250 CNO REPORT 30 NOV 2017



CNO Report # 250

Release Date:  30 NOV 2017

Draft Report Compiled by

Ralph Turchiano





In This Issue:

1.       Lose fat, preserve muscle: Weight training beats cardio for older adults

2.       Colon cancer breakthrough could lead to prevention — and the foods that can help

3.       Caffeine consumption may help kidney disease patients live longer

4.       Vitamin D may be simple treatment to enhance burn healing

5.       Heart attacks more likely in those with low blood phosphate levels

6.       Can lavender aromatherapy reduce anxiety in surgery patients?

7.       Mushrooms are full of antioxidants that may have antiaging potential

8.       Study reveals how a very low calorie diet can reverse type 2 diabetes

9.       Yerba mate’s beneficial effects on cellular energy and lipid metabolism linked to weight

10.   Naturally occurring molecule may help prevent and treat atherosclerosis and gum disease

11.   Russian scientist determined the normal content of boron in the human body

12.   Tooth cavities can be fought ‘naturally’

13.   Preventing psoriasis with vanillin


Public Release: 1-Nov-2017

Lose fat, preserve muscle: Weight training beats cardio for older adults


Wake Forest University

Weight training or cardio? For older adults trying to slim down, pumping iron might be the way to go.

A new study by researchers at Wake Forest University suggests combining weight training with a low-calorie diet preserves much needed lean muscle mass that can be lost through aerobic workouts.

The findings, “Effect of Exercise Type During Intentional Weight Loss on Body Composition in Older Adults with Obesity,” appear in the November issue of the journal Obesity.

“A lot of older adults will walk as their exercise of choice,” said Kristen Beavers, assistant professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest and lead author of the study. “But this research shows that if you’re worried about losing muscle, weight training can be the better option.”

In this 18-month study of 249 adults in their 60s who were overweight or obese, restricting calories plus resistance training in the form of weight-machine workouts resulted in less muscle loss, but significant fat loss, when compared to weight loss plus walking or weight loss alone.

Losing weight is generally recommended for those with obesity, but preserving muscle – while losing fat – is particularly important for older adults in order to maximize functional benefit, Beavers said.

“Surprisingly, we found that cardio workouts may actually cause older adults with obesity to lose more lean mass than dieting alone.”

Loss of lean mass could have important consequences given the high risk of physical disability among the growing population of older adults.

The findings:

+ Total fat loss was much greater when participants combined diet plus walking (about 16 pounds) and diet plus weight training (about 17 pounds). Diet alone resulted in about 10 pounds of fat lost over 18 months.

+ Muscle mass loss was greatest with diet plus walking (about 4 pounds) compared with diet alone or diet plus weight training (each about 2 pounds). Put another way, the percentage of weight loss coming from muscle mass was 20% in the weight loss plus walking group, 16% in the weight loss alone group, and 10% in the weight loss plus weight training group.

+ Loss of fat was associated with faster walking speed, while loss of muscle was associated with reduced knee strength.

These results may be even more important for older adults who gain and lose weight with frequency, because seniors typically don’t regain muscle – they regain fat mass – which is “all the more reason for older adults to try and preserve muscle mass during weight loss,” Beavers said.

This is the latest study from the Cooperative Lifestyle Intervention Program (CLIP-II), a single-blind, randomized controlled trial. The participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a weight-loss-only group, who followed a calorie-restricted diet with no exercise regimen; a weight loss plus cardio (i.e., walking) group; and a weight loss plus weight-training group.

