Health Research Report
163rd Issue Date 7 SEP 2013
Compiled By Ralph Turchiano
In this issue:
- Four or more cups of coffee a day may keep prostate cancer recurrence and progression away
- Broccoli could be key in the fight against osteoarthritis
- Potential diagnostic marker for zinc status offers insights into the effects of zinc deficiency
- Doubling the daily allowance of protein intake with diet and exercise protects muscle loss
- Oral nutritional supplements demonstrate significant health and cost benefits
- 1 in 4 has alarmingly few intestinal bacteria
- Aging really is ‘in your head’
- Exercise may reduce the risk of epilepsy later in life for men
- Antioxidant effect of resveratrol in the treatment of vascular dementia
Four or more cups of coffee a day may keep prostate cancer recurrence and progression away
Bioactive compounds in coffee may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects
SEATTLE – Aug. 26, 2013 – Coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer recurrence and progression, according to a new study by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center scientists that is online ahead of print in Cancer Causes & Control.
Corresponding author Janet L. Stanford, Ph.D., co-director of the Program in Prostate Cancer Research in the Fred Hutch Public Health Sciences Division, conducted the study to determine whether the bioactive compounds in coffee and tea may prevent prostate cancer recurrence and delay progression of the disease.
Stanford and colleagues found that men who drank four or more cups of coffee per day experienced a 59 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer recurrence and/or progression as compared to those who drank only one or fewer cups per week.
They did not, however, find an association between coffee drinking and reduced mortality from prostate cancer, although the study included too few men who died of prostate cancer to address that issue separately.
First study to assess the link between tea and prostate cancer outcomes
Regarding tea consumption, the researchers did not find an associated reduction of prostate cancer recurrence and/or progression. The study also did not draw any conclusions regarding the impact of tea drinking on prostate-specific death.
“To our knowledge, our study is the first to investigate the potential association between tea consumption and prostate cancer outcomes,” the authors wrote. “It is important to note, however, that few patients in our cohort were regular tea drinkers and the highest category of tea consumption was one or more cups per day. The association should be investigated in future studies that have access to larger populations with higher levels of tea consumption.”
The population-based study involved 1,001 prostate cancer survivors, aged 35-74 years old at the time of diagnosis between 2002-2005, who were residents of King County, Wash. Participants answered questions regarding their diet and beverage consumption two years prior to prostate cancer diagnosis using a validated food frequency questionnaire, and were interviewed about demographic and lifestyle information, family history of cancer, medication use and prostate cancer screening history.
The researchers followed up with patients more than five years after diagnosis to ascertain whether the prostate cancer had recurred and/or progressed. Those who were still living, willing to be contacted and had been diagnosed with non-metastatic cancer were included in the follow-up effort.
Of the original 1,001 patients in the cohort, 630 answered questions regarding coffee intake, fit the follow-up criteria and were included in the final analysis. Of those, 61 percent of the men consumed at least one cup of coffee per day and 12 percent consumed the highest amount: four or more cups per day.
The study also evaluated daily coffee consumption in relation to prostate cancer-specific death in 894 patients using data from the initial food frequency questionnaire. After the median follow-up period of eight-and-a-half years, 125 of the men had died, including 38 specifically from prostate cancer. Daily coffee consumption was not associated with prostate cancer-specific mortality or other-cause mortality, but with few deaths these analyses were limited.
“Our study differs from previous ones because we used a composite definition of prostate cancer recurrence/progression,” said first author Milan Geybels, a doctoral student at Maastricht University in the Netherlands who was a graduate student in Stanford’s Prostate Studies group at Fred Hutch when the study was conducted. “We used detailed information on follow-up prostate-specific antigen levels, use of secondary treatment for prostate cancer and data from scans and biopsies to assess occurrence of metastases and cause-specific mortality during follow up. Using these detailed data, we could determine whether a patient had evidence of prostate cancer recurrence or progression.”
The results are consistent with findings from Harvard’s Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which found that men who drank six or more cups of coffee per day had a 60 percent decreased risk of metastatic/lethal prostate cancer as compared to coffee abstainers.
