Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Magnesium Supplements May Help Lower High Blood Pressure

Magnesium Supplements May Help Lower High Blood Pressure:

"Magnesium supplements have a small but significant effect on lowering blood pressure, according to a study in this month's Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association."

Romantic comedies mar love lives-Health/Sci-The Times of India

Romantic comedies mar love lives-Health/Sci-The Times of India

LONDON: Romantic comedies
may have fired love lives of many for long. Yet, a new study has claimed that watching the popular flicks could spoil
relationships as they create unrealistic expectations.

Researchers in Edinburgh have carried out the study and found that people who watch romantic comedies are more likely to believe in predestined love than those who prefer to see other genres of movie.

According to them, unlikely happy endings, improbable plots and faux philosophy are to blame -- in fact, seeing even a single romantic comedy is enough to sway people's attitudes to romantic love.

"Marriage counsellors often see couples who believe that sex should always be perfect, and if someone is meant to be with you then they will know what you want without you needing to communicate it.

"We now have some emerging evidence that suggests popular media play a role in perpetuating these ideas in people's minds.

"The problem is that while most of us know that the idea of a perfect relationship is unrealistic, some of us are still more influenced by media portrayals than we realise," lead researcher Dr Bjarne Holmes said.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Low Carbohydrate Diet Did Not Increase Bone Loss, Study Finds

Low Carbohydrate Diet Did Not Increase Bone Loss, Study Finds:

"A strict low-carbohydrate diet had no effect on bone loss for adults following an Adkins-type diet for weight loss, a three-month study by rheumatologists at the University of South Florida found. The clinical study was published this week in the online issue of the journal Osteoporosis International.

Low carbohydrate diets have become popular as a weight loss technique; however, critics contend such diets may have harmful side effects. One concern has been that low carbohydrate diets, which replace calories from carbohydrates with more consumption of high-protein foods like meat and eggs, alter the body's acid balance. This imbalance could lead to increased bone turnover (more rapid depletion than formation of bone) -- increasing the risk for osteoporosis.

"That's not what our study found," said lead author John D. Carter, assistant professor in the Division of Rheumatology, USF College of Medicine. "Patients on the low carbohydrate diet did lose weight, but the diet did not appear to compromise bone integrity or lead to bone loss." "

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Dana Foundation - The Prefrontal Cortex and Frontal Lobe Disorders : An Interview with Jordan Grafman, Ph.D.

The Dana Foundation - The Prefrontal Cortex and Frontal Lobe Disorders : An Interview with Jordan Grafman, Ph.D.

My research indicates that the human prefrontal cortex is especially designed to store in long-term memory the features that are unique to large structured sets of sequential events such as themes, morals, and plans. This enables us to put off immediate gratification, and allows us to out-think faster and stronger competitors. These observations form the foundation for the notion that the human prefrontal cortex is a crowning achievement of the human brain and that, like the rest of the brain, is a work in progress.

Q: You consider the prefrontal cortex to be the seat of “social cognition” and possibly “moral cognition” as well. What do these terms mean and what leads you to these conclusions?

A: Social cognition refers to the long-term memories we access when we interact socially with others, and that guide our social behaviors in routine and novel situations. These long-term memories contain information about how we accomplished social goals—from obtaining permission to do something, to taking leadership, to collaborating on a project —and incorporate information about perception and action. Moral cognition is a specific example of social cognition that pertains to ethical, legal, and “folk” justice, beliefs, and rules.

My colleagues and I (and others) have argued that the pre­frontal cortex is uniquely suited to manage social and moral cognition because it aids us in controlling our immediate reactions to a stimulus (like a face or gesture) and is critical for forecasting the consequences of a current behavior on a long-term goal. While other species have social cognitive abili­ties and some rudimentary features of moral cognition, social cognitive abilities reach their peak in humans (as does the anatomy and physiology of the prefrontal cortex). Like the prefrontal cortex, social cognition only matures in the second decade of life and shows some decline in old age.

