Monday, 31 December 2018

Chinese scientists make nano "Trojan horse" to strangle tumors!


 
Chinese scientists have folded DNA molecules in an origami-like process to make a nano "Trojan horse", which is thinner than 1/4000 of a hair and can release "killers" to fight cancer tumors.

Cancer cells need a lot of nutrition to multiply, but they don't produce nutrient substances, said lead researcher Nie Guangjun, of China's National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST).

All the blood, oxygen and energy are conveyed to cancer cells through blood vessels, so many scientists are trying to create blocks on the blood vessels feeding tumors.

Through precision control, researcher Ding Baoquan folded a single-strand DNA of a phage (a type of virus) into a rectangular sheet. Then he put four "killers" -- molecules of thrombin (a clotting enzyme in blood plasma) -- on the sheet and rolled them up.

At the interface, "locks" made by fragments of nucleolin protein DNA were installed, forming a tube-shaped nano "Trojan horse" or nanorobot, which is 90 nanometers long and has a diameter of 19 nanometers.

After injection, the "Trojan horse" travels in blood vessels and only tumors have the "key" to open the "locks." Once unlocked, the killer thrombin molecules are released, attracting platelets and fibrinogen protein to form a large thrombus, or clot, in the blood vessel within hours to cut off the blood supply and "starve" the tumor to death, Nie said.

The nanorobot can be cleared out of the body after it has finished its task.

Researchers have conducted controlled experiments on more than 200 mice with melanoma, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and primary lung cancer, and found the nanorobots are effective in strangling the tumors, Nie said.

In one experiment on eight mice with melanoma, the tumors in three mice totally disappeared. The average survival life of the mice was prolonged from 20.5 days to 45 days. No metastasis was found, according to Nie.

The incidence of malignant tumors has been rising in China in recent years, becoming a major health threat. Interventional embolization therapy has become the first therapeutic choice for patients with advanced liver cancer. About 600,000 to 800,000 Chinese with liver cancer receive interventional therapy every year.

However, patients face anesthetic risks in this therapy and doctors face exposure to X-ray radiation, so a safer, more effective and convenient treatment is a priority, and nanotechnology has opened new opportunities, Nie said.

The research began five years ago, when NCNST researchers first looked at cutting off the tumor blood supply by using DNA-based nano carriers.

Shi Quanwei, another member of the research team, said laboratory verification of the nanorobot idea has been completed, but industrial production and application of the nanorobot is still a long way off.

"We hope to attract investment to improve the production technique and enlarge the manufacturing scale of the nanorobot, and conduct further research on its effect and safety before application for clinical trials," Shi said.

"We need to make breakthroughs on technical bottlenecks, and hope to transform the basic research into practical therapy to benefit patients with tumors."

The research was recently selected as one of 30 winning projects at a contest of innovative future technologies in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province. The contest encouraged young Chinese scientists to conceive groundbreaking technologies and trigger innovation.

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1114567.shtml#.W24iijNESnY.twitter

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This anxiety-reducing technique works better for poor people than rich people!

dreaming girl hopefully reducing anxiety
© Nicoleta Ionescu/Shutterstock


Lots of psychological techniques are all about reframing — looking on the bright side. Instead of focusing on a problem, argue many psychologists, find something positive to think about. When you're going through a break-up, focus on a new hobby. These techniques are becoming more and more popular. But do they actually work?
To find out, a group of scientists from Northwestern University conducted a laboratory study and looked at survey data from thousands of participants. The researchers found that finding a silver lining indeed makes people feel better than focusing in on the problem ... Particularly if those people are poor. People who made more than $35,000 a year didn't see as many benefits from reframing their situations.
“Individuals with lower incomes have less access to resources to directly change a stressful situation they may find themselves in,” said Claudia Haase, a human development professor who worked on the study. “They may find it more effective to deal with anxiety by reframing the situation.”
In other words, wealthier people can more easily change their situation. Poor people are more often stuck where they are and are better off trying to change how they think about their situation.I have mixed feelings about these results. Sure, focusing on the positive might make poor people feel less anxious, and it's a very useful strategy for everyday life. But on a bigger level, it encourages people to ignore a bad system rather than fight it.
Income inequality is growing throughout the country and world. Telling poor people to focus on the bright side is great for people in charge, but for the 99 percent, it means accepting the status quo. If you're upset about tigers going extinct, you might be more cheerful if you distract yourself by thinking about, say, how your favorite television show is producing a new season. But the tigers will keep on dying.
Maybe it's best to combine the strategies — using reframing as a tool in personal life, while taking on bigger problems head-on in larger society.
https://www.treehugger.com/health/anxiety-reducing-technique-

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Real cause of ME discovered—and, no, it's not all in your mind!





Real cause of ME discovered—and, no, it's not all in your mind image
Some doctors still quietly believe that chronic fatigue syndrome, or ME, is more in the mind of the sufferer—but new research has finally put paid to the theory. Instead, it's triggered by an overactive immune system, a discovery that fits with the stories of ME patients who noticed their symptoms started after an infection.
Researchers from King's College London studied 55 patients with hepatitis C who had been given the drug interferon-alpha that causes a similar response to a virus; 18 went on to develop ME-like symptoms, and they were also the ones who had the strongest reaction to the drug. They also had an overactive immune system before treatment started.

People who already have an overactive immune response are more likely to develop ME when they pick up a virus or other infection, the researchers say.

References: (Source: Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2018; doi: org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.11.032)

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Saturday, 29 December 2018

Plastic bag makers say their product isn't to blame for damaging the environment!


