Latest Research News

A new function has been found for the

New research helps explain the role of amyloid-beta plaques in the development of Alzheimer's, by finding that the prion protein known to bind strongly to small aggregates of amyloid-beta peptides, also attaches to large fibrillar clumps of amyloid-beta.

Creating amyloid-beta requires the convergence of a protein called

A Finnish study involving moderately obese adult patients with mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has found that even a modest weight loss (5%) can improve OSA, if occurring in the early stages of OSA.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-02/uoef-emw021114.php

Data from a survey of 20,000 people across the UK has found that people who cycle, walk, or take public transport to work had a lower risk of being overweight than those who drove or took a taxi. People who walked to work were 40% less likely to have diabetes than those who drove and 17% less likely to have high blood pressure. Cyclists were around half as likely to have diabetes as drivers.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-08/icl-wtw080513.php

A Swedish study of some 4,000 60-year-olds has found that regular “non-exercise” physical activity such as gardening or DIY significantly reduced risk of heart attack or stroke, with those who were most active on a daily basis having a 27% lower risk of a heart attack or stroke and a 30% reduced risk of death from all causes. This was so regardless of how much regular formal exercise was taken.

An 11-week trial involving 54 young, healthy men and women engaging in an endurance training program, has found that markers for the production of new muscle mitochondria only increased in the group not taking vitamin C and E supplements. It’s possible that high doses of vitamins C and E act as antioxidants and take away some of the oxidative stress needed to develop muscular endurance.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-02/w-vca013014.php

A mouse study has found that long-term physical activity increased levels of two proteins in the mitochondria of their heart. It’s thought this might help explain why regular exercise improves cardiovascular health.

Data from 133,479 women in the California Teachers Study has found that those who reported doing moderate physical activity (such as brisk walking) in the three years before enrolling in the study were 20% less likely to suffer a stroke than women who reported no activity. More strenuous activity didn’t further reduce risk.

It’s well established that performing both cardio- and resistance training in the same session is decidedly better than doing them separately, but does the order matter?

A study involving men aged 18-40, who performed either supervised cardio- immediately followed by strength training, or vice versa, for 24 weeks (2-3 combined cardio- and resistance sessions per week), has found that over the 6 months, the order didn’t matter. However, the group starting with cardio did show slower recovery in the beginning.

A year-long study involving 424 sedentary, mobility-limited seniors aged 70-89, has found that variants in a specific gene (the ACE I/D gene) affect seniors’ ability to benefit from exercise. Physical activity intervention led to greater improvements in walking speed among ID and DD genotype carriers (29.9% and 13.7% respectively), but among II genotype carriers, health education alone led to more improvements in walking speed than physical activity intervention (20% vs. 18.5%).

Data from the American National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III, involving 3,659 individuals (men aged 55+; women 65+), has found that the more muscle mass older adults have, the less likely they are to die prematurely. The findings add to the growing evidence that overall body composition — and not the widely used body mass index (BMI) — is a better predictor of mortality.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-03/uoc--oab031314.php

Brain scans have revealed that those who regularly practiced yoga had larger brain volume in the

A four-year study involving 1,502 healthy older adults (50+) has found that the frequency of negative interactions with family members (not partners or children) and friends was associated with an increased risk of developing hypertension in women (but not in men). Each increase in the total average negative social interaction score was associated with a 38% increased chance of developing hypertension. Younger older women (51-64) were more affected than those 65 or older.

A year-long study involving young adults has compared those who engaged in either tai chi or brisk walking or no exercise. Those who practiced tai chi had a significantly higher number of CD 34+ cells compared with those in the other groups. CD 34+ cells are markers for blood stem cells involved in cell self-renewal, differentiation and proliferation. The findings suggest tai chi may prompt vasodilation and increase blood flow.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-05/ctco-ctc052814.php

Data from the very large U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), involving 23,168 people, has found a significant association between low dietary fiber intake and risk of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular inflammation, and obesity.

Dietary fiber intake was also consistently below recommended intake levels: 38g per day for men aged 19-50 years, 30g per day for men 50 and over, 25g for women aged 19-50 years, and 21g per day for women over 50. Mean dietary fiber intake was only 16.2g per day across all groups.

A study involving 12 rhesus macaques, of whom some were given access to alcohol, has found that those who drank moderately showed enhanced responses to a smallpox vaccine (compared with the control group of monkeys who drank sugar water), indicating a bolstered immune system, while heavy drinkers showed greatly diminished vaccine responses.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-12/ohs-sma121713.php

A mouse study suggests that resveratrol—a compound abundant in red wine—may moderate some of a high-fat diet’s negative effects on the immune system.

http://www.futurity.org/can-resveratrol-balance-fatty-diet/

A study involving 74 older adults (70+), of whom 3 had mild dementia, 33 were cognitively normal and 38 had mild cognitive impairment, has found that high levels of "good" cholesterol and low levels of "bad" cholesterol correlated with lower levels of the amyloid-beta plaques in the brain (a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease).

