Release Date 27 AUG 2016
Draft Report Compiled by
In this issue:
1. Vitamin C may boost effectiveness of acute myeloid leukemia treatment
2. High quality evidence suggests vitamin D can reduce asthma attacks
3. Research reveals artificial thyroid cancer epidemic
4. Fungi contribute to delayed healing of chronic wounds
5. Eating your greens could enhance sport performance
6. Corydalis yanhusuo extract for use as an adjunct medicine for low to moderate chronic pain
7. Omega-3, omega-6 supplement improves reading for children
8. Lack of interest in sex successfully treated by exposure to bright light
9. Vitamin B levels during pregnancy linked to eczema risk in child
10. Apple, lettuce can remedy garlic breath
11. Manuka honey curbs activity, growth of bacteria even at low dilutions
Public Release: 29-Aug-2016
Vitamin C may boost effectiveness of acute myeloid leukemia treatment
Van Andel Research Institute
EDITOR’S NOTE: Maintaining proper nutrition is an important part of cancer therapy. Patients are urged to consult their doctors before making any change to their nutrition or vitamin regimen. Use of vitamin C may preclude patients from participating in a clinical trial.
· Combining vitamin C with a demethylating agent in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) may improve the therapy’s ability to combat cancers. At this point, this effect has only been shown in cell lines, and the efficacy in patients can only be confirmed by conducting a rigorous and controlled clinical trial.
· A pilot clinical trial is underway to investigate the safety and effectiveness of this therapy. If successful, investigators plan to pursue further clinical studies.
· The investigators urge patience and caution patients to wait for the results of the clinical trial.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (August 29, 2016)–A simple adjustment to patients’ therapeutic regimen may improve the effectiveness of the standard epigenetic treatment for myeloid dysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
New findings published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed in lab studies that supplementing an epigenetic cancer drug called decitabine with vitamin C enhanced the drug’s ability to impede cancer cell growth and trigger cellular self-destruction in cancer cell lines. A pilot clinical trial based on this work is ongoing in adult patients with MDS or AML at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark. It combines a similar drug called azacitidine–the standard of care therapy–with vitamin C. Many cancer patients are deficient in vitamin C; the proposed approach seeks to correct this deficiency rather than overload patients with the vitamin.
“If the pilot trial is successful, we plan to pursue a larger trial to explore this strategy’s potential as a straightforward and cost-effective way to improve the existing therapy for AML and MDS,” said Peter Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc., co-senior author of the PNAS study, chief scientific officer at Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) and co-leader of the Van Andel Research Institute-Stand Up To Cancer (VARI-SU2C) Epigenetics Dream Team. “At the same time, we must urge patience and caution. Only a clinical trial that combines azacitidine with the blinded addition of either vitamin C or a placebo will give the true answer as to whether or not vitamin C increases the efficacy of azacitidine in patients. We must emphasize that our trial is limited to a certain subset of patients with MDS or AML on a specific therapeutic regimen. We do not have evidence that this approach is appropriate for other cancers or chemotherapies.”
The proposed strategy reflects a continuing move toward combination therapies, particularly when it comes to epigenetic approaches, which target the mechanisms that control whether genes are switched “on” or “off.” In cancer, these switches inappropriately activate or silence important genes, such as those that regulate cell growth and life cycle, ultimately leading to tumors. Epigenetic therapies are thought to work in two ways to fix these errors in cancer cells–by correcting the “position” of the gene switches and by making the cell appear as though it’s infected by a virus, triggering the immune system.
The trial is led by Kirsten Grønbæk, M.D., DMSc., chief hematologist and professor at University of Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet and member of the VARI-SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team, which is supporting the trial and associated research. It will include 20 patients; preliminary results are expected by spring or summer 2017.
“This type of combination therapy is promising but more work is needed to determine its safety and efficacy,” Grønbæk said. “It is truly exciting to consider that there could be a simple and elegant approach to help patients fight MDS and AML. However, as a physician, I strongly urge patients to wait for the results of the clinical trial and to discuss all dietary and supplemental changes with their doctors.”
An estimated 13,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with MDS annually and about 20,000 are diagnosed with AML. Currently, only about half of patients with MDS and AML respond to the epigenetic therapy alone.
