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Recent Longevity News for the seven days ending 5/23/12.  You should consult your doctor if you are taking any medications.

Disagreeable people prefer aggressive dogs, study suggests - Science Daily, 5/22/12 - "low Agreeableness was the best predictor of a preference for those dogs seen as more aggressive, such as bull terriers or boxers. Individuals low in Agreeableness are typically less concerned with others' well-being and may be suspicious, unfriendly and competitive ... i.e., being less concerned with the needs of others, and being quicker to become hostile" - Note:  I had to throw this in because I like small cute fluffy dogs that are so friendly they'd bring the burglar his ball to throw.

Folic acid may reduce some childhood cancers - Science Daily, 5/21/12 - "Wilms' tumor, a type of kidney cancer, and primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET), a type of brain cancer ... Wilms' tumor rates increased from 1986 to 1997 and decreased thereafter, which is an interesting finding since the downward change in the trend coincides exactly with folic acid fortification ... PNET rates increased from 1986 to 1993 and decreased thereafter. This change in the trend does not coincide exactly with folic acid fortification, but does coincide nicely with the 1992 recommendation for women of childbearing age to consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily ... Here, we are showing that folic acid fortification does not appear to be increasing rates of childhood cancers, which is good news" - See folic acid products at Amazon.com.

The Dirtiest 'Clean' Places - ABC News, 5/20/12 - See the video.

Oxytocin improves brain function in children with autism - Science Daily, 5/19/12 - "oxytocin -- a naturally occurring substance produced in the brain and throughout the body -- increased brain function in regions that are known to process social information in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) ... Oxytocin has recently received attention for its involvement in regulating social abilities because of its role in many aspects of social behavior and social cognition in humans and other species ... The team found that oxytocin increased activations in brain regions known to process social information. Gordon said these brain activations were linked to tasks involving multiple social information processing routes, such as seeing, hearing, and processing information relevant to understanding other people" - See Oxytocin 6x5iu tablets at International Antiaging Systems or click here to purchase Oxytocin Factor.

More Evidence Links Early Cannabis Use to Psychosis - Medscape, 5/17/12 - "The uniqueness of this study lies in the demonstration of an association between early cannabis use and subsequent schizophrenia-like symptoms that persisted into adulthood and that was not explained by early anxiety or depressive disorders, or exposure to other drug and cigarette use ... cannabis use before the age of 14 years "strongly predicted" schizotypal symptoms in adulthood, independent of early adolescent schizotypy, major depression, anxiety, other drug use, and cigarette use ... what is "truly noteworthy is that cannabis use may play a role in the formation of schizophrenia symptoms beyond psychotic symptoms, such as its characteristic oddness and negative symptoms of low motivation and low social drive.""

Why omega-3 oils help at the cellular level - Science Daily, 5/15/12 - "The scientists fed mouse macrophages -- a kind of white blood cell -- three different kinds of fatty acid: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA). EPA and DHA are major polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, essential to a broad range of cellular and bodily functions, and the primary ingredient in commercial fish oil dietary supplements. AA is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid prevalent in the human diet ... They discovered that omega-3 fatty acids inhibit an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX), which produces the prostaglandin hormones that spark inflammation. The action is similar to what happens when one takes an aspirin, which disrupts the COX-2 signaling pathway, thus reducing inflammation and pain ... On the other hand ... omega-3 oils do not inhibit another group of enzymes called lipoxygenases (LOX), which are also produced by stimulated macrophages. One type of generated LOX enzyme in turn produces fat-signaling molecules called leukotrienes, which are pro-inflammatory. But Norris noted that LOX enzymes may also generate anti-inflammatory compounds called resolvins from EPA and DHA" - See Mega Twin EPA at Amazon.com and Jarrow Max DHA at Amazon.com.

