CNO Report 183
Release Date 13 JUN 2014
Draft Report Compiled by
- Antipsychotic medication during pregnancy does affect babies
- Does your stomach bacteria protect you from obesity?
- New Study Demonstrates Impact of Montmorency Tart Cherries on Inflammation and Oxidative Stress after High-Intensity Cycling
- Soda consumers may be drinking more fructose than labels reveal
- Is glaucoma a brain disease?
- Newborns exposed to dirt, dander and germs may have lower allergy and asthma risk
- Probiotics prevent deadly complications of liver disease
- Exercise boosts diversity of gut bacteria
- ‘Tomato pill’ improves function of blood vessels in patients with cardiovascular disease
- Mobile phones negatively affect male fertility, new study suggests
- Limiting Carbohydrates Could Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence in Women with Positive IGF1 Receptor
- Processed red meat linked to higher risk of heart failure, death in men
- Low cholesterol linked with worse survival in patients with kidney cancer
Antipsychotic medication during pregnancy does affect babies
A seven-year study of women who take antipsychotic medication while pregnant, proves it can affect babies.
The observational study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, reveals that whilst most women gave birth to healthy babies, the use of mood stabilisers or higher doses of antipsychotics during pregnancy increased the need for special care after birth with 43 per cent of babies placed in a Special Care Nursery (SCN) or a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), almost three times the national rate in Australia.
As well as an increased likelihood of the need for intensive care, the world-first study by experts from the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc) and Monash University, shows antipsychotic drugs affects babies in other ways; 18 per cent were born prematurely, 37 per cent showed signs of respiratory distress and 15 per cent developed withdrawal symptoms.
Principal investigator, Professor Jayashri Kulkarni, Director of MAPrc, said the study highlights the need for clearer health guidelines when antipsychotic drugs are taken during pregnancy.
“There’s been little research on antipsychotic medication during pregnancy and if it affects babies. The lack of data has made it very difficult for clinicians to say anything conclusively on how safe it is for babies,” Professor Kulkarni said.
“This new research confirms that most babies are born healthy, but many experience neonatal problems such as respiratory distress.”
With no existing data to draw on, MAPrc established the world-first National Register of Antipsychotic Medications in Pregnancy (NRAMP) in 2005. Women who were pregnant and taking antipsychotic medication were recruited from around Australia through clinical networks in each state and territory. In all 147 women were interviewed every six weeks during pregnancy and then followed until their babies were one year old.
Antipsychotic drugs are currently used to treat a range of psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder. About 20 per cent of Australian women experience depression in their lifetime, compared to 10 per cent of men. In Australia 25 per cent of women experience postnatal depression and 20 per cent experience severe menopausal depression.
Women have much higher rates of anxiety disorders and there are equal percentages of men and women with schizophrenia (2 per cent) and bipolar disorder (about 3 per cent).
Professor Kulkarni said the emergence of new antipsychotic drugs means that many women with a well controlled psychiatric disorder are able to contemplate having babies, but there have always been concerns about the effect of treatment on their offspring.
“The potentially harmful effects of taking an antipsychotic drug in pregnancy have to be balanced against the harm of untreated psychotic illness. The good news is we now know there are no clear associations with specific congenital abnormalities and these drugs,” Professor Kulkarni said.
“However clinicians should be particularly mindful of neonatal problems such as respiratory distress, so it’s critical that Neonatal Intensive Care Units, or Special Care Nurseries are available for these babies.”
Does your stomach bacteria protect you from obesity?
The germ Helicobacter pylori is the cause of most stomach ulcers, but new research in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics suggests that treating the bacteria is linked to weight gain.
It is estimated that 50% of the global population may be infected with H. pylori; however, only 20% of infected people experience symptoms. New evidence suggests that patients treated for the infection developed significant weight gain compared to subjects with untreated H. pylori colonization.
By reviewing data taken from forty-nine studies with data from ten European countries, Japan, the U.S. and Australia, Professor Gerald Holtmann identified a correlation between prevalence rates for H. pylori and obesity.