Public Release: 5-Sep-2016
High quality evidence suggests vitamin D can reduce asthma attacks
European Lung Foundation
A new Cochrane Review, published in the Cochrane Library today and presented at the ERS International Congress, has found evidence from randomised trials, that taking an oral vitamin D supplement in addition to standard asthma medication is likely to reduce severe asthma attacks.
Asthma is a common chronic disease affecting about 300 million people worldwide. The symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.
Low blood levels of vitamin D have been linked to increased risk of asthma attacks in children and adults with asthma. There has been a growing interest in the potential role of vitamin D in asthma management because it might help to reduce upper respiratory infections, (such as the common cold) that can lead to exacerbations of asthma. Several clinical trials have tested whether taking vitamin D as a supplement has an effect on asthma attacks, symptoms and lung function in children and adults with asthma.
The team of Cochrane researchers found seven trials involving 435 children and two studies, involving 658 adults. The study participants were ethnically diverse, reflecting the broad range of global geographic settings, involving Canada, India, Japan, Poland, the UK, and the U.S. The majority of people recruited to the studies had mild to moderate asthma, and a minority had severe asthma. Most people continued to take their usual asthma medication while participating in the studies. The studies lasted for between six and 12 months.
The researchers found that giving an oral vitamin D supplement reduced the risk of severe asthma attacks requiring hospital admission or emergency department attendance from 6% to around 3%.They also found that vitamin D supplementation reduced the rate of asthma attacks needing treatment with steroid tablets. These results are based largely on trials in adults. They also found that vitamin D did not improve lung function or day-to-day asthma symptoms, and that it did not increase the risk of side effects at the doses that were tested.
The Cochrane Review’s lead author, Professor Adrian Martineau from the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research, Queen Mary University of London, said, “We found that taking a vitamin D supplement in addition to standard asthma treatment significantly reduced the risk of severe asthma attached, without causing side effects.”
He added, “This is an exciting result, but some caution is warranted. First, the findings relating to severe asthma attacks come from just three trials: most of the patients enrolled in these studies were adults with mild or moderate asthma. Further vitamin D trials in children and in adults with severe asthma are needed to find out whether these patient groups will also benefit. Second, it is not yet clear whether vitamin D supplements can reduce risk of severe asthma attacks in all patients, or whether this effect is just seen in those who have low vitamin D levels to start with. Further analyses to investigate this question are on-going, and results should be available in the next few months.”
Public Release: 6-Sep-2016
Research reveals artificial thyroid cancer epidemic
Australian National University
at The Australian National University. view more
Credit: Stuart Hay, ANU
Research led by The Australian National University (ANU) has found doctors around the world are over diagnosing the most common thyroid cancer, creating an artificial epidemic that costs billions of dollars each year in unnecessary medical costs.
Lead researcher Associate Professor Suhail Doi said diagnoses of differentiated thyroid cancer globally had increased three-fold during the past 25 years despite no change to the disease’s low death rate.
“Overly meticulous examinations are detecting the condition in the early stages and resulting in unnecessary surgeries,” said Dr Doi, a clinical epidemiologist at the ANU Research School of Population Health.
“Active monitoring rather than intervention is appropriate in many cases, similar to how doctors treat prostate cancer today,” said Dr Doi, who is also an endocrinologist.
He said differentiated thyroid cancer mainly involves papillary and follicular tumours that don’t usually progress to clinical forms of cancer.
Around 2,500 new cases of differentiated thyroid cancer will be diagnosed in Australia this year.
Thyroid cancer surgery has substantial consequences for patients. Most patients must receive lifelong thyroid-replacement therapy, and some have complications from the procedure, including damage to nerves and surrounding glands.
Dr Doi said the research findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, would inform clinical guidelines around the world on appropriate treatment for differentiated thyroid cancer, and also help to educate the public about the condition.
“People with this type of thyroid cancer can sometimes live until normal life expectancy and usually die from other causes, so there is no point intervening if the cancer is acting in a benign way and not causing any problems,” Dr Doi said.
“Only some of these cases require treatment if and when the condition progresses to clinical forms of cancer.”
In 2019, the projected medical care costs for differentiated thyroid cancer in United States is estimated to be more than US$3 billion.