Phytochemicals in coffee have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects
Further research is required to understand the mechanisms underlying the results of the study, but biological activities associated with consumption of phytochemical compounds found in coffee include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and modulation of glucose metabolism. These naturally occurring compounds include:
- Caffeine, which has properties that inhibit cell growth and encourage apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Previous studies have found that caffeine consumption may reduce the risk of several cancer types, including basal-cell carcinoma, glioma (a cancer of the brain and central nervous system) and ovarian cancer.
- Diterpenes cafestol and kahweol, which may inhibit cancer growth.
- Chlorogenic acid, which, along with caffeic acid, can inhibit DNA methylation, a biochemical process involved in the development and progression of many cancer types.
Additional studies needed to confirm whether coffee can prevent cancer recurrence
The researchers emphasize that coffee or specific coffee components cannot be recommended for secondary prevention of prostate cancer before the preventive effect has been demonstrated in a randomized clinical trial. Further, there’s ongoing debate about which components in coffee are anti-carcinogenic, and additional large, prospective studies are needed to confirm whether coffee intake is beneficial for secondary prevention.
Coffee drinking may even be problematic for some men, Geybels said.
“Although coffee is a commonly consumed beverage, we have to point out that increasing one’s coffee intake may be harmful for some men. For instance, men with hypertension may be vulnerable to the adverse effects of caffeine in coffee. Or, specific components in coffee may raise serum cholesterol levels, posing a possible threat to coronary health. Patients who have questions or concerns about their coffee intake should discuss them with their general practitioner,” he said.
The investigators also noted limits to their study, which included a lack of data on how coffee consumption might have changed following diagnosis, whether the coffee that participants consumed was caffeinated or decaffeinated, and how the coffee was prepared (espresso, boiled or filtered), a factor that may affect the bioactive properties of the brew.
The National Cancer Institute, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Prostate Cancer Foundation and Dutch Cancer Society funded the research.
Broccoli could be key in the fight against osteoarthritis
Wed, 28 Aug 2013
A compound found in broccoli could be key to preventing or slowing the progress of the most common form of arthritis, according to new research led by the University of East Anglia.
Results from the laboratory study show that sulforaphane slows down the destruction of cartilage in joints associated with painful and often debilitating osteoarthritis. The researchers found that mice fed a diet rich in the compound had significantly less cartilage damage and osteoarthritis than those that were not.
The study, which also examined human cartilage cells and cow cartilage tissue, was funded by medical research charity Arthritis Research UK, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s (BBSRC) Diet and Health Research Industry Club (DRINC) and The Dunhill Medical Trust.
Sulforaphane is released when eating cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and cabbage, but particularly broccoli. Previous research has suggested that sulforaphane has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, but this is the first major study into its effects on joint health.
The researchers discovered that sulforaphane blocks the enzymes that cause joint destruction by stopping a key molecule known to cause inflammation. They wanted to find out if the compound got into joints in sufficient amounts to be effective and their findings are published today in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.
More than 8.5 million people in the UK have osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease affecting the hands, feet, spine, hips and knees in particular. According to Arthritis Research UK, the annual cost of the condition to the NHS is £5.2 billion. In 2011, more than 77,000 knee and 66,000 hip replacements were carried out due to osteoarthritis – approximately one every four minutes.
Aging and obesity are the most common contributors to the condition and due to their effects, the number of people in the UK consulting a GP about knee osteoarthritis alone could rise from 4.7 million in 2010 to 8.3 million by 2035. Currently one in five people over the age of 45 has osteoarthritis in their knee. There is no cure or effective treatment for the disease other than pain relief, which is often inadequate, or joint replacement.
The study involved researchers from UEA’s schools of Biological Sciences, Pharmacy and Norwich Medical School, along with the University of Oxford and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Researchers from the School of Biological Sciences and Norwich Medical School are now embarking on a small scale trial in osteoarthritis patients due to have knee replacement surgery, to see if eating broccoli has similar effects on the human joint. If successful, they hope it will lead to funding for a large scale clinical trial to show the effect of broccoli on osteoarthritis, joint function and pain itself.