“The rate of obesity and overweight were inversely and significantly correlated with the prevalence of H. pylori infection,” said Professor Holtmann. “The gradual decrease of the H. pylori colonisation observed in recent decades could be causally related to the obesity endemic observed in the Western world”.
New Study Demonstrates Impact of Montmorency Tart Cherries on Inflammation and Oxidative Stress after High-Intensity Cycling
March 26, 2014 | by Cherry Marketing Institute
Cyclists who drank Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate before a three-day simulated race experienced less inflammation and oxidative stress compared to those who drank another beverage, according to a new U.K. study published in the journal Nutrients.
LANSING, Mich., March 26, 2014 –Cyclists who drank Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate before a three-day simulated race experienced less inflammation and oxidative stress compared to those who drank another beverage, according to a new U.K. study published in the journal Nutrients.
A research team led by Dr. Glyn Howatson with PhD student Phillip Bell at Northumbria University gave 16 well-trained, male cyclists about 1 ounce (30 ml) of Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate mixed with water (equivalent to 90 whole Montmorency tart cherries per serving), or a calorie-matched placebo, twice a day for seven days. On days five, six and seven, the participants performed prolonged, high-intensity cycling intervals – exercise that was designed to replicate the demands of a three-day race.
The researchers collected blood samples and found that markers of inflammation and oxidative stress were significantly lower in the cyclists who consumed the tart cherry juice concentrate compared to those who did not. At one point during the trial, oxidative stress was nearly 30 percent lower in the tart cherry group compared to the other group.
Strenuous exercise can cause temporary inflammation and oxidative stress that can lead to muscle damage, muscle soreness and reduced capacity to recover quickly, explains research lead Glyn Howatson, Ph.D., laboratory director at the Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation at Northumbria University. He attributes the recovery benefits shown in the study to the natural compounds in Montmorency tart cherries. One of the natural compounds found in Montmorency tart cherries is anthocyanins.
“Previous studies have looked at tart cherries and the effect on recovery following weight lifting exercise and marathon running, but until now there hasn’t been information on recovery following strenuous exercise from cycling,” said Howatson. “We found that those cyclists that consumed Montmorency tart cherry juice had statistically significant lower indices of inflammation and metabolic oxidative stress, which is the first time it has been demonstrated following this type of exercise.”
Tart cherries are available year-round in dried, frozen and juice forms –including juice concentrate, which was the form used in this new study. Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate can be mixed with water or consumed as a “shot.” It can also be used to make smoothies, mixed with frozen tart cherries or other fruits.
The Cherry Marketing Institute provided financial support for the analysis of inflammatory indices. All other elements of the study were funded by Northumbria University and the University of Ulster, UK. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.
Soda consumers may be drinking more fructose than labels reveal
Keck School of Medicine of USC research finds higher ratio of fructose to glucose in popular beverages
LOS ANGELES — Soda consumers may be getting a much higher dose of the harmful sugar fructose than they have been led to believe, according to a new study by the Childhood Obesity Research Center (CORC) at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC), part of Keck Medicine of USC.
In the study, published online June 3, 2014 in the journal Nutrition, Keck School of Medicine researchers analyzed the chemical composition of 34 popular beverages, finding that beverages and juices made with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dr Pepper, Mountain Dew and Sprite, all contain 50 percent more fructose than glucose, a blend that calls into question claims that sugar and HFCS are essentially the same.
“We found what ends up being consumed in these beverages is neither natural sugar nor HFCS, but instead a fructose-intense concoction that could increase one’s risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease,” said Michael Goran, Ph.D., director of the CORC and lead author of the study. “The human body isn’t designed to process this form of sugar at such high levels. Unlike glucose, which serves as fuel for the body, fructose is processed almost entirely in the liver where it is converted to fat.”
The Corn Refiners Association, a trade group representing HFCS producers, has long argued that HFCS is only negligibly different than natural sugar (sucrose), which is made up of equal parts of fructose and glucose. Goran’s analysis of beverages made with HFCS, however, showed a fructose to glucose ratio of 60:40 — considerably higher than the equal proportions found in sucrose and challenging the industry’s claim that “sugar is sugar.”
