Category Archives: News on Health & Science

Mushrooms may ‘reduce the risk of mild brain decline

Eating mushrooms more than twice a week could prevent memory and language problems occurring in the over-60s, research from Singapore suggests.
A unique antioxidant present in mushrooms could have a protective effect on the brain, the study found.

The more mushrooms people ate, the better they performed in tests of thinking and processing.
But researchers said it was not possible to prove a direct link between the fungi and brain function.
The National University of Singapore study’s findings were based on 663 Chinese adults, aged over 60, whose diet and lifestyle were tracked from 2011 to 2017.

Over the six-year study, the researchers found that eating mushrooms lowered the chances of mild cognitive impairment, so that roughly nine out of 100 people who ate more than two portions a week were diagnosed, compared with 19 out of 100 among those who ate fewer than one portion.

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‘Encouraging’
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) can make people forgetful, affect their memory and cause problems with language, attention and locating objects in spaces – but the changes can be subtle.

It is not serious enough to be defined as dementia.
The participants in the study were asked how often they ate six different types of mushrooms: oyster, shiitake, white button, dried, golden and tinned.
Mushroom eaters performed better in brain tests and were found to have faster processing speed – and this was particularly noticeable in those who ate more than two portions a week, or more than 300g (10.5oz).

“This correlation is surprising and encouraging,” said assistant professor Lei Feng, the lead study author, from the university’s department of psychological medicine.

“It seems that a commonly available single ingredient could have a dramatic effect on cognitive decline.
“But we are talking about a combination of many factors – tea, green leafy vegetables, nuts and fish are also beneficial.”

The researchers point to the fact that mushrooms are one of the richest dietary sources of ergothioneine – an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which humans are unable to make on their own.

Mushrooms also contain other important nutrients and minerals such as vitamin D, selenium and spermidine, which protect neurons from damage.
But there is still a long way to go before evidence of a direct link can be established.

Resources:
BBC NEWS : (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-47554966)

Obesity Enhances Cancer Risk

Fat-clogged cells explain why obesity can cause cancer. A new discovery could explain why obese people are more likely to develop cancer, scientists say.

A type of cell the body uses to destroy cancerous tissue gets clogged by fat and stops working, the team, from Trinity College Dublin, found.

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Obesity is the biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK after smoking, Cancer Research UK says.

And more than one in 20 cancer cases – about 22,800 cases each year in the UK – are caused by excess body weight.

Experts already suspected fat sent signals to the body that could both damage cells, leading to cancer, and increase the number of them.

Now, the Trinity scientists have been able to show, in Nature Immunology journal, how the body’s cancer-fighting cells get clogged by fat.

And they hope to be able to find drug treatments that could restore these “natural killer” cells’ fighting abilities.

‘Lose some weight’
Prof Lydia Lynch said: “A compound that can block the fat uptake by natural killer cells might help.

“We tried it in the lab and found it allowed them to kill again.

But arguably a better way would be to lose some weight – because that is healthier for you anyway.”

Dr Leo Carlin, from the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, said: “Although we know that obesity increases the risk of 13 different types of cancer, we still don’t fully understand the mechanisms underlying the link.

“This study reveals how fat molecules prevent immune cells from properly positioning their tumour-killing machinery, and provides new avenues to investigate treatments.

“A lot of research focuses on how tumours grow in order to find metabolic targets to stop them, so this is a reminder that we should consider the metabolism of immune cells too.”

To reduce risk:

*Keep a healthy weight
*Stop smoking totally
*Eat a healthy diet
*Cut back on alcohol
*Avoid sunburn

Sources: BBC News

A gut bacterium as a fountain of youth

Move over Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. There’s a new health-promoting gut bacterium, and it’s called Akkermansia muciniphila.

You will not find its benefits at the bottom of a yogurt cup. But a new study has identified more than one way to nurture its growth in the gut, and offered evidence that it may maintain — and even restore — health as we age.

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Published this week in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the new research found that in mice and monkeys whose metabolisms had grown cranky with age, taking steps to boost A. muciniphila in the gut reduced the animals’ insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is the gradual impairment of the body’s ability to efficiently use food for fuel. It is best known as a way station on a patient’s path to developing type 2 diabetes.

