Sunday, July 29, 2007

Blocking Low-Wavelength Light Prevents Nocturnal Melatonin Suppression with No Adverse Effect on Performance during Simulated Shift Work -- Kayumov et

Blocking Low-Wavelength Light Prevents Nocturnal Melatonin Suppression with No Adverse Effect on Performance during Simulated Shift Work -- Kayumov et al. 90 (5): 2755 -- Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism

Decreases in melatonin production in human and animals are known to be caused by environmental lighting, especially short-wavelength lighting (between 470 and 525 nm). We investigated the novel hypothesis that the use of goggles with selective exclusion of all wavelengths less than 530 nm could prevent the suppression of melatonin in bright-light conditions during a simulated shift-work experiment. Salivary melatonin levels were measured under dim (<5 lux), bright (800 lux), and filtered (800 lux) light at hourly intervals between 2000 and 0800 h in 11 healthy young males and eight females (mean age, 24.7 ± 4.6 yr). The measurements were performed during three nonconsecutive nights over a 2-wk period. Subjective sleepiness was measured by self-report scales, whereas objective performance was assessed with the Continuous Performance Test. All subjects demonstrated preserved melatonin levels in filtered light similar to their dim-light secretion profile. Unfiltered bright light drastically suppressed melatonin production. Normalization of endogenous melatonin production while wearing goggles did not impair measures of performance, subjective sleepiness, or alertness.

I am experimenting with wearing red tinted sunglasses before bed in the evening. I also set my default firefox colors to red. Supposedly candles emit red light as well. I used to meditate while focusing on a candle and found it more relaxing then just meditating. I also used to use just candle light before sleeping and found that made me sleepy. The computer monitor is a blue light, as is TV. Both of these keep people up at night. The blue light stimulates the creation of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter associated with reward. Is that what makes the internet addictive?

Short Nights Attenuate Light-Induced Circadian Phase Advances in Humans -- Burgess and Eastman 90 (8): 4437 -- Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Met

Short Nights Attenuate Light-Induced Circadian Phase Advances in Humans -- Burgess and Eastman 90 (8): 4437 -- Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism

Abstract

Context: In humans, sleep duration often determines the night (dark) length experienced, because we close our eyes when we sleep and are exposed to artificial or natural light when we are awake. Although it is recognized that there is an increasing trend in modern society toward shorter sleep time, it is not known how short nights (long photoperiods) affect the human circadian system.

Objective: In this study we investigated for the first time the effects of night length on circadian phase shifts to light in humans.

[....]

Conclusions: This result shows for the first time that people who curtail their sleep may unwittingly reduce their circadian responsiveness to morning light. This finding also demonstrates that sleep length can alter human circadian function and has important implications for enhancing the treatment of circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

Light and Immunomodulation -- ROBERTS 917 (1): 435 -- Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Light and Immunomodulation -- ROBERTS 917 (1): 435 -- Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

The immune system is susceptible to a variety of stresses. Recent work in neuroimmunology has begun to define how mood alteration, stress, the seasons, and daily rhythms can have a profound effect on immune response through hormonal modifications. Central to these factors may be light through an eye-brain hormonal modulation. In adult primates, only visible light (400-700 nm) is received by the retina. This photic energy is then transduced and delivered to the visual cortex and, by an alternative pathway, to the supra-chiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the hypothalamic region that directs circadian rhythm. Visible light exposure also modulates the pituitary and pineal glands, leading to neuroendocrine changes. Melatonin, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine decrease with light activation, whereas cortisol, serotonin, GABA, and dopamine levels increase. The synthesis of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), gastrin releasing peptide (GRP), and neuropeptide Y (NPY) in rat SCN has been shown to be modified by light. These induced neuroendocrine changes can lead to alterations in mood and circadian rhythm as well as immune modulation. An alternative pathway for immune modulation by light is through the skin. Visible light (400-700 nm) can penetrate epidermal and dermal layers of the skin and may directly interact with circulating lymphocytes to modulate immune function. In contrast to visible light, in vivo exposure to UV-B (280-320 nm) and UV-A (320-400 nm) radiation can alter normal human immune function only by a skin-mediated response. It is therefore important, when reporting neuroendocrine immune findings, to control the intensity, timing and wavelength of ambient light.

More Evidence Linking Insulin Resistance to Alzheimer's Disease - Diabetes Health

More Evidence Linking Insulin Resistance to Alzheimer's Disease - Diabetes Health

Diabetes and pre-diabetes are associated with a seventy-five percent increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. Research has already shown that insulin resistance, with its accompanying high levels of circulating insulin, increases brain and spinal cord inflammation markers and neurotoxic peptides (molecules that cause brain and nervous system damage), just like early Alzheimer's.

Now there's more evidence linking insulin resistance to Alzheimer's. According to research by Dr. Suzanne Craft of the University of Washington School of Medicine, brain scans of insulin-resistant adults reveal reduced glucose metabolism in certain brain regions; the pattern is identical to that seen in people who get Alzheimer's years down the road.

Soft Drinks Linked To Heart Disease Via Metabolic Syndrome

Ayurveda For You: Soft Drinks Linked To Heart Disease Via Metabolic Syndrome

A new US study has found that drinking more than one soft drink a day, whether regular or diet, may be linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease, via an increase in metabolic syndrome, a group of characteristics like excess girth, high blood pressure, and other factors that increase the chances of getting diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

The findings are published in the early online edition of Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.

The research is part of the large scale ongoing study known as the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), that started in 1948 and is now in its third generation of participants, grandchildren of the original cohort. The FHS looks at common factors or characteristics that contribute to cardiovascular disease (CVD) by following its development over a long period of time in a large group of people who joined before they had any overt symptoms of CVD or heart attack or stroke.

The FHS was started under the direction of the National Heart Institute (now known as the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute or NHLBI).

Senior author of the study, Dr Ramachandran Vasan, who is professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts, said that:

"We were struck by the fact that it didn't matter whether it was a diet or regular soda that participants consumed, the association with increased risk was present."

"In those who drink one or more soft drinks daily, there was an association of an increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome," he added.

Other studies have linked drinking soft drinks with risk factors for heart disease, but this study suggests that diet soft drinks sweetened with artificial sweeteners are just as likely to be linked as high calorie drinks sweetened with sugar.

Dr Ravi Dhingra,an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, and lead author of the study said that:

"Moderation in anything is the key. If you are drinking one or more soft drinks a day, you may be increasing your risk of developing metabolic risk factors for heart disease."

Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms such as excess waist circumference, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good" cholesterol) and high fasting glucose levels. Having three or more of the symptoms increases a person's risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The study included 9,000 "person observations" taken at three different times over a four year period from participants enrolled in the FHS, all middle aged men and women.

At the start of the four year observation period ("baseline"), the scientists established that participants who drank one or more soft drinks a day had a 48 per cent higher chance of having metabolic syndrome than those who drank less.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Diabetics Risk Life to Stay Thin | Christianpost.com

Diabetics Risk Life to Stay Thin | Christianpost.com

Millions of girls are estimated to be suffering from eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia. Another dangerous trend to stay thin, however, has gained wide attention and a new term – diabulimia.
Related
Experts: Eating Disorders on the Rise among Young Girls

"Diabulimia" is not a recognized medical condition, but it's a term that has cropped up recently labeling those with diabetes who skip their insulin to lose weight.

Ann Goebel-Fabbri, a clinical psychologist at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, estimates that 450,000 type 1 diabetic women (juvenile diabetes) in the United States have skipped or shortchanged their insulin to shed pounds, according to The Associated Press. That constitutes one third of the total female population who have type 1 diabetes in the states.

Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders, a biblically-based eating disorder treatment center, cites a recent study that reveals the death rate of a person who has both diabetes and an eating disorder and who hasn't received treatment is nearly 35 percent.

Manipulating insulin disorders can cause severe diabetic complications and can be lethal. When type 1 diabetics skip or reduce their insulin, they risk falling into a coma. Blindness, amputations and kidney failure are some of the long-term complications that can develop. A diabetic woman may accelerate medical damage to five or seven years as opposed to the typical 30 years such complications are expected.

"We're seeing far too many adolescents use insulin manipulation as a form of weight control," said Brenda Woods, MD, medical director at Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders, in a statement. "While most young women with bulimia purge through vomiting or excessive exercise, a diabetic purges by under-dosing insulin, which causes sugar to be eliminated from her body via urine."

In no way do I want to minimize the pain of people with type 1 diabetes. But I find it fascinating that insulin makes you gain weight. So obese people get type 2 diabetes, and then they give you insulin, which makes you even fatter. Before insulin, people with type 1 diabetes would basically starve to death. Without insulin, the body can't store calories as fat.

Key to a long life - less insulin in the brain

Key to a long life - less insulin in the brain

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Good, old-fashioned diet and exercise might keep you young by reducing the action of insulin in the brain, researchers reported on Thursday.

They created mutant mice that over-ate, got fat and even had symptoms of diabetes, and yet lived 18 percent longer than normal lab mice. The secret: they lacked a certain key gene that affects insulin, the hormone that regulates glucose.

The genetic engineering mimicked the effects of eating less and exercising, the researchers report in the journal Science.

"This study provides a new explanation of why it's good to exercise and not eat too much," said Dr. Morris White, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Children's Hospital in Boston who led the study.

The findings also raise questions about how desirable it is to use insulin to treat type 2 diabetes, said the researchers.

Doctors know that people who exercise regularly live longer on average. Researchers have also learned that putting animals on a strict diet makes them live longer, although this has not yet been shown to work in people.

[...]

"Diet, exercise and lower weight keep your peripheral tissues sensitive to insulin," White said. That means the body needs to make less insulin.

"Since insulin turns on Irs2 in the brain, that means lower Irs2 activity, which we've linked to longer life span in the mouse," he said.

