June 19, 2014

Health roundup: Rapeseed oil, autism reversed in mice, Alzheimers and 'natural cannabis', stress and synapses, selfie diagnosis

RAPESEED oil could be even more effective than statins in helping to lower cholesterol and protect the heart.

The oil – extracted from the bright yellow crop which covers much of the British countryside – has also proved to be particularly effective against type 2 diabetes.  It has the same cholesterol reducing effect as 20mg of statins, double a standard daily dose, and cuts the risk of heart problems by seven per cent, scientists say…..The researchers were led by Professor Dr David Jenkins of St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, the man who created the now famous glycaemic index, a scale showing which foods raise or lower blood sugar levels.

Century-old drug reverses signs of autism in mice

A single dose of a century-old drug has eliminated autism symptoms in adult mice with an experimental form of the disorder. Originally developed to treat African sleeping sickness, the compound, called suramin, quells a heightened stress response in neurons that researchers believe may underlie some traits of autism. The finding raises the hope that some hallmarks of the disorder may not be permanent, but could be correctable even in adulthood.

That hope is bolstered by reports from parents who describe their autistic children as being caught behind a veil. "Sometimes the veil parts, and the children are able to speak and play more normally and use words that didn't seem to be there before, if only for a short time during a fever or other stress" says Robert Naviaux, a geneticist at the University of California, San Diego, who specializes in metabolic disorders.
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Naviaux cautions that mice aren’t people, and therapies that are promising in rodents have a track record of not panning out in humans. He also says that prolonged treatment with suramin is not an option for children, because it can have side effects such as anemia with long-term use. He notes that there are 19 different kinds of purinergic receptors; if suramin does prove to be helpful in humans, newer drugs could be developed that would target only one or a few key receptors. The researchers are beginning a small clinical trial in humans of a single dose of suramin that they hope will be completed by the end of the year.

Could a loss of 'natural cannabis' in the brain be the reason we get Alzheimer's disease?

Alzheimer’s disease might partly develop because of the suppression of ‘natural cannabis’ molecules in the brain, scientists believe.
U.S. researchers linked early symptoms of the disease to losing the beneficial effects of these molecules, which are called endocannabinoids. These signalling molecules are natural versions of psychoactive chemicals in cannabis.

A rogue protein called amyloid-beta, suspected of playing a key role in Alzheimer’s, is believed to block endocannabinoids in the brain in the earliest stages of the disease. Endocannabinoids are part of the process that allows important signals in the brain to shine through while unwanted signals are shut out. Blocking them results in the brain becoming too inhibited, leading to impaired learning and memory loss.

The scientists from Stanford University in California, who reported their findings in the journal Neuron, warned that simply smoking marijuana was not a solution to Alzheimer’s. Senior author Dr Daniel Madison said: ‘Endocannabinoids in the brain are very transient and act only when important inputs come in. Exposure to marijuana over minutes or hours is different - more like enhancing everything indiscriminately, so you lose the filtering effect…It’s like listening to five radio stations at once.’ Flooding the brain with external cannabinoids also ran the risk of inducing tolerance and impeding the ability of natural endocannabinoids to do their job, he said.

Always stressed? Beware - it’ll affect your short-term memory in old age

A study at the University of Iowa found link between high levels of stress hormone cortisol and lapses in short-term memory in old age.  Jason Radley, an assistant psychology professor at the University of Iowa, said: 'Stress hormones are one mechanism that we believe leads to weathering of the brain.

Scientists linked the raised levels of cortisol to the gradual loss of synapses in the prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain that houses short-term memory. Synapses are the connections that help the brain process, store and recall information. As a person ages, repeated and long-term exposure to cortisol, can cause synapses to shrink and disappear.

But researchers warned that it is important to remember that stress hormones are only one of a host of factors which affect mental decline and memory loss as a person ages.

Du'h Don't lie to your kids! Children are more likely to be dishonest if they discover their parents don't tell the truth 
Children who are lied to are more likely to lie themselves, research claims in study  carried out at the UCal San Diego. 

In the U.K. Crohn’s disease in teens jumps 300 per cent in 10 years
Four times as many teenagers being treated for Crohn's disease compared to 10 years ago with experts blaming increased use of antibiotics and junk food.

 Stroke Selfie Woman diagnosed with stroke from 'selfie' video after doctors claimed she was just stressed

Stacey Yepes, 49, couldn't believe it when doctors said her numbness and facial paralysis was due to stress.  So when it happened again, she took out her camera to record the proof.  Doctors at a different hospital agreed she had suffered a series of mini strokes and learned that she had a blood clot. She is now undergoing treatment and is being monitored by doctors
Posted by Jill Fallon at June 19, 2014 2:22 PM | Permalink