But insulin resistance is also linked to a rogue’s gallery of ills, from obesity and inflammation to the sagging immunity and frailty that comes with advancing age. If a readily available means of slowing or reversing insulin resistance could be identified, it might have broad and powerful anti-aging effects (in addition to protecting some of the world’s 650 million adults who are obese against developing type 2 diabetes).

First identified in 2004, Akkermansia muciniphila inhabits the large intestine and is thought to account for between 1% and 5% of all intestinal bacteria in adults. Scientists suspect it helps preserve the coat of mucus that lines the walls of our intestines. It may also play a role in making the polyphenols we eat in plant-based foods more available to our cells.

Evidence is mounting that A. muciniphila is involved in obesity, glucose metabolism and intestinal immunity.

For instance, a 2018 study of cancer patients suggests that it plays a role in immune response. Compared to patients who failed to be helped by a new generation of immunotherapy, those who did had a greater abundance of Akkermansia in their guts. When researchers took the stool of a patient who responded positively to the cancer-fighting therapy and transplanted it into lab animals with human cancers, the recipients became more likely to respond positively to the same treatment.

In the new research, a team from the National Institute on Aging examined the molecular chain of events that appears to result from A. muciniphila’s depletion in mice and macaque monkeys. And they assessed the effects of restoring this gut microbe to elderly animals.

First, they documented that the guts of older animals had markedly smaller populations of A. muciniphila than the guts of young animals, and that as A. muciniphila became more scarce, so did butyrate, one of the gut’s key protectors.

The deficiency of these two substances caused the mucous walls of the of the aged animals’ intestines to thin and grow leaky. That corrosive process unleashed a chain of events that touched off inflammation, prompted an immune response and, in a final step, increased insulin resistance.

Key to that final step was the accumulation in the gut of a specific kind of immune cell called 4BL cells. If the detrimental chain of events was to be disrupted, the accumulation of those 4BL cells probably had to be stopped, the researchers surmised.

The researchers also documented what appeared to be a role for A. muciniphila in fostering healthy diversity among the garden of other microbes that colonize the gut. In animals with scant populations of A. muciniphila, a host of other common gut bacteria — as well as their beneficial byproducts, particularly butyrate — also suffered.

When the researchers gave aged mice butyrate, the result was higher A. muciniphila levels and levels of insulin resistance that approached those seen in the younger animals.

They got the same results when they gave aged mice and macaque monkeys the antibiotic enrofloxacin, a broad-spectrum antibiotic used in veterinary medicine. In both animals, enrofloxacin — which is not considered safe for use in humans — routinely wiped out the 4BL cells that were thought to be a key link in the chain leading to insulin resistance. With them out of the picture, A. muciniphila levels rose and insulin resistance largely disappeared, demonstrating their pivotal role.

The results suggest “that the insulin resistance and other pathologies associated with aging and even frailty can be ameliorated by targeting” the cascade of events that flow from the depletion of of Akkermansia muciniphila, the study authors wrote.

Belgian researcher Patrice Cani, who is exploring a probiotic form of Akkermansia that could increase its presence in the human gut, said the new findings are “perfectly in line” with studies that have shown the bacteria’s impact on insulin sensitivity.

Finding the power of this gut bacteria in macaque monkeys is a particularly important step forward that supports “even more the need for future research in humans,” added Cani, who is based at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.

Cani and his colleagues have just finished a small study in humans to investigate the safety and the feasibility of taking Akkermansia in a form that will boost its populations in the gut — a first. The results to date have been encouraging, he said.

Sources: The Los Angeles Times

Diabetic Diet Myths

6 Diabetic Diet Myths as per Telegraph, Kolkata,India.

Diagnosed with high blood sugar and heartbroken because of all that food you have to give up? Don’t lose hope, says Sujata Mukherjee.

The first regret, as soon as a person knows he or she has diabetes, is all that yummy food you will be banned from having. Bye-bye deliciousness, hello bland diabetic diet. But that is just it — there is no such thing as a diabetic diet. Experts suggest diabetics stick to a normal, balanced diet — with carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins in adequate proportions. That is not the only myth linked to blood sugar. Here are a few more that should really be debunked.