In addition, brain damage in the prefrontal cortex due to head injuries, strokes, and dementing illnesses (among other brain disorders) often result in altered social cognitive abilities. Patients with lesions in the prefrontal cortex may behave inap­propriately in public, violating social rules such as personal space maintenance, social contracts, or inappropriate verbal­izations. The earliest example of this comes from the famous brain-injured patient Phineas Gage, but many modern-day Gages have been reported in great detail, highlighting the unfortunate case histories of these patients.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sugar Can Be Addictive: Animal Studies Show Sugar Dependence

Sugar Can Be Addictive: Animal Studies Show Sugar Dependence:

"A Princeton University scientist will present new evidence today demonstrating that sugar can be an addictive substance, wielding its power over the brains of lab animals in a manner similar to many drugs of abuse.

Professor Bart Hoebel and his team in the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute have been studying signs of sugar addiction in rats for years. Until now, the rats under study have met two of the three elements of addiction. They have demonstrated a behavioral pattern of increased intake and then showed signs of withdrawal. His current experiments captured craving and relapse to complete the picture.

"If bingeing on sugar is really a form of addiction, there should be long-lasting effects in the brains of sugar addicts," Hoebel said. "Craving and relapse are critical components of addiction, and we have been able to demonstrate these behaviors in sugar-bingeing rats in a number of ways."

Hoebel will report on profound behavioral changes in rats that, through experimental conditions, have been trained to become dependent on high doses of sugar.

"We have the first set of comprehensive studies showing the strong suggestion of sugar addiction in rats and a mechanism that might underlie it," Hoebel said. The findings eventually could have implications for the treatment of humans with eating disorders, he said.

Lab animals, in Hoebel's experiments, that were denied sugar for a prolonged period after learning to binge worked harder to get it when it was reintroduced to them. They consumed more sugar than they ever had before, suggesting craving and relapse behavior. Their motivation for sugar had grown. "In this case, abstinence makes the heart grow fonder," Hoebel said.

The rats drank more alcohol than normal after their sugar supply was cut off, showing that the bingeing behavior had forged changes in brain function. These functions served as "gateways" to other paths of destructive behavior, such as increased alcohol intake. And, after receiving a dose of amphetamine normally so minimal it has no effect, they became significantly hyperactive. The increased sensitivity to the psychostimulant is a long-lasting brain effect that can be a component of addiction, Hoebel said.

Hoebel has shown that rats eating large amounts of sugar when hungry, a phenomenon he describes as sugar-bingeing, undergo neurochemical changes in the brain that appear to mimic those produced by substances of abuse, including cocaine, morphine and nicotine. Sugar induces behavioral changes, too. "In certain models, sugar-bingeing causes long-lasting effects in the brain and increases the inclination to take other drugs of abuse, such as alcohol," Hoebel said.

Hoebel and his team also have found that a chemical known as dopamine is released in a region of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens when hungry rats drink a sugar solution. This chemical signal is thought to trigger motivation and, eventually with repetition, addiction.

Hungry rats that binge on sugar provoke a surge of dopamine in their brains. After a month, the structure of the brains of these rats adapts to increased dopamine levels, showing fewer of a certain type of dopamine receptor than they used to have and more opioid receptors. These dopamine and opioid systems are involved in motivation and reward, systems that control wanting and liking something. Similar changes also are seen in the brains of rats on cocaine and heroin.

In experiments, the researchers have been able to induce signs of withdrawal in the lab animals by taking away their sugar supply. The rats' brain levels of dopamine dropped and, as a result, they exhibited anxiety as a sign of withdrawal. The rats' teeth chattered, and the creatures were unwilling to venture forth into the open arm of their maze, preferring to stay in a tunnel area. Normally rats like to explore their environment, but the rats in sugar withdrawal were too anxious to explore."

Fructose Sets Table For Weight Gain Without Warning

Fructose Sets Table For Weight Gain Without Warning:

"Eating too much fructose can induce leptin resistance, a condition that can easily lead to becoming overweight when combined with a high-fat, high-calorie diet, according to a new study with rats.

Although previous studies have shown that being leptin resistant can lead to rapid weight gain on a high-fat, high-calorie diet, this is the first study to show that leptin resistance can develop as a result of high fructose consumption. The study also showed for the first time that leptin resistance can develop silently, that is, with little indication that it is happening.