“The medical costs for differentiated thyroid cancer in Australia could be about $US300 million in 2019, if we extrapolate from the US projection,” Dr Doi said.
Dr Doi and his colleagues analysed international autopsy data, including from regions that had high and low instances of differentiated thyroid cancer, over six decades from the 1960s.
They found that incidental differentiated thyroid cancer has remained unchanged, confirming for the first time that the epidemic has been driven by increasing detections of cancer.
“Ultimately, this research will help improve thyroid cancer patients’ quality of life and reduce avoidable burden on health systems.”
Other co-authors of this study are ANU PhD student Luis Furuya-Kanamori, Dr Katy Bell from University of Sydney, and Justin Clark and Professor Paul Glasziou at Bond University.
· In Australia, during 1982-2012, diagnoses of differentiated thyroid cancer increase 3 times in women and 2 times in men (Source: Cancer Australia).
· In the United States, during 1975-2013, diagnoses of differentiated thyroid cancer increased 3 times (Source: US National Cancer Institute).
· In Canada, during 1986-2015, diagnoses of differentiated thyroid cancer increased 4.5 times in women and 3 times in men (Source: Canadian Cancer Society).
· In the United Kingdom, during 1979-2013, diagnoses of differentiated thyroid cancer increased 3 times (Source: Cancer Research UK).
· In South Korea, during 1993-2011, diagnoses of differentiated thyroid cancer increased 15 times (Source: Korean Central Cancer Registry).
Public Release: 6-Sep-2016
Fungi contribute to delayed healing of chronic wounds
American Society for Microbiology
Washington, DC – September 6, 2016 -Researchers in Pennsylvania and Iowa have discovered that fungal communities found in chronic wounds can form mixed bacterial-fungal biofilms and can be associated with poor outcomes and longer healing times. Their report, the first deep characterization of the fungi found in diabetic foot ulcers, is published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
The team followed 100 patients with diabetic foot ulcers–open wounds located on the bottom of the foot–during the course of 26 weeks, or until the wound healed or required amputation. Their findings highlight that fungal components of the microbiome can play a major role in hampering the healing of chronic wounds.
“Chronic wounds are a silent epidemic,” says Elizabeth Grice, assistant professor of dermatology and microbiology at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and senior author on the study. “They usually occur in conjunction with another disorder such as diabetes or obesity, but once a chronic wound occurs, it requires a lot of healthcare and has a devastating effect on a patient’s quality of life.”
The American Diabetes Association estimates that more than 7 million diabetics in the US will have a diabetic foot ulcer in their lifetime and 15 percent will end up with a lower limb amputation. Healthcare for chronic wounds in the US costs tens of billions of dollars each year.
Grice and postdoctoral researcher Lindsay Kalan wanted to know which fungal species make up the communities thriving deep inside a chronic wound and what roles they might play in impaired healing. This represents a “huge missing piece” of chronic wound research, says Grice.
All of the ulcer patients were given the same medical care. A team led by Sue Gardner, professor of nursing at University of Iowa, sampled patients’ deep wound fluid every two weeks. Those samples were sent to Grice and Kalan for genetic sequencing and identification of the fungi residing in the wounds.
The team found that 80 percent of the wounds harbored fungi–much higher than previous estimates–from 284 different species. The most abundant fungus, Cladosporium herbarum, was found in 41percent of the samples and the human pathogen Candida albicans was next most abundant, in a little over one-fifth of the samples.
No single species of fungi was associated with poor outcomes, but rather mixed communities were associated with slow healing or complications such as bone infection and amputation. However, higher levels of ascomycetes, or sac fungi, at the initial swabbing were associated with wounds that took longer than 8 weeks to heal. This hints that, in the future, doctors might be able to swab wounds to get a quick prediction of the time to heal.
Kalan looked at two patients’ wounds more closely to determine if their stable communities of microbes could grow biofilms, which are thought to keep many chronic wounds festering.
She isolated the C. albicans yeast and Citrobacter freundii bacteria from a patient whose wound eventually healed and she isolated the fungus Trichosporon asahii and bacteria Staphylococcus simulans from a patient whose wound resulted in an amputation. When she co-cultured these bacterial-fungal pairs in the laboratory, she found that both pairs formed a mixed biofilm.