One obvious question is whether drugs can mimic the effects of having less Irs2, perhaps by interfering with its action. The researchers note that people who live to be 100 or more often have reduced insulin levels and their cells show better insulin sensitivity.

New diabetes drugs that increase insulin sensitivity may help, too, White said. But, he added: "The easiest way to keep insulin levels low in the brain is old-fashioned diet and exercise."

What kind of diet? A low fat diet, with lots of carbs to shoot insulin through the sky? Probably, right? Certainly not a low carb, atkins style diet. A diet which will lower your insulin, since carbs make insulin. Just blind. Do a study, and then tell people the same thing you would have told them, no matter what the outcome. It's kind of creepy in a way. Old fashioned. So, we've been telling you to eat low fat for so long, now it's just "old fashioned common sense." But when they first told people to eat low fat, we ate way more fat and less carbs then we do now, and heart disease didn't even exist as a condition in medical books. The real old fashioned diet, the one we've eaten for 2 million years, is essentially animal meat, high fat, with some berries and tubers in season- about 90% fat and protein. That's the diet that lowers insulin. Insulin is produced to handle glucose. Glucose is sugar, and it comes from sugar, and any kind of carb in our diet. Veggies make some glucose, but have lots of fiber so they're okay. Fructose doesn't make insulin, but it has its own problems. Eat lots of meat, preferably grassfed beef, and line caught fish, and omega 3's and you'll live longer. Too bad this article is too afraid to tell us the whole truth! Low fat products from the supermarket will shoot your insulin through the roof. Why won't this article tell us this?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Plasma oxytocin levels in depression and their correlation with the temperament dimension of reward dependence -- Bell et al. 20 (5): 656 -- Journal of Psychopharmacology

Plasma oxytocin levels in depression and their correlation with the temperament dimension of reward dependence -- Bell et al. 20 (5): 656 -- Journal of Psychopharmacology

Evidence suggests that the neuropeptide oxytocin plays a role in social affiliation. This behaviour may be related more to personality dimensions than specific psychiatric diagnoses. This study investigated the relationship between plasma oxytocin levels and personality dimensions using the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) in 60 outpatients with major depression. The strongest correlation was between plasma oxytocin levels and the temperament dimension of Reward Dependence (0.425 Pearson correlation). This suggested that 17% of the variance in plasma oxytocin levels was explained by the Reward Dependence scores. There was a significant positive correlation between plasma oxytocin levels and the Reward Dependence personality dimension

I find this interesting. Studies also show that marijuana withdrawal, such as it is, is improved by oxytocin. Also, norepinephrine (noradrenalin), one of the "alertness" neurotransmistters increased by Ritalin, is associated with "reward dependence", another word for sociablity, and approval seeking. People with low reward dependence are less social, more independent, and also more free thinking, I guess. Less inclined to follow the crowd. Which could be good or bad, or both. I think I have low reward dependence, so I find this stuff interesting.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dopamine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dopamine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Recent research suggests that the firing of dopamine neurons is a motivational chemical as a result of reward-anticipation. This is based on evidence[citation needed] that, when a reward is perceived to be greater than expected, the firing of certain dopamine neurons increases, which correspondingly increases desire or motivation toward the reward.

Clues to dopamine's role in motivation, desire, and pleasure have come from studies performed on animals. In one such study rats were depleted of dopamine by up to 99% in the nucleus accumbens and neostriatum using 6-hydroxydopamine.[6] With this large reduction in dopamine, the rats would no longer eat by their own volition. The researchers then force fed the rats food and noted whether they had the proper facial expressions indicating whether they liked or disliked it. The researchers of this study concluded that the reduction in dopamine did not reduce the rat's consummatory pleasure, only the desire to actually eat. In another study, mutant hyperdopaminergic (increased dopamine) mice show higher "wanting" but not "liking" of sweet rewards.[7]

In humans, though, drugs that reduce dopamine activity (neuroleptics, eg. some antipsychotics) have been shown to reduce motivation as well as cause anhedonia (the inability to experience pleasure).[8] Conversely the selective D2/D3 agonists pramipexole and ropinirole have anti-anhedonic properties as measured by the Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale.[9] (The Snaith-Hamilton-Pleasure-Scale (SHAPS), introduced in English in 1995, assesses self-reported anhedonia in psychiatric patients.)

Opioid and cannabinoid transmission instead of dopamine may modulate consummatory pleasure and food palatability (liking).[10] This could explain why animals' "liking" of food is independent of brain dopamine concentration. Other consummatory pleasures, however, may be more associated with dopamine. One study found that both anticipatory and consummatory measures of sexual behavior (male rats) were disrupted by DA receptor antagonists.[11] Libido can be increased by drugs that affect dopamine but not by drugs that affect opioid peptides or other neurotransmitters.

Sociability is also closely tied to dopamine neurotransmission. Low D2 receptor binding is found in people with social anxiety. Traits common to negative schizophrenia (social withdrawal, apathy, anhedonia) are thought to be related to a hypodopaminergic state in certain areas of the brain. In instances of bipolar, manic subjects can become hypersocial as well as hypersexual. This is also credited to an increase in dopamine, because mania alleviates from dopamine blocking antipsychotics.

Dopamine may also have a role in the salience ('noticeableness') of perceived objects and events, with potentially important stimuli such as: 1) rewarding things or 2) dangerous or threatening things seeming more noticeable or important.[12] This hypothesis argues that dopamine assists decision-making by influencing the priority, or level of desire, of such stimuli to the person concerned.

Pharmacological blockade of brain dopamine receptors increases rather than decreases drug-taking behavior. Since blocking dopamine decreases desire, the increase in drug taking behavior may be seen as not a chemical desire but as a deeply psychological desire to just 'feel something'.

Deficits in dopamine levels are implicated in Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD), and stimulant medications used to successfully treat the disorder increase dopamine neurotransmitter levels, leading to decreased symptoms.

Want to increase your dopamine? Either take stimulant ADD medications, and/or go low carb. Insulin resistance in the brain, and insulin itself, affects dopamine levels in the brain. Many other articles on my site on these topics!

Low-Carb Diets Combat Metabolic Syndrome - Forbes.com

Low-Carb Diets Combat Metabolic Syndrome - Forbes.com

Low-Carb Diets Combat Metabolic Syndrome
07.20.07, 12:00 AM ET

FRIDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- A low-carbohydrate diet helps people with a condition called metabolic syndrome, a collection of serious risk factors found in some obese individuals.

Now, a new study confirms the diet is effective against the syndrome, and the researchers think they've discovered how it works.

Eating a low-carb diet improves the hormonal signaling involved in obesity and improves the sense of fullness, allowing weight loss, according to study leader Matthew R. Hayes, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.

"There is this strong interest in the field in carb-restricted diets in the treatment of obesity," said Hayes, who conducted the research while a doctoral student at Pennsylvania State University. "That [interest] comes from a number of controlled clinical trials that demonstrate overweight or obese people, maintained on low-carb diets, are successful if they adhere to the diet."

"It's definitely a hot debate in the field," Hayes added, whether the diets work. "We wanted to look at not only if it worked but how."

People with metabolic syndrome struggle with excessive abdominal fat; low levels of HDL -- good -- cholesterol; and insulin resistance or glucose intolerance, in which the body doesn't properly use insulin or blood sugar. Metabolic syndrome raises the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, according to the American Heart Association.

[...]

To find out why the weight declined, Hayes' team did hormone assays, measuring fasting and post-meal blood levels of hormones associated with appetite and food intake, such as insulin, leptin and cholecystokinin (CCK).

"We found some changes in hormone levels," he said. "We saw a decrease in insulin, a decrease in leptin levels by the end of phase one. It was fast."

"By the end of phase 2, the insulin levels had crept up toward baseline; the leptin levels also rose, but it did not come back to the levels at baseline," Hayes said.

"These alternations in hormone levels acting together help reduce the amount of food consumed," he said. "There's a synergy. Based on the literature already out there, we are speculating that this synergy of hormones may be the mechanism explaining why people are satisfied with less food and [the low-carb diet] results in weight loss."

However, Hayes emphasized that the study, published in the August issue of The Journal of Nutrition, was small and preliminary, and more research is needed.

ScienceDaily: New Clue Into How Diet And Exercise Enhance Longevity

ScienceDaily: New Clue Into How Diet And Exercise Enhance Longevity

From ScienceDaily, research that provides an interesting view of the insulin signaling mechanism, metabolism and its impact on life span: "The traditional prescriptions for a healthy life - sensible diet, exercise and weight control - extend life by reducing signaling through a specific pathway in the brain [activated] when insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 switch on proteins inside the cell called insulin receptor substrates ... Diet, exercise and lower weight keep your peripheral tissues sensitive to insulin. That reduces the amount and duration of insulin secretion needed to keep your glucose under control when you eat. Therefore, the brain is exposed to less insulin. Since insulin turns on [an insulin receptor substrate] in the brain, that means lower [insulin receptor substrate] activity, which we've linked to longer lifespan in the mouse ... We are beginning to appreciate that obesity, insulin resistance, and high blood insulin levels are connected to Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, and dementias in general. It might be that, in people who are genetically predisposed to these diseases, too much insulin overactivates [insulin receptor substrates] in the brain and accelerates disease progression. Thus, insulin resistance and higher insulin levels might be the environmental influences that promote these diseases."

Certain components of the brain's executive functions are compromised early in abstinence

Certain components of the brain's executive functions are compromised early in abstinence"The term 'executive functioning' is a business analogy, where the executive monitors all of the different departments so that the company/brain/person can move forward in as efficient and effective a way as possible," said corresponding author H. Scott Swartzwelder, professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and a senior research career scientist at the Durham VA Medical Center. "So, in terms of real-world activity, executive functioning has everything to do with who we are, how we organize our lives, and how we plan and then execute those plans."