Leptin is a hormone that plays a role in helping the body to balance food intake with energy expenditure. When leptin isn’t working -- that is, when the body no longer responds to the leptin it produces -- it’s called leptin resistance. Leptin resistance is associated with weight gain and obesity in the face of a high-fat, high-calorie diet.

Obesity has been a growing problem in the U.S. and in other parts of the world and fructose has been suspected of playing a role. Fructose is the sugar found in fruit, but it’s not the normal consumption of fruit that is the problem. Table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are about 50% fructose and these ingredients have become increasingly common in many foods and beverages. With sugar and high-fructose corn syrup being added to many foods, people now eat much more fructose than ever before.

There was only one difference at the end of the six months: The rats on the high-fructose diet had higher levels of triglycerides in their blood.

The researchers discovered that the rats on the high-fructose diet were leptin resistant, that is, they did not lower their food intake when given leptin. The no-fructose animals responded normally to leptin by eating less.

This first six months of the study showed that leptin resistance can develop silently. “Usually, leptin resistance is associated with obesity, but in this case, leptin resistance developed without obesity,” Shapiro said. “This was very surprising.”

Role of diet

Having seen that leptin resistance could develop silently, the researchers next wanted to find out what would happen if they switched the rats to a high-fat, high-calorie diet -- the kind many Americans eat. They found that the animals exposed to the high-fructose diet, the leptin resistant rats, ate more and gained much more weight and fat than the leptin responsive animals on the fructose-free diet. All told, this study showed that leptin resistance can:

* develop by eating a lot of fructose
* develop silently, that is, with very little indication it is happening
* result in weight gain when paired with a high fat, calorie dense diet
"

Study Suggests A Possible Link Between High-Starch Diet And Pancreatic Cancer

Study Suggests A Possible Link Between High-Starch Diet And Pancreatic Cancer:

"A diet high in starchy foods such as potatoes, rice and white bread may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer in women who are overweight and sedentary, according to a new study by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health researchers.

Published in the Sept. 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the study suggests that excess insulin – a substance used by the body to process the sugar in foods – can promote the development of pancreatic cancer.

Nearly 30,000 men and women in the United States are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, and an equal number die from it. Pancreatic cancer typically is highly aggressive and is one of the least-curable malignancies. Only four percent of the people with pancreatic cancer are alive five years after diagnosis.

"Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that suggests that insulin may have a role in the development of pancreatic cancer," explains senior author Charles Fuchs, MD, of Dana-Farber. "Further research is needed, however, to track the connection in more detail."

Earlier laboratory studies have demonstrated that insulin encourages the growth of pancreatic cancer cells. Other studies have shown that people who are obese, physically inactive or have adult-onset diabetes mellitus tend to be "insulin resistant," causing them to produce larger-than-normal amounts of insulin to compensate and putting themselves at greater risk for pancreatic cancer. The new study explored whether women whose diets are heavy in foods that increase insulin production are likewise at elevated risk for pancreatic cancer. "

Too Much Fructose Could Leave Dieters Sugar Shocked

Too Much Fructose Could Leave Dieters Sugar Shocked

Dieters should focus on limiting the amount of fructose they eat instead of cutting out starchy foods such as bread, rice and potatoes, report the researchers, who propose using new dietary guidelines based on fructose to gauge how healthy foods are.

"There's a fair amount of evidence that starch-based foods don't cause weight gain like sugar-based foods and don't cause the metabolic syndrome like sugar-based foods," said Dr. Richard Johnson, the senior author of the report, which reviewed several recent studies on fructose and obesity. "Potatoes, pasta, rice may be relatively safe compared to table sugar. A fructose index may be a better way to assess the risk of carbohydrates related to obesity."

Many diets -- including the low-carb variety -- are based on the glycemic index, which measures how foods affect blood glucose levels. Because starches convert to glucose in the body, these diets tend to limit foods such as rice and potatoes.

While table sugar is composed of both glucose and fructose, fructose seems to be the more dangerous part of the equation, UF researchers say. Eating too much fructose causes uric acid levels to spike, which can block the ability of insulin to regulate how body cells use and store sugar and other nutrients for energy, leading to obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, said Johnson, the division chief of nephrology and the J. Robert Cade professor of nephrology in the UF College of Medicine. UF researchers first detailed the role of uric acid on insulin resistance and obesity in a 2005 study in rats.

