to non-users, even after taking into account a variety of other factors that could impact use of discipline, such as parental stress and depression and child and parent demographics"

Higher iron levels may boost heart health -- but also increase risk of stroke - Science Daily, 7/16/19 - "The results reveal not only are naturally higher iron levels associated with a lower risk of high cholesterol levels, they also reduce the risk of arteries becoming furred with a build-up of fatty substances ... However the research, funded by the Wellcome Trust, also revealed the potential risks associated with naturally higher iron levels. These included a higher risk of blood clots related to slow blood flow blood -- a common cause of stroke -- and a higher risk of bacterial skin infection ... getting the right amount of iron in the body is a fine balance -- too little can lead to anemia, but too much can lead to a range of problems including liver damage" - See iron supplements at Amazon.com.

Scales Tip Toward 'Fish Oil' PUFA Intake for Heart Failure Prevention - Medscape, 7/16/19 - "The greater the plasma levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a prevalent n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA, also called omega-3 PUFA), the lower the risk for both forms of HF during a median follow-up of 13 years ... Similar independent observations were made for plasma levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and of EPA and DHA combined, suggesting that increased levels of n-3 PUFA in general may confer cardiovascular (CV) benefits ... This study clearly demonstrated a significant independent inverse correlation between circulating levels of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid, and the occurrence of HF over a long median follow-up period of 13 years ... Fish-oil supplements would likely be more effective than eating more fish to achieve the n-3 PUFA levels that may be of benefit ... As both the report and editorial note, n-3 PUFA supplementation at the fairly low dosage of 1 g/day, added to standard therapy, was associated with reduced all-cause mortality and HF hospitalization rates over about 4 years in the 2008 GISSI-HF trial ... In an analysis adjusted for age, sex, race, body-mass index, smoking status, type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, lipids, lipid-lowering therapy, albuminuria, and types of PUFA, percent-EPA was inversely associated with risk for HF at a hazard ratio (HR) of 0.73 for each log-unit difference" - Note:  It just burns me up that doctors will make the blanket statement that supplements don't have any benefits despite study after study they do.  See Vast majority of dietary supplements don't improve heart health or put off death, study finds - Science Daily, 7/16/19,  The counter argument is that though it might not be a majority, there are a huge number of supplements that do show a benefit for specific diseases plus if that's true, why do the vast majority of doctors and nurses take supplements?  See omega-3 supplements at Amazon.com and docosahexaenoic acid at Amazon.com.

Gut microbes protect against neurologic damage from viral infections - Science Daily, 7/16/19 - "Gut microbes produce compounds that prime immune cells to destroy harmful viruses in the brain and nervous system ... Mice treated with antibiotics before the onset of disease were unable to defend themselves. They also had fewer immune cells called microglia, which help flag viruses for destruction by other immune cells" - See probiotic products at Amazon.com.

Antioxidant precursor molecule could improve Parkinson's - Science Daily, 7/16/19 - "This study is an important step in understanding how N-acetylcysteine might work as a potentially new avenue for managing Parkinson's patients. The NAC appears to enable dopamine neurons to recover some of their function ... Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) ... Compared to controls, the patients receiving NAC had improvements of 4-9% in dopamine transporter binding and also showed improvements in their UPDRS score of about 14%" - See n-acetyl cysteine at Amazon.com.

Can computer use, crafts and games slow or prevent age-related memory loss? - Science Daily, 7/11/19 - "Researchers found that using a computer in middle-age was associated with a 48-percent lower risk of mild cognitive impairment. A total of 15 of 532 people who developed mild cognitive impairment, or 2 percent, used a computer in middle age compared to 77 of 1,468 people without mild cognitive impairment, or 5 percent. Using a computer in later life was associated with a 30-percent lower risk, and using a computer in both middle-age and later life was associated with a 37-percent lower risk of developing thinking and memory problems ... Engaging in social activities, like going to movies or going out with friends, or playing games, like doing crosswords or playing cards, in both middle-age and later life were associated with a 20-percent lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment ... Craft activities were associated with a 42-percent lower risk, but only in later life."