"Executive functions are very, very important to everyday living," added Marlene Oscar Berman, professor of neurology, psychiatry, and anatomy & neurobiology at Boston University Medical School, and research career scientist at the Boston Veteran Affairs Healthcare System. "They are defined differently by different theorists and researchers. Most agree, however, that executive functions are human qualities, including self-awareness, that allow us to be independent individuals with purpose and foresight about what we will do and how we behave. Common executive abilities include judgment, problem solving, decision making, planning, and social conduct, and depend upon many of our cognitive abilities such as attention, perception, memory, and language."

"Alcohol affects executive functioning both acutely and chronically," said Swartzwelder. "In terms of acute effects, a single heavy dose of alcohol will lead to a decrease in a person's executive functioning, particularly in terms of what we call 'working memory.' Working memory allows you to juggle several cognitive 'balls' at the same time, and remember what you've been doing. In terms of chronic alcohol consumption, the effects are much broader, and particularly damaging to the frontal lobes, that region of the brain that really is responsible for executive functioning. It occurred to us that, among people who have just stopped drinking, there may still be some residual effects from their acute consumption as well as cumulative effects from their chronic drinking."

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Expert Advice for Adults with ADD: Better Moods | ADDitude - ADHD & LD Adults and Children

Expert Advice for Adults with ADD: Better Moods | ADDitude - ADHD & LD Adults and Children

Six Ways to Build Better Moods
Feeling anxious or depressed? Simple lifestyle changes can go a long way toward making you feel better.
by Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D.

ADDitude Magazine


Need more motivation to exercise? Get a dog!

People who can't be bothered to exercise for their own benefit will often make the effort if there's a dog that needs walking. Dogs feel better after an outdoor romp. So do people!



Many adults who have ADD also struggle with anxiety or depression. Sometimes these comorbid conditions arise independently of ADD. Yet they can also be the result of the chronic stress and discouragement that come from living with ADD. In women, sad, anxious feelings — as well as ADD symptoms — tend to increase during the pre-menstrual phase. Symptoms also tend to flare up in the years leading up to and during menopause.

What's the best way for ADDers to overcome anxiety or depression? The first step is to make sure that you're getting appropriate treatment for your ADD. If there are no complications, having your primary-care physician prescribe stimulant medication can work very well. But watch out: ADD is a nuanced disorder, especially in adults, and many otherwise competent doctors aren't very good at determining the proper type or dosage of ADD medication.

If a primary-care physician has prescribed medication for your ADD but you feel it's not working well, consult a psychiatrist who is experienced in treating adults with ADD. In addition to making good choices regarding medication, a psychiatrist may be better able to help you manage side effects and to determine whether you suffer from any comorbid conditions.

In addition to medication, certain changes in your lifestyle can go a long way toward alleviating anxiety and depression.
1. Get more sleep

Many adults with ADD have trouble falling asleep, and sleep deprivation can worsen symptoms of the disorder. Sleeplessness reduces your ability to cope and leaves you feeling demoralized.

To improve your sleep patterns, go to bed at the same time every night, and avoid exercise and other stimulating activities for at least an hour before turning in. A hot shower or bath just before bedtime can also help. If sleep problems persist, consult a doctor.
2. Spend more time outdoors

Recent studies have shown that when children with ADD spend more time in natural settings, their symptoms are less severe. I suspect that the same is true for adults, though it's unclear precisely why ADDers benefit from "green time." For millennia, humans lived in close proximity to nature. Now we've largely shut out nature — spending our days in climate-controlled, synthetic environments. We're just beginning to understand that living this way may have a negative effect on how we feel and function.

I recommend at least 30 minutes a day of green time. That's easy to do on weekends. During the week, you might walk or bicycle to and from work. If that's impractical, pick a scenic route for your commute. Eat lunch in a park. After work, take a walk.

Getting more green time increases your exposure to sunlight — a terrific mood-booster. Yes, we all know that overexposure can cause skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. Yet recent studies suggest that a certain amount of sunlight can help people feel happier and less anxious.

In recent years, there's been a lot of talk about seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, a form of depression associated with winter's shorter days. In reality, all of us experience some degree of seasonal blues. Our brains seem to be "programmed" by sunlight. It affects not only our moods, but also our patterns of sleep and wakefulness.

If you suspect that a lack of sunlight is affecting your mood, ask your doctor if you might benefit from using a high-intensity, full-spectrum light. Twenty minutes of exposure a day is usually enough. But don't confuse "light therapy" with sunbathing. The important thing is to expose your eyes to light.

3. Exercise every day

A daily workout does more than produce the natural mood-boosting compounds known as endorphins. It makes it easier to fall asleep at night, and more sleep means better moods. And if you go outside to exercise, you'll be getting exposure to sunlight. For a triple benefit, try taking a daily 30-minute walk in a natural setting.
4. Reduce your intake of carbohydrates

Adults often turn to high-carb treats when they're feeling down - a candy bar in the afternoon, chips or crackers during the day, ice cream after dinner. These foods can make you feel a bit better in the short term. But eventually, they lead to weight gain and fatigue. Better to stick with a low-carb, protein-rich breakfast and to snack on fruits and nuts instead of sugar and starch.

Consume protein with every meal of the day. This doesn't necessarily mean meat — eggs, peanut butter, and cheese are all good sources of protein.
5. Don't be too quick to accept stress

Sometimes we're so caught up in our daily routines that we fail to step back and analyze sources of stress. Whenever it starts to affect your moods, get out paper and pen and list the biggest stresses in your day. Then look for ways to reduce or eliminate them.
6. Chart your progress

Even if you believe that the strategies outlined above will help you feel better, you may have trouble making the move from "knowing" to "doing." Charting your progress can help. Create a monthly chart — 31 days across the top, with categories for sleep, exercise, sunshine, green time, nutrition, and stress along the left-hand margin. Each day, rate your anxiety or depression on a scale from one to 10, and give yourself a check for each category in which you succeed:
at least seven hours of sleep
daily walk or other exercise
30 minutes of sunshine
30 minutes of green time
low-carb diet
lower-stress day

The first month you try this, set a goal of earning at least three checks every day. In the second month, aim for four daily checks. Your ultimate goal, of course, is to make all of these mood-boosting habits a regular part of your daily routine.

Sleep pattern linked with teen's behavior: Scientific American

Sleep pattern linked with teen's behavior: Scientific American

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - New study findings suggest that a preference for nighttime over daytime activities may be associated with antisocial behavior in adolescences, even in children as young as 8 years old.

Those who prefer later bedtimes appear to exhibit more antisocial behavior than those who like to wake early and participate in daytime recreational activities, researchers report.

"A preference for evening activities and staying up late is related to problem behavior and is evident even in preteens," study co-author Dr. Elizabeth J. Susman, of Pennsylvania State University, told Reuters Health.

[...]

Boys who experienced prolonged high levels of cortisol -- smaller decreases in cortisol levels from the time of awakening until 4 pm -- tended to have more behavior problems than did their peers, the report indicates. The association was not true for girls, however.

Normally, levels of cortisol, the stress hormone associated with circadian rhythms, peak in the morning upon awakening and plateau during the afternoon and evening hours.

Abnormalities in cortisol secretion, have also been associated with clinical depression and antisocial behavior in earlier studies, the researchers note.

Insulin literally shortens your life- so eat fewer carbohydrates

From the Diabetes blog...

Less insulin longer life

Howard Hughs Medical Experts have discovered the key to a longer life is lower insulin levels. Less insulin helps cells fend off diseases that lead to early death like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. So how does one lower their insulin levels? Caloric restriction by way of eating less carbohydrates.

Caloric restriction postpones the onset of life-threatening conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. It may still happen, but at a later age. Scientists manipulated genes in mice to produce 50% less insulin and saw the mice live 18% longer. While lowering insulin throughout the body can lead to a diabetic state, scientists found that allowing insulin levels to be high throughout most of the body, and lowering the insulin signaling only in the brain through genetic manipulation, extended the life of mice.

Although the mice were overweight, they lived longer and seemed active and youthful. Scientists believe that this research explains why some people who live past 100 may have a natural genetic tendency for lower insulin signaling in the brain. They eat a normal amount of calories and may even be a bit overweight, but still enjoy the benefit of life extension. This begs the question: if all diabetes oral meds multiply the effect of insulin -- doesn't this increase the chances of heart disease and cancer? New Rule: Black box warning on ALL prescription diabetes drugs!!

Fascinating stuff. Basically insulin is bad. Very bad. Bad for your heart, brain, every cell in your body. Insulin also makes you fatter. Why do diabetics take insulin? So they can process carbohydrates. So wouldn't it be better to just not eat the carbohydrates in the first place. You'd think that, but doctors are convinced that carbohydrates are so fucking important, by god, if you have to destroy your body with insulin so you can eat potato chips and cookies, it's worth it. NO offense to type 1's who have a rougher road, but the lesson is clear- carbohydrates are poison, and by carbs I mean grains, bread and potatoes. Veggies and some fruit are okay.
Look at the following article, where doctors are so astonished that insulin causes this damage to longevity. Their solution? Is it to rethink the idea that we need carbs, and instead suggest a ketogenic diet? Of course not! It's to create some kind of medicine that makes the brain immune to the bad effects of carbs!


Reducing insulin signaling in brain helps prolong lifespan

LOS ANGELES, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Keep insulin levels low in the brain might help prolong lifespan, a new study shows.

Establishing the right balance in insulin signaling between the brain and the rest of the body is good for a long and healthy life, according to the study conducted by researchers at Children's Hospital Boston.

Insulin sends a vital signal throughout the body, telling cells to use sugar from the blood. But when cells become less sensitive to insulin, which often happens as people age and gain weight, the body must make more insulin to keep sugar under control and avoid type 2 diabetes.

For a long time, clinicians and scientists thought that "more insulin was a good thing," says Morris White, PhD, who led the new study.

"But the increased insulin also gets into the brain, where it can be detrimental."