Ian Clark, professor of musculoskeletal biology at UEA and the lead researcher, said: “The results from this study are very promising. We have shown that this works in the three laboratory models we have tried, in cartilage cells, tissue and mice. We now want to show this works in humans. It would be very powerful if we could.
“As well as treating those who already have the condition, you need to be able to tell healthy people how to protect their joints into the future. There is currently no way in to the disease pharmaceutically and you cannot give healthy people drugs unnecessarily, so this is where diet could be a safe alternative.
“Although surgery is very successful, it is not really an answer. Once you have osteoarthritis, being able to slow its progress and the progression to surgery is really important. Prevention would be preferable and changes to lifestyle, like diet, may be the only way to do that.”
Prof Clark added: “Osteoarthritis is a major cause of disability. It is a huge health burden but a huge financial burden too, which will get worse in an increasingly aging and obese population such as ours.
“This study is important because it is about how diet might work in osteoarthritis. Once you know that you can look at other dietary compounds which could protect the joint and ultimately you can advise people what they should be eating for joint health. Developing new strategies for combating age-related diseases such as osteoarthritis is vital, both to improve the quality of life for sufferers and to reduce the economic burden on society.”
Arthritis Research UK’s medical director Prof Alan Silman said: “This is an interesting study with promising results as it suggests that a common vegetable, broccoli, might have health benefits for people with osteoarthritis and even possibly protect people from developing the disease in the first place.
“Until now research has failed to show that food or diet can play any part in reducing the progression of osteoarthritis, so if these findings can be replicated in humans, it would be quite a breakthrough. We know that exercise and keeping to a healthy weight can improve people’s symptoms and reduce the chances of the disease progressing, but this adds another layer in our understanding of how diet could play its part.”
For the small scale trial, funded by DRINC, half the 40 patients will be given ‘super broccoli’ – bred to be high in sulforaphane – to eat for two weeks before their operation. Once the surgery has taken place the researchers will look at whether the compound has altered joint metabolism and if it can be detected in the replaced joints.
‘Sulforaphane represses matrix-degrading proteases and protects cartilage from destruction in vitro and in vivo’ by Rose Davidson, Orla Jupp, Rachel De Ferrars, Colin Kay, Kirsty Culley, Rosemary Norton, Clare Driscoll, Tonia Vincent, Simon Donell, Yongping Bao and Ian Clark is published in Arthritis & Rheumatism on Wednesday August 28.
Potential diagnostic marker for zinc status offers insights into the effects of zinc deficiency
New research in The FASEB Journal suggests that this newly discovered compound can successfully mediate the harmful effects of zinc deprivation, and is actually produced as a result of low zinc in the body
Bethesda, MD — According to new research published in The FASEB Journal, a drop in blood zinc levels does not directly harm the blood vessel cells. Rather, zinc regulates the production of a small molecular compound, which then circulates in the blood and causes harmful blood vessel cell effects. Additionally, not only will having adequate amounts of zinc prevent the creation of this compound, but it can protect you when the compound is circulating in your blood.
“Zinc deficiency afflicts two billion people worldwide and our study has revealed a zinc-regulated small compound in blood that mediates the harmful effects of zinc deprivation,” said John H. Beattie, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health at the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, U.K. “Measurement of this compound in blood may prove very valuable, not only in assessing, for example, the risk of developing heart attack or stroke, but also as a diagnostic test for zinc status.”
To make this discovery, Beattie and colleagues cultured cells from rat blood vessels and exposed them for 24 hours to the blood plasma from rats that had been given food low or adequate in zinc. Then they examined the gene expression profile to identify which genes changed when exposed to blood plasma from low zinc rats. Dramatic changes in some gene activities were found when comparing blood plasma treatments from low and adequate zinc rats. Then the scientists removed the zinc from the zinc-adequate blood plasma and saw that it had no effect on gene activity, suggesting that that there was a harmful compound produced in response to zinc deficiency and that its effects on blood vessel cells is abolished by zinc.
