Thursday, January 19, 2012

Study Explains How Lifestyle Factors and Mindset Increase Dementia Risk

Loss of cognitive function, mostcommonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease instills feelings of fear andinsecurity more than any other chronic condition, including a cancer diagnosis.Researchers publishing in the journalNeurology, the medical journal ofthe American Academy of Neurology, found that people who rate their health aspoor or fair appear to be significantly more likely to develop dementia laterin life. Is there really a mind-link association between how we feel about ouroverall health and initiation of this dreaded disease?

Researchers point to the factthat many chronic illnesses such as heartdisease and dementia develop over the course of 20 or 30 years and ourperceptions may actually influence how these conditions progress. A positivespirit and happy outlook on life may just help you avoid a host of deadlydiseases, including dementia.

Seniors Effectively Able to Predict Risk of Dementia Later in Life
People may possess a much morepowerful diagnostic tool than the plethora of diagnostic tests, dyes andpharmaceuticals used by most allopathic physicians and diagnosticians. Dr.Christophe Tzourio, director of Neuroepidemiology at the University of Bordeauxin France explained“Having people rate their own health maybe a simple tool for doctors to determine a person's risk of dementia,especially for people with no symptoms or memory problems”. His researchresults show that health and disease can be assessed more effectively by anindividual from within, as opposed to managing a set of medical results andtests.

A research study was designedwith 8,169 people, aged 65 years or older who were followed for a period ofseven years. During the study each participant was asked to rate their ownhealth, and 618 people developed dementia. The risk of dementia was 70 percenthigher in people who rated their health as poor and 34 percent higher in peoplewho rated their health as fair compared to those who rated their health asgood.

Leading an Active Life with Many Friends and Family Members LowersDementia Risk
The study also found a highercorrelation between ones health assessment and developing dementia for thoseindividuals who did not have any memory problems or other issues with thinkingskills. Those with no visible signs of cognitive decline were nearly twice aslikely to develop dementia as those who rated their health as good. Researchersfound that having a large social network along with plenty of social activitiesare associated with a decreased risk of dementia.

Dr. Tzourio concluded"… it's possible that rating one'shealth as poor might be associated with behaviors that limit social interactionand in turn accelerate the dementia process." A wealth of scientificresearch studies have found that lifestyle factors including close bonds withfamily, friends and social groups are important to lowering dementia risk inthe elderly population.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Green Tea Halts Weight Gain by Inhibiting Fat Absorption

Reporting in the research journalObesity, researchers continue tomount crucial evidence to support green tea as an agent in the war againstoverweight and obesity. Green tea (and its less refined cousin, white tea) isshown to slow weight gain and may be a key tool in the obesity epidemic impactingthe health of millions of children and adults in western cultures.

Mice supplemented with the activecompound found in green tea, Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) were fed ahigh-fat diet and gained weight much slower than their control counterparts. Thefindings demonstrate the potent effect of the natural tea extract when coupledwith a healthy, calorie-reduced diet that minimizes processed carbohydratefoods and hydrogenated fat sources.

Green Tea Extract Shown to Slow Weight Gain By 45 Percent
Extensive scientific research hasbeen performed on green tea and the potent EGCG extract. Most of this work hasshown a direct link between green tea consumption and lowered risk of Alzheimer`sdementia, many digestive cancers, cardiovascular disease as well as being anaid in weight management. Green tea contains between 30 and 40 percentpolyphenols that contribute to its myriad of health benefits. Common black teacontains between 3 and 10 percent polyphenols, as the leaves have been highlyrefined to remove the naturally occurring compounds.

Research leader Joshua Lambert,assistant professor of food science in agricultural sciences at Penn StateUniversity and his team determined to expand on prior research showing thatgreen tea consumption promotes healthy body weight. The researchers used obesemice genetically predisposed to gain weight. The mice were broken into twogroups; each fed a high fat diet. The test group was supplemented with EGCG intheir drinking water for a period of six weeks.

ECGC Polyphenols From Green Tea Cut Fat Absorption by Thirty Percent
The results showed that micereceiving the active EGCG component through supplementation, along with ahigh-fat diet, gained weight 45 percent more slowly than the control group ofmice eating the same diet without EGCG. Lambert noted “Our results suggest that if you supplementwith EGCG or green tea you gain weight more slowly.” Additionally, mice fedthe green tea supplement showed a nearly 30 percent increase in lipidexcretion, suggesting that the EGCG was limiting fat absorption by inhibitingpancreatic lipase. The study did not differentiate between caffeinated andcaffeine-free green tea consumption, so caffeine sensitive individuals canattain similar results with non-caffeinated sources.

Researchers noted that green teaconsumption did not appear to suppress appetite, an indicator that the weightreduction effect was due to inhibition of fat cell genesis. The authors concluded“Human data … shows that tea drinkers whoonly consume one or more cups a day will see effects on body weight compared tonon-consumers.” Most nutritionists suggest 2 to 4 cups of green tea eachday, or a standardized EGCG extract (500 mg to 1 gram daily) along with acalorically-balanced diet to achieve weight management success.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Resveratrol Reduces Breast Cancer Risk by Blocking the Effect of Estrogen

Researchers from the Faculty ofPharmacy at the University of Calabria in Italy publishing in The FASEB Journal report thatresveratrol blocks the effect of estrogen and can help to prevent the malignantgrowth of breast cancer in women. The grape/red wine derivative has been thesubject of numerous scientific studies in recent years and has shown promise inlowering risks from cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia.

Scientists also believe theprotective nutrient may extend healthy lifespan by directly influencingmortality genes known as SIRT. Italian researchers noted "Resveratrol is a potentialpharmacological tool to be exploited when breast cancer become resistant to thehormonal therapy." Health-minded adults will want to includeresveratrol from natural food sources or supplementation to reap the numeroushealth benefits.

Resveratrol Supplementation Suppresses the Growth of Malignant BreastCancer Cells
To design their study,researchers used several breast cancer cell lines expressing the estrogenreceptor to test the effects of resveratrol. They exposed the different cellsto a solution containing resveratrol and compared the results to cells leftuntreated. They found an important reduction in cell growth in cells treated withresveratrol, while no changes were seen in untreated cells. Further experimentsdetermined that this effect was caused by a critical reduction in estrogenreceptors caused by the administration of resveratrol.

This finding is the first of itskind as it relates specifically to the effect of resveratrolon a particular cancer cell line. The team was able to conclude thatresveratrol is able to counteract the malignant progression of breast cancercells by inhibiting the growth and spread of hormone resistant cancerous cells.This has important implications for the treatment of women with breast cancerwhose tumors eventually develop resistance to hormonal therapy.

Resveratrol Specifically Targets Cancerous Cells to Fight Breast Cancer
Lead researcher Dr. SebastianoAndo noted "Resveratrol is a potentialpharmacological tool to be exploited when breast cancer become resistant to thehormonal therapy." A peer review board examining the study dataconcluded “scientists haven't finisheddistilling the secrets of good health that have been hidden in natural productssuch as red wine.” It is important to note that in this body of research,resveratrol only demonstrated an effect on malignant cancer cells and exertedno effect on non-cancerous cells.

While the authors cautioned thatpeople should not go out and start using red wine or resveratrol supplements asa treatment for breast cancer, the finding strongly indicates that theplant-protective compound should be considered as a component in an overallplan designed to prevent the devastating disease. Nutrition experts recommend asupplemental intake (from a purified, organically derived source) of between 50and 250 mg per day for optimal health benefits.

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