The research also shows that the ingredients on some product labels do not represent their fructose content. For example, Goran’s team found that the label on Pepsi Throwback indicates it is made with real sugar (sucrose) yet the analysis demonstrated that it contains more than 50 percent fructose. Sierra Mist, Gatorade and Mexican Coca-Cola also have higher concentrations of fructose than implied by their label. This suggests that these beverages might contain HFCS, which is not disclosed on their labels.
The research team purchased beverages based on product popularity and had them analyzed for sugar composition in three different laboratories using three different methods. The results were consistent across the different methods and yielded an average sugar composition of 60 percent fructose and 40 percent glucose in beverages made with HFCS.
Americans consume more HFCS per capita than any other nation and consumption has doubled over the last three decades. Diabetes rates have tripled in the same period. Much of this increase is directly linked to sodas, sports drinks and energy drinks.
“Given that Americans drink 45 gallons of soda a year, it’s important for us to have a more accurate understanding of what we’re actually drinking, including specific label information on the types of sugars,” said Goran.
Is glaucoma a brain disease?
Scientists find that jigsaw effect in glaucoma patients proves it is
Rockville, Md. — Findings from a new study published in Translational Vision Science & Technology (TVST) show the brain, not the eye, controls the cellular process that leads to glaucoma. The results may help develop treatments for one of the world’s leading causes of irreversible blindness, as well as contribute to the development of future therapies for preserving brain function in other age-related disorders like Alzheimer’s.
In the TVST paper, Refined Data Analysis Provides Clinical Evidence for Central Nervous System Control of Chronic Glaucomatous Neurodegeneration, vision scientists and ophthalmologists describe how they performed a data and symmetry analysis of 47 patients with moderate to severe glaucoma in both eyes. In glaucoma, the loss of vision in each eye appears to be haphazard. Conversely, neural damage within the brain caused by strokes or tumors produces visual field loss that is almost identical for each eye, supporting the idea that the entire degenerative process in glaucoma must occur at random in the individual eye — without brain involvement.
However, the team of investigators discovered during their analysis that as previously disabled optic nerve axons — that can lead to vision loss — recover, the remaining areas of permanent visual loss in one eye coincide with the areas that can still see in the other eye. The team found that the visual field of the two eyes fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, resulting in much better vision with both eyes open than could possibly arise by chance.
“As age and other insults to ocular health take their toll on each eye, discrete bundles of the small axons within the larger optic nerve are sacrificed so the rest of the axons can continue to carry sight information to the brain,” explains author William Eric Sponsel, MD, of the University of Texas at San Antonio, Department of Biomedical Engineering. “This quiet intentional sacrifice of some wires to save the rest, when there are decreasing resources to support them all (called apoptosis), is analogous to pruning some of the limbs on a stressed fruit tree so the other branches can continue to bear healthy fruit.”
According to the researchers, the cellular process used for pruning small optic nerve axons in glaucoma is “remarkably similar to the apoptotic mechanism that operates in the brains of people afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.”
“The extent and statistical strength of the jigsaw effect in conserving the binocular visual field among the clinical population turned out to be remarkably strong,” said Sponsel. “The entire phenomenon appears to be under the meticulous control of the brain.”
The TVST paper is the first evidence in humans that the brain plays a part in pruning optic nerve axon cells. In a previous study, Failure of Axonal Transport Induces a Spatially Coincident Increase in Astrocyte BDNF Prior to Synapse Loss in a Central Target, a mouse model suggested the possibility that following injury to the optic nerve cells in the eye, the brain controlled a pruning of those cells at its end of the nerve. This ultimately caused the injured cells to die.
“Our basic science work has demonstrated that axons undergo functional deficits in transport at central brain sites well before any structural loss of axons,” said David J. Calkins, PhD, of the Vanderbilt Eye Institute and author of the previous study. “Indeed, we found no evidence of actual pruning of axon synapses until much, much later. Similarly, projection neurons in the brain persisted much longer, as well.”
“This is consistent with the partial recovery of more diffuse overlapping visual field defects observed by Dr. Sponsel that helped unmask the more permanent interlocking jigsaw patterns once the eyes of his severely affected patients had been surgically stabilized,” said Calkins.