Public Release: 2-Nov-2017

Colon cancer breakthrough could lead to prevention — and the foods that can help


Colon cancer, Crohn’s, and other diseases of the gut could be better treated — or even prevented – thanks to a new link between inflammation and a common cellular process, established by the University of Warwick

University of Warwick


  • Colon cancer, Crohn’s, and other gut diseases could be better treated or prevented, thanks to a new link between inflammation and a common cellular process, found by University of Warwick
  • Autophagy – an essential process whereby cells break down and recycle harmful elements to keep our bodies healthy – causes tissue inflammation when dysfunctional, which in turn leaves us susceptible to diseases, particularly in the gut
  • Pomegranates, red grapes, pears, mushrooms, lentils, soybeans and green peas contain natural compounds which can activate autophagy, helping to prevent inflammation and gut diseases.
  • New link could lead to more effective treatments for diseases – giving healthcare professionals ability to target root cause of disease, by regulating autophagy
  • Paper published in Nature Communications

Colon cancer, Crohn’s, and other diseases of the gut could be better treated – or even prevented – thanks to a new link between inflammation and a common cellular process, established by the University of Warwick.

Led by Dr Ioannis Nezis at Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, new research demonstrates that autophagy – an essential process whereby cells break down and recycle harmful or damaged elements within themselves to keep our bodies healthy – causes tissue inflammation when dysfunctional, which in turn leaves us susceptible to harmful diseases, particularly in the gut.

Understanding this link could lead to more effective treatments for gut diseases – such as colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – giving healthcare professionals the ability to target the root cause of these diseases, by regulating and controlling autophagy.

Foods such as pomegranates, red grapes, pears, mushrooms, lentils, soybeans and green peas contain natural compounds which can activate autophagy, helping to prevent inflammation and gut diseases.

In a new paper published in Nature Communications, Dr Nezis and colleagues have identified – for the first time – a protein which is regulated by autophagy. Called Kenny, the protein contains a motif of amino acids that causes itself to be broken down by autophagy. When autophagy is dysfunctional, Kenny accumulates and causes inflammation.

The researchers identified this phenomenon in fruit flies, by turning Kenny fluorescent – so it would be visible – and observing at a microscopic level that the protein was present in the cell where autophagy was occurring.

They also noted that dysfunctional autophagy causes serious inflammation in fruit flies – particularly in the gut – which makes tissue inflamed, causing disease, and making the lifespan of a fruit fly half that of other flies. To prevent serious diseases of the gut caused by inflammation, Dr Nezis and his colleagues state that it is necessary to find ways to control and regulate autophagy.

Humans are in even more danger from the link between autophagy, inflammation, and a dysfunctional or diseased gut – because our bodies lack the regular motif of amino acids which Kenny uses in fruit flies, making its breakdown by autophagy difficult to control or regulate.

Dr Ioannis Nezis, the lead author of the research, commented: “Understanding the molecular mechanisms of selective autophagy and inflammation will help to use interventions to activate the autophagic pathway to prevent inflammation and promote healthy well-being during the life course.

“Natural compounds contained in fruits and vegetables like pomegranates, red grapes, pears, mushrooms, lentils, soybeans and green peas have been shown to activate autophagy, therefore inclusion of the above in our diet would help to prevent inflammation and alleviate the symptoms of gut diseases.”

The paper, ‘Kenny mediates selective autophagic degradation of the IKK complex to control innate immune responses’, will be published in Nature Communications.


It is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Public Release: 3-Nov-2017

Caffeine consumption may help kidney disease patients live longer


American Society of Nephrology


  • In patients with chronic kidney disease, there was a dose-dependent inverse association between caffeine consumption and early death.
  • Results from the analysis will be presented at ASN Kidney Week 2017 October 31-November 5 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA.

New Orleans, LA (November 3, 2017) — Caffeine consumption may prolong the lives in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to a study that will be presented at ASN Kidney Week 2017 October 31-November 5 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA.

Coffee consumption has been linked to a longer life in the general population. To see if this holds true for individuals with CKD, Miguel Bigotte Vieira, MD (Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte, in Portugal), and his colleagues examined the association of caffeine consumption with mortality among 2328 patients with CKD in a prospective US cohort, using the continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2010.

The team found a dose-dependent inverse association between caffeine and all-cause mortality. Compared with those in the lowest quartile of caffeine consumption, those in the second, third, and highest quartiles had 12%, 22%, and 24% lower risks of dying.

