Thursday, January 23, 2020

Top strategies for successful weight loss maintenance


Building healthy dietary, self-monitoring and psychological coping strategies may be the keys to maintaining weight loss
Just in time for the New Year, a new Cal Poly study shows that if you want to lose weight and keep it off, building healthy dietary, self-monitoring and psychological coping strategies may be the keys to success.
Results published today in Obesity found that some of the most effective behaviors and psychological strategies reported by those maintaining their weight loss included choosing healthy food, tracking what you eat and using positive self-talk.
The study surveyed almost 5,000 members of WW (formerly Weight Watchers) who reported losing an average of about 50 pounds and kept it off for more than three years, to look at their weight management strategies. Researchers compared this group to a control group of more than 500 people with obesity and who reported not gaining or losing more than five pounds for a period of greater than five years.
The research team examined 54 behaviors related to weight management. Compared to the group of weight-stable individuals, the group of weight loss maintainers reported more frequent use of strategies like setting daily food intake goals, recording what was eaten each day, measuring foods, thinking about past successes, and remaining positive in the face of weight regain. The researchers also found that these eating and thinking behaviors became easier and more ingrained over time in the group of those maintaining their weight loss.
"People who maintained their successful weight loss the longest reported greater frequency and repetition in healthy eating choices," said Suzanne Phelan, a kinesiology and public health professor who led the study. "Healthier choices also became more automatic the longer people continued to make those choices. These findings are encouraging for those working at weight loss maintenance. Over time, weight loss maintenance may become easier, requiring less intentional effort."
The nation's principal health statistics agency, estimates that nearly two out of five (40%) adults in the U.S. have obesity and another one in three (32%) have overweight. Obesity increases the likelihood of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, among other health conditions.
While the terms "overweight" and "obesity" are similar, the difference between the two arises with Body Mass Index, or BMI, which is a measure of body fat based on an individual's weight in relation to his or her height and age. In general, a person with a BMI of 25-29.9 is considered to have overweight, while a person with a BMI over 30 is considered to have obesity.
"Successful weight loss is associated with a variety of health benefits," Phelan said. "The improved quality of life observed among the successful weight losers in this study may serve as an important motivator for people working at long-term weight management."
The results of this study can help people focus on the strategies that are most likely to help participants maintain a healthy weight

