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Recent Longevity News for the week ending 11/14/18

As Melatonin Use Rises, So Do Safety Concerns - WebMD, 11/12/18 - "One review of 15 studies involving 284 otherwise healthy subjects found that those who took melatonin before bed fell asleep 3.9 minutes faster on average and slept 13 minutes longer. Another, of 19 studies involving 1,700 people, found that melatonin users fell asleep 7 minutes faster on average and slept 8 minutes longer ... circadian rhythm disorders ... One study, published in June in the journal PLOS Medicine, looked at 116 men with the disorder and found that those who took 0.5 milligrams of fast-release melatonin 1 hour before their desired bedtime at least 5 nights per week fell asleep 34 minutes earlier on average, slept more soundly, and saw their sleep patterns normalize after 4 weeks" Note:  The article downplays the sleep time but I'll take and extra 17 minutes plus it's probably a deeper sleep overall.  - See melatonin at Amazon.com.

Autism and zinc deficiency in early development - Science Daily, 11/9/18 - "This suggests that a lack of zinc during early development might contribute to autism through impaired synaptic maturation and neuronal circuit formation"

Soy formula feeding during infancy associated with severe menstrual pain in adulthood - Science Daily, 11/9/18 - "women who had ever been fed soy formula as babies were 50 percent more likely to have experienced moderate or severe menstrual discomfort between the ages of 18 and 22, and 40 percent more likely to have used hormonal contraception to help alleviate menstrual pain"

Pure Fish Oil Lowers CVD Risk Even If We Don’t Understand How - Medscape, 11/11/18 - "Strengths of REDUCE-IT include that randomization resulted in well-matched groups; the 25% relative risk reduction is robust; the active treatment reduced all components of the composite endpoint (not just softer ones like coronary revascularization); and the findings showed a consistent effect in important subgroups (eg, sex, race, high vs low levels of triglycerides, statin intensity). Finally, the 25% relative risk reduction in REDUCE-IT comports with the JELIS trial,[2] a non–placebo-controlled trial of Japanese patients that found a 19% reduction in cardiac events with a lower daily dose of EPA" - See omega-3 supplements at Amazon.com.

Diabetes Meds May Reduce Alzheimer's Pathology - Medscape, 11/8/18 - "People with diabetes appear, from an epidemiological population point of view, to be more susceptible to Alzheimer's disease and to be more susceptible to dementia as a whole ... Researchers assumed this meant individuals with dementia and diabetes would have more hallmark AD lesions, such as amyloid plaques and tau tangles, than those with dementia but not diabetes ... We wanted to know what it is that these antidiabetic drugs are doing ... These new results reinforce the idea that antidiabetes drugs "have the potential to reduce AD lesions,""

Pot Use Tied to Serious Diabetes Complication - WebMD, 11/8/18 - "People with type 1 diabetes who use marijuana may double their risk of developing a life-threatening complication ... Called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), the condition occurs when there is not enough insulin to break down sugar in the body, so the body burns fat for fuel instead. This triggers a build-up of chemicals known as ketones, which make blood more acidic and can lead to coma or death"

Too Few Americans Get The HPV Vaccine - WebMD, 11/6/18 - "Yet, the fact remains that this vaccine remains seriously underutilized -- we are still missing opportunities to prevent cancer and save lives" - Note:  They need to be more aware of HPV's connection with neck cancer. Trust me, neck cancer sucks. It's got the highest suicide rate of any cancers. I'm cured now but went through hell.

Benefit of Salt Restriction in Heart Failure Uncertain - Medscape, 11/7/18 - "We found no clinically relevant data on whether reduced dietary salt intake affected outcomes such as cardiovascular-associated or all-cause mortality, cardiovascular-associated events, hospitalization, or length of hospital stay"