“Our study showed a dose-dependent protective effect of caffeine consumption on mortality among patients with CKD. This association was independent of potential confounders including age, gender, race, annual family income, education level, estimated GFR, albumin/creatinine ratio, hypertension, smoking status, dyslipidemia, body mass index, previous cardiovascular events and diet: consumption of alcohol, carbohydrates, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and fibers,” said Dr. Bigotte Vieira. “These results suggest that advising patients with CKD to drink more caffeine may reduce their mortality. This would represent a simple, clinically beneficial, and inexpensive option, though this benefit should ideally be confirmed in a randomized clinical trial.” Dr. Bigotte Vieira stressed that this observational study cannot prove that caffeine reduces the risk of death in patients with CKD, but only suggests the possibility of such a protective effect.

Public Release: 5-Nov-2017

Vitamin D may be simple treatment to enhance burn healing


Society for Endocrinology

Patients with severe burns who have higher levels of vitamin D recover more successfully than those with lower levels, according to a study presented at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference in Harrogate. This study is the first to investigate the role of vitamin D in recovery from burn injury and suggests that vitamin D supplementation may be a simple and cost-effective treatment to enhance burn healing.

Despite improvements in burn care over the last 10 years, many patients are still at risk of poor recovery. Complications can range from delayed wound healing through to infections. Patients with severe burns are at high risk of infection that may lead to life-threatening sepsis. Vitamin D is known to have antibacterial actions that may help combat infection and therefore aid in wound healing of burn patients.

In order to investigate the role of vitamin D in recovery from burn injuries, Professor Janet Lord and Dr Khaled Al-Tarrah, at the Institute of Inflammation & Aging in Birmingham, assessed the recovery progress, over one year, in patients with severe burns and correlated this with their vitamin D levels. The study found that patients with higher levels of vitamin D had a better prognosis, with improved wound healing, fewer complications and less scarring. The data also showed that burns patients tend to have lower levels of vitamin D. These data suggest that vitamin D supplementation immediately following burn injury may have potent health benefits to the patient, including enhanced antimicrobial activity to prevent infection, and improved wound healing.

Prof Lord states, “Major burn injury severely reduces vitamin D levels and adding this vitamin back may be a simple, safe and cost-effective way to improve outcomes for burns patients, with minimal cost to NHS.”

The effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation to improve outcomes in burn patients would need to be verified in clinical trials. Prof Lord and her team are now focussed on finding out why there is a rapid loss of vitamin D in patients immediately following burn injury and hope that they may be able to prevent this in future. The amount of reduction in patients’ vitamin D levels was not related to the severity of the burn, so levels may also be decreased in more minor burn injuries.

Prof Lord comments, “Low vitamin D levels were associated with worse outcomes in burn patients including life threatening infections, mortality and delayed wound healing. It was also associated with worse scarring but vitamin D levels are something generally overlooked by clinicians.”




Influence of Vitamin D on Outcomes Following Burn Injury: An Observational Cohort Study

Khaled Al-Tarrah1,2, Carl Jenkinson3, Martin Hewison3, Naiem Moiemen2, Janet Lord1

1Institute of Inflammation & Aging, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 2Scar Free Foundation Burns Research Centre, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 3Institute of Metabolism & Systems Research, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Introduction: Low levels of vitamin D are associated with higher mortality in critically ill patients. Studies on vitamin D levels in adult burn patients and their influence on clinical outcomes are scarce. Therefore, vitamin D status following thermal injury is often overlooked as its clinical implications are poorly understood.

Aim: To examine the relationship of major thermal injury on the vitamin D axis and the influence of vitamin D levels on outcomes in adult burn patients.

Methods: An observational cohort study in major burn injury patients (TBSA ?20%) with patients followed up for 1 year following injury and blood samples taken at 10 time-points. Vitamin D metabolites and their serum carrier vitamin D binding protein (DBP) were assessed using LC-MS/MS and ELISA respectively. Various clinical outcomes of patients were recorded, including wound healing, sepsis, multiorgan failure and mortality.