“Lindsay showed very nicely that the fungi interact with the bacteria, potentially making biofilms within wounds,” says Grice. “You can’t properly target treatment if you are missing that critical interaction.”
Kalan says the study is a first step toward better understanding chronic wounds and develop better ways to treat them: “There are polymicrobial interactions within these wounds. It’s important to look at the fungal and bacterial communities and how they interact with each other and the immune system to impair or promote healing.”
Eating your greens could enhance sport performance
Nitrate supplementation in conjunction with Sprint Interval Training in low oxygen conditions could enhance sport performance a study has found. Nitrate is commonly found in diets rich in leafy green foods, like spinach and is important for the functioning of the human body, especially during exercising.
Nitrate supplementation in conjunction with Sprint Interval Training in low oxygen conditions could enhance sport performance a study has found.
Researchers from the University of Leuven in Belgium carried out a study with twenty-seven moderately trained participants. These were given nitrate supplements ahead of Sprint Interval Training (SIT), which took the form of short but intense cycling sessions three times a week.
Nitrate is commonly found in diets rich in leafy green foods, like spinach and is important for the functioning of the human body, especially during exercising.
To assess differences in performance in different conditions, the study included workouts in normal oxygen conditions and in hypoxia conditions, which are low oxygen levels such as those found in high altitudes.
The observations published in Frontiers in Physiology were unexpected: after only five weeks, the muscle fiber composition changed with the enhanced nitrate intake when training in low oxygen conditions.
“This is probably the first study to demonstrate that a simple nutritional supplementation strategy, i.e. oral nitrate intake, can impact on training-induced changes in muscle fiber composition;” stated Professor Peter Hespel from the Athletic Performance Center at the University of Leuven.
For athletes participating in sports competitions which require energy production in conditions with limited amounts of oxygen, this study is particularly interesting. In fact, exercising at high altitudes has become a training strategy for many athletes, albeit the uncertainties about such methods.
In these conditions, performing intense workouts requires high input of fast-oxidative muscle fibers to sustain the power. Enhancing these muscle fiber types through nutritional intake could very well boost the performance in this type of events.
However, this remains a question mark for the time being. “Whether this increase in fast-oxidative muscle fibers eventually can also enhance exercise performance remains to be established;” said Professor Hespel.
He cautioned: “consistent nitrate intake in conjunction with training must not be recommended until the safety of chronic high-dose nitrate intake in humans has been clearly demonstrated.”
In times where athletes push the limits of their bodies and thrive for ever greater performances, this is clearly only the beginning of the research into how athletes can improve their competitive edge through dietary supplements. Looking to the future, Professor Hespel suggested: “it would now be interesting to investigate whether addition of nitrate-rich vegetables to the normal daily sports diet of athletes could facilitate training-induced muscle fiber type transitions and maybe in the long term also exercise performance.”
1. Stefan De Smet, Ruud Van Thienen, Louise Deldicque, Ruth James, Craig Sale, David J. Bishop, Peter Hespel. Nitrate Intake Promotes Shift in Muscle Fiber Type Composition during Sprint Interval Training in Hypoxia. Frontiers in Physiology, 2016; 7 DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2016.00233
Corydalis yanhusuo extract for use as an adjunct medicine for low to moderate chronic pain
September 14, 2016
University of California, Irvine
Root extracts from the flowering herbal plant Corydalis yanhusuo, or YHS, has widely used for centuries as a pain treatment. Yet few studies have investigated how it works on different forms of pain, and little is known about its molecular mechanisms. In a new study, researchers show how YHS effectively treats different forms of pain.
Root extracts from the flowering herbal plant Corydalis yanhusuo, or YHS, has widely used for centuries as a pain treatment. Yet few studies have investigated how it works on different forms of pain, and little is known about its molecular mechanisms.
In a new study, Olivier Civelli, professor and chair of pharmacology at the University of California, Irvine, and colleagues show how YHS effectively treats different forms of pain.
Most notably it can reduce chronic neuropathic pain which is poorly treated with common medicines. They also show that YHS seems to not lose its potency over time, as happens with many analgesics. Study results appear in one open-access online journal, PLOS ONE.