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-12/uoc--hga122613.php

A review of research from 1957 to the present has concluded that a whole diet approach, and specifically Mediterranean-style diets, has more evidence for reducing cardiovascular risk than strategies that focus exclusively on reduced dietary fat.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-02/ehs-ssw020514.php

A Swedish study has found that those who ate poor breakfasts as year 9 students had a higher incidence of metabolic syndrome 27 years later, compared with those who ate more substantial breakfasts.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-01/uu-pbi012914.php

A British study analyzing data from 7,011 adults who participated in two Health and Lifestyle Surveys, has found that a new method of measuring obesity, A Body Shape Index (ABSI), is a more effective predictor of mortality than Body Mass Index (BMI). You can find an online calculator at http://www-ce.ccny.cuny.edu/nir/sw/absi-calculator.html.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-02/ccon-nss022414.php

A study involving 39 young adult men and women of normal weight, who ate 750 extra calories in the form of muffins every day for seven weeks, found that those whose muffins were made with palm oil built significantly more fat and less muscle than those whose muffins were made with sunflower oil. Moreover, the palm oil group developed the fat in more dangerous places  — in the liver and abdomen. The groups gained the same amount of weight.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-02/uu-afa022414.php

A study in which 23 healthy volunteers ate half a kilo of strawberries every day for a month has found that their levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides reduced significantly.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-02/f-sf-slc022514.php

"Sprouted" garlic — old garlic bulbs with bright green shoots emerging from the cloves — have been found to have even more heart-healthy antioxidant activity than fresh garlic.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-02/acs-dto022614.php

A study involving 44 middle-aged overweight men who consumed 70 grams of dark chocolate per day over two periods of four weeks, has found that dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. Both arterial stiffness and white blood cell adhesion are known factors that play a significant role in atherosclerosis.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-02/foas-wdc022714.php

A Finnish study has found that people who increased their intake of fatty fish to a minimum of 3–4 weekly meals had more large HDL cholesterol in their blood than people who were less frequent eaters of fish. Large HDL particles are believed to protect against cardiovascular diseases.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-03/uoef-iio030314.php

A large long-running study has found that eating a diet rich in animal proteins during middle age makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than a low-protein diet (a mortality risk factor comparable to smoking), 74% more likely to die of any cause within the 20-year study period, and five times more likely to die of diabetes.

Middle-aged Japanese men living in Japan had lower incidence of coronary artery calcification, a predictor of heart disease, than middle-aged white men living in the United States, after accounting for risk factors such as smoking, cholesterol, alcohol consumption, diabetes and high blood pressure.

A new study from the Women's Health Initiative has found that calcium and vitamin D supplements after menopause can improve women's cholesterol profiles, with much of that effect tied to raising vitamin D levels. Taking the calcium and vitamin D supplements was especially helpful in raising vitamin D levels in women who were older, women who had a low intake, women who had levels first measured in the winter, and women who didn’t smoke and who drank less alcohol.

A study involving 362 children with reading problems has found that 16 weeks of daily 600 mg supplements of omega-3 DHA from algal sources improved their sleep. According to a sleep questionnaire filled out by parents, 40% of these children had significant sleep problems. Monitoring of 43 of the poor sleepers found that children taking daily supplements of omega-3 had nearly one hour (58 minutes) more sleep and seven fewer waking episodes per night compared with children taking a placebo.

Analysis of insulin-producing cells has revealed that those with type 2 diabetes have epigenetic changes in approximately 800 genes, with altered gene expression in over 100 genes (many of them relating to insulin production).

Data from 11 different cohort studies, involving more than 600,000 people from around the world, has found that:

A meta-analysis of 72 studies with over 600,000 participants from 18 nations has concluded that total saturated fatty acid, whether measured in the diet or in the bloodstream as a biomarker, was not associated with coronary disease risk. Nor was there any significant association between consumption of total monounsaturated fatty acids, long-chain omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and cardiovascular risk.

Data from AREDS2, involving 4,203 older adults with age-related macular degeneration, has found that daily dietary supplements of either omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (also found in fish) or lutein and zeaxanthin (nutrients found in green leafy vegetables) were not associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-03/tjnj-sna031414.php

A review of 19 studies involving over 162,000 people has found that adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a 21% reduced risk of diabetes, with a greater effect (27%) for those at high risk for cardiovascular disease. The association was found in both European and non-European groups.

The research was presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-03/acoc-mdm032614.php

A study involving healthy men and women fed a baseline diet containing 550 mg choline/day (the adequate intake level set by the Institute of Medicine) for 10 days, then put on a low choline diet (50 mg choline/day) for up to 42 days, has found that the "right" amount of choline depends on many factors, including gender, age, and ethnicity.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-03/foas-osd032714.php

A very large Italian study provides more evidence that the Mediterranean diet reduces inflammation, with their finding that those with a greater adherence to such a diet had significantly lower levels of platelets and white blood cells. These are both inflammatory markers: high platelet counts are associated with both vascular disease and non-vascular conditions such as cancer, and a high white blood cell count is a predictor of ischemic vascular disease.

A 25-year study of diet and aging in 76 rhesus monkeys shows a significant reduction in mortality and in age-associated diseases among those on calorie-restricted diets.

Mice given decaffeinated green tea and regular exercise lost weight and improved their health after 16 weeks. Specifically, they reduced body mass by 27% (on average), reduced abdominal fat by 37%; reduced blood glucose level by 17%, plasma insulin level by 65%, and insulin resistance by 65%..

Neither green tea alone, nor exercise alone, produced such significant changes. The amount of green tea was a lot: the equivalent of 8-10 cups a day. Decaffeination may not be important; it was done to keep the effects of caffeine out of the study.

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