Results: 38 burn patients with median TBSA of 42% were assessed. The inactive circulating form of vitamin D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25D3) and DBP were significantly reduced following major burn injury compared with healthy controls. Median 25D3 remained low.

Conclusion: Thermal injury affects vitamin D status, with low 25D3 levels predisposing patients to poorer prognosis. Data indicate that low serum 25D3 impairs tissue-specific antibacterial and wound healing responses in burn patients, potentially via tissue-specific activation and function. Supplementing with high doses of vitamin D to increase serum 25D3 may greatly improve health outcomes in burns patients.

Public Release: 8-Nov-2017

Heart attacks more likely in those with low blood phosphate levels


University of Surrey

Researchers from the University of Surrey found that insufficient levels of phosphate in the blood may pose a particular danger to cardiovascular health, contradicting previous research in this area, which suggested low volumes of the mineral was beneficial to the heart.

The study, using data from the RCGP Research and Surveillance Centre, examined phosphate levels of more than 100,000 patients, over five and nine-year intervals, and the impact on their cardiac health. The researchers found that those with low levels (below 0.75 mmol/L) of the mineral in their blood were at a similar risk of developing coronary problems as those with elevated levels (above 1.5 mmol/L). Instances of both conditions were high amongst those with low and excessive levels of phosphate in the blood, however cardiac events in those with mid-range (1-1.25 mmol/L) levels were significantly less.

Risks associated with high levels of phosphate in the blood have previously been proven by the scientific community, but this is the first time the dangers of low levels have been identified as potentially being just as dangerous.

Phosphate is an important mineral in the body and helps to regulate blood biochemistry, which can impact on the working of the heart. It plays a crucial role in enabling red blood cells to deliver oxygen to the body’s tissues, and can be found in protein rich foods such as meat, poultry and fish.

Lead author Dr Nick Hayward, who conducted the research while at the University of Surrey, said: “The importance of phosphate in primary and secondary healthcare should be reviewed. It is often overlooked in blood tests yet phosphate may be a new risk factor for heart disease in adults.”

Dr Andy McGovern from the University of Surrey said: “Our findings shed new light on the role of phosphate in the body and its relationship to cardiovascular health. “In light of our findings we would suggest that clinicians consider people with low phosphate levels to be at higher cardiovascular risk and assess ways in which this can be reduced for each patient.”

Public Release: 8-Nov-2017

Can lavender aromatherapy reduce anxiety in surgery patients?



Lavender aromatherapy reduced preoperative anxiety in a study of ambulatory surgery patients undergoing procedures in general otolaryngology. The effect observed in the Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology study was modest, however.

In the 100-patient study, the experimental group received inhalation lavender aromatherapy in the preoperative waiting area while the control group received standard nursing care. Both groups reported their anxiety with a visual analog scale upon arriving to the preoperative waiting area and upon departure to the operating room.

“Preoperative anxiety is associated with increased use of narcotics and anesthetics, prolonged duration of hospitalization, and reduced ability to fight infection and comprehend information about surgery,” said senior author Ashutosh Kacker, MD of New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical College. “Given the simplicity, safety, and cost-effectiveness of aromatherapy, healthcare providers should consider its use for managing this common problem.”

Public Release: 9-Nov-2017

Mushrooms are full of antioxidants that may have antiaging potential


Penn State

Mushrooms may contain unusually high amounts of two antioxidants that some scientists suggest could help fight aging and bolster health, according to a team of Penn State researchers.

In a study, researchers found that mushrooms have high amounts of the ergothioneine and glutathione, both important antioxidants, said Robert Beelman, professor emeritus of food science and director of the Penn State Center for Plant and Mushroom Products for Health. He added that the researchers also found that the amounts the two compounds varied greatly between mushroom species.

