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Thu, 22 Feb 2018
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Health & Wellness


Inflammation Is Associated With Lower Intelligence and Premature Death

Inflammation is associated with lower intelligence and premature death, according to Swedish scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. "Those with low-grade inflammation performed more poorly on standardised intelligence tests, even after excluding those with signs of current illness. Inflammation also predicted an increased risk of premature death," said lead researcher Dr Hakan Karlsson.

The research, recently published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, used large population-based registers containing data collected over several decades. Inflammation and intelligence were measured at 18-20 years of age in nearly 50,000 young men, and deaths over the following 35 years were recorded.

"Although we knew that inflammation associated with infection or cardiovascular disease could impair brain function, this is the first time that similar associations have been shown in healthy young people," said Dr Karlsson. "This suggests that even low levels of inflammation can have detrimental consequences for health and brain function," he added.


Ten Reasons to Reject a Suspicious Fish


The FDA is close to approving genetically engineered salmon for our plates, but here are ten reasons to stop them.
The FDA is uncomfortably close to approving AquaBounty's AquAdvantage® GE salmon for our kitchen tables, and they are trying to move the process along rather quickly. While the agency is downplaying the potential dangers of bringing GE salmon to market, there are legitimate concerns that every consumer should consider. Proponents of genetically modified food might attempt to distract consumers by making false claims and empty reassurances. Here are ten reasons why the FDA should stop the application process to approve GE salmon for human consumption.


More than a Feeling: Prescribing Music to Alter Moods

© Scott Adelson
I've just discovered this satellite radio channel called 1st Wave. It plays alternative '80s rock that's mined right out of my undergrad years. The Cure, REM, The Smiths, Pretenders, The Clash. I guess it's kind of like my oldies station. (Guh. I can't believe I even have an oldies station.) I drive around listening to this stuff and the memories pour in. Not just where or when I heard a song (read: what party, with whom and how wasted), but deeply visceral sensations, echoes of entire swaths of time and their accompanying gestalts - i.e., that summer of love or that winter of discontent. It's about memories, yes, but it's more than that. These songs actually reproduce a mood. It's an odd sensation that I've chalked up to some kind of clinical nostalgia.

But maybe not. My editor just sent me this story from the BBC: "Study to develop 'musical prescriptions' for patients."

Turns out these scientists at Glasgow Caledonian University are using a "mixture of psychology and audio engineering" to see how music can elicit specific responses. The plan is to analyze everything from tone, to pitch, to lyrics and even "associated thoughts" to accurately chart listeners responses and perhaps one day create music regimens that can take care of emotional needs. The potential here is to write music prescriptions to "help those suffering physical pain or conditions like depression."


Most Americans Still Not Eating Enough Fruits, Veggies

© aicrblog.org
In 2000, the U.S. government set modest goals for the amount of fruit and vegetables people should eat, but a decade later the majority of Americans are not even close to reaching those thresholds, health officials said Thursday.

In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009, 67.5 percent of adults ate fruit less than two times daily and 73.7 percent ate vegetables less than three times per day. The goals of Healthy People 2010 were for 75 percent of people to eat at least two servings of fruit and 50 percent to eat at least three servings of vegetables every day.

"Over the last decade we have looked at behavioral intervention, like counseling to get people to include their fruits and vegetables," said report co-author Dr. Jennifer Foltz, a researcher in the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. "But it's not so easy."


Do You Have Leaky Gut Syndrome?

© unknown
Because it is something of a mystery disease that can show itself as a bewildering array of other conditions, you could have Leaky Gut Syndrome and not even realize it.

The reason is that Leaky Gut Syndrome is one of the many concepts in medicine that cuts across the boundary lines of specific diseases.

It is a major example of an important medical phenomenon: distress in one organ causes disease in another. That is why it is vital to look beyond the symptoms and discover the root cause of illness.


Where the Salmonella Really Came From

© unknown
It's been nearly one month since the nationwide recall of 550 million eggs, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still hasn't figured out where the salmonella that sickened 1,470 people originated.

Well, I know where it originated, and I am about to reveal it here, both to save the FDA further trouble and to warn the public that the food safety bill currently before the Senate (which may be fast-tracked as election-wary lawmakers return from their break) might not prevent future food contamination epidemics. In fact, it could even cause serious harm to conscientious farmers whose meat, poultry, and produce has never sickened anybody.