Mediterranean Diet's Benefits May Extend to Multiple Diseases - Medscape, 11/7/18 - "Is it possible, as mentioned above, that the effects are not due to a specific dietary component, but attributable to a confounding effect on the gut microflora? Certain clusters of bacterial species within the gut microenvironment have been correlated with obesity, fatty liver, and cardiometabolic disease risk.[45] These bacteria produce metabolic products, such as short-chain fatty acids, secondary bile acids, and trimethylamine, which may affect the microbial community and risk for disease. The Mediterranean diet components have a direct favorable impact on the gut microenvironment, providing substrates to and promoting the colonization of resident bacteria, which in turn reduce disease risk.[45] For example, Bajaj and colleagues[46] reported that a Mediterranean diet may prove beneficial in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, possibly improving the outcome of patients with cirrhosis. Thus, the gut microbiome may be the key mediator between these dietary patterns, healthy outcomes, or disease risk"

New insights into the neural risks and benefits of marijuana use - Science Daily, 11/6/18 - "Today's new findings show that: Prenatal exposure to THC in rats has lasting effects on metabolites in the brain, making the animal more vulnerable to stress later in life (Robert Schwarcz, abstract 609.12) ... Rats exposed to synthetic compounds that are similar to THC during fetal development show impaired formation of the neural circuits involved in learning and memory as adolescents (Priyanka Das Pinky, abstract 424.17) ... In adolescent rats, cannabinoids may disturb the development of a protein lattice important for balancing excitatory and inhibitory activity in a brain region involved in decision-making, planning, and self-control (Eliza Jacobs-Brichford, abstract 645.09)"

Adolescent cannabis use alters development of planning, self-control brain areas - Science Daily, 11/6/18 - "the prefrontal cortex, or PFC, which controls high-level cognitive functions ... These impulsive choices are taking place during a key period of brain development and could have costs later in life, according to the researchers ... Adolescence is a crucial time for fine-tuning the balance of excitatory and inhibitory neurons in the brain, which combine to control precise patterns of brain activity ... Substance use as a teenager thus has the potential to disrupt the normal developmental trajectory of the PFC, with potentially long-term consequences for decision-making"

Eat your vegetables (and fish): Another reason why they may promote heart health - Science Daily, 11/6/18 - "New research in rats finds that low-dose treatment with TMAO reduced heart thickening (cardiac fibrosis) and markers of heart failure in an animal model of hypertension ... TMAO levels in the blood significantly increase after eating TMAO-rich food such as fish and vegetables. In addition, the liver produces TMAO from trimethylamine (TMA), a substance made by gut bacteria ... A new finding of our study is that [a] four- to five-fold increase in plasma TMAO does not exert negative effects on the circulatory system. In contrast, a low-dose TMAO treatment is associated with reduced cardiac fibrosis and [markers of] failing heart in spontaneously hypertensive rats"

Just one energy drink may hurt blood vessel function - AMA, 11/5/18 - "One and a half hours after consuming the energy drink, researchers checked the young adults’ artery flow-mediated dilation – an ultrasound measurement that indicates overall blood vessel health. They found vessel dilation was on average 5.1 percent in diameter before the energy drink and fell to 2.8 percent diameter after, suggesting acute impairment in vascular function"

Cognitive changes in offspring of heavy cannabis-using rats - Science Daily, 11/4/18 - "rats exposed to a high concentration of cannabis, "showed marked deficits in their ability to shift strategies when the new rule was implemented," ... The general take-home message is that we see deficits, particularly in the domain of cognitive flexibility, in rats prenatally exposed to high doses of cannabis vapor ... They cannot seem to adapt properly and tend to commit more regressive errors as a result, which suggests impairment in maintaining the new optimal strategy"

Drinking coffee may reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer's, Parkinson's - Science Daily, 11/5/18 - "The team chose to investigate three different types of coffee -- light roast, dark roast, and decaffeinated dark roast ... The caffeinated and de-caffeinated dark roast both had identical potencies in our initial experimental tests ... Dr. Mancini then identified a group of compounds known as phenylindanes, which emerge as a result of the roasting process for coffee beans. Phenylindanes are unique in that they are the only compound investigated in the study that prevent -- or rather, inhibit -- both beta amyloid and tau, two protein fragments common in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, from clumping ... So phenylindanes are a dual-inhibitor ... As roasting leads to higher quantities of phenylindanes, dark roasted coffee appears to be more protective than light roasted coffee"