Sponsel has already seen how these findings have positively affected surgically stabilized patients who were previously worried about going blind. “When shown the complementarity of their isolated right and left eye visual fields, they become far less perplexed and more reassured,” he said. “It would be relatively straightforward to modify existing equipment to allow for the performance of simultaneous binocular visual fields in addition to standard right eye and left eye testing.
Authors of the TVST paper suggest their findings can assist in future research with cellular processes similar to the one used for pruning small optic nerve axons in glaucoma, such as occurs in the brains of individuals affected by Alzheimer’s.
“If the brain is actively trying to maintain the best binocular field, and not just producing the jigsaw effect accidentally, that would imply some neuro-protective substance is at work preventing unwanted pruning,” said co-author of the TVST paper Ted Maddess, PhD, of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science, Australian National University. “Since glaucoma has much in common with other important neurodegenerative disorders, our research may say something generally about connections of other nerves within the brain and what controls their maintenance.”
Newborns exposed to dirt, dander and germs may have lower allergy and asthma risk
Infants exposed to rodent and pet dander, roach allergens and a wide variety of household bacteria in the first year of life appear less likely to suffer from allergies, wheezing and asthma, according to results of a study conducted by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and other institutions.
Previous research has shown that children who grow up on farms have lower allergy and asthma rates, a phenomenon attributed to their regular exposure to microorganisms present in farm soil. Other studies, however, have found increased asthma risk among inner-city dwellers exposed to high levels of roach and mouse allergens and pollutants. The new study confirms that children who live in such homes do have higher overall allergy and asthma rates but adds a surprising twist: Those who encounter such substances before their first birthdays seem to benefit rather than suffer from them. Importantly, the protective effects of both allergen and bacterial exposure were not seen if a child’s first encounter with these substances occurred after age 1, the research found.
A report on the study, published on June 6 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, reveals that early exposure to bacteria and certain allergens may have a protective effect by shaping children’s immune responses — a finding that researchers say may help inform preventive strategies for allergies and wheezing, both precursors to asthma.
“Our study shows that the timing of initial exposure may be critical,” says study author Robert Wood, M.D., chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. “What this tells us is that not only are many of our immune responses shaped in the first year of life, but also that certain bacteria and allergens play an important role in stimulating and training the immune system to behave a certain way.”
The study was conducted among 467 inner-city newborns from Baltimore, Boston, New York and St. Louis whose health was tracked over three years. The investigators visited homes to measure the levels and types of allergens present in the infants’ surroundings and tested them for allergies and wheezing via periodic blood and skin-prick tests, physical exams and parental surveys. In addition, the researchers collected and analyzed the bacterial content of dust collected from the homes of 104 of the 467 infants in the study.
Infants who grew up in homes with mouse and cat dander and cockroach droppings in the first year of life had lower rates of wheezing at age 3, compared with children not exposed to these allergens soon after birth. The protective effect, moreover, was additive, the researchers found, with infants exposed to all three allergens having lower risk than those exposed to one, two or none of the allergens. Specifically, wheezing was three times as common among children who grew up without exposure to such allergens (51 percent), compared with children who spent their first year of life in houses where all three allergens were present (17 percent).
In addition, infants in homes with a greater variety of bacteria were less likely to develop environmental allergies and wheezing at age 3.
When researchers studied the effects of cumulative exposure to both bacteria and mouse, cockroach and cat allergens, they noticed another striking difference. Children free of wheezing and allergies at age 3 had grown up with the highest levels of household allergens and were the most likely to live in houses with the richest array of bacterial species. Some 41 percent of allergy-free and wheeze-free children had grown up in such allergen and bacteria-rich homes. By contrast, only 8 percent of children who suffered from both allergy and wheezing had been exposed to these substances in their first year of life.
Asthma is one of the most common pediatric illnesses, affecting some 7 million children in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By the time they turn 3, up to half of all children develop wheezing, which in many cases evolves into full-blown asthma.
Probiotics prevent deadly complications of liver disease
Bethesda, MD (June 6, 2014) — Probiotics are effective in preventing hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis of the liver, according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association. Hepatic encephalopathy is a deterioration of brain function that is a serious complication of liver disease.