The researchers analyzed YHS pain relief properties in mouse tests that monitor acute, persistent inflammatory and chronic neuropathic pain, respectively, while in vitro tests revealed its mechanism of action as a prominent dopamine receptor blocker. Interestingly, in mice that have no dopamine D2 receptor, YHS effect is weakened in neuropathic pain.
Dopamine is an important neurotransmitters that when released from nerve cells to send signals to other nerves. It is known to be involved in reward but studies have also shown that dopamine may play a role in maintaining chronic pain, and that removing dopamine-containing cells can reduce this pain.
Additionally, the researchers found that YHS use did not lead to tolerance. They administered YHS four times over a seven-day period and measured the mice responses in acute pain, noting that YHS kept its potency while morphine lost its.
Since YHS is a dietary supplement commercially available in the United States, Civelli suggests that it might be an adjunct medicine for alternative pain treatment. “YHS is not a highly potent medicine when compared to morphine,” he said. “But I would propose that it can be used for low to moderate chronic pain.”
1. Lien Wang, Yan Zhang, Zhiwei Wang, Nian Gong, Tae Dong Kweon, Benjamin Vo, Chaoran Wang, Xiuli Zhang, Jae Yoon Chung, Amal Alachkar, Xinmiao Liang, David Z. Luo, Olivier Civelli. The Antinociceptive Properties of the Corydalis yanhusuo Extract. PLOS ONE, 2016; 11 (9): e0162875 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162875
Omega-3, omega-6 supplement improves reading for children
September 14, 2016
University of Gothenburg
Supplement of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may improve reading skills of mainstream schoolchildren, according to a new study. Children with attention problems, in particular, may be helped in their reading with the addition of these fatty acids.
Supplement of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may improve reading skills of mainstream schoolchildren, according to a new study from Sahlgrenska Academy, at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Children with attention problems, in particular, may be helped in their reading with the addition of these fatty acids.
The study included 154 schoolchildren from western Sweden in grade 3, between nine and ten years old. The children took a computer-based test (known as the Logos test) that measured their reading skills in a variety of ways, including reading speed, ability to read nonsense words and vocabulary.
The children were randomly assigned to receive either capsules with omega-3 and omega-6, or identical capsules that contained a placebo (palm oil) for 3 months. The children, parents and researchers did not learn until the study was completed which children had received fatty acids and which had received the placebo. After three months, all children received real omega-3/6 capsules for the final three months of the study.
“Even after three months, we could see that the children’s reading skills improved with the addition of fatty acids, compared with those who received the placebo. This was particularly evident in the ability to read a nonsense word aloud and pronounce it correctly (phonologic decoding), and the ability to read a series of letters quickly (visual analysis time),” says Mats Johnson, who is chief physician and researcher at the Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.
No children diagnosed with ADHD were included in the study, but with the help of the children’s parents, the researchers could identify children who had milder attention problems. These children attained even greater improvements in several tests, including faster reading already after three months of receiving fatty acid supplements.
Polyunsaturated fats important for the brain
Polyunsaturated fats and their role in children’s learning and behavior is a growing research area.
“Our modern diet contains relatively little omega-3, which it is believed to have a negative effect on our children when it comes to learning, literacy and attention,” says Mats Johnson. “The cell membranes in the brain are largely made up of polyunsaturated fats, and there are studies that indicate that fatty acids are important for signal transmission between nerve cells and the regulation of signaling systems in the brain.”
Previous studies in which researchers examined the effect of omega-3 as a supplement for mainstream schoolchildren have not shown positive results, something Mats Johnson believes may depend on how these studies were organized and what combination and doses of fatty acids were used. This is the first double-blind, placebo-controlled study showing that omega-3/6 improves reading among mainstream schoolchildren.
“Our study suggests that children could benefit from a dietary supplement with a special formula. To be more certain about the results, they should also be replicated in other studies,” says Mats Johnson.
The article Omega 3/6 fatty acids for reading in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 9-year-old mainstream schoolchildren in Sweden was published by The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
1. Mats Johnson, Gunnar Fransson, Sven Östlund, Björn Areskoug, Christopher Gillberg. Omega 3/6 fatty acids for reading in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 9-year-old mainstream schoolchildren in Sweden. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12614
Lack of interest in sex successfully treated by exposure to bright light
September 18, 2016
European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP)
Exposure to bright light increases testosterone levels and leads to greater sexual satisfaction in men with low sexual desire. These are the results of a pilot randomised placebo-controlled trial.