“What we found is that, without a doubt, mushrooms are highest dietary source of these two antioxidants taken together, and that some types are really packed with both of them,” said Beelman.

Beelman said that when the body uses food to produce energy, it also causes oxidative stress because some free radicals are produced. Free radicals are oxygen atoms with unpaired electrons that cause damage to cells, proteins and even DNA as these highly reactive atoms travel through the body seeking to pair up with other electrons.

Replenishing antioxidants in the body, then, may help protect against this oxidative stress.

“There’s a theory — the free radical theory of aging — that’s been around for a long time that says when we oxidize our food to produce energy there’s a number of free radicals that are produced that are side products of that action and many of these are quite toxic,” said Beelman. “The body has mechanisms to control most of them, including ergothioneine and glutathione, but eventually enough accrue to cause damage, which has been associated with many of the diseases of aging, like cancer, coronary heart disease and Alzheimer’s.”

According to the researchers, who report their findings in a recent issue of Food Chemistry, the amounts of ergothioneine and glutathione in mushrooms vary by species with the porcini species, a wild variety, containing the highest amount of the two compounds among the 13 species tested.

“We found that the porcini has the highest, by far, of any we tested,” said Beelman. “This species is really popular in Italy where searching for it has become a national pastime.”

The more common mushroom types, like the white button, had less of the antioxidants, but had higher amounts than most other foods, Beelman said.

The amount of ergothioneine and glutathione also appear to be correlated in mushrooms, the researchers said. Mushrooms that are high in glutathione are also high in ergothioneine, for example.

Cooking mushrooms does not seem to significantly affect the compounds, Beelman said.

“Ergothioneine are very heat stable,” said Beelman.

Beelman said that future research may look at any role that ergothioneine and glutathione have in decreasing the likelihood of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s preliminary, but you can see that countries that have more ergothioneine in their diets, countries like France and Italy, also have lower incidences of neurodegenerative diseases, while people in countries like the United States, which has low amounts of ergothioneine in the diet, have a higher probability of diseases like Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s,” said Beelman. “Now, whether that’s just a correlation or causative, we don’t know. But, it’s something to look into, especially because the difference between the countries with low rates of neurodegenerative diseases is about 3 milligrams per day, which is about five button mushrooms each day.”


Beelman worked with Michael D. Kalaras, postdoctoral assistant in food sciences; John P. Richie, professor of public health sciences and pharmacology; and Ana Calcagnotto, research assistant in public health sciences.

Public Release: 9-Nov-2017

Study reveals how a very low calorie diet can reverse type 2 diabetes


Yale University

New Haven, Conn. — In a new study, a Yale-led research team uncovers how a very low calorie diet can rapidly reverse type 2 diabetes in animal models. If confirmed in people, the insight provides potential new drug targets for treating this common chronic disease, said the researchers.

The study is published in Cell Metabolism.

One in three Americans will develop type 2 diabetes by 2050, according to recent projections by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Reports indicate that the disease goes into remission in many patients who undergo bariatric weight-loss surgery, which significantly restricts caloric intake prior to clinically significant weight loss. The Yale-led team’s study focused on understanding the mechanisms by which caloric restriction rapidly reverses type 2 diabetes.

The research team investigated the effects of a very low calorie diet (VLCD), consisting of one-quarter the normal intake, on a rodent model of type 2 diabetes. Using a novel stable (naturally occurring) isotope approach, which they developed, the researchers tracked and calculated a number of metabolic processes that contribute to the increased glucose production by the liver. The method, known as PINTA, allowed the investigators to perform a comprehensive set of analyses of key metabolic fluxes within the liver that might contribute to insulin resistance and increased rates of glucose production by the liver — two key processes that cause increased blood-sugar concentrations in diabetes.