Sugary Sodas, Juices Tied to Higher Cancer Risk - WebMD, 7/10/19 - "drinking as little as 3 to 4 ounces of sugary drinks each day was tied to an 18% rise in overall risk for cancer ... Among women, a similar consumption level was tied to a 22% rise in breast cancer risk "

Preeclampsia risk may be reduced by a healthy high-fiber diet - Science Daily, 7/10/19 - "The mother's gut bacteria and diet appear to be crucial to promoting a healthy pregnancy ... promoting specific metabolic products of gut bacteria during pregnancy might be an effective way to maintain a healthy pregnancy and to prevent allergies and autoimmune conditions later in life"

Who makes the best cookies-and-cream ice cream in the U.S.? We scooped up 15 top brands to find out - Washington Post, 7/8/19 - "1. Ben & Jerry’s ... Score: 15.1"

Abstracts from this week:

Prenatal dietary choline supplementation modulates long-term memory development in rat offspring - Nutr Neurosci. 2019 Jul 15:1-9 - "These results suggest that prenatal supplementation with choline accelerates the development of long-term memory in rats" - See choline at Amazon.com.

Metformin exposure and survival in head and neck cancer: A large population-based cohort study - J Clin Pharm Ther. 2019 Aug;44(4):588-594 - "In the covariate-adjusted model, the all-cause mortality rate appeared lower (HR: 0.81, 95% CI: 0.61-1.09) among metformin exposed patients during the 2 years post-diagnosis, while the all-cause mortality rate appeared higher (HR: 1.20, 95% CI: 0.94-1.53) among exposed patients after 2 years post-diagnosis. Metformin was protective among patients ≤60 years of age (HR for the period of 0-2 years post-diagnosis: 0.22, 95% CI 0.09-0.56; HR for the period ≥2 years post-diagnosis: 0.56, 95% CI 0.26-1.22) but not in those >60 years ... In this population-based study of metformin in HNC, we found a modest protective association between metformin exposure and all-cause mortality in the 2-year post-diagnosis period. Age appeared to modify the association between metformin and HNC survival."

Cannabis Expectancies for Sleep - J Psychoactive Drugs. 2019 Jul 18:1-8 - "Analyses revealed that participants expected cannabis to decrease the incidence of sleep-related problems, including allowing participants to have an earlier bedtime, to fall asleep more quickly, and to have a longer night's sleep. Moreover, expectancies about the influence of cannabis on sleep negatively covaried with cannabis-related problems. These findings suggest that individuals believe using cannabis might positively influence their sleep quality and believing so may be protective against cannabis problems" - Note:  It sounds like it might just be the placebo effect that pot improves sleep.  If so, it's another purported benefit of pot shot down.

Metformin reduces risk of varicose veins in type 2 diabetes patients - Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2019 Jul 19:e3206 - "The hazard ratio for ever versus never users in the unmatched cohort was 0.57 (95% confidence interval: 0.47-0.69); and was 0.60 (0.45-0.80) for the matched cohort. In the unmatched cohort, the hazard ratios for the first, second and third tertiles of cumulative duration were 1.03 (0.83-1.28), 0.55 (0.44-0.69) and 0.29 (0.23-0.37), respectively. The respective hazard ratios in the matched cohort were 0.97 (0.65-1.43), 0.79 (0.55-1.15) and 0.24 (0.13-0.42) ... Metformin use is associated with a lower risk of varicose veins in type 2 diabetes patients"

Magnesium intake and lung cancer risk: A systematic review and meta-analysis - Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2019 Jul 15:1-8 - "The pooled relative risk (RR) indicated a significant association between lung cancer incidence and magnesium intake (RR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.79 to 0.98; p = 0.018). To investigate the cause of heterogeneity of these studies (I2 = 75.8%, p < 0.001), we performed a subgroup analysis which was affected by the mean dose of magnesium intake, where doses of magnesium intake lower than 300 mg/d significantly decreased lung cancer risk (RR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.70 to 0.99; p = 0.034). Increasing magnesium intake doses to over 300 mg/d did not reduce the incidence of lung cancer (RR = 0.89, 95% CI = 0.78 to 1.01; p = 0.076). Our meta-analysis suggests that magnesium intake of less than 300 mg/d may have protective effects in lung cancer." - See magnesium supplements at Amazon.com.