Raising HDL Levels May Not Lower Heart Attack Risk - WebMD, 5/16/12 - "Many clinicians still prescribe the vitamin niacin to help raise HDL levels, even though a government-funded trial proved disappointing ... The trial was halted early a year ago when it was determined that people with heart disease who had low HDL levels did not benefit from the treatment ... The drug company Pfizer abandoned its experimental HDL-boosting drug torcetrapib in 2006 when trials showed an increase in heart attack and stroke risk among users ... the new research casts even more doubt on the strategy of raising HDL to lower heart and stroke risk ... HDL levels are related to risk, but that doesn't mean that raising HDL is beneficial ... What we do know is that lowering LDL has a big impact on risk, so the take-home message remains, 'Get those LDL numbers down'"

Coffee May Be Part of the Recipe for a Longer Life - WebMD, 5/16/12 - "The study, described as the largest of its kind, found that coffee drinkers had a lower risk of death from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, accidents and injuries, diabetes, and infections, but not from cancer ... Compared to people who drank no coffee, coffee drinkers who downed three or more cups a day had about a 10% lower risk of death overall and a lower risk of dying from each of a variety of leading killers. Cancer was the only exception .. Among women, coffee drinkers and non-drinkers were equally likely to die of cancer. Among men, there was only a slight connection between heavier coffee drinking and increased risk of dying from cancer ... Although their study can't prove that coffee itself lowers drinkers' risk of dying, Freedman and his colleagues speculate about how it might. Caffeine probably is not a factor, he says, because death rates linked to decaf, preferred by a third of the coffee drinkers, were similar to those associated with caffeinated. But other compounds in coffee, such as antioxidants, might be important, the researchers write"

Want to avoid erectile dysfunction following prostate cancer surgery? Find an experienced, gentle surgeon - Science Daily, 5/16/12 - "a good nerve-sparing surgical technique can lessen the likelihood of these undesirable outcomes, as can the skill and experience of the surgeon ... the study authors recommend that men undergoing robotic-assisted surgery for prostate cancer should look for a doctor who has performed at least 1,000 surgeries and who actively seeks to improve and enhance his/her surgical skills ... greater surgeon experience and more delicate handling of the nerves to minimize stretch injury helped improve erectile function significantly ... surgeon improvement hit a plateau after 950 cases"

U.S. Lowers Cutoff for Lead Poisoning in Young Kids - US News and World Report, 5/16/12 - "The new standard announced Wednesday means that hundreds of thousands more youngsters could be diagnosed with high levels of lead" - Note:  It's just one more example of why I worry about the guidelines of anything the government comes up with such as minimum requirements for nutrition.

9 Best Foods for Your Skin - US News and World Report, 5/16/12 - "Tomatoes ... Mangoes, papaya, and apricots ... Cocoa powder ... Flaxseeds ... Sweet potatoes ... Mussels ... Spinach ... Canned tuna ... Safflower Oil" - Note:  I'm not buying the chocolate or safflower oil suggestions.

Are ACE Inhibitor/ARB Combinations Beneficial? - Medscape, 5/16/12 - "several trials comparing ACE inhibitor monotherapy vs combined treatment with an ARB used suboptimal doses of ACE inhibitors, were relatively short in duration, and had small sample sizes. Combination therapy may have a benefit in reducing proteinuria in patients with hypertensive nephropathy. Whether the long-term BP effects of ACE inhibitors and ARBs are additive or synergistic is still not completely confirmed. Nonetheless, the Ongoing Telmisartan Alone and in Combination with Ramipril Global Endpoint Trial (ONTARGET) study demonstrated that reductions in BP, as seen with combination ACE inhibitor and ARB treatment, does not necessarily correlate to improved morbidity and mortality, even in high-risk patients"

New Sunscreen Guide: 1 in 4 Products Deemed Safe - WebMD, 5/15/12 - "Among the EWG's concerns: ... Poor UVA protection: UVA rays account for 95% of the sun's radiation. They contribute to skin cancer and wrinkles. Though the new FDA rules require sunscreens to pass a test before they can claim "broad spectrum" protection against UVA rays, the EWG says the new test is so easy to pass that most sunscreens on the market will make the grade with no reformulation. That's bad news, they say, since over half the sunscreens they reviewed offer such weak UVA protection that they would not be sold in Europe, where standards are stronger ... The danger with sunscreens with SPFs that climb past 50 is that they offer only marginally better protection than an SPF of 30, and they may lull consumers into thinking they are better shielded than they actually are. A false sense of security can lead people to spend too much time in the sun, putting them at greater risk for burns and skin cancer ... Oxybenzone is an active ingredient found in more than half of all beach and sport sunscreens. Some studies suggest the chemical may mimic the hormone estrogen in the body"

This is your brain on sugar: Study in rats shows high-fructose diet sabotages learning, memory - Science Daily, 5/15/12 - "Binging on soda and sweets for as little as six weeks may make you stupid ... Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain's ability to learn and remember information. But adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage ... studied two groups of rats that each consumed a fructose solution as drinking water for six weeks. The second group also received omega-3 fatty acids in the form of flaxseed oil and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which protects against damage to the synapses -- the chemical connections between brain cells that enable memory and learning ... DHA is essential for synaptic function -- brain cells' ability to transmit signals to one another ... Our findings suggest that consuming DHA regularly protects the brain against fructose's harmful effects" - See Jarrow Max DHA at Amazon.com.

Thyroid Hormone Levels Linked to Weight Changes - Medscape, 5/15/12 - "it was not possible to establish the direction of the observed associations (i.e., whether variation in thyroid hormone levels leads to an altered body composition or whether a less favorable body composition leads to changes in circulating thyroid hormone levels) ... Higher BMI, fat mass, and serum leptin were associated with higher circulating levels of FT3, TT3, and TBG (P < .02 for all), whereas FT4 and TT4 were significantly associated with fat mass and serum leptin (P < .005), but not BMI ... In contrast, higher levels of T3 and TBG were associated with lower insulin sensitivity, assessed by HOMA-IR (P = .0001); there appeared to be no link between TSH levels and body composition or metabolic parameters ... the absence of an association with TSH is remarkable, especially since our associations with free and total thyroid hormones are very significant"

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):

Vitamin D with Calcium Reduces Mortality: Patient Level Pooled Analysis of 70,528 Patients from Eight Major Vitamin D Trials - J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 May 17 - "Vitamin D may affect multiple health outcomes. If so, an effect on mortality is to be expected. Using pooled data from randomized controlled trials, we performed individual patient data (IPD) and trial level meta-analyses to assess mortality among participants randomized to either vitamin D alone or vitamin D with calcium ... The IPD analysis yielded data on 70,528 randomized participants (86.8% females) with a median age of 70 (interquartile range, 62-77) yr. Vitamin D with or without calcium reduced mortality by 7% [hazard ratio, 0.93; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.88-0.99]. However, vitamin D alone did not affect mortality, but risk of death was reduced if vitamin D was given with calcium (hazard ratio, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.84-0.98). The number needed to treat with vitamin D plus calcium for 3 yr to prevent one death was 151. Trial level meta-analysis (24 trials with 88,097 participants) showed similar results, i.e. mortality was reduced with vitamin D plus calcium (odds ratio, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.88-0.99), but not with vitamin D alone (odds ratio, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.91-1.06)" - See vitamin D at Amazon.com.

Association of coffee drinking with total and cause-specific mortality - N Engl J Med. 2012 May 17;366(20):1891-904 - "In age-adjusted models, the risk of death was increased among coffee drinkers. However, coffee drinkers were also more likely to smoke, and, after adjustment for tobacco-smoking status and other potential confounders, there was a significant inverse association between coffee consumption and mortality. Adjusted hazard ratios for death among men who drank coffee as compared with those who did not were as follows: 0.99 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.95 to 1.04) for drinking less than 1 cup per day, 0.94 (95% CI, 0.90 to 0.99) for 1 cup, 0.90 (95% CI, 0.86 to 0.93) for 2 or 3 cups, 0.88 (95% CI, 0.84 to 0.93) for 4 or 5 cups, and 0.90 (95% CI, 0.85 to 0.96) for 6 or more cups of coffee per day (P<0.001 for trend); the respective hazard ratios among women were 1.01 (95% CI, 0.96 to 1.07), 0.95 (95% CI, 0.90 to 1.01), 0.87 (95% CI, 0.83 to 0.92), 0.84 (95% CI, 0.79 to 0.90), and 0.85 (95% CI, 0.78 to 0.93) (P<0.001 for trend). Inverse associations were observed for deaths due to heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections, but not for deaths due to cancer"

Fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, and mortality in older community-dwelling women - J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 May;60(5):862-8 - "During 5 years of follow-up, 82 (11.5%) participants died. Measured continuously, physical activity improved survival (HR = 0.52, 95% CI = 0.41-0.66, P < .001). The most active women were more likely to survive than the least physically active women (HR = 0.28, 95% CI = 0.13-0.59, P < .001). Continuous measures of carotenoids improved survival (HR = 0.67, 95% CI = 0.51-0.89, P = .01). Women in the highest tertile of total carotenoids were more likely to survive those in the lowest (HR = 0.50, 95% CI = 0.27-0.91, P = .03). When examined in the same model, continuous measures of physical activity (HR = 0.54, 95% CI = 0.42-0.68, P < .001) and carotenoids (HR = 0.76, 95% CI = 0.59-0.98, P = .04) predicted survival during follow-up" - See Jarrow Formulas, CarotenALL at Amazon.com.

Resveratrol Protects Cortical Neurons against Microglia-mediated Neuroinflammation - Phytother Res. 2012 May 14 - "Several lines of evidence show that resveratrol could exert neuroprotection against ischemia, seizure, and neurodegenerative diseases. However, the mechanisms underlying its beneficial neuroprotective effects are poorly defined. Here, by using rat primary cortical neuron-glia cultures, results showed that resveratrol attenuated lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced cortical neurotoxicity. Further studies revealed that microglia were responsible for resveratrol-mediated neuroprotection. Resveratrol significantly inhibited LPS-induced microglial activation and subsequent production of multiple pro-inflammatory and cytotoxic factors such as tumor necrosis factor-α, nitric oxide, and interleukin-1β. Collectively, resveratrol produced neuroprotection against microglia-induced neurotoxicity. Thus, resveratrol might represent a potential benefit for the treatment of inflammation-related neurological disorders" - See resveratrol products at Amazon.com.

Prevalence and risk factors for insomnia among breast cancer patients on aromatase inhibitors - Support Care Cancer. 2012 May 15 - "Insomnia complaints exceed 50 % among AI users. Clinically significant insomnia is highly associated with joint pain, hot flashes, anxiety and depression, age, and time since diagnosis"

Neat Tech Stuff / "How To's":

Health Focus (Apolipoprotein A-I (ApoA-I)):

News & Research:


  • Effect of a traditional Mediterranean diet on apolipoproteins B, A-I, and their ratio: A randomized, controlled trial - Atherosclerosis. 2011 May 6 - "Apolipoprotein (Apo)B, ApoA-I, and their ratio could predict coronary heart disease (CHD) risk more accurately than conventional lipid measurements. Our aim was to assess the effect of a traditional Mediterranean diet (TMD) on apolipoproteins ... Participants assigned to a low-fat diet (control) (n=177), or TMDs (TMD+virgin olive oil (VOO), n=181 or TMD+nuts, n=193) received nutritional education and either free VOO (ad libitum) or nuts (dose: 30g/day). A 3-month evaluation was performed ... Both TMDs promoted beneficial changes on classical cardiovascular risk factors. ApoA-I increased, and ApoB and ApoB/ApoA-I ratio decreased after TMD+VOO, the changes promoting a lower cardiometabolic risk. Changes in TMD+VOO versus low-fat diet were -2.9mg/dL (95% CI, -5.6 to -0.08), 3.3mg/dL (95% CI, 0.84 to 5.8), and -0.03mg/dL (-0.05 to -0.01) for ApoB, ApoA-I, and ApoB/ApoA-I ratio, respectively ... Individuals at high-cardiovascular risk who improved their diet toward a TMD pattern rich in virgin olive oil, reduced their Apo B and ApoB/ApoA-I ratio and improved ApoA-I concentrations" - The question is; is it the polyphenols or the omega-9 or both in the virgin olive oil responsible for the benefit? See olive leaf extract at Amazon.com.
  • 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"