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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.


  • Access to integrative therapy associated with better breast cancer survival
  • Omega-3 supplementation associated with reduction in markers of senescence
  • Researchers determine how plants synthesize anticancer oregano compound
  • Preoperative vitamin D levels predict recovery following hip fracture surgery
  • Curcumin could aid diabetic kidney disease patients
  • Plant compounds show promise against obesity
  • More evidence for vitamin D in MS prevention
  • Study estimates lower risk of cardiovascular disease associated with improved vitamin D level
  • Almost half of alcohol use disorder patients in ICU fail to receive lifesaving vitamin
  • Vitamin D may curb impulsivity in women with eating disorders
  • Apolipoprotein B/A-1 ratio predicts cardiovascular disease years in advance
  • Better exercise performance and increased intake of nutrients that support healthy inflammation linked to reduced inflammaging in older adults


    Access to integrative therapy associated with better breast cancer survival

    Access to integrative therapy associated with better breast cancer survival December 29 2021. An article that appeared on December 18, 2021 in the Journal of Oncology reported improved breast cancer survival among patients who had access to integrative therapies, including nutrition consultations or programs, exercise consultations or programs, patient support groups or patient-survivor pairings, spiritual services, psycho-oncology support, massage therapy, meditation or mindfulness, yoga, acupuncture or acupressure, music or art therapy, Reiki or therapeutic healing touch, and tai chi or qi gong.

    “Patients can play an active role in their cancer treatment and outcomes – but they are much more likely to do it with approval and help from their health system,” noted lead author Terri Crudup of the global research and technology firm IQVIA. “Oncologists and institutions that treat these patients need to consider providing education, support, and funding for these complementary and lifestyle therapies.”

    The study included 173 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients treated with conventional medical therapies. Replies to surveys completed by the patients’ oncologists were scored according to their institutions’ efforts to offer integrative modality education, support (providing or recommending these modalities), funding and staffing, and assistance with the use of herbal and plant-based supplements.

    One hundred three institutions were scored. Compared to having a low composite integrative oncology score, institutions with low-mid scores were associated with three times greater five-year survival among their patients. Among institutions whose scores were mid-high, the odds of five-year survival were 48% higher.

    “Access to basic integrative healthcare services in cancer care not only supports a higher quality of life, but this study also shows that these services increase a patient’s chance of survival,” stated co-author Wayne Jonas, MD. “These findings serve as a call to action for hospitals and oncologists to support a whole-person approach to cancer care.”


    —D Dye


    Omega-3 supplementation associated with reduction in markers of senescence

    Omega-3 supplementation associated with reduction in markers of senescence December 27 2021. The November-December 2021 issue of Kidney Medicine reported the finding of a reduction in markers of cellular senescence among kidney transplant recipients who received supplemental omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in comparison with a placebo.

    Accelerated cellular senescence has been associated with a decline in kidney transplant function. Senescence occurs when cells become aged and dysfunctional. Rather than self-destructing, senescent cells remain in the body’s tissues and acquire a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), which secretes inflammatory factors that damage surrounding cells. Kidney transplant patients with deterioration of transplant function have greater expression of the gene cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A than average for their age, which is consistent with senescent cell accumulation.

    The current study included participants in the Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Renal Transplantation trial, which compared the effects of 2.6 grams per day of omega-3 fatty acids to a placebo among 132 kidney transplant patients. Blood samples were collected before and after the 44-week treatment period.

    Analysis of plasma obtained at the end of the trial revealed a reduction in the SASP components granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, interleukin 1α, macrophage inflammatory protein 1α, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 and MMP-13.

    “Major inflammatory cytokines of the SASP secretome can be induced by activation of nuclear factor kappa B,” the authors explained. “Previous studies have shown that marine omega-3 PUFAs can decrease nuclear factor kappa B activation, possibly through a peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma, with corresponding lower levels of inflammatory cytokines. Marine omega-3 PUFA supplementation also increases the production of resolvins, protectins, and maresins, all of which have inflammation-resolving effects, and suppresses inflammatory cytokine production.”

    “Future studies with kidney transplant recipients in maintenance phase combined with evaluation of senescence markers in kidney transplant biopsies are encouraged to further elucidate the potential anti-senescent effect of marine omega-3 fatty acids.”


    —D Dye


    Researchers determine how plants synthesize anticancer oregano compound

    Researchers determine how plants synthesize anticancer oregano compound December 22 2021. In the December 28, 2021 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,researchers from Purdue University, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany and Michigan State University described how oregano, thyme and other members of the Lamiaceae family synthesize a compound known as thymohydroquinone that has anticancer activities. The knowledge gained may aide in the development of a lab-synthesized version of the compound or in the engineering of plants to produce levels that are effective against cancer.

    “These plants contain important compounds, but the amount is very low and extraction won’t be enough,” explained co-lead researcher Natalia Dudareva of Purdue University’s College of Agriculture. “By understanding how these compounds are formed, we open a path to engineering plants with higher levels of them or to synthesizing the compounds in microorganisms for medical use.”

    “These findings provide new targets for engineering high-value compounds in plants and other organisms,” added co-first author Pan Liao. “Not only do many plants contain medicinal properties, but the compounds within them are used as food additives and for perfumes, cosmetics and other products.”

    By screening over 80,000 plant genes, the team identified those needed for thymohydroquinone production and subsequently determined the pathway used by plants to manufacture the compound, including its precursors carvacrol and thymol.

    “We, as scientists, are always comparing pathways in different systems and plants,” Dr Dudareva stated. “We are always in pursuit of new possibilities. The more we learn, the more we are able to recognize the similarities and differences that could be key to the next breakthrough.”

    “It is an amazing time for plant science right now,” she enthused. “We have tools that are faster, cheaper and provide much more insight. It is like looking inside the cell; it is almost unbelievable.”


    —D Dye


    Preoperative vitamin D levels predict recovery following hip fracture surgery

    Preoperative vitamin D levels predict recovery following hip fracture surgery December 20 2021. A study reported on November 30, 2021 in the Journal of Bone Metabolism revealed an association between deficient vitamin D levels and diminished functional recovery with prolonged hospitalization among men and women who underwent surgery for hip fracture.

    “Low vitamin D level (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D less than 20 ng/mL) is considered a risk factor for fall, hip fracture and in turn associated with worse outcomes,” authors Chaemoon Lim of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Jeju National University Hospital in Korea and colleagues wrote. “However, the effect of vitamin D on postoperative functional recovery and complications after hip fracture has not been completely understood.”

    The study included 1,029 individuals aged 65 years or older with a hip fracture that required surgery. Measurement of 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels upon hospital admission revealed vitamin D deficiency among 702 patients. Determination of postoperative functional recovery status was based on hospital stay duration and level of assistance needed to ambulate.

    Average length of hospitalization was 27.7 days among patients with vitamin D deficiency compared to 20.9 days among those whose levels were considered sufficient. Postoperative functional recovery was significantly less among the deficient group. Vitamin D deficiency was associated with a 52% greater risk of developing postoperative delirium, more than double the risk of developing a blood clot and a greater than three-fold greater risk of pneumonia compared to having sufficient levels.

    “Preoperative vitamin D deficiency in hip fractures patients was associated with prolonged duration of hospital stay and decrease of postoperative ambulatory status and may increase the risk of delirium, pneumonia and thromboembolism,” the authors concluded. “Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate the preoperative vitamin D level and prescribe vitamin D supplements to elderly patients with a high probability of hip fracture.”


    —D Dye


    Curcumin could aid diabetic kidney disease patients

    Curcumin could aid diabetic kidney disease patients December 17 2021. A meta-analysis of randomized trials concluded that curcumin supplementation was associated with improved creatinine (a marker of kidney function), cholesterol, glucose and systolic blood pressure compared to a placebo in men and women with diabetic kidney disease, a frequent complication of diabetes. The findings were published on December 2, 2021 in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

    “Patients with diabetic kidney disease have a higher risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, which are closely associated with risk factors such as hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and hypertension, than those without diabetic kidney disease, explained authors Zhao Jie of Hunan University of Chinese Medicine in Changsha, China and colleagues in their introduction to the article. “This study aimed to perform a comprehensive review and meta-analysis of previous pilot, double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized controlled trials on the effect of curcumin supplementation on diabetic kidney disease.”

    The meta-analysis included five trials that included a total of 290 diabetic kidney disease patients who received curcumin or turmeric (which contains curcumin) capsules or a placebo for two to six months. Blood pressure and/or various blood and urine values were assessed before and after the treatment periods.

