What's Hot

What's Hot

News flashes are posted here frequently to keep you up-to-date with the latest advances in health and longevity. We have an unparalleled track record of breaking stories about life extension advances.


  • Greater intake of magnesium, folate, specific foods associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer
  • Pterostilbene shows promise against inflammatory bowel disease
  • Drinking coffee associated with improved survival among colorectal cancer patients
  • Greater antioxidant activity may help prevent glaucoma
  • Meta-analysis concludes cardiovascular benefit in association with omega 3 supplementation
  • Turmeric beats placebo for knee pain
  • “Wet brain” linked to iron deposits, low B1
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D beats other vitamin D tests as predictor of premature mortality
  • T cells need methionine


    Greater intake of magnesium, folate, specific foods associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer

    Greater intake of magnesium, folate, specific foods associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer September 30 2020. Findings from an umbrella meta-analysis published in the December 2020 issue of the journal Gut indicate a protective role for magnesium, the B vitamin folate, and certain foods and medicines against the risk of colorectal cancer, a disease that occurs in approximately one out of every 20 individuals in the United States which is anticipated to cause 1.1 million deaths per year worldwide by 2030.

    The current synthesis included 80 articles that reported systematic reviews and pooled data analyses of studies that examined the relationships between dietary and medicinal factors and the risk of colorectal cancer. The studies, published between 1980 and 2019, excluded people at elevated risk of the disease.

    Of dietary factors examined, greater intake of alcohol and meat were associated with an increase in colorectal cancer risk and magnesium, folate, fiber, fruit and vegetables, dairy products and soy were protective. An intake of magnesium of 255 milligrams per day or higher was associated with a 23% lower risk of the disease compared to lesser consumption. For folate, having a high intake was associated with a 12% to 15% risk reduction compared to low intake.

    Protective medicinal factors included aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

    “As colorectal cancer has a natural history that spans over more than 15 years, from normal mucosa to overt cancer, it provides a window of opportunity for effective prevention,” wrote authors Nicolas Chapelle and colleagues. “It is our hope that . . . this comprehensive umbrella meta-analysis will assist clinicians in counselling patients, and help to guide the future research on the topic that is required in many instances, to better characterize the impact of a nutritional, supplement, or chemical intervention in colorectal cancer prevention in an average-risk population.”


    —D Dye




    Pterostilbene shows promise against inflammatory bowel disease

    Pterostilbene shows promise against inflammatory bowel disease September 25 2020. Research described on September 22, 2020 in the FASEB Journal suggests that pterostilbene, a blueberry compound similar to resveratrol (found in grapes), has potential as a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Inflammatory bowel disease is caused by an increased immune response that results in chronic inflammation, which leads to ulcers in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

    "Resveratrol, a polyphenol, was known to have pronounced immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects on animal models of colitis ulcer,” explained first author Takuya Yashiro of Tokyo University of Science. “Therefore, we investigated the possibility of other compounds structurally similar to resveratrol as a new type of treatment for IBD."

    By testing the effects of resveratrol derivatives in cultured cells, the research team observed that pterostilbene had the strongest inhibitory effect against the proliferation of immune cells known as T cells that are activated by dendritic cells (another type of immune cell). Pterostilbene also decreased Th1 and Th17, which are subtypes of T cells. Pterostilbene was also associated with an increase in regulatory T cells that have an anti-inflammatory effect. The findings indicate that pterostilbene has a suppressive effect against the overactive immune response involved in IBD.

    In mice with induced colitis, pterostilbene decreased the expression of the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha and reduced symptoms.

    “Pterostilbene supplementation may either inhibit the pathology of IBD or delay its onset,” the authors concluded. “Whether pterostilbene executes similar immunosuppressive effects in human immune cells requires further analysis.”

    "For disease prevention, it is important to identify the beneficial components in foods and to understand the underlying mechanism by which immune responses and homeostasis are modulated in body,” Dr Yashiro remarked. “Our findings showed that pterostilbene possesses a strong immunosuppressive property, paving the way for a new, natural treatment for IBD."