Exposure to bright light increases testosterone levels and leads to greater sexual satisfaction in men with low sexual desire. These are the results of a pilot randomised placebo-controlled trial, presented at the ECNP conference in Vienna.
Low sexual desire affects significant numbers of men after the age of 40, with studies finding that up to 25% of men report problems*, depending on age and other factors. Scientists had previously noted that sexual interest varies according to the seasons, prompting the idea that levels of ambient light may contribute to sexual desire.
Now a group of scientists from the University of Siena in Italy have tested sexual and physiological responses to bright light. They found that regular, early-morning, use of a light box — similar to those used to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder — led both to increased testosterone levels and greater reported levels of sexual satisfaction.
The scientists, led by Professor Andrea Fagiolini, took recruited 38 men who had been attending the Urology Department of the University of Siena following a diagnosis of hypoactive sexual desire disorder or sexual arousal disorder — both conditions which are characterised by a lack of interest in sex. Each man underwent an initial evaluation to determine the baseline level of interest in sex, with testosterone levels also being measured.
The researchers then divided the men into two groups. One group received regular treatment with a specially adapted light box, the control (placebo) group was treated via a light box which had been adapted to give out significantly less light. Both groups were treated early in the morning, with treatment lasting half an hour per day. After two weeks of treatment or placebo, the researchers retested sexual satisfaction and testosterone levels.
Professor Fagiolini said “We found fairly significant differences between those who received the active light treatment, and the controls. Before treatment, both groups averaged a sexual satisfaction score of around 2 out of 10, but after treatment the group exposed to the bright light was scoring sexual satisfaction scores of around 6.3 — a more than 3-fold increase on the scale we used. In contrast, the control group only showed an average score of around 2.7 after treatment.”
The researchers also found that testosterone levels increased in men who had been given active light treatment. The average testosterone levels in the control group showed no significant change over the course of the treatment — it was around 2.3 ng/ml at both the beginning and the end of the experiment. However, the group given active treatment showed an increase from around 2.1 ng/ml to 3.6 ng/ml after two weeks.
Professor Fagiolini explained: “The increased levels of testosterone explain the greater reported sexual satisfaction. In the Northern hemisphere, the body’s Testosterone production naturally declines from November through April, and then rises steadily through the spring and summer with a peak in October. You see the effect of this in reproductive rates, with the month of June showing the highest rate of conception. The use of the light box really mimics what nature does.
We believe that there may be several explanations to explain the underlying mechanism. For instance, light therapy inhibits the pineal gland in the centre of the brain and this may allow the production of more testosterone, and there are probably other hormonal effects. We’re not yet at the stage where we can recommend this as a clinical treatment. Even at that stage, there will be a few patients — for example those with an eye condition or anyone taking medicines which affect light sensitivity (some antidepressants, and some antibiotics, for example) — who would need to take special care. However if this treatment can be shown to work in a larger study, then light therapy may offer a way forward. It’s a small study, so for the moment we need to treat it with appropriate caution.”
The researchers note that there are several possible reasons for lack of sexual desire. Treatment depends on the underlying cause, but current therapeutic options include testosterone injections, antidepressants, and other medications. The researchers believe that light therapy may offer the benefits of medication, but with fewer side effects.
Commenting, Professor Eduard Vieta (Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Barcelona Hospital Clinic and treasurer of the ECNP) said: “Light therapy has been used successfully in the past to treat some forms of depression and this study suggests now that it may also work to treat low sexual desire in men. The mechanism of action appears to be related to the increase of testosterone levels. Before this kind of treatment, which is likely to be better tolerated than pharmacological therapy, gets ready for its routine use, there are many steps to be implemented, including replication of the results in a larger, independent study, and verifying whether the results are long-lasting and not just short-term.”
*See Epidemiology of Male Sexual Dysfunction, Konstantinos Hatzimouratidis, American Journal of Men’s Health / Vol. 1, No. 2, June 2007. The prevalence varies significantly according to the surveys reviewed in this paper.