Using this approach the researchers pinpointed three major mechanisms responsible for the VLCD’s dramatic effect of rapidly lowering blood glucose concentrations in the diabetic animals. In the liver, the VLCD lowers glucose production by: 1) decreasing the conversion of lactate and amino acids into glucose; 2) decreasing the rate of liver glycogen conversion to glucose; and 3) decreasing fat content, which in turn improves the liver’s response to insulin. These positive effects of the VLCD were observed in just three days.

“Using this approach to comprehensively interrogate liver carbohydrate and fat metabolism, we showed that it is a combination of three mechanisms that is responsible for the rapid reversal of hyperglycemia following a very low calorie diet,” said senior author Gerald I. Shulman, M.D., the George R. Cowgill Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Physiology and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The next step for the researchers will be to confirm whether the findings can be replicated in type 2 diabetic patients undergoing either bariatric surgery or consuming very low calorie diets. His team has already begun applying the PINTA methodology in humans.

“These results, if confirmed in humans, will provide us with novel drug targets to more effectively treat patients with type 2 diabetes,” Shulman said.


Other study authors are Rachel J. Perry, Liang Peng, Gary W. Cline, Yongliang Wang, Aviva Rabin-Court, Joongyu D. Song, Dongyan Zhang, Xian-Man Zhang, Yuichi Nozaki, Sylvie Dufour, and Kitt Falk Petersen.

This study was supported by grants from the United States Public Health Service.

Citation: Cell Metabolism

Public Release: 14-Nov-2017

Yerba mate’s beneficial effects on cellular energy and lipid metabolism linked to weight


Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

New Rochelle, NY, November 14, 2017–Researchers have shown that use of the dietary supplement yerba mate over an extended period had significant effects on body weight and weight gain and was associated with lower levels of blood lipids and insulin in obese mice fed a high-fat diet. This new study, which supports the anti-obesity effect of long-term supplementation with yerba mate, and its beneficial effects on related metabolic disorders, is published in Journal of Medicinal Food, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Journal of Medicinal Food website.

Myung-Sook Choi, Hyo Jin Park, Sang Ryong Kim, Do Yeon Kim, and Un Ju Jung, from KyungPook National University (Daegu) and Pukyong National University (Busan), Republic of Korea coauthored the article entitled “Long-Term Dietary Supplementation with Yerba Mate Ameliorates Diet-Induced Obesity and Metabolic Disorders in Mice by Regulating Energy Expenditure and Lipid Metabolism.” The researchers compared measures including weight gain/loss, energy expenditure, gene expression in fat tissue, lipid levels in the blood, liver, and feces, and blood insulin levels as an indication of insulin resistance in animals with diet-induced obesity who did or did not receive supplementation with dietary yerba mate.

“Obesity and diabetes have become problems that can’t be managed by pharmaceuticals alone. This study suggests a safe alternative to managing weight and reducing blood lipids and glucose,” says Journal of Medicinal Food Editor-in-Chief Sampath Parthasarathy, MBA, PhD, Florida Hospital Chair in Cardiovascular Sciences and Interim Associate Dean, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida.

Public Release: 16-Nov-2017

Naturally occurring molecule may help prevent and treat atherosclerosis and gum disease


Boston University School of Medicine

 (Boston)– Resolvin E1, a molecule produced naturally in the body from an omega -3 fish oil, topically applied on gum tissues not only prevents and treats gum disease as previously shown (Hasturk et al 2006 and 2007), but also decreases the likelihood for advanced arterial atherosclerotic plaques to rupture and form a dangerous thrombus or blood clot.

The findings, which appear in the journal Current Atherosclerosis Reports, could lead to effective preventive and therapeutic treatments in people with heart disease and/or gum disease without unwanted side effects.

Inflammation is a key pathology of atherosclerosis and may be a major driving force for heart attacks and stroke. There is increasing evidence from numerous research groups that chronic inflammatory diseases including, diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, pulmonary and kidney diseases, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease can benefit by the use of the pro-resolving lipid mediators, resolvins and lipoxins.