High-protein diets boost artery-clogging plaque


Such diets lead to weight loss but could increase heart attack risk
Washington University School of Medicine
IMAGE
IMAGE: An unstable plaque builds up inside the aorta of a mouse on a high-protein diet. A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reveals how high-protein... view more 
Credit: Razani Lab
High-protein diets may help people lose weight and build muscle, but a new study in mice suggests they have a down side: They lead to more plaque in the arteries. Further, the new research shows that high-protein diets spur unstable plaque -- the kind most prone to rupturing and causing blocked arteries. More plaque buildup in the arteries, particularly if it's unstable, increases the risk of heart attack.
The new study, by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, appears Jan. 23 in the journal Nature Metabolism.
"There are clear weight-loss benefits to high-protein diets, which has boosted their popularity in recent years," said senior author Babak Razani, MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine. "But animal studies and some large epidemiological studies in people have linked high dietary protein to cardiovascular problems. We decided to take a look at whether there is truly a causal link between high dietary protein and poorer cardiovascular health."
The researchers studied mice fed a high-fat diet to deliberately induce atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in the arteries. According to Razani, mice must eat a high-fat diet to develop arterial plaque. Therefore, some of the mice received a high-fat diet that was also high in protein. And others were fed a high-fat, low-protein diet for comparison.
"A couple of scoops of protein powder in a milkshake or a smoothie adds something like 40 grams of protein -- almost equivalent to the daily recommended intake," Razani said. "To see if protein has an effect on cardiovascular health, we tripled the amount of protein that the mice receive in the high-fat, high-protein diet -- keeping the fat constant. Protein went from 15% to 46% of calories for these mice."
The mice on the high-fat, high-protein diet developed worse atherosclerosis -- about 30% more plaque in the arteries -- than mice on the high-fat, normal-protein diet, despite the fact that the mice eating more protein did not gain weight, unlike the mice on the high-fat, normal-protein diet.
"This study is not the first to show a telltale increase in plaque with high-protein diets, but it offers a deeper understanding of the impact of high protein with the detailed analysis of the plaques," Razani said. "In other words, our study shows how and why dietary protein leads to the development of unstable plaques."
Plaque contains a mix of fat, cholesterol, calcium deposits and dead cells. Past work by Razani's team and other groups has shown that immune cells called macrophages work to clean up plaque in arteries. But the environment inside plaque can overwhelm these cells, and when such cells die, they make the problem worse, contributing to plaque buildup and increasing plaque complexity.
"In mice on the high-protein diet, their plaques were a macrophage graveyard," Razani said. "Many dead cells in the core of the plaque make it extremely unstable and prone to rupture. As blood flows past the plaque, that force -- especially in the context of high blood pressure -- puts a lot of stress on it. This situation is a recipe for a heart attack."
To understand how high dietary protein might increase plaque complexity, Razani and his colleagues studied the path protein takes after it has been digested -- broken down into its original building blocks, called amino acids.
Razani and his team found that excess amino acids from a high-protein diet activate a protein in macrophages called mTOR, which tells the cell to grow rather than go about its housecleaning tasks. The signals from mTOR shut down the cells' ability to clean up the toxic waste of the plaque, and this sets off a chain of events that results in macrophage death. The researchers found that certain amino acids, especially leucine and arginine, were more potent in activating mTOR -- and derailing macrophages from their cleanup duties, leading to cell death -- than other amino acids.
"Leucine is particularly high in red meat, compared with, say, fish or plant sources of protein," Razani said. "A future study might look at high-protein diets with different amino acid contents to see if that could have an effect on plaque complexity. Cell death is the key feature of plaque instability. If you could stop these cells from dying, you might not make the plaque smaller, but you would reduce its instability.
"This work not only defines the critical processes underlying the cardiovascular risks of dietary protein but also lays the groundwork for targeting these pathways in treating heart disease," he said.

Living near major roads linked to risk of dementia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and MS


Living near major roads or highways is linked to higher incidence of dementia, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis (MS), suggests new research published this week in the journal Environmental Health.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia analyzed data for 678,000 adults in Metro Vancouver. They found that living less than 50 metres from a major road or less than 150 metres from a highway is associated with a higher risk of developing dementia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and MS--likely due to increased exposure to air pollution.
The researchers also found that living near green spaces, like parks, has protective effects against developing these neurological disorders.
"For the first time, we have confirmed a link between air pollution and traffic proximity with a higher risk of dementia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and MS at the population level," says Weiran Yuchi, the study's lead author and a PhD candidate in the UBC school of population and public health. "The good news is that green spaces appear to have some protective effects in reducing the risk of developing one or more of these disorders. More research is needed, but our findings do suggest that urban planning efforts to increase accessibility to green spaces and to reduce motor vehicle traffic would be beneficial for neurological health."
Neurological disorders--a term that describes a range of disorders, including Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and motor neuron diseases--are increasingly recognized as one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Little is known about the risk factors associated with neurological disorders, the majority of which are incurable and typically worsen over time.
For the study, researchers analyzed data for 678,000 adults between the ages of 45 and 84 who lived in Metro Vancouver from 1994 to 1998 and during a follow-up period from 1999 to 2003. They estimated individual exposures to road proximity, air pollution, noise and greenness at each person's residence using postal code data. During the follow-up period, the researchers identified 13,170 cases of non-Alzheimer's dementia, 4,201 cases of Parkinson's disease, 1,277 cases of Alzheimer's disease and 658 cases of MS.
For non-Alzheimer's dementia and Parkinson's disease specifically, living near major roads or a highway was associated with 14 per cent and seven per cent increased risk of both conditions, respectively. Due to relatively low numbers of Alzheimer's and MS cases in Metro Vancouver compared to non-Alzheimer's dementia and Parkinson's disease, the researchers did not identify associations between air pollution and increased risk of these two disorders. However, they are now analyzing Canada-wide data and are hopeful the larger dataset will provide more information on the effects of air pollution on Alzheimer's disease and MS.
When the researchers accounted for green space, they found the effect of air pollution on the neurological disorders was mitigated. The researchers suggest that this protective effect could be due to several factors.
"For people who are exposed to a higher level of green space, they are more likely to be physically active and may also have more social interactions," said Michael Brauer, the study's senior author and professor in the UBC school of population and public health. "There may even be benefits from just the visual aspects of vegetation."
Brauer added that the findings underscore the importance for city planners to ensure they incorporate greenery and parks when planning and developing residential neighbourhoods.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Research suggests potential link between marijuana and heart risks


