Tag Archives: Feinberg School of Medicine

Garlic ‘Remedy for Hypertension’

Garlic may be useful in addition to medication to treat high blood pressure, a study suggests.
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Australian doctors enrolled 50 patients in a trial to see if garlic supplements could help those whose blood pressure was high, despite medication.

Those given four capsules of garlic extract a day had lower blood pressure than those on placebo, they report in scientific journal Maturitas.

The British Heart Foundation said more research was needed.

Garlic has long been though to be good for the heart.

Garlic supplements have previously been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure in those with untreated hypertension.

In the latest study, researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia, looked at the effects of four capsules a day of a supplement known as aged garlic for 12 weeks.

They found systolic blood pressure was around 10mmHg lower in the group given garlic compared with those given a placebo.

Researcher Karin Ried said: “Garlic supplements have been associated with a blood pressure lowering effect of clinical significance in patients with untreated hypertension.

“Our trial, however, is the first to assess the effect, tolerability and acceptability of aged garlic extract as an additional treatment to existing antihypertensive medication in patients with treated, but uncontrolled, hypertension.”

Experts say garlic supplements should only be used after seeking medical advice, as garlic can thin the blood or interact with some medicines.

Ellen Mason, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said using garlic for medicinal purposes dates back thousands of years, but it is essential that scientific research proves that garlic can help conditions such as raised blood pressure.

She said: “This study demonstrated a slight blood pressure reduction after using aged garlic supplements but it’s not significant enough or in a large enough group of people to currently recommend it instead of medication.

“It’s a concern that so many people in the UK have poorly controlled blood pressure, with an increased risk of stroke and heart disease as a consequence. So enjoy garlic as part of your diet but don’t stop taking your blood pressure medication.”

You may click to see :
Why garlic is good for the heart

Raw garlic tackles cancer


Source
: BBC News

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5 Mind-Blowing Benefits of Exercise

U.S. News & World Report reveals five ways that exercise can enhance your brainpower and mood:

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1.It reverses the detrimental effects of stress. Exercise boosts levels of soothing brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Exercise may actually work on a cellular level to reverse stress’s toll on your aging process.

2.It lifts depression. Sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants.

3.It improves learning. Exercise increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors that help make new brain cells.

4.It builds self-esteem and improves body image. Even simply seeing fitness improvements, like running a faster mile or lifting more weight, can improve your self-esteem and body image.

5.It leaves you feeling euphoric. High-intensity exercise can leave you with a feeling of euphoria. Try running, biking, or swimming as fast as you can for 30 to 40 seconds and then reduce your speed to a gentle pace for five minutes before sprinting again.

Further, a new study by researchers at Northwestern University‘s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago have revealed impressive insights into why exercise is so good for your brain. In short, it appears that exercise lowers the activity of bone-morphogenetic protein or BMP, which slows the production of new brain cells.

At the same time, exercise increases Noggin, a brain protein that acts as a BMP antagonist.

According to NYTimes.com:

“The more Noggin in your brain, the less BMP activity exists and the more stem cell divisions and neurogenesis [production of new brain cells] you experience.”

Resources:
U.S. News & World Report June 30, 2010
NYTimes.com July 7, 2010

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Vegetable Protein Reduces Blood Pressure

According to a new study, vegetable consumption may be linked to lower blood pressure due to the presence of a specific amino acid.

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The compound in question is glutamic acid, and according to the work conducted at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, boosting its intake may contribute to better health of the circulatory system.

The researchers analyzed data from the International Study on Macro/Micronutrients and Blood Pressure which involved 4,680 people aged between 40-59 in rural and urban populations in China, Japan, the UK and the U.S.

Increasing the consumption of protein-rich vegetables by 4.72 percent resulted in a 1.5 to 3 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) decrease in systolic blood pressure and a 1 to 1.6 mm Hg reduction in diastolic pressure.

“It is estimated that reducing a population’s average systolic blood pressure by 2 mm Hg could cut stroke death rates by 6 percent and reduce mortality from coronary heart disease by 4 percent,” says Dr. Jeremiah Stamler, professor emeritus of the Department of Preventive Medicine in the Feinberg School.

In view of these results, the alkaline diet—which is rich in citrus fruits, vegetables, tubers, nuts and legumes—may also be beneficial for those at risk of high blood pressure.

Source: Better Health Research. Oct. 26.’09

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Vegetable Protein Linked to Lower BP

A new study has shown that consuming an amino acid commonly found in vegetable protein is associated with lower blood pressure.
vegetable with lots of protein

The study, conducted by Jeremiah Stamler, M.D., lead author of the study, and colleagues, showed that a 4.72% higher dietary intake of the amino acid glutamic acid as a per cent of total dietary protein correlated with lower group average systolic blood pressure, lower by 1.5 to 3.0 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). Group average diastolic blood pressure was lower by 1.0 to 1.6 mm Hg.