    Analysis of the four trials that evaluated curcumin’s effects on serum creatinine, total cholesterol and fasting plasma glucose determined that curcumin was associated with significant reductions in these factors compared to a placebo. Systolic blood pressure was lower in association with curcumin in an analysis of the four trials that assessed blood pressure.

    “To our knowledge, this is the first meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials to analyze the effects of curcumin supplementation on diabetic kidney disease,” the authors announced. “According to the available evidence from this meta-analysis, curcumin supplementation has beneficial effects on serum creatinine, total cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, and fasting blood glucose levels.”


    —D Dye


    Plant compounds show promise against obesity

    Plant compounds show promise against obesity December 15 2021. Research reported on November 24, 2021 in the journal Nutrients revealed a role flavan-3-ols, which are among the plant compounds known as polyphenols, in white adipose tissue browning. Flavan-3-ols, which occur in apple, grapeseed, red wine and cocoa, are also known as flavanols, and include catechin and other compounds.

    Brown adipose tissue has more energy-producing organelles known as mitochondria than white adipose tissue, which enables it to burn calories and produce heat via the activation of mitochondrial uncoupling protein 1 (Ucp-1). Exercise, calorie restriction and exposure to cold stimulate the sympathetic nervous system (which secretes the catecholamines adrenaline and noradrenaline) to induce browning of white adipose tissue, which can help protect against obesity. Naomi Osakabe of Shibaura Institute of Technology and colleagues discovered that flavan-3-ols also activate the sympathetic nervous system to enhance white adipose tissue browning.

    A group of mice was given a single dose of flavan-3-ols derived from cocoa and their urine was collected during a 24-hour period. A second group received several doses of flavan-3-ols for two weeks, after which adipose tissue was examined for indicators of fat browning.

    Urine from mice that received a single dose of flavan-3-ols had high concentrations of adrenaline and noradrenaline, indicating sympathetic nervous system activation. And in adipose tissue from animals that received flavan-3-ols for two weeks, the team observed fat browning and an increase in Ucp-1 and other high temperature-associated proteins. “All of these proteins work together to induce the development of the brown adipose tissue phenotype,” Professor Osakabe observed.

    “Although the mechanism of adipose browning is not fully understood, it is possible that repeated administration of flavan-3-ols may produce browning via catecholamines and its receptors,” she explained. “Further studies will be required to understand how this process is induced by flavan-3-ol-rich foods.”


    —D Dye


    More evidence for vitamin D in MS prevention

    More evidence for vitamin D in MS prevention December 13 2021. On December 8, 2021, Neurology reported findings from researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and Australian National University of an association between greater time spent outdoors and a reduction in the risk of developing early onset multiple sclerosis (MS) among children and young adults. “Sun exposure is known to boost vitamin D levels,” explained study co-senior author Emmanuelle Waubant, MD, PhD, who is a professor at the UCSF Department of Neurology. “It also stimulates immune cells in the skin that have a protective role in diseases such as MS. Vitamin D may also change the biological function of the immune cells and, as such, play a role in protecting against autoimmune diseases.”

    The researchers compared 332 participants who had MS for an average of seven months with 534 subjects matched for sex and age who did not have the disease. Questionnaires completed by the participants or their parents provided information concerning time spent outdoors during summer and the use of sun protection.

    Nineteen percent of participants with MS reported spending less than 30 minutes per day outdoors during the summer before the study, compared to only 6% of those without the disease. In comparison with spending less than 30 minutes outdoors during the previous summer, 30 minutes to an hour per day spent outdoors was associated with an adjusted 52% lower chance of acquiring MS and spending 1 to 2 hours daily was associated with an 81% lower risk. High ambient ultraviolet radiation exposure during summer was also protective against the disease.

    Dr Waubant suggested the initiation of clinical trials to determine whether “increasing sun exposure or vitamin D supplementation can prevent the development of MS or alter disease course post-diagnosis.”


    —D Dye


    Study estimates lower risk of cardiovascular disease associated with improved vitamin D level

    Study estimates lower risk of cardiovascular disease associated with improved vitamin D level December 10 2021. Research reported on December 5, 2021 in the European Heart Journal estimated that improvement of vitamin D levels to 20 ng/mL could eliminate 4.4% of all cases of cardiovascular disease.

    The investigation included 44,591 men and women with cardiovascular disease and 251,269 individuals without the disease who were enrolled in the UK Biobank. The Mendelian randomization study utilized genetically predicted serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D to estimate the effects of improved levels on cardiovascular disease risk. “It is not ethical to recruit people with vitamin D deficiency to a randomized controlled trial and to leave them without treatment for long periods,” noted lead researcher Elina Hyppönen. “It is exactly this type of difficult setting which demonstrates the power of our genetic approach, given we can show how improving concentrations affects the risk in those most in need, without exposing participants to any harm.”

    “Our results are exciting as they suggest that if we can raise levels of vitamin D within norms, we should also affect rates of cardiovascular disease,” she stated. “By increasing vitamin D-deficient individuals to levels of at least 50 nmol/L [20 ng/mL], we estimate that 4.4 percent of all cardiovascular disease cases could have been prevented.”

    “Severe deficiency is relatively rare, but in settings where this does occur it is very important to be proactive and avoid negative effects on the heart,” Dr Hyppönen remarked. “For example, deficiency can be a problem for people living in residential care who may have limited exposure to sun.”

    “We can also get vitamin D from food, including oily fish, eggs and fortified foods and drinks,” she added. “This said, food is unfortunately a relatively poor source of vitamin D, and even an otherwise healthy diet does not typically contain enough.”


    —D Dye


    Almost half of alcohol use disorder patients in ICU fail to receive lifesaving vitamin

    Almost half of alcohol use disorder patients in ICU fail to receive lifesaving vitamin December 8 2021. Thiamin (vitamin B1) deficiency is common among people with alcohol use disorder. Uncorrected deficiency increases the risk of significant illness, including that of the degenerative brain disorder known as Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, as well as premature mortality. Current guidelines recommend thiamin supplementation for alcohol use disorder patients.

    On December 7, 2021, the Annals of Internal Medicinereported findings from an investigation involving people with alcohol use disorder who were admitted to intensive care units (ICUs). The study revealed that nearly half of the patients did not receive thiamin supplements.

    The study included 14,998 alcohol use disorder patients admitted to 133 ICUs. Seventy-eight percent were hospitalized for alcohol withdrawal.

    Just 51% of the patients in the current study were treated with thiamin, which was orally administered in the majority of cases. Patients with alcohol use disorder admitted for reasons other than withdrawal had a lower incidence of receiving thiamin than the remainder of the subjects.

    Nine percent of the patients died, including 3% of those undergoing alcohol withdrawal only. Among patients who were not experiencing alcohol withdrawal, 42% of those admitted for septic shock, 9% of those with traumatic brain injury and 2% of those with diabetic ketoacidosis died. Mortality among patients who received thiamin was 6% compared to 13% among patients who did not receive the vitamin.

    “Thiamin supplementation was not provided to almost half of all patients with alcohol use disorder, raising a quality-of-care issue for this cohort,” Rahul Pawar and colleagues wrote. “Supplementation was numerically less frequent in patients with septic shock, diabetic ketoacidosis, or traumatic brain injury than in those with alcohol withdrawal. These data will be important for the design of quality improvement studies in critically ill patients with alcohol use disorder.”


    —D Dye


    Vitamin D may curb impulsivity in women with eating disorders

    Vitamin D may curb impulsivity in women with eating disorders December 6 2021. Research reported on November 29, 2021 in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry uncovered an association between decreased vitamin D levels and greater impulsivity among women with eating disorders.

    Impulsivity refers to a tendency to act rashly without consideration of the consequences, as well as a reduced ability to delay gratification. This is an important factor in eating disorders.

    “Eating disorders are characterized by over-or under-nutrition and alterations in hormone serum levels and vitamins due to restrictive or compensatory behaviors and stressors,” Paolo Meneguzzo of the Department of Neurosciences at the University of Padua and colleagues explained. “Clinical data have shown the role of food-related impulsivity and other impulsive behaviors in the development, maintenance, and treatment of eating disorders.”

    The study included 119 women diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder. Participants completed questionnaires and neuropsychological tasks that evaluated impulsive behavior and risk-taking. Blood samples were analyzed for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.

    An association was found between deficient serum vitamin D levels of less than 15 nanograms per deciliter and self-reported lack of perseverance (an aspect of impulsiveness) as well as higher scores in one of the behavioral measures of impulsivity. While a difference in serum vitamin D levels was observed between participants with anorexia nervosa and those with binge eating disorder, there was no significant difference in the percentage of either group with deficiency.