Fermented dairy products may protect against heart attack, study suggests - Science Daily, 10/30/18 - "When the study participants were divided into four groups on the basis of their consumption of fermented dairy products with less than 3.5% fat, the risk of incident coronary heart disease was 26% lower in the highest consumption group compared to the lowest consumption group. Sour milk was the most commonly used low-fat fermented dairy product. The consumption of high-fat fermented dairy products, such as cheese, was not associated with the risk of incident coronary heart disease ... However, the researchers found that a very high consumption on non-fermented dairy products was associated with an increased risk of incident coronary heart disease. Milk was the most commonly used product in this category, and a very high consumption was defined as an average daily milk intake of 0.9 litres. Lower consumption levels were not associated with the risk"

Teen Cannabis Use May Increase Adult Psychosis Risk - Medscape, 10/30/18 - "The results demonstrate that adolescent exposure to THC alters the developmental trajectory into adulthood of prefrontal cortical neurons, which are critical for decision making and cognitive function ... The impairments were evident in the structure of neurons, where there was reduced complicity of the neurons critical for communication between cells ... The impairments were also evident in the expression of genes critical for synaptic plasticity and epigenetic mechanisms that regulate DNA openness and chromatin structure that determines whether genes are turned on or off ... Moreover, "the gene network alterations were similar to those observed to be impaired in the PRC of people with schizophrenia"

Vitamin D levels in the blood linked to cardiorespiratory fitness - Science Daily, 10/30/18 - "Cardiorespiratory fitness, a reliable surrogate for physical fitness, is the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to the muscles during exercise. It is best measured as the maximal oxygen consumption during exercise, referred to as VO2 max. People with higher cardiorespiratory fitness are healthier and live longer. ... Participants in the top quartile of vitamin D had a 4.3-fold higher cardiorespiratory fitness than those in the bottom quartile" - See vitamin D at Amazon.com.

Abstracts from this week:

Factors Associated with False Positive Fecal Immunochemical Tests in a Large German Colorectal Cancer Screening Study - Int J Cancer. 2018 Nov 9 - "fecal immunochemical tests (FITs) ... Male sex (OR=1.30, 95%CI 1.03, 1.62), age ≥ 65 years (OR=1.27, 95%CI 1.01, 1.59), a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 (OR=1.81, 95%CI 1.36, 2.40), current smoking (OR=1.63, 95%CI 1.18, 2.25), use of aspirin (OR=1.36, 95%CI 1.02, 1.82) and a new diagnosis of IBD (OR=9.13, 95%CI 2.18, 38.19) or other non-neoplastic findings (OR=1.86, 95%CI 1.37, 2.51) at screening colonoscopy were independently associated with significantly increased odds of a positive FIT" - Note:  My doctor stopped doing the FITs, probably because I've had false positives my entire life.

Markers of Hypoxia and Oxidative Stress in Aging Volunteers Ingesting Lycosomal Formulation of Dark Chocolate Containing Astaxanthin - J Nutr Health Aging. 2018;22(9):1092-1098 - "To determine if ingestion of lycosome-formulated dark chocolate (DC) containing astaxanthin (ASTX) improves bioavailability of ASTX and affects markers of hypoxia and oxidative stress in aging individuals ... One month ingestion of singular formulation of ASTX lead to a 20 fold buildup in serum ASTX level whereas the 4 week ingestion of L-DC-ASTX formulation was accompanied by more prominent accumulation of ASTX in serum (a 40 fold increase over the basal values) at the same daily dose of ASTX. Both antioxidants taken separately decreased serum levels of oxidized LDL and malonic dialdehyde. However effect of L-DC-ASTX formulation was more prominent. ASTX ingested alone caused a borderline increase (p=0.054) in serum nitric oxide (NO) levels, whereas DC ingestion lead to small but statistically significant increase in serum NO concentration. Higher values of NO level were seen after co-ingestion of DC and ASTX" - See Ghirardelli Chocolate Intense Dark Squares, Midnight Reverie, 4.12 oz., 86% Cacao (Pack of 4) at Amazon.com and astaxanthin at Amazon.com.