In the study, researchers examined dietary amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

Stamler, professor emeritus of the Department of Preventive Medicine in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill, said that glutamic acid is the most common amino acid and accounts for almost a quarter (23%) of the protein in vegetable protein and almost one fifth (18%) of animal protein.

In the study, researchers analyzed data from 4,680 middle-age people participating in an international population study on the effects of dietary nutrients on high blood pressure. Participants were from the U.S., U.K., China, and Japan.

The results showed that a nearly 5% higher intake of glutamic acid as a per cent of total protein in the diet was linked to lower average blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure was lower by an average of 1.5 to 3.0 points and diastolic blood pressure was lower by 1.0 to 1.6 points.

Stamler said that the study might help explain on a molecular level why the Dieatary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet lowers blood pressure. The DASH eating pattern, developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, is rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat and non-fat dairy products as well as whole grains, lean poultry, nuts and beans.

The study has been published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Source: The times Of india

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Deadly Degeneration

Much progress is being made on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. The brains of people who retain their mental acuity well into old age may offer some clues:

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It is one of the most dreaded and most mysterious diseases known to human beings. German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer first announced it publicly in 1906. After more than a century, we still do not have a treatment for this problem or even know the major causes of the disease. In fact, during the centenary of the discovery of the disease, all articles in scientific journals unanimously agreed that we have progressed very little in over a century. For how long will this situation continue?

Probably not for long, judging from the spurt of scientific activity around Alzheimer’s in recent times. Several research papers in the last two years have hinted at the possibility of finally understanding the disease, and over 200 clinical trials currently in progress suggest that we could find a drug that could at least slow down the disease in the next decade. In any case, at least one aspect of the disease is becoming clear: its complexity.

Alzheimer’s may have several causes, and thus may need several approaches in developing treatment.

Last month produced a burst of news about the disease. For example, researchers at Northwestern University in the US announced that the so-called ‘super aged’ have brains different from normal people; they have fewer ‘tangles’ in the brain than other older people. The super aged are people who retain their mental acuity well into old age. It was the first study to actually look at the reverse of Alzheimer’s, to see what makes people retain their brain health into old age. “If we know what is different in the brains of the super aged,” says Changiz Geula, professor of neuroscience at Northwestern, “we could design strategies to keep the brain healthy.”

In another piece of research, scientists at the LSU Health Centre at New Orleans in the US discovered the role of micro RNA, a type of small RNAs, in regulating inflammation in the brain and thus Alzheimer’s disease (inflammation is one of the key characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease). This micro RNA targets a specific type of anti-inflammatory agent in the brain, thus reducing their availability and increasing inflammation. Says Walter Lukiw, professor at the centre: “A drug that targets this micro RNA could reduce inflammation in the brain.”

There were other significant developments as well. Scientists at the Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas, both in the US, found a group of compounds that slow down the degeneration of neurons. Neuronal degeneration is another feature of Alzheimer’s, and slowing the process is a likely method of treating the disease. Scientists at the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research in the US showed why resveratrol, a substance found in red grapes and wine, reduces plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. And scientists at Emory University, again in the US, have developed a new method to detect Alzheimer’s very early, an important factor in the treatment of the disease.

So are we getting close to cracking the disease finally? Probably yes, but we do not know clearly yet. Each step forward brings new vistas and aspects to be worked out. Consider the research on the brains of the super aged. Their brains do not seem to age at all.

A considerable amount of Alzheimer’s research concentrated on the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, and specifically on the amyloid plaques (an abnormal accumulation of proteins) that build up in their brains. But Geula and his colleagues at the Feinberg School of Medicine in the university decided to look at the other side and analyse the super healthy brains. Instead of analysing what goes wrong, they looked at what goes right.

They looked at the brains of five people, in their eighties, who had performed exceptionally well in memory tests. All of them had low levels of a fibre tangle found normally in the brains of older people. This tangle, made of a protein called tau, finally kills the nerve cells. So if we have less of this protein, our brains could remain healthy into old age. So what causes this protein to build up? Is it genes or the environment? We do not know. Geula is in the early stages of this study, and so we have to wait a little longer to find out more.

So while we wait for scientists to understand the disease and discover drugs, what can we do to prevent the disease?

Lifestyle undoubtedly contributes to the development of the disease. In fact, a low fat diet and exercise are among the best options to prevent the disease. “Anything that promotes cardiac health also helps prevent Alzheimer’s,” says Lukiw. Apart from a healthy diet and exercise, scientists advise garlic to promote cardiac health, oats to reduce cholesterol, and turmeric to reduce inflammation. That is not difficult to follow, is it?

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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