Archive for April, 2010

PHOSPHOROUS IN SODAS AND PROCESSED FOODS ACCELERATES SIGNS OF AGING SAY HARVARD SCIENTISTS

Monday, April 26th, 2010

New research in the FASEB Journal shows that high levels of phosphate in sodas and processed foods accelerate the aging process in mice and contribute to age associated complicationssuch as chronic kidney disease.

Here’s another reason to kick the soda habit. New research published online in the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) shows that high levels of phosphates may add more “pop” to sodas and processed foods than once thought. That’s because researchers found that the high levels of phosphates accelerate signs of aging. High phosphate levels may also increase the prevalence and severity of age-related complications, such as chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular calcification, and can also induce severe muscle and skin atrophy.

Mohammed Shawkat Razzaque, PhD, MB
Mohammed Shawkat Razzaque,
PhD,MB Department of Medicine
Infection and Immunity,
Harvard School of Dental Medicine
Photo:hsdm.harvard.edu

“Humans need a healthy diet and keeping the balance of phosphate in the diet may be important for a healthy life and longevity,” said M. Shawkat Razzaque, M.D., Ph.D., from the Department of Medicine, Infection and Immunity at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. “Avoid phosphate toxicity and enjoy a healthy life.”

To make this discovery, Razzaque and colleague examined the effects of high phosphate levels in three groups of mice. The first group of mice was missing a gene (klotho), which when absent, causes mice to have toxic levels of phosphate in their bodies. These mice lived 8 to 15 weeks. The second group of mice was missing the klotho gene and a second gene (NaPi2a), which when absent at the same time, substantially lowered the amount of phosphate in their bodies. These mice lived to 20 weeks. The third group of mice was like the second group (missing both the klotho and NaPi2a genes), except they were fed a high phosphate diet. All of these mice died by 15 weeks, like those in the first group. This suggests that phosphate has toxic effects in mice, and may have a similar effect in other mammals, including humans.

“Soda is the caffeine delivery vehicle of choice for millions of people worldwide, but comes with phosphorous as a passenger” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. “This research suggests that our phosphorous balance influences the aging process, so don’t tip it.”

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DIET HIGH IN B-VITAMINS LOWERS HEART RISKS

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

In a large study in Japan, women who reported eating more foods containing the B-vitamins folate and B-6 were less likely to die from stroke and heart disease.
Japanese men reporting diets high in these B vitamins were less likely to die of heart failure.

Eating more foods containing the B vitamins folate and B-6 lowers the risk of death from stroke and heart disease for women and may reduce the risk of heart failure in men, according to Japanese research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Hiroyasu Iso M.D.
Hiroyasu Iso M.D.
professor of public health
at Osaka University
Photo:Osaka University

“Japanese people need more dietary intake of folate and vitamin B-6, which may lead to the prevention of heart disease,” said Hiroyasu Iso, M.D., professor of public health at Osaka University.

The findings on the value of B vitamins were consistent with studies in Europe and North America, although the dietary consumption of vitamin B-6 is generally lower in Japan than in the United States.

Researchers analyzed data from 23,119 men and 35,611 women (ages 40-79) who completed food frequency questionnaires as part of the large Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study. During a median 14 years of follow up, 986 died from stroke, 424 from heart disease and 2,087 from all diseases related to the cardiovascular system.

Investigators divided participants into five groups based on their intake of folate, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12. Comparing those with the diets lowest and highest for each nutrient, they found that higher consumption of folate and vitamin B-6 was associated with significantly fewer deaths from heart failure in men, and significantly fewer deaths from stroke, heart disease and total cardiovascular diseases in women. Vitamin B-12 intake was not associated with reduced mortality risk.

The protective effects of folate and vitamin B-6 didn’t change when researchers adjusted for the presence of cardiovascular risk factors, nor when they eliminated supplement users from the analysis. Folate and vitamin B-6 may help guard against cardiovascular disease by lowering homocysteine levels, the investigators said. Homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood that’s affected by diet and heredity. Folic acid and other B vitamins help break down homocysteine in the body.

A direct causal link hasn’t been established, but evidence has shown that too much homocysteine may damage the inner lining of arteries and promote the formation of blood clots.

Sources of folate include vegetables and fruits, whole or enriched grains, fortified cereals, beans and legumes. Sources of vitamin B-6 include vegetables, fish, liver, meats, whole grains and fortified cereals.

Co authors include: Renzhe Cui, M.D.; Chigusa Date, M.D.; Shogo Kikuchi, M.D.; Akiko Tamakoshi, M.D.; and the JACC study group. Press Release:American Heart Association.

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BLOOMING TEAS FOR ENTERTAINING GUESTS

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Blossoming Teas, also known as Blooming Tea or Flowering Tea, are the latest craze in tea drinking. Blossoming Teas come as a handmade ball made from top quality long leaf white tea, hand tied with flowers before drying. When added to hot water they unfold and release a delicate, fragrant and aromatic flavour. BLOSSOMING TEA These teas are referred to in China as GongYi Hua Cha, literally translated meaning Art Flower Tea.

Young tea buds, leaves and flowers are used to make these showy teas.

The teas used for Blossoming Tea are primarily green, white (usually Oolong) and jasmine tea. For the flowers, edible young and fresh flowers such as jasmine, chrysanthemum, lily, hibiscus, Amaranth flower, Marigold flower, and Sweet Osmanthus are utilized.