    —D Dye



    Drinking coffee associated with improved survival among colorectal cancer patients

    Drinking coffee associated with improved survival among colorectal cancer patients September 23 2020. Findings from an investigation reported on September 17, 2020 in JAMA Oncology suggest that regular coffee drinking could improve colorectal cancer survival and help prevent the disease from worsening.

    "It's known that several compounds in coffee have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other properties that may be active against cancer," stated co-first author Chen Yuan, ScD. "Epidemiological studies have found that higher coffee intake was associated with improved survival in patients with stage 3 colon cancer, but the relationship between coffee consumption and survival in patients with metastatic forms of the disease hasn't been known."

    The study included 1,171 men and women who had participated in the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (Alliance)/SWOG 80405 trial that compared the addition of cetuximab and/or bevacizumab to standard chemotherapy for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer. Questionnaires completed upon enrollment provided information concerning the intake of regular and decaffeinated coffee. The patients were followed for a median period of 5.4 years, during which 1,092 experienced disease progression or died.

    Subjects who consumed four or more cups of coffee per day had a 36% lower risk of overall mortality and improved progression-free survival compared to those who did not drink coffee. For each cup of coffee consumed, the risk of colorectal cancer progression was lowered by 5% and the risk of dying was reduced by 7%.

    "This study adds to the large body of literature supporting the importance of diet and other modifiable factors in the treatment of patients with colorectal cancer," senior author Kimmie Ng, MD, MPH, remarked. "Further research is needed to determine if there is indeed a causal connection between coffee consumption and improved outcomes in patients with colorectal cancer, and precisely which compounds within coffee are responsible for this benefit."


    —D Dye



    Greater antioxidant activity may help prevent glaucoma

    Greater antioxidant activity may help prevent glaucoma September 21 2020. Research reported on September 15, 2020 in the Journal of Clinical Medicine revealed an association between a lower risk of glaucoma and an increase in antioxidant activity and levels of omega 3-derived chemical messengers in the body among individuals believed to be at risk. “The main risk factor for primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is increased intraocular pressure (IOP),” wrote Mia Langbøl and colleagues. “It is of interest that about half of the patients have an IOP within the normal range (normal-tension glaucoma). Additionally, there is a group of patients with a high IOP but no glaucomatous neurodegeneration (ocular hypertension, OHT).”

    The study included 16 participants with normal-tension glaucoma, nine participants with ocular hypertension and no evidence of glaucomatous neurodegeneration, and 14 age-matched healthy control subjects. The subjects participated in an experiment in which they were stressed with a fluctuating oxygen supply, which has been associated with the development of glaucoma due to the high oxygen demand of the retina. Oxidative stress molecules, antioxidants and lipid mediators were measured before, during and after the experiment.

    Participants with ocular hypertension without glaucoma had greater total antioxidant capacity and higher levels of anti-inflammatory lipid mediators derived from omega 3 fatty acids, which correlate with antioxidant capacity, compared to the other participants. These factors increase protection against the risk of glaucoma.

    "We show for the first time that patients with ocular hypertension may exhibit a superior antioxidant protection due to higher antioxidant capacity and abundance of pro-homeostatic lipid mediators in plasma compared to patients with normal-tension glaucoma and controls,” the authors announced. “It is of interest to elucidate in the future whether antioxidants, including pro-homeostatic lipid mediators like 14-hydroxydocosahexaenoic acids and 12-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids, can become diagnostic biomarkers and open up the exploration of novel therapeutic strategies in glaucoma.”


    —D Dye



    Meta-analysis concludes cardiovascular benefit in association with omega 3 supplementation

    Meta-analysis concludes cardiovascular benefit in association with omega 3 supplementation September 18 2020. An updated meta-analysis published on September 17, 2020 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings supports a cardioprotective role for supplementation with the omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

    The current analysis expands on a recent meta-analysis of randomized trials published prior to August 2019 that examined omega 3 supplementation’s associations with cardiovascular outcomes. The newest meta-analysis included 40 randomized, controlled trials with a total of 135,267 participants. Dosages of omega 3 used in the studies ranged from 400 milligrams to 5,500 milligrams per day.

    Pooled analysis of the trials’ data revealed a 13% lower risk of heart attack, a 10% lower risk of coronary heart disease events, a 35% lower risk of fatal heart attack and a 9% lower risk of coronary heart disease mortality among participants who received EPA and DHA in comparison with the control subjects. When the impact of omega 3 dosage was examined, higher doses were more protective against the risk of cardiovascular disease events and heart attack than lower amounts.

    "The study supports the notion that EPA and DHA intake contributes to cardioprotection, and that whatever patients are getting through the diet, they likely need more," stated coauthor Carl J. Lavie, MD. "People should consider the benefits of omega-3 supplements, at doses of 1000 to 2000 mg per day - far higher than what is typical, even among people who regularly eat fish. Given the safety and diminished potential for interaction with other medications, the positive results of this study strongly suggest omega-3 supplements are a relatively low-cost, high impact way to improve heart health with few associated risks and should be considered as part of a standard preventive treatment for most patients with cardiovascular diseases and those recovering from myocardial infarction."


    —D Dye



    Turmeric beats placebo for knee pain

    Turmeric beats placebo for knee pain September 16 2020. Findings from a randomized, double-blind trial published on September 15, 2020 in Annals of Internal Medicine indicate a pain-relieving benefit for turmeric against osteoarthritis of the knee.

    Turmeric is an extract of the root of Curcuma longa used in Ayurvedic medicine that is a source of the compound curcumin.

    In their introduction, Zhiqiang Wang of the University of Tasmania, Australia and colleagues noted that the current pharmacologic therapies, including acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are associated with adverse gastrointestinal, renal, and cardiovascular effects. Because these medications have only a low to moderate effect against pain, patient dissatisfaction can lead to joint replacement.

    The trial included 70 participants with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis and swelling within the knee joint who were assigned to receive two capsules per day turmeric or a placebo for 12 weeks. Knee pain was assessed via questionnaire responses and swelling was monitored with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) during the course of the study.

    By the end of the trial, turmeric supplementation was associated improvements in weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing knee pain, stiffness, function and need for pain medication intake in comparison with the placebo group. Knee swelling and cartilage composition were not affected. The authors remark that the study’s short duration may not have been sufficient to detect an improvement in cartilage and synovium and that turmeric’s affect on pain may be greater in association with longer treatment.

    “Overall, these results suggest that the modest effect on knee pain in our study may be clinically relevant and that Curcuma longa may be a treatment option for managing knee osteoarthritis symptoms,” they wrote. “Multicenter trials with larger sample sizes are needed to assess the clinical significance of these findings.”


    —D Dye



    “Wet brain” linked to iron deposits, low B1

    “Wet brain” linked to iron deposits, low B1 September 14 2020. A hypothesis proposed on August 18, 2020 in Alzheimer's and Dementia suggests that a deficiency of thiamin (vitamin B1) resulting from excessive alcohol consumption causes excess iron to be deposited in the brain, leading to alcohol-associated cognitive decline (sometimes referred to as wet brain syndrome).

    While it is an essential nutrient, iron is associated with increased oxidative stress. Disordered iron metabolism in the brain has been associated with Alzheimer disease and other disorders. Previous research that compared the brains of individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) to those of age-matched healthy controls found increases in brain iron in deep gray matter regions in the AUD patients.

    “We hypothesize that excess iron, that is, brain iron overload, is a highly relevant pathway leading to cognitive deterioration in individuals with alcohol use disorder,” wrote Stephan Listabarth and colleagues at the Medical University of Vienna. “We further hypothesize thiamin depletion, a common concomitant feature in AUD patients, to be a key stimulus for brain iron overload, as thiamine deficiency disrupts the integrity of the blood‐brain barrier (BBB), enabling iron from the circulation to enter the brain in an uncontrolled manner.”

    Dr Listabarth and colleagues suggested that iron chelators which lower excess iron levels could be investigated in people at risk of alcohol-related dementia. Additionally, thiamin supplementation could be studied as a protective factor for people with alcohol dependence.

    “If our hypothesis were true, this would implicate that iron metabolism should be considered as a relevant factor in the management of AUD patients,” they concluded. “Furthermore, this would implicate the emergence of possible new therapeutic approaches in the treatment of cognitive decline in AUD patients, raising hope for the quest of preventing, or at least limiting, the progression of alcohol‐related dementia.”


    —D Dye



    25-hydroxyvitamin D beats other vitamin D tests as predictor of premature mortality

    25-hydroxyvitamin D beats other vitamin D tests as predictor of premature mortality September 9 2020. Findings presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Endocrinology (e-ECE 2020) revealed a superior effect for 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] testing for the prediction of disease onset in comparison with testing for 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D], the active form of vitamin D. 25-hydroxyvitamin D is a prohormone that is converted to 1,25(OH)2D and is commonly measured to assess vitamin D levels. Deficient vitamin D levels have been associated with cardiovascular disease and other aging-related disorders.

    The study utilized data collected from 1,970 men who participated in the European Male Ageing Study from 2003 and 2005. Free and protein-bound 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D levels were measured after enrollment.

    Participants with total 25(OH)D that was among the lowest 20% of participants had an 83% higher risk of dying during the 12.3-year average follow-up period than those whose levels were among the top 20%. Men with total 1,25(OH)2D levels among the lowest 20% had a 41% greater risk. When free 25(OH)D was examined, men whose levels were among the lowest 60% had a 91% greater risk of death during follow-up compared to men whose levels were among the highest 20%, however, the risk of premature mortality was similar among all examined percentiles of free 1,25(OH)2D. “Low total 25(OH)D levels and low total 1,25(OH)2D levels in community-dwelling middle-aged and elderly men have an increased future mortality risk,” the authors concluded. However, only low free 25(OH)D but not free 1,25(OH)2D levels predict all-cause mortality.

    "Most studies focus on the association between total 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and age-related disease and mortality,” lead researcher Leen Antonio commented. “As 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D is the active form of vitamin D in our body, it was possible it could have been a stronger predictor for disease and mortality. It has also been debated if the total or free vitamin D levels should be measured. Our data now suggest that both total and free 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels are the better measure of future health risk in men."


    —D Dye



    T cells need methionine

    T cells need methionine September 2 2020. Research reported on September 2, 2020 in Nature revealed a mechanism used by cancer cells to evade the immune system.

    “Abnormal epigenetic patterns correlate with effector T cell malfunction in tumors, but the cause of this link is unknown,” Yingjie Bian of the University of Michigan School of Medicine and colleagues wrote. “Here we show that tumor cells disrupt methionine metabolism in CD8+ T cells, thereby lowering intracellular levels of methionine and the methyl donor S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) and resulting in loss of dimethylation.”

    Dr Bian and colleagues sought to determine why immune cells known as T cells stop combatting tumors and other related questions. They found that low methionine levels were associated with T cell impairment.

    Other research has investigated the effects of starving tumor cells of methionine. However, this also starves T cells of the amino acid, thereby diminishing their function. "You have competition between tumor cells and T cells for methionine,” explained senior author Weiping Zou, MD, PhD, who is a Professor of Surgery, Pathology, Immunology and Biology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “The T cells also need it. If you starve the tumor cells of methionine, the T cells don't get it either. You want to selectively delete the methionine for the tumor cells and not for the T cells."

    Supplementing with methionine restored T cell immunity in tumor-bearing mice and colon cancer patients. "There are still a lot of mechanistic details we have not worked out, particularly the detailed metabolic pathways of methionine metabolism,” Dr Zou remarked. “We also need to understand how metabolism pathways may be different from tumor cells and T cells. We hope to find a target that is relatively specific to tumor cells so that we do not harm the T cells but impact the tumor."


    —D Dye


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