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

How much does an MRI cost? Good luck finding out - nbcnews.com, 12/10/12 - "Blue Cross plan for my MRI: $600 for the MRI without the contrast dye, and $1,200 for the MRI with the dye is its negotiated rate with my health plan"

Caffeinated coffee may reduce the risk of oral cancers - Science Daily, 12/10/12 - "Cancer Prevention Study II, a prospective U.S. cohort study begun in 1982 by the American Cancer Society ... 26 years of follow-up ... consuming more than four cups of caffeinated coffee per day was associated with a 49 percent lower risk of oral/pharyngeal cancer death relative to no/occasional coffee intake (RR 0.51, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.40-0.64). A dose-related decline in relative risk was observed with each single cup per day consumed ... Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and contains a variety of antioxidants, polyphenols, and other biologically active compounds that may help to protect against development or progression of cancers"

Mother’s vitamin D level linked to birth weight - Science Daily, 12/10/12 - "We found that a mother's vitamin D level, in the first or second trimester of pregnancy, was related to the normal growth of babies who delivered at term ... If a mother was vitamin D deficient, the birth weight of her baby was 46 g lower after accounting for other characteristics of the mom. Also if moms were vitamin D deficient in the first trimester, they had twice the risk of delivering a baby that suffered from growth restriction during the pregnancy" - See vitamin D at Amazon.com.

Most Popular Weight-Loss Drug Strongly Alters Other Drug Therapies, Study Suggests - Science Daily, 12/10/12 - "the weight-loss drug orlistat, known by the brand names Xenical and Alli, inhibits a key enzyme that may lead to "severe toxicity of internal organs such as the liver and kidney." The inhibition is irreversible ... also found that the drug alters efficacy of medicines, and particularly limits the effectiveness of some anti-cancer drugs ... It has been linked to severe liver failure, acute pancreatic failure and acute renal (kidney) failure ... It is generally accepted that orlistat remains in the intestine and that the body does not absorb it ... But orlistat is reportedly absorbed, and certainly internal organs such as the liver and kidney are exposed to this drug upon absorption"

Commercial ultrasonic frequency devices do not repel bed bugs, study suggests - Science Daily, 12/10/12 - "few of these devices have been demonstrated as being effective in repelling insect pests such as mosquitoes, cockroaches, or ants. Despite the lack of evidence for the efficacy of such devices, they continue to be sold and new versions targeting bed bugs are readily available"

Oxytocin produces more engaged fathers and more responsive infants - Science Daily, 12/10/12 - "oxytocin administration to fathers increases their parental engagement, with parallel effects observed in their infants ... The fathers received the nasal sprays in a solitary room while their infant was cared for in another room. After 40 minutes, fathers and infants were reunited and engaged in face-to-face play that was micro-coded for parent and child's social behavior ... after oxytocin administration, fathers' salivary oxytocin rose dramatically, more than 10 fold, but moreover, similar increases were found in the infants' oxytocin. In the oxytocin conditions, key parenting behavior, including father touch and social reciprocity, increased but infant social behavior, including social gaze and exploratory behavior, increased as well" - See Oxytocin Factor or Oxy Pro (Oxytocin) Nasal Spray at International Anti-aging Systems.

Iron supplements reduce ADHD in low birth weight infants - Science Daily, 12/10/12 - "researchers in Sweden gave 285 marginally low birth weight infants either 0, 1 or 2 mg/kg and day of iron supplements from 6 weeks to 6 months of age. At age three-and-a-half, these infants and 95 who had a normal birth weight were assessed for intelligence and behavior. There were no significant differences in IQ between the low birth weight groups and the normal-weight control group. However, for behavioral problems like ADHD, there was a significant effect from the iron supplements. Of the low birth weight infants who received no iron supplements, 12.7 percent showed signs of behavior problems, compared to 2.9 percent of infants in the 1-mg group and 2.7 percent of the 2-mg group. In the control group, 3.2 percent of children showed signs of behavioral problems"