Studies in worms and in fruit flies show that reducing insulin signaling lengthens lifespan. But in humans and rodents, reducing insulin signaling often causes diabetes. The view that insulin could reduce lifespan is difficult to reconcile with decades of clinical practice and scientific investigation to treat diabetes.

White suspected that the key to explaining this paradox -- and to maximizing both health and longevity -- is to reduce insulin signaling only in the brain.

To test this idea, White's team measured longevity and other characteristics in several groups of mice. In one group, they used a genetic trick to cut in half the amount of Irs2, a protein that carries the insulin signal inside the cell, in every cell of the body. Two other groups of mice were genetically engineered to have half, or nearly all, Irs2 removed only from the brain cells. Another group of normal mice served as controls.

"To our surprise, all of the engineered mice lived longer," says Akiko Taguchi, PhD, first author of the study. Even more surprising, the mice lacking Irs2 only in the brain lived almost half a year longer than the normal mice -- an 18 percent increase in lifespan -- despite being overweight and having higher blood insulin levels, changes that usually reduce lifespan.

These long-lived mice were more active in old age, retained youthful metabolic cycles (burning sugar by day and fat by night) and retained protective levels of anti-oxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, which protect against oxidative stress, or "biological rusting," in the brain and body.

The mice with normal brain Irs2 levels aged less gracefully -- they lost the metabolic rhythms of youth, became more sedentary, and had reduced anti-oxidant enzymes after meals, leaving them vulnerable to cellular damage. Such damage correlates with a host of age-related diseases such as atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease and cancer, notes White.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Short Nights Attenuate Light-Induced Circadian Phase Advances in Humans -- Burgess and Eastman 90 (8): 4437 -- Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Met

Short Nights Attenuate Light-Induced Circadian Phase Advances in Humans -- Burgess and Eastman 90 (8): 4437 -- Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism

Short Nights Attenuate Light-Induced Circadian Phase Advances in Humans
Helen J. Burgess and Charmane I. Eastman

Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois 60612

Address all correspondence and requests for reprints to: Dr. Helen J. Burgess, Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory, Rush University Medical Center, 1645 West Jackson Boulevard, Suite 425, Chicago, Illinois 60612. E-mail: helen_j_burgess@rush.edu.

Abstract

Context: In humans, sleep duration often determines the night (dark) length experienced, because we close our eyes when we sleep and are exposed to artificial or natural light when we are awake. Although it is recognized that there is an increasing trend in modern society toward shorter sleep time, it is not known how short nights (long photoperiods) affect the human circadian system.

Objective: In this study we investigated for the first time the effects of night length on circadian phase shifts to light in humans.

Design and Setting: Eight young healthy subjects experienced 2 wk of 6-h sleep episodes in the dark (short nights) and 2 wk of long 9-h sleep episodes (long nights) in counterbalanced order. After each series of nights, they were exposed to four 30-min pulses of morning bright light (~5000 lux) that advanced by 1 h/d for 3 consecutive days while night (dark) length was maintained at 6 or 9 h. Circadian phase was determined from the circadian rhythm of melatonin in dim light before and after the 3-d bright light treatments.

Results: The phase advance in the melatonin rhythm during the short nights was less than half of that observed during the long nights (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: This result shows for the first time that people who curtail their sleep may unwittingly reduce their circadian responsiveness to morning light. This finding also demonstrates that sleep length can alter human circadian function and has important implications for enhancing the treatment of circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

Bright light induction of strong (type 0) resetting of the human circadian pacemaker -- Czeisler et al. 244 (4910): 1328 -- Science

Bright light induction of strong (type 0) resetting of the human circadian pacemaker -- Czeisler et al. 244 (4910): 1328 -- Science

Bright light induction of strong (type 0) resetting of the human circadian pacemaker
CA Czeisler, RE Kronauer, JS Allan, JF Duffy, ME Jewett, EN Brown, and JM Ronda

Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115.

The response of the human circadian pacemaker to light was measured in 45 resetting trials. Each trial consisted of an initial endogenous circadian phase assessment, a three-cycle stimulus which included 5 hours of bright light per cycle, and a final phase assessment. The stimulus induced strong (type 0) resetting, with responses highly dependent on the initial circadian phase of light exposure. The magnitude and direction of the phase shifts were modulated by the timing of exposure to ordinary room light, previously thought to be undetectable by the human pacemaker. The data indicate that the sensitivity of the human circadian pacemaker to light is far greater than previously recognized and have important implications for the therapeutic use of light in the management of disorders of circadian regulation.

NEUROSCIENCE: Getting the Brain's Attention -- Wickelgren 278 (5335): 35 -- Science

NEUROSCIENCE: Getting the Brain's Attention -- Wickelgren 278 (5335): 35 -- Science

NEUROSCIENCE:
Getting the Brain's Attention
Ingrid Wickelgren

Researchers dissecting the role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain are finding that rather than signaling pleasure as previously thought, it may act to highlight significant stimuli. New data indicate that dopamine is released within the brain not only in response to events the organism finds rewarding, but also in response to those that predict rewards, and to stimuli that are simply startling. By underscoring such events, say these researchers, the dopamine signal helps the animal learn to recognize them--and in some cases, to repeat them.

bright lights and ions for mood change :: Dr. David B. Adams - Scientific Journal Abstracts

Dr. David B. Adams - Scientific Journal Abstracts

Eastman, C. I. et al. (1998) Bright light treatment of winder depression: placebo-controlled trial. Archives of General Psychiatry, 55, 883-889.

Lewy, A. J. et al. (1998) Morning vs. evening light treatment of patients with winter depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 55, 890-896.

Terman, M. et al. (1998) A controlled trial of timed bright light and negative air ionization for treatment of winter depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 55, 875-882.

Comparison between bright light and negative ions found that both methods statistically impacted subjective symptoms of depression although low negative ion exposure was found least effective. The impact upon depression of high density negative ions was difficult to explain physiologically. In the second study, it was found that bright light is effective in treating depression but that morning light produced more full recoveries, and in the third study morning light was found twice as effective. Results of all three tending to support that winter depression, in many cases, is caused by a delay in the timing of events governed by circadian rhythms, including secreation of melatonin. Morning light may be advancing the cycle to an earlier time of day.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Daily rhythms in plasma levels of homocysteine

Daily rhythms in plasma levels of homocysteine

Background
There is accumulated evidence that plasma concentration of the sulfur-containing amino-acid homocysteine (Hcy) is a prognostic marker for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Both fasting levels of Hcy and post methionine loading levels are used as prognostic markers. The aim of the present study was to investigate the existence of a daily rhythm in plasma Hcy under strictly controlled nutritional and sleep-wake conditions. We also investigated if the time during which methionine loading is performed, i.e., morning or evening, had a different effect on the resultant plasma Hcy concentration.

[...]

Results
In both the first and second experiments there was a significant daily rhythm in Hcy concentrations with a mid-day nadir and a nocturnal peak. Strikingly different 24-h patterns were observed in methionine, leucine, isoleucine and tyrosine. In all, the 24-h curves revealed a strong influence of both the sleep-wake cycle and the feeding schedule. Methionine loading resulted in increased plasma Hcy levels during both morning and evening experiments, which were not significantly different from each other.

Conclusions
There is a daily rhythm in plasma concentration of the amino acid Hcy, and this rhythm is independent of sleep-wake and food consumption. In view of the fact that increased Hcy concentrations may be associated with increased cardiovascular risks, these findings may have clinical implications for the health of rotating shift workers.

Experimental results accumulated in recent years have revealed that plasma concentration of the sulfur-containing amino-acid homocysteine (Hcy) is a prognostic marker for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality [1-5]. Plasma concentrations of Hcy in excess of 15 ╬╝mol/L under fasting conditions were associated with increased risk of cardiovascular mortality [6]. Furthermore, some patients having normal fasting levels of plasma Hcy were shown to have abnormally high levels of Hcy after methionine loading [7]. In most epidemiological studies, the differences between fasting concentrations of Hcy of cardiovascular patients and normal controls did not amount to more than 10–15%.

Studies conducted during the 1960s have demonstrated that plasma levels of several amino acids vary in a daily manner. Feigin, Klainer and Beisel [8] were the first to report on daily rhythms in serum levels of total amino acids in adult men. The peak levels of the total integrated amino acids occured between 1200 and 2000 with a minimum level at 0400. Wurtman, Chou and Rose [9] reported on a daily rhythm in plasma concentration of tyrosine with a nocturnal nadir and a morning peak, which represented a two-fold increase in plasma tyrosine level. This rhythm persisted when subjects were maintained on a two-week low protein diet. Subsequently, the same group [10] extended their findings to 15 additional amino acids. Tyrosine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, methionine, cysteine, and isoleucine, underwent the greatest daily changes while alanine, glycine and glutamic acid showed the least. Hussein et al [11] reported that the daily fluctuations of plasma free amino acids were significantly affected by the dietary conditions. In none of these studies, however, were the levels of amino acids determined during the sleep period or under uniform dietary conditions.

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12

What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells [1-4]. It is also needed to help make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 is also called cobalamin because it contains the metal cobalt [1-4].

Vitamin B12 is bound to the protein in food. Hydrochloric acid in the stomach releases vitamin B12 from proteins in foods during digestion. Once released, vitamin B12 combines with a substance called intrinsic factor (IF). This complex can then be absorbed by the intestinal tract.

What foods provide vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in foods that come from animals, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. Fortified breakfast cereals are a particularly valuable source of vitamin B12 for vegetarians [5-7]. Table 1 lists a variety of food sources of vitamin B12.

[...]

