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VEGAN NUNS HAVE SAME BONE DENSITY AS MEAT EATERS
A study comparing the bone health of vegan Buddhist nuns with non-vegetarian women has found that their bone density was identical.
The cross-sectional study showed that, although vegans had lower dietary calcium and protein intakes than omnivores, veganism did not have adverse effect on bone mineral density and did not alter body composition. (Veganism, bone mineral density, and body composition: a study in Buddhist nuns. Osteoporos Int. 2009 Apr 7. [Epub ahead of print]).
CHINESE WATER POLLUTION
Chinese farms generate more water pollution than its factories, according to a government commissioned report.
Agriculture dumps most of the phosphorus and nitrogen found in rivers and lakes. Both pollutants are responsible for aquatic dead zones. (New Scientist Feb 13, 2010 p 7).
A new syndrome has been added to the list of health concerns associated with mobile phone usage. ‘Cell-phone elbow’, or cubital tunnel syndrome commonly occurs after prolonged mobile phone use and manifests as tingling, aching, burning or numbness in the ulnar forearm and hand.
The condition is caused by stretching of the ulnar nerve, which happens when the elbow is kept bent for long periods, for example when holding a mobile phone to the ear. The bent elbow position narrows the space available for the nerve, increasing pressure in the nerve tunnel by as much as 20 times.
This can be further aggravated by leaning on the elbow, for instance talking on the phone while leaning on the bent elbow. Blood supply to the nerve is compromised leading to swelling, which further reduces room in the nerve tunnel, and thus a vicious cycle is established.
The condition can be treated by avoiding activities that make the condition worse and by changing phone behavior – for example changing the phone to the other hand or using a hands-free kit. (What is cell phone elbow, and what should we tell our patients? Cleve Clin J Med. 2009 May;76(5):306-8).
MORE TEA, PLEASE
Taking Polyphenon E, a compound containing tea polyphenols including epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), can improve serum levels of prostate cancer markers in men suffering from the condition.
Twenty-six men, scheduled for radical prostatectomy, were given daily doses of Polyphenon E in the time leading up to their surgery. They showed a significant reduction in serum levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and other inflammatory markers. Liver function tests also decreased. (Tea polyphenols decrease serum levels of prostate-specific antigen, hepatocyte growth factor, and vascular endothelial growth factor in prostate cancer patients and inhibit production of hepatocyte growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor in vitro. Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2009 Jul;2(7):673-82).
Polyphenon E is also currently the subject of a Phase II trial to estimate its efficacy in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Phase I trials found that it was well tolerated by CLL patients and decreases in lymphocyte count and/or lymphadenopathy were observed in the majority of patients. (Phase I trial of daily oral Polyphenon E in patients with asymptomatic Rai stage 0 to II chronic lymphocytic leukemia. J Clin Oncol. 2009 Aug 10;27(23):3808-14).
Eating mushrooms and drinking green tea have a joint effect on decreasing women’s risk of breast cancer according to a case-control study of 1,009 Chinese women. (Dietary intakes of mushrooms and green tea combine to reduce the risk of breast cancer in Chinese women. Int J Cancer. 2009 Mar 15;124(6):1404-8).
Once-Great Britain’s government data indicates that compliance with the “Kyoto” protocols reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 148 megatons between 1992 and 2004.
High fives and handshakes all around.
However, new data indicates that this reduction was countered by a 217 megaton rise from imported goods. Though the study was completed six months ago, the government has been unwilling to allow publication of the report until “perhaps later this year.”
Glen Peters of Norway’s Center for International Climate and Environment Research has this response: “The UK can pat itself on the back and say they reduced carbon dioxide emission, but they just pushed those emissions elsewhere.” (New Scientist Feb 6, 2010 p 11).
MENOPAUSE FORMULA REVEALS BONE-BUILDING PROPERTIES
A Chinese herbal formula used to treat menopausal symptoms has potential as a therapy for osteoporosis.
The formula, Danggui Buxue Tang (DBT) consists of a mixture of Astragalus (Huang Qi) and Angelica (Dang Gui) in the ratio of 5:1. Chinese investigators studied its effects on cell proliferation and differentiation in cultured cells. DBT was found to have estrogenic (bone-generating) effects and to induce gene expression in osteoblastic (bone-building) cells.