A Standardized Extract of Asparagus officinalis Stem (ETAS®) Ameliorates Cognitive Impairment, Inhibits Amyloid β Deposition via BACE-1 and Normalizes Circadian Rhythm Signaling via MT1 and MT2 - Nutrients. 2019 Jul 17;11(7) - "ETAS® consists of two major bioactive constituents: 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furfural (HMF), an abundant constituent, and (S)-asfural, a novel constituent, which is a derivative of HMF. Three-month-old SAMP8 male mice were divided into a control, 200 and 1000 mg/kg BW ETAS® groups, while senescence-accelerated resistant mice (SAMR1) were used as the normal control. After 12-week feeding, ETAS® significantly enhanced cognitive performance by an active avoidance test, inhibited the expressions of amyloid-beta precursor protein (APP) and BACE-1 and lowered the accumulation of amyloid β (Aβ) in the brain. ETAS® also significantly increased neuron number in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and normalized the expressions of the melatonin receptor 1 (MT1) and melatonin receptor 2 (MT2). In conclusion, ETAS® enhances the cognitive ability, inhibits Aβ deposition and normalizes circadian rhythm signaling, suggesting it is beneficial for preventing cognitive impairments and circadian rhythm disturbances in aging" - See etas asparagus extract at Amazon.com.

Skipping Breakfast Before Exercise Creates a More Negative 24-hour Energy Balance: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Healthy Physically Active Young Men - J Nutr. 2019 Apr 10 - "overnight fasting before exercise (FE) ... The 24-h energy balance was -400 kcal (normalized 95% CI: -230, -571 kcal) for the FE trial; this was significantly lower than both the BR trial (492 kcal; normalized 95% CI: 332, 652 kcal) and the BE trial (7 kcal; normalized 95% CI: -153, 177 kcal; both P < 0.01 compared with FE)"

Improvement of Functional Ankle Properties Following Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides in Athletes with Chronic Ankle Instability - J Sports Sci Med. 2018 May 14;17(2):298-304 - "chronic ankle instability (CAI) ... collagen peptide supplementation (SCP) ... 50 male and female athletes with CAI completed a randomized, double-blinded and placebo-controlled study with a daily oral administration of either 5 g SCP or 5 g placebo (Maltodextrin) over a period of six months ... the subjective ankle stability was improved in both the CAIT (p < 0.001) and the FAAM-G (p < 0.001) following SCP supplementation compared with placebo. No significant changes between the groups were detected in the results of the ankle arthrometer. After six month the subjective report of the ankle stability function significantly improved and the three month follow-up revealed a significant decline in the number of ankle joint injuries (p < 0.05). These data support the concept that specific collagen peptide supplementation in athletes with chronic ankle instability results in significant improvements in subjective perceived ankle stability. The reduction in the re-injury rate of ankle sprains in the follow-up period suggests that these findings have clinical relevance" - [Nutra USA] - See collagen supplements at Amazon.com.

Association between vitamin B group supplementation with changes in % flow-mediated dilatation and plasma homocysteine levels: a randomized controlled trial - J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2019 May;64(3):243-249 - "A significant increase in serum B vitamins and vitamin C levels, and a reduction in plasma homocysteine levels were observed. The mean serum homocysteine level pre- and post-intervention was 9.8 and 8.2 µmol/L in the early intervention group and 10.8 and 7.4 µmol/L in the later intervention group (p<0.01). However, no significant changes in flow-mediated dilatation was found. Low-dose multivitamin supplementation including B vitamins is associated with a significant reduction in plasma homocysteine levels among patients with one or more components of metabolic syndrome" - [Nutra USA]

Neat Tech Stuff / "How To's":

Two nights in a sleep clinic for a CPAC prescription for sleep apnea will run you about $8000 if you don't have insurance.  One of these might tell you if you should dish out the bucks.  See the video.

Sleep Apnea Can Have Deadly Consequence - NYT, 5/27/19 - "Obstructive sleep apnea, an increasingly common yet often missed or untreated condition that can result in poor quality of life, a risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even cancer, and perhaps most important of all, a threefold increased risk of often-fatal motor vehicle accidents. ... Obstructive sleep apnea afflicts about 9 percent of women and 24 percent of men, most of them middle-aged or older, yet as many as 9 in 10 adults with this treatable condition remain undiagnosed, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine ... There’s a constellation of symptoms, starting with unrestorative sleep no matter how long you sleep. Even if you try to sleep more on weekends, you still wake up feeling unrefreshed. The fractured sleep results in feeling like you’ve stayed up all night ... And if you’d rather not base your suspicions on symptoms alone, you might invite a close friend to share a room with you for a night or two and ask in the morning if the friend heard or was awakened by your snoring and noticed whether your noisy inspiration of air followed a seemingly prolonged stoppage of breathing. The snoring doesn’t have to be loud to be a symptom of sleep apnea, but it’s likely to be irregular and interspersed with quiet pauses."

See SoClean 2 CPAP Sanitization System Unboxing, Setup and Overview - YouTube.

Health Focus (Head & Neck Cancer):