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
Vitamin B levels during pregnancy linked to eczema risk in child
September 23, 2016
University of Southampton
Infants whose mothers had a higher level of a particular type of vitamin B during pregnancy have a lower risk of eczema at age 12 months, new research has shown. The study is the first to link maternal serum levels of nicotinamide, a naturally occurring vitamin, and related metabolites to the risk of atopic eczema in the child.
Infants whose mothers had a higher level of a particular type of vitamin B during pregnancy have a lower risk of eczema at age 12 months, new Southampton research has shown.
The study from the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, is the first to link maternal serum levels of nicotinamide, a naturally occurring vitamin, and related metabolites to the risk of atopic eczema in the child.
The researchers believe the findings support the concept that eczema partly originates as a baby develops in the womb and could reveal ways of reducing the risk of the skin condition.
Dr Sarah El-Heis, the study’s lead researcher from the University of Southampton, comments: “Nicotinamide cream has been used in the treatment of eczema but the link between the mother’s levels of nicotinamide during pregnancy and the offspring’s risk of atopic eczema has not been previously studied.. The findings point to potentially modifiable influences on this common and distressing condition.”
Nicotinamide is a form of vitamin B3. Its level is maintained through intake of foods such as fish, meat, chicken, mushrooms, nuts and coffee as well as tryptophan, an amino acid found in most proteins. Nicotinamide and related nutrients are important for the body’s immune responses and energy metabolism.
The research, published in Clinical and Experimental Allergy, assessed the amount of nicotinamide and related tryptophan metabolites during pregnancy in 497 women that took part in the Southampton Women’s Survey. The rates of eczema in their children at ages 6 and 12 months was studied.
Results showed that offspring of mothers with higher levels of nicotinamide had a 30 per cent lower chance of developing atopic eczema at 12 months. There was an even stronger association with higher levels of anthranilic acid, a tryptophan metabolite.
Nicotinamide can improve the overall structure, moisture and elasticity of skin and therefore could potentially alter the disease processes associated with eczema, the researchers say. The study showed a gradual association between higher maternal nicotinamide and anthranilic acid levels and a lower risk of atopic eczema, suggesting that the development of eczema is not simply prevented by the presence of these nutrients.
Professor Keith Godfrey, Director of the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre in Nutrition, added: “More research is needed to investigate this interesting association, but the findings are further evidence of the potential benefits of eating a healthy balanced diet during pregnancy.”
1. S. El-Heis, S. R. Crozier, S. M. Robinson, N. C. Harvey, C. Cooper, H. M. Inskip, K. M. Godfrey. Higher maternal serum concentrations of nicotinamide and related metabolites in late pregnancy are associated with a lower risk of offspring atopic eczema at age 12 months. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/cea.12782
Apple, lettuce can remedy garlic breath
September 23, 2016
Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
Garlic — consumers either love or hate the taste, but one thing is for certain, no one likes it when the scent of it sticks around on their breath. Now, garlic lovers may have a new solution to their halitosis problem. A study has found that eating raw apple or lettuce may help reduce garlic breath.
Garlic — consumers either love or hate the taste, but one thing is for certain, no one likes it when the scent of it sticks around on their breath. Now, garlic lovers may have a new solution to their halitosis problem. A study published in the September issue of the Journal of Food Science found that eating raw apple or lettuce may help reduce garlic breath.
Researchers from the Ohio State University gave participants three grams of softneck garlic cloves to chew for 25 seconds, and then water (control), raw, juiced or heated apple, raw or heated lettuce, raw or juiced mint leaves, or green tea were consumed immediately. The volatiles responsible for garlic breath include diallyl disulfide, allyl mercaptan, allyl methyl disulfide, and allyl methyl sulfide. The levels of volatiles on the breath after consumption were analyzed by selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry.
Raw apple and raw lettuce and decreased the concentration of volatiles in breath by 50 percent or more compared to the control for the first 30 minutes. Mint leaves had a higher deodorization level compared to raw apple and raw lettuce for all volatile compounds measured. Apple juice and mint juice reduced the levels of volatiles, but not as effectively as chewing raw apple or raw mint. Both heated apple and lettuce produced a significant reduction of volatiles. Green tea had no deodorizing effect on the garlic compounds.
