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Recent Longevity News for the seven days ending 5/18/11.  You should consult your doctor if you are taking any medications.

Gut bacteria linked to behavior: That anxiety may be in your gut, not in your head - Science Daily, 5/17/11 - "For each person, the gut is home to about 1,000 trillium bacteria with which we live in harmony. These bacteria perform a number of functions vital to health: They harvest energy from the diet, protect against infections and provide nutrition to cells in the gut. Any disruption can result in life-threatening conditions, such as antibiotic-induced colitis from infection with the "superbug" Clostridium difficile ... Working with healthy adult mice, the researchers showed that disrupting the normal bacterial content of the gut with antibiotics produced changes in behaviour; the mice became less cautious or anxious. This change was accompanied by an increase in brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has been linked, to depression and anxiety ... When oral antibiotics were discontinued, bacteria in the gut returned to normal. "This was accompanied by restoration of normal behaviour and brain chemistry,""

Experimental treatment offers relief from painful prostate condition, study suggests - Science Daily, 5/17/11 - "chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) ... approximately 60 per cent of men reported feeling better after treatment with silodosin versus 30 per cent of participants who were given a placebo. The number of patients who reported feeling better is higher than in a similar study he ran several years ago that tested the effects of a different alpha blocker"

Coffee may reduce risk of lethal prostate cancer in men - Science Daily, 5/17/11 - "The researchers chose to study coffee because it contains many beneficial compounds that act as antioxidants, reduce inflammation, and regulate insulin, all of which may influence prostate cancer. Coffee has been associated in prior studies with a lower risk of Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes, gallstone disease, and liver cancer or cirrhosis ... Men who consumed the most coffee (six or more cups daily) had nearly a 20% lower risk of developing any form of prostate cancer ... Men who drank the most coffee had a 60% lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer ... Even drinking one to three cups of coffee per day was associated with a 30% lower risk of lethal prostate cancer"

Citrus extracts show energy burning potential, without side effects: Study - Nutra USA, 5/17/11 - "consumption of 100 mg hesperidin, 50 mg p-synephrine (from bitter orange), and 600 mg naringin increased the resting metabolic rate by about 18 percent ... If one assumes that the product was taken twice a day for one year, the theoretical increase in calorie consumption would amount to over 31 pounds ... None of the treatment groups exhibited changes in heart rate or blood pressure relative to the control group, nor there were no differences in self-reported ratings of 10 symptoms between the treatment groups and the control group ... the thermogenic effect of p-synephrine may be increased by naringin and hesperidin via an enhancement in the production of the expression of adiponectin, a hormone released from fat cells, which plays an important role in the regulation of insulin sensitivity and energy" - [Abstract]

Prevention: Best Supplements for Cholesterol - ABC News, 5/15/11 - "According to current American Heart Association guidelines, women should aim for total cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dL, HDL of 60 mg/dL or greater, and LDL of less than 100 mg/dL, but other risk factors like your weight, blood pressure, and family history also play a role in determining healthy levels for you ... Sterols/stanols ... Omega-3s" - Note:  I'm not sure if I agree with a lot of that.  It's from "Prevention Magazine" and reminds me why I stopped reading it.  For example, the statement "niacin is only effective if you pair it with statin drugs; as a standalone treatment, it doesn't help".  So if you total cholesterol is in check but your HDL is low, which is the case for many if not most, niacin isn't going to help?  It doesn't make sense.  It just seems like they are biased to the point of being dishonest in favor of the pharmaceutical industry.

Vitamin D improves exercise outcomes in patients with COPD - Science Daily, 5/15/11 - "patients treated with vitamin D had a significant improvement in exercise capacity and respiratory muscle strength compared to those in the placebo group"

Household Germs Hide in Unexpected Spots - WebMD. 5/13/11 - "Coliform, which was found in 81% of the homes, commonly comes from raw meat and produce, as well as unwashed produce and unwashed hands ... 77% of sponges and dish rags tested positive for coliform. Nearly half of the kitchen sinks they swabbed harbored the same nasty bacteria, while countertops and cutting boards came in third and fourth, with 32% and 18%, respectively, testing positive"

Probiotics may ease bowel movements for elderly: Study - Nutra USA, 5/13/11 - "The probiotic product (VSL Pharmaceuticals) reportedly contained 450 billion viable lyophilized bacteria from eight different strains, including Lactobacillus plantarum, L. paracasei, L. bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, Bifidobacterium breve, B. longum, B. infantis, and Streptococcus thermophilus ... people consuming the probiotic experienced a lower incidence of diarrhea (60 percent lower), compared to placebo ... In addition, laxative use decreased by 26 percent amongst people in the probiotic group, compared to placebo, added the Israeli scientists ... A significant reduction of Clostridium difficile prevalence was found in the probiotic group" - [Abstract] - See probiotics at Amazon.com.

