News Briefs – July 2006
While a recently-announced study on mice at the University of Toronto suggests a sugar-derived drug may yet prove effective in humans against Alzheimer’s disease (AD), fish oil has been found in a recent less-publicized study to help protect against AD by increasing levels of certain brain chemicals. Along with DHA the fat in fish oil these brain chemicals, called phosphatides, were found to be deficient in AD patients. The study was posted April 21 on the website of the journal Brain Research. Also, Japanese researchers are investigating the effect of plasmalogen – a compound contained in seafood such as the sea squirt – on Alzheimers. Tablets containing the compound are expected as early as next year. The research team has observed in cell studies that plasmalogen prevents the death of nerve cells and has a preventive effect on declining memory and learning ability. Previously, AD risk was found to be reduced with greater intake of red wine, apples, vitamin E, grape seed extract and green tea, and with higher HDL cholesterol and exercise levels.
KAMPO MEDICINE ON THE RISE
FOUR PINE BARK STUDIES
COLOURED VEGETABLES AID ARTERIES
NEW HELP FOR DIABETICS
AMERICANS SICKER THAN CANADIANS
VEGANS HAVE FEWER TWINS
The reason may be related to a compound called insulin-like growth factor or IGF. It is found in milk and it increases the sensitivity of the ovaries to follicle stimulating hormone, thus increasing ovulation. Some studies also suggest that IGF may help embryos survive in the early stages of development.
LEGS ACHE A LOT?
The May 2006 issue of Atherosclerosis published a study suggesting that the Mediterranean diet (MD) may furnish strong protection against peripheral artery disease (PAD), “a highly prevalent and . . . ominous condition” that affects over a million Canadians. The most common symptom is cramping, pain or tiredness in the leg or hip muscles while walking or climbing stairs; it usually goes away with rest.
Traditional recommendations include moderate alcohol consumption, vitamin C, and a very-low-calorie diet. The Mediterranean Diet, on the other hand, stresses olive oil, fish, nuts, fruits and vegetables. (Ed: Mediterraneans do love their homemade wine though, and organic red wine is known to have many health benefits if consumed in moderation.)