“This rigorous new research finds that probiotics modify the gut microbiota to prevent hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis of the liver,” said David W. Victor III, MD, who contributed an editorial in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology on this research. “These results offer a safe, well-tolerated and perhaps cheaper alternative to current treatments.”
The investigators from Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital, New Delhi, India, conducted a single-center, prospective, open-label, randomized trial with cirrhosis patients who showed risk factors for hepatic encephalopathy, but had yet to experience an obvious episode. When comparing treatment with probiotics versus placebo, the researchers found that the incidence of hepatic encephalopathy was lower in patients treated with probiotics.
Probiotic supplementation was not associated with any side effects and none of the patients required discontinuation of therapy. These results suggest that probiotics are similar in effectiveness to the current standard of care, lactulose, in the prevention of hepatic encephalopathy, yet they appear to be much better tolerated. The effectiveness of lactulose, a nonabsorbable disaccharide, is limited by side effects (diarrhea, bloating and gas) and a narrow therapeutic window.
“By virtue of its size, study duration and design, as well as the thorough nature of the baseline and follow-up assessments, this study represents an important contribution to the hepatic encephalopathy literature,” added Dr. Victor, a practicing hepatologist in the Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center at Houston Methodist Hospital, TX.
Up to 45 percent of patients with cirrhosis develop hepatic encephalopathy, a loss of brain function that occurs when the liver is unable to remove toxins from the blood. Prognosis is poor, with a 58 percent mortality rate at one year, and a 77 percent mortality rate at three years. Research into safer and more effective treatments is essential for these patients.
For more information on probiotics, read AGA’s patient brochure.
The microbial communities that reside in the human gut and their impact on human health and disease are one of the most exciting and promising areas of research today. The AGA Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education is committed to advancing this research.
Exercise boosts diversity of gut bacteria
As do high levels of dietary protein; implications for overall health and wellbeing
This may have implications for overall long term health, says the author of a linked editorial. Reduced variation in gut microbes (microbiota) has been linked to obesity and other health problems, while increased diversity has been associated with a favourable metabolic profile and immune system response.
The researchers analysed faecal and blood samples from 40 professional rugby players in the midst of a rigorous training programme to assess the range of microbiota they were hosting in their guts.
Elite athletes were chosen for the study on the grounds that extremes of exercise are often associated with extremes of diet.
Their samples were compared with the same samples taken from 46 healthy men who were not professional athletes, but who matched the physical size and age of the rugby players.
Half of the comparison group had a normal body mass index (BMI) of 25 or less; and half had a high BMI of 28 or more.
All study participants completed a food frequency questionnaire, detailing how much and how often they had eaten 187 food items over the preceding four weeks. And all were asked about their normal levels of physical activity.
Despite having significantly higher levels of creatine kinase, or CK for short – an enzyme that indicates muscle/tissue damage – the athletes had lower levels of inflammatory markers than any of the men in the comparison group. They also had a better metabolic profile than the men with a high BMI.
But they had a significantly wider range of gut microbiota than men in the comparison group, particularly those with a high BMI.
And the numbers of several microbial types (taxa) were also higher. For example, they had significantly higher proportions of 48 taxa than the men with high BMI, and of 40 taxa than the men with normal BMI.
In particular, they had much higher proportions of Akkermansiaceae, a species of bacteria that is known to be linked to lower rates of obesity and associated metabolic disorders.
Analysis of the dietary habits of all the study participants showed that the rugby players ate more of all the food groups. And protein accounted for considerably more of their energy intake (22%) than it did in the comparison group (15-16%).
Meat and meat products made up the bulk of this, but the athletes also took a lot of protein supplements, and they ate far more fruit and vegetables, and far fewer snacks than their counterparts.
“Our findings indicate that exercise is another important factor in the relationship between the microbiota, host immunity and host metabolism, with diet playing an important role,” conclude the authors.
In a linked editorial, Dr Georgina Hold, of the Institute of Medical Sciences, Aberdeen University, points out that our guts are colonised by trillions of bacteria, the composition of which has been implicated in many conditions and is known to determine how well we harvest the energy from the foods we eat.