As more states legalize marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use and use increases nationwide, cardiologists should advise patients about the potential risks, including effects of marijuana with some commonly prescribed cardiovascular medications, according to a research review published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The authors estimate that more than 2 million cardiovascular disease patients are currently using marijuana or have used marijuana previously. This includes recreational use and approved medical uses, such as human immunodeficiency virus-related weight loss, treatment of seizure disorders, or chemotherapy-associated nausea and vomiting.
"Some observational studies have suggested an association between marijuana and a range of cardiovascular risks," said lead author Muthiah Vaduganathan, MD, MPH, of Brigham and Women's Hospital's Heart and Vascular Center in Boston. "We also know that marijuana is becoming increasingly potent. Our review suggests that smoking marijuana carries many of the same cardiovascular health hazards as smoking tobacco. While the level of evidence is modest, there's enough data for us to advise caution in using marijuana for our highest-risk patients, including those who present with a heart attack or new arrhythmia, or who have been hospitalized with heart failure."
Certain cardiovascular medications, including statins and blood thinners, can be affected by marijuana use, the review found. For example, statin levels can increase in the blood when used together with marijuana because both are metabolized through a network of liver enzymes called the cytochrome P450 system. Levels of blood thinners such as warfarin also can be expected to increase when used together with marijuana.
"The review provides detailed tables of many drugs administered for various cardiovascular conditions, with the anticipated effects of marijuana on each one," Vaduganathan said. "These will be helpful to cardiologists and pharmacists reviewing patients' medications and will help them collaboratively decide whether they need to adjust dosing if the patient continues to use marijuana."
The reviewers recommend that cardiologists screen their patients for marijuana use, asking them how often and how much they use. They also should ask about how they use marijuana.
"Vaping marijuana is becoming more and more common, and we know vaping marijuana increases the pharmacological effects of the drug," Vaduganathan said.
For patients who wish to continue to use marijuana, or who have other medically indicated reasons for use, the reviewers recommend limiting use as much as possible and for clinicians to inform patients that vaping and certain synthetic forms of cannabinoids are particularly potent and may have greater adverse effects.
In some patients, cardiologists should test for marijuana use by urine toxicology screening, the reviewers recommend. These include patients being considered for heart transplantation or those who present with early-onset heart attacks or heart failure at a young age.
The review also analyzed the current state of evidence linking marijuana use with cardiovascular health and disease.
Data on the exact health effects of marijuana on the cardiovascular system are limited, largely because federal laws that classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug have limited the ability of scientists to conduct high-quality research, Vaduganathan said.
"Now that we have seen marijuana use become more popular than tobacco smoking, we need more rigorous research, including randomized clinical trials, to explore the effects of marijuana on cardiovascular health," he said.