To test the effectiveness of lipid mediators on advanced atherosclerosis, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and The Forsyth Institute used two groups of an experimental model that possessed highly inflamed advanced atherosclerosis. The first group was treated with a solution applied on gum tissues that contained Resolvin E1 while the second group was treated with salt water as a control. The group treated with the inflammation-lowering lipid mediator (Resolvin E1) had minimal atherosclerosis and reduced plaque rupture in their aortic artery, while atherosclerosis advanced to more severe form of the disease in the control (salt water) group.

“Current therapies for advanced atherosclerosis are inadequate and often carry high risks, and the Resolvin E1 therapy could provide a very effective and safe therapy that can be taken daily, which would also serve as a preventive approach for plaque inflammation and acute clinical events of heart attack and stroke,” explained corresponding author James A. Hamilton, PhD, professor of physiology and biophysics and research professor of medicine at BUSM.

The researchers believe these findings support a paradigm shift in the treatment of both localized and systematic inflammatory conditions that are increasingly prevalent in type 2 diabetes and obesity and may be applicable to other chronic inflammatory diseases.


Funding for this study was provided by a Boston University Nanomedicine grant to Dr. Hamilton and by a Forsyth Institute Pilot Grant to Dr. Hasturk, the co-author on this publication.

Public Release: 16-Nov-2017

Russian scientist determined the normal content of boron in the human body


RUDN University

Researcher from the RUDN University (Russia), together with his colleagues from Croatia, determined the range of reference values for boron in the tissues of human body. This study will provide a better understanding of the role that this important trace element plays in metabolism. The results of the work were presented in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology.

Trace elements (substances essential for the life of plants and animals, but present in the organism only in microscopic amounts) play an important role in the metabolism. Until recently, boron was not considered to be an essential trace element for humans. However, a number of recent studies have emphasized the importance of boron. It has anumber of useful biochemical functions, plays an important role in bone metabolism and vitamin D metabolism. In many instances, boron does this by being an essential co-partner with other substances to fine-tune many human physiologic interactions. Also, some recent studies have shown that boron regulates the action of parathyroid hormone (a substance secreted by the parathyroid glands regulates the level of calcium and phosphorus in the blood).

“In order to diagnose and correct the exchange of boron in humans, you need to know the norms of its concentration in the body. Then it will be clear if there is a shortage of boron, or, on the contrary, it is in excess. To establish these boundaries, our work was started,” — co-author of the article Andrei Grabeklis (RUDN University) explained.

Almost all boron usually enters the human body in an alimentary way (with food). The purpose of this study was to establish adequate reference range of boron concentration in hair and whole blood. These two “carriers” are different in their indicators: in the blood, the content of all substances is maintained within strict limits, and any deviationsindicate either short-term changes (e.g, a half-hour ago a person ate a dish with a high boron content), or serious health issues. In the hair, substances are washed out from blood and accumulate there gradually (as the hair grows). Therefore, this indicator allows scientists to track what has been ingested in the body over a long period of time.

Hair boron was analyzed in a random sample of 727 apparently healthy adults (263 Men, 464 Women). Whole blood was analyzed in a subset of 212 subjects (152 women and 80 men); the median age of women and men was 47 and 41.5 years, respectively. The cohort consisted of subjects from the general Croatian population who were interested to learn about their health status; the majority of them were living in the capital city region of Zagreb, Croatia. All the subjects were fed their usual home prepared mixed mid-European diet, and none of them have reported an adverse medical health condition.

Hair boron and whole blood boron were then analyzed with the inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) at the Center for Biotic Medicine (CBM), Moscow, Russia. The CBM is an ISO Europe certified commercial laboratory for analyzing bioelements (macro elements, trace elements, and ultratrace elements) in different biological matrices.

It was established that the adequate reference range for hair boron concentration was (μg · g-1) 0.77-6.51 for men and distinctly lower 0.47-3.89 for women. There was no detectable difference in the whole blood boron for the adequate reference range between men (0.020-0.078 μg · ml-1) and women (0019-0.062).