“Understanding the complex relationship among what we choose to eat, activity levels and gut microbiota richness is essential,” she writes. “As life expectancy continues to increase, it is important that we understand how best to maintain good health. Never has this been more important than in respect of our resident microbiota,” she says.
‘Tomato pill’ improves function of blood vessels in patients with cardiovascular disease
A daily supplement of an extract found in tomatoes may improve the function of blood vessels in patients with cardiovascular disease, according to new research from the University of Cambridge.
The incidence of cardiovascular disease varies worldwide, but is notably reduced in southern Europe, where a ‘Mediterranean diet’ consisting of a larger consumption of fruit, vegetables and olive oil predominates. Recent dietary studies suggest that this diet reduces the incidence of events related to the disease, including heart attack and stroke, in patients at high cardiovascular risk, or those who have previously had the disease.
One component of the Mediterranean diet thought to play a role in reducing this risk is lycopene, a powerful antioxidant which is ten times more potent than vitamin E. Lycopene is found in tomatoes and other fruits, and its potency appears to be enhanced when it is consumed pureed, in ketchup or in the presence of olive oil. Whilst there is strong epidemiological evidence to support the role of lycopene in reducing cardiovascular risk, the mechanism by which it does so is unclear.
In a study published in the journal PLOS One, researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Cambridge University Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust demonstrate one mechanism by which they believe lycopene reduces the risk.
Dr Joseph Cheriyan, consultant clinical pharmacologist & physician at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Associate Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, says: “There’s a wealth of research that suggests that the Mediterranean diet – which includes lycopene found in tomatoes and other fruit as a component – is good for our cardiovascular health. But so far, it’s been a mystery what the underlying mechanisms could be.”
The researchers carried out a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled, interventional trial investigating the effects of lycopene a gold standard method of measuring the function of blood vessels called forearm blood flow, which is predictive of future cardiovascular risk. Thirty-six cardiovascular disease patients and thirty-six healthy volunteers were given either Ateronon (an off-the-shelf supplement containing 7mg of lycopene) or a placebo treatment. As a double blind trial, neither the study participants nor the researchers dispensing the pills were aware which treatment was being provided.
The patients with cardiovascular disease were all on statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs). However, despite this, they still had a relatively impaired function of the endothelium – the inner lining of blood vessels – compared to healthy volunteers. This function is determined by the response of blood vessels in the forearm to a naturally occurring molecule called acetylcholine. Endothelial function predicts future events, so having a healthy endothelium is an important factor in preventing the evolution of heart disease.
The researchers found that 7mg of oral lycopene supplementation improved and normalised endothelial function in the patients, but not in healthy volunteers. Lycopene improved the widening of the blood vessels by over a half (53%) compared to baseline in those taking the pill after correction for those who took the placebo; constriction of the blood vessels is one of the key factors that can lead to heart attack and stroke. However, the supplement had no effect on blood pressure, arterial stiffness or levels of lipids.
“We’ve shown quite clearly that lycopene improves the function of blood vessels in cardiovascular disease patients,” adds Dr Cheriyan. “It reinforces the need for a healthy diet in people at risk from heart disease and stroke. A daily ‘tomato pill’ is not a substitute for other treatments, but may provide added benefits when taken alongside other medication. However, we cannot answer if this may reduce heart disease – this would need much larger trials to investigate outcomes more carefully.”
Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, says: “Impaired endothelial function is a known predictor of increased risk of future heart disease. Further work is needed to understand whether the beneficial effects seen in this small study translate into clinical benefit for at-risk patients.”
Mobile phones negatively affect male fertility, new study suggests
Men who keep a mobile phone in their trouser pocket could be inadvertently damaging their chances of becoming a father, according to a new study led by the University of Exeter.
Previous research has suggested that Radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) emitted by the devices can have a detrimental effect on male fertility. Most of the global adult population own mobile phones, and around 14% of couples in high and middle income countries have difficulty conceiving.