Women with higher carotenoid levels have reduced risk of breast cancer - Science Daily, 12/7/12 - "Carotenoids, which are micronutrients found in fruits and vegetables, have been found to have anticarcinogenic properties. Previous experimental studies have shown that carotenoids inhibit the tumor progression and reduce proliferation of estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) and estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) breast cancers ... Heather Eliassen, Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and colleagues, conducted a pooled analysis of eight cohort studies, which gathered over 80% of the world's published prospective data on plasma or serum carotenoids and breast cancer ... The researchers found that in over 3,000 case subjects, there were statistically significantly inverse associations between circulating levels of individual and total carotenoids and breast cancer risk, with a stronger finding in ER- breast cancers" - See Garden of Life, Radical Fruits Antioxidant Complex at Amazon.com.

Low fat diet is key to a slimmer figure, study suggests - Science Daily, 12/6/12 - "Exchanging fatty foods for lower fat alternatives will help people shift around three-and-a-half pounds -- without any other form of dieting. People taking part in trials also saw their waist-lines become slimmer, and levels of bad cholesterol decrease ... The results show that eating less fat reduces body weight by 1.6kg, BMI by 0.56kg/m² and waist circumference by 0.5cm. All these effects were in trials in which weight loss was not the intended outcome, suggesting that they occur in people with normal diets. The weight loss happened quickly and was maintained over at least seven years"

Tasty and gluten-free - Science Daily, 12/5/12 - "Gluten-free bakery products dry out more quickly, crumble more easily and have a shorter shelf-life. Pasta without gluten overcooks more quickly, and is sticky and less elastic ... Hydrocolloids like xanthan gum, HPMC and dextran have all been examined carefully, as well as seeds taken from cereals and pseudocereals like amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat ... Adding the hydrocolloid xanthan gum succeeds in giving dough a particular elasticity, though here the end result is heavily dependent on the concentration, the proportion of water, the type of flour and the other ingredients. Getting the right combination is crucial ... As a rule, hydrocolloids alone are not enough to offset the lack of gluten, and proteins need to be added to recipes ... By adding lupin proteins, we were able to improve the volume of baked goods ... Scientists also established that adding sourdough helps prevent loaves from going moldy so quickly, observing that dough becomes more elastic and that loaves stay fresh for longer ... Test subjects rated oatmeal, rice flour and teff flour particularly flavorsome"

Mild vitamin B12 deficiency associated with accelerated cognitive decline - Science Daily, 12/5/12 - "examined data from 549 men and women enrolled in a cohort of the Framingham Heart Study, focusing on scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), a short list of questions and tasks commonly used to screen for dementia. The subjects were divided into five groups, based on their vitamin B-12 blood levels ... Being in the two lowest groups was associated with significantly accelerated cognitive decline ... Rapid neuropsychiatric decline is a well-known consequence of severe vitamin B-12 deficiency, but our findings suggest that adverse cognitive effects of low vitamin B-12 status may affect a much larger proportion of seniors than previously thought" - See vitamin B12 at Amazon.com.

Men with erection problems are three times more likely to have inflamed gums, study finds - Science Daily, 12/4/12 - "Turkish researchers compared 80 men aged 30 to 40 with erectile dysfunction with a control group of 82 men without erection problems ... the men with severe periodontal disease were 3.29 times more likely to suffer from erection problems than men with healthy gums"

Could high insulin make you fat? Mouse study says yes - Science Daily, 12/4/12 - "When we eat too much, obesity may develop as a result of chronically high insulin levels, not the other way around ... The new study helps to solve this chicken-or-the-egg dilemma by showing that animals with persistently lower insulin stay trim even as they indulge themselves on a high-fat, all-you-can-eat buffet ... the researchers produced mice that varied only in their fasting blood insulin levels. When presented with high-fat food, those with one copy and lower fasting insulin were completely protected from obesity even without any loss of appetite. They also enjoyed lower levels of inflammation and less fat in their livers, too ... the researchers produced mice that varied only in their fasting blood insulin levels. When presented with high-fat food, those with one copy and lower fasting insulin were completely protected from obesity even without any loss of appetite. They also enjoyed lower levels of inflammation and less fat in their livers, too" - See my Insulin and Aging page.