The scientists produced gene expression profiles of cells treated with DBT and compared them with cells treated with pure extracts of either Radix Astragali (RA) or Radix Angelicae Sinensis (RAS). Of 883 DBT-regulated genes, they found that 403 of them were specifically regulated by DBT treatment, and not by the individual herbal components alone.
The researchers went on to further elucidate the cellular signaling cascade involved in DBT-regulated gene expression. The authors conclude that their results could be used to help develop DBT as a drug to prevent osteoporosis in menopausal women. (A Chinese Herbal Decoction, Danggui Buxue Tang, Stimulates Proliferation, Differentiation and Gene Expression of Cultured Osteosarcoma Cells: Genomic Approach to Reveal Specific Gene Activation. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Jan 8. [Epub ahead of print]).
STEAM YOUR GREENS
Some cooking methods can preserve, and even boost, the nutrient content of vegetables.
Italian scientists evaluated the effects of three commonly used cooking methods - boiling, steaming, and frying - on the nutrient content of carrots, courgettes and broccoli. Water-cooking treatments maintained the antioxidant content of the vegetables, while frying caused a significantly higher loss of antioxidants.
For broccoli, steaming increased the content of glucosinolates (a group of plant compounds with cancer-fighting abilities).
Softening of the vegetables by the cooking process is thought to lead to increased extractability of antioxidants. (Effects of different cooking methods on nutritional and physicochemical characteristics of selected vegetables. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jan 9;56(1):139-47).
OATS FOR CHOLESTEROL REDUCTION
A review of recent research strongly supports the link between eating oatmeal and lowering cholesterol levels. The authors report that studies conducted during the past 15 years have, without exception, shown that consumption of oats and oat-based products significantly reduces total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL, the "bad" cholesterol) concentrations without adverse effects on high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL, the "good" cholesterol), or triglyceride concentrations. (State of the Art Reviews: The Oatmeal-Cholesterol Connection: 10 Years Later. Am J Lifestyle Med 2008; 2(1): 51-57).
SWEET DRINKS LINKED TO GOUT
Consumption of sugar sweetened soft drinks and fructose is strongly associated with an increased risk of gout in men.
In a study of Canadian health professionals, 46,393 men with no history of gout at baseline provided information on intake of soft drinks and fructose through food frequency questionnaires.
During the 12 years of follow-up, 755 cases of gout were reported. Increasing intake of sugar-sweetened soft drinks was associated with an increasing risk of gout.
The risk was significantly increased with an intake level of 5-6 servings per week and the risk was 85% higher among men who consumed two or more servings of sugar-sweetened soft drinks per day compared to those who consumed less than one serving per month. (Soft drinks, fructose consumption, and the risk of gout in men: prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2008 Feb 9;336(7639):309-12).
SSRI ANTIDEPRESSANTS MAY INTERFERE WITH TAMOXIFEN
An enzyme which converts tamoxifen into its biologically active form may be inhibited by SSRI antidepressants.
The result would be inadequate blood levels of the anticancer drug.
David Juurlink of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto reviewed the records of 2430 women and found that when tamoxifen treatment overlapped with the use of paroxetine, the long term risk of death from breast cancer was higher. (New Scientist Feb 13, 2010 p 6).
CHINESE HERBAL EXTRACT PREVENTS POLYCYSTIC KIDNEYS
Triptolide, a compound derived from the Chinese medicinal herb; Lei Gong Teng (Tripterygii wilfordii Radix) has been demonstrated to prevent the formation of kidney-destroying cysts in a mouse model of polycystic kidney disease.
Researchers from Yale University found that the compound corrected cellular calcium signaling mechanisms that are disrupted in the disease, leading to abnormal cell growth. (Triptolide is a traditional Chinese medicine-derived inhibitor of polycystic kidney disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Mar 13;104(11):4389-94).
GINSENG RELIEVES CANCER FATIGUE
A pilot study suggests that ginseng can relieve fatigue and boost energy levels in people with cancer.