Image result for plastic bags
A plastic manufacturer says people are blaming plastic bags for wrecking the environment, instead of taking responsibility for their own wasteful behaviour.
The decision to phase out single-use plastic bags, announced last week, means Kiwi Plastics will close at the end of the year.
But company owner Angelus Tay said a lack of waste education was the real problem, not the bags. 
"The bag can't defend itself, so you blame the product." 
https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/106280557/plastic-bag-makers-say-their-product-isnt-to-blame-for-damaging-the-environment

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Does exercising before bedtime stop you from sleeping?


Does exercising before bedtime stop you from sleeping? image
It's another urban myth that can be put to bed (quite literally)—exercising a few hours before you call it a night doesn't affect your sleep.
If anything, exercising up to four hours before bed-time has a positive effect on sleep quality, although it's a very mild one. But it certainly doesn't stop you having a good night's sleep, say researchers at the Institute of Human Movement Sciences and Sport in Zurich.

They looked through 23 previously-published studies and discovered that people who had exercised or taken part in some sporting activity in the evening still enjoyed deep sleep for around one-fifth of the time they were sleeping. The deep-sleep period for people who hadn't exercised in the evening was slightly lower.

Although the differences were small—there were just a couple of percent points between the two—they were significant because deep sleep is vital for physical recovery.

The one exception is vigorous exercise just one hour before going to bed. Exercising so close to bedtime could affect the quality of sleep, but even here the evidence is not conclusive as it was based on just one study, the researchers say.

They reckon that late-night exercise doesn't give the body long enough time to recover; the hearts of the participants were still beating 20 beats per minute faster than their usual resting rate when they went to bed.
https://www.wddty.com/news/2018/12/does-exercising-before-bedtime

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Friday, 28 December 2018

MMR raises autism risk in young black boys!





MMR raises autism risk in young black boys image

The controversial MMR-autism theory is back on the table after a medical journal has published research that suggests there is a strong link—especially for black boys vaccinated before their third birthday.
The group was excluded from a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) study from 2004 that has been cited as one of the key pieces of research to demonstrate that the vaccine isn't triggering autism.

One of the CDC researchers, Dr William Thompson, had revealed the omission to Dr Brian Hooker, a professor of biology at Simpson University, which became the catalyst for the movie Vaxxed, directed by Andrew Wakefield, who was one of the first to suggest a link.

In his analysis of all the data sets—including those left out by the CDC researchers—Dr Hooker discovered that black American boys, who had their first MMR vaccination when they were three years old, were nearly four times more likely to develop autism.

Autism rates are around 28 per cent higher among black boys and Hooker believes the original CDC study was a "huge lost opportunity" to discover the impact of the MMR vaccine on the group.

Source: https://www.wddty.com/news/2018/12/mmr-raises-autism-risk-in-young-black-boys.html

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Holiday Cream “Teazecake” with Cranberry Glaze!


I also love the Holiday Teasecake I make on holidays.
Holiday Cream “Teasecake”
with Cranberry Glaze

Oak Nut Crust.
(I often increase the crust by 50% or double it)
1 cup pecans rinsed &. Drained
1 cup rolled oats(oatmeal)
3 tablespoons oil
( she called for corn oil, but now I’ve tried many other oils. Grapeseed oil is nice)
1 tablespoon Apple juice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350F, Prepare crust. Place nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes or so. Stir. Toast 2 more minutes. Remove, cool and place in food processor with oats. Pulse to grind into a coarse meal. Add the oil, juice, salt, and maple syrup. Process quickly until just mixed. Press this mixture into an oiled 9 inch pie pan covering the bottom and coming up the sides about 1 1/2 inches. Bake for 10 minutes or so at 350 degrees . Remove and cool in pie pan as you finish preparing the filing. (I found it may take a little more than 10 minutes of cooking ).

Tofu Cream Pie Filling
1 1/2 pounds of firm tofu , fresh and water packed.
4 tablespoons raw tahini unroasted
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
Pinch sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
Place the tofu in a salad press or otherwise press out the excess water. Place drained tofu in a processor or blender along with all other ingredients. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender. Pour tofu mixture into the center of a cooled pre baked pie crust. Allowing the filling to radiate out from the center. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool and if you wish, spoon on any fruit topping as desired.

Cranberry topping
2 cups fresh cranberries,
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3/4 cup apple juice
Sort cranberries removing stems . Rinse. Place in saucepan with syrup and juice. Bring to boil, reduce heat , cover and simmer for 20 minutes or so, stir well. You may serve chunky berries or pass the berries through a sieve leaving only the pulp and the juice as a glaze. Simmer the juice until the consistency of honey. . Drizzle the glass decoratively on the dessert plat and over the teazecake.
(Jane Quincannon Stanchich is a macrobiotic philosophy and cooking teacher , chef , caterer)


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Thursday, 27 December 2018

Fighting food waste by innovative food packaging!

Image result for food packaging
By 2050, the world’s population will have reached 9 billion people. To provide enough nutritious food for everybody, while preserving natural resources, we need to switch to more sustainable food systems. This not only involves changing how we produce food globally, but also reducing food losses and waste in the food chain and minimizing the impact of packaging waste.1
Every year, approximately one third of the global food production is lost. Losses happen at all stages of the food chain and across all types of foods, mainly due to spoilage. Food safety is also a rising concern: microbial contamination of food products is still the main cause of foodborne illnesses. Additional challenges are market globalisation which requires longer shelf-lives and the growing demand for minimally-processed foods. There is therefore a need to develop innovative materials to package foods that can guarantee safety and maintain quality for longer periods of time to reduce food waste. To respond to these challenges, food packaging technology is continuously evolving.1,2 Table 1 displays an overview of the possible technological innovations to prevent food waste in the future.
Table 1. Overview of technological innovations in food packaging to prevent food waste (adapted from reference 4).
  • Improved packaging properties: mechanical, thermal, barrier properties
  • Biodegradability: enhanced biodegradation
  • Active packaging: shelf life extension, oxygen scavenger, antimicrobial
  • Intelligent packaging: interaction with the environment, self-cleaning, self-healing, indication of deterioration
  • Delivery and controlled release: nutraceuticals, bioactive compounds (such as essential oils)
  • Monitoring product conditions: time temperature indicator (TTI), freshness indicator, leakage indicator, gas detector
  • Nanosensor: indication of food quality, growth of microorganisms
  • Nanocoatings
  • Information on product: RFID, nano-barcode, product authenticity