“Most people might think of zinc as a kind of food supplement,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, “but zinc deficiency is a serious matter. Understanding how zinc deficiency affects the body is important, not just because it can help us how to treat this deficiency, but also because it presents a new way to detect low zinc in the body that is faster and easier than current methods.”
, doi:10.1096/fj.13-228791 ; http://www.fasebj.org/content/27/9/3672.abstract
Doubling the daily allowance of protein intake with diet and exercise protects muscle loss
New research in The FASEB Journal shows that consuming twice the recommended daily allowance of protein protects muscle mass while promoting fat loss; tripling protein had no additional benefits
Bethesda, MD—A new report appearing in the September issue of The FASEB Journal challenges the long-held adage that significant muscle loss is unavoidable when losing weight through exercise and diet. In the report, scientists show that consuming twice the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein while adhering to a diet and exercise plan prevents the loss of muscle mass and promotes fat loss. Tripling the RDA of protein, however, failed to provide additional benefits.
“It is our hope that the findings from this well-controlled study will be discussed and cited by the Institute of Medicine for the updated Dietary Reference Intakes on protein,” said Stefan M. Pasiakos, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Military Nutrition Division at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, MA. “We believe that the RDA for protein should be based on a level to optimize health, as well as prevent deficiencies, and our data demonstrate a potential inadequacy of the current RDA for sparing muscle mass during weight loss, which may affect a significant portion of the population.”
To make this discovery, Pasiakos and colleagues assigned young men and women controlled diets for 31 days that provided dietary protein at three different levels: 1) the U.S. RDA, 2) twice the U.S. RDA, and 3) three times the U.S. RDA. Volunteers were given adequate total calories to maintain constant body weight for the first 10 days to allow their metabolism to adapt to the dietary protein level, and then for the following three weeks, weight loss was induced by restricting the total calories and increasing daily exercise sufficiently to elicit an average two-pound weight loss per week. All meals were prepared and administered by research staff and exercise was highly controlled. Body composition and measurements of muscle protein metabolism were performed at the end of both the stable weight maintenance and weight loss phases of the study. Results of this study demonstrated that there are limits to the protective effect of extra protein. As such, these data suggest an optimal, and perhaps maximal, level of protein for young, active adults who may undergo short-term periods of intentional or unintentional weight loss.
“This study essentially confirms what body builders have shown us for a long time—a high protein diet helps prevent muscle loss when trying to lose fat,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Although eating a well balanced diet is still necessary for health and weight maintenance, upping one’s protein intake when dieting might be a useful tool in the short term.”
Oral nutritional supplements demonstrate significant health and cost benefits
Analysis of more than 1 million adult hospital cases revealed 21 percent reduction in length of hospital stay and cost with nutritional intervention
ABBOTT PARK, Ill., Aug. 30, 2013 – Abbott (NYSE: ABT) A recent health economics and outcomes study, conducted by leading health economists and supported by Abbott, found that oral nutritional supplements provided to patients during hospitalization were associated with significant reductions in length of stay and hospitalization cost. Additionally, the 30-day readmission risk was significantly reduced for patients with at least one known subsequent readmission.
The study is being presented this weekend at the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) annual congress in Leipzig, Germany, where it will be highlighted as one of the conference’s three “Best Abstracts.” The meeting is a leading conference in clinical nutrition, bringing together participants from more than 80 countries.
The study analyzed more than 1 million adult inpatient cases in the U.S., and found that patients provided oral nutritional supplements during hospitalization benefited from:
- 21 percent, or 2.3 day, reduction in length of stay
- 6 percent, or $4,734, reduction in patient hospitalization cost
Additionally, there was a 6.7 percent reduction in the probability of a 30-day readmission in patients who had at least one known subsequent readmission and were provided oral nutritional supplements during the previous hospitalization.
The study, which also was recently published in the American Journal of Managed Care, provides insights into the economic benefits of prescribing oral nutritional supplements to adult patients in the hospital setting.
“Patients identified as having nutritional deficiencies often face a longer and more difficult recovery process, resulting in higher health care costs and an increase in complication rates,” said Marinos Elia, MD, BSc Hon, FRCP, Professor of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism at University of Southampton. “Research demonstrates that oral nutritional supplementation can lead to highly positive economic benefits and improved patient outcomes.”