Burnout lmay lead to irregular heartbeat



Feeling excessively tired, devoid of energy, demoralised, and irritable? You may have burnout, a syndrome associated with a potentially deadly heart rhythm disturbance. That's the conclusion of a large study published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
"Vital exhaustion, commonly referred to as burnout syndrome, is typically caused by prolonged and profound stress at work or home," said study author Dr. Parveen K. Garg of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. "It differs from depression, which is characterised by low mood, guilt, and poor self-esteem. The results of our study further establish the harm that can be caused in people who suffer from exhaustion that goes unchecked."
Atrial fibrillation is the most common form of heart arrhythmia. It is estimated that 17 million people in Europe and 10 million people in the US will have this condition by next year, increasing their risk for heart attack, stroke, and death. Yet, what causes atrial fibrillation is not fully understood.
Psychological distress has been suggested as a risk factor for atrial fibrillation, but previous studies showed mixed results. In addition, until now, the specific association between vital exhaustion and atrial fibrillation had not been evaluated.
The researchers in this study surveyed more than 11,000 individuals for the presence of vital exhaustion, anger, antidepressant use, and poor social support. They then followed them over a period of nearly 25 years for the development of atrial fibrillation.
Participants with the highest levels of vital exhaustion were at a 20% higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation over the course of follow-up compared to those with little to no evidence of vital exhaustion.
While further study is needed to better understand the observed relationship, Dr. Garg noted that two mechanisms are likely at play. "Vital exhaustion is associated with increased inflammation and heightened activation of the body's physiologic stress response," he said. "When these two things are chronically triggered that can have serious and damaging effects on the heart tissue, which could then eventually lead to the development of this arrhythmia."
No connections were found between anger, antidepressant use, or poor social support and development of atrial fibrillation. "The findings for anger and social support are consistent with prior research but two previous studies did find a significant association between antidepressant use and an increased risk of atrial fibrillation. Clearly, more work still needs to be done," said Dr. Garg.
Further research is also needed to identify concrete actions for doctors to help patients with exhaustion, said Dr. Garg.
He concluded: "It is already known that exhaustion increases one's risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. We now report that it may also increase one's risk for developing atrial fibrillation, a potentially serious cardiac arrhythmia. The importance of avoiding exhaustion through careful attention to -- and management of -- personal stress levels as a way to help preserve overall cardiovascular health cannot be overstated."

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Latest Health News

Diet

Soybean oil linked to metabolic and neurological changes

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 day ago
[image: IMAGE] University of California - Riverside *IMAGE: *Edible fats and oils consumed in the U.S., 2017/18. view more Credit: USDA New UC Riverside research shows soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes, but could also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, and depression. Used for fast food frying, added to packaged foods, and fed to livestock, soybean oil is by far the most widely produced and consumed edible oil in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In all likelihood, it is not healthy for humans. It cert... more »

Walnuts may be good for the gut and help promote heart health

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 days ago
Walnuts may not just be a tasty snack, they may also promote good-for-your-gut bacteria. New research suggests that these "good" bacteria could be contributing to the heart-health benefits of walnuts. In a randomized, controlled trial, researchers found that eating walnuts daily as part of a healthy diet was associated with increases in certain bacteria that can help promote health. Additionally, those changes in gut bacteria were associated with improvements in some risk factors for heart disease. Kristina Petersen, assistant research professor at Penn State, said the study -- rec... more »

Drinking 1% rather than 2% milk accounts for 4.5 years of less aging in adults

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 days ago
A new study shows drinking low-fat milk -- both nonfat and 1% milk -- is significantly associated with less aging in adults. Research on 5,834 U.S. adults by Brigham Young University exercise science professor Larry Tucker, Ph.D., found people who drink low-fat milk experience several years less biological aging than those who drink high-fat (2% and whole) milk. "It was surprising how strong the difference was," Tucker said. "If you're going to drink high-fat milk, you should be aware that doing so is predictive of or related to some significant consequences." Tucker investigated the... more »
Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 6 days ago
Sperm are influenced by diet, and the effects arise rapidly. This is the conclusion of a study by researchers at Link√∂ping University, in which healthy young men were fed a diet rich in sugar. The study, which has been published in *PLOS Biology*, gives new insight into the function of sperm, and may in the long term contribute to new diagnostic methods to measure sperm quality. "We see that diet influences the motility of the sperm, and we can link the changes to specific molecules in them. Our study has revealed rapid effects that are noticeable after one to two weeks," says Anita ... more »