From passive to active

The role of food packaging is changing from passive – being a mere container protecting its contents from moisture, air, microbes and mechanical damage (such as vibration and shock), to active – capable of extending shelf life by interacting with the product, for example by releasing antioxidants, antimicrobials or oxygen scavengers to prevent food spoilage.3
Nanotechnology is increasingly being explored as a tool for developing active food packaging.4 NanoPack is an EU-funded project developing an active packaging film with antimicrobial properties. The novel packaging films slowly release tiny amounts of antimicrobial essential oils as a vapour into the so-called “headspace” of the packaging, thereby sanitizing both the food product and the headspace, and extending the shelf life of the product. Preliminary results have shown that NanoPack films are able to increase the shelf-life of additive free bread by 3 weeks, demonstrating the potential of active packaging systems to decrease food waste.

High barrier, yet biodegradable – a tricky balance

High barrier packaging materials are a highly desirable in the food packaging world, as they offer a strong resistant mechanical barrier to water and oxygen and pathogens, and can therefore extend shelf life while using fewer preservatives. However, these materials are often produced from non-renewable fossil-based sources and are not biodegradable. Sustainable disposal or recycling methods are often limited for materials containing several different functional layers. Moreover, the environmental impact of persistent plastic packaging waste in particular is raising general global concern. As such there is a growing trend towards more sustainable options with a lower environmental impact.3,5
However, making this switch while maintaining the properties of traditional high-barrier packaging materials such as plastics and metallised films is easier said than done. Bio-based packaging materials are increasingly being explored as environmentally-friendly substitutes for traditional plastic packaging due to increased biodegradability or compostability. However, their industrial use and application is still limited due to their less effective barrier properties (for example increased permeability to water or air.) These properties need to be improved considerably if they are to replace traditional plastics and help manage the world’s waste problem.1,5
To tackle this issue, EU-funded project RefuCoat aims to develop two novel types of bio-based food packaging. The first is a fully-recyclable active packaging replacement for metallised films that are currently used for packing cereals and crisps and savory snacks. The second will be a fully biodegradable package for chicken meat products. In this way, this project aims to improve shelf-life of fresh food produce while reducing the volume of packaging waste that goes to landfill.

Using waste to reduce waste

Another innovative idea to increase the sustainability of food packaging is to make it out of by-products from the food industry that would otherwise end up as waste. YPACK, an EU-funded project that started in November 2017, is currently developing a fully recyclable flow pack film and a fully biodegradable packaging tray using by-products that would usually go to waste such as unpurified cheese whey and almond shells. The flow pack film will function as a passive barrier and the tray will have active antimicrobial properties, capable of extending the shelf-life of food products.

Sustainable packaging towards sustainable food systems

With around a third of the food globally produced wasted, half of which at the consumption level, the time to act is now. Active packaging systems allow food to be transported for longer, minimising losses and waste associated with food spoilage, while other innovative ideas allow reduction of packaging waste itself, or turn waste from other sources into valuable resources. These technological innovations will be a crucial tool in the global fight against food waste, as we move towards more a sustainable future.

References

  1. Russell, D. A. M. Sustainable (food) packaging – an overview. Food Addit. Contam. Part A 31, 396–401 (2014).
  2. Realini, C. E. & Marcos, B. Active and intelligent packaging systems for a modern society. Meat Sci. 98, 404–419 (2014).
  3. Dainelli, D., Gontard, N., Spyropoulos, D., Zondervan-van den Beuken, E. & Tobback, P. Active and intelligent food packaging: legal aspects and safety concerns. Trends Food Sci. Technol. 19, S103–S112 (2008).
  4. Sozer, N. & Kokini, J. L. Nanotechnology and its applications in the food sector. Trends Biotechnol. 27, 82–89 (2009).
  5. Rhim, J.-W., Park, H.-M. & Ha, C.-S. Bio-nanocomposites for food packaging applications. Prog. Polym. Sci. 38, 1629–1652 (2013).

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Gut microbiota’s effect on physical and mental health!


Did you know we are almost more bacteria than human? There are over 100 trillion bacteria residing inside our large intestine, making up our gut microbiota.1 These bacteria encode over 100 times more genes than the human genome.
Our physical and mental health can be strongly affected by ‘our microbes’, or so to say, the small organisms (such as bacteria) which form the microbial ecosystem in our gut. This ecosystem is known as our gut microbiota. Disrupting that ecosystem (so-called 'dysbiosis’*) may be dangerous for our health. In fact, dysbiosis is associated with disorders like obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and mental diseases. But how exactly do these tiny ‘gut bugs’ control different body and brain functions and how can we use this knowledge to prevent diseases?
The EU-funded project MyNewGut has delved into the gut microbiota universe and tried to find an answer to these questions by:
  • Investigating the role of the gut microbiota and its specific components in metabolism and energy balance.
  • Identifying specific gut microbiota components and the metabolic functions that contribute to and predict obesity, eating and emotional disorders and associated conditions.
  • Understanding the influence of environmental factors on the gut microbiota, in pregnancy and during a baby’s development, and its impact on brain, immune and metabolic long-term health.
  • Developing new food ingredients and food prototypes, by collaborating with the EU food industry, that target the gut ecosystem and contribute to reducing the risks of metabolic- and mental-related disorders.
Over the last 5 years, the MyNewGut partners have published 45 papers with many more to come. The published papers include human, animal and in vitro studies, as well as extensive literature reviews. These studies have not only confirmed many existing hypotheses surrounding the role of the gut microbiota, but also produced various promising new discoveries. Let’s have a look at them in detail!