"Certainly we don't think fructose is the only cause of the obesity epidemic," Johnson said. "Too many calories, too much junk food and too much high-fat food are also part of the problem. But we think that fructose may have the unique ability to induce insulin resistance and features of the metabolic syndrome that other foods don't do so easily."

Cutting Caffeine May Help Control Diabetes

Cutting Caffeine May Help Control Diabetes: "Daily consumption of caffeine in coffee, tea or soft drinks increases blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes and may undermine efforts to control their disease, say scientists at Duke University Medical Center.

The researchers found that when the participants consumed caffeine, their average daily sugar levels went up 8 per cent. Caffeine also exaggerated the rise in glucose after meals: increasing by 9 percent after breakfast, 15 percent after lunch and 26 per cent after dinner.

"We're not sure what it is about caffeine that drives glucose levels up, but we have a couple of theories," says Lane, who is the lead author of the study. "It could be that caffeine interferes with the process that moves glucose from the blood and into muscle and other cells in the body where it is used for fuel. It may also be that caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline -- the 'fight or flight" hormone that we know can also boost sugar levels."

Either way, he says, the higher sugar levels that result from caffeine are bad news for diabetic patients."

Type 1 Diabetes And Celiac Disease Linked

Type 1 Diabetes And Celiac Disease Linked:

"Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes and celiac disease appear to share a common genetic origin, scientists at the University of Cambridge and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, have confirmed."

Monday, December 08, 2008

Can Amphetamines Help Cure Cocaine and Meth Addiction? - TIME

Can Amphetamines Help Cure Cocaine and Meth Addiction? - TIME

Proponents of stimulant maintenance treatment also note this significant detail: Many stimulant abusers suffer from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While ADHD affects about 1% of the general population, according to Rush, it shows up in about 30% of cocaine and amphetamine addicts. Psychiatrists often hesitate to give hyperactivity drugs to patients with a history of addiction, but some studies suggest that maintenance may be exactly what this group needs — and that their drug abuse is an attempt to self-medicate. The studies that have included ADHD patients (many studies exclude them to avoid confounding) showed positive results. In one pilot study, conducted at Columbia University, maintenance treatment reduced cocaine use and craving in 12 cocaine addicts with ADHD.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Obesity And Metabolism: Weight Gain And The Growing Risk Of Cancer

Obesity And Metabolism: Weight Gain And The Growing Risk Of Cancer:

"COLON CANCER

'Colorectal cancer and type II diabetes share a number of common factors, including obesity, so it is interesting to see the direct line between these two conditions,' said Andrew Flood, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and the University of Minnesota Cancer Center 'In general, the idea is that if elevated insulin levels create a biochemical environment conducive to cancer growth, it provides one mechanism by which diet and lifestyle can really influence cancer risk.'

According to Flood, it is not exactly clear what aspect of diabetes is the underlying cause for this increased risk, but one hypothesis centers on the elevated concentration of insulin typically seen in people with type II diabetes. "In the early stages of the disease process, people become insulin resistant, meaning they must produce more and more insulin to regulate their blood sugar," Flood said.

"Even after frank diabetes begins, insulin levels remain chronically elevated for extended periods before the pancreas can no longer supply the level of insulin the body demands," Flood said. "If the elevated insulin is the problem, then pre-diabetics, who are also hyper-insulinemic, should also be at increased risk (for developing colorectal cancer)."

BREAST CANCER

"When looking at risk of diabetes and hypertension, breast cancer survivors really should talk to their oncologist about how to lower their insulin levels," said Melinda L. Irwin, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor at Yale University's School of Public Health. "The simple message is that breast cancer patients should take proven steps to lower their blood insulin levels, including exercise and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fat."

Uh, don't you mean a diet low in carbohydrate. Any dummy can measure their blood sugar and see that carbs raise your blood sugar/insulin, and meat/fat doesn't


When looking at just women with invasive breast cancer, the risk of death among women with high C-peptide levels was three times higher than among women with low C-peptide levels. "Our findings clearly show that C-peptide and most likely insulin, in and of itself, is a marker for breast cancer prognosis," Irwin said.