Flowering Teas also have high antioxidant levels, and are quite beneficial to your health.

Blossoming Tea preperation:
Start with a clear glass pot for maximum visual effect.

Place the Flowering Tea ball into your teapot and add water almost brought to a boil. Keeping the water below the boiling point allows the Blossoming Tea to open slower and give a better showing. The ball will fully open in about 5 minutes.

Don’t remove the bloom or tea leaves until you are done with the Tea, as Flowering Tea can be refreshed up to 3 times by adding more water as needed. The Blooming Teas do not get bitter with with extended steeping.

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HOW RED WINE MAY SHIELD BRAIN FROM STROKE DAMAGE

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Johns Hopkins researchers discover pathway in mice for resveratrol’s apparent protective effect Researchers at Johns Hopkins say they have discovered the way in which red wine consumption may protect the brain from damage following a stroke.

Sylvain Dore, Ph.D.
Sylvain Dore, Ph.D. -
professor of anesthesiology
and critical care medicine
and pharmacology and
molecular sciences at the
Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine

Two hours after feeding mice a single modest dose of resveratrol, a compound found in the skins and seeds of red grapes, the scientists induced an ischemic stroke by essentially cutting off blood supply to the animals’ brains. They found that the animals that had preventively ingested the resveratrol suffered significantly less brain damage than the ones that had not been given the compound.

Sylvain Dore, Ph.D., an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and pharmacology and molecular sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says his study suggests that resveratrol increases levels of an enzyme (heme oxygenase) already known to shield nerve cells in the brain from damage. When the stroke hits, the brain is ready to protect itself because of elevated enzyme levels. In mice that lacked the enzyme, the study found, resveratrol had no significant protective effect and their brain cells died after a stroke.

“Our study adds to evidence that resveratrol can potentially build brain resistance to ischemic stroke,” says Dore, the leader of the study, which appears online in the journal Experimental Neurology.

Dore cautions against taking resveratrol supplements, available alongside vitamins and minerals and on websites touting its benefits, because it is unclear whether such supplements could do harm or good. He has not tested resveratrol in clinical trials. And while resveratrol is found in red grapes, it’s the alcohol in the wine that may be needed to concentrate the amounts of the beneficial compound. Dore also cautions that drinking alcohol carries risks along with potential benefits.

He also notes that even if further research affirms the benefits of red wine, no one yet knows how much would be optimal to protect the brain, or even what kind of red wine might be best, because not all types contain the same amount of resveratrol. More research is needed, he says.

Dore says his research suggests that the amount needed could end up being quite small because the suspected beneficial mechanism is indirect. “Resveratrol itself may not be shielding brain cells from free radical damage directly, but instead, resveratrol, and its metabolites, may be prompting the cells to defend themselves,” he suggests.

“It’s not likely that brain cells can have high enough local levels of resveratrol to be protective,” he says. The resveratrol is needed to jump-start this protective enzymatic system that is already present within the cells. “Even a small amount may be sufficient,” Dore says.

Dore says his ongoing research also suggests some therapeutic benefits to giving resveratrol to mice after a stroke to limit further neuronal damage.

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UTAH MADE VENTRICULAR ASSIST DEVICE GIVES IDAHO MAN CHANCE TO RESUME AN ACTIVE LIFE

Friday, April 9th, 2010

University of Utah Hospital only the second center in the country to implant new device. After receiving only the fourth U.S. implant of a new generation, Utah made ventricular assist (VAD ) device, an Idaho man with heart failure is looking forward to resuming an active life following an operation on March 17 at University of Utah Hospital.

Craig H. Selzman, M.D.
Craig H. Selzman, MD -
Surgical Director of Heart Transplant
and Cardiac Mechanical Assist
University of Utah Health Care
photo: University of Utah

Douglas Wiley, Kuna, Idaho, received the Levacor™ VAD as part of national clinical trial under way at the University and is anxious to give his new VAD a real world tryout. “I can’t wait to get back on my motorcycle,” the 44 year old says.

The clinical trial, which is evaluating how well the new VAD serves as a bridge for people awaiting a heart transplant, is one of several leading edge treatment options the University’s cardiovascular program offers for people suffering from heart disease, according to Craig H. Selzman, M.D., the Utah principal investigator in the trial and a cardiothoracic surgeon with University of Utah Health Care.

“This new generation VAD represents a potentially important step in giving patients such as Mr. Wiley the chance to regain their strength and vitality while they wait for a heart transplant,” Selzman said. “The University of Utah has a long and proud history in the development and use of implanted blood pumps, and with the Levacor™ clinical trial we are expanding our commitment to help those with this devastating disease.”

As an academic medical system, University of Utah Health Care offers the full range of options for people with heart disease - medical treatment, transplantation, and vanguard technologies and trials such as new VADs and even stem cell transplants to help damaged hearts heal themselves.

The Levacor™ VAD was initially developed at and spun off from the University of Utah and is being commercialized by WorldHeart Corporation, a Salt Lake City based company. Unlike other VADs, this one uses a fully magnetically suspended rotor to help pump blood, allowing it to operate without bearings or other moving parts that wear out and can damage blood. Potentially, the Levacor™ VAD could last years longer than other blood pumps.

>>>>>Read the full Press Release in our HeartVigor.com News Page.