Tea drinkers live longer

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
Drinking tea at least three times a week is linked with a longer and healthier life, according to a study published today in the *European Journal of Preventive Cardiology*, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).1 "Habitual tea consumption is associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause death," said first author Dr. Xinyan Wang, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China. "The favourable health effects are the most robust for green tea and for long-term habitual tea drinkers." The analysis included 100,902 participants of the China-PA... more »

How diet affects mental health

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
A new expert review confirms that diet significantly influences mental health and wellbeing, but cautions that the evidence for many diets is comparatively weak. This, the most up to date overview of the new field of Nutritional Psychiatry, is produced, by the Nutrition Network of the ECNP and is published in the peer-reviewed journal *European Neuropsychopharmacology* (see download details below). Lead author, Professor Suzanne Dickson (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) said: "We have found that there is increasing evidence of a link between a poor diet and the worsening of mood d... more »

Processed foods highly correlated with obesity epidemic in the US

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
As food consumed in the U.S. becomes more and more processed, obesity may become more prevalent. Through reviewing overall trends in food, George Washington University (GW) researcher Leigh A. Frame, PhD, MHS, concluded that detailed recommendations to improve diet quality and overall nutrition are needed for consumers, who are prioritizing food that is cheaper and more convenient, but also highly processed. Her conclusions are published in a review article in *Current Treatment Options in Gastroenterology*. "When comparing the U.S. diet to the diet of those who live in "blue zo... more »

Children who drank whole milk had lower risk of being overweight or obese

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 weeks ago
A systematic review and meta-analysis led by St. Michael's Hospital of Unity Health Toronto found children who drank whole milk had 40 per cent lower odds of being overweight or obese compared with children who consumed reduced-fat milk. The research, published in *The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition*, analyzed 28 studies from seven countries that explored the relationship between children drinking cow's milk and the risk of being overweight or obese. None of the studies - which involved a total almost 21,000 children between the ages of one and 18 years old - showed that kid... more »

Fewer fats over the festive season may be the perfect formula for men's fertility

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 3 weeks ago
A diet low in fat and high in egg whites could be the key to boosting male fertility according to a new pilot study. The research, by Dr Karma Pearce from the University of South Australia in collaboration with fertility specialist Prof Kelton Tremellen, Repromed, and Flinders University, presents a direct link between diet and testosterone - showing that what men eat could affect their fundamental male sex hormone. The study is the first to identify that a diet high in any type of fat - including healthy mono-saturated fats such as olive oil - negatively impacts testosterone pro... more »
 
Medicine and Supplements

Acid reflux drugs may have negative side effects for breast cancer survivors

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 day ago
Acid reflux drugs that are sometimes recommended to ease stomach problems during cancer treatment may have an unintended side effect: impairment of breast cancer survivors' memory and concentration. New Ohio State University research shows an association between breast cancer survivors' use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and reports of problems with concentration and memory. On average, cognitive problems reported by PPI users were between 20 and 29 percent more severe than issues reported by non-PPI users. PPIs are sold under such brand names as Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec. Th... more »
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Be wary of online probiotic health-benefit claims

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 days ago
Most websites that provide information on probiotics are unreliable and claims of benefits against disease are often based on mice experiments Frontiers The public should be wary of searching for probiotic information online as most webpages originate from unreliable sources and the health-benefit claims are often not supported by robust scientific evidence. A new study, published in *Frontiers in Medicine*, cautions that while Google is adept at sorting the most reliable websites to the top of the list, the majority of websites providing information on probiotics are from commercial... more »
 