New gut bacteria may help fight obesity and mental disorders

Bacteria account for >90% of the microorganisms found in our gut.2 The MyNewGut project has discovered bacterial species and strains in healthy people that seem to be effective against obesity, metabolic and mood disorders. They do so by influencing the endocrine and immune pathways that have an impact on both our physical and mental health. For instance, the bacterial strain ‘Bacteroides uniformis CECT 7771’ has shown pre-clinical efficacy on metabolic and immune dysfunctions in obesity, reducing for example serum triglyceride levels, glucose intolerance and body weight gain.3,4 . Furthermore, the MyNewGut partners have also identified a Bifidobacterium longum bacteria strain, which had a positive impact on perceived stress, sleep quality and cortisol release. These strains could potentially be next generation probiotics that could in the future be used to help tackle obesity and stress-related disorders (e.g. impairments in cognitive task performance like reduced attention, learning ability; or mood disorders like depression).

How diet has an influence on our gut microbiota

Diet appears to be a major factor that influences the composition and function of the human gut microbiota.5,6 MyNewGut experts have conducted several human intervention trials to investigate dietary health effects potentially mediated by the microbiota and they are publishing a range of position papers that will show evidence on how we could inform future dietary recommendations. These position papers are based on both project results and other recent insights regarding the role of the gut microbiota and its interaction with the diet on health related outcomes. MyNewGut partners have specifically looked into the role played by proteins, fats and fibres on the gut microbiota.

How high intake of proteins or a high fat diet harm the gut microbiota

Protein intake benefits weight management and some aspects of metabolic health, but, unlike carbohydrates, high intake levels also seem to have negative effects. MyNewGut partners found out that high protein consumption, which increases protein fermentation in the large intestine, generates some of the toxic metabolites (products of amino acid metabolism) linked to diseases such as colorectal cancer. In the 3-week human high-protein dietary intervention by Beaumont and colleagues also the source of the protein (animal or plant) appeared to lead to significant differences in the metabolites that were generated.7 This makes protein source an important factor for future research particularly in relation to the possible different long-term effects of high protein diets on microbiota and derived metabolites. Wolters and colleagues concluded that a high fat diet, especially when rich in saturated fatty acids, may have negative effects on the gut microbiota, characterised by a lower number of microbes and a lower variety of microbial species. Diets rich in omega 3 or omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids do not seem to negatively affect the microbiota, whereas the effects of monounsaturated fatty acids are less consistent (submitted for publication).

Dietary fibres are the main fuel for our gut microbiota

Fibres are carbohydrates that are not digested by our digestive enzymes, and thus reach our large intestine intact. They get fermented by gut bacteria, which form short-chain fatty acids (SCFA: acetate, propionate and butyrate). These substances play an important role in gut health; for example, they help protect the cells lining our gut, they also trigger hormones involved in appetite and glucose metabolism and reduce inflammation.2 Carbohydrate fermentation is thus considered beneficial for overall gut health and beyond. Recent studies suggest that intake of fibre at levels above current dietary recommendations (25-30 g fibre/day) could be necessary to achieve some of the microbiome-related beneficial effects, such as reducing makers of gut inflammation.8

High fat or high fibre diets are oppositely associated with depression

The interaction between diet and gut microbiota has also been found to modulate the gut-brain axis in mice fed a high-fat diet, and ultimately negatively influence brain function.9 More precisely, studies conducted by MyNewGut partners showed that Western diets rich in saturated fat resulted not only in obesity, but also in depressive behaviour. We know that these effects are mediated by the gut microbiome, since they were reduced by antibiotic-treatment. These results are only a starting point, and new research would have to confirm the findings in humans.10 A review of other research shows that high fibre diets are also associated with fewer symptoms of depression, whereby prebiotic fibres shape microbiota composition which could influence behaviour.11

The role of the gut in metabolic health: mechanistic clues

Studies in animal models conducted by project partners have revealed new mechanisms whereby the microbiota could impact metabolic health. The consortium showed that peptidase activity (DPPIV) responsible for the degradation of enteroendocrine hormones produced in the gut, which regulate appetite and glucose homeostasis (like glucagon-like peptide I [GLP-I]), are of bacterial origin.12 This means that the presence of specific bacteria producing these new enzymes can influence appetite, food intake and body weight gain.

 

Gut microbiota: we are all different

The MyNewGut project has also explored innovative interventions, including Faecal Microbiota Transplants (FMT) for restoring dysbiosis-associated disorders. In FMT, the microbiota of a healthy donor is transferred to an individual suffering from some form of dysbiosis. In MyNewGut studies, the donor’s microbiota was transferred to human subjects with metabolic syndrome.5 In this study, the responsiveness to treatment depended on the individual’s gut microbiota profile, suggesting a need for personalised intervention strategies. This study also demonstrates that the individual’s microbiota directly impacts neural systems that could mediate the impact of food intake on metabolic health (paper in preparation).

