May 2, 2014

Health Roundup: Apples, almonds, second opinion, sleep, exercise and glucosamine

APPLESApples Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths Nearly as Well as Statins Do—Without the Drugs' Dangerous Side Effects

Apples (and other fruits) contain heart-healthy antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Apples also are rich in pectin, a dietary fiber that reduces cholesterol.

SNACK ON ALMONDSSeveral studies hail health benefits of almonds

IF IT'S SERIOUS, GET A SECOND OPINION. TWELVE MILLION Americans receive the wrong medical diagnosis every year

About five per cent of all medical diagnoses in the U.S. are erroneous, the study found and these errors kill as many as 98,000 people per year.

EXERCISE WARDS OFF DEMENTIA Regular exercise can keep dementia at bay - even if it's in your genes: Being active three times a week stops the brain from shrinking

A study of men and women in their 60s, 70s and 80s found that being active at least three times a week stopped the brain from shrinking. Strikingly, even those with a common gene called APOE-e4 were protected by brisk walking, jogging, swimming and cycling. Strenuous household chores also helped.
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Kirk Erickson, an expert in the ageing brain, said: ‘This is the first study look at how physical activity might impact the loss of hippocampal volume in people at genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

‘There are no other treatments shown to preserve hippocampal volume in those that may develop Alzheimer’s disease. This study has tremendous implications for how we might intervene, prior to the development of any dementia symptoms, in older adults who are at increased genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
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The APOE-e4 gene is carried by up to 30 per cent of the population. It increases the risk of Alzheimer’s in old age but not everyone with the suspect DNA will develop the disease.The latest finding suggests the exercise may be one of the factors that decides if a brain is able to overcome its genetic inheritance.

IF YOU'RE SICK, SLEEP AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.  A good night's sleep really CAN make you feel better: Researchers say long naps can boost immune system and help fight infection

It has long been said that a good night's sleep can make you feel better, and researchers have finally found it to be true. They say sleep gives our immune systems a major boost, particularly if we are fighting off an infection.  Experiments in flies found that in the case of major infection, sleep can even save lives.
Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that in fruitflies sleep enhances immune system response and recovery to infection.

'It's an intuitive response to want to sleep when you get sick,' said Julie Williams, who led the study.
'These studies provide new evidence of the direct and functional effects of sleep on immune response and of the underlying mechanisms at work.
'The take-home message from these papers is that when you get sick, you should sleep as much as you can -- we now have the data that supports this idea.'

GLUCOSAMINE BOOSTS AUTOPHAGY FOR A LONGER LIFE  Is a pill made from lobsters the secret to a longer life? Glucosamine can make mice live nearly 10  per cent longer

Last week, in the highly respected journal Nature Communications, scientists reported how the food supplement glucosamine, often made from shellfish, can make mice live nearly 10  per cent longer. That would add an average eight years to human lifespans

The researcher, Dr Michael Ristow, a biochemist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, gave the supplement to ageing mice in addition to their usual diet and compared them with similar mice not given the supplement. He believes the benefits are down to glucosamine making the body think it's on a low-carb, high-protein diet. It does this by creating amino acids that the body mistakes for proteins.  In response, our bodies start burning more protein. This can keep weight down and, as a result, may also fend off problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes…The body itself produces glucosamine but the amount starts to dwindle after the age of 45.
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There may, however, be another explanation. Glucosamine has been found to boost a process in the human body called autophagy, according to a 2013 report in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.Autophagy is a system in which cells get rid of their toxic waste. If this process fails, the cell dies,
Posted by Jill Fallon at May 2, 2014 11:30 AM | Permalink