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Recent Longevity News for the week ending 12/16/15

High-Potency Cannabis Linked to Brain Damage, Experts Warn - Medscape, 12/15/15 - "users of cannabis with a high delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content and daily users experienced a significant increase in mean diffusivity, a measure of white matter integrity, in the corpus callosum. Notably, the changes were seen both in individuals with and without psychosis"

Low levels of vitamin D may increase risk of stress fractures in active individuals - Science Daily, 12/14/15 - "Based on these findings, we recommend a serum vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/mL to protect against stress fractures, especially for active individuals who enjoy participating in higher impact activities ... This correlates with an earlier study of 600 female Navy recruits who were found to have a twofold greater risk of stress fractures of the tibia and fibula with a vitamin D level of less than 20 ng/mL compared with females with concentrations above 40 ng/mL" - See vitamin D at Amazon.com.

Intensive training affects the sleep, performance and mood of athletes, but more carbs may help - Science Daily, 12/11/15 - "the extra time under the covers didn't result in any more actual sleep. "Sleep efficiency was significantly reduced during the intensified training period," the researchers observed, with the number of times the athletes woke throughout the night significantly increased. In addition, the cyclists reported changes in their moods as the study went on, including higher tension, anger, fatigue, confusion, depression and increased feelings and symptoms of stress ... he team concluded that a high carbohydrate regime reduced some, but not all, of the effects of hard training. The moderate-carb athletes recorded more sleep time, but this may demonstrate higher levels of fatigue and a greater need for recovery when following that diet"

Proton Pump Inhibitors and Hypomagnesemia in the General Population - Medscape, 12/14/15 - "PPI use was associated with increased risk of hypomagnesemia (n = 36; OR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.36–2.93) compared to no use" - See magnesium supplements at Amazon.com.

Taking antidepressants during pregnancy increases risk of autism by 87 percent - Science Daily, 12/14/15 - "The findings are hugely important as six to ten percent of pregnant women are currently being treated for depression with antidepressants ... the prevalence of autism amongst children has increased from 4 in 10,000 children in 1966 to 100 in 10,000 today. While that increase can be attributed to both better detection and widening criteria for diagnosis, researchers believe that environmental factors are also playing a part. "It is biologically plausible that anti-depressants are causing autism if used at the time of brain development in the womb, as serotonin is involved in numerous pre- and postnatal developmental processes, including cell division, the migration of neuros, cell differentiation and synaptogenesis -- the creation of links between brain cells"

The Tricky Business of Treating Altitude Sickness - NYT, 12/8/15 - "For future trips, her doctor prescribed acetazolamide, sold as Diamox, one of the few proven AMS drugs ... it can have unpleasant side effects ... The best way to avoid altitude sickness is to ascend gradually, and either stop at a lower altitude for a night or return to one to sleep. Visitors should avoid alcohol and plan their vacations so they don’t overexert themselves in the first 48 hours ... If a gradual ascent isn’t possible, Diamox might be appropriate, the C.D.C. said"

Abstracts from this week:

Increasing taurine intake and taurine synthesis improves skeletal muscle function in the mdx mouse model for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy - J Physiol. 2015 Dec 12 - "Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a fatal muscle wasting disease for which there is no widely available cure ... Increasing the taurine content of mdx muscle improved both in vivo and ex vivo muscle strength and function, potentially via anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of taurine ... These data support continued research into the use of taurine as a therapeutic intervention for DMD, and suggest that increasing dietary taurine is the better strategy for increasing taurine content and decreasing severity of dystropathology" - See taurine at Amazon.com.

Inhibitory Effect of a French Maritime Pine Bark Extract-Based Nutritional Supplement on TNF-α-Induced Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Human Coronary Artery Endothelial Cells - Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:260530 - "HIPER is a mixture of French maritime pine bark extract (PBE), honey, aloe vera, and papaya extract ... HIPER has potent inhibitory effects on HCAECs inflammatory and oxidative stress responses that may protect against endothelial dysfunction that underlies early atherosclerotic lesion formation" - See Pycnogenol at Amazon.com.

Interferon-γ-Mediated Natural Killer Cell Activation by an Aqueous Panax ginseng Extract - Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:603198 - "These results demonstrated that the aqueous P. ginseng extract augmented NK cell activation in vivo via an IFN-γ-dependent pathway" - See ginseng at Amazon.com.

Contribution of vitamin D deficiency to the risk of coronary heart disease in subjects with essential hypertension - Atherosclerosis. 2015 Nov 23 - "Patients in the lowest quartile of 25-Hydroxy-Vitamin-D experienced the most number of hard CHD events. A significant linear trend was observed in hazard ratios (HR) of incident hard CHD events in 25-Hydroxy-Vitamin-D quartiles which remained significant after multiple adjustments for conventional CHD risk-factors (HRs in full-adjusted model: 2.87 [1.76-4.70] for 1st quartile, 2.31 [1.39-3.83] for 2nd quartile and 1.87 [1.15-3.03] for 3rd quartile, compared with the highest quartile" - See vitamin D at Amazon.com.

The Effect of Protein-Enriched Meal Replacement on Waist Circumference Reduction among Overweight and Obese Chinese with Hyperlipidemia - J Am Coll Nutr. 2015 Dec 9:1-9 - "Eligible patients were randomized 1:1 to a high-protein (HP) diet (2.2 g protein/kg/day) or a standard-protein (SP) diet (1.1 g protein/kg/ day) provided twice daily for 3 months ... Although mean weight loss and percent BMI reduction were greater with HP than SP at 12 weeks, the differences were not significant. There was, however, a significantly greater decrease in waist-hip ratio with HP versus SP (-0.03 ± 0.03 vs. -0.01 ± 0.04; p < 0.05)"

Astaxanthin Supplementation Enhances Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Spatial Memory in Mice - Mol Nutr Food Res. 2015 Dec 8 - "There is a growing necessity for efficacious natural supplements with antioxidant effects on brain, in particular hippocampal, function. One such compound, which also has a neuroprotective effect, is the carotenoid astaxanthin (ASX) ... ASX supplementation enhanced AHN and spatial memory, and a DNA microarray approach provided, for the first time, novel molecular insights into ASX action" - See astaxanthin at Amazon.com.

Neat Tech Stuff / "How To's":

Anker AK-A1531011 7.3 by 3.5-Inch PowerCore Jump Starter 600 with Built-in Flashlight - Nice stocking stuffer. It will jump your battery and charge your electronic devices. I was looking at it after the cheap one I had went bad because I didn’t recharge it every four months. I ended up just getting a replacement battery and had to jury rig it because the terminals were completely different. It’s not pretty but a least it works again. I ended up with a cigarette lighter attachment that should keep it charged in the trunk (http://amzn.to/1P0lM1n). That’s another thing, there’s usually a live wire going to the light switch in the trunk. I attached a female cigarette light attachment to it (http://amzn.to/1INgEME). Not only does that work to charge the car battery if I only drive short trips (http://amzn.to/1P0lYOa) but it also charges my jumper and tire inflater (current going the other way).

Health Focus (Sarcopenia):