Chemo-preventive and therapeutic effect of the dietary flavonoid kaempferol: A comprehensive review - Phytother Res. 2018 Nov 7 - "Kaempferol, a natural flavonoid present in several plants, possesses a wide range of therapeutic properties such as antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory. It has a significant role in reducing cancer and can act as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of diseases and ailments such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, oxidative stress, asthma, and microbial contamination disorders. Kaempferol acts through different mechanisms: It induces apoptosis (HeLa cervical cancer cells), decreases cell viability (G2/M phase), downregulates phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT (protein kinase B) and human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus-I (HTLV-I) signaling pathways, suppresses protein expression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related markers including N-cadherin, E-cadherin, Slug, and Snail, and metastasis-related markers such as matrix metallopeptidase 2 (MMP-2)" - See kaempferol at Amazon.com.

Berberine alleviates oxidized low-density lipoprotein-induced macrophage activation by downregulating galectin-3 via the NF-κB and AMPK signaling pathways - Phytother Res. 2018 Nov 6 - "Macrophage activation plays a central role in neoatherosclerosis and in-stent restenosis after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Galectin-3, mainly expressed on macrophages, is an important regulator of inflammation ... In conclusion, BBR alleviates ox-LDL-induced macrophage activation by downregulating galectin-3 via the NF-κB and AMPK signaling pathways" - See berberine at Amazon.com.

The effects of curcumin-containing supplements on biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials - Phytother Res. 2018 Nov 7 - "Overall, this meta-analysis suggests that taking curcumin-containing supplements may exert anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties through a significant reduction in IL-6, hs-CRP, and MDA levels" - See curcumin products at Amazon.com.

Blueberry Polyphenols Ameliorate Visible Light and Lipid-induced Injury of Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells - J Agric Food Chem. 2018 Nov 9 - "the visual benefits of various blueberry polyphenols were evaluated using an in vitro model of visible light-lipid-induced injury of retinal pigment epithelial cells. Results showed that, at 10.0 μg/mL, the phenolic acid-rich fraction was superior in inhibiting cell death (93.6% ± 2.8% of cell viability). Anthocyanin- and flavonoid-rich fractions shared similar advantages in preventing the expression of senescence-associated β-galactosidase (34.8% ± 11.1% and 32.2% ± 9.7% of aged cells, respectively) and overexpression of vascular endothelial growth factor (51.8 ± 3.5 and 54.1 ± 6.5 pg/mL, respectively). Flavonoid-rich fraction also showed high activity in ameliorating phagocytosis (70.3% ± 12.6%) and cellular oxidative stress. These results were further confirmed by using the corresponding polyphenol standards. Improved inhibitory effects of polyphenol mixture on cell death and senescence-associated β-galactosidase expression were also observed. Therefore, various polyphenols play diverse roles and exert synergistic effects in nourishing the retina" - See blueberry extract at Amazon.com.

Effect of low carbohydrate high fat diet on LDL cholesterol and gene expression in normal-weight, young adults: A randomized controlled study - Atherosclerosis. 2018 Oct 17;279:52-61 - "An LCHF diet for three weeks increased LDL-C with 44% versus controls. The individual response on LCHF varied profoundly"

Depressive Symptoms and Vegetarian Diets: Results from the Constances Cohort - Nutrients. 2018 Nov 6;10(11) - "Depressive symptoms are associated with the exclusion of any food group from the diet, including but not restricted to animal products"

Effects of a leucine-enriched amino acid supplement on muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical function in post-stroke patients with sarcopenia: A randomized controlled trial - Nutrition. 2018 Jul 11;58:1-6 - "The intervention group (n = 21) received a leucine-enriched amino acid supplement; the control group (n = 23) did not. Both groups performed low-intensity resistance training in addition to a post-stroke rehabilitation program. A primary outcome of physical function by using the motor domain of Functional Independence Measure (FIM), and secondary outcomes of appendicular muscle mass (skeletal muscle mass index [SMI]) measured via bioelectrical impedance analysis and muscle strength as handgrip strength were measured at baseline and at the end of the intervention ... The FIM score increased significantly in both groups over time (P < 0.01), with significantly greater improvement in the intervention group than in the control group (P < 0.045). Handgrip strength also increased significantly over time (P <0.05), with significantly greater improvement in the intervention group (P < 0.01). The SMI increased significantly in the intervention group but not in the control group over time, with significantly greater improvement in the intervention group" - [Nutra USA] - See leucine products at Amazon.com.


Health Focus (Telomeres):