PROSTATE CANCER

Association of C-peptide concentration with prostate cancer incidence in a prospective cohort

While studies have consistently shown that men with diabetes are at a decreased risk for prostate cancer, the reasons have been unclear. By evaluating prostate cancer data from a large, long-term cohort study, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have shown that those with high concentrations of C-peptide -- a marker of high insulin secretion that is a hallmark of diabetes -- had a measurable decrease in prostate cancer risk.

"Metabolic perturbations influence cancer risk, that much is becoming clear to us, and we are learning more about the fundamental issues in biology that guide prostate cancer development," said Gabriel Lai, a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "One interesting possibility is that, over time, diabetics generally have less testosterone in their bloodstream than non-diabetics, which might lower risk of prostate cancer.""

Limiting Fructose May Boost Weight Loss, Researcher Reports

Limiting Fructose May Boost Weight Loss, Researcher Reports:

"One of the reasons people on low-carbohydrate diets may lose weight is that they reduce their intake of fructose, a type of sugar that can be made into body fat quickly, according to a researcher at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

[...]

"Our study shows for the first time the surprising speed with which humans make body fat from fructose," Dr. Parks said. Fructose, glucose and sucrose, which is a mixture of fructose and glucose, are all forms of sugar but are metabolized differently.

"All three can be made into triglycerides, a form of body fat; however, once you start the process of fat synthesis from fructose, it's hard to slow it down," she said.

In humans, triglycerides are predominantly formed in the liver, which acts like a traffic cop to coordinate the use of dietary sugars. It is the liver's job, when it encounters glucose, to decide whether the body needs to store the glucose as glycogen, burn it for energy or turn the glucose into triglycerides. When there's a lot of glucose to process, it is put aside to process later.

Fructose, on the other hand, enters this metabolic pathway downstream, bypassing the traffic cop and flooding the metabolic pathway.

"It's basically sneaking into the rock concert through the fence," Dr. Parks said. "It's a less-controlled movement of fructose through these pathways that causes it to contribute to greater triglyceride synthesis. The bottom line of this study is that fructose very quickly gets made into fat in the body."

Though fructose, a monosaccharide, or simple sugar, is naturally found in high levels in fruit, it is also added to many processed foods. Fructose is perhaps best known for its presence in the sweetener called high-fructose corn syrup or HFCS, which is typically 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose, similar to the mix that can be found in fruits. It has become the preferred sweetener for many food manufacturers because it is generally cheaper, sweeter and easier to blend into beverages than table sugar."

Keep in mind that regular sugar is 50% fructose also

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Lack Of Vitamin D Could Spell Heart Trouble

Lack Of Vitamin D Could Spell Heart Trouble:

"Vitamin D deficiency—which is traditionally associated with bone and muscle weakness—may also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). A growing body of evidence links low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels to common CVD risk factors such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes, as well as major cardiovascular events including stroke and congestive heart failure.

"Vitamin D deficiency is an unrecognized, emerging cardiovascular risk factor, which should be screened for and treated," said James H. O'Keefe, M.D., cardiologist and director of Preventive Cardiology at the Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO. "Vitamin D is easy to assess, and supplementation is simple, safe and inexpensive."

It is estimated that up to half of U.S. adults and 30 percent of children and teenagers have vitamin D deficiency, which is defined as a 25(OH)D level of <20ng/ml. Low vitamin D levels activate the renin-angiostensin-aldosterone system and, in doing so, predispose patients to hypertension and a stiffening and thickening of the heart and blood vessels. Vitamin D deficiency also alters hormone levels and immune function, which can increase the risk of diabetes, a major contributor to CVD.

Recent data from the Framingham Heart Study suggest patients with vitamin D levels below 15 ng/ml were twice as likely to experience a heart attack, stroke or other CV event within the next five years compared to those with higher levels. This risk remained even when researchers adjusted for traditional CV risk factors.

Treating Vitamin D Deficiency

In the absence of clinical guidelines, the authors outline specific recommendations for restoring and maintaining optimal vitamin D levels in CV patients. These patients should initially be treated with 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 or D3 once weekly for 8 to 12 weeks. Maintenance therapy should be continued using one of the following strategies:

* 50,000 IU vitamin D2 or D3every 2 weeks;
* 1,000 to 2,000 IU vitamin D3 daily;
* Sunlight exposure for 10 minutes for Caucasian patients (longer for people with increased skin pigmentation) between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Vitamin D supplements appear to be safe. In rare cases, vitamin D toxicity (causing high calcium levels and kidney stones) is possible, but only when taking in excess of 20,000 units a day."