A team led by Dr Fiona Mathews, of Biosciences at the University of Exeter, conducted a systematic review of the findings from ten studies, including 1,492 samples, with the aim of clarifying the potential role of this environmental exposure.
Participants in the studies were from fertility clinics and research centres, and sperm quality was measured in three different ways: motility (the ability of sperm to move properly towards an egg), viability (the proportion of sperm that were alive) and concentration (the number of sperm per unit of semen).
In control groups, 50-85% of sperm have normal movement. The researchers found this proportion fell by an average of 8 percentage points when there was exposure to mobile phones. Similar effects were seen for sperm viability. The effects on sperm concentration were less clear.
Dr Mathews said: “Given the enormous scale of mobile phone use around the world, the potential role of this environmental exposure needs to be clarified. This study strongly suggests that being exposed to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation from carrying mobiles in trouser pockets negatively affects sperm quality. This could be particularly important for men already on the borderline of infertility, and further research is required to determine the full clinical implications for the general population.”
The results were consistent across in vitro studies conducted under controlled conditions and observational in vivo studies conducted on men in the general population.
“Effect of mobile telephones on sperm quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis” by Fiona Mathews et al is published today in the journal Environment International.
Limiting Carbohydrates Could Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence in Women with Positive IGF1 Receptor
Dartmouth researchers have found that reducing carbohydrate intake could reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence among women whose tumor tissue is positive for the IGF-1 receptor. The study, “Risk of Breast Cancer Recurrence Associated with Carbohydrate Intake and Tissue Expression of IGFI Receptor,” will appear in the July issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.
“There is a growing body of research demonstrating associations between obesity, diabetes, and cancer risk,” said lead author Jennifer A. Emond, an instructor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. “There are similarities between the biological pathways that underlie all of these conditions, and there is some evidence to suggest that over-activation of the insulin/insulin-like growth factor axis, which increases the availability of IGF1 in the blood, may relate to a poor prognosis among breast cancer survivors.”
Receptors for IGF1 have been found in breast tumor tissue, and expression of those receptors may contribute to treatment resistance among breast cancer survivors. Since diet can influence insulin activation, the researchers wondered whether diet could impact breast cancer prognosis based on expression of the IGF1 receptor in the primary breast tumor tissue.
Using an unusual approach, this study assessed the combined association of two factors implicated in tumor growth—carbohydrate intake and IGF1 receptor status—to test whether activating the insulin/insulin-like growth-factor axis can impact breast cancer. Since carbohydrates stimulate the biological pathway that can increase concentrations of IGF1, the researchers focused on carbohydrate intake. The women they studied were part of a larger intervention trial called the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) study conducted between 2001 and 2007.
“We found an association between increased breast cancer recurrence in women with a primary breast cancer tumor that was positive for the IGF1 receptor, which is consistent with other studies,” said Emond. “We further found that a decreased carbohydrate intake was associated with decreased breast cancer recurrence for these women.”
This is the first study to suggest that it might be possible to personalize recommended diets for breast cancer survivors based on the molecular characteristics of their primary tumor. Further research is needed to confirm these findings, and Emond notes that breast cancer survivors should not be concerned about dramatically lowering their carbohydrate intake based on this study.
“There are still many unanswered questions regarding this study, including what type of carbohydrate-containing foods may be the most important foods that breast cancer survivors should limit,” she said. “Breast cancer survivors should continue to follow a plant-based dietary pattern as suggested by the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Association, which means eating lots of fiber rich vegetables, legumes, and fruits; consuming whole grains and also limiting refined grains, starchy vegetables, and added sugar.”
Processed red meat linked to higher risk of heart failure, death in men
American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report
June 12, 2014
•Men who regularly eat moderate amounts of processed red meat such as cold cuts (ham/salami) and sausage may have an increased risk of heart failure incidence and a greater risk of death from heart failure.
•Researchers recommend avoiding processed red meat and limiting the amount of unprocessed red meat to one to two servings a week or less.
DALLAS, June 12, 2014 — Men who eat moderate amounts of processed red meat may have an increased risk of incidence and death from heart failure, according to a study in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.
Processed meats are preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. Examples include cold cuts (ham, salami), sausage, bacon and hot dogs.