When is a deficiency of vitamin B12 likely to occur?
Results of two national surveys, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III-1988-94) [8] and the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII 1994-96) found that most children and adults in the United States (US) consume recommended amounts of vitamin B12 [6-8]. A deficiency may still occur as a result of an inability to absorb vitamin B12 from food and in strict vegetarians who do not consume any foods that come from animals [9]. As a general rule, most individuals who develop a vitamin B12 deficiency have an underlying stomach or intestinal disorder that limits the absorption of vitamin B12 [10]. Sometimes the only symptom of these intestinal disorders is subtly reduced cognitive function resulting from early vitamin B12 deficiency. Anemia and dementia follow later [1,11].

Signs, symptoms, and health problems associated with vitamin B12 deficiency:
Characteristic signs, symptoms, and health problems associated with vitamin B12 deficiency include anemia, fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and weight loss [1,3,12].
Deficiency also can lead to neurological changes such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet [7,13].
Additional symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are difficulty in maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue [14].
Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency in infancy include failure to thrive, movement disorders, delayed development, and megaloblastic anemia [15].

So there it is- the meat vitamin. Low carbers have this in abundance. Well, I guess most people have enough- almost of all us eat meat or animal products. And good thing we do! I've also seen research on a link between depression and B12 and folate deficiency. I'll post that one as well.

Vitamin B12, folate, and homocysteine in depressio...[Am J Psychiatry. 2002] - PubMed Result

Vitamin B12, folate, and homocysteine in depressio...[Am J Psychiatry. 2002] - PubMed Result

OBJECTIVE: The associations of vitamin B(12), folate, and homocysteine with depression were examined in a population-based study. METHOD: The authors screened 3,884 elderly people for depressive symptoms. Subjects with positive screening results had psychiatric workups. Folate, vitamin B(12), and homocysteine blood levels were compared in 278 persons with depressive symptoms, including 112 with depressive disorders, and 416 randomly selected reference subjects. Adjustments were made for age, gender, cardiovascular disease, and functional disability. RESULTS: Hyperhomocysteinemia, vitamin B(12) deficiency, and to a lesser extent, folate deficiency were all related to depressive disorders. For folate deficiency and hyperhomocysteinemia, the association with depressive disorders was substantially reduced after adjustment for functional disability and cardiovascular disease, but for vitamin B(12) this appeared independent. CONCLUSIONS: The association of vitamin B(12) and folate with depressive disorders may have different underlying mechanisms. Vitamin B(12) may be causally related to depression, whereas the relation with folate is due to physical comorbidity.

Health | Folic acid is a B-list celebrity in waiting | Straight.com Vancouver

Health | Folic acid is a B-list celebrity in waiting | Straight.com Vancouver

Unless you've been pregnant, you probably haven't heard of it. Yet research shows that folate, or folic acid (the synthetic form of folate found in fortified foods and supplements), is as important to general health as its more celebrated cousins, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and protein. Part of the B-vitamin family, today it's a routine part of prenatal care because of its role in the prevention of birth defects such as spina bifida.

Lifestyles, however, don't appear to be keeping up with the research. The risk of folate deficiency is on the rise, nutritionists say, a result of its near anonymity within the general population and the continued popularity of low-carbohydrate diets, which tend to prohibit foods rich in folates.

Thirteen percent of the population is on some type of low-carb regime such as the Atkins or South Beach diets, according to an August 2005 survey by U.S. polling company Opinion Dynamics Corporation. Other estimates put the statistic closer to one out of every nine or 10 adults in North America. A September 2004 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report estimates that 48 percent of dieting women are on a low-carb diet.

Patricia Chuey is a registered dietitian, sports nutritionist, and founder of Eating for Energy, a Vancouver nutrition consulting company. In a phone interview, she told the Georgia Straight that although the popularity of low-carb diets, which became the "it" diets about four years ago, has waned somewhat, they are still a significant weight-loss choice among dieters looking for quick results. Unfortunately, these dieters might lose more than a few pounds in the process, because bread, pasta, and breakfast cereals, which are fortified with folic acid, are largely shunned by such diets. "If you're on a strict low-carb diet," Chuey said, "you're probably also avoiding legumes: the lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans that are the best source of folates.

"Some purists might even be avoiding vegetables altogether," she added, "which means cutting out the green leafy veggies high in folates: romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts." Fortunately, Chuey pointed out, most of today's low-carbers are on a less extreme version of the diet.

Folates aren't the only sacrifice, Chuey likes to remind people. "We need about 50 vitamins and minerals every day-many of them found in vegetables and fruit-for optimum health."

Folates, it appears, are particularly susceptible to being overlooked, though, despite being a key factor in the production of normal red blood cells-and, therefore, the prevention of anemia and poor growth in kids.

Research on folates is fairly recent, according to Chuey. It peaked in about 1997, when studies establishing a firm relationship between birth defects and folate deficiency led to the routine provision of folic-acid supplements to women actively planning to have babies. Further research, she said, started to establish links between the micronutrient and prevention of cardiovascular disease and certain kinds of cancer, including cervical and colon cancers, and, possibly, breast cancer. An article in the February 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that folate and vitamin B6 protected women from developing coronary heart disease, reducing the risk by as much as 45 percent. A study in the June 2002 issue confirms the link between folates and the prevention of heart disease and certain cancers, and another in the January 2005 issue shows that women who consume more folates have a significantly reduced risk of developing high blood pressure, or hypertension.

Chuey thinks folates might be underappreciated because, unless they are pregnant and focused on the development of their fetus, people generally have a difficult time relating to something that operates at the cellular level, where folates do all their best work. "It's much easier to relate to calcium," she said, "which affects our bones, visible to the naked eye." Or to vitamin C, which benefits our bones and skin.

So how to make sure folates get the attention they deserve on our grocery lists? Chuey advocates variety when it comes to diet. "Don't limit yourself to six or so standard veggies; go beyond the carrots, cucumber, and celery to include the dark-green leafies," she suggested. And stock up on lentils, chick peas, and all kinds of beans. She also recommends taking a multivitamin containing 400 micrograms of folic acid, especially for people who are hit-and-miss with the high-folate foods. Women who are planning to get pregnant and people with heart problems should talk to their doctor about taking a folic-acid supplement.

My God! Now here's a lady flat out blaming low carb diets for folic acid deficiency! Can you get any stupider!
1. Low carb diets do not restrict vegetables, they encourage them.
2. Liver is the best source of folic acid. Liver is not a vegetable.
3. So a few years ago, before the government started to fortify the cereal and spaghetti with folic acid, how did we get folic acid?
4. Why doesn't the government fortify meat with folic acid if its deficient? Let's face it, this is all about supporting US agriculture. Wheat, corn and soy are 80% of what Americans eat. Because the government says meat is bad. Because that wins votes for politicians.
5. Humans have been alive for 2,000 millenia. Cereals and edible legumes have only been consumed for the last 2-5 millenia. Before that we ate meat and a smattering of undomesticated veggies and berries.
6. People don't realize that broccoli is not a natural food. We bred it into existance, just like we turned the wolf into the Chihuahua. Not saying it's bad, but the idea that primitive man waltzed through a forest filled with asparagus, brussel sprouts and broccoli like the produce section of a supermarket is asinine. Primitive man ate meat. We have evolved for 2 million years to get all our vitamins and minerals from an primarily animal food based diet. That includes liver, brains and all the organs, the best part of the kill.
7. If you ever get lost in the woods and need food, you won't find any edible plants. That's a myth. Whatever you do find, will cost you more energy to search out and pick than it will supply. You will need to hunt and trap to survive. Just like the early explorers did, just like the indians did, just like humans have done for millions of years.
8. By all means, eat your veggies. But eat meat and organs too. Grassfed if at all possible.
9. I mean, look at this lady again railing about folic acid. What about omega3? This is another sleeper that we now realize is super important. Where do you get that? Broccoli? No- wild fish and grassfed beef. Or fish oil pills I guess. Eat natural foods, not grain.
10. If you go the supplement route, then buy folic acid. And B6. And B12. And vitamin A. And vitamin D. And vitamin C. and so on and so on! Uh, hasn't anyone noticed that vitamins are sorta expensive? I certainly have. How about eating grassfed beef, liver, cruciferous vegetables, berries and a variety of plant foods, but mainly meat. Sure tastes better than vitamins! Probably cheaper than all those vitamin pills anyway!

Good Sources Of Folic Acid

Good Sources Of Folic Acid

Folic acid is a vital vitamin for good physical and mental wellbeing, however it is also the B vitamin that people are most likely to be deficient in. In order to ensure that you get the correct amount of folic acid it is important that you eat foods rich in this vitamin. If you are going to take a folic acid supplement you need to take a good B vitamin supplement as well containing the other B vitamins, especially vitamin B12 as folic acid may mask symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.

An excellent source of folic acid are cereals that have been fortified with 100%DV (400 mcg) of folic acid. The National Institute of Health, office of dietary supplements explains the term DV, "DV's are reference numbers developed by the Food and Drug administration (FDA) to help consumers determine if a food contains a lot or a little of a specific nutrient. The DV for folate is 400 micrograms.A food providing 5% of the DV or less is a low source while a food that provides 10-19% of the DV is a good source. A food that provides 20% or more of the DV is high in that nutrient."

Three ounces of cooked, braised beef liver is an excellent source of folic acid offering 45%DV. The next good sources of folic acid are cowpeas and cereals fortified with 25%DV, both of these sources have a 25%DV. For the cowpeas you will need to have half a cup of immature cowpeas (also known as blackeyes) which have been boiled.

Half a cup of frozen spinach that has been boiled also contains a 25%DV for folic acid and is one of the foods normally recommended to increase your intake of folic acid.

Half a cup of great northern beans that have been boiled, as well as 4 boiled asparagus spears contain a DV of 20% and can also be used to increase your intake of folic acid.

A number of other foods contain a DV between 10 and 15% such as vegetarian baked beans, raw spinach, green peas, broccoli, egg noodles, avocado, peanuts, lettuce, wheat germ, tomato juice and orange juice.

By following a diet that contains plenty of fruit and vegetables, especially the dark green, leafy vegetables as well as taking cereals that have been enriched with folic acid allows you to ensure you are getting enough folic acid in your diet. There are many good sources of folic acid and a large variety of meals can be planned using the sources mentioned above. Have a look at the DV of folic acid or folate on the foods you buy and try to achieve 100% DV daily for maximum benefits.

In Praise of Folic Acid - TIME

In Praise of Folic Acid - TIME

In Praise of Folic Acid
Sunday, Feb. 17, 2002
By CHRISTINE GORMAN

Should everyone be getting more folic acid? That's the question on a lot of doctors' minds this week. Though not as famous as vitamin C, folic acid plays a crucial role in the development of just about every cell in the body. A member of the B-vitamin family, it's found naturally in orange juice, beans and green vegetables. There is some evidence that folic acid may reduce the risk of heart disease, but it is best known for its role in preventing spina bifida and other birth defects. Indeed ever since 1998, when the Food and Drug Administration mandated that it be added to cereal products, the number of so-called neural-tube defects has dropped nearly 20% in the U.S.


Now comes word that the vitamin may, just may, help ward off the ravages of Alzheimer's disease. In a study of more than 1,000 older adults published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at Boston University and Tufts University found that subjects who had high levels of a particular amino acid called homocysteine in their blood were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's as those who didn't. The finding is important because one of the easiest ways to lower homocysteine levels is to get plenty of folic acid.

The study, although not definitive, is the strongest evidence to date that homocysteine plays a role in Alzheimer's. Previous research had found that Alzheimer's patients often have high levels of the amino acid in their blood--though that could be because folks with Alzheimer's often don't eat very well.

The new study lays that explanation to rest. As part of the famous Framingham study, which has tracked the development of heart disease among residents of Framingham, Mass., for more than 50 years, researchers in the 1970s started measuring the homocysteine levels of men and women who had not yet developed dementia. Those patients whose homocysteine levels measured over 14 micromoles a liter while they were still healthy were twice as likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease later on.

That doesn't mean that if you have high homocysteine levels, you will get Alzheimer's, or that low homocysteine levels will protect you from dementia. It's not even certain, warns Dr. Sudha Seshadri, a neurologist at Boston University who led the study, that "lowering homocysteine levels will lower the risk of Alzheimer's." But the case for adding folic acid to your diet is getting better all the time.

Of course the best source of any vitamin is a healthy diet. For those of us who still don't eat our beans and vegetables, most multivitamins contain the recommended daily folic-acid dose of 400 micrograms. (Eating four slices of enriched bread gives you the equivalent of roughly 100 micrograms.) There is no risk of overdose, although high levels of folic acid can mask the signs of pernicious anemia in people who have developed the disorder. Folic acid by itself may not keep the doctor away, but there's no harm trying.

Again, an entire article on folic acid, but where do we get it from? Beans and vegetables? Or liver? No mention on that. I wonder how the eskimos, or the plaines indians, or the Homo Sapiens who ranged across the frozen wasteland hunting big game during the ice age got their folic acid? From the meat they ate every day, or from vegetables that were not cultivated yet, or beans that are poisonous unless soaked and cooked and don't grow in the snow? Maybe vitamin pills? I don't know if it's the lefty pro animal agenda, or just an unwillingness to allow any doubt to be cast on the "meat causes heart disease" party line. But I just find it amazing to find article after article and very few will mention meat as a source for these crucial B vitamins! At one time every family in America saw liver as a health food that should be eaten a few tiems a week. Now stores don't even sell liver! There are only two butchers in Chicago that I know of where I can get it, and I actually order grassed liver and have it shipped to me! One store told me they don't sell it any more because of mad cow disease! WTF!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Folic Acid | Caremark Health Resources

Folic Acid | Caremark Health Resources

Why is folic acid so important?

The reason you hear so much about folic acid and pregnancy is because this B vitamin protects against a group of serious birth defects.


However, if you're like most women, you don't get enough folic acid (officially known as B9) from your diet alone. For this reason, doctors often recommend that women who are pregnant or trying to conceive take prenatal vitamins containing folic acid.


What's the evidence?

Studies have shown that getting enough folic acid before conception and during the early months of pregnancy can prevent up to 70 percent of birth defects known as neural tube defects. These types of birth defects, which include spina bifida and anencephaly, are among the most serious birth defects. Spina bifida occurs when the fetus' spinal column does not close to protect the spinal cord. It can cause severe neurological problems and sometimes mental retardation. Anencephaly is a condition in which the baby's brain does not develop properly and most or all of the brain tissue is absent.


Since 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required manufacturers to fortify some grain products, including flour, pasta, and rice, with folic acid to ensure that women get more of the vitamin in their diets. The program has been a great success. In March 2004, researchers announced that the incidence of neural tube defects decreased by 20 percent in the U.S. since folic acid fortification was implemented in 1998.


How much folic acid do I need?

The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women of childbearing age take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day, the amount contained in many multivitamins. However, most prenatal vitamins contain 800 micrograms, which is the amount recommended for pregnant women by the FDA. If you're pregnant or even hoping to conceive, your health-care provider will probably suggest that you take the higher amount. You don't need to be concerned about getting too much because folic acid is water-soluble, meaning your body will flush out any excess.


Don't panic if you didn't know you were pregnant and failed to take folate right away. Neural tube defects are uncommon even among those who don't take supplements. But because the baby's neural tubes close during the first four weeks of development, it's important to start taking folic acid if there's any chance you might conceive, or as soon as you know you're pregnant. Folic acid is most protective against birth defects during this period.


"The key is that taking folate can reduce a low baseline risk much closer to zero," says Michael Potter, MD, associate professor at the University of California at San Francisco's School of Medicine. "So everyone planning a pregnancy, or in the early stages of pregnancy should take it. It's such an easy thing to do."


Can I get enough folic acid from my diet?

Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, which is found naturally in some foods, including leafy vegetables, beans, citrus fruits, and whole grains. But it's best to take a prenatal vitamin containing folate in case you don't get enough from your meals. If you have severe morning sickness and can't tolerate prenatal vitamins, make sure to take a separate folic acid supplement.


Which foods are especially high in folate?

One of the best sources is leafy green vegetables, so salads can be a good choice. Flour, rice, and pasta are all fortified with folic acid, so meals that include these ingredients, are also good for you. If by any chance you like liver, it's the best source of folic acid of all: One serving of chicken liver has 770 micrograms!



Hmmm.... eat liver like humans have eaten for 2 million years, or eat fortified spaghetti that's been around for about 3 years. What would be more natural?

What Is Homocysteine?

What Is Homocysteine?

What Is Homocysteine?

Homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood. Epidemiological studies have shown that too much homocysteine in the blood (plasma) is related to a higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.

Other evidence suggests that homocysteine may have an effect on atherosclerosis by damaging the inner lining of arteries and promoting blood clots. However, a direct causal link hasn’t been established.

Plasma homocysteine levels are strongly influenced by diet, as well as by genetic factors. The dietary components with the greatest effects are folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12. Folic acid and other B vitamins help break down homocysteine in the body. Several studies have found that higher blood levels of B vitamins are related, at least partly, to lower concentrations of homocysteine. Other recent evidence shows that low blood levels of folic acid are linked with a higher risk of fatal coronary heart disease and stroke.

Several clinical trials are under way to test whether lowering homocysteine will reduce CHD risk. Recent data show that the institution of folate fortification of foods has reduced the average level of homocysteine in the U.S. population.

Recent findings suggest that laboratory testing for plasma homocysteine levels can improve the assessment of risk. It may be particularly useful in patients with a personal or family history of cardiovascular disease, but in whom the well-established risk factors (smoking, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure) do not exist.

Although evidence for the benefit of lowering homocysteine levels is lacking, patients at high risk should be strongly advised to be sure to get enough folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 in their diet. Foods high in folic acid include green, leafy vegetables and grain products fortified with folic acid. But this is just one risk factor. A physician taking any type of nutritional approach to reducing risk should consider a person's overall risk factor profile and total diet.

Ha ha ha! Homocysteine is the new thing. New evidence implicates it in Alzheimer's, heart disease, diabetes, concentration problems, even depression and more. They can test your homocysteine levels. What stops homocysteine? Folic Acid, B6, and B12.

Also, about that folic acid. Here's DuPage warning us about getting more of it...


DuPage County Health Department promotes Folic acid awareness campaign

The DuPage County Health Department is supporting a national campaign to make people aware of the importance of folic acid in their diets and its many lifelong benefits.

Folic acid is important to all people, but especially women of childbearing age. They should take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day, even if they do not plan to become pregnant in the near future. Folic acid must be taken before pregnancy occurs to prevent certain birth defects called neural tube defects.

The best source of folic acid is a daily multi-vitamin. The next best source is fortified foods.

The Health Department reminds people about the value of folic acid with the current popularity of low-carbohydrate diets. People may be curtailing their intake of carbohydrates such as fortified grains and may be unaware that they are not getting essential vitamins and minerals necessary for health and well being, such as folic acid.

The theme of the National Folic Acid Awareness Week, Jan. 24-30, is “Folic Acid: You Don’t Know What You’re Missing.” Folic acid is a B-vitamin necessary for proper cell growth in men and women. Folic acid may reduce the risk of birth defects, such as cleft lip, cleft palate and heart defects, the risk of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and colon, cervical and breast cancer.

All breads and cereals now have to be fortified with it by law! Super important for pregnant women! And those poor low carbers might be missing out!

But wait! Where do you get B6 and B12, to stop the deadly artery clogging homocysteine? Well, those are the MEAT VITAMINS, and you need to eat meat to get them! The vitamins everyone is pushing aren't as good. I love how they say you need b6, b12 and folic, so eat the vegies that have folic acid. And the other two? You need to eat meat, so the heart association tells you to get the B-vitamins but doesn't tell you how!