The impact of early life microbial imbalance on health

MyNewGut has demonstrated how important it is to better understand the role of environmental factors and the diet on the gut microbiota at critical development periods, such as infancy and childhood. During these periods, different organs and systems are under development and maturation making it a crucial time for developing a diverse gut microbiota. Dietary changes that favourably influence the microbiota are thought to have a higher and longer-lasting effect during stages of development, emphasising the importance of diet during early life for long-term health in adulthood.2 MyNewGut partners specifically investigated whether effects of environmental factors in early life and childhood also impact health outcomes in later stages of life in humans. For example, they conducted a unique longitudinal study in children to determine the role of the microbiota, the lifestyle (diet, exercise, etc.) and other individual factors (immune and metabolic profile) in the development of overweight. The study revealed that specific microbiota configurations were indeed correlated to inflammatory markers and dietary patterns, and subsequently to the development of obesity. MyNewGut’s partners have also showed that the type of birth, a factor that influences the maturation of the microbiota early in life and may contribute to health programming, also influences vulnerability to stress in young adulthood in humans. Birth by caesarean section adversely impacts inflammatory markers and stress response.

What’s next for gut health research?

To conclude, the MyNewGut project findings have demonstrated that our gut ‘has a mind of its own’ and that further research is needed to understand how it functions and influences our health. The project has provided precious insights into the role of our gut microbiota both in metabolic and mental health. The MyNewGut findings will play a fundamental role in the future development of more effective interventions targeting the gut - to fight obesity, metabolic syndrome, and behavioural disorders, like eating and mood/emotional disorders. In three words: mind your gut!

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Staying healthy during the holidays!


Staying healthy during the holidays can be tough.
"During the holidays it's tempting to overeat and sometimes over drink," says Tommy Parrish, the Director of the LifeStyle Centre at Covenant Health. "You have Christmas parties and family coming in. A lot of time it's just self control."
And Parrish says that self control starts at home.
"Make your portions smaller and be active as much as you can," Parrish explained. "Get out and walk, come up to the fitness facility, get on the treadmill, do your strength training."
Add steps in wherever you can, even when you're doing your holiday shopping. 
"Park a little ways further away from the door," Parrish explained. "That's always a simple way of getting extra steps in." 
Parrish says every little bit helps and adds up quickly.
"We need to move our muscles," explained Parrish. "When you move, you're burning calories. It might be a few or a lot but we want to make sure we're moving as much as we can."
And don't wait until New Year's Day. 
Today is just as good as any day to jump start into a healthier you.
"Start today is the biggest thing you can say," Parrish said.
https://www.everythinglubbock.com/news/kamc-news/healthcast-staying-healthy-during-the-holidays/1661129061
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Sunday, 23 December 2018

Gut microbiota’s effect on physical and mental health!



Did you know we are almost more bacteria than human? There are over 100 trillion bacteria residing inside our large intestine, making up our gut microbiota.1 These bacteria encode over 100 times more genes than the human genome.
Our physical and mental health can be strongly affected by ‘our microbes’, or so to say, the small organisms (such as bacteria) which form the microbial ecosystem in our gut. This ecosystem is known as our gut microbiota. Disrupting that ecosystem (so-called 'dysbiosis’*) may be dangerous for our health. In fact, dysbiosis is associated with disorders like obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and mental diseases. But how exactly do these tiny ‘gut bugs’ control different body and brain functions and how can we use this knowledge to prevent diseases?
The EU-funded project MyNewGut has delved into the gut microbiota universe and tried to find an answer to these questions by:
  • Investigating the role of the gut microbiota and its specific components in metabolism and energy balance.
  • Identifying specific gut microbiota components and the metabolic functions that contribute to and predict obesity, eating and emotional disorders and associated conditions.
  • Understanding the influence of environmental factors on the gut microbiota, in pregnancy and during a baby’s development, and its impact on brain, immune and metabolic long-term health.
  • Developing new food ingredients and food prototypes, by collaborating with the EU food industry, that target the gut ecosystem and contribute to reducing the risks of metabolic- and mental-related disorders.
Over the last 5 years, the MyNewGut partners have published 45 papers with many more to come. The published papers include human, animal and in vitro studies, as well as extensive literature reviews. These studies have not only confirmed many existing hypotheses surrounding the role of the gut microbiota, but also produced various promising new discoveries. Let’s have a look at them in detail!

New gut bacteria may help fight obesity and mental disorders

Bacteria account for >90% of the microorganisms found in our gut.2 The MyNewGut project has discovered bacterial species and strains in healthy people that seem to be effective against obesity, metabolic and mood disorders. They do so by influencing the endocrine and immune pathways that have an impact on both our physical and mental health. For instance, the bacterial strain ‘Bacteroides uniformis CECT 7771’ has shown pre-clinical efficacy on metabolic and immune dysfunctions in obesity, reducing for example serum triglyceride levels, glucose intolerance and body weight gain.3,4 . Furthermore, the MyNewGut partners have also identified a Bifidobacterium longum bacteria strain, which had a positive impact on perceived stress, sleep quality and cortisol release. These strains could potentially be next generation probiotics that could in the future be used to help tackle obesity and stress-related disorders (e.g. impairments in cognitive task performance like reduced attention, learning ability; or mood disorders like depression).

How diet has an influence on our gut microbiota

Diet appears to be a major factor that influences the composition and function of the human gut microbiota.5,6 MyNewGut experts have conducted several human intervention trials to investigate dietary health effects potentially mediated by the microbiota and they are publishing a range of position papers that will show evidence on how we could inform future dietary recommendations. These position papers are based on both project results and other recent insights regarding the role of the gut microbiota and its interaction with the diet on health related outcomes. MyNewGut partners have specifically looked into the role played by proteins, fats and fibres on the gut microbiota.