In the study, investigators were able to determine differences in length of stay and costs by comparing hospital stays where oral nutritional supplements were prescribed to patients with similar conditions where oral nutritional supplements weren’t prescribed.
“Because oral nutritional supplements are formulated to provide advanced nutrition and calories for patients and are relatively inexpensive to provide, the sizeable savings they generate make supplementation a cost-effective therapy,” said study co-author, Tomas Philipson Ph.D., Daniel Levin Chair of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
“In today’s outcome conscious hospital environment, Abbott is committed to delivering products that improve the quality of care for patients and also help reduce health care costs,” said Robert H. Miller, Ph.D., divisional vice president, Global R&D and Scientific Affairs for Abbott Nutrition. “In addition to the numerous retrospective studies focused on health economics and outcomes research in our pipeline, nearly all of our clinical research studies now include an economic analysis to help demonstrate a nutritional therapy’s total value proposition.”
1 in 4 has alarmingly few intestinal bacteria
All people have trillions of bacteria living in their intestines. If you place them on a scale, they weigh around 1.5 kg. Previously, a major part of these ‘blind passengers’ were unknown, as they are difficult or impossible to grow in laboratories. But over the past five years, an EU-funded research team, MetaHIT, coordinated by Professor S. Dusko Ehrlich at the INRA Research Centre of Jouy-en-Josas, France and with experts from Europe and China have used advanced DNA analysis and bioinformatics methods to map human intestinal bacteria.
-The genetic analysis of intestinal bacteria from 292 Danes shows that about a quarter of us have up to 40% less gut bacteria genes and correspondingly fewer bacteria than average. Not only has this quarter fewer intestinal bacteria, but they also have reduced bacterial diversity and they harbour more bacteria causing a low-grade inflammation of the body. This is a representative study sample, and the study results can therefore be generalised to people in the Western world, says Oluf Pedersen, Professor and Scientific Director at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen.
Oluf Pedersen and Professor Torben Hansen have headed the Danish part of the MetaHIT project, and the findings are reported in the highly recognised scientific journal Nature.
The gut is like a rainforest
Oluf Pedersen compares the human gut and its bacteria with a tropical rainforest. He explains that we need as much diversity as possible, and – as is the case with the natural tropical rainforests – decreasing diversity is a cause for concern. It appears that the richer and more diverse the composition of our intestinal bacteria, the stronger our health. The bacteria produce vital vitamins, mature and strengthen our immune system and communicate with the many nerve cells and hormone-producing cells in the intestinal system. And, not least, the bacteria produce a wealth of bioactive substances which penetrate into the bloodstream and affect our biology in countless ways.
-Our study shows that people having few and less diverse intestinal bacteria are more obese than the rest. They have a preponderance of bacteria which exhibit the potential to cause mild inflammation in the digestive tract and in the entire body, which is reflected in blood samples that reveal a state of chronic inflammation, which we know from other studies to affect metabolism and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, says Oluf Pedersen.
-And we also see that if you belong to the group with less intestinal bacteria and have already developed obesity, you will also gain more weight over a number of years. We don’t know what came first, the chicken or the egg, but one thing is certain: it is a vicious circle that poses a health threat, says the researcher.
Take care of your intestinal bacteria
The researchers thus still cannot explain why some people have fewer intestinal bacteria, but the researchers are focusing their attention at dietary components, genetic variation in the human host, exposure to antimicrobial agents during early childhood and the chemistry we encounter daily in the form of preservatives and disinfectants.
A French research team reports a study in the same issue of Nature showing that by maintaining a low-fat diet for just six weeks, a group of overweight individuals with fewer and less diverse intestinal bacteria may, to some extent, increase the growth of intestinal bacteria, both in terms of actual numbers and diversity.
-This indicates that you can repair some of the damage to your gut bacteria simply by changing your dietary habits. Our intestinal bacteria are actually to be considered an organ just like our heart and brain, and the presence of health-promoting bacteria must therefore be cared for in the best way possible. Over the next years, we will be gathering more knowledge of how best to do this,” says Oluf Pedersen, whose research team is studying, among other things, the impact of dietary gluten on gut bacteria composition and gut function.