Here's the kicker- our caveman ancestors didn't have vitamins! And they didn't eat grain- it wasn't invented until very recently! They ate meat, and lots of it! They were swimming in B-vitamins! And the folic acid, that DuPage worries the low carbers won't get? The best source for that is LIVER! Every meat eating culture in the world has prized liver as the original superfood, high in muscle building Vitamin A and cancer fighting/ brain building Vitamin D.

So if you want to fight heart disease, you need vitamins you can only get from meat. But the heart association says that meat is bad, so eat spaghetti fortified with folic acid! What a joke! Welcome to the world of diabetes! I guess the American Heart Association has a profit sharing thing with the American Diabetes association!

Say no to GRAIN! Say YES to MEAT AND LIVER!

Expect the Best? Placebos Are for You!: Scientific American

Expect the Best? Placebos Are for You!: Scientific American

Expect the Best? Placebos Are for You!
New study links expectations of rewards to placebo effect
By Nikhil Swaminathan

HELPS IF YOU'RE OPTIMISTIC: New research finds that people who expect rewards in a gambling game also tend to feel a more pronounced placebo effect during pain tests.

Individual expectations of rewards may explain why some people feel better after receiving fake drug treatments—a phenomenon known as "the placebo effect."

A new study using different brain imaging techniques linked the intensity of an individual's individual placebo effect to the amount of dopamine (a neurotransmitter involved in the pleasure and reward pathway) released in a midbrain region called the nucleus accumbens. Researchers at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor specifically demonstrated that those who were more responsive to phony pills were also more likely to expect to win big in a gambling game.

"If you have the capacity to respond to reward, then you have the placebo effect," says neuroscientist and radiologist Jon-Kar Zubieta, senior author of the new study published this week in Neuron.

A Survival Imperative for Space Colonization - New York Times

A Survival Imperative for Space Colonization - New York Times

In 1993, J. Richard Gott III computed with scientific certainty that humanity would survive at least 5,100 more years. At the time, I took that as reason to relax, but Dr. Gott has now convinced me I was wrong. He has issued a wake-up call: To ensure our long-term survival, we need to get a colony up and running on Mars within 46 years.

Viktor Koen

TierneyLab


More about the Copernican Principle and the debate surrounding it. Join the discussion.
Go to TierneyLab »
Further Reading
"Longevity of the Human Spaceflight Program." J. Richard Gott III. American Institute of Physics Conference Proceedings, Volume 886, 2007.
"How to Predict Future Duration from Present Age." Bradley Monton and Brian Kierland. The Philosophical Quarterly, January, 2006.
"An Empirical Critique of Two Versions of the Doomsday Argument – Gott's Line and Leslie's Wedge." Elliott Sober, Synthese, Vol. 135, 2003.
"Predicting Future Duration from Present Age: a Critical Assessment." Carlton M. Caves. Contemporary Physics, Vol. 41, 2000. (PDF)
"Implications of the Copernican Principle for Our Future Prospects." J. Richard Gott III. Nature, May 27, 1993.
Anthropic-Principle.com. Nick Bostrom.
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Viktor Koen


If you’re not awakened yet, I understand. It’s only prudent to be skeptical of people who make scientific forecasts about the end of humanity. Dr. Gott, a professor of astrophysics at Princeton, got plenty of grief after he made his original prediction in 1993. But in the ensuing 14 years, his prophetic credentials have strengthened, and not merely because humanity is still around.

Dr. Gott has used his technique to successfully forecast the longevity of Broadway plays, newspapers, dogs and, most recently, the tenure in office of hundreds of political leaders around the world. He bases predictions on just one bit of data, how long something has lasted already; and on one assumption, that there is nothing special about the particular moment that you’re observing this phenomenon. This assumption is called the Copernican Principle, after the astronomer who assumed he wasn’t seeing the universe from a special spot in the center.

Suppose you want to forecast the political longevity of the leader of a foreign country, and you know nothing about her country except that she has just finished her 39th week in power. What are the odds that she’ll leave office in her 40th week? According to the Copernican Principle, there’s nothing special about this week, so there’s only a 1-in-40 chance, or 2.5 percent, that she’s now in the final week of her tenure.

It’s equally unlikely that she’s still at the very beginning of her tenure. If she were just completing the first 2.5 percent of her time in power, that would mean her remaining time would be 39 times as long as the period she’s already served — 1,521 more weeks (a little more than 29 years).

So you can now confidently forecast that she will stay in power at least one more week but not as long as 1,521 weeks. The odds of your being wrong are 2.5 percent on the short end and 2.5 percent on the long end — a total of just 5 percent, which means that your forecast has an expected accuracy of 95 percent, the scientific standard for statistical significance.

And you can apply this Copernican formula to lots of other phenomena by assuming they’re neither in the first 2.5 percent nor the final 2.5 percent of their life spans.

Now, that range is so broad it may not seem terribly useful to you, and Dr. Gott readily concedes that his Copernican formula often is not the ideal method. The best the formula could do regarding Bill Clinton, who had been president for 127 days when the 1993 paper in Nature was published, was predict he would serve at least three more days but not more than 13.6 more years. You could have gotten a narrower range by using other information, like actuarial data from previous presidencies, or factoring in the unlikelihood that the Constitution would be changed so he could serve more than two terms.

But the beauty of the Copernican formula is that it allows you to make predictions when you don’t have any other information, which is how Dr. Gott managed to predict the tenure of virtually every other nation’s leader that day in 1993 — a total of 313 leaders. If none of those still in power stays in office beyond age 100, Dr. Gott’s accuracy rate will turn out to be almost exactly 95 percent.

Some philosophers and experts in probability theory have argued that Dr. Gott is making unwarranted deductions from past life spans, and that it is wrong to assume there is nothing special about the moment we’ve chosen to make a forecast. (See www.tierneylab.com for details of the debate.) But last year two philosophers, Bradley Monton and Brian Kierland, analyzed the criticisms and concluded in an article in the Philosophical Quarterly that Dr. Gott had indeed come up with a useful tool for difficult situations — like trying to forecast doomsday without data from other planets.

The Copernican formula predicts, based solely on our 200,000-year track record, that the human race is likely to survive at least 5,100 more years but not longer than 7.8 million — roughly the same prediction you’d make based on the longevity of past mammals on Earth, Dr. Gott says.

That upper limit is a disappointment to those of us who imagine humans multiplying across the universe for billions of years. Dr. Gott doesn’t rule out that possibility, but the Copernican Principle makes him conclude it is unlikely.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

ADHD Behavior Attention Focus Concentration

ADHD Behavior Attention Focus Concentration

ADHD Behavioral Patterns
The following patterns have been found in Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) children and adults. The patterns are identified through a combination of professional research and twenty-seven years of clinical experience with ADHD.

Difficulty Understanding Sequence
Life moves in a series of sequences, one event connected to another and to another as our activities continue. ADHD children/adults have difficulty with understanding sequences, creating a variety of problems. For example, if you have an appointment in your hometown, you anticipate the amount of time needed to prepare, drive to the office, park the car, and register - perhaps 60 minutes. For ADHD Johnny, the short attention span makes understanding sequences very difficult. Getting ready for school is a nightmare as ADHD children don't understand that time is involved in every activity. They somehow figure you can get out of bed at 7:45 am, shower, eat breakfast, brush their teeth, gather their books, and get dressed -all before the bus arrives at 8:00 am.

The inability to understand sequences is the cause for the amazing ability of ADHD children/adults to always get caught when doing something wrong. ADHD children/adults are unable to be "sneaky" due to this trait. As a parent, you can watch the ADHD child grab a cola from the refrigerator and sit in the next room to watch television. You walk in, notice the cola is spilled, and question them about the spill - to which they reply "I didn't do it!" ADHD children can't figure out how you know the sequence of events that allows adults to figure out who did what. They can't project sequence forward or backward.

This inability to understand sequence and time creates many problems for the ADHD teenager. Told to be home at 7:00 pm, the ADHD teenager leaves at 6:00 pm to visit a friend. They walk to the local video store where they meet a friend with a new game. They follow the friend home to check out the game. A contest follows and the friend's mother provides soda and snacks so the ADHD teenager doesn't get hungry. Eventually, the friend's family bluntly tells the ADHD teenager to go home - it's 10:00 pm! Upon returning home, the ADHD teenager is at a loss to explain why he's three hours late, didn't call, and was rude to stay too long at the friend's home. Despite grounding, the same behavior is repeated within a few days.

"I don't know"
When confronted with a misbehavior and asked "Why did you do that?", the number one response from an ADHD child is "I don't know!" This response is a combination of two behaviors in ADHD children, the lack of sequence understanding and the presence of tangential behavior. In geometry, a tangent is the single point at which two separate objects touch. Due to a short attention span, ADHD children jump from one activity to another, the two activities often linked together by a glance. If asked to clean the top of their desk, they wipe a bit, examine the lamp, read a comic, staple a few things, pull tape from the dispenser, and reprogram the phone - one behavior leading to another as they look around the desk. Asked why the desk isn't cleaned off or why the phone is now reprogrammed to call only video stores - "I don't know" is the reply. ADHD children can't remember the sequence of events that ended with a reprogrammed phone. It's not unusual to send an ADHD student to the garage for a hammer, finding him/her 45 minutes later in the process of disassembling the lawn mower. Asked why - "I don't know!"

Hyperfocus and Outbursts
ADHD Children have very low levels of attention, focus, and concentration. Normal concentration/attention allows us to listen to conversation or watch a television program with extra attention to spare - to monitor the environment, listen for the oven buzzer or others in the house. ADHD Children may only have half the concentration of non-ADHD individuals. For this reason, if they intensely focus on a television program or play a computer game, they have no extra attention with which to monitor their environment. When playing a game, they don't hear calls for lunch because all 50% of their attention is on the game.