Body Shape and Heart Disease Risk: Apple Or Pear Shape Is Not Main Culprit To Heart Woes -- It's Liver Fat

Body Shape and Heart Disease Risk: Apple Or Pear Shape Is Not Main Culprit To Heart Woes -- It's Liver Fat:

"For years, pear-shaped people who carry weight in the thighs and backside have been told they are at lower risk for high blood pressure and heart disease than apple-shaped people who carry fat in the abdomen. But new findings from nutrition researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggest body-shape comparisons don't completely explain risk.

In two studies, they report excess liver fat appears to be the real key to insulin resistance, cholesterol abnormalities and other problems that contribute to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Having too much fat stored in the liver is known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

"Since obesity is so much more common now, both in adults and in children, we are seeing a corresponding increase in the incidence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease," says senior investigator Samuel Klein, M.D., the Danforth Professor of Medicine and Nutritional Science. "That can lead to serious liver disorders such as cirrhosis in extreme cases, but more often it tends to have metabolic consequences."

[...]


The researchers determined that children with fatty liver disease also had abnormalities in glucose and fat metabolism, including lower levels of HDL cholesterol, the so-called good cholesterol. Those without a fatty liver did not have markers of metabolic problems. Whether shaped like pears or apples, it was fat in the liver that influenced metabolic risk.

"Abdominal fat is not the best marker for risk," says Klein, who also directs the Nutrition Support Service at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "It appears liver fat is the real marker. Abdominal fat probably has been cited in the past because it tends to track so closely with liver fat. But if you look at people where the two don't correspond — with excess fat in the liver but not in the abdomen and vice versa — the only thing that consistently predicts metabolic derangements is fat in the liver."

In a second study, Klein's team found nonalcoholic fatty liver disease was related to the release of larger amounts of fatty acids into the bloodstream that were, in turn, linked to elevated triglycerides and to insulin resistance, a key precursor to type 2 diabetes.

"Multiple organ systems become resistant to insulin in these adolescent children with fatty liver disease," he says. "The liver becomes resistant to insulin and muscle tissue does, too. This tells us fat in the liver is a marker for metabolic problems throughout the entire system."

The findings indicate that children and adults with fatty liver disease should be targeted for intensive interventions, according to Klein. Those who are obese but don't have fatty liver disease still should be encouraged to lose weight, but those with evidence of fatty liver are at particularly high risk for heart disease and diabetes. They need to be treated aggressively with therapies to help them lose weight because weight loss can make a big difference.

"Fatty liver disease is completely reversible," he says. "If you lose weight, you quickly eliminate fat in your liver. As little as two days of calorie restriction can improve the situation dramatically, and as fat in the liver is reduced, insulin sensitivity and metabolic problems improve.""

Attention Deficit Disorder and dating

95-174 (Attention Deficit Disorder)

The study also showed that ADD teens had more trouble than the learning disabled group with social skills such as dating and getting along with peers. ADD teens also had lower levels of communication abilities such as writing a letter or addressing an envelope. Those who fared worst in social skill levels were the 18 ADD teens with conduct disorders. They had the lowest abilities to get along with others and the greatest behavioral and emotional difficulties.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Low-carb Diets Alter Glucose Formation By The Liver

Low-carb Diets Alter Glucose Formation By The Liver


In contrast to previous reports, the present study showed similar hepatic glucose production among the dietary groups. The low-carbohydrate group was able to maintain hepatic glucose production at the levels observed for the weight-stable and low-calorie groups by increasing glucose formation using lactate or amino acids to match the reduction in glucose formation from glycerol.

"This observation is reminiscent of 'hepatic autoregulation' by which endogenous glucose production remains unchanged in the setting of altered gluconeogenesis or glycogenolysis because the two pathways tend to compensate for each other," the authors report.

They noted it was interesting that the increased glucose formation using lactate or amino acids in the low-carbohydrate group was not associated with increased TCA cycle flux (i.e. energy production.) However, they did not measure absolute rates of fatty acid delivery to the liver or ketone body production, limiting their ability to further interpret that finding.

"We have shown that the sources from which endogenous glucose is produced are dependent upon dietary macronutrient composition," the authors write. They suggest that the shift in glucose metabolism associated with a low carbohydrate diet could be beneficial in individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) due to improved disposal of hepatic fat.

In conclusion, these findings may partly explain the correlation between carbohydrate intake and severity of liver disease in individuals with NAFLD.

Wartime diet of regular fasting slashes prostate cancer risk | Mail Online

Wartime diet of regular fasting slashes prostate cancer risk | Mail Online:

"Rationing food intake every few weeks could slash men's risk of prostate cancer, scientists believe.

Men who halve the amount they normally eat for a week or two once a month could markedly lower their chances of a tumour at a young age.

In human terms, researchers said, it was the equivalent of men getting cancer in their seventies or eighties rather than their fifties.

But the study showed going on a permanent low-calorie diet did not have the same powerful effect.

Scientists think occasional rationing may ward off cancer by constantly adjusting the balance of certain fat hormones.

High levels of leptin, a hormone released by fat cells, have been found to stimulate cancer cell growth, while high levels of another hormone, called adinopectin, appear to have a protective effect.

The latest findings, published in the journal Prostate, suggest frequent rationing cuts leptin levels and boosts those of adinopectin.

Several other studies have suggested limiting calories could be crucial to good health and a longer life.

In 2004, experts at Harvard Medical School in Boston, found women who regularly rationed their food were half as likely to get breast cancer as those who always ate until they were full.

More recently, researchers studying daughters of women caught in the Dutch famine of 1944-45 found they were more fertile and had a higher number of pregnancies than those born to mothers with better food supplies.

In Australia, meanwhile, scientists have recently embarked on a clinical trial to see if depriving cancer patients of food for a couple of days before chemotherapy treatment can protect the body against its toxic effects."

Individuals With ADHD Inattention Subtype More Likely to Quit Smoking

Individuals With ADHD Inattention Subtype More Likely to Quit Smoking:

Investigators at Columbia Medical Center, in New York, found individuals with ADHD who have the subtype of the disorder characterized by inattention alone are more likely to benefit from combination therapy with bupropion and nicotine patches than their counterparts who have ADHD with elevated symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, with or without inattention.

Greater understanding of the divergent associations that exist between the different kinds of ADHD have important public-health consequences for smoking cessation and decreased tobacco-related mortality in this population, principal investigator Lirio S. Covey, PhD, said in a statement.

The study is published in the December issue of Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

As shown in previous research, as a group, smokers with ADHD had greater difficulty quitting than smokers without ADHD. However, the researchers showed for the first time that individuals with the inattention subtype of ADHD derived the same benefit from an 8-week smoking-cessation program as smokers without ADHD.

'Finding that smokers with the inattention subtype of ADHD benefit from bupropion and nicotine-patch treatment is encouraging news,' Dr. Covey told Medscape Psychiatry."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Too Much Commitment May Be Unhealthy For Relationships, Professor Says

Too Much Commitment May Be Unhealthy For Relationships, Professor Says:

"Romantic relationships establish special bonds between partners. Oftentimes, passionate rapport leads to permanent partnerships, and ultimately, the start of families.

Sometimes, however, one or both partners place too much emotional weight on their relationship. As a result, men or women may tend to evaluate their self-worth solely based on the outcomes of their romantic interactions. This is what psychologists term as relationship-contingent self-esteem (RCSE), and, according to University of Houston researcher Chip Knee, it's an unhealthy factor in romantic relationships.

"Individuals with high levels of RCSE are very committed to their relationships, but they also find themselves at risk to become devastated when something goes wrong -- even a relatively minor event," said Knee, UH assistant professor of psychology and director of the university's Interpersonal Relations and Motivation Research Group. "An overwhelming amount of the wrong kind of commitment can actually undermine a relationship."

Knee added that RCSE can trigger depression and anxieties during even the most minor or common relationship-based incidents, such as miscommunication, short spats over noncritical matters or a critique of one's personality or appearance.