How high intake of proteins or a high fat diet harm the gut microbiota

Protein intake benefits weight management and some aspects of metabolic health, but, unlike carbohydrates, high intake levels also seem to have negative effects. MyNewGut partners found out that high protein consumption, which increases protein fermentation in the large intestine, generates some of the toxic metabolites (products of amino acid metabolism) linked to diseases such as colorectal cancer. In the 3-week human high-protein dietary intervention by Beaumont and colleagues also the source of the protein (animal or plant) appeared to lead to significant differences in the metabolites that were generated.7 This makes protein source an important factor for future research particularly in relation to the possible different long-term effects of high protein diets on microbiota and derived metabolites. Wolters and colleagues concluded that a high fat diet, especially when rich in saturated fatty acids, may have negative effects on the gut microbiota, characterised by a lower number of microbes and a lower variety of microbial species. Diets rich in omega 3 or omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids do not seem to negatively affect the microbiota, whereas the effects of monounsaturated fatty acids are less consistent (submitted for publication).

Dietary fibres are the main fuel for our gut microbiota

Fibres are carbohydrates that are not digested by our digestive enzymes, and thus reach our large intestine intact. They get fermented by gut bacteria, which form short-chain fatty acids (SCFA: acetate, propionate and butyrate). These substances play an important role in gut health; for example, they help protect the cells lining our gut, they also trigger hormones involved in appetite and glucose metabolism and reduce inflammation.2 Carbohydrate fermentation is thus considered beneficial for overall gut health and beyond. Recent studies suggest that intake of fibre at levels above current dietary recommendations (25-30 g fibre/day) could be necessary to achieve some of the microbiome-related beneficial effects, such as reducing makers of gut inflammation.8

High fat or high fibre diets are oppositely associated with depression

The interaction between diet and gut microbiota has also been found to modulate the gut-brain axis in mice fed a high-fat diet, and ultimately negatively influence brain function.9 More precisely, studies conducted by MyNewGut partners showed that Western diets rich in saturated fat resulted not only in obesity, but also in depressive behaviour. We know that these effects are mediated by the gut microbiome, since they were reduced by antibiotic-treatment. These results are only a starting point, and new research would have to confirm the findings in humans.10 A review of other research shows that high fibre diets are also associated with fewer symptoms of depression, whereby prebiotic fibres shape microbiota composition which could influence behaviour.11

The role of the gut in metabolic health: mechanistic clues

Studies in animal models conducted by project partners have revealed new mechanisms whereby the microbiota could impact metabolic health. The consortium showed that peptidase activity (DPPIV) responsible for the degradation of enteroendocrine hormones produced in the gut, which regulate appetite and glucose homeostasis (like glucagon-like peptide I [GLP-I]), are of bacterial origin.12 This means that the presence of specific bacteria producing these new enzymes can influence appetite, food intake and body weight gain.

Gut microbiota: we are all different

The MyNewGut project has also explored innovative interventions, including Faecal Microbiota Transplants (FMT) for restoring dysbiosis-associated disorders. In FMT, the microbiota of a healthy donor is transferred to an individual suffering from some form of dysbiosis. In MyNewGut studies, the donor’s microbiota was transferred to human subjects with metabolic syndrome.5 In this study, the responsiveness to treatment depended on the individual’s gut microbiota profile, suggesting a need for personalised intervention strategies. This study also demonstrates that the individual’s microbiota directly impacts neural systems that could mediate the impact of food intake on metabolic health (paper in preparation).

The impact of early life microbial imbalance on health

MyNewGut has demonstrated how important it is to better understand the role of environmental factors and the diet on the gut microbiota at critical development periods, such as infancy and childhood. During these periods, different organs and systems are under development and maturation making it a crucial time for developing a diverse gut microbiota. Dietary changes that favourably influence the microbiota are thought to have a higher and longer-lasting effect during stages of development, emphasising the importance of diet during early life for long-term health in adulthood.2 MyNewGut partners specifically investigated whether effects of environmental factors in early life and childhood also impact health outcomes in later stages of life in humans. For example, they conducted a unique longitudinal study in children to determine the role of the microbiota, the lifestyle (diet, exercise, etc.) and other individual factors (immune and metabolic profile) in the development of overweight. The study revealed that specific microbiota configurations were indeed correlated to inflammatory markers and dietary patterns, and subsequently to the development of obesity. MyNewGut’s partners have also showed that the type of birth, a factor that influences the maturation of the microbiota early in life and may contribute to health programming, also influences vulnerability to stress in young adulthood in humans. Birth by caesarean section adversely impacts inflammatory markers and stress response.

What’s next for gut health research?

To conclude, the MyNewGut project findings have demonstrated that our gut ‘has a mind of its own’ and that further research is needed to understand how it functions and influences our health. The project has provided precious insights into the role of our gut microbiota both in metabolic and mental health. The MyNewGut findings will play a fundamental role in the future development of more effective interventions targeting the gut - to fight obesity, metabolic syndrome, and behavioural disorders, like eating and mood/emotional disorders. In three words: mind your gut!
https://www.eufic.org/en/healthy-living/article/gut-microbiotas-effect-on-physical-and-mental-health-mynewgut
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Friday, 21 December 2018

Schizophrenia linked to vitamin D deficiency at birth!



Schizophrenia linked to vitamin D deficiency at birth image
Schizophrenia isn't 'all in the head'. It could be triggered by a vitamin D deficiency that happened years earlier when you were born.
Newborns with the deficiency are 44 per cent more likely to suffer from schizophrenia when they are adults, say researchers from the University of Queensland.

The researchers think schizophrenia could have its roots in the womb when the developing baby is totally reliant on the mothers' own vitamin D stores. Making sure pregnant women have adequate levels of the vitamin—either by supplementing, eating foods rich in vitamin D—such as beef liver, cheese and eggs—or sunbathing.

The researchers analysed data on 2,602 people, born between 1981 and 2000 when their vitamin D levels were measured, who went on to develop schizophrenia. Neonatal levels of the vitamin were also measured among a similar group who didn't develop schizophrenia.