    The authors observed that studies have shown an association between vitamin D levels and hyperactivity and impulsivity, which have been reduced following supplementation. “Our data . . . corroborate the idea that malnutrition could impact risky behaviors and mental disorders,” they concluded. “Future studies should replicate the methods with more significant samples, perhaps with randomized controlled trials involving 25-hydroxyvitamin D supplementation.”


    —D Dye


    Apolipoprotein B/A-1 ratio predicts cardiovascular disease years in advance

    Apolipoprotein B/A-1 ratio predicts cardiovascular disease years in advance December 3 2021. A study reported on December 1, 2021 in PLOS Medicine added evidence to the predictive value of the ratio of apolipoprotein B to apolipoprotein A-1 (apoB/apoA-1) for the risk of severe cardiovascular disease and nonfatal heart attack.

    While apolipoprotein A-1 transports protective high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, apolipoprotein B transports low density lipoprotein (LDL), very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and intermediate density lipoprotein (IDL) cholesterol, which increase the risk of atherosclerosis.

    The current investigation included 137,100 men and women aged 25 to 84 years upon enrollment in the AMORIS (Apolipoprotein-related MOrtality RISk) study. Subjects had no history of major adverse cardiovascular events, coronary artery bypass grafting or percutaneous coronary interventions. Examinations conducted at the beginning of the study included blood tests for levels of apoA-1, apoB, total cholesterol, triglycerides and serum glucose. The subjects were followed for 17.8 years, during which 22,473 major adverse cardiovascular events (nonfatal heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular mortality) occurred.

    Subjects with an apoB/apoA-1 ratio that was among the top 10% had a 70% greater risk of severe cardiovascular disease and 2.7 times the risk of nonfatal heart attack than those whose ratio was among the lowest 10%. A high apoB/apoA-1 ratio predicted cardiovascular disease as early as 20 years before its onset.

    “The results show that the higher the apoB/apoA-1 value, the greater the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke and need for coronary surgery,” reported senior author Göran Walldius, of the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Unit of Epidemiology at the Karolinska Institutet. “The study also showed that the risk was amplified in the presence of low protective levels of apoA-1.”

    “It should be possible to introduce cut-values for apoB, apoA-1 and the apoB/apoA-1 ratio into new guidelines as a complement to current guidance on the detection and treatment of dyslipidemia,” he added.


    —D Dye


    Better exercise performance and increased intake of nutrients that support healthy inflammation linked to reduced inflammaging in older adults

    Better exercise performance and increased intake of nutrients that support healthy inflammation linked to reduced inflammaging in older adults December 1 2021. Research reported on October 21, 2021 in Nutrients revealed an association between decreased indicators of chronic inflammation and greater intake of nutrients that help maintain inflammation at a healthy level combined with better walking performance in an older population.

    The study included 60 men and women aged 65 and older. Dietary recall responses were evaluated to determine the intake of the anti-inflammatory vitamins A, C, D and E and beta-carotene, as well as fatty acids omega 3 (which has shown anti-inflammatory effects) and omega 6 (associated with inflammation when intake is high). Physical performance was evaluated using six-minute walk tests. Blood samples were analyzed for the inflammation markers serum C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukins 1beta, 6, 8 and 13, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) and circulating free DNA, and the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin 10.

    Participants were categorized as having low-grade inflammation if CRP levels were less than 3 milligrams per liter (mg/L) or high-grade inflammation if CRP was 3 mg/L or more. The low-grade inflammation group had a lower CRP to albumin ratio, lower omega 6 to omega 3 ratio and greater vitamin D intake than the high-grade inflammation group. Participants with low-grade inflammation also had significantly higher gait speed compared to the other group. Increased levels of interleukin 1beta, interleukin 6, TNFα and circulating free DNA were found among participants with lower gait speed, indicating an association between impaired physical performance and systemic inflammation.

    “These findings reveal that increased intake of anti-inflammatory diet ingredients and physical activity sustained throughout life attenuate progression of inflammaging in the elderly and indicate potential therapeutic strategies to counteract pathophysiological effects of aging,” authors Edyta Wawrzyniak-Gramacka of Collegium Medicum University of Zielona Gora and colleagues concluded.


    —D Dye


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