It also factors into one or more partners developing manic, obsessive (or needy) behaviors with regard to love.

RCSE might place one at risk for serious mood changes after break-ups, divorce or threats to one's relationship. Identifying it during the early stages of a relationship can prevent such negative outcomes or help partners recognize that they are incompatible."

Waking up Teens -- Scientists Show Blue Light Can Help Reset Sleep Cycle

Waking up Teens -- Scientists Show Blue Light Can Help Reset Sleep Cycle:

"Teenagers' morning drowsiness is often caused by out-of-tune body clocks, in a condition known as 'delayed sleep phase syndrome.' Scientists now say that timing exposure to blue light -- avoiding it during the first two hours of being wake, then getting a good dose of it -- can help restore the sleep cycle, so teens feel sleepy earlier at night and are more awake in the morning."

Antioxidants Are Unlikely To Prevent Aging, Study Suggests


Antioxidants Are Unlikely To Prevent Aging, Study Suggests



Diets and beauty products which claim to have anti-oxidant properties are unlikely to prevent aging, according to research funded by the Wellcome Trust. Researchers at the Institute of Healthy aging at UCL (University College London) say this is because a key fifty year old theory about the causes of aging is wrong.

[...]

In 1956, Denham Harman proposed the theory that aging is caused by an accumulation of molecular damage caused by "oxidative stress", the action of reactive forms of oxygen, such as superoxide, on cells. This theory has dominated the field of aging research for over fifty years. But now, a study published online today in the journal Genes & Development suggests that this theory is probably incorrect and that superoxide is not a major cause of aging.

"The fact is that we don't understand much about the fundamental mechanisms of aging," says Dr David Gems from UCL. "The free radical theory of aging has filled a knowledge vacuum for over fifty years now, but it just doesn't stand up to the evidence."

Dr Gems and colleagues at the Institute of Healthy aging studied the action of key genes involved in removing superoxide from the bodies of the nematode worm C. elegans, a commonly-used model for research into aging. By manipulating these genes, they were able to control the worm's ability to "mop up" surplus superoxide and limit potential damage caused by oxidation.

Contrary to the result predicted by the free radical theory of aging, the researchers found that the lifespan of the worm was relatively unaffected by its ability to tackle the surplus superoxide. The findings, combined with similar recent findings from the University of Texas using mice, imply that this theory is incorrect.

"One of the hallmarks of aging is the accumulation of molecular damage, but what causes this damage?" says Dr Gems. "It's clear that if superoxide is involved, it only plays a small part in the story. Oxidative damage is clearly not a universal, major driver of the aging process. Other factors, such as chemical reactions involving sugars in our body, clearly play a role."

Dr Gems believes the study suggests that anti-aging products which claim to have anti-oxidant properties are unlikely to have any effect.

"A healthy, balanced diet is very important for reducing the risk of developing many diseases associated with old age, such as cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis," he says. "But there is no clear evidence that dietary antioxidants can slow or prevent aging. There is even less evidence to support the claims of most anti-aging products."

So avoiding carbs and sugar is the key to longer life, NOT stocking up on antioxidant vitamins or vegetables

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Fasting intermittently reduces cell proliferation, a marker for cancer risk, s...( Berkeley -- An apple a day keeps the do...)

Fasting intermittently reduces cell proliferation, a marker for cancer risk,


Berkeley -- An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but could eating an apple every other day be better?

A new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, raises such a possibility. It shows that healthy mice given only 5 percent fewer calories than mice allowed to eat freely experienced a significant reduction in cell proliferation in several tissues, considered an indicator for cancer risk. The key was that the mice eating 5 percent fewer calories were fed intermittently, or three days a week.

What is encouraging about the findings is that the reduction in cell proliferation from that intermittent feeding regimen was only slightly less than that of a more severe 33 percent reduction in calories. Until now, scientists have been certain only of a link between a more substantial calorie reduction and a reduction in the rate of cell proliferation.

The results of the study are scheduled to appear in the May 2005 issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, but are now available online.

"Cell proliferation is really the key to the modern epidemic of cancer," said Marc Hellerstein, professor of human nutrition in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology at UC Berkeley's College of Natural Resources. Hellerstein is principal investigator of the study.