Cold homes cost lives, experts argue - Science Daily, 5/13/11 - "Marmot's report identifies three gains that could be achieved by improving the insulation in British homes. These are saving lives, protecting the environment and reducing health inequalities ... While elderly people living in cold homes are more prone to heart and lung disease, cold homes can affect health at any age, say the authors. Children are more likely to suffer from breathing problems and adolescents living in a cold house have an increased risk of mental health problems"

More Lithium in Drinking Water Equals Lower Suicide Rates - Medscape, 5/12/11 - "The finding, similar to that from 3 different countries on different continents, adds to the evidence that lithium in the drinking water may have beneficial effects for mental health ... examined a nationwide sample of 6460 lithium measurements and then compared suicide rates across 99 districts in Austria ... the overall suicide rate and the suicide mortality ratio were inversely associated with lithium levels in drinking water ... In the 10 most lithium-depleted regions in Austria, the suicide rate was 16 per 100,000, whereas in the 10 most lithium-rich regions; the suicide rate was just 11 per 100,000" - See lithium supplement at Amazon.com.

Low Oxytocin Linked to Postpartum Depression - WebMD, 5/11/11 - "Sometimes called the “cuddle hormone” or the “hormone of love,” oxytocin has been the subject of much research interest for its ability to foster feelings of bonding and attachment ... New fathers who are given a whiff of oxytocin nasal spray, for example, are more likely to encourage their children to explore during playtime and are less likely to be hostile, compared to fathers given a placebo ... Lower oxytocin levels before birth were associated with a greater risk of postpartum depression" - See Oxytocin 6x5iu tablets at International Antiaging Systems.

L-theanine may boost attention for anxious folks: Study - Nutra USA, 5/11/11 - "L-theanine, an amino acid found in tea leaves, is thought to help reduce stress, promote relaxation and improve the quality of sleep. L-theanine is found in tea leaves in low concentrations (less than 2 percent), which means that effective dosage levels (of 100 – 200mg/day) cannot be delivered from drinking tea ... Student with high anxiety were put in one group, while students with minimal anxiety were put in another group. Both groups received water or water plus 200 mg of L-theanine per 100 ml of water. The test was performed repeatedly and assessments performed between 15 and 60 minutes after ingestion ... Results showed that highly anxious students receiving the L-theanine displayed a slowing of their heart rate, improved attentional performance, and better reaction times, compared to members of the same group receiving placebo ... It is noteworthy to mention that unlike other conventional anti-anxiety treatments, L-theanine did not result in increased drowsiness, slowed reflexes, or impaired concentration ... Results of a present study showed that ingestion of 200 mg of L-theanine changes the electrical activity in the brain by increasing alpha electric band measured by EEG" - See Jarrow Formulas, Theanine 200 at iHerb.

Musical experience offsets some aging effects: Older musicians excel in memory and hearing speech in noise compared to non-musicians - Science Daily, 5/11/11 - "when compared to their non-musician counterparts -- musicians 45- to 65-years-old excel in auditory memory and the ability to hear speech in noisy environments ... Difficulty hearing speech in noise is among the most common complaints of older adults, but age-related hearing loss only partially accounts for this impediment that can lead to social isolation and depression ... It's well known that adults with virtually the same hearing profile can differ dramatically in their ability to hear speech in noise ... The musicians -- who began playing an instrument at age 9 or earlier and consistently played an instrument throughout their lives -- bested the non-musician group in all but visual working memory, where both groups showed nearly identical ability ... Music training "fine-tunes" the nervous system"

Blood pressure drug shows some muscle: Researchers discover losartan protects against loss of old or damaged muscle - Science Daily, 5/11/11 - "Using geriatric mice, a Johns Hopkins research team has shown that losartan, a commonly used blood pressure drug, not only improves regeneration of injured muscle but also protects against its wasting away from inactivity ... To investigate losartan's role in muscle injury regeneration in the context of aging, the Hopkins team worked with 40 mice which, at 21-months old, were considered geriatric. After treating half of those animals for a week to water laced with losartan, they injected a chemical toxin into all the animals' shin muscles. The researchers examined the stained muscle tissue under a microscope at four days and again at 19 days, looking for signs of regeneration: small fibers with larger-than-usual nuclei. After four days, they saw no difference in the number of regenerating fibers between the losartan-treated mice and those not treated. However, after 19 days, the losartan-treated mice had about 10 to 15 percent of scar tissue formation compared with 30 to 40 percent of scar tissue formation in those not treated ... Again, using 21-month-old mice, half treated with losartan and half not, the team this time clipped the hind right foot of the mice to their knees, immobilizing just the shin muscles; otherwise, the mice were normally active ... After 21 days, the animals' shin muscles were weighed and compared under a microscope. The animals not treated with losartan lost 20 percent of the mass of their immobilized shin muscles. However, the losartan-treated animals lost virtually no mass, according to Tyesha Burks, a graduate student of Human Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine ... "When we saw that the loss of muscle fibers was completely prevented by losartan therapy, it was quite mind-blowing," Cohn says" - Note:  Losartan is an ARB as is telmisartan which may be superior.  Maybe future studies will tell whether telmisartan has the same muscle loss prevention characteristics.  I'm guessing it will.

Highest reported BPA level in pregnant woman and associated abnormalities in infant - Science Daily, 5/11/11 - "Pregnant women are often exposed to BPA in their daily lives ... At 27 weeks of pregnancy, the mother had the highest reported urinary BPA concentration of anyone in the general population. She reported consuming canned foods and beverages, and using and microwaving plastic food storage containers consistently during this pregnancy time period. All of these exposures could have led to her extremely high BPA concentration. Her infant had a normal newborn neurobehavioral exam but had many neurobehavioral abnormalities at the one-month study visit including: increased muscle tone, tremors, and abnormal movements. The child went on to have normal neurobehavioral assessments yearly from one to five years of age ... This case study confirms previous studies documenting multiple sources of BPA exposure in humans. Additionally, it highlights the need for medical providers to be aware of the harmful effects of BPA exposures so they may counsel families appropriately about prevention. The study also identifies potential sources of BPA exposure that can be targeted to reduce exposures in the future. "Families can decrease their exposure to BPA by eating fresh fruit and vegetables (as opposed to processed and canned foods) and by decreasing use of plastic food storage containers," said Sathyanarayana. "Check the recycling code of your plastics on the bottom. If it shows #7, then the plastic may contain BPA"

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):

Exercise and spirulina control non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis and lipid profile in diabetic Wistar rats - Lipids Health Dis. 2011 May 15;10(1):77 - "The rats were divided into four groups: Diabetic Control (DC) - diabetic rats fed with a control diet and no physical exercise; Diabetic Spirulina (DS) - diabetic rats fed with a diet that included spirulina; Diabetic Spirulina and Exercise (DSE) - diabetic rats fed with a diet that included Spirulina and that exercised; and Diabetic Exercise (DE) - diabetic rats fed with a control diet and that exercised. Results The groups DS, DSE, and DE presented lower plasma concentrations of LDL cholesterol than DC, as well as lower levels of total liver lipids in groups DS, DSE, and DE in comparison to DC. Conclusion Thus, spirulina appears to be effective in reducing total circulating levels of LDL-cholesterol and hepatic lipids, alone or in conjunction with physical exercise in diabetic rats" - See spirulina products at iHerb.