According to the researchers, foods deodorize garlic breath through two mechanisms. First, enzymes in the raw foods help to destroy the odors, and then, phenolic compounds in both the raw and cooked foods destroy the volatiles. This is why raw foods were generally more effective because they contain both the enzymes and the phenolic compounds.
1. Rita Mirondo, Sheryl Barringer. Deodorization of Garlic Breath by Foods, and the Role of Polyphenol Oxidase and Phenolic Compounds. Journal of Food Science, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/1750-3841.13439
Manuka honey curbs activity, growth of bacteria even at low dilutions
September 26, 2016
University of Southampton
Even low dilutions of Manuka honey can curb the activity and growth of bacterial biofilms – the thin but resilient layer of microbes that build up on, and stick to, any surface including plastic, according to new research.
Even low dilutions of Manuka honey can curb the activity and growth of bacterial biofilms — the thin but resilient layer of microbes that build up on, and stick to, any surface including plastic, according to new research from the University of Southampton.
The findings, published online in the Journal of Clinical Pathology, raise the prospect of the honey’s potential use in patients fitted with medical devices, such as urinary catheters, which carry a high infection risk.
Around 100 million urinary catheters, used to drain the bladder of urine, are sold worldwide every year. Up to one in four hospital inpatients may have to use a catheter. However, long-term use is associated with frequent complications, such as inflammation and infection.
The use of honey as a health remedy dates back centuries, and among other things, recent research suggests that it may have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Manuka honey is a monofloral honey produced in Australia and New Zealand from the nectar of the manuka tree.
Associate Professor Bashir Lwaleed, of the University of Southampton, led the study and comments: “We have been able to demonstrate that diluted honey is potentially a useful agent for reducing biofilm formation on indwelling plastic devices such as urinary catheters. Catheter infection rates can account for a large proportion of hospital acquired infections — it is an area of clinical practice that needs addressing. We hope that these results may offer an alternative way of preventing such infections. We believe that patients might also benefit from honey’s anti-inflammatory properties, which are generally stronger in dark honeys, such as Manuka and that antibacterial resistance is unlikely to be a factor when honey is used.”
To find out if Manuka honey has a role in stopping the establishment and development of biofilms, the researchers cultured strains of Escherichia coli and Proteus mirabilis bacteria on plastic plates in the laboratory. These two bacteria account for most of the urinary tract infections associated with long-term catheter use.
The honey was diluted with distilled water and added to medium to give different ‘strengths’: 3.3 per cent, 6.6 per cent, 10 per cent, 13.3 per cent, and 16.7 per cent.
In the first part of the experiment, the various dilutions were added at the same time as the bacteria in two of the wells of each of the 96 plates, and just plain medium or artificial half strength honey to the other two wells. These were then sealed and incubated for 24, 48, and 72 hours to see whether the honey had any effect on the formation of a biofilm.
In the second part of the experiment, honey was added after 24 hours and incubated for either a further 4 or 24 hours to see if honey restricted growth of the biofilm.
The results showed that Manuka honey strongly inhibited the ‘stickiness’ of the bacteria, and therefore the development of a biofilm.
Even at the lowest dilution of 3.3 per cent, it curbed stickiness by 35 per cent after 48 hours compared with the plain medium and artificial honey.
But the greatest effect was seen after three days and at a dilution of 16.7 per cent, when stickiness had been reduced by 77 per cent. All the dilutions suppressed this by around 70 per cent after three days.
As to the impact of Manuka honey on further growth, the 16.7 per cent dilution restricted growth by 38 per cent after 4 hours and by 46 per cent after 24 hours. The impact was even stronger after 48 hours, but not for the weaker dilutions of 3.3 per cent and 6.6 per cent.
The researchers point out that their study only related to the stickiness of bacteria and early biofilm development under laboratory conditions and further studies in which clinical conditions more closely resembling the flow of liquid in the bladder would be needed before any firm conclusions could be drawn.
1. Somadina Emineke, Alan J Cooper, Sarah Fouch, Brian R Birch, Bashir A Lwaleed. Diluted honey inhibits biofilm formation: potential application in urinary catheter management? Journal of Clinical Pathology, 2016; jclinpath-2015-203546 DOI: 10.1136/jclinpath-2015-203546