A Smart Use for Wisdom Teeth: Making Stem Cells

For most people, wisdom teeth are not much more than an annoyance that eventually needs to be removed. However, a new study appearing in the Sept. 17 Journal of Biological Chemistry shows that wisdom teeth contain a valuable reservoir of tissue for the creation of stem cells; thus, everyone might be carrying around his or her own personal stem-cell repository should he or she ever need some.

Groundbreaking research back in 2006 revealed that inducing the activity of four genes in adult cells could "reprogram" them back into a stem-cell-like state; biologically, these induced-pluripotent stem cells are virtually identical to embryonic stem cells, opening up a new potential avenue for stem-cell therapy whereby patients could be treated with their own stem cells.

However, despite their promise, making iPS cells is not easy; the reprogramming efficiencies are very low and vary among the cells that can be used for iPS generation and thus require good amount of "starter" cells -- which might involve difficult extraction from body tissue (unfortunately skin cells, the easiest to acquire, show very low reprogramming efficiency).


Mystery Allergy Strikes Adults: Is Meat The New Pollen?

© Tobias Regell/Gallery Stock
When Linda Quinn awoke in the middle of the night in a Tulsa, Okla., motel room last July, a thousand miles from home, her first thought was, "Not again."

Huge itchy red blotches blanketed her torso. A great weight seemed to be pressing on her chest, pushing air out of her lungs. She felt dizzy, a sure sign of plummeting blood pressure and a hallmark of anaphylaxis - the potentially fatal allergic reaction that had sent her to the emergency room half a dozen times since 2006. She quickly roused her husband, Joseph, who called the front desk. A clerk summoned an ambulance, and Quinn was whisked to a nearby emergency room.

Both Quinns were baffled: Linda hadn't eaten any of the foods doctors warned her to avoid, after being diagnosed with a food allergy. Only later would the retired couple discover that the culprit was something neither had imagined.

Linda Quinn's diagnosis, shared by a growing number of patients around the world, is upending long-held views of food allergies, which held that adults don't tend to develop allergies late in life. And yet these adults, some as old as 80, suddenly developed an allergy that sounded downright bizarre: They were allergic to meat.


If You Have High Levels of Insulin Resistance, You Have a 65% Higher Risk of Alzheimer's

© Dr. Mercola
Insulin resistant people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop plaques in their brains which are associated with Alzheimer's disease.

A study looked at 135 elderly participants who were monitored for signs of Alzheimer's disease for 10 to 15 years.

After they died, researchers conducted autopsies on their brains and that those who had high blood sugar levels while they were alive also tended to have the plaques.

According to Reuters:
"Twenty-one participants, or 16 percent, developed Alzheimer's disease before they died and plaques were found in all of their brains. But the autopsies also found plaques in other participants who had abnormally high blood sugar levels.

Plaques were found in 72 percent of people with insulin resistance and 62 percent of those with no indication of insulin resistance, the researchers wrote.

"The point is that insulin resistance may possibly accelerate plaque pathology (development)," Sasaki wrote."

Reuters: "Insulin resistance may cause Alzheimer plaques"

Journal of Neurology: Neurosurgery and Psychiatry - June 11, 2010


Does the Impact of Psychological Trauma Cross Generations?

In groups with high rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as the survivors of the Nazi Death Camps, the adjustment problems of their children, the so-called "Second Generation", have received attention by researchers. Studies suggested that some symptoms or personality traits associated with PTSD may be more common in the Second Generation than the general population. It has been assumed that these trans-generational effects reflected the impact of PTSD upon the parent-child relationship rather than a trait passed biologically from parent to child.

However, Dr. Isabelle Mansuy and colleagues provide new evidence in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry that some aspects of the impact of trauma cross generations and are associated with epigenetic changes, i.e., the regulation of the pattern of gene expression, without changing the DNA sequence.

They found that early-life stress induced depressive-like behaviors and altered behavioral responses to aversive environments in mice. Importantly, these behavioral alterations were also found in the offspring of males subjected to early stress even though the offspring were raised normally without any stress. In parallel, the profile of DNA methylation was altered in several genes in the germline (sperm) of the fathers, and in the brain and germline of their offspring.