Quercetin can significantly reduce blood pressure

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 days ago
A new paper in *Nutrition Reviews*finds that intake of the flavonoid quercetin can greatly reduce high blood pressure in patients suffering from cardiovascular disease. Researchers here consulted multiple studies that assessed the impact of quercetin on blood pressure and glucose levels. Quercetin is a plant pigment commonly found in many plants and foods, such as onions, teas, apples and red wine. Each study utilized here assessed blood glucose, total cholesterol, and/or insulin. 17 studies with a total of 886 participants were included. The pooled result from 13 treatment arms thr... more »

Patients shouldn't be prescribed melatonin for jet lag

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 5 days ago
Scant evidence that it effectively relieves symptoms of short term, highly variable condition BMJ Patients shouldn't be prescribed melatonin for jet lag on the NHS, and its use for this indication should be added to the list of treatments that are not routinely funded by the health service, concludes an expert review in *Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin* (dtb). Jet lag is a condition that clears up by itself within a few days, and there is scant published evidence that prescription melatonin makes a major difference to symptom relief, finds the review. A previous dtb review of the evid... more »
 

Aspirin appears to curb colorectal cancer recurrence and tumor growth, study finds

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
The benefits of a daily aspirin may extend beyond heart health to colorectal cancer treatment, say City of Hope researchers who have found aspirin appears to reduce tumor growth and inhibit recurrence of the disease. The trick now, researchers say, is to determine the right dosage of aspirin that can be used as a daily prophylactic without triggering dangerous side effects such as stomach and brain bleeds. "Some might say aspirin is a 'miracle drug' because of its potential to prevent diseases that result from chronic inflammation, such as cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and arth... more »

American College of Physicians issues guideline for testosterone treatment in adult men

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
Physicians should prescribe testosterone for men with age-related low testosterone only to treat sexual dysfunction, the American College of Physicians (ACP) says in a new evidence-based clinical practice guideline published today in *Annals of Internal Medicine*. "Physicians are often asked by patients about low 'T' and are skeptical about the benefits of testosterone treatment," said ACP President Robert M. McLean, MD, MACP. "The evidence shows that men with age-related low testosterone may experience slight improvements in sexual and erectile function. The evidence does not suppo... more »
 

TB vaccine lowers rates of Alzheimer's disease in cancer patients

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 3 weeks ago
 
Holidays are a time for family. Festive gatherings with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles create memories that last a lifetime. But when a loved one has Alzheimer's disease (AD), holidays often become painful reminders of loss and deterioration. Currently, Alzheimer's affects one-in-ten adults over the age of 65--a number that is expected to triple by 2030. The need to find a cure is great. Now there may be a glimmer of hope. A research team headed by Herv√© Bercovier, Charles Greenblatt and Benjamin Klein at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)'s Department of Microbiology... more »

Higher magnesium intake - reduced fatal coronary heart disease risk in women

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 3 weeks ago
A new prospective study based on data from the Women's Health Initiative found a potential inverse association between dietary magnesium and fatal coronary heart disease in postmenopausal women. The study, which also showed a trend between magnesium and sudden cardiac death in this population, is published in *Journal of Women's Health*, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. Click here to read the full-text article on the *Journal of Women's Health* website through January 23, 2020. Charles Eaton, MD, Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and a la... more »

FDA approves new treatment for adults with migraine

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 3 weeks ago
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Ubrelvy (ubrogepant) tablets for the acute (immediate) treatment of migraine with or without aura (a sensory phenomenon or visual disturbance) in adults. Ubrelvy is not indicated for the preventive treatment of migraine. It is the first drug in the class of oral calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonists approved for the acute treatment of migraine. “Migraine is an often disabling condition that affects an estimated 37 million people in the U.S.,” said Billy Dunn, M.D., acting director of the Office of Neuroscience in... more »