Towards innovative early diagnostics and treatment options
Obesity and type 2 diabetes are not just a result of unfortunate combinations of intestinal bacteria or lack of health-promoting intestinal bacteria, Oluf Pedersen emphasises. There are likely many causal factors at play. But the MetaHit researchers’ contribution opens a new universe in which we begin to understand how gut bacteria in direct contact with the surrounding environment have a decisive impact on our health and risk of disease.
-At present we cannot do anything about our own DNA, individual variation in which also plays a crucial role in susceptibility for lifestyle diseases. But thanks to the new gut microbiota research, we now can start exploring interactions between host genetics and the gut bacteria- related environment which we may be able to change. That is why it is so exciting for us scientist within this research field– the possibilities are huge, says Oluf Pedersen.
-The long-term dream is to map and characterize any naturally occurring gut bacteria that produce appetite-inhibiting bioactive substances and in this way learn to exploit the body’s own medicine to prevent the obesity epidemic and type 2 diabetes, says Oluf Pedersen.
Aging really is ‘in your head’
Scientists answer hotly debated questions about how calorie restriction delays aging process
September 3, 2013
By Lee Phillion
Among scientists, the role of proteins called sirtuins in enhancing longevity has been hotly debated, driven by contradictory results from many different scientists. But new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis may settle the dispute.
Reporting Sept. 3 in Cell Metabolism, Shin-ichiro Imai, MD, PhD, and his colleagues have identified the mechanism by which a specific sirtuin protein called Sirt1 operates in the brain to bring about a significant delay in aging and an increase in longevity. Both have been associated with a low-calorie diet.
The Japanese philosopher and scientist Ekiken Kaibara first described the concept of dietary control as a method to achieve good health and longevity in 1713. He died the following year at the ripe old age of 84—a long life for someone in the 18th century.
Since then, science has proven a link between a low-calorie diet (without malnutrition) and longevity in a variety of animal models. In the new study, Imai and his team have shown how Sirt1 prompts neural activity in specific areas of the hypothalamus of the brain, which triggers dramatic physical changes in skeletal muscle and increases in vigor and longevity.
“In our studies of mice that express Sirt1 in the brain, we found that the skeletal muscular structures of old mice resemble young muscle tissue,” said Imai. “Twenty-month-old mice (the equivalent of 70-year-old humans) look as active as five-month-olds.”
Imai and his team began their quest to define the critical junctures responsible for the connection between dietary restriction and longevity with the knowledge from previous studies that the Sirt1 protein played a role in delaying aging when calories are restricted. But the specific mechanisms by which it carried out its function were unknown.
Imai’s team studied mice that had been genetically modified to overproduce Sirt1 protein. Some of the mice had been engineered to overproduce Sirt1 in body tissues, while others were engineered to produce more of the Sirt1 protein only in the brain.
“We found that only the mice that overexpressed Sirt1 in the brain (called BRASTO) had significant lifespan extension and delay in aging, just like normal mice reared under dietary restriction regimens,” said Imai, an expert in aging research and a professor in the departments of Developmental Biology and Medicine.
The BRASTO mice demonstrated significant life span extension without undergoing dietary restriction. “They were free to eat regular chow whenever they wished,” he said.
In addition to positive skeletal muscle changes in the BRASTO mice, the investigators also observed significant increases in nighttime physical activity, body temperature and oxygen consumption compared with age-matched controls.
Mice are characteristically most active at night. The BRASTO mice also experienced better or deeper sleep, and both males and females had significant increases in longevity.
The median life span of BRASTO mice in the study was extended by 16 percent for females and 9 percent for males. Translated to humans, this could mean an extra 13 or 14 years for women, making their average life span almost 100 years, Shin said. For men, this would add another seven years, increasing their average life span to the mid-80s.
Delay in cancer-dependent death also was observed in the BRASTO mice relative to control mice, the researchers noted.