1. TOTAL BAN OF SUGAR
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You don’t have to give up your morning cup of sweetened tea. Half-a-spoon of sugar in your tea will help you feel satiated and fight a day-long sugar craving. Sugar triggers the satiety centre in the brain while sugar substitutes do not. You can also have sweets, cookies and ice-cream once in a while. Adjust calories consumed by decreasing the amount of carbohydrate-rich food accordingly.

2.AVOID CARBOHYDRATES
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Diabetics do not actually have to give up carbohydrates altogether. Just ensure that not more than 50 per cent of your calories come from carbs, preferably from fibre-rich, complex ones. Choose wholegrain atta over flour (maida), brown or wild rice, multigrain bread and whole fruits instead of juice. Have 100gm of fruits and vegetables daily, unpeeled when possible. You can also have small portions of mangoes or bananas.

 

3.FINISHED WITH FATS
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Don’t cut down on friendly fats. Eat almonds, walnuts, linseed, seeds of sunflower or ash gourd, dry roasted peanuts, avocado or olive oil in small amounts. Eat sea fish at least twice a week. Full fat milk is also healthy as are cheese and yoghurt. Mustard, sunflower, ricebran and olive oil are all healthy; use any two of them in everyday cooking but stick to three teaspoonfuls a day.

4.NO MORE POTATOES
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Where 100gm of rice or wheat has 340 calories, 100gm potatoes has only 100. It also has a chemical called chlorogenic acid, which reduces insulin resistance. “Potato has a high glycaemic index (GI). As a result it raises blood sugar rapidly,” says endocrinologist Satinath Mukhopadhyay. “But if unpeeled potato is cooked with a lot of vegetables, the fibre in the greens bring down the GI of the dish.” If you love boiled potatoes, mix in boiled bitter gourd, brinjal or parwal. “If you love hash browns, have it with sautéed vegetables and 4-5 almonds,” he says.

5.SUPER FOODS ARE  BETTER THAN PILLS
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Doctors don’t think the so-called super foods can actually replace a balanced diet or medication. More research is needed to find out how amla, garlic, spinach, fenugreek, tomato, almond, bitter gourd and turmeric help in diabetes, what the active ingredients and how much you should have daily and in what way. Take fenugreek. Should you have it raw or drink fenugreek-soaked water? Should one have boiled bitter gourd or raw juice?

Bitter gourd is believed to help bile juice flow and aid digestion. It’s loaded with soluble fibre and full of charantin, a chemical that helps bring down blood sugar and metabolise glucose. If you have it juiced, you are likely to ingest pesticide residue. So have it boiled or in a mixed vegetable (shukto). If you use powdered or whole fenugreek as spice, it slows down fat, carb and cholesterol absorption, which is good for type 2 diabetes. Fenugreek-soaked water is unlikely to be beneficial.

6.SAY NO TO ALCOHOL
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As in everything else, moderation is the key here. A drink or two once in a month should be fine. Remember to pair them with healthy snacks. “Never drink on an empty stomach; eat enough fruits and vegetables for fibre. Otherwise, blood sugar will rise all of a sudden,” warns Dr Mukhopadhyay.

Now it is time for a new diet chart for  Diabetic Patient

Resources:  The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Latest News on Saturated fat and cholesterol

Saturated fat and cholesterol have little to do with the development of heart disease. Data shows two-thirds of people admitted to hospitals with acute myocardial infarction have completely normal cholesterol levels.

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Fats can be harmful, but it’s important to be specific. Fats that contribute to heart disease are primarily trans fats and highly refined and/or heated polyunsaturated vegetable oils (PUFAs), which are high in damaged omega-6

For optimal health, seek to get 75 to 85 percent of your total calories as healthy fat, primarily monosaturated and saturated. Limit PUFAs to 10 percent and omega-6 fats to 5 percent.

Resources:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/06/05/saturated-fat-heart-disease-risk.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=mv1&utm_campaign=20160612Z3&et_cid=DM108227&et_rid=1525559635