First FDA-approved vaccine for the prevention of Ebola virus disease

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 4 weeks ago
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today the approval of Ervebo, the first FDA-approved vaccine for the prevention of Ebola virus disease (EVD), caused by Zaire ebolavirus in individuals 18 years of age and older. Cases of EVD are very rare in the U.S., and those that have occurred have been the result of infections acquired by individuals in other countries who then traveled to the U.S., or health care workers who became ill after treating patients with EVD. “While the risk of Ebola virus disease in the U.S. remains low, the U.S. government remains deeply committed t... more »
 
General Health

Having less sex linked to earlier menopause

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 day ago
Women who engage in sexual activity weekly or monthly have a lower risk of entering menopause early relative to those who report having some form of sex less than monthly, according to a new UCL study. The researchers observed that women, who reported engaging in sexual activity weekly, were 28% less likely to have experienced menopause at any given age than women who engaged in sexual activity less than monthly. Sexual activity includes sexual intercourse, oral sex, sexual
touching and caressing or self-stimulation. The research, published in *Royal Society Open Science*, is based

Healthy lifestyle habits at middle age may increase years lived free of chronic diseases

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
Maintaining five healthy habits--eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, keeping a healthy body weight, not drinking too much alcohol, and not smoking--at middle-age may increase years lived free of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study will be published online January 8, 2020 in *BMJ*. It is a follow-up and extension of a 2018 study, which found that following these habits increased overall life expectancy. "Previous studies have found that following a healthy lifestyle improve... more »

Plants can improve your work life

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
The mere sight of an indoor plant can reduce stress American Society for Horticultural Science [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *An air plant used in the study on office stress reduction. view more Credit: Masahiro Toyoda A study out of the University of Hyogo in Awaji, Japan, details the stress-reducing benefits to office workers that even a small plant situated within easy viewing can impart. Masahiro Toyoda, Yuko Yokota, Marni Barnes, and Midori Kaneko explored the practical use of indoor plants to boost mental health among employees typically removed from exposure to healthy green environm...

Mindfulness makes it easier to forget your fears

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
A new study shows that brief daily mindfulness training delivered through the HEADSPACE mindfulness app makes it easier to achieve lasting extinction of fear reactions University of Southern Denmark Faculty of Health Sciences Mindfulness has been shown to reduce negative emotions in both healthy individuals as well as patients with psychological problems. Studies have also shown that mindfulness is effective for treating clinical emotional problems like anxiety, depression, stress and trauma related disorders. The biological mechanisms that underlie these positive effects on emotion... more »
 
 
 
 

Long work hours at the office linked to both regular and hidden high blood pressure

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 4 weeks ago
Office workers who spend long hours on the job are more likely to have high blood pressure, including a type that can go undetected during a routine medical appointment, according to a new study published today in the American Heart Association's journal *Hypertension*. High blood pressure affects nearly half of Americans ages 18 and older and is a primary factor in more than 82,000 deaths per year. Approximately 15-30% of U.S. adults have a type of the condition called masked hypertension, meaning their high blood pressure readings are normal during health care visits but elevate... more »

Acid reflux affects nearly a third of US adults weekly

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 4 weeks ago
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a digestive disorder that causes heartburn and other uncomfortable symptoms, may affect nearly a third of U.S. adults each week, and most of those who take certain popular medications for it still have symptoms, according to a new Cedars-Sinai study. Also known as acid reflux, GERD is caused by gastric acid from the stomach flowing back up into a person's food pipe, or esophagus. This backup can happen when the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle that briefly opens to let food into the stomach and closes to take food inside, relaxes too of... more »
 
Aging

Blood pressure control for people aged 80 and older: What's the right target?