The risk is greater in northern countries that have less sunshine than Australia, the researchers say, and so ensuring high vitamin D levels, especially in pregnant women, is paramount.

The researchers now want to test if low vitamin D levels in women are also contributing to the autism epidemic.
https://www.wddty.com/news/2018/12/schizophrenia-linked-to-vitamin-d-deficiency-at-birth.html?
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Johnson & Johnson Exposed: Is This the Raw “UnPowdered” Truth?



Magnesium silicate is comprised of finely ground particles of stone. It originates in the ground and is a mined product, so it can be contaminated with other substances. In its raw state, talc contains asbestos. Asbestos is a known human carcinogen that causes cancer.

According to the World Health Organization, there is no safe level of asbestos. While it is true that most people do not develop cancer, it is also true that even exposure to very small amounts can trigger cancer years later.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J), a leading manufacturer of baby products including baby powder, have been slammed with thousands of lawsuits over the past several years. These lawsuits allege that the talc used in their Baby Powder have caused cancer. The company has been ordered to pay massive damages to plaintiffs. The largest settlement is a record-setting $4.69 billion to 22 women who claimed that talc found in J&J Baby Powder led to ovarian cancer.
Thousands of other similar suits are in litigation, but this might not be the worst of it for the company.

Did this investigative report uncover a dirty truth?
Despite the fact that J&J adamantly declare that their product has never contained asbestos and is safe, a report published by Reuters set out to prove differently. According to the recently released report, Baby Powder tested positive for asbestos on a number of occasions over decades and company officials turned a blind eye to the truth.
Immediately following the release of the report, J&J went into defense mode, taking out a full-page advertisement proclaiming its product safety practices, to mitigate damage from the allegations.
“If we had any reasons to believe our talc was unsafe, it would be off our shelves,”
On the heels of the report, company stock dropped like hotcakes, and J&J scrambled to buy back $5 billion of its common stock.
Senator Edward Markey, a Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, called for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate the findings highlighted in the Reuters report to determine whether or not J&J misled regulators regarding the safety of its Baby Powder.
J&J Chief Executive Alex Gorsky responds to questions on safety
“Since tests for asbestos in talc were first developed, J&J’s Baby Powder has never contained asbestos,” Gorsky said in the video here. He added that regulators “have always found our talc to be asbestos-free.”
‘We unequivocally believe’ our baby powder does not contain asbestos: Johnson & Johnson CEO from CNBC.

Asbestos revealed in “hidden” reports
Reuters revealed that reports from a consulting lab in 1967 and 1958 describe contaminants in talc coming from J&J’s Italian supplier as being “fibrous and “acicular” or needle-like tremolite”. This mineral in its fibrous form is classified as asbestos.
Throughout the years leading up to the early 2000’s various reports from company scientists, outside laboratories and suppliers revealed similar findings. These reports either name contaminants outright as asbestos or describe them in terms that are known to be asbestos.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was discussing the presence of asbestos in cosmetics containing talc, J&J stated that there had been no asbestos found in samples of talc that was produced between December 1971 and October 1973. What they failed to reveal was that three tests – all from different labs – between 1972 and 1975 found asbestos in their talc – in one case it was reported to be found in “rather high” levels.

Reuters reports that internal testing from J&J show that no asbestos was found. However, traditional testing methods at the company have used only small portions of talc which would not necessarily reveal contaminants. The report also notes other inadequacies in testing that may have resulted in warped results.

What are the proven dangers of talc and asbestos

The Organic Consumers Association refers to a study which found that women who used talc just once a week had a 36 percent higher risk of ovarian cancer than those who did not use talc. Everyday use boosted the risk to 46 percent. Researchers warned that particles travel to the ovaries causing an inflammatory process to take place that encourages cancer cell growth.

The American Cancer Society reports the following information:
  • In 1997 a published study found that women who applied talcum powder to their external genital area or used feminine deodorant sprays had a 50 to 90 percent higher risk of ovarian cancer.
  • A study done in 2000 found that there was a 40% increase in one type of ovarian cancer (invasive serous) in talc users.
  • A 33 percent increase in ovarian cancer risk was found in a meta-analysis among people using talc in 2003.
  • Lung damage and cancer have also been reported by workers who have inhaled talcum powder for extended durations of time.
The issue with latency
Like many toxins, asbestos has a latency period. This means that diagnosis of conditions like mesothelioma, a type of rare lung cancer, can develop as much as 20-50 years after exposure to asbestos.
This means that while J&J may claim their products are safe to use today – the real issue is, have they been safe for the last 50 years??  A 2013 markup statement of the “Safety and Care Commitment” on the company website clearly shows some concern.
“Our talc-based consumer products are and have always been (we cannot say “always”) asbestos free, as confirmed by regular testing since the 1970s.”
We have just skimmed the surface on what was revealed in the Reuters investigation, and it is likely that there will be further investigation prompted by the report. Stay tuned!