According to scientists, these results indicate that the nature of boron metabolism in the human body is not gender-dependent, and its functions are the same for men and women. At the same time, the dietary balance of boron is different in men and women, most likely due to different patterns of food consumption.

Public Release: 16-Nov-2017

Tooth cavities can be fought ‘naturally’


This article by Dr. Xuedong Zhou et al. is published in The Open Dentistry Journal, Volume 11, 2017

Bentham Science Publishers

A new discovery may one day lead to natural anti­cavity products, researchers report.

The scientists from West China School of Stomatology and Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam have figured out the main active ingredient of Galla Chinensis, a natural herb, and further improved its anti-caries efficacy. The finding is published in The Open Dentistry Journal.

To maintain a healthy mouth, the oral environment must be relatively neutral. When the environment in the mouth becomes more acidic, dental cavities or other disorders may develop. Galla Chinensis was revealed to inhibit the acid production of caries-associated bacteria as well as make teeth more resistant to acidic attack.

The research team of West China School of Stomatology has tested hundreds of Chinese herbs and identified that Galla Chinensis has a strong potential to prevent dental caries due to its antibacterial capacity and tooth mineralization benefit. Galla Chinensis also possesses substantial antiviral, anticancer, hepatoprotective, antidiarrheal and antioxidant activities. However, the main active ingredient of Galla Chinensis is unknown, which restricts the application in dentistry.

In the present study, several Galla Chinensis extracts with different main ingredients were obtained and determined by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis. The antibacterial capacity was determined using the polymicrobial biofilms model, which can generate reproducible plaque-like biofilms that occur in vivo. The effect of inhibiting tooth demineralization was tested using an in vitro pH-cycling regime, which mimicked the periodic pH change in mouth.

“Medium molecular weight gallotannins are the most active constituent in terms of caries prevention” concluded Xuelian Huang, PhD, DDS, the lead author.

In dental caries, significant reductions in caries prevalence and incidence have been made by the introduction of fluoride. It is not a total cure, however, and there is still a need to seek products complementary to fluoride. With these new findings, the research team is working with the industry to develop new oral care products.


For more information about the article, please visit https://benthamopen.com/ABSTRACT/TODENTJ-11-447

Reference: Zhou X, et al. Comparison of Composition and Anticaries Effect of Galla Chinensis Extracts with Different Isolation Methods. The Open Dentistry Journal, 2017, Vol 11, DOI: 10.2174/1874210601711010447

Preventing psoriasis with vanillin


American Chemical Society

Small amounts of artificial vanilla extract, also known as vanillin, are in a wide range of products, from baked goods to perfumes. But vanillin’s versatility doesn’t stop there. In a recent mouse study reported in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers report that this compound could also prevent or reduce psoriatic skin inflammation.

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disorder that affects about 125 million people worldwide, resulting in scaly red plaques that typically show up on the elbows, knees or scalp. Immune system proteins called interleukins (IL) 17 and 23 are known to be key players in the development of the condition. Interestingly, vanillin can have effects on different interleukins that are involved in other inflammatory conditions and diseases. So, Chien-Yun Hsiang and Tin-Yun Ho wanted to see if treatment with vanillin could prevent psoriatic symptoms.

The researchers induced psoriatic skin inflammation on groups of mice by putting a compound called imiquimod on their skin. In addition, the mice were orally given daily doses (0, 1, 5, 10, 50 or 100 milligrams/kilograms of body weight) of vanillin for seven days. Mice treated with 50- or 100-milligram/kilograms of body weight doses had reduced psoriatic symptoms compared to those receiving smaller or no doses of vanillin. In all mice treated with vanillin, IL-17 and IL-23 protein levels were decreased. The researchers say that vanillin was an effective compound against psoriatic skin inflammation in this animal model.


The authors acknowledge funding from the Ministry of Science and Technology (China), China Medical University and the Ministry of Education, Taiwan.

The abstract that accompanies this study is available here.

The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.