Imai said that the longevity and health profile associated with the BRASTO mice appears to be the result of a shift in the onset of aging rather than the pace of aging. “What we have observed in BRASTO mice is a delay in the time when age-related decline begins, so while the rate of aging does not change, aging and the risk of cancer has been postponed.”
Having narrowed control of aging to the brain, Imai’s team then traced the control center of aging regulation to two areas of the hypothalamus called the dorsomedial and lateral hypothalamic nuclei. They then were able to identify specific genes within those areas that partner with Sirt1 to kick off the neural signals that elicit the physical and behavioral responses observed.
“We found that overexpression of Sirt1 in the brain leads to an increase in the cellular response of a receptor called orexin type 2 receptor in the two areas of the hypothalamus,” said first author Akiko Satoh, PhD, a postdoctoral staff scientist in Imai’s lab.
“We have demonstrated that the increased response by the receptor initiates signaling from the hypothalamus to skeletal muscles,” said Satoh. She noted that the mechanism by which the signal is specifically directed to skeletal muscle remains to be discovered.
According to Imai, the tight association discovered between Sirt1-prompted brain activation and the regulation of aging and longevity raises the tantalizing possibility of a “control center of aging and longevity” in the brain, which could be manipulated to maintain youthful physiology and extend life span in other mammals as well.
Exercise may reduce the risk of epilepsy later in life for men
MINNEAPOLIS — New research suggests that men who exercise vigorously as young adults may reduce their risk of developing epilepsy later in life. The study is published in the September 4, 2013, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Epilepsy is a brain disease that causes repeated seizures over time.
“There are a host of ways exercise has been shown to benefit the brain and reduce the risk of brain diseases,” said study author Elinor Ben-Menachem, PhD, MD, with the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and an associate member of the American Academy of Neurology. “This is the first study in humans to show that exercise may also reduce the risk of epilepsy, which can be disabling and life-threatening.”
For the study, 1.17 million Swedish men were given cycle tests that measured cardiovascular fitness when they enlisted for mandatory military service at age 18. The participants were then assessed for epilepsy for an average of 25 years. During follow-up, 6,796 men were diagnosed with epilepsy.
The study found that men who had a high level of fitness were 79 percent less likely to develop epilepsy than those with low fitness levels and 36 percent less likely to develop epilepsy than those with medium fitness levels.
The proportion of men with high fitness who developed epilepsy in the study was 0.48% (2,381 out of 496,973 with high fitness). The proportion of men with medium fitness who developed epilepsy was 0.62 percent (3,913 out of 629,876 with medium fitness). The proportion of men with low fitness who developed epilepsy was 1.09 percent (502 out of 46,230 with low fitness).
The results were lessened only slightly after considering genetic factors and a prior history of traumatic brain injury, stroke or diabetes.
“Exercise may affect epilepsy risk in two ways. It may protect the brain and create stronger brain reserve, or it may simply be that people who are fit early in life tend to also be fit later in life, which in turn affects disease risk,” Ben-Menachem said.
Antioxidant effect of resveratrol in the treatment of vascular dementia
Resveratrol, a polyphenolic compound, is synthesized in several plants and possesses beneficial biological effects, which include anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. Resveratrol exhibits neuroprotective effects in models of many diseases, such as cerebral ischemia, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, there is a lack of data evaluating the effect of resveratrol in vascular dementia. Dr Boai Zhang and team from the First Affiliated Hospital, Zhengzhou University found that resveratrol improved learning and memory ability in vascular dementia rats, decreased malonyldialdehyde levels, and increased superoxide dismutase activity and glutathione levels in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex of vascular dementia rats. Their results, published in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 8, No. 22, 2013), demonstrate that resveratrol improves learning and memory ability, reduce oxidative stress following vascular dementia in rats, and provide an experimental basis and theoretical evidence for the clinical use of resveratrol in the treatment of vascular dementia.
These reports are done with the appreciation of all the Doctors, Scientist, and other Medical Researchers who sacrificed their time and effort. In order to give people the ability to empower themselves. Without base aspirations of fame, or fortune. Just honorable people, doing honorable things.
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