All Natural Alternative
If all of this information has you a bit unsettled about using Baby Powder, the good news is that there is a safer alternative and the best part is that you can easily make it at home. This product is safe to use on anyone over 3 months that does not have broken skin.
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons white kaolin clay or bentonite clay
  • 4 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 6 drops chamomile (Roman or German) essential oil (use100% pure Roman chamomile)
  • 6 drops lavender essential oil (use 100% pure lavender)
Instructions
  1. Combine dry ingredients and stir.
  2. Drip the essential oils into the dry mixture and stir.
  3. Transfer to a shaker bottle.
-The Alternative Daily

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Thursday, 20 December 2018

Bacopa is a little-known herb that can improve memory and brain health


Image: Bacopa is a little-known herb that can improve memory and brain health
(Natural News) Let’s face it: The hectic pace of modern life means we could all use a little extra help remembering the mountain of things we need to get through in any given day. And, as we get older, remembering where we put the keys and which day of the week we need to take the car in to be repaired gets harder and harder.
Fortunately, help is at hand. Bacopa monnieri, a nootropic herb that has been a staple of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, could be just what you need to enhance your memory and protect your brain health as you get older.
What is bacopa? Also known as brahmi or water hyssop, this herb has an established history as a potent memory aid and general brain health enhancer. A creeping perennial plant native to India, Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa and the Americas, bacopa is such a potent memory aid that, as reported by Natural Health 365, shamans in India used it to enable them to memorize texts that were more than 900 pages long.
More recently, peer-reviewed studies have confirmed bacopa’s amazing memory and concentration enhancing abilities, as well as its beneficial effects on information recall, retention of knowledge and visual processing speed. It has also been found to improve emotional well-being, providing relief for depression and anxiety. And it has shown great promise as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Modern studies back up what Indian herbalists have known for thousands of years

U.S. and Australian studies found that after just three weeks of supplementation study participants were able to process information more quickly and retain it for longer.
Natural Health 365 reported:
A 1996 study presented at the International Brain Research Conference showed bacopa could cut the time required for learning a new task in half. A rigorous 2001 study involving a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled experiment out of Victoria, Australia showed subjects that took bacopa scored higher on cognitive processing tests after 12 weeks.
These results were substantiated by a study out of the University of Wollongong in Australia’s psychology department, which showed that taking bacopa increases both memory and recall substantially.
These findings were further substantiated by a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, which found that when seniors were given 300mg of bacopa daily, their cognitive functioning was better than that of others of their age who were not receiving the supplement. They demonstrated significant improvements in both attention span and the ability to process verbal information.
Natural News previously reported:
[A] similar study – conducted in 2012 by researchers at Khon Kaen University in Thailand – proved that participants who took bacopa for a 12-week period scored far better in mental processing tests than those who took the placebo.

The best way to reap the rewards of bacopa monnieri

Bacopa is quite inexpensive and is freely available at most health food stores. It can be purchased in tablet or capsule form, and some people enjoy drinking it as a tea. Experts advise taking 150mg three times a day, but nothing less than 225mg a day should be taken, and some people may find that they need to take up to three times as much to reap the benefits.
It is important to realize that bacopa – like most herbs – will not provide instant results. It can take up to three months for the effects of this amazing herb to really kick in, but be patient: The rewards in terms of cognitive functioning and memory enhancement will be well worth the wait!
Discover more of nature’s secrets at Nutrients.news.
Sources include:
NaturalHealth365.com
NaturalNews.com
NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov
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Tamarind more effective than standard analgesics, study shows!


Painkillers are some of the most common medications that people take. This is because most health problems are associated with either acute or chronic pain. However, prolonged use of these drugs actually has adverse effects on a person’s health. Because of these repercussions, people are now going back to the safer choice, medicinal plants. An Indian study identified tamarind (Tamarindus indica) as one of the plants with potent analgesic activity.
Conventional analgesics include opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These medications are commonly used by patients to relieve pain associated with surgery, injury, arthritis, headaches, and many other diseases. Although they are used by almost everyone, that doesn’t mean that they are safe. In fact, taking analgesics can cause side effects like constipation, drowsiness, stomach bleeding, heart attack, and liver damage. Fortunately, there are many medicinal plants that can be used as alternative remedies for pain.
Many are familiar with the sweet and sour fruit of tamarind, which is commonly used to make candies. However, not many people have seen the tree from which this fruit comes from. The different parts of this plant, which is native to African and Asian countries, are actually used in traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda, Unani, and Siddha. Practitioners of these medicinal systems use tamarind to treat diseases like malaria, fever, stomach ache, wounds, diabetes, rheumatism, ulcers, sore throat, eye infections, and jaundice. In addition, specific parts of the leaves also have their own sets of biological activities. For the roots and bark, these include relieving pain and eliminating helminths. However, there are limited studies that validate these claims.
In this study, published in the Pharmacognosy Journal, the researchers evaluated the analgesic activity of tamarind root extracts through an in vivo experiment using albino Wistar rats. The animal models were treated with either the extracts or the conventional painkiller pentazocine. They used two tests to determine analgesic activity. One of these is the hot plate method wherein they checked the reaction time of the rat when exposed to a hot plate at 55 degrees Celsius. When rats are in pain, they exhibit this either by hind paw licking or jumping. The other test that was used was the acetic acid-induced writhing test. For both tests, the rats exhibited significant improvements in pain response, indicating that they were protected from pain.
The authors of the study also determined the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities of tamarind root extracts. For antibacterial activity, they tested the extracts against four pathogenic bacteria, namely Bacillus subtilisStaphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The growth of these species was effectively inhibited when they were given treatment. On the other hand, anti-inflammatory activity was based on the effects on carrageenan-induced paw edema in male albino Wistar rats. Rats that were given the treatment experienced significant reductions in paw inflammation.
Overall, the results of this study show that tamarind root extracts have potent analgesic as well as antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. With further studies, tamarind can be developed into an alternative remedy for pain and inflammatory disorders like rheumatism.

Health benefits of eating tamarinds

Tamarind fruits are more widely available than the other parts of the plant, which is good since it has its fair share of health benefits. Some of its benefits include the following:
  • Improving heart health
  • Regulating blood sugar
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Preventing heat strokes
  • Promoting weight loss
  • Reducing cancer risk
  • Delaying aging
  • Alleviating allergies
  • Enhancing muscle and nerve development
For more articles about natural anti-inflammatory agents, visit NaturalHealth.news.
Sources include:
Science.news
PhcogJ.com
EverydayHealth.com
NaturalFoodSeries.com

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