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 1 week ago
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society research summary American Geriatrics Society The number of people who are 80-years-old and older is on the rise, and will account for nearly 10 percent of the whole U.S. population by 2050. Since the lifetime chance for developing high blood pressure is at least 70 percent by age 80, more and more people will be at risk for the health problems that high blood pressure can cause. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is sometimes called the "silent killer" because it produces few, if any, symptoms. In fact, you might not even realize you ha... more »

Keep exercising: New study finds it's good for your brain's gray matter

Jonathan KantrowitzatHealth News Report - 2 weeks ago
Cardiorespiratory exercise -- walking briskly, running, biking and just about any other exercise that gets your heart pumping -- is good for your body, but can it also slow cognitive changes in your brain? A study in *Mayo Clinic Proceedings* from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases provides new evidence of an association between cardiorespiratory fitness and brain health, particularly in gray matter and total brain volume -- regions of the brain involved with cognitive decline and aging. Brain tissue is made up of gray matter, or cell bodies, and filaments, called whit... more »

Friday, January 17, 2020

Soybean oil linked to metabolic and neurological changes in mice

IMAGE

University of California - Riverside
IMAGE: Edible fats and oils consumed in the U.S., 2017/18. view more 
Credit: USDA
New UC Riverside research shows soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes, but could also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, and depression.
Used for fast food frying, added to packaged foods, and fed to livestock, soybean oil is by far the most widely produced and consumed edible oil in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In all likelihood, it is not healthy for humans.
It certainly is not good for mice. The new study, published this month in the journal Endocrinology, compared mice fed three different diets high in fat: soybean oil, soybean oil modified to be low in linoleic acid, and coconut oil.
The same UCR research team found in 2015 that soybean oil induces obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and fatty liver in mice. Then in a 2017 study, the same group learned that if soybean oil is engineered to be low in linoleic acid, it induces less obesity and insulin resistance.
However, in the study released this month, researchers did not find any difference between the modified and unmodified soybean oil's effects on the brain. Specifically, the scientists found pronounced effects of the oil on the hypothalamus, where a number of critical processes take place.
"The hypothalamus regulates body weight via your metabolism, maintains body temperature, is critical for reproduction and physical growth as well as your response to stress," said Margarita Curras-Collazo, a UCR associate professor of neuroscience and lead author on the study.
The team determined a number of genes in mice fed soybean oil were not functioning correctly. One such gene produces the "love" hormone, oxytocin. In soybean oil-fed mice, levels of oxytocin in the hypothalamus went down.
The research team discovered roughly 100 other genes also affected by the soybean oil diet. They believe this discovery could have ramifications not just for energy metabolism, but also for proper brain function and diseases such as autism or Parkinson's disease. However, it is important to note there is no proof the oil causes these diseases.
Additionally, the team notes the findings only apply to soybean oil -- not to other soy products or to other vegetable oils.
"Do not throw out your tofu, soymilk, edamame, or soy sauce," said Frances Sladek, a UCR toxicologist and professor of cell biology. "Many soy products only contain small amounts of the oil, and large amounts of healthful compounds such as essential fatty acids and proteins."
A caveat for readers concerned about their most recent meal is that this study was conducted on mice, and mouse studies do not always translate to the same results in humans.
Also, this study utilized male mice. Because oxytocin is so important for maternal health and promotes mother-child bonding, similar studies need to be performed using female mice.
One additional note on this study -- the research team has not yet isolated which chemicals in the oil are responsible for the changes they found in the hypothalamus. But they have ruled out two candidates. It is not linoleic acid, since the modified oil also produced genetic disruptions; nor is it stigmasterol, a cholesterol-like chemical found naturally in soybean oil.
Identifying the compounds responsible for the negative effects is an important area for the team's future research.
"This could help design healthier dietary oils in the future," said Poonamjot Deol, an assistant project scientist in Sladek's laboratory and first author on the study.
"The dogma is that saturated fat is bad and unsaturated fat is good. Soybean oil is a polyunsaturated fat, but the idea that it's good for you is just not proven," Sladek said.
Indeed, coconut oil, which contains saturated fats, produced very few changes in the hypothalamic genes.
"If there's one message I want people to take away, it's this: reduce consumption of soybean oil," Deol said about the most recent study.