“Processed red meat commonly contains sodium, nitrates, phosphates and other food additives, and smoked and grilled meats also contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, all of which may contribute to the increased heart failure risk,” said Alicja Wolk, D.M.Sc., senior author of the study and professor in the Division of Nutritional Epidemiology at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. “Unprocessed meat is free from food additives and usually has a lower amount of sodium.”
The Cohort of Swedish Men study — the first to examine the effects of processed red meat separately from unprocessed red meat — included 37,035 men 45-79 years old with no history of heart failure, ischemic heart disease or cancer. Participants completed a questionnaire on food intake and other lifestyle factors and researchers followed them from 1998 to the date of heart failure diagnosis, death or the end of the study in 2010.
After almost 12 years of follow-up, researchers found:
•Heart failure was diagnosed in 2,891 men and 266 died from heart failure.
•Men who ate the most processed red meat (75 grams per day or more) had a 28 percent higher risk of heart failure compared to men who ate the least (25 grams per day or less) after adjusting for multiple lifestyle variables.
•Men who ate the most processed red meat had more than a 2-fold increased risk of death from heart failure compared to men in the lowest category.
•For each 50 gram (e.g. 1-2 slices of ham) increase in daily consumption of processed meat, the risk of heart failure incidence increased by 8 percent and the risk of death from heart failure by 38 percent.
•The risk of heart failure or death among those who ate unprocessed red meat didn’t increase.
At the beginning of the study, participants completed a 96-item questionnaire about their diet. Processed meat questions focused on consumption of sausages, cold cuts (ham/salami), blood pudding/sausages and liver pate over the last year. Unprocessed meat questions covered pork and beef/veal, including hamburger or ground-minced meat.
Results of the study for total red meat consumption are consistent with findings from the Physicians’ Health Study, in which men who ate the most total red meat had a 24 percent higher risk of heart failure incidence compared to those who ate the least.
“To reduce your risk of heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases, we suggest avoiding processed red meat in your diet, and limiting the amount of unprocessed red meat to one to two servings per week or less,” said Joanna Kaluza, Ph.D., study lead author and assistant professor in the Department of Human Nutrition at Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland. “Instead, eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grain products, nuts and increase your servings of fish.”
Researchers said they expect to find similar associations in a current study conducted with women.
Almost 6 million Americans have heart failure and about 50 percent die within five years of diagnosis. The healthcare costs and loss of productivity due to heart failure are an estimated $34 billion each year, researchers said.
The American Heart Association recommends that people eat a dietary pattern that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and nuts while limiting red meat and sugary foods and beverages. For people who eat meat, choose lean meats and poultry without skin and eat fish at least twice a week – preferably fish high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, and herring.
Low cholesterol linked with worse survival in patients with kidney cancer
People are often told to reduce their cholesterol to improve their heart health, but new research suggests that low cholesterol may increase kidney cancer patients’ risk of dying from their disease. The findings, which are published in BJU International, indicate that cholesterol testing may help doctors as they monitor and treat patients with kidney cancer.
Increasing evidence suggests that alterations in cholesterol and other lipids are associated with the development, progression, and prognosis of various cancers. To assess the situation as it relates to kidney cancer, Tobias Klatte, MD, of the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, and his colleagues analyzed total blood cholesterol levels in 867 patients with renal cell carcinoma before they underwent kidney surgery. The investigators then followed the patients for a median of 52 months.
Low blood cholesterol before treatment was associated with more advanced tumor stages and cancer spread during follow-up. Also, patients with high cholesterol had a 43 percent lower risk of dying from their cancer compared with patients with low cholesterol. Finally, including patients’ cholesterol levels with traditional risk factors increased the accuracy of prognoses.
It’s unclear how cholesterol may affect a kidney cancer patients’ prognosis. It may be that certain components of cholesterol impact the activity of cancer-related pathways to affect tumor growth and spread.
“As this was a hypothesis-generating study, our findings should be confirmed in independent datasets. If confirmed, patients with low cholesterol may be considered high-risk and may be treated or followed up more aggressively,” said Dr. Klatte.