The US based trial tested three doses (750 mg, 1000 mg and 2000 mg) of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) against placebo in 282 patients suffering from a variety of types of cancer, about half of whom were receiving chemotherapy.
After eight weeks, 25% of patients taking 1000 mg of ginseng and 27% of patients taking 2000 mg reported feeling "moderately better" or "much better," compared with only 10% of patients in both the placebo and the lowest dose ginseng groups. (American Society of Clinical Oncology 43rd Annual Meeting: Abstract 9001).
AFFIRMATIONS CAN MAKE SOME PEOPLE FEEL WORSE
Canadian psychologists have found that people with low self-esteem can actually feel worse after repeating positive statements about themselves.
The researchers asked people with high and low self-esteem to repeat a positive self-statement ("I am a lovable person"). They then measured the participants' moods and their feelings about themselves.
The low self-esteem group felt worse afterwards compared to people with high self-esteem who felt better after repeating the positive affirmation, but only to a limited degree.
The psychologists then asked the participants to list negative and positive thoughts about themselves. They found, paradoxically, that those with low self-esteem were in a better mood when they were allowed to have negative thoughts than when they were asked to focus exclusively on affirmative thoughts. (Positive self-statements: power for some, peril for others. Psychol Sci. 2009 Jul;20(7):860-6).
NAPS REDUCE RISK OF HEART ATTACK DEATH
Taking midday naps often may significantly reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, according to a new study by researchers from the Harvard School of (HSPH) and the University of Athens Medical School (UAMS) in Greece. Those who regularly took naps, defined as three times a week for an average of at least 30 minute each time, had a 37% lower coronary mortality than those who did not take siestas.
Even occasional nappers seemed to benefit from napping.They were 12 percent less likely to die from coronary heart disease than those who did not take any nap, but the risk reduction was not significant.
The current study meant to establish an association between taking a nap and coronary mortality based on data from "a sizable cohort with a high frequency of napping and information on potentially confounding variables including reported comorbidity and diet."
The study involved 23,681 men and women living in Greece from the Greek European Prospective Investigation into and Nutrition [EPIC] cohort, who had no history of coronary heart disease, stroke or cancer at enrolment or at the start of the study.
Androniki Naska, lead author of the study, lecturer of hygiene and epidemiology in UAMS, and senior author Dimitrios Trichopoulos, professor of and epidemiology at HSPH followed the participants for an average of 6.3 years for their napping habit and coronary mortality.(Family Practice News March 15, 2007, p 47).
"Is Anyone Thinking?" Department
DEPARTMENT OF ANTI-ELITISM
This man is thinking, and has a plan: “I humbly submit my proposed Congressional Reform Act of 2010: 1. Term limits: 12 years only, one of the possible options; 2. No tenure/No pension: Members of Congress collect a salary while in office and receive no pay when they are out of office. 3. Congress (past, present and future) participates in Social Security: All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system. Congress participates
with the American people. 4. Congress shall purchase their own retirement plan just like all other Americans. 5. Members of Congress shall no longer vote themselves pay raises. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%. 6. Members of Congress lose their current health care system and participate in the same healthcare system as the American people. 7. Members of Congress shall equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people. 8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/2011: The American people did not make these contracts with Congressmen, Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators; serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.” ---Grover “Mitch” Mitchell (The Blue Press Vol. 213 March 2010 p 4). GADGET OF THE MONTH This is either a wonderful invention or an ominous development:
“I humbly submit my proposed Congressional Reform Act of 2010:
1. Term limits: 12 years only, one of the possible options;
2. No tenure/No pension: Members of Congress collect a salary while in office and receive no pay when they are out of office.
3. Congress (past, present and future) participates in Social Security: All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system. Congress participates with the American people.
4. Congress shall purchase their own retirement plan just like all other Americans.
5. Members of Congress shall no longer vote themselves pay raises. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
6. Members of Congress lose their current health care system and participate in the same healthcare system as the American people.
7. Members of Congress shall equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/2011: The American people did not make these contracts with Congressmen, Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.
Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators; serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.”
---Grover “Mitch” Mitchell (The Blue Press Vol. 213 March 2010 p 4).
GADGET OF THE MONTH
This is either a wonderful invention or an ominous development: