Alzheimer’s breakthrough hailed as ‘turning point’

The discovery of the first chemical to prevent the death of brain tissue in a neurodegenerative disease has been hailed as the “turning point” in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

More work is needed to develop a drug that could be taken by patients.

But scientists say a resulting medicine could treat Alzheimer\’s, Parkinson\’s, Huntington\’s and other diseases.

In tests on mice, the Medical Research Council showed all brain cell death from prion disease could be prevented.

Prof Roger Morris, from King\’s College London, said: \”This finding, I suspect, will be judged by history as a turning point in the search for medicines to control and prevent Alzheimer\’s disease.\”

He told the BBC a cure for Alzheimer\’s was not imminent but: \”I\’m very excited, it\’s the first proof in any living animal that you can delay neurodegeneration.

\”The world won\’t change tomorrow, but this is a landmark study.\”

Continue reading @ BBC News – Alzheimer’s breakthrough hailed as ‘turning point’.

40 Years of Government Nutrition Data May Be Flawed

40 Years of Government Nutrition Data May Be Flawed | Experts' Corner | Big Think

For forty years, the CDC\’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) has collected data on the caloric intake of Americans, answering the simple and important question of how much food we eat. This research has in turn been used to instruct public health policy. NHANES is actually the basis for national standards of height, weight, and blood pressure, and its findings are often used to develop programs in the public battle against obesity.

But there\’s just one \”tiny\” problem. According to an analysis conducted by exercise scientist Edward Archer at the University of South Carolina, NHANES is very likely invalid. And it\’s for a simple reason that almost anybody could point out: All of the data it collects on caloric intake is self-reported.

Try to remember precisely what you ate over the past twenty-four hours and you\’ll see why this is a problem. People aren\’t only inept at estimating how many calories are in the foods they eat, they\’re also bad at recalling what they consumed and when.

With this in mind, Archer performed calculations merely to gauge if NHANES\’ data is physiologically plausible. In 1991, a team of physiologists determined that average, free-living individuals must consume at minimum at least 35% more calories than their basal metabolic rate (BMR) — the amount of calories they expend resting — in order to maintain their weight and health. This accounts for the energy people need to perform everyday activities, from just walking around, to playing sports, to gardening, etc. Archer used a well-established equation to estimate the BMR of individuals in the NHANES study, multiplied those values by 1.35, and compared them to the self-reported energy intakes in NHANES. What did that comparison yield? The majority of respondents, totaling 28,993 men and 34,369 women, reported eating less calories than even the bare minimum necessary to survive!

Continue reading @ 40 Years of Government Nutrition Data May Be Flawed | Experts’ Corner | Big Think.

Tax fizzy drinks and ban junk food ads, say doctors

Tax fizzy drinks and ban junk food ads, say doctors


Fizzy drinks should be heavily taxed and junk food adverts banished until after the watershed, doctors have said, in a call for action over obesity.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, which represents nearly every doctor in the UK, said ballooning waistlines already constituted a “huge crisis”. Its report said current measures were failing and called for unhealthy foods to be treated more like cigarettes. Industry leaders said the report added little to the debate on obesity. Doctors fear that a rising tide of obesity will pose dire health consequences for the nation.

A tax was needed to help “encourage people to drink more healthy drinks,” said Dr Aseem Malhotra Cardiologist. But Terry Jones, of industry body the Food and Drink Federation, said the report “seems to be a damp squib and to add little to an important debate”.

Temptation

Dr Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist who helped draw up the report, has noticed more and more of his patients are overweight and suffering from obesity related illnesses.

“There’s an oversupply of cheap sugary foods, clearly regulation is needed.”

The Department of Health in England has a set up voluntary agreements with the food industry as part of its responsibility deal.

“Government is already helping people make healthier choices by working with industry to reduce fat, salt and sugar in foods and by giving children and families advice on how to eat well, get active, and live longer through Change4Life.”

Continue reading @ BBC News – Tax fizzy drinks and ban junk food ads, say doctors.

Can 3 minutes of exercise really make you fit?

Can 3 Minutes of Exercise Really Make You Fit?

Can 3 minutes of exercise really make you fit? | myvitamins | articles | exercise research

New research has made the headlines this week saying that as little as 3 minutes of exercise a week can deliver many of the health and fitness benefits of hours of conventional exercise.

Backed by research published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology it works on the principle that 3 minutes of exercise where you work at a high intensity (80% of your maximum heart rate) for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds of slow intensity exercise (working at 50% of your maximum heart rate) is proven to improve insulin sensitivity by up to 24% aswell as your aerobic cardiovascular fitness.

Read more @ Can 3 minutes of exercise really make you fit? | myvitamins | articles | exercise research.

Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria

Researchers at the University of Georgia have refined the nanoparticle drug delivery process further by using nanoparticles to deliver drugs to a specific organelle within cells.

By targeting mitochondria, “the powerhouse of cells,” the researchers increased the effectiveness of mitochondria-acting therapeutics used to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and obesity in studies conducted with cultured cells.

“The mitochondrion is a complex organelle that is very difficult to reach, but these nanoparticles are engineered so that they do the right job in the right place,” said senior author Shanta Dhar, an assistant professor of chemistry in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Dhar and her co-author, doctoral student Sean Marrache, used a biodegradable, FDA-approved polymer to fabricate their nanoparticles and then used the particles to encapsulate and test drugs that treat a variety of conditions. Their results were published this week in early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Continue reading @ Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria | KurzweilAI.

Acupuncture Provides True Pain Relief in Study

A new study of acupuncture — the most rigorous and detailed analysis of the treatment to date — found that it can ease migraines and arthritis and other forms of chronic pain.

The findings provide strong scientific support for an age-old therapy used by an estimated three million Americans each year. Though acupuncture has been studied for decades, the body of medical research on it has been mixed and mired to some extent by small and poor-quality studies. Financed by the National Institutes of Health and carried out over about half a decade, the new research was a detailed analysis of earlier research that involved data on nearly 18,000 patients…

via Acupuncture Provides True Pain Relief in Study – NYTimes.com.

Research study shows men find dancing women more attractive during most fertile time

dancing women

Researchers from the University of Göttingen in Germany have found that men viewing videos of silhouettes of dancing women were more likely to describe those who were ovulating at the time as more attractive than women at other stages of their menstrual cycle, which goes contrary to the longstanding theory of “concealed” ovulation in humans. The team led by Bernhard Fink reports on their findings in a paper published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

Despite a growing body of evidence that suggests that men are able to not only detect when women are ovulating, but find them more attractive, many old school scholars maintain that human beings don’t have anything resembling going into “heat” during the most fertile stage of the their menstrual cycle, as is evident in other species, such as cats. Now new research casts even more doubt on the theory.

The researchers picked up where another study left off, where a group found that strippers tended to get better tips when ovulating. Unfortunately, because of the close proximity of the dancers and the patrons, there was no way to tell what it was about the women that caused the men to want to tip more. The new team sought better control by eliminating the possibility of smell or other factors by recording forty eight women (aged 19 to 33) dancing in silhouette, in similar outfits and with their hair tied down. They then showed the videos to two hundred young male students at the university. They report that the men, who didn’t know what the purpose of the study was, much less which women were ovulating and which weren’t, found those women who were ovulating at the time they were recorded dancing, to be “significantly more attractive.” The team also recorded silhouettes of the women simply walking around and found that the majority of male viewers found those who were ovulating more attractive in that scenario as well.

Research regarding whether women behave differently when ovulating has generated controversy as more and more studies have found that men are able to pick up on subtle changes to body movements during the times when women are most fertile. Some have suggested that such studies are more about seeking headlines than science, while researchers insist that their studies show that women behave in ways that men see as sexier when they are their most fertile, which biologically speaking would seem to make the most sense. But that critics say, ignores the fact that people have evolved over their long history, quashing animalistic instincts that led our forebears to behave far differently than what is going on today.

More information: DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2012.06.005

Journal reference: Personality and Individual Differences

via Research study shows men find dancing women more attractive during most fertile time.

Why a starvation diet could actually be good for you – and make you live longer

Why a starvation diet could actually be good for you - and make you live longer | Mail Online

Pinned to my mother Shirley’s fridge on yellowing, curled paper is a handwritten copy of a two-week crash diet. It has been there since 1979, the year she decided she wanted to shed a stone in a fortnight. Its survival is testament to the faith she holds in it.

Among other tortures while on the diet, she allows herself no more than half a grapefruit and a slice of dry toast with black coffee each morning. Lunch is a few cold cuts of meat and a side of vegetables, and dinner is similar. On a typical day this will amount to about 650 calories.

Now 78, you would have thought she’d have deserted this gruelling regime and allowed herself to go into diet retirement.

But like so many women of her generation, she believes the occasional fortnight of eating little is key to a svelte figure and good health.

Such extreme slimming plans have drifted out of fashion in the past few decades. Crash diets are supposed to slow your metabolism down, leading to more weight gain when you stop.

These days, the mantra recited by the medical profession is steady weight loss rather than starvation. And being curvy – a la Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks – is in vogue.

But it may be time to reconsider this approach. And my mother, with her maddening crash diet, might be on to something. Tomorrow, a BBC TV Horizon investigation looks into the health benefits of fasting…

via Why a starvation diet could actually be good for you – and make you live longer | Mail Online.