New evidence on how compound found in red wine can help prevent cancer - Science Daily, 12/4/12 - "Using laboratory models, they have found that a daily amount of resveratrol equivalent to two glasses of wine can halve the rate of bowel tumors ... The conference will include more than 65 lectures, presentations and posters by different researchers from all over the world" - See resveratrol products at Amazon.com.

Vitamin D Supplements May Reduce Risk for Dental Caries - Medscape, 12/4/12 - "There have been 3 studies conducted recently ... They were very favorable, but they increased vitamin D levels by low amounts through full-spectrum lighting, making it unclear if the caries reduction was due to vitamin D or due to the pineal gland activation"

Why is the flu more common during the winter season? - Science Daily, 12/4/12 - "The researchers found humidity could explain the seasonality of influenza by controlling the ability of viruses to remain infectious while they are in droplets or aerosols. The viruses survived best at low humidity, such as those found indoors in the winter, and at extremely high humidity. Humidity affects the composition of the fluid, namely the concentrations of salts and proteins in respiratory droplets, and this affects the survival rates of the flu virus" - Note:  If that's true a humidifier might help solve the problem but I believe the cause is cold weather decreasing your immunity.  See humidifiers at Amazon.com.

Moderate coffee consumption may reduce risk of diabetes by up to 25 percent - Science Daily, 12/4/12 - "Drinking three to four cups of coffee per day may help to prevent type 2 diabetes according to research highlighted in a session report published by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC), a not-for-profit organization devoted to the study and disclosure of science related to coffee and health ... The report outlines the epidemiological evidence linking coffee consumption to diabetes prevention, highlighting research that shows three to four cups of coffee per day is associated with an approximate 25 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to consuming none or less than two cups per day1. Another study also found an inverse dose dependent response effect with each additional cup of coffee reducing the relative risk by 7-8 per cent"

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):

Note:  I usually get about 300 abstracts per day in my newsfeed.  In the last five days it's been near zero which means there's a backlog again somewhere.  When it's happened in the past I get about 800 per day from the backlog.

Long-term Aerobic Exercise Is Associated With Greater Muscle Strength Throughout the Life Span - J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2012 Dec 3 - "we recruited 74 sedentary (SED) or highly aerobically active (ACT) men and women from within three distinct age groups (young: 20-39 years, middle: 40-64 years, and older: 65-86 years) and tested their aerobic capacity, isometric grip and knee extensor strength, and dynamic 1 repetition maximum knee extension ... In summary, long-term aerobic exercise appears to attenuate age-related reductions in muscle strength in addition to its cardiorespiratory and metabolic benefits"

Effects of fish oil supplementation on inflammatory acne - Lipids Health Dis. 2012 Dec 3;11(1):165 - "Given that acne is a rare condition in societies with higher consumption of omega-3 (n-3) relative to omega-6 (n-6) fatty acids, supplementation with n-3 may suppress inflammatory cytokine production and thereby reduce acne severity ... 13 individuals with inflammatory acne were given three grams of fish oil containing 930 mg of EPA to their unchanged diet and existing acne remedies for 12 weeks ... There was no significant change in acne grading and inflammatory counts at week 12 compared to baseline. However, there was a broad range of response to the intervention on an individual basis. The results showed that acne severity improved in 8 individuals, worsened in 4, and remained unchanged in 1. Interestingly, among the individuals who showed improvement, 7 were classified as having moderate to severe acne at baseline, while 3 of the 4 whose acne deteriorated were classified as having mild acne" - See Mega Twin EPA at Amazon.com.

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