Both research and clinical experience tells us that ADHD Children can exhibit a type of "hyperfocus" - intense concentration and single-minded focus when the activity is very interesting. This situation is most often found when ADHD Children play computer games. ADHD Children may have an amazing ability to hyperfocus on a computer game, one of the few things that moves fast enough to maintain their attention, unlike homework or routine chores.

The hyperfocus found in ADHD Children is not a normal type of concentration or focus. Remembering the neurochemical aspects of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), hyperfocus requires the child to use the maximum attention and sustained concentration available. For parents and teachers, imagine trying to thread a needle, in low light, while sitting in a row boat in the ocean - the waves tossing and rolling all the time. The amount of concentration required to thread that needle makes us anxious, tense, and irritable - as if somebody were asking us questions while we were trying to thread that needle. This is way ADHD Johnny is so fidgety while trying to listen to your conversation or correction.

In ADHD Children, hyperfocus allows them to participate in computer games or watch high-action movies - but at a cost. The amount of energy being used makes them very irritable. If a parent interrupts the computer game or movie with a question, a call for lunch, or a request - the ADHD Children is likely to explode in a burst of verbal or physical aggression. His or her concentration has been broken and that neurochemical activity spills out into the room, or is directed at the interrupting source. It's not uncommon for ADHD Children, upon losing a computer game, to throw controllers or objects, stomp, scream, or behave in a way that tells us they are very upset. As a parent or teacher, we are shocked at their overreaction to such a minor situation. To see it from the viewpoint of an ADHD Children - imaging trying to thread that needle for 30 minutes - then accidentally dropping the needle overboard. We'd have a few choice words or a bit of behavior problem as well.

Dealing with hyperfocus requires patience and a minimal reaction to their overreaction. Interrupting ADHD Children who are hyperfocusing will always bring an inappropriate reaction, typically a verbal outburst. Parents are advised to not focus on their overreaction but remain on the topic. For example, interrupting ADHD Johnny's videogame to ask for help in the kitchen is likely to prompt a loud reaction such as "Why do I have to help! Sally never does anything! It's always me!" and so on for about five minutes. After the outburst, the parent might address the comments superficially but stick to the request as in "If you think I treat you unfairly, we can get together in an hour after lunch and discuss it. But right now, I need you to help me set the table."

What is Attention Deficit Disorder Anyway? by Linda Anderson

What is Attention Deficit Disorder Anyway? by Linda Anderson

What is Attention Deficit Disorder Anyway?
by Linda Anderson, A.C.T., MCC


-- a quick primer for those of you who aren't quite sure.

ADD is a biological, neurologically based and sometimes genetically based condition affecting 5% of all children. Researchers now believe that there are many adults with this condition who were never diagnosed and may never have outgrown the condition from childhood.

Learning disabilities are often associated with ADD. Hyperactivity *at times* is associated with ADD and is referred to as ADHD.

The American Psychiatric Association indicates specific criteria for diagnosing an adult with ADD. The most basic criteria is that the symptoms noted existed before the age of seven and were chronic and pervasive. The following is a list of characteristics commonly associated with Attention Deficit Disorder. Not every person diagnosed with ADD has all of these characteristics:

Difficulty getting organized
Chronic procrastination
Many projects going simultaneously
Impulsive action and speech
Need for high stimulation
Easily distracted, trouble focusing
Easily bored
Poor short term memory
Difficulty following proper procedures
Impatient, easily frustrated
Worry needlessly, endlessly
Restless - mentally, physically or both
Addictive behavior
Sleep disturbances
Low self esteem

Some other possible characteristics are:

Job related problems
Difficulty with co-workers
Problems with authority
Inability to take criticism
Mood swings, depression
Being a loner.

The other side of these more familiar negative characteristics of ADD are its positive aspects. Individuals with ADD are often highly intelligent, creative and intuitive. They can be full of energy, enthusiastic, always ready to try something new. They can have a youthful outlook whatever their age, a great resilience to disappointment, a willingness - even an eagerness - to explore new concepts and technologies, and are tolerant of others' lifestyles and points of view. If they get stuck, they may explore new strategies and develop innovative, creative solutions to problems. The can vent their anger and not hold a grudge, look past the surface to the core of people, situations and issues, and engage wholeheartedly in their efforts because they do what they want to do rather than what they "should" do. They are frequently artistic - musicians, actors, painters, dancers.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bodyfat causes insulin resistance , vasular disease

"Vasocrine" signalling from perivascular fat: A mechanism linking insulin resistance to vascular disease

Journal: Lancet. 2005 May 21-27;365(9473):1817-20.

Authors and affiliation: Yudkin JS, Eringa E, Stehouwer CD. Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease Academic Unit, Department of Medicine, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK. [E-mail: j.yudkin@ucl.ac.uk ]

PMID: 15910955

Adipose tissue expresses cytokines that inhibit insulin signaling pathways in liver and muscle. Obesity also results in impairment of endothelium-dependent vasodilatation in response to insulin. We propose a vasoregulatory role for local deposits of fat around the origin of arterioles supplying skeletal muscle.

Isolated first-order arterioles from rat cremaster muscle are under dual regulation by insulin, which activates both endothelin-1 mediated vasoconstriction and nitric-oxide-mediated vasodilatation. In obese rat arterioles, insulin-stimulated NO synthesis is impaired, resulting in unopposed vasoconstriction.

We propose that this vasoconstriction is the consequence of production of the adipocytokine tumour necrosis factor alpha from the cuff of fat seen surrounding the origin of the arteriole in obese rats - a depot to which we ascribe a specialist vasoregulatory role.

We suggest that this cytokine accesses the nutritive vascular tree to inhibit insulin-mediated capillary recruitment - a mechanism we term "vasocrine" signaling. We also suggest a homology between this vasoactive periarteriolar fat and both periarterial and visceral fat, which may explain relations between visceral fat, insulin resistance, and vascular disease.

Some recent evidence disputes, this, arguing that insulin insensitivity causes bodyfat, and not the other way around. Although there could be multiple links. Even Reaven, who invented syndrome X, isn't keen on the idea that obesity and insulin resistance are one in the same. But fat is an active player, not an inert lump, that's for sure.

HEALTH CARE BLOG: Overweight and Obesity

HEALTH CARE BLOG: Overweight and Obesity

Sunday, July 15, 2007
Overweight and Obesity

The number of overweight and obese children in the United States is growing at a phenomenal rate. On the whole, kids are spending less time exercising and more time in front of the TV, computer, or video game console. And today's busy families have fewer free moments to prepare wholesome, home-cooked meals, day in and day out. From fast food to electronics, quick and easy seems to be the mindset of many people, young and old, in the new millennium.

Since the 1960s, the number of overweight kids and adolescents in the United States has nearly doubled. Today, 10% of 2- to 5-year-olds and more than 15% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight. And a whopping 31% of adults are also obese. Studies indicate that overweight and obese adolescents have up to an 80% chance of becoming overweight and obese adults, especially if one or more parent has the same condition.

Overcoming overweight and obesity in your own children means adapting the way you and your family eat and exercise and the way you spend time together. Ensuring that your children lead a healthy lifestyle begins with you, the parent, and leading by example.

Blah blah blah. Obesity crisis. Diabetes. Kids are fat. Why? Too much fat in fast food! Oh, not enough exercise in gym class! Kids use food for emotional support! And genetics too! Too much TV! Video games! Parents teach bad eating habits! Not enough time for sit down dinners!

Okay, but WHY now? Yeah, the kids want what at McDonalds? Fries, coke, hamburger, dessert. You really mean to tell me if you got rid of the beef patty and let the kids eat the rest of it, that would be a balanced meal?

Interestingly enough, cats are having and obesity and diabetes crisis. So are horses. Isn't that strange? Too much TV, or emotional eating? Or how about this from a newsletter on keeping horses in good shape as they age....

Keep old horses healthy

"I'm here to stamp out grain," Loving stated simply. "Horses don't normally consume grains in the wild. All the research shows that there is an increased risk of colic from feeding grain. You might think your horse needs more calories so you offer him grain, but it's processed in the small intestine rather than in the large hindgut, and this creates a potpourri of alterations to digestive health. In any case you can eliminate grain, do so because it can really create problems, such as gastric ulcers, obesity, obesity-associated laminitis, insulin resistance, colic, etc.

I'm sure grain doesn't cause insulin resistance and obesity in humans! We eat it all the time, and we're all as healthy as, ... well, never mind.

"Instead, if he needs extra calories, use beet pulp, rice bran, vegetable oil, alfalfa pellets, or complete feed pellets," she recommended. "Mashes are easier to eat, and it's more palatable if it's easier to eat. Any kind of oil you can find is okay, as horses are very well adapted to using fat as a caloric source."

Old and overweight "The leading cause of obesity is improper nutrition, not endocrine (hormone) disturbance," Loving stated. "I feel that obesity is a form of malnutritional abuse. Overfeeding is often done with the best of intentions, but these horses can founder and experience significant pain.

"Fat becomes an endocrine (hormone-secreting) organ at any age--it increases cortisol (often called stress hormone)," she said. "This can result in insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. (For more information on the metabolic effects of body fat, see "Adipobiology: The Study of Fat", www.TheHorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=9897.)

"For fat horses, cut their food down to about 70% of their needs--don't crash diet them," she recommended. "Weigh their feed--you can't just eyeball it. Soaking hay in a tub of water is said to remove some of the NSC (nonstructural carbohydrates, or starches) that causes some of the weight problem. Exercise the horse if he has no musculoskeletal problem. Plus horses do just fine with a grazing muzzle to limit feed intake so you can turn them out to exercise on pasture."

Grains, bread, sugar, trans fats. Yeah, don't worry about any of that. We were never evolved to eat that stuff, but just worry about the animal fats. Never mind that we've been eating animal fats for millions of years. All of a sudden, it's bad for you. These poor kids under assault from their peers and parents for being overweight, and being given cereal, and sub sandwiches, and snackwell's low fat crackers and pop.