Association between glycosylated haemoglobin A(1c) and endothelial function in an adult non-diabetic population - Atherosclerosis. 2011 Apr 16 - "Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and nitrate-mediated dilation (NMD) measurements of the brachial artery were performed using standardised ultrasound techniques ... We conclude that higher serum HbA(1c) levels in non-diabetic subjects are inversely associated with FMD in women without antihypertensive medication, but not in men. The gender-specific aspects concerning the association of HbA(1c) levels and NMD in this population should be investigated in further studies. Our results support current considerations that subclinical disorders of glucose metabolism measured by serum HbA(1c) are associated with subclinical cardiovascular diseases detected by FMD, especially in women"

Plasma adiponectin-an independent indicator of liver fat accumulation - Metabolism. 2011 May 10 - "Adiponectin is a very strong predictor for liver brightness, even after adjustment for the numerous other metabolic risk factors, markers of inflammation, and novel obesity-related peptide hormones. Whether low adiponectin levels predict to liver fat accumulation remains to be explored in a future prospective follow-up of this cohort"

Ingested Oat Herb Extract (Avena sativa) Changes EEG Spectral Frequencies in Healthy Subjects - J Altern Complement Med. 2011 May 12 - "These changes suggest that oat herb extract might be effective in healthy subjects, resulting in a positive impact on cognitive performance" - See Avena sativa products at iHerb. Avena sativa seems to have UBL's endorsement.

Coffee consumption and mortality in women with cardiovasculardisease - Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 May 11 - "The relative risks (RRs) of all-cause mortality across categories of cumulative coffee consumption [<1 cup (240 mL or 8 oz)/mo, 1 cup/mo to 4 cups/wk, 5-7 cups/wk, 2-3 cups/d, and ≥4 cups/d] were 1, 1.04 (95% CI: 0.86, 1.27), 1.13 (0.95, 1.36), 1.01 (0.86, 1.18), and 1.18 (0.89, 1.56), respectively (P for trend = 0.91). The RRs of CVD mortality across the same categories of coffee intake were 1, 0.99 (0.75, 1.31), 1.03 (0.80, 1.35), 0.97 (0.78, 1.21), and 1.25 (0.85, 1.84), respectively (P for trend = 0.76). Similarly, caffeine intake was not associated with total or CVD mortality. Finally, we observed no association of the most recent coffee and caffeine intakes with total and CVD mortality in the subsequent 2 y ... Consumption of filtered caffeinated coffee was not associated with CVD or all-cause mortality in women with CVD"

Low levels of apolipoprotein A-I and HDL are associated with risk of prostate cancer in the Swedish AMORIS study - Cancer Causes Control. 2011 May 12 - "ApoA-I and HDL were inversely associated with PCa risk (e.g., HR for HDL: 0.93 (95% CI: 0.81-1.07), 0.88 (0.76-1.01), 0.81 (0.70-0.94), for second, third, and fourth quartiles compared with the first quartile; with p for trend: 0.004; HR for apoA-I: 1.00 (0.88-1.13), 0.93 (0.82-1.05), 0.88 (0.77-0.99),), for second, third, and fourth quartiles compared with the first quartile; with p for trend: 0.022). ApoB, LDL, and non-HDL were not associated with PCa risk"

Green tea and coffee consumption and its association with thyroid cancer risk: a population-based cohort study in Japan - Cancer Causes Control. 2011 May 12 - "Green tea consumption was not found to be associated with thyroid cancer risk in general. However, when women were stratified by menopausal status, the multivariable HR for ≥5 cups/day versus <1 cup/day was 1.66 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.85-3.23, trend p = 0.04) in premenopausal women, and was 0.47 (95% CI = 0.23-0.96, trend p = 0.06) in postmenopausal women. We found no association between coffee consumption and thyroid cancer risk in either sex"

Erectile dysfunction association with physical activity level and physical fitness in men aged 40-75 years - Int J Impot Res. 2011 May 12 - "This study showed that younger men with higher physical activity and better physical fitness are less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction. Multivariable analysis through logistic regression showed that age (odds ratio (OD)=1.15; 95% confidence interval (95% CI)=1.07-1.23), physical activity (OD=10.38; 95% CI=3.94-27.39) and physical fitness (OD=4.62; 95% CI=1.75-12.25) were independent variables associated with erectile dysfunction. This study reinforces the concept that healthy habits have a direct effect on erectile function"

Effects of cocoa products/dark chocolate on serum lipids: a meta-analysis - Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 May 11 - "Cocoa products, which are rich sources of flavonoids, have been shown to reduce blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Dark chocolate contains saturated fat and is a source of dietary calories; consequently, it is important to determine whether consumption of dark chocolate adversely affects the blood lipid profile. The objective was to examine the effects of dark chocolate/cocoa product consumption on the lipid profile using published trials. A detailed literature search was conducted via MEDLINE (from 1966 to May 2010), CENTRAL and ClinicalTrials.gov for randomized controlled clinical trials assessing the effects of flavanol-rich cocoa products or dark chocolate on lipid profile. The primary effect measure was the difference in means of the final measurements between the intervention and control groups. In all, 10 clinical trials consisting of 320 participants were included in the analysis. Treatment duration ranged from 2 to 12 weeks. Intervention with dark chocolate/cocoa products significantly reduced serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol (TC) levels (differences in means (95% CI) were -5.90 mg/dl (-10.47, -1.32 mg/dl) and -6.23 mg/dl (-11.60, -0.85 mg/dl), respectively). No statistically significant effects were observed for high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (difference in means (95% CI): -0.76 mg/dl (-3.02 to 1.51 mg/dl)) and triglyceride (TG) (-5.06 mg/dl (-13.45 to 3.32 mg/dl)). These data are consistent with beneficial effects of dark chocolate/cocoa products on total and LDL cholesterol and no major effects on HDL and TG in short-term intervention trials"

Dairy consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of cohort studies - Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 May 11 - "A combined RR of 0.86 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.79-0.92) was revealed on T2DM risk associated to dairy intake, with little evidence of heterogeneity. For subgroup analysis, a combined RR was 0.82 (95% CI, 0.74-0.90), 1.00 (95% CI, 0.89-1.10), 0.95 (95% CI, 0.86-1.05) and 0.83 (95% CI, 0.74-0.93) for the intake of low-fat dairy, high-fat dairy, whole milk and yogurt, respectively. Dose-response analysis showed that T2DM risk could be reduced 5% for total dairy products and 10% for low-fat dairy products. Conclusion: An inverse association of daily intake of dairy products, especially low-fat dairy, with T2DM was revealed, indicating a beneficial effect of dairy consumption in the prevention of T2DM development"

Plasma homocysteine and cognitive decline in older hypertensive subjects - Int Psychogeriatr. 2011 May 6:1-9 - "Higher homocysteine showed an independent association with greater cognitive decline in three domains: speed of cognition (β = -27.33, p = 0.001), episodic memory (β = -1.25, p = 0.02) and executive function (β = -0.05, p = 0.04). The association with executive function was no longer significant after inclusion of folate in the regression model (β = -0.032, p = 0.22). Change in working memory and attention were not associated with plasma homocysteine, folate or B12. High homocysteine was associated with greater decline with a Cohen's d effect size of approximately 0.7 compared to low homocysteine.Conclusions: In a population of older hypertensive patients, higher plasma homocysteine was associated with cognitive decline"

Midlife and Late-Life Blood Pressure and Dementia in Japanese Elderly: The Hisayama Study - Hypertension. 2011 May 9 - "We followed up a total of 668 community-dwelling Japanese individuals without dementia, aged 65 to 79 years, for 17 years and examined the associations of late-life and midlife hypertension with the risk of vascular dementia and Alzheimer disease using the Cox proportional hazards model ... The age- and sex-adjusted incidence of vascular dementia significantly increased with elevated late-life blood pressure levels (normal: 2.3, prehypertension: 8.4, stage 1 hypertension: 12.6, and stage 2 hypertension: 18.9 per 1000 person-years; P(trend)<0.001), whereas no such association was observed for Alzheimer disease (P(trend)=0.88). After adjusting for potential confounding factors, subjects with prehypertension and stage 1 or stage 2 hypertension had 3.0-fold, 4.5-fold, and 5.6-fold greater risk of vascular dementia, respectively, compared with subjects with normal blood pressure. Likewise, there was a positive association of midlife blood pressure levels with the risk of vascular dementia but not with the risk of Alzheimer disease. Compared with those without hypertension in both midlife and late life, subjects with midlife hypertension had an ≈5-fold greater risk of vascular dementia, regardless of late-life blood pressure levels. Our findings suggest that midlife hypertension and late-life hypertension are significant risk factors for the late-life onset of vascular dementia but not for that of Alzheimer disease in a general Japanese population. Midlife hypertension is especially strongly associated with a greater risk of vascular dementia, regardless of late-life blood pressure levels"

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